* Posts by cutterman

46 posts • joined 29 Dec 2016

Intel SGX 'safe' room easily trashed by white-hat hacking marauders: Enclave malware demo'd


The British (with a lot of help from the Poles and the French) and later the Americans cracked Enigma and most of the important Japanese diplomatic and military cypher/codes. Later in WW2 they had the help of crude analog computers that speeded up the process.

They proceeded from the premise that there was human readable sensible information in those endless series of 4 or 6 letter groups. Their task was much facilitated by operator errors - sending the same message in different codes/ciphers, using the same code pages on subsequent days, repeated phrases like, "Your Excellency" and so on and so on. Given time and enough data all codes/ciphers can be cracked - except for proper "one-time-pad" codes.

But then, how random is random? I have dozens of ways of producing pseudorandom numbers (best to start with a hardware RNG and then subject it to cycles of PRNG). A method of generating (AND conveying it securely to the recipient) genuinely random numbers is not easy. Enforcing the correct use of these numbers is virtually impossible.

But whatever you do there MUST be entropy in the message - given enough messages, enough knowledge of your adversary, the type of data likely to be communicated and enough time (and speed increases daily) that entropy is theoretically discoverable.


You think election meddling is bad now? Buckle up for 2020, US intel chief tells Congress


Let's be careful out there

You say, "Let's be careful out there"

I sort of prefer the original ending of the briefing in the series (before they went all soft).

"Let's do it to them, before they do it to us..."

Mac :-)

Wow, fancy that. Web ad giant Google to block ad-blockers in Chrome. For safety, apparently


A good HOSTS file is your friend. Many uses.

Wish someone would update and polish HostsMan.

What happened to abelhadigital???

Everyday doings of a metropolitan techie: Stob's software diary


Think I used Carbon Copy Cloner with the SDD attached to some doodad usb connector.

Used the stuff that came with the conversion kit

Don't remember it as difficult. Just be careful removing and replacing memory modules.

SSD1 for System, /Volumes/Mac HDD1 for Data

Don't remember it as being a major hassle.

50 years ago: NASA blasts off the first humans to experience a lunar close encounter


Apollo 8

Yeah, I remember it. I've never been religious, but hearing Borman et al. read from the book of Genesis was quite a spiritual moment.

Bill Anders: "We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you."

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."

Jim Lovell

"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

Frank Borman

"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."

"And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."



An AI system has just created the most realistic looking photos ever



The adults teeth don't change.

Bloody clever otherwise


Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'


ID books/cards and numbers

Why the fuss about ID books/cards and ID numbers?

I've had 'em in two of the countries I've lived in and never seen a problem.

Very useful because it makes it quite difficult for someone to impersonate you


Tumblr resorts to AI in attempt to scrub itself clean from filth


Differentiating nipples

Not too hard to difficult to differentiate male (or child) nipples from adult female.

Surprisingly it is the relative size of the papilla (that sticky-out bit in the middle of the areola) that is the most reliable differentiator. And male areolae are elliptical instead of round. Areolar size varies too much among women to be a differentiator.

Don't ask me how I know...


Support whizz 'fixes' screeching laptop with a single click... by closing 'malware-y' browser tab


Re: Push volume button to mute

And on Tigra 1.8 (Corsa in a pretty dress)

Took me a few minutes to work out...


Groundhog Day comes early as Intel Display Drivers give Windows 10 the silent treatment


"They could even consider calling the new OS 'doors' to remove the stigma of windows."


This is the End

Beautiful friend

This is the End

My only friend, the End



Bright spark dev irons out light interference


Re: Elastic band RAM retention

As far as I could see on the iFixit teardown, the SODIMMS clip in as normal. Those rubber bits may be to "stand-off" the peculiar screwed on metal cage that covers the chips.

The cage may be to reduce interference or (more likely) to discourage enterprising hackers from upgrading the memory themselves at prices less than Apple's $$$$$/Gb sticks.


It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update


PSP then and now

Been using JASC's PSP 6 for years - all 71MB of it - amazing what they packed in there - masks, adjustment layers, the whole megillah. Quick and (reasonably) intuitive.

GIMP too, all 967MB of it - quirky, hard to learn to use but extremely powerful. Too powerful for me except for special occasions.

