* Posts by Alister

3265 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Speednames 'fesses up, admits customers' emails are borked

Alister Silver badge

Last year the company brought in turnaround expert Steve Vaughan as non-exec chair to boost its fortunes

"What's that rack of servers doing?"

"It's storage for all our customers' inboxes, Steve"

"How much is it costing us?"

"Oh, about 2 grand a month"

"Right, get rid of it, go and buy some USB drives".

BT blames 'faulty router' for mega outage. Did they try turning it off and on again?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Horsefeathers -- was it a DDOS or a failed upgrade?


Ah right, thanks very much for the info, I didn't know that that was how it worked.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Horsefeathers -- was it a DDOS or a failed upgrade?

It wasn't a DDOS.

Not unless a DDOS can suddenly cause the BT network to be handing out non-routable addresses to customer equipment, which is what I saw happening last night to our business ADSL links.

Our router/modems were being assigned addresses in the subnet on their WAN interfaces, for a few hours, then suddenly they were assigned proper BT external addresses, and away we went.

Universal Credit slammed by MPs: Late programme branded 'unacceptable'

Alister Silver badge

The report urged the department to publish "a clear explanation of how the Universal Credit business case has changed since it last reported on the programme, including the effects of the Autumn Statement and transitional protection".

Please explain clearly, with diagrams, how far the goalposts have moved since the initial proposal.

All dimensions in millimetres, please show all workings.

Uber rebrands to the sound of whalesong confusion

Alister Silver badge

Paradigm shift?

However, Twitter's about to be be consigned to the dustbin of history, so we're ditching it as a news source

Is this a promise?


BT broadband is down: Former state monopoly goes TITSUP UK-wide

Alister Silver badge

Re: CHAP okay but no IP negotiation

It's slightly strange, 'cos at one point my WAN IP was showing as a non-routable - dunno where that came from.

I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

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Re: "The author who coined the terms robotics and positronics"

Check the etymology of "robot". It was Karel Čapek's brother, not Asimov who coined it.

The word robot simply means slave in Czech and it was part of the title of Čapek's play in the original language. It then entered the English language as a name for mechanical humanoids.

The word robotics, to describe the science of robot construction and development, was most definitely coined by Asimov.

Land Rover Defender dies: Production finally halted by EU rules

Alister Silver badge

I sort of understand the reasons for stopping production, although I do feel the vehicle has been let down by lack of investment, and particularly lack of any sales tactics at all.

What I don't understand is Tata/JLR's stated intent to produce a "New" Defender which is not going to be aimed at the commercial vehicle market, but rather will be yet another SUV.

Tata/JLR already produce 6 different models of SUV:



Discovery Sport


Range Rover Sport

Range Rover

Why on earth do they think that the market will sustain another one?

Major Hollywood studio eyes Paint Drying sequel

Alister Silver badge

Apparently, Barbara Broccoli is thinking of doing her own version, Licence to Spill, to be followed by Tomorrow never Dyes, following the adventures of Bond, English Garden Wall Bond... an ageing bricklayer and decorator.

You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Alister Silver badge

I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe...

functions on fire in a copy of Orion.

I watched C-Sharp glitter in the dark near a programmable gate.

All those moments will be lost in time, like Ruby... on... Rails... Time for Pi.

AI no longer needs to fake it. Just don't try talking to your robots

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@ Mike 140

The original text was:

Don’t underestimate the importance of wheels to early 21st century AI

I fail to see what's wrong with it?

You could re-write it as:

"Make no mistake, wheels are quite important to early 21st century AIs"


Alister Silver badge

Re: Actually ...

This article is written by a buzz word fan with no real knowledge of AI, or some one trying to get funding for so called AI research. The examples are nonsense.

Have you not come across Alistair Dabbs before? He's a regular contributor to El Reg.

How to build a starship - and why we should start thinking about it now

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Re: you know...

you know...

...if it weren't for the dark ages, we'd be there by now.

Is that the dark ages that happened between 1972 and the present day?

as in, the last time a human managed to go further than LEO

Alister Silver badge

Every sub-atomic particle has an antimatter companion that is virtually identical to itself, but with the opposite charge. When a particle and its antiparticle meet, they annihilate each other while releasing a huge amount of energy that could be used for propulsion. However, we currently cannot produce and store enough antimatter for this to work.

What you need are Dilithium crystals, they can contain and control matter / antimatter reactions.

I thought everyone knew this?

TalkTalk CuffCuffs 'ScamScam CrimCrims'

Alister Silver badge

Re: Yep - definitely

If you pay peanuts - you get monkeys and in most cases incompetent monkeys who will try any way they can to make an extra buck out of your personal data... Time to come back on-shore me thinks

Except I'm not sure that bringing back support to the UK would be any better, you will still be employing people on minimum wages, who will still have the incentive to try and monetise any data they can get their hands on. Or are you suggesting that European workers are intrinsically more honourable and trustworthy than their Asian counterparts?

