* Posts by AlbertH

288 posts • joined 18 Jul 2012

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Australia's Dick finally drops off

AlbertH

Re: Next on the list

Certainly not. Maplin seldom have actual stock of anything you might need in a hurry! I can get overnight delivery of components from (for example) Rapid Electronics in Colchester or even Tayda in Singapore far more cheaply than I can get anything from Maplin.

A couple of years ago, I needed to build - in a hurry - a couple of quite precise audio filters for a project. I decided to build the board on a Saturday, so hurried down to the Hammersmith branch of Maplin with a list of the parts I wanted, (mostly 2% polystyrene capacitors) complete with their part codes from their catalogue. I handed the list to to PFY behind the counter, and a few minutes later he handed me a paper bag and an invoice. I went to the till, settled the invoice and hurried home to build my circuit.

When I opened the paper bag, I found that instead of 2% polystyrene capacitors of 1n5, 1n8, 2n2 and so on, I'd received the same number of cheap polyester 4n7 capacitors - all the same value! I'd been charged the inflated prices for the 2% parts as well!

I phoned the branch up to complain, and was told that they no longer stocked the parts I'd ordered, so they'd substituted parts "that'll do the job"! That was the last time I bothered with Craplin!

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AlbertH
FAIL

Re: dropped off a *long* time ago

Right now in the UK, the same thing is happening (has happened) with Maplin. They started off as a small component retailer / mail order shop in Essex, selling components and kits to electronics enthusiasts. Years ago, I designed a couple of kits for them, and they paid quite generous royalties per unit sold.

Electronics construction is not as popular as it once was, and so Maplin "diversified" into all sorts of cheap electronic tat - sold at premium prices - in the mistaken belief that this would get customers into their shops again. They still can't see where they've got it wrong, trying to be Tandy. They've lost their core customers.

Their component prices are incredible: They charge the same for four cheap ¼W resistors as I pay for 200 of the same value from the Far East! Their range of parts has been radically reduced, and they seldom have actual physical stock of parts in their shops despite their computer system always insisting that they have lots in stock.....

Dick Smith - sadly - went exactly the same way as Maplin. I don't expect the English company to last much longer - they've already shut about a third of their branches - they're selling the wrong things at the wrong prices. Maplin are certain to suffer the same fate as Dick Smith!

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Your pointy-haired boss 'bought a cloud' with his credit card. Now what?

AlbertH
Coat

Re: Missing the real point

You have PHB's that stick around for more than 4 years at a time!

You're like me - suffering from "Seagull Management"!

They fly in, squawk a lot, cr@p over everything, and fly out again!

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Microsoft lures top Linux exec from Oracle to Redmond

AlbertH
Devil

Re: Microsoft Linux Container OS with NT kernel

Expect to see NT open-sourced

No chance. They really don't want to reveal the abysmal tangled spaghetti mess that is the NT kernel.

MS are just shifting their means of monetising their (abysmal) products: They make clear in their EULA that all you've bought is a "licence to use" their products - NOT the products themselves. They're clearly moving towards some "pay-per-use" model with remotely housed application servers. You can be sure that W10.5 will be (effectively) a thin client for their "App Store".....

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You can't dust-proof a PC with kitchen-grade plastic food wrap

AlbertH

Re: Lightning strikes are always fun

I remember a guy who used to work for me - back in the days when I ran a team of telephone engineers - who brought in a charred and generally crispy Line Card ftom a business telephone system. Attached to it was the usual red tag with a fault description of "F*c*ed by Lightning".

I explained that his fault description really wasn't appropriate and that it should say "destroyed by lightning - beyond economical repair". He duly changed the label.

Two days later, he was called back to the same customer's office, for the same kind of fault. This time the strike had been rather more powerful and had actually ripped the line card in half! This time, the red label tying the two pieces together read "Totally phuqued by lightning"!!

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Which keys should I press to enable the CockUp feature?

