* Posts by Grease Monkey

1702 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009

Hungover this morning? Thought 'beer before wine and you'll be fine'? Boffins prove old adage just isn't true

Grease Monkey

Never had a hangover. Even after a two gallon session. I think you're all making it up.

LibreOffice patches malicious code-execution bug, Apache OpenOffice – wait for it, wait for it – doesn't

Grease Monkey


"Before attempting to guess which app has yet to be patched, consider that..."

...we told you in the best headline.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers

Grease Monkey

Water cooling?

Worked on any number of data centres back in the nineties and never came across one that was water cooled. Indeed you would always be careful to ensure that any cooling plant was outside the data center itself so that hot air was drawn out of the computer hall and cool air blown back in through ducting. Generally speaking cooling plant has condensate to drain. Even then you had moisture sensors in various locations below and above floor level. While it would be preferable to run power overhead in a data centre I came across an awful lot where power was run below the floor.

So in short that story puzzles me. Even if it used water in the cooling why were the pipes in the computer hall itself? Why were there no moisture alarms screaming the place down way before it got to that stage? And how had water do enough to wade through not already caused an almighty short? Oh and if there was a water cooling system why was there such a large volume of water involved.

Apple: You can't sue us for slowing down your iPhones because you, er, invited us into, uh, your home... we can explain

Grease Monkey

Am I missing something here?

Apple say that if this is a matter of contact rather than trespass? But surely the description of the update which promised to improve performance and lifetime constitutes a contract. I wouldn't give an Apple product houseroom so I don't know for sure but most updates have a button saying something like agree and install. That sounds pretty much like a contract to me.

So what if Apple get these lawsuits thrown out? All the complainants need to do is bring new lawsuits for beach of contract. And they can actually cite Apple's argument in this case as evidence.

Staff sacked after security sees 'suspect surfer' script of shame

Grease Monkey

Back in my days in the public sector I used to manage the corporate proxies. HR received reports of suspect surfing, not just porn obviously, but other proscribed categories and also excess use of none work related sites. From these reports HR would decide who needed further action, from verbal to written warnings to full on dismissal.

After one suspect tried to claim that the sites she had been viewing were not what their URLs suggested it was decided that all such sites should be viewed by HR before action was taken, in order to weed out the false positives. HR came up with a protocol for these viewings, a member of HR would come up to IT where they would kick themselves in a meeting room with a member of the IT team to view a sample of the suspect sites. As three administrator of the proxies I was nominated IT person.

As I said the suspect sites weren't always porn, but they often were. All the members of the HR team we female and I'm not. Furthermore one of the ladies from HR was married to a member of my team. As such I sometimes had to go and kick myself in a meeting room with the wife of Pune of my team and look view porn. This was the nineties so we're not talking 4K video, but porn nonetheless. Needless to say this did not go down well with my colleague.

Have to use SMB 1.0? Windows 10 April 2018 Update says NO

Grease Monkey

Nope. I've thought about it long and hard, but I can't think of a good reason to run SMB 1.0

Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'

Grease Monkey

Visa never tire of telling us that their cards are more convenient than cash. So maybe they can tell us when the last time was that cash stopped working.

'Clive, help us,' say empty-handed ZX Spectrum reboot buyers

Grease Monkey

TBH I can't believe it's taken so long for things to escalate this far. It's been pretty clear that they unlikely to deliver for quite some time.

Facebook back in court fighting claims it nicked British data centre IP

Grease Monkey

It seems hopelessly naive to discuss your IP with another (much bigger) company in this way.

We keep seeing broadly similar things happening again and again. For example writers discuss the idea for a movie with a studio and a couple of years later that studio releases what seems to be a very familiar film. Should the writers sue what happens is that the studio will offer an out of court settlement tied up with an NDA. Should the writers refuse the settlement the studio will simply outlawyer the writers and probably win in court by stating that the idea for the movie was only broadly similar, that there were lots of differences or that this movie was already in the planning stage at the time they spoke to the writers and this is why they rejected the writer's idea.

The difference between the movie idea and a datacentre cooling system isn't that much really. The only real difference being that you might be more likely to be able to prove patent breach in the application of the cooling idea, much harder to prove copyright breach in terms of a movie idea once it has been turned into a full blown script.

