* Posts by smudge

805 posts • joined 8 Aug 2008


Chap joins elite support team, solves what no one else can. Is he invited back? Is he f**k

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Either that or the A-Team are very bad at tech support and very good at brown-nosing...

A is for anus...

Dead LAN's hand: IT staff 'locked out' of data center's core switch after the only bloke who could log into it dies

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Indeed. "Over-reliance on key personnel" is considered in even the most basic of risk assessments.

UK libraries dumped 11% of computers since 2010-11... everybody has one anyway, right?

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Re: Understandable

PS Please install this software from our exclusive supplier in Cheltenham.

Carphone Warehouse fined £29m for mis-selling mobile insurance to punters who didn't need it

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That's why I use a domain:

Same here. Have done that since day 1 - about 25 years ago - when I first signed up with Demon. They let you choose a subdomain name so you could have <anything>@<yourname>.demon.co.uk, with as many different things as you liked before the @.

When I had to move away from Demon, I simply registered my own domain, so I am continuing the practice.

Interestingly, in all that time, having used hundreds of different email addresses, I have only seen 4 or 5 being misused. Whether they were hacked, or sold or taken by the classic disgruntled employee, I have no way of knowing. But it's a much smaller number than I was expecting.

And yes, the bemusement when a droid registers that I have an address with their employer's name in it is usually quite amusing.

On the eve of Patch Tuesday, Microsoft confirms Windows 10 can automatically remove borked updates

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All very clever, but how will Microsoft's happy operating system actually KNOW that it's been a failed startup?

Because the process that monitors the start-up will detect that the start-up has not terminated.

Oh wait, didn't Turing have something to say about that?

BNP Paribas systems 'tombés à l'eau' in France for over 24hrs

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"...systems 'tomber à l'eau'" ??

The French are fans of Bluebottle from the Goons?

(Ask yer great-gran.)

Microsoft 'welcomes dialog' over HoloLens use by the military, but doesn't have to listen

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Re: Have they thought it through?

If they thought a bit more about it, they'd realise that Microsoft products are enhancing military capabilities across the board - eg use in Command and Control systems and systems to manage the supply chain (both of which are important to an efficient fighting force). If they don't want to enhance the military's lethality, I suggest they shouldn't be working for Microsoft at all.

I used to work for a well-known UK systems house - which, like all UK systems houses, no longer exists in that form any more. It used to work in all market sectors, including the military and the spooks.

I worked, some of the time, on C&C systems and on logistics systems for the military, but I always refused to work on actual weapons systems. (Maybe you'll say that I should have thought a bit more about it.) My specialism was security, so my part of the company also worked for the spooks. I always refused that too - it was easily done by refusing to go forward for a higher clearance.

My choices were well-known and were respected. Of course this depended on there being other work, of equal value to the company, which I could do. In security, that wasn't difficult.

I'd like to think that more companies were like that. But I'm not even sure that my old company is like that nowadays :(

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Re: Super Tuesday...

"Your flight control systems will reboot several times during this update"

China's tech giants are a security threat to the UK, says Brit spy bigwig

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Re: Royal Navy Task Force

That was the Defence Secretary's Gavin "Private Pike" Wossname's little fantasy last week, wasn't it? Unfortunately he blurted it out in public, and that led to the Chinese cancelling the trade talks they were going to have with the Chancellor, Philip Hammond. Who uncharacteristically made some sarky public comments about Private Pike, and pointed out that decisions about things like deployments of aircraft carriers are normally made by the National Security Council, and not by adolescents fantasising about force projection.

I think that reporting it as a UK plan is stretching the truth a bit :)

Helicopter because I'm sure we must have one, somewhere...

Now you've read about the bonkers world of Elizabeth Holmes, own some Theranos history: Upstart's IT gear for sale

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Re: If she hadnt been a cute chick giving the cliched woman struggling in a mans world routine...

Feminists and liberals like Rupert Murdoch and the Waltons?

John-Boy & co invested in this shit???

Ministry of Defence's new payroll contract is, surprise, surprise, MIA: Missing In Action

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Get the naive customer to sign

Maybe they are not so naive. If you don't think you'd get funding for the true cost of the programme, start with a reduced-cost spec, and then make change requests once everyone is irrevocably committed to the programme. Sometimes you might get cancelled - most times you won't.

It's a game that two can - and do - play at.

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Quelle Surprise

A spokeswoman at the MoD told us this week it has been “engaged in a formal procurement process” since April last year “against a widening set of objectives to support its overall business transformation.”

"a widening set of objectives". In other words, scope creep and fluid requirements. Never heard of that from the MoD before.

Twilight of the sundials: Archaic timepiece dying out and millennials are to blame, reckons boffin

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My next-door neighbour...

... has a sundial in her garden. Just on the north-eastern side - we're in the UK - of the junction of the high hedge and the high fence!

I've never asked her if it works...

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I had always assumed that sundials were set at waist level!

You often get them on vertical walls, set quite high up - at the height you'd expect a clock to be.

Plenty of National Trust properties have them...

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Re: Innovative sundials?

To be fair, analogue watches don't work in the dark either.

You've never heard of watches with luminous spots at the numerals and on the hands?

In addition to that, mine has a backlit dial - press the winder and it lights up.

Return of the audio format wars and other money-making scams

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Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

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Deja vu all over again

We've covered this before, however...

The company I worked for had a large computer room, basically long and narrow. The doorway was partway along one of the long sides.

One day, one of the senior bosses was showing some prospective clients around. Took them into the doorway of the computer room.

Spread his arms out emphasise how big it was.

But you're wrong - that was OK.

Then, to let them get a better view, he stepped to one side of the door, and leaned back...

No fax given: Blighty's health service bods told to ban snail mail, too

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What about pensioners, the unemployed, people on low income or people in homeless shelters and the like who have no internet access? These people need medical treatment too.

My first thought, too. In fact, I am sure that the groups that you have mentioned, through no fault of their own, probably require more medical help than the average Joe or Joan Public.

One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

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I'll come quietly, Officer

Once, my mates and I were having bacon rolls before going out to play golf. One of them said that his young daughter had wondered how many pigs the UK consumed in a year.

So when I got home - this was a while ago - I did a search which included "pigs", "slaughter" and "UK".

Which returned a whole load of websites urging me to violently murder members of the UK police forces.

So that's me caught bang to rights, then.

The UK's Cairncross Review calls for Google, Facebook to be regulated – and life support for journalism

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Re: Watching the watchers

Surely the greatest need in journalism is to investigate governments. How's that going to work ?

Well, her uncle John was a Soviet spy - supposedly the fifth man after Maclean, Burgess, Philby and Blunt.

Not cool, man: Dixons spanked over discount on luxury 'smart' fridge with wildly fluctuating price

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Re: American-Style Smart Fridge Freezer

"American-Style Smart" Fridge Freezer; is American Style Smart different to other styles of smart?

It tweets endlessly, destroys the environment, and is controlled by the Russians.

UK spy overseer: Snooper's Charter cockups are still getting innocents arrested

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Re: Is that all?

According to her anyone that goes to court but is found innocent is actually still guilty, there just wasn't enough evidence to be found guilty.

There are a lot of them about. The first time my wife did jury duty, there was a woman who simply said "If the police say he's guilty, then he's guilty."

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

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Always liked the Elvis P impersonation starting at 01:50.

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

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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.


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