* Posts by SteveK

323 posts • joined 23 Jun 2009

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UK Parliament waves through 'porn-blocking' Digital Economy Bill

SteveK

Re: How does it work in practice?

I'd read (but now can't find the reference) that the site is expected to do age checks (only on UK browsers) via either a credit card transaction, or by checking details against (government provided?) records (passports or something?). I'm sorry, I really wouldn't trust those who run porn sites to behave responsibly with personal data on the UK's population, or with credit cards.

But apparently the punishment on non-British porn sites that don't cooperate? They lose the ability to charge UK credit cards. But as any that *do* charge credit cards are clearly providing an age verification service, the only ones left will be the ones that make their money from affiliate links and hosting dodgy malware-laden adverts and so won't care about the punishment.

I would like to know though whose job it is to constantly patrol the world's porn sites looking for which sites do or don't do age verification.

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Stay out of my server room!

SteveK

In [old job] the servers were under a table in the open plan IT office. On hot days we'd open the fire exit door out to a strip of grass alongside the building. On one hot summer I'd brought a couple of old 120VAC industrial fans that I'd ripped out of something and wired together and had them in front of the door to vent hot air.

One day heard a strange vibrating noise coming from the fans and discovered that an escaped tortoise had wandered in through the open door and was busy sticking its head into the fan (which was missing its protective grill).

The tortoise was completely fine (and was returned intact to its owner), it moved its head so slowly that the tip of its nose was just being brushed by the fan so it would move backwards then slowly extend head again, which was fortunate as I'm not entirely sure how I could have explained it otherwise.

"The blood all over the carpet and servers? Well, you know how you always said that getting SCSI to work first time required a sacrifice..."

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You've been hacked. What are you liable for?

SteveK

I really can't see how it could be monitored or controlled, but I'd really like to see some process by which companies are prohibited from charging customers more in order to cover the cost of fines and so preserve profits, and instead the fines come from salaries and shareholders' profits - hurt those who made the bad decisions, and force the shareholders to ask awkward questions.

If the board still get their bonuses and shareholders their dividends, at the expense of the customer then nothing will ever change.

I don't ever see this happening though.

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VMware flings vCenter Server away from Windows, if you want

SteveK

Re: The real elephant in the room

The other option would be to run it as a physical server, but then you've still got a single point of failure, and at least with a VM, you might be able to migrate it to a working host if your hardware fails in a non terminal way.

I run it as the only VM on a standalone (free) ESXi box that it doesn't manage. So I can still take snapshots before upgrades and take advantage of hardware abstraction so can move it via shared storage to another box if the first one blows up (and have done so).

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Plusnet broadband outage: Customers fume as TITSUP* continues

SteveK

Web connections seemed 90% flaky this morning, SSH and VPN seemed unaffected so just connected to VPN and browsed over that, so any packet loss seemed to be confined to certain types of traffic. Or coincidence.

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Pixellation popped: AI can ID you, even after PhotoShop phuzzing

SteveK

The solution

All photos containing people whose identities need to be obscured must be re-enacted in Playmobil.

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'Hey, Elon? You broke it, you bought it' says owner of SpaceX's satellite cinder

SteveK

Re: Going nowhere

Quite. I'm also having some difficulty imagining that, at no point during any of the concerned parties activities, did "that's what insurance is for" occur to anyone.

They probably had insurance, but the insurers insist it's a wear and tear failure and not covered

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Don't use a VPN in United Arab Emirates – unless you wanna risk jail and a $545,000 fine

SteveK

Legitimate use of VPN fine?

Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery

Sounds as though it's only if you're using it to commit or conceal a crime, that 'new language' doesn't seem to cover use of VPN for legitimate purposes. There's also no mention of VPN in the linked article.

Plus it's not a 'fraudulent' address, it's a perfectly valid address.

Not that I think I'd want to argue the semantics, mind...

