* Posts by Joe Harrison

802 posts • joined 1 Jun 2007


Sure, we've got a problem but we don't really want to spend any money on the tech guy you're sending to fix it

Joe Harrison Silver badge

You couldn't make it up!

I flew from London to Warsaw and during the LOT flight bought a can of Pepsi for 5 Zloty, which is about 1 pound sterling. The finance department bounced my expense claim because although I had the foresight to get a receipt it was not what they considered to be a VAT receipt.

There then followed a six-week ping-pong battle to get my claim paid, which I finally won when I was able to prove that VAT is not payable on a flight between UK and any EU country (HMRC VAT Notice 709/1 section 2.5). I think finance's mission statement is something like "protecting our corporate wealth with financial excellence"...

Eggheads want YOU to name Jupiter's five newly found moons ‒ and yeah, not so fast with Moony McMoonface

Joe Harrison Silver badge

In fact Jupiter DID have a lover named Moony McMoonface

Prove me wrong!

Seriously, how is anyone supposed to know for sure how many lovers Jupiter/Zeus did have, and what their names were. Nobody knows who MY lovers were. Even I can't remember them all.

No seriously, really, there are a finite and predictable series of names which can follow those very restrictive rules so what is the point of a "competition"?

You know the drill: SAP has asked Joe Public to name Munich arena so go forth and be very silly

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: SAPper-Lot!

Sapperlot... I think I prefer its "alternative forms" zapperlot and fapperlot

Use an 8-char Windows NTLM password? Don't. Every single one can be cracked in under 2.5hrs

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Too much

A long password for your online banking is obviously sensible. For other stuff not so much - at work my Windows PC locks itself after 10 minutes and I don't fancy typing wrongdonkeyAAcellfastener dozens of times a day. As correctly pointed out by Time Waster strong passwords are a strong nightmare when not using a proper keyboard. Finally a password manager - you're stuffed when you have to use a computer which hasn't got it installed.

Wells Fargo? Well fscked at the moment: Data center up in smoke, bank website, app down

Joe Harrison Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Datacenter fire just a cover story?

A couple of nights ago half a dozen military helicopters carried out some kind of operation at a complex of buildings which included a big Wells Fargo office. This was alleged to be training exercise but it looks pretty hairy and dangerous if it was.


I won't bother hunting and reporting more Sony zero-days, because all I'd get is a lousy t-shirt

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: And this....

I reported similar to Tesco once (they forgot https on one route to card payment) and they sent me a nice thank you note and a five quid voucher. Mind you this was in the 90s when a fiver actually meant something.

Oh cool, the Bluetooth 5.1 specification is out. Nice. *control-F* master-slave... 2,000 results

Joe Harrison Silver badge

It's nearly always worked very well for me.

It's always nearly worked for me as well.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Washable keyboard

Plenty of waterproof washable and antibacterial keyboards/mice available for the use of clumsy or germophobic users. Accumed or Logitech for example.

Fake broadband ISP support scammers accidentally cough up IP address to Deadpool in card phish gone wrong

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Who is to blaim for being taken by scammers?

Hi Rick, almost downvoted this on basis that it's not 1998 any more. Then had to admit you do have a point about link clicking.

Who cracked El Chapo's encrypted chats and brought down the Mexican drug kingpin? Er, his IT manager

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Where he went wrong

He sets up this very secure VOIP network. Why didn't he hand over the keys to the drug lord and tell him how to change them, and insist he do change the keys immediately. Now the encrypted calls can't be listened to by the cops, and more importantly can't be listened to by the sysadmin. Sysadmin therefore useless to the cops. Or maybe he tried that and drug lord wouldn't go for it because too much to remember etc.

Americans are just fine with facial recognition technology – as long as they get shorter queues

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Tech ignorance

How exactly is facial recognition going to reduce shoplifting?

Leaving aside organised shoplifting gangs I would have thought that it was a casual and localised sort of crime. An attempted shoplifting in town A is probably by someone living in same town, or at least from town B next door. Walmart don't need access to law enforcement's sekrit database they just need to be alerted to the entry of the same guy who tried to rob them the previous week.

Fake 'U's! Phishing creeps use homebrew fonts as message ciphers to evade filters

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: fg xjc dua ihut vyfq, xjc uih jci sfat jg mjggfa

I represent the Mjggfa™ Corporation Inc. GmbH Worldwide Ltd. PLC and do hereby require that you cease, desist, and refrain from misuse of our corporate name, livery, trade dress, and general other stuff.

