* Posts by Alister

3263 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Internet of Car...rikey what the hell just happened to my car?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Maybe old is best

My old diesel 4x4 is of an age before computers were fitted to cars... The doors unlock with a key, the engine starts with a key

My old diesel 4x4 doesn't even require a key - a screwdriver, or blunt knife is quite sufficient to unlock the doors and operate the ignition :)

No prizes for guessing the manufacturer...

Symantec appoints first cybersecurity czar to woo hacking talent

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...gone as far as embedding an RFID chip in her left hand.

Does this mean when she goes shopping, the self service till keeps going:

"Blip. Unexpected item in baggage area"

until she moves her hand?

Brit network O2 hands out free Windows virus with USB pens

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I got one, it's very pretty, all shiny and blue.

And it's 4GB storage :(

Hardly worth infecting my network for...

Amazon launches its own plane line. Sort of

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but instead of sending attractive women in modified F-104 Starfighters to shoot down Mysteron UFOs, it sends out drones to deliver £20.56 worth of cheap batteries, USB-powered desk lamps, lint-free cloths

Please, I'd like to propose a compromise, can I have attractive women in modified F-104 Starfighters to deliver £20.56 worth of cheap batteries, USB-powered desk lamps and lint-free cloths?

Mozilla 404s '404 Not Found' pages: Firefox fills in blanks with archive.org copies

Alister Silver badge

Re: better tha click-jacking the 'bad' URL

@Geoffrey W

Without looking into it in any depth, I would guess it currently works by examining the response header returned by the server, to determine when to spring to life.

If there is no server response (i.e. the server isn't there) then it can't do that.

If they also built it to work when there was no server response received, you would be in danger of flooding the archive with requests for non-existent or incorrectly typed URLs.

Alister Silver badge

Re: better tha click-jacking the 'bad' URL

Seems to need an actual 404 error. If the server no longer exists then you get whatever you get redirected to, or nothing.

Well yes, that's what it's there for, it says so in the name. If the server is no longer there it's not a 404 error, is it?

Death of 747 now 'reasonably possible' says Boeing

Alister Silver badge

Re: No, one month they build half of a plane

they'll have one giant arrow of which Zeno could be proud.

And it still won't be able to hit a tortoise...

Alister Silver badge

I wonder what percentage of all Jumbos manufactured are still flying?

It used to be said of the old Series Land Rovers that more than 80% are still on the road, I wonder if the same is true of old 747s.

Not enough competition in payment processing tech, thunders regulator

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An efficient payment infrastructure should be efficient and reliable while minimises costs to businesses and consumers.

and not fragmented by a thousand different suppliers.

Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

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A B O M I N A T I O N !

as above.

Startup AirTrunk plans big new data centres in Melbourne, Sydney, Asia

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Striped Legless Lizard

Good on yer, cobber, fancy another tinnie?

Cyberpunks might not be crooks but they're really very rude

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Surely a Cunting Gaylord is a contradiction in terms?

Oh, and as Cnut said "Eww, My feet are getting wet!"

Argos changes 150 easily guessed drop-off system passwords

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Re: Wait a minute

A customer found a weakness in employee password use and protection, signaled it and was not immediately blamed and brought shrieking into a ridiculous lawsuit ?

It's because it didn't happen in the US.

If it had, a full SWAT team would have been on-scene in seconds, and the customer would have been arrested, or possibly shot.

Dolly the sheep clones have aged well, say scientists

Alister Silver badge

Re: I don't care too much if they age well or not...

How did they taste?


Harrison Ford's leg, in the Star Wars film, with the Millennium Falcon door

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Ford, best known for playing CSO Jack Stanfield in the 2006 cyber-thriller Firewall,

and a few other no-account roles over the years...


Zen loses its chill: UK biz ISP falls offline for four hours and counting

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Re: Okay here

It's Worcestershire Sauce, not Worcester Sauce.

Not in Worcester, it's not. (Said as an ex-local.)

Ah but it is: It's pronounced Worcester Sauce, but it's spelt Worcestershire Sauce. :)

(Actually, it's pronounced Wuh-Stuh-Shuh round here.)

Alister Silver badge

Re: Okay here

(the home of Worcester Sauce)

Well you should know better, then!

It's Worcestershire Sauce, not Worcester Sauce.

Is digital fraud big in UK? British abacus-botherers finally have some answers

Alister Silver badge

Re: Rethink time

@Brian O'Byrne

I think you misunderstood my point, slightly. I'm not saying it's always the user who is at fault, what I meant was that there is no fundamental weakness that means you cannot write secure software.

It is humans who write the shoddy software which still allows SQL injection to be an issue, even though it is perfectly possible to write software without that vulnerability, or most others.

As you say, software is often designed without a clear understanding of it's use. But that too is not the software's fault, it is a human failing.

I was responding to the OP who said Security at the software level alone is obviously not working, and the point I was making is that it is eminently possible to write secure software, it's just people don't.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Rethink time

Security at the software level alone is obviously not working,

I would question whether that is the case. A large majority of cyber crime takes place because of human failings. The software is capable of being made secure, however shoddy implementation is often the cause of poor security.

