* Posts by Strappy

9 posts • joined 30 Jul 2008

Cool cars, cat-crushing chronometers, cashmere ... is this your IT boss?

Strappy

Back in the day...

Late 1980s, before everyone had a couple of mobile phones, I was in the office one Friday and took a call from a vendor who wanted to drop in to speak to the boss. Boss was free that afternoon so we set up a meeting.

Chap turned up, sporting a shiny silver suit and precisely trimmed goatee, lugging a briefcase mobile with him. I met him at reception and he asked if he could call his office to check for messages. "Of course", I said, "there's an external phone over there."

"No need", he replied, pointing to his mobile, "I'll use this." I shrugged and went back to the office to tell the boss he'd arrived. Couple of minutes later, I went back to collect the vendor and show him through.

He walked into the boss's office, shook hands, then asked if he could call his office to check for messages.

"Er, sure", replied the boss and started to point to his phone. "No need", the vendor said, "I'll use this" and dialled his office on the mobile again.

Not sure if he was trying to impress us with the phone as he wasn't selling those, he was trying to flog an accountancy package. We thought he was a cock.

Leica Pinmaster rangefinder

Strappy

Rule 14-3...

"It delivers an edge by precisely measuring the distance you are from the pin (or hole to the non-golfers out there), so you can decide the best club to drive with, and using the Pinmaster is not against the rules either."

Rule 14-3

Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an unusual manner:

...

b. For the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play; or

...

From here: http://www.randa.org/en/Rules%20and%20Amateur%20Status/Rules%20of%20Golf.aspx#/rules/?ruleNum=14&subRuleNum=3

Microsoft opens Windows 7 to advertisers

Strappy

Erm...

"as long as that's Porches, sugary fizzy drinks, and films"

A porch is a structure built on the outside of your front door. Porches is a multiple of porch. A Porsche is a car.

Apologies for the pendantism but I've had beer.

Beeb names new Doctor Who

Strappy

Matt Smith's been in Doctor Who before

He appeared in the Keeper of Traken story as the Melkur. If it's not him, it's an uncanny likeness.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/gallery/monsters2/images/340/traken1.jpg

Fancy nipping for a quick two-thirds of a pint?

Strappy
Thumb Up

It's a lady's glass!

Years ago (about 20 or so - I'm old), I worked in a holiday camp bar and there were three common sizes of beers: pint (20fl/oz), half-pint (10fl/oz) and a half served in a lady's glass (Wellington or 12fl/oz).

Nice to see that there's still no such thing as a new idea.

Spy chiefs plot £12bn IT spree for comms überdatabase

Strappy
Happy

@ The Other Steve

Oh, well done. You've successfully taken my comment, broken it down and responded to each point in turn while completely missing the fact that it was a response to the paranoid comments above.

quote> We're told. But you've missed yet another pint, although you're by no means alone in that, the name of the project is the "interception _MODERNISATION_ program", which rather suggests an upgrade of present capabilities. If you think that present interception capabilities don't extend to content monitoring than you're living in la la land.

"it's going to map the connections between people. Only the most naive terrorist would send an email containing such obvious trigger words as "bomb" and "assassination" and those emails would doubtless be flagged and filed..."

You have just contradicted yourself, postulating here that content will indeed be scanned. <end quote

Thanks for showing how quoting out of context can change a message. I pointed out that there are plenty of interception systems already so it's hardly a contradiction.

quote> There have already been high profile cases where people were detained and charged based on such things, or don't you watch the news at all ? <end quote

I'm aware of cases such as you mention but I don't recall any of them coming about from an email about the weekend's football results that has "BOMB" at the end to "game the database" (for the sake of an example).

quote> They can do that already, got software for it and everything, real time even. Why spend £12bn quid to reimplement an existing, and effective, system ? <end quote

Because it's easier to have it all in one place rather than demand access to logs from multiple ISPs, perhaps?

quote> So it's OK as long as no one protests is it ? And again, you miss the point entirely, an expectation of personal privacy has fuck all to do with objections to this project. <end quote

Out of context again but what the hell, you're on a roll.

quote> "It's exactly the same type of data gathering as carried out by supermarkets through loyalty cards or Phorm targeted advertising that's been reported by El Reg recently.

