* Posts by Tom Paine

310 posts • joined 19 Aug 2008

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That's cold: This is how our boss told us our jobs are at risk, staffers claim

Tom Paine

09:45: All hands email announced unexpected company meeting

10:00: CEO waffles a bit then announces there will be redundancies

15:00: called into meeting room with boss, handed letter -- which I had to open and read to find out the news -- and then off down the pub to join the small but growing crowd of similarly luckless deadwood.

On a plus side, it was one of the best piss-ups in my time there; I think I tottered out at about 10pm. Don't remember getting home...

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ZX Spectrum Vega+ will ship on time, developer claims amid doubts

Tom Paine

"We can't keep taking orders..."

"...half the memory's hanging out the back!"

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‘Inflexion point’ BlackBerry washes hands of hardware biz

Tom Paine

Re: Cracked screens.

I did mine myself. New screen for a Bb Z10: £12. Set of 30-odd impossibly tiny Torx drivers down to #2 : six quid, including shipping. Oh and a pair of +3 reading glasses from the chemist -- really needed for the fiddly bits of the job, which was most of it. Fascinating to see inside the box, though: the actual /phone/ board (as opposed to battery, display, case etc)is the size of a stick of gum.

Edit: oh yeah, and a walk-through of the process on YouTube was an essential help.

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Death of 747 now 'reasonably possible' says Boeing

Tom Paine

I went on an aeroplane once

1997, it was. Boeing 737 to Belgium for business.

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Revealed: The true horror of being a big CEO

Tom Paine

Re: Just schmoozing with people, no actual work then? Where do I sign up?

An architect who specialises in castles, presumably.

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Tom Paine
Terminator

Re: So that was a "typical" day?

You'd rather be interacting with humans than staring into a monitor?

Are you sure you're in the right place?

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Tom Paine

Glad I persevered

I llol'd in the office.

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Microsoft preps defence against the dark arts for enterprise customers

Tom Paine

Sounds like Bromium...

...but restricted to only run on a single app.

Bromium's expensive, but it works very well IME.

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Tom Paine

Re: Yay

Maybe the downvote was because this isn't "another scanner", as you'd know if you read the fine article?

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Apple moving to scrubbed up London's Battersea Power Station

Tom Paine

It's all gone

The "refurbishment" of the building has included demolition of the four chimneys and their replacement with replicas. Had to be done, apparently, but... would they do this to the Houses of Parliament?

https://www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk/#!/go/view/app/chimney?view=updates

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Urgent! Log in for spear-phisher survey or your account will be deleted

Tom Paine

Cuts both ways

> a marked improvement in the quality and apparent authenticity of

> spear-phishing attacks – making them ever harder to separate from

> genuine communications.

>

Not helped by organisations outsourcing services to external third parties who then send extremely phishy-looking mail to everyone in the company. Online payroll is particularly prone to this, but all sorts of other activities are going to same way. How can you train users to just hit delete on any email that asks them to "click here to login to your... <wtvr>", when half of them are legit?

Yeah, I've tried moaning at the suppliers; the expression "pissing into the wind" is about right.

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Samsung: And for my next trick – exploding WASHING MACHINES

Tom Paine

Re: Flood

> 1) Never buy a Hotpoint

Ah, crap. My landlord's just kindly spec'd a complete refit of my tiny galley kitchen (mostly as a pretext to bumping the rent up £250, so I'm already not too thrilled about it, especially as the existing stuff is perfectly serviceable even if it IS 30 years old and a little worn.) Anyway, guess which brand of appliances they've gone for... /o\

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Tom Paine

Re: Competition

> Whirelpool...

>

It never ends...

Your courtesy earworm entertainment for the rest of the day, sorted. YVW.

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HP Ink COO: Sorry not sorry we bricked your otherwise totally fine printer cartridges

Tom Paine

Re: "the quality of our customer experience"

That pretty much IS what they said; using different words, admittedly.

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Tom Paine

Inkjet?

I thought Inkjet printers died out 20 years ago. Cheap laser printers are cheap as chips these days. I bought a Samsung for about £170 a decade ago and it's going fine. Cartridges are 70 quid but off brand ones work fine and they last for years even with my relatively high usage (Call me a luddite but I like to run stuff off to read in the bath or down the pub, prefer paper to screen and it's better for eyes and thumbs for mobile devices.

