* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

UK data watchdog's inaugural tech strategy was written with... *drumroll* Word 2010

Alister Silver badge

Re: Really?

They don't get the money, it goes elsewhere (probably treasury). My partner works for another regulator, they earn a she'd load by also offering pre-assessment advice, but they're not aloud to spend it. There budget is strictly set by government guidelines..

----------> [dies]

I really, really hope that English isn't K's first language.

'A sledgehammer to crack a nut': Charities slam UK voter ID trials

Alister Silver badge

My recollection is that I've always received a polling card through the post before a local or general election, which I've presented to the officiating officer at the polling station prior to voting.

Is this voter ID trial more about saving on printing and postage, I wonder, than it is about voter fraud?

Alister Silver badge

Alternative solutions offered – which include the use of utility bills – "are also problematic" because they lack photo ID, are easier to fake and are again inaccessible to people who don't pay bills.

And increasingly, don't exist, as more and more utility companies are offering incentives to customers to use online billing instead of paper.

Apple's new 'spaceship' HQ brings the pane for unobservant workers

Alister Silver badge

Re: Well it's obvious

And I took full advantage! :)

Can't believe the article didn't include some such comment.

Alister Silver badge

Re: That twerp who ran into a window...

Most of the birds which try to achieve take-off through my office window are wood pigeons, with the odd pheasant on occasion. Given their renowned intellectual prowess, I think the most you might expect as a response is... duh!

Alister Silver badge

Well it's obvious

Apple employees don't know how to use Windows.

Brit semiconductor tech ended up in Chinese naval railgun – report

Alister Silver badge

I'm quite sure China have been building IGBT for years, it's nonsense to suggest that acquisition of a British firm in 2008 would suddenly, magically mean they found out about something which has been around since the early 1990s.

Java EE renamed 'Jakarta EE' after Big Red brand spat

Alister Silver badge

Re: What about an anagram?

Vajazzle would be quite apt.

WordPress is now 30 per cent of the web, daylight second

Alister Silver badge

Re: So many negative waves!

Anyone who claims to be hand-coding contemporary sites today is a liar, or a fool, or has a client who is one.

What a curious statement. There are thousands, if not millions of contemporary sites out there which either don't need a CMS, or are custom built and don't use an off-the-shelf solution.

If nobody was hand-coding, as you put it, there would be no need for php developers, .NET developers, etc, they could all become Wordpress drivers.

Alister Silver badge

It could be worse...

30% of the web could be sites built using Dreamweaver or Frontpage...

US startup wheels out EU-compliant drone traffic management app

Alister Silver badge

Nice screenshot, I'm guessing the pretty red bit is over the runway, and the pretty amber bit is over the whole airfield perimeter.

But why doesn't the red and amber bit extend beyond the physical confines of the runway so that approach and departure are protected?

US Navy gives Lockheed Martin $150m big frickin' laser cannon contract

Alister Silver badge

The high-energy fiber laser

Powered by Weetabix?

Reg man wraps head in 49-inch curved monitor

Alister Silver badge

Re: Has anyone ever gone so far as to...

merge the screens of completely different machines into a seamless whole?

Not quite a seamless whole, but I use a piece of software called Synergy, which allows me to link different machines together, so my main machine has 2 monitors, one 27" widescreen immediately in front of me, and one 19" widescreen on my right, and then I have another machine with a single monitor which is on my left. Using Synergy, I can move the mouse pointer all the way from the left hand screen to the right hand screen.

When the cursor is on the left hand screen, then mouse and keyboard commands go to one machine, and when the cursor is on the centre or right hand screen mouse and keyboard commands go to the other machine. I can move files from one machine's desktop to the other just using drag and drop.

BOFH: Honourable misconduct

Alister Silver badge

Re: Funny but contrived


They are stories!

As in, made up!

Google: Class search results as journalism so we can dodge Right To Be Forgotten

Alister Silver badge

Re: Two words...

well, 50% right, anyway...

Cryptocurrencies kill people and may kill again, says Bill Gates

Alister Silver badge

Re: Worst argument ever

cash is completely untraceable.

Not true. Each bill has a unique serial number which can be traced back to where you got it from, be that an ATM, or a bank teller, or a supermarket cash-back or whatever.

It's not easy, but it's not completely untraceable.

4G found on Moon

Alister Silver badge

You are correct. Delos Harriman, his name was.

Full disclosh: Facebook to pay shareholders $35m over IPO non-disclosure claims

Alister Silver badge

I couldn't work out where dishcloths come into this story...

Ohhhh-klahoma! Where Verizon's sweeping legacy down the drain

Alister Silver badge

So, if I understand this correctly, each mobile tower / base station has a minimalist hardware footprint, and passes every transaction back to software in a data-centre for all the usual handshaking, registration, call-handling etc, is that right?

