* Posts by Nick Ryan

1936 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Astroboffins discover that half of the Milky Way's matter comes from other galaxies

Nick Ryan
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Solexit

Damn immingrant star matter coming into our solar system. I demand that we leave the galaxy and go it alone, we can negotiate our own matter/energy transfers and don't need no stinking galaxy and it's gravity imposing things on us. Bloody extrasolar bodies think they can boss us around? We'll show 'em who's boss by exploding our own star. That'll teach them.

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AMD shocks the world by only losing $16m

Nick Ryan
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Re: 486SX 25

At this point I believe you could by a separate maths co-processor. Also I vaguely remember a nastily wide range of differing versions of the SX chips, some of which had full maths capabilities.

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Microsoft hits new low: Threatens to axe classic Paint from Windows 10

Nick Ryan
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You mean to say that there are people out there who haven't already ditched it in favour of the free and vastly superior Paint.NET?

paint.net is not installed on all systems by default, mspaint is. This makes mspaint as useful as notepad or would you rather have to install Visual Studio on all systems (desktop and server alike) to open up a .cfg or .ini file?

Not that installing on all systems by default is a good thing because the 'tards at Microsoft marketing seem to be under the drug addled conclusion that it's a "good thing" to foist candy crush, USA news (or whatever it's called, MSN or whatever) or other shitty preview/freemium applications by default on all Win10 non-enterprise systems.

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Nationwide’s online banking goes down again

Nick Ryan
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They probably use Virgin Media as their ISP... however the total failure of much of VM's network since midday Friday (21/7/2017) is astonishling absent from the press. It's only just beginning to come back online now, 10:00 Monday (24/7/2017). VM even took their own service status offline rather than actually communicate with any of their customers about the failure.

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Fan of FBI cosplay? Enjoy freaking out your neighbors? Have we got the eBay auction for you

Nick Ryan
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Re: Retro

You wouldn't have had to. Everything in 1989 can with wood panelling regardless of whether or not you wanted it. Well, everything that wasn't painted magnolia anyway.

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The lady (or man) vanishes: The thorny issue of GDPR coding

Nick Ryan
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Re: What of micro-businesses, clubs & societies

what are the chances of a helpful answer?

Zero? :)

Just download the GDPR, print it out and assault it with a marker pen. It's not really that hard to read and you will quickly have an idea as to what applies to you and what you need to do. Some of it is intentionally fuzzy (for example, the definition of a public body) and some of it is contextual but there's nothing really scary in there.

For those that don't know, it can be downloaded here: GDPR: REGULATION (EU) 2016/679

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Employee data?

The articles are using the wrong terminology. GDPR refers to "natural persons" - i.e. people and not organisations. It does not matter whether or not the people you are dealing with are suppliers, customers, employees, volunteers or any other form of contact.

The retention of HR data is covered by the employment regulations (and therefore covered by the legal requirements clauses), the retention of data for the protection of individuals is also covered by clauses. It does, however, get a bit more involved when referring to the protection of vulnerable individuals as this requires protection that goes above and beyond the GDPR and is governed elsewhere.

If your business has a public benefit in the retention of these records then this is also an exception to the automatic removal of them.

In short, despite the obnoxious sellers of training courses and consultancy, the GDPR is not there to cripple businesses and organisations, it's there to strike a good balance between preventing abuse of personal data and the genuine use of personal data by an organisation. Download the GDPR, take a marker pen and highlight the sections that apply to you and cross out those that don't. Then re-read it and you'll see your obligations quite clearly.

For those that don't know, it can be downloaded here: GDPR: REGULATION (EU) 2016/679

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Nick Ryan
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Re: re:'Personally identfiable information'

Hence, GDPR is a good gig to get into.

Definitely this. I receive a large number of inane sales contacts about training, tools and other junk vaguely associatable with GDPR. Most of them know nothing about it, the training companies are there to promote training(therefore the courses are almost all doom and gloom with few "facts", many of which are incorrect and seem to be designed to promote further training and services provided by the vendor of the training.

