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* Posts by smudge

315 posts • joined 8 Aug 2008

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Despite your fancy-schmancy security tech, passwords still weakest link in IT defences

smudge
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Holmes

Kettles, meet the pot

That will be the same Verizon whose POS terminal at my local petrol station tells me what software, including version number, it is running, every time I use it?

Tell them to come back when they have a clue.

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French firms: You want us to compile DATABASES... of our SECRET information?

smudge
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Paris Hilton

Interesting

In my many years in information security, I've often thought that a lot of the information that is kept secret does not need to be kept secret, and that it would make bugger all difference if it was published.

The problem is, of course, that you'd have to get everyone to do it, otherwise those who do could be at a disadvantage to those who don't.

Will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Paris - because that's where a lot of the info will be.

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Dimwit hackers use security camera DVRs as SUPER-SLOW Bitcoin-mining rig

smudge
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It's like the old urban legend of the guy who collected up all the fractional payments the company rounded down on its payroll. A lot of tiny amounts soon adds up.

No urban legend - a pretty common fraud. Known as a "salami swindle".

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US to strengthen privacy rights for Euro bods' personal data transfers

smudge
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Black Helicopters

They missed out a bit

The bit about repealing the USA PATRIOT Act.

Without that, any promise from the US to respect the privacy of furriners must rank alongside "Yes, I will still love and respect you in the morning.".

And that's the open, public legislation. There's also the NSA...

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Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

smudge
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Pint

Sim Scotland

You are a bumptious leader of a Scottish Government, with a trusty sidekick. (Note to games devs - give them some funny names for the younger players - fish, for example.)

The game starts off with an independence referendum whose result is not pre-determined.

Then, depending on the result, you have to try to continue to govern Scotland and keep it solvent, regardless of whether it is independent or not. You have to negotiate with the evil government of your neighbour, Etonia, for money and other resources, and you have to get yourself re-elected every four years.

The game is open-ended, but there are various scenarios which will bring it to a halt:

- you lose an election

- nuclear catastrophe at Dounreay or Faslane

- the Etonians invade and successfully capture Edinburgh (although there is an alternative scenario in which the game starts with them already there, and you have to drive them out)

- you sell the country to a consortium led by Bernie Ecclestone, a Russian oligarch and the Emir of Qatar.

Overall design concept: Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Artwork: Allan Ramsay (people) and William McTaggart (landscapes)

Storylines: Sir Walter Scott and Irvine Welsh

Music: The Peatbog Faeries, Susan Boyle, and the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band.

A Wee Eck Production.

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smudge
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Facepalm

Re: British Culture?

And who do you think gave us straight roads?

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US-Russia Soyuz 'nauts STUCK IN SPACE after ISS dock fail

smudge
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Coat

Delay to your journey today

Roscosmos wishes to apologise for the delay to your journey today between Earth and the International Space Station.

This has been caused by an unexpected power supply issue - due to the wrong type of vacuum outside - meaning that we were unable to transfer from the slow orbit to a faster trajectory.

Your service is now running approximately two days late, and we hope that this does not cause you any inconvenience.

We realise that you had no choice of carrier today, but we still thank you for travelling with us, and hope to see you on the return flight in approximately six months time. That's if Putin hasn't sparked off nuclear Armageddon by then.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

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Unhappy

Why could they turn everything off?

One thing which has been bothering me - is there any good reason why the pilots should be able to turn off all comms and transponders?

Another way of asking that is - is there any failure mode of the comms and/or transponder equipment which represents such a hazard to the plane - or to others - that shutdown of all such equipment is justified?

Serious question. I guess that if there's no good reason, then somewhere along the line there will be a recommendation that all passenger aircraft carry some comms equipment that cannot be shut off by normal cockpit control.

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O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Friday is Pi Day

smudge
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Coat

So you'll celebrate Tau Day, not to-day? :)

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Nipper rolls up at nursery with 48 wraps of HEROIN

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Childcatcher

Changed days

When we had bring-and-buy sales at school, my Mum used to bake some cakes* for me to take in.

*The flour-butter-egg-sugar-fruit kind of cake, OK?

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UK's CASH POINTS to MISS Windows XP withdrawal date

smudge
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Windows

Applying business logic

"The PCI DSS states operating systems must be protected against known vulnerabilities using vendors’ latest security patches."

Big Banker 1: "But the vendor is no longer producing security patches. Therefore we remain compliant indefinitely."

Big Banker 2: "Great thinking! Large bonuses all round!!"

