* Posts by Alister

3265 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Unable to give up on life on Mars, bio-boffins now thrilled to find boron

Alister Silver badge

Re: The chances of anything coming from Mars...

I always hear Richard Burton's dulcet tones when I read that passage.

Alister Silver badge

Re: The chances of anything coming from Mars...

If you want obscure, how about H G Wells' original, before Jeff fiddled with it?

“The chances against anything manlike on Mars are a million to one,” he said.


"No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. "

Alister Silver badge

It's a sign there may have been life on the Red Planet.

This phrase could be applied to almost any chemical element you care to name, without it actually signifying much.

Yet another AWS config fumble: Time Warner Cable exposes 4 million subscriber records

Alister Silver badge

Re: 'is it the default'...

Thank you for answering the question.

So, as I said above, the companies responsible (and in this case that would be BroadSoft, not Time Warner or Amazon) should be brought to account.

Alister Silver badge

Re: 'is it the default'...

Default or not, does it really matter ? I say No! Because decades of network access up to now says you make no assumptions... Instead you double and treble check your locks always etc... Whereas what this says, is that the rise of the cloud is being purely driven by selfish corporate cost control.

Whilst I sort of agree with your first point, I think the bigger problem is the rise of the culture where developers are encouraged to go their own way and shove their data into a convenient cloud without any consultation with the IT staff who might have had some clue about network security.

Alister Silver badge

So, genuine question, is it the default for AWS S3 databases to be publically accessible, or is this a setting that the all these companies have changed from the default?

If the former, maybe Amazon should review their default settings, if the latter, the companies involved deserve to be litigated out of business.

Australia reviews defence export controls, perhaps easing cryptography research

Alister Silver badge

Re: "exploit licenses"

or the UK mapping agency being the Ordnance (as in artillery and mortars) Survey

Um, that's exactly what they are. The Ordnance Survey was started by the Board of Ordnance (a predecessor to the Ministry of Defence) as a national military survey starting with the south coast of England.

China crackdown: VPN vendor gets prison

Alister Silver badge

Re: " ... in line with its policy of adhering to local laws."

Like in the wet markets where blood from the meat drips on to the street where fresh vegetables are being sold?

I think you are confusing "health and safety" with "hygiene", not necessarily the same thing.

Oh, and that sort of city bred do-gooding nitwittery caused our local grocers to have to stop hanging rabbits and pheasants outside their shop in case it upset the kiddiwinkies. Fuckwits.

Asteroid Florence buzzes Earth, brings two moons along for the ride

Alister Silver badge

Re: Was god a vegetarian

You say "potato" I say "asteroid" let's call the whole thing off...

Alister Silver badge

Re: only ones saved

The bible mentions 144,000 people several times.

Yes but that was when they could all fit on a single 3.5" floppy disk...

Crushed Juicero now officially a fruitless endeavor

Alister Silver badge

Re: They got squeezed

The Ave tear down of the Juicer, and this 'people juicer' comment, reminded me of the Sci-Fi short story about the Transporter System...

Which made me think of Douglas...

“I teleported home last night with Ron and Sid and Meg

Ron stole Meggy's heart away and I got Sidney's leg.”

Alister Silver badge

Re: "disgruntled investors" ?

Anybody can juice fruit by hand for next to nothing.

Or by forehead, possibly...

Google's Hollywood 'interventions' made on-screen coders cooler

Alister Silver badge

Can Google save us from this?

Nobody appears to have mentioned the trope codifier... From CSI

“I'll create a GUI interface using Visual BASIC, see if I can track an IP address"

AAaargh, Nooooooooooooooo!

Argentina eyes up laser death cannon testbed warship

Alister Silver badge

Argentina wants old American ponce

I can think of one they can have...

Why is it that geeks' favourite enemies are... other geeks?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Bikeshedding

@ Alistair

No you didn't!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Bikeshedding

No, it isn't.

Alister Silver badge

Let's kick this off then...

"EMACS would be a great operating system, if only it had a decent text editor..."

Connect at mine free Wi-Fi! I would knew what I is do! I is cafe boss!

Alister Silver badge

They keep sending me emails with pictures of 80s telephones telling me that I don't use one of them anymore so why would I use anything else from then.

Ooh, I wish they'd do that to me, I could send them back a photo of my Tele8746 in the hallway, with a message saying "wrong!"

Stephen King's scary movie reboot provokes tears from 'legit clowns'

Alister Silver badge

'If you preface your next remark with nuncle, i'faith or marry, it will go hard with you.'

Alister Silver badge

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Spawn Spawnned An Evil Clown

One of the scariest portrayals, which my daughter still refuses to watch, is Bradley Walsh in the Sarah Jane Adventures:


I never thought of him as an actor, just a gameshow host and former footballer.

Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller

Alister Silver badge

Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.


Except GP was about the THEFT of a private company from its owners - like Nationalisation.

@Aladdin Sane

Not quite. The closest comparison would be an argument against aggressive venture capitalism and asset stripping that happens to a lot of tech start ups.

It's curious how one can project one's own preconceptions onto Terry's writings.

As a Brit, I thought that GP was very much a parody of what happens when previously nationalised industries / services become prey to the pursuit of profits by private ownership, as happened / is happening to the Post Office, BT, the Railways, the NHS etc, etc in Britain.

It is not an exact analogy, of course, as the clacks was originally owned and run by the Deerhearts, but it was definitely run in the style of the old Nationalised GPO / Post Office Telephones.

As someone who worked for British Telecom just after privatisation, and then later in the NHS, there are a lot of things in GP that resonate with my experiences.

The removal of resources, the cessation of regular maintenance, and the reduction in quality of service but for higher prices, all remind me very much of what happened when the GPO became BT.

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm touched by the weirdness of this request...


Never liked the TV adaptations. No-one has found a good way of doing footnotes on TV really, nor of the linguistic punning that Pratchett excelled at.

I agree, to some extent, and I was particularly unhappy with Sky's adaptation of TCOM, but that was as much about the casting, David Jason was all wrong as Rincewind.

However, I reckon that in some ways Good Omens lends itself more to TV adaptation than perhaps Terry's mainstream works do.

Added to that, of course, is that Neil Gaiman is writing the screenplay, so is unlikely to stuff it up as much as they did with some of the others.

Alister Silver badge

Re: When there's no more magic left it's time to stop.

What a curious attitude. Would you rather he hadn't published Raising Steam, then?

In case you missed it, he was ill, and becoming progressively worse, at the time that he wrote that, and yes, it does appear more laboured than some of his earlier works, but I would still rather be able to read it, than not.

Alister Silver badge

Re: The Salmon of Doubt

It does seem weird to let the dead decide on the best course of action for those of us left behind.

Not when it's their works, and their legacy, it's not.

Would you ignore the wishes of your parents on how they are buried / cremated etc after they are gone?

Both Rob Wilkins and Rhianna have pledged that there will never be a continuation of Discworld, in accordance with Terry's wishes, and that's as it should be.

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm touched by the weirdness of this request...

I would recommend "Good Omens" (an unrelated collaboration with Neil Gaiman).

I noticed earlier this month that Good Omens is being filmed by BBC / Amazon, with Michael Sheen as Aziraphale and David Tennant as Crowley.

No news yet as to who will play Adam, Newt or Anathema, but Tennant as Crowley is an inspired choice in my view.

I would also like to put forward David Jason as Shadwell, I reckon he's made for the part...

CyberRehab's mission? To clean up the internet, one ASN block at a time

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CyberRehab wants to prove that it can establish an IP range that hackers choose to stay away from.

I'm sorry, but most hackers will see this as a challenge, rather than a deterrent.

Uber sued by Uber for tarnishing the good name of Uber

Alister Silver badge

Re: Maybe just change your name?

Actually, having the name Adolf Hitler in the 1930s was very popular with all sorts of people. From the 1940s onwards, not so much...

Best Korea fingered for hacks against Bitcoin exchanges in South

Alister Silver badge

Re: Next step: drop their routes?

My problem with these reports is that there's never a way to independently validate those conclusions - I get suspicious if these things happen to tightly fit a political narrative.

I agree that superficially it's a bit convenient to identify North Korea as the current Big Bad de-jour, (giving the Russians a rest for a bit). My first instinct is to question that.

But on the other hand, the narrative does fit, especially for the little-un's ego, that they would try and recoup some of the financial losses due to the sanctions currently imposed, and any backlash that NK might incur for the latest tomfoolery.

Kiwi prankster 'oinks' down cops' radio and sings Old MacDonald

Alister Silver badge

75MHz is still a line of sight frequency

Is it bollocks.

In Welsh forest I can get about 5 miles range between stations on 4m, even in different valleys, sometimes.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Nope.

If I was to hazard a guess I would say the perp owns a farm

Yeah, there can't be that many farm owners called MacDonald, in NZ.

'Driverless' lorry platoons will soon be on a motorway near you

Alister Silver badge

Live trials are expected to take place on Britain's "major roads" by the end of 2018, according to a government statement.

Great!, And how do they get to and from the "major roads" I wonder?

Or is the plan just to drive a troop of lorries round and round the M25 until it turns into a gateway to another dimension?

