* Posts by Olius

214 posts • joined 21 Jun 2010


Brexit factor lacking in Industrial Strategy, say MPs


Re: Good

g̶o̶v̶ Fujitsu, Atos, Capita or any number of other massive subcontractors the gov continue to use, despite their track record with missed deadlines and massive cost inflation.

FTFY :-)

Kremlin-backed APT28 doesn't even bother hiding its attacks, says Finnish secret police


"Attribution is tricky"

Indeed. A few weeks ago we had news (via a well known leak site) that a certain govt agency was able to leave "signatures" of other countries' groups on the servers they target... so who can say who really did the hacking and why they left visible traces of themselves on those systems.

FBI, NSA top brass: We've seen jack squat to back up Trump's claims of Obama wiretaps


Re: Leaks

Snowden - damaging intelligence leak or enlightening public service?

The future of Not Reality is a strap-on that talks to my smarting ring


It sounds like Helios isn't going to be the lord of the rings.

Linus Torvalds explains how to Pull without jerking his chain


Re: Those 128 Petabytes

Or the cost of Brexit.


Li-ion king Goodenough creates battery he says really is... good enough


Re: When can I get it?

It can take a while to get to market, give it time :-)

Oh happy day! Linus Torvalds has given the world Linux 4.10


Re: -0.8

...and the one who doesn't gave you a downvote.

Prepare your popcorn: Wikipedia deems the Daily Mail unreliable


Re: Irony

Not really "pot and kettle" IMHO.

If you assume Wikipedia is mainly edited in good faith, then its articles are only as good as its references. So if it makes sure all articles are cited with decent references - by, in appropriate cases, blanket banning references from publications known to be problematic - it makes itself a better source of information.

So I see this as the "pot" making itself less black by not going near the "kettle".

It may never be "less black" enough to be cited in STEM papers, but it is a valiant aim.


Re: Left-wing front

"Left wing front"

You mean in the way they might publish referenced stats on, say, actual migrant numbers instead of just putting up a picture of a group of migrants with the word "swarm" underneath and letting people draw their own conclusions?

Australia wants to jail infosec researchers for pointing out dodgy data


Oh what a shame

I was going to steal a load of this data, de-anonymise it and sell it for ££££££ on the black market to phishers, but I won't now because de-anonymisation is illegal.

Trump lieutenants 'use private email' for govt work... but who'd make a big deal out of that?


You're not wrong at this time.

But you are using some serious mental gymnastics to maintain your dogma to a level not usually seen outside of organised religion.

You need to be careful you don't peak too soon - save something back for when it turns out that these email accounts are indeed carrying fairly important govt business information.

Now that's a Blue Screen of Death: Windows 10 told me to jump off a cliff


Re: Forgot your meds this morning ?

That may be true, Fuzzy, but personally my first step would be in a direction away from the cliff edge, as that step is indeed a "doozy".


Me, I have wallpaper, and I'm a LONG way from 10.

Most of it is courtesy of Digital Blasphemy. But I wouldn't go googling for his work if I were you - you wouldn't want to end up acting like a 10 year old, would you ;-)


Re: Forgot your meds this morning ?

Have you seen Groundhog Day?

Virgin America mid-flight panic after moron sets phone Wi-Fi hotspot to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7'


You must be a real hoot at parties, AC. Do you also give people wedgies, and then shout "Only joking! JEEZ, can't you take a joke?!" when they get annoyed?

Facebook hires Hillary Clinton to lead assault on fake news*


Also, isn't the point here that with "fake news", people don't know they have been misled?


"We’ve found that if reading an article makes people significantly less likely to share it, that may be a sign that a story has misled people in some way."

But what's that saying... "Lies are right round the block before the truth has got its boots on" ?

I'm not convinced this is a good metric, or a useful one, because there's an interesting flip side: if it is fake news which isn't being shared, is it a problem?

Perhaps this can be seen as an admission that Facebook still loves widely shared and read items, and isn't planning on giving up the ad revenue they generate.

It's now illegal in the US to punish customers for posting bad web reviews


Re: What a world

Agree with every word, especially what you say about knowledge on both sides.

I know little of US law, I can only speak for how things are in the UK.

