* Posts by Alister

3265 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Wow! British Gas bungs a million remote-controlled sales-droids in UK homes

Alister Silver badge

Re: The smart meters offer a running commentary on how much power a home is consuming.

I have visions of this disembodied voice from the cupboard under the stairs:

Oh, you keep your wife there too?

BOFH: Don't be afraid - we won't hurt your delicate, flimsy inkjet printer

Alister Silver badge


Lasers, Inkjets, Dot-Matrix; modern claptrap.

When I first started playing with computers, I had a GPO type 7 Teleprinter which I used for RTTY and packet BBS.

It took two people to lift it, and every time it did a carriage return it used to jump about a foot to the right

You could hear it for miles around - chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga... CRASH!

Hotshots' hotchpotch hotspots: Office Wi-Fi is a great big botch

Alister Silver badge

Really big companies hire consultancies to create a radio map their sites, while small businesses just plug in a domestic-grade hotspot or two.

Bit of a sweeping statement, that.

We are a small business (@50 staff) but when we moved offices a couple of years ago, we spent as much time planning our WiFi provision in the new building (three floors) as we did our wired infrastructure. We did extensive testing using a variety of different access points and end user devices before deciding on a final configuration.

As a result we have a robust secure office WiFi network, and an accessible guest WiFi which is on a separate broadband connection.

London Mayor shows off GIANT BLUE COCK in busy square

Alister Silver badge

It's good to know that London now has a massive cock in the middle of our great capital city. Oh wait. Doesn't someone fill that role already ... ?

And being a Tory, he is a massive Blue cock....

'Wandering Dago' tuck truck ejected from NY race track

Alister Silver badge

Deemed offensive to Italian Americans, oddly, not Hispanics

I'm not in any way trying to be racist or derogatory, but my understanding of American culture (being a Limey) was that the common epithet for Hispanics was "spic" .

I don't think that, if two African-Americans had set up a fast food joint called Wandering N***er, they would be surprised if people were offended by that, so why should this be any different?

Indian military pondered attack on Venus and Jupiter

Alister Silver badge

@ jake

Reported in 2009: F16s scrambled against UFO

The object was spotted by the pilot of Olympic Airways flight 266 from Athens, and the sighting was corroborated by staff at Athens Airport and a nearby Greek air force base. Pilots of two other passenger jets also reported seeing the body.

The eyewitnesses described it as looking like a large star, although it was moving erratically and constantly changing shape.

Two fighter jets were sent to investigate the sighting over the Greek capital in November 2007 but the object shot up into the sky and vanished before they could get a clear view.

Greek officials say that the object, which was not detected on any radar, was probably a mistaken sighting of the planet Venus in the Autumn night sky.

Okay, Greek Air Force, I grant you, but not the sixties either...

Alister Silver badge

It's easy to go "hur, hur, stoopid Indians" but there are a number of documented cases of both US and UK fighter jets being scrambled to intercept UFOs which turned out to be Venus.

What did the Romans ever do for us? Packet switching...

Alister Silver badge

Interesting article.

However, this bit I disagree with:

But then the whole of IT has its roots in military requirements, just as aviation does.

Aviation, as far as I'm aware, was very much a product of civilian trial and error, and individual entrepreneurship, whether you're talking about early lighter-than-air craft, through heavier-than-air craft to powered flight. I cannot think how you can justify saying that it has it's roots in military requirements.

However, there is no disputing that military requirements lead to a very rapid development of powered flight once the principal was accepted.

Senator: Surveillance state based on secret law 'has no place in America'

Alister Silver badge

Re: seriously?

"[The Senators and Representatives] shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place." (US Constitution, Article I, Section VI)

I'm not a lawyer, but that would seem on its face to immunize a Senator or Representative who cared to make a speech about perceived government misdeeds, which I presume was the original intent.

I'm not so sure, it could be they'd get him under "Treason".

Troll loses 'we own the Web' patent appeal

Alister Silver badge

I bet Oracle and Texas Instruments are feeling a bit pissed off now - I take it they won't get their money back?

