* Posts by Alister

3265 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Amazon Echo: We put Jeff Bezos' always-on microphone-speaker in a Reg family home

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I want one with Majel Barrett's voice, definitely.

Minicab-hailing app Uber is lawful – UK High Court

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Re: some would say the taxi meter is the device that tells you the cost of the journey

Originally, a "taxi" was an abbreviation of taximeter cab, as in "a cab with a device that measures the charge".

I always thought it was originally a taxidermy cab - as in "a cab in which you get well and truly stuffed"

Wheels come off parents' plan to dub sprog 'Mini Cooper'

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There are various Celebrity parents who should have been blocked from naming their children as they did, the Geldof's for instance have three daughters, Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Pixie...

But surely the worst have to be "Future" or "Royal Reign" as daughters names?

Radio wave gun zaps drones out of the sky – and it's perfectly legal*

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Firmware mods + RF Amplifier and high gain antenna.

Yes but that's why the proposed legislation is so stupid, the firmware itself doesn't make much difference, you can strap a hi-gain antenna or an amp to any existing router with stock firmware.

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Yes, I understand that, but whether they are licensed or not isn't the point, there's still a contradiction.

The FCC are trying to stop the installation of custom firmware on WiFi routers, their stated reason being the possible interference if the firmware is used to make the router transmit out-of-band.

However no amount of firmware mods can make a WiFi router transmit at the sort of power levels that could cause any widespread disruption - at most you'll get a few milliwatts out the end of it, whereas this "gun" must be transmitting at Kilowatt or even Megawatt levels to achieve the stated result, and yet it's described as "harmless".

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The DroneDefender emits a harmless cone of radio waves that interfere with GPS and signals on the industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) radio bands,

Someone should tell the FCC that the ISM bands are apparently OK to disrupt - but you mustn't do it with a WiFi router's firmware...

UK's Lloyds Banking Group scrambles to patch account-snooping security hole

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Re: So a load of customers had their personal details put into the public domain ....


So a load of customers had their personal details put into the public domain

Um no, not into the public domain, just accessible if you were able to set up a matching account.

There should be a control of what information Banks are allowed to collect and store

I rather think banks probably do need to collect and store name, address and account details for their customers, otherwise it would be quite difficult for them to identify the customer's accounts.

Maybe if customers didn't splash their names, dates of birth and addresses all over social media, it would make life a bit more difficult for those with criminal intent.

However, that doesn't excuse the bank's imbecility in linking accounts between the two businesses.

Internet daddy Vint Cerf blasts FCC's plan to ban Wi-Fi router code mods

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The regulator is worried that, by allowing people to load their own software on these gadgets, they can reprogram the radio hardware to broadcast on any frequency they like

Is this really a problem at the moment?

Obviously it's not the sort of thing that many will admit to - even if they do it - but I've never heard of anyone re-programming the radio, custom firmware is more about improving the security and in a lot of cases reliability of proprietary hardware.

You can hack a PC just by looking at it, say 3M and HP

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the unintended consequence of making it harder to gather around a PC to check out that really funny new thing on YouTube.

...and the further unintended consequence that the number of internal emails suddenly rises, as people send each other the link to the new You Tube Funny, instead of gathering round one notebook...

US Navy grabs old-fashioned sextants amid hacker attack fears

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calculations ... handled by computers

Ha, they'll be Chinese I-Ching calculators, so the Lat / Long will always come out as "A Suffusion of Yellow"

Dry those eyes, ad blockers are unlikely to kill the internet

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Re: The cognizant user ...

I *know* where to find cheese, tampons, razor blades and lightbulbs. I don't eat fast-"food".

That's a fascinating diet, but don't you find the razor blades get stuck between your teeth?

Google and pals launch Accelerated Mobile Pages project

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Re: Sigh...

The problem, deep down, is that this wretched combo has become an ungodly mess of a hack on a kludge on a workaround on a tech that wasn't meant to do any of it.

On the contrary, I would say that HTML was designed to do exactly what it is doing every day on the web - to present information and media and provide linking between documents. Unfortunately, it's the way it is being implemented, and all the add-on cruft, that is the problem.

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Re: Dumb, dumb, DUMB.