Because the knowledge is never perfect, and because customers and employees alike can be coerced through MANY means to sign contracts, we have things in our contract-law which try to correct these imperfections.

In a perfect system, every person applying for a job would have the ability to turn it down for any reason and take a different one instead and still be able to pay the bills throughout the whole process. This rarely happens in any profession, for any person - one takes what one can get. So your choice is "take the job and sign the contract" or "don't take the job, and have no job (hopefully for only a short time until the next one comes along in time to pay the bills)"

So if the only job on offer in your niche industry comes with a contract containing a clause which means that if you leave or get sacked, you can't get another job - because the only other jobs in your niche industry are with competitors, and your contract contains an anti-compete clause - this would be unfair: it would deny you work.

So we have contract law which says that such a clause in a private contract is unlawful because it would be unfair, because it would be signing away a deeper right.

As I said earlier, I know only the basics of this. But I suspect this came from court cases over contracts (civil law) rather than from our parliament. So this example probably isn't "govt oversight". But I hope it is a good example of where the legal system can step in to keep people honest - so that they cannot coerce people in to signing away basic human rights.

If this kind of thing didn't exist, then people (employers or otherwise) would be able to coerce others in to signing contracts which essentially say "You are now my bitch". In my example, one employer would be able to stop you from ever working again, via that non-compete clause. Contract law should not be able to trump other laws or rights.


Re: What a world

Would it make you feel better about this law if I told you that we have vaguely similar in the UK, and for very good reasons?

Law exists that defines certain contract terms as illegal and therefore not contractually enforceable.

An example would be if your employment contract said that you could not work for a competitor for X months after leaving, but you work in a niche industry where the only jobs you could get after this one would be for a competitor. Therefore, such a clause would deny you the right to work, and so the clause is illegal and unenforceable.

(I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong about this one)

This isn't about govts overturning contracts willy nilly, it is about you not being coerced in to signing a contract which gives away certain basic rights - in my example, the right to work, and in the article, the right to free speech.


Re: What a world

IANAL, but this appears to be about the ability of a contract to give away your right to free speech.

i.e., your free speech is now still protected even if you have signed a contract waiving your right to free speech.

'Public Wi-Fi' gang fail in cunning plan to hide £10m cigarette tax fraud


"after he admitted his part in the smuggling ring."

Fnar fnar, etc.

Brexflation hits Lenovo's Phab2


Do these laptops magically appear in the UK, or have international courier costs gone up by around the same amount that the pound has fallen?

I wonder if the UK branch has any debts to the US parent co that might need UK prices to go up to service the debt at the current/old levels?

Just thought I'd chuck those in there to help (or hinder) the moaning ;-)

Sysadmin told to spend 20+ hours changing user names, for no reason



When I had a boss (I'm now self employed), I used to consider it a part of my job remit to let the boss (who is usually obsessed with not wasting money) know when one of their decisions was technically incompetent to the point of wasting the company huge amounts of money. As the boss is the boss and not a techie, they would not necessarily understand the technical debt or other repercussions of what they are asking for, and it is my place to tell them - especially if there is not enough slack in the dept to do the work whilst maintaining the sacrosanct "BAU" (Business As Usual)

Blindly following a non-technical incompetent is not, imho, showing due diligence to the company.


Two questions...

Why did it take him 20 hours to turn HR's spreadsheet in to a script that can update the various DBs?

(That's not a serious question)

A serious question is - why are the laptops named after their owners?

Any sysadmin that has been a sysadmin for more than a couple of years knows that this is a sure way to be swamped with unnecessary extra work for each swap or breakage.

Moscow says writing infrastructure attack code is a thought crime


"pull off the hacks"

I like that. I hope the hacks do too.

But more seriously, it's all well and good until someone gets prosecuted for writing something like Snort or Nmap.

HBO slaps takedown demand on 13-year-old girl's painting because it used 'Winter is coming'


I was wondering...

...what all the ex-SCO bunch were doing these days.

It appears they're pretending to run a US cable network.

Online advent calendar offers mystery VM every day until Christmas


Re: Sweet

No one is forcing you to, Ebenezer ;-)

Icelandic Pirate Party asked to form government


Re: Enquiring minds want to know..

"Why are the Pirate Party in charge?"

"Because they arrrrrr!"


