* Posts by Chris Miller

3261 posts • joined 6 Apr 2007

UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

Chris Miller
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That's the migration project from Win2k, I assume?

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$6,000 for tours of apocalyptic post-Brexit London? WTF, NYT?

Chris Miller
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Re: They could do a real brexit tour

As this BBC graphic demonstrates, apart from Scotland and London (and a few associated commuter towns), almost every area of the UK voted to Leave.

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Chris Miller
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The Eye have ...

... the brochure cover

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Guardian Soulmates users spammed with smut following breach

Chris Miller
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Re: Why?

They were probably unpaid interns, like everyone else on The Grauniad, except for a handful of enormously overpaid 'columnists'.

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Hackers emit 9GB of stolen Macron 'emails' two days before French presidential election

Chris Miller
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Re: swaying elections

I'm not sure this is the point "when it can do the most damage". A week or two ago, giving time to analyse the massive cache, would have been far better.

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Booze stats confirm boring Britain is drying

Chris Miller
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"wine has become more alcoholic"

Some wine, and by up to 20%, not 4x.

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It's Russian hackers, FBI and Wikileaks wot won it – Hillary Clinton on her devastating election loss

Chris Miller
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@00113.1537

And there was a Libertarian candidate who polled 4 million votes (absent which I imagine most would have gone to Trump). If you're going to have direct presidential elections, you either need a run-off system (à la France) or a transferable vote - otherwise you run the risk of the election outcome being decided by which third party candidates decide to stand. Had either of these been in place, Trump would probably still have won, though turnout might well have been different (there's little incentive for a Trump voter in California under the Electoral College system).

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M6 crowned crappiest motorway for 4G signal

Chris Miller
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Sat-nav?

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'Grueling' record-breaking VR movie marathon triggers hallucinations

Chris Miller
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Hallucinations are pretty normal following lengthy periods of sleep deprivation. A friend attempted the Lands End to John O'Groats cycling record (~48 hours) many years ago - he reported hallucinations when approaching his goal.

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Hyundai app security blunder allowed crooks to 'steal victims' cars'

Chris Miller
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Re: Steal a Hyundai?

Fair point. My primary 'anti-theft device' is living between drives, one of which holds a shiny new Mustang and the other a fully tricked out M3. I doubt anyone would target my boring SUV.

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CompSci boffins find Reddit is ideal source for sarcasm database

Chris Miller
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The full quote:

“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence.” Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde

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Not the droids you're looking for – worst handsets to resell

Chris Miller
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Re: Same as with cars

Agreed, Voland, except the model is rather more "run until the mfr stops issuing security updates", which for a Sammy phone is probably around 18 months if you're lucky - and if you insert the word 'timely' before 'security updates' 18 days. And no, I don't want to put Cyanogen on it, but thanks for asking :).

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Cuffing Assange a 'priority' for the USA says attorney-general

Chris Miller
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Re: Is an Australian even allowed to run for Parliament?

Technically, a Commonwealth citizen is able to stand as a candidate - I can't remember the last time this happened, though. It's usual, though not legally required, for an MP to reside in their constituency.

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New satellites could cause catastrophic space junk collisions

Chris Miller
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There is no EU Space Agency

There is a European Space Agency (ESA), which is not an EU organisation (even though most of its members are in the EU). Canada sits on the council (? well, if Australia can take part in Eurovison ...)

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So, you're 'ISO 27001 accredited', huh? Just saying so doesn't cut it

Chris Miller
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Re: Can be misleading

I think your caricature of ISO 9000 is a decade or two out of date - at the very least, it should be clear to any potential purchaser that the lifejackets were made of concrete. But anyone wishing to rely on ISO 27001 certification as a guarantee that a potential business partner has strong IT security needs to check two things: the Scope, and the Statement of Applicability. One of my clients has a scope covering two people, two servers, a router and an Internet connection - which it required for a specific purpose.

