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* Posts by Alister

743 posts • joined 19 May 2010

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Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us

Alister
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Incident prediction

Back in the early 90s I worked for an NHS Ambulance Service which was approached by researchers at one of the local Universities.

They had this great idea for a piece of software they wanted to trial, which would predict the likelehood of an emergency call in any particular area the service covered, based on historical data from the last ten years or so.

The idea was that the service could position it's vehicles close to the predicted scene of an incident, and therefore cut down on response times.

Unsurprisingly, it didn't work, as real life doesn't work like that, but the statisticians were convinced their methodology was sound... In more cases than a little, the vehicles were at the wrong end of the county when the next emergency came in.

Those of us working at the sharp end could have told them it wouldn't work, but the Trust spent thousands on the system before they eventually gave it up as a bad job.

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Plucky Playmonaut parties as LOHAN hits Kickstarter goal

Alister
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Re: Bonus Points

Do 'ee naarrt know, it be Talk Loike a Pirate Day, today, me hearties.

AHaaaaaarrrr...

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Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks

Alister
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Flashpoint adds a caveat to its conclusions by noting that a definitive answer to the question of whether terrorist organizations have truly adapted their behaviour in the wake of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks would only be possible with access to "classified information or other credible sources that reveal the inner workings of terrorist organisations". The study is also limited because of a lack of access to private discussions of those responsible for producing jihadi encryption products such as Asrar al-Mujahideen.

Perhaps El Reg, well known for it's persistent bothering of Cupertino, could turn their talents to getting an answer from a Jihadi group?

Joking apart, I think the conclusion drawn by Flashpoint is a bit of a stretch, given the above paragraph.

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Look out, SpaceX! Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin boffins tapped for US rocket launches

Alister
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How curious - in the abstract - that we will shortly be in the position where the only two companies making heavy lift rocket engines in the USA are owned / run by Internet entrepreneurs, and are not part of the "traditional" Aerospace hegemony.

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Top Gear Tigers and Bingo Boilers: Farewell then, Phones4U

Alister
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Well they seem to have summed up the UK population of the period quite succinctly...

Quite interesting, really, and would be more interesting to see the same thing from this decade, and compare.

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SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

Alister
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Re: ... the greatest nation on earth ....

I was going to ask, by what metric are USA the greatest?

Population: nope

Land Area: nope

GDP: nope

... nope

Narcissism: yep

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Was Earth once covered in HELLFIRE? No – more like a wet Sunday night in Iceland

Alister
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Would I be correct in thinking that Hadean means Hell-Like (as in Hades)?

Just curious, never heard of it before.

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Microsoft splurges 2½ INSTAGRAMS buying Minecraft maker Mojang

Alister
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. It’s like when Microsoft decided to buy PowerPoint because it saw this as a pivotal piece of software to help its Office suite and sell Windows.

Oh Gods, PowerPoint crossed with Minecraft, now that would be scary.

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The sound of silence: One excited atom is so quiet that the human ear cannot detect it

Alister
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I'm getting tired of the word Boffins. The Register is the worst offender of using the word and it keeps showing up in Google News.

I'm getting tired of people complaining about the word Boffins. The Register is the worst offender for commentards with no grasp of it's meaning and context.

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Alister
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Facepalm

...and measured the acoustic waves made by the atoms vibrations, which are said to be too small to see.

No, really??

Who'd 'a thought it...

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LOHAN tin-rattles to a whopping £27,000 on Kickstarter

Alister
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Re: Just a thought

As a result of pipe smoking in my 'youth', I have a crooked tooth on the upper left side. I hope the young lady only does this for the short time required to take a picture.

Not to worry, she normally smokes cheroots, the pipe is just for show.

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It's official: LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm is PANTS

Alister
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Re: I've just had a thought

Don't forget the varience introduced by which side of the big pond you live. I have heard that on one side, PANTS refers to outer garments :O

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spɹɐʍʞɔɐB writing is spammers' new mail filter avoidance trick

Alister
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Phishers had also applied the tactic to sections of filenames in order to obfuscate the extension and slip malware past scanners. This meant 'PAYLOADexe.doc' would become PAYLOADcod.exe.