AlbertH

Re: MSDOS/Apple DOS prankage

Back in the days of pre-history, when terminal access to a computer was rare, we used to use "GE 635 BASIC PLUS". One of our guys wrote a neat little programme that emulated the "system screen", so "Library" commands would reply with the location of the nearest Public Library, "Run" would be met with "Please WALK in the corridors" and so on. Each command received a smart reply and did nothing. It frequently took users several minutes to realise that they were looking at the output from a programme, rather than at the actual system terminal output!

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Ransomware now using disk-level encryption

AlbertH

Re: Personally I prefer this

Problem is, what if that's your boss?

That's frequently the way. We've had malware brought on-site by people up to and including the Board. One clueless twerp brought three malicious payloads on to the network through his frequent surfing of "free" porn sites using Internet Explorer.

We now ban connection of anything "unapproved" on to the network on pain of instant dismissal. There is an "open" wi-fi for the (l)users if they're desperate to connect their personal gear to the interweb - this seems to satisfy them and has gone a long way to keeping our networks secure!

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

AlbertH

Paper Tapes...

End of Term - please empty your User Area. I wrote a little File Erase routine and fed it on paper tape to the Teletype. Upon prompt, I entered the requisite filename - a few seconds passed, and the "File Deleted" report came back.

Three times 'round, and the paper tape was starting to get tatty. I had dozens of files to delete: A quick re-write of the programme, to ignore EOF characters......

The DEC 10 never replied to confirm that the files were deleted..........

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Tired of Windows 10 phoning home? Maybe the special Chinese govt version is for you

AlbertH
Holmes

Further confirmation.....

.....that Windoze is chock-full of spyware with all sorts of malicious functionality.

The Chinese aren't going to sanction anything that they can't thoroughly control!

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Mud sticks: Microsoft, Windows 10 and reputational damage

AlbertH

Re: Windows 10 is the best MSFT OS yet

Windows 10 has performed extremely well

Ahh! You must be using the special "insider" version that's unavailable to the General Public. The rest of us had to put up with an unstable, inconsistent, unreliable mess.

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AlbertH

Re: Where are the facts no one likes Win 10?

not isolating it from the internet at large

That's actually funny - the kiosk software I had to write was to actually provide (restricted) Internet access for casual users, so disconnection for the "internet at large" wasn't an option. Nor was an OS that would arbitrarily decide that it was "upgrade" time......

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AlbertH

Re: Where are the facts no one likes Win 10?

For the average user, W10 is probably the only real solution at the moment, even with its faults, niggles, foibles and inbuilt telemetry. I'd say very few people on here are the average user.

Many of the readers may not be, but my Dad is pretty average as computer users go. His reasonably stable Windows 7 machine has been repeatedly wrecked by forced upgrades that he neither needs nor wants. Twice he's re-installed from his back-ups (OK - he's a bit less average in that he learned the hard way about backing stuff up when he lost half a book he was writing).

After the second failed Windows 10 "upgrade", he called and asked what could be done about it. I installed Mint 17.3 on his older machine and it took him about a day to adapt. I asked yesterday about reinstalling his newer machine with Windows (to get it working again), and he said "No - just put Mint on it like this one!".

He had resisted Linux for a long time - as he "knew" Windows - but the repeated foul-ups have finally alienated him. He's now recommending Mint to all his oldster friends on the obvious basis that it "Just Works"™.

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AlbertH

Re: Don't blame users for the UI

Yes, XP -> Win7 did involve training.

Strangely, W7 -> KDE didn't require any significant training at all. We just relabelled "Writer" as "Word Processor" and so on. The users got over their Monday morning shock by lunchtime!

It was only a week or so later, when the users realised how little time log-in took and how some of the "extras" we'd given them worked, that the general uptake of the "new system" was fully approved. The company have saved a potload on licencing and now employ a (smaller) support desk staff who are clueful and useful.

There has also been a mass migration of laptops - including many personal ones - as the users realise just how well their gear is supposed to work!

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How Microsoft copied malware techniques to make Get Windows 10 the world's PC pest

AlbertH
Linux

Re: So f'kin annoying

The next time she complains about it, I'm buying her a Mac.

