* Posts by Alister

3265 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Alister Silver badge

Re: So....


..you were happy with IE bundled on Windows then?

Sigh... The same old comparison being drawn.

This is NOT the same. Nobody is forced to use Google as a search engine. It is a personal choice. Indeed, for IE / Windows users, it requires a user to consciously change from the default which is Bing.

And even if you do use Google as your search engine, no one is forced to click on any particular one of the search results returned.

If a company wants to appear at the top of a particular set of results, they can pay for a sponsored link, but even if they don't do that, they will still appear in the organic results depending on their relevance.

Google does not hide or refuse to show links to competitors. What Google may do is give preference to their own services, but it does not force you to select them.

Mortgage data splashed all over the net. Thanks HSBC Finance

Alister Silver badge

Re: Oops...

When the full scope of this gets out, HSBC will be scurrying to find a new business to be in, such as dog poop collector!

I am saddened by your trusting naivete.

What HSBC will be doing, after all this has come out, is just what they are doing now. No action will be taken, and they will swan along as before.

So why exactly does almost ALL tech live in Silicon Valley?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Another question

would a few cluster bombs in Dallas sort out the troll problem

But then you would wake up, and find it was all a dream.

APT group hacks cyber-spy gang in spy-on-spy pwnage

Alister Silver badge

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room

or, how I learned to love the Bomb...


IWF took down over 31,000 child sexual abuse URLs in 2014

Alister Silver badge

The IWF spokesperson told The Register: "The most effective way to disrupt the availability of child sexual abuse material is removal at source. We consider the filtering of known child sexual abuse imagery based on our URL list as an important, yet temporary, measure while awaiting removal at source."

Glad to hear this. Too many people in positions of power seem to think that simply blocking URLs will make the problem go away.

Selfie sticks BANNED by Apple: No hipster tools' tools allowed at WWDC

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up


Ha, love it!

HOT HOVERSHIP-ON-HOVERSHIP ACTION: SpaceX ready for barge boing

Alister Silver badge

within 10m .... come on Reg, would that be minutes? miles? metres?

The SI unit of length is the metre, denoted by the symbol "m".


Soil and sand harden as SPEEDING MISSILES and METEORS SLAM into GROUND – boffins

Alister Silver badge

oooh....posh words. On all the sites I've worked on, it was called a "wacker"


Given the debauched nature of the majority of commentards, I hesitated to type "hit repeatedly with a whacker"...

Alister Silver badge

So, these scientists have never laid a patio then? Otherwise they might have come across the idea that you compact sand into a hard surface (on which to lay your concrete slabs) by hitting it repeatedly with a tamper device?

PHYSICS APPLECART UPSET as dark energy disappears, Universe slams on brakes

Alister Silver badge

Re: Paper or plastic

The bag bang? Are you suggesting that some playful Creator 'startled' the universe into being?

Absolutely, there are traces of the Universal Crisp Packet going back right to the moment before the Bag Bang, although scientists are unsure at this moment whether Salt-and-Vinegar, or Cheese-and-Onion were the catalytic ingredients.

ICANN urges US, Canada: Help us stop the 'predatory' monster we created ... dot-sucks!

Alister Silver badge

I thought the originally stated intention of Vox Pop. was that they would not allow defensive registrations by companies at all. It would appear that the money was too good to miss...

Blaze it: US drug cops taken to court to ensure all dragnet snooping records are destroyed

Alister Silver badge

If I break into your house or car, but don't steal or break anything, were you harmed?

Err, well presumably you've done some damage by breaking in, so yes I would be harmed.

If not, then I wouldn't know about it, so no, I wouldn't be harmed.

You can't equate data slurping to breaking into a house though.

Alister Silver badge

The activists claim the collection of telephone conversation records is unconstitutional, and causes "irreparable harm" to people.

The thing is, whilst the routine interception of calls and collection of data is almost certainly unconstitutional, and definitely wrong ethically and morally, I can't see how you show that it can, of itself, cause "irreparable harm" to a person. It's simply not the case.