I call bullshit on that one, most mail servers I have used block .exe attachments as a matter of course, so a spammer is hardly likely to rename a .doc to a .exe.

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Google swallows SMARTSPOON manufacturer Lift Labs

Alister
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Re: smart spoons

I hope they develop a beer holder next.

I'm not sure any amount of motors could compensate for Jack Douglas' drinking problem in the Carry On films...

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James Bond's metal-toothed nemesis Richard Kiel dies at 74

Alister
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It's strange, I could have sworn he'd done more than two Bond films, but it is apparently not the case. He obviously made a great impact, as I remember all the scenes - the Egyptian temple, and what he did to that Sherpa van, the cable car - sinking his teeth into braided liquorice, crashing a Peugeot through a farmer's roof, the skydive into the circus, and of course the Moonraker space scenes.

A great bloke, will be sadly missed.

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Look! Look at me! We do wearables, mobile stuff too! says Intel today

Alister
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It's OK to love your PC," Krzanich said. "I hug mine almost every day, I think.

EEEWWW!

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NBN Co says Melton test not valid, likely uses processes developed there anyway

Alister
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The furore – Vulture South could even go as far as to call it a kerfuffle

I say, steady on old chap, let's not go too far, at most it's a bit of a flap, what?

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Mozilla certification revocation: 107,000 websites sunk by untrusted torpedo

Alister
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No Excuse

There really is no excuse for a webmaster not to have updated to a 2048bit certificate, it's not like we haven't been aware of this for the last 3 years.

All the major CAs have had big warnings plastered across their sites for a long long time.

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Vote NOW for LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm acronym

Alister
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Thumb Up

Well I voted for ARMADILLO of course, but actually, I hope PANTS gets it, (and I wish I'd thought of it).

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You are here => Earth is in 'the suburbs' of an IMMENSE HEAVEN

Alister
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Re: Giant Sugarlumps! @AC

So now you've just got to visualise that, and you're done.

Thanks for trying to break it down into an understandable form.

Ooh, my head hurts...

It must be a massive sugar rush. :)

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Alister
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It turns out that the Milky Way is in the ‘burbs of the Laniakea supercluster, which is 500 million light years in diameter and contains the mass of a hundred quadrillion suns in 100,000 galaxies.

Thanks for this topic.

I find it fascinating, but at the same time, completely incomprehensible.

I have no frame of reference into which I can comfortably fit "a hundred quadrillion suns", and make it possible for me to visualise.

A complete failure of imagination, I just don't have the resources.

:(

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The IT kit revolution's OVER, say beancounters - but how do they know?

Alister
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Tim, you mention "there was a vast amount of money wasted in dealing with Y2K".

Why are you perpetuating this myth? It gets trotted out a lot as being an example of a non-event, by journalists in general but even by IT insiders who should know better.

The fact remains that had there not been a lot of time and money spent behind the scenes, the Y2k bug would have been a disaster, but it was averted by a lot of hard work.

Unfortunately, because most of the work done was behind the scenes, the general perception is that it was a load of fuss about nothing.

If you mean that the money was wasted because it shouldn't have been necessary to correct the short-sightedness of those who programmed stuff using a two-digit year then I agree with you, but I doubt that's what you meant.

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Govt waves stick at pirate-friendly Google search

Alister
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Low Hanging Fruit

Once again the British Government, and the media barons, show a complete lack of understanding of how the internet works, and concentrate on the search engine indexes.

If they want to stop people accessing pirated content, why aren't they taking down the sites that host it?

They claim that they've forced the ISPs to block the sites, so they must think they know which sites they are, but they seem incapable of removing the content at source.

Is that too hard or too expensive for them? Or is it because there would have to be some semblance of juducial oversight involved in the process?

Far better to create blacklists which they can add sites to at will, with no judicial process, and no appeal.

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Alister
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Re: Illegal site

Perhaps someone can tell me which web sites, under UK law, are classed as illegal? Some content on some sites may be, but a whole site being "illegal"? I'd like to see details...

I think that the only one officially illegal is PirateBay, and even that I'm not sure of in the UK.

