* Posts by SteveK

357 posts • joined 23 Jun 2009


US kids apparently talking like Peppa Pig... How about US lawmakers watching Doctor Who?


I just think of Rastamouse as a kids version of Death in Paradise..

1,700 lucky Brit kids to visit Apple Stores for 'Year of Engineering'


Re: So really they're preparing the next generation for life in retail?

"Don't forget the gold plated usb cable, it'll transfer files *way* faster than an ordinary cable."

I notice Currys still sell a £50 goldplated optical audio cable.

And even talk up how the "durable gold plated connectors ensure the best possible connection".

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day


On a larger scale

Yes, I have the obligatory crate of random power supplies from obsolete kit 'just in case' and many boxes of tangled cables. But over the years at work I also appear to have collected or inherited a bunch of larger and less common items that I really know that I will never find the time to do something with (I haven't in the last 15 years when I had more free time so there's no chance now) and noone else wants, but I just can't bring myself to commit them to the WEEE recycling collection firm.

The largest of those is a Silicon Graphics Challenge L ('deskside' chassis the size of a small fridge). Also a bunch of other SGI and Sun workstations from the 90s, all in various states of disrepair and I think none actually working.

F***=off, Google tells its staff: Any mention of nookie now banned from internal files, URLs


So, if I change my name to something Google deems offensive, will I get purged from their databases, or stripped from data feeds to advertisers? That sounds like it has possibilities...

Sysadmin sank IBM mainframe by going one VM too deep


Monkeys and snails

Going off on a tangent to the tangent (what people call the '#' symbol), the '@' symbol goes by rather a lot of names in different countries. Wikipedia has a list. Quite a few countries refer to it as either a monkey or a snail.

Google Chrome update to label HTTP-only sites insecure within WEEKS


Re: It's not "browsing" anymore..

Can you do https to a 192. address?

Yes, provided whatever equipment is on that address supports https, but to the best of my knowledge you can't buy a certificate for it from any legitimate certificate provider, so unless you also run your own certificate authority and can deploy a trust certificate to any of your devices that need to access it, or deploy every self signed certificate to the devices, you will continue to have to jump through an ever increasing number of hoops every time you want to browse to it.

Southend Airport tests drone detection system


Re: Trafalgar Square

Not forgetting London Oxford at 56 miles.

Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'


“I don’t see the great advantage of these road trains above ordinary trains.”

How about "being able to go where the railway does not"?

UK.gov admits porn age checks could harm small ISPs and encourage risky online behaviour


Re: From a legal perspective...

"Pornographic material" is defined in s15. It's too long for me to paste here, but it covers quite a lot, with an emphasis on material which was "produced solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal".

So material produced solely or principally for generating profit, by selling to those seeking arousal is not covered then?

'I knew the company was doomed after managers brawled in a biker bar'


Re: "and gloves were forbidden"

The 'head of science' at my school seems to have been equally bumbling.

He set up a wave generator (water, not sound), somehow connected it up to AC rather than DC from the multifunction power supply. Then when it a) didn't work and b) started smoking, lunged for it and knocked the whole thing into the basin of water.

While teaching about electricity and transformers, set up a pair of step-up/step-down transformers with a low voltage source and just as he was about to invite us to grab the far end, realised he'd connected one the wrong way round and had actually set up step-up/step-up with the resulting voltage now in 4 figures.

'Alexa, play Charlie Bit My Finger.' I can't do that, Dave. No, really


and just to prove the article inaccurate in one point, Echo Show (and some other tat - 'Echo Buttons'?) appears to have been released in the UK today...

BlackBerry admits: We could do better at patching


I have a DTEK60

It's a good phone on the whole, but the support has been pretty patchy. As it's essentially the same spec as the Pixel XL, I had assumed it would at least get Nougat - the hardware is more than capable. The lack of updated OS I could excuse though, if it wasn't for their marketing departments promising that they provide the fastest rollout of updates, criticising other manufacturers for taking weeks or months to deliver security updates (https://uk.blackberry.com/smartphones/dtek50-60-by-blackberry/overview).

Yet after only 6 months, the DTEK60 has started missing the monthly security update releases (twice now, and the August update only lurched into view last week at the start of September), and the general response seems to be that they're only concentrating on the KeyOne now.

The promise of security and a rapid delivery of updates, coupled with lack of bundled bloatware and carrier addons was a key factor for me in buying the phone.

.UK domains left at risk of theft in Enom blunder


The security lapse allowed .uk domains to be transferred between Enom accounts with no verification, authorisation or logs.

Any domains hijacked would have been “extremely hard or impossible” to recover, according to The M Group, the security firm that discovered the flaw.

Err, why? Surely if both victim and thief have Enom accounts, you just use the same trick to steal the domain back again?

Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds


Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Have you tried peering through other peoples windows at 40mph?

I need glasses. It took me two reads to spot the 'R' in 'peering'.

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


Re: There's another dodgy claim there

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

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


Re: The Guarding Dark

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

You forgot "Blackboard Monitor".

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


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...]


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

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


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.

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


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.

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


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.


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

Silicon Graphics' IRIX and Magic Desktop return as Linux desktop


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.

UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election


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.

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


Don't forget your gold plated optical cables too!

iPhone lawyers literally compare Apples with Pears in trademark war


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.


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


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.

New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature


Re: Meh!

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

MI5 man to steer GCHQ as Trump wiretapping saga continues


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

They were wiretapping the Russians. Simples.

BOFH: Don't back up in anger


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" ?

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


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.

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


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?

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


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?

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


Quantum cryptography

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

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


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.

Stay out of my server room!


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..."

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


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.

VMware flings vCenter Server away from Windows, if you want


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).

Plusnet broadband outage: Customers fume as TITSUP* continues


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.

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


The solution

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

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


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

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


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...

Microsoft adds useful feature to PowerPoint. Seriously


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.

Glassdoor spaffs users' email addresses in bcc fail


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:


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.

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


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?

FBI arrests satellite engineer on charges of espionage


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.


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?

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


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.

Rejoice, fatties: Giving chocolate electric shocks makes it healthier


Re: Healthy options

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

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


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


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