* Posts by Kevin Fairhurst

207 posts • joined 25 Aug 2008


Doors closed by COVID-19, Brit retro tech museums need your help

Kevin Fairhurst

Looks like the health system in Brazil is struggling, here in the U.K. we cancelled a fuck tonne of services and if you rely on those, the NHS collapsed from your perspective that’s for sure.

As for the Nightingale hospitals, the caveats around sending patients to them (Sending us a patient? You need to send half a dozen staff, plus equipment, too!) meant that most hospitals just knuckles down and got on with it. At KGH (where our “esteemed” leader went shaking hands with all the Covid patients, clever chap isn’t he?) they just got some porta cabins in and made their own Nightingale ward in the car park. Same isolation, no need to commit vast resources to a shed in London...

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so

Kevin Fairhurst

That reminds me of...

I had an Amiga 500 with a trap-door memory card upgrade to bring it up to a whopping 1MB of RAM... I took the machine apart to cut a trace on the motherboard & solder two other pads together to enable this to be seen as "chip" memory rather than "fast" memory, and after putting it all back together was surprised that it seemed to be working! (I must have been 14yo and had my parents known I'd done something like this I'm sure I would have been in big trouble!)

After a short time I started experiencing random crashes. I couldn't pin it down exactly but they became more frequent when my dad was doing his chair aerobics in the next room (which was the style at the time), or if the washing machine was on. I simply couldn't understand why the noise of something like this could cause the crashes...

And then I realised that the memory card wasn't seated properly. You needed to push it in with so much force you thought you were going to snap it, and then a little bit harder than that, for it to really push home. Although it seemed to work without being fully pushed home, the vibrations coming through the floor were just enough to cause the card to disconnect at some point, causing the crash. Thankfully it wasn't as a result of my cack-handed attempts at soldering ;)

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: the next wrung up.

Real Lancashire, or one of the bits subsumed by Greater Manchester ?

Hello, support? What do I click if I want some cash?

Kevin Fairhurst

In Corby?

Maybe up Studfall, not in the one on Charter Court... (which has electric menu screens now, but they seem to be driven by a DVD player rather than a Windows boxen)

How do you like them Apples? Cook drops 'record' 30 times* on conf call as iPhone sales up, services up, wearables up

Kevin Fairhurst

Profits are up, but taxes are down?

Trebles all round, then!

The Six Million Dollar Scam: London cops probe Travelex cyber-ransacking amid reports of £m ransomware demand, wide-open VPN server holes

Kevin Fairhurst

"there is still no evidence to date that any data has been exfiltrated"

... because all the computers are switched off, and the data on them has been encrypted anyway.

Of course, once the professionals get in to the systems and look at the logs we'll find that there *IS* evidence of data exfiltration, going back months, but by then the execs will all have "retired" on big fat bonuses...

A Notepad nightmare leaves sysadmin with something totally unprintable

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Support ticket

What’s worse, open a CSV file in Excel, close it again, and Excel will “helpfully” save the file even though you didn’t click save. It doesn’t want you to lose those contract number -> scientific notation conversions it did in the background which you didn’t want!

Still to this day when asking users to download csv files from a client “portal” to send me a copy BEFORS they open in excel to play around with it, not after!

Vote rigging, election fixing, ballot stuffing: Just another day in the life of a Register reader

Kevin Fairhurst

Reminds me of a time...

Must have been around 15 years ago now. While enjoying a bottle of wine I thought I would peruse their website, and they were running a competition to win half a dozen bottles. On attempting to enter the competition, I found that the script wasn't working, so I went through the source code and figured out how to submit my entry.

A few weeks later I found out that I had won the competition, and duly received my free wine. And it was only then at that point that I realised I could have entered multiple times from multiple email addresses (and with multiple physical address locations as well, e.g. parents, work, etc) and therefore won multiple prizes. I may have been the only person to enter the competition unless someone else had also figured out the submission issue...

The eagle has handed.... scientists a serious text message bill after flying through Iran, Pakistan

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: No EU roaming charges

*so far* and until Brexit actually happens we don’t know what they will do, and they certainly don’t want to stop people subscribing with off putting statements...

But when, post Brexit, all the EU providers start passing on massive bills to the UK networks, because they’re no longer beholden to the “cross EU” services rules, how long do you think until those charges start getting passed along to the customers?