Steve Jobs' death clears way for '13-inch' JUMBO iPAD HYPEGASM

Alister Silver badge

Re: 13 inches

Down, not Across.

WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters

Alister Silver badge

Re: Some form of Child Monitoring Adult Required?

Nah, what a ridiculous idea, it'll never catch on.

Actual Adults, having to take responsibility for Children??

Don't be silly..

Alister Silver badge

Re: fight back

Be careful, or you will be deemed an unfit parent, and lose your rights to see your children.

I wish I was joking, but I quite see this happening.

Android MasterKey found buried in kiddie cake game on Google Play - report

Alister Silver badge

@I ain't Spartacus

I see you got a downvote for that, for some peculiar reason, so have an upvote to redress the balance.

US Marine Corps misses target, finds and bombs Nemo

Alister Silver badge

and it should be lose, not loose...

Put the 3 Rs back in British Education: Infographics, Nextification, Chemicals

Alister Silver badge

Only the Bongster finds these kinds of synergies - sb

Given the context of the quote (Chemicals!) I misread that as syringes...

Websites stagger to feet, Network Solutions wears off DDoS hangover

Alister Silver badge

Re: dream on

The vast majority of web servers are not managed by anyone at all. Many will simply be wordpress or similar sites which once set up by their point and click owners are rarely if every upgraded and thus open to every expoloit going. The underlying systems on such services are probably never upgraded either as that would break too many of their customers sites. So sadly in the real world there are plenty of web servers to exploit.

You're confusing websites, and web servers. Yes there are thousands of "fire and forget" web sites out there, but they nearly all sit on managed servers provided by a hosting company. It is the hosting company's responsibility to manage and monitor the server, not the site owners. And it is the hosting company that should be penalised, if one of their servers is part of a DDoS attack and they don't do anything about it.

Alister Silver badge

Re: word press admin

so as an admin of a small wordpress site, how would I know if my site has been compromised?

You shouldn't - your site sits on a server provided by and administered by a hosting company, and they should have the necessary monitoring in place, and it is their responsibility, not yours.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Perfect weapon

It is easy to blame the few guys plugging the many holes but there are a lot of ways to be compromised. And once compromised you may not know about it, you may be part of a DDOS and know nothing about it. Because your server is owned!

If your server is being used as part of a DDoS attack and you don't know about it, then you're doing it wrong.

The most rudimentary traffic and resources monitoring should highlight that the server is doing something it shouldn't.

Alister Silver badge

Unlike compromised home PCs, there really is no excuse for compromised web servers.

The vast majority of web servers are managed by someone who is paid to do it, and therefore should be responsible and competent enough to either stop the compromise in the first place, or be able to detect and remove any malicious software if an infection occurs.

If a server is identified as one of the sources of a DDoS attack then it's owner / operator should be notified, and sanctions applied if it's not fixed.

Why data storage technology is pretty much PERFECT

Alister Silver badge

A fascinating and informative article, thank you!

Worldwide smartwatch shipments predicted to top 5 million next year

Alister Silver badge

I wear a watch, it cost me Fifty quid about 20 years ago., I change the battery maybe once every two years.

I can't understand people who say that they use their mobile to tel the time, 'cos it's easier.

By the time I've remembered which pocket my phone is in, removed it from the pocket, turned it the right way up, and pressed the button to turn the screen on, I've wasted a good 30 seconds, compared to just glancing at my wrist.

Psssst: If you wanna be rich, make the next privacy Robocop app

Alister Silver badge

The security expert was astonished by the reaction to the scandal of the web-snooping NSA PRISM project, which left consumers feeling "violated".

Apart from a few Daily Mail types, the average consumer's reaction appears to have been resounding apathy, either because they don't understand, or they don't think it applies to them.

We'll stop Johnny Foreigner gobbling our biznovation - UK gov

Alister Silver badge

Re: Can someone help me... I think I've slipped into an alternate reality...