I agree with you about web optimisation of graphics, however, I don't agree with this sentence:

Javascript allows a lot of flexibility regarding menu structures and is relatively easy for a noob to pull off. There is the potential here that they could lock people out of web design if they're not careful

To suggest that removing Javascript would lock people out of web design is nonsense, in my view. Like any programming language, If you want to code web sites, you should learn how to do it correctly, not just take easy shortcuts.

There are a lot of badly written websites out there because cutting and pasting chunks of Javascript is easy, instead of taking the time to design and build the functionality properly.

Assange™ offered 'plans for escape by flying fox to Harrods'

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Swedish laws and Swedish justice surely?

No, Britain's continued interest is due to Assange jumping bail and fleeing British justice. And there's no shadow of a doubt about his guilt on those charges either. The Swedes can have him when he's served his time for those offences.

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Re: "surveilled"

the Oxford English dictionary, sir, does not agree with you.

Pah, what do they know! They're the ones considering allowing "he should of" / "he could of" into the dictionary. Fuckwits!

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Like how within a few years they'd forgotten about the USSR wanting to put missiles in Cuba in response to their putting them in Turkey...

You're really asking me to compare anything that Assange has done with the Cuban missile crisis?


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Assange Who?

Oh yes, that paranoid idiot who jumped bail, left all his mates out of pocket, and is hiding in a foreign embassy.

I bet even the Merkins have nearly forgotten him by now, he's an irrelevance.

US Treasury: How did ISIS get your trucks? Toyota: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Re: Hmmmm, This Story's Timing ....

Did VW's PR have anything to do with the release of this story...?

No, but the VW story, and this one, have appeared just at the time the US are debating trade agreements and foreign imports. The US car makers lobby must be loving it - or steering it...

White House 'deeply disappointed' by Europe outlawing Silicon Valley

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Wonder when EU will be considered soon another terrorist country to pacify and democratize. :)

Well, given that you are spelling democratise with a "z" I would say it's already too late for you...


Safe Harbour ruled INVALID: Facebook 'n' pals' data slurp at risk

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Re: Am I the only one ...

.. that expects business to carry on exactly as usual?

Um... well I think you may be in a minority.

Certainly any ruling which reflects the damning statement transfer of the data of Facebook’s European subscribers to the US should be suspended on the grounds that that country does not afford an adequate level of protection of personal data.” is going to have serious repercussions.

My employers will definitely be looking closely at this, as we deal with a lot of data for local government, and we already have to go through a rigorous assessment of how we handle and transfer that data. This will only make things worse.

Search engine can find the VPN that NUCLEAR PLANT boss DIDN'T KNOW was there - report

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Re: I'm puzzled as well

My point was not that the failure was when the control systems were originally designed; if something was then "unthinkable" then no - one can sensibly be blamed for not thinking it. The failure was later, when someone decided the connection to a public network was a good idea. They were entering the realm of Donald Rumsfeldt's "unknown unknowns" and should have though long and hard think about some of the possible implications; it was at that stage that any penny - pinching occured.

Ah, right, sorry, I misunderstood your point.

I agree completely, that whoever thought connecting such infrastructure to the internet without very strict safeguards was a fool, or just incompetent, or, as you say, working to an unrealistic budget.

Sadly, it's normally a decree from on high, from someone with no understanding of the ramifications, which causes these things to happen.

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Re: I'm puzzled as well

I don't want to trigger an argument about public versus private ownership but there has to be a real possibility that simple commercial pressures meant that the connectivity was to the minimum practicable standard (i.e. the cheapest) rather than one that was properly fit for purpose; public ownership might have been less concerned about cost considerations, assuming of course that the risks were understood.

I think you are missing the point made earlier by James Metcalf, and one that has been increasingly forgotten: When the control systems were built, the idea that anyone would be daft enough to connect them to a network where members of the public could access them was unthinkable - in part because such a network didn't exist, and was (at the time) the merest science-fiction.

So it's not a question of being built down to a price, it's simply a (wholly understandable) failure of imagination.

In exactly the same way, the protocols used for the internet such as TCP/IP, DNS, SMTP were never built with security in mind, simply because nobody considered the possibility that these things could be used maliciously.

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my company's software had tried to shut down East Anglia.

