* Posts by David Pollard

1207 posts • joined 29 May 2007

Page:

Medicos could be world's best security bypassers, study finds

David Pollard
Silver badge

Now you know ...

... why doctors' writing is almost impossible to decipher.

0
0

Brexit government pledge sought to keep EU-backed UK science alive

David Pollard
Silver badge

Gen IV

This would be an appropriate time to upgrade the UK's nuclear research commitment to full membership of the Generation IV International Forum.

4
0

T-Mobile Czech ad man steals, sells, 1.5 million customer records

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: forgive me correcting your correction

I can't help but wonder where the moderatrix is now.

1
0

Telco bosses' salaries must take heat for cyber attacks, says MPs' TalkTalk enquiry

David Pollard
Silver badge

"... compensation should be linked ..."

Does this recommendation extend to include such luminaries as the Secretary of Stare for Health, and would it be retroactive, for example in the case of a head of the DWP?

4
0

'I am not a lizard' Zuckerberg proclaims in public Q&A

David Pollard
Silver badge

"stimulating the brain cells ... extreme signs of fear"

Be afraid, very afraid.

0
0

Kiwis prep 'permissive' space laws to help Rocket Lab get off the ground

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Noice

And it's much more scenic than Area 51.

0
0

London Mayor election day bug forced staff to query vote DB by hand

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: If it sounds dodgy, it is dodgy

Computer counted elections can only be equivalently transparent if the source code is open to all for inspection.

Open source is vital. It is also necessary to have a permanent record of votes so that a recount is possible. Electronic storage doesn't allow for an audit using effectively unchangeable data in the way that paper and pencil does.

11
0

Voter registration site collapse proves genius of GDS, says minister

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: You couldn't make this sh** up

This is precisely the sort of thing "cloud" is supposed to handle...

What they seem to have used is clod computing - cloud with U left out..

5
0

Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

David Pollard
Silver badge

Epicycles may be better

Copernicus and Kepler did indeed provide an improved explanation of how and why the planets move as they do. But it's a rather cumbersome task to work out how they will appear seen from Earth at any given time, to predict eclipses or to navigate. Even with an an ephemeris to hand, trig tables and logs it isn't by any means easy to draw a picture of the planets in the sky.

Epicycles, on the other hand can be quite quick and simple; particularly if the model can use integer arithmetic, with a couple of analogue wobbles in appropriate gear wheels. The epicyclic model may not have been the best in terms of explanatory power, but it was certainly the way to go in terms of providing a pragmatic solution to the problems of calculation.

1
0

Astroboffins' discovery gives search for early life a left hand. Or right

David Pollard
Silver badge

Parity violation in chiral molecules

There are theoretical reasons to expect that the enthalpies of enantiomers will be very, very slightly different as a result of non-conservation of parity in the weak interaction. Experimental verification has so far proved rather tricky, but measurement of the relative amounts of pairs of chiral molecules in distant gas clouds could shed light on this curious aspect of the universe.

The spatial symmetry of most physical laws says that when achiral molecules form chiral products, the system as a whole will stay racemic. However, it may be that the universe is handed, and that spacial symmetry which we take for granted is actually slightly broken.

0
0

No 10's online EU vote signup crash 'inevitable' – GDS overseer

David Pollard
Silver badge

"I am not a technical expert ..."

That rather sums up one of the main problems of parliament: people like Oliver Letwin who appear either not to have the capacity to understand the areas over which they have responsibility or to be intent on deceit as a means to further their agenda.

Checking out what he studied post-Eton - philosophy at Cambridge - a search brought up a speech he made this April to the UN.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/we-must-redouble-our-efforts-to-meet-the-challenge-of-new-psychoactive-substances-to-bring-the-most-harmful-substances-under-international-control

His claim that the UK "is delivering a modern, balanced, evidence-based response to drugs within the UN conventions" is unconscionable. Professor David Nutt and his team were quite clear, before their forced retirement, about what a genuine evidence-based policy on recreational drugs should be.

