* Posts by Alister

3263 posts • joined 19 May 2010

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

Alister Silver badge

Re: So, not Irn-Bru

@James Micallef

They're not technically valves (although they are) they are Nixie Tubes, and display digits.

Architect of UK’s hated Care.data scheme quits NHS, flees from Britain

Alister Silver badge

"Over the past three years Tim has brought his infectious energy and creative expertise to the vital drive for open, transparent and technology-enabled health services."

Rarely have I seen such a blatant misrepresentation of the facts...

Oh wait, this is a British Civil-Servant... as you were...

Look out Aussies, you're next.

SPACED OUT: NASA's manned Orion podule pushed back to 2023

Alister Silver badge

Since then, NASA has laid out new plans to ignore the Moon, build the SLS, and gradually develop it from its initial relatively feeble configuration (able to lift 70 tonnes to orbit) into a real heavy-lifter more powerful than the 118-tonner Saturn Vs of yesteryear. Such an SLS Block 2 would perhaps be able to lift an Orion plus the necessary lander and habitat for a manned Mars flight.

Surely no-one really thinks that a direct Planet-surface to Mars mission is a sensible idea? Why would you burden the Mars-bound spacecraft with the necessity to climb out of Earth's gravity well?

Earth orbit is the only sensible starting point for a Mars mission, whether you build the craft there, or lift the completed thing up from the planet before fuelling and provisioning.

All in all, it's just another hit in the stalls: Roger Waters The Wall

Alister Silver badge

Roger Waters The Wall

Curiously, when I saw that headline, I thought it was some bloke called Roger taking a piss...

Hmm... not that far off then..

AT&T grabs dictionary, turns to 'unlimited', scribbles it out, writes: '22GB a month'

Alister Silver badge

Re: Dictionary attack

The situation reminds me of the rail companies in the UK who are liable for fines for running a late service.

And what a stupid idea that is, too.

Train services are usually delayed by problems with signalling, availability of the rail network, stock breakdowns or incidents like someone jumping in front of the train - none of which are the rail companies' fault, and none of which are within the rail companies' control, except perhaps stock breakdowns, but even then it could be leased stock, so not directly under their control.

So what is the point of fining the rail company? Because it feels like punishment, and satisfies the baying hordes, that's all.

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

Alister Silver badge

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

Oh Gods, not you as well!


I don't care if the retail trade think it's Christmas already (our local supermarkets all have their XMAS displays up now) there's THREE WHOLE MONTHS to go, a quarter of the year, so please El Reg, shut up about it already.

Bah, Humbug!


Homeland Insecurity: OIG audit identifies numerous deficiencies

Alister Silver badge

A file potentially containing sensitive information was unprotected on a USSS website. Viewing this file could give an unauthorised individual detailed system information about the web server that hosts the website

Probably robots.txt

US Catholic Church launches app for Jesus-phone

Alister Silver badge

with homilies such as “A Christian who is attached to riches has lost his way” and “Scientific and technological progress cannot be equated with the progress of humanity and history”.

Hmm, both those could be taken as a dig at Apple worshippers...

This new new chip will self-destruct in less than 10 seconds

Alister Silver badge
Black Helicopters

I await their implantation into the skull of all agents - ask them the wrong question and BOOM, no brain left...

I've seen it on the telly, it must be true...

Journos to be spared replacement by robots, BBC claims

Alister Silver badge

Re: Teachers

Teachers... are an ever-present danger as they may encourage pupils to actually think.

IME not much chance of that, my daughter seems to be actively encouraged to learn-by-rote, and not inquire further, or otherwise distract from the "educational" process. Asking questions is frowned upon.

IPv6 is great, says Facebook. For us. And for you a bit, too

Alister Silver badge

We’ve observed that accessing Facebook can be 10-15 percent faster over IPv6

Maybe that's because hardly anyone is doing IPV6 lookups at the moment...

Anti-peeping-tom drone law nixed in California

Alister Silver badge

Super Cali's Governor Brown something, something ... ah screw it

How about:

Super Cali's Governor Brown says he's not officious, to ban the drones hovering is something quite atrocious.


Alister Silver badge

There seem to have been a number of "baffled Boffins" stories recently with regard to images from space. Could it be that our perceptions of how things should be are being challenged by all this new data, or is it that we have a lower grade of Boffin these days?

Why did the chicken and CHiPs cross the road? FOWL-UP foiled in Oakland

Alister Silver badge

...Stonehurst Edible Schoolyard, where several chickens had recently died. The circumstances of the school chickens' deaths were not stated

Erm, isn't the clue in the title? Stonehurst Edible Schoolyard.

They obviously teach kids how to capture and eat the chickens!

Batteries on wheels are about to reshape our cities and lives

Alister Silver badge

Re: Bah!

I have some serious reservations about the technology, chiefly the one where a Google car with a Realdoll crew is barreling down I-95/the M1 with a trunk/boot full of fertilizer and diesel fuel bound for somewhere about to have some of its people and infrastructure thrown about with scant regard for life and limb.