If you're concerned, which you should be to some extent, then download and read the GDPR. It's a bit dry as all legalise documents are, but it is readable and understandable and you'll find that the reality is quite different to the scare mongering that's going on that's lead by the training and tools pushers who most stand to benefit from it.

One of the most important aspects that you need to know is that consent for incidental data collection can no longer be opt-out and that consent must be explicit, therefore no more "tick this to opt out of our shitty newsletter" or "untick this otherwise we'll send your details to our 'partners'". However if the collection of the data is for genuine operational purposes then as long as you can justify this you are welcome to collect it as long as you don't disperse this data (unless explicitly agreed to). In short, define what you need to do and collect the data for that and record and justify this.

The rules about automated processing are interesting however the clauses reduce the restrictions to sensible levels.

The rules about a "request to be deleted" are fine, however get operationally interesting quickly. Many organisations will need to record that an individual has requested to be deleted (because otherwise they may be contacted incidentally otherwise), many organisations have very genuine operational reasons for retaining historical data (restrictions on which do not apply to the deceased) and then there's the practical aspect of genuinely deleting all references to an individual - in theory if this individual is recorded in a backup tape somewhere then they would have to be removed from these as well.

The rules about ensuring that data is accurate are of note but the FUD being spread is ridiculous. Nowhere in the GDPR does it mandate contacting, by post, all data subjects once a year to check that their details are correct, all it states is that reasonable endeavours must be applied to ensure that the data is accurate. What these reasonable endeavours may be depend entirely on the situation, the source of the data and the importance of the processing.

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Solaris, Java have vulns that let users run riot

Nick Ryan
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True, however unfortunately many places still use Java exposed to the Internet, either as an application or as a plugin within the browser.

In short, not permitting Java, Flash, Silverlight or ActiveX in the browser will help reduce your risks considerably.

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Google unleashes 20m lab-created blood-thirsty freaks on a city. And this is a good thing, it says

Nick Ryan
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I assure that it's not that super a power - particularly when you're on the receiving end of it.

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Eggheads identify the last animal that will survive on Earth until the Sun dies

Nick Ryan
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Re: Food

True, would there be enough other organisms alive for tardigrades to feed on them? Chemical/energy input has to come into the food chain somewhere therefore they can't survive on other tardigrades for long.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: the planet has billions of years to play with before the sun goes night-night

How would the swelling of the sun into a red giant affect planetary orbits? From memory Earth is currently outside the projected size of the sun as a red giant, but by then there will be less solar mass and therefore Earth, and other planets, would likely to be further away from the sun due to the reduction in the sun's gravity.

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Trump to world: Forget moving to America to do a startup

Nick Ryan
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Re: The Post-US Era...

Trump has touted the G20 summit as his "wondeful success".

So did chairman May. Well, the rabidly, reality-distorting UK Tory press did anyway.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Close the door and turn of the light

Control of the press is most important - control the (easily leadable) minds of the majority and you can do what you want. For example, publicly denounce (otherwise impartial) judges for upholding the law in a manner directly reminiscent of some of the most public instances of the early Nazi party. Once you've beaten enough impartial judges down through "popular" opinion, the dictatorship is yours.

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Good luck building a VR PC: Ethereum miners are buying all the GPUs

Nick Ryan
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Re: "Why would anyone need two graphics cards?"

It may make some sense, however it can savage CPU performance because of contention for memory access, not just access to memory in the same block but memory on the same physical component (chip/stick depending on implementation). This is particularly complicated by caching which for performance reasons takes place within the CPU core and therefore won't be shared with a GPU accessing the same memory block.

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OMG, dad, you're so embarrassing! Are you P2P file sharing again?

Nick Ryan
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Maybe El Reg should create a commentard voted "cool wall" where peridocally techniques or technologies are shoved up for a cool/not cool vote.