4
0

England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Gardens for waste burial?

As it happens, I've been on record since the 1970s as saying I'd be happy to have a parcel of radioactive waste in my back garden. It needs to be monitored, mainly against malevolent thieves, so it would be better to used it in a small district heating plant rather having individual units. Piping heat to, say, 200 properties wouldn't be that expensive in city areas and 2.5 kW each would provide useful savings on the hot water and winter heating bills.

Critics always seem to bring up the question of cooling in summer. Air cooling would be fine. Half a megawatt is roughly equivalent to ten cars starting off from a set of traffic lights. No one seems to be too concened about the risks from that.

9
0

Dell finds liquid cooling tech on eBay, now wants you to buy it

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Hey, what could possibly go wrong with ...

It's not immediately clear, but "pushed to 350PSI, several times their likely working load" presumably means 'leak tested well above their working pressure'.

4
0

Capitalize 'Internet'? AP says no – Vint Cerf says yes

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Very simple

So why not capitalise the 'I' when referring to the big Internet which spans the globe. Then usage would be similar to that of other words such as parliament and queen, which are capitalised when the reference is singular and specific.

For example; The aim of parliaments is to provide representation for the people. In Parliament today a range of views were discussed. Several kings and queens attended the event. The Queen is very fond of her dogs.

The Grauniad has ignored this rule for some while. though whether this is because the editorial team think it is elitist or that they don't understand it is not entirely clear.

9
0

Mushroom farm PC left in the dark and fed … you know the rest

David Pollard
Silver badge

... and don't you eat that yellow snow!

9
0

Aquaboffins sink lost Greek city theory

David Pollard
Silver badge

Pyramids scam scotched

At a casual glance this could easily have gone on to become a ghastly scam like the so-called Bosnian pyramids.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/26/bosnian_pyramids/?page=1

A quick search suggests that the unwary are still being parted from their money on this one, the latest 'discovery' apparently being underground tunnels which have healing properties and which bring health benefits to those who visit. Aaargh.

6
0

Earth's core is younger than its crust surface

David Pollard
Silver badge

You'll also need one of those massless pullies and some inextensible string to get it back to the surface. These are not so easy to obtain these days.

0
0

EU bureaucrats claim credit for making 'illegal online hate speech' even more illegal

David Pollard
Silver badge

Sarah Bee to train moderatrixes

Many Reg commentards will remember with affection Ms Bee and her keen sense of propriety.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/30/moderatrix_off/

Perhaps consideration should have been given to employing her for a while as Tsarina for Decent Speech. Were she to train others in the art of moderation and imbue in them by example her wit, acuity and good taste this would bring far greater benefit than yet another set of regulations.

4
1

Rats revive phones-and-cancer scares

David Pollard
Silver badge

It's that time of year again

The search is back on for the Yeti, maybe there are signs of life on Mars, amino acids have been detected in comets, and Steven Greer is in the news again with his miniature humanoid.

0
0

US power grid still fragile in the face of EMP threat: GAO

David Pollard
Silver badge

This looks like asteroid envy

If nuclear weapons are ever used in anger it's likely to be the end of the line for much of the human race whether or not there are measures to protect against EMP.

Solar flares can induce significant currents in long wire loops, but the grid can be protected by disconnecting power lines in order to prevent transformers being saturated with low frequency currents. There are various plans for an orderly shut-down if necessary and we do have quite good advance notice of solar events these days.

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/flare-impacts.html

3
0

IBM invents printer that checks for copyrights

David Pollard
Silver badge

Contradictory from the outset

Doesn't this need a local copy of everything in the world that has ever been copyrighted, in order to be able to do the comparison to check?

Assuming that it's possible to get copyright permission to keep electronic copies in the printer, what bandwidth would be required to keep it up to date?

0
0

Microsoft boots fake fix-it search ads

David Pollard
Silver badge

When they have sorted this out, perhaps they could turn their attention to the persistent gentleman who telephones at intervals from the Indian Microsoft Support department to tell me that my computer has downloaded all sorts of malware.

