* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

Alister Silver badge

Is there any chance that the successful applicant could proofread an article or two, as part of their duties?

FireEye pulls Equifax boasts as it tries to handle hack fallout

Alister Silver badge

Early indications are that hackers failed to go even deeper and access Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.

Well why would they? They'd already got all the useful stuff!

I don't think they'd be particulalry interested in personal or commercial credit scores, they're not much use to a criminal compared to the names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers etc which they did get.

The bigger the drone, the bigger the impact

Alister Silver badge

Rather than using Drones, I would have thought that your Papua New Guinea example was a prime example of where cargo-carrying airships could be used to advantage. Their lifting capacity and power-to-weight ratio is far more suited to moving bulk produce around in the absence of roads, than any sort of helicopter type drone.

Scotiabank internet whizzkids screw up their HTTPS security certs

Alister Silver badge

If, as surmised above, the site is designed to be served over HTTP, then why would you bother monitoring it over HTTPS, or bothering about an expired SSL cert on the server?

A case can be made that the site shouldn't respond at all on 443, but if the server has other sites on HTTPS then it's easy to overlook.

Alister Silver badge

Re: I would point the finger at the web hosting company first.

I'm not even convinced it is an HTTPS enabled website

I agree. I think the site is meant to be served by HTTP, and if you request it using HTTPS it's just returning the default SSL cert on the server.

User demanded PC be moved to move to a sunny desk – because it needed Windows

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Re: Urban legend fail. (was: PC fail)

Sorry Jake, but the case I dealt with was in a woman's vagina, and also, in England, where medics don't routinely publicise their cases.

Alister Silver badge

Re: PC fail

As for the gerbil, I googled the term, is it like .... an animal, of the mouse family

Yep, think dormouse or hamster - roughly similar in size.

It was apparently alive when introduced into a lady's love-tunnel, however it quickly became distressed, and eventually suffocated...

Alister Silver badge

Re: PC fail

No homophobia here please.

Oh purleeese! There is no homophobia present in the sentence you quoted.

In a previous job as a medical professional I had to assist with the removal of a number of unexpected items from bodily orifices of both male and female patients, including a champagne cork, a gerbil, a gear-lever knob, and the business end of a toilet-brush.

Surprising nobody, lawyers line up to sue the crap out of Equifax

Alister Silver badge

Class action waiver and arbitration

Interestingly, if you read the whole of the TrustedID agreement, there is this paragraph tucked away at the bottom:

If, however, the class action waiver provisions in the “Arbitration” section are found to be illegal or unenforceable, then the entire arbitration provision in the “Arbitration” section will be unenforceable, and any Claims (as defined in the “Arbitration” section) will instead be decided by a court.

Stuff the movement of celestial spheres, let's sit down and watch Bonnie Tyler on TV

Alister Silver badge

Re: Sheer Heart attack

as well as Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive, chest compressions can be done to Queen's Another One Bites The Dust, but it gets embarrassing if you start singing it out loud...

Stand up who HASN'T been hit in the Equifax mega-hack – whoa, whoa, sit down everyone

Alister Silver badge

Re: "children are not encouraged to read any more"

@ m-k.

Yes, I think you are right that reading for enjoyment is not a thing for kids nowadays.

One thing that we did with our kids to try and encourage them to look things up was to buy a book of quizzes, (and latterly use those available in phone apps or on the web).

At meal-times we would all have a go at them - all sorts of subjects, from history to boy-bands (shudder) - but it made it fun for the kids 'cos they could laugh at us adults lack of knowledge, and get a feeling of pride when they got something correct.

As a consequence, the kids now have minds full of all sorts of useless information :) but it does encourage them to take an interest in obscure subjects, and above all to enquire, instead of following the trend of only knowing things they absolutely need to to get through school.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "offering every US citizen a year's free identity theft monitoring for those who apply"


I agree wholeheartedly, it really grates on me to see loose... AARGH.

But the problem, as far as I can see is that children are not encouraged to read any more, which is the quickest and best way to promote correct spelling.

My daughter was reading books from an early age, and therefore her vocabulary and spelling are much better than most of her peers.

If you've never seen the words written down, then phonetic errors like this are bound to be more and more common.

SpaceX sneaks in X-37B space plane launch ahead of Hurricane Irma

Alister Silver badge

A beer for all concerned, all who are interested and anyone who is thirsty.....

That might end up being a costly round...

UK.gov launches 'co-ordination hub' for driverless car industry

Alister Silver badge

That's that place in Slice in the Ramptops, isn't it?

Wonder why Congress doesn't clamp down on its gung-ho spies? Well, wonder no more

Alister Silver badge

got some much-needed sunlight shined on it.

Shone, surely?

Scottish pensioners rage at Virgin cabinet blocking their view

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Re: Smacks of this

I resemble those remarks ! Im being quoted out of context!

Quick! Quote some poetry at him!

A furious think-tank boss, Google, and an academic 'fired' for criticizing ads giant

Alister Silver badge

Ooh! Almost a Tom Swifty

"The blanket claim that the entire story was 'false' contributes to the kind of degradation of our national discourse that I often publicly lament," she lamented.

You snuck that one in :)

France to tack weapons onto spy drones – reports

Alister Silver badge

taking AA batteries out with Hellfire missiles.

I usually use a screwdriver, myself. But I've heard the new Duracell can be difficult?

Alister Silver badge

Re: "though she did not specify precisely what weapons"

Hyper-velocity cheese, I would have assumed.

Well if we're going down the traditional Python route...

They'll be fitted with auto-unfurling white flags.

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

Alister Silver badge

Re: Moron

Now who could play the lead?

Rick Moronis, of course...

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

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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

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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.

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