* Posts by Alister

3266 posts • joined 19 May 2010

UK white hats blacklisted by Cisco Talos after smart security code stumbles

Alister Silver badge

surely better terms that are neutral can be found

Go on then, suggest some?

Not everything has racist connotations, unless you deliberately choose to be offended.

If I'm playing snooker, and I pot the black, that's not racist, is it, or should we perhaps look at renaming the ball?

Virgin Galactic test flight reaches space for the first time, lugging NASA cargo in place of tourists

Alister Silver badge

Re: Talking cargo

"Self-loading Freight" is the phrase I'm most familiar with.

Godmother of word processing Evelyn Berezin dies at 93

Alister Silver badge

Only if you changed all the levers...

'Exclusive swag' up for grabs as GitLab flings bug bounty scheme open to world+dog

Alister Silver badge

My perception is that they are a lot more sickly sweet than they used to be.

I find a standard sized bar is more than I want to eat, nowadays, although I do still enjoy the bite-size ones.

Huawei exec out of jail, just as US accuses China of Marriott hack

Alister Silver badge

Re: So...

and therefore the fraud charge is real.

See, as a I understand it, the US are trying to extradite a Chinese National who is the CFO of a Chinese company who sold Chinese technology to Iran through a Hong-Kong subsidy, to face charges of breaking a US trade sanction.

And my question is, what the fuck has it got to do with the USA?

Latest Google+ flaw leads Chocolate Factory to shut down site early

Alister Silver badge

Re: Google+ shutdown

but as they found out, you can lead a horse to water,

but a pencil must be lead.


Waymo presents ChauffeurNet, a neural net designed to copy human driving

Alister Silver badge

Re: Simple questions

In the UK, at least from a legal perspective, the red light overrules the desire of the emergency services to get past you.

However, that's not quite what the AC posted. In the UK, you may pass a red light under the direct orders of a Police Officer.

Doom at 25: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Alister Silver badge

Re: Music


No Contest!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Flickering fluorescent lights

And that door-opening sound?


It's unmistakeable, even after all these years. I was watching a Sci-Fi program recently where I'm pretty sure they ripped off the Doom door opening, and I recognised it straight away.

The other thing that sticks is the music, I remember downloading the midi files 'cos I liked them so much.

China on its way to becoming the first nation to land on the far side of the Moon

Alister Silver badge

Re: Optional

Yep, the only reason they found it was because they were doing a luna-magnetic survey.

There's a reason it was called Tycho Magnetic Anomaly One.

Dine crime: Chippy sells deep fried Xmas dinner

Alister Silver badge

From my recollections of changing my kids' nappies, they needed no encouragement or specific dietary additions to produce a contents which warranted full HAZMAT protocols to be enacted, and a 20 mile exclusion zone.

Alister Silver badge

There are those who quite rightly hate them, and those whose tastebuds checked out years ago.

Lol, no editorial bias on show here... :)

It's a, it's a, it's a SYN flood: Quick, ditch that packet

Alister Silver badge

DDoSes don't bother with such tricks anymore

Really? I wish you'd tell that to the bastards who are currently sending > 1GB/s of SYN packets at one of my networks.

Ecuador says 'yes' to Assange 'freedom' deal, but Julian says 'nyet'

Alister Silver badge


It's really sad that you are so deluded that you think that all the many posts on here deriding Assange are just astroturfing.

You only need to look at the posting histories to see that this is not the case, unless you are so paranoid that you think the posting histories are a carefully maintained fiction as well?

We get it, you think the sun shines out of St Julian's arse.

Some of us, however, have a more balanced view.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Assange is a political prisoner, in the United Kingdom, end of


Cue, not Queue.

BOFH: State of a job, eh? Roll the Endless Requests for Further Information protocol

Alister Silver badge

Re: Speaking of confusion.....

You're not fooling me, number 6!

Reminds me of the bloke running a boating lake, he had a megaphone to call in the people who had had their alloted time...