14
1

Is uBeam the new Theranos?

David Pollard
Silver badge
Pint

Good analysis by 'Danny'

The debunking in the linked article is a job well done. It's surprising that the real world considerations that make this invention worthless were in the public domain eighteen months ago.

It's also surprising that Marc Andreessen - presumably he of the IgNobel Awards - is said to have been one of the early backers.

3
0

Spying on you using fake social media profiles: One Scots council could

David Pollard
Silver badge
Go

Perhaps we could have an El Reg competition

I've got a tenner towards the prize.

3
0

Lie back and think of cybersecurity: IBM lets students loose on Watson

David Pollard
Silver badge

Saddle your horses men, head'em off at the pass

Check out this video.

Nerves of steel may not suffice. After watching their video it occurred to me that IBM + Big Pharma might lead to a catastrophe worse than the widespread and growing prevalence of antibiotic resistance.

I managed to recover the afternoon by remembering that the late Prof Sir David MacKay has left us a set of lectures which he gave on Information Theory.

http://videolectures.net/david_mackay/

0
0

Windows 10 build 14342: No more friendly Wi-Fi sharing

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Adblock on Edge

one browser 'open' and another with noScript

I've been wondering that a possible solution might be to use a third browser/editor to enter bookmark links into one of a set of simple HTML files, one for each topic or area of research. Though it's not ideal, this approach could provide a neat backup scheme, because project pages would be more or less self-contained and could be hived off to reduce clutter when their relevance decreases. It would also make it easy to incorporate saved links in notes to others and so forth.

Konqueror might do the job, but it's surprising that there doesn't seem to be any standalone software to provide a note-taking and bookmark indexing option from/to any browser one might be using.

1
0

Brexit campaign group fined £50k for sending half a million spam texts

David Pollard
Silver badge

Environmental directives?

I was no great fan of the 'Iron Lady' but, credit given where credit due, Margaret Thatcher's ability to understand the science of the ozone layer and to explain the dangers of CFCs on the world stage played a large part in the development of the Montreal Protocol. This secured international agreement on an international issue.

It seems to me that what is needed in the way of environmental protection is politicians who properly understand or at least appreciate the underlying science rather than teams of bureaucrats with alternative agendas.

1
0

UK.biz is still clueless at fending off malware attacks, says survey

David Pollard
Silver badge

This Government has made cyber security a top priority?

It's well over two years since El Reg reported on the continuing hacks into NHS websites to promote the Online Canadian Pharmacy and other vendors of viagra and similar drugs. Adverts with links to suppliers of counterfeit handbags, jackets, shoes and sunglasses also seem to be popular.

A quick search for [site:gov.uk paypal viagra] brings up a similar selection of vendors.

A paranoid interpretation might be that these are allowed to pass as part of complex honeypot which is guarding the UK and providing leads on the villains who are intent on infiltrating the government's cyber infrastructure. The simpler explanation seems rather more likely.

2
0

Official: Microsoft's 'Get Windows 10' nagware to vanish from PCs in July

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Timing?

needs constant help and tuning

Windows was boosted not only from small hordes of people who earned a generally rich living from mending it but also by the hordes of teenage Mr Fixits who knew enough to help out users when they were baffled, thus boosting their egos and social status. Both groups had vested interests and neither would have much to say against it; and many users would accept what they said. Microsoft would have benefitted by maximising their gains as well as its own.

Compare this with the situation where the software is truly first-class. Users don't need much assistance and don't replace their software as frequently. It looks as though Microsoft and its acolytes would, in fact, have been making more money by putting out optimally bug-ridden software.

2
3

Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Sounds like a winner

Maybe someone in marketing read the story of Tom Sawyer and the task of painting the fence?

