* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

The sound of silence: One excited atom is so quiet that the human ear cannot detect it

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I'm getting tired of the word Boffins. The Register is the worst offender of using the word and it keeps showing up in Google News.

I'm getting tired of people complaining about the word Boffins. The Register is the worst offender for commentards with no grasp of it's meaning and context.

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...and measured the acoustic waves made by the atoms vibrations, which are said to be too small to see.

No, really??

Who'd 'a thought it...

LOHAN tin-rattles to a whopping £27,000 on Kickstarter

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Re: Just a thought

As a result of pipe smoking in my 'youth', I have a crooked tooth on the upper left side. I hope the young lady only does this for the short time required to take a picture.

Not to worry, she normally smokes cheroots, the pipe is just for show.

It's official: LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm is PANTS

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Re: I've just had a thought

Don't forget the varience introduced by which side of the big pond you live. I have heard that on one side, PANTS refers to outer garments :O

spɹɐʍʞɔɐB writing is spammers' new mail filter avoidance trick

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Phishers had also applied the tactic to sections of filenames in order to obfuscate the extension and slip malware past scanners. This meant 'PAYLOADexe.doc' would become PAYLOADcod.exe.

I call bullshit on that one, most mail servers I have used block .exe attachments as a matter of course, so a spammer is hardly likely to rename a .doc to a .exe.

Google swallows SMARTSPOON manufacturer Lift Labs

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Re: smart spoons

I hope they develop a beer holder next.

I'm not sure any amount of motors could compensate for Jack Douglas' drinking problem in the Carry On films...

James Bond's metal-toothed nemesis Richard Kiel dies at 74

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It's strange, I could have sworn he'd done more than two Bond films, but it is apparently not the case. He obviously made a great impact, as I remember all the scenes - the Egyptian temple, and what he did to that Sherpa van, the cable car - sinking his teeth into braided liquorice, crashing a Peugeot through a farmer's roof, the skydive into the circus, and of course the Moonraker space scenes.

A great bloke, will be sadly missed.

Look! Look at me! We do wearables, mobile stuff too! says Intel today

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It's OK to love your PC," Krzanich said. "I hug mine almost every day, I think.


NBN Co says Melton test not valid, likely uses processes developed there anyway

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The furore – Vulture South could even go as far as to call it a kerfuffle

I say, steady on old chap, let's not go too far, at most it's a bit of a flap, what?

Mozilla certification revocation: 107,000 websites sunk by untrusted torpedo

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No Excuse

There really is no excuse for a webmaster not to have updated to a 2048bit certificate, it's not like we haven't been aware of this for the last 3 years.

All the major CAs have had big warnings plastered across their sites for a long long time.

Vote NOW for LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm acronym

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Thumb Up

Well I voted for ARMADILLO of course, but actually, I hope PANTS gets it, (and I wish I'd thought of it).

You are here => Earth is in 'the suburbs' of an immense heaven

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Re: Giant Sugarlumps! @AC

So now you've just got to visualise that, and you're done.

Thanks for trying to break it down into an understandable form.

Ooh, my head hurts...

It must be a massive sugar rush. :)

Alister Silver badge

It turns out that the Milky Way is in the ‘burbs of the Laniakea supercluster, which is 500 million light years in diameter and contains the mass of a hundred quadrillion suns in 100,000 galaxies.

Thanks for this topic.

I find it fascinating, but at the same time, completely incomprehensible.

I have no frame of reference into which I can comfortably fit "a hundred quadrillion suns", and make it possible for me to visualise.

A complete failure of imagination, I just don't have the resources.


The IT kit revolution's OVER, say beancounters - but how do they know?

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Tim, you mention "there was a vast amount of money wasted in dealing with Y2K".

Why are you perpetuating this myth? It gets trotted out a lot as being an example of a non-event, by journalists in general but even by IT insiders who should know better.

The fact remains that had there not been a lot of time and money spent behind the scenes, the Y2k bug would have been a disaster, but it was averted by a lot of hard work.

Unfortunately, because most of the work done was behind the scenes, the general perception is that it was a load of fuss about nothing.

If you mean that the money was wasted because it shouldn't have been necessary to correct the short-sightedness of those who programmed stuff using a two-digit year then I agree with you, but I doubt that's what you meant.

Govt waves stick at pirate-friendly Google search

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Low Hanging Fruit

Once again the British Government, and the media barons, show a complete lack of understanding of how the internet works, and concentrate on the search engine indexes.

If they want to stop people accessing pirated content, why aren't they taking down the sites that host it?

They claim that they've forced the ISPs to block the sites, so they must think they know which sites they are, but they seem incapable of removing the content at source.

Is that too hard or too expensive for them? Or is it because there would have to be some semblance of juducial oversight involved in the process?

Far better to create blacklists which they can add sites to at will, with no judicial process, and no appeal.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Illegal site

Perhaps someone can tell me which web sites, under UK law, are classed as illegal? Some content on some sites may be, but a whole site being "illegal"? I'd like to see details...

I think that the only one officially illegal is PirateBay, and even that I'm not sure of in the UK.

