* Posts by Alister

3265 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Apple, AT&T, Verizon named in $7bn VoIP patent claim

Alister Silver badge

A quick skim through the two patents suggests that my Asterisk box is in violation of both of them.

Seeing as the first release of the Asterisk PBX was 1999, I claim prior art...

Laser-zapping scientists will save the Earth from meteorite destruction

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Re: Odds


I suggest you go and Google Tunguska, or if that's not close enough in time to worry you, how about Chelyabinsk.

Both of those were near misses, that could have so easily been much, much worse. Maybe not extinction level, but seriously disruptive.

Perhaps you might then consider the justification here to be a little less thin?.

Label your cables: A cautionary tale from the server room

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Re: article header image

I was expecting the answer to be more complex, I suppose. :)

I may have been overthinking this...

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article header image

I've asked this before, but never got a response, what's the significance of the drawing of the Flying Fortress in the article image?

Archaeologists find oldest ever ground-edge stone axe

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Re: Hold on a gosh darned minute...

@ I am David Jones.

My humour detector is fine, thank you, just wanted to get the Cleopatra thing in there...

And how do you work out that 2667BC is 4672 years ago? Where's the missing 11 years?

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Re: Hold on a gosh darned minute...

Human beings have only been on the planet for about 4,000 years haven't they?

I'd be intrigued to know where you get your dates from...

Construction of the Step Pyramid at Djoser in Egypt has been carbon dated to around 2667BC which is 4683 years ago, and humans were around a long time before that.

Interesting fact: The date of Cleopatra's birth is nearer in time to the invention of the iPhone, than it is to the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

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Re: Interesting, but...


I still have my Great-grandfather's axe.

My Grandfather replaced the handle,

My Father replaced the head.

But it's still my Great-grandfather's axe...

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Re: Truly fascinating, but

I think a slight amount of journalistic exaggeration has crept into the narrative.

If you read the linked PDF it actually says the following:

The only morphological feature that is unique to the axes

is the highly polished ground surface. These smoothed

surfaces are created by extensive abrasion with another

rock and cannot be incidentally produced by other

knapping actions such as platform preparation.

Grinding basalt to a polished bevel has been experi-

mentally shown to take 1.5–5 h depending on the

character of the base stone and abrasive agent being

used (Dickson1980).

Even in optimal conditions hundreds of forceful strokes are

required to create the smoothed bevel. Our experiments

and comparative measurements confirm this proposition

(my emphasis)

Huge embarrassment over fisting site data breach

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Re: Let me be the first to say it

Okay, he was the first.

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Re: Let me be the first to say it

You weren't the fist first, sorry

Congress calls for change to NSA spying law

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Terrorism as a significant international American concern arose considerably later


Internationally, terrorism was very much a concern from the late 60s onwards, particularly in Europe, it just took the US a while to catch up.

Russia poised to unleash 'Son of Satan' ICBM

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Paris Hilton

"capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France", Zvezda cheerfully explains.

Interesting, both Texas and France have a city named Paris, I believe.

Icon: well what else?

Lauri Love: 'Britain's FBI' loses court attempt to evade decryption laws

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No, unfortunately I don't. It's worth noting though, the following:

The NCA first served a RIPA Notice on Mr Love in February 2014 but took no further action to continue it after he did not comply.

Which suggests they were on shaky ground already.

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Re: Have I got this straight?

Yes, absolutely correct.

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As mentioned, they didn't use RIPA, which already has a 2-year jail term for failing to hand over encryption keys, because they couldn't meet the requirements laid down in that law.

So what they were effectively trying to do was to enable the law enforcement body to scrutinize Love's private data without evidence of wrongdoing, or any valid justification whatsoever.

The sneaky bastards.

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Surely this case is going to be both complex and harrowing.

Yeah, Tough Love...

Transfer techies at SWIFT tell Bangladesh Bank: Don't shift blame for $81m cyberheist

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As well as network infrastructure weaknesses, the hackers behind the heist used custom malware specifically created to target SWIFT. The code even adjusted the SWIFT system’s printed reports to hide fraudulent transfers from the Bangladesh central bank account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

If the above is true then surely SWIFT can't possible deny all responsibility for the losses incurred.