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No wonder we're being hit by Internet of Things botnets. Ever tried patching a Thing?

Tom Paine

Re: Is patching even a good idea?

Not to worry -- if the updates b0rk (or brick) the Thing in question, it goes into a cupboard or the recycling. Result, one less vulnerable Thing. Which would be good. Arguably the world would be improved if MOST "things" were bricked, anyway.

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Tom Paine

Re: Oh wow

Why? Haven't you heard of code signing?

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Elon Musk: I'm gonna turn Mars into a $10bn death-dealing interplanetary gas station

Tom Paine

Never gonna happen

As Ars Technica pointed out, who's going to pay for this fantasy? (Spoiler alert: no-one.)

The USSR tried to get to the moon by putting a very large number of engines in one booster: the N1. There's some spectacular footage of the consequent fireworks on YT; check it out. The more engines, the bigger the chance of one going bang, and though they claim to be able to survive an engine failure, I guarantee there are failure modes that lead to a very bad day.

When you're only incinerating three or four astronauts -- that's bad enough. Incinerate 100 billionaires and you've bought yourself a permanent place in the big book of human hubris.

Oh, and -- consider the mass of fuel this monster booster would have to carry (way more than SV.) How far away would you have to be at launch to be realistically safe in the event of a bad day? Again, YT has some horrific footage the Intelsat / Long March launch that rolled over to a trajectory parallel to the ground shortly after clearing the tower before crashing into a nearby town. The Chinese still haven't released casualty figures, but the footage of the aftermath shot by shocked western engineers on their way out of town makes it clear that hundreds was very optimistic. Doesn't the size of the energy release scale at something like the cube of the booster's mass?

Anyway, as the piece implies, there's more chance of me taking over as Bake Off presenter than this thing ever flying.

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The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Tom Paine

Re: Thank you el reg

(as I've said many times, there is no right not to be offended).
You weren't the first, dear heart, and you're unlikely to be the last. And El Reg has no right to be read, either, and if boreish sexism and the like alienates the readership to the extent that it starts to lose audience, it's the publisher's right to refactor the codebase until the right answer ("Profit!") comes out. There may be more "SJW"s (I read that as "non-bores") than you imagine.

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Tom Paine

Re: @Thought About IT /Page and Worstall "moved on" in the Autumn, right?

makes ya wonder, doesn't it ?
Only if you're profoundly ignorant of basic climatology.

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Tom Paine

Re: RE:"The tech angle"

being able to paste the shortened form of a journal name doesn't mean you know anything about the science, either -- in fact, you demonstrably know nothing about it, from the howlers in your comment.

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Tom Paine

Re: Page and Worstall "moved on" in the Autumn, right?

Rubbish. Your google searchterm starter for ten is "GCM skillfulness hindcast". Maybe you should have read up on the science a bit more when you (claim) to have been working on models. (Where was that BTW - Hadley, or the UEA?)

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Tom Paine
Pint

Re: Page and Worstall "moved on" in the Autumn, right?

I stopped reading El Reg almost a decade ago as I couldn't stand that Orlowski / Page conspiracist nonsense about AGW. As others have said, denying basic science is best left to the many US-based loony sites, along with 9/11 truthers, birthers, black helicopters and all the rest of it. Having dipped back once or twice in the last few months I've been encouraged to see no more of that rubbish and am now reading El Reg again, and greatly enjoying the original non-bullshit, funny sub-heads, in-jokes about Jesus phones and fondleslabs, excellent signal:noise in the comments, and all the rest of it. Bravo, keep it up, have a beer.

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Scrapped NHS care.data ballsup cost taxpayer almost £8m

Tom Paine

£8m? 0.001% of total public sector expenditure*, then? Not that big of a deal -- and a miinscule expenditure compared to boondoggles like UC or those wretched aircraft carriers.

* £770 Bn in 2016-17. Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2016-documents/budget-2016

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What's going on with X.org? Desktop software body could lose domain

Tom Paine

Re: Pass the Sick Bag!

