* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

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

Alister Silver badge

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.

Russia launches non-terrifying satellite that focuses Sun's solar rays onto Earth

Alister Silver badge

Re: Mayak jamming

Is it pure coincidence that the satellite is named after what became known as the USSR's Cold War era radio jamming technique?

Umm, No?

That project was also named beacon, (in Russian) to reflect how it operated.

Security robot falls into pond after failing to spot stairs or water

Alister Silver badge

Re: Roomba

At the top of the stairs was a round, rugged rug,

I apologise in advance, but:

Round and round the rugged rug, the robot Roomba roamed...

Global Switch suffers uptime blips at London Docklands DC

Alister Silver badge

They're just testing the extension to the great (fire)wall of China...

UK regulator set to ban ads depicting bumbling manchildren

Alister Silver badge

Meanwhile old Parky carries on with his ScamLife adverts....

Well he has to do something to top up his pension.

Vendors rush to call everything AI even if it isn't, or doesn't help

Alister Silver badge

Gartner Analysis = "No shit, Sherlock"

Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Alister Silver badge

Re: Not just Broadchurch

I thought she was great in St Trinians 1 and 2

Alister Silver badge

They already did that with Bill.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Bah!

Now let us get to the matter of accent.

You will no doubt be glad to hear that Jodie is from Yorkshire.

Brit neural net pioneer just revolutionised speech recognition all over again

Alister Silver badge

I preferred his work on Blackadder...

All hail AT&T! Champion of the open internet and users' privacy!

Alister Silver badge

OK then, let's try idiotic bias against anything done by someone being-president-while-republican.

Even if something is demonstrably, unequivocally the correct thing to do, you are completely blinded by your ridiculous partisanship, and refute it without any logical thought.

Truck spills slimy load all over Oregon road – drivers slip in eel slick

Alister Silver badge

Ronan- "You know, you say that a lot."

Teal'c- "Say what?"

Ronan- "Indeed."

Teal'c- "Do I?...I had not noticed..."

Alister Silver badge

The headline picture looks like a Goa'uld, to me...

Amazon mumbles into its coffee when asked: Will you give app devs people's Alexa chats?

Alister Silver badge

Re: "A New android phone typically manages 36-48 hours while in airplane mode...

Stephen Fry might have made an astonishingly erudite remark

Oh come on, let's not get beyond the bounds of credibility here...

Set your alarms for 2.40am UTC – so you can watch Unix time hit 1,500,000,000

Alister Silver badge

Re: Already??

More than 20 years ago. May 1997.

I suddenly feel very old...

Dutch Senate votes to grant intel agencies new surveillance powers

Alister Silver badge

Re: Sauce for the goose?

Did the Dutch politicians exempt themselves from the laws etc

It was probably the very first clause of the bill.

What did OVH learn from 24-hour outage? Water and servers do not mix

Alister Silver badge

Re: Ah, that explains it!

I was wondering why the number of hack attacks on customers servers originating from OVH dropped so much..

Ha! I was going to post exactly the same, I noticed a reduction in the size of the firewall logs today, that would explain it.

We gave in and black-holed a whole range of IP blocks belonging to OVH some time ago, as all we seem to get from them were dictionary attacks on our mail servers.

Robo-surgeons, self-driving cars face similar legal, ethical headaches

Alister Silver badge

Re: "lack judgement,.. touch isn't as refined.., they're expensive,.. lack the ability to improvise.

I agree with Nattrash.

It is not possible to reduce medicine to a set of rigid algorithms, there is just too much variation from the textbook cases.

Doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals are not just trying to protect their jobs or act like luddites when confronted by this new tech.

There is a genuine fear that patient outcomes will worsen, or patients will be harmed by either mis-diagnosis, or inappropriate or misguided surgical procedures, because these medical AIs do not take into account the infinite variety of human conditions.

As someone who was for many years a paramedic, I know there are times when you have to ignore what your training teaches you to expect and just make an intuitive decision based on experience to ascertain what's wrong with a patient.