Nobody in China wants Apple's eye-wateringly priced iPhones, sighs CEO Tim Cook

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Choice

There are plenty of Android phones you can buy which contain no Google things. So no worries of being snooped on by either Google or Apple.

Pork pulled: Plug jerked out of beacon of bacon delight

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: "Everyone's love for bacon"

Tesco frozen fake bacon slices (soya) are really nice, just sayin.

US bitcoin bomb threat ransom scam looks like a hoax say FBI, cops

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Wandering totally offtopic

As it's Friday...

Firstly "ransom scam looks like a hoax say FBI, cops" does not make grammatical sense. It really should be "FBI and cops." Yes I know it's a common form of words in America but we're a .co.uk here and arrogating my right to speak on behalf of all British gentlefolk I can say it does boil our piss. You're welcome.

Secondly working at/from home. So common these days that for the sake of status whiteboards everywhere we really need to resolve the industry standard acronym - is it WAH or WFH. No effort required with WFP (working from pub) as that one is sufficiently established already.

Expired cert... Really? #O2down meltdown shows we should fear bungles and bugs more than hackers

Joe Harrison Silver badge

The fix is not "failing to join the other network", it is more correctly "disconnecting and rejoining."

Similar connectivity faults exist even today and can often be cured by temporarily going into airplane/flight mode then back again to normal mode. Or even by switching off and on again but not recommended as boot times are getting ever longer because all the crap with which we fill up our phones.

Estonian ex-foreign sec urges governments: Get cosy with the private sector on cybersecurity

Joe Harrison Silver badge

You can't but praise how well Estonia has built its digital infrastructure. I keep thinking about their e-citizenship but problem is how many people really want to open an Estonian bank account or create an Estonian company? They'd be better off selling real citizenship to people who wanted to remain in the EU.

Do not adjust your set: Hats off to Apple, you struggle to shift iPhones 'cos you're oddly ethical

Joe Harrison Silver badge

no just no

This article is just plain wrong. For starters "Novell's product was so good and so reliable nobody needed to upgrade it." OK we've all heard the stories of ancient NetWare 2 servers with an uptime of 50 years but normal NetWare 3 and 4 boxes used to crash all the time if you looked at them funny and even if you didn't.

More importantly this "ethical" Apple, are we talking about the same company that sends you an over the air remote brick-o-gram if it spots that you had the cheek to get your cracked screen repaired by someone who wasn't Apple?

Big data at sea: How the Royal Navy charts the world's oceans

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Not being a noisy neighbour

having first ensured no marine wildlife is nearby that would be distressed by the sonar

How the hell do they do that? "Hellooo, yes you that funny-looking crab, is it OK if we do some surveying"

Dell Corp UK makes 1.46% net profit margin on £1.556bn in sales – 'satisfactory' apparently

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Very odd company

Friend wanted one of the new Dell XPS13 laptops and some accessories, but every time she got to "checkout" on the Dell website the price 1700 ish quid jumped up by another 70. I checked her browser configuration for funny cookies or whatever but it was clearly Dell's ordering system at fault. Contacted Dell via webchat and they insisted that she pay 1500 ish. Not complaining of course but no wonder profits are low.

If Shadow Home Sec Diane Abbott can be reeled in by phishers, truly no one is safe

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Eh?

Failing to spot an IT security problem does not make you "thick as mince." Unless maybe you are an IT security pro, and then only maybe.

British fixed broadband is cheap … and, er, fairly nasty – global survey

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: streams rather than downloads?

Streams are fine if you have a reliable connection. Some of us though, on strands of old wet rural copper, can get quite decent speeds but with random outages from seconds to minutes when the wind blows the wrong way or the tree gods get angry.

When this happens I would much rather my download paused than have an unscheduled tea break during the film.

Now Europe wants a four-million-quid AI-powered lie detector at border checkpoints

Joe Harrison Silver badge

I'm feeling animated already

a computer animated "border guard" that is localized to the traveler's language and ethnicity

(formerly known as "Clippy")

'He must be stopped': Missouri candidate's children tell voters he's basically an asshat

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Can't believe this

The kids do <naughty thing> as kids do, father gets mad and yells "you're grounded and no pocket money", so kids hatch revenge plot with fake comments to rubbish off his election chances. Charming. How do we know this didn't happen?