I wouldn't celebrate too much, just yet. To quote from the article:

The government has now responded to the warning that British start-ups were being snapped up by foreign companies, promising to hold a round table discussion in the Autumn to discuss how best to support the UK's start-up scene.

"Hold a round table discussion in the Autumn" is about as much as you're going to get, and they will feel they have met their responsibilities by having done so.

No practical application of any outcomes from that discussion will ever be implemented, I guarantee.

Yahoo!: We! tried! to! protect! your! info! ... secret! court! case! will! prove! it!

Alister Silver badge

Facebook, Microsoft and Google all want to reassure customers around the world that they didn't simply allows spooks to have unfettered access to their servers, but only responded to specific requests.

If Snowden's latest revelations regarding Hotmail are true, then Microsoft not only allowed spooks to have unfettered access to their servers, but they actually wrote the code to facilitate that.

I'm quite sure that the other companies will have done the same.

This is not a dig at Microsoft, or Google or Facebook, btw, if the government of their country leans on them, there's very little that they can do but comply.

However, it just shows that the government's protestations about oversight and due process are complete bollocks.

Up yours, Google! Iran to launch OWN state email service

Alister Silver badge

Maybe other countries might want to think about doing this, providing a national email service for their citizens which is not so likely to be snooped by America...

OFFICIAL: Humans will only tolerate robots as helpful SLAVES

Alister Silver badge

What, you've never heard of Susan Calvin?

LOHAN team girds loins, aims to take SPEARS to heaven again

Alister Silver badge

Who's crewing this venture?

Have you found a suitable playmonaut candidate?

How Alan Turing wanted to base EDSAC's memory on BOOZE

Alister Silver badge

Re: When you've quite finished playing with paper planes....

I'll drink to that!...

UK.gov finally admits it will MISS superfast broadband target

Alister Silver badge

Re: Continuing my Countryfile* rant of yesterday...

* See Countryfile about rural broadband on iPlayer.

Yes, I'd love to, but my rural broadband won't go fast enough to stream iPlayer...

LOHAN cranks up old-school clockwork failsafe

Alister Silver badge

Regarding accuracy, it's pretty good. Here are the results:


Just one thing, did you do at least one of those tests in a freezer?

It wouldn't surprise me if the clockwork ran at a different rate when at low temperatures.

Apple dives through iRon curtain, launches Russian online store

Alister Silver badge

The Irish staff will run the Apple Chat service, which helps with online customer care.

People often complain about help centres with English spoken in an Indian accent, I wonder what it will be like listening to Russian spoken in an Irish accent?

Steelie Neelie: One cloud contract model to rule them all

Alister Silver badge

Re: Puzzled

I may be naive but would appreciate a PRACTICAL reason for going to cloud data storage.

Are the cost savings that great? And is the security risk that trivial?

I would have thought that most potential cloud customers could "get away" with a decently specced server, thereby retaining control of their data.

Most potential cloud customers look at "The Cloud" as a way of getting rid of all that expensive IT nonsense, like racks and servers and IT staff, which doesn't make them any money.

Quantum transistors at room temp

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The world might still be 20 years from the end of Moore's Law, but the hunt for technologies to replace semiconductors is going on right now.

Well, duh?

It would be rather stupid to wait until we ran out of ways to improve current technology before starting to research alternatives...

Oh, but wait, that's what people think we should be doing with the internal combustion engine, isn't it?

Rise of the Machines: How computers took over the stock market

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Re: To err is human...

But to copy and paste someone elses' spelling mistake is special



Alister Silver badge

However, the agency is hoping to get onto an asteroid by the 2020s, and there’s always the ISS as an option to actually get into the cosmos.

I'm not sure you can really count the ISS as "into the cosmos", that's like standing on the doorstep of your house and saying you've traveled the world.

PM Cameron calls for modern, programmable computers! (We think)

Alister Silver badge

modern methods of computing like coding

Yeah, you see "coding" is much more modern, none of your old fashioned "programming" thank you!

