* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Microsoft's Brad Smith on encryption: Let the politicians decide

Alister Silver badge

"decisions are best made by people that are elected by people."


Does anybody really think that our elected representatives are safe to be allowed to make decisions on any level greater than what to have for breakfast?

Is Brad thinking of running for office soon?

Microsoft's bigoted teen bot flirts with illegali-Tay in brief comeback

Alister Silver badge

Passes the Turing test?

Compare and contrast, here's a real US teenager on Twitter:


French scream sacré bleu! as US govt gives up the internet to ICANN

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Re: Obliged

obligated is a perfectly valid word (cromulent, even!), not made up as you claim.

Its use in the sentence you fail to quote is correct.

The board is also obligated to explain its reasoning if it does reject that advice

Obligated and obliged both mean "to be morally required to do something", however in normal use obligated is used where the subject has no choice in the matter, whereas obliged is more like being indebted to someone.

EU ministers to demand more data access after Brussels attacks

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Re: Priorities...

Brussels, with its airport now becoming famous for not doing even basic security checks.

What? Which security checks would you expect to see, and where?

At check-in? At the front door? At the unloading point? In the car park?

It doesn't matter where you start the security, you will always have a point before it which is vulnerable.

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Not more data, better analysis

They should be concentrating on dealing more effectively with the data they already have, not trying to add to it.

The haystack is big enough already, they need more people with magnets to sift through and find the needles.

And then, they need to use that information appropriately, not keep it secret. Once again, it appears, the security services were aware of at least one of the Brussels attackers, but they didn't release that information to the people that mattered.

Met police commissioner: Fraud victims should not be refunded by banks

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"disincentivised "

What a horrible word that is.

What's wrong with discouraged?

Water treatment plant hacked, chemical mix changed for tap supplies

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A couple of weeks ago South Derbyshire and North Leicestershire residents were warned not to use their tap water for any reason because the chlorine concentration was at dangerous levels.

Curious coincidence.

Israeli biz fingered as the FBI's iPhone cracker

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I wonder whether (whatever the actual outcome) the FBI will triumphantly announce their finding of (unspecified) incriminating data on the phone, just to justify their law suit.

I really can't see them going "ah, well actually there wasn't anything worth having on there, sorry to have bothered you..."

Tracy Emin dons funeral shroud, marries stone

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I hope he'll mica great husband, and doesn't turn out to be a bit of a schist

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Sticking with the Bay Area, former San Francisco Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein married Sharon Stone, while renowned funkster Sly had an entire Family Stone.

I've drunk lots of pints of Stones, does that count?

Oh, sugar! Sysadmin accidently deletes production database while fixing a fault

Alister Silver badge

What we need is production databases that require 2FA or 2 user auth to run DELETE and DROP commands :p

Or possibly Sysadmins who stop and check, and then check again, before deleting anything, ever.

My thought is that he restored a duff backup over the top of the live database, instead of creating a copy.

Canuck named as next UK privacy watchdog

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Hope she brought her hockey stick.

Nah, it's the Environment Secretary who needs the hockey stick for all them graphs...

Clear April 12: Windows, Samba to splat curious 'crucial' Badlock bug

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Re: Home Users

Current versions of Windows, even the workstation versions have SMB enabled by default

I'm not sure that's true of anything after Vista, to the best of my knowledge the Windows firewall blocks SMB traffic, and the "File and Printer Sharing" and "Network Discovery" services are disabled by default.

Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

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Re: Old photo caption

I remember my school had the RM 480Zs, although I had left by then, but my younger brother got to play with them.

The school my Dad taught at, in Sheffield, got Sharp MZ80A's though, I remember him bringing one home to "test"... ahem... as he was the member of staff responsible for AV resources - which included computers, in those days.

Alister Silver badge


The five-by-five grid of LEDs are surface mounted and only the most determined teenager will break them,


Wanna bet?

Comms 'redlining' in Brussels as explosions kill up to 30 people

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"Do you really want to see physical searches before you are allowed on a train? "

What, like the ones you get at airports and Eurostar? That doesn't seem to have affected their popularity.

You really are barking, aren't you.

There are at least 100 times the number of people who would require searching for normal train or tube services, compared to airport departures or Eurostar.

As a commuter, would you be prepared to spend an extra 2 hours EVERY day queueing for a security search on your way to work, and on your way home?

