* Posts by John Gamble

556 posts • joined 6 Sep 2007

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British Crackas With Attitude chief gets two years in the cooler for CIA spymaster hack

John Gamble

Re: No Relation

If they don't have (distant) relatives who emigrated to Prince Edward Island, then I win.

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John Gamble

No Relation

Or at least a relation so distant that I can disclaim it.

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Chrome 66: Get into the bin, auto-playing vids and Symantec certs!

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Spectre?

It's not a cure-all, but it does mean that anyone trying to make use of the Spectre flaw can't assume the memory to read is at an easily-deduced address.

It's the same reasoning behind kernel address space layout randomization, or using hash randomization to avoid collision attacks. Making the attack too expensive to use can be an effective counter-measure.

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Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs

John Gamble

Re: What goes down...

"Doesn't Chicago have a mostly over ground metro rail system?"

You're thinking of light rail (which is what our Metra system is), which is used to feed commuters in from the outlying areas. Which honestly seems like what Musk is describing, except putting it within the city, which makes no sense.

Short-hop transportation is what buses and the L is for. I'm all for increased rail usage, but let's make sure it's put where it makes sense to put it -- medium distance travel (city to city) that replaces otherwise inconvenient car trips.

To be fair, there's talk here about using the Boring company to create another L line between airports, with a stop downtown, but that would be using the standard L cars, not Hyperloop.

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Here's how we made a no-fuss RSS vulture app using trendy Electron

John Gamble

Re: Pedant alert (but this time it matters)!

"I believe the correct word is 'moo' (having little or no practical relevance), as, like a cow's opinion, it does not matter."

That would be 'mu', although by now we've gone well over the homophone cliff.

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Unlucky Linux boxes trampled by NPM code update, patch zapped

John Gamble

Re: So testing before deploying isn't a "thing" anymore?

"What is this word "Equistrutsup"? Your comment seems to be the only Google result for it. Conglaturation!"

I assumed it was a portmanteau word using "Equifax" and "struts" (as in Apache Struts) and "f*ck up". Google can fill you in on the rest.

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Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: FBI to @cryptoboffins

Yeah, that caught my attention too.

"The FBI is also unlikely to release the names of those it has been consulting over fears that they would be ridiculed and come under pressure from their peers not to work on such an approach."

The third possibility is that the experts the FBI is citing would be appalled to find out that they've been misquoted for this purpose, and would repudiate FBI leadership immediately.

I'm reminded of Mnuchin's economist survey (not a misquote, but similarly embarrassing).

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Uber saddles up for a new cycle of controversy

John Gamble

Re: Er, another cash burn effort?

They do seem to be betting on the convenience of being dockless (Ford GoBike is already in San Francisco), without considering that there are downsides and inconveniences to docklessness too.

Considering that the docks represent an infrastructure investment, something that Uber has been reluctant to do in the past, I'm thinking that they're hoping the savings in one area will make up for the costs (bike losses) in the other.

BTW, Citibike, Ford GoBike, Divvy (my area), and others are managed by Motivate, so it looks like Uber is up against a company that knows what it's doing, as opposed to a moribund taxi company.

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Super Cali's unrealistic net neutrality process – even though the sound of it is something quite... ferocious

John Gamble

Despite the joke icon, you're not far from the mark. Much of Frontier's network contains the networks dropped from GTE and Bell Atlantic (the rural ones) after they merged to form Verizon.

So it tends to serve the remote and out-of-the-way locations.

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President Trump turns out the lights on solar panel imports into US

John Gamble

Re: A stopped clock is correct twice daily

If you believe this sort of protectionism helps, it might have worked ten or twelve years ago. Now, when it's too late? All it's doing is hobbling a growing industry.

This move only makes sense if your goal is to prop up the coal industry.

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Don't just grab your CPU bug updates – there's a nasty hole in Office, too

John Gamble

Re: Meanwhile...

Oops, read your response after I installed the update. Fortunately, I survived.

(Athlon II X4 635 Processor running a 64 bit Windows 7 system, for what it's worth.)

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John Gamble

Meanwhile...

"Meanwhile, Microsoft has pulled down KB4056892, the Spectre bug fix that was found to be causing some AMD machines to crash on startup."

Ah good, I can turn on my desktop machine again. No idea if it would have been affected, but I wasn't going to take the chance. My laptop (A6-based -- yes, it's an old machine, but a good machine) survived the updates, although I'm annoyed about the changes to the look of the GUI.

