* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

As the US realises it's been PWNED, when will OPM heads roll?

Tom 13

Re: Last I heard Congress are the ones who control the purse strings

You haven't been paying attention. The 0bamaphiles in the Republican party who go by the names of McConnell and Bohner actually handed control of the purse to The Big 0 as their first act after the elections but before the new class was sworn in. All agencies were fully funded for the next two years. So in order to cut funding, they need to pass legislation that the President would have to sign off on.

But that's okay, we've accepted our fate. Yesterday SCOTUS drove a stake through the heart of the Constitution. If the plain language of a law cannot be counted on as the meaning of the law, particularly when that would be the normal legal reading of a law, the foundations of ordered liberty are dead.

Tom 13

included the theft of Standard Form 86, essentially a biography

You haven't been keeping up/paying attention. Admittedly they were real coy about the way they slipped it in, but it's even worse than the bad guys just getting the Standard Form 86. But how could it possibly be worse than handing over your personal biography?

Well it seems they also made off with the files the FBI puts together to VERIFY your Standard Form 86. And that's even bigger than your SF86. And it probably contains enough information to steal the identities of the people you supplied as references or asked to vouch for you.

Yeah, heads are going to roll on this one. Almost certainly too few and not necessarily the right ones, but heads will roll.

Bank of England CIO: ‘Beware of the cloud, beware of vendors’

Tom 13

Re: as you can't control the screw-ups of your providers.

Yes and no. You can control their screw ups through your contract. The catch is, the contract has to specify it. And how do you specify the controls when you don't know what/how they're handling the data?

Possible, but tricky. I expect most places aren't up to the challenge. And a bank is the last place I'd want experimenting with it.

Tom 13

Re: The Cloud is a fantasy

No, it's not a fantasy. What it is, is the latest marketing term that's been over-hyped. Truth is, it's been around since mainframes. They've just rebranded it.

While he may be a bit too knee-jerky in rejecting it, for a bank it's not a bad posture. The key to handling it is actually in his statement about needing to understand everything. That's going to apply to your cloud facilities as well, and that may get a bit more complicated than if you run it yourself. Chances are your cloud provider is doing some stuff he regards as proprietary/trade secret and he's not going to want to discuss that. And he's going to push that he's accepting all the risks associated with meeting the SLA so all you have to worry about is the SLA. While there is some truth there, there's also truth in needing to understand his processes so you can asses for yourself whether he can meet the promised SLA.

Properly handled the cloud may be a good thing. Badly handled, it's as bad as anything you can fuck up internally.

Tom 13

Re: Sounds like a bigoted, stereotyping git to me @Jimmy

Please take a quaalude, maybe even three.

He's making a joke and contrasting one stereotype against another. It's what people do when they want to punctuate a point. And if he's working to undo a monoculture of three piece suite types, it's exactly the counterpoint that gives the most contrast.

Yes, I am a geek and I'm weird. I wouldn't have it any other way. If you're ashamed of being weird, change. I don't care if you go full mundane or just lose the 'tude, but change.

Tom 13

Really bad headline

“Make sure you understand where your data resides, make sure you understand the details of your contract, make sure you understand the security, and make sure you stay in control,” he said.

As I read that statement the first thought that I have is "are you sure he's management?" Because never were truer words spoken about building a good system from start to finish. It applies to The Cloud even more than it applies to stuff you're running internally. On stuff you're running, management might on occasion glide over some obscure details because their IT staff will have to learn it to make it work, or their IT security people will pick it up as part of a routine review. If it's in The Cloud, it's got to be spelled out in the contract, so no glossing over anything.

Microsoft U-turns on 'free' Windows 10 upgrade promise for ALL previewers

Tom 13

Re: The Embalmer's last victim was his own!

Definitely the Windows 10 team did the best they could to cobble together something that no longer makes the average end-user freak out.

I can't agree with that. The thing that most makes the average Windows user freak out they continue to appear to be trying to force us to subscription/cloud platforms. That's exactly what we DON'T want. This brouhaha only highlight the fact that they haven't figured that out yet.

