* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

Alister Silver badge

Re: It's not 3D

It's hanged in his home office


Alister Silver badge

Re: sunnies after dark ?

For me, in a rural area, it's not so much oncoming cars / suvs which are the problem, it's the oncoming nitwit cyclists using strobing white front lamps after dark which just remove all possibility of seeing anything other than their light, and a glowing after image where my retinas have begun to char.

Two G4S call centre staff sacked over 999 answering scam

Alister Silver badge

Re: I chose the wrong career

in a county that is mostly corn and turnips?

And has some of the highest road accident statistics in the UK.

Viscous liquid oozing down the walls? You must have hives

Alister Silver badge

The bees will be carted off to West Lancashire

But, but, these are Welsh bees, from Cardiff, you can't just uproot them to Lancashire, they won't know the language!

McDonald's launches wearable then pulls it after kid feels the burn

Alister Silver badge

Re: Enquiring minds...

I've got kids who happily go to a restaurant and eat sea food with tentacles

Your kids have tentacles?!! :O

so I must be doing something right

Umm, no, not so sure about that now...


Vodafone: Dear customers. We're sorry we killed your Demon

Alister Silver badge

"As part of our multi-billion pound investment in our network and services over the last few years to ensure that customers have access to cutting edge products and services, we have been replacing many of our legacy systems and reviewing the products and services delivered over them: as part of this review we will no longer be offering free email accounts with our broadband products."

It's a shame that part of the "multi-billion pound investment" couldn't be spent on maintaining a doman and an email server. They don't have to offer free email to new customers, but would it really hurt them to support their existing ones?

Shadow Broker hacking group auctions off claimed NSA online spy tools

Alister Silver badge

Re: Paying for Nothing that does Something is a Great Value Product to ReCycle and Driver

Yep, you surpassed yourself there amfM1, almost lyrical in places.

ISPs face piracy sue-balls

Alister Silver badge

Re: Then the US government.

More to the point, manufacturers of blank CD / DVDs had better watch out, and maybe manufacturers of USB sticks, as well.

I would have said manufacturers of blank audio and video cassettes but I'm not sure anybody knows what they are, anymore :)

Russia is planning to use airships as part of a $240bn transport project

Alister Silver badge


That's not what the Wiki says, nor is it correct.

The British government decreed that a flight to India, using petrol engines, was too hazardous for R100 to undertake, because of the "unknown" effect of the tropical heat on petrol. This was complete nonsense, and was purely done so that the government sponsored craft would get the kudos for the Indian flight.

Alister Silver badge

All of this is documented in the classic book 'Slide Rule':

Yeah, I just happened to have re-read it only the other week, so the details were quite fresh in my mind.

Alister Silver badge

I feel it's a little disingenuous to quote the R101 case as concrete proof that Airships don't work.

R101 was a victim of typical British bureaucratic interference in an engineering project, and the design was betrayed by cost cutting and ill-informed autocratic oversight.

The R100, which was built in parallel by private interests, performed admirably, matched or exceeded all of the goals set by the same requirement as for the R101, and was a complete success.

Unfortunately, to hide the bungling which caused the R101 incident, the British government declared that the civilian Airship was not a viable proposition, and the successes of the R100 were quietly buried.

The curious case of a wearables cynic and his enduring fat bastardry

Alister Silver badge

Well, Alistair,

I'm afraid your credibility has taken a severe beating with this article.

Not only does the whole spiel appear to be written in an attempt to justify your ownership of a smart-band, but you gratuitously admit to having purchased it in PC World.

Shame on you sir, I thought you knew better than that.

Thieves can wirelessly unlock up to 100 million Volkswagens, each at the press of a button

Alister Silver badge

Re: Quick Release or build it like it is in my head

Plenty of LR Defender owners remove the steering wheel at night to prevent theft.

Well I've driven a Land Rover with just a pair of mole-grips on the end of the steering column, so I'm sure a thief would get around it.

Adblock Plus blocks Facebook's ad-blocker buster: It's a block party!

Alister Silver badge

Re: arms race


I'm no fig plucker's son but I'll pluck figs until the fig plucker's son comes.

Woah, where did fig plucker come from?

As I know it, the rhyme is:

"I'm not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's son, and I'll keep on plucking pheasants 'til the pheasant plucker comes"

Head of UK oversight body to join GCHQ 'tech help desk'*

Alister Silver badge

Re: Or even

Or, (since it's in the UK)

"scary stasi snooping doughnut".

Nobody expects... a surprise haemorrhoid operation

Alister Silver badge

I bet he's glad it was a haemorrhoidectomy rather than an orchidectomy.

I've only ever heard of a conjurer managing to extract flowers from someone's rear orifice.

And no, I couldn't be arsed to look up what an orchidectomy is, so balls...

Linux security backfires: Flaw lets hackers inject malware into downloads, disrupt Tor users, etc

Alister Silver badge

Re: Won't you think of the children?

Sweet Jesus, Donald, where are you when we need you?

I wonder if he knows Jesus was a towelhead?

SAP whacks application cracks, shutters baker's dozen of potential hacks

Alister Silver badge

advise our customers to secure their SAP landscape

Is "landscape" the new "environment" then? I seem to be out of date.

Facebook to forcefeed you web ads, whether you like it or not: Ad blocker? Get the Zuck out!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Simple solution...

and there isn't a day goes by that I don't get to see and enjoy photos and videos of my young nephews, nieces and cousins as they learn to walk and talk, play in their gardens, start at their new schools, attend their proms, graduate from their Universities, and eventually post their own videos of themselves getting wasted in fancy dress.

Either you have an inordinate amount of relatives spread over a large age-range, or they live somewhere where time works differently to the rest of us!

NASA test foiled by rocket shaking power cord loose from camera

Alister Silver badge

Re: Shaky!

The rocket should be a nice stable point of reference...

Given that the story is all about how the shaking of the rocket was sufficient to disconnect the power cord of the camera, I think you might be a little optimistic in thinking it would be a stable point of reference... :)

Funny story, this. UK.gov's 'open banking app revolution'. Security experts not a fan of it

Alister Silver badge

I saw this on BBC News the other day, and at the time thought that an all-in-one banking app was a bad idea.

Their stated aim is to "promote transparency and clarity while providing an incentive for customers to switch providers" but I cannot see that one-app-to-rule-them-all is in any way likely to promote transparency and clarity.

Enforcing extra competition for the sake of it seems to be something this government have tried to do for a number of sectors, and it just doesn't work. I don't understand why they feel someone switching banks every six months is something to encourage?

As someone posted earlier, maybe people don't switch banking providers because they are generally happy with the service they get - or, more likely, there is not enough difference between the services provided by any single bank which would justify switching.

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

Alister Silver badge

Re: operate the ignition

A diesel has no ignition system.

Strictly true, but what else would you call turning the key on before pressing the starter?

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

Alister Silver badge

...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

Alister Silver badge

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

Alister Silver badge

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

Alister Silver badge

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?

Alister Silver badge

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

as above.

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

Alister Silver badge

Striped Legless Lizard

Good on yer, cobber, fancy another tinnie?

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

Alister Silver badge

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

Alister Silver badge

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

Alister Silver badge

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

Alister Silver badge

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

Alister Silver badge


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

Alister Silver badge

"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

Alister Silver badge

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

Alister Silver badge

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

Alister Silver badge

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.

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