* Posts by SteveK

343 posts • joined 23 Jun 2009

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Currys PC World rapped after Knowhow Cloud ad ruled to be 'misleading'

SteveK

Re: There's another dodgy claim there

Maybe their 'military grade UK data centres' are in Cheltenham...

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Snopes.com asks for bailout amid dispute over who runs the site and collects ad dollars

SteveK

Re: The Guarding Dark

His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes

You forgot "Blackboard Monitor".

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Reg reader turns Geek's Guides to Britain into Geek's Map of Britain

SteveK

Re: A few suggestions from me

Aviation museum in Farnbrough, the name of which escapes me - it's on the main road near the airport.

This one? http://www.airsciences.org.uk/

That reminds me...

The world's largest hovercraft museum - https://www.hovercraft-museum.org down near Fareham. Looking at it on Google maps/earth is entertaining, I hope for the sake of the house owners whose gardens back onto it, they never need to fire up the engines... [edit: which I've just noticed is referenced at the bottom of the original article...]

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SteveK

One more to add to the map and to your features maybe - Porthcurno beach in Cornwall:

As well as the more famous clifftop open-air theatre, was where the early international submarine telecoms cables came ashore, linking the UK to the far reaches of the British Empire during the 19th century, becoming the world's largest underwater cable termination point and important during the wars.

There's also the remains of an early wireless mast allegedly used to spy on Marconi's transmissions. And in current times, a telegraph museum

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€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine

SteveK

Re: My Find

Well I have all the HHGTTG books in their original covers :p

I don't. When I went to University, my parents decided to take a bunch of my old 'kids things' to the charity shop and/or dump while redecorating.

Mostly books, including my HHG set and the original Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone fighting fantasy books, but also a 1970s Dalek (although to be fair I think it had lost one of its arms, and batteries had leaked) and a few other things that now would have been collectable.. To be fair, at the time they probably would have just seemed to be clutter.

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Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...

SteveK

Who switched the comet off?

Ok, not trying to push any sort of alien signal cover up conspiracy theory, just a couple of questions that the article didn't address (ok, I'll admit I've not read the full paper, does that explain?)

From memory, there were two dishes pointed at the same location, slightly offset. If it was comets, surely the other dish should have picked up the same signal a couple of minutes before or after? Or is the signal not constant but changes as the comet spins? (for instance)

I gather the scientists pointed the dishes back at the same point and surrounding space repeatedly afterwards without picking up the signal again, surely comets don't move sufficiently fast to be nowhere near the next night, or even weeks later? So why was nothing picked up?

It seems most likely that if a comet that has since been shown to be emitting a signal at that frequency was in the same place at the same time, it's probably responsible. But doesn't answer those questions.

Just looking on wikipedia, the article on this event references this paper but says it doesn't answer the first question, and says (but cites no sources) that Ehman and his colleagues think it highly unlikely to explain the signal. Not that they're biased.

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

SteveK

Engineer blamed

So, according to the BBC, BA are now saying it wasn't a 'power surge' but an engineer who switched off the UPS.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40159202

Doesn't explain of course the lack of failover and so on.

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Silicon Graphics' IRIX and Magic Desktop return as Linux desktop

SteveK

Re: Hardware nostalgia

I do still have a bunch of SGI kit that I acquired when it was being thrown out. Kept meaning to do something with them and never quite found the time.

As a result, hidden at the back of our server room is a Challenge L (4xR8000) (it is actually exceedingly difficult to 'hide' a Challenge server the size of a small fridge), 2-3 Indigo2s in various states of disrepair (including 1 Indigo2 Impact), a couple of Indys and an O2. The Challenge needed some hard disks, I think the Indigo2s were fine but had stripped them down in order to max the RAM in one.

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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

SteveK

Re: Irony-o-meter exploded!

Indeed, and only a mere couple of weeks since a major malware outbreak based on leaked vulnerabilities amassed by security agencies showed that said agencies clearly can't be trusted to securely safeguard any back doors that they might demand.

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MP3 'died' and nobody noticed: Key patents expire on golden oldie tech

SteveK

Don't forget your gold plated optical cables too!

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iPhone lawyers literally compare Apples with Pears in trademark war

SteveK

Re: Dear Apple.

Register a trademark with a banana and two kiwis. That should do the trick.

Ah, that'll be the logo for 'Fruit Computers', and the iFruit Phone in the Grand Theft Auto series then.

http://gta.wikia.com/wiki/IFruit

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Ever visited a land now under Islamic State rule? And you want to see America? Hand over that Facebook, Twitter, pal

SteveK

Re: What if...

But then you won't be allowed in because it's too new and empty looking.

Please come back when you're following the endless ramblings of at least 100 vacuous celebrities.

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New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

SteveK

Re: Meh!

