* Posts by Robert Carnegie

3344 posts • joined 30 Sep 2009

DNS this week stands for Drowning Needed Services: Design flaw in name server system can be exploited to flood machines offline

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

The severity scale already runs from 0 as in 0 Day to 10 as in Windows 10.

So if just depends whether you consider Windows 10 itself to be a Common Vulnerability. :-)

AT&T tracked its own sales bods using GPS, secretly charged them $135 a month to do so, lawsuit claims

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Did not say

"We pay our sales reps rarely and follow them around with binoculars and hidden microphones"

Podcast Addict banned from Google Play Store because heaven forbid app somehow references COVID-19

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: AI is rubbish, developer doesn't read emails?

If software is pre judged to be deliberately abusive then you'd want it blocked at once. I presume there are naughty people out there whose actual job is to put malware into trusted channels and who spend all day just doing that. Giving them the benefit of the doubt is over generous.

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Oops!

This isn't my field, but a missile malfunction that makes it follow a semi circle doesn't seem to endanger the firer. If it keeps going right around, though, it will hit you in the back side.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Jetex, asbestos

You don't mention if the Jetex car had radium glow-in-the-dark headlamps as well, or was this before headlamps when cars still had to hope for good moonlight to drive in the dark. :-)

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

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Re: Varieties of rodent

Yeah, you can plug in a second mouse usually - unless you've disabled that option for reasons.

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: "GDPR is there to prevent your data being used without your consent"

If the government allows itself to know everything about everyone, there are ways to apply the information for things like infection control. That doesn't mean that it'll get done. And what else will?

I have in mind thought experiments about how to capture and misuse data, and in the case of coronavirus tracking I can see it being used to do something about homosexuals. And organized labor as well, if everybody's phone is going to record where they go and who they meet, but to identify homosexuals, you're usually looking for about two phones of the same sex alone in an isolated place, and stationary. Or, since many phones have movement sensors, they may be jiggling around in a distinctive way. Once the government has identified the homosexuals, they can intervene themselves or else pass it to church groups to take the necessary action and inform the next of kin. The same technology also can deal with other unnatural performances, with miscegenation, and with the race problem in general. And church attendance, of course.

So let's just stick with wearing rubber masks for now. When we still have a choice.

Micros~1? ClippyZilla? BSOD Bob? There can be only one winner. Or maybe two

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: In keeping

Just Clippy would do, surely? But I voted "The Ribbon Factory".

Picking on "Bob" reminds me of comedians The Two Ronnies telling us that Cliff Richard wanted people to stop asking about his sex life - "It was no more than an isolated incident which took place more than twenty years ago."

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Lookie likey

Expect new legislation, coronavirus masks (and religious/cultural face wear) must have your name & address on with a bar code. And so must your face, like in Dennis Potter's "Cold Lazarus". Going out in someone else's will of course get you in big trouble...

It has crossed my mind that putting your name on the religious version (not address) should not really offend modesty, which is what it's supposed to be about apparently, and would meet complaints by people like Jack Straw and even actually be useful. I've seen my own surname mutilated in writing, although less often recently.

Actually though, I think the creepy black elastic ear-masks that I've been wearing would be improved by a cheery message. I thought about stitching "Hello!" across the front, but pricking little holes in it seems counter productive.

It's not you, it's Slack: Chat app falls down – and at such a very convenient moment

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Re: Enter the matrix

E-mail is like this. Bits of it break all the time. Generally not all at once - but if you have to use your alternate e-mail provider to contact your mum's alternate e-mail provider... how many times a week does she look there?

'We're changing shift, and no one can log on!' It was at this moment our hero knew server-lugging chap had screwed up

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Branch office backup

Having someone come from off site to change the backup tape also allows them to take the tape off site ofr theoretically safer storage.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

No one?

NO ONE commented that the money dispenser defect was a HARDWARE problem...

Not "Sam", not The Register, and none of the readers?

