* Posts by Mephistro

2098 posts • joined 8 Oct 2007

UK white hats blacklisted by Cisco Talos after smart security code stumbles

Mephistro Silver badge

In case your comment was serious, I'd like to point out that...

...most human cultures -including those of coloured people- have a bias against the black colour, due to it being associated with night and darkness and the known, unknown and imaginary dangers that lurk there. White is usually associated with daylight, with its own set of implications. In this context, the words "white" and "black" have no racist implications, full stop.

Have a gander at this: Amazon agrees not to act as Silicon Valley's foie gras dealer

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Coat

I seriously doubt you need to force feed them cannabis. Most animals like being high now and then. Instead of force-feeding, provide them with a trough filled with their usual food mixed with cannabis, and another trough filled with snacks, and they'll do all the hard work themselves!.

Hmmm... seeing a business opportunity here...

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: pretty sure the Sun doesn't fuse silicon.

Not by itself, but with sunlight and an image-less solar oven you can fuse about anything.

US Homeland Security installs AI cameras at the White House, Google tries to make translation less sexist

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: I'm not sure what the fuss is about (

"Which languages do you know in which third person plural is gendered?"

Spanish*, and most latin-derived languages. But the real issue here is, as you said, lack of context.

I don't envy the job of the boffins that have to fix this. Just thinking about this for ten minutes makes my BRAIN HURT!

8^)

Tech support discovers users who buy the 'sh*ttest PCs known to Man' struggle with basics

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: Alternatively...

I've suffered several cases of clients that think "They Know Better" and wouldn't pay any attention to any explanation I could provide, and they would also fight every method I suggested to fix the issue*. Like it or not, there's people out there who don't want to learn.

And let's not forget the ones that are too stupid to learn any user-level IT. I've suffered a few of those as well.

Note *:This makes me wonder why the eff these customers don't just fix the issue themselves instead of wasting their money hiring an IT guy.**

Note **: Anecdotally, I've seen often customers in these categories trying to fix their computers by themselves, with predictably comical results.

UK spies: You know how we said bulk device hacking would be used sparingly? Well, things have 'evolved'...

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Devil

Re: Well, Well

"...still waiting for that sarcasm icon El Reg..."

For that purpose, I often use the "Spawn of Satan" icon.

The British Home Office was warned about its crappy data management – then Windrush happened

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Flame

In occasions like this...

... it's hard to tell whether it's a case of absolute evil or one of absolute incompetence.

Depressing.

Question: How fast is the Windows 10 October 2018 Update rolling out? Answer: Not very

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Facepalm

Re: Bad workmen blaming their tools

But it turns out that the tools -e.g. Windows 10- are just terrible!

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: Weirdness with pinging

Just a shot in the dark, but that sounds like two machines fighting for the same IP.

It could also be some interaction with the energy savings options in the network card.

Good luck!

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

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Joke

Re: "lousy t-shirt"

"I can't believe it's not butter"

And the most sold book will be "1001 Recipes with leather shoes", and the second one will be "How to build your own narco-sub, for dummies".

Excuses, excuses: Furious MPs probe banking TITSUPs*

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: Rare Events One And All (@ tfb)(@ Stoneshop)

Disclaimer: Replying to myself.

Related anecdote:

A few months ago I was charged with the job of making a big photocopier 'safe' due to GDPR worries. The administrator's manual had two parts.

The first one consisted mainly in a rewording of the device's "on screen menu " options. E.G., the "Manage IP settings" in the menu got explained to us mere mortalsadministrators as "Here you can change the IP settings."(Gee! Who would have thought!), and showing a helpful screen capture of the options. No mention of accepted input formats, notation, or even troubleshooting, No workflows -apart from the most basic ones, no examples. It wasn't even accurate, as the printer had undergone several firmware updates. Technical forums were full of comments by very frustrated users.

The second part included the workings of the drivers and the configuration utility that accompanied them. The machine was made in 2009 and the last manual version was from that same year, although the drivers had gone through so many updates that the contents of the administrator's manual and reality had diverged big time, in most possible ways, over that period.

I literally "cut my own throat" here, seriously. The alternative would have been to tell my -loyal, nice, - customer to either replace the very expensive copier purchased just 9 years ago and still physically in mint condition or paying me a third of the cost of a new unit for my work. :^(

I still find hard to believe that I managed to fix that shebang!

On the other hand I had the moral satisfaction of telling the customer to please never ever buy another product from the -big name- company that had made the photocopier.

I'm not a photocopier specialist and can't know for sure, but I'm afraid that I'll find this same crap in lots of other 'copier brands and models. Sigh.

