* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Facebook exec extracts foot from mouth: We didn't really mean growth matters more than human life

Alister Silver badge

Re: Why are all the troll icons upside down?

Try clicking on the icon...

Machine learning library TensorFlow can count to potato... I mean, 1.7

Alister Silver badge

you say potato, I say tomato

Let's call the whole thing Pi...

Brit cloud slinger iomart goes TITSUP, knackers Virgin Trains, Parentpay

Alister Silver badge

Re: sort of reminds me

Yes, it's a question I've pondered before. A datacentre that we use in Derby boasts of multiple redundant fibre links, but whilst that may be the case at their site, all the fibres go through the same telephone exchange in Colyear Street, and that building only has one ductway and cable room, so at that point all the fibres are in the same duct.

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up

*Teetering Infrastructure Turns Services Utterly Pants

Thumbs Up for that one

India: Yeah, we would like to 3D-print igloos on the Moon

Alister Silver badge

Re: It was a stinker

the crew of the UFO moonbase makes up for a lot.

Mmmm... Gabrielle Drake...

Alister Silver badge

practical challenges (such as what do with all the trash generated by astronauts) remained.

That's easy, just build a rubbish dump next to the nuclear reactors on farside. What could go wrong?

Uber self-driving car death riddle: Was LIDAR blind spot to blame?

Alister Silver badge

Re: > at some point she was in the headlights,

*If* we take the video on trust, then the car was being driven with dipped headlights which made it difficult for the human driver to spot the pedestrian.

Don't take the video on trust, it gives a wholly misleading impression of the lighting conditions.

See here for a more realistic view:


Using dipped headlights was entirely appropriate in the circumstances: the area where the accident happened is well lit with street lights and the human driver would have been able to see the pedestrian for at least 400 yards, probably more.

Alister Silver badge

Bad shots aside and sad as it is, why choose to cross there?

Because there's a wide footpath across the median strip, where she crossed.

Yes, Emergency Service Network will be late and cost more - UK perm sec

Alister Silver badge

we're all going to die!


Fatal driverless crash: Radar-maker says Uber disabled safety systems

Alister Silver badge

Re: Cause of Death: Ostrich Algorithm

Others driving the route at night (without artificially dark video) have shown that a pedestrian should have been visible long enough to make a graceful stop.

Exactly. See here

There seems to be an erroneous belief centered on the Uber video that the accident happened in the dark, whereas the fact is it the road was well lit.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Self driving cars can only only react"

You have absolutely no way to know that.

The facts are that contrary to the widely held belief, the place where the accident happened was not a dark country road, it was a well lit urban street. The video footage released by Uber shows a very misleading view of the available light levels.

If you look here then you might begin to understand that the pedestrian would have been in plain view for a long time before the accident.

You are just making assumptions, when facts are needed.

No, I'm actually looking at the available evidence instead of accepting things at face value.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Cause of Death: Ostrich Algorithm


I'm thinking you're an idiot.

She was more than halfway across the road, which means she started crossing when the car was a long way away. The car was exceeding the speed limit, and so she probably misjudged the time she had to safely cross. She also probably assumed that the car would slow enough to let her get to safety as a human driver would do.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Self driving cars can only only react"

I timed the video and from when the pedestrian appears to when the video stops seems to be closer to 0.75 seconds rather than 2.

You cannot base any judgement on the video, as it is of such poor quality that it is in no way representative of reality. Human vision would have detected her much, much earlier.

Don't forget, the lady didn't just suddenly step out in front of the car, she had left the median strip and already crossed one lane, and was nearly half-way across the second lane before she appears in the video.

However, I agree that this shows that the either detection systems on the car were inadequate, or the software inexplicably decided not to brake or avoid the obstruction.

Uber's disturbing fatal self-driving car crash, a new common sense challenge for AI, and Facebook's evil algorithms

Alister Silver badge

Re: Shouldn't lidar work *better* in the dark?

how many average drivers would have seen her?