Consider that a lot of leaks of personal information from the web are still being made possible by SQL injection attacks. This is (should be) a solved problem - but still people write software which allows it to happen.

The other major vector for poor security is passwords, people either use weak passwords, or use the same password in more than one place, Again, using passwords is not intrinsically insecure - done properly it can be very secure - but the way people do use passwords is seldom correct.

So It's not the software that is the problem, it's the wetware that uses it.

Glassdoor spaffs users' email addresses in bcc fail

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Why aren't they using proper mailshot software if they do regular newsletters?

Why don't writers of email clients, and / or webmail clients put in place a sanity check, so that if you have more than (say) ten users in the to or cc fields, it asks you what the fuck you are doing.

US standards lab says SMS is no good for authentication

Alister Silver badge

I'll be glad if this happens, as it will remove one the perpetual annoyances I have nearly every day.

We currently use SMS 2FA to allow people to log in to a secure site which we provide to a client.

We are forever getting rung up with complaints that they haven't received their SMS to let them log in, and no amount of explaining how SMS works makes any difference, they expect us to somehow make it work instantaneously.

SMS is a best effort service, exactly like email, and can be delayed for all sorts of reasons, and is therefore not a good fit for secure 2FA.

Microsoft and pals re-write arms control pact to save infosec industry

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"Intrusion delivery platforms’ are defined as systems, equipment, components and software specifically designed for use in offensive intrusion and remote monitoring and that demonstrate elements of vulnerability exploitation, evasion, and enabling subversion or destruction."

I think the revised description above still runs the risk of outlawing the use and dissemination of the vast majority of security software used by Pen Testers, Sysadmins etc.

Think of NMap, Nessus, and even Fiddler, they could all be caught by broad interpretation of the passage above.

Google tests its own quantum computer – both qubits of it

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Re: Quantum Software Engineer

It's a shame they've gone all up market and become Engineers.

I was quite fond of the idea of a Quantum Mechanic, complete with overalls and carrying a toolbox with curious devices like a Quark Spanner, or a Spindriver, or even Charm pliers and Strange gauges.

BT customers hit by broadband outage ... again

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Re: Nothing to do

@ David Gosnell

I've come across a similar SMTP issue where the MTU is set to Max (1500) and the do-not-fragment bit is set on SMTP packets, it causes multiple retries and timeouts.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Some sympathy -but not a lot

I don't believe this problem has anything to do with LINX. THN is a massive building and LINX have space there but the room currently affected by the power problems is not the LINX suite.

Well we're having big problems with latency and packet loss from a Plus-Net fibre link to some of our servers at Firehosts/Armor, and most of the issues seem to be the Telia nodes in London:




By comparison, we aren't seeing any issues with these hosts on the same routing:



So maybe this is a routing issue from BT onwards?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Some sympathy -but not a lot


I think you've got the wrong end of the stick here, It's not BT's own infrastructure in Telehouse North, (despite the confusing name) it's part of the London Internet Exchange, which provides routing and connectivity to all the Tier2 providers, so BT are more in your position at the moment, of sitting waiting for their suppliers to sort their shit out.

GMB tests Uber 'self-employed drivers' claim at London tribunal

Alister Silver badge

It depends a lot on the driver:

If a person has a full / part time job in another business, but is prepared to pick up and drop off an Uber client as part of their journey, and reap the benefit, then that is equivalent to car sharing, and they are clearly not an employee in any meaningful sense.

However, if someone's main income is derived from driving around picking up and dropping off Uber clients, then they are acting as an employee.

In addition, in the latter case, they are clearly using their car "for the purposes of hire or reward", and therefore a normal car insurance policy won't cover them, and they should have a commercial insurance.

BT internet outage was our fault, says Equinix

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Re: The internet routes around damage!

Yes, it does.

There was damage in London, affecting the UK, so the rest of the Internet carried on without us.

Web meltdown: BT feels heat from angry punters

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The end of the world is nigh!

Or so my users would have me believe. This is because, apparently, Wikipedia is unreachable at the moment, (oh, and our cloud based support ticket system, too).

Hmm, another cup of tea, I think.

EU Net Neutrality debate heats up as Tim Berners-Lee weighs in

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Tim-Berners is a really weird first name.

I thought it was a type of wood-fired stove. If not, it should be.

Torrent is a word, and you can't ban words, rules French court

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Dear sir, I wish to complain, I am a fan of fast flowing rivers, and have recently been unable to satisfy my obsession as I am unable to google "raging torrent".

Tor veteran Lucky Green exits, torpedos critical 'Tonga' node and relays

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Re: Imperial Troops Have Entered the Base!

TOR fully compromised on 2016-09-01.

Maybe we could set up a legacy TOR node in memory of a once great network. We could call it "Eternal September" or something...

Alister Silver badge

I'm not normally one for tin-foil hattery, but it does rather sound like he's aware of government interference, or has been leaned on quite heavily.