Sorry for the steam venting. :^)

Mephistro Silver badge
Devil

Re: Rare Events One And All (@ tfb)(@ Stoneshop)

And also the issue of writing manuals/documentation, a job position that nowadays seems reserved for interns and low wage employees with absolute zero knowledge of the system, or squeezed by the manglement till their last drop of blood, or even been taken behind the shed and quietly executed with a flamethrower, and their functions transferred to some forum in the Internets, usually run by a combination of volunteers and people who writes funny. The execs are happy with their bonuses, their perceived savings, the lower headcount, the squeezing of IT workers till the last drop of blood, and their replacing with interns.

Ahhh, so much fun!

Mephistro Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Rare Events One And All (@ tfb)

This^^^

I'd also add that, in IT, the last two decades have been like the proverbial train wreck in slo-mo. We're going to hit that Complexity Wall soon. 8^(

Pasta-covered cat leads to kid night operator taking apart the mainframe

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Thumb Up

Re: Sorry.

Hodor! Hodor!

8^)

Washington Post offers invalid cookie consent under EU rules – ICO

Mephistro Silver badge

An obvious way to enforce GDPR for foreign websites that refuse to comply is blocking them at country level, or even blocking them in the whole EU.

Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: Quantum navigation

I'm pretty sure the cat has already unfolded the coat to use it as a bed.

Or not.

Here's a search engine for all you boffins and eggheads that makes it easier to learn science

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Re: A marriage made in ...

I guess they'll add a link to Sci Hub's main page.

US draft bill moots locking up execs who lie about privacy violations

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Coffee/keyboard

"...soon the Republicans will start to legislate these issues, reining in the tech giants, particulary if they hold onto the House."

Yeah, just like they've reigned in the telcos and the oil companies, eh?

Dawn of the dead: NASA space probe runs out of gas in asteroid belt after 6.4 billion-mile trip

Mephistro Silver badge

This seems like a good argument for ion drives

With twelve gallons of liquefied gas and solar panels, these two marvellous machines would have remained operational for ages!

UK and EU crawling towards post-Brexit data exchange deal – reports

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Devil

He doesn't think the opposite. He doesn't think, full stop!.

Finally, someone takes a stand against Apple, Samsung for slowing people's phones. Just a few million dollars, tho

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Re: No excuse

^^^THIS!

Mephistro Silver badge
Flame

Re: Wrong Metric

And there are also those who want to be informed of the options and make their own informed decision. And don't forget that one of the options is to swap the battery for a new one!!!

And regarding the OP comment "...or one that renders Y frames per second of your favorite video game?...":

Or one that is able to retouch photos, access a banking app or read mail* before the heat death of the Universe.

Note*: among many other similar activities.

What could be more embarrassing for a Russian spy: Their info splashed online – or that they drive a Lada?

Mephistro Silver badge

My younger brother, a car mechanic, owned a Lada for several years that he bought when he was 21 or so. He swore BY his Lada Niva (instead of AT it 8^), as it was trustworthy and easy to repair, and very good at going cross country. In the end, he ditched it due to the fuel it guzzled.

Mephistro Silver badge
Devil

"...did the GRU agent patriotically have his ears pinned back for the operation?"

In case you haven't noticed, people with sticky-out ears have almost vanished since the popularization of Superglue.

8^)

Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin

Mephistro Silver badge
Happy

In my first week in my first paid job...

... I was told by one of the execs to familiarize myself with a PC running THEOS/OASIS that was to be installed the next day at a customer's. I proceeded to test the software by inputting some fake data, generating queries and reports and all that carp.

When I finished doing this, I decided to wipe all the data I created by using an "Initialize" option in the menu. To my indescribable horror, it wiped out all the data, the software and most of the OS.

After twenty minutes of panic, cold sweats and frantic reading of the manuals, I found there was an option to undo the last initialization.

Lesson learned: RTFM before playing with a system you aren't familiar with! 8^)

Got any ecsta-sea? Boffins get octopuses high on MDMA – for science, duh

Mephistro Silver badge
Devil

"California two-spot octopus"

If these octopuses (octopii?) live near the coast of California, one would expect them to be mostly immune to MDMA!

Redis does a Python, crushes 'offensive' master, slave code terms

Mephistro Silver badge
Flame

Every living human being has ancestors...

... that were slaves, and other ancestors that were slave masters.

And bad things in history won't be prevented from happening again just by censoring the words that describe them. It's probably the other way round!