'Toyota dealer stole my wife's saucy snaps from phone, emailed them to a swingers website'


Re: Maybe...

Well, this escalated quickly.

Trump's FCC will soak net neutrality in gas and toss in a lit match


Re: Dems vs. Dems

"Is that all it takes in your world to shut down opposition?"

Ah, spoken like a true Trumpeter.

You expressed an opinion. You are free to do so.

I disagreed with that opinion. I am also free to do so.

You have not been "shut down", I have not delved in to El Reg's servers and deleted your comment. Your opinion still stands, and I still think it is wrong.

Free speech at its best.

The rest of what you said isn't worth my time arguing with - one of your points is simple pedantry, the other shows you haven't really been paying attention. So I'll freely ignore it.


Re: By pure chance...

Any now the ultimate "corporate master" is in charge. Lobbyists are no longer needed*

(* Apart from lobbyists representing groups whose views don't match Trump's business interests)


Re: Dems vs. Dems

You're forgetting your history, John.

Net Neutrality was in trouble, and the laws now in progress were hard fought for (as per the article) so that everyone is equal on the internet, and a low cost startup could compete with massive companies (which could afford higher carrier costs)

If this is being brushed away, it is bad for net neutrality and it is bad for us. Therefore calling it "bad" is not a bias, but the truth. Unless, of course, you don't like "net neutrality" ?

It’s Brexploitation! Microsoft punishes UK for Brexit with cloud price-gouging


"At the moment it looks as if they wand to do it in one year."

Do what in one year? Recoup an unknown amount of money that you and I have no idea of, at a rate which is unknown to us?

I think you've lost the thread, Ivan: You've made an assumption which isn't based in facts we are in possession of.

This is no different to when your bank changes your mortgage interest rates by more than the BOE base rate has shifted: They are (ostensibly) trying to hedge against risks and expenses so on that we aren't privy to, based on timelines we don't understand.



Something you may have missed though - the prices are also set according to their business plan of how quickly they plan on hitting profit on their original investment: They not only need to take in to account future costs, but also paying off of historical debts.


Absolutely agree.

This is what many people are missing in subjects such as this - Microsoft pay a lot of money up front to fit out their datacentres, and it costs them a lot of money in both engineers and replacement kit to keep it going.

They invested a lot of money up front to get this going, with a view to making back that investment with a profit over many years.

Therefore, price-setting is done based on forecasts of how much kit and talent is going to cost them over the next few years, whilst trying to make back on the initial investment as well.

They need to maintain a "war chest" for kit replacement, based on forecasts of how often kit will need replacing and how much that kit might cost. And they need to get back that investment such that over 5 to 10 years they make an overall profit.

Trying to pretend it is all about the current exchange rate and current costs is very dubious. And using such poor logic to bootstrap another argument about how angry we should be and how hard done by we are by our own poor decisions is astonishingly bad taste.

And just to caveat this, I HATE being put in a position where I need to defend or justify MS. But I hate sloppy logic, terrible critical thinking and poor foresight even more.

Congrats America, you can now safely slag off who you like online


**** Would read again

(I would have given five stars, but the cutlery was dirty and I had to send it back)

A Rowhammer ban-hammer for all, and it's all in software


Re: Solution

You could argue it is a design defect, but it isn't a manufacturing defect.

Google's Chromecast Audio busted BT home routers – now it has a fix


Re: So who's to blame?

I'm going to put my "Pretending I don't know much about how this stuff works" hat on and say it is the Router's fault.

The router's job is to split, splice and forward packets. If the packets are malformed, they should be dropped, otherwise they should be passed (within the bounds of any rules programmed in to the router). It should not be possible to crash a router by sending "bad" packets to it, and if a particular router can be crashed in this way then this leaves open a trivial DoS attack on said router.

It's not all that different to a user typing data in to an application - if the app crashes because the user mistyped bad data in to it, that is the app's fault: it should be validating its input and complaining appropriately.

Without that hat on, I know this is easier said than done, because networking is hard.

Shhhhh! If you're quiet, Linus Torvalds might release a new Linux


Re: Odd use of terminology

"But if you think that the software that you have now will need more changes before final release (which is what Linus is saying), then by definition, the current software can't be a release candidate, since you don't intend to release it (as the final product)."

