* Posts by Alister

3335 posts • joined 19 May 2010

Kick your computer... before it kicks you

Alister Silver badge

Reign of terror.

The workstations at my place of work know better than to mess with me. In fact, I often only have to stand behind the user who complained of some obscure failure to find that the machine is miraculously working again...

In our server room, all the racks face the workbench, where it is our practice to leave the disemboweled remains of an HP Proliant DL360 (with the screwdriver still embedded in the RAID backplane) as a salutary lesson to all who are watching.

A friend of mine once physically threw his tower PC out of his bedroom window, after it persistently disagreed with him about the availability of a network share. Having retrieved it from the lawn, and shaken out the soil from the case, it has worked perfectly ever since.

Slideshow: A History of James Bond in 20 Games

Alister Silver badge

In The World is not Enough, the player appears to be holding a sonic screwdriver?

Plucky orangutan rescued from encroaching biofuel plantations

Alister Silver badge

Ook! Ook, oook-ook...

He couldn't find an LSpace portal.

'Hypersensitive' Wi-Fi hater loses case against fiendish DEVICES

Alister Silver badge

Re: Inquiring minds...

@nigel 11

"Your physics is wrong. The wavelength being bigger than your head doesn't mean it cannot interact. It just means you need to use different mathematics to properly model it. (Were you right, holding a nail and sticking it into the live hole in a plug would be harmless ... a mere 50 Hertz! )"

What absolute rubbish!

Sticking a nail in a power outlet has got nothing whatsoever to do with wireless or frequencies, it's a direct electrical connection.


Alister Silver badge

...and needs to be treated.

With electrotherapy?

Quite contrary Somerville: Behind the Ada Lovelace legend

Alister Silver badge

Re: Ada Lovelace day

I love that the link contains the word b01ngs

OFT writes volley of stern letters to naughty web retailers

Alister Silver badge

Re: Do what?

>>There's nothing to stop you having an email address shown as well as the form, is there? How much >>re-writing and redesign does that involve?

>>And you don't even have to make it a "mailto" link, either, just plain text somewhere down the bottom of the >>form, so that by the time most people get there they've already filled in your form?

If you put an email address on a web site in any form of text, it will be scraped by a bot and spammed within hours. They need to rethink the ECommerce Regulations to take account of today's malicious internet users.

Vote NOW for the vilest Bond villain

Alister Silver badge

Re: Where are...

Bambi and Thumper?

You really class them as vile?

Alister Silver badge

Difficult decision

One's instinct is to go for Blofeld, but in fact he was quite charming, in all his guises, rather than frightening or villainous. Eliot Carver was quite nasty - much more obviously evil, to my mind, possibly because his plot was almost believable.

Some of the others mentioned were too over the top to be really menacing, and in fact I always had a sneaking feeling of pity for Jaws, he didn't really come out of things well.

Red Grant was pretty evil, he came across as a real psychopath, but I would say that the outright nastiest, though, was Franz Sanchez, definitely the most vile.

Inside the mind of a Bond supervillain: Psychotic, autistic - or neither?

Alister Silver badge

Re: Modern villains...

>>The idea of a media tycoon who creates his own news in order to cover and sell it is IMO a good one because it could be true to some extend.

Isn't this what William Randolph Hearst was supposed to have done?

Facebook says it's LOSING money in the UK ... pays hardly any tax

Alister Silver badge

Re: Losing money?

"it's only an Internet's comment."

What, the internet can make comments?

Shirley internets is correct, as in a plural, often used in a "humorous" manner.

World+Dog hails 50th birthday of the LED

Alister Silver badge

Re: GEC?

Wrong one. The General Electric Company or GEC was a major British-based industrial conglomerate, involved in consumer and defence electronics, communications and engineering. It became Marconi.plc, and was then sold off piecemeal.

Alister Silver badge

Re: Prior Art.

Isn't a piezo-electric sounder technically a Noise Emitting Diode?