Intellisense was off and developer learned you can't code in Canadian

Alister Silver badge

Re: I've never quite understood

I have always used the H in honour

So you pronounce it hhonour?

How strange.

Alister Silver badge

Re: I've never quite understood

The H isn't silent in 'Honour' except in America

What nonsense, I've never heard it pronounced with a hard "H" ever, on either side of the Atlantic.

That microchipped e-passport you've got? US border cops still can't verify the data in it

Alister Silver badge

Re: Just a TSA anecdote

, "Dieu et mon Droit" proudly emblazoned in gold letters across the bottom of the majestic royal coat of arms.

You should have claimed to be French, that would have fooled them...

He's cheesed it! French flick pirate on the lam to swerve €80m fine, two-year stretch in the clink

Alister Silver badge

the district of Montrouge, south of Paris.

Isn't Red Mountain a brand of coffee?

Not from there though, apparently.

Bad news: 43% of login attempts 'malicious' Good news: Er, umm...

Alister Silver badge

Sorry mate.

I admit I wasn't at all sure until I looked it up.

Alister Silver badge

Sorry, Sir Spoon, but I think "past" is correct in that sentence, see here:


Alister Silver badge

As others have said I'm surprised that the quoted figure is only 43%, but then their data collection only accounts for an unrepresentative sample of the problem.

Anyone who administers internet facing servers of any kind, be they web, email or whatever, knows that a high proportion of each day's logs will be taken up with automated login attempts of one sort or another.

If at first you don't succeed, you're likely Intel: Second Spectre microcode fix emitted

Alister Silver badge

Re: So do you Spectre me to Talk?



NASA is sniffing jet fuel over Germany

Alister Silver badge

Not sure where you get "based on the DC3" from, it's got nothing in common with the DC3 apart from the manufacturer.

The DC8 fuselage is 50% wider than the DC3, and the wings bear no resemblance, being 30o swept back on the DC8.

Euro Space Agency probe begins search for guff gas on Mars

Alister Silver badge

According to the articles I had a quick skim through, on Earth, Methane that forms hydrate can be both biogenic, created by biological activity in sediments, and thermogenic, created by geological processes deeper within the earth. In thermogenic formation, the gas is formed in the same manner as natural gas…through catagenesis of kerogen. I was unable to determine, from what I found, what the relevant percentages were of biogenic to thermogenic Methane.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Hmmmm

It sounds like you are talking about Methane Hydrates, which are known to exist under permafrost layers in Arctic regions, and also under the sea floor.

UK local gov: 37 cyber attacks a minute but little mandatory training

Alister Silver badge

Email would not be stored beyond collection on it and full Erasure of email once downloaded by clients would be recommended.

This goes against all sorts of rules about data governance and audit trails for government entities.

Alister Silver badge

Reporting Cyber Crime

I wonder how many commentards who work in the UK actually know where you are supposed to report a "cyber" crime?

How many of you have heard of Action Fraud?

Just interested.

Australia joins the 'decrypt it or we'll legislate' club

Alister Silver badge

Re: Good luck...

Seriously, what are they going to do? Make mere possession of software such as Signal a criminal offence in Australia?

Yes, that's probably what they will want to do, just the same as the UK and the US and various other governments.

UK and US have already made mutterings about banning use of Tor and Telegram, so what's one more to add to the list?

Japan's Robo-Bartenders point to a golden future

Alister Silver badge

a last squirt of foam ensures the perfect head.

You always need a last squirt for good head...

Iiyama reanimates LCD cartel lawsuit corpse, swings it at Samsung

Alister Silver badge

I don't know why you got a downvote, I was going to post something similar, the article is quite confusing and ambiguous in its choice of words.

Iiyama are a maker of monitors and TVs, (not screens) and they purchased LCD panels from Samsung and others. They definitely didn't buy complete monitors.

Crunch time: Maplin in talks to sell the business

Alister Silver badge

Re: But seeing in store


Yep, I agree with you that for TVs it makes sense to go and see one working, as the price difference doesn't necessarily portray the real world performance. But why do we feel the need to to that for washing machines, dishwashers etc? It's not likely that you can see them working.

Alister Silver badge

Just musing to myself, I used to love going to Maplins to just browse the vast array of switches, resistors, capacitors and ICs which they stocked, as well as their enclosures, fans and so on.

In the days before the internet, it was somehow more satisfying to be able to do that, rather than dig through the massive mail-order catalogues that both they and RS used to produce.

Nowadays, it's very easy to buy anything you want online and have it delivered to your door, and for components, that's what I would invariably do.