Ahhh, well, you should have looped in rather than reached out, you see.

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Turing, Hauser, Sinclair – haunt computing's Cambridge A-team stamping ground

Tom Paine

Micro Men

Micro Men really /is/ fabulous, well worth 90 minutes of your time, and the complete film's available on YouTube. (Blocked at work, so I can't post the link, but a quick search finds it easily.) There's also the rather wonderful "micro men remix", a pounding techno tune incorporating some of Alexander Armstrong's magnificent swearing in the role of Sir Clive...

Never stand still!

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Days are numbered for the Czech Republic

Tom Paine

anecdotal data point

The fine Czech staff at my local pub (which is most of them, it's a long story), if asked, say they are "from Czech". FWIW.

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SpaceX: Breach in liquid oxygen tank caused Falcon 9 fireball ... probably

Tom Paine

Tuesday's Mars annoucement

Anyone bored enough to have read this far down the comments may like to know Elon Musk's scheduled to unveil the architecture for his bat-shit crazy* Mars Colonial Transporter fantasy.

Excellent summary of the, uh, challenges:

http://arstechnica.co.uk/science/2016/09/between-a-rocket-and-a-hard-place-elon-musk-to-give-the-speech-of-his-life/

* credibility of project may vary according to how much Star Trek you watch.

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British unis mull offshore EU campuses in post-Brexit vote panic

Tom Paine

Re: Lack of imagination

We are not living in the 1960s any more, grasshopper. (Or should that be 'Toto'?)

Why would overseas students want the immigration paperwork and expense in a country that (from their point of view) appears to have been taken over by xenophobic thugs?*

* I'm not saying it /has/ been, but when mobs are beating people to death in the streets for speaking Polish, it's certainly going to look that way over the Channel. If you know any EU nationals here today, especially younger ones with portable skills and few ties, you'll know this perception is very, very real. People are leaving.

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Tom Paine

Re: Move your Uni to the EU?

Isn't it obvious? It's a problem because UK investment money, clue and skillz are leaving the country. This is not going to help the economy or society.

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Tom Paine

This isn't about UK citizens going to the Warsaw branch of Nuneaton University.

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‘Penultimate’ BlackBerry seen on 'do not publish' page as fire sale begins

Tom Paine

+1 for an elderly Z10 still going strong. I bust the screen a year ago, just as my contract was coming up, and EE dumped the worst piece-of-crap Samsung device imaginable on me. Horribly slippery (unlikely the nice rubberised back of the Z10), *just* slightly too big to fit in my hand and allow one-thumb typing, and the apps - my god! what a crock! the Contacts only allowed one number per contact FFS. (Android fanboy told me "oh, yes, well *obviously* you need to jailbreak it and install an entirely new s/w stack to make it usable" -- WTAF??)

In the end I had a massive sense of humour failure in a pub toilet (yes, drink had been taken) and deliberately smashed it beyond all hope of repair by repeatedly hurling it against a hard tiled floor -- and my GOD it felt good. Bought a replacement screen for the Z10 for £12 online, found a walk-through on YouTube and replaced it myself. God knows what I'll do when it finally dies though - I'm one of those weirdos who regards Apple as pure evil, and my experience of Android makes me very reluctant to go back there again. (Srsly, how do people ever use it? It was shockingly bad, almost unusable.

Oh yeah, and screw EE too.

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Valid logins to your workplace are on the net, right now

Tom Paine

Re: The IT Security counterpart of the Central Banking mentality.

As pointed out here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/09/23/if_your_company_has_terrible_it_security_that_could_be_a_rational_business_decision/

...it's not necessarily an irrational decision. Once the penalties for leaking PII are reset to sane (ie,. expensive) levels, and a few companies have gone down in flames after a BEC or other financial fraud, the calculation will shift and more orgs will be motivated to do it properly - or at least try to.

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MI6 to hire another 1,000 bods 'cos of private surveillance tech

Tom Paine

[..] most people who are rich enough to live in and around London are privately educated

*cough*bollocks*cough*

Not even true for people who moved to London / SE for work from elsewhere in the country, like me.

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Half! a! billion! Yahoo! email! accounts! raided! by! 'state! hackers!'