Tom 13

Re: At least go to Windows 7

If he is one of the lucky few who managed to get Vista to work, why should he shell out for another operating system that doesn't have much support left in it?

When Windows 10 is released those of us still running Windows 7 will once again face the option of going along with the tyrant's dictates, moving to the walled garden of Apple, or switching to open source. Given the changes in my gaming habits (only casual games and nothing that requires high end graphics), I may finally be ready to take the leap to open source after my Windows 7 PC dies/is no longer supported with updates.

Indiana Jones whips Bond in greatest movie character poll

Tom 13

I'll mark this as an F'ed up poll by saying

Huh. While I'll admit that I think Adam West did a great job with the roll, I thought on that opinion even amongst outliers I'm somewhat of an outlier.

Why is it that women are consistently paid less than men?

Tom 13

Re: take the family as an economic unit"

Another seemingly common sense idea that in our current environment actually raises more questions than you'd think it would. I'd like to think of myself as an outlier. I'm single, live with my landlord in an undivided townhouse. Neither of us have children but we split household duties and rather unequally. We certainly aren't a family in the traditional sense. But am I really that much of an outlier in current society?

Tom 13

Re: for the benefit of women

He may well be bitter. But while your points about the biological constraints are correct, they are short-lived compared to time over which his criticism is made.

Might not be quite as bad in the UK as it is in the US, but if you're a married man with a kid, the wife pretty much owns you until the kid is 18. And if she decides you are an unfit parent even though you meet pretty much everybody else's World's Best Dad definition, you're still going to lose in court. It's not pretty. It is real. I knew a fellow about 25 years back, three beautiful kids, loved his wife. She lost interest in him, divorced him, sued him for child support. Her PARENTS supported him over her. Judge ruled for her. She met a guy, moved in with him, which was also away from the guy I knew. At which point the judge's original order for joint custody was modified and he effectively lost visitation.

One of the outcomes of the radical feminist movement is that although individual members of society may attempt to reject it through their actions, in a court of law the male is a sperm donor and an ATM.

Tom 13

Re: someone has been dragging goalposts around.

If it was just the goal posts we might make some sense of it. Problem is the landscape is also chocked full of fox holes, barbed wire, and shell wholes. So much so that it sort of looks like a WWI battlefield.

Tom 13

Re: Yes, women spend more of a family's disposable income than men do.

Not true. I think it is very rare for the wife by herself to decide to buy a new house/where to rent or a new car. Likewise I doubt many of them replace any of the major appliances like fridges, washing machines, dryers, ovens, stoves, heater systems, water heaters, etc. So usually at least 70% of the budget is spend before she gets her hands on the "disposable" portion of the income.

My dad on the other hand bought pretty much every power tool that came into the house without consulting her. At least one of them ran about $5000.

Tom 13

Re: I think the argument about shorter life expectancy for men

You might FEEL that way, but you haven't thought about it and you certainly haven't done an even rudimentary check. The Social Security Administration for the US has actual data about this:


Even at age 1, 140 more men die than women per 1000 born. The number get progressive worse from there.

Tom 13

Re: running joke back in the 70's here in States

You forgot Jewish.

The joke has been updated for the twenty-teens. She now also needs to be lesbian. Super Extra Bonus if she's transgendered.

Tom 13

@Graham Dawson

Actually, you have the training part reversed. There's not a great deal of skill in bricklaying. You trowel the mortar on the brick, press it down/slide it over the correct amount, and move to the next brick. For the secretary you have to learn to type, spell, a whole bunch of grammar, run phone systems, keep calendars, and multi-task in a way a bricklayer never has to.

Now the bricklayer is pretty much hard labor whereas the secretary is not. And usually the secretary's job is fairly safe from physical harm whereas the bricklayer usually runs at least the risk of broken limbs and sometimes even death. Bricklaying may also have some seasonality to it.

I know I'd want more money for the bricklaying work than the secretary. Although if I were a secretary, I'd also want stock options.