Got myself Corel's PSP2019 the other day - just curious - all 1.5GB of it if you include all the weird effects that I'll never use. Can still see traces of the original PSP in the main executable - much the same as PSP6 but just harder to use with that over-complicated smorgasbord of a UI. I bet most of the original JASC code is still in there!

So what do I do when I just want to put a vector overlay on an image, blend in a highlight or use a gradient mask? Why, PSP6 of course!

Funny old world.

(Wish I could find a copy of JASC's final version of PSP, before Corel fouled it up)



Re: Forget the geeky stuff, sort out the user experience.

I'm still using PSP 6.02 (and GIMP)

Very capable package - a few limitations but not many and since I know the UI by heart, very quick.

Amazing what can be crammed into 70MB.....no license key either.


On the third day of Windows Microsoft gave to me: A file-munching run of DELTREE


Re: Not a good look here.

"A lot of stuff gets stored there, but I have several programs that put configuration in documents/$program_name/config or something. They usually don't give you any other option. Yes, they're bad programs, which is why I try not to use them. No, I don't have much choice not to."

Agree. I really HATE this. "MY Documents" folder should be for just that, no Appdata, which belong in the apps Program folder, not mixed up with my Documents. And no you can't change this. Fuckfuckfuck.

On all my machines I have one drive C: (for the OS and Programs (System)) and another (usually mirrored drive, usually D: ) for Data. Fucking Windows stores all sorts of its own and apps crap in "My Documents" and I fucking HATE it!


The secret history of Apple's Stacks


Unfortunately development of ClassicShell has ceased - I really like it, particularly the old-style 98 cascading menus.

StarDock's Fences are better than nothing but how in the name of @#$% do I find an app without scrolling through all the crap that I have installed.

With Classic Shell I could group stuff on the start menu (like Text Apps, or Image Apps and get to them easy) but with Fences I still have to minimize everything to see the furshlugginer damn Fences


Declassified files reveal how pre-WW2 Brits smashed Russian crypto


Book based codes are very insecure (even if there are only two copies of the book in existence).

The underlying language structure makes such codes intrinsically non-random and provides a wedge into the code.

Only a _truly_ random sequence is _really_ secure, and surprisingly difficult to produce. Even pseudo-random numeric generators will eventually show a pattern which gives you a start, and that is all you need with a computer to do the heavy lifting.


Trump wants to work with Russia on infosec. Security experts: lol no


Re: Tee hee. Trump is to Putin as --

Trump has massive debts to assorted Russians.

What else do you need?

A variety of mega-bankruptcies would not look good for the POTUS,

as well as exposing him to considerable expensive civil litigation.

No need for pee-girls, Putin has effectively neutered Trump.


Another data-leaking Spectre CPU flaw among Intel's dirty dozen of security bug alerts today


Most of these seem to depend on getting root as a local user.

In which case you may have more serious things to worry about...

BlackBerry KEY2: Remember buttons? Boy, does this phone sure have them


I want one.

I loved my Nokia E90 that actually allowed me to answer an email quickly without hunting and pecking and retyping or suggesting bizarre words. And why any but the most manic narcissist would want to take pictures of themselves eludes me.

I want one (and I'm gonna get one, so there!)


Apple will throw forensics cops off the iPhone Lightning port every hour


Most dictionary attacks use English, so just use an obscure language - like Finnish or Maltese.

Anyone for Marsaxloxx?


Microsoft says Windows 10 April update is fit for business rollout



After being trapped a few times at the office I bought a couple of T-shirts saying:


That did it...


Great Scott! Bitcoin to consume half a per cent of the world's electricity by end of year


Money ill-spent

Invest the money that you would have paid for your mining farm/'lekky wisely (Nvidia anyone?) and you'll outperform Bitcoin by a fair amount.

Foolish (as Warren Buffett points out)


Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough


Well, it all goes to show that de Gaulle was right to to say "Non!"

"…in his address at the Elysée Palace on that November day 50 years ago,<snip> he told his invited audience that the British view of European construction was characterised by a deep-seated hostility and that the UK would require a radical transformation if it were ever to be allowed to join the Common Market.

Eventually the UK was allowed to join, which it did, somewhat unenthusiastically, until the benefits (and burdens) of membership became apparent.

