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* Posts by Alan Brown

2690 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report

Alan Brown
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"An IP address in china"

Given the number of zombies in china, it would take a lot to convince me that this was "chinese hackers", vs "someone using a Pwned chinese proxy"

There's a lot of "ohhhhhh, Yellow peril" scarmongering going on.

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Need a green traffic light all the way home? Easy with insecure street signals, say researchers

Alan Brown
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Re: Why the different standards?

" unless the law is changed to prevent unlimited liability, that state of grace is bound to end sometime."

Now the vulnerability has been publically disclosed, the clock is ticking.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Why the different standards?

"We can write shit code all day long and only ever be called on it when/if something goes horribly wrong."

Most of the time, shit programmers aren't called on it even then.

Traffic light control is a safety-of-life issue. This kind of thing can expose local authorities to unlmited liabilities (although it's important to note that most traffic light systems will fire a crowbar circuit if simultaneous greens are attempted - it's better to blow the fuses than allow it to happen)

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NASA: Satellite which will END man-made CO2 debate in orbit at last

Alan Brown
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Re: vonborks

"That's why I've come to the conclusion that THE best supporting evidence comes not from an independent source but a HOSTILE source"

In that case you'll be happy to know that several of the scientific skeptics changed their tune after looking at all the data.

The problem is that things will be ignored until it's too late to do anything. It's already too late to stop ocean level rises even if carbon output was switched off overnight, but plans should be afoot to encourage people to move and to head off pending wars over access to fresh water.

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Alan Brown
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Re: vonborks

NASA is being conservative, seriously.

The odds are a lot higher that bad climate shit will happen in the next 100 years than it not happening - those holes opening up in siberian permafrost may well be the first tranche of methane burps which would cause far more rapid warming than any models currently in use.

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Alan Brown
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You'll get a greater radiation dose flying from Heathrow to Tokyo than you'd get in a year at Fukushima, unless you go swimming in the pools, in which case it'll only take 6 months exposure.

At this point the only reason that radiation levels are above legal limits is because they were dropped by 90% a few days after the hydrogen explosions that took the roofs off.

The carbon will hang around a lot longer.

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New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI

Alan Brown
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FWIW

Mole Valley have just refused a FOI request for all the details of the legal agreement they signed with 192.com AND to know the numbers toggled from the closed to open register.

They're trying to use section 36 of the FOI. This won't end well (for them)

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BT engineers - missed appointments

Alan Brown
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"As said, the engineers themselves (unless they're a sub from Kelly's or similar) are usually fine blokes who know what they're doing."

Over the last few years, BT has systematically employed ex-squaddies. Most seem to think the correct way to reboot a computer involves steel toecaps.

Army boys may be good at following orders but they're not so good at analytical thinking or initiative.

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Alan Brown
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"I had a chat with BT today, and it turns out the engineer is not coming any of those days, and will come at the end of the month "because they couldn't get access to the property". "

They tried this on me once. I offered to upload the CCTV footage showing they hadn't bothered turning up.

On another occasion the Openbletch tech parked outside for 25 minutes, then drove off, trying to claim "noone was home". CCTV footage showed that lie up too.

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EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'

Alan Brown
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Re: Forgotten?

"The real danger, as I see it, is that the legislation creates a new mechanism for the powerful, rich, and connected to have their lives 'fixed' by erasing unflattering truths. "

They've been doing that for a while. Go take a look at Reputation.com

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Alan Brown
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Re: Forgotten?

"Similarly if I filed for bankruptcy 20 years ago, since when I have built up a multi-million pound company, that the bankruptcy case in The Times is the first thing that Google returns?"

In can think of a number of people who've done that, gone bankrupt _again_ and then built up a multi-million pound company. Some have done it more than twice (eg: Donald Trump).

Knowing that someone has form in such things may save me from being well and truely burned.

Knowing that XYZ person had 2 fraud convictions 10 years ago will be useful if he's dropped a CV on my desk full of "glowing recommendations" , etc etc.

Some information is _never_ inaccurate or irrelevant.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Forgotten?

"Because of data protection legislation, Google are therefore responsible for keeping that personal information accurate and up to date - which includes removing erroneous and irrelevant information, once notified of it."

A past bankruptcy is not inaccurate or irrelevant as far as lenders are concerned. (It's what the original claim was about and should have been thrown out - the guy in question believed that it was affecting his credit rating, when CRAs use their own internal databases and searches anyway)

Claims that someone once dropped a particularly smelly fart in an elevator full of midgets _are_ irrelevant and would merit removal.