Leaving aside the the problem that the human wasn't actually looking, if this had been a normal car with a human driver I would have thought that the chances are high that an average driver would have seen her.

The video shows that the camera didn't pick the lady up until the last minute, when she appeared in the full beam of the headlights, but then we know that video cameras are poor at resolving contrast in dark conditions, and the human eye is much, much better at resolving and identifying movement in those conditions.

When I first read of this incident, I sort of assumed that the lady had dashed across in front of the car, or had suddenly appeared from behind an obstruction. It is clear from the video that neither of these was the case, and I think an average driver would have seen her much earlier and taken avoiding action.

This very much looks like a failure of the car's detection systems, and not an unavoidable accident.

User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

Alister Silver badge

Re: Feeling Old...

...we attached a CD ROM to one of the (3?) interface options. Panasonic, Soundblaster and.....? Not IDE but can't recall the third one. Any one remember?


Alister Silver badge

Re: Feeling Old...

Kids these days don't understand that we used to have to buy a card specifically to get sound out of a computer,

And a card to connect the networking!

Who remembers the joys of setting jumpers on a 3Com Etherlink card to get the IRQ and base address set correctly.

Zucker for history: What I learnt about Facebook 600 years ago

Alister Silver badge

Damn, you beat me too it, I was going to say it was used by pTerry in GP as well.

The way Moist inserts his "accusation from the ghosts" onto the clacks from Reacher Gilt is very similar.

Mozilla pulls ads from Facebook after spat over privacy controls

Alister Silver badge

Re: Advertising is borderline scamming per definition

If you don't want your data to be sold by 3rd parties then... well, here's a weird idea: How about not placing it online in the first place?

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, it doesn't work like that. If your friends, family or work colleagues have a social media account, then the chances are your details will be sucked up as well through their accounts.

F-35B Block 4 software upgrades will cost Britain £345m

Alister Silver badge

Re: @Alister

Ah right, thanks.

I think I saw that, too. Ironic that the stated aim of the program was to reduce costs, as you say.

Alister Silver badge

Do you mean the next-gen after the F35, or the competition which lead to the F35?

Programming languages can be hard to grasp for non-English speakers. Step forward, Bato: A Ruby port for Filipinos

Alister Silver badge

Yorkshire coding

#include yorkshire.h

int main()


for (aint a = 0; a > 10; ++a)

while (nobbut middlin) {

std::cout << 'Ow much?';


const bool Gi_us_a_butty = b'aint likely;

return 0;


Fancy a viaduct? We have a wrought Victorian iron marvel to sell you

Alister Silver badge

Re: Just up the road...

I wish they'd turn the Monsal Trail back into a proper railway or hand it over to Peak Rail

Sadly, too many vested interests, not least the Duke of Rutland, who, like his father, cannot see the benefits that the railway would bring to Haddon.

And frankly, the current idea of having dual use through the tunnels just shows how out of touch the planners are - how can you put cyclists/walkers and steam locomotives in the same tunnel?

Symantec cert holdout sites told: Those Google Chrome warnings are not a good look

Alister Silver badge

Specific Certificate Authorities

Maybe instead of just quoting "Symantec" it would be useful to mention the actual root CAs that this impacts?

So, if you have an SSL certificate issued by any of the following, you need to get a new one:

Thawte, VeriSign, Equifax, GeoTrust and RapidSSL.

Oh bucket! Unpack the suitcases. TRAPPIST-1 planets too wet to support life

Alister Silver badge

(Remember earth is only a fraction of a percent of water. If you were looking at it through a telescope, you'd probably write off the water as an error and conclude it was as dry as mars.)

Given that looking through a telescope at Earth you see a mostly green and blue planet, I doubt that you could conclude that.

Space, the final blunt-tier: Binary system ejected huge 'spliff' asteroid, boffins reckon

Alister Silver badge

Re: Cringe with shame

Pun's are mean't to make you groan...