Tom 13

@AC-Re: He's got a point.

Did you ever actually run the financials for her staying fully employed?

I'm not married and have no kids so haven't experienced it from that angle. I'm also in the US, not the UK. But I do recall quite a number of conversations with my mother about the topic. When I was born she paid for babysitters and kept her job. When my brother kept doing the same but had to keep shifting babysitters which was a lot of work. Eventually she sat down with my dad and they ran the financials. My dad was in a high income tax bracket because he was in sales and she was low to moderate because she was a secretary (what admin assistants were called back then) even if it was a medical secretary. Between what taxes took our of her check, the cost of babysitters, the cost of transportation, and the extra cost of doctors because of all that socializing at babysitters they decided she was adding $20/month to net family income. So she quit and became a stay at home mom.

Tom 13

Re: Equal pay for the same work

Except that when the econometric studies are done, they invariably show equal or better pay for women than they do for men when all variables are considered. Tim does a very good job of dancing around this point to support the fully debunked 77% statistic. The number only arises when you aggregate ALL women vs ALL men and ignore actual hours worked and years in the field variables.

This time we really are all doomed, famous doomsayer prof says

Tom 13

Re: he omitted the piece about our rate of consumption outstripping supply

Commenting without reading again I see. Tim addressed precisely this point when he noted that as current "supplies" diminish the price goes up. Increasing prices coupled with increasing creativity yield increased production which replenishes supplies.

I believe Tim's money quote was that just in the ocean we have more supplies of the supposedly limited resources than we could consume at 10 times our current population. What we don't have at the moment is an economical way to separate them out.

Tom 13


No, even his population projections are wrong by an order of magnitude. The problem with his predictions, one frequently made by futurists of all stripes, is one of project continuously without inflection points. On population he ignored evidence that as you develop a population that can feed itself and cure disease the birthrate drops precipitously for 8-12 per family to 2 or lower.

His projections about food production were likewise completely backwards and even more inexplicable given his population prediction. Following a straight line projection on food would have significantly altered his "The End is Near/Back off man I'm a scientist" schtick.

No, the reason we haven't seen the massive extinction of species in the rainforests is that like the AWG alarmists, those so-called scientists didn't have any clue about real biology either.

Tom 13

Re: Apparently...

His, no. Put AC who managed to post first is sadly correct. Some other schlub will take his place, just as he replaced Malthus.

Tom 13

Re: Ehrlich ?

If I've understood Lovecraft correctly, Ehrlich is as far as it is possible to get from Eldritch. The Eldritch are supposed to understand how everything really works. The only thing Ehrlich seems to understand is how to fleece a paycheck from a publisher. Not even sure he actually understood how to get tenure. That seems to be something he lucked into.

Tom 13

Re: Bing Professor?

Not at all. It means he uses Microsoft's search engine to perform all his academic research.


Which probably explains quite a bit about his theories.

Verizon promised to wire up NYC with fiber... and failed miserably – audit

Tom 13

Re: real failure is on the part of the city authorities

No, the real failure here is the failure to comprehend that DeBlasio is a commie crook who hates businesses and will say and do anything to destroy as many of them as he can. Unless of course they're contributing to his campaign coffers.

Tom 13

Re: does the store charge you for their rent?

Yes, they do or they go out of business.

Verizon specified they did not have the "right of way" which means it is completely unrelated to the cost of the connection. Sounds more like your landlord was trying to gouge Verizon for something he should have provided for free.

Tom 13

Re: Fine them

You'd lose when Verizon challenged it in court. And for precisely the reasons that they laid out in their rebuttal. They'll produce all the paperwork showing they have cabled the streets and the roadblocks are either the shared buildings or NYC government itself cutting the red tape lengthwise to stop Verizon from meeting their contract. At which point the citizens of NYC would likely also out the cost of the court case plus the fees for Verizon's lawyers.

Tom 13

Re: Third World City?

Verizon? Probably. Whether or not any of them were assigned to this project is another question.

