* Posts by tfewster

239 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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Amazon sighs, may slip hands into trousers to pay some UK corp tax

tfewster
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The point is that Amazon, etc. were organising their tax affairs legally and HMRC & the courts (who enforce law) had nothing had nothing against them.

The government make law and decided (rightly or wrongly, depending on your viewpoint) that Amazon etc. were not paying enough tax and changed the legislation to enable more tax to be extracted legally. The mechanism of a tax on exported profits seems odd (similar to non-dom "charges"?), but the only other way would be a full revamp of global taxation and the cooperation of every tax haven.

I'm sure Amazon will just put their prices up to cover the taxes, but I would still use them because they provide a good service.

Starbucks have enough real competition that they can't do that. But as I don't like the taste of their coffee, fewer Starbucks branches make no noticeable difference to me. Though you could say that they're providing employment and paying rent & business rates, so there is some loss to the economy.

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Putting your schlong into the reel-to-reel tape machine is a bad idea

tfewster
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Re: Don't worry Alistair

+1, Great captions added in post, BTW

Dabbsy: Here's £2.5K of hardware and software I've set up to make video "editing" look easy.

Perm: Gosh, it's easy isn't it?

<edited> Dabbsy: Yes, because I set it up to showcase 2 simple features (append and transition) that even you could understand. Now you can turn several boring snippets into a feature-length borefest - WITH TRANSITIONS!!!

Actually, Alistair - You should be ashamed of yourself for helping encourage the "it's all about me" generation!

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Right Dabbsy my old son, you can cram this job right up your BLEEEARRGH

tfewster
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Post-It note? Miserable amateur!

When I'm introduced around the office on day one, I make a map for names, distinguishing features*, job title, real job, ranking by tidiness of desk**, smartphone type, football team allegiance, beverage of preference, description of personal beverage holder, etc.

It may drag the 5-minute tour out a bit, but saves time and pain later.

* My handwriting is so awful no-one else could read it, so "Hippy" is quite safe - as long as it actually distinguishes them from their colleagues.

** The ones with messy desks are generally the go-to guys.

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Automation eases the pain of software patching

tfewster
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Re: OK... teased us with the scenario and methods..

i. Evaluating the patches and trying to predict what they will break

j. Planning the test cycle

k. Resources for testing the OS and apps

l. Dry runs in Production

m. Change management

n. OS backups

o. Service outages to perform the patches

p. Watching the install doesn't throw up any unexpected errors

q. Sanity checking Production services

...

Installing patches is easy. Planning and resourcing patch installs is the time-consuming part.

That said, tools like Tivoli Endpoint Manager look to do a great job of automating steps c, e & f on Windows, Linux and Unixen

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VOTERS! This Election: Vote #Smart, Vote #Digital

tfewster
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Unhappy

Yes, I remember those days...

"Just think back to the dark days of the Noughties when you could find government publications easily by using Google, and sites were designed by elitists – civil servants who knew what people actually wanted to find and do."

But apparently my fond memories of those days are just because I don't "get" the importance of UX, form over function and a fabulous infrastructure. Content? Wazzat den?

Full disclosure: As a Unix guy, I frequently get sent job ads for UX roles. From what it's seen, my treacherous subconscious keeps muttering "How hard can it be?". theonion.com is the latest casualty in the UX offensive, and I'm losing the will to keep using the internet.

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Boffins' ball barrage bombardment biffs bumbling bimble biped-bot

tfewster
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Terminator

Re: Not a realistic test

Recording...facial recognition subroutine loaded...awaiting removal of the tether...TARGET ACQUIRED

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Smile! Brit transport plods turn bodycams on travelling public

tfewster
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Big Brother

No problemo - they just switch the cameras off first

As the default setting should be "Off" anyway, I wonder how many officers will think to switch them on in a difficult situation?

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Trading Standards pokes Amazon over 'libellous' review

tfewster
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Re: Jurisdiction

Damn, foiled. OK then, if they won't comply with UK trading law, we'll just have to stop them from trading in the UK. *Throws gas on the fire* No loss to UKGOV, as they don't pay taxes anyway.

Is everyone happy now?

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You’ll be the coolest guy in IT if you ain't got your ID

tfewster
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Facepalm

One security system I encountered actually fixed this problem...but was equally annoying

You had to "swipe" out of secure rooms as well as in, and the system kept track of where you were. So if you tailgated someone out of the machine room, you couldn't get back in with your ID as the system thought you were still inside.