Tom Paine

Re: An observation - it is possible the passwords have been cracked

Properly hashed passwords /can/ be hacked, but it takes a hell of a long time, even with a fancy GPU-packed dedicated rig. Check the Wikipedia article on Bcrypt.

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Tom Paine

Re: A bit elitist aren't you El Reg?

Gmail supports IMAP and always has done. https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7126229?hl=en

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Report: NSA hushed up zero-day spyware tool losses for three years

Tom Paine

"According to US government guidelines the NSA is supposed to assess the seriousness of zero-day flaws it finds and inform companies if it feels they are serious enough. [...] That didn't happen, and a lot of security people are going to be asking why not."

I really don't think anyone will be asking why not; it's completely bloody obvious.

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Windows Server 2016: Leg up or lock in?

Tom Paine

And native bash and GNU utils, and open sourcing Powershell,..

I wouldn't be at all surprised if MS were offering a Linux distro with a Windowsy userland alongside NT-based OSes in five years' time.

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Virgin Media costs balloon by MEEELLIONS in wake of Brexit

Tom Paine

"Tom Mockridge"

Now there's a name to conjure with... anyone remember the phone hacking connection?

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US Navy grabs old-fashioned sextants amid hacker attack fears

Tom Paine

And what's wrong with log tables?

Can't hack a sextant perhaps, but an EMP that takes out the computer you use for the trig-and-log-tables work we were taught from the age of 12 back when schools were real schools and teachers were real teachers would still leave the USN guessing their position. (I suppose the EMP would also have killed the boat's propulsion anyway, so maybe not that big of a deal I suppose.)

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CloudFlare offers web encryption up the wazoo

Tom Paine
Go

Accidental omission

"Full Disclosure: El Reg is a CloudFlare customer."

Anyone know where I could get hold of one of those "Integrity? We've heard of it" Reg t-shirts from back in the day? I've always coveted one...

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Zuckerberg to spend $3bn+ to rid world of all disease by 2100 (Starting with Facebook, right?)

Tom Paine

Zuckerberg also said that he would be bringing his engineering skills to setting up a global communications network to link scientists, researchers, engineers, and other specialists so that they could share that information.

Some form of packet switched computer network, perhaps, with many independent cooperating networks exchanging routing data so that any one node can communicate with any other?

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TRUMP: ICANN'T EVEN! America won't hand over internet control to Russia on my watch

Tom Paine

Re: All hail the new Golden Don!

Magnificent satire! You should work this character up into a newspaper column or suchlike.

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Tom Paine
Facepalm

Wishful thinking

World collectively bangs its head against wall

Except in America, where 40% of the electorate (Jack and Hortense) think that sounds perfectly reasonable and are even more convinced Trump's the candidate for them.

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Wow, RIP hackers ... It's Cyber-Lord Blunkett to the rescue for UK big biz

Tom Paine

Re: Mixed bag

The terrifying/depressing thing is how few organisations could reach even this basic infosec-101 level of competence. Sometimes I wake up to news of the latest big compromise or data leak and think "Yay! Job for life!" ... then ten seconds later I'm thinking: "Oh god, no, a job for life -- coping with all this /o\ "

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Victoria Police warn of malware-laden USB sticks in letterboxes

Tom Paine

Re: The urge to execute arbitrary code is growing stronger...

Sounds good, where do I sign?

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Tom Paine

Re: I'd have a play with one.

And how will you know whether the worst has happened?

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Tom Paine

Re: What size?

Oh dear, the Linux fanboy ignorance and arrogance is still alive and well, isn't it. Have you never heard of in-memory malware? Never heard of bootloaders or persistence via microcode in the NIC / storage/ video controllers? SMM ring any bells? IPMI? BMC?

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Tom Paine

Re: What size?

And you check the integrity of the onboard processors and their hidden storage areas how, exactly?

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Will US border officials demand social network handles from visitors?

Tom Paine

Simple answer

Don't go. I'd already got the US on my list of places to never ever visit, having heard so many horror stories from friends and family about the gestapo at immigration -- if there was ever a reason to actually visit a country full of Americans anyway for reasons other than horrified anthropological study.

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