* Posts by Alister

3263 posts • joined 19 May 2010

At last we know for sure. Blighty's 'best mobile network' is ...

Alister Silver badge

Well anecdotally, I would have to disagree, my brother went for a phone on EE and ended up giving it back, as he never got any useable signal at all round where we live, never mind 4G. Of the others, O2 is the most consistently available network in this area, but even that has dead spots, with Vodafone a close second.

SPACESUIT, once FOUND ON MOON: Crowd action saves it for the public

Alister Silver badge

I wonder what happened to the one they built for the Doctor Who episodes, it was supposed to be an exact replica of the Apollo11 suits.

Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they have defined the smidge

Alister Silver badge

Re: Smidgeon as a unit of length

The precise engineering term for a very small mismatch in sizes is "the Gnats Dick"..

Or round here, "Gnat's Cock", although the polite version is "Gnat's Whisker".

A mate of mine used to call a small set of engineering micrometers the gnatscockometer...

Alister Silver badge

@ Phuq Wit Re: Tad more...

Round here, we definitely use tad on it's own, as Ben Bonsall above showed:

"You're late!"

"Just a tad".

"Do you want some dessert?"

Yes, but just a tad, please".

べーコンはどこですか? demands post-pub nosh fan

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'd say

@ Chris W

Couldn't see any humour though.

So, you really think that when I said Each weighed item must be exact to 3 decimal places, and each item by size should be specified and checked with a micrometer I was being serious?


Alister Silver badge

Re: I'd say

@Chris W

So you're trying to tell me that cooking is not an exact science then?

I need to throw away my Vernier scales and live free?

No longer should I scrutinise each carrots julienne for consistent length and width?

I should stop counting the number of baked beans in each serving?

This is all a revelation to me...

Please note that this, and my original post, may contain a soupçon of sarcasm, and a smidge of humour, possibly too small to be noticeable...

Alister Silver badge

Re: I'd say

No, no, no...

Empirical measurements are just not good enough.

Each weighed item must be exact to 3 decimal places, and each item by size should be specified and checked with a micrometer.

For example, where "one large onion" is specified, we need to know to the nearest micro-linguine what the diameter should be...

Alister Silver badge

Me too!

SpaceX's blast shock delays world's MOST POWERFUL ROCKET

Alister Silver badge

Musk and SpaceX had at once time appeared to be in with an outside chance of doing this job, replacing the cripplingly expensive 1970s-era hydrogen technology of the Shuttle and the SLS with new kerosene- or methane-powered kit. Plans have been discussed for new SpaceX "Raptor" engines, more powerful than the Merlins in the 9 and the Heavy, which could power a new class of super-Falcons - like the SLS, as big as oldtime Saturn Vs but more powerful than either.

As it is, the Heavy will probably be doing well to step into the Delta IV Heavy's shoes lifting US spy satellites - and if it can do that, Musk will no doubt be happy enough.

All this presupposes that NASA and Friends can bring the SLS in on time and on budget, not something they have much past history of doing.

Rise of the swimming machines: US sub launches and recovers a drone

Alister Silver badge

Re: Aren't submarine drones

You tend not to want to get a torpedo back once you've launched it...

An EPIC picture of Earth, sunny side up, from one million miles out

Alister Silver badge

Re: What a beautiful place to live

We are capable of doing miracles like sending up this craft and yet we can't stop people from polluting the planet every day of their lives...

And, we are capable of doing miracles like sending up this craft and yet we can't stop killing each other over what it says in some old books, or in pursuit of money...

Go figure, indeed...

Evil computers sense you’re in a hurry and mess with your head

Alister Silver badge

Re: Computers are afraid of me...

We have a 2.5 lb Lump Hammer hanging up on the server racks in our comms room: it is very rare we have any problems from those servers who can see it.

A friend of mine got so exasperated with a desktop PC that he opened the 2nd floor office window and chucked the system box out of it. Having trudged downstairs, retrieved it, cleaned off the soil and grass and plugged it back in, it worked perfectly. It still has a dented corner as a reminder.

Sometimes, physical abuse is all these computers understand...

