* Posts by Ian

19 posts • joined 15 May 2007

Three months on, you still can't get off the DNA database

Ian
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Re: Am i missing something?

To all those worried about being fitted up, you can get fitted up quite easily with or without a DNA database...

Someone takes a sample of your DNA, puts it at the scene of crime and makes an anonymous tip-off to the rozzers. Plod find the DNA at the scene, get the tip-off, find you, arrest you and lo-and-behold the DNA sample from the scene matches the sample they take from you post-arrest. You're banged to rights sonny Jim. This didn't need you to be on the DNA database to be so easy.

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Inmate hacked prison network, broke into employee database

Ian
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physical access?

So management in this prison allowed a prisoner repeated physical access over a period of several months to a computer containing (or networked to) a system containing staff records and a connection to the internet?

Well duh, who thought that was a good idea?

If the prisoners have access to computers (I'm not necessarily against that as part of normal prison privileges) then at least make them stand-alone or on a totally separate network with no access to prison admin systems or the internet. And for God's sake don't let the prisoners physically into the prison admin offices.

Someone, somewhere in that prison needs a 'could do better' on their annual performance review.

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The latest EDI money saver? Paper invoices

Ian
Stop

"standards just keep on changing" ????

"The problem with EDI, Spencer says, is that the standards just keep on changing leaving IT departments perpetually recoding to recover lost ground. "

Eh? What? Once you've developed an interface and it works, why do you want to change it? What lost ground? Why re-code it? If you need to handle additional functionality via the interface then change it, otherwise leave it alone. Is he saying that his wonder software has a psychic interface to handle all future changes in requirements requiring no re-work?

Yet another way of processing human-readable data files is all well and good (and indeed quite welcome, I'm all for competition in the software market), but don't try and claim it's unique or some kind of paradigm-shift.

Yet another "EDI is dead" article. There was a flurry of these back in the 1990s when XML was supposed to be the great EDI-killer. To any CIOs reading this (do any CIOs read El Reg?), try not to believe every bit of marketing puff you see.

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Government kids database under fire, again

Ian
Unhappy

re: Huh??

It will contain details of ALL children in England. See the following from http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/deliveringservices/contactpoint/about/

ContactPoint will only hold the following basic information for all children in England (up until their 18th birthday)

* Name, address, gender, date of birth and a unique identifying number.

* Name and contact details for a child's parent or carer.

* Contact details for services working with a child: as a minimum, educational setting (e.g. school) and GP practice, but also other services where appropriate.

* A means to indicate whether a practitioner is a lead professional and if they have undertaken an assessment under the Common Assessment Framework.

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Government kids website pays £6 for every visitor

Ian
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an error occurred

Great consultation exercise. Well worth the money. I clicked on the link: "If you are an adult you can respond to the consultation here" and all I got was :

"An Error Occurred. A system error has occurred, we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused"

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Armed police swoop on MP3-packing mechanic

Ian
Black Helicopters

re: another thing for Iain to consider

But that's got nothing to do with having your DNA on file. If someone has your toenail clippings and leaves them at a crime scene, all it takes is an anonymous call to the police that you were witnessed at the scene acting strangely and robert is your mother's brother, you are banged to rights (without, as you say a perfect alibi - but if someone is trying to stitch you up, they'll choose a time that you have no alibi). The DNA database won't make this kind of framing activity much easier, it's already pretty easy.

Are you going to refuse to 'rule yourself out of the inquiry' when you know you're innocent? Of course not, you'll offer your DNA to prove your innocence and get yourself convicted by doing so. The DNA database is almost irrelevant to framing, it's very relevant to keeping information about yourself private. I may have a familial medical condition or relationship that I want kept confidential. I do not trust the police or the government to act in my interest in this area.

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Time Warner splitting up AOL

Ian

@Rhys Briffett

"Where did it mention just the US page views?"

err, twice: "During the last three months of 2007 the company had 109m average monthly domestic unique visitors and 49bn domestic page views, according to comScore Media Metrix."

To a US-based organisation, "Domestic" = US

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Spammers dive into Google's lucky dip

Ian
Unhappy

@adnim re: Thanks to spam

"Seriously, always use a web based provider for those sites that want an email address to send a password to before allowing one to access content. And set the filters on your proper mailbox to automatically delete all messages that hit your proper mailbox which do not have your correct name before the @."

All good advice until your ISP gives away the entire contents of their email database containing every email address you've ever sent mail to or received mail into.

I was spam-free for years until Plusnet kindly pulled my trousers down, bent me over and gave me a good seeing to by giving away my own domain name email addresses in addition to the plusnet-based ones.

You can look after yourself only so far. When other idiots give your details away, there's not a lot you can do.

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FBI preps $1bn biometric database

Ian
Stop

computer says "no"

As with most IT systems, it's not just the database or the ID cards that are the problem (although they are a pretty big problem), it's the faith people put in what the computers tell them.

Little Britain got it so right with the "The computer says 'no' " sketches.

The people are an integral part of any system. What is Jane actually going to be able to do when confronted with John denying her access to services (or liberty) based on what the computer 'says'. John's operational 'procedures' won't allow him to listen to any protests that 'the computer' might just be wrong. Jane will be asking "can I go home now?" and John's answer will be "the computer says 'no' ".

I have absolutely no faith in any government's ability to put in place working procedures across multiple agencies to ensure that data quality/accuracy problems can be dealt with rapidly, fairly and accurately. They're going to concentrate on the sexy technology and conveniently forget about the processes and checks/balances to wrap around it.

