* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

We're not saying we're living in a simulation but someone's simulated the universe in a computer

Alister Silver badge

Re: "The universe is made up of about 23 per cent dark matter and 72 per cent dark energy"

Warning, may contain nuts

Shoebox-sized satellites made by civs win trip on NASA's newest rocket

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What a tit! Uber CEO hijacks his staff breast-pump room to meditate

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Our meditation rooms have very nice porcelain fittings, with wooden seats, and hot and cold running water available...

NHS Digital stopped short of advising against paying off WannaCrypt

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Re: Virtualisation Of OS

You can implement any version of OS as a guest, on say a Linux base build, take an image regularly, only operate the PC using the guest OS, such that any issues means that you can immediately restore good known image.

Any zero day, or unpatched exploit should be less of an issue as you just restore the good known image. So any old OS can be supported indefinitely, running the proprietary software.

The problem may be that whilst you can emulate software in a virtual environment, it is not so easy to emulate custom hardware in a VM. This is not the case for all of NHS's problems by any means, but may be a reason for sticking with real hardware in some cases.

Drones over London caused aviation chaos, pilots' reports reveal

Alister Silver badge

> "two white, orb shaped objects, with no lights or visible markings

> Otherwise known as balloons.

> Swamp Gas

The Light from Venus

Info commish: One year to go and businesses still not ready for GDPR

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And if the breach is down to having to use weak encryption because the Government wants to snoop on everybody all the time?

An interesting point, but the fact is the majority of the data breaches that have happened are not down to encryption failures, they are down to easily preventable exploits like SQL injection, which should have been a solved problem years ago.

EU ministers approve anti-hate speech video rules

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European Union ministers have approved new rules for video that will oblige Facebook, Google, Twitter and others to remove hate speech and sexually explicit videos online or face stiff fines.

Because of course, American companies, in America, are going to care about what some bunch of other countries want to do. How do the EU propose to enforce these fines?

PAH! Four decades of Star Wars: No lightsabers, no palm-sized video calls

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Leia was of course not the only visible holographic projection in the film - the game that See-Threepio and Chewbacca play uses the same technology, albeit a desktop version, if I'm not mistaken.

Mouse sperm kept frozen in SPAAAAACE yields healthy pups

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Re: Mouse sperm creates pups?

Oh dear, an AC with a complete sense of humour bypass.

IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

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Re: I hate Vivaldi because of BT

I'm not sure if it was BT or O2, who I recently had the pleasure of listening to for an hour.

But what drove me mad was that despite the hold music being a pleasant piece of Chopin, I think, every time the "your call is important to us, please hold" message came on, it restarted the music from the beginning.

How bloody annoying that is!

Project Gollum: Because NHS Caring means NHS Sharing

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Re: Am I the only one appalled that an attack like WannaCry can happen to the NHS?

The bottom line is I had a much needed Doctors appointment cancelled last week. And part of me feels like I should feel sorry for them and take part in the public anger against hackers. But another part of me feels annoyed I lost that appointment because someone didn't know how to do back-ups.

I think you are making an unwarranted assumption. The actual number of systems affected by the ransomware was quite small, and most were simply shut down as a precaution, and to limit the spread of the infection, which was absolutely the right thing to do at the time.

This was obviously a difficult decision, but in balancing the ability to honour appointments for a day against the likely impact of a ransomware infection, the answer is clear. There is no indication that GP surgeries do not have sufficient valid backups available.

Alister Silver badge

P2P rules!

Make the patient database into a torrent, and share it with everybody, that way there will always be at least one copy no matter what ransomware hits us.

You can just imagine some poor GP posting "86.2% please seed!"

Quick, better lock down that CISO role. Salaries have apparently hit €1m

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evidence that the startling rise of cyber attacks year-on-year has caused boardrooms to recognise the dangers of hacking for companies' bottom lines, reputation, customer retention and employee confidence.

Except at Talk Talk...

Telecoms fail in UK takes down passport scanners in Australia

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a major telecom failure in the UK

I can't help thinking that if there were a "major telecoms failure" it might have impacted other things, which were noticeable. I'm not aware of anything else that fell over last night?

IBM CEO Ginni flouts £75 travel crackdown, rides Big Blue chopper

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Re: Nice, a Eurocopter Dauphin

But she's got the wrong one!

The registration says CFO, and she's CEO...

Windows Server's footprint shrunk to reduce Azure bills

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Re: Windows can fit onto 32GB

Good for you. My MS-DOS 6 can fit into 10MB...


Alister Silver badge

Re: After wasting space on OUR disks for decades...

Using DISM to remove payload files and update rollbacks is all very well, but it still doesn't address the issue that any Roles and Features install themselves to the C: drive as well by default. Consider IIS, it puts both the web root, and all the log files, on the C: drive. Yes, you can change it, but why would it do that in the first place?

And speaking of log files, although you might get away with a Standard install of Server 2012 or 2016 in 32GB, after about 6 months use you would be lucky if it still fits within that restriction, given all the logging, crash dumps, etc that happens as a normal part of the operation of the server, unless you set up a ruthless cull of all logs at regular intervals.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Server 2012 Barely runs in 32Gb

WTF are the talking about?