Only if someone acts on the information gathered, is it possible for there to be any actual harm to anyone, I would have said.

Do androids dream of herding electric sheep?

Alister Silver badge

Re: I have to say a big thumbs up for............

I think Arctic Fox was referring to the article sub-heading, not the previous poster.

This will crack you up: US drug squad's phone call megaslurp dates back to 1990s

Alister Silver badge

Until 1911 the US had no nation wide drug law to enforce. We were not falling apart back then, despite a history going back since time started;

...or at least back since 1776. I think time started a little earlier...

Met Police in egg/face blunder as shop-a-crim site's SSL cert expires

Alister Silver badge

An anonymous tip-off told The Register the certificate expired yesterday, leaving the public without a secure means of visiting the site over both days.

This is nonsense, the traffic is still encrypted, you just don't get confirmation you're connected to who you think you are.

With shocking disregard for the most basic standards of web security,

Um, El Reg doesn't even offer https connectivity, which is more shocking?

It's the FALKLANDS SYNDROME! Fukushima MELTDOWN to cause '10,000 Chernobyls' in South Atlantic

Alister Silver badge

@Marketing Hack

One of the "features" of the new aircraft carriers, is the total lack of catapults installed...

So I'm afraid any "black sheep" would have to be shoved overboard by hand, unless they could find a plank to walk off...

Other than that, your plan sounds good.


Alister Silver badge

So this is why they built those aircraft carriers that can't carry aircraft... I knew the British Government couldn't be that stupid...

Netflix teams with AWS to launch VHS-as-a-service

Alister Silver badge

"classic 1980s programs, and modern content, are streamed in a form that approximates the unbelievably bad video quality of the VHS video cassette."

I thought they'd been doing this for years!

Alister Silver badge

What gave it away for me, was this sentence...

The Reg understands Netflix will announce a 41 day countdown for the service's commencement, starting at 4:01 today.

Even though it is in bastardised US notation...

This one weird trick deletes any YouTube flick in just a few clicks

Alister Silver badge

He says he spent seven hours finding the bugs and resisted the near overwhelming urge to "clean up Bieber's channel".

He's got more restraint than I would have had...

and bloody One Direction as well...

and your little dawg...

Going strictly hands-off: Managing your data centre from afar

Alister Silver badge

My core servers, and core applications are all in a data centre - or actually, multiple data centres - but as nearly all of them are virtual machines, and the hardware is NMP (Not my Problem) I no longer have to worry about IPKVM and Serial consoles.

I'm bloody glad they existed before the wonders of P to V made my life easier, though, "Smart Hands" support is no substitute for watching the thing boot yourself.

Don't listen to me, I don't know what I'm talking about – a pundit speaks

Alister Silver badge

What the Puck!

Spinning Rust is DEAD... um... except it isn't...

Tape is DEAD... oh, no, hang on, lads.

Flash is DEAD... maybe... just a little bit... or not... as the case may be...

Paper is Sooo last century... Just print me that email, will you...

UN inflicts 10,000 flat pack IKEA shelters on Iraq - WITHOUT TOOLS

Alister Silver badge

Place Tab "A" in Slot "B"

fold at line "C"

Dutch companies try warming homes with cloud servers

Alister Silver badge

I have 6 HP GL360s in a rack in my cellar, (along with switches and so on) just under the floorboards of the kitchen, which provides a nice bit of underfloor heating.

The only drawback is the constant muted roar... But, having said that, it's not much louder than the central heating pump in my dad's house.

So, you know those exciting movie-style 3D visual cyber attack ops centres?

Alister Silver badge

MooD's Chief Strategy Officer, Dick Whittington

Some parents have a lot to answer for...

Where's his cat?, And why isn't he Lord Mayor of London?

Taylor Swift snaps up EVEN MORE pr0n domain names

Alister Silver badge

Maybe she's considering a career change?

