* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Boffins gently wake the Large Hadron Collider from annual hibernation

Alister Silver badge

Winter upgrade boosted 'inverse femtobarns'

Um, is this another way of saying they "reversed the polarity of the neutron flow"?

Just asking...

'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

Alister Silver badge

So did they prosecute him for saying "I'm an engineer", or for actually working out a better method of controlling traffic-light cameras?

What I'm getting from this is that if an American hobbyist inventor (think Trevor Bayliss) lived in Oregon, he would be prosecuted for his "unlicensed engineering" if he tried to turn a great idea into a commercial product.

Unlicensed thinking, it appears, is frowned upon!

Need the toilet? Wanna watch a video ad about erectile dysfunction?

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I can see some fun to be had if they introduce IoT Hand Dryers.

If a washroom has enough, you could perhaps manage to achieve lift-off, or at least create a pressure differential sufficient to expel people from the room.

China launches aircraft carrier the length of 2.1 brontosaurs

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It would appear that their aircraft carrier has the unprecedented ability to launch and recover aircraft. This must be new and innovative, as the British design never managed to incorporate that feature.

FTP becoming Forgotten Transfer Protocol as Debian turns it off

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We still use ftp extensively to move backup files around within our WAN. It's still the fastest method of transferring a file over a network, with the least overhead, that I know.

Jimbo announces Team Wikipedia: 'Global News Police'

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The site will employ professional journalists

Oh good, are they from Fox News or the Daily Mail, one wonders?

As far as I know, being a "professional journalist" doesn't necessarily mean the stories produced are either truthful or well researched.

Give 'bots a chance: Driverless cars to be trialled between London and Oxford

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how far one of them could get

Well I've got all of West Mids and East Mids, between me and them, so I'm feeling fairly secure :)

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Well, I'm really glad I live "Up North". I'll keep an ear out for the crashes, bangs and screaming coming from below Watford Gap...

Cuffing Assange a 'priority' for the USA says attorney-general

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Re: Is an Australian even allowed to run for Parliament?

Technically, he isn't in the UK, he's in Ecuador...

Intelligent robots can walk the walk – but if they can't talk the talk, we can't get along

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Yes, we have expert systems but they are not much more than advanced logic controllers - if this, do that or nothing.

What is being touted as AI is nothing more than marketing hype to try and get a commercial advantage, or in the case of universities, funding.

Absolutely! It's on a par with calling radio controlled models Robots (as in Robot Wars), there's bugger all autonomous or robotic about them, and there's sod all intelligence at the current level of AI.

Alister Silver badge

If I ask it to haul its whist, what will happen?

It'll try and pull a card game?

Internet Society tells G20 nations: The web must be fully encrypted

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Re: About f'ing time encryption was pushed as compulsory on the internet!

Ban all unencrypted traffic, like HTTP or FTP, which are both vulnerable to monitoring and MitM modification

This is nearly as bad as the government's "Ban Encryption" stance. There's no need to ban HTTP or FTP, they are both perfectly good protocols for certain requirements. The problem comes with inappropriate use - for instance HTTP for passing credentials.

And frankly, the use of MITM by criminal elements is wildly exaggerated, it is most unlikely that some "hacker" has managed to get in the middle of anybody's browsing session or FTP connection. Most leaked credentials come from malware on the host, or by compromising a database on a server.

For MITM it is far more likely that your local friendly government, your ISP, or even the company you work for are the culprit (using a web proxy is increasingly common in the workplace).

Who really gives a toss if it's agile or not?

Alister Silver badge

Re: If you aren't making mistakes in IT


The AC made a comment, it was not a Reply at all.

'US falling behind China' in semiconductors but storage startup promises to kiss it better

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Great, so US company has some innovative ideas about designing semiconductors. I wonder which Asian country will be manufacturing the chips for them?

Point-and-pwn tool for posers dumbs down ransomware spreading

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Re: Embarcadero boasts its Tiobe index results for Delphi...

Agreed, as soon as I saw the screenshot I thought, "that looks like Delphi or C++ Builder"

UK gov draws driverless car test zone around M40 corridor

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A UK minister has reassured the motor industry that buyers of driverless cars will not have to employ a gentleman with a red flag and top hat

What a shame, I was looking forward to seeing that happen on the M25...

WONTFIX: No patch for Windows Server 2003 IIS critical bug – Microsoft

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learning curve

To help maintainers of Windows Server 2003 computers block almost inevitable attacks under these unfavorable circumstances, we decided to provide them a free solution: a micropatch for CVE-2017-7269, which they can apply on their machines not only without rebooting, but also without even restarting Internet Information Services.