You could probably try for Smoke Emitting Diode, but I bet there's loads of prior art - I know I did it enough in my youth to various inoffensive semiconductors, and there's probably someone who managed to do it with a diode in a glass bubble as well...

Report: Google offers to 'brand' search results in Euro antitrust probe

Alister Silver badge


>>Google have established themselves as a search monopoly, they must now live with the consequences of that which includes playing nicely with others.

I disagree, Just because Google is the most popular search engine does not make it a monopoly. Nobody is forced to use Google. For the vast majority of normal desktop users (ie those who buy Windows PCs) the default search engine is Bing unless they make a conscious decision to change it.

If people use Google as their search engine, it is a personal choice, and there are plenty of alternatives. In the same way, if they use Google, they have the freedom to ignore any search result presented to them.

If Google was actively blocking competitors products and services from appearing in their search results then there would be a case to answer, but they don't.

Alister Silver badge

I really don't get this.

Two points:

1/ Why shouldn't Google push it's own services higher up the results than a competitors? End users are under no compulsion to click on those results, they have the freedom of choice to ignore them .

2/ Don't Bing put Microsoft services higher up their search results than anyone else's? In what way is this different?

Japanese cellco drops veil on futuristic hands-free video phone

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Drop the veil- again?

Agreed, what is it with this "drops veil" stuff, don't El Reg practice English anymore?

For years, it has been understood that lifting the veil reveals something, and dropping the veil would hide something - see also "shroud". Is this alternative a Merkin invention, or just a comprehension fail?


Alister Silver badge

Re: The wonder of Stonehenge

That's easy, they told the planning board it was a temporary structure...

Register SPB hacks mull chopping off feet

Alister Silver badge

Register SPB hacks mull chopping off feet

Well as the aforementioned Reg hacks are regularly legless, a couple of feet should make no difference...

LOHAN plugs into some hot LiPo treatment

Alister Silver badge

>> Just a thought... If the battery pack is in the truss and the heater is on the rocket, how do you seperate the 2 at launch?

The playmonaut will carry a small pair of scissors, or possibly a hacksaw...

Samsung claims Apple jury foreman LIED to get REVENGE

Alister Silver badge

Re: Peers ...

>> A jury of pears

Quite apt for a case involving Apple.

Inside the real-world Double-O section of Her Majesty's Secret Service

Alister Silver badge

Ok so this is all about Bond...

...but I'm surprised you don't mention Le Carré, as his books gave a much closer representation of the real SIS (although still with a lot of artistic licence).

From Dr No to Skyfall: The Reg's one month of Bond

Alister Silver badge

Re: Instead of rating various Bond's

Bugger, still can't spell it right:


Alister Silver badge

Re: Instead of rating various Bond's

>>Of course nothing beats Desmond Lewellen [sp?] as Q

Not enough "L"s


It's a Welllllsh name, and therefore must inclllllllude lllllllots of lllllllllls, lllook you!

Europe UNDER ATTACK in simulated cyber security test

Alister Silver badge

Re: This is not a drill!

Mine's a hammer drill, it goes:


HTC outs Jelly Bean running One X revamp

Alister Silver badge

Given that they have just announced a new larger battery pack on this new version, then I suggest they have acknowledged there is a problem?

Better pay your taxes: The world's NOT going to end this year

Alister Silver badge

"Those folks counting down to the end of the world, currently scheduled for 21 December according to the Mayan calendar, are going to be disappointed, a gaggle of experts have said."

Won't they feel silly if they're wrong...

...Oh, wait...

McFlurry McMisdemeanour costs Welsh lass McJob

Alister Silver badge

Re: That's it, I'm done...

Lester Haines wrote:

>>HcHeaps of fun, for sure

...and it was going so well...

Tesla drops veil on top secret solar Superchargers

Alister Silver badge

Tesla drops veil on TOP SECRET solar Superchargers

I'm sorry, surely that should be LIFTS veil - dropping the veil would mean hiding it?

