* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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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

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

'Backronym' crowdfunds itself into Oxford English Dictionary

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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.

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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.


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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...

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'three letters added to another sciency word to make a product sound really expensive and worthwhile spending money on eg pro-biotic or pro-qubit'

Also "pro-Vitamin" which can be further enhanced by the addition of a random number and letter after it:

"New pro-Vitamin B5 Tile Grout, for that fresher, long-lasting whiteness"

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

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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?

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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.

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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?

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

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


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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’

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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

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

neunundneunzig luftballons

Good old Nena.

Triple glitch grounds ALL aircraft in New Zealand

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Re: Picture editor fail

You realise you are merely reinforcing the (false) impression of New Zealanders that other nations hold?

This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

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To all the downvoters of my comment above, do you really need to be told that a transistor is a digital switch? on an El Reg Forum?

That was the point of my post.

I'm in awe of the Prof, and think it's a great (if bonkers) project.

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Each transistor acts like a digital switch, and can be chained together to form huge decision-making circuits that execute software, instruction by instruction.

Wow, amazing. So that's how they do it is it?

I always thought it was done by little Elves, or something.

Germany says no steamy ebooks until die Kinder have gone to bed

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Will be very interesting to see what their idea of steamy is.

Books about historic railways - very steamy, and oily, with lots of explicit photographs, and even ... diagrams!

SpaceX gets ready to crash barge-land ANOTHER rocket

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Re: I'll go with Wernher von Braun there.

Yep, completely agree.

We seem to be so risk-averse nowadays that it makes you wonder if, were we to go back a hundred years, but keep the same attitudes as we have now, whether many of the technological advances we have today would have survived the initial experimental stage without someone calling for them to be cancelled.

Would we have any civil aviation, or space program, if those who gave their lives in the early stages had meant that the testing and experimentation was deemed too dangerous?

Indeed, if you go back further, would the original American settlers have decided it was too risky to explore inland and to the the west, and still be stuck on the east coast?

Nobody wants to see people die, or expensive hardware get destroyed, but pushing the boundaries of technology means that accidents will happen, it is an essential part of the learning process, and we should embrace that.

DEATH by VEGETABLES: Woman charged with killing boyf using carrots. And peas

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The episode serves to underline the fact that there are worse and more damaging things than spamming someone

Hmm, I wouldn't be so sure, tins of Spam tend to be square, whereas tins of veg and soup are nearly always round, so I would suggest that being hit by a tin of Spam is potentially more damaging.

I feel some further research may be necessary...

Breqwatr breqs hyper-converged mould with all-flash box

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I'm waiting for the first commentard to correct the spelling in your sub-head... :)

Vicious vandals violate voluminous Versailles vagina

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Re: 19 June! Celebrate!

National Pendants Day comes round again. Huzza! I am celebrating with an Oxford comma-shaped cake.

And just to confirm, that should be Pedant's not Pendants


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I'm sorry, I really tried, but I'm unable to stifle the inner pedant...

talentless is a word, tallent-less isn't

and controversial isn't spelled contraversial

DuckDuckGrow: Privacy search soars 600% after Snowden dumps

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Although Snowden's revelations will have obviously played their part, I also think it likely that the various governments' attempts to stamp out TPB may have encouraged people to carry out more private searches.

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

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It's definitely not paranoia when we can all pull out log files full of people out to get us.

This, exactly.

Every day, in mail logs, web logs, FTP logs - in fact everything that listens to incoming connections, you can see the background level of malicious connection attempts. Most are at the silly script-kiddy level, but you'll probably get at least one serious attempt a day, from somewhere.

One of our Directors overheard a colleague and I discussing one such script kiddy attempt - we were taking the piss out of the fact he was trying to find aspx files on a Linux PHP server - and the Director was horrified, asking why we weren't doing something about it.

He had no understanding of just how many attacks go on, day in and day out, and yet he's the one who normally queries why we need to invest in expensive firewalls, IDP / IDS systems, etc.

As an SME Admin, I do my best to maintain a robust and secure environment, but I'm well aware that at some point, we are going to get pwned.

We've had one incident, where a junior developer put up a web form without sanitizing inputs, and it only took a day before someone had successfully re-written the content of the site's CMS.

In another incident the Web team wrote a comments page without a capcha on it, which allowed anyone to type in an email address, and some text (not checked) and press send, and it would email the address given - an automatic spam machine, which was discovered by a bot within hours.

All you can do is try, with the resources available, to keep on top of things, and accept that despite all your best efforts, you are going to be hacked at some point, and if they're good at it, you may not even realise it.

NatWest IT cock-up sees 600,000 transactions go 'missing'

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Interesting that the article headline is NatWest IT cock-up.

As I understand it, none of the RBS businesses are handling transactions at the moment - including Coutts, Ulster Bank, RBS and NatWest.

