* Posts by Alister

3263 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Brit firms warned over hidden costs of wiping data squeaky clean before privacy rules hit

Alister Silver badge

None of the best practices quoted in the article are of any use in complying with the GDPR's requirement to allow the complete removal of all data relating to an individual, unless that individual's data is all located on a single physical drive, which is highly unlikely.

It is therefore impossible to follow best practice in order to comply with the directive, and in practical terms it would require multipass overwriting of portions of databases, and sections of backups, without disrupting the integrity of the rest of the data, the technology for which is not readily available at present.

UK.gov cloud fave Amazon comes under fire for tax bill

Alister Silver badge

he Home Office is currently using an external cloud provider and is intending to move the platform to an in-house Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution, said the firm in a tender notice.

What the hell does that mean? If it's hosted by Amazon it can't be "in-house", they are "an external cloud provider".

Cancel the farewell party. Get back to work. That asteroid isn't going to hit Earth in October

Alister Silver badge

Apparently Malcolm Turnbull released the following statement:

"The laws of orbital mechanics are very commendable, but here in Australia, we follow the laws of Australia"

So that's alright then!

We'll deliver 'in a few weeks' says troubled ZX Spectrum reboot firm

Alister Silver badge

I'm glad to see that they are so keen on proving the authenticity of the Spectrum, that they are prepared to faithfully reproduce the production and delivery delays of the original...

IBM Cloud turns TLS 1.0 off and then turns it on again

Alister Silver badge

Re: PCI is partly to blame

I guess next time when you need services, you will stay clear of ATOS, then, right ?

Yeah, like it's that simple.

The client, for whom we are providing our own software and services, have a relationship with ATOS, who provide them services, and we are tasked to provide an interface between ATOS and the client.

It's not really sound business practice to go to the client and say, sorry, but we won't fulfill you 6-figure contract, because ATOS want to use TLS1.0.

Alister Silver badge

Re: PCI is partly to blame

But part of the reason that PCI allowed TLS1.0 until then is the acceptance that there is still a massive amount of legacy code out there which requires TLS1.0 and that it will take time to migrate.

Unfortunately, as you say, until the deadline has already passed, certain companies will feel no urgency about changing things.

We actually had to back down our security on an environment recently, as we were connecting to an ATOS Web service which would only negotiate using TLS1.0 and RC4 cyphers. If the likes of ATOS won't get off their bottoms and update things, how can anyone else?

Plink: Lego swaps CEO for newer piece

Alister Silver badge

A spokesman for Lego said, "He's been an absolute brick, he fitted right in, but now he's in his dotage".

NASA short-lists six candidates for future missions

Alister Silver badge

short-lists six candidates

When I saw the headline, I was hoping NASA had decided to nominate some meatbags for a human space mission.

No such luck :(

Alister Silver badge

Re: You forgot CRAPTO

Or a verb and a colour, eg "HAVE BLUE"

A colour and a noun could lead to the Blue Oyster bar if you're not careful...

TalkTalk fined £100k for exposing personal sensitive info

Alister Silver badge

...while there is no evidence that any of the data was passed on to third parties...

Excuse me?

What about this then?

The breach came to light in September 2014 when TalkTalk started getting complaints from customers that they were receiving scam calls.

Doesn't that count as evidence?

Re-identifying folks from anonymised data will be a crime in the UK

Alister Silver badge

Re: right to be forgotten

Me: "Prove it!"

Business: "I'm sorry, who are you?"

Alister Silver badge

The government is planning to impose criminal sanctions on people who intentionally re-identify individuals from data that should have protected their identities.

And what about companies and corporations who do it?

It's most unlikely that individuals will be the worst culprits.

Autonomous driving in a city? We're '95% of the way there'

Alister Silver badge

History of flight?

Timber company executive William Boeing, meanwhile, was so captivated by the sight of a flying machine in 1909 that he founded the Boeing Company in 1916, which proceeded to dominate civilian and military aircraft manufacturing.

It took 50 years for Boeing to become a major player in the aviation world, and that was driven mostly by the second World War. Prior to that they were very much a bit-part player, with little real innovation compared to their competitors.

I would question if even now they could be said to dominate military aicraft manufacturing, the vast majority of current US military aircraft are not Boeing designs.

The ultimate full English breakfast – have your SAY

Alister Silver badge

Re: Runny yokes

Geoff, I sympathise, the combination off ketchup and egg yolk is revolting to me too. However, for me the solution is simple... No Ketchup! :)

Alister Silver badge

Re: Nobody has mentioned toast.... and the Marmalade to go with it!

To me, it doesn't count as a "Full" breakfast without the toast and marm to follow it. This is accompanied by a further pint or so of tea.

Alister Silver badge

Re: This is no time for breads

The chief place for bread products in an English Breakfast are as toast, with lots of butter (just in case there's still some gaps in your arteries) and loads of Marmalade, either Orange or Three-Fruits.