The old General must ROFL…


'Computer algo' blamed for 450k UK women failing to receive breast screening invite


Yep, and about 1730 women between 68 and 71 who had a non-progressive cancer were spared an mastectomy, chemo and RT (which have their own morbidity and mortality, particularly in this age group).

So don't bring out you hankies yet folks. At a guesstimate, probably fractionally less women died as a result of this "faulty algorithm".

And yes, I am a surgeon dealing with breast cancer patients (among other things).

See https://www.healthwatch-uk.org/20-awards/award-lectures/66-2002-prof-michael-baum.html

Windows 10 Springwatch: See the majestic Microsoft in its natural habitat, fixing stuff the last patch broke


Diagnostic Data Viewer

Checking tonight, to get the Diagnostic Data Viewer, you HAVE to enroll in the Windows Insider program and effectively become a Beta-tester for the next general-release of Windows - nice one MS!

Unfortunately I'm too busy to have to start worrying about what new stuff MS has dreamed up and whether it will bork my system. Reimaging is a pain and wastes time (of _course_ I have regular incremental images running).

To be honest, Win10 has given me little trouble and seems pretty stable, so long as you stay away from the cutting-edge. And I always have the rock-solid Mac and Linux boxen to fall back on.

So it goes…


How 'parasitic' Google's 'We're journalists!' court defence was stamped into oblivion


I use Google to search for stuff because it mostly gets me to the references I need faster. Better answers than B*ng etc., except for very specialised search engines.

Advanced search also allows me, if I so choose, to find sites with unpatched servers and other vulnerabilities.

A search engine is a search engine, for better or for worse - crippling it to weed out undesirable or "antisocial" searches is not the answer.

User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps


Re: Feeling Old...

TSRs - such fun watching them fight over the interrupts…NOT!

And the fun of trying to shoehorn a bunch into the boot sequence.

I remember that some would temporarily need a much larger chunk of memory to initialise than they eventually occupied and you had to get the loading order just right.

Not to speak of getting the interrupts hooked in the right sequence!


Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser


Re: Fucking idiots

Yeah, and every single graphics program has its own graphics drivers - which might (or might not) work on your hardware…

Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper


Re: Worst printer of all time

Ah what joy! Still have one and a couple of precious rolls of silver paper. Worked when I tried it out for fun about ten years ago… The pong of ozone and the sparks! Even have a couple of printouts that are semi-readable.

Eventually got some non-name RS-232 thermal printer that worked with fanfold. Fun writing a printer driver (not). Think I still have that too!


10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10


Ah, what a blast from the past…

Assembler, machine language, self-modifying code (to fit in that tiny memory space), peeking and poking. I got an AD/DA converter and ran lab instruments with it! The joys of the tape-recorder (not!)

One trick I used was to modify the return address on the gosub stack to give me conditional jumps to a different code segment - you could really have fun being able to talk to the bare metal of the processor.

Object-oriented code - why, all my code was OO, long before I'd even heard of it…

Happy days :-)


Reg man wraps head in 49-inch curved monitor


Yup, just exchanged 3x1280x1024 for a 3840x2164

Love the clarity of the big screen but I miss the simplicity of just snapping from one screen to another.

And if I set the screen font-size to something readable without a microscope most of my older apps get very confused…think I need to add one of the old screens back into the mix.

And Synergy1 is excellent, while Synergy2 feels like alpha-code.


Sysadmin left finger on power button for an hour to avert SAP outage


Been there, got the T-shirt…

Replaced the press-button switches with switches that need you to insert & turn a key.

All fine until you lose the keys…

Mac :-(

NRA gives FCC boss Ajit Pai a gun as reward for killing net neutrality. Yeah, an actual gun


Re: We have the clueless leading the blind...

Ja, we get it. You are just DYING for an excuse, any kind of excuse, to kill someone.

People like you, who positively salivate at the thought of being able to use their beloved gun to off someone, shouldn't be allowed to own one.

Move to Utah and volunteer for the firing squad - Please!

Mac (weapons trained)

No, Windows 10 hasn’t beaten Windows 7’s market share. Not for sure, anyway



Windows 10/1709 runs just fine on on a Ryzen5 with 16GB and an M.2 SDD.

