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* Posts by Mike Shepherd

207 posts • joined 23 Aug 2008

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ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

Mike Shepherd

Necessary

These laws are necessary since Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

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UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

Mike Shepherd

How helpful...

How helpful of the US to claim only a few days ago that increased airline security was needed. It is remarkable how "pressing" legislative needs so often follow high-profile "security" stories.

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Russian law will force citizens' personal data to be stored locally

Mike Shepherd

Re: Amazing.

Does it matter? Visiting Moscow or St Petersburg, you may have the impression that plastic is as widespread as here. But most Russians don't use credit cards at all.

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NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic

Mike Shepherd

Re: Second leaker

No citation? No evidence? Just "Some people believe..."?

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Windows users: You get a patch! And you get a patch! And you get a patch! Everybody gets...

Mike Shepherd

Month after month, year after year

When security patches are needed, month after month, with no apparent reduction, for faults which "...allow an attacker to take complete control of your PC", you have to ask if the architecture is flawed.

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Maplin Electronics sold for £85m to Rutland Partners

Mike Shepherd
Meh

Online

"...Maplin is working to build the online portion of its business, as many old world retailers have belatedly done".

Maplin had online ordering (via a 300 baud connection) at least as early as 1983, although orders placed at the weekend might not be processed until Tuesday, which made you wonder why they provided the service at all.

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David Cameron wants mobe network roaming INSIDE the UK

Mike Shepherd

"Boondocks"

Maybe the author could explain his parochial version of English (after explaining his weird opinions).

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Cisco: You think the internet is clogged with video now? Just wait until 2018

Mike Shepherd

Don't worry

Hardly any of it will be worth watching, anyway.

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Déjà spew: US would accept higher bills for less CO2 by two-to-one

Mike Shepherd

It's simpler than that

The mistake is to believe what people say they'd do, especially when it involves reaching into their pockets.

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BT snatches crown: Soars to top of complaints list

Mike Shepherd

Re: BT =

I agree that, in this case, a more considered analysis would be pointless. After more than 30 years, it is a great relief to abandon all direct contact with BT. My ISP will deal with BT Openreach, a transfer of sustained pain for which I feel some guilt.

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Home Office terminates order for 16,000 PCs from Dell

Mike Shepherd

Don't worry, Mr Lamb...

...it's only public money!

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French data cops to Google: RIGHT, you had your chance. PUNISHMENT time

Mike Shepherd

Re: Fines are fine

Go, Frenchie!

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Keyboard, you're not my type

Mike Shepherd

"I'm sure you agree that things have changed considerably since then"

No.

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Pipex 'silence' condemned punters' emails to spam blackhole

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

Why not run your own power station, too?

We could all run our own SMTP server, like we could all grow our own food, make our own shoes and sew our own clothes. You need to make your way into the 18th century. (Look on the back of a £20 note, assuming you don't do everything by barter).

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US quakes before MENACING TURKEYS, snow globes

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

Options

There's an option. You can have compulsory standards for dangerous equipment or you can shout "No Big Government", so certifying authorities like UL are reduced to pleading with consumers to watch their demonstrations.

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Punters go postal with erratic Royal Mail site

Mike Shepherd
Stop

"Director of Customer Experience"

You couldn't make this stuff up.

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IP registry goes to Defcon 1 as IPv4 doomsday nears

Mike Shepherd

Prediction

No-one will force you to provide an IPv6 service. As you imply, many applications won't use it for a very long time. But if your prediction doesn't come true, there will soon be devices around the world which have only an IPv6 address and you won't get any traffic from them.

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Mike Shepherd
Happy

Why would you need separate IPv6 addresses?

A small part of the IPv6 space has been allocated to correspond to the entire IPv4 address space.

So, if you have a IPv4 address then you already have a corresponding range of IPv6 addresses. E.g. see http://www.twibble.org/Articles/IPv6/6to4.

Of course, if the IPv4 addresses are static, then the IPv6 addresses are static, too.

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CPS: We won't prosecute over BT/Phorm secret trials

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

Legal advice

"BT and Phorm had received considerable legal advice...and were advised it was unlikely to be contrary to..."

There seems to be some confusion here. Lawyers are paid to say that black is white (and, if paid even more, to argue this before a judge).