The injection of the citrus element acts as a degreaser to help break down the truly life-threatening amounts of fat you have just consumed.

Alister Silver badge

Re: There has to be black pudding

Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages are surely the only choices.

Tomato sausages, they are awesome, but only available from select butchers. Once you've had tomato sausage with a breakfast, you won't want anything else.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Scrambled eggs

However, eggs are an abomination, and have no place in a decent breakfast

Oh come on GJC, how can you have a proper fried Breakfast without runny eggs to dip things in?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Proper Full English

It's called English Breakfast Tea actually. It's literally designed and named for this purpose.

Only in America, perhaps. Here in Britain, it's a choice between Tetleys, PG Tips, or supermarket own brand, well boiled, and three sugars... Builder's Tea, that's what you need.

Uneasy rest the buttocks on the iron throne. Profits plunge 14% at Sky UK and Ireland

Alister Silver badge

Say what?

The firm said a total of £504m in operating expenses had been deducted, which also included ...

the costs of corporate efficiency programmes,

So, to achieve corporate efficiency costs money, then?

Are you sure you are doing this right?

Everything you never knew about mail: The Postal Museum opens

Alister Silver badge

Do they have the "New Pie" Sorting Engine on display?

Pre-order your early-bird pre-sale product today! (Oh did we mention the shipping date has slipped AGAIN?)

Alister Silver badge


That photo is obviously fake, the flag isn't waving, and the shadows are going the wrong way...

Sysadmin Day 2017: Still time to get the beers in

Alister Silver badge

I was wondering where your coverage was. I thought for a terrible moment that you'd forgotten!

UK.gov: You can't have our drone test results because... er, security

Alister Silver badge

Re: could not find a way to launch...

Had they thought of standing in a field and flying it using its controller?

Don't be ridiculous! Why, that would be almost ... Empirical!

Government advisors don't do that sort of thing!

Confessions of an ebook eater

Alister Silver badge

One time in Foyles, I came across a half-height, arched door at the end of a row of shelves, like it was from a monastery for dwarves. I carefully re-traced my steps, and was relieved to find myself in the same universe.

I hope you left a banana as penance...

You need to assemble a crack AI team: Where do you even start?

Alister Silver badge

It seems to me that nothing that the article mentions has anything to do with "Artificial Intelligence", it's just data-mining and analysis.

I guess marketing has taken over another term and corrupted its meaning again.

Adobe will kill Flash by 2020: No more updates, support, tears, pain...

Alister Silver badge


In a scary coincidence, as I was reading this thread, I got the following email from Currys/PC World:



Alister Silver badge

Re: Why wait?

Which equipment are you referring to? Not saying there isn't such a thing, just that I've never seen it.

VMWare VCentre web client is still Flash based. :(

Got some pom-poms handy? UK.gov seeks a geography cheerleader

Alister Silver badge

Re: Other things the UK government needs to learn

Which continent the UK is in - there seems to be some confusion on that point.

Yeah, you do know that the UK isn't in (or on) a continent, don't you?

It is geographically, and soon to be politically, an island.

Alister Silver badge

UK Gov learns about hills and valleys

Apparently, outside of London, there are places with green stuff on them, which can be high up, or sometimes low down , and sometimes have wet stuff.

A UK Head of Geography position has been created to investigate this phenomenon, and prepare a report on what to do about it.

Google goes home to Cali to overturn Canada's worldwide search result ban

Alister Silver badge

Then you would be for the extradition of someone in the UK that hacked someone in the US since both are illegal in both countries. If not why.

No I wouldn't. As hacking is illegal in both countries, and the act took place in the UK (even if it was a US person that was hacked) then the UK should prosecute the offender under their own laws. This is not the same as the above case at all.

As I previously posted. If a US company made a product, and a Canadian company started selling counterfeit copies through Canadian websites, do you think that the US would be happy to just remove the links to those sites in the US, meaning that the rest of the world would still see them, and be able to buy the counterfeits?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Extra-territorial control

This isn't a piracy issue - this is an issue of a country exhibiting extra-territorial control. Canada says that a company operating in another country must do something, or more specifically CEASE from doing something, even though it is legal in that company's home country.

No, It isn't. Canada are asking that Google stop supporting an illegal counterfeiting operation by linking to their websites. Note that the counterfeiting is illegal globally, not just in Canada.

Your Saudi Arabia example is a nonsensical strawman.

Alister Silver badge

Funny how these same people that are for what Canada is doing are Against the US in the MS email spat.

Not at all, the cases are completely different. In the MS Email case, the US Justice Department is trying to circumvent existing international agreements on access to data held overseas, by leaning on Microsoft.

In the other case, Canada is asking that a seller of counterfeit products (which is illegal in both Canada and the US) be blocked from advertising their wares through Google links.