Maybe they could teach Microsoft how they did this, as Microsoft appear to be incapable of writing any update which doesn't require a reboot.

US cops, firefighters to get new emergency wireless network – AT&T to get $6.5bn

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How Ironic that in the UK, the government is doing its damdest to move emergency services off their own dedicated network, and on to public cellular infrastructure. Not a recipe for disaster in any way, no...

Ford to build own data centre to store connected car data

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see, I knew my maths was wrong. :)

I didn't honestly think they would be storing it in DRAM, either.

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Cost works out at about $1m per petabyte

Well DDR3 RAM costs about £10.00 / GB at the moment (just been upgrading some servers) so if my maths is correct, £1m / Petabyte is about right, isn't it?

New plastic banknote plans now upsetting environmental campaigners

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Hertfordshire primary school girls prepare for World Robotics Champs

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Re: "Henrietta Barnet School, "

If Henrietta Barnet would he be spitting hairs?

Curious minds want to know, and you don't get a more curious mind than mine...


One in five mobile phones shipped abroad are phoney – report

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Re: risk of lethal electrocution

In British English, electrocution is defined as injury or death caused by electric shock, so to a British English speaker, fatal electrocution or lethal electrocution is permissible.

I believe US English defines it as only death caused by electric shock - in which case your pedantry is correct.

'Trash-80' escapes the dustbin of history with new TRS-80 emulator

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The first computer I bought for myself was a Video Genie 1 from Lowe Electronics in Derbyshire, which was a Chinese TRS80 Model 1 compatible device with extra expansion over the standard TRS80. I remember I had an OKI Microline 80 printer attached to it at one point.

Nuns left in limbo after phone line transfer hell

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limited temporal means of communication

Awesome, is this the power of prayer?

Yes, I could have used the corrections link, but it's much more fun to take the piss...

Miss Misery on hacking Mr Robot and the Missing Sense of Fun

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Looks like most people missed this, but I loved the subtlety.

How foolish you will look when your much-vaunted e-library is reduced to a lump of inert plastic suitable only for incineration. Kindling, in fact.

You deserve many of these, Verity. ===>

Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

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Pet hate

The Google search page. If I start a new tab in Firefox, the search box in Google's home page doesn't take focus, so I start typing only to look up and see a blank search box.

NASA to fire 1Gbps laser 'Wi-Fi' ... into spaaaaace

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The ISS Spins round the earth...

It's fine, NASA have taken this into consideration, and they are going to build a set of railway tracks all the way round the world at latitude 22o North, which the base station will run on.

Coppers 'persistently' breach data protection laws with police tech

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Re: More accurately...


You are out of date.

Perhaps you should check before posting.

From the BBC website:

"The flag above the Houses of Parliament flies at half mast following an attack on Westminster that left four dead and many injured,"

eBay dumps users into insecure authentication mechanism

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Re: One laugh of a security measure

Hang on, your mother's maiden name was Budgie-Mangler?

We must be related...

This AI stuff is all talk! Bots invent their own language to natter away behind humans' backs

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...and the agents were forced to use their “words” more concisely, leading to the development of a larger vocabulary.

Agent1: "Pub?"

Agent2: "Yep"

Microsoft cloud TITSUP: Skype, Outlook, Xbox, OneDrive, Hotmail down

Alister Silver badge

Sorry, my fault...

Despite my objections, we migrated to Office365 from on-prem Exchange last week.

It's obvious that Microsoft's infrastructure just can't cope now, we broke it...


Norfolk County Council sent filing cabinet filled with kids' info to a second-hand shop

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The Register has contacted Norfolk County Council for comment

You'll be lucky, the response from the Council is in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in the basement of a secondhand shop in Great Yarmouth...

US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

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Re: Easy to Destroy

Just shove a torpedo potato down that thermal exhaust port muffler

That's no Moon!

El Reg, we need a Star Wars Icon

Are you undermining your web security by checking on it with the wrong tools?

Alister Silver badge

Re: So, uhm...

If you (or your team) have done this, I'd be really interested to know how you manage this process etc :)

We were put in the position that the client wanted a secure environment with WAF / IPS but was too cheap to pay for it.

So we built a lash up of nginx, naxsi, and fail2ban, with munin to provide some reporting and pretty graphs, as a proxy to our apache servers. HTTPS was decrypted, read, and re-encrypted using the proper certs and ciphers.