We read the Brexit copyright notices so you don't have to… No more IP freely, ta very much

Kevin Fairhurst

“Also changing are rules on EU Portability Regulation. This currently allows people to access online services from anywhere in Europe as if they were at home.”

So that’s the end of cross-EU mobile roaming, then. Why would companies pay for this when they can pass the costs on to the customer?

And I am sure Sky have a nice list of all the people/businesses they investigated who are using Eu TV decoders... so never mind the police, Sky will be ready to enforce that one as soon as they’re legally able!

Vulture Central team welcomed to our new nest by crashed Ubuntu that's 3 years out of date

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: So which local boozer should I avoid? :)

"Refreshing fruit water to keep you and your guests hydrated throughout the day."


Kevin Fairhurst

So which local boozer should I avoid? :)

Cittie of Yorke, Chris Hatton or do you cross over to Inn of Court?

For real this time, get your butt off Python 2: No updates, no nothing after 1 January 2020

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Ada?

We used Ada on my CompSci course at York, '94 to '97. And then when I learned PL/SQL in 2001 I realised that it was pretty much ripped off from Ada :)

UK plod could lose access to 79 million criminal alerts in event of a no-deal Brexit

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Hmm

I have never seen anyone being told why they voted leave. What I have seen is false equivalence from leave voters; “I want a hard Brexit, I voted leave, 17million others voted leave, we all want a hard Brexit”

What people rightly point out is that you cannot make that leap across the entire dataset using a sample size of 1. The ballot did not differentiate between the various scenarios in which we might leave, therefore you cannot know what leave voters (as a whole) were voting for. This is usually met with the response you gave and head meets desk...

Here's to beer, without which we'd never have the audacity to Google an error message at 3am

Kevin Fairhurst

Once upon a time I worked on the Commissions system at a mobile telco... I haven't the foggiest what was going live that night but I made it clear to the people doing the deployment that I was going to be unavailable, as I was going to see Iron Maiden at Brixton Academy (which means, thanks to SongKick I can tell you it was 20th March 2002).

So having thoroughly enjoyed the gig, and many alcoholic beverages with mates, I'm off the last tube and waiting for the night bus home. And my phone rings. I don't recall any of the conversation, but something had gone wrong, and I was being asked if I could help them identify what!

My boss said he had two things to note... I was quite obviously hammered, and yet was giving the exact SQL commands for him to run with no problems whatsoever. And I was very loud, so half of south London probably heard what I was saying :)

Apple disables iPad for 48 years after toddler runs amok

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Three year olds can't read

So THAT'S where I left my copy...

USB4: Based on Thunderbolt 3. Two times the data rate, at 40Gbps. One fewer space. Zero confusing versions

Kevin Fairhurst

Now the marketing team can insist on fitting the slowest ports and still claim “it has the latest USB3.2” on the spec sheet. Trebles all round!

OK, team, we've got the big demo tomorrow and we're feeling confident. Let's reboot the servers

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Why?!

And if the software doesn't exist that does what you want, you have the right to write it yourself :)

iPhone price cuts are coming, teases Apple CEO. *Bring-bring* Hello, Apple UK? It's El Reg. You free to chat?

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: I can confirm...

His problem with snow was obviously that there was none, and therefore he was having to go to work.

(Corby based but drive through Northampton on my commute)

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

Kevin Fairhurst

New Road bad!

This is a local shop for local people! There’s nothing for you here!

Royal Bank of Scotland, Natwest fling new bank cards at folks after Ticketmaster hack

Kevin Fairhurst

Halifax changed my card last year

A couple of months after I’d phoned and asked if it needed changing due to Ticketmaster and British Airways. “Not at all” they said.

Then they did it without warning, meaning repeat payments screwed up. Typical. Except PayPal somehow managed to get the new card number without me needing to tell them...

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Horrible

We picked up an electric meat slicer (can also be used for the bread from the bread machine!)

It’s fantastic for when I cook the Sunday roast on the BBQ... it slices really nicely so leftovers can be easily used for sandwiches the next day :)

Consultant misreads advice, ends up on a 200km journey to the Exchange expert

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: click this

Sod this football / tennis malarkey, what’s your take on Greenalgh’s vs Galloways?