Classic Shell and Winaero Tweaker restore at least some sanity to the ugly 2D UI and you can switch all the telemetry off with a bit of 'nous. Backup is unbelievably crap so I use a good 3rd party solution. Never had trouble with updates and if I do I can just reimage it all. System Restore doesn't (and never has IME). Edge is boring and I'm a longterm Opera fan. Configure the FW properly, and there's nothing like a good HOSTS file for keeping you safe & crap-free.

Much more stable than Win7, and nearly as stable as High Sierra on the Mac or the BSD box.

Linux Mint for work and everyday stuff and Win 10 for games & fooling around.

So what's the beef?


5 reasons why America's Ctrl-Z on net neutrality rules is a GOOD thing


A very bad decision for most of us, but the 1% will be happy.

Can't believe what Trump is doing to America.

Merry Xmas, fellow code nerds: Avast open-sources decompiler


Good for them! I'll have a poke around with it and report back.

Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style


Curious that Vuescan on Windows manages to support just about every scanner ever made, even the most obscure, and regularly adds new ones.

Yet MS struggles to natively support only a handful of printers.

Once you know the printer specs, printer drivers are trivial to write.

Smells like disinterest on MS part to me


Hotter than the Sun: JET – Earth’s biggest fusion reactor, in Culham


So we're going to retire all our fusion reactors and sit around waiting for the holy grail of fusion power to come along because we are so scared of fusion power . . .might be a long wait.

We don't even have an experimental fusion reactor that will sustain fusion for more than two "shots" per hour, let alone run continuously or generate more power than it takes to keep it going.

And we are able to generate that much power from, guess what, fission reactors !

The technology is here right now to have safe fission - viable fusion reactors are still "blue sky" stuff, though I'm sure we will get there........eventually.

The fuel may be cheap, but the expense of building and maintaining a power contributing fusion reactor is likely to be way beyond one country - right now we have to have multinational consortia.

Building a small, safe fission reactor is an order of magnitude cheaper and easier, making (relatively) cheap power available even to smaller countries.

Nobody is thinking rationally anymore - everyone is so terrified of fusion power and the possibility of weaponizing it that all sense going down the plughole. Never mind that our finite fossil fuels have killed tens of thousands more than all the fission accidents that have ever happened all added together.

How about a little common sense here?

Mac (you'll be lucky . . .)


Fusion vs. fission

If we'd spent one tenth of the amount of money that goes into fusion research, we'd have small, intrinsically safe fission reactors all up and running years ago.

A bit more and we'd have radionuclide junk-eating reactors to take care of the long-lived fission products.

Furthermore, fusion is not "clean" - the huge neutron flux makes the walls of the containment chamber intensely radioactive and they degrade, needing replacement. So there is still the problem of disposing of long-lived radionuclides . . .

Right back where we started - and in the meantime we continue to use our dwindling stock of fossil fuels that wreck the ozone layer, pollute our lungs and could be used far more profitably as chemical feedstock than just being burned. And in efforts to reduce this we pollute the countryside with acres of windfarms whose generators require scarce rare-earths, the mining and refining of which generate even more pollution.

Fusion is a well understood process (though there aren't many nuclear engineers left) and can be made safer than a fossil-fuel plant. Ask the US Navy (not the Russians!) how many of their nuclear-powered vessels have had accidents or containment issues. They operate 100 or so reactors and logged over 5,400 reactor years of accident-free operation while traveling over 130 million miles, enough to circle the earth 3,200 times.

Fusion my ass . . .


Google ships WannaCrypt for Android, disguised as Samba app


Ned Pyle

"Last year, Redmond's Ned Pyle put it simply: Stop using SMBv1."

Gee, thanks Ned. That is REALLY helpful, considering that my Win10/1703 can't browse my local network if I disable SMB1 - and there are MUCHO people like me. The Mac - no problem, Linux - no problem.

Tell me Ned, 'ol chum, do you or your minions ever look at ytour soopa-doopa Feedback channel?

Evidently NOT!

YOU fix your firkin abominable O/S and I'll gladly disable SMB1.

Sourpuss Mac

CMD.EXE gets first makeover in 20 years in new Windows 10 build


Hrg Nenad (yup, that;s his name!) at www.softwareok.com does a lovely ColorConsole app that has lots and lots of neat tricks to it.

I never had trouble with the old console and knew all the switches by heart. Use'ta love writing batch files that batch files aren't supposed to be able to do.