2
0

Router hackers reach for the fork: LEDE splits from OpenWRT

David Pollard
Silver badge
Go

Re: What we really need

Given the numbers of XP machines that for various reasons are still running, a router that could be tightly locked down and tailored to their specific functions might well see a decent uptake. Like other open source projects, though, it might face opposition for those with vested interests.

0
0

'Impossible' EmDrive flying saucer thruster may herald new theory of inertia

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: 'Cannot be explained by known Physics' they say...

If the lasers were tapered rather than plain cylinders then the sharks would be able to swim faster.

0
0

Stop using USB sticks to move kids' data, auditor tells Education Dept

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: It's not about USB sticks - It's the release of confidential data!

the consequences that will inevitably happen

Availability and (mis)use of data in the National Pupil Database itself is only part of the problem. Features of the RYOGENS programme also seem to be being implemented, although we hear very little about these aspects. It's not hard to wonder whether this will lead to greater stigmatisation of a proportion young people and the creation of an underclass, rather than the reduction in crime claimed by proponents from both sides of the political spectrum for what amounts to computerised surveillance.

http://www.fipr.org/childrens_databases.pdf

2
0

Google found 760,935 compromised web sites in a year

David Pollard
Silver badge

NHS is still being hacked

A quick Google search with [site:nhs.uk paypal viagra] brings up a few hacks. El Reg first carried a report of the NHS site's apparent insecurity almost three years ago.

Here's an example:

http://www.sct.nhs.uk/order-cialis-from-india/

and the Google cache in case it gets fixed quickly for once:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:e0elKN-q6jMJ:http://www.sct.nhs.uk/order-cialis-from-india/%2Bsite:nhs.uk+paypal+viagra&gbv=1&hl=en&ct=clnk

0
0

UK authorities probe 'drone hitting plane at Heathrow'

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Play "chicken"

Isn't it time that someone did some work into ... the effect of a drone-strike ...?

Aalborg University is on the case:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160413084310.htm

0
0

Google yanks Chrome support for Windows XP, at long last

David Pollard
Silver badge

Portable Apps?

Will the portable version still be available?

0
0

Docs need to do remote consultations – report

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: I can't feel your pulse

The Reuters articles states a 25% fail rate ... with virtual diagnosis.

I wonder what the failure rate is with surgery visits? My GP doesn't seem to do that well to start with.

0
0

Dear Windows, OS X folks: Update Flash now. Or kill it. Killing it works

David Pollard
Silver badge

Is anyone from MIT reading this?

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/855598/

"Oh no! We're having trouble displaying this Scratch project.

If you are on a mobile phone or tablet, try visiting this project on a computer.

If you're on a computer, your Flash player might be disabled, missing, or out of date. Visit this page to update Flash."

7
0

UK Home Office seeks secret settlements over unlawful DNA retention

David Pollard
Silver badge

a swiftly-passed law

Back in 1997 a solicitor explained to me that when DNA profiling was first introduced, parliament had been told and expected that it would be used exclusively to tie suspects to specific crimes; or to eliminate them from the enquiry. The use of the DNA database for 'trawling' was specifically not allowed; and it was expected that samples and records would be destroyed in due course some time after collection.

After a few months a slight modification to the statute passed through parliament, which most MPs probably didn't understand or didn't even notice. This allowed retention of the data "for statistical purposes".

And the authorities hiding behind such weasel wording to allow function creep wonder why there isn't too much public co-operation and why witnesses to crimes often don't willingly come forward.

4
0

US Marine Corps launches hacker support unit

David Pollard
Silver badge

Cultural exchanges?

Are reciprocal visits planned with the 77th Brigade so they can mingle with the chaps over here? Berkshire is really nice at this time of year and there are air transport facilities just up the road..

0
0

Reddit's warrant canary shuffles off this mortal coil

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: re. The picture

Maybe someone has been reading 'Meetings with remarkable men' and been impressed with George Gurdjieff's reputed use of yellow dye to avail himself of canaries for resale. It's all too easy to muddle canaries and canards.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gurdjieff#Businessman

1
0

Legion of demons found in ancient auto medical supply dispensing cabinets

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Firewall?