I see what you're saying. But Linus is just talking about how he "feels" about this particular RC. He expects it will fail testing in some way and that there will be another RC afterwards.

But that is just a feeling, and the current RC may pass all tests quite adequately.

By advertising this feeling to his team, he is asking them to really, properly hammer this RC in testing, and he is also making sure they are ready to expect to have to patch more bugs (as opposed to going in to "holiday mode"). This is simply good, transparent management and effective communication.


Re: Odd use of terminology

The emphasis needs to be on the word "candidate"

There are many candidates to become the release. Only one of those candidates will be good enough to become the release. If one candidate "fails", a new, better candidate will be created.

Debian putting everything on the /usr


Re: only thing I ask

@DoctorSyntax: "That depends on what single user mode needs. If it needs executables moved from /sbin to /usr..."

I'm not bothered by this change of "moving /bin and /sbin to /usr" and it doesn't affect this.

I was saying to the chap above that if he partitions properly and separates out /home and /var (leaving /usr on the root partition), then he won't need to boot from usb or cd or whatever.

Single User Mode in Linux will boot fine from here. As would temporarily changing the boot commandline to run /bin/bash instead of init (for fixing really broken systems).


Re: only thing I ask

That's a big "if". My systems do not do this.

"failure to boot due to unmountable drives" will be a problem if one of your filesystems is corrupted. But it doesn't mean the system is "unbootable" - simply boot in to single user mode (no rescue disk/cd/USB needed) and fix.

Even though I use it, I blame Ubuntu (and other distros) for making people forget some very good old habits, such as sane partitioning.


Re: only thing I ask

The physical disk failing is only one of many corruption scenarios.

It is still wise, if you don't want to faff with booting off CD, to have a separate /, /var and /home partitions. This means the system will likely still be bootable if corruption occurs, because the / partition is rarely written to and is therefore unlikely to get corrupted. A corruption in the oft-written to /var and /home partitions cannot make the system unbootable.

I'm glad to see that this change Debian are making will not affect us being able to sensibly partition our systems for stability.

CompSci Prof raises ballot hacking fears over strange pro-Trump voting patterns


Re: From the article:

"So even the good boffin himself thinks it's most likely just the polls were wrong ..."

You're halfway there.

A "good boffin" considers all possibilities and considers the likelihood of each one.

He has, in this case, identified at least two possibilities and has attributed equal likelihood to each of the two most likely, and says there should be some investigation (or "measurement" as a "boffin" might say)

Considering, measuring and testing hypothesis is the basis of science.

Considering and testing every hypothesis and not prematurely throwing any away because of political or other beliefs is the basis of *good* science.

Pluto has massive underground oceans, say astro-boffins


Re: Pluto is a planet - End of

You gonna put that in your speech tonight? - "Pluto is a planet" - they love that.

(Whoever downvoted you is clearly missing out on some hot Rick and Morty action)

Gone in 70 seconds: Holding Enter key can smash through defense


I've got the whole pony if you like.

Your body reveals your password by interfering with Wi-Fi


Re: Beware also....

Haha - awesome. Two thumbs down from people who find it hard to connect "This exploit has just been discovered" with "Oh shit, a hacking group has commoditised the exploit, unleashed it on every IoT device and are hiring it out to any kiddie scripter that can pay"

...which are two of the most often written articles on the Register...

Martian 'ice cauldrons' are prime spot to hunt LGMs, say boffins


Re: Planetary Protection Programme

" let's spend those billions on getting to Mars sooner rather than later"

Yeah sure, that's fair enough.

But remember - there are no shortcuts, there is only "the right way" and "the slightly longer way that might appear cheaper in the short term but you might need to throw the whole thing away and start again later"

The cheap short term option is to not waste those "billions" now.

The "[short] right way" is to sterilise the probes so we don't waste X*billions and many years later.


Re: Planetary Protection Programme

"what do you reckon are the odds that a bunch of bacteria will stop it if the technology matures to the point where its feasible?"

Those odd are, as you imply, a certainty (given enough time, anything is a certainty)

But it will be cheaper and easier overall to sterilise a probe now than a whole planet later.

'Pavement power' - The bad idea that never seems to die


But will it play "Chopsticks" when Tom Hanks walks on it?


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