The delays and congestion would simply not be manageable, and would also offer a prime target for a suicide bomber...

Alister Silver badge

I'm not a fan of increased generic mass surveillance but to be honest I could accept increased levels of physical searches on or near transportation hubs if it meant less chance of being killed.

I suggest you think very carefully indeed before making statements like that.

Do you really want to see physical searches before you are allowed on a train? Can you imagine the chaos at rush hour if that were implemented? Or the same at the entrance to bus stations and airports?

And whilst you're at it, what about physical searches before you're allowed into a shopping centre, or cinema complex?

Unless you make every country a complete police state, where public gatherings are not allowed, and access to every method of transport is strictly controlled, you will never stop this sort of incident from happening.

And if you do put such draconian measures in place, then the terrorists have won, all the way.

Alister Silver badge

Security expectations

UK government explains "This could be avoided if you let us track every single thing you say or do" in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Joking apart, watching the coverage of these incidents on the BBC I heard one TV anchor ask "If the security services were on high alert, how could this happen".

Sadly, this seems to be something which a lot of people think: that miraculously the police and security services can prevent this sort of attack.

This is simply never going to be the case, despite ever increasing security theatre, you cannot stop a determined person from walking into a public building and either leaving a bomb or committing suicide.

My condolences to all in Belgium.

What to call a £200m 15,000-tonne polar vessel – how about Boaty McBoatface?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Noooo...!

but you can't put a ship on a boat

Unless it's a ship-in-a-bottle...

'Hot Tech Talent' IT job board ads caught up in sexism allegations

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Mary Pankhurst chained herself to the Houses of Parliament for female equality, you know!

Umm, Emmeline (Emily) ITYM

Heads up, rocket fans: Soyuz launch tonight

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It really needs Howard Wolowitz screaming during the launch to add some excitement.

Actually I was thinking how very relaxed about it they were compared to American launches I've seen.

This is in no way a criticism of the Russians, though, I thought it was refreshing to see how matter-of-fact they were about the whole thing - calm professionalism instead of artificial drama.

Alister Silver badge

Well that all went very smoothly.

Feds raid 'extortionist' IT security biz Tiversa, CEO put on leave

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Re: I'm wondering how the FBI made its selection

Vehicles, including main battle tanks, depend on police and guard services to protect them from vandalism. There is no way to prevent bricks though windows, keyed door, and knives through tires.

I think you might have picked a better analogy, I really doubt it's possible to chuck a brick through the window, or knife the tyres, of a main battle tank, and I'm not even sure you could successfully scratch it with a key...

Off to Mars this summer? Don't forget your map

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Re: someone went and actually measures everything

@Sir Sham Cad

I think he meant Mars, not Ben Nevis...

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Re: Old OS maps online.

Just spent a happy hour or so immersed in that site you linked to.

Many thanks, fascinating to compare old with new.

Domino's trials trundling four-wheeled pizza delivery bot

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Re: R2D2 or BigTrak

It seems quite big to me

24" Pizza, or as the Americans call it... "Small"

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Re: @ Alister

@allthecool...sod it :)

Oh, go on then...

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And how would it work a lift in a high-rise?

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Hmm, I never considered that it might be an abbreviation of thought has.

It's not something I would ever write, except to illustrate the spoken word.

Mea Culpa.

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But there's a bit more to this than a stunt: there's a working prototype, trials have been conducted and thought's been given to safety

Classic greengrocer's...

Top rocket exec quits after telling the truth about SpaceX price war

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Being a rather naive right-pondian, it amazes me that you Americans accept as business-as-usual what I would consider to be the height of amoral and corrupt practices in your local and national politics.

I don't think I view the world through rose-tinted glasses, and I know that British MPs are not paragons of virtue, but I find it hard to believe that the sort of bribery and political influence that is described in this article would ever be condoned in the UK.

Mighty Soyuz stands proud at Baikonur

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Re: Hmmm

Unfortunately the humans are what is known as "very close" and the engines can be referred to as "far away".

"OK, one last time, Dougal. These are small… but the ones out there are far away. Small… far away…"

Alister Silver badge

Re: Horizontal assembly

@Mike Shepherd.

I agree that compared to take-off loads any forces will be small, but whilst all space launch vehicles are designed to withstand those launch forces vertically, I'm not so sure about sideways loads.