Lycra, of course, when it comes to middle aged men, should be fired sunward at maximum velocity.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: re: pay for the good/services

I was agreeing with some of your other points, or were ambivalent to them, however (assuming you were being serious):

Copyright abuse is theft and nonesense. Don't do it

Copyright is not, and never can be, theft. Copyright violation is copyright violation, nothing more, nothing less. This doesn't mean that violating copyright is a good thing, just that it's not theft.

Makes a whole mockery of the UK's self-serving FACT organisation (Federation Against Copyright Theft) - it's hard to take an organsation seriously when even their name is a lie. As for the unskippable adverts and theft lies at the beginning of DVDs... that is exactly why I play a ripped copy and not the bloody original DVD or BluRay disc. When I choose to watch a film, I'd like it to start there and then, not some unspecified 5-10m in the future.

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LHC finds a new and very charming particle: the Xicc++ baryon

Nick Ryan
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From what I understand, it's just a case of arranging the basic building components into non-repeating, i.e. elementary groups. Given this there's a nice grid of particles that could/should exist as there's quite a finite set of possibilities.

Until of course some bugger finds a way of breaking the lower level components into parts to see how they're made up and then predicts some new basic building blocks to play with.

(I'm not a particle physicist by a long way, but know enough to appreciate some of the issues without my mind imploding)

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Multics resurrected: Proto-Unix now runs on Raspberry Pi or x86

Nick Ryan
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Re: Primos

Wow - PrimOS. That brings back some memories. Interesting systems, and like many they had some good points and some really infuriating ones as well. Certainly easy enough to use but at the time I used them there were already lots of grumbles about lack of software support with vendors abandoning PrimOS ports in favour of pretty much anything else.

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BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on

Nick Ryan
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Re: Thus is the great dilemma of IT support born

blockquote (no angle brackets included for parsing reasons, add to use) is available here in El Reg. However it's not available to all users. I'm sure there's some justification to excluding it for many commentards, I just can't think of it now...

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Sysadmin bloodied by icicle that overheated airport data centre

Nick Ryan
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Re: Welcome to the UK

(apart from my typos), I'm afraid that it's a genuine story of an office in Hertfordsire.

The tank was definitely not small and the run off was continuous but as the car park was at angle so when the damn thing did overflow it did at least run off the carpark. Don't forget that as the tank was set underground, the overflow that should have been a last resort was somewhat higher than the top of the tank and therefore much of the runoff seeped straight back down into the ground, it's when the ground was too soaked or otherwise impermeable that problems happened.

The tank was emptied pretty much every two weeks. I beleve that the shit sucking people were paid per visit and they were happy enough (well, as happy as you can be working in such things). The land was probably owned by a member of the council anyway...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Welcome to the UK

I worked in an out of town office where the numpty that installed the liquid run off pipe (soakaway) from the septic tank was carefully angled up hill. Apparently the installer didn't understand that liquids tend not to flow uphill. The solution was that we had to have the tank emptied regularly otherwise the surface of the car park became rather less than pleasant.

None of this was helped by equally numpty cleaners who, despite being told repeatedly, continued to pour inappropriate cleaning chemicals down the drains.

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It's the iPhone's 10th b'day or, as El Reg calls it, 'BILL RAY DAY'

Nick Ryan
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Re: Don't mention the iTunes.

It does seem that phone connectivity or music sync software attracts the most incompetent and inept developers... however as for iTunes being the "worst", I raise you Samsung Kies. Randomly fails to connect to devices that it registered moments earlier, is entirely unsure of what it is actually meant to do and even less sure of how it would like to present this clusterfuck to the unlucky user. That's if it installed successfully or even started up...

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Researchers blind autonomous cars by tricking LIDAR

Nick Ryan
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Re: Creating mirages for fun and profit.

The coding doesn't have to be universally and persistently unique because the coding can cycle and change as fast as required. The range is limited, as in the number of sources that are reasonable, or even excessibly, expected to be in front of the vehicle therefore a changing coding will pretty much ensure accurate responses unless the RNG is exceptionally poor.

Of course, all this doesn't matter when it comes to sensor flooding as not a lot can help this unless different techniques or frequencies are used as well or instead.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Interesting research

And Tesla has already been shown to miss a large object in front of it under adverse seeing conditions.

