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Comment: Re:Exploited procedural loophole (Score 1) 392

by Cyberdyne (#47559675) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

The two times I've had in-store card referrals (high value transactions: the first time was buying a P3 laptop, which was quite high end in those days; the second was furnishing a new apartment after moving to Houston), I'm pretty sure it was the issuing bank ultimately handling the call - I can't imagine the bank would have transferred the personal information they were asking for as a security check to the merchant services provider: past unlisted contact details, previous transactions etc. I suspect the call may have been transferred to them, though, rather than called directly.

I had a similar issue this year with British Telecom working on a broadband fault. The service manager wanted to speak directly to the field engineer working on the fault (different divisions: the engineer's BT Openreach, the manager was BT Wholesale) - but the Openreach guy said he couldn't call the Wholesale one directly. So, the Wholesale one called my number and asked to speak to him ...

Comment: shift of blame. (Score 1) 392

by Cyberdyne (#47559595) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

it is the retailer who is supposed to make the call to the financial institution on the retailer's own phone line

To be fair, the Apple Store staff tried phoning on their own iPhones first, but none of them could figure out how to hold it to get a signal, so they had to borrow the customer's phone instead...

Comment: Re:Illegal and Dangerous? (Score 1) 200

by Cyberdyne (#47392191) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

I say try because in a battle between a jet engine with the power to push 400 tons of steel into the sky VS a drone I'm going to put my money on the jet engine lasting long enough for them to turn around and land again.

You might want to rethink that after being reminded of jet airliners being brought down by birds - not an ounce of metallic content, just a few pounds of meat and soft lightweight bones - or the 747 which almost crashed after all four engines failed from ingesting some ash. (Fortunately, they happened to be relatively near an airport and were high enough to glide for over a hundred miles, which bought them just enough time to restart an engine while they had been preparing to ditch in the ocean, buying them enough time to limp to the nearest runway - although all four engines were damaged beyond repair.)

For that matter, the French Concorde which crashed in 2000 was destroyed by a single thin strip of metal, 17 inches long and just over an inch wide, less than four ounces: essentially, a slightly larger than average metal ruler. It didn't even go into an engine, it just burst a tire - violently enough that the ten pound lump of rubber ruptured the wing and number 5 fuel tank, causing the crash which killed everyone on board.

That was a single 4 oz strip of metal hitting a tire. A pound of bolts or nails will destroy the engine - or a metal drone engine that size.

Comment: Re:Annoying. (Score 1) 347

A business called "BT Wholesale / aka OpenReach"

Actually, BT Wholesale is a separate unit from Openreach. Openreach manages the 'final mile' services: all the copper wire, the local exchange buildings, and some but not all of the equipment in there. A few UK ISPs build their services on top of Openreach's products directly: TalkTalk and Sky, for example, went and installed their own DSLAMs in those exchange buildings, paying Openreach to connect the copper wires to them. BT Wholesale also takes those Openreach products, adds in their own national backbone and offers a service to other ISPs: they'll install a fast fibre backbone link to the ISP's premises/facilities, and connect the customers through that to the ISP.

This can cause problems; my own ISP is a BT Wholesale customer, so when I had a fault earlier this year they had to report it to BT Wholesale, who passed it on to Openreach to deal with. Openreach came out and tested their bit - my phone line, and the VDSL equipment on each end - and found nothing wrong there, so closed the fault. After six visits, BT Wholesale (or rather, BT TSOps and the Adhara Ops team at Adastral Park, where the fault got escalated to in the end) eventually found the problem was on their own backbone (a faulty router was corrupting traffic between certain IP addresses - one of which happened to be a core router at my ISP).

I agree with the overall approach, though, having a separate and regulated entity run just the local loop portion. (In practice, Openreach is still a part of BT - hence I got a sales pitch from at least one of the six Openreach engineers about BT Retail being a better option. Against all the rules - Openreach are officially supposed to be neutral - but could that ever really happen in practice while they're still the same company?)

Comment: Re:About time! (Score 2) 306

by Cyberdyne (#46827511) Attached to: ARIN Is Down To the Last<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/8 of IPv4 Addresses

Others such as Eli Lily or the UK Gov Dept of Pensions really don't need so many addresses

Someone in the UK government pointed that out recently - it turns out that "Dept of Pensions" allocation is actually used across most of the government as some sort of VPN extranet with various external contractors. Apparently, since they all use different RFC1918 blocks internally, they can't all be VPNed into any single RFC1918 block: they needed a globally-unique block for that purpose.

British Telecom uses the block for managing all their customer modems - that block is actually allocated to the US DoD, but they don't allow external access to it anyway, so there's nothing to stop you using that block internally yourself as long as you don't need to communicate with any other networks using the same trick. Better than wasting an entire /8 of global address space just for internal administrative systems - or a /9, like Comcast grabbed back in 2010.

