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Heartbleed Disclosure Timeline Revealed

queazocotal But when/if has it been exploited? (62 comments)

There are out there honeypot machines, which log all inbound and outbound packets.
They can run retrospective analysis of these packets to work out if undetected exploit probes have occurred.

Is anyone aware of this being done for heartbleed?

It would be interesting if - for example - it went from no exploits to most honeypots probed 3 months ago.

3 days ago
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Contact Lenses With Infrared Vision?

queazocotal Re:Utterly misleading post. (99 comments)

The problem is that doesn't work.
This would work if you place the converter just in front of the retina. (but then it wouldn't work as the eye is not transparent to IR)
If you place it in front of the eye lens - contact lenses count - then you need the output visible light to be going in the same direction as the input IR light.
There are no common physical processes that can do this.
Hence, unfortunately, you need to actually have lenses and separate emitters.

In principle, this might change if you could have phase preserving detectors at 100nm resolution across the front of the 'contact lens' and phase preserving emitters at 100nm resolution across the back.

Naively, this will require significant computation and processing at 500000GHz *10000 megapixels.

So, not in the near term.
(I would be astounded if it happens in the next 50 years)

about two weeks ago
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Contact Lenses With Infrared Vision?

queazocotal Utterly misleading post. (99 comments)

A) Thermal imagers have not required cooling since approximately 1980.
(for other than extremely specialised applications.

B) Having a sensor does not magically mean it can be used in a contact lens.

You need electronics, LEDs, and focussing optics in order to get it into the eye in a coherent image.

about two weeks ago
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UK To Finally Legalize Ripping CDs and DVDs

queazocotal Re:What about copy protection. (92 comments)

By this exact same argument, many house-locks deployed are not 'security', and breaking them is therefore not a crime.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... - I recommend.

A feature being ineffectual generally does not mean that it's not relevant, unless the law specifically says that the feature must be effective against skilled attackers.

about three weeks ago
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China Arrests 1,500 People For Sending Spam Messages From Fake Mobile Bases

queazocotal They're not base-stations. (35 comments)

http://www.aliexpress.com/item... is a typical example. (I have no relationship with this seller, they were the first hit for a large device on 'sms modem'.

They are basically little 'phone' modules hooked up to a power supply, antennas, and SIM connectors.
You simply insert 32 SIMs into the device, and you have 32 completely normal phones (from the networks point of view) that you can spam SMSs with.

They are not base-stations, they simply connect to the network as normal phones.

Base stations would induce other phones to connect to them, pretending to be the phone network.
The SMSs are in fact sent over the normal network, in the normal way.

about three weeks ago
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Ubuntu Phone Isn't Important Enough To Demand an Open Source Baseband

queazocotal Re:What an open source baseband can be. (137 comments)

Basebands have not - with rare exceptions - been hacked.
They typically run signed firmware, with no documentation of the hardware platform, which considerably raises the bar.
Can they be hacked - certainly it's likely some can.
But, it's a very different matter legally between 'some nasty people cracked my phone' - and 'I made it freely accessible'.

The prospect of peer-peer file transport apps that have a side-effect of knocking emergency calls offline is real.

Radio is a shared resource.
A stronger or closer transmitter on a frequency will always interfere with a further one - there is little that can be done to avoid this - and what can be done has serious costs in terms of mobile phones.

about three weeks ago
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Ubuntu Phone Isn't Important Enough To Demand an Open Source Baseband

queazocotal Re:What an open source baseband can be. (137 comments)

Calling them ASICs is both correct, and misleading.

The modem parts contain both processors running a fairly complex program (typically several meg), to do both the management of the high-level protocol, and the low-level data framing.
Then there are special units to write and read from the radio hardware at the precisely correct time and rate.
In addition, digital filters and low-level modulators and demodulators.

Doing a cell modem with pure SDR - with just analog to digital converters and then doing it all in software - will be extremely expensive, both in terms of power use and purchase cost.
The performance required of the general purpose processors goes way up.

about three weeks ago
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Ubuntu Phone Isn't Important Enough To Demand an Open Source Baseband

queazocotal What an open source baseband can be. (137 comments)

Open source basebands cannot, legally, in most parts of the world be up-datable by the user, which removes most of the interest.