This unfortunate accident was caused by two things:

Firstly the driver not understanding that the software wasn't really an autopilot and more of a driver assist. This is Tesla's marketing department's fault, since rectified, but from what I understand this particular driver should have been well aware of this as he was close to Tesla and a keen advocate.

Secondly US trucks do not typically have guards down the side presenting an open space that often cars can fit into too well - there are many many reported instances of human controlled cars falling foul of trucks as a result. There's a reason that such guards are mandatory in most of the rest of the world. As a result the car, quite correctly, saw an open space in the road because there was one - the fact that it wouldn't fit entirely in the vertical space is an issue, but cars are not expected to be driven at speed at exceedingly low bridges and for practical reasons the height of the scan (lidar/radar,etc) is limited, although hopefully enlarged now.

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UK parliamentary email compromised after 'sustained and determined cyber attack'

Nick Ryan
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Of course not. However even without 2FA, all they'd need is a half decent security approach, however given the government's approach to anything recently, IT related or not, it's no wonder that the parliamentary IT system follows the same principle.

2FA is a good idea, let down by reality and usually compromised by the implementation and hamstringing convenience. Sending access codes to a device that the user is likely to have in hand doesn't really increase security much, likewise codes sent to other devices or accounts - the end result is often a syste, that's so inconvenient that users try to avoid using it. Poor mobile support for 2FA, e.g. so users can use modern technology and standard(ish) applications to access their email or documents doesn't help either - seriously, a secure email application doesn't have to be an unusable PoS compared to the ones supplied for free by Apple, Google or Microsoft.

Remote email clients can easily be protected with client certificates - this doesn't help much when losing the device, or access to the device, but it does help prevent non-authorised connections which is what this is all about.

This is before smart stuff can be done on the server side, for example rate limiting incorrect logins - the technique has been around for years through simply steadily increasing the delay between allowed login attempts. This can be enhanced through reducing or bypassing the delay for expected originating IP addresses as this can reduce the DoS prospect.

Nothing hard, and as another poster has noted - why do they not run dictionary attacks against their own accounts? It's a simple process and greatly reduces the use of poor passwords.

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WannaCrypt blamed for speed camera reboot frenzy in Australia

Nick Ryan
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Re: No internet, huh?

One would hope that the 3G/4G modem inside was connected to a private internet, not the public Internet. Most mobile providers are, or should be, capable of providing such network connectivity. As a result, malware shouldn't be able to connect to anything that it may require, particularly as most malware instances are delivery platforms for the real payload.

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PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet

Nick Ryan
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Re: Mouse not working on mousemat

I came across one similar when I came across the first introduction of optical mice as an upgrade to the ball and wheel mouse predecessors. Turns out that the optical mice didn't like the glossy surfaces of the standard issue branded mouse mats which worked fine with ball mice. It was considered ironic that the workers that had the best working mice were either those with the dirtiest environments, as in their previous mice failed all the time due to the dirt or those that didn't toe the company line and had alternative mouse mats.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: You want toast!

I had a light fitting from Phillips and apart from the usual BS about including a "natural light bulb" which was in reality the standard "premium" appallingly not-very-cheap-but-nasty yellow phillips CF unit that took the obligatory 5 minutes to get to the stable colour but the unit had a bloody star-hex bolt to hold the inner compartment with the bulb in place. The kind of thing allen key that you only have one of, as in the one that came with this single lighting unit that for "reasons" required it and would therefore inevitably lose it and be unable to find it when the cheap'n'nasty philipps bulb failed or I chose to replace it with something better. I can't think of any good reason for this bolt and the two square metres of hieroglyphical generic warning text didn't indicate why either so I replaced it with a spare cross head bolt that I had lying around...

Strangely, the negative reviews about this unit all centred around the appalling bundled CF bulb and the moronic star-hex bolt that was used.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: You want toast!

Why do they fit these stupid anti-tamper screws?