We need copyright reform so Belgians can watch cricket, says MEP

Alister Silver badge

That said, I'm so used to the German voices for certain actors that watching films and series in English is often funny. For example, I was watching NCIS LA on Prime and noticed about half way through the first season, that it was also available in English, I switched and the actors' voices were so high pitched and squeaky, compared to their German voice overs, they suddenly didn't sound half so tough!

I wonder if this is the old time compression issue? Older American TV shows and movies were filmed at 24 frames per second, but to play them back over the European PAL TV system, they have to be speeded up by 4% - which makes the voices slightly higher pitched. The dubbed German voices will be at the correct pitch.

My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

Alister Silver badge

"your wait is over"

I'm sorry, but there's a couple of opportunities on the second video where you can see that the bloke is steering - and therefore I would assume, driving

The manouver where he cuts in front of the bus to turn right is clearly a human move, an autonomous car would not have left it until last minute to be in the correct lane.

Alister Silver badge

Self-driving cars are "almost a solved problem," says Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk

Yes, in the respect of physically, technically how to make an autonomous vehicle, however, that's a long, long way from integrating self-driving cars into existing traffic flows.

I've noticed that in all the gushing publicity, from Musk, and Google, and others, they show autonomous cars chugging around in isolation, or with a few carefully trained test drivers in other vehicles.

I can't wait to see a self-drive car in a rush hour at a big intersection or roundabout...

Samsung puts eight-core processor IN A WATCH

Alister Silver badge

a quartz watch which will last five years or a mechanical self-winder which never needs to be charged at all.

Or my steam powered watch, which never needs charging either, (although it wants a shovel full of coal every day)...

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

Alister Silver badge

Turtles all the way down

At first glance, one would think Terry had little relevance to an IT tech site, but I, and so many, many more of you are long time fans and followers, I know.

A truly great story teller, and an irreplaceable character, has gone from us today.

R.I.P. Sir PTerry.

A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

Alister Silver badge

Re: None

but on my iPhone or iPad I click on one button in the photo app, select the images to send, click on email, type in the email address and that's it.

Ahuh, and how many full size jpegs does it take before your email provider blocks the attachment?

Give biometrics the FINGER: Horror tales from the ENCRYPT

Alister Silver badge

Well, I've just finished re-configuring all the web servers for one of our client's sites.

It's a high traffic public ecommerce site for a travel company, and after discussion they took the decision that the 2 or 3 percent of users still on XP (taken from web analytics of the site) were not as important as the security of the other 97 percent.

According to the Qualsys SSL Labs site test, the site is now safe against FREAK, Poodle and Heartbleed, but is unable to be connected to over SSL by any version of IE running on XP, plus any client running OpenSSL 0.98 or below, or any client running Java 6.4.5.

We'll see what that does to overall hits over the next week...

Huawei preps to drop mobile & wearables lovebombs on U.S.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Chinese Concerns


U.S. Headquarters:

E. Bayshore Road, #150,

Palo Alto, CA 94303


Alister Silver badge

Re: Chinese Concerns

Meanwhile, Chinese PC giant Lenovo has been shipping laptops with American spyware since last year, signed with a security certificate that impersonates Bank of America.


UK spaceport, phase two: Now where do we PUT the bleeding thing?

Alister Silver badge

question, is a flange benefit greater or lesser than a fringe benefit?

Alister Silver badge

Well there are two existing facilities, which are RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria or RAF Benbecula in Scotland, one was used for Blue Streak and the other for Trident.

But they're probably a bit too far away from London to be considered - after all, a spaceport is a must have feature, and a status symbol, you don't want to leave it with the bloody Northeners...

CONFIRMED: Tiny Windows Server is on the way

Alister Silver badge

Re: Could be okay...

If you put the same effort in breaking out of the lock-in as you do trying to make Windows work, the outcome would be much better in the long run.

I notice you post this as AC...

Some of us work for companies that use Windows, some for companies that develop Windows software, are you suggesting that we should "break out of the lock-in"? If I go to my company directors, and say "That Anonymous Coward says we should stop using Windows software, change our core business, because it'll be better in the long run" do you think I will still have a job?