A quicker, cheaper and (probably) easier solution is the current iteration of Linux Mint. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the ease of installation and the quality of the OS and its applications when it's installed. Have fun!

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AlbertH
Linux

I recently rebuilt a laptop for a blind friend of mine.

Me too. We tried Vinux and Sonar and she still has both installed because she can't (yet) decide which one suits her better. Vinux has a brilliant speech synthesiser and Sonar has every multimedia codec you could imagine - she still can't choose!

She ditched Windoze in 2005 for Knoppix with a built-in speech engine, and has used FOSS ever since.

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AlbertH
Flame

Re: Finally confirmed my belief...

Most British Government departments are like that. They're entirely clueless and tied to MS by a very unfavourable contract that Tony Bliar signed (in return for a house in Belgravia - sue me if it's not true, Tone). They use Cap Gemini and Fujitsu etc. to "manage" their networks, and the level of service "enjoyed" by the users is truly abysmal.

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Met Police cancels £90m 999 call command-and-control gig

AlbertH

Re: You have to wonder

Not any more. British governmental (emphasis on "mental") contracts have not had penalty clauses since these were dropped under Bliar's government. Procurement processes now just have to show that there have been two or three competing bids and that they have been "evaluated". The practical upshot is that the bidders will get together, agree amongst themselves who's going to get the contract, then two companies bid insanely high prices and the third bids a smaller, still inflated price and "wins" the contract.

It usually costs more to abandon a contract part way through than to let it finish then reject the result!

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New iOS malware targets stock iPhones, spreads via App Store

AlbertH

Re: attack vector

Has your "anti-virus" ever done anything useful? The answer is certainly "No" - AV products don't and can't work. This is the dreadful truth that the AV industry tries to hide from the suckers who buy their rubbish.

It takes minutes to write a piece of malicious code. It can be unique and can have an unusual method of promulgation. There is NO AV product that has ever been made that can prevent an infection from a "new" piece of malware. It's only possible that it can be detected once it has become widespread - the AV Vendors still rely on "signatures" - their "heuristics" are complete nonsense.

The number of compromised Windoze machines is truly staggering. The prevalence of DDOS attacks shows a small part of those legions. Now it's possible (relatively easily) to abuse Apple phones....

The only real protection is a properly hardened OS with a rigorous permissions structure and education - the biggest common vulnerability is the stupid, wilfully ignorant user......

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Linux fans may be in for disappointment with SQL Server 2016 port

AlbertH
Linux

Re: Perfectly understandable

JJ - how wrong can you be?

All the biggest commercial websites on the planet - and the companies or organisations behind them - use nothing but Linux. If it's good enough for Governments, Amazon, Google, IBM and every other major corporation you can name, your protestations are simply silly.

The big data things that I do using Linux servers and Linux clients just aren't possible with Microsoft products - and everything I have to do HAS to be scalable. MS are several years behind the curve, and drop further behind with every piece of shiny nonsense they release. They simply haven't got a clue.

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Anti-cyber-attack biz Staminus is cyber-attacked, mocked by card-leaking tormentors

AlbertH
Holmes

Hubris always gets you in the end.....

Ha Ha Ha Ha.......

These clueless snake-oil salesmen didn't realise that their systems had been compromised for almost 24 hours. They stored user names, passwords and Credit Card details as plain text. What part of "totally, criminally incompetent" don't they accept?

Dazzz may be right - their (l)users may well sue them. You can be sure that they'll go out of business well before the writ lands on their doormat!

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

AlbertH

Re: TP Link

I've used to C8 and several others of that range, and found that they're all good quality, well constructed, reasonably priced and perform well. The web interface is a bit clunky, but no worse than Netgear or Linksys. They perform just like the other brands but are 20 - 50 % cheaper.

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AlbertH
Stop

Re: But it's my router, I've bought it

Unfortunately not. You should conform to the frequency and bandwidth rules to prevent interference to other users. Power is less of an issue as receiver sensitivity is actually more important.