A very mature, responsible attitude, which obviously I did not expect! :-)

Boeing 737 MAX forgetting how to fly also was a hardware problem, and not very funny, I admit.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Test, test and test again...


Robert Carnegie Silver badge

"All of us, or at least all those of my generation, heard in our youth an anecdote about George Stephenson, the discoverer of the Locomotive Steam-Engine. It was said that some miserable rustic raised the objection that it would be very awkward if a cow strayed on the railway line, whereupon the inventor replied, 'It would be very awkward for the cow.'" (G. K. Chesterton)

America's noble "Iron Horse", in one's imagination, goes about sporting a sort of shovel at the front called a "Cow Catcher" or bewilderingly "pilot". It is more of a Cow Thrower anyway. Catching is, as you cay, the cow's difficulty, not the train's.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Proper lash up

Is this a UK retailer whose customers can generally get their groceries in at the same time? What with $RETAILER stand alone shops being closed entirely during coronavirus. They also do business inside $GROCER stores. A retailer/grocer operational synergy.

The one that I'm thinking of has annoyed me a bit because goods also must be paid for online before you go to $GROCER and queue up. Not "collect, pay". Or paid for online while you queue up, things being as they are. The thing is, I've used most of my credit card limit... and I don't wnat to do online purchasing without it.

I assumed the limitation was a deliberate decision, but you have me wondering.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Pigtail extension lead

What I don't know is where to get short extension leads like that... but I last bought some when Maplin shops closed down, and I know that Maplin was last seen as a reborn online business so......?

In general, you also can use a USB hub made with a short cord as an extender, but it doesn't always suit.

I approve the method to avoid wear and tear when devices are frequently plugged and unplugged, for instance USB "thumb drives" as discussed. Ideally, I think, you'd have one port adapter belonging to the thumb drive, and another one belonging to the PC, i.e. drive -> pigtail -> pigtail -> PC. As it is, even with careful use, I have thumb drives that need to be wiggled in a port - usually on an extension lead - to find a connectlion. The two-pigtails idea is that the ports on your expensive devices themselves are seldom or never plugged and unplugged.

Work from home surge may work in Wi-Fi 6's favour, reckons analyst house

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

I expect that if there is control over the wi fi features, then that would include forcing the router to use one particular radio frequency (numbered channel), but I don't know if you can do that on the client end as well - so that Device A will just not see Network B, which is the one that you don't want it to use anyway.

Or if the repeater is expected to give good service, then you could physically block radio signals from the router on a different floor. For instance, standing the router on the lid of a metal biscuit tin ought to stop it from transmitting downwards. Or you could put the client end in the tin, with the open end facing in the direction that you want it to be allowed to see.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Only problem with new Wifi Standards

Well, it may come as a USB module?

I struggled with the article, does "Wi Fi 6" on the hub improve performance if some or all of the client devices are built to a previous standard?

Of course, asking the question reveals that we have legacy devices at home. Like everybody else.

GCC 10 gets security bug trap. And look what just fell into it: OpenSSL and a prod-of-death flaw in servers and apps

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

I believe OpenSSL was audited...

Google handed me this: https://ostif.org/the-ostif-and-quarkslab-audit-of-openssl-is-complete/

If I'm reading this right, they're saying that as of January 2019, OpenSSL 1.1.1 passed their "audit". Roll on version 1.1.1a.

The new bug appears in versions 1.1.1d, e, and f, I think you said.

Presumably, 1.1.1a, b, and c had limitations, as well.

It is what it is. (If it is.)

Rewriting the checklists: 50 years since Apollo 13 reported it 'had a problem' – and boffins saved the day

Robert Carnegie Silver badge


BBC World Service has been broadcasting "13 Minutes to the Moon", but an outside view of the climax is offered in their 10 (9?) minute "Witness History" documentaries, where they interview people who witnessed history.

In the case of: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cszmjp

"Simon Watts talks to David Schoumacher, former Space Correspondent for America’s CBS news, and to former CBS producer Mark Kramer."