It's true that an organisation may choose to restrict its scope statement in order to simplify certification. But there are hidden gotchas lurking. For instance, if the HR department isn't in scope, then you can't rely on them following your security policy. So your security requirements for hiring and firing would need to be the subject of a formal agreement with HR, much as would be needed if you were using an external organisation for the purpose.

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Back to the future: Honda's new electric car can go an incredible 80 miles!

Chris Miller
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Re: 80mile range?

My PHEV - which I love dearly, for the tax benefits, if for no other reason - claims (mfr's numbers) a 30 mile range, from a 12 kWh battery which takes ~5 hours to recharge from a 13A domestic plug. I could spring several hundred pounds (net of government grant) for a 'fast' charger that delivers 16A (4 kW), but that still takes 3½ hrs from 'empty' and you can't do much better than that from a standard domestic supply.

So if I bought a top end Tesla (100 kWh), how would I charge it in less than a day? It's fine if there's a Tesla 'supercharger' at the bottom of the road (i.e. you live in (parts of) London), but for me the nearest is 30 minutes away - and I'm not going to drive for an hour (plus 30 minutes for the actual recharging) every time the batteries get low. I guess the idea is that you top it up every day for short trips and for the occasional long trip you're almost certain to be passing a 'supercharger' at some point.

But if that was my driving pattern (which it is), I'm not much better off than with my PHEV; plus I don't have any issues with 'range anxiety'. I expect there must be a Tesla owner on the forum who can put me right ...

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MPs worried Brexit vote website wobble caused by foreign hackers

Chris Miller
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The next time one of my changes drops a server*, I'm blaming them thar pesky Rooskies.

* not that that has ever happened, and if it did, I definitely wasn't there ...

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Toshiba conglomerate: Can we keep going? We don't know

Chris Miller
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Gentlemen: start your lawyers!

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Hundreds of millions 'wasted' on UK court digitisation scheme

Chris Miller
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When I was doing jury service in January, I noticed our local Crown Court systems (all on shiny new kit) were running XP. Just sayin'.

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Boeing and Airbus fly new planes for first time

Chris Miller
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The A319 is the littlest member of the A320 family

You're forgetting the A318*, perhaps not surprising as Airbus only sold 80 of them. BA use 4 to operate their luxury service from London City to New York. I don't think there are any plans for an updated version.

* The joke among aircrew is of a 317 version that joins the flight-deck directly to the tail without the annoying inconvenience of self-loading freight.

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Reg now behind invisible HTML5 Bitcoin paywall

Chris Miller
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Pint

Best April Fool (after this one, of course) I've seen so far:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msXPpWf7f5U

and it's slightly tech related!

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Samsung Galaxy S8: Slimmer bezels, a desktop mode – and yet another me-too AI pal

Chris Miller
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They look very nice bits of kit, but what puts me off Samsung (and other Android phones) is the availability of updates. They take ages to appear (long after Google releases), and peter out altogether soon after the next model appears. This particularly important for (increasingly frequent) security updates.

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Astroboffins stunned by biggest brown dwarf ever seen – just a hop and a skip away (750 ly)

Chris Miller
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a ball of gas made up of more than 99.9 per cent hydrogen

I assume you mean 99.9 per cent hydrogen and helium (i.e very low 'metalliciity'). If this object were really consists of pure hydrogen, that would be quite remarkable.

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Tesla 'API crashes' after update, angry rich bods complain

Chris Miller
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Remember that nervous feeling when applying software updates to your $600 phone? How much more buttock clenching is the thought of bricking a $60,000 motor?

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Nokia 3310 'Supremo Putin' edition goes on sale in Russia

Chris Miller
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Since the target market is Russians (I can't imagine there are many potential customers outside Russia prepared to drop a 4-figure sum on a piece of ironic, retro bling), I wonder why the branding and menus aren't in Cyrillic? Or is the picture just a mock-up?

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Congratulations IBM for 'inventing' out-of-office email. You win Stupid Patent of the Month

Chris Miller
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Re: You thought you were joking

Thanks Flocke! But my wheel is going to have round corners ...