What matters is the decision of a court (and only that). If "legal advice" carries weight, we could all "get our mitigation in first" by paying for a legal opinion in case our crookery came to light.

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Tie me customer down, sport

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

"How difficult is it to capture a date of birth and send a relevant offer each year?"

I don't mind an infrequent e-mail from a supplier, to remind me that they exist and to tell me what they're up to.

Intruding on my private life is another matter. My birthday concerns my family, not colleagues or acquaintances. It sure as hell doesn't concern suppliers.

Perhaps these "marketers" send out their private greetings in the same way: "Happy Birthday. Many Happy Returns. Do not reply to this message as the sending address is not monitored. Click this link to update personal details or if the addressee has died". Do these idiots really believe that people are thrilled to get birthday greetings that they know are from a machine?

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UK is a closed source 'stronghold'

Mike Shepherd
Stop

Hard evidence, anyone?

'Canonical is involved in a project to ship millions of PCs pre-installed with Ubuntu out to rural communities....“Who knows what the people who get these machines will do with them,” George says'.

Well, instead of asking "Who knows", get back to us in ten years and let us know. Better still, since Linux has been around for twice that long, please point out the persuasive examples which show clearly the fatal error of depending on "proprietary" software. Instead what we hear is mere speculation.

It seems more likely that proprietary software does well in the UK because we can afford it, while the "Chinese rural communities" cannot. Using "open source" software might not put them greatly at a disadvantage, but neither will it turn them from necessity into soaring eagles of computer technology, any more than the quirks of my car will push me to redesign it and hence forge a new automobile industry to rival Honda, Mercedes and the rest.

On this PC I use the latest version of Open Office, but it is, frankly, inferior to Microsoft's Office 2003 which I use on another. As someone who has done little but work in software for 30 years, am I tempted to take out the Open Office gearbox and change it to suit my needs? I am not. Microsoft Office and Open Office are just tools I use on the way to somewhere else. They both have faults, but I am no more tempted to fix one than the other, simply because I have access to its design information.

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Locked iPhones still got their ears on

Mike Shepherd

"Apple is maintaining its traditional silence on the matter..."

I wouldn't want to judge without the full information, so it would be interesting to know what enquiries have been made and with how much enthusiasm.

If Apple's official position is indeed persistently to say nothing on matters which have given rise to legitimate customer enquiries, it's difficult (whatever the size of the company) to regard them as more than "cowboys".

I don't have any Apple products. Speaking to those who have, they appear to be genuinely impressed by their features, much less by the reliability and customer service. Maybe this can work for disposable toys or for equipment I can maintain myself, but not for a car or other complex equipment on which my livelihood depends.

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Google insists it couldn't have been British. Excuse me?

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

English

Is there an English version of this post?

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Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

"...Google...could never have started...in Britain"

Maybe you could say the same of Al Capone. His was another business based on the work of others unable to enforce their rights.

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Yanks outweigh Canucks: Official

Mike Shepherd
Happy

"Obesity 8% less in Canada than in the US"

Sounds like a desperate bunch of Canadians if they were forced to this comparison, like a mass-murderer pleading mitigation because "Attila the Hun was far worse".

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BT fibre-to-the-premises trial takes 7 hours per install

Mike Shepherd

Not a problem

'BT's "superfast" broadbrand programme director, told El Reg that the company was still waiting for clearance from local authorities in Haringey to let the company install 18 of its cabinets'

Clearly, the local residents don't want it. Why is this a problem when there is demand elsewhere and we are invited to believe that the current limitation is how fast that demand can be met?

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Government flies kite for VAT changes

Mike Shepherd
Stop

Customs and Revenue / Revenue and Customs

HM Revenue and Customs won't "inspect every single imported item" any more than they inspect every purchase of a bar of chocolate from your corner shop. Nor do HMR&C "calculate the value and then charge VAT". VAT is administered by those who must charge it and by those who pay it but can reclaim it (as part of a legitimate business activity).

There is a registration and monitoring scheme for VAT, just as for PAYE. HMR&C investigate here and there to ensure compliance and imposes discouraging penalties where appropriate. If you try serious circumvention, you may be discovered and suffer criminal penalties.

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Is videoconferencing reborn?