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Microsoft adds 'non-security updates' to security patches

AlbertH
Megaphone

Re: As many PC users think IE is the Internet...

The clueless majority believe that "Windows is essential to computers" and "Windows came free with my computer".

Sadly, like Socialism, such fundamental stupidity is difficult to eradicate. No amount of explaining, cajoling, educating and malware infestations will change this in the near future. When MS engage the second part of their new "business model" - charging per use for software and charging per day for their "operating system" - a few people will start to realise that they've been taken.

It really is going to be fun when MS start charging.....

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Microsoft wants to lock everyone into its store via universal Windows apps, says game kingpin

AlbertH

Re: Oh dear, It would appear that nobody is doing any thinking.

MS will just laugh at any anti-trust suits brought against them. They have (effectively) unlimited funds and all sorts of malicious sanctions that they can apply!

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AlbertH
Linux

Re: Do bears shit in the woods?

MS' new business model is to rent software to end users from "the cloud". The "free give-away" Windoze 10 is to get the end users dependent and then start charging per use for software - this will be wonderful for business users: their "rental" charges will be gigantic.

This has been MS' policy for the last 20 years - it's just now that there's sufficient connectivity to make it feasible.

There has never been a better time to migrate away from proprietary software and "Operating Systems"!

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Electrified bird bum bomb shuts down US nuclear power plant

AlbertH
Coat

Sounds like....

....birdsh¹t to me!

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North Dorset Council hit by ransomware, flips the bird at miscreants

AlbertH

Re: A role for the ISP's here?

Certainly not! ISPs should interfere with data as little as possible. The governmental snooping act will fail. "Phorm" only have their claws stuck into users stupid enough to connect through Virgin (On The Ridiculous).

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 3

AlbertH
Linux

Re: teaching computing to kiddies.

It shows the kiddies that Windows is just a poor proprietary client for a Unix / Linux world. It also amply demonstrates that there are real alternatives these days.

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Dan Kaminsky is an expert on DNS security – and he's saying: Patch right God damn now

AlbertH

Re: I have a retina iMac

I'm smug but am I safe?

Not if you're smug!

However, you are an iMug for paying outrageous money for cheap commodity hardware with an expensive badge stuck on.

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Putin's internet guru says 'nyet' to Windows, 'da' to desktop Linux

AlbertH
Linux

Next....

As we've said for the last 10 years (or more) - it's going to be the "Year of the Linux Desktop" Maybe this time we're right!

MS no longer have a viable business product.

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Virgin Media spoof email mystery: Customers take to Facebook

AlbertH
Mushroom

Re: Migrated from Google to it's own

The migration is nothing to do with it. They have sold email addresses of their customers since before they were Virgin Media. Friends of mine have recently been receiving spam ostensibly from my old Blueyonder email address - that hasn't been active for almost 10 years.

VM are one of the most disreputable showers I've ever had the misfortune to deal with. They believe that "Ethics" is a county near London.

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Want blazing fast Netflix streams? Book a flight to Northern Europe

AlbertH

No - you're not confused...

...you're a city-dweller! Out in the sticks, sub-1Mb connections are usual which will bring the overall average down significantly.

Virgin may have the highest average speeds, but they also have the longest down-times, nastiest "fair use" policy and highest prices.

There's been an outage in this area (London N10) that those cretins can't fix. They've been trying for nearly three weeks. They still can't understand why their customers are leaving in droves! At least with BT - and the other services they convey - faults are usually dealt with in a few hours (at worst).

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Don't touch that PDF or webpage until your Windows PC is patched

AlbertH
Linux

As if we still needed reasons...

There's nothing that MS offers any more that isn't fully covered in the FOSS world - apart from the massive security flaws, instabilities and sneaky forced "upgrades". MS have never released any properly working products - everything's always going to be fixed in the next release.... Free beer tomorrow!