Would current US launch vehicles (for example) withstand the off-centre forces of installing the payload with the craft horizontal, or would that have to be built in as extra?

Alister Silver badge

Horizontal assembly

Does preparing the payload and rocket horizontally mean that it has to be constructed in a more robust manner though, to withstand the off-centre loads whilst laid down, and the strain of lifting it to the vertical?

Apple tells iPhone court 'the Founders would be appalled' by Feds

Alister Silver badge

Re: misinformed arrogance

Court+Search warrant for specific object == Legal Oversight.

If it works for your bedroom closet it works for your phone.

There speaks someone with no comprehension of the ramifications of this case.

If Apple are forced to provide a way to bypass the security on this one phone, there will then be hundreds - if not thousands - of requests / court orders for the same to be done for other phones.

At that point, it is 100% certain that the code to carry out the bypass of security will no longer remain in Apple's hands, and will find it's way, firstly into the FBI's hands, where they will use it indiscriminately without oversight, and secondly into the hands of the criminal fraternity, at which point it's game over.

Hackers demo prototype security scanner that thinks like a human

Alister Silver badge

Re: Descison Tree. . .

@Elmer Phud,

Was your miss-spelling of decision deliberate, or an ironic fail?

Brits seek rousing name for polar research vessel

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Re: I'm torn

Nice, I see what you did there :D

Alister Silver badge

Not quite a vulture...

But they could name her RSS Robert Falcon Scott.

Or maybe RSS Lawrence Oates, now there's someone worthy of remembrance.

Hotel light control hack illuminates lamentable state of IoT security

Alister Silver badge

what a missed opportunity:

to hack a bit of code to send messages across the Hotel frontage by turning the lights on and off in sequence...

Met Police cancels £90m 999 call command-and-control gig

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supplier didn't deliver

Maybe they left it round the back behind the bins...

UK Snoopers' Charter crashes through critics into the next level

Alister Silver badge

Unfortunately, because of the abstentions, the outcome of the vote (281 votes in favour and 15 opposed) gives a completely unrepresentative impression of the support for the bill, and one that I've no doubt will be used to "prove" that the bill was well received by the majority.

Millions menaced as ransomware-smuggling ads pollute top websites

Alister Silver badge

But no, ad-blockers are bad and should be banned...

Any Swedish publishers care to comment??

Hollywood could learn a lot from software devs, says GitLab founder

Alister Silver badge

Hollywood will be turning to the worlds of DevOps and Continuous Delivery to make movies in the future

Based on that then, by the time it gets to DVD release, it'll be a completely different movie to the one shown in the Cinemas...

A bit like Bladerunner, in fact...

Want to kick butts? Go cold turkey

Alister Silver badge

plus patches are a sod to light.

You Bastard... :)

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Re: Long odds

Good thing I don't want to quit then, eh...

Alister Silver badge

So neither of the groups were better than 23% successful in quitting, then, or am I misunderstanding?

Computer says: Stop using MacWrite II, human!

Alister Silver badge

Just wondering...

Why the nice drawing of a B17 at the head of this article?

Brits shun nightclubs and CD-ROMs for lemons, coffee and woman’s leggings

Alister Silver badge

Computer game downloads are added, as “attracting increased expenditure and their inclusion splits the eight of computer games".

I didn't get what this means, anybody??

UK fella is a multimillion-dollar cyber-hustle mastermind – US DoJ

Alister Silver badge

"As this case makes clear, we will investigate and pursue charges against individuals who abuse the financial information of American consumers."

I nearly spat my cornflakes over the keyboard when I read that, I was laughing so hard.

Yes, so Long is a criminal, and deserves to do time, but it's seemingly OK for banks and businesses to abuse the financial information of American consumers, but if an individual does it: Oooh, can't have that...

7,800 people's biometric data held on police anti-terrorism database

Alister Silver badge

The BBC's reporting of this story contains the following gem:

The Report revealed up to 50,000 records of under-18s on the Police National Computer (PNC) may be incorrectly showing that their DNA profiles need to be erased after five years, when they should be stored indefinitely.

However, a number of problems have emerged which indicate that profiles are being wrongly kept on the database, including 4,650 profiles of people classed as "Wanted/Missing" on the PNC.

So if I read this correctly, any under-18 should have their DNA profile stored indefinitely. Surely this is wrong?

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