The RPi connection to the internet could be a) secure b) tightly locked down c) self monitoring and d) report any apparent malfeasance to the NHS parent. With slight modification to its software the XP could use, for example, a limited vocabulary and a serial link for communication with the RPi, making it well-nigh impossible to hack.

The folks at Pi HQ can do custom limited editions. I'd have thought that a Pi on a PCi card ready to pop inside an XP box would find the 3,000 to 5,000 users in this and similar situations which would make a custom run viable. If I were a few years younger I'd be crowdfunding something on these lines tomorrow.

0
0
David Pollard
Silver badge

Firewall?

Don't these systems have a limited communications requirement? It seems a shame to throw them and their peripherals away when all that's needed is to limit the incoming link to genuine drug-related messages.

Is there any reason why a new interface for the XPs couldn't be provided so that they were no longer connected to the internet. For example, an RPi with a custom version of OpenWRT plus a message re-writer could sit between them and the internet and transcribe incoming data. Then the internet connection would be secure and incoming data would be screened so that only genuine prescription related messages were passed on and then only after being transcribed to a limited format which could not transmit malware.

3
0

Boffins urged to publish in free journals by science sugardaddy

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Reputation

Peer review does indeed cost money. But there's no reason in principle why the process should not be largely automatic. The expensive part, reading, assessing and commenting on papers received, could be required as pseudo-payment for publication. In return for publication of their own paper each author would be required to review maybe four or five papers in the same field.

5
3

Osbo slaps down Amazon and eBay – who'll be liable for traders evading VAT

David Pollard
Silver badge

Nothing to do with me, guv

An eBay spokesman [said], "... we would not hesitate to suspend sellers found by HMRC to be evading VAT."

That looks rather like defensive first response to a seriously rattled cage. I too would be a bit concerned if C&E were about to be able to assert joint and several liability in these circumstances.

1
0

Reprogrammble routers axed by TP-Link as FCC bans custom firmware

David Pollard
Silver badge

Re: Why they have done this

Could it be that someone with a pay grade well above what their intelligence might merit has started a paranoid panic that trrrssts might take over swathes of routers and use them in a massed attack to disable the national radar network?

0
0

Only 12% of UK thinks Snoopers' Charter is 'adequately explained'

David Pollard
Silver badge

Security vs privacy?

33 per cent [think] national security [is] more important for the government to protect than the right to personal privacy at 11 per cent.

This false dilemma skews the whole debate from the outset. National security is directly contingent on accountability. Accountability only develops when people can be trusted. And if they can be trusted there's mostly no need for snooping.

Indeed, snooping erodes trust; and lack of trust amounts to a loss of security.

29
0

UK Ministry of Justice secure email system browns out

David Pollard
Silver badge

IDS?

Maybe that nice Mr Duncan Smith who's in charge of computing at the DWP could come over for a few hours and provide helpful hints to get this sorted.

0
0

Phew! No evidence found for global criminal hacker conspiracy

David Pollard
Silver badge

How many went walkabout?

Especially given the piece in El Reg just the other day about recruitment into the upper echelons of criminal computing, it would be interesting to know how many of Trend Micro's obviously highly skilled multilingual analysts took the opportunity for a slight change of career path while they were engaged in this research.

3
0

Europe is spaffing €20bn on handouts for tech

David Pollard
Silver badge

Accounts not signed off

The last time I looked at this appalling state of affairs was when the Court of Auditors had not signed off the EU accounts for the tenth or twelfth consecutive year. Starting to check just now, for I really can't see that there has been any improvement in more recent times, the first thing that appeared was this:

""Based on our findings, we believe policy makers need to develop a wholly new approach to the management of EU spending and investment."

http://www.eca.europa.eu/en/euauditinbrief-2014/Pages/euaditinbriefdefault.aspx

Indeed, it seems to me what's needed is a wholly new approach to the EU as a whole.

5
1

Page:

Forums