It worked surprisingly well, although I wouldn't say it was as effective or as maintainable as a commercial appliance product would have been.

Alister Silver badge

Re: So, uhm...

The main problem? Simple: you have to know what the heck you're doing. You need a basic underlying understanding of the encryption process, how to monitor network connections (I've come across too many people who had no clue how to use tcpdump or netcat for example) and interpret the results.

And that seems a bit too much for more "modern" companies, time is also money after all, so they'd rather rely on out-of-the-box ready to use gizmo's like these. Without stopping to think about possible consequences.

I think you have to bear in mind that to achieve PCI-DSS compliance, it is often much easier to use a recognised appliance rather than roll your own monitoring at the server level, most QAs I've come across like to have pretty graphs every month, rather than have to wade through log analysis reports.

I remember being met by a stunned silence when one QA asked how we had implemented IDP for HTTPS traffic, and we told him how we did it with a roll-your-own setup on an Nginx box.

Alister Silver badge

Looking at some of the big names shown in the report, it really is a sorry state of affairs.

Of the 12 appliances tested, only one, from Bluecoat achieves an A rating, and the majority of the others are C or F. The Microsoft one deserves an F--- if such were possible, as it only offers SSLv2 connections, but you expect better from Barracuda, Checkpoint et al.

I shouldn't be surprised though, as we recently had to remove ECDHE ciphers from some of our servers on an e-commerce site, as the WAF didn't support them, thus weakening the whole environment's security.

BT's Openreach to hire 1,500 engineers

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"And now we have more good news – we’re now able to hire to invest in our network."

So this seems to suggest that up until last week they weren't allowed to invest in their network, or recruit staff?

It appears to be a bit strange, to me...

More Brits' IDs stolen than ever before

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Re: Where?


Oh dear...

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But remember, millenials, "nothing to hide, nothing to fear", so you keep posting your personal details all over social media, and using the same password for your bank account, 'cos security is just people being paranoid.

US regulator looks at Internet of Things regulation, looks away

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Re: @ Alister

@ Codejunky,

Solving a problem when there is a problem is better than stopping progress.

There already is a problem with IoT, it just seems not to have reached the threshold where "OMG we'd better do something!", by which time it will be too late.

Trying to retroactively impose regulation when manufacturers are already doing their own thing is not going to work, the framework to regulate the industry needs to be in place early on.

Alister Silver badge

The US Federal Trade Commission is holding off regulating the Internet of Things industry until there is an event which “harms consumers right now”, according to its acting head.

Because it's always better to run round like headless chickens after the event, instead of planning how to deal with it before it happens...

Brit ISP TalkTalk blocks control tool TeamViewer

Alister Silver badge

Re: genuine question

Home editions of Windows don't contain the RDP server, only the client, so you can't connect to them from another machine.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Well thats my family screwed

Native RDP doesn't work through NAT firewalls without port-forwarding, but the main reason is you that the Home versions of Windows don't contain the RDP Server, only the client, so whilst you can connect from them, you can't connect too them.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Would have helped but

That's a bit extreme... TeamViewer isn't worth moving house for...

The future of Not Reality is a strap-on that talks to my smarting ring

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Thank you for your ring piece,

Mr Dabbs...

Good article.

Why, what did you think I meant?

Trump, Brexit, and Cambridge Analytica – not quite the dystopia you're looking for

Alister Silver badge

Re: In the original Foundation trilogy

Except if I remember correctly, Psychohistory only worked when applied to large numbers of people, and only on those who weren't aware of it?

Iconic Land Rover Defender may make a comeback by 2019

Alister Silver badge

Re: Why did people like the defender?

Well, it certainly wasn't the reliability. They break down all the time.

This is just not true, earlier Defenders (and Series Land Rovers ) will go for years without breaking down. The problem is with the more recent electronic bits, but the general mechanicals will go for ever with a bit of maintenance occasionally.

Mars orbiter FLOORS IT to avoid hitting MOON

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Re: "If I remember correctly, the orbits of Phobos and Deimos are quite eccentric, "

@John Smith 19

Ah, I see what you mean now.

Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Alister Silver badge

Not just in the US

Smart meter billing problems have also been documented in the US.

And in the UK:


From the BBC story...

A spokesperson for the department for business, energy and industrial strategy, said: "Smart meters are a vital upgrade to Britain's energy system."

"The technology will bring an end to estimated billing, and give consumers real-time information about their energy use to enable them to make more efficient energy choices."


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