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What the world really needs: A telescopic SELFIE STICK

smudge
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Facepalm

FOAD

"The manufacturer ... sees it as just the thing for taking pictures over the heads of fellow concert goers."

Absolutely. Concerts will be improved immeasurably by a forest of these things between me and the stage.

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Candy Crush King stops trying to trademark CANDY in the US

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Flame

What's in a name?

If they have registered their trademark in the EU, then clearly they haven't been stopped by the well-known manufacturer of self-immolating washing machines (see icon).

Different target demographic I suppose, so little risk of confusion.

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MtGox boss vows to keep going despite $429 MILLION Bitcoin 'theft'

smudge
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Facepalm

<sigh>

I've been thinking lately that we ought to have a variant of Godwin's Law, to cover the fact that, sooner or later, every online discussion nowadays seems to include a sarky comment about Salmond specifically or Scottish independence in general.

First names that came to mind were North Berwick Law and Denis Law, but I suggest Rubi's Law, because that's an area of Aberdeen most famous for a f--king great hole in the ground.

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Random car shutdowns force Toyota to recall Prius hybrids - AGAIN

smudge
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Windows

Re: Toyota Update?

> How far are we away from "Patch Tuesdays" for cars?

Exactly what I was thinking.

But then no one would buy a new model until Service Pack 1 had been released....

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BT scratches its head over MYSTERY Home Hub disconnections

smudge
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Boffin

pip pip pip pip...

The punters are obviously too young to know that when the pips sound, you have to put more money in.

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Security guru Bruce Schneier to leave employer BT

smudge
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Black Helicopters

Re: Cryptogram

....which I normally receive on the 15th.

It's the 16th now, and no sign of it.

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Home Office clumsily LEAKS data of 1,598 immigrants, blames 'transparency'

smudge
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Boffin

Re: Security: It is a measure, not a process!

That article in full for you:

"Staff have been told not to hide columns in spreadsheets."

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Universal Credit: £40 MILLION and counting's been spaffed up the wall on useless IT gear

smudge
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Holmes

No totally digital service?

"...no such example of a totally digital service was being used by businesses in the UK - such as the banking sector - that involved the delicate and complex processing of an individual's finances..."

Who'd have guessed it? Who knew?

Somewhere behind the cash machine and the cheque reader machine at my bank, behind the POS terminals that I encounter everywhere, behind my electronic account statements.... there is still an army of clerks in a massive room with rows of desks, each clerk scratching away at a ledger with a quill pen.

Or am I misunderstaninding the twat?

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Thought you didn't need to show ID in the UK? Wrong

smudge
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Re: Not my driving license...

Just don't get stopped by the Police in various European countries as, I think, they will not accept the old paper licences and expect you to be able to produce a (EU standard) photo card.

I have an old-style no-photo licence, and have never had the slightest problem hiring cars in Greece, Spain, & Portugal.

I've never been stopped by the police there, but I'd have thought that if the police didn't accept them then the hire company wouldn't either, because surely they would also be in trouble with the police?

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Switzerland to set up 'Swiss cloud' free of NSA, GCHQ snooping (it hopes)

smudge
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Black Helicopters

Possibly more holes than their cheese

"Data protection and privacy is a long tradition in Switzerland... " Swisscom's head of IT services Andreas Koenig told Reuters.

So, allegedly, is cooperation with NSA. Just type "Crypto AG" and "NSA" into your favourite search engine.

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UK.gov BANS iPads from Cabinet over foreign eavesdropper fears

smudge
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Holmes

“I think my phone has been modified by GCHQ enough that it'd [bugging] be difficult, but I'm sure the Chinese have had a good go."

GCHQ has taken the battery out so that they don't have to listen to him.

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Nothing to sniff at: Dell Ultrabooks REEK OF CAT PEE, scream users

smudge
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Pint

So it must smell like Sauvignon Blanc?

What's not to like?

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SEX CRAZED FISH keeping hapless Southamptonites awake

smudge
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Coat

So teach them the words...

... and then they won't have to hum.

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UK.gov open to hiring EX-CON hackers for cyber reserves

smudge
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Headmaster

Hitting people is risky

"David Emm ... said that hitting people who had proved themselves to be "motivated by money and misplaced ideals" was a risky strategy, at best. "

I don't know. We could reduce the risk by going in mob-handed. I'm sure that lots of us would like to hit people like that, probably starting with the banking industry.

Or maybe you meant "hiring"?

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Bonking boffins say bacon biters won't breed

smudge
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Boffin

Any fule kno...

... that fish are better swimmers than pigs.