NYC? Not a chance.

Given the answer about NYC, the odds on the second part of the Verizon answer are greatly diminished.

While I have no great love of Verizon, the most annoying thing about their rebuttal (or at least the parts El Reg printed) is that it is 100% true.

FBI says in secret that secret spy Cessnas aren't secret

Tom 13

Re: here are no good reasons for that at all.

Sure there is and anybody claiming otherwise is talking out their ass.

Operational security is affected by the bad guys knowing what you are/can do. The number of planes sets a limit on what you are/can do. While "how much does it cost" doesn't give you as accurate data as a property report saying the FBI has 115 Cessna planes, after taking into account personnel costs, fuel, and maintenance, it gives you a pretty good idea of how many planes they have. Maybe you'll think they have 110 or 120 instead of the proper 115, but it's still enough to adjust your planning.

It's OK – this was an entirely NEW type of cockup, says RBS

Tom 13

Re: Quite how anyone can, with a straight face

While that is obviously the problem, the solution is not quite so easy as it might seem. The problem when you have a group of highly skilled people working in a specialized area is that once you lose them (in this case from firing them) you can never reassemble the team. Each of them has had to go and find new work. And even if you did approach them and offered them their old salary plus inflation with full reinstatement of seniority plus a 10% signing bonus, they'd have to be nuts to trust you again. So you now have to build that expertise from scratch even if you insource the work.

Tom 13

Re: those tossers directly responsible and accountable

No, no. I'm more interested in those indirectly responsible. Fining the poor sod sitting in the basement cubicle writing code won't improve things as quickly as fining the bastage who put him there.

Tom 13

Re: Fines? Fines? Fines?

The problem is not so much with the fines as with how they are assessed. We invented the corporation to limit liability so that, if I wanted to invest say 5,000 pounds in RBS, that 5,000 pounds would be the limit of my liability (I wouldn't lose my house or retirement fund). Likewise we've limited the damages an officer of the corporation can suffer. The problem is that we've extended that protection too far. While it is reasonable to offer officers some protection against what Donald Rumsfeld called unknown unknowns, we've extended it not only to known unknowns, but even known knowns. If the fines for this were applied to the officers of the corporation they could have a salutary affect.

Tom 13

Re: ..not feasible...

By your claim the odds of me winning at craps are completely unaffected by whether I rolled a 2 or a 6 on my previous roll.

Tom 13

Re: du -sh

No, no. They have the filter that checks for the misplaced comma. It runs a vm that logs the results and that's all that vm does. However the guy who normally archives the logs was fired downsized rightsized retired last week. As a result the vm crashed when it could no longer write the log file. This in turn cause the ingest failure.

Hey Google, what’s trending? Oh, just the death of journalism

Tom 13


You were lost as soon as you tried to put "respectable" in the same sentence as the "BBC" without inserting a negation between the two.

Tom 13

Re: google appears to consider

Buzzfeed isn't Journalism 2.0, it's AI Journalism.

Tom 13

Re: found brand new uses of words, phrases, sentences

I'd rather they retained their meaning. If they're changing all the time, how will we ever communicate.


On second thought, never mind.

Phone scamming up 30 percent last year: Report

Tom 13

"Rates of phone fraud are similar across economically developed countries, regardless of security regulations and legislation in place," the report states.

Laws are quite useless when the local cops are unwilling to try to enforce them. About a year ago we were being called so aggressive I called them and offered to work with them to catch these guys. They weren't interested.

As for the current report, I suspect their numbers are low. In the last two days my roommate and I have both gotten calls on the house land line: "Hello, this is Microsoft support calling."

Firefox preps processor revamp under Project Electrolysis

Tom 13

@James Cane

I see. You want FireFox to work exactly like Chrome because you prefer Chrome. Well FOAD. I want FireFox for precisely the reason that it is different than the Borg Browser.

Why is that idiot Osbo continuing with austerity when we know it doesn't work?