"Number six, you're time is up"

"Number six, please come in now, you're time is up"

"Number six, come back in!"


"Number nine, are you in trouble?"


MAMR Mia – it's not just WD: Toshiba's popped to the microwave too

Alister Silver badge

We understand microwave electro-magnetic radiation has frequencies and wavelengths between 1mm and 1m, and frequencies between 300GHz (1mm wave length) and 300MHz (1m).

Curious, I've never considered the 70cm band (432MHz) to be microwave.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

Alister Silver badge

Re: Risk assessment

If bear spray is not very toxic than why were 24 people hospitalised, one described as being in "critical condition"?

Because it's an extreme irritant, especially to the respiratory system. It is not, however, Toxic. It is not a poison.

Alister Silver badge

Re: The machines were just trying to share!

I first parsed that as "Bears & hot peppers are a normal part of the diet here at Chez jake."

But I suppose bear steak is something you've eaten, anyway.

Peak tech! Bacon vending machine signals apex of human invention

Alister Silver badge

Re: Neither

Australian bacon rules...oi, oi, oi

Welsh Bacon is best... Hoggy, Hoggy, Hoggy, OI, OI OI!


Forget ripping off brains for AI. Butterflies and worms could lead us to self-repairing intelligent robots, says prof

Alister Silver badge

"This animal shows that behaviour and we have no real idea of how that happens, except that it seems to be inbuilt".

Thank you. After posting my comment I had that exact thought. It's very easy to say something is an instinct but actually it mostly, as you say, means we don't know where it comes from.

And that begs the wider question of how, and why, organisms manage to expand, modify and store behaviour over generations, or through metamorphoses as in this case.

I would say though, that to call this "intelligence" is a bit of a stretch.

Alister Silver badge

During the whole metamorphosis process, the memories of the caterpillar remain intact and are transferred to the butterfly. “Things that the caterpillar has learned, the butterfly still remembers,” Levin explained.

Is there actually any proof of this at all, or is it just anthropomorphising something which is an innate instinct?

Expired cert... Really? #O2down meltdown shows we should fear bungles and bugs more than hackers

Alister Silver badge

Re: Was this

Lessons learned of course

Not sure which of the lessons from the 2012 outage would be applicable to yesterday's situation?

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Alister Silver badge

I reckon they were trying to remove all the Huawei kit from their backhaul on the quiet...

Customers baffled as Citrix forces password changes for document-slinging Sharefile outfit

Alister Silver badge

Citrix did not say how frequently users will be required to change out their passwords

What's wrong with "change"? Where does the "out" come from?

Tumblr resorts to AI in attempt to scrub itself clean from filth

Alister Silver badge

antic statues

Are they the ones that get up to stuff when nobody's looking?

Van Clomp's The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies is Art I tell you, Art!

Three become six as new 'nauts arrive for a visit to the ISS

Alister Silver badge

Re: Still find it amazing

Sorry FEers but as that picture shows, it's very clearly round.

It's just a disk...

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

Alister Silver badge

Re: Well, who'd have thought it?


I don't know why THIS rag has a bunch of Left wing morons on it .. perhaps you're just young, who knows.

In what universe is it a Left Wing thing to support Theresa May? She's a Right Wing politician FFS.

The EU is ALL about Germany and France .. that's why over the past 40 years you've seen manufacturing leave the UK in the MILLIONS of jobs.

No, over the past 40 years, various flavours of UK government have systematicaly destroyed most of the manufacturing industries all by themselves. And had it not been for certain protections offered by EU employment law, they'd have removed most ordinary workers rights completely.

It makes no difference whether May voted to leave or remain, not even the most rabid remainer could have made much difference to the way this is turning out.

Excuses, excuses: Furious MPs probe banking TITSUPs*

Alister Silver badge

Re: Motes and beams


Nice rant!