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Microsoft adds useful feature to PowerPoint. Seriously

SteveK

This looks veeeery similar to pptPlex - a free addon that MS made available for Office 2007/2010 back in 2011: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=28558

pptPlex is an Office Labs experiment that uses Plex technology to give you the power to zoom in and out of slide sections and move directly between slides that are not sequential in your presentation.

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Glassdoor spaffs users' email addresses in bcc fail

SteveK

BCC not always blind

I remember receiving grief once when someone *did* use BCC to send email, but the email addresses were still visible to other BCC recipients (but not 'To' recipients). Turns out that mail client had an option about how to handle BCC headers. By default, it was compliant with RFC822, which says:

4.5.3. BCC / RESENT-BCC

This field contains the identity of additional recipients of the message. The contents of this field are not included in copies of the message sent to the primary and secondary recipients. Some systems may choose to include the text of the "Bcc" field only in the author(s)'s copy, while others may also include it in the text sent to all those indicated in the "Bcc" list.

Looks as though later RFCs have tightened that up to say the addresses shouldn't be visible to any other recipient.

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The Reg Coding competition – 10 times as hard as the last one!

SteveK

Doesn't say what the judging criteria are, other than if it fails to produce the right output it gets disqualified. Which of the entries wins: shortest code, quickest runtime, fewest uses of the letter 'i'?

Or is it just pick a winner out of a hat?

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FBI arrests satellite engineer on charges of espionage

SteveK

No, didn't miss that bit. But as the article later says he handed over USB sticks containing classified material, it wasn't clear whether he had obtained classified data that he didn't have access to (in which case, how did he access it), or whether it wasn't 'Government classified', but - as in the section you quoted - proprietary trade secrets (in which case it is possibly misleading for the agent to describe it as 'classified').

Or perhaps it's my interpretation - companies have commercial secrets that they don't want competitors to have, and in this case may require a license to export, but to me at any rate, that's not the same thing as being classified as containing government secret information or designs, which ought to be access restricted etc.

I'm guessing it's the former - that he obtained the material that he wasn't supposed to have access to through nefarious means, but that implies poor security.

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SteveK

So if he didn't have 'access to classified material', how was he able to copy it onto USB drives? Or was security and proper separation of classified material from unclassified lax with no access controls?

Or was the stolen data not actually 'classified' at all, just commercially sensitive stuff that the Americans would rather foreigners didn't get their grubby paws on?

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Filet-O-Phish: Insecure NFC tag relics hidden under Maccas tables

SteveK

Re: History lesson

Ahh, Wimpy. Home of the 'Bender in a bun'.

And yes, that is an actual menu item, not the dodgy character skulking in the toilet.

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Rejoice, fatties: Giving chocolate electric shocks makes it healthier

SteveK

Re: Healthy options

I misread the subtitle on quickly skimming and thought it was some sort of aversion therapy.

1
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Crysis creeps: Our ransomware locks network drives and PCs. Bargain

SteveK

Or to put it another way, "Does it run Crysis?"

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Unicode serves up bacon emoji

SteveK

Still doesn't seem to be a unicode character for a teapot though.

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Blighty's Virgin Queen threatened with foreign abduction

SteveK

Only clue I get from the name patrick_bateman is the main character from psycho.

I thought that was Norman Bates? Or was that changed in a sequel/spinoff?

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Ransomware grifters offer to donate proceeds of crime to charity

SteveK

Re: Statement of the Obvious award of the week goes to:

While I do agree with you entirely, I'm afraid that 'statement of the obvious' award for this week has already gone to:

"This individual was wrapped in plastic bags and his arms were tied behind him and his feet were submerged in concrete," Detective Robert Boyce said in a press conference.

"Obviously a homicide," he added.

..from the BBC

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Iceland prime minister falls on sword over Panama Papers email leak

SteveK

Re: Didn't realize there were more data dumps to come

I was surprised that there were no US politicians in the list, but I guess if we've only seen 1/6th of it so far that makes sense. Maybe whoever is deciding the order of release has wants to hold up the US release until after the primaries are done so to maximize the fallout.

