* Posts by Uplink

132 posts • joined 7 Apr 2010


Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late


Expired licence checked only at startup

Expired licence checked only at startup? Sounds like a job for turning back the clock, starting the software, and putting the clock forward again. Mighht be able to get away with a LD_PRELOAD that overrides the time functions (for the first call, or first minute, enough to time to validate the licence) just for that process if the temporary time displacement might affect the other software negatively.

Pants-purveyor in plea for popularity: It's not just any pork push... it's an M&S 'love sausage'


Re: missed opportunity

They used two eggs in the picture, probably thinking they've dodged a bullet, but the word for "eggs" is used to refer to testes in Romanian, so it's funnier in East EU.

Mobile network Three UK's customer details exposed in homepage blunder


Three's logs aren't so great

If their website logs are as good as their PAYG balance logs, then good luck.

Here's my train of thought:

I asked them where 24p went, since I never really spend anything* except for a monthly Internet add-on. I topped up 5, I spent the 5 on the add-on, so it's zero sum. They came back with this: I topped up 5 pounds, then spent 0.24 on buying a Internet add-on, and that's why I have 4.76 credit.

Given that it costs 3p/min to call a foreign country, and the nice fit of that in 0.24, I think I know where the money went, but they were unable to tell me.

*My setup: Android phone. Ye olde 3Pay plan. Prefixer app configured to use 18185 via their 0800 number for most calls. Voicemail using Instavoice, with a double redirect through a "Pay as you go on Three" SIM to reduce costs. Why the complicated setup? Because I get 2GB for 5 pounds on 3Pay, and that's not available on the new plan or anywhere else.

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


Remind me of my childhood

I was about 13 or 14. There was a programming competition at another school, and all the computers were booted from a Novell server. I never found out what the problem was, but my compulsive saving of my work kept bringing it the server down. When that happened, my work was saved, but all the others lost theirs. After a few crashes like that, we were basically begged to stop saving (I don't think they ever knew it was just me). It was weird, because it was the old days of DOS and Turbo Pascal, so it wasn't like I was saving seven YouTubes per second.

Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist


It happens with old school locks too

My front door's dumb locks were installed with the screws on the outside for some reason and nobody who lived in the property before me noticed. And I only noticed because I went to change the cylinders.

BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave


Tesco, but without the murder

This sounds a lot like my Tesco Clubcard customer services experience before they updated their website a few years back.

There was a cookie that was messing up the server if I logged in using the correct page, and I was getting Internal Server Error until I cleared cookies. Clearing the cookies and logging in would land me back the Internal Server Error message.

Logging in via Tesco Direct to view my Clubcard took me via a beta version of the site, and that worked just fine.

Tried explaining this to CS, to get a bug reported. That's all I wanted: report a bug to whoever is working on this in India. I ended up with an inconsistently deleted account instead. Yep, I had Schrodinger's Tesco Clubcard - both registered and not registered at the same time. They fixed this too, and now I had a shiny brand new account, but the problem didn't go away.

I did exasperate the CS representative and had to get passed to somebody else, but I didn't need to drive my car to the woods.

Sysadmin left finger on power button for an hour to avert SAP outage


Re: Typed 'Reboot' where ... ?

apt-get install molly-guard

Then you get asked: "you want to reboot what?"

Gits club GitHub code tub with record-breaking 1.35Tbps DDoS drub


Re: If you were a chef...

"Who are these dumb-f**ks who expose private infrastructure to the internet anyway?"

Everybody who wants to run a business online but knows fuck all about computers. Individuals or small groups of individuals who want to make money, but not hire IT experts or learn stuff themselves. Or they hire IT "experts", with quotes included, who throw up a WordPress with a Memcached plugin (for performance or something), take the money and go.

I had an epiphany about such a scenario quite recently. My software developer veil is preventing me from even thinking of lots of things "normal" people do without blinking (e.g. write your e-learning content in PowerPoint and attempt to put that online by "embedding" it in WordPress because it works on your computer like that).

Intel's Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs have nasty hyper-threading bug


Kaby Lake and can't disable HT

I happen to have a rather nice* Dell XPS 8920 at work. Last BIOS is from March. There's no option to disable HyperThreading.

So far the only things crashing on me are PulseAudio and bluetoothd, and I have no idea if they crash because of this bug or just because there are bugs that need to be ironed out in drivers or the software.

*It's nice after putting up a good fight when I installed Ubuntu on it. I had to mix and match many Internet forum posts in order to win the battle.

Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs


Re: @miscellaneous

"It's open source. Quit whining about it and make it possible."

Absolutely - if I had the skills for text integrated with language parsers. Alas, I do not. I fail miserably at that particular topic. I do have something else in mind*, and if I ever get it to MVP stage I'll come here to brag about it.

*What do I have in mind? Something "data-first" based on my need at one point to DRY up my development process regarding data structure design in Symfony with Doctrine while using Doctrine Migrations. I currently suck at GUI and I'll have to get over that hurdle before I can even make an interactive mockup in a browser. It's a steep learning curve (for me), but it will click at some point like every other steep learning curve did before.


Re: Code-aware editor and diffs would be nice

I do use 'diff -w' when I want to look at a diff that has a block with changed indentation, but if I removed a line that line is shown with its original indentation. A tool that can detect indentation changes could show the deleted line in the context of the changed indentation so my eyes don't go off the rails when those deleted lines are encountered - especially if there's a lot of missing context because the deleted line and the indented context are far apart.


Code-aware editor and diffs would be nice

I would love if we could take a step into the future and edit code however the heck we like.

I would like the editor to have a "presentation" mode where it shows the code as I want it formatted, and a "storage" mode where the code is saved in a standardised format.

I would like diff tools to ignore white space changes while also taking into account rescoping of blocks of code. E.g. I indent a block to b included in a for loop. I'd like the diff to show the block with its new indentation but only tell me that the surrounding for loop was added, not that all of it was deleted and replaced with th same code and some extra indentation.

The stored code could even be in a format that is hard to edit with vim and is not comparable with diff - as long as the language-specific editor does the above right.

Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04


Unity gave almost all of the screen to me

I'm a Unity user mainly because besides the top bar it gives the rest of the screen real estate to me. The menus go in the title bar, and I maximise pretty much all my windows. I don't get a bunch of OS UI eating in the space where the apps already eat some more with tabs and their own toolbars. My second option after Unity for this purpose is Cairo Dock - but it's still not quite Unity. Couldn't find a third option.

LastPass now supports 2FA auth, completely undermines 2FA auth


Re: Better alternatives...

KeeWeb.info is mentioned as an unendorsed alternative implementation on the KeePass website. If it's a nice UI you are after, that one looks quite nice.

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



I saw something that, while slightly inconvenient, could work well if the SMTP infrastructure is fixed to always use encryption between servers:

Single use limited validity login link sent to your email address

There's no password for the service itself, there's no FacegleIn OAUTH exchange, you can use any email provider you like without being locked in. All you have to do is protect your email account with a strong password and 2FA.

Amazon blackhole?


As the situation develops it appears to be a Virgin Media issue. Amazon might just be a large target among many. Hurray, my company is on Virgin Media and our stuff is on Amazon...


Amazon blackhole?

The whole of Amazon (shop, AWS) seems to have become unreacheable in the last hour or so in the UK (people report that using a VPN they can reach it). It would be nice if somebody found out what happened and wrote an article about it.

GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail



YP.... Wipey... He'll never outrun his name now.

Doomsday Clock moves to 150 seconds before midnight. Thanks, Trump

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs


Which keys again?

So is it channel down or volume down? The guy reads "channel down" and then says "volume down" when he goes to the TV.

I don't have one of these, but I SO HATE IT WHEN THE INTERNET DOES THIS!

Hololens for biz shocker: Surprisingly, it doesn't totally suck


The ultimate portable, wearable computer

Imagine a person travelling by train. They're sitting at one of those shared tables. They wear a Hololens. You're watching the creepiest thing ever: They seem to be typing on the table... but there's no keyboard... and they's moving a mouse that isn't there.

This is what's happening: A full computer in their headset. Holographic monitor, keyboard, mouse.

No need to unpack anything, no worries that some fellow passenger will spill your drink on your laptop when the train rocks to the side too hard. You can add and remove monitors as needed, or even extra virtual computers (running different operating systems too).

Imagine: Coding on your multi-monitor setup, on the train, without having to carry or spread out a full lab worth of equipment.

Add this little printer: http://www.zutalabs.com/ and a stack of A4 sheets of paper and the world is your office.

The only things that I can't figure out how to do are: 1. how to receive mail; 2. get a bank account; 3. car registration, insurance and tax (should you prefer an RV to the train), in a nomad-friendly way.