Indiegogo to ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm: End of May... or we call the debt collector

Grease Monkey

The ZX Spectrum Next thing looks like a much more promising project anyway. I think the Vega thing is so late it's dead in the Easter now. Don't know why more people haven't sites for their money back.

Crowdfunding small print binned as Retro Computers Ltd loses court refund action

Grease Monkey

Re: On the other hand

"It's venture funding, not retail."

So why did they use the word "order" then. If it's venture funding then the word would be would be "investment". The word "order" does not merely imply this is retail, it states it as clearly is possible without using the word "retail" itself.

The reason Levy is terrified had nothing to do with his cock and everything to do with the fact that this sets a precedent for everybody who placed and order to sue. And of course this precedent having been set it will be so much easier for every subsequent action. They should subbing fly through the small claims court.

Expect the next story to be that the company has filed for voluntary liquidation. As such if you are one of the poor said who placed an order with these cowboys you'd better get your claim in quickly.

Stop us if you've heard this one: Apple's password protection in macOS can be thwarted

Grease Monkey


"Not a bug IMHO"

So if it's not a bug it must be be there by design. Those are the only two possibilities. So you'really suggesting Apple created this feature deliberately?

You must have an even lower opinion of Apple than I do.

Or maybe you are so IT illeterate that you don't actually know what the word bug means.

Oi, force Microsoft to cough up emails on Irish servers to the Feds, US states urge Supremes

Grease Monkey

Regardless of the legal arguments one has to wonder how much money has been wasted on this case rather than just applying for a warrant in an Irish court.

Of course the reason that they didn't choose the cheaper course of action is that they want a precedent to be set. However this could be a dangerous precedent. It could be harmful to US business interests abroad.

Brit film board proposed as overlord of online pr0nz age checks

Grease Monkey

It's been said before, but the likes of The Pirate Bay are blocked by UK ISPs, but people continue to use them thanks to VPNs and proxies. Why will this be any different?

Another case where the government will be seen to be doing something while in reality doing nothing.

Pro tip: You can log into macOS High Sierra as root with no password

Grease Monkey

For the apologists.

Other OSs do it too. So what? Apple and their fans pride themselves on being secure by default. A blank root password is secure by default?

It requires physical access so it's not a vulnerability. It doesn't matter how often I hear this one it makes me laugh. Somebody with physical access can access all your data and that's not a vulnerability? What exactly do you consider a vulnerability then?

You can fix it by setting a root password. You shouldn't have to fix it, how the hell does a "secure” OS manage to install without setting a root password?

It's still more secure than Windows. And? It's not just Apple and Microsoft you know. Neither of the two OS's I'm using these days would allow you to install without setting a password on the root account.

This simple little fuck up shows that Apple's QC can be truly appalling and their attitude to security is not all its cracked up to be.

Never mind fanbois, you still have your badge.

Grease Monkey

Hang on, where are all the fanbois telling us this isn't really a vulnerability?

Abolish the Telly Tax? Fat chance, say MPs at non-binding debate

Grease Monkey

Sounds far too complicated anyway. The last I heard at least 20% of people have no home internet connection. Surely is reasonable to assume that not all of the 20% have Sky, but that most of those people still have a TV. So what happens there then? Some sort of complicated system where people with an internet connection or Sky pay their their ISP or Sky but those that don't still have to pay a licence fee?

Why make the system much more complicated than it actually is?

A simpler system would be to fund the BBC from the treasury (ie through taxes) and introduce a rebate system for those who don't need a TV licence. After all the number of people who don't need a licence is much smaller than those who do.

Linus Torvalds on security: 'Do no harm, don't break users'

Grease Monkey

Sounds a bit too Microsoft to me

It's always been the Microsoft way to dawdle over fixing security holes that they *think* aren't known about in the wild.

Remember a few years back when Google went public on a flaw because Microsoft were doing nothing to fix it weeks after Google had informed MS of the existence of the flaw?

Microsoft have actually admitted in the past four knowing about security flaws, but not fixing them as the were no known exploits in the wild.

It sounds to me that for all his rationalising Torvalds is heading down the same dangerous route.

Aww: Apple won't be HomePod for Christmas

Grease Monkey

"reinvent music in our homes”

When other companies got to market first with products that actually worked. Obviously a definition of the word reinvent of which I was heretofore unaware. Except of course the Apple faithful will believe this shite. I can't recall the last time Apple released something innovative, but the fanbois and goirls believe all things Apple are innovative because they get their information direct from Apple. And as for Apple making a better quality product than the competition, maybe once they did, but not for a long time.