Alister Silver badge

But you can probably restore a church window without your hammer freezing up

Umm, possibly not, if you're "slaving over stained glass in a damp Gothic stone hut in a provincial village" In the middle of winter!!

Pwned so many times - but saved by the incident response plan

Alister Silver badge

Interesting pedantry, thank you.

Taken in the abstract, it is grammatically correct to say "a colleague and I discussing " and not "a colleague and me discussing" where "a colleague and I " are the subject of the verb "discuss"

In the context of the sentence as written, "a colleague and I" are the object of the verb "overhear", and therefore it should be "a colleague and me" as you say.

However, because there are the two verbs in the same sentence, it is unclear to me which is the correct usage, and to me it felt more natural to use "a colleague and I " as it would if I were to speak it out loud.

Helpful Nimble enhances NUKE THE LOT option on array control panel

Alister Silver badge

Its product is NAF

How very dare you! It's not that bad...

Space Station 'nauts dive for cover from flying Soviet junk

Alister Silver badge

"The data on the possible close pass was received too late and was not sufficiently precise enough"

Eww... The NASA bloke needs to learn English, the data was either not precise enough, or was not sufficiently precise, but it can't be both together...

Farmer mooved after reunion with two-year fugitive cow

Alister Silver badge

Re: Spotted

"Geeves, my ermine trimmed coat if you will"

Sorry mate, it's Jeeves...

600 MEELLION apps open to brute force account guessing

Alister Silver badge

Re: Once again

the lack of *any* RFC standard about web-based identity and password handling is telling.

You really think an RFC would make any difference? Why pick on RFC, they don't do standards, they define protocols?

What's wrong with W3C doing something about it, they set web standards.

Lawyer brands client 'small penis asshole' before challenging him to a DUEL

Alister Silver badge

Re: I wouldn't normally do this but...

I am completely failing to see an IT angle here

The story is filed under "Bootnotes" and therefore just has to be amusing, not IT related.

'Progress made' as EU aims to get new data protection laws ASAP

Alister Silver badge

Brussels moves like a striking cobra,

Well, one filmed in extreme slo-mo, anyway...

Proxyham Wi-Fi relay SUPPRESSED. CONSPIRACY, yowl tinfoilers

Alister Silver badge

Yeah, even a copper would probably guess that he can look where it's pointing...

That gives him an even chance on tying down the origin of the signal to two directions, depending on whether he knows the radiating end from the reflector end...

Peak Google? Chocolate Factory cuts costs amid dwindling growth

Alister Silver badge

What do they expect? Massive year on year growth in perpetuity? Oh yea, it's shareholders we're talking about....

Exactly. "Analysts and Investors" need to get a grip on reality. Not only do they seem to expect year on year growth, but they seem to expect that the percentage growth should increase every year - something which is unsustainable and completely unrealistic for a mature company.

Adobe: We REALLY are taking Flash security seriously – honest

Alister Silver badge

Adobe: Look, honestly, we really do take Flash security seriously!

Rest-of-the-World: AH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Dodgy mobe dealer jumps on VAT carousel, gets 13-year ban

Alister Silver badge

Re: Laughing all the way to the Swiss Bank.

Are we somehow back in the 1970's and all that sweet german plonk that was fashionable to drink at the local Bernie Inn on a Sat night out eating Chicken & Chips in a basket or of we pushed the boat out it was Scampi and Chips.

Soup in a basket...

Always a popular fast food...

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Chopstick-collapsing Spam musubi

Alister Silver badge

Reg Units

Please El Reg, can you quantify a "smidge"?

Is this greater or lesser than a "pinch" and does it equate to the engineering term "gnat's".

How many MicroJubs in a smidge?

Europol knocks out mobile cybercrime gang in Spain

Alister Silver badge

That's Lester's secondary income buggered then...

as above

NASA chooses ace SPACE PILOTS who'll take the USA back into manned flight

Alister Silver badge

Re: Oh, please... :-)

They aren't called Jenediah, Bill, Bob and Valentina by any chance, are they?

No, It's Alice, Bob, Chuck and Dan...

