* Posts by Chris King

598 posts • joined 13 Feb 2009

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Standards body warned SMS 2FA is insecure and nobody listened

Chris King
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Why bother trying to redirect the SMS ?

How many apps ask for access to your SMS inbox and your address book these days, even if they don't really need those permissions ?

One rogue app, and you can pick up the victim's SMS without even having to interact with the MNO. App stores make this even easier, because users are encouraged to search for an app by name, and unless they check they've picked the right one... bingo, pwned.

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It’s Brexploitation! Microsoft punishes UK for Brexit with cloud price-gouging

Chris King
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"If they foresee that within a few years the UK customer base will have reverted to bartering leaves for acorns for food"

With our lords and masters wanting to tamper with crypto for their own ends, nobody sane will want to take credit card orders from us. We'll be back to Postal Orders before we know it... but they've pretty much buggered up the Post Office in rural areas.

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to gather up leaves.

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Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

Chris King
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Re: Bless....

I treated myself to a Das Keyboard mechanical keyboard a couple of years back, and made the mistake of trying to clean the keycaps a little over-zealously. Poor thing looked it had aged several years in a matter of seconds, and Das don't sell full replacement keycap kits.

I ended up buying a generic set of Cherry MX keycaps from Amazon, and they were laser-etched PBT rather than ABS - they feel a little bit rougher, but they're a lot more durable too. Double-shot PBT should last even longer.

(Oh, and Das have a nasty habit of gluing in some of the stabilisers for the bigger keys, so budget for replacements)

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Imagine every mistake you can make with a new software rollout...

Chris King
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Re: SO VERY TRUE!

"If I apply to do an MBA will they actually remove any logic circuits from my brain?"

From what I've seen of younger MBA's, the logic circuits are all left in place, but the course material shorts them all out.

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Eugene Kaspersky is now personally defending your feet

Chris King
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Re: Darn it...

Don't worry, it's not like you've put your foot in it or anything.

My coat too, if you please...

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Chris King
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Re: Scaling new lows

"Security used to be pants..."

Sophos said something very similar years ago, and they sent my colleague a pair of Y-fronts to prove it. I think they also sent him an odd sock as well !

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What's the first emotion you'd give an AI that might kill you? Yes, fear

Chris King
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Re: Be careful what you wish for...

The Daleks were supposed to be the ultimate evolution of their species, so this is entirely possible.

It also explains Davros... Or should I say "Rupert" ?

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Chris King
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Re: Be careful what you wish for...

Now I think about it further, they're cyborgs anyway, not AI's - but conditioned/taught to treat anything that isn't a Dalek as slaves or target practice. If they're following that conditioning to the letter, is that really hate, or just doing what they're told ? Looks the same if you're on the business end of the gun-stalk, I guess.

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Chris King
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Be careful what you wish for...

"... Let's just keep the AI emotionless?"

"Pity? I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE !!!"

(Can we have a Dalek icon please, El Reg ?)

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Chris King
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"If I was not afraid of incarceration by human authority figures..."

Why am I suddenly reminded of the "I find you unacceptable !" scene from "Coneheads" ?

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How-to terror manuals still being sold by Apple, Amazon, Waterstones

Chris King
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Re: They make great gifts

A-level chemistry textbooks from that era (pre Health and Safety hysteria) contained some pretty hair raising stuff. I had one that contained a method for producing TNT, along with several compounds that are now classed as chemical weapons.

I threw it on a bonfire many years ago, and it burned with an odd-coloured flame...

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Chris King
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Re: Sorry...I don't believe it...

"An Apple rep talking to El Reg. Pics or it didn't happen..."

If we get one it will be a Playmobil pic, to maintain El Reg standards.

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Sysadmin denies boss's request to whitelist smut talk site of which he was a very happy member

Chris King
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Sometimes it's not so much a save, it's more of a gentle push off the edge of a tall cliff...

I once had a prof complain that other people were hogging the campus internet connection and preventing him from doing his "research". He refused to tell me what he was up to, but the firewall and proxy logs sang like a wet, horny canary... From the URL's and Google descriptions, it seemed that he liked to regularly "interview" some of those nice young ladies who charge handsomely for their time, yet never seem to be able to afford a full set of clothes.

I was all set to have a cosy chat with him, and point out that doing this sort of thing from his office was a bad idea - nothing too heavy, I'm not a total prude and I had better things to do than be "porn police".