As are greengrocer's apostrophes...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Cringe with shame


You obviously don't appreciate the type of adolescent humour practised by The Reg, so why don't you just stop winging about it and go away?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Hi, my name is...my name is.. Oumuamua

I assumed it was pronounced "Yo Mamma"

I read it as Ooh Mwah Mwah

Cluster-f*ck! Etcd DBs spaff passwords, cloud keys to world by default

Alister Silver badge

Re: exposed by default

I suggest you change your cloud provider.

Neither AWS nor Azure allow open ports to a new VM, you have to configure a security policy to allow traffic.

Alister Silver badge

Re: The etcd community provides multiple guides on proper security

If it isn't secure by default, it isn't secure.

...and if it is secure by default, thousands of idiot developers will consciously and deliberately turn off the defaults anyway... See Amazon EC3 containers.

Leading by example: UK.gov's secure server setup is patchy at best

Alister Silver badge

Re: Would you please stop misleading articles like this?

Agreed, and quoting Scott Helmes' site results means nothing either, as the majority of websites don't support all the HTTP Headers he suggests are necessary for an "A".

www.google.co.uk... "D"

www.ebay.co.uk... "C"

www.theregister.co.uk... "F"

It's an arbitrary mark which doesn't reflect real world practice.

Alister Silver badge

Birmingham is an "A" now

SSL Report: www.birmingham.gov.uk (

Assessed on: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 13:49:35 UTC

Overall Rating


Alister Silver badge


All you are seeing there is that the www.midsuffolk.gov.uk site is not meant to be browsed by HTTPS, it's an HTTP site, hosted on a server which happens to have an old self-signed certificate on it.

if you browse to http://www.midsuffolk.gov.uk then it works fine.

You must be yolking: English pub to launch eggstravagent Yorkshire pudding

Alister Silver badge

Remind me again, just exactly where is Robin Hood Airport? :-p


Which is north of Sheffield...

Brexit in spaaaace! At T-1 year and counting: UK politicos ponder impact

Alister Silver badge

Re: Meh


It is precisely your attitude which has meant that a large number of scientific and technological advances which were originally conceived in Britain have had to go elsewhere to find the funding to progress from "interesting theory" to "commercial success".

Whois? More like WHOWAS: Domain database on verge of collapse over EU privacy

Alister Silver badge

On the other side of the equation, civil society groups were actually happy with the idea of anonymized email addresses, noting that it would "go a long way to reducing spam and harassment that end-users face."

This again is an issue only due to ICANN's decision to try and monetize the data they hold.

Up untill a few years ago, it wasn't worth the effort for a spammer to manually trawl through whois records for email addresses, and the level of spam to my admin email accounts for our domains was minimal.

However, then ICANN decided to publicise a list of any changes to whois records or domain registrations, including contact details, and now, I get over 100 emails a week offering me SEO services or "Build You a website" or other shit.

The abuse and domain admin emails for domain registrations should not be obscured, they should be readliy available to anyone who needs to look them up using the whois system.

But they shouldn't be published as an easily farmable list, everytime there's a change in any domain registration, and that's what is happening now.

Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

Alister Silver badge

Re: Irrelevant

You can work a low orbit satellite from the ground with a decent antenna on a handheld 5 watt transmitter using UHF. The trick is finding a vehicle that you can use to help. A small handheld yagi should also do.

Yes, but In the context of commercial space travel, talking to spacecraft outside the moon's orbit, that's not relevant.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Irrelevant

Eventually we will move on to everything being cabled/fibre except for local very low power (WiFi, Bluetooth)


Aircraft comms will be by trailing a fibre link round with them? same for ships? Links to satellites? And if we start to have a commercial space presence, then all the spacecraft will have a fibre link?

Ship to shore and shore to ship using satellites, and air to ground, and space to ground, can be by relatively low power directional beams, but ground to air and ground to spacecraft will still have to be broadcast. And then there's radar.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Not useful

Why we think we'll be broadcasting *anything* 100 years from now is a mystery to me.