Russia: SEXY LIZARDS which landed FROM SPACE are all DEAD

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Re: Geckos! Frozen Geckos!

Onna stick!

Half a dollar and I'm cutting my own throat!

I wouldn't buy them Gecko-y things from cut-me-own-throat-Barnes, he hasn't even peeled them!!

BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Budgetary crazyness

...or is there some beancounter magic that I just don't understand?


Reduce Expenditure

Cut Budgets


For Ever


TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit

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Re: Legal term?

From missing prepositions, to typos create neologisms, to statements that are false and clearly copied from an unchecked source, you'll fnd it all here on The Register.


Racing Post escapes ICO fine after leaking info of 677K punters

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I would hazard a guess that, as is usual in these cases, the website is the product of some design / web agency, and not directly produced by the Racing Post.

If that is the case, it should be the agency that gets hammered, not the headline company, or they'll just keep churning out the same old rubbish.

In this day and age, writing a site that is susceptible to SQL injection is just unforgivable.

Boffins attempt to prove the universe is just a hologram

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Re: Bohemian Rhapsody week?

It's not unusual...

Oh Please Gods, not Tom Jones...

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Re: Excellent (quantum theory of socks)

I've yet to fathom the "neat cables go into the bag, tangled ones come out" mystery.

It's due to Malignancy "The local hostility of things towards non- things" or, as we now call it, Quantum Entanglement...


Alister Silver badge

Re: Sock gnomes

Eater of Socks / Verruca gnome


Security precogs divine web vulnerabilities BEFORE THEY EXIST

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Their predictions, made with 66 per cent accuracy...

Hmmm, two out of three ain't bad...

Hi-ho EVO: VMware eyes TWO new hardware-flavored trademarks

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Re: Funny

I thought it was a Mitsubishi car...

Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

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Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

What, you mean stop it dead?

That is, after all, what a defibrillator does...


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Re: Explosives factory

Just remember, thick walls, thin roof: that's how you build 'em...

Alister Silver badge

Given the support you've had from the Dutch, French and Germans authorities, I'm curious why you don't try for launch in one of those countries?

OK so Germany has a lot of trees, so that may be a bad idea...

Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you

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Well there's one thing, working in IT for GCHQ is one of the few places in Britain where you're unlikely to have your job outsourced...

Lazy sysadmins rooted in looming Mozilla cert wipeout

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I've just queried this with both Mozilla and Entrust - as we have a large number of sites with Entrust SSL certs.

Just to clarify, Mozilla are removing the 1024bit root and intermediate certificates, and therefore any certs with those in the key chain will fail.

However, any SSL cert bought within the last 18 months (from Entrust at least) uses the 2048bit root and intermediate certificate chain, and these will not be affected.

Look, no client! Not quite: the long road to a webbified Vim

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Re: Why bother?

You can't see any benefit, at all, for providing these debugging tools directly in the applications that are used to deliver the content?

Not when it turns what should be a client application into a full-fat development environment, no.

As I said, Firebug is useful, but I wouldn't want it switched on all the time, or built into the browser without being able to disable or remove it - which is what the OP seems to be suggesting.

You wouldn't expect a desktop or mobile app to also include there own debugging environment would you? so why hinder a web browser with it?

Alister Silver badge

Why bother?

I really, really don't get this.

The web browser is a client application for viewing web pages. The vast majority of users of web browsers don't want or need development tools built in, and it just adds to the bloat and slows the browser down.

Firebug is a great diagnostic add-on tool for tweaking CSS or finding obscure errors, but why try and use it as a development tool?

If you're a developer, then either use an IDE, of which there are hundreds (why only mention two of the worst, Dreamweaver and FrontPage?) or just use a text editor (with syntax highlighting if you want), a browser and a local instance of a server.

Is that really too complicated for the modern web developer?

Uh, Obama? Did you miss a zero or two off Samsung's Chinese supplier 'fib' settlement?

Alister Silver badge

I guess the US Government doesn't use Cisco Catalyst switches and routers then, AFAIK they are (or were) all manufactured in China.

TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button

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Re: That confirms what I thought.....(@Alister)

Dan, I'm sorry that you failed to understand the tongue-in-cheek nature of my post, and would like to reassure you that I don't think that all Americans are like Homer Simpson.

I've seen Dukes of Hazzard, The A Team, and Dallas, so I know that isn't true...

Oh by the way, most Brittons don't speak with a Cockney accent, or go dancing about on roofs with a chimney sweep's brush either, and nor do we sound like BBC announcers of the fifties.

Just FYI...


Alister Silver badge

Re: Interesting terminology...

Set-top box

I think it's an Americanism, and certainly, from my extensive research (watching Simpsons) it would appear that they used to place these devices on top of the television.

However, as you say, in this age of LED widescreens there's not much room to balance the satellite, DVD, VHS, Playstation, XBox and kitchen sink on top anymore...

Microsoft Azure goes TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance)

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I received this ten days ago:

As part of our ongoing commitment to performance, reliability, and security, we sometimes perform maintenance operations in our Microsoft Azure regions and datacenters.

