* Posts by Allan George Dyer

2038 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

UK code breakers drop Bombe, Enigma and Typex simulators onto the web for all to try

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Explain like I'm five ..

@Brad Ackerman - "Designing the Enigma to never encrypt a letter as itself is a boneheaded move"

It was a design feature that allowed the same device to be used to encrypt and decrypt. Without it, you'd need two devices, or a much more complex device. I suppose the flaw was not understanding the enemy's cryptanalysis capability and how the weakness could be exploited. If they had, they could have compensated by strengthening the system in other ways, which they did, to some extent.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Interesting

@Michael H.F. Wilkinson - "Donning my tinfoil hat: this might be a decoy, without any back doors"

Isn't inserting a back door, or searching for one, a bit of a waste of time when they've also released Bombe code?

[wanders off shaking head sadly, to get coat]

Unless it's a double-bluff!

[exits quickly]

What made a super high-tech home in Victorian England? Hydroelectic witchery, for starters

Allan George Dyer Silver badge


@aregross - "I would think only a few watts if couldn't light more than 9 bulbs."

I'd guess that the bulbs were 60W or 100W, common domestic sizes when the officer was writing, so the total power would be about 0.5 - 1kW.

Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

@eldakka - "Who defines criminal nature? Which countries laws are used as the basis of this? Who chooses that?"

Where I sit, currently just outside the Great Firewall, those questions are a big concern. A few years ago, inside the Great Firewall, corruption led to the tainted baby formula scandal and babies were dying of malnutrition because melamine was added to milk powder so it passed the testing. People who spoke out were arrested for the criminal offence of spreading rumours. At the moment, I enjoy free speech; soon the local lawmakers will vote on making disrespecting the National Anthem a jailable offence. Do not complacently think that your liberal democracy is immune... China has recently pressured airlines into changing how they refer to destinations in Taiwan, China's economic might is growing, and businesses make... business decisions.

I have been very impressed with Jacinda Ardern's response, and I hope she can follow through on tightening gun control. Australia's gun control laws made it very difficult for the gunman to get the weapons for the attack in his own country.

Facebook blames 'server config change' for 14-hour outage. Someone run that through the universal liar translator

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Facebook was down?

@jake - "A couple actually demanded that I fix it!"

Did you give them a quote? Did they pay?

If you're worried that quantum computers will crack your crypto, don't be – at least, not for a decade or so. Here's why

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Glad to hear...

So, as I'm using Rot13 twice, I'm safe for two decades?

What do sexy selfies, search warrants, tax files have in common? They've all been found on resold USB sticks

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: "There were nude images of a middle-aged man"

Sadly, there is no way to reverse the ageing process. You'll have to be satisfied with however your stick has deteriorated.

Boeing... Boeing... Gone: Canada, America finally ground 737 Max jets as they await anti-death-crash software patches

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: "US, Canada finally ground 737 Max jets..."

@Mark 85 - "The only sure way to tell is require the Boeing board to fly on the plane."

Amendment to flight safety regulations for all commercial flights: Two first-class seats must be reserved and occupied by a Board Member of the aircraft manufacturer, and a Board Member of the airline.

'It's like painting with atoms'... Watch how boffins form armies of simple micron-sized bots from a silicon wafer

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Paint

The Hooloovoo don't.

I came here to make the same comment, but you beat me to it, so I'm doing nerd-pedant riposte. I'll get my coat.

From hard drive to over-heard drive: Boffins convert spinning rust into eavesdropping mic

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

So you can record Rock Concerts

Has anyone told the MPAA?

Unless you want your wine bar to look like a brothel, purple curtains are a no-no apparently

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Good on him for standing up

@chivo243 - "the color of *ahem* the worlds oldest profession is RED"

Which might cause some embarrassment and confusion at Chinese New Year.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

"looking like a brothel or a funeral parlour"

One assumes it must be a fairly specialised brothel if it can be easily confused with a funeral parlour.

You. Shall. Not. Pass... word: Soon, you may be logging into websites using just your phone, face, fingerprint or token

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: The difference between something like this fob and the yale-type key that I use to open my door

M7S - 'as a relatively non-techie, I can be confident that there is no way that at any stage in the future the door lock is able to copy my key. No "footprint" is left'

Why would you be confident of that? How about a lock that accepts a Yale-type key and, instead of having pins split at different places to match up with the barrel, it electronically measures the key and the embedded processor compares that to the authorised key's measurements. From the outside, it could look identical to a Yale-type lock. This would be marketed to property-owners who need to change their locks frequently, e.g. for student accommodation: "Don't change the locks, issue a new key and update the lock electronically!"

Then, criminals get hold of these adaptable locks. One night, you come home and find your key doesn't work. When you leave to find a locksmith, the criminal approaches, removes the fake front door with adaptable lock that was covering your real front door and uses the duplicate key cut from the measurements taken by the adaptable lock and transmitted wirelessly to his key-cutter.

Adi Shamir visa snub: US govt slammed after the S in RSA blocked from his own RSA conf

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

"security researchers have found it increasingly difficult to enter America legally for conferences"

It must be better than having a problem leaving.