And applying one of these words to elements of software or hardware is just a convenient way to describe the relationship between said elements. You can't offend an effing hard disk drive!

Politically correct language has morphed into a tool for some fuckwits to gain an illusion of popularity or power, at the cost of breaking language, one of the most important tools we humans have.

This is criminally stupid.

Toshiba crams 14TB into another helium drive, this time with SAS boost

Mephistro Silver badge

I was thinking of RAID boxes with their own SATA controller for for its own disks and an external SATA link with the host system. For that specific use case it would make sense, I think. I've never worked with such systems, but I remember reading about them and they sounded nice and not as expensive as SAS.

Mephistro Silver badge

"...not able to exceed SATA 1 data rates."

Not when working alone, but several of them in a RAID...

Experimental 'insult bot' gets out of hand during unsupervised weekend

Mephistro Silver badge
Happy

When I was eighteen...

Other four guys and me were "hired" as IT "interns" in a medium sized company. The company's owner wanted to start an IT dept. and develop it's own software on the cheap. We were given access to a Pick multi-user system that used serial VT-100 compatible terminals, and left alone with it for a week, to 'learn the ropes' including both the OS and the programming language (Something called "DataBasic", which was, in short, a dialect of BASIC with some embedded SQL-like capacities).

The first thing that happened was that the intern sitting in the console nearest to the server thought it would be funny to disconnect the serial cables of other users at random intervals. It took the rest of us two frustrating hours or so to discover the trick, using a communications log file kept by the server.

That day, when leaving, I grabbed one of the system's manuals and took it home with me. Thanks to said manual I learned that the system allowed sending messages from one terminal to another, that said messages could use extended attributes (text colour, text width, any ASCII characters, etc.) and that such messages could be automated using the DataBasic language.

So the next day I made a very short and simple program that at intervals would send to the fucker practical joker's terminal one of the following:

- A backspace once per minute.

- A carriage return once every three minutes.

- A clear screen once every five minutes.

- A disconnect control sequence every 10 minutes.

The first three sequences weren't recorded in any log, but I added some randomness to the fourth, as not to make the trick too obvious. I also sent all the messages using black text on a black background, so the victim couldn't see the messages.

The poor sod spent all the day swearing aloud while trying to troubleshoot his "technical issues" and later staring suspiciously at us for growing periods of time. 8^)

Miraculously, the next day, the issue "vanished by itself", which left the joker even more baffled.

Needles to say, the guy never tried one of his jokes on us again!.

Fire chief says Verizon throttled department's data in the middle of massive Cali wildfires

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: Even their "good" practice is bad.(@ Jake)

"Because 99.99%[0] of all firefighters aren't involved in fighting wildfires in California,..."

In the context of the Santa Clara County in the time frame of the discussed emergency, your statement is both patently false AND disingenuous.

Texas ISP slams music biz for trying to turn it into a 'copyright cop'

Mephistro Silver badge

Sshhhhhhh...

... don't give them ideas!

Google responds to location-stalking outcry by… tweaking words on its BS support page

Mephistro Silver badge
Pint

Re: Google's full of it

I was one of the down-voters, and I've already corrected that. In my defense I'll say that the last time I watched the film was ~15 years ago. Time for a rerun, I guess.

And regarding "The crowd 'round here just gets burning mad.":

Yeah, but I reckon that's quite a normal reaction to things like this. I'm afraid we don't yet know all the consequences of this, and none of said consequences will be good.

Mephistro Silver badge
Stop

Honest question:

If G-Aphabet-etc. keeps doing this kind of shit, how long until European regulators start treating it as a criminal racket? It would make lots of sense. And, even if that's not the case, G 'absorbing' the fines will surely promote changes in the law to raise the fines -to stratospheric levels- for repeat offenders.

They may get away with it for a while, but in the end the future doesn't look too rosy for G.

Good... good...

Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to: Maps, Search won't take no for an answer

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Flame

I spy with my little eye...

Hint: the first letter is an 'F'.

The solution, below.

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.

.

.

.

.

.

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.

All right, the answer is FOUR PERCENT OF GLOBAL TURNOVER!

Space, the final Trump-tier: America to beam up $8bn for Space Force

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Facepalm

“artificial-intelligence-enabled global surveillance” for missile targeting and tracking

Someone should inform these muppets of that "minor incident"* where errors/design blunders in automated systems almost caused a nuclear war, where it not for the intervention of humans. AIs are just a kind of automated systems we can't fully understand or debug. What could possibly go wrong?

*note: Actually, one of many such incidents.