I've read two opposing views on the lack of prominent US politicians/wealthy donors (and I also wondered if the elections were involved) - the first a blog post saying that the group controlling the release of the data was owned and run by US politicians and billionaires and, surprise surprise, none of their own sort have been revealed.

The second (NY Times I think it was) explaining it by saying it's so easy to create shell companies in the US that US citizens don't need to bother with offshoring...

Not sure which of those views is worse than the other!

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Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

SteveK

Re: Company wordsmith?

And as for it looks like a "superstar's car" I think I may have a different idea of what that may look like.

I'm not sure there - a lot of superstars would rush out to buy one based on the environmental stuff regardless of what it looks like - look how many Hollywood types were reported as having rushed to buy a Prius when they launched.

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'Panama papers' came from email server hack at Mossack Fonseca

SteveK

Re: @AC

From what I've read, a lot of the docs were scanned and ocr'd. So yeah, it could conceivably go back that far.

But if this report of a breach of a mailserver is to be believed, how would all this 40 year old scanned material have been obtained? Seems unlikely that a couple of Tb of scanned files would have been sat in someone's inbox rather than somewhere more suitable.

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Full Linux-on-PS4 hits Github

SteveK

Re: Puzzled (@ DougS)

At the very least, being able to double your kid's room console as a Linux PC will save you the need of purchasing a dedicated PC, so the kids can e.g. surf the web and do their homework in a safe(-ish) environment

While I agree with your thinking, the fact it needs to use an exploit to work means that it won't be suitable as a proper tool/kids PC as the exploit will almost certainly get patched pretty soon.

I'm not sure that "I couldn't do my homework until someone hacks the latest PS4 firmware" will get much sympathy.

Yes, you could just not install firmware updates that block the exploit, but then,assuming Sony are consistent with how they handled firmware updates on the PS3, games and things like Netflix will refuse to work until you update the firmware, turning the machine back into a single-use box again.

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That one phone the FBI wanted unlocked? Here are 63 more, says ACLU

SteveK

According to a BBC article, the FBI are also now offering to use their new-found wisdom to unlock other iPhones.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35933239

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Monster crowdfunding total raised for Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+

SteveK

I'd agree with that. In the past I've spent hours fiddling around with a Spectrum (or C64 or Amiga) emulator to fire up some game long remembered through magenta-tinted glasses (Spectrum didn't do 'rose'), only to play it for 2 minutes and decide it was actually pretty crap. There were some good games that did revolutionary things and pushed the boundaries of the hardware and of games in general. But they just don't live up to the depth, complexity and polish of modern games.

It may be in part that back then (maybe it's part of being a child?) you filled in the gaps with imagination (that circle's a planet, these few triangles are a spaceship - in the mind all fully textured and photo realistic) but now you're used to having those aspects and not needing to use your imagination to fill what's not there.

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Ransomware now using disk-level encryption

SteveK

Time to add more metrics

Time to start monitoring how long an incremental backup takes to run, if order of magnitude above 'normal', clearly a lot more files have been modified.

Similarly I think I might see if I can also monitor deduplication ratios and if they change, there's a lot of what was identical blocks of data that is now strangely not so identical.

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Helpdesk? I have a software problem. And a GRIZZLY BEAR problem

SteveK

Bears? Alligators? Pah, I have students.

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Why a detachable cabin probably won’t save your life in a plane crash

SteveK

I distinctly remember reading a story in the newspaper (possibly even the Telegraph) in early 1989 proposing exactly the same concept where the passenger compartment was ejected and parachuted to safety.

I remember it because I was one essay short for my English coursework so was banished to the school library with some newspapers and told to find an article to write an analysis of, and that's the article I chose. Probably still got the essay somewhere.

