* Posts by smudge

782 posts • joined 8 Aug 2008


UK.gov plans £2,500 fines for kids flying toy drones within 3 MILES of airports

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Black Helicopters

If that's what the law requires...

in practice you could have a scenario of a child needing their parent to call ATC for permission to fly a £15 toy drone the size of a biscuit in their garden

If that's what the law requires, then they can have no complaints when people do that. Though they might rethink the law after a few thousand calls...

Clone your own Prince Phil, says eBay seller hawking debris left over from royal car crash

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What I'd like to know

Everyone seems to blame HRH, but I'd like to know what speed you have to do in a Kia to send an armoured Land Rover cartwheeling across the road.

Maybe the armour makes it less stable?

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home

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Re: Running backwards ?

Running forwards faster than expected due to outside interference from a strong electromagnetic field would be possible,

That's interesting. Why would it run faster? The reason I ask that is that the other day we noticed that a clock in our house, which is supposedly regulated by the DCF77 radio time signal from Germany, was 15 minutes fast, and getting faster.

I had a look online to see what could cause this, but found only articles suggesting replacement of batteries, which wasn't the problem here.

Is specifically getting faster a known phenomenon, or is it that the interference could cause the clock to run either fast or slow?

My 2019 resolution? Not to buy any of THIS rubbish

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In days of old it was "The White Heather Club" at midnight on BBC TV. Live...

Actually, it wasn't. The Scottish Hogmanay shows were usually recorded at TV studios, or at somewhere like the Aviemore Centre in the dog days between the summer and the skiing season. Far too risky to have a live show featuring real Scottish people and strong drink. This also enabled Moira Anderson or the Alexander Brothers to entertain us whilst actually sunning themselves - or earning top dollar - thousands of miles away from the cold and filth of a Scottish winter.

Twas only fairly recently - which to me means 30-40 years ago :) - that they went live.

'Exclusive swag' up for grabs as GitLab flings bug bounty scheme open to world+dog

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Dunno why they're so unpopular these days

Have you seen them recently? Had a Bounty yesterday for the first time in years. Considerably smaller than the ones I remember from my youth.

Bounty means handsome reward - but this was more a measly, grudging tip.

Register Lecture: Right to strike when your boss sells AI to the military?

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Re: A conscience is a fine thing

if you simply throw your toys out the pram

I don't think that exercising personal ethics is "throwing your toys out of the pram".

A long time ago, I used to work - in information security - for a deceased UK systems house. This gave me opportunities to work right across the company's client base, from commercial clients to government and defence. I always refused to work on weapons systems, but I did work on things like command & control and logistics systems. Some would say that they are just as much an essential part of the killing machine as the pointy things that go bang - I understand that, but that's where my boundaries were at that time.

I also refused to go to countries such as Saudi Arabia. Partly because I thought they were corrupt dictatorships, and partly because there is no way I was going to a place like that as a security consultant. Events over the years - including recent events in Turkey and in the UAE - have confirmed that. (For balance, I'd probably have said the same about Israel, if that had ever come up.)

Now I have no idea whether companies nowadays tolerate such behaviour from their staff. It was certainly less likely in my company by the time I retired...

What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs

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Beneath the vehicle's floor?

Does one usually transport one's sugar confectionery underneath the base of one's conveyance?

Or, in English - WHY???

IBM's Ginni Rometty snipes, er, someone for being irresponsible with data, haven't a clue who

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Re: Interesting omission

What you do on my premises I can record without your permission.

Not if you are subject to European data privacy legislation.

I assume from your use of the word "store" that you are from the Land of the Free and No Rights.

Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world

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Controlled glomming

Currently a phone gloms onto a Wi-Fi network whenever it can, assuming this provides the user with a superior internet connection.

My phone only gloms onto a network when I tell it to, and then I choose whether it's wi-fi or 4G.

Bright spark dev irons out light interference

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Re: Have you ever put something apparently useless to good use?