To deter people from messing around with the safety switches inside? :)

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Queen's speech announces laws to protect personal data

Nick Ryan
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Re: The good news is that she didn't mention Trump is visiting...

Should we wait for the impeachment momentum to build before setting a date, or should we wait a bit? Hmmm....

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Nick Ryan
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Re: to protect personal data...

There is literally nothing at all to worry about. Nothing at all, nothing whatsoever.

Unless you have something to hide. In which case you're presumed guilty. As for the definition of "something to hide", I'm afraid that by asking this question you are indicating that you are a subversive and therefore have something to hide and are therefore guilty. That'll be 3 citizen penalty points and a fine of £400.

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Microsoft admits to disabling third-party antivirus code if Win 10 doesn't like it

Nick Ryan
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So Windows is putting up an ad *telling* users to buy a new version of Kaspersky, and Kaspersky are still unhappy. Sheesh!

My thoughts as well - while I'll more than happily bash Microsoft, this "your 3rd party AV software is out of date, we suggest that you update it (and here's a link as to how to)" functionality is generally a good idea. It wouldn't take much to push it towards promoting Microsoft's own services at the exlusion of others but as it is, it's most likely a good thing. Likewise, Microsoft's helping out by covering any gaps in AV support automatically is generally a good idea, particularly when you consider that, unlike the pagmatic techie bunch that lurk here, the majority of computer users really don't care, and in many ways shouldn't have to, and just want their PC to continue acting as a word processor, web browser, video player and game platform. As long as the transition is clear and above board, this is also likely to be a good thing.

Unfortunately most of us here have been on the receiving end of, or observed, Microsoft's considerably less than noble actions in the past... Abuse of trust is not an easy thing to forget or forgive.

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Google, Mozilla both say they sped up the web today. One by blocking ads. One with ads

Nick Ryan
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Re: Paradox. Everyone hates ads. Everyone wants stuff for "free".

Unfortunately until the website owners finally understand that putting several screens worth of utterly useless, devaluing trash adverts all over their pages we're going to be stuck with his rubbish for some time. There are countless websites that I can no longer be bothered to visit because the experience is so painful.

And I suspect that in traditional moronic marketing accounting practices, the owners of these websites are seeing less income from adverts and therefore increasing the number of adverts to compensate.

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'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Nick Ryan
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Re: Mission critical stuff should legally never be done?

"I think that any mission critical software that carries a real risk to human safety should never legally be allowed to be done as long as the original vendor continues to trade."

A fine concept, except within a decade or so all software will be provided by the likes of Capita, IBM, HP(E) and so on... is that what you really want to happen?

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It's 2017, and UPnP is helping black-hats run banking malware

Nick Ryan
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Re: Universal Plug 'n' Pwn

Makes it that much harder for ET to phone home if only Edge and IE are permitted to initiate traffic to port 80.

Until you get to the most incredibly non-sensible security disaster by design that's svchost.exe. Good luck filtering by application when stupidity such this is provided as a core part of an operating system.

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Gartner confirms what we all know: AWS and Microsoft are the cloud leaders, by a fair way

Nick Ryan
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Gartner

While Microsoft Azure is an enterprise-ready platform, Gartner clients report that the service experience feels less enterprise-ready than they expected, given Microsoft's long history as an enterprise vendor.

Gartner... it says it all really. I wonder who paid for this latest Gartner advert, ahem, research article?

Seriously though - given the disjointed inconsistent mess that Microsoft apply to all back end systems, configuration tools, applications and, well, everything, it's fully expected that Microsoft's Azure/O365 configuration system is a minefield mess.

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Migrating to Microsoft's cloud: What they won't tell you, what you need to know

Nick Ryan
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Yes - be very careful when using OneDrive for business because it does (ab)use SharePoint for file storage, presenting an interface that appears to be similar to a file system but in reality hides a whole lot of painful gotchas and a world of stupid. It's OK for document storage and versioning, for example standard Office documents, but the whole thing starts to go wrong with anymore more complicated, such as streaming, VCS systems, large files of any denonimation and so on...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: "True data nerds love the value in metadata"

You forgot at least one reference to "final" somewhere in the file name. Very important to have "final" version, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5....