My inner geek - who cares about efficiency - would love to see all the legacy blocks revoked. I'm sure the DoD could use 10/8 instead of 30/8 quite easily for their non-routed block; the universities could easily fit in a /16 instead of a /8, or smaller with a bit of NAT. Still, we should be moving to IPv6 instead now: give each university and ISP a /48, or /32 for big complex networks needing multiple layers. I just have a nasty feeling we're in for a long time of CGNAT spreading instead - where we currently have ISPs that don't offer static IP addresses, in a few years they'll be refusing to issue anything other than a NATted 100.64/16 address.

Comment: Re:adware is malware (Score 4, Insightful) 177

I wonder when microsoft will get around to getting their vendors to stop accepting kickbacks for shitty adware on new systems.
This practice is one of the reasons why I still build my own desktop systems. Getting rid of the junk is a massive hassle, and restoration of the system from partition brings it all back.

I hate the usual crap that gets shovelled on too, but to be fair Microsoft have apparently been pushing against that for a few years now for exactly that reason. Of course, they need to tread carefully there for legal reasons: if they block, say, Dell bundling a limited-time version of Norton Anti-virus, Dell won't be happy (they lose the $5 or whatever kickback) and Symantec will probably lawyer up and come knocking, particularly with Microsoft offering their own AV product now. Remember all the fallout when they killed off Netscape, when they stopped IBM from bundling OS/2 as a dual-boot setup with Windows? We both know this is different, but Microsoft's lawyers are apparently paranoid about crossing that line again.
I'm told they also offer crapware-free machines in their own stores, which makes sense. I just wish they'd make OEMs ship a plain vanilla Windows install disk like they used to, no more "restore" BS - so anyone wanting a clean machine can just re-install.

Comment: Re:ACARS (Score 1) 491

by Cyberdyne (#46565509) Attached to: How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

The article does not make it clear that the satellite signals in question are those of ARINC's ACARS data system, developed in 1978.

Probably because ACARS was turned off hours earlier in the flight, back before the aircraft flew back over Malaysia! Had it been active, ACARS would have reported the aircraft's location, altitude, speed and other useful data, making finding it much easier; it was switched off with the other cockpit systems, though, leaving just the Inmarsat terminal's hourly "ping" active, so until the Doppler analysis, all they knew was the distance between the satellite and aircraft.

Comment: Re:hacky (Score 1) 164

Unfortunately, is a perfectly valid IP address already in use globally - try pinging it on most machines for proof. Remember, the loopback address is not just - it's that whole /8 subnet, all the way up to Indeed, two of my own DNS servers are bound to right now (there's another DNS server bound to the public IP address, which forwards certain queries to this one).

This seems like a really, really stupid hack to me. If they are effectively revoking the domain, why not just return NXDOMAIN instead of bad data? Apart from the "people seeing it for the first time will be curious and go and Google to see why", the rationale just doesn't hold up. Apart from anything else, returning that will cause mail servers to attempt delivery to themselves. Yes, it contains the traffic within the host - but NXDOMAIN would stop the traffic having anywhere to go too, and is the correct response. (One clueless hosting company did something very similar - any departing customer's DNS entries were updated to route mail to - with the result mail bounced until the new delegation propagated fully. would have exactly the same effect.)

Comment: Re:A dangerous side effect on data capping (Score 4, Insightful) 568

by Cyberdyne (#45222001) Attached to: Top US Lobbyist Wants Broadband Data Caps

Data capping isn't really relevant to that - a hundred megabytes of, say, LAPD beating up a suspect or university campus police tear-gassing non-violent protesters is no bigger a datastream than a hundred megabytes of my cat chasing his toy mouse round the floor, when it's being uploaded to the likes of YouTube; once it hits there, I don't think Google use cable modems to send it from their datacenters. A hostile power would just cut the connection, whether you have an "unlimited" connection or a pay-as-you-go one - as has happened a few times in recent disturbances (Egypt or Syria?) - they don't bother looking at individual data packages anyway.

The poster further up had it exactly, I think: it's all about killing off competition from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Any guesses why else it would be Time Warner and Comcast - i.e. the cable ISPs - pushing this, rather than AT&T and Verizon? (Not that those two would be unhappy either, of course: more money, an easier market for their FiOS and U-verse TV offerings - but it's obviously Comcast and TW who have the most to lose.)

Comment: Re:server ban? (Score 1) 169

by Cyberdyne (#45179787) Attached to: Google Fiber Partially Reverses Server Ban

There was a server ban? What for?

Backdoor way of limiting bandwidth usage. On TCP/IP, really a "server" is just the one that sends SYN|ACK packets in response to SYN packets, rather than sending out SYNs - but ISPs latched on to "no servers" as a more marketable way to kick heavy users off without being honest about usage limits.