Misuse of apostrophe is the only crime I'll countenance flogging for.

How about ending a sentence with a preposition?

Something that up with which I will not put.

We definitely don't need more towers, says new Vodafone boss scraping around for €8bn savings

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Re: Age discrimination?

Do a lot of "social media" do you ?

No. I'm a 29 year old lawyer with a nose for business.

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Age discrimination?

VOXI bundles social media data usage in for free, and has an age limit for new subscribers: if you're over 30, you get shunted off to Vodafone proper.

I can't be bothered looking up the details, but at first glance that looks like age discrimination, which would surely not legal.

If Shadow Home Sec Diane Abbott can be reeled in by phishers, truly no one is safe

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Mike from Microsoft phoned us yesterday

My wife answered.

Mike: "This PC is not working correctly."

Mrs S, angry manager voice: "Which one? I have 500 here!"

Mike: "Ohhh..."

<end of call>

Alternatives would have been

"This isn't a PC, it's a phone!"

and "Couldn't you think of a better name than that?" (Mike from Microsoft had a very strong Indian accent.)

Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again

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Re: Could be worse

Dave, you're back! Where have you been?

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Could be worse

It could have been reporting imminent failure of the AE-35 antenna-steering unit...

Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

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Re: main thing is that they pulse

So would this laser beam (from the aliens' perspective anyway) on account of the Earth rotating.

Yes, but pulsars rotate in the order of around one second, with some going up to several hundred rotations per second.

A wee bit different from good ol' Earth.

UK.gov to roll out voter ID trials in 2019 local elections

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Re: So...

I can afford to renew my passport even though I never travel these days. - but there must be many pensioners for whom it would be a difficult expense.

Do you have a photocard certifying that you qualify for free bus travel? My Mum - in Scotland - used to have one, and it was accepted as photo ID, even by Easyjet at Luton.

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

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Thumb Up

I highly recommend that you (and everyone) get your hands on the steampunk graphic novel "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage" by Sydney Padua.

On page 19 you will find a cartoon illustration of an imaginary one of "Babbage's famous parties". It includes everyone you mentioned except Brewster, and also includes others whom Babbage knew:

William Whewell ( polymath, scientist, Anglican priest, philosopher, theologian, historian of scienc, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge)

John and Caroline Herschel

Elizabeth Gaskell

Florence Nightingale

the Duke of Wellington

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Harriet Martineau ("the first female sociologist")

Charles Darwin


I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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Your non-Brits wouldn't qualify

The full set of criteria on the BoE website includes this one - "[must] have shaped thought, innovation, leadership or values in the UK".

So although you are correct to say that someone doesn't have to be a Brit, most if not all of those that you suggest would not qualify.

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they must be a) a scientist – covering any field from astrology through to zoology

Russell Grant is still with us, so my vote goes to John Dee.

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

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I'm confused

The UK government has consistently said it is ready to start talks over an adequacy decision, which involves the EU assessing whether a country has the same standards of data protection

Surely the EU is already assured of that, since we are part of the EU and abide by EU law. We therefore must already provide assurance of adequacy to the EU.

So surely we need to ensure that EU data protection law is written into UK law - which is what I thought that the Great Repeal Act (or whatever it is called now) is going to do - and then we continue to provide assurance as we have been doing up till now.

I can see that contracts would have to change to refer to the appropriate laws.

What am I missing?

Bomb squad descends on suspicious package to find something much more dangerous – a Journey cassette

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I'm sure I won't be the only one to point out that the picture isn't a DAT cartridge, but an old analogue cassette tape.

...which really shouldn't be as close to the speakers as that.

If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey

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Re: I'm with Vodafone

Needless to say, we found Clueless and Witless went downhill in service standards after Vodamoan acquired them.

And those of us who had been with Demon for many, many years could only look on in horror as Demon was eaten up by Thus, then flogged to C&W, and then to Vodafone :(

I tell a lie - actually, we could do more than look on. I am now with Zen.