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Is ATM security threatened by Windows XP support cutoff? Well, yes, but …

AlbertH

Not sure exactly what embedded project you were working on back in 1980. I wrote my first code for a hybrid VAX/VMS system (remember timesharing?) in 1976, and coded a 68000 SBC in assembly in 1985-ish. First time I coded a microcontroller I had no compiler so I did it in binary (don't do that).

My first embedded project (actually an 8-bit ASIC processor) was 1982 for a big Japanese electronics corporation. It was a very early example of microprocessor-based ASIC and derivatives of it still turn up in products to this day! The first iteration of it was written in binary. Once I'd demonstrated that it would work, they gave me time to write a compiler, a bootloader and several other useful tools (that are still in use!).

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Microsoft herds biz users to Windows 10 by denying support for Win 7 and 8 on new CPUs

AlbertH
Linux

Here we go....

M$ have finally made a decision that's SO bad that they're going to permanently - and probably fatally - injure themselves. At last it's Game Over for Windows in the corporate sphere!

We now have a number of very high quality Linux distributions that are supported - properly - for the long-term. Ubuntu, Mint, Suse are all perfectly usable by business. They're stable, reliable, fully supported and can even run legacy Windows software if it's really necessary.

The "learning curve" is now very shallow - my recent experience of training new users showed that it took just a matter of a few minutes to show each of them the "new way" to do things. All these distros have options for remote maintenance....

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Updated Android malware steals voice two factor authentication

AlbertH
FAIL

Re: Isn't it sweet...

Indeed: Once again you have to WANT to deliberately infect your device. Another non-story.

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UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

AlbertH

Re: Smart?

Er - the "contactor" is a solid state relay. It's rated at 80A and it can be switched off remotely . The actual - ex-factory - cost of these things is in the region of £19 per unit, but the electricity companies are forced to pay almost £84 a time, plus installation. They will - of course - recoup that "investment" by overcharging householders for their power - even more than they do already!

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AlbertH

Re: Purpose

The purpose is to introduce the rolling power cuts - like we had in the 70s - when the demand exceeds the supply.

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American cable giants go bananas after FCC slams broadband rollout

AlbertH

It's much the same over here....

In the UK, we have one cable company. Just the one. "Virgin" - formed out of the ashes of two equally useless earlier companies. Their speed claims are (mostly) laughable, and their "fair usage policy" ensures that you can't download as much as a Linux distro without having your service throttled to one tenth of their already abysmal speed. Their much-vaunted "fibre" network is mostly ratty, cheap old coax, buried by earlier companies and generally suffering from various intermittent discontinuities and water ingress

The other options are ADSL and VDSL - all provided through British Telecom down their twisted-pair local ends, though there are several "resellers" who provide the customer-facing end of the business. Service is mostly sporadic - I'm sure that there will be some British readers who'll claim "wonderful service" from Virgin or PlusNet or whoever - but the truth is that it's over-priced garbage.

In central London, I get (at best) 80Mb/s down and 12Mb/s up - on a good day, in the middle of the night with the wind in the right direction. They charge me >£45/month for this and tell me that I'm getting great service, despite half the 'net being "off-limits" to "protect" me!. The bastards use all sorts of DNS abuse to ensure that I can't go to where they don't want me to go....

As a comparison: My flat in Singapore gets >1Gb/s for $15/month, with no throttling, DNS-abuse or anything else nasty. Just fast, reliable service at a sensible price, down a real fibre!

Providing a proper interweb service isn't rocket surgery - it's just that in much of the world, the companies providing connectivity have no real incentive to actually provide anything truly useful, because they have no actual competition. The Telco monopolies exist everywhere. It's going to take massive political interference to get anything to change. In the meantime, I'll enjoy my proper web connections in Singapore and Hong Kong.....

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Got a pricey gaming desktop from PC World for Xmas? Check the graphics specs

AlbertH

Re: A place where fools and their money

Nope - they really do exist purely to sell over-priced crap to the >95% of the population who are idiots.

It's funny to see their "sales" - they reduce their prices to (typically) 60% of their normal retail price and STILL make a gigantic profit!