WTF are you on about?

The article is about DISK

WannaCrypt: Roots, reasons and why scramble patching won't save you now

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Watch your backup

We have spent the week fundamentally changing the way we manage our office networks, in order that we have some protection against Cryptolocker, WannaCry and other ransomware attacks.

Should we have done this before? YES

Could we have done this before? NO.

It's only due to the widespread publicity garnered by the WannaCry attack that our Directors and PHBs have been stung into releasing the necessary funding to allow us to do it.

Luckily, we've long had a plan ready to implement.

So our backups are now on a separate LAN, with no direct routing, and no SMB connectivity.

We've also restricted SMB between individual hosts on the LAN, and moved all non-essential hosts (directors' phones, laptops, tablets etc), to a separate WiFi network, with no access to the corporate LAN.

It makes life harder to do certain things, but it does mean that even if the boss's secretary clicks on an attachment, or a link in an email, we are probably going to survive it.

I'm feeling a lot more comfortable at the end of this week, than I was at the start of it.

Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

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Re: So, are the Swedes going to pay

The MPS has had a guard on the Ecuadorian Embassy door for some time and racked up considerable cost to the British Taxpayer. We did this because there was an arrest warrant for Assange (TM).

No, we did this because he had committed a crime in the UK, of failing to answer his bail conditions.

Now that they have just dropped the case, we are left with the bill. Shouldn't the Swedes pay the cost of this?

No, Assange should pay it, he's still wanted for the charge of failing to answer his bail.

Alister Silver badge

Re: he gurning twat is still a criminal


I'm not in favour of him being given a one-way ticket to the land of the free!.

However, he has never offered to pay back those loyal supporters who mistakenly stood bail for him, and he's never paid the money he promised to Chelsea Manning, and he seems to think he is above the law.

I am therefore quite in favour of him having to face the consequences of his actions in jumping bail.

Alister Silver badge

@ Voland's right hand

You misunderstood the passage you quoted:

Where bail is granted by the police and the defendant fails to surrender, the police may charge him as long as the charge is laid within six months of him failing to surrender, or three months of him surrendering to custody, being arrested or being brought before the court for the offence for which he is bailed, whichever is sooner - ss. 6(11) - (14) of the Bail Act 1976.

He was charged with it almost immediately, so there is no statute of limitations.

Also, whilst quoting, you conveniently forgot this bit:

Where a defendant has been bailed by the court and fails to surrender, the court may try him for that offence at any point after he has been brought before the court for that offence, irrespective of the length of time since he failed to surrender - s. 6(10) of the Bail Act 1976.

Alister Silver badge

I do hope that the Metropolitan Police Service are not going to let Assange slip through their fingers, if they reduce the resources they allocate to watching him.

The gurning twat is still a criminal.

Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

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just take one step back to CD. You'll get fantastic quality audio, no skipping or crackling,

Hmm, beg to differ. CDs are not immune from the dreaded skipping.

This may be a consequence of having young offspring who apparently see CDs as an occasional side plate for their food, or a coaster for their fruit juice, in addition to their data and audio holding properties...

Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers

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Re: Quick solution

While playing elaborate pranks on the scammers may be fun, you are wasting your own time as well as theirs -- and your time is probably much more valuable, to you at least.

This is not the proper BOFH spirit!

NOTHING is more important than having fun taking the piss out of these scammers.

(Oh, except preparing a roll of carpet, a bag of lime and a large block of cement for the next luser who dares to raise a support ticket)

And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin hologram ... Sir, it is only wafer thin

Alister Silver badge

Re: Help me Obi-wan Kenobi...

@Loyal Commenter

Did you mean:

"This is not the pop-culture reference you are looking for..."

Alister Silver badge

Re: Help me Obi-wan Kenobi...


Just saying.

Management's agile, digital (insert buzzword here) strategy ossifying? Blame the Red Queen

Alister Silver badge

Blame the Red Queen

You can't talk about Larry like that!!

Police anti-ransomware warning is hotlinked to 'ransomware.pdf'

Alister Silver badge

As you can see, we clicked the link – and after routing through some standard email marketing click tracker stuff, it hotlinks to a file titled "Ransomware.pdf". We chose not to let it open in our VM.

And you didn't try the file link from a Mac or Linux box?

For shame...

Yo, patch that because scum still wanna exploit WannaCrypt-linked vuln

Alister Silver badge

I fail to understand not just why, but how, there are so many windows machines with SMB open to the internet.

If some home user puts a server on their broadband, then that doesn't automatically open that port, you would have to consciously add port-forwarding rules for it.

Conversely, I find it difficult to believe that any business would attach a server to the internet without some form of firewall controlling access, and again there must have been a conscious decision to allow SMB out of the network.

This is not something that happens by mistake, nor is it default behaviour, so what the hell are people thinking who configure stuff like this?

Flying robots are great... until they meet flying humans, anyway

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A very difficult task, and one which bears no resemblance to classic ATC.