EE looks at its call charges, hikes a bunch, walks off giggling


Re: EE and PAYG vermin

"Solution; keep EE existing number on locked iPhone for incoming calls. Put 3 Network SIMM in second phone for outgoing"

Have you thought about unlocking the phone (call EE; they want £8.99 to do this) and porting your EE number to Three? It sounds like just the thing you need.


Re: EE and PAYG vermin

"With a second mobile sim that has free 0800 numbers"

All 0800 numbers are free from all UK mobiles since 1 July 2015. http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/call-charges-clearer-from-wednesday/

I can't believe this isn't common knowledge yet. I keep seeing stuff like "Call 0800 xyz free from your landline, or 0300 xyz free from your mobile." I had a small conversation with somebody who insisted that the 0800 number is not free from mobile, but the 0300 is (it isn't, if you're wondering, unless you have bundled landline minutes). After having this "debate" with the person in question, I found out that some of the leaflets she was handing out (but not all of them) actually said "0800 numbers are free to call from both landlines and mobiles."

Kindle Paperwhites turn Windows 10 PCs into paperweights: Plugging one in 'triggers a BSOD'


Drivers everywhere

Once I changed my AT power supply to a ATX one. I had to install a driver to make ACPI shutdown work. It told this to a Linux pro, and he quipped thus to a colleague of his: "What did I tell you? One day Windows will need drivers for the case screws too."

Baffled Scots cops call in priest to deal with unruly spirits


Vertical phone footage or it didn't happen

What? No mobile phone recording? It sounds like there was plenty of time to record an episode of <Whatever ghost-hunting TV show you like>, so where's the reel?

Argos changes 150 easily guessed drop-off system passwords


Revokable, frequently refreshed credentials

As I was reading the article I crossed it with something I've seen in Tesco: they can log into a till and print a barcode that they can then use to quickly log in and give help without entering any passwords.

While I don't think the Tesco system is much more secure than passwords on post-it notes, it gave me an idea:

What if, when the shift starts, or on demand later in the day, a public/private key pair is generated and the private key is printed as a QR that the employee can add to their badge? The key would have limited validity - say, until the employee checks out, and it would be easily revoked and reissued if lost or stolen.

The floor staff wouldn't need much training beyond "Don't lose it. But if you do, go scan your employee badge on this machine in the back and get a new code." Getting a new QR would invalidate the last QR issued to this employee. While not exactly RSA token secure, it's convenient for the employees and it's better than post-it notes and Password123 as the national password, with the benefit of very frequent password changes.

Cats, dogs starve as web-connected chow chute PetNet plays dead


I stay away from cloud-only devices

If a device requires a cloud to function, and I can't deploy my own server to replace that cloud, then I'm not buying it no matter how many fela^W cooked breakfasts I get from it.

I mean: I'm fine with requiring a central server to achieve magic, but I want the option to deploy my own with ease.

Software bug costs Citigroup $7m after legit transactions mistaken for test data for 15 years


Pocket change

It's like that time when I got fined 7 pence. Yeah... That never happened and never will.

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


Re: Some of the specs a missing...

From your set of questions, it's only output EOL that I cannot deduce with total accuracy...

> Is the data file supplied on the command line or will it be present in the same folder as the script?

"[...] read its input from a file called Decathlon.dat and send its input to a file called Decathlon.out."

That looks like "files in the same directory" with the given hardcoded names.

Additionally: "Your program must produce no screen output."

> What is the file encoding of the input and output file? ASCII? ANSI? UTF-x? EBCDIC?

I'd go with ASCII encoding ("letters", "hyphenated"), but UTF-8 would probably work with my code too, as I wouldn't care about what non-space bytes they separate by spaces and tabs. And then the numbers are all in the 7-bit part of ASCII. Who uses ANSI and EBCDIC with Node, Java or Python anyway? That means they're not even options.

> What end of line marker can be expcted? \n \r\n ?

For input I'd just assume \n and treat \r as "whitespace", because the specs allow for trailing whitespace. For output... that's a tricky one, given that "extraneous output will cause an automatic failure".

I'd go with \n for output only because except VB all the others can run on non-Windows platforms (Linux, BSD, Mac) and produce \n EOLs in those environments. They're promoting cloudiness, and they mainly run Linux in there... I also just realised that Swift is Mac-only, so... \n it is then.

> Reagan & REAGAN are the same person? Can we expect a unique key of 1 name per event?

"Names and event abbreviations must be treated as case-insensitive"

"You may assume that there will be no more than one entry in each data set for a given event for a given competitor, and that there will not be more than one competitor with the same name."