Help desk declared code PEBCAK and therefore refused to help!

Grease Monkey

I used to run a help desk where I instituted a system of three letter codes on ticket resolutions. These were used in analysis to try to make the service more efficient. Among these codes were the U codes where the cause of the ticket being raised was found to be the user themselves. PICNIC tickets as we used to call them. Problem In Chair Not In Computer.

Among these were:

USR - user self resolved.

UGA - user given advice.

UTR - user training required.

The former usually meant the user figured out what they were doing wrong without being told. The second that the desk told the user what they were doing wrong. The last that the user wouldn't take advice and needed to be referred for corrective action.

Finally there was the ultimate sanction. UFW. I invented this one for situations where the user was beyond redemption. Where nothing amount of training or advice could help. This created a flash against the user account so help desk staff could be warned what they were dealing with as soon as they answered the phone. When questioned by senior management I did hurriedly think of something for the F and W to officially stand for. I no longer recall what those two official words were.

Originally and to all the help desk staff they always meant one thing.

Fuck. Wit.

Take off, ya hosers! Silicon Valley court says Google can safely ignore Canadian search ban

Grease Monkey

As usual the US courts expect their own decisions to be enforced globally, but not the reverse. If the US courts think this is reasonable then isn't it about time the rest of the world started to ignore US patent and copyright rulings?

Tell the public how much our tram tickets cost? Are you mad?

Grease Monkey

The lights had probably gone.

So had the stairs.

WPA2 KRACK attack smacks Wi-Fi security: Fundamental crypto crapto

Grease Monkey

Re: Security is dead, long live security

There seems to be a lot of talk about "devices" here. What's actually needed is patches for client OS's.

Now when people talk about "new devices" rather than patching existing ones I get the feeling they are talking about access points and routers, rather than the likes of laptops, phones, tablets and the like. Patching your access point or router, or indeed buying a new one, isn't going to fix things if your client devices are vulnerable.

Grease Monkey

Re: Mitigation

"Routers just have to check that the NONCE from a client hasn't been used recently, that's all."

Nope. The router isn't involved because the attacker pretends to be the router, as such the router is taken out of the equation. The client will authenticate with the spoof router. Or at least that's how I read it.

As such it's the client side that needs to be updated to protect against re-use of NONCES. Or rather to ensure that the NONCE is indeed a NONCE.

Screw the badgers! Irish High Court dismisses Apple bit barn appeals

Grease Monkey

In the past three have been claims that the Irish government has given to foreign companies illegal (under EU law) subsidies in the for of tax breaks. Wonder if there will be similar claims in this case.

NASA readies its asteroid warning system for harmless flyby

Grease Monkey

Why quote times in EST on a British website? Couldn't be bothered to convert to BST or better yet GMT for an international audience? Most people know their timezone's offset from GMT.

What do you call an all-in-one PC that isn't? 'Upgradeable', says HP

Grease Monkey

Upgradable? For as long as I've worked in IT (30 years) K've heard the cry that every PC bought must be upgradable. The word usually comes somewhere close to the phrase "future proof" but with the exception of adding more memory I've never come across any of the companies or departments I've worked in upgrading their PC estate.

Usually there is a planned replacement cycle and if somebody can prove they need a more powerful machine before they are due a new one, they get a new machine and some poor sap further down the food chain gets their old one. Either as a "new" machine or it's used to replace a failed unit.

Crushed Juicero now officially a fruitless endeavor

Grease Monkey

What he's smoking is a whole batch of "believing the press release".

Focusing on finding a buyer though? IOW those execs who have no doubt been paying themselves handsomely from investors' funds are looking to make one last income from the sc^H^H project.

Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'

Grease Monkey

And haven't they noticed that raspberry is a fruit?


Grease Monkey

Teletubbies, Raspberry Pi. What next?

You know that bit in the Bible, "God set his bow in the sky"? Do you think maybe he was hinting to Noah that he should try a bit of man on man action?

Games rights-holders tell ZX Spectrum reboot firm: Pay or we pull titles

Grease Monkey

“We are not making any comment to The Register”

That's a comment, Shirley.

And that makes him a liar.