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Snowden's pal Greenwald QUITS Guardian to launch hush-hush news rival

smudge
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Black Helicopters

reported ... sooner than he was ready to announce it

Can't believe you passed on the chance to point out the irony.

The Guardian quotes him as saying: "Because this news leaked before we were prepared to announce it...". (my highlighting)

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Rubbish broadband drives Scottish people out of the Highlands

smudge
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Happy

..all those wind workers...

"wind worker" - not a term I'd heard before, although a quick check with a search engine shows that it is used.

Hebridean rock group Runrig have a song called "Worker for the Wind". Written in 1987. Ahead of the game, as the canny folk from the islands usually are...

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UK bankers prep for cyberwar: Will simulate ATTACK on system

smudge
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Alert

Memo to self

Make sure you have plenty ready cash on person for the month of November.

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Young? Been online five years? Congrats, you are the ELITE MINORITY

smudge
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Re: El Reg Elite Minority

What's next, you have been driving for 5 years, you are the equivalant of Formula One pilot and you deserve medals....

Actually, there used to be a body called something like the Company of Vintage Motorists. You could buy a V-shaped badge for the radiator grille (remember them?) of your car, and an insert on the badge carried the number of years that you had been driving. Older Reg readers will remember them.

Me:

- 39.5 years since I passed my driving test

- 38.5 years using computers

- about 20 years using the Web

- nearly 20 years with the Demon ISP - must move soon!

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Scottish NHS bosses say soz after 2-day IT ballsup scrubs 700 appointments

smudge
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Happy

Re: National holiday?

So if only Tammy Troot* promised to unify holidays throughout Scotland, the referendum would be a walkover for him?

*Nickname for Scotland's First Minister, based on his surname and a children's book character.

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smudge
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Re: Bullshit

This was the Chief Exec speaking to a non-tech audience. He is quoted as saying "...Active Directory, a router system which recognises users and allows individual access to our clinical and administrative support systems".

Now you and I wouldn't have used the word "router". But from a non-tech person to a non-tech audience, it's fine. AD controls what you get access to.

Presumably you don't often communicate with non-IT specialists?

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smudge
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Headmaster

National holiday?

"...after a national holiday in some parts of Scotland."

I do realise that there's only one icon that I can attach to this comment :)

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Sysadmins fail to fix NHS IT snafu, HUNDREDS of appointments cancelled

smudge
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Holmes

Failed on 01 Oct?

Ten quid says there's a calendar somewhere with 31 days in September.

(Can we have an "only half-joking" icon please?)

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State-backed hackers: You think you're so mysterious, but you're really not – report

smudge
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Coat

It's those 'regional traits' that give you away

I have visions of cyber-attack software from GCHQ containing comments in West Country pirate-speak.

"Ooohh aaarrhh! Now ye be scuppered good'n'proper!!"

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smudge
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Headmaster

Re: Squirrelling away.....

So how did he tell you that his name was Jeff? The implication is that you didn't give him that name...

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Dixons preps home 3D printer for plastic-piping punters

smudge
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Devil

Re: HOW much?

"And since it's an expensive item, sir, you would be well advised to take out one of our extended warranties..."

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'I don't trust Microsoft' after NSA disclosures says former privacy chief

smudge
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Unhappy

Re: UK unaware

The only ongoing coverage is in the Guardian newspaper.

BBC covered it when it was first news, but soon dropped it.

Other TV news channels are aimed squarely at Express and Mail readers, who, as you point out, trust the Government. Unless it's led by a bloke whose father was a Marxist.

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smudge
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Black Helicopters

Re: Oops!

Having seen Caspar in action on the conference circuit several times whilst he was at the FIPR, I have to say that I was amazed when he took the Microsoft shilling. But maybe better to be working inside than attacking from outside...

Anyway, it wouldn't surprise me if there had been an ongoing and ubiquitous "Don't tell Caspar" activity in Microsoft.

Documentation was probably marked "TOP SECRET NOFORN & ESPECIALLY NOT CASPAR".

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Congrats on MP3ing your music... but WHY bother? Time for my ripping yarn

smudge
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Happy

Re: Uhmm, what's a CD?

Amazon do something similar with new purchases of a CD, you get the MP3 for nothing, and they're backdating this to cover previous purchases.

And, of course, that includes all the CDs that you bought as presents for other people. Which would make an interesting legal debate.

Sadly, it seems that I didn't buy from Amazon the BB King boxset that I gave to a mate for his birthday last year :(

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smudge
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Linux

What are digital jukeboxes for?