Climate sceptic? You're probably a 'Birther', don't vaccinate your kids

Alister Silver badge

Re: You count engineer as a scientist?


>>>>"As usual, we would advance our preferred term, "boffin", for an actual real scientist (physicist, engineer, archaeologist etc) to differentiate from the trick-cyclists, sociologists and other marginal eggheads."

>>Engineers are not scientists, they are a whole different stream of profession in their own right. I am personally a software engineer and am proud of the term, which means that companies like BT calling their techs who come round to your house with a screwdriver "engineers" annoys me after I spent 4 years at a top university studying to become an engineer.

From the passage that you quoted, Lewis is saying that the term "boffin" should be used to describe scientists and engineers, etc, rather than those of the alleged sciences like phsychology. He is not, to my mind, suggesting that you call engineers scientists, anymore than you would normally call archeologists scientists.

And I find it laughable that you think that four years at Uni makes you a better "engineer" than someone who works on hardware using real tools...

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up

I think you "Full Disclosure" should be twice the size and in bold - it sums up how I feel as well:

"Full Disclosure: Your correspondent is quite OK with the idea that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and further that global temperatures appear to have risen noticeably at the back end of the 20th century - though there is a lot of uncertainty about how much, what they did before records began, etc etc. Nonetheless, I'm personally sceptical - only sceptical, I deny nothing - regarding the accuracy of forecasts and models which predict massively accelerated further warming this century; and also sceptical that anyone knows at all well what the likely consequences of this possible warming would be in terms of sea levels, crop yields etc.

All that said, it is quite possible that the alarmists are right and the coming decades could see serious sea-level rises, crop failures etc. Unfortunately I'm really, really sceptical about the idea that the human race can support any reasonably advanced and wealthy modern civilisation using only or mostly renewable power. The proposed cure seems likely to be worse than the disease. Furthermore it isn't actually on the table - most of the world's governments don't even offer a serious pretence of trying to achieve it, though they are happy to encourage others to choke their economies to death.

So I'm a sceptic."

Hapless Kate topless, toothless law useless

Alister Silver badge

Given that the original photographer may not want to be associated with the images due to legal reasons, does this mean that the images are now officially "orphan works"?

Swiss railways ticked off at iOS clock knock-off

Alister Silver badge

Re: Something fishy here...

You did read the article, then?

It's the iPad version of IOS6 that uses this clock.

Fans rap Apple's 'crap' Map app

Alister Silver badge

Re: Not an iDevice user anymore but....

just checking: is that 1 Infinite Loop?

Alister Silver badge

It's my understanding

...that the underlying map data for the new Apple Maps was supplied by Tom Tom.

Any navigation errors, or, as reported elsewhere, missing or incorrectly named towns, are therefore Tom Tom's errors, not Apple's.

This may help explain the continued reporting of drivers blindly following their sat-nav into rivers, off the edges of cliffs etc, if Tom Tom's data is so flawed.

Twitter to UK.gov: Web super-snoop law will trample twits' rights

Alister Silver badge

Re: Communications by electro-magnetic energy

Talk about the law of unintended consequences...

Does this mean that all users of two-way radio - be they business users or radio hams and cb'ers, will have to store records of their conversations for a year?

Ten USB 3.0 HDD enclosures

Alister Silver badge

Re: USB-SATA Electronics

That's what I thought. So when you do comparative speed and performance tests, you would expect to see all the ones using the same chip to perform the same, wouldn't you? (given that the hard drive fitted is the same one in each case)

Alister Silver badge

I would be interested to know whether the electronics in the SATA / USB interface are all built by the individual enclosure manufacturers, or whether, in fact, they buy in existing circuits and chips from one or more sources.

This would make the performance comparisons interesting.

Why lock your digits to a phone? Telefonica to flog cloudy numbers

Alister Silver badge

As you mentioned the Chuckle brothers

I thought the two services would be TuMe / TuYou

Most disappointed...

