* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

855 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Agency Query

British Omni-Functional Holdings seems to have a high turnover of bosses. Has the agency that supplies replacement bosses not begun to wonder what is happening?

Or is this a cunning plan by the agency to move the people it does not want off its books?

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2 kool 4 komputing: Teens' interest in GCSE course totally bombs

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If they are bright enough to read the news, they will have read how computer jobs are outsourced at the drop of a cost analysis presentation. Also, their older relatives may be able to tell first hand stories of outsourcing.

So why bother, when you are not really wanted?

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BOFH: Halon is not a rad new vape flavour

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@ J 27

I was once appointed Fire Representative for the large office where I worked. Maybe my boss wanted me to be last out of the building if there had been a fire.

So we were sent on a Friday afternoon course on the Dangers of Fire and Safety, which included demonstrations of various type of fire extinguisher. Water, foam, CO2, yes; but not halon, we were told it was too expensive for a demo.

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Banking websites are 'littered with trackers' ogling your credit risk

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Re: UK banks tracking......

That is why I use a live CD Linux system for online banking.

1. It contains no keyloggers etc.

2. It contains no personal data other than what the bank already has in relation to my login.

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Re: "let us track everything you do, we will stop annoying you with those pesky pop-ups. Nice."

@AC / written record

If any of this "rich internet experience" ackamarackus was sincere, they would know that you probably did deposit £100,000. But no, none of that is for our benefit, it is just numebrs for the advertising managers.

So you then deposit 100,000 of something else. Not nice.

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In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Probabilities

It was neatly phrased by the denizens of the New York underworld so pithily described by Damon Runyon: all life is 6 to 5 against.

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Forcing digital forensics to obey 'one size fits all' crime lab standard is 'stupid and expensive'

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Re: "compliance bureaucracy"

I worked for ISO9000 software companies.

ISO9000 seemed to be based on the idea that good paperwork is proof of a good product. Sure, when you delve into a disaster project the paperwork is poor or non-existent. But bad software design will not be fixed by meetings that are scrupulously minuted, with actions duly chased up.

Many a good piece of software has come from a flowchart on the back of an enveloope.

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Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: IRA

@boltar

the Islamic terrorists do have a stated aim: to establish a world-wide caliphate. But the vision gets lost in the torrents of blood.

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Re: Says it all

@PickledA

"In the cold war, SOE was irrelevant."

A long time ago I visited SAS HQ. We were shown into a room decorated with flags from all round the world; I assumed they were souvenirs of places they had visited. I recognised East Germany and Poland.

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The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems… but not in the way you think

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Re: Same old problem

@allthecool

My remedy is different. Replace religion with apathy.

I would make speeches promoting apathy if I thought anyone would listen.

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Re: This article proves its own point

Well said, sir or madam AC.

I am not a natural sympathiser with the policies and values of the government of mainland China. But this article made me feel they have a point: that one should actively defend one's position. Indeed, the Chinese government seems to adopt the Dalek(*) policy to those whose opinions are different. They don't seem to have as many terrorist incidents as western countries.

(*)Dalek policy: exterminate them. BBC Children's Hour programme, but suitable for 90 percent of grown ups.

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Re: The internet is to blame.

The C. of E. is a wonderful institution, because it somehow promotes such apathy.

"Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice"?? Not at the weddings and funerals I have attended, not unless they decided to hire a choir.

Apathy may not make the world go round, but it prevents it from grinding to an acrimonious halt. Every country needs a C. of E.

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Re: Optional religious wars were ended?

@Schofield

No, religious wars were not "a handy excuse". They were deadly serious efforts to save the immortal souls of those who lived under mistaken regimes. They were led by anointed Kings who ruled by the grace of God (Latin, dei gratia, as noted on British coins). That applies not only to European Kings: Chinese Emperors ruled under the mandate of heaven; some Arab Kings claim descent from the Prophet.

No, I don't accept that religious posttion. But it is mighty difficult to argue with somebody who does.

A moslem said to me once: "We have the Jewish religion, Christianity, and Islam. Why do people not just accept the latest version?"

But why should they accept any of those, in this scientifdic age?

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Hyperloop One teases idea of 50-minute London-Edinburgh ride

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I see they mention the old chestnut of Spain to Morocco.

That crosses the divide between two tectonic plates. It will be an engineering wonder if something that works gets built there.

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Microsoft totters from time machine clutching Windows 10 Workstation

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Micro megajargon

What do you mean, Microjunk Windoze?

Let me offer you Makrotuff Slipperyware.

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BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted

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240 Volts??

In my young day it was 220V. Then, ca 1968, it was upped to 240V. That fried a lot of light bulbs, making work for the working man.

Then, ca 1996, the EU standardised on 230V. That left a lot of light bulbs running until eternity, so they had to invent an eco-scare to force people to keep replacing light bulbs.

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Healthcare tops UK data breach chart – but it's not what you're thinking

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Education or what?

A fortune is spent out of my taxes on something called "education". In modern schools this is supposed to include basic computer skills.

So why are so many people making so many mistakes?

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Re: As long as someone admits to having an incident.

@Sir Sham

I recently had hospital treatment. They gave me a form with name/address of GP etc., and invited me to make corrections.

I did that, but on all subsequent appointments the old erroneous data were still there.

So yes, haphazard data are definitely a problem.

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British prime minister slams Facebook and pals for votes

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Re: Media editing

Yes, yes, all very well for dealing with intellectuals, but tell that to Al Capone and his ilk.

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Re: If

@AC

Every institution has its relics. The Labour Party has the Right Honorable Jeremy Corbyn MP.

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Re: Dear prime minister...

The old East Germany always seemed to have enough police for that sort of thing.

But do we want to live like the old East Germany?

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News versus comment

The article discusses Corbyn' speech: "a true, if difficult-to-digest, statement".

This is mixing comment with news, so it is poor journalism.

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Re: If

@cornz1

No sir! These people are not letting off bombs in our midst because of a rational analysis of British foreign policy. They do it because they hate us; they hate us because we do not embrace their specific religion.

We cannot repeat often enough that in Britain secular law takes priority. If they really cannot accept that, it is time they moved, or are moved, elsewhere.

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‪WannaCry‬pt ransomware note likely written by Google Translate-using Chinese speakers

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Re: More to the point

So the criminals knew Chinese and English. That could be a lot of people in the UK or USA. Both UK and USA schools produce many alumni who are a bit shakey on grammar.

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8 out of 10 cats fear statistics – AI doesn't have this problem

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Stats is hard

Many of the techniques used in statistics can be mastered with practice, even by a social sciences graduate if they are willing. But the proof of these things is often extremely difficult: for example, that a binomial distribution with large numbers tends asymptotically to a Gaussian distribution.

Stats therefore becomes a memory test, since it is difficult to re-prove a theorem that has slipped one's mind.

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Re: Oh the irony

But the numbers calculatated in this case for a chi-squared test probably are more or less chi-square distributed.

If one assumes a binomial distribution of the raw figures. they deviate by two standard deviations from a 50-50 result. The probability of a deviation that size or more is roughly five percent.

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In fairness to politicians at least in the Western world: they are generally representative of ordinary people. It is other people that people don't trust.

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Emissions cheating detection shines light on black box code

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As I understand it, the pollutants are oxides of nitrogen. These are produced when things are burned in air at high temperatures. This is a problem for diesel engines because of their high compression, hence high adiabatic temperature rise. This makes them thermodynamically more efficient than petrol or butane engines, so they use less fuel. So they produce less CO2, but more NO/NO2.

We have catalytic converters to turn CO to CO2; higher combustion temperatures yield more CO. But it seems there is nothing to remove the NO/NO2.

But you are right that CO2 is not a pollutant: it is plant food; and the regulations are designed by green freaks, not scientists and engineers.

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Horse named 'Cloud Computing' finds burst of speed to beat 'Classic Empire' in actual race

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Cheap food sells

Sometime in the 1970s thare was the Great Cereals Strike. Everyday ones like Corn Flakes rapidly sold out, but the fancy expensive cereals were still there after a fortnight.

It was also the time of the Great Bog Paper Strike.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Make it up

Maybe el Reg can't make it up, but America's Finest News Source, aka The Onion, most certainly can.

See http://www.theonion.com/infographic/greatest-thoroughbred-horses-all-time-55937.

E.g. the horse that revolutionised racing by using four legs rather than two.

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Wannacry: Everything you still need to know because there were so many unanswered Qs

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Re: SMB shares

Why? I guess they use TCP/IP protocols. MSFT have made obsolete the old Netbui protocol.

Windows NT in its day used to mention that Netbui could be used for machines you did not want to be visible on the Internet.

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Have a go with this WW2 German Lorenz cipher machine – in your browser

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Re: Enigma, the cipher famously cracked by Tutte's colleague Alan Turing

@Tom 7

It was Colossus that emulated the Lorenz machine; the Bombe emulated the Enigma machine. If I have correctly understood the tour guides at Bletchley and TNMOC, the aim of both machines was to find the rotor settings, i.e. the crypto key.

This was done by testing "cribs": guesses at typical message headings, date and time, etc. Colossus/Bombe used two paper tapes, one with the encrypted message and the other with the crib. C/B tested many, many key settings and displacements of the crib from the start of the message.

The original Enigma message was then transcribed on a Typex machine, a British "Enigma" modified to mimic the original Enigma. As pointed out above, there were numerous variations of the Enigma.

Equally, there was a pseudo-Lorenz machhine. The Lorenz machine was a weighty beast, fit only for a headquarters role. The Enigma was portable.

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Re: Enigma, the cipher famously cracked by Tutte's colleague Alan Turing

But Turing wanted Colossus built to crack the Lorenz machine traffic on a large scale in a timely way.

The Enigma traffic was handled by one or more of The Bombe, an electromechanical beast.

Both machines used continuous loops of paper tape in the absence of computer memories.

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Crooks can nick Brits' identities just by picking up the phone and lying

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Re: 'Security' questions?

Banks use the phrase, "Know your customer". Not for real, of course; merely to fob off stroppy articles in el Reg.

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UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight

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Politicians do listen

In my experience as a political activist in the UK, the political parties are the only organisations that take the Telephone Preference List seriously. That is the list of people who do not want unsolicited telesales calls.

The parties know that an unwanted telephone canvassing call will lose them that vote.

Politics is not a glamorous business and it has many critics who would not "dirty" their own hands. You look at some UK politicians and think, yes, they do reflect the less appealing elements in our voter database.

But the alternatives are a lot worse. Dealing with people, and all the faults that people have, is not an easy task. It could be argued that President Trump is an example of what happens when a businessman rather than a politican is elected.

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Agile consultant behind UK's disastrous Common Platform Programme steps down

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Re: Same old con game

Almost any kind of management can work if the programmers can actually design and write software, and are allowed or encouraged to do that.

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Re: Agile doesn't work

I spent my career wondering how to turn science and engineering graduates (whom one would expect to think logically) into competent programmers. That is, produce programs which handle correct cases correctly, and error cases with error handling that does not crash. Programs which were tested to see whether they fail, not whether they barely scrape through a cursory test or merely compile.

Those skills cannot be imparted by management.

I never did find the answer.

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Fortran greybeards: Get your walking frames and shuffle over to NASA

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Look at the maths

I was once asked to look at an aircraft simulator that was supposed to run 20 iterations per second, but the first version took 2 seconds per go. By rearranging the maths I got it going at 10 times per second. No need to resort to assembler.