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Game of Thrones author's space horror Nightflyers hitting telly

John Gamble

Re: Dark Matter cancelled

Exactly four episodes were shown (on an irregular schedule, of course), then the series was cancelled. I used to show the four episodes to my friends via that modern device called the VCR player.

When the boxed set of Wonderfalls came out I was amazed, and bought it immediately.

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John Gamble
Alien

Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

Yes. In my town it came out the same week as Princess Bride. Princess Bride ran for a while, Nightflyers was one week and gone.

I wonder if the channel is adapting that story only. GRRM has a lot of stories in that setting (called Thousand Worlds -- hmm, "Sandkings" is part of it, that would make an interesting episode), and I'd like to see a wider adaption.

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Jocks in shock as Irn-Bru set to slash sugar and girder content

John Gamble
Pint

Re: Is nothing sacred?

"Good enough to make you try it once. Not good enough, in my mind, to make me drink the stuff a second time (too much vanilla in it for my taste)."

I've had a couple of cans (while in the U.S.!), and it was okay. To me it seemed to taste like a variant of cream soda, and if I liked cream soda more I might have had more.

Come to think of it, it did seem overly sweet, so reducing the sugar content might be a good idea, although cutting it in half seems a little drastic. On the other hand, I was also sober at the time.

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Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs

John Gamble

Re: Mitigation: #1 infection vector?

"Interface is not as nice as the previous verison, but it does work."

The interface is genuinely terrible -- it "guesses" what scripts to allow if you don't have a rule, and doesn't inform you about them in the icon (i.e., no partial "no" symbol over the "S" as in the old version of Noscript).

On the other hand, the old version of Noscript does work on Firefox 52.5.3, contrary to what Mage has stated.

(I'm using the 64-bit version, in case that's a factor.)

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John Gamble
WTF?

Re: " don't run untrusted code"

???

I'm using 52.5.3 now, with NoScript working as per usual.

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Kentucky lawmaker pushes smut filter law (update: maybe not)

John Gamble

Re: Maybe he'll use that as an excuse

Ah, my apologies, I never have the speakers on so I didn't know.

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John Gamble

Re: Maybe he'll use that as an excuse

Keep up the good work internet smutsters!

Their biggest trophy was Ted Cruz. Pity that, as he has no sense of shame, he's still in office.

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Coventry: Once a 'Ghost Town', soon to be UK City of Culture

John Gamble

"...despite its brutalist architecture."

Ah, that explains the comments. I suppose it is unfortunate that the rebuilding occurred when that particular style of architecture was in vogue.

(Paradoxically, the interiors of Brutalist buildings are usually quite beautiful. I've often thought there needs to be a way to turn a building inside-out.)

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Los Angeles police tell drivers not to trust navigation apps as wildfires engulf area

John Gamble

Re: Prevention

It's Not That Simpletm.

This sort of thing is controlled by cutting down brush ('controlled' fires near -- or even reasonably far from -- inhabited areas are never going to happen), and it takes time, money and, as you point out, coverage of land that is far from flat.

Depending on the year's conditions, nature can easily overtake human intervention, resulting in lots of fuel.

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Tom Baker returns to finish shelved Doctor Who episodes penned by Douglas Adams

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: And for those lost episodes.

Or perhaps an improved SETI program:

"Dear aliens twenty or less light years away. You know those electromagnetic signals from Earth that you've been recording? Could you do us a favor and beam them back at us? Particularly the ones from around 51°30′N 0°7′W. Thank you!"

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Warren 'Mr Moneybags' Buffett offloads huge chunk of IBM investment

John Gamble

"Going against his own received wisdom of not buying stakes in companies he doesn't understand, ..."

IBM isn't that complicated. I suspect he understands it just fine.

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WikiLeaks is wiki-leaked. And it's still not even a proper wiki anyway

John Gamble
Big Brother

"Just a reminder: none of this is normal. ®"

Welcome to the new normal. At least until impeachment.

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ARM emulator in a VM? Yup, done. Ready to roll, no config required

John Gamble

Yup, was going to post something similar, though I admit my enjoyment of assembly-code writing (for small useful functions; I haven't done lengthy assembly coding for decades now) is a little off the norm.

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Cupboard of matrices looking a little... sparse? Have this delicious Taco

John Gamble

In Sparse, No One Can Hear You Scream.

Hmm, no, it doesn't quite work.

But yes, there are lots of problems involving sparse matrices, and tweaking the algorithms to work just so (or finding the correct library to do it for you) can be a major pain. This looks very interesting.

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Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

John Gamble

Re: CPAN!