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

Kevin Fairhurst

Came in to work one Monday to find that the Unix system was borked... on investigation it appeared that a large number of files & folders had gone missing, probably by someone doing an incorrect rm.

Our systems were shared with our US office who supported the UK outside of our core hours (we were in from 7am to ensure trading was ready for 8am, they were available to field staff until 10pm UK time) so we suspected it was one of our US counterparts who had done it, but had no way to prove it.

Rather than try and fix anything, they'd gone through and deleted all logs and history entries so we could never find the evidence we needed!

Restoring the system from a recent backup brought everything back online again, as one would expect!

'World's favorite airline' favorite among hackers: British Airways site, app hacked for two weeks

Kevin Fairhurst

"We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused."

It's criminal that they allowed a breach of this scale to 1) happen, 2) continue happening for two weeks!

Hackers clock personal deets on 'two million' T-Mobile US subscribers

Kevin Fairhurst

Ah what's the problem with that? Okay so my bank uses my mobile phone for 2FA, and this means that the crims can take over my mobile number, and therefore intercept the 2FA messages from my bank, meaning they can take over my bank account too. But what's the big deal, right?

Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: what the fuck does PC LOAD LETTER mean?

I always went for NEED NEW CRAYONS but was asked to stop as there had been “complaints”

Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button

Kevin Fairhurst

Not sure if I’ve posted this one before...

Working in an office overlooking the M1 about a mile north of J14, and one day there’s a commotion outside. Two pigeons are either fighting or being amarous, but it’s enough of a display whatever it is to attract our attention.

About five seconds later the pigeons decide to fuse themselves against the transformer of an overhead power line and there’s a bright flash!

My first concern is whether or not the lines will separate and end up showering electrical goodness across six lanes of motorway traffic. Thankfully not...

The second concern was what was I going to do for the rest of the day, as computers all started switching off due to a lack of power.

Apparently the feed for our office came from a substation fed by that pigeon-coated transformer!

Atari accuses El Reg of professional trolling and making stuff up. Welp, here's the interview tape for you to decide...

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: You're in the wrong, not Atari

Different processors have different power and thermal - and therefore cooling - requirements. If you’re contemplating changing the CPU that lump of plastic you’re waving around goes in the bin and you *start again*.

No amount of “he might be under an NDA” changes that one iota. It’s all vapourware.

Foolish foodies duped into thinking Greggs salads are posh nosh

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Other Pie & Cake outlets are available. !!!

Ah Greenalghs... and Pooles Pies, before Whelan stuck his dirty thumb in...

Fixing a printer ended with a dozen fire engines in the car park

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Had the fire brigade called to a five star hotel, in Malta....

Goodricke College, would have been spring ‘95 I think, some twat deliberately put a wet tea towel on a baby belling and turned it on, wondering how long it would take for the fire alarms to go off...

(I was just about going off with a young lady of my acquaintance at the time, the bastards)

1.5 BEEELLION sensitive files found exposed online dwarf Panama Papers leak

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: No exposed RDP?

Not just you, no...

Remember the Yorkie pizza horror? Here's who won our exclusive Reg merch...

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: truly a north-south thing?

Scraps are certainly a thing west of the Pennines as well... I never went for gravy on chips when growing up, although due to being a fussy kid didn’t have proper roast dinners so didn’t have gravy on anything.

Now i’ve grown up & had some sense knocked in to me (ie Mrs refusing to let me get away with being a fussy bugger all my life!) I absolutely love proper roast dinners smothered in gravy, but still haven’t yet ventured in to having chips & gravy... or peawet* for that matter!

* scoop up some mushy peas from the pan, dribble the juices over the top of the chips, put the scoop of peas back in the pan!

ASA tells Poundland and its teabagging elf: Enough with the smutty social ninja sh*t

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Ut oh

i read that as rot10 and dryeqrd ofobidrsxq kpdobgkbnc gkc qysxq dy lo oxmbizdon vsuo drsc!

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: @A/C Fondly referencing 'Carry On',...

The people who get the joke are laughing at them, and the people who don't realise it's an elaborate act laugh along with them. Win/win for the comedian concerned!

Web searching died the day they invented SEO

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: The B ark.....

Surely this should be the obligatory video for cats playing guitar?


Anti-missile missile misses again, US military mum on meaning of mess

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: I give it about a week

You do need internet access...


Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?