That being said... the terms and conditions say "[...] the fastest and most accurate code"... so you if submit something in Python you're guaranteed to not win anything since Java and Swift will just smoke you. Node is fast, but still way behind Java and Swift.

Behold the ROBOT RECTUM... medics' relief


There's another use for that

Stick in a RealDoll(tm). For a little extra you can have one in each orifice.

Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger


Re: Bollocks

> So who decides if the notice is "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements"?

Well... I'm thinking that the ECJ would. But if I were a judge* of the ECJ I'd probably look at that article and ask: "What does the UK law / What do the UK courts say?" The ball is then thrown to the UK, where it will probably end up with the Supreme Court - civil track. Then the ECJ will take the ball back and say "The UK Supreme Court says this, so that's that." While that was happening, I would probably issue a stay order on the notification too - which would make Farage pull a Lazarus and come back among us to squeal.

*Disclaimer: I have no legal training beyond watching "The Good Wife" and other stuff like that :)


Re: Bollocks

> The question is whether the rest of the EU decides article 50 has been invoked and from their point of view, a simple statement is sufficient.

It's that phrase: "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements". If the notification is not given "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements", then it's null and void and they have to try again.

There's no indication what can happen while a legal challenge is under way after a notification (that is later declared void) is served. Will the notification run its course until voided, wasting everybody's time? Will it be suspended until the judicial review finishes? What does the UK law say about such things? Because it's the UK law that declares if the notification is valid, and Article 50 proxies that.

Attention, small biz using Symantec AV: Smash up your PCs, it's the safest thing to do



Just market it as a pro-virus solution.

Microsoft releases open source bug-bomb in the rambling house of C


Re: C is not an applications programming language

<quote> Point is: learn to FREAKING CODE. Don't code like a script kiddie. Don't allow script kiddies to commit code that don't check buffer lengths. that kind of thing.</quote>

And what is one supposed to do before becoming master of the code universe? Most people aren't born "senior coder", and to most of those people coding is just a job - a thing that gives them money; a thing they're looking to get away from everyday and not looking forward to returning the next day if it were not for the money.

Luckily for me, I found out about strcpy vs strncpy while still in school, but that's not mentioned in any classes. You learn srtcpy and then move to the next lesson. strncpy is not mentioned.

Applications also have this property: "we need it yesterday!". Even the most seasoned programmer can easily introduce a off-by-one error. I recently had a go on hackerrank at some C issues and while my algorithm was sane, I made a typo: I sized an array using the wrong variable, so it ended up shorter than intended. That meant that, with all the memory smashing, my code passed 10 out of 12 tests. The two that failed segfaulted. It took me forever before I saw the error and facepalmed.

Samsung: Don't install Windows 10. REALLY


Re: A$$ Backwards?

The way I understand it, your licence for the previous version isn't revoked when you upgrade. If you're past your easy downgrade month period, go to Microsoft's site and get an ISO for your previous version and go back. You may have to backup/format/restore, but that's what you get if you're past your 30 day post-install period.


Samsung? There's your problem

When a friend comes to me with a computer/phone problem, I ask them if it's a Samsung off the bat. If it's not, I'll have a look at it, because it's unusual. If it is, I tell them that's their problem, and I can't help them.

'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'


Windows Update 1-5 days

"Checking for Windows 7 updates now can take anywhere from one to five days before the list of updates appears."

Oh, is that it? I thought it got stuck in an infinite loop.

I _wanted_ to update from W7 and W8 to W10 on two machines and bleeping WU would just go around in circles. I went through all the troubleshooting steps MS had to throw at me to no effect, so I ended up installing W10 manually after searching Google to see how it's done. Once on W10 WU worked as expected. Both machines were fresh install of W7 and fresh activation of W8, things I did only as a step towards W10 anyway - which I then deleted to install Linux instead. I just wanted to make sure I get the licence for the machines in case I ever need to upgrade my phone software using an .exe from the manufacturer or other similar stuff I can't do on Linux or OS X.

China's Great Firewall inventor forced to use VPN live on stage to dodge his own creation


Re: please unplug your modem...

"you only felt safe posting anonymous"

It's quasi-anonymous. El Reg still knows who you are (Anonymous Coward had to log in) and can tell on you to any interested parties. This isn't Slashdot.

Blighty starts pumping out 12-sided quids


Re: Parking and Vending Machines

I think it can work. I used substitution: "It doesn't exist everywhere enough" and it seems to work. It's a measure of density per unit of everywhere.