Imagine if it was the other way round, and Datalink were a Canadian company, advertising counterfeit copies of a US company's products. Would there be any outcry in the US if Google removed their links to Datalink sites globally?

Southern awarded yet another 'most moaned about rail firm' gong

Alister Silver badge

Blame them for insisting the tax-payer funding non-jobs. Blame them for going on strike in order to maintain that.

Or possibly you should read how Southern have been basing service levels on their staff having to work every off-day they have, and do double shifts as well, instead of Southern employing sufficient staff to support the service levels properly.

Alister Silver badge

If you want good trains, go to Hull

But do they run Exeter to Penzance regularly?

Creepy tech tycoons Zuck and Musk clash over AI doomsday

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Last month Zuckerberg directly denied that he was a lizard in human form.

Umm, not according to the url...


Cassini captures pieces of Saturn’s rings

Alister Silver badge

Re: precise measurement of the length of the Saturnian day continues to elude us

Pimm's o'clock!

Alister Silver badge

This prompted mission controllers to relax the shielding requirement for one orbit, in hopes of capturing ring particles”

So, they dropped the shields, then?

And thus, we find that NASA has secretly had shield technology all along!

Look out for the photon torpedoes...

Devs shun smartwatch work, gaze longingly at web-only apps again

Alister Silver badge

Unless there is a need to access functionality of the device, as part of whatever your software does, there is little point in creating a native app.

If all you are doing is providing information, or accepting user input, then a web-based app is much the better way to go, allowing you the flexibility of having it available on all devices irrespective of architecture.

Alexa, why aren't you working? No – I didn't say twerking. I, oh God...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Bah!

But can Alexa install microwave ovens?

I always though it curious than anyone would need a microwave oven installing, I mean, how hard is it to take it out of the box, dump it on the kitchen worktop and plug it in?

But hey... Money for nothing, chicks for free...

Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Alister Silver badge

Then, as a developer, the reload button is an annoying distance away from the navigation buttons causing instant and constant extra mousing around.

Um, "as a developer", you do know you can customise the toolbars such that the reload button can be next to the navigation buttons?

Snopes.com asks for bailout amid dispute over who runs the site and collects ad dollars

Alister Silver badge

Re: Rubbish notion

So, people must learn not to just trust one source, but to seek out many sources and make their own minds up.

The problem nowadays is that most of the supposedly reputable news media just copy and paste from each other, - as has been shown a number of times recently where unsubstantiated rumour has been widely disseminated as facts - so finding multiple independently verified sources of information is almost impossible.

What sort of silicon brain do you need for artificial intelligence?

Alister Silver badge

Whatever happened to RAM based neural networks like WISARD?

When I first read about them in the late eighties they seemed to show great promise for visual perception and identification, as well as iterative circuit designs and other applications, but you never hear about them nowadays.

Are we in danger of overcomplicating things by using GPUs and algorithmic solutions, because we can, and forgetting what discrete, simple circuits could do?

Reg reader turns Geek's Guides to Britain into Geek's Map of Britain

Alister Silver badge

OK, First Allied jet aircraft.

First operational allied jet aircraft?

The Gloster Whittle was the first allied jet, AFAIK

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'd have to skip the Hovercraft Museum

It's all right, they emptied them first...

UK households hit by 1.8m computer misuse offences in a year

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Incidents" or "reports of incidents"?

The kind of scenario where luser installs Apache web server, sees Apache default page or error page, and sends a very angry and incoherent complaint to Apache about having hacked them.

Oh gods, I thought I'd managed to bury that memory, but this happened to us.

We were setting up a new site on a dedicated server for a client (large well-known commercial property developer) and we hadn't yet put the bindings in place for the domain, but they managed their own DNS and had set up the A record and publicised it internally.

Cue panicked emails, then phone calls from the Digital Marketing team that they had been hacked by "The Apache" hacker collective...

Not one of them had even bothered to actually read what it says on the Apache default page:

"If you're seeing this page through a web browser, it means you have set up Apache successfully."

UK uni warns students of phishers trying to nick their tuition fees

Alister Silver badge

Re: it's thought the website was spammed out via email to these foreign students

Or have I read this wrong?

I don't think it's a directly targeted attack on individuals, just a phishing email which only foreign students would be likely to respond to.

US Homeland Sec boss has snazzy new laptop bomb scanning tech – but admits he doesn't know what it's called

Alister Silver badge

Re: CT


Computed X-Ray Tomography

They have tweaked some scanners


UK.gov snaps on rubber gloves, prepares for mandatory porn checks

Alister Silver badge

Re: Not Dark Web, but Lite Web

If the IT community don't fix the problem of children viewing porn

Why should the "IT community " (as if there is any such thing) have any responsibility for fixing the problem?

Parents should take responsibility for their children's actions, not expect either governments or tech companies to manage it for them.

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