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Chris Miller
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No time to post a comment, I'm busy filing a patent application for two circular discs, one at each end of a rod. I reckon it will revolutionise dragging stuff on sleds.

Waddya mean, 'prior art'?

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NHS patient letters meant for GPs went undelivered for years

Chris Miller
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It's not immediately clear whether or not what happened falls under the remit of data privacy

It's not clear (to me, anyway) that any of the data protection principles have been violated. But physical printouts or letters produced by computer are subject to controls similar to those for digital data.

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Omg, that is, like, sooo 2007... Retromania set to grip this year's MWC

Chris Miller
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There's still a market for dumbphones

e.g. my better half. Some people are happy with a phone that simply works as a phone (and does SMS at a pinch), with a battery that lasts for a couple of weeks. I'm not sure there's scope for a premium dumbphone (which is what I presume Nokia's offering will be).

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'First ever' SHA-1 hash collision calculated. All it took were five clever brains... and 6,610 years of processor time

Chris Miller
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Re: PDF BACKGROUND

I think* that PDFs (and Word documents and almost any other document format except plain text) have a sufficient number of 'filler' characters that can be set to any value you like without significantly changing the document format. This gives scope for a clever algorithm to produce the necessary collisions.

*I haven't read the paper, but this is how it worked for MD5

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Chris Miller
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The point of a hash function is that even if you change just a single bit, it should give a completely different output. There are far more possible documents than there are hash function outputs, so collisions will always exist - but it should be computationally impossible to find them. This attack proves that it no longer is.

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Chris Miller
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Re: 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 sha1 calculations

You need to read up some of the discussions that took place when similar attacks were first identified for MD5 hashes. This is a serious problem - I could get you to digitally sign a contract; and if I can produce a similar document with the word 'not' inserted (say) and the same SHA-1 hash, you're in trouble. Similarly using SHA-1 to authenticate a valid web server and then make a slight change to the URL, but keep the hash the same ...

Right now it needs a massive amount of computing power to defeat SHA-1, but the NSA can probably do it already. And these attacks only ever get quicker - not just by Moore's Law, but because someone clever will read the paper and think of a way of doing it 10x faster.

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Apple to Europe: It's our job to design Ireland's tax system, not yours

Chris Miller
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@Peter

The cost of manufacturing an iPhone is less than 1% of the list price. Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses are about 7%. Apple run a 40% gross profit margin, most of which is 'earned' in Cupertino.

http://www.cultofmac.com/455536/advertising-budget/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/iphone-7-costs-apple-make-manufacture-a7329016.html

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Chris Miller
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Re: Fascinating

International business taxation, by treaty and general agreement, assumes that profits should be taxed where they are generated. For Apple, that's mostly Cupertino. The trouble is that California has some of the highest levels of corporate taxation in the world (close to 40%), but they only apply if and when those profits are repatriated.

So Apple (and many other US multinationals, Apple's just the biggest) are holding most of their foreign-generated profits offshore in the hope that business tax rates will be reduced. It looks like The Donald may do exactly that, in which case expect a HUGE (one-off) rush of profits back to the US and a HUGE flood of taxes into the US Treasury.

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2009 IBM: Teleworking will save the WORLD! 2017 IBM: Get back to the office or else

Chris Miller
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Re: You answered your own question

Quite likely, although it seems a very inefficient method of reducing headcount. But we see this all the time (particularly) in large organisations, where senior management lack the ability or trust in their subordinates to take a more rational approach. "We're reducing contract rates by 10% across the board" - which means all the good contractors will leave and all the dross will remain. "All departments will reduce headcount by 10%" - what, both those that contribute strongly to the bottom line and those that are a complete waste of space? It's the role of managers (from the most junior, to the most senior) to understand and identify the difference between the good and poor performers, between productive and unproductive work - but most can't, of course.