Brit uni blabs students' confidential information to 298 undergrads

Grease Monkey

It's not outlook that's the issue here. It's working practices.

Sensitive personal information should never find its way into spreadsheets at all. It should be stored only in secure systems and it should be very difficult to export such data from those systems in any form.

ICO seizes phones and computers in nuisance call scam raids

Grease Monkey

I got a call from some cowboy about "the accident in the last three years". Couldn't even give me an approximate date or any other details of the accident. Also as my NCD will attest I haven't had an accident in the last three years. Maybe somebody has stolen data from a car repair company, but not the gits who called me.

Uber wasn't to blame for robo-ride crash – or was it? Witness said car tried to 'beat the lights'

Grease Monkey

Re: Two sets of traffic lights are needed

And who should pay for all these electronic signals? Every light controlled junction in the world? That would cost billions and the people who should pay world be the manufacturers of autonomous cars, and therefore the buyers. The public purse shouldn't pay, why should the public purse subsidise this enterprise?

However these cars need to deal with the roads the way they are, the roads should not be changed to adapt to these cars.

Grease Monkey

Re: side on impact

So clearly you never saw the episode of mythbusters where they tried to use the bonnet of one car as a ramp for another. That myth was busted IIRC.

But in all seriousness it is very difficult to predict when a car will roll. It's often surprising which vehicles pass and which fail the elk test. One thing you can be pretty sure of is that the Volvo, being a Volvo, will have passed the elk test. As such it should be pretty damned hard to roll.

The photographs of the aftermath don't make it clear how the car was rolled, but visible damage to both cars does not speak of a high speed impact.

Amazing new WikiLeaks CIA bombshell: Agents can install software on Apple Macs, iPhones right in front of them

Grease Monkey

The perennial problem with wikileaks is that they always try to make every story look much bigger and more significant than it really is. After you've seen them do it a few times you don't even bother looking at the detail. One day they may have a story that is every bit as big as they claim, but nobody will pay attention.

The boy who cried wolf indeed.

'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows

Grease Monkey

And what reasonable system would allow you to download the password database? In your example the complexity if the password is irrelevant to the security of the system.

Grease Monkey

We keep hearing from security "experts" that passwords can be cracked in no time thanks to fast processors. This is, however, total bullshit for any reasonably secure system because such a system will lock an account at least temporarily should the incorrect password be used more than a certain number of times. So I care not that you have a brute forcing system that can generate five bazillion passwords a second. Even a fairly loose system will lock your account for a few minutes after half a dozen attempts. This being the case your amazing password generating breast will take years to crack even a fairly simple password.

Volkswagen pleads guilty to three Dieselgate criminal charges

Grease Monkey

Re: Justice for the UK?

"It's due to a difference in the law, the EU regulations the UK follows in this regard doesn't specifically state that a bypass device/software for the test is illegal, whereas the US regulations do."

If the fitment of such a device results in the car being classified in a lower bracket than should be the case then it is illegal. If it results in incorrect fuel consumption or emission figures being advertised them again as a beach of the trade descriptions act it is illegal. There are probably other laws it breaks too, but those are the first two that slurring to mind.

Grease Monkey

Here's a thing I don't understand about many countries lack of prosecutions against VAG. In many territories some models produced by VAG were placed in a cheaper taxation category than they should have been, therefore effectively defrauding the public protease of millions. This being the case surely the first action of any sensible taxation authority would have been to calculate the back taxes owed and invoice VAG for the full amount plus nominal interest. I haven't heard of this happening in a single country.

UK's Virgin Media subscribers suffer fresh email blocking misery

Grease Monkey

Greylisting is a cheapskate alternative to proper spam blocking.

Zuckerberg thinks he's cyber-Jesus – and publishes a 6,000-word world-saving manifesto

Grease Monkey

Nice to see that there's one media outlet that's not taking that pointless stream of (barely) consciousness seriously.

Imagine a ChromeOS-style Windows 10 ... oh wait, there it is and it's called Windows Cloud

Grease Monkey

"Microsoft for several years has been dismissive of Chromebooks, going so far as to run ads attacking the devices, from late 2012 into early 2015"

If you run ads criticizing a competing product then it's pretty obvious that you are frightened of it. Why else would you spend money belittling that product?

If you do it for the years then that means that, not only are you scared, but you aren't able to come up with something to complete.