Kevin Fairhurst

Sounds a better idea than

Cinnamon challenge

Tide challenge

Whatever else has been “invented” since I last looked

You get a lawsuit! And you get a lawsuit! And you! Now Apple sued over CPU security flaws

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Companies always withhold details of security flaws

If Apple had pushed a fix secretly, the black hats, hackers and others who constantly look for exploits in IOS would have found it by doing a diff between the two versions.

They’d then have known about the issue, and would have looked to exploit it. Whether they’d have realised it was a fundamental hardware design issue, and thus moved the exploit across to desktops, who knows...

WPA2 security in trouble as KRACK Belgian boffins tease key reinstallation bug

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: ...the attacker would have to be on the same base station as the victim...

As with all these things, this starts as “has to be on same base station” but people will work out a way to replicate this approach without having to authenticate first...

In the meantime, disconnect from public WiFi...

Rejecting Sonos' private data slurp basically bricks bloke's boombox

Kevin Fairhurst

I'm not sure why Sonos haven't...

Enabled firmware updates with a new *feature* that can be enabled/disabled, depending on whether or not you agree to the dta slurp.

Oh wait, that would mean very few people would agree to it, whereas with this method, people are coerced into agreeing!

I wonder how many T&C changes there have been where this kind of thing hasn't been noticed... how many jokingly added the Human Centipede clause? Does one unworkable clause render the whole agreement null and void?

Kevin Fairhurst

I do believe that was the point... your child may not be able to agree to the terms, but they are capable of clicking “ok” buttons to get things working again...

Want to keep in contact with friends and family without having to sell your personal data?

Kevin Fairhurst

Sounds tempting...

especially if you can get a shared google calendar on there...

(of course, for about the same money you can roll your own with a Pi, camera & a touchscreen monitor, but it won't look as nice)

Brit uni builds its own supercomputer from secondhand parts

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: Eeeew

And yet still you drink it...

US engineer in the clink for wrecking ex-bosses' smart meter radio masts with Pink Floyd lyrics

Kevin Fairhurst

If he hadn't been so stupid and done something that caused the towers to disconnect, he could have done something considerably worse for the companies involved e.g. Adjust all meter readings down by a given percentage, thereby reducing the bills of all customers...

Tory-commissioned call centres 'might have bent data protection laws'

Kevin Fairhurst

Apparently the CEO is an ex Conservative MP candidate, and a party member, so almost certainly a definite link!

Homes raided in North West over data thefts from car body repair shops

Kevin Fairhurst

Someone drove in to the side of my vehicle a couple of weeks ago, as I was on a dual carriageway. Got a call last week and the caller knew all about the accident, and made it sound as though he was from the third party's insurance company. Started going on about putting a claim together on my behalf to cover any injuries or twinges I might have experienced, with a value of £1500. At this point I asked him to call back as I was busy with something.

When he called back I got him to clarify who he was calling on behalf of, and it turned out to be a company called Motor Assist. Apparently they're a personal injury specialist, and are not affiliated with either my insurance or the third party's insurance.

So I asked where he got my details, and he said he got them from the central Motor Insurance Bureau Database, where all accidents are logged. He claimed that they had access and got the details from there. He got very tetchy when I paraphrased him and said "so you were scanning down the database for accidents to see who to cold call?" - refused to accept that they were doing anything so awful!

After answering a couple of questions negatively (Did anyone else send you the details? Did anyone else access the database and send the details on to you?) I restated my previous comment that they had been scanning the database for accidents for people to contact, as the data isn't going to magically extract itself. He went off on one before hanging up on me. Shame It was a withheld number or I would have made sure it got reported!

User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: You missed out

But if you didn't make the requisite blood sacrifice when dismantling/reassembling, you knew for a fact that it wouldn't work when you tried powering it on...

Parents have no idea when kidz txt m8s 'KMS' or '99'

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: More parental fun

A standard filter like you suggest cannot check that the kids have done their chores, homework, etc. It also cannot block devices on the nights when the kids aren't allowed wifi (which can change from week to week).

So resetting it daily to me is the best option.

Of course, this is on the kids wifi network... they're not allowed on the grown-up network where the password doesn't change :)

Kevin Fairhurst

Re: More parental fun

Install RMerlin on an Asus router, and implement a script that resets the wifi password to a random phrase at 10pm each evening...



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