Budget 2018: UK goes it alone on digital sales tax for tech giants

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Brexit coin

Surely a Brexit coin can only be a sovereign? That's what it was all about, they kept telling us.

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

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Re: Racist?

My editor is worried that this week's column is a bit racist.

Shouldn't your editor have worried that before the column was published?

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Re: Damn

How gullible are you ? Send £20 for our questionnaire.

Years ago, one of my mates actually underwent the "free personality test" that the Scientologists on Tottenham Court Road in London offered to passers-by.

They told him that he was guillible, and easily led.

But that they could help him with that.

Cathay Pacific hack: Personal data of up to 9.4 million airline passengers laid bare

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"... no evidence that any personal data has been misused"

"We have no evidence that any personal data has been misused. No one's travel to loyalty profile was accessed in full, and no passwords were compromised."

And no one has connected the junk mail, cold-call selling, burglaries and identity theft with us. Yet.

Want to roll like one of the biggest minds in physics? Prof Stephen Hawking's wheelchair is up for auction

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the party

only time travelers would be able to attend the shindig, and as far as we know no-one showed up

Yes, well, they would know that no-one had turned up, wouldn't they? So if they did turn up, then they would be changing the past and the future and mucking around with the space-time continuum and I've got one of my headaches coming on... Just look at the trouble that Dr Who had to go to to make sure that Rosa Parks got on that bus.

On a more practical note, presumably he must have had it set up properly for a party - gutrot white wine, cubes of cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks, maybe even vol-au-vents, The Carpenters' Greatest Hits on the stereo - otherwise everyone in the future would know that it had all been a sham.

UK defence secretary ponders £50m hit to terminate Capita recruiting contract

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Re: Word of mouth.

Can you handle candidate records that have different fields accessable to different users and automatically extrapolating uploaded test results into recommendations for some users and graphical results sheets for others?

You're kidding? A competent primary school kid could do that with MS Access and Excel!

300,000 BT pensioners await Court of Appeal pension scheme ruling

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... the Office of National Statistics (ONS)

... the Office for National Statistics

UK.gov withdraws life support from flagship digital identity system

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Re: It sucked lemons!

I started with the Royal Mail, but misremembered the year I moved in to my current house

Genuine question - why would the Royal Mail know the year you moved house?

Or is it something you have to tell them if you register with them?

Remember that lost memory stick from Heathrow Airport? The terrorist's wet dream? So does the ICO

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Re: a national newspaper, which recorded the data

If you're willing to believe it may have some way of compromising the machine, or at least the USB interface, then maybe it's use once and dispose of all hardware (or at least, replace all EEPROM and BIOS as well as wipe disc)?

Actually, when I said "sanitise", I was thinking of ensuring that it doesn't have any classified material still on it. But the possibility of malware is, of course, a real problem - probably more of a risk than, say, having some confidential information in a disk sector that had been part of the page file.

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a national newspaper, which recorded the data

Yes I know the information should not have been lost, but is "recording" it legal? Noting its contents, maybe, but recording it? What if it was personal data? Presumably there is case law on this.

And I don't like the idea of viewing it first at a library. Do library PCs have open, functional USB ports? Was the finder worried that there might be malware on it? (And did a qualified security bod sanitise the library PC afterwards?)

Oracle? On my server? I must have been hacked! *Penny drops* Oh sh-

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Re: Pinnacle of unprofessionalism

You are a quality assurance auditor, and I claim my ISO27001 certification with only a few minor non-conformities. :)

Ever used an airport lounge printer? You probably don't know how blabby they can be

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If you're worried about privacy why are you printing something on a device you do not control?

Exactly. The basics of confidentiality have been overlooked here. Who also has (privileged) access to the server and printer? How long does your document persist in server or printer memory?

I still remember, from many years ago, the look of glee on the face of one of our penetration testers when I told her that the new photocopiers round the office were based on Windows NT and had IP addresses on the internal network.