"...the profuse use of special symbols and special operators..."

What special operators?

If sigils are not your thing, well I can understand that. But the operators are mostly identical to the operators of C, and are not confusing.

Most confusion that I see comes from using lists incorrectly. Okay, fair enough, if you fell into that trap, and it scarred you for life, I'm not about to try to convince you otherwise in a comments forum. But it's not difficult to work with.

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Rob Scoble's lawyer told him to STFU about sex pest claims. He didn't

John Gamble

It says something that one of his victims advised him to "delete this now."

A while ago on a different article I mentioned the Brain Eater. It looks like the Brain Eater has taken more than one bite from Scoble's brain.

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John Gamble
Facepalm

"As part of the "open and honest dialogue" that Scoble said he wanted to encourage, he then confessed to writing down his sexual fantasies and sending them to her."

This is the point in the article when I actually did clutch my head. It may be a sign of numbness on my part that I didn't do that earlier.

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Your data will get hacked anyway so you might as well give up protecting it

John Gamble

Re: Pumpkin connection

"When I was a kid in Ireland (Dublin) we hollowed out turnips. VERY difficult. And too small. Basically a fail."

I read a story as a child that had a character do that, and remember thinking "oh, that's where we got the idea from!"

I assumed that the turnips were bigger than what I saw in the grocery store.

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Software update turned my display and mouse upside-down, says user

John Gamble
Thumb Up

Re: Oh noes

Another right-handed user who uses the mouse in his left hand here.

It was out of self-defense: my right hand was typing, using the keypad, and moving the mouse, and my hand hurt. Moving one of those tasks (the mouse) over to my left hand reduced the stress on my right.

It only took a day to get used to it. I didn't bother to switch buttons as I didn't want to bother switching them back if someone else was in the driver's seat.

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I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs

John Gamble

Re: My personal favourite

I'm guessing that was someone's in-joke, because it makes no sense in American English either.

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John Gamble

Re: "all Americans sound like Woody from Toy Story"

Yeah, you're a victim of language shift (a native French speaker here was similarly surprised). Although apple cider (U.S. version) in no way can be confused with apple juice, if you want the alcoholic variety, you ask for "hard cider".

Woodpecker was widely available (well, when hard cider was just taking off again1 here) a couple of decades ago, but the Big BrewCos have been doing what they do best -- dumping flavored water-alcohol mixtures on the market -- so finding actual hard ciders that taste of apple takes a bit of research.

---

1. Some sales idiots tried marketing it to bars as "cider beer", which then became the term the wait staff used with customers. That usage got slammed pretty hard by customers who actually knew what the stuff was.

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'We think autonomous coding is a very real thing' – GitHub CEO imagines a future without programmers

John Gamble

Re: We already have autonomous code generation

"Oh I wasn't even referring to an optimizing compiler."

Yeah, neither was I. I was referring to machine instructions, which back in the Olden Days one tried not to use in tight loops (using, say, shift & add for multiplying a constant with your variable, or even shift & subtract for the division equivalent). Changes in hardware are just one of the things that also drive changes in software languages.

My point was more toward the fact that what we regard as a compiler will change in the coming decades, because the languages we use will have more features 1 and (one hopes) more safeguards.

---

1. Julia, in fact has just-do-it operations in it that I could only dream about forty years ago.

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John Gamble

Re: We already have autonomous code generation

Yeah, that was my first thought as well. But what gets compiled will be an even higher level language.

It's been decades since I've had to write anything in assembler -- compilers got much better, and the instructions that were known cycle hogs have been tamed. On the other end of the scale, I'm assuming my former co-worker who specialized in VAX COBOL has either learned new skills or retired.

I can't be certain what the Next Big Thing will be (although I'm seeing signs that explicitly written loops will be the next thing to become a rarity, as ranges-as-objects become common), but it will certainly come, and we will adapt or retire.

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Magic hash maths: Dedupe does not have to mean high compute. Wait, what?

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Dunno what he’s on about...

'It's not the calculating the hash that's the hard work, it's scanning the hash table looking for matches for every incoming write."

Which, continuing this explanation, is where the Bloom Filter comes in (although reading the article it looks like they're tweaking the Filter for their own needs).

Not bad explanation here (Bloom Filters Explained), and here (Bloom Filters for Dummies).

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Boeing borgs robot aeronautics biz Aurora Flight Sciences

John Gamble

Re: Will not gain acceptance

For what it's worth, train travel has improved a lot in the twenty-five years I've been using it, even though the Chicago - Detroit and Chicago - St. Paul lines are not as heavily used as the East coast lines.