Robot SHOOTS into the air with hot gas from its soft round behind

Alister Silver badge

Is it going to be an inflatable robot like Baymax?

Complete with authentic farting noises, and a roll of adhesive tape...

Wendi the horny dino named after Canadian fossil hunter. Charming!

Alister Silver badge

Wendy Sloboda has a sixth sense for discovering important fossils.

It is to be hoped that she also has a seventh sense - "a sense of humour"...

A quarter of public sector IT workers have never used the cloud

Alister Silver badge

Will someone please tell me just what the hell "using the cloud" actually MEANS?


If I use GMail, or Facebook, or LinkedIn, am I "using the cloud"?

If I occasionally use Dropbox to share a document, is that "using the cloud"?

If I've got a load of virtual servers in a hosted environment in a Datacentre, am I "using the cloud"?

If my company uses Office365, or hosts servers in Azure or AWS, then that's pretty obviously "using the cloud" isn't it?

Trouble is, "The Cloud" is just a marketing term for "using someone else's servers", which is something an awful lot of people have been doing for years.

Welkom in Nederland: Laid-back, chilled, and MONITORING everything

Alister Silver badge

Re: change the photo

heh.. yeah .. Everybody Knows the dutch habitually dance around in clogs, 19th century clothing only ever worn by the ultraconservative religious-nutter inbred fishing communities, around and between our windmills, holding bushels of tulips while we're at it.

...and singing "Puppet on a String"

Les Américains order a MEEELLION doughnuts ... from French baker

Alister Silver badge

Re: My head exploded.

"we offer a smaller-than-standard sized doughnut purposefully geared towards the American market."

It reminded me of the probably apocryphal story where, during the Cold War, America sent a shipment of condoms to Russia. The prophylactics in question were XL size, but were marked up "Medium" in an attempt at psychological warfare.

I wonder if the French will be sending super-sized doughnuts to America marked as "Small"?

Reg hack survives world's longest commercial flight

Alister Silver badge

It's only two centuries since we had to sail everywhere

Oh come on Simon, journalistic exaggeration is all very well, but that's stretching it a bit.

It's less than a century ago. The first non-stop transatlantic flight was in 1919, and that wasn't open to passengers.

Oi, Commish. Get off the fence over French snooping law, says MEP

Alister Silver badge

Dutch MEP Sophie In’t Veld.

Does that really translate as "Sophie in the Field" (with a Yorkshire accent)?

Ford recalls 433,000 cars: Software bug breaks engine off-switch

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1977 Lancia

Why oh why would someone *not* use a chassis ground for simplicity and weight savings of all_that_extra_wire?

Um, because it's a 1977 Lancia... that rusts away before your very eyes in most European countries.

In the UK, it used to be quite common to deliberately bypass a chassis earth (ground) connection, and fit separate earth wiring, as the only way to deal with a myriad of weird faults caused by bad earths.

FBI probe physical intrusions into Californian internet cables

Alister Silver badge

Re: How is this 'Hacking'?

The suspicion is that people are getting into these locations with buckets (or similar containers), cutting these cables and collecting what falls

Can you tell that the cables are cut, by the smell of the TCP leaking everywhere?

Giant FLYING SPACE ROCKS could KILL US ALL, warns Brian May

Alister Silver badge

I'm Brian, and so's my wife colleague!

French Uber bosses talk to Le Plod over 'illicit activity' allegations

Alister Silver badge

I agree that UK and French taxis are over-priced (the only ones I have personal knowledge of) but I'm not in favour of Uber. Their system seems to be based on the use of unlicensed drivers, using unlicensed vehicles, and to me this is a retrograde step.

Although the UK and French seem to be overly protectionist of the status-quo, there are sound reasons why close legislation of taxis was introduced in the first place, mostly for the protection of the public, and Uber bypasses all the safeguards that licensed taxis provide.

Certainly in the UK, the normal driving license does not cover you to drive "for hire or reward", you have to get a PSV licence for that, so I would guess that strictly speaking most Uber drivers in the UK are illegal as well, and probably not covered for insurance purposes either.

If it's cheaper though, who cares about the law, eh?