(ROT13 code https://rot13.com )

CUBGB: Gur perj bs Ncbyyb Guvegrra nsgre gurve erfphr (Trggl Vzntrf)

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Wear face protection?

Masks reduce transmission. Reduced transmission produces "herd immunity", by weakening the infection and the number of people infected by one existing patient - who is the one who has to wear the mask. If each patient can't infect as many as one other person on average then the next generation of patients is fewer, and fewer, until it dies out. Well, strictly, "herd immunity" refers to achieving that by actual immunity of a sufficient proportion of the population, but we don't have a guarantee of anyone getting lasting immunity from this virus.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

Wear a mask in the country? Well... there is the smell to consider. Maybe you'll just have to put up with it; city people do.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: "Now they are your best friends? sigh..."

Approximately everything that you have said is incorrect. Would it be useful to discuss why in detail, or do you already know?

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

Robert Carnegie Silver badge


I see what you did there!

How do you feel about Aitchesstue though?

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Cover Your Mouth - Really Urgent (NHS)

Dragon 32 keyboard, there's lovely. No £ and no ^ though that I can see.

I am Scottish so mostly concerned about the £ :-) But with no ^ the other symbols are one place leftier.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

ifyou canre adthi 5

Good thoughts. I don't have that need, but it looks like a reason to lay off punctuation as well. I do that if I can - sometimes it's forced - just because an adequately cryptic password (I hope) of almost purely random letters, in fives, is easier to type (some systems forbid repeated letters as well).

Or in theory it is; actually I find myself struggling to remember - for each meaningless "word" - what belongs to the first system password, the second system password, the third system password, or the first system password which expired yesterday and had to be changed.

I was using something like Mxyzp26 for one of our systems until we had penetration testers and they cracked it somehow. Meeting with management ensued.

As for punctuation, I strongly suspect that at least two of our former or current customer facing systems have had a feature of us setting the password containing, say, $ but when the user types $ in the password it doesn't work. So I adopted reset policies of (1) alpha numeric randoms only, and (2) I set the password and then personally test that the system accepts it from me to log in. After that we make the user change it anyway.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: heefee, heefy, weefy, wiffy....

This reply is intended to receive a count of how many of your upvotes are ironic, starting with mine.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: heefee, heefy, weefy, wiffy....

Lits cull thu hull thing uff...

Sunday: Australia is shocked UK would consider tracking mobile data to beat pandemic. Monday: Australia to deploy drone intimidation squads

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: We obey

BBC news web site has articles of people describing how they got COVID-19 and their lungs stopped working. Tho I expect it's not easy to talk about it


Astroboffin gets magnets stuck up his schnozz trying and failing to invent anti-face-touching coronavirus gizmo

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

"A Saga of Sixpence"

This sounds like the episode of "The Glums" comedy mini-soap included in BBC Radio's "Take It From Here" show in the 1950s, called "A Saga of Sixpence". It seems to be on YouTube audio and about ten minutes long.

Ron Glum (Dick Bentley) is an idiot; one evening his long term fiance (very young June Whitfield) wonders why every now and again he is hitting himself on the head with a hammer.

It turns out that he went to buy takeout food and had to deal with his food, the vinegar condiment bottle, and a sixpenny coin as change, and has he only has two hands... in defence he says "It is easy to be wise after the event."

The amateur physics is sound, though!

Things that make you go zoom: Huawei rolls out pictastic P40 phones, no Google Play Store in sight

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

I doubt you can get "a modern smartphone" under £100 at all, never mind a "no sneaky spying" one.

Actually I'm pretty happy using my iPhone, but I usually have mobile data service, wi fi, and Bluetooth turned off. Bluetooth is at least intermittently hackable, and I thought I could rig wi-fi to connect only to my home network until I walked into somewhere that has BT "Wi Fi Extra" which also connects without user interaction. It is probably reasonably safe, but I don't want to have to decide whether to trust it, now and in future.