But the improvements have been in the cars and the amenities, not in the infrastructure needed to support high-speed lines, in part because of the cut-my-nose-off politics of certain state governors who refused federal money.

(Travel time has improved, but that's due to elimination of delays, not to speed-up of the trains.)

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Beach, please... Billionaire VC finally opens way to waves

John Gamble

Re: Even at $20m per year......

"His income on his shares is worth about $150m per year.....$20m per year won't impact his quality of life in the slightest."

That's over 13% of that income. Sure, I could get by on a mere $130 million, but someone who's whining about beach access for hoi polloi is going to notice that.

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Want to get around app whitelists by pretending to be Microsoft? Of course you can...

John Gamble

<voice="Kirk_Douglas">No, I am Microsoft</voice>

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Equifax's disastrous Struts patching blunder: THOUSANDS of other orgs did it too

John Gamble
Thumb Up

Re: re: Problem is that the technology works well ...

"The unwritten "risk management" rule for many managers is this:

"Almost any risk is acceptable until it happens to us, not someone else. And when it does happen, I probably will have moved on so it will be someone else's problem. That is acceptable risk." "

Ah, The Bottle Imp strategy of system management, without the moral self-examination.

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Facebook let advertisers target 'Jew-haters'

John Gamble
Facepalm

To See Oursels as Ithers See Us

Not surprised that the usual conspiracy theorists here are defending a tool to aid crackpots (by definition, a racist is a crackpot) find other like-minded folk with murderous tendencies (although interestingly the guy who has actually used neo-nazi catchphrases hasn't posted).

But I'm shocked, shocked at the similarities of their comments to The Onion's post today.

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Farewell Cassini! NASA's Saturnian spacecraft waves goodbye for its Grand Finale

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Journalistic bias

Um. Huygens finished its mission twelve years ago.

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London Tube tracking trial may make commuting less miserable

John Gamble
Big Brother

Non-Londoner (Or Indeed British) Question

"TfL already tracks its passengers using the electronic Oyster card, which a huge percentage of Londoners use out of convenience and cost on their daily commute. But that data only tells the transport folk where people go into stations, where they exit, and any transfers they make to other lines."

The card tracks the exits? I'm trying to picture the method, and failing. In my city's system, all an exit has is a one-way turnstile -- it doesn't track or require a card to exit. What am I missing?

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Connect at mine free Wi-Fi! I would knew what I is do! I is cafe boss!

John Gamble
Unhappy

Why? Why?

"They could even call it the Guttenberg Project."

Haaaaaaate you....

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Atari shoots sueball at KitKat maker over use of 'Breakout' in ad

John Gamble

They were bought out by NeXT.

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How to build your own DIY makeshift levitation machine at home

John Gamble
Boffin

Re: Levitator?

I had no idea there were such things as "superconductor mag-lev train set kits". So I searched on that phrase, and as a bonus found a demo of a superconductor moebius track.

(It has a nifty Youtube video of the demonstration; direct link here.)

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Kremlin's hackers 'wield stolen NSA exploit to spy on hotel guests in Europe, Mid East'

John Gamble
Alien

Re: NOT Russians, it was an Elephant that did it!

Formerly respected journalist Seymour Hersch.

Back in my USENET days, a phrase often used for writers that latched onto crank theories was "the Brain Eater got him" (it was usually a him, I can think of only one woman writer who went down the crazy path).

It was usually used for formerly good writers of fiction who for some reason wanted to prove some philosophy in their fiction, but it wasn't impossible for non-fiction writers to be attacked by the Brain Eater, and Hersch got bit hard.

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Ancient IETF 'teapot' gag preserved for posterity as a standard

John Gamble
Angel

Re: As mentioned elsewhere

It's a pity the anti-ddate people seem genuinely befuddled about it. It's as though they seem unable to get in touch with their sense of humor at all.

A friend once included in his project a "truth" function that returned true if the argument was 42, and false otherwise. It was even documented that way, with no further explanation as to why.

He did get asked (which he never answered as far as I know) what he had against the asterisk character. He thought it was sad that these people had never read The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I plan to revive the program, and I will not be removing anything from the function list.

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Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

John Gamble
Facepalm

That Whirlwind

"Even though nuclear weapons and diversity hiring could not appear to be two issues further apart, in the revolving whirlwind that is uninformed opinion online, they felt one in the same."

Hmm, and continuing that theme, earlier today El Reg had an article on that very subject, with supplementary examples from the readers.

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