There is, I'm sure, an overwhelming body of evidence for patients who do not show symptoms, or present with incorrect symptoms of their illness or injury, unfortunately this evidence is probably mostly anecdotal, and therefore dismissed as irrelevant by those who write the algorithms for medical AIs.

€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine

Alister Silver badge

I'm picking up an IBM golfball at the weekend.

That must be quite rare nowadays, IBM execs can't afford to play golf anymore...


Virgin Trains dodges smack from ICO: CCTV pics of Corbyn were OK

Alister Silver badge

Re: Pixielaté - @Alister

@Scroticus Canis

I cannae imagine Rob Anybody drinkin' such pish as a laté, and I'm sure he'd tell you "It's PICTSIES, ya scunner!"

Alister Silver badge

Re: “legitimate interest”

Just laughing to myself at our inability to spell the word pixelate - for me, it's not recognised by my spillchucker in any form.

In this thread so far, we have:

Alister pixellated

rh587 pixelate

moiety pixillated

And the winner is: rh587


Alister Silver badge

Re: “legitimate interest”

I think "piss all over data protection" is overstating the case here, the act of publishing the CCTV footage was not in breach of the DPA, the only thing Virgin Trains fell down on was that other people could be identified from the footage.

Had they pixellated the other people's faces there would have been no problem.

AI vans are real – but they'll make us suck at driving, warn boffins

Alister Silver badge

Re: Skill deterioration

I'm curious how autonomous cars do in the snow.

Well for one thing I'm sure they won't try to keep driving at the same speed and in the same manner as if it's a nice sunny day, which is what a large percentage of humans seem to do.

Alister Silver badge

I'm pretty sure the various car manufacturers working on automation haven't indicated a desire to release such a half solution anyway.

Despite the hype, I don't think any of the current AI car manufacturers are prepared to say that their systems are capable of being completely autonomous, and they all reserve the right to push the problem back to a meatbag when the AI panics.

Alister Silver badge

Tech and automotive firms are pushing driverless car technology on society, rather than there being a big demand for it, in the opinion of the Transport Research Laboratory's boffins.

I would agree with this.

In particular, it only makes commercial sense for companies if they can make a saving on having to employ qualified human drivers, and this is clearly not going to be the case for some time - if ever.

And of course, in the case of delivery vans, unless there is an able bodied person to receive the delivery, you still have to have a human on the vehicle to carry the groceries up to Granny in her third floor flat...

Virgin Media biz service goes TITSUP* across London

Alister Silver badge

Re: Single fibre point of failure ..

that being to save money we used a single fibre cable without any redundant backup routes.

It's easy to criticise, but as mentioned multiple times in this thread, it is quite common to have multiple redundant routes that at some point will share the same duct, whether that be near the premises or near the exchange.

For commercial developments and industrial estates (where most datacentres are situated) it is very rare for more than one duct to be provided - wayleaves cost too much to allow otherwise, and again as cables / fibres enter a telephone exchange there is commonly only one large duct space entry. Both these areas are vulnerable to roving JCBs.

Uncle Sam says 'nyet' to Kaspersky amid fresh claims of Russian ties

Alister Silver badge

In the internal communications referenced within the recent article, the facts are once again either being misinterpreted or manipulated to fit the agenda of certain individuals

So, fake news then?

Microsoft drops Office 365 for biz. Now it's just Microsoft 365. Word

Alister Silver badge

We said that was going to happen when win 10 was first foisted on to the unsuspecting public,

Yes we did, and if I recall, at the time, Microsoft vehemently denied it...

Bloke takes over every .io domain by snapping up crucial name servers

Alister Silver badge

So he didn't register the name-servers as such, just the domains that point to them.

Slightly strange though, it's unusual for a name-server record to be on the root of a domain, normally you'd have an A record, such as ns1.domain.tld pointing to each name-server, but in this case the .io namespace was including domain.tld as a DNS server. Seems a waste of a domain.

The other ones, on the nic.io domain are more conventionally set up.

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