Attempts to suppress past media reports are revisionist and should be resisted. A teenage court conviction might be "spent" and no longer used for consideration if Bob Jones ends up in front of a beak as a 50 year old, but it's not removed from the system and it WILL be taken into consideration if he's in for the same crime.

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Alan Brown
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An outbreak of common sense in Brussels?

' “A sober analysis of the ruling shows that it does in fact not elevate the right to be forgotten to a ‘super right’ trumping other fundamental rights, such as the freedom of expression. This ruling does not give the all-clear for people or organisations to have content removed from the web simply because they find it inconvenient,” she said. '

In other words, the "right to be forgotten" is being well overhyped - and it looks to me like it's narrowing things down to "you have the right to ask Google to remove references to _your_ old webpages,", but not anyone else's which might mention you.

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UK.gov sinks another £1.6m into Internet of Stuff spec HyperCat

Alan Brown
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“The UK has an opportunity now, through HyperCat, to be central to the IoT revolution, levelling the playing field with the ubiquitous American giants and inspiring British industry to deliver £100 billion of value by 2020 – Great Britain can grow back its industrial teeth,” gushed Flexeye chief Justin Anderson.

Promoting a particular "standard" as giving an advantage to a particular group.

Yeah right. In the second puff of whatever he's been smoking he'll start seeing unicorns and pixies.

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Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD

Alan Brown
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Re: Why call the police ?

"I've been stopped by fowl before (geese in fact), it takes them a leisurely 30 seconds to waddle off and let you move again."

Had that happen 2 nights ago. They don't move any faster if you lean on the horn either.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Dogs

"A tourist here recently swerved for a rabbit"

Did he hit it?

Back home, rabbits, possums and other non-domestic small-furry-animals are regarded as "targets"

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Alan Brown
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Re: Thought everuone new

"I was pretty sure that was the hedgehog."

No, the Hedgehog did it to prove he had guts.

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Alan Brown
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Re: What?!

There are worse things than pigeons in the visor.

Smaller birds don't get slowed down by the helmet body and a swarm of bees is a thing of terror (as is a single solitary wasp.)

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Alan Brown
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Re: What?!

I can't really remember the sound when I last hit a chicken, but the rear view was a 20 foot high tower of feathers which rapidly expanded to cover the entire road.

One way of plucking 'em....

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Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer

Alan Brown
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Re: I had a home version Atari trackball

"peaking of SUPER EXPENSIVE mice, does anyone remember the original Sun optical ones that required their own specific metal pad with a pattern on it?"

Remember? Still have!

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Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!

Alan Brown
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Re: History

"There wasn't much point in anyone else developing an alternative, when a client that was just-about-good-enough for yer average user, was already on their computer. "

There wasn't much point putting a FREE alternative which did work well on.

Users say "windows" because that's all they know - the same way they say "Hoover" and "Kleenex"

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Alan Brown
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Re: Can't say I blame them

"You mean if you swap the hard disk onto a completely different chipset, Windows not surprisingly won't like it. That's a problem between the chair and the keyboard."

Linux and BSD just shrug and carry on.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Munich are implementing Kolab

"What are you talking about? We have one person part time to maintain a global set of servers covering a number of sites. Exchange 2013 has the lowest support and maintenance requirements of any version to date. "

Since moving from an inhouse imap system to using office365, enduser support load in individual departments is up by a factor of around 10 and the helldesk has had to double its staff (we have upwards of 50,000 people in our systems)

Apparently this counts as an unqualified success in various reports made by manglement to manglement, but when departmental reps are present such claims get hotly contested.

The biggest surprise is that the Public Accounts Committee hasn't gotten involved yet.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Thanks for that

"Thunderbird had potential but has also been largely botched by changes which show that those responsible have given no consideration to deployments larger than their own laptop."

This is exactly the same issue with Mozilla.

I'm in the process of ditching it on our linux desktops (growing to 3Gb memory over 2-3 weeks of operation is utterly inexusable - it leaks every time a tab/window is closed/reopened)

Surprisingly, Chrome works _really_ well, even though it needs custom RPMS for EL6 (See http://www.tecmint.com/install-google-chrome-on-redhat-centos-fedora-linux/ )

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Alan Brown
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"That it was done long before Outlook… in Lotus Notes for example."

Arrrgh, Bloated Goats, spawn of satan!