As it happens, I administer Windows, Linux, and Apple hardware and software. They are all of them, in different ways, painful to manage, and particularly to get them all to work together.

Comments like yours are borne of ignorance or arrogance, either way they are stupid.

Bigfoot now visible in commercial satellite images

Alister Silver badge

Does this mean I can zoom in even further in Google Maps??

Is light a wave or a particle? Beaming boffins prove it's BOTH

Alister Silver badge

Re: Brilliant!

I have never, knowingly, mislabeled a goat.

Alister Silver badge

But... but... did they reverse the polarity of the neutron polariton flow?

US court rubber-stamps dragnet metadata surveillance (again)

Alister Silver badge

Re: You best hope they don't really stop any time soon

Proof, or GTFO, you fearmongering fuckpopsicle.

I always enjoy Trevor's posts, full of gentle understated humour and written in the most elegant and erudite language...

In full agreement with you, btw. Just wanted to make a silly comment...

Oh, and +1 for fuckpopsicle, definitely worthy of inclusion in my vocabulary

Microsoft Swarms all over Docker Machines

Alister Silver badge

Embrace, extend, hmm, what's that last one?


Gemalto: NSA, GCHQ hacked us – but didn't snatch crucial SIM keys

Alister Silver badge

Re: Well they would say that

You must be Mandy Rice-Davis...

Who's un-dot-pressure? .com overlord Verisign sues .xyz kingpin

Alister Silver badge

Maybe Verizon are hoping to establish a body of case law over what is, and isn't, acceptable practice from the new registries...

Or maybe not...

How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

Alister Silver badge

I'm scared of the future. I'm scared of a world of armed drones and cybernetic implants, of self-driving cards and creepy "always on" wearable video cameras. I'm scared of a world where these products and services are designed and overseen by nerds who can't overcome brand loyalty or make objective judgments about privacy.

To sign those papers and turn them in is to implicitly imply that I have risen above all that. That I am capable of being truly objective. That I am professional, competent and able to see past my biases.

Will branding me competent or professional change me? Move me out from being the scared kid into perhaps being one of those bullies I so loathe? Will I become too self-assured and in my overconfidence miss some critical detail in my IT design and cost lives?


Your questions show a lot of self doubt, and I think a lot of it is unjustified. If you have any integrity (and I'm sure you have) then I think you are needlessly worrying about whether becoming a member of a professional body will turn you into someone you despise.

I would say, go for it. If you are truly worried about the future, then your best chance of influencing the changes that are coming is to be a part of them, and membership of this body can only help that.

A truly SHOCKING tale of electrified PCs

Alister Silver badge

More melting spanners

Back in the eighties I worked in a Strowger telephone exchange in the UK. All the equipment was powered by 50V DC running in aluminium bus-bars across the top of the racks.

These bus-bars had blue plastic insulation in areas where they were considered close to other equipment, but the long straight runs were uninsulated.

The cable trays for the selector wiring ran above the bus bars, and we were carrying out some additions to the exchange which meant adding some more cable trays - which were bolted together.

You can see where this is going I'm sure, but one of my mates managed to drop his spanner square across a set of bus-bars...

The spanner glowed orange, then red, then white, and then melted slowly away, dripping down to the floor, whilst all the selectors on the rack juddered to a standstill, and then started up again.

The bus-bars were completely unmarked!!

Why IP telephony is about more than just saving money

Alister Silver badge

BT put battery backups / external supplies into their cabinets for you.

Um, no, they don't. the line is powered from the exchange, 50V DC with 80V AC ringing current. The exchanges have nice big diesel gen packs though.

HP's great – I prefer it on bacon rather than my printer, though

Alister Silver badge

Re: HP?

even hand-made tomato sauce doesn't work too well with bacon.

Oh come on, bacon and tomato is one of those combinations that are set in stone, like lamb and mint sauce and beef and horseradish, they just work.

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