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

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Re: And then billed 3 extra hours?

CTL (later ITL) doubled your memory size by connecting up a wire...

Don't get THAT personal, says personalised cards firm Moonpig. Dick pics. They mean dick pics

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Re: T&Cs???

C&A used to label their women's knickers so that customers would know which way round to wear them...

WWII Bombe operator Ruth Bourne: I'd never heard of Enigma until long after the war

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Black Helicopters

Re: Partial truth, partial cover up ?

But really, the Enigma cracking was top secret for decades

Because other nations were still using them, including the allies to whom the UK sold 'em after the war...

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Re: Cribs from touch

There was also the method of generating cribs which was known as "gardening".

BP would get the RAF to drop ("sow") mines into the sea at a specific location. Later, they would "reap" the benefits by looking for reports which contained the word for "mines" and specified the location.

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Re: Standard German and Dialects?

Would there have been other messages -- banter between operators -- in dialect or vernacular German?

I know that as well as looking for "Heil Hitler", details of the weather, and similar stuff - one look-out post sent "Nothing to report" day after day, using different keys, a godsend for the codebreakers - some of the operators used to talk about their girlfriends. So the codebreakers would look for the girlfriend's name - and I'm sure that some of these messages would certainly have used the vernacular!

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Did the Germans ever got clued up that their supposedly encrypted message system have been compromised?

Apparently their techies always believed that it was impossible.

Other people had their suspicions. That's why Doenitz - head of the Navy, including U-boats - changed the Naval Enigma in February 1942, from a 3-rotor to a 4-rotor machine, with the result that BP was unable to decrypt the crucial U-boat traffic for nearly a year afterwards.

UKIP doubled price of condoms for sale at party conference

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Giant size...

... because you're such a prick.

UKIP flogs latex love gloves: Because Brexit means Brexit

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No need

Surely he has already f**ked the entire country?

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

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Re: First thoughts on Straighten

@smudge I've digitized 10000 to 15000 slides and also some pictures and a handful of 8MM movies from the 1930's. All through ScanCafe.

You mean this lot? https://www.scancafe.com/

Hmmm - Indianapolis, Lausanne, or Bangalore.

If I am scanning photos, it's because I attach some value to them. So there is no way I am sending them anywhere!

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First thoughts on Straighten

We were delighted to see the arrival of the Straighten button in version 2.10.4, mainly due to our inability to hold a camera straight. Version 2.10.6 extends this handy feature to include vertical straightening...

First thought was that I wished I'd had that when I was scanning about 10,000 old family photos that came down to me. I would do several in one scan, then, using GIMP 2.8, cut out each individual one, and nearly always had to rotate them a little because it's impossible to place them exactly on the scanner platen.

But I have just tried the new "straighten" function, and I think that hitting shift-r and rotating the image manually is probably quicker. And not every photo has a handy vertical or horizontal straight line.

Still, I'll give it a proper trial when I come to scan the thousands of my own photos, which SWMBO wants out of that cupboard!

Home Office seeks Brexit tech boss – but doesn't splash the cash

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I've been to Dallas. And Croydon.

And I know what you mean!

Brit banks must disclose outages via API, decrees finance watchdog

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Here's another clue, until the 1980s, you were unlikely to be employed by BoS if you were Catholic and unlikely to be employed by RBS is you were Protestant.

Lived in the Highlands till 1978, and never heard of that at all.

Presumably you're talking about a 50 mile radius centred on Glasgow?

Ad watchdog: Amazon 'misleading' over Prime next-day delivery ads

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I think it means "to ensure that some Amazon Prime-labelled items were not advertised as available for next-day delivery".

If that means removing the Prime-labelling, I have no idea.

Encryption doesn't stop him or her or you... from working out what Thing 1 is up to

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Are you implying that someone was nicking it? I never thought of that until now!

We were working 24x7 for a while...


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