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Russia: SEXY LIZARDS which landed FROM SPACE are all DEAD

Alister
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Re: Geckos! Frozen Geckos!

Onna stick!

Half a dollar and I'm cutting my own throat!

I wouldn't buy them Gecko-y things from cut-me-own-throat-Barnes, he hasn't even peeled them!!

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BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

Alister
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Re: Budgetary crazyness

...or is there some beancounter magic that I just don't understand?

Yes.

Reduce Expenditure

Cut Budgets

Always

For Ever

:)

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TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit

Alister
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Facepalm

Re: Legal term?

From missing prepositions, to typos create neologisms, to statements that are false and clearly copied from an unchecked source, you'll fnd it all here on The Register.

Oops!

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Racing Post escapes ICO fine after leaking info of 677K punters

Alister
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I would hazard a guess that, as is usual in these cases, the website is the product of some design / web agency, and not directly produced by the Racing Post.

If that is the case, it should be the agency that gets hammered, not the headline company, or they'll just keep churning out the same old rubbish.

In this day and age, writing a site that is susceptible to SQL injection is just unforgivable.

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

Alister
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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody week?

It's not unusual...

Oh Please Gods, not Tom Jones...

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Alister
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Re: Excellent (quantum theory of socks)

I've yet to fathom the "neat cables go into the bag, tangled ones come out" mystery.

It's due to Malignancy "The local hostility of things towards non- things" or, as we now call it, Quantum Entanglement...

;)

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Alister
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Re: Sock gnomes

Eater of Socks / Verruca gnome

gling-glingle-glingle

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Security precogs divine web vulnerabilities BEFORE THEY EXIST

Alister
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Their predictions, made with 66 per cent accuracy...

Hmmm, two out of three ain't bad...

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Hi-ho EVO: VMware eyes TWO new hardware-flavored trademarks

Alister
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Re: Funny

I thought it was a Mitsubishi car...

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Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

Alister
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Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

What, you mean stop it dead?

That is, after all, what a defibrillator does...

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LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!

Alister
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Re: Explosives factory

Just remember, thick walls, thin roof: that's how you build 'em...

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Alister
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Given the support you've had from the Dutch, French and Germans authorities, I'm curious why you don't try for launch in one of those countries?

OK so Germany has a lot of trees, so that may be a bad idea...

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Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you

Alister
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Well there's one thing, working in IT for GCHQ is one of the few places in Britain where you're unlikely to have your job outsourced...

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Lazy sysadmins rooted in looming Mozilla cert wipeout

Alister
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I've just queried this with both Mozilla and Entrust - as we have a large number of sites with Entrust SSL certs.

Just to clarify, Mozilla are removing the 1024bit root and intermediate certificates, and therefore any certs with those in the key chain will fail.

However, any SSL cert bought within the last 18 months (from Entrust at least) uses the 2048bit root and intermediate certificate chain, and these will not be affected.

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Look, no client! Not quite: the long road to a webbified Vim

Alister
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Re: Why bother?

You can't see any benefit, at all, for providing these debugging tools directly in the applications that are used to deliver the content?

Not when it turns what should be a client application into a full-fat development environment, no.

As I said, Firebug is useful, but I wouldn't want it switched on all the time, or built into the browser without being able to disable or remove it - which is what the OP seems to be suggesting.

You wouldn't expect a desktop or mobile app to also include there own debugging environment would you? so why hinder a web browser with it?

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Alister
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Why bother?

I really, really don't get this.

The web browser is a client application for viewing web pages. The vast majority of users of web browsers don't want or need development tools built in, and it just adds to the bloat and slows the browser down.

Firebug is a great diagnostic add-on tool for tweaking CSS or finding obscure errors, but why try and use it as a development tool?

If you're a developer, then either use an IDE, of which there are hundreds (why only mention two of the worst, Dreamweaver and FrontPage?) or just use a text editor (with syntax highlighting if you want), a browser and a local instance of a server.

Is that really too complicated for the modern web developer?

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Uh, Obama? Did you miss a zero or two off Samsung's Chinese supplier 'fib' settlement?

