* Posts by David Roberts

1308 posts • joined 25 Jan 2007

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What if tech moguls brewed real ale?

David Roberts
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WTF?

Non alchoholic

We can win half price entry tickets or submit a code for 50% discount?

Oh, go on then:

No Contest - an absorbing but confusing beverage with no perceived long term benefit?

Toe Stamp - more hoppy than you expected.

ICL - a traditional ale. Can be distinguished from the more powerful and full bodied IBM mainly by a very slight difference in character(set). One for the discerning old time mainframe systems programmers.

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Either my name, my password or my soul is invalid – but which?

David Roberts
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Re: University

A!a?0@

B!b?1@

etc.

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Azure running out of internets in UK South, starts rationing VMs

David Roberts
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Selling it faster than they can build it?

Either very good business or very poor planning.

Either way I assume that there are logistical limits on how fast you can provision new kit and accomodation.

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No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?

David Roberts
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FAIL

Re: "get" - I'm good

Nice to know that the entire population of NZ are twats by your rules.

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Tech support chap given no training or briefing before jobs, which is why he was arrested

David Roberts
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Windows

Re: Back in my day - Swiss Army Knife

Back in the day I was never without my SAK. Many noble deeds were wrought with it, including a US engineer using the saw blade to cut down the plastic front of a 5 1/4 drive to fit in a 3 1/2 inch space. That man was a real engineer. Hi, Jerry!

I carried it on planes, including to the USA, without any problems prior to 9/11. Now I can't even carry it around in the UK because it is the backpacker version with the locking blade (essential if you value your fingers) over three and a fuckwit inches long and that would make me a terrist.

Anyone else remember the days of the Boy Scout where a sheath knife was part of the uniform?

Tell that to the kids of today......

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Fresh cup of WTF with lunch? TeamViewer's big in Twitter's domination-as-a-service scene

David Roberts
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WTF?

Unpatched XP?

Has anyone tested this recently?

This used to be a thing when XP was current and some Internet connections came with just a modem and not a NAT router but are there still people/systems out there automatically searching for newly connected unpatched XP systems?

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HP Ink's UK profits tumble nearly 85% – of course Brexit to blame

David Roberts
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Lying barstewards!

I have a colour HP Laser Printer because the ink doesn't dry up. I retired my ancient inkjet because I am away for long periods from time to time and the ink dries up.

Not long after starting to use it I was told that it was nearly out of blue. I took the "shut up and keep printing" option. Now about 6 months later it is reporting all consumables low but still printing away just fine. A set of new HP full size (not introductory with the printer) toner cartridges cost more than a new laser printer.

I'm just going to keep on printing till it really runs out of something then try 3rd party toner. If I'd paid any attention to HP I'd have spent £100s on new toner by now. Lying barstewards.

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Marriage of AI, Google chips will save diabetics from a lot of pricks

David Roberts
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FAIL

Most diabetics?

Most diabetics are Type 2 and not on insulin. Most of those do not finger prick at all, but rely on the HbA1c test every 6 months or every year to measure how good or bad their control is. This is encouraged by the surgeries who are often very tight fisted when it comes to paying for test strips.

Not saying this is a good thing, but the author might try doing at least a little superficial research to learn that not all diabetics are walking pin cushions, and that T1 and T2 are very different conditions,

T1 is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the pancreas and destroys the cells which produce insulin. T2 is mainly centred around insulin resistance where the insulin produced by the pancreas is not used effectively and sometimes the pancreas gives up in disgust after being over worked for many years. I over simplify because it is much more complex than that and there are more than two types of diabetes.

Having said all that, affordable non invasive blood glucose monitoring would be a boon to all diabetics and should greatly help in the control of diabetes (for those that can be bothered). I stress the "affordable" because it has the potential to be a cash cow that just keeps on giving, much like test strips today and the continuous glucose monitoring devices. There is a reason why you can get free test meters; much the same reason that printers are sold for less than the cost of the replacement ink cartridges.

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Drug cops stopped techie's upgrade to question him for hours. About everything

David Roberts
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Windows

Re: Made it here first!