Did ROPEMAKER just unravel email security? Nah, it's likely a feature

Alister Silver badge

The longer-term fix would involve a revision of internet standards and more intelligent security controls at the network and the endpoint,

Or, STOP USING HTML in emails.

Phisherfolk dangle bait at dot-fish domain

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The sheer scale of the puns in this article leave me floundering.

British snoops at GCHQ knew FBI was going to arrest Marcus Hutchins

Alister Silver badge

Re: Or maybe they still couldn't make a case against him even with Blairs extradition law

Be interesting to see if he trusts GCHQ ever again.

I'm not sure if he'll get the opportunity to try, sadly.

Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Alister Silver badge

Re: Client support, we've heard about it


If that is the state of your job, you do need to look at options to get out of the 'tarpit' now and again to replenish your sanity and get a balanced view of the Users again. IT support grinds you down eventually !!!

Thankfully, the majority of the time, I'm not involved in user level support, and spend most of my life wrangling servers and networks, so my sanity is comparatively unscathed.

Unfortunately, when company directors are involved, I'm the mug who has to attend to their exalted needs. The bloke at issue does nothing to inspire respect.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Client support, we've heard about it

If you feel snappy all the time, then it is the time to move on: the IT support is not for you anymore.

Feeling "snappy" as you put it, is the ground state for all those who undertake IT support, a world weary cynicism, and contempt for the users, is how you survive.

You don't read the BOFH, obviously, or perhaps you think it's fiction?

Alister Silver badge

It's Outlook on a Mac.

It is nice of you to try and find him a technical excuse, but he's just not safe to be let near technology, really :) He's also the most likely member of staff to click on attachments in dodgy emails, or forget his domain password every time he logs in.

We bought him a Mac in self defense, as at least it's less likely to lead to a network wide infection when he screws up.

Alister Silver badge

One of our company directors regularly deletes important emails, and then swears blind he never touched them.

Invariably we find them in his deleted items folder, and restore them, and every time he says "well I don't know how that happened!".

No-one has yet dared to respond "because you're an idiot" out loud, but it's only a matter of time.

UK.gov is hiring IT bods with skills in ... Windows Vista?!

Alister Silver badge

Re: What does "DV cleared" mean?


She's arrived! HMS Queen Lizzie enters Portsmouth Naval Base

Alister Silver badge

Re: Photo of Admiral Sir Philip Jones' Speech

Bow = pointy bit.

Not on this ship.

Bow = sticky up wedge shaped bit...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Oh no!

and fitted (the admittedly non-existent) British Naval Connectors?

With a "T" piece and terminator on every one...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Garbage

Also where are you getting Exocets for €100K? They're normally about €3M.


Alister Silver badge

limited resources

It looks like they've only got enough crew to line one side of the deck...

Cloudflare: We dumped Daily Stormer not because they're Nazis but because they said we love Nazis

Alister Silver badge

Re: Make the internet 'goverment approved content' only

@ inmypjs

"this is a private company choosing to stop helping to host a website, because they find the content of that site offensive."

And if they found gay marriage offensive?

Newsflash! There is no law that says a private company has to host any website, whether it be White Supremacists or LGBTQI.

There are laws which make it illegal to refuse to host a site because it is LGBTQI, but that only applies if a company were stupid enough to say "we aren't hosting your site 'cos your queer".

In the absence of government censorship, what is considered socially and morally acceptable or unacceptable is decided by consensus of the majority.

Thankfully, in the US as well as most of the rest of the world, Nazism and White Supremacy are considered to be socially and morally unacceptable by the majority, whereas gay marriage is not.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Make the internet 'goverment approved content' only


please read the title that was added to the post by the OP

Alister Silver badge

Re: Make the internet 'goverment approved content' only

The thought police will decide the content allowed, and everything offensive, deviant, and against what is approved shall be removed.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. In case you missed it, this is not government censorship, this is a private company choosing to stop helping to host a website, because they find the content of that site offensive.

Everybody has the right to choose whether they want to support Daily Stormer, and that includes Go Daddy, Google and anybody else. So far, most have chosen not to.

If Daily Stormer approached my company for hosting, we would refuse. This doesn't suddenly make us part of some global conspiracy, it simply means we have exercised our right to choose what we host.

Space boffins competing for $20m Moon robot X-Prize are told: Be there by March 31 – or bust

Alister Silver badge

Does anybody, currently, have a working launch vehicle capable of reaching Moon orbit?

I can't think of one.

Ten spacecraft – from Venus Express to Voyager 2 – all tracked same solar flare

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Proper Science!

A great bit of investigation.

Och. Scottish Parliament under siege from brute-force cyber attack

Alister Silver badge

but did anyone in Scotland, ever, say the word "Jings!!"

Roddy Roy MacGregor used to say it all the time...

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