Mike Shepherd
Grenade

More like suboptimal

"Videoconferencing" more than three people is inefficient and unpleasant, because the participants are distracted constantly by figuring out who is speaking and when they can get a word in without talking over everyone else.

Maybe they help introduce people to each other, but you can do that with one-to-one video (or just a photo). The real work is done in writing and in one-to-one conversations.

Webcasts (like videoconferencing) are largely a gimmick. Why not just collect a few questions and answer them in a short written article? That way, both questions and answers are likely to be better considered, more succintly expressed and quicker to take in (skipping those in which we have little interest). Don't expect any serious "interaction" because the experience is "real-time".

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German 'minister for cut'n'paste' resigns over PhD plagiarism

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

Friends, Romans, Countrymen!

They'll never find me out.

If it were so, it was a grievous fault.

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US trade rep bashes Baidu for 'deep linking' naughtiness

Mike Shepherd
FAIL

"The question is, which is to be master - that's all"

"When _I_ use a word", Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less"

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Gmail users howl in anguish at 'disappeared' accounts

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

"Not a good example" @ James Huze 1

You're confused. If banking isn't "free" then Google isn't "free", either.

You could as easily have written "Google have your e-mails and they make money from them (more than its costs them to provide the service), because they examine those e-mails as part of targeted advertising, which they sell (for real money). Maybe it's not much, but multiply it by the number of customers enjoying "free" service and you have the money to pay for the computer network".

We all know the business model: explaining it doesn't get you anywhere. It's still a question of providing service in exchange for some advantage, be that your money or your attention to their adverts. The question is whether or not Google provide a service to which you would trust valuable information.

You can search T&Cs all day: that won't answer the question. Would you be happier if Google's terms said "We may lose all your data but you can always sue us"? The point is that "cloud" facilities are presented as secure, but the experience so far is that data can go missing for days (or forever) because the technology is immature or poorly-managed. In comparison, it's very cheap to backup your own data. You know how long it would take to recover a lost item and you don't rely on suing Google to get back to where you thought you were before you used their service.

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Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

Banks

Let's apply your logic (perhaps in more polite language) to banks.

"We lost some people's money, but it was only 0.08% of customers, just a hundred thousand or so. The service is free, what on earth are these idiots whingeing about...you get access to how many MILLIONS of cash machines....you want the earth for nothing, freeloaders!"

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Mike Shepherd
Happy

Whiners

"This issue affects less than 0.08 per cent..."

Translation: you always get a few whiners.

I prefer to think "Hey, this is computers. What we can do with 0.08%, we can do in a few seconds with the other 99.92%!".

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German data regulators move to tighten IP address laws

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Up

Belonging

It's not about what belongs to whom. It's about putting together information (from whatever sources) to draw conclusions on matters proscribed by Data Protection laws.

Even if you visit most sites anonymously, it's very useful to Google if they see the same IP address (dynamic or not) a few seconds or minutes apart.on two or more different sites. It allows them to draw likely conclusions which will soon connect your buying habits, your e-mail address, your taste in pornography etc.

Of course, you'd hear arguments like "Well, we didn't know for absolute certain sure, your honour. it could have been someone re-using the same IP address 30s later" or "It could have been a proxy", But the information needn't be 100% accurate to gain enormous advantage from it (and to cause a great deal of trouble).

A couple of weeks ago, I searched idly for information on laser toner prices, because I knew i'd need a new cartridge in the next couple of months. My next visit to YouTube (not linked explicitly to a Google account) was accompanied by adverts for laser toner. Even at its most innocent, it's like being dogged at every turn by pestering salespeople. Go, Germany!

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Severe bug deadlocks BIND

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

Perhaps...

Perhaps you could write your suggested one-line version of this story for us. it will, presumably, be written for those of you who are familiar with all aspects of IT.

I'm impressed by your implied breadth of knowledge, because after more than 30 years in the field, I find that I know only a small portion of it.

I run a few DNS servers (one with BIND) and I'm familiar with the subject of this article, but I'm not offended by the writer's proper attempts to make it clear to those for whom DNS is only a vague notion. If only all the articles here were written so well, the site would be much improved.

Why not apply to "The Register" for a job as journalist. We'll be interested, if not amused, to see how far you get.