Whatever's the matter with May Jane.........

.......and it's lovely rice pudding for dinner again.

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'No questions asked' Windows code cert slingers 'fuel trade' in digitally signed malware

David Roberts
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Unhappy

PKI done properly costs money

The majority of the Internet won't use anything unless it is free.

So I doubt there will ever be a globally trustworthy solution.

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Intel finds a cure for its software security pain: Window Snyder

David Roberts
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Coat

Cool name

Although probably a burden to bear as a cild and young adult.

If only for the teachers and kids saying:

"I can see right through you, Window...."

"You just glazed over..."

"You look absolutely shattered..."

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'Black hat' extortionist thrown back in the clink after Yelp-slamming biz

David Roberts
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Holmes

Fake negative reviews?

Nowhere in the article did I see a claim that the reviews were fake. As an ex-employee he claimed he had done some dubious work for GE. He also assembled links to negative articles about GE.

Looks like he (rightly) went to prison after trying extortion with the threat of publishing negative reviews, then when he got out he carried out the threat. Given that he had been jailed for making the threat the outcome was probably predictable.

The crime, though, was the attempted extortion. If he had just posted a negative review on Glassdoor and assembled a site with negative reviews I assume that GE would have had to challenge the truth of any allegations. If the reviews were in good faith then this might have been a harder task for GE.

Still, looks like you get more jail time for an offence against a corporate than more mundane stuff like violence.

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El Reg works with Byte Night to put techies out on the streets

David Roberts
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Windows

Hot food and a cash bar?

Living it real.

Hardcore would be to surrender all your money and cards then agree to be shipped to an unknown destination for a week to survive on whatever the local community provides.

Note that I didn't say surrender your mobile phone (which would allow you to contact your support crew if you wimped out). This only because the few rough sleepers we have locally (rough sleepers by choice because there is good local community support) all seem to have mobile phones. I still haven't really got to grips with this. Presumably some of the money they are given goes on call time before they spend the rest on their main priority.

Foe local information you could do worse than chat to the Salvation Army who do sterling work which is often unrecognised.

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Azure North Europe downed by the curse of the Irish – sunshine

David Roberts
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Coat

Azure is now being haunted

By the Spectre of Meltdown.

---> the one with the SPF50 in the pocket.

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The strife of Brian: Why doomed Intel boss's ex86 may not be the real reason for his hasty exit

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Re: They could have used the "He said Jehova" excuse instead

Errr.....yes. Beggars belief.

I recall a similar controversy over the use of the term "nitty gritty" a few years back because someone got confused over the derivation.

No sniggering at the back, please.

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Norwegian tourist board says it can't a-fjord the bad publicity from 'Land of Chlamydia' posters

David Roberts
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Norwegian wood?

Must be a joke in there somewhere.

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Have YOU had your breakfast pint? Boffins confirm cheeky daily tipple is good for you

David Roberts
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Pint

Interesting curve and infrequent drinkers.

Well, it looks as though your best all round bet might be to have a drink roughly every other day. Which is close to infrequent drinking by my rules.

Better news is that around 5 drinks a day doesn't seem to increase your risk.

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As it's Friday it is time to channel (modify) a bit of Morecambe and Wise.

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How often do you go to the pub for a drink?

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Infrequently.

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Is that one word or two?

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Oh, go on, since it is Friday.

After reading this report I won't be drinking any more.

Then again I won't be drinking any less.

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OpenBSD disables Intel’s hyper-threading over CPU data leak fears

David Roberts
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Re: Bulldozer?

Just wandering back to note that this is allegedly a Spectre variant.

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David Roberts
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Paris Hilton

Bulldozer?

Just checked and each pair of cores shares a single branch prediction engine (amongst a lot of other stuff).

So is this about to lose half the (half) cores?

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Canadian utility makes blockchain upstarts bid for their ravenous rigs' electricity supply

David Roberts
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Wonder what they do with all the waste heat?