Or maybe it didn't and maybe the guy actually is evil, still can't believe people are publicly calling for his head just on his kids say-so. Either way they can watch their inheritance going to the cats home.

While everyone coos at the promise of 5G, UK network Three asks if it can tempt you with 4G+

Joe Harrison Silver badge


My previous Huawei phone had a configurable option for carrier aggregration, with a big warning not to turn it on unless you knew what you were doing. My current Xiaomi phone doesn't have that option but does light up VoLTE quite frequently. The rest of the time it flickers between 3G, H+, E, R, and a couple others I forgot.

I agree with @Rathernicelydone that none of it matters if the carrier's connection to the internet is maxed out, which does seem to happen.

The great and powerful Oz (broadband network): Revs rise, but nbn™'s exec bonuses don't

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: free data day...

Maybe if you look at it from the current perspective where data is used by end-user retail consumers to watch cat videos. The core usage of 5G however will be infrastructure (for example self-driving cars won't work without it) so the cost model will be substantially different.

This one weird trick turns your Google Home Hub into a doorstop

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Google being rather disingenous

Home automation does not necessarily equal voice control. Wi-fi switches are actually really useful in some circumstances, especially for people who live in a rented place and can't drill holes and run wires.

Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Final solution many years from now

Redesign our municipal spaces so that dangerous moving traffic and pedestrians are separated. In the same way that right now we don't have train drivers having to choose which people to swerve at. Also everything that moves and potentially can crash is under control of same superglomulous AI. Casualties reduced to small percentage of passenger miles. Job done.

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Will you keep your voice down please - we were going to gradually roll out the microchipping in phases 3-5 when people had got used to the cars first.

Linguists, update your resumes because Baidu thinks it has cracked fast AI translation

Joe Harrison Silver badge

English is like that. How about prepositions such as "with", like when you just bought something from Ikea.

"I built a bookcase with a screwdriver."

"I built a bookcase with Susan."

Completely obvious to a native speaker but imagine some poor bastard trying to learn English.

(Of course being Ikea it wouldn't be a book case it would be some word with lots of ä and å, just to complicate matters.)

So, about that Google tax on Android makers in the EU – report pegs it at up to $40 per phone

Joe Harrison Silver badge

why do we need app stores?

I successfully used Microsoft Windows for several decades without needing an App Store. If I wanted an app (we called them applications back then) I bought it from someone who made applications. Sometimes it even came in a snazzy box. Why do I need to buy my Android apps from Google?

Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Homeland Season 7

Fairly prophetic I thought especially the secret bunker where the evil deep-state hackers had their botnet C&C to flood "social media" with fake shill comments to influence opinion. I reckon that happened here.

"Sarge, there's another Assange story, am I cleared to proceed?"

"Sure thing son, unleash the sock-puppet army on the no-good sumbitch. Start with The Register they're all flakes anyway and it will blend in better"

The fur is not gonna fly: Uncle Sam charges seven Russians with Fancy Bear hack sprees

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Correction here

I think even the die-hards have given up on the "Russian interference in US elections" allegations, mainly because months of investigation has to date resulted in no such evidence. However, former FBI general counsel James Baker's recent interviews with the house judiciary committee, and upcoming potential declassification of some FISA court documents, are very likely soon to give a clear indication of foreign country interference in the 2016 US elections.

A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Debt = Bad

Inevitable that once you load a business up with debt you give it a finite life. Let's face it Maplin isn't unique it's just one of the latest dominoes to fall in the high street.

Years of super-low interest rates have encouraged businesses and consumers to borrow to the hilt. Why not, it's almost free? I know people with unbelievable mortgages, loads of stuff on tick, several maxed out credit cards but outwardly they look as though they are doing alright mostly, and in fact they themselves do really believe they are doing alright - it's become a normal way of life. They are just about keeping going so long as nothing happens.

Everything's fine so long as the economy can keep the plates spinning but now that interest rates are going back up (expect yet another rate hike from US Fed real soon now) the zombie companies'with fingernail existence on borrowed money will finally keel over, jobs will go, people will stop paying their bills, and we're going to see an extremely nasty fertiliser/turbine contact scenario.

Sorry this is a bit shouty but I am astounded we made it this far even.

Man cuffed for testing fruit with bum cheek pre-purchase

Joe Harrison Silver badge


I was in a well-known supermarket the other day and saw people picking up bits of bread and squeezing it to test for being stale then putting it back. Never buy bread or anything else unwashable that is on open display.