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For pity's sake, enterprises, upgrade your mobile OS - report

SteveK

Not just the phone manufacturer, in many cases the manufacturer has released updates but the phone software has been tweaked by the mobile operator and only fetches updates from them - but once you're locked into a contract and that phone model has been superseded, there's no profit in them repackaging the manufacturer's updates and merging back in their own "value" added tat and branding, testing and developing fixes if it doesn't work.

Personally I think phone operators should be required to provide unmodified phones that will go and install the manufacturer updates, and not inject their own applications which probably are not highly security tested. Or required to provide timely updates (within 1 week of the upstream release, say) to their customers for at least the length of the contract, preferably 3 years, even if a newer shinier model comes out. You don't give the customer a new phone 6 months into their 24 month contract so support the one you gave them at the start.

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If you want a USB thumb drive wiped, try asking an arts student for help

SteveK

Re: h2testw.exe anyone??

next time I need to do this I'm going to use dd - which will write until it fails unlike some other utilities which refuse to write at all - and then fsck (GParted) to "fix" the partition size

It didn't work for me, resulting truncated image wouldn't boot, but managed to faff about mounting the image via loopback and shrinking the filesystem down slightly so the resultant new image was small enough.

Wasn't any actual data on it, but would have taken longer to get the boot environment configured back how it was supposed to be than it took to mess about with the filesystem. At least I had an image of the SD card from a few months before it failed to go back to.

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SteveK

Re: h2testw.exe anyone??

The first batch of Transcend cards were slightly bigger than the second batch and both were bigger than the Sandisk cards

I ran into this exact problem when I tried to write back a Pi SD image to a new card after the previous (Transcend I think) one went bang and ran out of space despite both being "8Gb"...

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T'was the night before Christmas, and an industrial control system needed an upgrade

SteveK

Re: Er...

If I had to work on them today, 'm not sure if I could understand the creative hackery I used in my own autoexecute.bat & config.sys files in the DOS days getting that one extra device running in a tiny memory footprint.

I agree... I used to pride myself on being able to outperform memmaker on getting the optimal sequence for loading DOS drivers and TSRs and create multiple boot sequences loading different combinations. Although it did take me longer!

At the time, worked for a games company and the QA department PCs tended to have at least 3 completely different ISA sound cards, a variety of VGA (and later additional 3DFX or PowerVR) cards, random network cards and CDRom drives - all of which needed different drivers loaded, not to mention just dual booting between DOS and Windows (with or without the drivers for connecting to Netware via IPX)...

A lost art. For which I am very grateful!

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EU mobile roaming rules to save customers billions in bills

SteveK

They'll also have some process where unless you pay extra (say, equivalent to the old roaming rates) the data rate will be so slow as to be virtually unusable. Certainly that's been my experience when abroad using the Three 'feel at home' 'free' roaming data - can almost watch the individual bits roll in. Fine for me checking email and looking up restaurant reviews mind.

Also I believe that the providers are allowed to impose a fair use limit. If so, I would imagine that to be set to .. ooh .. a generous 10Mb/day maybe? Hopefully you catch it and turn roaming data off before it kicks into the out-of-tariff data rates...

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Next-gen killer hurricane hunter to be armed with Nvidia graphics chips

SteveK

GFDL?

So what was the GFDL model? That seemed to be even closer to the actual path than even the European one in the diagram, yet isn't mentioned at all in the text.

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So. Farewell then Betamax. We always liked you better than VHS anyway

SteveK

Re: Can we finally settle this?

I always thought it was the strange tape numbering system where it was the length of tape in feet (so an L750 was 3 hours 15 - thanks Wikipedia) rather than VHS's simpler 'minutes'...

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Microsoft Windows 7 Pro: Halloween Horror for PC makers next year

SteveK

Re: Cancel Christmas 2016 as well?

And this year's decorations aren't even up yet.

What do you mean? The lights here went up in the streets 3-4 weeks ago, and Debenhams has had a Christmas tree in its foyer for at least a fortnight.