Alister Silver badge

Zero Tolerance

I was amused to read (on the BBC News report of this incident) that Wipo have apparently released a statement saying the Indian company has a "zero tolerance" policy on data theft.

Which is good to know, Isn't it?

I mean, what if they only had a 10% tolerance policy on data theft - would this mean you could keep 10% of what you steal, or that they only punish 90% of the staff who steal data?

Stupid bloody statement, really.

Lincolnshire council shuts down all IT after alleged 0-day breach

Alister Silver badge

Re: Why?

Ok, admittedly I live in a country far, far away from the UK, but I'm struggling to think of why a local council would have access to anyone's medical records.

Because, in the fucked up remains of the NHS, social care services (and mental health care, in some cases) are largely controlled and run by local councils nowadays.

Brit censors endure 10-hour Paint Drying movie epic

Alister Silver badge

I recognise that still picture!

It's from about 3hrs 47min into the film, a really tense period, with an unexpected dénouement...

US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon

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Re: So this is where we are...

To get publicity for your career, you have to look like an enormous dickhead on purpose instead of by accident, as is usual.

Well it appears to be a tactic Mr Trump is following.

Retailers urged to create 'CCTV-like' symbol to inform customers of mobile tracking

Alister Silver badge

Re: "... retailer’s smart phone app. " - IKEA

I'm surprised IKEA have an app you can install. Knowing them I would have expected to be given a load of source code, a compiler and instructions on how to build it myself

And you always end up with a couple of spare function calls, for some reason...

Data centers dig in as monster storm strikes America's East Coast

Alister Silver badge

Re: Travelling advice @Alister

"Reflective warning sign"

Is that not already mandatory car equipment in Britain?

There is NO compulsory equipment requirement in the UK in regards to cars, although a steering wheel is recommended...

Alister Silver badge

Travelling advice

The Royal Automobile Club are advising that the following items should be carried at all times when travelling in severe winter conditions:

Ice scraper and de-icer

Torch and spare batteries - or a wind-up torch

Warm clothes and blankets - for you and all passengers


First aid kit

Jump start cables

Food and a warm drink in a thermos


Reflective warning sign

Road atlas

Sunglasses - the glare off the snow can be dazzling

Mobile phone charger


I looked a right twat trying to get on the bus this morning...

Squeeze the banana to log into this office Wi-Fi

Alister Silver badge

I'm sorry, but why pick a banana, surely their MTBF is the lowest of just about any fruit.

Is hybrid cloud fundamental for your organisation? Tell us, readers!

Alister Silver badge

is hybrid cloud a fundamental for your organisation?

"The cloud" is really just marketing speak for hosting software on someone else's hardware, and in that sense then yes, it's a fundamental part of our organisation.

Most of our server estate sits as VMs on privately hosted virtual environments in various datacenters run by various suppliers.

The things we retain as on-premises are what's needed to make the office work, so we have Active Directory DCs, Exchange servers, file servers, and software repositories as either physical or virtual machines hosted in our own buildings.

Does this count as "hybrid cloud"?

I doubt it.

Boeing just about gives up on the 747

Alister Silver badge

Re: 0.3 of a plane?

I think I can see where Boeing have been going wrong, making one whole plane and then 0.3 of a plane I suspect is very wasteful and I doubt they get many orders for the 0.3, but I've been wrong before....

Ah, but if they make three x 0.3 of a plane but make each one a different third, then they could join them together after every three...

Alister Silver badge

747 started out as cargo aeroplane, but then they thought how many passengers they could get onboard. Blame, or cheer, Juan Trippe.

Sorry Graeme but this just isn't true.

In the early 1960s Juan Trippe was pushing Boeing to provide him with a passenger aircraft with twice the capacity of the 707. Joe Sutter was transferred from work on the 737 to design a passenger aircraft that would fulfil Trippe's wishes.

However, it is quite true that from the outset the aircraft was designed so that it would be convertible to a cargo aircraft with a nose-loading door, should it be required.

Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?

Alister Silver badge

I really think the car analogy has been driven to excess


Alister Silver badge

Just waiting for the day when cops can execute a "search and seizure" of your home PC if it's identified as having a malware infection.

Popcorn sales will rocket.

Fears of fiber cable cuts, rogue drones menacing crowds at Super Bowl 50

Alister Silver badge

How dare you come on here and blatantly advertise a terrist training video!

Whilst you're at it, here's how to bring down Washington:


El Reg mulls entering Robot Wars arena

Alister Silver badge

What makes you think the new robots will employ any software? They're most likely to be overgrown R/C cars like the previous lot.

Alister Silver badge

Re: A no-brainer, Shirley?

Yep, I was going to suggest the El Reg vulture head, cast from titanium, with a sharpened beak, powered by hydraulics much like the original Razor, and then possibly a flipper / self-righter as a secondary weapon.