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iOS 9 kludged our iPhones, now give us money, claims new lawsuit

AlbertH

Re: Money market

Sadly, you've been fooled. Apple products certainly aren't "high end" - their computers are just generic PCs in pretty boxes, their phones are made out of rejected Samsung parts, and their software is just a shiny desktop over a BSD core. Their products have always been wildly over-priced, in a marketing ploy to make them appear to be "high end". They're actually very average, and the current iOS phones look positively old-fashioned when compared to the latest Samsungs.

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AlbertH

Re: It isn't just Apple

Frankly - if you're gullible enough to buy something as grossly overpriced as a Sonos, Bose or Apple system, you deserve to be ripped off. All these products do all they can to tie you to their ecosystem, and are all globally renowned for "updates" that make older equipment obsolete. It's a big part of their business model.

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Hackers add exploit kit to article asking 'Is cyber crime out of control?'

AlbertH
Holmes

Re: The world's nastiest exploit kit Angler ..

Does this Angler exploit kit run on anything else except Microsoft Windows?

Of course not!

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Electrician cuts wrong wire and downs 25,000 square foot data centre

AlbertH

Be Prepared...

I always carry three lockout hasps and several padlocks in my toolbox!

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Cyber-terror: How real is the threat? Squirrels are more of a danger

AlbertH

Re: It's all about the blinky lights

Actually, it's more about "jobs for the boys" as usual. The usual suspects will be invited to bid for the Billions - anyone with any actual ability or experience will be excluded. It'll just be yet another inordinately expensive Government IT failure and lots of people will line their pockets for doing little or nothing!

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UK's internet spy law: £250m in costs could balloon to £2 BILLION

AlbertH

Maybe the fact that the costs are not yet known suggests that they are still unsure at this stage of the final extent of the scope of the bill. After all, this is draft legislation at the moment.

Errrrr no. The reason that they don't know the costs is because they're entirely clueless about anything vaguely technical. The amount of data they're proposing to store is gigantic, and will only massively increase in volume as we all start adopting "auto browsing" to keep our machines on the 'net 24/7 to screw with their stats.

I've just written some scripts for Raspberry Pi that will keep it seemingly browsing a huge range of sites continuously. Just add a couple of these to your home network (as long as you don't pay usage-related charges), and they won't have a clue about your browsing habits, and you'll massively add noise to their data collection system.

The sheer quantity of the data they're proposing to record isn't actually very practical, and it's our duty to make their data useless!

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At Microsoft 'unlimited cloud storage' really means one terabyte

AlbertH
FAIL

A perfect example....

... of "Vapourware"!

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VMware vs German kernel dev: Filings flung in Linux-lifting lawsuit

AlbertH
Linux

Abuse of Trust

The Linux kernel is provided as a boon for the whole world. That a commercial corporation suborns parts of the Linux kernel for pecuniary gain - without crediting the originator of the code - is a breach of the fundamental trust enshrined in the principles of the GPL.

VM Ware should be suitably ashamed. They should be ashamed to the tune of several million dollars, which could be donated to genuine Open Source projects

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Chaos at TalkTalk: Data was 'secure', not all encrypted, we took site down, were DDoSed

AlbertH
Alert

Are they for real?

A free subscription to identity theft protection by one of the credit reference agencies.

Bwahahahahaha!

These cretins should be paying significant (ie: £ks) to every customer and their senior management should be in Court.

Has anyone calculated the time required to change all ones Banking details, passwords and Credit / Debit cards? Has anyone actually put a figure on what this will cost each customer? TT shouldn't just offer a worthless "subscription" to Experian (who are entirely useless anyway) - they should be paying serious amounts of compensation to EVERY one of their customers.

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TalkTalk: Hackers may have nicked personal, banking info on 4 million Brits

AlbertH
Mushroom

Why, in my mind, does this translate into 'all of our customer's data has been compromised'?

Why do you think lots of lawyers are carefully examining TT's Contracts. They're going to be sued out of existence!

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