Off at a tangent, but if the mining rig was in a metropolitan area and all the heat generated by the processors was used to heat houses and offices then I would be inclined to give them favourable access.

If they are out in the wilds (where I hope most smelters are) then they are just warming up the planet.

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Visa fingers 'very rare' data centre switch glitch for payment meltdown

David Roberts
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WTF?

Still not understanding

Why it took so long to disable the failing switch once it was identified.

Assuming that if the switch had completely crashed the backup would have taken over, then why not just turn the damn thing off?

Unless assumptions were made about the maximum size of the backlog/queues which could build up during failover, and the system just wasn't sized to recover from a massive backlog due to an undetected partial failure.

This does sound quite likely, as the report talks about clearing out queues before switching to the backup switch. Perhaps the system couldn't recover if transactions were more than a certain age? Although you would expect that old transactions could be assumed to have failed (as was the case here) and been automatically recorded then purged.

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Which? calls for compensation for users hit by Windows 10 woes

David Roberts
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Windows

Blast from the past - W7 to W10

Just updating a friend's PC which has been stored for a while; long story but he bought it off a mate and then never got around to using it because of lack of Broadband.

I told him he could tether it to his mobile, and helped him set that up.

Having quite fast Broadband I said I would get all the latest updates on. I found that it had the Windows 10 update queued up and all updates turned off. Does make me wonder if this is why his mate flogged it on, but more likely he just turned off updates because he didn't know how to stop the W10 update. Just looked back and the forced updates were around March 2016.

Anyway, cue a quick installation of GWX followed by clicking all the buttons to clean up, and Windows 7 is now happily up to date.

All this just made me realise how far back the whole upgrade cockup was.

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Tech rookie put decimal point in wrong place, cost insurer zillions

David Roberts
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Windows

Re: Y2K Blither IBM?

"only IBM..."

I think that you will find that ICL mainframes were also hexadecimal and used BCD. EBCDIC if my rather hazy memory serves me.

First used in the ICL System 4, which was a licensed RCA Spectra, which in turn was a rip off of an IBM 360 IIRC. The BCD was almost identical to that used by IBM. I think one value was swapped round to get round copyright or whatever. I saw one of the very early "System 4" machines which still had the RCA logos on it.

The 2900 range followed on from System 4, and the 1900 range was dropped. One of the more mind bending parts of my career was to get involved in machines (2960 then 2966) which ran microcode emulation of a 1900. Having cut my teeth on Hexadecimal it was a bit of a wrench to go to using Octal. All those nice letters had disappeated, along with 8 and 9.

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Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

David Roberts
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Happy

Re: Ah FUBAR - NFG

I recall an apocryphal tale of a bus driver who signed off his vehicle as NFG.

Cue a manglement bollocking and his response that it stood for No First Gear.

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Drupal drisputes dreport of widespread wide-open websites – whoa

David Roberts
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Joomla?

Drupal and Wordpress getting a kicking but no word about Joomla.

Recommendation, or so bad not worth mentioning?

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Doctor, doctor! My NHS Patient Access app has gone TITSUP*

David Roberts
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Unhappy

EMIS?

Other systems are available and also less user friendly.

I miss EMIS.

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GCHQ bod tells privacy advocates: Most of our work is making sure we operate within the law

David Roberts
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Unhappy

Whistle Blower Protection

Not the direct subject, but relevant to the discussion.

I have always been at least a little unconfortable where International Law effectively says "If you do something we consider obviously morally bad, even if it is within the local law and you are ordered to do it, then you are a criminal and we will get you later.".

This places the individual in an impossible situation; sacrifice your job, family, possibly your life to maintain the moral high ground?

Given that whistle blowers, especially in the NHS, have been persecuted and driven out of their jobs for highlighting unsafe and often illegal practices there is enormous pressure to conform driven from the top down, so it isn't surprising if the majority keep their heads down and do as instructed. It isn't really surprising if some become very enthusiastic because they see a clear way to gain favour from their superiors.

So please don't trivialise the required personal sacrifice required to go against corporate culture.