Drone bloke cuffed after gizmo stops firemen tackling forest inferno

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Re: Sounds like nonsense to me


So if you're a pilot, consider this:

You're trying to fly a heavily laden aircraft on a precise course at minimum altitude through turbulent air at damn near stalling speed, with flaps and everything else hanging, and then some idiot flies a drone at your windscreen. Do you think sudden avoidance manoeuvres are going to result in

a/ missing the drone and continuing as normal.

b/ crashing into the flames.

Just asking?

Euro IP study finds 25 Tor-and-Bitcoin-loving pirate business models

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A promised Phase 2 study will offer

even more opportunities to spend money on pointless research...

Ban ISPs from 'speeding up' the internet: Ex-Obama tech guru

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to borrow a favourite expression of my daughter's...

What a twonk!

Chinese hacker jailed for shipping aerospace secrets home

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"Bin assisted the Chinese military hackers in their efforts to illegally access and steal designs for cutting-edge military aircraft that are indispensable to our national defense, oh, and the F35 as well."

Ivory tower drops water bombs on dumpster fire

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I wonder if the same collection would turn their attention to Mrs May, now, I'm sure they would have some interesting things to say about her proposed policies as well.

Cryptocat dev reckons WhatsApp is blocking calls to Saudi numbers

Alister Silver badge

I don't suppose anyone has considered that the VoipNotAllowedActivity Class might simply be a bunch of code to handle the situation where the network or handset doesn't allow VoIP, instead of the App dying in a heap if it can't connect?

Graphene is actually self-folding origami, proclaim physicists

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Graphene was discovered in 2004 and was hailed as a “miracle material” in the news.

Unfortunately, no-one has discovered why, yet.

Missile bods MBDA win Brit military laser cannon contract

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what's infamous about Westland?

Here you go:


The Westland affair in 1985–86 was an episode in which the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Defence Minister Michael Heseltine went public over a complex cabinet dispute with questions raised about integrity and which senior official was not telling the truth.

The argument was a result of differences of opinion as to the future of the British helicopter industry. Westland Helicopters, Britain's last helicopter manufacturer, was to be the subject of a rescue bid. While the Defence Secretary Heseltine favoured a European solution, integrating Westland and British Aerospace (BAe) with Italian (Agusta) and French companies, the Prime Minister and the Trade and Industry Secretary Leon Brittan wanted to see Westland merge with Sikorsky, an American company. Heseltine refused to accept Thatcher's choice and suggested she had lied about it. She had leaked a confidential letter, then tried to cover that up. It resulted in resignations in January 1986 by Heseltine and Brittan. The episode embarrassed the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher in 1986 and damaged her reputation

Space station to get shiny new ringpiece for automatic penetration

Alister Silver badge

Re: Important question

Do you get to listen to the Blue Danube as the docking computer kicks in?

Well of course you do, it's built into the docking algorithm.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Passive?

Personally, I'd rather not have unexpected visitors just dropping in without me present if I was umpteen thousand miles up with nowhere to go if they're less than friendly.

It's OK, it is, after all, only the "International Docking Adapter" not the "Interplanetary Docking Adapter".

Only participating nations on Earth have the plans for the International Docking Standard, so passing Aliens will be completely unable to connect to it.

UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

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Maybe they should also include in the Bill, that the Secretary of State be granted the power to sit on a beach and tell the tide to stop coming in?

It would be consistent, and equally as effective.

In these troubling times, senators unite to end America's big divide – rural v urban broadband

Alister Silver badge

It must be cold there...

Those cows look Friesian.

Tupperware vehemently denies any link to storage containerisation

Alister Silver badge

You could always substitute Lakeland Plastics:- I'm sure those were the makers of plastic storage containers we always used when I was a lad in the 60s. I don't think Tupperware was very accessible here in the UK at that time.

Revolutionary Brit-made SABRE hybrid rocket engine to burn in 2020

Alister Silver badge

It does seem to have been a long time coming, I agree, almost to the point of feeling like vapourware, I too have read about Reaction Engines, Sabre and Skylon, for well over a decade, without seeing much progress.

However, I think that is probably due to a lack of funding, rather than issues with the underlying technology, and as we all know, trying to secure funding from the British government for any sort of technology that doesn't involve the BAE Systems pork barrel is doomed to failure.

UK.gov flings £30m at driverless car R'n'D, wants plebs to speek their branes

Alister Silver badge

Re: Still waiting...


I think you missed this bit?

But this comes after the world witnessed the first fatal autonomous vehicle crash. Last month, a man driving his 2015 Tesla Model S on Route 27 in Florida crashed into a 18-wheel tractor trailer after he and the computer system failed to spot the trailer.

FBI arrests satellite engineer on charges of espionage

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm sorry...

I was just watching that the other day...

"Junior, there's no way, *no* way that you came from *my* loins. Soon as I get home, first thing I'm gonna do is punch yo mamma in da mouth!"

SETI mulls reboot: Believing the strangest things, loving the alien

Alister Silver badge

Re: You're an Alien from outer space!

Downvotes for Star Trek quotes, what is the world coming too?

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