Unfortunately, he decided to rip me a new orifice in front of his minions.

I handed his secretary a list of the URL's, whispered "I really hope he isn't claiming all this on expenses", and walked out again. Let's just say I never heard another peep out of him after that.

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No super-kinky web smut please, we're British

Chris King
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Re: Trying to legislate morality ...

"... just makes you look silly, and irritates the pig".

So that's why a certain ex-PM supposedly did what he did with a dead pig then ?

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Stay out of my server room!

Chris King
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In an early job, it was decided that the MicroVAXen would live in a cupboard behind the reception area.

A sparky from HQ was duly sent down to sort out "aircon" for the cupboard.

He fitted one of those little extractor fans people use in toilets, with a thermostatic control.

Unfortunately, he wired it all up so the fan stayed ON until a certain temperature was exceeded.

One unusually warm Easter weekend later, the whole cluster got cooked.

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Kids' Hour of Code turns into a giant corporate infomercial for kids

Chris King
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Re: Duh

"You don't need Microsoft and Apple to start to teach coding".

You do if you're too cheap to fund the programme properly and need "sponsors" to pay for stuff. Remember, this is a photo-opportunity for a minister (or two) and the companies involved, if some spotty little oik actually manages to learn something then that's a bonus.

"You need a teacher capable of explaining what a problem is, how to get from A to B, and how to break that into clearly defined steps. Then, and only then, should one think of touching a computer".

Exactly. But the teachers are also being taught to code in the same way in short workshops, if they're being taught at all. A couple of sessions on the basics of taking a problem and breaking it down into steps wouldn't go amiss - they know how to do this in the analog world (think about putting together lesson plans to meet curriculum objectives) but some people need more help than others taking the same steps before writing code.

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Chris King
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Re: Child labor?

"Krillitane oil".

You are the Doctor, and I claim my free Tin Dog.

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Chris King
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"The excitement in tech isnt in the end result, its in the process of discovery and that is how things stick in your mind".

And THAT went "whoosh" over their heads when they tried to shoe-horn coding into an already overcrowded curriculum. They've turned the "process of discovery" into "coursework", and that's going to extinguish the creative spark in some kids.

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China cites Trump to justify ‘fake news’ media clampdown. Surprised?

Chris King
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I guess...

Trump declaring his hair to be real was too much for them to take in. I still can't believe it either.

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Forget 'shadow IT' – it's 'self-starting IT' now

Chris King
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And when they really cheap out...

Your little disaster area will serve as a lesson as to why we have standards in IT.

(Even if we're a bigger disaster area, at least WE have a Standards-Based Disaster)

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Put down the org chart, snowflake: Why largile's for management crybabies

Chris King
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Re: Agile is like sex

Also: One slip, and you support it for life.

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User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

Chris King
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"Looking at how some people leave a toilet after using it, they need a lot of instructions..."

It's amazing how many folks can't even cope with instructions like "Sit down and follow the force of gravity while going number twos", was that bog in zero-g when they used it or what ?!

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KCL staff offered emotional support, clergy chat to help get over data loss

Chris King
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"The Chaplaincy has arranged two special drop-in sessions where people can either speak to a Chaplain 1:1, or share experiences with other people affected".

I read that as "Chaplain 1.1" and wondered if "Chaplain 2.0" was a bot on social networking ! Or even...

"Computer, activate Emergency Theolgical Hologram !"

"Please state the nature of the Ecumenical emergency, my son"

(I think we need an "I need to get out more often" icon for such misunderstandings...)

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Nostradamus, what do you see in 2017?

Chris King
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Re: My predictions for 2017

"Apple will buy sports rights, but will be totally ripped of by FIFA".

Either that, or Sepp Blatter joins the Apple board and the tax payments for Ireland are found resting in one of his bank accounts.

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Post-outage King's College London orders staff to never make their own backups

Chris King
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Re: Let them use 7-Zip

Maybe written on Post-It note by a doctor. An unbreakable code.

Just don't ask me to write it down, or it will be one-way encryption.

At school, my careers teacher told me I should be a doctor... "King, your handwriting is so bad it deserves to poison somebody !"

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Chris King
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Re: Levels of backup

Backing stuff up between machines in a research group is one thing, but you still need to make sure you've got a backup somewhere else.

What if you're all in one building that goes BOOMCRACKLECRACKLECRACKLE ?