We want to notify you of an upcoming maintenance operation. We will be performing maintenance on our networking hardware. We are scheduling the update to occur during nonbusiness hours as much as possible, in each maintenance region. Single and multi-instance Virtual Machines and Cloud Services deployments will reboot once during this maintenance operation. Each instance reboot should last 30 to 45 minutes.

The following are the planned start times, provided in both Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) and United States Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). The maintenance will be split into two windows and will impact Virtual Machines or Cloud Services in either half of the maintenance. We expect each half of the maintenance to finish within 12 hours of the start time.

The maintenance period was from the 15th to the 17th August, so it looks as though they managed to stuff it up some how...

Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

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Re: Name



Sorry I am lazy :(

I'm sorry, but that's too generic, you must be more specific.

Web Browser

There, that's much better.

Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech

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Re: Health and safety gone maddddd!

Not sure I agree about the analogue speedo...

a digital speedo (I can read them faster, since its just two symbols my brain instantly understands, rather than looking where a line is pointing..)

I may be displaying old-fart-ness, but I find I can interpret an anologue speedo dial much faster than a digital readout, as it forms a picture which I recognise, rather than having to interpret numbers. I find the same with time - I can interpret an analogue clock face much faster than a digital clock.

I'm pretty sure there is some scientific basis for this - human brains process pattern recognition faster than reading.

Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy

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As soon as I heard that he had "Arranged a Press Conference" this morning, my immediate thought was, ha, he wants some more media coverage...

It's a shame, but that's all he means to me now - an attention seeking nobody (allegedly).

Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Alister Silver badge

Re: Policies !

"Why does changing my password make the email address more secure?"

It's not so much for your email, but as a general policy for corporate computer accounts. If someone has cracked your password, there is no easy way of knowing this - so long as the miscreant doesn't do anything obvious like send all your mates dirty pictures by email.

Therefore, changing the password on a regular basis can offer a way to block the use of any compromised account. However, doing it every 90 days means that someone could have up to three months to do nasty things with a compromised account, so a shorter reset period is more secure - although more annoying to users.

In the case of your bank, if someone has cracked your account then it's probably going to be fairly obvious, as transactions will be made that you didn't know about, and therefore a compromised password is easy to spot.

Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?

Alister Silver badge

I can't help thinking that Gartner missed the whole point of why so many companies stayed with XP.

It was, in a lot of cases, not through a lack of forward planning, but because they chose to.

The same will be true when Windows 7 reaches EOL, maybe even more so, if Microsoft persist in trying to merge desktop and mobile platforms, as companies will not want to ditch a proper Desktop O/S for some Desktop / Mobile hybrid which offers less functionality and is harder to integrate into a business environment.

Fanfare of trumpets as LOHAN reveals mission patch

Alister Silver badge

I would quite happily pay anything up to one pound 37 1/2 pence for a mug with that on...

Oh, and have a beer on me.

Vulture 2 strapped to speeding van before delicate brain surgery

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In the spirit of everything LOHAN your tree avoidance system surely deserves an acronym?

I would like to propose:

Automated Realtime Magnetic Arboreal Detection and Impact Limitation with Landing Obstacles


Google Maps community competition falls foul of Indian regulations

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Re: Secret?

So.... are you saying there's a secret military base under a field near Heathrow terminal 5?

Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in

Alister Silver badge

Erm, I believe that's supposed to be "tidbit".

Depends which side of the big pond you are. AFAIK in Britain, tit-bits is perfectly valid, perhaps we are less prudish about our language...

Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol

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Re: @Lee D

"The reason that paracetamol is prescribed is because it tends not to conflict with other things you're taking."

That's one reason. Another is that's it's fairly benign on the GI system compared to the alternatives.

It is not, however, benign on Liver function, hence the low levels needed to become toxic. An acute dose of 10 grams (that is, taken all at once) will severely impair liver function, and if untreated will kill you. This is why it's the drug of choice for suicides, although most "cry-for-help" takers of paracetamol have no idea it will kill them so soon.

Paracetamol is primarily an antipyretic - that is, it reduces the body's temperature, and therefore works well on the symptoms of bacterial and viral infections. It's efficacy as an analgesic has always been a secondary consideration.

Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov

Alister Silver badge

I know of someone who found that a picture he had taken of his car, and posted on his own website, was taken and used by Transport For London to illustrate their PDF on examples of vehicles affected by the Low Emission Zone.

He contacted them, asking that they remove the photo from their document, and they seemed most surprised that anyone would object to the photo being used.

When pressed they said they hadn't tried to contact the owner of the photo to ask for permission, as they didn't think they had to.

They did however remove the photograph, and replaced it with one which looked suspiciously like someone else's private photo...

WTF is ... Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?

Alister Silver badge

Ah, remember the heady days of WinModems?

Takes me back...

Fear a terrifying killer robot revolution? GET A GRIP: Boffins invent cyborg hand for humans

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Go go Gadget fingers!

Facebook in new 'experiment' drama: Will users buy it?

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Well, That's Ebay and Paypal covered, so when's Zuckerberg rolling out his internet search engine?

Incidentally if Google is The Chocolate Factory, shouldn't Facebook be "The Sugar Mountain"??

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