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Break crypto to monitor jihadis in real time? Don't be ridiculous, say experts

Nick Ryan
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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

He's still here: https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/31681/

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Nick Ryan
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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

What's outstanding about this is that it makes the same, if not more, sense than AManFromMars's posts...

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Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

Nick Ryan
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A bit of a strawman comparison if such is possible. While the Apple devices are often, but not always, poor when comparing the hardware specification and price with alternatives, comparing one to something that is not comparable is a bit pointless.

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Nick Ryan
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They are, but also because of the saturation, of both features and units deployed, any improvements in the market are hard to come by. Samsung's (hardware) tactic has been the "throw everything we can and see what sticks" kind of approach which has been quite successful in many ways. Apple's approach has been to refine existing technology so it's usable by an end user, which has worked very well for them but they have limited to the expensive end of the market given their marketing and dependency on full stack control. Google's approach has been great, both in software and hardware, just a little directionless as there are too many u-turns and product abandonments along the way - it's been very successful but is, in some ways, comparable to Samsung's "see what sticks" approach. Microsoft were late to the party as ever and produced something that was marred by "design by committee" and while it has some good points, these are heavily outweighted by the number of bad points and the poor 3rd party/developer support which is also the result of an even more savage abandonment process that Google have.

So we have an industry where the cost of entry is very high, the ability to differentiate is quite low and the potential rewards from such changes are equally low. It's a market that's now largely in the evolutionary stage of progress compared to the opportunity for innovation of even a few years ago. I'd like to be proved wrong of course...

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Gay Dutch vultures become dads

Nick Ryan
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Re: IT angle?

IT angle? It's about, erm, vultures. Look at the El Reg logo. That's close enough evidence for me on a Friday night.

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Nick Ryan
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Coat

Anything that involves four springs and a duck is pretty deviant technique wise.

Coat, yes, I know...

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Virtual reality headsets even less popular than wearable devices

Nick Ryan
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Re: MS back in the game

er

that's about it.

you forgot the MS "ergonomic" keyboard.

Microsoft are a software services company - you pays them money, they let you borrow the use of their software for an agreed period of time. Updates are provided if you agree to pay them more money.

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Retirement age must move as life expectancy grows, says WEF

Nick Ryan
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Re: Wow

That's the state pension scheme problem - there isn't one in any financial terms as it's as described - a "hope we can pay for it later" investment scheme. On the other hand, company pension schemes where companies are able to raid these assets and use the funds for their own purposes, often short term bailouts to ensure that dividends and bonuses are paid, not to invest them responsibly are a growing problem. The protections on these non-state pension schemes have been gradually eroded by politicians who have more a passing interest in the organisations who wanted to "unlock the value" (i.e. take the money from) the pension schemes.

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Spacecraft spots possible signs of frozen water on the Moon

Nick Ryan
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Re: Water, water everywhere...

I'm not a planetary scientist

This is what it should have read :) (and it wasn't even pub o'clock)

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Water, water everywhere...

I'm a planetary scientist but I seem to remember some that were reporting that it was very hard to model the large amount of water that Earth has on its crust compared to everything else and in particular the moon. This got particularly interesting to model if, as supposed, the early Earth/Moon got hit by a very large object splitting them into the two co-orbiting objects that are now the Earth and Moon.

There are quite a few ice asteroid type bodies out there in the solar system which would individually deliver a very large amount of additional surface water to the Earth therefore these bodies could be responsible for what we have now.

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Android apps punched out by Judy malware

Nick Ryan
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Re: Android really is a clusterf**k isn't it?

Other app stores, and other Operating Systems have almost identical problems. Given enough obfuscation and a plan it should be relatively easy to hide malware in titles until you want them to trigger. If the malware is hidden/obfuscated well enough then it will get past automated scanners looking for it. The scanners can be updated but this is the same old problem with virus scanners - they are retrospective.

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