Knowing how people move about, communicate or even idly surf is now valuable data for mining."

Either you are a troll, or you are magnificently clueless. That argument is so stupid that I can barely bring my myself to refute it, but just in case you actually believe it, and in no particular order : You seem to have missed the fact that people aren't happy about phorm, this is about as far from targeted advertising as sheep are from nuclear physics research, supermarket loyalty cards don't track peoples movements or intercept their communications, and you seem to be confusing commercial marketing activities with mass surveillance by the state, which suggests some rather serious mental distress on your part. <end quote

I used Phorm and loyalty cards as an example of tracking data, not as a comparison to a major government project - you drew that conclusion all by yourself, which suggests you have an agenda to pursue here but like most people who respond through vitriol you are unwilling to discuss the issues with anyone who might disagree with you

quote> "To bastardise the Marshall McLuhan quote, the medium has become the message."

If, by "bastardise" you mean "take completely out of context, misunderstand, change and then use in a way that renders it totally meaningless and makes makes you look like an utter knob", then yes, otherwise, no. It's very clear from that statement that you haven't actually read McLuhan, who had nothing whatever to say about mass interception of communications. Do you even know who McLuhan was ? Prat. <end quote

If I'm able to quote him, I must be aware who McLuhan was, mustn't I? Or did you think I just got lucky on a random quote search?

Of course McLuhan wasn't talking about mass interception of communications, that's why I flagged the quote as bastardised. The point of my comment was that the actual movements of people has become valuable data, not just for governments but for search engines, social networking, studies of public response, the list goes on. Any use of the internet leaves a trail of IP addresses that is useful for all sorts of purposes as touched on in both our comments.

I know you won't agree with anything I've written here, chances are you're probably away hugging yourself at just how clever you are. Well done - you got angry on the internet. Have a sweetie.

Strappy

"Game this database"?

Some commenters appears to have missed the point of this project. It's not going to scan content (there's already plenty of systems that can do that), it's going to map the connections between people. Only the most naive terrorist would send an email containing such obvious trigger words as "bomb" and "assassination" and those emails would doubtless be flagged and filed but I doubt serious action would take place.

If the Security Service suspects that a potential terrorist cell is communicating with other cells, however, they will be able to track communications through IMP to locate the others even if those comms are fully encrypted. Sure, there are wider implications for personal privacy but I don't recall seeing mass protests about the number of CCTV cameras that watch your every movement.

It's exactly the same type of data gathering as carried out by supermarkets through loyalty cards or Phorm targetted advertising that's been reported by El Reg recently. Knowing how people move about, communicate or even idly surf is now valuable data for mining.

To bastardise the Marshall McLuhan quote, the medium has become the message.

It's official: The Home Office is listening

Strappy
Black Helicopters

Oh, good...

"Individual rights when it comes to DNA? Victims might not understand. Public concern about how personal communications are intercepted? The Home Office plans not to do less of it, but to “raise awareness” of the benefits such practices can bring."

So we can look forward to plenty more FUD about murdering paedophiles and the dangers of tourism [sic - in a GWB voice].

The more things change...

Lateral thought saves sizzling server

Strappy

It sounds like an urban legend...

...but it really happened.

Way back, the company I worked for had an NCR mini-tower server in the main office of a local theme park. We'd get regular weekend call-outs from staff based in other offices because the database had crashed. The server was fine, sitting there waiting for logins but the database process had terminated. Easy enough to restart the database but it was annoying as the software (Progress) was usually pretty stable.

Didn't take long to check the server logs and find that it usually went down on the Friday evening so I asked one of guys in the main office to work late on Friday and see if anything happened.

Six o'clock and the cleaning lady came in and asked if he minded her doing the office while he was there. "No", he replied, "go ahead". So first thing she does is unplug the server and plug her hoover into the socket.

Problem solved for the cost of a sticker with "DO NOT UNPLUG" written on it.

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