Investigatory Powers Bill: As supported by world's most controlling men

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Eric King, director of the Don't Spy on Us coalition, said: "We have been talking to all of the parties, our members include many cross-party organisations, and we're very enthused by the work that Kier Starmer [Labour MP] and Joanna Cherry [SNP MP] are doing. We hope there's going to be more opposition to what is a bill that we're still very concerned about."

Unfortunately, our duly elected representatives have already had the opportunity to vote against this legislation, but chose instead to abstain, so effectively endorsing it by tacit consent.

French duck-crushing device sells for €40k

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So, the outcome is effectively cooked roadkill.

I wonder how they present that elegantly on a plate?

Anyway, can't stop, I'm off to buy a pre-cooked chicken, I wonder what it'll look like with a Land Rover tyre print, tasteful, non?

NCA decryption refused

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Well short of beating it out of him, I'm not sure how they could "force" him to give up the keys anyway.

It's noticeable they didn't use RIPA either, which already has a 2-year jail term for failing to hand over encryption keys.

What they were effectively trying to do was to enable the law enforcement body to scrutinize his private data without evidence of wrongdoing.

Spaniard live streams 195km/h burn-up

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Up Periscope!

Right up!

We should encourage more idiot drivers to provide the necessary camera footage to convict themselves.

Sic transit Mercury Monday

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*Suffice it to say, it's overcast here with light drizzle,

Thankfully, here in the middle of the UK, it's a cloudless sunny day, for a change.

Watch it again: SpaceX's boomerang rocket lands on robo-sea-barge

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Re: Alien Space Bat at 54:19


Thanks, but in the video you can clearly see a nozzle of some kind with ice crystals forming round it as it vents, so it's not venting through the engine bell.

If there isn't a similar vent the other side, I would expect that to cause a sideways movement of the craft.

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Re: Alien Space Bat at 54:19

So if they vent off the LOX, will there be a vent port on each side of the vehicle?

Otherwise, won't the venting cause a thrust vector which will affect the craft?

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Re: Alien Space Bat at 54:19

Yes I saw that, and couldn't decide whether it was a small thruster firing, and then ice building up round the nozzle, or whether something was being vented deliberately, or it was in fact an unintentional leak.

I'd be curious to know.

Giant 3D printed human

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...and possibly more technically challenging, you can get miniature models of yourself printed here

'Bitcoin creator' Craig Yeah Wright in meltdown

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Re: Just a thought.

So he's an Australian who's had to flee the country, and makes fantastic statements to grab some media attention.

Curious, it reminds me of someone else.

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Looser than what?

Did you mean Loser?

You can always rely on the Ancient Ones to cock things up

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Re: Music

I've been watching the 1970s comedy series Porridge and there's no theme tune.

Yes there is, it goes:

"Norman Stanley Fletcher, you have pleaded guilty to the charges brought by this court and it is now my duty to pass sentence. You are an habitual criminal who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner. We therefore feel constrained to commit you to the maximum term allowed for these offences — you will go to prison for five years."(SLAM)

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Re: There will be blood...

You really need to try violence. Threats sometimes work, but for those really stubborn ones, actual violence is needed.

I'm sure I've posted this tale before, but it bears repeating:

A colleague of mine was working on a desktop machine which steadfastly refused to boot cleanly.

All the component parts, (motherboard, CPU, Fan, RAM, PSU, Video card, network card, etc) had been tested in other machines and were known to work, but put them all together in one case and it wouldn't work.

Finally, in exasperation, my colleague picked the whole thing up and threw it out of an (open) second-floor window.

When he had trudged downstairs and retrieved it from the flowerbed it was occupying, he emptied out the soil and plugged it in, and it worked first time.


On the workbench in the comms room here we have the skeletal remains of a Dell PE860 with a large screwdriver embedded in its mainboard. It is left there as a salutary lesson to all the servers in the racks...

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You do seem to be suffering from a lot of orphaned child processes, maybe the system really cares about them...

Review legacy code: Waking dragons is risk worth taking, says Trainline ops head

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Re: Business model?

I'm pretty certain that all of the TOCs and other ticket selling entities all use the same codebase.

Er no, they don't, I'm absolutely certain about this.

Siemens Healthcare struck by rebranding madness

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Thumb Up

the informal description of gynaecologists as "privateers"


Have many of these ---->

Nerds make it rain in Nevada. The Las Vegas strip? No, cloud-seeding drones over the desert

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A Drone America spokesman told The Reg that there was a much larger drone in the works that can fly high and long enough to make cloud seeding a possibility. However, it's grounded until the US government can make up its mind on where drones can fly.