But what do I care? I installed bash on Windows 10 and am back in familiar territory.



You guys 'n gals realise that it has been possible to change all the colors, font and size of the console window since XP at least (and possibly '98)? Just right click on windows title and select the the Properties dropdown - color away (avoid black-on-black etc. . . .).

All MS has added is a few newer tweaks, none of which are that earthshaking, and made a whole new fuss about it, as though they'd given us all something new.

And yes, behavior IS different between PowerShell and Command Shell.


It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower


Flat garbage

I absolutely loathe flat controls that are so often hard to distinguish from the content and/or decorations.

Skeuomorphic designs, so long as they are not carried to the absurd lengths that led to the "flat" revolution, are easier to navigate, easier to see and easier to manipulate.

Why the fark should I have to change my entire mindset when I move away from my (real) sound-mixers with analog controls to a screen-based version which is totally non-intuitive and (for me far slower)?

Wanna see some nice icons? BeOS had a big set of perfect icons that immediately told you what they were for - now I have to look at a black square on a white background and see if I can remember what it does and why it is different from the same square rotated 90 degrees.

Flat shit - first thing I do with a machine that I am going to use seriously is to whip up a theme that makes some kind of sense intuitively rather than a bunch of meaningless boring Mondrians.


Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs


I use tabs. But NotePad++ lets me configure whether it is going to do a true tab or 3 spaces (or 4 or 10 or whatever).

If my employer wants tabs they get tabs, if they want 6 spaces they get 6 spaces. Big deal.

Distro watch for Ubuntu lovers: What's ahead in Linux land



I have yet to find an Ubuntu-based distro that makes communication on a mixed (OSX/Linux/Windows) network easy, let alone one that "just works". OSX handles CIFS/SMB seamlessly but apparently uses a Bonjour-type resolver. Mint 18.1 is a lovely distro, but has a partial implementation of Samba (Nemo-share) that doesn't even work (it's missing a lot of dependencies). Ubuntu needs Samba installed, but when you do, it still omits several vital bits that you have to go and get yourself.

I don't know of a single distro (haven't tried Fedora or SuSE) that makes getting a working CIFS/SMB network simple. Yet the Debian base does so many other things right. This is a MAJOR fault in all Ubuntu based distros, has been for years and has never been addressed. I see no reason why I should have to spend hours and hours farting around with smb.conf and LMHosts and whatnot to get a simple home network going.

B...y ridiculous!


Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'


Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

Terry 6 - couldn't agree with you more.

Classic Shell makes everything a BIT easier, but changing things around to the way you work is virtually impossible. I prefer to group apps by functionality - Sound/Music, Languages (Python, Pascal, C++ etc., Browsers, System, Odds and Ends, and so on. It just declutters the Start Menu and makes things easier to find. Plus, I have so many little specialised apps installed that some things no longer fit on the screen!

Yes, you can do it and with Classic Shell it seems to work, BUT, if you then run SFC /verifyonly it finds loads of integrity violations and encourages you to repair 'em.

Back to Square one...

This aspect alone drives me nuts - I have a few other beefs (why is my biggest drive filling up with draft upon draft of of old .py files! If I needed that I's use proper version control!), but the overall OS seems OK.)

I was one of the lucky ones who MS, in it's wisdom, decided to upgrade from Win7 without my permission. What a tangle THAT turned out to be! Eventually I gave up and did a full reinstall, but even then I keep finding leftovers here and there and unexplained behaviour (but maybe that is a feature....)

Finally, I am one of those odd people who prefer to keep their System and Data on separate drives on separate buses. That means that I shift cutterman to the D: drive and leave a Junction to the real cutterman in D:\Users - Win 10 copes with this pretty well, but there are a number of apps that get very confused - debugging shows that it is Win10 that is confusing them and that the apps are not at fault.

I could go on all day like this but I won't.

God knows what a mess the next big upgrade will leave...

Happy New Year!

The cutterman

BTW: Yosemite is not nearly as bad, though it adds a lot of junk that I don't use but can't remove without borking the system. One youngish (non-essential) app now INSISTS that it can only run on Intel processors, which I have (and yes, I do have the right version of the app - it worked perfectly well before the upgrade). I'm putting off the Sierra upgarade as long as possible

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