Theoretically sensible to enforce the no-tailgating rule and would have helped Our On-Call Hero here, but it didn't always register your "swipe"s, so was easy to inadvertently tailgate and get yourself locked out (or in!)

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Trade body, universities row over US patent troll act proposals

tfewster
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Facepalm

Re: wait wat @YAAC and Gary Cheapiro

I'm delighted that the Universities and research I help fund through taxes is being monetised. If you don't want to use [their|my] IP, do your own damn R&D and try to compete on cost with other businesses who just pay a fair licencing fee.

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Tests show HTC, Sammy phablets BEND just like iPhone 6 Plus

tfewster
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Joke

It's all about the target market

Those good looking hipsters wearing skin-tight clothing to show off their fabulous bodies will naturally have iPhones and so are more likely to bend them, no matter how tough they are.

Whereas the dorks who buy Android phones wear baggy jeans and anoraks, so their phones don't come under pressure. And even if they did, who would listen to them?

(Despite the joke icon, I predict this is going to get downvoted by all camps so hard it'll plummet like a Fukushima core.)

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You want disruption? Try this: Uber office raided again, staff cuffed

tfewster
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FAIL

Re: barrier?

Taxi users being put at risk by uninsured/unvetted drivers: Victims

Legit taxi drivers being undercut or stuffed by surge pricing: Victims

Local authorities (and hence the taxpayer) having to police this: Victims

Uber + Uber drivers - Not victims

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Light the torches! NSA's BFF Senator Feinstein calls for e-book burning

tfewster
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Mushroom

Re: Feelgood Legislation one step away from Fahrenheit 451

Actually - I don't think she wanted to ban or censor legit publications, but remove the garbage:

> "These documents are not, <u>in my view</u>, protected by the First Amendment and [so] should be removed from the internet."

I suspect that the (dodgy) instructions on explosives making in the Anarchist Cookbook have killed or maimed more wannabee Freedom Fighters than targets. IIRC the rest is hardly any better, e.g "Lockpicking: Buy a set of lockpicks and practice a lot"

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This one weird trick deletes any YouTube flick in just a few clicks

tfewster
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Facepalm

Irresponsible disclosure

- telling Google before the forces for good had a chance to clean up the cesspool that is YouTube.

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It's the FALKLANDS SYNDROME! Fukushima MELTDOWN to cause '10,000 Chernobyls' in South Atlantic

tfewster
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Facepalm

Obligatory "Oh noes", TOTC etc.

Posted 1/4/15

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Dutch companies try warming homes with cloud servers

tfewster
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Facepalm

Security?

They've heard of it.

Dunno how hot Dutch summers are, but 24*7 heating would only be desirable three quarters of the year in the UK at most

Surely it would be preferable to pump the warm air into nearby houses and sell that waste as a service, rather than build the necessary power & network infrastructure?

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3,500 servers go down – so my FIRST AID training kicks in

tfewster
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Alert

Crisis? What crisis?

In a crisis situation, I'll do whatever needs to be done - whether it's taking the lead to prioritise efforts, making a brew to keep everyone else going or fielding phone calls to keep manglement / customers off the techs backs. Even if it means neglecting my own work "for the greater good".

Of course, the first few calls are to wake management up :-) If they don't come in, they can't complain about how we handled the crisis. And if they do come in, they can always help make the tea!

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Big Data shocker: Over 6 million Americans have reached the age of 112

tfewster
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Facepalm

Let me guess

The default if a birth date isn't entered is 1/1/1900. And the system that allows this was introduced in 2012?

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

tfewster
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Wyrd Sisters first introduces us to the coven and is best read before Witches Abroad. Equal Rites (probably) precedes both, but is "only" Granny Weatherwax

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Should online pirates get the same sentences as offline ones?

tfewster
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Big Brother

"...you are not the only seeder / participant. It's a collective act you are participating in..."

Ah, so it's CONSPIRACY to commit a crime. Under UK & US law, that's the same as committing the crime, so all the seeders would get the same sentence as the original uploader.

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We have no self-control: America's most powerful men explain why they're scared of email

tfewster
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Facepalm

Re: Discretion

Even hitting <Send> immediately builds in some delay, as you've typed the whole thing by then; If you start your verbal response off with "Dear asshole", it's already too late.

But for McCain to claim that an email is "riskier" than sending a tweet that immediately reaches many people is just unbelievable.

{edit - It's McCain, not Graham who uses Twatter)

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BILLION email address spam scam: Feds collar two blokes, hunt another

tfewster
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FAIL

Anyone else have a problem with this sentence?