The main catch is that the bus season ticket app, which may well be tracking me, now and again expires my ticket because I'm not connected, so I have to log in and refresh the information. This has happened five minutes after checking that the ticket is there, so it's a case for checking twice before the bus comes, e.g. check in the lift leaving work, and check again at the bus stop.

Exchange some currency you want to? Guess the BIOS setup keyboard combination first you must, young Padawan

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

I see your point. But it could be worth shopping around - if you can. Would the facility even be open? i suppose they could switch this screen off, if not. Unless it's supposed to be saying "The money desk is not open."

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

As you say, who in Britain is buying travel currency this week anyway...

Microsoft staff giggle beneath the weight of a 52,000-person Reply-All email storm

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Out of office

If I follow, you're describing two things:

An automatic out-of-office message should not be sent to a recipient a second time if they e-mail twice.

Sending "I am out of the office" to everyone in the organisation - not as a response, you just want to tell everybody - is only appropriate if you really are as important as you think you are, and is a way to find that out.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Read Receipt

Some of my in-office correspondents have receipt set on, which at my end appears as a request whether to send the receipt or not. I do pause to decide, but usually send. Especially if it's The Boss.

After it happened, it's obvious-ish that "out of office" messages shouldn't request a read receipt even when you have that set on by default. But that requires the e-mail server to treat those messages as an exception to the "request receipt" setting. And you may not notice that until after it happened.

Google warns against disabling websites during Coronavirus pandemic

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Website owners warn Google

There used to be more options like that, but to be honest I haven't looked for the "Advanced" options for a while. I interpret it as that normally, giving the user what may be what they want but isn't exactly what they asked for, is a better guess.

I wonder if hexadecimal ASCII codes are interpreted such as %20 for space, the only one I remember at the moment, if you want to see "Covid 19" not "Covid-19". But "COVID-19" is the "correct" form anyway.

Anyway shouldn't you go to your-krb.com and search there for your choice of whatever a krb is? Poor old Google has to deal with users who want the latest news from "My 7 Favourite Kerb Stones of the week" and particularly like to see Kerb 5, "Best Foreign Kerb Stone" - whatever "foreign" means anyway given that the web site owner is in New Zealand...

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Register oops

The Register is quoting poorly. "This is the recommended approach" refers to leaving your web site running and just either modifying or removing the "shopping basket" part, or marking all of your goods as "out of stock pending the miracle that President Trump promised, that he goes away" or something like that. It does not refer to changing your web site to 503 or 200 or 911 on every page.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Yes, Google

But then next month's new WHO web site about hos to cure coronavirus wouldn't be indexed at all.

Also: the whole world isn't closed down. China is starting up again, which admittedly isn't Google's best business relationship, but... Also, the president of Brazil insists that the Amazon is open for business, if you want to buy rare wood, endangered animal species, and lost tribes who claim to have been made suddenly homeless - someone must be logging this activity. :-)

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: The most important statement in the whole article.

I do not believe that President Trump knows how to "cite" a scientific paper. Putting an exclamation mark after the word "Fact" does not constitute citation.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Excel hate?

We take an agreed specification "CSV" file from a partner organisation.


The target is Microsoft SQL Server so that's actually manageable.

I don't recall seeing ; as a separator, except in, "Charles the First walked and talked; half an hour after, his head was cut off.". A bit gruesome, sorry.

Querying SQL data to a grid resultset to paste into Excel, I put strings vulnerable to interpretation as '="' + value + "

which generates cell definition of ="value" and appears as: value

Copy-paste also doesn't like data containing tab character 0x09 or line break 0x0D0A, it treats those as column and row breaks, so I wrote a SQL function to replace with > and (b) or something like that if the data isn't clean. As a check against other surprises, I check that the rightmost column in Excel contains the data that it should. If this issue arises in a row, that fails the test.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Problem with learning parrot fashion

Did the Model T have "keys"? :-) Initially coming without a driver's door or a roof. Never mind, give 'em keys and let them wonder.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge


I've taken to creating passwords containing "words" of 5 random letters e.g. abcde fghij klmno pqrst O. (not in that order)

"O" is not a random letter and is typed with the full stop. It's designed so I should be able to type it smoothly.