Don't get me started on checkout ladies (it is only ever ladies, men don't do it, no idea why) who lick their fingers before giving you a carrier bag.

Why waste away in a cubicle when you could be a goddamn infosec neuromancer on £50k*?

Joe Harrison Silver badge

What are they looking for

When you get past all the quota-filling filler it looks like they are short of people who actually know what they are doing with computer / network security. Why not just expose a few medium-difficulty honeypots then people who get in find a path like /HR/confidential/executives/salaries/README_if_you_want_a _job.txt

Only serious crackers (whether for fun or for profit) put in the time and effort needed to get good at sensing weaknesses and exploiting them in previously-unknown ways. You can't expect the same level of dedication from industry people with real-world objectives like large estates to protect and relying on vendors to find and patch any holes.

Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for my 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

Joe Harrison Silver badge

It's not about the job

In my experience people who yell at other people all the time do it because they like yelling at people. "Bad coding", "poor customer service", "failing to hand in homework", whatever, the ostensible reason for yelling at people is just fluff and cover to "justify" the real business at hand which its... yelling at people. They are a breed apart for sure.

UK.gov finally adds Galileo and Copernicus to the Brexit divorce bill

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Remind me...

Blue passports are the benefit. Keeps saying "blue passports, blue passports." Forget trivia like job losses, worthless Pound, etc.

Joe Harrison Silver badge


The so-called "Neverendum"

The eyes don't have it! AI's 'deep-fake' vids surge ahead in realism

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Saw this coming

Been done, "Nikon Image Authentication System". Was cracked in short order in 2011, not sure what state it's in now.


Generally Disclosing Pretty Rapidly: GDPR strapped a jet engine on hacked British Airways

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Companies about to take security seriously?

Unlikely that fines approaching anywhere near 4% of global; turnover will ever happen in our lifetime. Even before GDPR the ICO has always been able to fine up to half a million pounds. Their record of actually collecting it (not necessarily their fault) is very poor.

Tesla's chief accounting officer drives off after just a month on the job

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Who knew they make roof tiles


Looks good to me

Canny Brits are nuking the phone bundle

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Ultra-short 18 month contracts

I once had an analog carphone and signed up with Nokia Mobira for airtime. The small print on the back of the contract said the term was ten years.

I crossed it out and initialled the change and the shop accepted it anyway, probably because in those days airtime providers paid a sizeable commission for getting new customers.

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: Punished if you buy phone from elsewhere

Three's website says

"4G Super-Voice doesn't work on other non-Three devices yet however, even if the manufacturer has stated that it's VoLTE compatible. We're working on this, so be sure to check back for updates"

This is definitely not true; my Xiaomi which I imported from China works fine on Band 20 and shows on the display when it is VoLTE connected.

A decade on, Apple and Google's 30% app store cut looks pretty cheesy

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Re: "Why can't it be dependent on how much physical shelf space"

Why not, it tastes better...

If you have to simulate a phishing attack on your org, at least try to get something useful from it

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Embarrassing when you make false positive though. "Hahaha look at this complete moron pretending to be my boss, can't even write" etc. But it actually was from your boss.

Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Facebook a minor problem

Don't let them misdirect your attention, the real problem is The Register's data slurping! They totally are the eye at the top of the triangle they know everything about you. How do I know this.... I read stuff on this site all the time and guess what I SEE LOADS OF ADVERTS FOR COMPUTERS! Do the math.

Surprise! VAT, customs likely to get a bit trickier in a Brexit no-deal world

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Better get an order in for some nice daffodils eh Matron oo-er

Microsoft: We busted Russian Fancy Bear disinfo websites

Joe Harrison Silver badge


Did the FBI voluntarily dissolve itself and leave Microsoft in charge? Why am I paying the Windows Tax for MS to play Internet Police.

MS when you've finished hunting fake websites is there anything you can do about all the stuff needs fixing in Windows 10? If it's no trouble obviously.

Brit Railcard buyers face lengthy, unexplained delays. Sound familiar?

Joe Harrison Silver badge

Railcards are handy if they work

I have one but the bad thing is you must remember to take it physically with you when you travel otherwise get fined or told off or whatever. Luckily there is also an Android app which will do instead. Unluckily if you already have a plastic card you can't also use the app so I was screwed. To do it via the app you have to do complicated stuff involving taking your passport somewhere.

If you can cope with the mental stress though it does cut your train costs considerably.


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