Up until this point, I was dismissive of seemingly pointless products such as digital jukeboxes like the Brennan JBs. Actually, I’m still dismissive: what are they for? Don’t answer, I already know. They are for fuddy duddies who don’t own a computer and therefore can’t make MP3s by themselves.

In my case, it is for this fuddy-duddy who keeps his hifi and computers separate and unconnected. OK?

(Actually, my older JB7, with a smaller disc, IS connected to my PC. Which is a bit daft, since all the MP3s are on the computer anyway.)

Penguin because I'm sure the JB7 uses a Linux variant. It can export files whose names contain characters that freak out Windoze....

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TalkTalk's commercial director WalkWalks away from telco

smudge
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WTF?

"David has made an enormous contribution to TalkTalk and in fact to the telecommunications industry as a whole."

I'll grant him the first part of that - the bit about TalkTalk.

But an enormous contribution to the telecommunications industry? What did I miss?

New, cheaper and more reliable technology? Better services? Fair and transparent tariffs?

Something pretty damn devastating, I should expect.

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The NSA's hiring - and they want a CIVIL LIBERTIES officer

smudge
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Big Brother

Re: Obviously

They are welcome to call around my place for coffee and doughnuts anytime.

They said thanks but no thanks, because your friends say that your coffee is awful.

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Austerity BITES: Greece ends extra hols for civil servants forced to use hated COMPUTERS

smudge
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Re: Bankrupt - No wonder

They no longer exist, it's now the. German Islands and German mainland of Greece.

Long Live Merkel.... Our New Leader.

Having just come back from a holiday on Rhodes, I can say that it, at least, is now a Russian island. Busloads of them everywhere, many of the shopkeepers and bar/restaurant staff speak Russian, and there are shops selling furs all over the place.

I first encountered loads of Russian tourists in Cyprus about 10 years ago. They're obviously spreading westward. I don't know how far through Greece they travel, but it occurred to me that the Greek economy would probably be in an even worse state if it wasn't for the Russians, who presumably weren't so affected by the recession.

It also occurred to me that the Russians probably have far more infuence over parts of Europe now, through financial clout, than they ever did in the bad old days of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain.

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Intel shows off 'disaggregated' rack of servers, storage, and networking

smudge
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Holmes

It's been done before

Intel shows off 'disaggregated' rack of servers, storage, and networking

This has long been implemented in the data centre of the company I work for.

We call it "not having a f***ing clue where anything is".

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NAO: UK border bods not up to scratch, despite billion-pound facial recog tech

smudge
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Re: Problem is it is all too slow

you can prefetch the photo before they land if needs be. Provided you can see the photo on file and person match and the the person is going the opposite way to last time, you do not need to access a central server in real time which is the bottleneck

I always thought that the photo that is displayed is fetched off the chip on the passport. I didn't think there was any "central server" which is accessed in real-time.

Anyone know?

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Punter strikes back at cold callers - by charging THEM to call HIM

smudge
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Paris Hilton

Re: Be a yes man instead.

Never tried this one, but I like the sound of it.

Talk to them for a while, and then give your other half a pre-arranged signal. At which he/she yells something like "Are you going to come back to bed and f**k me, or piss about on that phone all day?". The more graphic, the better.

Paris - needs no explanation!

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Quarter of a million quid fine for data-wipe gaffe? ICO told: Nae, laddie

smudge
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Thumb Up

Likelihood

The judge took the view after determining that the standard of proof for assessing the likelihood of substantial damage or substantial distress requires that a data breach has to be likely to cause such damage or distress rather than for it merely to be likely for those consequences to be possible.

Good point. Hands up all those here who have had government clients who have assigned unrealistically high business impact levels to their data, because they are shit-scared of the consequences of a breach. And then complain that either they can't afford the system or that it will be unusable (often because it can't be connected to anything else).

Data privacy and protection are very important - so too is realism and pragmatism.

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Bionic Brit Babbage Bear boards brilliant balloon, bests ballsy Baumgartner

smudge
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Pint

Re: magnetically drawn to trees

dendronic attraction???

He's a bear, and he very probably wanted to have a shit in the woods.

I know I would if I'd been up in that balloon.

Many congratulations to Dave and the team. I watched it yesterday - rivetting viewing, and a fantastic achievement!

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Rasp Pi skydive: Ballsy Baumgartner best beware Brit bionic Babbage Bear

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Pint

You can add "being forced to work on statutory holidays" to that, because they are planning to have another go on Bank Holiday Monday.

Because of an equipment malfunction, the bear didn't jump from his platform, but still landed safely in a field, and got some damn good photos on the way.

I raise my glass to Babbage Bear!

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