Haven't apple already patented "taking all the profits from the mobile space"?

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MI5 man to steer GCHQ as Trump wiretapping saga continues

SteveK

How 'they' knew what Trump & co were saying on his private phones?

They were wiretapping the Russians. Simples.

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BOFH: Don't back up in anger

SteveK

Re: The moral of the story?

I thought it was "Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins, for they are quick to anger and have no need for subtlety" ?

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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

SteveK

Re: Let's think big

I was thinking Warwick Davis - he was in Willow, several of the Harry Potters and all three Star Wars trilogies amongst others, so he's got fantasy/sci-fi credibility. And it's his birthday today, so why not.

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President Donald Trump taken on by unlikely foe: Badass park rangers

SteveK

Re: About time

Oh Big John. I'm so sorry but just look at all those down votes! I'm afraid like our glorious King we aren't winning the popular vote

But those down-votes were obviously made illegally by people who are dead or foreign. It's the only explanation as to where they came from. Or maybe the press did it?

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FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

SteveK

Re: 'We...

'We, um, have to let this one go, because if we say how we got him, we might jeapordise future investigations.'

But surely future investigations are already jeopardised as future defence lawyers now know what they have to ask to get the case quietly dropped?

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Strong non-backdoored encryption is vital – but the Feds should totally be able to crack it, say House committees

SteveK

Quantum cryptography

It's both backdoored and non-backdoored at the same time!

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UK Parliament waves through 'porn-blocking' Digital Economy Bill

SteveK

Re: How does it work in practice?

I'd read (but now can't find the reference) that the site is expected to do age checks (only on UK browsers) via either a credit card transaction, or by checking details against (government provided?) records (passports or something?). I'm sorry, I really wouldn't trust those who run porn sites to behave responsibly with personal data on the UK's population, or with credit cards.

But apparently the punishment on non-British porn sites that don't cooperate? They lose the ability to charge UK credit cards. But as any that *do* charge credit cards are clearly providing an age verification service, the only ones left will be the ones that make their money from affiliate links and hosting dodgy malware-laden adverts and so won't care about the punishment.

I would like to know though whose job it is to constantly patrol the world's porn sites looking for which sites do or don't do age verification.

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Stay out of my server room!

SteveK

In [old job] the servers were under a table in the open plan IT office. On hot days we'd open the fire exit door out to a strip of grass alongside the building. On one hot summer I'd brought a couple of old 120VAC industrial fans that I'd ripped out of something and wired together and had them in front of the door to vent hot air.

One day heard a strange vibrating noise coming from the fans and discovered that an escaped tortoise had wandered in through the open door and was busy sticking its head into the fan (which was missing its protective grill).

The tortoise was completely fine (and was returned intact to its owner), it moved its head so slowly that the tip of its nose was just being brushed by the fan so it would move backwards then slowly extend head again, which was fortunate as I'm not entirely sure how I could have explained it otherwise.

"The blood all over the carpet and servers? Well, you know how you always said that getting SCSI to work first time required a sacrifice..."

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You've been hacked. What are you liable for?

SteveK

I really can't see how it could be monitored or controlled, but I'd really like to see some process by which companies are prohibited from charging customers more in order to cover the cost of fines and so preserve profits, and instead the fines come from salaries and shareholders' profits - hurt those who made the bad decisions, and force the shareholders to ask awkward questions.

If the board still get their bonuses and shareholders their dividends, at the expense of the customer then nothing will ever change.

I don't ever see this happening though.

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VMware flings vCenter Server away from Windows, if you want

SteveK

Re: The real elephant in the room

The other option would be to run it as a physical server, but then you've still got a single point of failure, and at least with a VM, you might be able to migrate it to a working host if your hardware fails in a non terminal way.

I run it as the only VM on a standalone (free) ESXi box that it doesn't manage. So I can still take snapshots before upgrades and take advantage of hardware abstraction so can move it via shared storage to another box if the first one blows up (and have done so).

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Plusnet broadband outage: Customers fume as TITSUP* continues

SteveK

Web connections seemed 90% flaky this morning, SSH and VPN seemed unaffected so just connected to VPN and browsed over that, so any packet loss seemed to be confined to certain types of traffic. Or coincidence.

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Pixellation popped: AI can ID you, even after PhotoShop phuzzing

SteveK

The solution

All photos containing people whose identities need to be obscured must be re-enacted in Playmobil.

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'Hey, Elon? You broke it, you bought it' says owner of SpaceX's satellite cinder

SteveK

Re: Going nowhere

Quite. I'm also having some difficulty imagining that, at no point during any of the concerned parties activities, did "that's what insurance is for" occur to anyone.

They probably had insurance, but the insurers insist it's a wear and tear failure and not covered

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Don't use a VPN in United Arab Emirates – unless you wanna risk jail and a $545,000 fine

SteveK

Legitimate use of VPN fine?

Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery

Sounds as though it's only if you're using it to commit or conceal a crime, that 'new language' doesn't seem to cover use of VPN for legitimate purposes. There's also no mention of VPN in the linked article.

Plus it's not a 'fraudulent' address, it's a perfectly valid address.

Not that I think I'd want to argue the semantics, mind...

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Microsoft adds useful feature to PowerPoint. Seriously

SteveK

This looks veeeery similar to pptPlex - a free addon that MS made available for Office 2007/2010 back in 2011: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=28558

pptPlex is an Office Labs experiment that uses Plex technology to give you the power to zoom in and out of slide sections and move directly between slides that are not sequential in your presentation.

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Glassdoor spaffs users' email addresses in bcc fail

SteveK

BCC not always blind

I remember receiving grief once when someone *did* use BCC to send email, but the email addresses were still visible to other BCC recipients (but not 'To' recipients). Turns out that mail client had an option about how to handle BCC headers. By default, it was compliant with RFC822, which says:

4.5.3. BCC / RESENT-BCC

This field contains the identity of additional recipients of the message. The contents of this field are not included in copies of the message sent to the primary and secondary recipients. Some systems may choose to include the text of the "Bcc" field only in the author(s)'s copy, while others may also include it in the text sent to all those indicated in the "Bcc" list.

Looks as though later RFCs have tightened that up to say the addresses shouldn't be visible to any other recipient.

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The Reg Coding competition – 10 times as hard as the last one!

SteveK

Doesn't say what the judging criteria are, other than if it fails to produce the right output it gets disqualified. Which of the entries wins: shortest code, quickest runtime, fewest uses of the letter 'i'?

Or is it just pick a winner out of a hat?

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FBI arrests satellite engineer on charges of espionage

SteveK

No, didn't miss that bit. But as the article later says he handed over USB sticks containing classified material, it wasn't clear whether he had obtained classified data that he didn't have access to (in which case, how did he access it), or whether it wasn't 'Government classified', but - as in the section you quoted - proprietary trade secrets (in which case it is possibly misleading for the agent to describe it as 'classified').

Or perhaps it's my interpretation - companies have commercial secrets that they don't want competitors to have, and in this case may require a license to export, but to me at any rate, that's not the same thing as being classified as containing government secret information or designs, which ought to be access restricted etc.

I'm guessing it's the former - that he obtained the material that he wasn't supposed to have access to through nefarious means, but that implies poor security.

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SteveK

So if he didn't have 'access to classified material', how was he able to copy it onto USB drives? Or was security and proper separation of classified material from unclassified lax with no access controls?

Or was the stolen data not actually 'classified' at all, just commercially sensitive stuff that the Americans would rather foreigners didn't get their grubby paws on?

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Filet-O-Phish: Insecure NFC tag relics hidden under Maccas tables

SteveK

Re: History lesson

Ahh, Wimpy. Home of the 'Bender in a bun'.

And yes, that is an actual menu item, not the dodgy character skulking in the toilet.

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Rejoice, fatties: Giving chocolate electric shocks makes it healthier

SteveK

Re: Healthy options

I misread the subtitle on quickly skimming and thought it was some sort of aversion therapy.

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Crysis creeps: Our ransomware locks network drives and PCs. Bargain

SteveK

Or to put it another way, "Does it run Crysis?"

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Unicode serves up bacon emoji

SteveK

Still doesn't seem to be a unicode character for a teapot though.

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Blighty's Virgin Queen threatened with foreign abduction

SteveK

Only clue I get from the name patrick_bateman is the main character from psycho.

I thought that was Norman Bates? Or was that changed in a sequel/spinoff?

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Ransomware grifters offer to donate proceeds of crime to charity

SteveK

Re: Statement of the Obvious award of the week goes to:

While I do agree with you entirely, I'm afraid that 'statement of the obvious' award for this week has already gone to:

"This individual was wrapped in plastic bags and his arms were tied behind him and his feet were submerged in concrete," Detective Robert Boyce said in a press conference.

"Obviously a homicide," he added.

..from the BBC

3
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Iceland prime minister falls on sword over Panama Papers email leak

SteveK

Re: Didn't realize there were more data dumps to come

I was surprised that there were no US politicians in the list, but I guess if we've only seen 1/6th of it so far that makes sense. Maybe whoever is deciding the order of release has wants to hold up the US release until after the primaries are done so to maximize the fallout.

I've read two opposing views on the lack of prominent US politicians/wealthy donors (and I also wondered if the elections were involved) - the first a blog post saying that the group controlling the release of the data was owned and run by US politicians and billionaires and, surprise surprise, none of their own sort have been revealed.

The second (NY Times I think it was) explaining it by saying it's so easy to create shell companies in the US that US citizens don't need to bother with offshoring...