There are several good reasons for this.
Radio is a shared resource. Cellphones only work as well as they do as the towers arrange it so that no cellphone is transmitting on top of another one.

The modem hardware is quite capable in most cases of transmitting right over the top of other transmissions. The worst case would be a free app turning up that gave free data transfer between nearby phones. And did this by ignoring the towers, and going direct.
This has the potential to knock off dozens of calls from the network per user, some of which may be emergency calls.

FCC/... approvals are inherently with a given software version of the modem - most of the behaviour of the modem is set by software - and changing that software without approval will void the approval of the phone.

In some countries, there is actual specific legislation.
If your open-source baseband could change the IMEI, then once you have been informed that this has been done, you are actually committing an offence if you continue to sell the phone which enables the user to do this in the UK.

about three weeks ago
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Shuttleworth Wants To Get Rid of Proprietary Firmware

queazocotal Re:Precisely how... (147 comments)

It is.
It's one of the primary means that the kernel (of whatever OS) works out what hardware it's actually running on, and what it should setup.
ACPI, PCI* configuration registers, and friends are all pretty much required in order to boot a random system successfully.

about 1 month ago
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Shuttleworth Wants To Get Rid of Proprietary Firmware

queazocotal Some context from a hardware perspective. (147 comments)

Great - you don't want ACPI.

I'm looking at my Nokia n900 phone.
(merely because I happen to have a detailed understanding of the design).

Inside it, there are the following closed-source blobs running on turing complete processors.

LED controller firmware.
SIM java virtual machine
SIM raw firmware.
eMMC controller.
SD controller.
Hard-real-time modem controller.
Modem high-level engine.
Bluetooth CPU.
Wifi processor.
Main linux application processor
GPU.
I strongly suspect there is also an embedded processor in:
Power managment controller.
LCD.
Battery charge monitor.
GPS. (It's possible this is just an application running on the closed-source modem high level engine).

https://srlabs.de/rooting-sim-...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... (rooting SD cards)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... (battery firmware hacking)
Similar efforts have been done with reverse engineering the firmware of bluetooth devices, wifi.
The notion that you should only care about the code running on the CPU being open has always seemed really naive to me.

about 1 month ago
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Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

queazocotal Re:Technically illiterate nonsense (382 comments)

Completely correct - for 1930.
Getting progressively wronger over time till it's now brimming over with wrongness.

about a month ago
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Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

queazocotal Re:Some overlooked facts suggest a new theory (382 comments)

It's been revealed that there were several electrical engineers on the plane.
Case closed on the virgin front, I fear.

about a month ago
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NASA Admits It Gave Jet Fuel Discounts To Google Execs' Company

queazocotal Re:Not a subsidy? (126 comments)

'Sounds to me like either NASA gets a good deal for bulk or long term contracts, and sold off what they didn't need at "full cost," which would seem to be a wash.'
Won't somebody think of the oil companies!

about a month ago
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BP Finds Way To Bypass US Crude Export Ban

queazocotal Re:Which is why corporations are born criminals (247 comments)

Well - sort-of.
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/avoidan...

There are problems with this sort of approach - implementing 'anti-abuse' rules means that now instead of (in principle) understandable legislation - you have a collection of people all of which may take a slightly different approach to decision-making.
The other issue is that it's not practically going to impact (for example) Amazon - or any of the other major tax avoiders - as they are able to use international financial structuring to avoid national tax, in a way that these rules do not impact.

about a month ago
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College Board To Rethink the SAT, Partner With Khan Academy

queazocotal Re:For what jobs? (134 comments)

I would be interested in a real breakdown of 'make anything', and how that's measured.
It's a really hard thing to measure.
There are obvious things to measure - for example - total factory gate revenue.
You get very different numbers if you measure retail sales.

Similarly - a company imports 8 Chinese parts for $100, puts it in a $20 box, and sells for $400.