Click this link and you can get The Register banned in China

Mephistro Silver badge
Big Brother

I strongly doubt that the Chinese Government needs any external help to stain its own reputation. It's one of those "marvellous places" where you can be imprisoned for publicly disagreeing with "the State"*, FFS!

*note: e.g. Ai Wei Wei, or many other people in this list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_dissidents

Mephistro Silver badge
Coat

Anything whose name contains "bing" can't be any good!!!

Beam me up, UK.gov: 'Extra-terrestrial markup language' booted off G-Cloud

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Pint

Re: Unfair, I call it (@WolfFan)

"Perhaps being shirtless is a requirement for the service."

In the case of ETs, they don't mind shirts at all. They are more interested in people without pants, because, you know, the "probes".

OMG! The calendar is wrong again! It should be Friday! ;^)

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: "who provide a wide range of non-verbal support"

I humbly apologize for my error and thank you for pointing it out.

Mephistro Silver badge
Devil

"who provide a wide range of non-verbal support"

Hugs, winks and pats in the back? I'd expect much more from professionals charging 1200 USD per a day's work. At the very least, a happy ending should be guaranteed!

And for this price, they should have a good backup plan in place for "those days of the lunar month"!

UK 'fake news' inquiry calls for end to tech middleman excuses, election law overhaul

Mephistro Silver badge

"...selling lookalike political audiences to advertisers during the regulated period [...] users should be given a way to opt out of being included in such groups."

In my opinion, it should be exclusively "opt in". Social media firms could still milk the -too high- percentage of their users who love to be mislead and misinformed! 8^(

As other fellow commentards have already pointed out, a better education with special emphasis in critical thinking and a healthy degree of distrust of media sources and social media would get rid of most of these issues. Sadly, it'll probably never happen, as governments want their subjects docile. 8^(

Politicians fume after Amazon's face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks

Mephistro Silver badge
Unhappy

The fact that Amazon is actually trying to sell this crap in its current state...

... proves without a doubt that Amazon's management are just a bunch of dangerous sociopaths.

Regarding police high-ups willing to buy this, I'd say they're split 50%-50% between sociopaths and morons.

On Android, US antitrust can go where nervous EU fears to tread

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Flame

Re: I Want Something That Just Works

"Well thank you to the four selfish types who wish to deny me an easy road to..."

Now it's FIVE selfish types, counting myself!

Reason: A monopolistic OS that is very insecure and very difficult/impossible to make secure by design!!!...

... hoisted upon us by Google with the invaluable support of people like you, who "Want Something That Just Works" at any cost. Even if that something often doesn't work!!!

Edit: SIX selfish types now! 8^)

Crypto gripes, election security, and mandatory cybersec school: Uncle Sam's cyber task force emits todo list for govt

Mephistro Silver badge
Facepalm

Magical thinking galore!

"...the Justice Department is not a fan of the common man having access to encryption."

How the fuck do these morons expect to keep the "common man" safe in the Internets without allowing "him" to use encryption?

Blowing and sucking the straw simultaneously is logically and physically impossible!

Crooks swipe plutonium, cesium from US govt nuke wranglers' car. And yes, it's still missing

Mephistro Silver badge
Happy

A few years ago...

... while I was having my breakfast -espresso coffee + pincho de tortilla - at a local bar, a guy dressed in a blue jumpsuit entered the place carrying an orange plastic case. He looked around and left the case in an empty corner of the bar. The barman, who knew him, asked what was in the orange case, and the guy explained it was a radioactive source used for inspecting pipes. He wasn't allowed to leave it alone in his van, so he had to carry it everywhere.

For a few seconds, the only sound in the place was that of chairs inching away from the aforementioned corner. 8^)

GitHub to Pythonistas: Let us save you from vulnerable code

Mephistro Silver badge
Devil

What?

A company owned by MS wants to "save us from vulnerable code"?

LOL, just LOL!

AR upstart Magic Leap reveals majorly late tech specs' tech specs

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Thumb Up

Re: But none of this answers the question... (I ain't Spartacus)

Smart vacuum cleaner? That's good, but not good enough. Right now I'm developing an interface for automatic milking machines that will blow your... minds!.

It even includes a security mechanism that stops the process after five litres have been extracted!.

Outage outrage: TSB app offers users a TITSUP* encore

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Facepalm

Today I learned that...

... downdetector is not GDPR compliant!

An $18m supercomputer to simulate brains of mice in the land of Swiss cheese. How apt, HPE

Mephistro Silver badge

Re: Swiss scientists should expect to find a desire for cheese

"Venezuelan Beaver Cheese"

***shudders***

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