Would anyone have noticed?


Doctor Who's Under the Lake splits Reg scribes: This Alien homage thing – good or bad?

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Re: Under the Lake?

if you understand that lake, loch and lough are all mispronounciations of the same historic word,

You forgot Llyn.

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whats an invalid parent - one in a care home?

He's just trying to say Apple are Bastards, without actually saying "Apple are Bastards"

Sensitive Virgin Media web pages still stuck on weak crypto software

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Re: I cannot believe

Finding the typo in the config 5-100 mins.

That one made me chuckle, have one of these >>

Apple files patent for long-rumoured iRing-type bling

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an annular member defining an aperture therethrough that is sized for receipt therein of a first finger of a user

Wow... That's a great description.

Not sure it's patentable though, I seem to recall seeing something similar before...

The Steve Jobs of supercomputers: We remember Seymour Cray

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Unfair comparison

Like two previous posters, I feel it is a disservice to compare Cray to Jobs.

Jobs was a great salesman, but not a designer or builder, whereas Cray was all three.

The Cray legacy is all down to one man, who designed, built, sold and evangelised his products. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to produce, and he himself (with assistance) built, tested and refined the product until it did what he wanted.

The Apple legacy is much more of a dispersed effort, with Jobs as the figurehead. Jobs knew what he wanted the end product to be, but the realisation of that vision was done by other people.

Three mobile data network GOES TITSUP across Blighty

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Re: Doesn't seem to be a national problem

Surely the people in the North of the country communicate by carrier pigeon,

Don't be daft, we use pigeons for racing...

MYSTERY PARTICLE BLASTS from Ceres strike NASA probe Dawn

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Re: And yet NOBODY has spoken the truth about this new data

what about the telepathic terrorists?

Oh, you mean Scientologists...

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mystery particle blast which rattled the probe's sensors

Shame on those Boffins!

Don't they recognise the signature of an energy weapon when they see one?

The message couldn't be clearer... STAY AWAY!

Boffins: We know what KILLED the DINOS – and it wasn't just an asteroid

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"Oh FFS how am I going to explain this one?"

"Quick, pass me that asteroid... No not that one, the big one over there"

Heeeuuugh... CRASH!

"Ha, that'll keep 'em guessing"

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Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but I thought this link had been posited before.

I'm sure I remember reading that at the time of the Chicxulub impact, the Deccan Traps area would have been almost directly opposite on the other side of the Earth, and therefore were very likely to have been caused by the shockwave of the Chicxulub event - much like the exit wound from a bullet's impact.

THESE ARE THE VOYAGES of the space probe Discovery

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Because she's in the sky with diamonds!

Slander-as-a-service: Peeple app wants people to rate and review you – whether you like it or not

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This has 'deformation of character lawsuit' written all over it.

Interesting concept, bent, but not broken...

I think you meant defamation...

Twitter signs Edward Snowden to write for them for free

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Re: The Man is a Traitor

Who has Betrayed God's Own Country,

What, Wales??

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Re: Politicians really hate it

...irresponsible journalists stoking conflict in the interests of circulation.

What an utterly ludicrous set of claims - the latter verging on an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

You have heard of William Randolph Hearst, have you?

BBC joins war against Flash, launches beta HTML5 iPlayer

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Re: About time...

I'd just like to say, Thank Fuck For That!!

Finally I can completely ditch Flash. IPlayer was the only reason it was still on my machines.

Find shaving a chore? Why not BLAST your BEARD off with a RAYGUN

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Re: Men with beards have invented a razor which shaves with a laser.

Let's just say that "downstairs" razor burn is no laughing matter. Well, I wasn't laughing anyway...

Hmmm, you've seen the reviews of Veet For Men, I take it?


Brings tears to your eyes...

Herbie goes to a hackathon: Mueller promises cheatware fix

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Volkswagen is going to spend up big getting rid of its troublesome cheatware

Why is everyone reporting it this way?

My understanding of the issue is this:

Every modern car - and by that I mean both Petrol and Diesel powered vehicles - uses software to manage the way the engine runs. This software relies on a large number of sensor inputs, including throttle position, engine revs, road-wheel speed, air intake pressure, etc, etc, to determine the settings for fuel/air mixture, spark timing (for petrols) injector pressure and so on which govern the efficiency of the engine and ultimately what pollutants it produces.