Fascinating. I'd never considered it, and I bet no-one pushing for early adoption of the technology has either, but the use of an autonomous vehicle for criminal / terrorist acts raises some interesting possibilities. You obviously have a paranoid mind :)

Alister Silver badge

When an insurer looks at the liability profile of an autonomous vehicle - versus a human who can be tired, distracted, drunk, or just plain angry - it’s looking quite likely that autonomous vehicles will cost next to nothing to insure, while the cost of insuring human drivers will skyrocket.

I think that's a rather naive view of the insurance industry. What will actually happen is that insurance for autonomous cars will remain at current rates, and insurance for human drivers will skyrocket.

Insurance companies are not altruists, they are in it to make large profits, and they certainly won't lose their core revenue by lowering rates unless they absolutely have to. I think it will take government legislation to force them to lower their rates for autonomous vehicles.

As McAfee runs for US President – we ask a crucial question: Will Reg readers back him?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Nah

If he gets installed in the White House, you'd never fully get rid of him afterwards.

Maybe we could give him a thirty-day trial?

Alister Silver badge

Re: American Politics

Crazy, idiotic, paranoid and criminal, Americans have repeatedly voted in presidents that fit one or more of these attributes.

However, never before have they considered one person with all those qualities...

BORN to HURL: Man's shoulders are head and shoulders above apes, gorillas, chimps etc

Alister Silver badge

A contradiction

You quite rightly quote The Hitchhiker's Guide with regard to the origins of Krikkit and yet earlier in the same piece you say:

the trusty bat that is the mark of an advanced civilisation with time to devote to leisurely, non-warlike pursuits.

Only on Earth was the memory of the dreadful Krikket wars remembered dimly, and considered a fit subject to turn into a slow, boring, incomprehensible game by the race known as the English, and it is for this reason that the rest of the galaxy shuns us.

Roll up, roll up: Microsoft, those Irish emails and angry Feds

Alister Silver badge

The thing is, this case should never have come up.

If the US Justice Department had followed correct procedure and asked the US government to ask the Irish government for access to the data, as per the existing agreements, then all would have been well.

Instead, they chose to take the high-handed shortcut of demanding the data direct from Microsoft, who quite rightly (and perfectly legally) refused.

So now they're trying to use bully-boy tactics to force Microsoft to do something against the law.

This is the "Justice" Department, how ironic.

Apple hypegasm countdown. What will the new, big iPad ACTUALLY be called?

Alister Silver badge

its spelled B-A-R-E-L-Y L-I-T-E-R-A-T-E.

Oh the irony...

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up



NASA wants to send HEDGEHOGS to Mars

Alister Silver badge

Re: Damn...

My first question was going to be why hedgehogs?

Because: the hedgehog can never be buggered at all


You tried to hide your extramarital affair … by putting it on the web?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Madison and Ashley

Yep, one of the Olsen Twins is an Ashley as well.

I think Dabbsy is a little behind the times here - or showing some British reticence,

It appears Americans will name their kids almost anything, and sadly we Britons are following blindly.

How do "Future" or "Royal Reign" grab you as daughters names?


Drones need their own version of Asimov's laws of robotics – MEPs

Alister Silver badge

Re: Spurious attempt to add Asimov's gravitas to unrelated regulations

@Michael Strorm

Besides which, the three laws were in effect aimed at the artificial intelligence underlying these robots. Current consumer drones are human-controlled with (at most) limited automatic behaviour in certain situations that doesn't come close to Asimov-level "intelligence",

That was rather my point...

Alister Silver badge

Asimov's Laws

1/ A Drone may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2/ A Drone must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3/ A Drone must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Great, now all we need is the Zeroth Law:

0/ All Drone Manufacturers should include an AI clever enough to successfully interpret the other three laws.

This may take some time...

Reg reader shares AshMad blackmail email about which he gives 'zero f***s'

Alister Silver badge

Re: If he was already in the process of a divorce

Perhaps the same thinking that led him to sign up for Madison in reaction was behind the start of the nasty divorce or if the sign-up or similar behaviour was a pre-existing thing and part of a pattern leading to the divorce?

Quite frankly, I can't see that it's any of your damn business, and speculation about "Dave's" reasons for either his divorce or signing up to AM are not something that should be aired and discussed on this forum.

The story was published to show the sort of blackmail methods and threats that certain scumbuckets have tried to use on those who appear in the database.

The morality or otherwise of using sites like AM is besides the point.

Bored Brazilian skiddie claims DDoS against Essex Police

Alister Silver badge

Quite proud...

communicated with El Reg in what is either non-native English or fairly sophisticated stylometry-foiling jargon.

Since you used this self same phrase in your last article, I guess you're quite proud of having dreamed it up...

West's only rare earth mine closes. Yet Chinese monopoly fears are baseless

Alister Silver badge

This will, of course, mean disaster

Where am I supposed to get my gold-pressed Latinum from now?

NHS to go paperless by 2020. No, really, it will, says gros fromage

Alister Silver badge

Paperless NHS?

Yeah, right, because there is no real need in the NHS for absolutely secure, infallible, reliable passage of data between Departments, Hospitals, GP Surgeries, Care services etc.