UK banking was struck by one IT fail every day for most of 2018

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: IT Failure?

@Version 1.0 :

'face it, the main function of cloud computingBanking* is to generate income to the "cloud providersBankers"'


* Feel free to replace with your currently most-despised business sector in any laissez faire economy.

Why are there never free power sockets when my Y-fronts need charging?

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: He says it's like rigging up external RAID storage with SCSI in the 1990s.

But the SCSI cables were either ribbon cables wide enough to drive a car along, or cylindrical and thick enough to act as a main support cable for your local suspension bridge, but less flexible. USB-C pales i comparison.

UK's beloved RNGesus machine ERNIE goes quantum in 5th iteration

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Did anyone else notice?

If you pause the videos of the ERNIE 1 demo machine, sometimes more than one tube in the ring is lit; on some occasions 3 adjacent tubes are active.

Is this an artefact caused by a slow shutter speed, or does it actually stem from the machine's operation?

IBM so very, very sorry after jobs page casually asks hopefuls: Are you white, black... or yellow?

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: DNA?

What's the accepted method for giving your sample... do you just spit at the interviewer?

In a galaxy far, far away, aliens may have eight-letter DNA – like the kind NASA-backed boffins just crafted

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Nitro

@Spoobistle - "we know that the existing systems of protein and nucleic acid metabolism must have been optimal at the point of life's origin"

Optimal or just lucky? There might be a large number of viable alternate metabolisms, each with a tiny chance of arising in the primordial soup, but the first one to arise and reach the replication stage, wins.

What's in a name? Quite a bit when it's the most hated abbreviation of 2018 (GDPR, of course)

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Workers of the World!

I guess your head is remembering the English abbreviation of the German Democratic Republic, not the abbreviation in the native language: Deutsche Demokratische Republik.

Roses are red, this is sublime: We fed OpenAI's latest chat bot a classic Reg headline

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: Premature fears

But nowadays, no-one bothers to read beyond the second... Ooh, look a butterfly!

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

But I never knew a dog could "be either female (males) or male (females)". This vital information about transgender canines should be promulgated to... um, the Westboro Baptist Church?

Earth's noggin took quite a clockin' back in the day: Now a second meteorite crater spotted under Greenland ice

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: The cratered Earth

@Robert Helpmann?? - "It’s not that there are so many craters there, it’s that there are so many geologists there"

You mean it's like crop circles? Bored geologists are wandering out after a night down the pub and casually digging a fake 20km crater beneath the ice in Greenland? A lot more plausible than this Chicken Little "rocks from the sky" theory.

Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Probably not for me...

For some reason, in my 30-something years of wordprocessor usage, I have never needed to list US state capitals. But what do I know, perhaps MS Office users are regularly required to complete such tasks, personally, I use Libre Office.

Chrome devs attempt to slip muzzle on resource-guzzling browser beast with 'Never-Slow Mode'

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

another way?

Two of my local newspaper have websites. One, that I used to read regularly, has heavy scripting, ads and loads really slowly, especially on mobile. Guess which I read more now?

Ca-caw-caw: Pigeon poops on tot's face as tempers fray at siege of Lincoln flats

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: "Standard issue...

@Jemma - "Anyone know how to get blueberries out of feathers?"

Eat the feathers? The blueberries will be digested, the feathers will pass through largely unchanged. Simple.

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

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Header pic

@Six - "I suspect that UK BS1363 sockets may have been adopted but not ring circuits."

HK uses ring circuits. The "intended for use on radials" doesn't make sense: no sane wiring authority would adopt pin sizes that matched BS1363, but chang the plug and cable sizes. The body of the plug looks too small, so wouldn't meet the requirements for preventing small fingers underneath, and the flex looks smaller than 13A rated. Why have 13A-rated pins in a lower-rated circuit standard?

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Header pic

"Or Hong Kong ?"

Probably. HK follows the BS, but there are plenty of dodgy Chinese "it fits in the socket" junk cables to avoid.

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

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

@JQW - "propagated around the office in alphabetical order by user group name - which meant a 10 second wave of beeps spreading linearly around the building from one end to the other."

I have to wonder - was the naming scheme chosen BECAUSE the BOFH realised this would happen?

How big is the UK space industry? It hauled in £14.8bn for 2016/2017 – report

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Space Industry

@AC - 'a pantomime around Christmas (not exactly the "high art"'


Worried about Brexit food shortages? North Korean haute couture has just the thing

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: The Rule of Threes

"You die after: ... 3 hours without shelter"

So, those aren't sunbathers on that beach?

Crispest image yet of Ultima Thule arrives on Earth, but grab a coffee while the rest downloads

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

"Sorry that should have been 28800kbs up from 14400kbs."

14.4kbps to 28.8kbps, I think. Only out by a factor of 8000.

Size does matter, chaps: Oversized todgers an evolutionary handicap

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: "all that we have going for us, is opposable thumbs, and intelligence"

@Whit.I.Are - "It can't be a coincidence that the penis fits so conveniently in the palm of a hand with an opposable thumb."