With cable, downstream bandwidth is more abundant and more efficient (the upstream channel is vulnerable to collisions, since there are multiple senders on a channel) so heavy upload usage can actually be a problem to some extent. On ADSL and its derivatives, though, it's only your own link you're filling up with upstream traffic: the backhaul connections are invariably symmetric, so those gigabit+ links between you and the ISP are only full up in the other direction.

I switched back in 2012 from "unlimited" (but no servers, dynamic IP, ports blocked, sending nastygrams to anyone using "too much" of the "unlimited" bandwidth) to an ISP with actual explicit usage charges (and a small routed subnet with no ports blocked). As long as it's legal I can do what I want: mail servers, web servers, the lot - I just have to pay a bit more if I download more. (It's download traffic that matters to them: upstream, there's bandwidth to spare, because the links are symmetric.) I hated the idea of usage-based charging - but I hate all the other restrictions more; at about $0.30 per Gb, it's low enough not to bother me as much as "unlimited, but use it too much and we cut you off".

Comment: Re:The faster data moves (Score 1) 75

by Cyberdyne (#45173589) Attached to: Ethernet's 400-Gigabit Challenge Is a Good Problem To Have

E10? in the UK for ITU-T they have E1 through E4.....we're talking about business grade time division multiplex carrier lines, not DSL or cable or other consumer grade shakier and less reliable tech

I imagine 'E10' there is a reference to 10 Mbps metro Ethernet, something like the Ethernet in the First Mile approach. There's nothing inherently "consumer grade" about DSL itself: indeed, even E1 "leased lines" get delivered over HDSL or similar in some cases. Unlike cable, which is contended and prone to collisions, DSL gives you a constant bitrate (unless configured to vary to squeeze higher bitrates when line quality permits) point to point link, just like a conventional leased line - all the performance fluctuations of typical DSL Internet access come further into the network, where your 20 Mbps connection is sharing a 1 Gbps backhaul with a thousand others and gets choked up when everyone is streaming X-Brother Get Me Out Of Here or whatever. Give the DSL link dedicated or uncontended backhaul like leased lines have, you'll get the same performance too.

Comment: Re:Snowden must be preemptively stopped (Score 4, Interesting) 247

by Cyberdyne (#45114603) Attached to: Could Snowden Have Been Stopped In 2009?

Is the date on the report questioning Snowden's loyalties the same as the date the material was actually entered into the electronic records? I can think of several strong reasons why the CIA might want to do some rewriting of its own history here. And certainly they have the expertise to do a good of that. In fact it would be routine for them to alter history: that is how you give a mole a credible back story.

The CIA is not just a spy agency. They are also the USA Bureau of Missinformation And Dysinformation.

I can imagine them rewriting history, but in this case I doubt it; surely it would suit them better for him to have been a normal, competent employee at that point, who then went rogue later, rather than saying "oops ... yes, we saw all these warning signs, but forgot to do anything about it for a few years. Told you so - er, I mean, we would have told you so, if we'd been more alert..."

Of course, if you're really paranoid, you'd wonder if the CIA computers had been compromised by, say, some other agency with lots of expertise at breaking into high-value targets, and this report had been planted by them, maybe to divert blame for their own failed internal security...

Comment: Re:better than building Xbones. (Score 1) 196

by Cyberdyne (#45099721) Attached to: Foxconn Accused of Forcing InternsTo Build PS4s Or Lose School Credit
Foxconn have the contract to assemble the Xbox 720 as well - not to mention Nintendo consoles. I remember pointing this out after a smug ex-MSFT blogger posted a link about Foxconn, bragging that Foxconn would never meet Microsoft's supplier criteria, so Apple must have lower standards...

Comment: Re:accidental lie by omission. (Score 1) 159

by Cyberdyne (#45052389) Attached to: Facebook Building a Company Town

That said, historical company towns that didn't force workers to use scrip [] avoided some of these issues -- but that would mean allowing workers easily to exit the town by actually paying them real money, which they could take elsewhere.

Why am I suddenly reminded of stock options and the whole "vesting" concept, where if you leave too soon some of the paper you got as part of your remuneration becomes worthless? Not identical of course - I'm guessing even Facebook's "company stores" won't take stock options in payment - but there are more than a few parallels there.

On the other hand, it also sounds like a nice setup if it all works properly, and you'd still be free to leave if you wanted.

Comment: Re:Any chance of PIO mode? (Score 1) 6

by Cyberdyne (#32989676) Attached to: Chronicle: Mother's computer slows down or freezes

Did the HD get knocked back to PIO mode?

That makes sense - I had a machine showing similar symptoms, and eventually found this was the culprit. Windows has an error counter, and it seems that once the drive hits the threshold, Windows assumes it's not DMA capable - of course, in reality, it could just be cumulative random glitches over a long period of time, as it was in this machine's case. There was a little script I found which cleared the relevant registry keys so the drive would no longer be on the Windows "blacklist" of dodgy drives, ResetDMA.vbs, which is top of the Google results for that term at the moment; as soon as I ran that, the performance was completely different.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll