* Posts by Pen-y-gors

2606 posts • joined 1 Oct 2010

Tor pedo's torpedo torpedoed: FBI spyware crossed the line but was in good faith, say judges

Pen-y-gors
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"In good faith"

Yes, yer honour, we accept that installing a webcam in <insert attractive celebrity's name here>'s shower without a valid warrant was technically illegal, but we acted in good faith as we honestly believed she wasn't putting her empty shampoo bottles into the correct recycling bin.

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Batteries are so heavy, said user. If I take it out, will this thing work?

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Car Battery

Porsche 944 UK version.

Battery is in the boot.

Boot locks controlled by solenoids.

Flat battery, can't open boot.

Risk serious spinal damage wriggling in over back seat to sort things out.

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IT peeps, be warned: You'll soon be a museum exhibit

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Re: Back in the day

Handful o' cold gravel for breakfast...

1GB, 800MB? 500MB? Eee, you were lucky!

When I was at University, learning to code in the mid 70s, they had these massive de-mountable disk packs which, if I remember rightly, had a capacity of 2MB each! You needed special permission to use them.

I remember paying £250 for a 256MB hard drive.

I found an old PC magazine from about 1982 a few years ago, and worked out that if a machine had been available then with the spec of my laptop at the time, it would have cost about £50 million - in 1982 money! Lord knows how much my present phone would have set you back!

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Re: What job will last forever

@AC

police bots are still a while away from usable

Nah,

1. Has it moved?

2. Shoot it.

3. Play mp3 of 'Stop. Armed Police.'

Job done - those can replace most US cops.

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Starting on the Museum exhibits, ending on them.

Been there, done that.

Come to think, most IT learning is chasing things heading toward obsolescence

Looking back over 44 years of coding and related things, there has been a lot of learning, but also a lot of forgetting. Mainly detail stuff. I can no longer remember the commands for various IBM MVS SORT statements, but I don't think I ever could. I had a card (still in a drawer somewhere) that reminded me. Ditto the syntax of Fortran IV. But I'm still coding.

The things that matter are not the details. It's the ability to analyse problems, design clear solutions, develop test strategies and persuade users to reveal what they are actually trying to achieve, rather than what they think they want/need (cf. earlier article this week on wanting a Print button)

Those are the skills I learning in the 1970s, and I'm still using them today. Teaching people to code is one thing, but it's just scratching the surface of the job skills.

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Amateur astronomer strikes it lucky with first glimpse of a Supernova

Pen-y-gors
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Correct vocabulary please

What on earth are 'Professional astronomers'? Surely you mean cosmo-boffins or whatever the approved El Reg boffinry sub-category is?

And how big is a 10-metre telescope in linguini?

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Nova GSi?

No, whimsy is good. Whimsy is why we like El Reg. Dull science we can get in Ap.J.

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Brexit to better bumpkin broadband, 4G coverage for farmers – Gove

Pen-y-gors
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Re: @ Charlie Clark

@codejunky

but why would the EU's stance on freedom of movement have diddly squat to do with our choosing to allow people to enter this country even from the EU to help on farms?

The EU's stance has no relevance. The problem is May's stance.No foreigners. Remember that one of the major advantages of Brexit is meant to be that we can chuck out all these working foreigners who contribute so much to our economy. (We can already chuck out the non-working ones after three months without leaving the EU, but May just couldn't be arsed). No foreigners is what 17.4 million people asked for. It would be a tad silly to have a Brexit to expel the foreigners, and then let them all back in again. After all, there must be some advantages to Brexit? Surely? No, go on, something, please? Just a little thing? Okay, no.

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Re: @ Charlie Clark

@codejunky

but why would the EU's stance on freedom of movement have diddly squat to do with our choosing to allow people to enter this country even from the EU to help on farms?

The EU's stance has no relevance. The problem is May's stance.No foreigners. Remember that one of the major advantages of Brexit is meant to be that we can chuck out all these working foreigners who contribute so much to our economy. (We can already chuck out the non-working ones after three months without leaving the EU, but May just couldn't be arsed). No foreigners is what 17.4 million people asked for. It would be a tad silly to have a Brexit to expel the foreigners, and then let them all back in again. After all, there must be <bold>some</bold> advantages to Brexit? Surely? No, go on, something, please? Just a little thing? Okay, no.

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This job Win-blows! Microsoft made me pull '75-hour weeks' in a shopping mall kiosk

Pen-y-gors
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It could be worse

Retail has always been really crap compared to IT!