Umm, here's a thought... Use a proper aircraft, instead of pissing about with drones!

Skygazers: Brace yourselves for a kick in the Aquarids

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Halley's Comet.

The comet itself has an orbital period of between 75–76 years, and was last visible from Earth in 1986 as it passed through the inner solar system. Its next scheduled visit is in 2061

Can you imagine the palaver if it took a short-cut this time and turned up 20 years early...

UK.gov wasted £20m telling you to 'be safe online, mmkay'

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I know, as an IT Manager, the users would be in uproar for a few months but they'd soon get used to it.

Unfortunately, when your users include the directors and board of the company, the uproar doesn't last long - say five minutes after the first email the Chairman can't open the attachment on? Then, status quo returns, and you as an IT Manager take a long walk off a short plank.

Old, complex code could cause another UK banking TITSUP – study

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Has anyone considered that the extra 300Klocs in UK code might be more comprehensive error checking and handling? No?

It seems a real stretch to me to be able to state that more klocs = more errors without any terms of reference.

ICANN in a strop that Intel, Netflix, Lego, Nike and others aren't using their dot-brand domains

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If UPS don't want theirs...

I have an idea for using it, I could create all sorts of sub domains:






It's World IP Day! Celebrate by making money from a dead teenager

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Colander-wearing Irishman denied driver's licence in Pastafarian slapdown

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Re: Relations

I would have thought it would be obvious to even the most hidebound civil servant that his headgear is clearly holey...

Ted Cruz knows where you live – if you downloaded his app

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Donald Trump has been the focus of much interest, dominating all candidates with 75 per cent of presidential primary apps categorized under his name.

Yes, but doesn't that category include all the fart apps?

Europe's Earth-watching sat rides Soyuz to orbit

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"Micro-Satellite à traînée Compensée pour l'Observation du Principe d'Equivalence", aka Microscope

Nice acronym, it's a good thing it was in French or it wouldn't have worked...

Clinton's $1m troll fight

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Re: Why is Billary not in jail yet?

She's even more dangerous than loose-cannon Donald Trump, who at least has some proven talents. [citation needed]

RIP Prince: You were the soundtrack of my youth

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Re: I've

You'd think he was the messiah ffs.

Whilst I sort of agree with the sentiment - news channels and the internet have gone way overboard about this - you must acknowledge that he had a massive influence on popular music, not just the songs he performed himself, but all the work he did for other bands, and the industry as a whole.

'I hacked Facebook – and found someone had beaten me to it'

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"another researcher"

So, did he open a terminal window and type:

"Mess with the best, die like the rest."

No?, Oh, OK.

FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

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Re: The Plural of Torpedo...

@Roj Blake

That wooshing sound you hear is the point, missing you completely...

What is the plural of Pedo?

NYPD anti-crypto Twitter campaign goes about as well as you'd expect

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@ Aodhhan

One of the US Government's primary jobs is the protection of its citizens. Right to privacy isn't absolute, and it loses when it comes to security of the nation or protection of the people.

You just don't get it, do you. What the Government is asking for is NOT POSSIBLE.

It is not possible to create strong encryption with an easy way in "only for government use".

The two possible choices are:

1/ Strong Encryption for everybody which cannot be easily bypassed or broken.

2/ Weak Encryption for everybody, which can be bypassed or broken by governments and criminals alike.

The drawback with #2 is that strong encryption already exists, so even if law abiding citizens and companies do as the government asks, and only use weaker encryption, there's nothing to stop criminals and terrorists from using the existing strong encryption.

Clucking hell! Farcical free-range egg standard pecked apart by app

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Re: And the information is...

Accurate? Just wait for the lawsuit when the app tells people that Brand A is clucking unhappy, when, in fact, it's clucking cheerful.

The data the App uses is taken from a report produced by Choice, a consumer protection organisation similar to Which?.

This information is freely available here:


So it won't be the App developers who get sued no matter what.

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Re: 160,000 birds per hectare.

How many birds would that be per Wales?

According to Wikepedia, Wales is 2 million hectares, so the answer is 320000000000

or 3.2 × 109

VXers pass stolen card data over DNS

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Re: Wouldnt

Wouldn't the practical solution to this be putting POS systems on an isolated network of their own with no net access?

Don't POS systems require net access to carry out card verification etc?

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