Alister
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I guess the US Government doesn't use Cisco Catalyst switches and routers then, AFAIK they are (or were) all manufactured in China.

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TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button

Alister
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Re: That confirms what I thought.....(@Alister)

Dan, I'm sorry that you failed to understand the tongue-in-cheek nature of my post, and would like to reassure you that I don't think that all Americans are like Homer Simpson.

I've seen Dukes of Hazzard, The A Team, and Dallas, so I know that isn't true...

Oh by the way, most Brittons don't speak with a Cockney accent, or go dancing about on roofs with a chimney sweep's brush either, and nor do we sound like BBC announcers of the fifties.

Just FYI...

;)

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Alister
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Re: Interesting terminology...

Set-top box

I think it's an Americanism, and certainly, from my extensive research (watching Simpsons) it would appear that they used to place these devices on top of the television.

However, as you say, in this age of LED widescreens there's not much room to balance the satellite, DVD, VHS, Playstation, XBox and kitchen sink on top anymore...

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Microsoft Azure goes TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance)

Alister
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Facepalm

I received this ten days ago:

As part of our ongoing commitment to performance, reliability, and security, we sometimes perform maintenance operations in our Microsoft Azure regions and datacenters.

We want to notify you of an upcoming maintenance operation. We will be performing maintenance on our networking hardware. We are scheduling the update to occur during nonbusiness hours as much as possible, in each maintenance region. Single and multi-instance Virtual Machines and Cloud Services deployments will reboot once during this maintenance operation. Each instance reboot should last 30 to 45 minutes.

The following are the planned start times, provided in both Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) and United States Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). The maintenance will be split into two windows and will impact Virtual Machines or Cloud Services in either half of the maintenance. We expect each half of the maintenance to finish within 12 hours of the start time.

The maintenance period was from the 15th to the 17th August, so it looks as though they managed to stuff it up some how...

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Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

Alister
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Re: Name

Name

Browser

Sorry I am lazy :(

I'm sorry, but that's too generic, you must be more specific.

Web Browser

There, that's much better.

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Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech

Alister
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Re: Health and safety gone maddddd!

Not sure I agree about the analogue speedo...

a digital speedo (I can read them faster, since its just two symbols my brain instantly understands, rather than looking where a line is pointing..)

I may be displaying old-fart-ness, but I find I can interpret an anologue speedo dial much faster than a digital readout, as it forms a picture which I recognise, rather than having to interpret numbers. I find the same with time - I can interpret an analogue clock face much faster than a digital clock.

I'm pretty sure there is some scientific basis for this - human brains process pattern recognition faster than reading.

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Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy

Alister
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As soon as I heard that he had "Arranged a Press Conference" this morning, my immediate thought was, ha, he wants some more media coverage...

It's a shame, but that's all he means to me now - an attention seeking nobody (allegedly).

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Alister
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Re: Policies !

"Why does changing my password make the email address more secure?"

It's not so much for your email, but as a general policy for corporate computer accounts. If someone has cracked your password, there is no easy way of knowing this - so long as the miscreant doesn't do anything obvious like send all your mates dirty pictures by email.

Therefore, changing the password on a regular basis can offer a way to block the use of any compromised account. However, doing it every 90 days means that someone could have up to three months to do nasty things with a compromised account, so a shorter reset period is more secure - although more annoying to users.

In the case of your bank, if someone has cracked your account then it's probably going to be fairly obvious, as transactions will be made that you didn't know about, and therefore a compromised password is easy to spot.

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Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?

Alister
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I can't help thinking that Gartner missed the whole point of why so many companies stayed with XP.

It was, in a lot of cases, not through a lack of forward planning, but because they chose to.

The same will be true when Windows 7 reaches EOL, maybe even more so, if Microsoft persist in trying to merge desktop and mobile platforms, as companies will not want to ditch a proper Desktop O/S for some Desktop / Mobile hybrid which offers less functionality and is harder to integrate into a business environment.

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Fanfare of trumpets as LOHAN reveals mission patch

Alister
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Pint

I would quite happily pay anything up to one pound 37 1/2 pence for a mug with that on...

Oh, and have a beer on me.

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