* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Curiosity rover likes big buttes but it cannot lie around

Alister Silver badge

I'm sure I can see a face carved in that cliff-side.


Sniffing your storage could lead to sensitive leaks, warn infosec bods

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'm starting to get tired of these 'Your data is leaking down the side of your device'

I was going to post exactly the same thing, the inside of these devices are so electronically noisy that the chances that you can effectively isolate the particular signal associated with encryption / decryption seems remote.

Drones and alt energy tech star at Spanish start-up fiesta

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Canard Drones

Is this an unfounded rumour, or do I need to duck?

The next Bond – Basildon or Bass-Ass? YOU decide

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I think Dominic West should be considered for the role, he did a fair job of being the baddie in Johnny English Reborn.

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Living embodiment of a martini Julian Clary

Umm... "shaken, not stirred"?

or is it "any time, any place, anywhere"?

Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

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Re: Remind me not to have dinner at your place

"None of this is food."

It's considered such in parts of London. I'm not sure about Gloucestershire.

In Gloucestershire, if it doesn't contain some part of a pig, it isn't food.

Read the damning dossier on the security stupidity that let China ransack OPM's systems

Alister Silver badge

Re: What on earth was going on over there?


Unfortunately this has been very typical of the Obama administration.

Did you actually read the article, at all? The roots of this go back way before the current administration, and have absolutely nothing to do with who is the current President.

But you seem to have a problem with Obama, so it must be personally all his fault.

I suppose you blame him for the fact I had a shit summer this year, as well.

Star Trek's Enterprise turns 50 and still no sign of a warp drive. Sigh

Alister Silver badge

According to Universe Today, a paper has just been accepted that outlines how a reactionless propulsion system – a system that requires no propellant to gain momentum – could generate enough thrust to power a spacecraft faster than the speed of light.

This is a nonsensical statement. Leaving aside the veracity or otherwise of the reactionless propulsion system, it doesn't matter how much power / thrust you have, you cannot accelerate anything in normal space-time faster than the speed of light.

CIA-backed big data firm Palantir says secrets pinched by investor

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and made false claims to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Wow, were the USPTO diligent enough enough to spot that?

<reads on>

Hmm, no, thought not...

Publishing military officers' names 'creates Islamic State hitlist'

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Re: Major Hazard

Perhaps you can explain who the devil this General Failure chap is and why he's reading my C:\ drive?

Well obviously he's military liaison with GCHQ...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Major Hazard

He's in the same regiment as Corporal Punishment, Private Convenience, and General Quarters.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Islamic State Hitlist

I'm sure i've read somewhere, and seen a photograph, of a road sign that says "<< Secret Government Facility" which points to GCHQ or Fylingdales or some such installation.

Alister Silver badge

...though the Army still sees a strong benefit to influencing future captains of industry, leaders of the Empire and officers of the East India Company's steamships.

I did chuckle at that.

HSBC: How will we verify business banking customers? Selfies!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Just remember

Where's Albert Spangler when you need him..

He's gone all Moist.

Alister Silver badge

Maybe HSBC think they'll get more new customers if the suckers don't see inside their local branch first.

You're lucky to have a local branch, ours closed in July, so our "local" branch is now 20 miles away.

Of course, HSBC is happy to believe that all the local pensioners who previously used the branch have cars or use the internet...

Google plots cop detection for auto autos

Alister Silver badge

Re: Loop until... Loop until...

@Jason Bloomberg

I don't know why you got a downvote for that, you are absolutely correct, an emergency vehicle should never force other road users to pass a red light.

That said, in the UK properly trained emergency drivers will ideally either attempt to pass the lights on the other side of the road if safe to do so, or sit in the traffic with their audible warnings switched off until the lights change, so as not to terrorise other drivers.

Unfortunately, in very busy city centres though, it just isn't practical for an emergency vehicle to courteously wait for drivers to do the right thing, as often people will insist on queueing at the lights in both lanes even though an emergency vehicle is behind them.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Oh good grief

...and then hit the brakes, slowing to a speed that impedes progress but isn't slow enough to make overtaking easier.

It's not just traffic going the same way, the usual cause of swearing for me is that the first vehicle in opposing traffic sees you coming, and slows down and pulls over, the vehicle following then immediately tries to overtake, then sees you at last minute and screeches to a halt in the middle of the road, completely blocking the carriageway.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Oh good grief

replicate the behaviour of humans, most of whom will readily move out of the way of emergency vehicles?