Damn, you've found a convincing argument for Intelligent Design!

We did Nazi see this coming... Internet will welcome Earth's newest nation with, sigh, a brand new .SS TLD

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

I wish South Sudan every success...

Imagine a future where a neo-nazi pulls out his boot-knife and someone says, "was that made in South Sudan?"

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

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

"his connection to the British Empire is only by marriage"

He chose to serve in the Royal Navy as an officer, so that's another connection.

Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Well that was an invisible problem

@Deltics "in 1990 CAT_5_ cabling was still 10 years in the future !"

Which is why I used my time machine to install it in my office in 1995.

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: I can believe it!

@Nick Kew - "the printer is/was in a forbidden area? Or simply a completely unknown location"

Let me ask the stupid question... if you aren't allowed near the printer, or don't know where it is, how do you collect the output? If you don't collect the output, is it necessary to print it?

And who installed the printer in the reactor core?

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Manage Expectations?

Why didn't they announce it as a 10 day experiment? Just land, germinate cotton, declare success and end at nightfall.

Unfortunately, now it looks like incompetent planning leading to an inevitable failure. The SCMP article even mentions "a small but powerful control system to keep the interior at around 25 degrees Celsius" - did they inform the designer of the portable heater of the expected working conditions?

Including fruit flies seems over-ambitious, the plants are going to take a while to produce any food for them. Perhaps they could have planned it in 3 phases: prepare by flash-freezing the fruit fly eggs and yeast in liquid nitrogen. Phase 1: seeds germinate, die at nightfall; Phase 2: thaw the fruit fly eggs at dawn and let them feed on the dead plants, die at nightfall; Phase 3: thaw the yeast at dawn, let it grow in whatever is left.

Forget Finding Nemo: This AI can identify a single zebrafish out of a 100-strong shoal

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: A cool

I call Rule 34 on slo-mo fly porn!

Goddamn the Pusher man: Nominet kicks out domain name hijack bid

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: lesson ?

Beware: Make sure you are renewing with your registrar, not with some chancer. I regularly get confusingly-worded emails that appear to be about renewing my domain, but, on careful reading, are offering SEO services.

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

Allan George Dyer Silver badge


> NTP can be used on a local network

And the network will reach a consensus between computers at different distances from the oven. Probably not a reliable solution.

Steamer closets, flying cars, robot boxers, smart-mock-cock ban hypocrisy – yes, it's the worst of CES this year

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

But the stimulator in question isn't at the show. Maybe the simulators are, in which case, being cool would not be an accurate simulation, and could be considered a turn-off.

Marriott: Good news. Hackers only took 383 million booking records ... and 5.3m unencrypted passport numbers

Allan George Dyer Silver badge


"The biz is also offering to cover a year of identity-theft monitoring service."

But I'm already getting Experian's service* from Cathay, because of their data-breach. Just pay me the service fee as compensation instead.

*I'm not entirely convinced that handing my sensitive data to an organisation that has had its own data-breach so that they can "monitor" where else ut has been seen is a good idea.

Facebook Like, social sharing buttons on your website may land you in GDPR hot water if data goes a-wanderin'

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: "website operators should obtain the consent of site visitors before collecting data"

"If it was one of the Mirror(Reach) group then there is a button - I was wrong about measurement it is called information and storage."

Ah, I understand. The information is: Beware of the Leopard

The storage, of course, is locked, in a disused lavatory, in the basement. There are no stairs. Or lights.

The one with the electronic thumb in the pocket, of course.

Amazon's creepy facial recog doorbell, Facebook open sources machine learning code and much more

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: More solutions looking for problems

@Juan Inamillion - The Robopocalypse will be bankrolled by the music AIs when they claim their accumulated copyright fees.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: What Is Wrong With Knowing Who is Visiting Me?

Sure, you have the right to know who or why someone us at your door, but you shouldn't assume the right to tell Amazon, the Police or anyone else not in your home. If the gasman calls to read your meter, it's reasonable to confirm they are a genuine gas company employee, but you don't need their full name and home address.

The competing rights and situations are complex, just letting a commercial company slurp the video and assume they'll do the right thing is dangerous.

Huawei CFO poutine cuffs by Canadian cops after allegedly busting sanctions on Iran

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

"Has any country tried to put sanctions on USofA before?"

Yes, from the start. Great Britain blockaded the ports in the American Revolutionary War.

AI snaps business titan jaywalking

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

They spray jaywalkers with water? It's so nice to have clean buses.

Countdown until the first arrest of a bus?

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

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: click this

The meme adapted to the environment. Your or my perception of the quality if the environment (e.g. most people are ignorant) is irrelevant to how successful a meme is.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge

Re: Spoilers in Tech Docs!

@dajamesA - '"buzz saw" is a kind of saw. What kind of saw? The kind that buzzes.'

Too non-specific. Circular, band, chain and jig saws all make some sort of buzz. Whick one are you on about?

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