That's a very limited view.

If we do start to become a space-faring civilisation, even if only within the bounds of our solar system, then we will have to begin with some form of radio communication between planets and spacecraft.

Elon Musk invents bus stop, waits for applause, internet LOLs

Alister Silver badge

Re: I suspect you're not thinking like a futureologist!

Isaac Asimov thought of it in 1954 - Caves of Steel being the tome that you are seeking, in which our heroes "ride the conveyors" that sequentially accelerate people up to train speed.

Also "The Roads must Roll" by Heinlein.

UK digi minister Hancock suggests Facebook and pals give your kids a time-out

Alister Silver badge

Hancock said the limits would be enforced using a new legal requirement for social media companies to ensure that anyone setting up profiles is aged above 13.

Nice of him to leave the details of how they could possibly do that to the social media companies to sort out. Because of course every 13 year old has irrefutable proof of age, and nobody lies on the internet.

DVLA denies driving licence processing site is a security 'car crash'

Alister Silver badge

PCI-DSS is the credit card industry's security standard. Anyone who handles credit card payments is obliged to comply with its requirement.

Does the DVLA site actually handle credit card payments? My recollection is it hands you off to SagePay or somebody for that process?

Bots don't spread fake news on Twitter, people do, say MIT eggheads

Alister Silver badge

Re: Basically falshood is like candy and burgers. Designed to be very appealing

IE it's an infectious meme.

Sorry, I misread that as "IE is an infectious meme"

Does Parliament or Google decide when your criminal past is forgotten?

Alister Silver badge

Re: If this goes against Google

Presumably every website and library, etc. will have to go and delete every single crime report older than x years, and then on an ongoing basis.

Well no, I don't think so, as they can legitimately claim journalistic exemption, unlike Google, who can't.

The problem with this, and similar cases, is that government, judiciary and individuals all seem to think that forcing Google to delist search results is the same as removing the content from the web.

It isn't, and they should be going after the sources of the content, and not Google.

Incidentally, why don't cases like this challenge other search engines? I know Google is by far the most common, but even if Google loses this case and has to delist the references to NT1, they'll still be available on Bing, Baidu and so on.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Things can and do come back to haunt you


So where does Google get the reference to your D&D conviction from?

Maybe instead of whinging about Google, you should get the original source to remove it?

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm with Google here...

I tend to agree with you. At the end of the day, Google searches do not create web content, they just link to sources of it.

If the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not require newspapers to remove the historical reports of the offence, then why should Google not link to it?

Maybe the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act should be updated to include rules on how to handle News content published online.

FBI chief asks tech industry to build crypto-busting not-a-backdoor

Alister Silver badge

Re: He's right, but no one here will accept it


What you appear to be missing is that any change to a new improved law enforcement friendly cryptography will just be ignored or bypassed by criminals and terrorists.

It would be far better to get that message across to law enforcement and governments, than to try and put in place something which won't work.

Pasties in SPAAAAACE: Cornwall hopes for slice of £50m spaceport cash

Alister Silver badge

HMS Camden Lock

Looking forward to them spreading the word to alien races about the exciting new development opportunities offered by Cornwall, Peterborough, and Slough.

10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

Alister Silver badge

Re: Over 40 and used one of these?

I bought the Zylog Z80 Programming Manual, with MY OWN money, on the strength of having a ZX81, and taught myself assembler.

Unfortunately, when I started college 6 months later, all the Computing courses were done on Rockwell AIM65 machines, so I had to start again...

UK.gov cooks up code of conduct to enforce a smidge of security on Internet of S**t kit

Alister Silver badge

See that stable door?

The one flapping about, with no horse inside?

Just close it, will you?

ESA builds air-breathing engine that works in space

Alister Silver badge

Does this work in a similar way to SABRE?

Ah, after reading how SABRE works, the answer is no.

As you were...

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019