Are there off-site backups for this data? Don't be silly, it would be really expensive to do that, and nothing bad will ever happen to it, because nothing bad ever has happened, and, um, sparkly unicorns or is it glitter elves, I forget.

I Lol'd.

Laptop search unravels scheme to fake death for insurance cash

Alister Silver badge

Re: "nice prosumer Canon camera."


I often find reading the story first most illuminating.

I find reading the story and understanding its contents even more illuminating, as it prevents one making crass and inaccurate comments later...


Igor staged his death in Moldova by arranging for the corpse of an unknown person to be placed between two bushes at the entrance of the Cojusna village in Moldova and placing in the clothes of the corpse lgor's passport and other identification documents

Alister Silver badge

Re: "nice prosumer Canon camera."

But who was the unidentified body?

Yes I thought that - surely it must be some sort of crime to obtain a dead body in the first place, even in Moldova

Pasta-covered cat leads to kid night operator taking apart the mainframe

Alister Silver badge

Screwdriver? Try a spanner!

Whilst working as a fresh-from-school apprentice in a telephone exchange, I was tasked with helping to wire up an additional selector rack in a Strowger exchange.

The rack was already in place and powered by the 50V DC feed through two hefty copper busbars about 4 inches apart. The busbars were plastic clad, apart from the ends near the rack where terminations were made.

The individual wiring to all the selectors was carried on open steel cable trays mounted above and to the side of the busbars, and these cable trays were bolted together by M10 nuts and bolts.

So who do you think it was who managed to drop his 10mm spanner neatly across the bare ends of the live and return busbars then?

The equipment room went strangely quiet, as all the selectors stopped chattering, and the spanner glowed gently, and then brighter, and brighter, and then melted gently in the middle, and all the equipment sprang back into life, followed by the clang of alarm bells and the flashing of warning lights.

I carefully climbed down the ladder from near the ceiling, and went and owned up to the T.O.

I wasn't sacked on the spot, just lectured on the importance of caring for my tools...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Got to love undocumented fixes

how did it get to the point of having the printer stripped to components (i.e. who authorised it?)

Initiative - not always the right thing...

Bordeaux-no! Wine guzzling at UK.gov events rises 20%

Alister Silver badge

so you might say there's been something of a Cabernet reshuffle.

You should burn in hell for that...


Analogue radio is the tech that just won't die

Alister Silver badge

It's not so much the audio quality that bothers me, it's the inconsistent signal.

Using a DAB radio at a friend's house, which is situated on top of a hill, with line of sight to the nearest transmitter, we still get regular signal dropouts. I would imagine it's unusable in a car round here.

Is this push for DAB just so they can sell off the radio spectrum, or is there actually a sound technological reason to use it?

Black Friday? Yes, tech vendors might be feeling a bit glum looking at numbers for the UK

Alister Silver badge

It's worse than Christmas...

So my understanding is that Black Friday originated in the US as the day after Thanksgiving - essentially their equivalent of Boxing Day.

However, here in Blighty, retailers have tried to co-opt this as yet another sales opportunity.

Only as usual, they can't leave well alone, and what started as a single day of sales, has somehow morphed into Black Friday Week, and then Black Friday Month.

Is it any wonder then that the public, in general, have gone MEH!

Behold, the world's most popular programming language – and it is...wait, er, YAML?!?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Yet another

2001 is recent? Nearly two decades ago?

Oh my, is it really? It only seems like five minutes ago that 2001 was the bright shiny future we were all looking forward to.

The icon is for grumpy old bastard...

Alister Silver badge

Re: until very recently


Dear gods is it that old?

I was just looking at it only the other day thinking "stupid new-fangled rubbish"...

Now I really feel old and grumpy.


Alister Silver badge

Re: Miss the point much?


Just because yaml.org have tried to rewrite history doesn't make it true.

When it was first introduced, YAML was indeed Yet Another Markup Language, and not the pretentious self referential bollocks they are now claiming in an effort to make it a look like legitimate programming language.