1. Rubbish pay

2. Rubbish hours

3. Grovelling to the public.

A friend used to be a manager for a small clothing shop, part of a chain. Was expected to stay behind to do stock-taking etc with no extra pay. Was not allowed to take any holiday for first 12 months - had to earfn it before taking it. (I suspect this may not be illegal). Quit and got a junior management job with John Lewis Partnership - much better terms as the Partners (staff to you and me) own the shop.

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

@FIA

"The reality is, sometimes things take longer than estimated, which incurs extra costs, some of which are peoples time. Otherwise you're just making accountants look good.

Yep, but estimates are just that, estimates, not fixed-price quotes. And if the management accept those estimates, then they work to them. If they turn out to be too low, why should you work for nothing to get things back on track? Didn't they include some contingency for just that? And what if the estimates are wrong because of duff info from management in the first place?

And if they insist on you working free hours to correct under-estimates, will they also let you have extra time off with pay if you come in under estimate? Sauce for the goose...

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Re: Wants to have her cake & eat it?

@AC

She seems to be asking for overtime on top of a salary, which we'd all love to have.

What's wrong with that? Is this some strange USian notion that if you are paid a monthly salary, rather than hourly, that makes you a slave who can be forced to work 24/7 without any extra compensation? Next you'll be saying they can be sacked without reason or compensation.

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: To be honest...

Microsoft are probably no worse than many big employers.

I fail to understand this difference between 'professional' and other workers for overtime. A job basically comprises a contract to work X hours for Y pay. Okay, in a managerial/professional/senior setting you may vary your hours from 9-5 to get a job done, but then you take time off later.

In a previous life my manager tried that "unpaid overtime, professional, paid to do a job, yada yada ..." line on me. I gently explained the idea that a definition of professional is 'paid to do something' and that the opposite is 'amateur' - does something for fun without pay. I suggested if he wanted a professional job, then he needed to pay for it. The alternative was getting some incredibly amateur work - which would end up costing the company a lot more.

I got the overtime, but I also took voluntary redundancy soon after (and went straight into a better-paid new job which didn't question overtime rates)

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Rock-a-byte, baby: IoT tot-monitoring camera lets miscreants watch 10,000s of kids online

Pen-y-gors
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Silver lining

Not at all surprising, but there is a good side. Think of this as crowd-sourcing your baby-sitting. Instead of paying vast sums to a teenager who raids your fridge, booze cupboard and porn collection, while doing squishy things with her boyfriend on the sofa, you can just rely on thousands of people out on t'interwebs to watch junior for you.

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Farewell, Android Pay. We hardly tapped you

Pen-y-gors
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What could possibly...?

I think I prefer to stick to handling my own money, thanks.

Physical debit card for debits

Separate credit card with very limited spending limit for online transactions (but prefer Paypal)

Paypal only from one computer, requires password every time, and uses 2FA

No other credit cards

Bank transfers online - one computer only

Cheques (rarely)

Cash

And I'm sure some toerag will still manage to relieve me of my dosh one day - but I'm not going to make it easier for them with Google Pay!

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Bad news: 43% of login attempts 'malicious' Good news: Er, umm...

Pen-y-gors
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Re: What's wrong with Anthrax Candy?

Not sure about logins via login screen, but the amusing one is looking at system logs and the insane number of people robots trying to login to a Wordpress admin panel. Bit strange as I don't run Wordpress (obvs).

That's closely followed by the vast number of attempts at a SQL injection.

One would think that ISPs could come up with some tools/scripts to identify and block these scum - they are wasting a lot of bandwidth to no real purpose.

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Teensy plastic shields are the big new thing in 2018's laptop crop

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Webcam Shield?

Duct-tape.

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Pen-y-gors
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Horses for courses?

Yes, it does sound like a bit of a timewarp - for 'power users'. My 7 year-old lappie also has 8GB, and 18-month old one has 16GB and lots besides. But I'm a developer.

I also have a nice little HP jobbie with 2GB and which doesn't even have a proper SSD - 32GB of on-board memory and it happily runs Win 10. Obviously not for running mega-spreadsheets, but it's fine for checking e-mails, browsing amazon, watching a bit of telly etc, and it can actually be used for typing, unlike a phone. For some people that may be perfectly adequate. Personally I regret the death of the cheapo notebook format like the old Acer Aspire 1.

So, no, budget laptops with 4GB which can't upgrade to 128GB aren't ludicrous. They meet the needs of many customers - but it's important that they are sold as what they are, not mega-gaming machines.

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Opportunity knocked? Rover survives Martian winter, may not survive budget cuts

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Re: Give it away.

How about asking that nice Mr Musk? He likes space and has lots of money, and it would be good for his spaceman (who I'm sure is actually The Stig) to have something to run about in when he arrives (not sure the Tesla will cope with re-entry)

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UK.gov calls on the Big Man – GOD – to boost rural broadband

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Re: I may be missing something

rural agricultural labour force that has sinced moved to the cities

but their hovels picturesque cottages have been bought up by aspiring middle class refugees from t'smoke, who demand fast fibre to watch Nigella and upload the script of their latest rural steamy bonkbuster.

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Pen-y-gors
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Until recently our village shop had a small Vodaphone 'mast' (actually a box on the wall), and was getting £2000 p.a.

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Good stuff but a sticking plaster fix ...

@Commswonk

It's true that farmers need to upload lots of DEFRA forms, but that doesn't need FTTP, or even 80Mbps FTTC - a good reliable 10Mbps should be more than adequate, but the problem usually is the 'good, reliable' aspect. As the phone to the average farm runs along a few strands of sheep fencing they ain't going to get 10Mbps, and even FTTC is unlikely to be any better if the last mile is wet string (as previously discussed). Arguably stringing some decent new copper would work, but if you're going through the faff of stringing new anything, you might as well make it fibre - or just get a good mobile package on 4G as many of my more isolated neighbours are doing.

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Pen-y-gors
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Location, location, location

Depends of course where the church is located. In a delightful dingle in the Cotswolds with hills all around, it'll help but it's limited. In the Fens it would give coverage for miles.

Which reminds me of a lovely tale, no IT angle. A friend was wandering around the Fens looking at old churches (as one does) and came across a spot in the middle of nowhere (basically, that's the definition of the Fens) with two massive churches next door to each other, and nothing else to be seen. While wandering around he's approached by wizened old grave-digger or similar who grins toothlessly and says "Aaar, bet yous wonderin why there's two churches here next to each other." "Yes, I was" "That's acos the third one burnt down!"

Seems the 3 churches were all built together as they were on the only bit of raised, dry land in the three parishes, which happened to be at the point where they all met.

So which one gets the mast?

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Farts away! Plane makes unscheduled stop after man won't stop guffing

Pen-y-gors
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Open the window?

You say that in jest, but I have a Collins German phrase book from the 1960s that includes the useful phrase, in the 'Travelling by Air' chapter "Would you please open the window?"

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James Damore's labor complaint went over about as well as his trash diversity manifesto

Pen-y-gors
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Re: controversial bro-grammer ?

For the benefit of the men and women on the Clapham Omnibus..

WTF is SJW?

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Crims pull another SWIFT-ie, Indian bank stung for nearly US$2m

Pen-y-gors
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$2 million?

That's a rounding error! How about

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43068039 from a few days ago

"Indian bank hit by $1.8bn fraud case"

Now that's <bold>real</bold> fraud!

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Kentucky gov: Violent video games, not guns, to blame for Florida school massacre

Pen-y-gors
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I have a cunning plan my Lord

@AC

"So, if a politician decides to go against the gun lobby, guess what would they do? They would spend millions of dollars on TV ads trying to convince people that Mr. XYZ is coming for your guns. Majority of people in US are so stupid that they believe this drivel and would vote the politician out. "

How about if a high-profile, non-politician (Oprah?) decided to stand for election on a serious ban-all-guns ticket? They wouldn't need to spend money on TV ads, but the NRA would have to spend a fortune. The candidate would lose, but winning wasn't the intention. Draining the NRA bank-balance is the intention, even the gun-nuts don't have unlimited pockets. Rinse and repeat. Eventually they'll run out of money and a serious politician can give it a try.

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Pen-y-gors
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Legislation can save lives.

It's always difficult to prove, but since handguns were banned in thee UK after Dunblane, 20 years ago, we've not had any more school shootings. The US has had 18 in 6 weeks this year. Possibly coincidence...

Someone elsewhere in a lovely bit of whataboutery said that 10,000+ people are killed in car incidents involving drunk drivers, but no-one is calling for a ban on cars or alcohol. Actually really not a good example. In the UK we decided to leave cars and alcohol alone, but come down hard on the combination. Drink driving was explicitly banned in the UK in 1967. By 1979 (first year of statistics) there were 1640 deaths on the road where one driver was drunk. Last year it was 200. And it's been down to a consistent 230-240 for the last six years. So, just since 2010 that's nearly 10,000 alive now who would otherwise have been dead in a wrecked car. (Probably more actually, given the increased number of people and cars and access to cheap booze) - we changed the law, but equally importantly, we changed people's ideas. It is not acceptable to drink and drive in the UK now.

Just sayin'...

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Pen-y-gors
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+1 for 'Manichean' - you don't get vocabulary like that in the Fail Online.

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PM urged to protect data flows post-Brexit ahead of Munich speech

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Oh dear ...... the Booby Prize in Sight of Simply Complex Success

@amanfrom...

No idea what you're on about, but have a +1 for weirdness

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Complex problem

@AC

Nothing would suggest that either would be impacted by Brexit

Actually, quite a lot states in black and white that they would be impacted by Brexit.

Driving licences: Even the Daily Express has reported that UK drivers will, in the absence of a new agreement, have to apply for international driving permits to drive in the EU after Brexit. And a recent EU notice states "“A driving licence issued by the United Kingdom will no longer be recognised by the member states.”" Regulations for goods vehicles are even nastier, and legislation is already in the Lords to try and do something.

Aircraft rights:Very messy. Leaving the EU means we lose the existing agreements for landing rights, which are horribly complicated. To quote the Financial Times "One route is to retain membership of the European Common Aviation Area, which spans the EU as well as some non-EU countries. This would provide unrestricted access to all EU destinations. But it requires acceptance of all EU aviation law and European courts..." So that's not possible. No ECJ jurisdiction!

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Pen-y-gors
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Written? By a human? I think you mean generated by a rather dim AI that just generates random, meaningless phrases.

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Complex problem

I am very clear that this is potentially a very serious problem. One way to solve it is to spend months and months on very complicated negotiations to ensure the the UK retains data protection laws that comply 100% with the EU laws, and which are subject to oversight by the ECJ.

Or we could just exit Brexit, which seems the simplest answer to a long, long list of problems that Brexit will cause. Anyone for medical radio-isotopes, driving licences that are valid in the EU and the right to fly to Europe?

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Project Fear is still alive and well at camp remoan.

But the difference is that the EU has these things called 'laws' to protect privacy, unlike USia

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HomePod, you say? Sex sex sex, that's all you think about

Pen-y-gors
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Medication warnings

So true. But as they all seem to include 'May cause death' they do rather put you off taking the things.

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Ubuntu wants to slurp PCs' vital statistics – even location – with new desktop installs

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Yep, And it's a bit odd, usually it's USian companies that have this arrogant attitude to laws in other countries, but Canonical is meant to be UK. They should now about EU privacy rules and GDPR.

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Astro-boffinry world rocked to its very core: Shock as Andromeda found to be not much bigger than Milky Way

Pen-y-gors
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Re: "By measuring the escape velocity, scientists have recalculated the galaxy’s mass and size."

Sounds plausible. To be honest, the article isn't exactly clear.

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Home fibre in the UK sucks so much it doesn't even rank in Euro study

Pen-y-gors
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Re: False advertising!

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/13/adsl_signal_passed_through_wet_string/

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Investment in fibre

One of the main reasons given by Openreach for not immediately running FTTP into every building in the country is the cost - they have a point, digging up roads, sending blokes up poles with reels of stuff all cost money. Billions.

So how will the total cost to the country be less if we have two or three or four companies digging up the same roads and sending different blokes up poles? Just the same with water, gas, electricity - anything that needs a distribution network. Real, sensible, 'competition' for utility distribution is a silly idea, even if production isn't.

Sometimes monopolies can be efficient - what is needed is the will to make them efficient.

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Microsoft working to scale Blockchain for grand distributed ID scheme

Pen-y-gors
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Re: What is the fundamental purpose of ID?

@Claptrap314

The same system we have at the moment - multiple login details.

My employer gets my (public) bank details so they can transfer money in. I have an ID (username/pw etc) to access that money and transfer it elsewhere. It is not the same ID I use to access my savings a/c at the building society. Online payments work quite well via Paypal, where the recipient does not get my banking details, merely the agreed amount of money, and any sock-retailer will have fun matching John Smith up against customers of my preferred retailer of ladies gents under-garments

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Pen-y-gors
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What is the fundamental purpose of ID?