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Pulsating white dwarf described as a 'dynamo' found, no, not in the back pages, 380 LY away

Chris Miller
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A pendant writes

AR Sco is about the same size as Earth but has 200,000 times the mass. Every 3.6 hours it orbits a companion red dwarf star about a third the size of our sun

200,000 earth masses is 0.6 mass of the sun. It's unclear what "a third the size of the sun" means, but assuming it means 0.3 solar masses (and a red dwarf can't be much more than 0.5 solar masses) the red dwarf is in orbit around it.

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BOFH: Password HELL. For you, mate, not for me

Chris Miller
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"we have people using their surname with an incrementing two digit number – kept on a bit of paper under their keyboards in case they forget their name."

Yes, I've dealt with managers like that.

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Parliamentary Trump-off? Pro-Donald petition passes 100k signatures

Chris Miller
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Re: "he is the leader of a free world"

The USA has a GDP 4 times larger than the next largest 'free' nation (whatever your definition of 'free', I expect that China wouldn't fall within it). In terms of military muscle, the gap is far wider, probably more like 10x. Trump is the head of state of the USA. So if anyone is the "leader of the free world", that would be him.

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God save the Queen... from Donald Trump. So say 1 million Britons

Chris Miller
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Signing Internet petitions is the 21st century equivalent of shouting at the telly. And about as effective.

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To Hull with the crap town naysayers: UK Culture City's got some amazing... telecoms

Chris Miller
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Kcom's customers are largely living in a single urban area. That makes it a lot easier (though still far from trivial) to provide FTTP.

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Boeing's 747 to fly off the production line for the foreseeable future

Chris Miller
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Re: even if its role has changed to a cargo-hauler.

I entirely agree. Some carriers (historically) put economy class seats upstairs in the days of 3 classes of travel - I think (from memory) Cathay when they introduced the 'Big Top' 747-300 - arguing that boarding and (crucially) disembarking was speedier from downstairs.

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We're not quitting the UK: Microsoft quashes Brexit fake news

Chris Miller
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Microsoft's 'secret' tax 'deal'

A pity Tim Worstall (late of this parish) isn't here to point out to you the error of your ways. Here's his Forbes article on the subject.

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Irish townsfolk besieged by confused smut channel callers

Chris Miller
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Didn't Michael Portillo visit Westport on last week's Great British Irish Railway Journeys - coincidence?

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Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Chris Miller
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Re: 2 years?

£350 million is, of course, quite wrong. The correct number for our EU membership fee was £373 million a week (in 2014, according to the OBR). That's a gross figure, we get a rebate, and some relatively small further fraction comes back in the form of EU spending in the UK. But we have almost no control over how this will increase in future or what the EU chooses to spend it on.

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Chris Miller
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Re: 2 years?

Mark Carney (no Brexiteer, he) doesn't seem to agree with you regarding the City. Given that more people work in financial services in London than live in the whole of Frankfurt, exactly where do you think they're all going?

The CEO of Lloyds of London was on R4 this lunchtime. talking about their contingency plans as they're now assuming 'passporting' will be lost (they're one of the few large City operations for which it's significant, although even then only 5% of their business comes from continental Europe). They appear to involve two beancounters and a brass plate in Dublin (or possibly Riga).

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Chris Miller
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Re: So it's the Turkish customs union for the UK then

And today's winner of the spit the dummy contest is ... Dan 55!

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AI shoves all in: DeepStack, Libratus poker bots battle Texas Hold 'em pros heads up

Chris Miller
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Re: The use of games to train and test AI is prolific

The rules of Poker really aren't that difficult - working out the odds of drawing to an inside straight does not require advanced mathematics. As I understand it, the skill of pro players lies in their ability to 'read' the others at the table, but this would obviously be difficult facing a computer screen.

So, if the AI is equipped with a video camera and makes deductions such as "Tex rubs his ear when he's bluffing", I'm impressed. Otherwise, not so much.

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Mr Angry pays taxman with five wheelbarrows worth of loose change

Chris Miller
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But he could have been fobbing them off with blanks (although there isn't much point, as blanks would probably cost >1¢ to make). All banks have big machines that can count coins (and reject counterfeits) at high speed.

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