Alister Silver badge

The world's most popular programming language, according to devops biz Datree.io at least, it not Java, JavaScript, nor Python. Rather, it's YAML

<Cough> Bollocks </cough>

Oh, I'm sorry, did I type that out loud?

Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship

Alister Silver badge

Re: Starship

If he'd stuck with names from Ian Banks novels, he could have had: "Prosthetic Conscience" or "So Much For Subtlety" either of which sum up Mr Musk, I thought.

Vision Direct 'fesses up to hack that exposed customer names, payment cards

Alister Silver badge

Having a good score on securityheaders.io does not mean your system is secure (e.g. unpatched CVEs, insecure server config, etc) but having a bad score does tend to indicate that the devs are probably not paying attention to best practices

That's nonsense, it simply means that the devs haven't implemented all the headers that Scott feels should be there - two of which, by the way are still very much experimental, but he still marks you down for.

You might notice that www.google.com only scores a "C" on Scott's site, but that doesn't mean they are shoddy or third rate, it just means they've chosen not to implement CSPs etc.

if they haven't bothered to set CSPs or the HSTS header (on an e-commerce site which should be all-HTTPS all-the-time)

The HSTS header serves no useful purpose if your site / server only responds on HTTPS, and has no HTTP bindings.

As for Content Security Policies, they are fine if you control all of the content appearing on the site.

However in practice, if the site is hosted by one company, on behalf of the client (in this case Vision Direct) and the client regularly employs SEO consultants who change their minds every 3 months, or the client wants to generate Ad revenue, then you end up with a site full of javascript from multiple domains, none of which you have control over.

It becomes impossible to create CSPs that don't inadvertently break one or other tag manager, tracking pixel or whatever.

I'm not advocating that this is right or proper, but it is the reality of hosting e-commerce sites on behalf of third parties.

It would be great if we could dictate to clients that they must only use content providers we approve, or not use third-party script etc, but we wouldn't have a business for very long if we did that.

Alister Silver badge

As always with PCI, if there are compensatory controls in place and documented, then it can be PCI compliant.

One of our environments has to still support TLS1.0, because a high percentage of the clients connect using it, and we have no control over the clients.

That's why I said it would be a business decision. If turning off TLS1.0 breaks your site for 40% of it's users, then you don't do it. It is entered on the risk register, and the QSA will sign it off.

Alister Silver badge

however they had completely inadequate security against an attack like this and were not following PCI best (required?) practice.

That's rather a large assumption to make based on Scott Helms' IO headers site, which is mostly bollocks.

If you use htbridge.com or ssllabs.com then the site scores an "A" in both cases, and if you look at visiondirect.co.uk it scores "A+" even though it still supports TLS1.0 - which is probably a commercial decision.

Alister Silver badge

Should have gone to SpecSavers

Well someone had to say it...

Using a free VPN? Why not skip the middleman and just send your data to President Xi?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Just use Tor.

There are many cases where hostile sites block Tor exit nodes

That's probably because a high percentage of the traffic coming from Tor exit nodes is malicious.

Britain may not be able to fend off a determined cyber-attack, MPs warn

Alister Silver badge

They wouldn't have to invest so heavily in "cyber" security if they hadn't systematically pushed the utility companies into using the Internet for their critical infrastructure.

Time was when electricity, gas, water, railways, nuclear etc, etc used private circuits to do all their internal telemetry and monitoring over, and you would have had to work quite hard to break into them.

Finally a platform for train puns: IBM Halt station derailed

Alister Silver badge

There's some great place names in that song.

"At Chorlton-cum-Hardy or Chester-le-Street"

Alister Silver badge

@ Ian Johnston

Well going by that list, most of Wales and the Highlands of Scotland should have their rail services discontinued as well...

Shhhh, don't give them ideas!

Alister Silver badge

So it will no longer be IBM's Platform-as-a-Service...

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019