Okay, so the written word can be misread, or even entered incorrectly, but once committed to paper it's all there in your notes, permanently, with little chance of being accessed by anybody malicious.

Yes, Notes do go missing, but it's a very rare occurrence compared to the incidence of data loss or corruption.

Vote now: Who can solve a problem like Ashley Madison?

Alister Silver badge

I can't believe that not one commentard has mentioned BOFH yet, nor that he wasn't included in the poll.

I'm quite sure he would be able to take full advantage of the situation...

NHS site defaced with screed protesting Syrian conflict

Alister Silver badge

Re: Well, I see their point ...

More importantly, they haven't hacked the Norwich and District Dog Fancier's website, despite the NDDF being well known to have political weight in the region.

Směrť Špionam! BAN Windows 10, it SPIES too much, exclaim Russians

Alister Silver badge

Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

Wireshark is your friend...

High-heeled hacker builds pen-test kit into her skyscraper shoes

Alister Silver badge

Frankly, if she walked into a datacentre, there's no way she'd be able to carry out any hacking, 'cos she'd be followed everywhere by a pack of drooling techies...

Embracing the life-changing qualities of USB power packs and battery extenders

Alister Silver badge

Re: elegant metallic finishing


It's not that long ago that cars only came with a driver's windscreen wiper, is it? Or maybe it is... My 1960 Land Rover Series 2 only had the driver's side - but then Land Rover were always a bit different. :)

My Morris1000 from 1972 had a heater and all sorts of luxuries - even a cigarette lighter!

Rock reboot and the Welsh windy wonder: Centre for Alternative Technology

Alister Silver badge

Drat, you beat me to it.

I was going to say, at 50KW, it would probably power everything in our Comms Room at work, not just a PC.

Ex-Prez Bush, Cheney sued for email, phone spying during Olympics

Alister Silver badge

Great, you posted it twice so as to make sure you got all the downvotes...

And it begins: Ashley Madison bonk-seekers urged to lawyer up

Alister Silver badge

He's asking for $760million for embarrassment?

Yes, I was going to post the same thing, he must have been very, very embarrassed...

The Ashley Madison files – are people really this stupid?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Are reg writers really that naive?

Reg writers also seem to assume that one can only use your .gov.uk address to sign up from a work computer... when it's much more likely that whoever signed up from home, but using their work email address.

Yet another Android app security bug: This time 'everything is affected'

Alister Silver badge

Re: Python

You can't get the wood, you know...

Software update borked radar, delayed hundreds of flights, says US FAA

Alister Silver badge

Re: Testing methodology

What is it called when you test the code as it is actually used over a valid duration of time by real people?


Camera-carrying DOLPHIN SPY caught off Gaza

Alister Silver badge

What happened to the dolphin after it was captured?

They kept asking it questions, but all it would say is "Darwin likes fish!", and then going "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE"

Anti-botnet initiatives USELESS in sea of patch-hating pirates

Alister Silver badge

Who would of thought..


Would HAVE!!!!

Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

Alister Silver badge

Re: <pendantry>

I hate to do this, but it's Pedantry, not Pendantry.

Pendantry is the art of dangley jewellery...


Carphone Warehouse coughs to MONSTER data breach – 2.4 MEELLION Brits at risk

Alister Silver badge

Re: Security Certification ?

I'm not looking for an IT security job, its more that all IT jobs should have a proven competency in IT security as an absolute requirement. Sadly they don't. Until then such SNAFUs will keep on happening.

You could have every member of your IT staff trained and qualified in IT Security, but if your beancounters and middle management don't have an appreciation of the need for security, it ain't going to be implemented correctly.

Cloud computing’s refuseniks: How long can they hold out?

Alister Silver badge

There's the fact that in all but the smallest cloud providers you have bugger all influence over their techies if the infrastructure goes down and your finance server is unavailable at year end, or your email's not working for a couple of days. I get that.

So if you get that, why are you still pushing for people to jump in feet first?

Right there, you've outlined why no sensible business will use the cloud, as neither of the two issues outlined above is likely to change for the better.

If an SME uses Office365, and Microsoft lose your email, what real-world comeback have you got? You can't sue them, they've got endless lawyers, and probably fine print that says it's not their problem anyway. You're screwed.

First SPACE SALAD on Monday's menu for ISS astronauts

Alister Silver badge

Have they thought of putting bacon with it?

Piiigs iiin Spaaaaace!!

Oh wait, it's been done.

Let kids delete their online rants, demand campaigners

Alister Silver badge

"Vulture Central's backroom gremlins invite Reg readers to try and decipher the iRights website"

Original Text:

"It must be right that the commercial considerations used in designing software should be balanced against the needs and requirements of children and young people to engage and disengage during a developmentally sensitive period of their lives. It must also be right that safety software does not needlessly restrict access to the internet’s creative potential."


Wot it is, right, is that them big companies wot write the web should be told to give a shit about us wot wants to read it all, right, and they should back off and let us get on wiv it, right, and anuvver fing, they shouldn't oughta be allowed to block stuff we want to look at, right?

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