Not sure which of those views is worse than the other!

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Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

SteveK

Re: Company wordsmith?

And as for it looks like a "superstar's car" I think I may have a different idea of what that may look like.

I'm not sure there - a lot of superstars would rush out to buy one based on the environmental stuff regardless of what it looks like - look how many Hollywood types were reported as having rushed to buy a Prius when they launched.

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'Panama papers' came from email server hack at Mossack Fonseca

SteveK

Re: @AC

From what I've read, a lot of the docs were scanned and ocr'd. So yeah, it could conceivably go back that far.

But if this report of a breach of a mailserver is to be believed, how would all this 40 year old scanned material have been obtained? Seems unlikely that a couple of Tb of scanned files would have been sat in someone's inbox rather than somewhere more suitable.

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Full Linux-on-PS4 hits Github

SteveK

Re: Puzzled (@ DougS)

At the very least, being able to double your kid's room console as a Linux PC will save you the need of purchasing a dedicated PC, so the kids can e.g. surf the web and do their homework in a safe(-ish) environment

While I agree with your thinking, the fact it needs to use an exploit to work means that it won't be suitable as a proper tool/kids PC as the exploit will almost certainly get patched pretty soon.

I'm not sure that "I couldn't do my homework until someone hacks the latest PS4 firmware" will get much sympathy.

Yes, you could just not install firmware updates that block the exploit, but then,assuming Sony are consistent with how they handled firmware updates on the PS3, games and things like Netflix will refuse to work until you update the firmware, turning the machine back into a single-use box again.

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That one phone the FBI wanted unlocked? Here are 63 more, says ACLU

SteveK

According to a BBC article, the FBI are also now offering to use their new-found wisdom to unlock other iPhones.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35933239

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Monster crowdfunding total raised for Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+

SteveK

I'd agree with that. In the past I've spent hours fiddling around with a Spectrum (or C64 or Amiga) emulator to fire up some game long remembered through magenta-tinted glasses (Spectrum didn't do 'rose'), only to play it for 2 minutes and decide it was actually pretty crap. There were some good games that did revolutionary things and pushed the boundaries of the hardware and of games in general. But they just don't live up to the depth, complexity and polish of modern games.

It may be in part that back then (maybe it's part of being a child?) you filled in the gaps with imagination (that circle's a planet, these few triangles are a spaceship - in the mind all fully textured and photo realistic) but now you're used to having those aspects and not needing to use your imagination to fill what's not there.

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Ransomware now using disk-level encryption

SteveK

Time to add more metrics

Time to start monitoring how long an incremental backup takes to run, if order of magnitude above 'normal', clearly a lot more files have been modified.

Similarly I think I might see if I can also monitor deduplication ratios and if they change, there's a lot of what was identical blocks of data that is now strangely not so identical.

1
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Helpdesk? I have a software problem. And a GRIZZLY BEAR problem

SteveK

Bears? Alligators? Pah, I have students.

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Why a detachable cabin probably won’t save your life in a plane crash

SteveK

I distinctly remember reading a story in the newspaper (possibly even the Telegraph) in early 1989 proposing exactly the same concept where the passenger compartment was ejected and parachuted to safety.

I remember it because I was one essay short for my English coursework so was banished to the school library with some newspapers and told to find an article to write an analysis of, and that's the article I chose. Probably still got the essay somewhere.

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For pity's sake, enterprises, upgrade your mobile OS - report

SteveK

Not just the phone manufacturer, in many cases the manufacturer has released updates but the phone software has been tweaked by the mobile operator and only fetches updates from them - but once you're locked into a contract and that phone model has been superseded, there's no profit in them repackaging the manufacturer's updates and merging back in their own "value" added tat and branding, testing and developing fixes if it doesn't work.

Personally I think phone operators should be required to provide unmodified phones that will go and install the manufacturer updates, and not inject their own applications which probably are not highly security tested. Or required to provide timely updates (within 1 week of the upstream release, say) to their customers for at least the length of the contract, preferably 3 years, even if a newer shinier model comes out. You don't give the customer a new phone 6 months into their 24 month contract so support the one you gave them at the start.

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If you want a USB thumb drive wiped, try asking an arts student for help

SteveK

Re: h2testw.exe anyone??

next time I need to do this I'm going to use dd - which will write until it fails unlike some other utilities which refuse to write at all - and then fsck (GParted) to "fix" the partition size

It didn't work for me, resulting truncated image wouldn't boot, but managed to faff about mounting the image via loopback and shrinking the filesystem down slightly so the resultant new image was small enough.

Wasn't any actual data on it, but would have taken longer to get the boot environment configured back how it was supposed to be than it took to mess about with the filesystem. At least I had an image of the SD card from a few months before it failed to go back to.

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