That doesn't tie in with my experience...

"replicate the behaviour of humans, most of whom never notice emergency vehicles until they are 3 feet from their windscreen" would be nearer the reality.

Hollywood offers Daniel Craig $150m to (slash wrists) play James Bond

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Re: Mark Strong.

He is older than Daniel Craig though, could he carry it off?

Alister Silver badge

Craig Daniels


Childcare app bods wipe users' data – then discover backups had been borked for a year

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Thanks for the story, it'll go in my bag marked "Cloud isn't always shiny and cheap"

You only have a bag? I have a room full of filing cabinets marked "Why cloud is bad for you" but we still struggle to fight off PHBs with silly ideas.

'Hey, Elon? You broke it, you bought it' says owner of SpaceX's satellite cinder

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@ phuzz

Yes, I get why they feel they have a case against SpaceX, but the article also said they were pursuing compensation from the satellite builders IAI.

Alister Silver badge

Curious why Spacecom feel they can go after the builders for compensation - AFAIK there was nothing wrong with how it was built (apart from not being built exclusively from asbestos).

Intel bags FAA pass to fly 100-strong drone armadas over US soil

Alister Silver badge

Why is there a video of some rather obviously Sidney related imagery dumped into this article?

Why didn't you read the article? It does explain.

Drama in orbit: Brazen UFO attacks Earth's Sentinel-1A satellite

Alister Silver badge

Not a UFO

Surely, UFO is the acronym for "Unidentified Flying Object".

This wasn't flying - it can't, it's in space.

I propose UOO: "Unidentified Orbiting Object"

SpaceX blast kills Zuck's sat

Alister Silver badge

Re: "anomaly"

@Alan Brown

I think I hear a Whoosh there, as the point misses you.

Marketing Hack was alluding to the plot of "Diamonds are Forever" and the diamonds are an essential part of the satellite...

Helpful airport robots

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And, what do they actually do?

SETI searchers: We still haven't found what we're looking for

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Re: It's a conspiracy!

@ D A M


Now go and have a lie down in a darkened room bunker...

Newest Royal Navy warship weighs as much as 120 London buses

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Re: 120 London buses

Are the buses laden or unladen, and are they travelling in Europe or Africa?

That's a bit hard to swallow...

Alister Silver badge

Re: 120 London buses

But is that the old London buses or the new ones? What's the difference between the two?

About 6 foot 10 inches, or 14.8571 linguine

Notting Hill Carnival spycams: Met Police rolls out real-time live face-spotting tech

Alister Silver badge

So, in your title image, which of the apparent gem stones is the one with the camera in it?

Is it the big red one in the middle of her forehead, or is it the smaller green one mounted um, further down?

Snakes on the phone!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Snakes on electric lines

...create a short circuit that would disrupt the distribution of electricity.

Not to mention disrupting the life of the snake.

Must be annoying, having to scrape fried snake off your electricity feed.

Quake-hit Italy: Open up Wi-Fi

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Re: That's daft

I agree with Mage, rescue organisations should not expect normal civil infrastructure to still exist after a natural disaster like this. The International Red Cross is a well funded, well organised group, who should have their own communications ability.

In the UK the local Red Cross and St John Ambulance have their own VHF / UHF radio gear, as well as access to RAYNET etc.

Mars to get Chinese delivery. Estimated time of arrival: 2020

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Re: Please consider changing the title

I'll have a 27, a 43, two 19s, a plain Chow Mein and 3 boiled rice please.

I fart in your general direction! Comet 67P lets rip on Europe's Rosetta probe

Alister Silver badge

Your mother was a punch card reader and your father smelt of static C libraries

Oh come on!

"Your father smelt of Raspberry Pi" surely?

Robot babies fail in role as teenage sex deterrents

Alister Silver badge

The trouble is, a lot of teen girls (and boys, definitely) don't immediately associate the act of procreation with the end result, so "OMG babies!" is not something that goes through their mind at the time...

Sysadmin sticks finger in pipe, saves data centre from flood

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Re: The Power of Power

the crystals sat in their irregularly shut down locations were as reluctant to stabilise

Err, this is the Dilithium crystals, is it?

Radicalisation? UK.gov gets itself in cluster-muddle over 'terrorism'

Alister Silver badge

Re: Nice recommendations

extremist Muslims represent the most likely source of terrorist activity in the UK.