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German amateur code breaker defeats Colossus

Ian
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@Frank Bough

"...you seem to neglect that Schüth's CPU is likely smaller than his little fingernail and about one billionth the cost of Colossus in real terms."

So all the billions (trillions?) of <insert your currency of choice here> spent by numerous academic and commercial organisations globally over the last 50 years developing and improving all aspects of computer technology to the point where Herr Schüth can have his teeny-tiny powerful CPU in his own personal computer doesn't count? You only count the purchase price of the machine itself? But the much smaller amount of money spent on developing colossus does count?

Seems like an unfair comparison.

My take on Paul Crawford's comment was simply that Colossus was way ahead of of its time (and perhaps that you can't extrapolate Moore's law too far back in time before Moore initially stated it?)

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Russians to get broadband by spy plane

Ian
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@Shane McCarrick

British MOD's Skynet system has been around since the late 1960s. It can hardly be termed "the new UK PPP/military system for broadband for military forces overseas"

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Nokia releases 8GB N95 smartphone

Ian
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Oh the battery life....(2)

Well said Mr. Radley. Battery life is truly terrible. Plus the satnav is a bit rubbish too. The GPS doesn't work through the car windscreen unless the phone is flat on the dashboard at which point you can't see the screen.

It's a real disappointment. It promised so much and delivered so little. Unfortunately I signed up for an 18 month contract. What a pillock I am.

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Only Sky can save digital TV

Ian

DTT=Analog channels in public perception???

You say that 'the public' still associates DTT with the analog BBC, ITV Channel 4 and Five channels. Where do you get the data for that statement? Surely the public associates freeview with a few extra channels not available on analog and they associate Sky/Virgin with paying for even more channels (plus possibly other services like phone/internet)? It's pretty simple really.

You suggest Sky is the saviour of DTT. Well, maybe, maybe not. Personally I see no problem with a PBS-based DTT service broadcast on government allocated spectrum paid for mainly by the TV licence/tax. If pay-TV channels (whether Sky, Virgin or whoever else may wish to enter the UK market) are allowed to consume valuable DTT spectrum while there is still a TV licence/tax system in place, there should be strict limits imposed e.g. no more than 25% of channels should be pay-TV.

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eBay forum mysteriously leaks account details on 1,200 users

Ian

re: phishing & keyloggers

I eventually managed to shut down my ebay account a few months ago (after dozens of communications with ebay customer service - they really didn't make it easy)

I used to use ebay. Then stopped using it for about 18 months. Didn't even log into the account. Totally stopped visiting the site. It didn't occur to me to request the account be closed down. Then a few months ago I started getting abusive emails from people who'd been ripped off recently, allegedly by 'me'. Someone took over my account and started selling non-existent stuff via it. The punters who'd lost cash obviously got annoyed.

The only way this could have happened was if ebay themselves lost control of the account. To anyone who suggests "keylogger": why is it that ebay is the only organisation that I have ever experienced this with (out of over 100 online accounts that I have with various organisations including shops, banks, building societys and credit card providers)?

I'm not saying there aren't idiots who click on phishing links and have keyloggers installed, but don't assume that all ebay fraud is down to that. In my experience ebay is totally sh1t at both customer service and security. My ebay experience is the main reason I will never use paypal either.

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Blind Judo master floors tobacco stealing skinhead

Ian

@Andy S

I think you mis-read it. Esser was the blind bloke! Why should the police arrest the victim. This wasn't the British Police!

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Eurostar inaugurates UK high-speed track

Ian

@Dave (london centric?)

So, they've spent 5.5 billion on reducing the journey time by 20 minutes and in the process pissed off a quarter of London who were very happy catching the Eurostar from Waterloo (as well as the whole of the SW of England). Their regular customers who found it most convenient will now face at least an additional 30 minutes to cross London to get to St Pancras.

It's been moved to St Pancras not to satisfy Londoners, but people who live in the Midlands and North of the country.

Interestingly Eurostar's FAQ says that for people who used to use Waterloo, there are fast and easy connections from Waterloo to St Pancras. In which case why spend 5.5 billion if it's so easy to go from one to the other? Answer: to please the Midlanders and the Northerners NOT the Londoners!

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Tropics getting extra rainy, NASA boffins say

Ian

kudos?

so, someone has written a research report concluding by saying that more research is required. never seen that before.

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Broadband claims mislead on speed

Ian

Not this again

which bit of 'upto' do people not understand?

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Spammers stuff PlusNet email accounts (again)

Ian

re: I'm feeling left out

I too have been a very happy plusnet user for years. I too use my own domain names forwarded through to gmail (after plusnet's last lot of major email problems). Every site I subscribe to has a different email address so I know the origins of any spam I get.

Nobody knows my ISP plusnet email address - no-one needs to know it - it's why I have my own domains. I have successfully avoided spam for years. I could never see what the fuss was about with spam as I was 'controlling' it all very succesfully. However, since this latest plusnet I'm now getting high volumes of spam coming through to me. Not just my plusnet addresses but other non-plusnet ones too that used to be forwarded on to me via plusnet's systems.

Spammers may very well be making up the addresses but, if they have, they've been remarkably successful in the last 2 days and very suspiciously at just about the same time that plusnet have admitted that a third party has illegally got hold of data from their systems.

Wear your blinkers if you like but plusnet have really dropped the ball on this one.

Unhappy PlusNet User :o(

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