Tom 13


While I concur with your sentiment that England has finally chosen steady hands, it is obvious you don't read the comments here very often. El Reg is filled with exactly the sort of leftists who eat up this leftist claptrap. Especially when it comes from someone claiming to be right-wing but rational.

Tom 13

@John H Woods

It is actually all claptrap. Keynesian economics was shot dead with a double-barreled shotgun on the watch on one James Earle Carter. The signs and portends had been visible since one Richard Milhous Nixon famously proclaimed "We are all Keynsians now," but no one wanted to admit it. But with both unemployment and inflation headed for the stratosphere, Keynes' economic theory was quite, quite dead. it survives only because it gives leftists license to do things that can't be done in the real world, so they won't let it die. Chief amongst his lies is that government spending increases economic output and that's at the heart of everything Tim wrote here. So they keep propping him up like the Soviets propped up Lenin for 50 years after he was a corpse.

Tom 13

Re: Another Example

You'll get better responsiveness when everyone actually shares the burden of government equally. What we have instead is a system in which almost half the people bear no burden for government and that half insists that the half that does doesn't bear the burden.

While I admit the idea of prohibiting deficit spending, I believe it has to be there for true emergencies. The problem is, too many foreseeable expenditures keep getting classified as "emergencies". Until we have more honest pols there's no law that will get us out of our conundrum. Yeah, I know. They'll be selling ice water on all levels of Hell except the one that's looking for hot tea before that happens.

Zionists stole my SHOE, claims Muslim campaigner

Tom 13

This article reminds me of the Steven Wright joke:

Somebody broke into my house, stole everything, and replaced it with exact duplicates.

Except of course Wright was intentionally trying to be funny.

As for me, I'm off to buy some batteries. I bought some last night, but they weren't included.

Tom 13

To date, atheists have killed more people than all other religions combined. Yes, that includes all the casualties on both sides of the crusades.

Chancellor Merkel 'was patient zero' in German govt network hack

Tom 13

Re: The only hope...

No, there is another....

Limited edition Iron Man S6 sells for $91,000 thanks to ... serial number

Tom 13

Re: Sell by date

I'd think he used up all his luck just getting the phone.

US mega-hack: White House orders govt IT to do what it should have done in the first place

Tom 13

Re: Why isn't EVERYING encrypted?

Your so called defense is useless as soon as someone outside the system gets the credentials to an authorized account. That's the problem with so much of security thinking these days. It's as compartmentalized as you've demonstrated.

How much info did hackers steal on US spies? Try all of it

Tom 13

Re: I couldn't remember the answers to the questions

Yeah, if you don't get into one of these jobs pretty much straight out of college, you're screwed on answering the questions. If you do, you just keep a copy of your last form to update them.

Although I will say that when I had to reconstruct some of those questions for some job interviews, the internet was scary good at digging up the answers for me. I could actually reconstruct my housing record all the way back through college.

Tom 13

Re: plausible rate limits would permit

Who says they exceeded plausible rate limits? Some of the reports I've read claim they traced the breach as far back as December 2014.

What if the account compromised was an system admin level account? You know, the ones where you're expected to move the databases around as you reconfigure things.

Tom 13

Re: why wasn't this data encrypted

It's not clear whether the data was encrypted or not. If the data is encrypted on the drive, but uses an access account to decrypt the data and you compromise an access account, the data is still yours for the taking. That's largely the way the industry works these days with everything pushing to single log on authentication.

Tom 13

Re: we who are about to be ripped off (again)

No it's not. The compromised data wasn't part of surveillance. It was collected specifically to do security clearances; to prove who you are and that you don't have any obvious weak links. That is, it isn't simply surveillance, it's been narrowed and refined. Indeed the biggest problem NSA and the rest of the mass surveillance people have is that there is too much data to easily produce usable information. Anyone trying to raid your one stop honey pot faces the same problem the surveillance agencies do, except not being state actors they are less likely to have the available resources to process the data.

Lame arguments like this make the whole "no mass surveillance" crowd look like the tinfoil hat brigade. Use some logic instead of grooving on your latest hate meme.

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