So this kind of work needs numerical analysis skills as well as programming skills.

I am not eligible for this NASA job: (i) I'm a Brit (ii) I'm retired, and would have to be very tempted.

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Just delete the internet – pr0n-blocking legislation receives Royal Assent

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Re: Democracy for the majority

@spacadet66

What kind of democracy is that? Why should techies, rather than (say) religious nutters, be allowed to impose their values and standards?

Nobody should be allowed to impose. Even a democratic majority must accept some limits, but minorities should accept their minority position.

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Democracy for the majority

In this democratic people's monarchy of the UK, the non-techies vastly outnumber the techies.

The non-techies have been demanding for a long time that internet pawn be stopped, and the techies should stop whingeing and stop the pawn. The techies respond that it is like asking Newton's Laws to be repealed, but that is democracy for you.

In real politics, of course, there would be a sensible compromise. E.g. if you really want to watch pawn, smoke cigarettes, or drive a car you pay extra tax and extra extra tax if you pay anonymously.

Everything has its price.

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Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

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Regulation versus Appeal

One cannot hope to regulate every detailed thing. The answer must be a right of appeal to legal precedent or common sense, with the latter occasionally allowed to prevail.

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Re: But more importantly...

MPs could be replaced at any time by men with guns.

Most of the time in most parts of the world the MPs are less worse than the men with guns.

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Alert: Using a web ad blocker may identify you – to advertisers

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Clearly unique (?) part 2

Since it recognised my normal setup with all its fonts, I tried two small Linux systems that were a standard CD image, no further installations or changes.

1. System Rescue Disk v4.1 + Midori browser. Could not connect to site, SSH handshake failure.

2. Tiny Core Linux + Firefox v52. I am in 26 out of 10,000+ users.

So to be anonymous, use a small Linux system.

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Clearly unique (?)

I do clear all history, usually between visiting different websites; and I bar third-pary cookies. I declined to turn them on for this test. But I was unique among 6000+.

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

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Opinions versus facts

A lawyer in England, where libel laws are strict and therefore disliked by idle journalists, could argue that calling a patent stupid is an opinion rather than a claim of fact. As a mere opinion, it is not defamatory.

Defamation might be, for example, to claim the patent was based on plagiarism or obtained by bribery.

I am surprised the Australian judge did not take such a view.

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Leaked NSA point-and-pwn hack tools menace Win2k to Windows 8

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Re: Damn it NSA,

@Nolveys

Mr Snowden is not due to inherit an English lordship. Therefore he is not entitled to be addressed as "The honourable..."

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Law Commission pulls back on official secrets laws plans after Reg exposes flawed report

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@tiggity

Indeed they were. The hatchet job on Dear Old Boris must rate as one of the most vicious in history.

There was then a series of votes, eliminating the candidate with fewest votes until there were two. Even I find it hard to remember the unsuccessful names; but some will have been staking out a claim to a place in a future contest.

May versus Leadsom as the finalists; then Leadsom withdrew.

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@Loyal Commenter

The parliamentary conservative party voted: just over 300 MPs, who are themselves elected by the voting public. Mrs May led the votes; then the number two candidate (Andrea Leadsom) dropped out.

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Astro-boffinry breakthrough: Loads of ingredients for life found on Saturn's Enceladus

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Remember Miller

So the Enceladus probe has discovered the ingredients that went into the famous Miller experiment of 1953: hydrogen, and hydrides of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen.

The outputs of the Miller experiment were relatively simple organic compounds, but a long way from the highly organised large molecules of protein and DNA.

The news from Enceladus is an encouraging start, but nothing to get excited about. When the metal-digesting microbes there start chewing up Cassini's equipment, that will be news, if the reports get back to us.

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An echo chamber full of fake news? Blame Google and Facebook, says Murdoch chief

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Re: News of the World

How can anyone say the News of the World was fake news? It was based on the best telephone tapping that money could buy.

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