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Alan Brown
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Re: tit for a tat

"Anyone who thinks he/she USED Outlook without realizing how it sucks"

Has clearly not had much exposure to mail clients in general.

MS users treat mail as "hard work" - once you use MS mail systems you understand why they see it that way. Microsoft's way of handling email _makes_ it hard work.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Easy

It would be nice if Mozilla actually did something about the memory leaks in FF and TB instead of blaming plugins.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Lack of integrated email/contacts/calendar?

"Outlook is an appalling, bug ridden product with some serious usability issues and total disregard for any established standards. I'd more than happily shoot, multiple times to be sure, the developers of Outlook's HTML renderer, quite apart from the intentionally broken IMAP support"

If you think it's a rotten imap CLIENT, you haven't had to deal with the IMAP clusterfuck called outlook.office365.com

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Alan Brown
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Re: Lack of integrated email/contacts/calendar?

"I still don't understand what the criterias was that made them go with Linux. "

Windows is a software vendor lock-in

Mac is a software and HARDWARE vendor lock-in

Linux is neither.

MS got popular by being cheap, doing most things that were needed and not charging extra fees for added functionality.

So did Cisco.

Once they eliminated the competition, they changed to the same rape-and-pillage models the previous incumbents had used.

Sensible businesses don't willingly keep their head in a noose whilst someone's sawing away at the chair legs underneath.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Lack of integrated email/contacts/calendar?

It takes me less than 5 minutes to setup mail on a phone.

I think someone's trolling to see if MS will offer cut-rate deals to win back business (This is common, sales teams get huge bonuses for bringing back lost business and nothing for retaining people in the first place)

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e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt

Alan Brown
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Re: 5 year plans ....

"Look as HS2 .. all the dithering."

HS2 has a lot of ptential and economic benefits - especially if built starting at Birmingham and running in both directions.

Starting at london is a sure sign of bass-ackwardness.

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Alan Brown
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Re: And for the future ?

"Theresa May has said that this will not happen in the future as all contracts will be broken down into units of less than £100 million"

"Will not happen" -> "We've set the cap on contracts below the Public accounts office investigation threshold."

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Alan Brown
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Re: Here's a novel idea for the uk government

"Why not build your own IT team and software house."

Been tried, doesn't work. Competent people get headhunted to other outfits because govt rules mean that their pay and promotion prospects are capped.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Clusterf**k

"Now appoint new Senior Management, recruited from industry"

That would be the kind of senior manglement which awards itself 25% pay increases whilst cutting pay for workers at the coalface?

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Alan Brown
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Re: Tears roll down my cheeks

"Aaaaaaand rinse and repeat. Usual 'lessons will be learnt' guff."

Yup. The civil servants responsible for this will learn to hide their tracks more effectively so that only juniors get thrown under the bus.

Although for 250 million squid, an entire department might find itself collecting P45s

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Nuke regulator hacked three times in three years

Alan Brown
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As a civil regulator

Just about everything would be obtainable via FOIA anyway.

Sounds like someone got sick of waiting.

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UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones

Alan Brown
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Re: I got mugged as a teenager by 3 miscreants

I generally write a random 4 digit number or 2 on the back of my cards.

Nothing to do with my PIN. The hope is that if they ever get misappropriated, any numpty who tries to use them will try and use the numbers & get the card swallowed.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Pebble Locker App

My phone is unlocked as long as it is connected to my Pebble watch. as soon as my watch goes out of range, _or goes flat_, the phone is pin locked.

There, FTFY. (The latter happens more often than the former)

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Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?

Alan Brown
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Meteorite strike

Given the amount of building damage and broken glass in Siberia last year, there's some merit in asking such questions - but it's on par with preparedness for a richter 6 earthquake.

(Don't laugh: The Southeast of England has a history of quakes this size and the last one happened before brick buildings were common: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1580_Dover_Straits_earthquake )

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Cargo truck crammed with garbage explodes IN SPAAAAACE

Alan Brown
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Re: The big problem up there

If you're hit by something moving at 7km/s in the opposite direction to your 7km/s you won't notice, it'll just be lights out.

(FWIW that's why EVA spacesuits are so bulky. The actual pressure suits are fairly slim, but there are lots of layers of armour to try and protect against micrometeors)

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Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7

Alan Brown
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Re: Multi-core

"Many tasks can't be parallelized by present software. For example, that encryption above. It only gets one core, so only gets about 12% of the PC's compute power."