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German football hero battles Nazi doppelgänger

SteveK

Re: Am I the only one...

The picture used on the BBC article looked closer, although still not a clear copy.

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IoT's sub-GHz 802.11ah Wi-Fi will be dead on arrival, warn analysts

SteveK

But.. but..

IoT and connected appliances are generally expected to be within the house, yes? So what is it about an estimated range of 1km that makes this so suitable for IoT devices??

How big are these people's houses? I don't really need to be able to adjust the mood lighting in my living room from the pub down the road.

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Post-pub schnellnosh neckfiller: Currywurst

SteveK

I always end up waiting ages for these. I always find the wurst is yet to come.

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MYSTERY PARTICLE BLASTS from Ceres strike NASA probe Dawn

SteveK

Re: Oh no! Not harvest puns!

Indeed - nothing worse than when someone takes some a-maize-ing accomplishment and makes a ceres of corny jokes.

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If you got Netflix for Miss Marple, you're out of luck (and a bit odd)

SteveK

The problem is, that the (movie) world doesn't give a flying monkey nut whether people want to "own" anything, and want people to pay subscriptions for ever, irrespective of their happiness on the matter

FTFY.

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El Reg Cold Call

SteveK

Someone saying they were from The Register apparently called me this morning, I was out but my colleague took the call - they were going to call back in an hour but never heard any more.

I was hoping I'd won a 6Tb HDD but now I've read this thread, perhaps they were just wanting to sell me stuff?

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

SteveK

Snakes on a paper plane [in spaaaaaaace]

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Apple's big secret: It's an insurance firm (now with added finance)

SteveK

Re: Long-term value

I see that iOS 9 will be available for my iPad 2, which I purchased in March 2011. No need to replace it yet. How many 2011 tablets from other manufacturers will still be current next year?

I'm still bitter that a mere 18 months after buying an iPad 1 in 2010, found they'd dropped it from all future updates, leaving it with overly resource-hungry IOS 5 that could barely manage a browser with more than one tab open without crashing regularly [but how can that be, they told us Flash was what crashed browsers]. And since they'd encouraged developers to upgrade apps to only run with the latest IOS, it was soon fit only for the scrapheap. (or in my case, given to a minion while I wasted more money on a replacement).

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Court battle date set for £300m BT Cornwall termination dispute

SteveK

Re: Enter the usual suspect?

It's a new tactic they're trying: bad cop, bad cop. The assumption is that eventually you'll have to give in and go with one, then switch to the other.

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America's crackdown on open-source Wi-Fi router firmware – THE TRUTH

SteveK

Re: The Nazi empire has been busy

I hear if you put your head in a microwave oven on high for 20 minutes, you won't hear the voices anymore.

Ah, except to do that you need to circumvent safeguards to operate the microwave with the door open. Or remove the head. Either of those requires unlicensed 3rd party modifications.

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A Dyson car? Don't rule it out. We're suckers for innovation, says CEO

SteveK

With their heritage, perhaps they should make a hovercraft.

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Facebook profiles? They're not 'personal data' Mr Putin

SteveK

But who breaks the law? You, the non-Russian citizen, non-Russian resident for letting a Russian enter their personal information into your non-Russian site? Or the Russian citizen/resident for sending you their personal information?

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Windows 10 is FORCING ITSELF onto domain happy Windows 7 PCs

SteveK

(I've noted with one client that all their systems are now running Office 2013, even though we install 2010 on all the laptops...)

Still have 2010 on the PC that upgraded, although it did seem to knock out the product activation from that so that it was reporting it was unlicensed, and install a 'Get Office' app that promptly needed 50Mb of updates,despite already having Office (just not the shiny version it wants me to have, presumably)

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SteveK

Not seeing any sign of it here on domain PCs that aren't using WSUS. Whether that's because we use a volume license product code I'm not sure. I do know that non-domain W7 PCs using the same volume license key did come up with the 'register for upgrades' thing, so it's not that in itself that's preventing it.

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