Robots. Machine learnin', 3D-printin' AI robots: They'll take our jobs – Davos

Alister Silver badge


That was looming!

999 What's your emergency: Mega millions Met call handling IT muckup?

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Thumb Up

Re: Ideology

And statements like; enabled for multi channel public interaction delivering improved situational awareness, predictive analytics and data sharing, just reek of meaningless bullshit.

Amen brother...

SpaceX: launch, check. Landing? Needs work

Alister Silver badge

Maybe trying to land on a floating deck which is moving about all over the place - despite thrusters and stabilizers etc - is just a step too far.

Even if the control of the rocket is perfect, you can still end up being smacked in the face by the landing platform.

I know that's not the apparent primary cause of this RUD (lol) but it surely is a factor.

China names the date for dark side moon landing

Alister Silver badge

Does going to the moon count as interplanetary? Genuine question.

My personal view is that you would have to travel outside of the furthest orbit of any planet's moon(s) to really count as an interplanetary journey, but I'm not sure that's the widely accepted definition.

Alister Silver badge

Hopefully not too similar: the “Jade Rabbit” lander dispatched on Chang'e-3 experienced a mechanical control abnormality and then broke down completely after only a couple of months' operations.

Given that the Jade Rabbit was China's first attempt, I find the tone of the above a bit strange. "broke down completely after only a couple of months" seems to suggest this was somehow a failure.

When you look at how many NASA landers and probes failed to function at all, the fact that Jade Rabbit lasted a couple of months seems to me to be worthy of praise, not condemnation.

Hot Swedish nurses in charity calendar rumpus

Alister Silver badge

@Old Handle

Yep, you should use the paddles at arm's length, and make damn sure no part of the patient can possibly touch you even if they move when you shock them.

I've had a partial shock once, whilst attempting to cardiovert someone on wet grass when I was kneeling next to them, It bloody hurts!

Alister Silver badge

I really, really hope he never uses the defibrillator like that for real, or there'll be two dead people on the trolley.

BBC risks wrath of android rights activists with Robot Wars reboot

Alister Silver badge

Re: Sadly my line manager hates flying

Last time I checked Glasgow was accessible by road and rail from England!

and by sea!!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Who is presenting?

Yep, I'd go with that, or even Robert Llewellyn and Lisa Rogers.

Late night server rebuild led to 'nightmares about mutilated corpses'

Alister Silver badge

It's Friday, your correspondent is back from summer holidays

Wait! What??

Is this a rehashed article, or are you an antipodean?

FTC apologizes for leaking attendee details … to privacy conference

Alister Silver badge

This was, of course, done deliberately to act as a talking point for the conference...


Oh well, worth a try.

2015 was the Year of the Linux Phone ... Nah, we're messing with you

Alister Silver badge

Then again, many, perhaps most, ATM users are Linux users

Hmm, not sure of that, either. Every broken ATM I've ever seen in the UK is running Windows CE of some sort - hence why it's broken, probably...

DWP building a separate ID tool as Verify can’t cut it, whisper sources

Alister Silver badge

Re: This is a solved problem surely?

Thanks to two factor authentication my bank knows exactly who I am. Thanks to the wonders of encryption I can be fairly sure that no prying eyes can read the contents of my transmissions.

Maybe they're trying to implement a secure solution without using encryption - after all, encryption = terrist, doesn't it?

Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

Alister Silver badge

Well it isn't a proper server, but I'm still running a Mesh Pentium 90 Desktop from 1995-ish which is now used as a NAS at home. It's got 96MB RAM, and a PCI Sata Raid card with two 250GB Drives, and runs the Linux Free-Nas software distro booted off a LiveCD.

The motherboard, processor and RAM are all the original items though, so they're doing pretty well for being 20 years old.

Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick!

Alister Silver badge

Yay! Stob!

I've been pining.

but not for Fjords...

Just Verity.

Join The Register at Enigma, USENIX’s new security conference

Alister Silver badge

Is amanfrommars1 a secret test of an advanced AI? or just a textbot with pretensions.

I'm curious to know what criteria are used to decide which threads it posts on though.

We know this isn't about PRISM, Matt Warman MP. But do you?

Alister Silver badge

He really doesn't get it, does he?

Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 nagware shows signs of sentience

Alister Silver badge

Larger enterprise users are not eligible for Windows 10 upgrades, so don’t receive the GWX nagware that’s been plaguing Home and Professional Edition users for six months.

It was originally my understanding that if you ran Windows 7 joined to a domain, then GWX would ignore you, however this seems not to be the case anymore, as I've had to play whack-a-mole on a number of my domain member desktops recently.

GWX certainly bears all the hallmarks of professionally built malware with hidden processes and unauthorised registry changes, even using obfuscated folder names ($WINDOWS.~BT) for the download.

Eric Schmidt, for one, welcomes our new robot overlords

Alister Silver badge

Kubrick did a good job!

It still gives me a shiver when I see HAL's beady eye staring at me.

(see photo).

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