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Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

"...users could still reach websites by using the IP address..."

They'd usually need to do this by intercepting the DNS query (e.g. by amending the HOSTS file).

If you simply type the server's IP address into a browser, the server can't know which of its sites you want (unless it hosts only one). (See HTTP 1.1 and host headers).

Some write constantly here about "virtualisation". The notion of one site per server must surely give them the vapours.

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Inventor of the Workmate dies

Mike Shepherd
IT Angle

It's the same in IT

The prescience of Stanley et al., convinced that "we know our market", was matched in the 90s by cellphone service providers who believed inter-network SMS was more trouble than it was worth.

Long live those like Hickman, with the confidence to recognise an "expert" in a rut.

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Mozilla: 'Internet Explorer 9 is not a modern browser'

Mike Shepherd
Stop

As a user...

Since the teachers are fighting in the staff room, I'll just choose the one with nicer colours that doesn't keep crashing.

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European child abuse image law a step closer

Mike Shepherd
Joke

"The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees..."

It is indeed a constant problem, immigrants who refuse to learn English.

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The case for DV

Mike Shepherd

"Most organisations are virtualising the desktop"

I think you were right the first time: no, they're not.

Most organisations have a few PCs and don't "virtualise" anything. What's more, that's exactly right for them.

The author omits any figures to justify "most organisations" and (I would suggest) doesn't have any. It recalls Kelvin's remark: "...when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot...your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science...".

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eHarmony plays down data breach on dating advice site

Mike Shepherd
Heart

Your place or mine?

Who knows, AC. Maybe we're made for each other...

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Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

"We also protect our networks with...sophisticated security approaches"

Translation: we left the front door open, but you should see the expensive locks we had on it.

"Sophisticated security" usually means "so complex, even we can't be sure it works".

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Mysterious crypto-book dated to 15th century

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Up

"...a section which mainly shows naked women in pools or bathtubs"

Run that bit by me again.

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Microsoft 'personalizes' Bing search results

Mike Shepherd

I am Bing. I reflect your every expectation. My purpose is never to surprise.

Why would I want a search engine that shows me only the type of stuff I've seen already?

It's like those personal ads seeking "a like-minded person". What would you learn from someone who's "like-minded"?

With such search engines, perhaps the internet really will create a world of contented, unambitious zombies, never desiring a world beyond that which they know.

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BSA nabs Chester MS software pirate

Mike Shepherd
FAIL

False economy

"Michala Wardell, Chair, BSA UK Committee, said the case showed that using unlicensed software was a false economy".

It's not clear that the case demonstrates this. Most who people who use "unlicensed" software get away with it, so the question of whether or not it's "economical" to do so rests on the advantage of not paying against the possible cost of getting caught.

Wardell's statement is little more than an advertisement for her organisation.

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Three jailed for phone box thievery

Mike Shepherd
Thumb Down

"made up number"

Knowingly to provide false information to the court would be a serious criminal offence. Perhaps you forget that BT doesn't just collect cash from the phone boxes and conclude its recent fortunes from the weight of the bags. It has a billing system which indicates how much is expected to be there.

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Why is virtualisation important?

Mike Shepherd
Stop

Ask me if I care

We read here of "virtualisation" every few days.

Given its minor position, eclipsed by numerous other branches of IT, many more relevant and almost all more interesting, you have to ask why.

Gravity is important, too, but I don't benefit from reading about it several times a week.

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Nationwide customers find online front door shut

Mike Shepherd
FAIL

Error 509 - bad hair day

It's a long time since I used their online banking, but I remember that error messages seemed only remotely connected to the actual fault.

The generaly principle seemed to be "blame the user by listing half a dozen things they can get wrong, completely unrelated to what actually happened".

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Ofcom okays Derren Brown psychic-baiting

Mike Shepherd
Happy

IT angle

Sometime, somewhere (apparently), a pixel from the show went through an MPEG encoder, so it counts as bullseye Register material.

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Scanner snares senior servant

Mike Shepherd
Stop

'...a logging...environment...that flagged keywords such as “knockers”'

With drought, global economic meltdown, devastating floods and now the worst cyclone for 30 years, it's interesting that civil servants still spend Australians' money on stuff like this.

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