...several years of hard work as the FBI and its cadre of cyber trained agents and technical experts acted quickly...

Let alone multiple email providers susceptible to hacking, server takeovers and ongoing pwnage.

Only the evil haxxors come out of this with any credibility.

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FORK ME! Uber hauls GitHub into court to find who hacked database of 50,000 drivers

tfewster
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Joke

Re: Here is an IP address for you...

"Show me the way to go localhost"? "Show me the way to go ~" would be better.

But what would you expect from someone who couldn't ping 127.0.0.1 ;-)

Another one I liked was "Get your warez at 127.0.0.1"

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Iran hacks America where it hurts: Las Vegas casinos

tfewster
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Joke

Re: Habor?

As the first word was spelt "Perl", it seems clear this isn't a reference to Pearl Harbor.

"Digital Perl" makes sense, and presumably "habor" is a verb?

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Bill Gates – I WISH I was like Zuck and spoke Chinese. Yep, I drink poo

tfewster
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Terminator

Can't...resist...temptation...to...say...

Hey Bill - Get Microsoft to develop the robots. MS's new "killer app"? Even if they stay up long enough to become a menace to humanity, they'll be easily hacked to disable them.

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BOO! Grave remote-code exec flaw in GNU C Library TERRIFIES Linux

tfewster
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Joke

@AC Re: Fools

*whoosh!* ----------------------->

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Why so tax-shy, big tech firms? – Bank of England governor

tfewster
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Facepalm

@ Offnow @ Tim Worstal Re: Common Tax Delusions

> ...otherwise consumer prices would have to rise...

Only in a monopoly. If $COFFEESHOP or $ONLINERETAILER raise their prices to keep the profit after taxes the same, consumers may* go elsewhere.

* If price is the most important factor for the consumer. They may prefer $COFFEESHOP for other reasons. Personally, I find Amazon to be far more convenient than e.g. Play.com, so the fact that they often have the best prices is a bonus.

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Snoopy Fujitsu tech KNOWS you'll click that link – before YOU do

tfewster
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Either likely or really unlikely?

So my cursor hovers over a dodgy link - am I about to click it or am I reading what the link actually is at the bottom of my email client/browser?

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‘Whatever happened to Vladimir Putin?’ and other crap New Year prophesies

tfewster
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Joke

Re: Y2K

2038 problem - That's my pension, that is - why would I want to fix it now?

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tfewster
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FAIL

@ Chris Miller Re: Y2k - in your experience

Understating the problem (again).

For 1, assuming you had the source code, there were code-scanning tools that could help. For the others - just work out exactly what it does from its inputs and outputs and rewrite it. Easy eh? (Not). On the other hand, big improvements in documentation and the use of code repositories came out of the Y2K program.

For 2, PCs were relatively modern kit and had short lifecycles, so newer ones had been "fixed" by the manufacturers Y2K program. That didn't mean (bad) code hadn't been reused, but it was relatively rare.

3, many, many-one...lots - Embedded systems, firmware, compilers, libraries, tools, applications - All had to be reviewed and fixed. Apologies, I'm sure I've left many out.

In 1984 I was a newbie software developer working on apps for minicomputers; One of our 3rd-party productivity tools was a terminal handling library that managed field types etc. I noticed then that it couldn't handle 4 digit years, but was told not to worry as "no-one would be using our app in 16 years time"

The funniest one I saw was the fix on a website that displayed the date as 1/1/19100. Not uncommon, but it was a tech support site.

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Facebook: Yo 'people'! Zap fake news on our giant ad farm, would'ja?

tfewster
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WTF?

Re: Really? But...

"Apparently, its users (sorry, people) are actually quite good at spotting parody, irony and sarcasm in posts."

Therefore there is no need for this?

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David Cameron: I'm off to the US to get my bro Barack to ban crypto – report

tfewster
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Thumb Up

Re: Dear Mr Cameron

Following moiety's revelation that Cameron is a terrorist as defined by the Terrorism Act 2000 -

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2410209

- can we prevent him from returning to the UK?

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

tfewster
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Re: Dave is a terrorist, and should be locked up forthwith.

Beautiful. I'm sooooo tempted to rent a botnet to upvote this a few thousand times.

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tfewster
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FAIL

Re: I know nobody will read after 3rd page of comments ...

".... but the statistic on the number of comments matter as well."

I'll add a "Me too" just to get the number of comments up. Hopefully no-one will be annoyed by the AOL-ish contentless post.