The problem then is to remember which "word" belongs in which password and where. Tricky.

Not the only problem. Lousy password security rules of various systems include rejecting a password with a letter repeated e.g. Ipsissimus, so avoid that; requiring a numeral (drop O. and use numeral 0 only); demanding punctuation and . does not count (use !). And now remember which password uses which twiddle.

And type it without any mistakes. Has anyone invented a password system where 90 percent similar is good enough to get you in... oh no that's fingerprints and facial photograph recognition.

First impressions count when the world is taken by surprise by an exciting new (macro) virus

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: I Love You

It was also rather a clever idea for a virus e-mail.

My boss received the real virus. But he was smart, he did not open it.

He forwarded it to me in a message that said "I think this may be a virus, do you know?"

I believe I had heard of it already, so I didn't need to open it and look.

Captain Caveman rides to the rescue, solves a prickly PowerPoint problem with a magical solution

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Called by the head of the dealing floor

The printer calls it a cassette and that's who / what you are negotiating with.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge


You think you are wasting their time. But actually you are wasting yours. Which one is more important to you?

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Yesterday (Sunday) I guessed correctly that Marks & Spencer is expensive enough to have bread left to sell if nowhere else has. I took a brown seeded loaf. Didn't even need to put it on the credit card.

I did see some empty shelves there though. The government continues to tell us to buy only what we need but that there is plenty of food and other necessities, but when I go into a shop, no there isn't.

However, picking up this and that, here and there, I have a small fridge and small freezer both quite well stocked. Not what I'd call hoarding, just normal, with very slightly more care taken so that if my next planned supermarket shop finds that the Horseman of Famine has got there before me again, I can give it a few days. Or if I actually get what I expect Donald Trump to start calling californiavirus or sanctuary sickness or whatever else is twitching his toupee this week.

Finally – news that something is guaranteed to be healthy and well looked-after for the next six months. That something is Windows 10 1709

Robert Carnegie Silver badge


The word "treat" has a special lack of meaning when applied to health and illness. I'm not a lawyer but it appears to me that you can, for instance, "treat" Covid-19 by drinking plenty of cold water. This won't do you any particular good at all, but it is a "treatment". That doesn't mean that it should work. Something to consider when looking at alternative medicine "treatments" for this, that, and in many cases everything. They do not have to be any good at all, or even not harmful, and there is no law to say that they must. Morally they should, legally it's the Wild West. And so one thinks fondly of frontier justice...

Not exactly the kind of housekeeping you want when it means the hotel's server uptime is scrubbed clean

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

Re: Lockable outlet?

On the one hand, having an electric plug that you can't unplug seems like a breach of safety. On the other hand, there are installations where an electricity cord just goes through a hole in the plastic face of what looks like an electric socket, presumably isn't a socket strictly but has similar stuff inside i.e. wires with electricity in them. Nothing to unplug, but you could pull really hard... if switching off doesn't work. Perhaps there are rather strict rules about what can be on the undiscussed end of the cord.

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

I blame business practice for setting up a system that requires users to do their work by clicking through a dialog that says "You do realise that the security certificate on the server expired in 2016".

Or indeed "I am your up to date web browser and I'm going to ask you 10 times whether you really want to run an Adobe Flash program even though you have to do it every day."

Robert Carnegie Silver badge

I just remembered... more than one recent story on the (Customer Is) "Not Always Right" consists of a hotel guest, probably in 2019 or 2020 I admit, complaining that their room wasn't cleaned, and it is discovered that they had hung out the "Do Not Disturb" sign. Which is respected absolutely, in these stories anyway.

A "Do not enter" sign as described is not the same thing, and conceivably your cleaner doesn't read English. Even if they were born speaking it.

So really you need to display the familiar graphic of two pairs of feet thought provokingly combined. :-)


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