After all, "programming" is all about punching holes in cards or swapping jumpers around, isn't it?

Whereas "coding" is all pointy - clicky, copy - pasty, java - scripty type stuff, isn't it?

See, I know all about computers, I do.

'I can’t believe Jobs made the statement … Incredibly stupid'

Alister Silver badge

Re: Trivia @Stuart Longland, @Don Jefe

> Either you have a different definition of khaki or something is terribly, terribly wrong with your poo.

> Perhaps he's been eating a lot of spinach... Popeye would be proud!

I'm not sure if this is an American vs British thing, but Khaki (as in the battledress colour in WWII) is a yellowish brown.

Fairly close to the colour of my poo...


Alister Silver badge

Re: Trivia

My understanding was that the term craphats came about because most infantry regiments in WWII wore khaki (i.e. crap coloured) berets, as opposed to the Maroon berets of the Paras.

So, who ought to be the next Doctor Who? It's up to YOU...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Other thoughts...

Alexander Armstrong (one of the guys from Pointless) has already appeared in both Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Adventures (as voice), so not a wild stretch

The bunker at the end of the world - in Essex

Alister Silver badge

Only in Britain...

...would you find a road sign saying "Secret Nuclear Bunker"**

It brings to mind a certain Mr Chekov, asking in a strong Russian accent for "nooclear wesselz"

** Okay, i know it's a recent sign, and wouldn't have been there during the cold war.

Gay marriage? We'll put a stop to that 'human bug', says Nintendo

Alister Silver badge

There seems to be some scope for misleading young players, here, if the same-sex marriage is only allowed between male genders, how do they go on to raise children, or is there also an adoption policy in place in the game?

'Untidy' Shoreditch just CONFUSES American techies - Olympic hub team

Alister Silver badge

Re: Missing the point

"Come friendly bombs, and fall on Stratford!"


Nah, doesn't work

Life on Mars means subsisting on grim diet of turd-garden spinach

Alister Silver badge

Re: Desire for a brand new combine harvester

I drove moi traactor through your haystack laast niight, ooh-arr ooh-arr!

Quantum lurches Starboard: Vigorous investor comes aboard

Alister Silver badge

It's a shame Powers can't bring along his mates Oates, Rodgers and Turner. That might straighten things up a bit...

Rolls-Royce climbs aboard Bloodhound SUPERSONIC car

Alister Silver badge

Re: Interface (Verb)

...and is the bench it's strapped down to an integral part of this?

Penguins in spa-a-a-ce! ISS dumps Windows for Linux on laptops

Alister Silver badge

In testing on the agency's zero G "Vomit Comet", Apple's iPad failed to deliver, but astronauts still bring them up.

Vomiting an iPad must take some effort...

Mooreslaw: Chopping up chips for the future

Alister Silver badge

And most importantly, stick the background recording of analytics up your arse.

Having worked in a medical environment for many years, and therefore knowing that an Emetic is something which makes you vomit, I always had the feeling that an Analytic should perform a similar function, only at the other end, so to speak.

Now that I work in IT, and have to deal with various Web Analytics tools, it only reinforces my initial misapprehension.

So long, Hotmail: Remaining users migrated to Outlook.com

Alister Silver badge

With the new SMTP Send capability, Outlook.com will deliver emails sent from a different account using that account's SMTP server. The result is that they look like they just came from that account – no more "on behalf of."

Great, another useful tool for spammers.

NASA boffins: Space 'scope JUST missed dead Cold War spy sat

Alister Silver badge

Realising the two craft were travelling at almost perpendicular orbits and were predicted to come within 700 feet (213m) of each other, the equivalent of an interstellar hair’s breadth, McEnery immediately began to panic.

Umm, why?

On nearly every road on this planet, large chunks of metal with a mass of several tons come within 3 feet (1m) of each other at a closing speed that can be in excess of a hundred miles an hour, and it happens ALL THE TIME!

In my book, even in orbit, 200+ metres is a clean miss.

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