If you then launch something to compete it proves you think your competitor was right all along.

The thing that gets me though is that where Google built something intentionally small and light to keep hardware costs down, it looks like Microsoft is launching a cut down version of Windows. Cutting down bloatware will never produce as lightweight a product as building for lightness in the first place. Ask Colin Chapman.

Telcos hit out against plans to hike their broadband rates

Grease Monkey

A big problem at the moment is the ISPs' priorities in what upgrades they deliver and to whom.

Just to avoid jumping on the BT bashing bandwagon lets take a look at Virgin first. They keep on upgrading existing infrastructure while not expanding their network. A friend of mine recently received some spam from Virgin telling her the 100Mbps service on her street has now been upgraded to 200Mbps and making her a special introductory offer (something that should be banned - existing customers should not be expected to subsidise new ones). Meanwhile another friend living two streets away still does not have access to Virgin fibre.

BT keep on upgrading infrastructure for some exchanges while not touching others. I see exchanges where customers are still on 20CN ADSL1 services, while other exchanges that were upgraded to 21CN ADSL2+ years ago and have since been upgraded to FTTC are now being upgraded to FTTP. I remember BT telling me 20CN was going EOL years ago, so why is there still so much of it out there when other customers are getting FTTP?

Yes you can say that those exchanges are more profitable, but it is ridiculous that some people are getting their home internet access (I hate the term broadband) from 3G and 4G services because the fixed line service in their area is so poor.

The way the market seems to work is that BT hold back from offering very high speed upgrades where there is no competition. As soon as somebody else, Virgin for example, offers or even threatens to offer fast fibre services in any given area that area suddenly jumps up BT's roll out plan. Equally Virgin are not interested in rolling out new or upgraded services even in urban areas until BT announce plans to outdo them. As such there is no incentive for BT to roll out fibre (TTC or TTP) as long as long as ADSL is the only game in town. Equally there is no incentive to Virgin to roll out fibre to areas they don't already serve.

The best way the government could deal with this? Exclusivity. All the government needs to do is give a period of exclusivity deal (say 5 years) to whoever rolls out high speed services to an area or even a street. So if and ISP rolls out fibre to my village (unlikely) then anybody else who wants to offer fibre in that area must use that ISP's infrastructure for at least five years. This is a big incentive. It means that non only does the ISP get the revenue from any customers they sign up, but they also get wholesale revenue from other ISP's customers who want fibre. It also brings us back to the original model of the cable rollout.

Most people probably don't even remember it, but back in the day small companies bid for cable franchises on a local basis. The likes of Jones Cable and Yorkshire Cable got the deals round here. As a model it was a good idea because smaller companies were competing with each other for new areas. The problem was that those companies all got swallowed up by Telewest and NTL and those two by Virgin. All of which gave us a second effective monopoly (if you see what I mean) rather than a competitive market. Virgin are actually in a more protected position than BT as there is no obligation for them to throw open their last mile to other ISPs.

A model such as I'm suggesting would encourage new operators to enter the high speed infrastructure market.

Grease Monkey

Re: BT (and the rest) will just pass it on

Well of course they'll pass it on. That's how business works. You pass on your expenses to your customers otherwise you wouldn't make a profit and if you don't make a profit what's the point of being in business.

Cock fight? Not half. Microsoft beats down Apple in Q1

Grease Monkey

Re: A partial quarter does not a whole quarter make. And...

Call it a pen, pencil our stylus. It still breaks Jobs' rule and if the lukewarm sales are anything to go by it looks like Steve was right.

Grease Monkey

Although customers are sometimes sold on the fact that the Microsoft product will integrate better with their existing infrastructure, there is another possible related reason. Apple have spent billions on advertising themselves as a lifestyle product. In this particular market sector that's hurting them, customers see Microsoft as a business product and Apple as a fashion product.

Nuisance caller fined a quarter of a million pounds by the ICO

Grease Monkey

Re: Reap the income from the NGN.

Firstly there isn't necessarily a long delay in receiving payments from NGNs depending on the proveider. Secondly a canny organisation wouldn't necessarily use the same entity to acquire the trunk, the NGN and the VMs hosting the dialler and IVR. As such the link between the spam calls and the calls and the NGN isn't necessarily made in time. Indeed canny operators will cut and run on the SIP trunk and VMs long before the first bill arrives.

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