(I was there a couple of weeks before the blaze, and a colleague said "Oooh, I wouldn't want to be near those gas tanks if the place goes up !")

I've also seen a research team lose access to everything when one of their number did something rather naughty, and Mr Plod seized ALL of their kit. They had all been backing up their work to each other's machines, and NOWHERE else. Fortunately, they got their machines back reasonably quickly, but not before they had to buy replacements and beg Plod to make a copy of their data to fresh disks.

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Australia teases binning x86 for Power CPUs in new supercomputer

Chris King
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Re: Old fogey mode

Alpha was never 32-bit, and NT ran like chilled treacle on them.

Nothing like buying a new AlphaServer while MS and Compaq were BFF's, then having to explain to explain to management three weeks later that Win2K on Alpha had been cancelled :-(

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Mark Zuckerberg is dead – Facebook confirmed

Chris King
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Ding Dong, The Witch Is...

...oh.

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Angry user demands three site visits to fix email address typos

Chris King
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Re: So you didn't fix root cause

"Lotus Notes? wasnt that that office suite we used to run in DOS 6.22 before windows came along?"

Sadly, it evolved and mutated. And not in the "awesome super powers" way either.

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Chris King
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Re: Primary teachers

"I know a few. They spend so much time with the dribbly end of the pupil cadre that their brains turn a little bit mushy".

Poor buggers. It's usually having to deal with the more "special" parents that inflicts most of the brain damage these days.

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Chris King
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Re: Not me, but a colleague ..

"As I was leaving she was very drunk and loudly telling everyone in the room that because the cleaner had not laid her clothes out on the bed that morning that she had been forced to come to work with no knickers".

So I guess that one went on the "sun-over-the-yardarm" list, i.e. customers you only visit in the morning because they'll be drunk, rude and unreasonable after a liquid lunch ?

On the subject of underwear (or lack thereof), I have actually bailed out of an on-call when one sozzled customer asked me if I knew what a VPL was, and then mentioned that she wasn't wearing any.

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What went wrong at Tesco Bank?

Chris King
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Re: Insider job?

Or more likely - who sends you a postcard from their new island retreat, saying "So long, suckers !"

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The Reg seeks online community manager

Chris King
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Re: Digital Ninja?

BYOS (Bring Your Own Shuriken) ?

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Any questions? No, not you again at the back, please God no

Chris King
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So you didn't bother with that perfectly good stand-by, the rolled-up piece of paper...

...wrapped around a half-brick ? (or a full brick for the more bone-headed types)

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Chris King
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Re: although I imagine Ryanair might yet put this idea under consideration

Don't give them any ideas now - with the exchange rates being what they are, how many kidneys would they demand for the Excess Luggage Fee ?

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Chris King
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Re: I know that feeling

Councils and stupid policies... why is that so familiar ?

One morning, I'm accosted by some numpty handing out little composting bins, and he refused to take "No" for an answer.

"Look, I live in an upstairs flat with no garden, and I don't even have enough space for window boxes - what the hell am I going to do with compost ?"

"Errr, I don't know, but Composting Is Good" (yes, "Composting Is Good" was the catch phrase)

After going round this argument in circles for several minutes, I accepted the box and sent him on his way. Once he was out of sight, I threw it into my green wheelie bin, because "Recycling is good".

Turns out everyone else had the same idea, and on the next collection day the bin men had a bit of a surprise... That green wheelie bin was completely full to the brim of these little composting bins !

Thinking back, I know I did a very bad thing, throwing it away in the green garden waste bin like that... being plastic, I should have stuffed it into a green recycling bag.

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Hell Desk's 800 number was perfect for horrible heavy-breathing harassment calls

Chris King
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Re: Gateway

Then of course there was boyzone.com - which had absolutely nothing to do with the band of the same name, but which scarred many freshers who searched for them and picked the wrong result.

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Chris King
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Flasher Season

Current gig has a path leading up to halls of residence, and occasionally some clown decides to expose himself to the freshers.

One time, I had to use that path, and some Friend of Humanity decides to display his wares - this one didn't care if his victims were male or female, I think he just got a kick out of the shock value.

He didn't bank on me pointing at his groin and saying "Oh ! It looks just like a penis, only smaller !"