"this is so bloody stupid that words fail me".

Again, me too. My gast is so flabbered, I can't even be bothered mocking Cameron.

Icon, for Cameron

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'F*** you', exclaims Google Translate app, politely

tfewster
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Megaphone

Real time is no good (How to talk to foreigners) ---------------->

I suspect a real-time translation of "Parlez-vous Francais" would be "Speak you French", or maybe with autocorrect, "Speak, sorry that should be 'Do you speak', French".

Plus, I wonder if the tone of voice would indicate it's a question?

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No, I won't SNORKEL in your server room at STUPID-O'CLOCK

tfewster
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Snippets that will sound familiar

My first night on-call, ever. I'd been reassured that it was easy money, nothing ever went wrong. So when the phone rang at 2am, I was all "haha, shift ops hazing the new guy, good joke". Unfortunately there genuinely was a problem, fortunately it was an easy fix.

Same place, other times. Because "nothing ever goes wrong", the old-timers have on-call divvied up between them. I occasionally get the nights no-one else wants. And something ALWAYS goes wrong on my shift, such as a filesystem that's been filling up with error logs that hits critical on MY night, so it's not just a cleardown task, it's fix-the-root-cause-on-someone-elses-screwup as well. Or a script that's worked a thousand times but fails when I'm on call. Certain suspicious minds think I'm creating the problems so I get the overtime, whereas I wonder if the Ops just don't bother calling the old lags.

Another time, another place, after the office party - An A/C failure takes most of a machine room down, hard. The on-call guy escalates to management, who call all hands to the pumps. Which sounds like a recipe for disaster, but I discover an ability to metabolise alcohol into brain cells and recover a knackered HP-UX server everyone else had given up on. Not as impressive as D though - D fixes a bunch of seemingly-terminal AIX systems. Come Monday morning, management are full of praise for D's skills and team spirit. D is like "Huh? Whut?" - doesn't even remember getting called, let alone the reanimation magic!

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Hipsters ahoy! Top Ten BOARD games for festive family fun

tfewster
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Re: £499?

From the links, the base game RRP is £39.99, but with 30+ expansion packs at £10 - £16 each, £499 for the whole set is probably correct!

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Sony Pictures hack is Hollywood's 'Snowden moment' say infosec bods

tfewster
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Re: @tfewster - You're only half way there!

Eric, you're missing my point. The Login Management mechanism is an enabler as well as a security tool. Feel free to log and audit what I do, but don't get in my way*.

e.g. today I had a problem on a Production system that was querying a failed DNS server. Easy workaround, check another Prod system on the same subnet for a good list of DNS servers and copy the config file to the system that had a problem. Follow up by writing a quick script** to check 700 systems for which DNS servers they are using and remove any bad entries. Result: many minor performance issues resolved quickly and cheaply, many thousands of dollars savings in time for the systems users who had got used to a slight but annoying delay.

Your idealised version of login management would make it virtually impossible to get the required access to a second system to check the config, let alone the rest of the estate.

*Management understand that in general if you give someone Responsibility for an issue, you should give them the Authority to fix that issue. Accountability comes after the fact.

**Yes, this could have been done using a Configuration Management system such as Puppet, or writing a custom Nagios plugin to check configs, but that just shifts the problem of trust and adds cost.

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tfewster
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Flame

> system administrators and their credentials are the most dangerous threat to companies today,” said Eric Chiu

ODFO, Eric. I know you're just jumping on a bandwagon to sell your products, but we're incredibly loyal considering how we get treated like shit, How about manglement and HR working to improve staff conditions rather than treat us as probable criminals?

E.g. where I'm working we're implementing a Unix/Linux login management system (similar to LDAP plus sudo); Information security are paying for the project as it has obvious benefits for them, but I'm all for it as it means I only have to remember and change one password. So I'll be more productive, less frustrated and happier as a result.

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The Shock of the New: The Register redesign update 4

tfewster
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Happy

Top Art in stories - now editorially selectable - in response to feedback about relevance

Thank you, now when I click an article that interests me I'm straight into the content (and it's less obvious I'm not working :-) It was getting ridiculous, if the article had photos one would be duplicated at the top of the page so no value was added.

Thank you also for the grey background, much easier on the eyes.

I'd add my vote for 4 columns, though BBC News and The Onion seem to use the same width as New-Reg

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American bacon cured with AR-15 assault rifle

tfewster
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Unhappy

Disappointed by the heading

I thought the article was going to be a technique for cooking bacon by wrapping it around a hot gun barrel.