Data protection: Don't be an emotional knee jerk. When it comes to the law, RTFM


Data Protection as an excuse to be lazy

One day I was unable to go through the Overground gates using my contactless card. After a few attempts which resulted in "seek assistance", I went online to see what the Internet has to say about this. The TfL website said that the staff at the station should be able to tell me what's going on, so I went and asked. The response? "Talk to your bank. I can't tell you what's wrong because of Data Protection." even after pointing out what the website said. They didn't even try to look up any error data that could have said "it's your bank's fault". Later on I called the bank and they said there's nothing wrong with my card - it wasn't blocked, wasn't subject to fraud, nothing. And it worked fine since then too. But I'll never know what happened.

Austrian mayor spunks €40k on virgin-eating dragon


Either stupidity or corruption

This is a great example that could have been run as a popular contest with a 100 Euro prize. Maybe make it 1000 and give out prizes to runner ups too (say 100 and 500 Euros). But then the brother's nephew's sister-in-law's artsy company wouldn't be getting the biz, would it?

Californian tycoons stole my sharing economy, says Lily Cole


For starters, I can't get what impossible.com does from their front pages. It has that neo-dotcom look where it screams "it's great! believe us!" but without actually saying how it works. I'm a software developer. Put an algorithm in front of me or Hulk Smash(tm). What I did get, is that it's something about sharing skills, time, objects (this is buried in the "About Us" page), but as soon as I land all I see is "shop". I can't reconcile being paid in Thanks with shopping in Pounds Sterling, and I've already spent enough time on their site, so I'll stop trying.

On a tangent:

Given a very recent past experience where a friend maxed her "underutilised" brand new credit card in two months and then came asking for help, I'm starting to move away from the idea of sharing. I'd gladly help her grow, but she failed so many times (I played the role of creditors to Greece in this play) that I have no idea what else to do. She's willing to cut on food and keep pay tv... and she even got upset when I suggested she does it the other way around...

If you want to do good in the world, help people grow. But as soon as you realise that they not only don't grow, but abuse the help to fuck their lives up, walk away - find somebody else. This should also be a prime directive when it comes to state benefits: Grow so you stop needing the benefits or fuck off.

Google Project Zero reverse-engineers Windows path hacks for better security


Re: : in a path name ?

If they start allowing colon in filenames, then Windows will get dotted with files called C:\npddf32Log\debuglog.txt like my Linux box is. It appears it's Firefox/XULRunner that does leaves these files all over the place - although, right now, 'locate' can't find any for some reason; maybe they fixed it.

Putin's internet guru says 'nyet' to Windows, 'da' to desktop Linux


Re: Next....

In my circle of friends it's been the year of Linux on the desktop (laptop rather) for years now. I don't really care about the rest of the world :)

Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista


Grandma is half savvy?

I've already had a call from an elderly relative asking about this and she's not keen, as she's only just learned how to use Windows 8 in the last few years and doesn't fancy redoing all that.

Fair point...

When I explained the situation to her the response was as you'd expect – she's turning automatic updates off to block the download. She says she'll do the job manually, [...]

Wait, she found the part of the OS where settings live? And she figured out how to turn updates off and run them manually all by herself? And she knows how to review updates when she pulls them in manually?

But she can't be arsed to "learn" Windows 10. What's there to learn anyway? Maybe the start menu and where the settings for updates have been moved. That "search for the thing I want to run" thing in the taskbar too complicated? And there's always "tablet mode" she can try.

There's no Wayback in Russia: Putin blocks Archive.org


Re: Putin is a putz.

The age old impression that the replacements just have to be better, kinder, smarter, less psychopathic than the current people. Who do you think will replace these guys? Hmm?

URRGH! Evil app WATCHES YOU WATCHING PORN, snaps your grimace


Draw over other apps

When I see this permission, I think twice. Anyway, adb remove crap.app, after you find out its ID, should rid you of the ransom request. Or just long-press the power button and choose to obliterate your phone :)


Re: Unchecking?

Cheap Chinese Spyware Phones come with that enabled by default for some reason.

Attack of the IT monuments men: Museum wants your kit


50 tickets

How many readers do your analytics tell you you really have?

Spaniard sues eBay over right to sell the Sun


I have a bridge to sell. Will eBay block me too? I can produce one of those notary documents about this bridge too.

Also, property rights are only as good as their enforcement. Thus, I hereby declare Adverse Possession of the Sun. I'd like to see her evict me and sue me for trespassing.


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