So more of an RBS cock-up, really.

If I get hit by a bus, Linux will go on just fine says Linus Torvalds

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Re: Shut up and fix the video driver mess

It's open source, isn't it? I thought the idea was if you had a problem with something, you get the source code and fix it.

You're probably trolling, but I'll bite.

The source code for the video drivers for Nvidia and certain AMD (ATI) cards is not made available by the manufacturers, and therefore users of those cards are unable to "get the source code and fix it".

or are you just wanting someone else to do all the work for you, and you want to have it for free?

Linux users have just the same expectation as Windows and MAC users - manufacturers should provide support for their hardware and the software to make it work. They do it for free for Windows drivers, so why not Linux?

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Breaking news!

Lennart Poettering was glimpsed today leaving the offices of a coach hire business.

British Library publishes Digital Magna Carta – written-by-web-vote because it's 2015

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To celebrate the 800th anniversary, the Queen has got on her gold boat and headed down the Thames to the meadow where it was signed, to be surrounded by 75 American Lawyers, accompanying the US Attorney General, for some strange reason.

Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

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Re: ...lander is getting three hours of sunlight a day.

Isn't that more than the recommended daily exposure without protection? Philae should be wearing sunblock.

News website deserves a slap for its hate-filled commentards, say 'ooman rights beaks

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I think you are correct regarding current UK law.

However, in the case of the Reg, they do apply some light moderation, and therefore would probably be deemed liable for abusive comments. Thankfully, they do tend to jump on ad-hominem attacks and outright abusive posts, so content like that in the case mentioned wouldn't last long.

Zionists stole my SHOE, claims Muslim campaigner

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Re: Maybe...

with only one shoe, he just flipped.

That was a bit of a flop...

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He has given us a sign!

He has given us a sign!

He has given us...his shoe!

The shoe is the sign! Let us follow his example!


Let us like him, hold up one shoe and let the other one be upon our foot, for this is his sign that all who follow him shall do likewise!

British banks consider emoji as password replacement

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What I did on my Holidays

...and on the 14th day, the Great Wizzard went to the place of the bank, and did insert a piece of card into a hole in the wall, and say a magic incantation, and received in return pieces of paper he called money [urinating dog) (urinating dog]

'Snowden risked lives' fearfest story prompts sceptical sneers

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Re: Apparently

The BBC is set to announce that Snowden is a key cause of global warming as well.....

Yeah, well he is. All the hot air spouted by government officials about Snowden has increased global temperatures by a significant amount...

Uber petitions page p0wned, thanks to textbook code

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The trouble is, adding security to code inevitably increases the complexity of the code, (depending on the language, enormously so) and therefore "simple" tutorials to illustrate basic functionality are mostly written without the security additions.

Any reputable writer will include a disclaimer that states that the code should not be used "as is" in a production environment.

Unfortunately, developers, being human - and also in certain cases being under time pressure from management - will tend to pick the quick and easy solution, and copy and paste the simple tutorial, rather than the more complex ones showing how it should be done properly.

ISS 'nauts quit orbiter and aim for Kazakhstan splashdown

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Re: Splashdown!

Yes, given that they are landing on land, not water, a "splashdown" is not what you want.

Really, Really not...

Teaching kids to code is self-defence, not a vocational skill

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Teaching "coding" is just a sop to the masses, and is of no use in isolation.

Without the underlying knowledge of logic and how to break down any task into achievable steps, and also some basic knowledge of what your code does in a computer, then abstract copying and pasting of code snippets until it works is worthless.


I'm constantly amazed by young developers with nice new shiny degrees in "Computer Science" who don't know why "Object reference not set to an instance of an object" messages happen.

They have no concept of memory allocation, or how pointers work, or how garbage collection works, either. Just because their chosen language is supposed to clean up after itself doesn't mean they shouldn't be taught what's happening underneath.


All right, who guessed 'street mapping' for those mystery Apple vans? Congratulations

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For the UK, street mapping will be done in Essex, Greater London, Kent, and Birmingham

Really comprehensive coverage of the UK, there...

Using leather in 'leccy cars is 'unTesla', rages vegan shareholder

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Re: Sentient being prejudice

Please, vegans - kill your vegetation before eating it.

Exactly, it should be dropped, screaming, into a pan of boiling water and left until dead.

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Tesla can continue to fill cars with the skins of sentient beings that suffer unspeakable horror while adding massive amounts of greenhouse gas into the air.

“Or, Tesla can adopt one of the many faux leather materials used by Mercedes Benz, Lexus, BMW, Infiniti and others that are cruelty free, have wonderful reviews, last a long time, come in multiple colours and involve far less greenhouse gases”.

I'm so glad that Mr Peters didn't resort to using over-emotive language to make his point...

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