You can't restrict delivery drones to a certain air corridor, or altitude, when they may need to access ground level at almost any geographical location.

This is why I don't see the commercial benefit of using flying delivery drones over ground based options, it smacks to me simply as "because we can" or "because it's cool".

Ultimately one man and a van still seems to me to be the optimum method for most deliveries.

Robot lands a 737 by hand, on a dare from DARPA

Alister Silver badge

Re: Voice recognition

"Okay 'Otto', I have the controls"

Roger, Over.

What's our vector, Victor?

Have a go with this WW2 German Lorenz cipher machine – in your browser

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You can even import and export yours and your mates' key settings and connect directly to their machines

Hmmm, interesting...

Word to the wise – it's not on an HTTPS site, so if you're hoping to use it to thwart GCHQ, you might want to think again.

Oh, damn...

74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+

Alister Silver badge

Re: Hunt to blame for NHS attack

Hopefully this will renew pressure on NHS IT to find a solution to upgrade those ancient os's.

Yeah, great, now all you've got to do is get the government to pay for it.

It is not "NHS IT" who are at fault, it is those that hold the purse strings.

Alister Silver badge

Re: "Ban Bitcoin!"

Cue Amber Rudd demanding that Bitcoint be "shut down" or that we put "a backdoor in the hashblock".

Oh, it gets better than that...

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd tells BBC she expects NHS trusts to learn from cyber-attack and upgrade IT systems

Maybe she should talk to Jeremy Hunt about why he stopped paying for extended support from Microsoft in 2015, and why he vetoed any upgrade strategy from XP?

WannaCrypt ransomware snatches NSA exploit, fscks over Telefónica, other orgs in Spain

Alister Silver badge

Nobody thinks this and the NHS are related?

Telefónica does provide VoIP and Network facilities to the NHS as far as I know.

UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

Alister Silver badge

Re: these exploits are worthless

this is not a ¨cyber attack¨, this is somebody with admin privileges clicking on something they should not have done.

Curious then that it has affected so many dispersed bits of the country. I think you'll find that the evidence so far is that this is collateral damage from an attack on Telefonica (who just happen to manage network links for some of the NHS).

Beeb hands £560m IT deal to Atos. Again

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Whatever big contract is awarded and then reported on this website, everyone slams the provider for being crap.

Well yes. This is because all of the big providers, who inevitably get the contracts awarded to them, have a long history of failing to deliver what they are contracted to do - in some cases, failing to produce anything tangible at all.

And yet despite this, the government persist in awarding more contracts - often for the same requirements, to the same providers.

Alister Silver badge

I would be interested to hear Malcolm Tucker's views on this, just let me put my earplugs in first...

A bleary-eyed Microsoft wakes up after its cloud, IoT party, clears throat: 'Oh yeah, so Windows...'

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Windows 10 Fail Creators Update

Maybe they should have used Windows 10 Autumn Creators Update - Less likely to be misinterpreted?

Space upstart plans public cloud in low Earth orbit

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That’s some nicely blue-sky thinking, but not the work of space cadets.


Huge flying arse makes successful test flight

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Bulgarian Auxiliary Landing System.

UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight

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It is reported, too, that both the Leave and Remain campaigns used the services of analytics firm NationBuilder in 2016.

Perhaps this explains why they both lied through their teeth in an effort to swing votes?

Rich professionals could be replaced by AI, shrieks Gartner

Alister Silver badge

In five years we could have Triage AI

For example in healthcare, this could keep GP load and A&E load lower, which will help the NHS greatly.

You can tell that this is written by someone with no knowledge of healthcare. Human Doctors and medical professionals regularly mis-diagnose patients, due to confusing / overlapping or non-typical signs and symptoms, how do you suppose an AI would fare?

And can you imagine the outcry, and ambulance chasing (literally) if an AI's misdiagnosis led to someone's death?

Fake ruse: USA Today calls the FBI after half of its 15m Facebook Likes turn out to be bogus

Alister Silver badge

Re: Why the FBI is involved?

FBI = Face Book Investigations

ISPs must ensure half of punters get advertised max speeds

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can you end the DFS sale too?

I had occasion to drive past DFS on Easter Monday, and they were not advertising a sale!

I nearly crashed!

WhatsApp is more like WhatsDown: Messenger collapsed for millions

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They don't host it on Cloudflare do they?

US Navy developers test aircraft carrier drone control software

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The MD-5 Unmanned Carrier Aviation Mission Control System (UMCS) was tested under lab conditions using a lorry in place of the drone

Hmm, that must have been interesting, a flying lorry, whatever next!

Another AI assistant... It's getting crowded in here, isn't it, Siri?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Bixby?

The eventual goal for Bixby is to be able to do everything on a phone that a user could do themselves

You forgot the last bit of the sentence ...with their fingers

Um, you know what, given the context, forget I said that...

Loadsamoney: UK mulls fining Facebook, Twitter, Google for not washing away filth, terror vids

Alister Silver badge

(I'm not going to trot out the cliche of one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter),

you just did...


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