Get READY: Scientists set to make TIME STAND STILL tonight

Alister Silver badge

Re: A completely preventable situation.

The advantage of this definition is that if any kind of 'leap second' type of correction is needed, you can do that by interfering with the sheep (as agreed, supervised and witnessed by an international committee of time boffins).

I'm sorry, but interfering with a sheep is a criminal offence in most countries, and besides which it's sick, SICK, you Baaaa stard

Bloke called Rod struck by lightning for second time

Alister Silver badge

He doesn't work on the railroad as a conductor does he?

'Backronym' crowdfunds itself into Oxford English Dictionary

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up



You seem to have misunderstood my post.

No, no, I wasn't questioning what you said, except to question the sanity of the OED, I agree entirely with what you were saying.

Alister Silver badge


Some of their 'experts' have even been pushing for acceptance of 'would of' as a valid alternative to 'would have' or 'would've'.


But it doesn't mean anything! It's not, in any way, a valid sentence to say "I could of been a contender". What's the of bit mean, in that context? Of what? Absolutely nothing.

It's just a stupid way of representing how most people speak, without any understanding of the actual words they are speaking.

If people were actually taught nowadays that could've is a contraction of the words could and have then maybe they would learn to write it correctly.


Alister Silver badge

Re: For all those pedantic bastards out there....

So you think that people who spell the word lose as loose (which is a completely different word with its own meaning) should be encouraged, and not vilified as losers, which they will no doubt spell as loosers...

Hated Care.data scheme now 'unachievable', howls UK.gov watchdog

Alister Silver badge

Hated Care.data scheme now 'unachievable', howls UK.gov watchdog...

"Bloody good thing, too," cheers UK population "we didn't want it anyway!"

BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Don't let it be an excuse to raise prices

@Henry Wertz 1

"I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls."

"But can they do that in an area without a signal, or if the cell towers are down?"

The "you can't call in an area without a signal" is an ad hominem, because you're comparing to a phone that only works within like 20 feet of the wall plate in your home. Do you have signal in your home? Yes? Then, the cell phone works in a superset of the area your wired phone does.

You've quoted from my post, but you seem to be misunderstanding my point. I was replying to the OP who was saying that we don't need POTS because everyone has a mobile nowadays.

I was pointing out that there are many areas in the UK where we don't have mobile coverage in our homes, at any time, and should there be a power outage, we can't use VoIP either.

Alister Silver badge

Re: One big problem

I would suspect these days most households have at least 3 mobile phones capable of making emergency calls.

But can they do that in an area without a signal, or if the cell towers are down?

Similarly, power outages were common in the 1970's, but are extraordinarily rare today.

Power outages in the UK are still quite common in more rural areas, (where there is less likely to be a mobile signal) and are likely to get more common and widespread if the government policies on power generation continue.

As the US realises it's been PWNED, when will OPM heads roll?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Such amazing security measures worth $82bn...

Yes, but in fairness the admin password had recently been upgraded to 'Password02!'.


Alister Silver badge

Blimey, which pile of sand did you have your head stuck in?

The links are in the article, but here's one to be going on with:


Bank of England CIO: ‘Beware of the cloud, beware of vendors’

Alister Silver badge

Re: welcome to the old way of thinking

The answer is PaaS. Let someone else worry about the boring stuff, like the hardware, the backup, the power, the patch management, the security - all you want to worry about is your data - and it doesn't matter where it is, as long as nobody else has access to it in an unencrypted form. You do encrypt everything you do, don't you?

You would seriously be happy with a bank that, when their IT goes TITSUP, can only respond to you by saying, "Oh, it's not our problem, there's a third party provider dealing with it"?

Bearing in mind that the 3rd party company probably don't give a shit about the data, or the bank's users, but just the "boring stuff".

Accountability is the problem, SLA's have no real meaning, as any large cloud provider is not going to care if the Bank of England (or any other company) can't get at their data for 3 days, the penalties (if any) will never cover the real cost of an outage.

UN corruption cops commence probe into domain-name and patent body WIPO

Alister Silver badge

Worry Gurry, super scurry, call the troops out in a hurry

neunundneunzig luftballons

Good old Nena.

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