In all cases, this software needs to be able to recognise the unusual situation presented when a vehicle is on test - the driven wheels are turning at high speed, but the undriven wheels are stationary, the air intake pressures are low, suggesting the vehicle isn't moving, and so on.

In the absence of any instructions to the contrary, the vehicle software would probably assume a fault, and shut the engine down.

There is therefore a part of the software which recognises this test condition, and in effect tells the computer to ignore certain sensor inputs, and run using a number of preset default settings.

What Volkswagen is alleged to have done is to alter these default settings to artificially restrict the engine to run in a mode where it's pollutants are minimal, a mode which is not available in normal running conditions.

However, you can't REMOVE the software, as is being reported everywhere, if you did, the engines wouldn't work properly.

All that is needed is for the Volkswagen Group cars to have their test running parameters set back to a mode which reflects normal driving.

Whilst not insignificant, the cost of changing the parameters used by each car whilst running in test mode (by a firmware update or similar mechanism) should be fairly small, compared to completely replacing the software.

'Miracle weight-loss' biz sued for trying to silence bad online reviews

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The FTC says Roca Labs has gone so far as to file suit against customers who posted negative reviews and comments, claiming violations of the terms and conditions.

I am, happily, not conversant with American legal practices, but does the above mean that somewhere, a lawyer was happy to accept these filings as cases which he / she thought they could win in a court of law?

I'm sort of surprised at that - although I admit my naivety.

Audi, Seat, Skoda admit they've been fiddling car pollution tests as well

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Re: Never mind the fines, think of the SAVINGS

Language does change over time?

I'm fed up of seeing this trotted out as an excuse for ignorance or poor education.

Yes, language does change over time, but not to the extent that the word "of" will ever have the same meaning as the word "have".

Language and grammar have rules, in part so that non-native speakers can learn the language.

English is already one of the harder languages to learn, but what chance does anybody have of learning to speak and write it correctly if arbitrary nonsense is allowed to become the norm?

This doesn't happen to other languages as far as I'm aware, so why is English considered fair game for such abuses?


WATER SURPRISE: Liquid found on Mars, says NASA

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"Liquid water has been found on Mars," said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters at a press conference on Monday.

Um, no.

"Traces left by liquid water, have been found on Mars"


World panics, children cry, workers sigh ... Facebook.com TITSUP

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Apparently the cache server needs a repaint, or something...

Pasta is now a THING, says Cisco

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I insist that each strand of pasta has it's own IPV6 address, and a temperature sensor, so that I can remotely query them to see if they are all cooked.

SPOOKY new Pluto snaps will make the HAIR RISE on the back of your neck

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Re: @Rich 11

Dexitroboping pre-dates Star Trek by about 20 years, or maybe more - I can't be arsed to look up when that particular book was published.

SONY HACK WAS WAR says FBI, and 'we're still struggling to hire talent'

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Interesting scale he's developed, apparently all "hacking" is either politically motivated or crime related.

I wonder where on the scale he would place Gary McKinnon, or even any of the thousands of script kiddies I can see knocking on my firewalls every day?

Not all "hacking" has malicious intent.

Blood-crazy climate mosquitoes set to ground Santa's reindeer

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Re: In other festive-season related recent climate news...

in as much as you mimic my name

Pah! you're just a pale imitation of the inestimable Mr Dabbs :)

However, as one of the clan-who-shall-never-be-spelled-correctly,-no-not-even-by-family-members, have an upvote in return.


Scotsman cools PC with IRN-BRU, dubs it the 'Aye Mac'

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Re: pronounced “Iron Brew”?

But not as unholy as a friend's Mum's accent. She's from southern Spain, and married a Glaswegian. She learned her english from him. Glaswegian with a strong spanish accent is interesting. I'd love to hear him speak spanish though.

I used to know a bloke who was an Italian prisoner of war, who stayed on and married a local girl from North Derbyshire. He spoke English with an Italian / Derbyshire accent - a most remarkable combination!

BOFH: Press 1. Press 2. Press whatever you damn well LIKE

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Brilliant, I'm just off to amend our Asterisk conf files for the IVR menu

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