For those of you wanting something to play back at dirty callers, check out "Short Dick Man" by 20 Fingers - I'm sure the (totally NSFW) chorus and lines like "Isn't that cute, an extra belly button ?" will get the point across. (Don't bother with the versions on Youtube, most of them are censored)

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Chris King
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"Perv Signal"

My last place didn't have a "Perv Signal", but we did have a "Nutter Signal" - if someone phoned me up and asked me to refill a particular (non-existent) printer, that was my cue to head to Reception and assist colleagues if necessary.

It only ever got used once, but the cause was immediately obvious... A spaced-out student carrying a rag doll, which he put down on the desk and started to talk to it. "Now you keep quiet while I talk to the nice lady !"

That one lasted a couple of years, until he was told to go away and not come back until he had seen a shrink. Talking to rag dolls is one thing, head-butting police cars (and leaving a head-shaped dent in the bonnet) is quite another.

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Chris King
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From the Archives...

(I originally posted this back in 2013, but it's worth a re-telling. The line in question was normally used for some DEC kit that used DECevent to phone home (quite literally !), but I put a handset on the line after we started getting odd engaged tones. Turns out a local garage had an almost identical number, with just two digits transposed, and the locals refused to accept that I couldn't change the oil in their old banger...!)

I had a spate of calls from one bunch of clowns, and decided to have a little fun with them the next time they caled...

*ring*ring*ring*

Me: Name, Rank, Serial Number.

Them: What?

Me: Name, Rank, Serial Number.

Them: Excuse me?

Me: You heard. Name, Rank, Serial Number. NOW!

Them: I don't understand.

Me: Call is now being traced... Please stand by... <Holds down star key on phone>

Them: <click>

I haven't heard from them since. Maybe they've put me on their "NUTTERS - DO NOT CALL" list ?

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What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

Chris King
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Re: Incom T-65 B

And DON'T mess with R2-D2 !

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Hell desk thought PC fire report was a first-day-on-the-job prank

Chris King
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@45RPM - Don't worry, I got that. If the client was so sporting about it, I guess briefcase-boy must have annoyed them too ?

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Chris King
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Re: so..

"Before anyone points out that if there's no uniform, some people may feel uncomfortable dressing so informally for work. There's always a middle ground, if not jeans and t-shirt, some smart trousers and a plain work shirt with no tie (frankly no one who is opening up electronic equipment routinely should wear a tie for work anyway, it's a danger unless you take it off all the time). Jacket optional".

Smart trousers and a plain shirt works for me - I can roll up my sleeves if I need to work on hardware, but I can put on a tie and "scrub up" if I need to deal with externals or VIP's. I've even got a pair of safety shoes that look like normal brogues, but still pack steel toecaps and mid-soles.

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Chris King
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Re: Di I have to reach through the flames

No matter how loud and painful to the ears a fire alarm can be, I've seen people behave in the most bizarre ways when they go off...

One decided to shut his machine down, and waited for Windows to apply updates before heading to the assembly point.

Another colleague decided to start a backup before evacuating.

One even headed to the tea room and made himself a cuppa - and that was during a real emergency, not a drill.

Me ? I'm leaping out and letting the place burn.

If they're very lucky, I might hit the "lock screen" key combo first.

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Chris King
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Re: Tossing water at electric fire

Surely they should have replaced like-for-like (assuming that the previous extinguishers at each location were of the correct type to begin with) ?

This sounds more like "We've bought a job-lot of Class A extinguishers and we're too cheap to shell out for the other types".

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Chris King
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Mushroom

What you really want are the tiny polystyrene balls that stick to everything with nothing more than a little static - not as evil as an envelope full of glitter, but you'll still be finding them for weeks afterwards.

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Soylent fart powder sales halt

Chris King
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All we need now...

...is for a Charlton Heston look-alike to run in, screaming "SOYLENT BROWN IS SHITTY !" and we're done here ?

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Crashed Schiaparelli lander's 'chute and shields spotted

Chris King
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For Sale

One parachute, used once. No stains but a large crater or two. Buyer collects.

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LASER RAT FENCE wins €1.7m European Commission funds

Chris King
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Re: One small step...

It'll play a recording of "Gettt orrff my laaaand" - then shoot you with the shotgun they've just replaced the laser with.

...followed by "'im were worryin' the sheep !"

Mine's the one with the copy of Viz in the left pocket...

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Gov.UK goes TITSUP

Chris King
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Re: DNS issue?

So, some sort of split-horizon setup where they've published internal view records to an external view ? Been there, done that, had to live with it until people stop caching the duff records.

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