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Can't stop Home Depot-style card pwning, but suppliers will feel PCI regulation pain

tfewster
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PCI DSS is NOT a joke

I believe those retailers that have lost data have agreed to cover the [customers|banks] losses and the cost of credit monitoring; The alternative is to have card facilities withdrawn, which would have crippled them.*

That's a threat with teeth, and it's neither necessary nor desirable for Government to be involved.

You're right that there are still many bad practices and that self-certification hasn't eliminated those practices. Any IT manager that ignores those problems is putting their career and their organisation at risk.

* IMHO, any merchant that stores the CVV2 code in flagrant violation of the PCI DSS rules should have this sanction applied no matter what the excuse.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

tfewster
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Pics at the top of nearly all stories - visual is good, right?

No. Takes up too much space and isn't relevant to the the article.

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It's nearly 2015 – and your Windows PC can still be owned by a Visual Basic script

tfewster
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Re: Accountability

Microsoft sells (or licences) their products for money, so they are held to a higher standard of accountability. It must be fit for its purpose, so they must either support/patch it or give refunds for a reasonable period of time.

Kudos to you for sharing your software. If you make the source code available, others can check and build on it, so responsibility is devolved. But if you deliberately put malware in there you could be sued.

Hmmm - Did I really just give Adobe Reader an excuse for being crap just because it's free?

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Review mass-snoop laws regularly, says RIPA daddy Blunkett

tfewster
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Re: Oh dear

Actually...Remember Margaret Thatcher's banning terrorists from the "oxygen of publicity"?

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2010/sep/15/real-ira-debate-oxygen-publicity

That worked so well, Thatchers children (Blair, Cameron etc.) carry on that line of thinking...

Oh, wait...

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Sharing Economy sharks need love, cuddles and SUBSIDIES – UK.gov

tfewster
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WTF?

Shurley shome mistake?

1) Steve Bong comes out at weekends.

2) Good satire must be believable, unlike this childish rubbish.

Wait...What did you say? WHAT?!

I blame El Reg for giving them the idea.

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Technology quiz reveals that nobody including quiz drafters knows anything about IT

tfewster
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Happy

This is good!

The high numbers of correct responses to the Net Neutrality, definition of URL and sizes questions is encouraging. As is the similarities between segments, i.e. sex, education and age. Bearing in mind that they surveyed normal people, not techies, and it's a very positive result.

Slightly worrying is the number of people who still fall for the "Privacy Policy" con.

I think the most of the rest of the questions fall into the "whatever" category. Even the distinction between the Internet and the WWW isn't something you often _need_ to know as a user, Apps handle that for you ;-)

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MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'

tfewster
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FAIL

> "However, this company does not appear to regard itself as under any obligation to ensure that its systems identify such exchanges, or to take action or notify the authorities when its communications services appear to be used by terrorists."

So, if I post on Farcebook, "gonna kill a soldier", FB are expected to check if I'm on a government watchlist? I could be talking about a video game, so looking for keywords is a really stupid way to do it. (Echelon, ANFO, jihad,...)

> " none of the major US Communications Service Providers (CSPs) regard themselves as compelled to comply with UK warrants ..."

Damn right they shouldn't, unless they have a UK branch. But I expect if they passed the suspects name to the NSA, the info would soon be handed over.

The whole Fusilier Rigby tragedy has been warped by the Government and security services to advance their own agenda, while denying any responsibility. Whether or not you regard the killers as terrorists, terrorists have won.

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Cyber security: Do the experts need letters after their name?

tfewster
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Thumb Up

Re: Another fabricated shortage?

Or focus on the important part, Information Security. If your desktops get pwned and used as a botnet, it's irritating. If your data gets stolen or trashed, you're out of business.

So...how should we approach security? By getting people with certificates to pen test and fix ALL the holes? Or by getting a business type to assess the values and risks, and communicating that to the business to focus on key areas? I don't know the answer, but I don't think a lack of technical skills is the biggest problem.

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World leaders rubber-stamp tax recoup effort at G20 gabfest

tfewster
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> Profits should be taxed where economic activities deriving the profits are performed ...

Tax havens don't matter if the money doesn't make it to their borders.

> ...and where value is created...

That part intrigues me. If Apple design a desirable product, will they be taxed even if they don't sell that model in the U.S.A./California? Is it a return to double-taxation, or just a swipe at the Starbucks "royalty" model?

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