Getting the right numbers is hard.

about a month and a half ago
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Facebook Wants Drones To Connect the Developing World

queazocotal Re:Question: What's Needed Most in Africa? (48 comments)

Education.
In most places, education is very non-free.
The cost of even a 'nice' tablet like a nexus 7, over a year will be completely eclipsed if it enables remote learning.

about a month and a half ago
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Inventor Has Waited 43 Years For Patent Approval

queazocotal Re:Restrospective viewpoints (258 comments)

"That is nonsense because you are applying a retrospective view of the problem. If it was so easy to accomplish and so obvious then why wasn't it done previously? "

This is often for a very simple reason.
You were the first one to come across the problem, and choose to patent the solution.

If I invent (for example) a form of paint that changes colour when electricity is applied to it, then yes, this may be novel.

However, subsequent patents 'using colour changing paint on a mobile phone' 'using colour changing paint on a car' ... are not.

They are obvious results of seeing something on the market, or being developed - and using it in obvious ways.

The lego example was in many ways unfortunately pretty much what many patents are.

They start out with a problem, and work towards a solution by plugging together bits in obvious ways, without any real novel insight. Then check to see if it's already patented - if not - patent.

If there are new bits available - especially if those bits have not been published - then yes - you can come up easily with patentable ideas.
This does not mean those ideas would not have been completely obvious to a skilled engineer with knowledge of what the new bits were.

about a month and a half ago
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Inventor Has Waited 43 Years For Patent Approval

queazocotal Re:How could it be valid? (258 comments)

Well - yes and no.
The fundamental problem with the patent system is that it gives patents to 'actual engineers that create things'.
This wouldn't be a problem - but for a major fundamental flaw in the system.
Patents were originally granted (amongst other less noble reasons) to foster innovation and encourage the spread of knowledge, rather than having ideas locked up as trade secrets and lost.

Unfortunately, it should be clearly obvious to anyone that if:
An averagely skilled engineer, faced with the same problem could solve the problem in under the time it takes to do a full patent search, and apply for the patent including all the time to write the patent and get it through all the steps - patents are not actually fostering innovation at all.

Should patents be abolished - no.
But - patents should only be granted for inventions that take - at the very least - several months for the averagely skilled engineer in the same field to come up with a solution to the same problem.

Patents should be for the benefit of society.
If society is burdened by patents - innovation and business is slowed, competition is harder - and advances in technology are slower - why do we have them?
In their current state, they are broken.
https://www.google.com/patents... - is the most recent english patent I can find.
It describes - broadly - something very similar to NTP - and is basically the same way any sensible engineer approaching the problem would do it.
The problem is it has a lot of superfluous crap implying it's special to one tiny area - and hence as it's not been patented before - it gets a patent.
This helps _nobody_.
There is no inventor in the conventional sense in this patent - as there isn't in most patents.
If you claim there is - you need to claim that every 4 year-old faced with the problem of making a lego model that looks like something is an inventor.
It's plugging obvious blocks together in obvious ways.
May sometimes the blocks be hard to fit together, and require a bit of thought - sure.
This doesn't make the arrangement of blocks not likely to be replicated in 17 (or more) years if anyone else hits the problem.

about a month and a half ago
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SpaceX Testing Landing Legs On Next Falcon9 Rocket

queazocotal Re:SpaceX (73 comments)

http://www.spacex.com/falcon9
500 tons of rocket.
Let's say it's all fuel (90%+ is).

It's RP1/LOX.
You need 2.5:1 liquid oxygen to RP1.

1980s NASA was paying $.08/kg for LOX. Let's say $.20 now.
And $.20 per kg for RP1 - at most 100% over spot oil price.
$1/kg is reasonable.

Making the average cost per launch for 150 tons of RP1 and 350 tons of LOX about $150K+$70K = $220K.
The quoted price is $56M - or the fuel cost is under half a percent.

about 2 months ago
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Most Alarming: IETF Draft Proposes "Trusted Proxy" In HTTP/2.0

queazocotal And in some cases, you get to do this. (177 comments)

If I own the device, and the network, then this sort of action may in fact be legally required in some cases.
It's certainly often permitted - if the user is explicitly informed first, and they do not own in any manner the device.

(I am not referring to contract phones, but to employer provided devices)

about 2 months ago

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