This is an interesting one. They may or may not be successful in their aim, but even if they are, why would it be useful?

What is the purpose of ID in the context of access to systems? It is to show that a particular instance of a person or system is entitled to access. It's no more than a door key. And if I am authorised to open the door on my house, and also the door on my office and to start my car, there is absolutely no need to link the three together. If I have a key to a particular door/mechanism I get access. "One key to rule them all" is not a great idea.

Same with ID - universal ID is unnecessary, and probably even a bad thing. Why should I use the same ID to buy a pair of socks at we-are-socks.com as I do to view videos on nubile-squirrels.com or submit my tax returns? The government may want me to use the same ID for all my interactions with them, but that's about all. I can see why Google/FB etc want to be able to link my sock purchases to my viewing habits, but that's so they can make money, and I will do my best to screw up their data.

Obviously there are issues with stealing/copying keys/IDs - but given that absolute 100% security is not possible (Newton's 4th Law) the risks are minimised by having different identities/keys for different things, to minimise the risk of wider problems if one ID/key is lost.

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Despite the headlines, Rudd's online terror takedown tool is only part of the solution

Pen-y-gors
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And a sneaky variation - the mediaeval Tory terror-bastards might complain that placing them with a Douche-bag flag implies they support them, so just add 'Down with this sort of thing' as well and they can't really object!

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Pen-y-gors
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Nasty! I like it - a lot!

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Arsenal are red, pundits have 'insights', BT and Sky splurge £4.5bn on footie rights

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BT return?

a strong position to make a return on this investment through subscription, wholesale, commercial and advertising revenues

Let's do some sums.

£4.5 billion over 3 years. -> £1.5 billion a year.

For arguments sake, split it 50/50

So BT are in for £750M

And what are they charging? Their top-wack package is £22/month, but they also have a £10 and a free option.

With the two subscription packages they charge an extra £FREE for Sport.

So how many free subscribers do you need to earn an extra £750 million a year. Answers on a postcard...

Or they could just reduce line rentals by a few quid a month.

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Yorkshire cops have begun using on-the-spot fingerprint scanners

Pen-y-gors
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Do we have a lawyer commentard?

How legal is it to tell copper with device 'Up yours constable'?

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: fine with it.

Yes, no more invasive than being fingerprinted at the Police Station (and a lot cleaner - that ink is foul!)

But how legal is it for the police to seize someone at random on the street and drag them down to the Station to take their fingerprints on the off-chance they're muslim-looking a wrong 'un.

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Re: What a waste.

If an 'illegal immigrant' is happily wandering down the street, minding his or her own business, doing nothing specifically illegal (except perhaps breathing or having the wrong colour of skin), perhaps on their way to work in a not-very-pleasant job - why should we worry?

If they cause problems then you have an excuse to deport them.

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UK ICO, USCourts.gov... Thousands of websites hijacked by hidden crypto-mining code after popular plugin pwned

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Signature?

An interesting idea.

If a scumbag-in-the-middle is 'enhancing' code as it flies down the fibre from the CDN to your server, then signatures could be useful. But if the miscreant has managed to corrupt an official upgrade somehow then you're still stuffed.

There are times I have happy dreams of going back to debugging 10,000 lines of COBOL in the daily accounts overnight batch job. Life was simpler then...

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Don't load third-party scripts

@AC

"Solution, keep it in house, audit all third party code and stop being a muppet (yes you so called IT experts out there)"

I wish I was obscenely rich too!

Although, if I was, would I be wasting my life in IT?)

Code needs to be 'fit for purpose'. If the 'purpose' is e.g. a website to advertise a product that will earn your company £50K p.a. you can't afford code audits of JQuery, Ruby or whatever the current flavour of the month is. If you insist on the audit, we'll either go bust or we'll forget the 3rd party stuff and dig out the old copy of Dreamweaver and hand code it in plain HTML.

Other than taking extreme care of sensitive data, there's no perfect solution.

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: Don't load third-party scripts

Basically agree that govt sites should probably get 3rd-party plugins from a government secure CDN. But even that has problems.

Given the way government IT works, it would take at least nine months, at a cost of £250K to get an updated copy of a JS library installed on the CDN, which is a pain if three new versions have since come out, each of which fixes an important hole.

Be cheaper to write your own library - at least the holes would be your own!

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