Strangely though, for things which by their nature you would normally have delivered - I'm talking about domestic white goods, televisions, stuff like that, I wouldn't order them off the internet, I'd much rather go to a store and see the things in the flesh, and be able to prod and poke the real thing before ordering.

Which makes no sense, when you think about it. I mean, if you are buying a new washing machine, you can't take a basket of mixed coloureds to the store and run them through the machine, the best you can do is stare at serried ranks of different makes in the store, all new and shiny and unplugged and not working. So what's the point?

But for me, I just feel happier to go and see the thing, and order it from a store, instead of sitting at home and buying it off the web.

I'm obviously not the only one who feels like that, as the likes of Curries seem to be packed with people of all ages staring at washing machines and cookers and dishwashers and televisions. Maybe some of them go home and order it off the web afterwards, but they still feel the need to go and look at them in the flesh first.

Aren't humans weird?

Alister Silver badge

Back in my teens, Maplins were on a par with RS and Farnell for their stocks of electrical and electronic components, with the added bonus that if you lived near one of their shops you could just nip in and get what you wanted - not something you could do with the other two.

Unfortunately, in an effort to remain relevant, they've almost entirely stopped stocking the electronic components in their stores, and it's mostly overpriced consumer tat, instead.

I agree with AMBxx above, they should have moved to a purely online presence, as the others have done, and maybe they would have maintained their relevance.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Edinburgh Woollen Mill?

Damn, you beat me to it.

I was going to ask when their new lines of WiFi enabled tweed caps would be on sale.

A print button? Mmkay. Let's explore WHY you need me to add that

Alister Silver badge

Re: Why have a print button?



Alister Silver badge

Why have a print button?

Because, as noted in the article, "people" don't always use software in ways the designer expected.

Fr'instance, I have heard an anecdote where a secretary used to intercept and print out all her boss's emails, and deliver them as a stack of paper on his desk, as that was how he had always worked.

Despite all the many initiatives designed to promote a "paperless" office, it's just not going to happen, untill perhaps tablets or phablets are completely ubiquitous and software is available to allow you to annotate any file as you go.

But for now, if I'm going into a meeting, I usually print out network diagrams, gantt charts, policy documents etc so I can scribble on them as they are discussed, and so do most of my colleagues.

So, why have a print button? Because most people will use it.

*Wakes up in Chrome's post-adblockalyptic landscape* Wow, hardly anything's changed!

Alister Silver badge

The thing that advertising agencies, Amazon and Google etc, need to understand is that apart from the sheer annoyance of flashing, beeping animated shite that gets in the way of content I might want to look at, their current algorithms are designed to look at an individual's purchasing history, browsing history, etc, and then offer ads FOR THINGS YOU JUST BOUGHT!

If I've just bought a left-handed dribblepocket, then the chances are I DON'T WANT ANOTHER ONE!

Mueller bombshell: 13 Russian 'troll factory' staffers charged with allegedly meddling in US presidential election

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm Confused Still

> to which warning the FBI paid (apparently) no heed.

That's not even English.

It is actually perfectly good English, just maybe not readable by an American.

Helicopter crashes after manoeuvres to 'avoid... DJI Phantom drone'

Alister Silver badge

Re: It's time...

To be fair, the incident happened in America, not the UK

Alister Silver badge

Re: It's time...

The helicopter in question was at 50ft and practising ground hover taxiing, are you suggesting that it had filed a Flight Plan for that?

Alister Silver badge

Re: It's time...

It's happening weekly at Heathrow.

Would you care to provide some sort of evidence for that assertion? Or shall we add it to the pink unicorn tally mentioned by A/C above.

Robot cars will kill London jobs – but only from 2030, say politicans

Alister Silver badge

Re: A lot of 'hot air'


The UK still has electric trams, in Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham and Tyne & Wear to name just a few successful implementations, why can't London?

Alister Silver badge

I notice that the Oxbotica "self-driving" delivery vehicle has two human occupants for safety.

I also notice that (from the marked compartments on the sides) it can apparently only carry items for a maximum of 8 different destinations.

In the rush to adopt autonomous delivery vehicles, scant regard has been paid to the necessary changes in social behaviour required to make it work.

There will be no more "home delivery", as there is no way for the vehicle to place packages on or in the recipient's property - and no more post through the letterbox.

Instead, householders will have to fetch the delivery from the vehicle themselves - not practicable if you are out at work - or arrange to pick up the delivery from an agreed holding point, in which case there's no need for the delivery vehicle anyway.

PCI Council and X9 Committee to combine PIN security standards

Alister Silver badge

Yep, the last stanza should be:

One ring to rule bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019