30 to 40 years ago, you could have said "extremist Irish Catholics represent the most likely source of terrorist activity in the UK."

I wonder if you would have been one to encourage the view that anyone Irish or a Catholic was therefore likely to be a terrorist?

Terrorists often co-opt a religious or political ideal to justify their acts, but it doesn't mean that they represent the views of normal followers of that religion or ideal.

What could possibly go wrong here?

What indeed.

If you want to build your own Nvidia-powered self-driving car – or hack one – here's a blueprint

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"Yus, Milady?"

Angler hooks German's todger at nudist lake

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Thumb Up


And how long did that take you to put together?

No, we haven't found liquid water on Mars, says NASA

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Seems to me that the only way to find out...is to go there ourselves

Exactly, all these namby-pamby robots with crappy sensors, just get a bloke to go and stick his finger in a dark patch, he'll soon tell you if it's wet.

(and if it isn't, he can always have a rest break).

Alister Silver badge

Re: Things fade in the sun - even on Mars.

One advantage of the dryness is at least solar panels will work pretty well at high latitudes so we can at least colonise the poles.

Just so long as you keep the dust off them...

Nuclear fallout shelter becomes cloud storage bunker

Alister Silver badge

Re: nuclear shelter used mainly for bullshit advertisement

the tech support were unable to find the problem and asked me my cPanel (in fact my account's) password!

I don't see that this is something to get worked up over?

Wouldn't it be worse if tech support had their own login to your cPanel, or, even worse, were just able to look up your password for themselves?

False Northern Lights alert issued to entire UK because of a lawnmower

Alister Silver badge

Well it shows how infrequently the University staff do the lawns, if this is the first time it's happened :)

Former RN flagship HMS Illustrious to be sold for scrap – report

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Fast jet carrier operations will resume with the introduction of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the Royal Navy's two new super-carriers, in 2018.

Umm, nope, that's incorrect. Fast jet carrier operations won't resume until the F35 becomes available in 2020 (at the moment)

London cops hunt for drone pilots who tried dropping drugs into jail

Alister Silver badge

Police did not say exactly how they stopped the second drone.

They parked a big black Eurocopter EC145 in it's way

NASA wants to sell International Space Station to private enterprise

Alister Silver badge

Sorry to reply to you twice, but this has only just struck me:

As much as I respect Musk and SpaceX and their ilk I'm very uncomfortable letting some an important element of our future fall into the hands of private companies.

Do you not see this as an opportunity for Space travel to finally become mainstream?

If you look back at the history of all the world's transport infrastructure, from ships, to railways, to cars, to aircraft, most of the innovation and funding necessary for the advancement of the technology has come from private companies, or even, on occasion, private individuals.

The advancement of space travel has not followed the traditional path of most of those other modes of transport, because it was hijacked by political interests to score points, which gave us the Apollo missions and the Shuttle.

Normally, a new method of transport would start with a few eccentric entrepreneurs, then would become a plaything or diversion for the rich, and finally would attract sufficient commercial investment for it to become available to the masses. This is how cars, railways and aircraft developed, and is how space travel should have developed.

We are now seeing the beginnings of the first stage of this with Musk and Bezos, and Branson is offering the second stage, of being a rich man's toy with his proposed Virgin Galactic flights to LEO.

What we need now is more long term commercial investment in space hardware, until we have the equivalent of Ford or Boeing building spacecraft on a production line.

Alister Silver badge

Err... forgive me if I'm wrong but isn't the International Space Station you know *International*, does NASA even have the right to sell it?

Don't worry, It's "International" only in the sense that the "World Series" only has teams from North America.

Joking apart, you raise a fair point, as whilst NASA is by far the majority stakeholder, they have only paid for about half the total cost of the build and ongoing funding.

Beauty site lets anyone read customers' personal information

Alister Silver badge

In TFA it says:

The company cited its use of SSL and compliance with the payment card industry data security standard, both of which would do nothing to stop a brute force attack.

So they are claiming to be compliant, whether they need to be or not.

Alister Silver badge

I don't see how this can possibly be PCI-DSS compliant.

I know that every year we have a fight with the Pen-Testers because they say our password reset facility on a certain site allows enumeration of valid email addresses. (It doesn't, if you put in a non-existing email address you don't get an email - no message to say whether it was valid or not.)

Maybe they should get a different QA.

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