Allow me to introduce you to my friends

pigz - http://zlib.net/pigz/

pbzip2 - http://compression.ca/pbzip2/

There are other multithreaded archivers but these are the most useful in a *nix house.

most 7zip and xz code has multithread support built in

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Google's so smart it's discovered SHARKS HAVE TEETH

Alan Brown
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Re: Technical issue with Kevlar armor.

Kevlar vests are woven for flexibility. Kevlar sheathing is an entirely different beast.

At one point some makers were selling kevlar Bull Bars - these were sold, transparent things about 1/10 the weight of the steel ones and just as non-fun to walk into.

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Alan Brown
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Screened cables

"I worked on the development of the first optical fibre cables from 1980s onwards and this problem first showed up on an ATT trial off Gran Canary (around 1983) when they had left off the Glover Barrier - i.e. the cable was no longer screened. "

I'm pretty sure when I read the Cable and Wireless Centennial tome (published about 1958) that they had similar problems with sharks chewing on telegraph cables back in the days when it was the Gutta Percha Rubber company(*) and before Lord Kelvin made his fortune working with them.(**)

The book didn't go into any detail about how the issue was solved, other than "armouring the cable".

(*) Which shows that Nokia isn't the first hi tech company to come from rubbermaking - by about 100 years.

(**) He worked out how to lay submarine cables without breaking them and it made him a billionaire overnight.

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Alan Brown
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Re: The sharks want their LASERs!

Except it's not specific, Sharks are known to chew on underwater power cables.

I suspect the real story here is that kevlar is being used instead of steel armour

Above ground the main risks to cable isn't copper thieves, but twats with shotguns.

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Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

Alan Brown
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Re: Don't get it ...

"Does anyone know of a *good* reason for them to lock customers in, besides filling their coffers?"

BT charges a hefty fee for new FTTC installs. My current ISP offered a choice of an upfront connection fee and rolling monthly contract or no fee and a 12 month minimum term.

If there are no installation costs incurred then there's no excuse for contractual terms other than "because we can" - which pretty much covers all the power/gas/water contracts out there.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Lies and contracts

"Was caught by a BT contract renewal when moving house 18 months ago"

Ofcom outlawed autorenewals far longer ago than that. Did you complain to them?

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£100m DMI omnifail: BBC managers' emails trawled by employment tribunal

Alan Brown
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Re: In other news...

" A company I worked for started deleting emails over a year old after a big financial stink hit it"

Which in many countries (including the UK) is illegal if it's got anything to do with financial dealings.

It doesn't help when people put stuff in folders anyway. A good discovery lawyer will know how to obtain things from mail clients and imap servers.

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

Alan Brown
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Re: my view on the broken internet as a system admin

"My belief is that hackers have found a way to access bgp on most main backbones grabbing certain types of traffic to their own c&c servers"

No need to look at blackhats. Pakistani telecom managed to shut down a good chunk of the internet whilst attempting to block Youtube a couple of years back.

Hit-and-run route hijacking has been a noticeable problem for about 15 years, as has theft of IPv4 blocks via forged documentation, but the problem is far less widespread than it used to be thanks to the Hijacked list and lockdowns on BGP security.

Ironically, it's far easier to route-hijack phone networks than IP ones(*) - and the world's phone number routing networks have the same kind of route capacity issues as BGP.

(*) The fallacy is that entities with access to the phone routing nets are "trusted", so security isn't necessary.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Thoughts from a mere user ...

"So if they are prepared to do that through a specially inserted back door in the routers they provide for their customers, what would happen when everybody can go on a hunt through everybody else's LANs through the front door?"

And you don't run firewalls on your network border routers because.....?

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Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

Alan Brown
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Re: They may indeed have used alkalines

"Anyone who has used batteries for years, whether in the technology sector or not, can vouch that cheap alkaline batteries just don't hold out as long as name brands. "

The Gadget show did a test a few years back on a bunch of different brands - and the zinc chlorides _all_ died long before any of the alkalines.

There was a 4:1 lifespan difference across the alkalines but they were all eclipsed by lithium cells.

http://gadgetshow.channel5.com/gadget-show/videos/news/news-batteries

Given the power and temperature range requirements of parking meters, I'd be dropping lithiums in them. At -20 most alkalines will give up and go home, with Zinc Chlorides having long since already cooked dinner and gone to bed.

GS's most recent tests shows GP (GoldPeak) as best value for money - which I agree with, but watch out for fakes. (I've also found fake Energisers on sale in B&Q, so it's not just dodgy suppliers selling dodgy batteries)

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