Space Station 'nauts touch down on Kazakh steppe

Alister Silver badge

>>The station will get a bit more crowded up

What's wrong with being merely crowded?

Reg hack uncovers perfect antidote to internet

Alister Silver badge

Re: Safer idea?

>> If the caisson gets stuck you can just narrow the diameter and carry on....

Or do as Brunel did and get a load of workers to jump up and down on it...

Alister Silver badge

Re: Safer idea?

Brunel used a similar idea, I believe, for the Thames Tunnel although on a slightly larger scale:

"The shaft, from whence the Tunnel works are carried on, was built at Rotherhithe in the form of a tower, 50 feet in diameter, 42 feet in height, and 3 feet thick, at about 150 feet from the edge of the wharf, and it was sunk into its position by excavating the earth within."

"From An explanation of the works of the tunnel under the Thames from Rotherhithe to Wapping (1836)."

HGST floats helium for low power, MASSIVE capacity HDDs

Alister Silver badge

Helium filled Hard Drives

Now 12% Lighter!!

Ding dong, the Ping is dead! Apple brings in Facebook for iTunes

Alister Silver badge

I wonder

If the changes necessary to implement this were the cause of the iCloud outage?

Dreaded redback spider's NEMESIS: Forgotten Captain Cook wasps

Alister Silver badge

Re: The list of non-dangerous creatures in Oz:


Good on yer, Mate!

LOHAN straps on satellite comms capability

Alister Silver badge

"Being able to help with the British space programme is brilliant"

Um, isn't this overstating the case just a little, especially since the base of operations is currently Spain??

Yahoo! bureau! chief! sacked! for! Mitt Romney! racism! jibe!

Alister Silver badge

Re: Pot, meet kettle...


Your point has changed since you had your history lesson, hasn't it, sonny...

You originally accused +++ath0 of adding "random" and "gratuitous" +++ to his username, whereas you now learn that that was not in fact the case.

Want to avoid another cookie law mess? Talk to EU bods next time

Alister Silver badge

Wouldn't it be better

to spend some money and time educating web users about what cookies are used for, instead of trying to impose legislation which penalizes most legitimate site owners and developers, and is completely ignored by most of the companies it was supposed to stop.

In my experience, talking to lusers, they all have this "Why is some one writing data to /My/ hard drive - it shouldn't be allowed!" attitude which has been fostered by the EU bureaucrats and privacy advocates, despite the fact that the majority of the time it is completely harmless and indeed beneficial to the user.

What nobody in authority, or average user on the street seems to understand is that the alternative would be for each and every web server on the internet to store each visitor's preferences in some sort of massive database, which, in order to work effectively would have to keep track of IP and MAC addresses, and probably local hostnames, and the logged on user, in order to correctly identify and remember a user's preferences.

Is that not more of an invasion of privacy, and more likely to be abused, than writing a text file into your user profile?

Was Russia Today hacked - or did it just forget to renew rt.com?

Alister Silver badge

Domain renewal

Whois info for rt.com:

Record expires on 22-Sep-2021.

Record created on 23-Sep-1991.

Database last updated on 10-Sep-2012 04:46:02 EDT.

Yep, they forgot to renew it.

Titans of tech: Why I'll never trust 'em

Alister Silver badge
Thumb Up


"If you're a large enough company, you can afford to adopt the attitude that "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM/Cisco/Microsoft/Oracle/VMware/etc." A goof in IT spend is a small wobble in the share price; it is not an upset that could cost you the entire company. Small businesses, start-ups and SMEs don't have that buffer. An IT cock-up can be the difference between making a slim profit and going broke. In this space there is no room for "faith"."

This. Exactly.

I wish I could add several "pint" icons as well as a thumbs up...

Voyager's 35th birthday gift: One-way INTERSTELLAR ticket

Alister Silver badge

Re: Build quality

I think you're wrong, Celsius is denoted "C" where I come from

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019