Drifting even further off topic and introducing a Brexit Godwin on Windrush, if a significant proportion of the population take Brexit as a "send the wogs home" mandate, is it any surprise if a lot of them are working for one of the largest UK employers? In probably low grade but effective positions.

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Dixons to shutter 92 UK Carphone Warehouse shops after profit warning

David Roberts
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Dixons - photography

Nobody so far has mentioned the photographic side of Dixons, which has always seemed pretty good.

I bought my first (and only) film SLR from Dixons. Chinon own brand but took popular lenses. I eventually bought my first (and so far only) Nikon digital SLR from Dixons because they had the best price at the time.

As far as I can tell the camera market is being impacted by mobile phones (at least all the TV adverts seem to be about the cameras) and the mobile phone market is being impacted by the lack of new major featyres. The PC and other electronics markets are being impacted by the 'good enough' performance and long life of current goods.

So the whole marketplace seems to be contracting, with volumes down and no new super must have features to drive new purchases.

This seems to leave the only option in the sector to accept reduced volume and revenue and consolidate to reduce fixed overheads. Not an industry to invest in and expect massive growth, I would say.

We still shop at Currys for white goods because the prices are competitive and there are very few other places where you can walk round the display area and see/touch/feel the product. This is another area where they seem to be "last man standing" (honourable mention to Hughes). People may well remember when the high street was full of department stores and other shops selling white goods. Again a contracting market.

A bit like IT. No longer a massive market for highly paid specialist. Much more a low pay commodity market.

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Ex-staffer of UK.gov dept bags payout after boss blabbed medical info to colleagues

David Roberts
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Lack of context encourages speculation

Reading the report, the natural reaction is to speculate on what kind of medical complaint the staff member had.

There is mention of depression, but that seems to be a major factor in the seriousness of the case; the depression makes the impact of gossip far more serious.

My first thought (mea culpa) was "Please don't be offended if Joe refuses to shake hands. It is for your own good." however I can't see any obvious reason for a manager to share details of a staff member's illness unless specifically requested to. The staff member is perfectly capable of doing that if desired.

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Remember that $5,000 you spent on Tesla's Autopilot and then sued when it didn't deliver? We have good news...

David Roberts
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Windows

Over hopped craft IPAs?

Bugger. Does that mean I've become a hipster without noticing?

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Can has a verry hoppy IPA. Mmmmmmmm......

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David Roberts
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Holmes

Autopilot?

The term 'pilot' doesn't just apply to planes. It can also apply to shipping.

A quick flex of a search engine will find loads of references to yacht autopilots. Single handed long distance sailors use these to let the boat sail itself whilst they go below and cook meals, ablute, and sleep. So there is a use case where an autopilot can be left to run the show whilst the human is asleep. Therefore it is not unreasonable for a keen yachtsman to expect similar features on a car autopilot. With an alarm to wake up the driver if a hazard is detected.

As far as I know merchant ships also have autopilots and it is not unknown for the above experienced yachtsman to tell hair raising tales of nearly being run down by a freighter in the English Channel with nobody on the bridge. The tale sometimes/often features a barking dog.

So the term autopilot implies more capability than a cruise control, and can therefore be misleading.

You wouldn't normally use an autopilot on your yacht in a busy shipping lane or entering/leaving a harbour or mooring but it is perfectly fine for tootling along on the open sea.

Tesla marketing people please note.

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International Maritime Organisation turns salty gaze on regulating robotic shipping

David Roberts
Silver badge
Facepalm

Chain of logic?

Design a robot ship!

But pirates....

Add robot defences and shoot any attackers!

And there you have it. An autonomous fully armed ship designed to repel and kill any unauthorised humans. What could possibly go wrong?

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Is your smart device a bit thick? It's about to get a lot worse

David Roberts
Silver badge
Windows

Re: IT training in Primary Schools? Computer Science?

I think you will find that very few of the people who built the massive everyday support infrastructure in the '70s and '80s (including banking, billing) had Computre Science degrees or Maths degrees. Nor did they have computer specific academic qualifications. A lot of COBOL programmers, though, with training by the company.

When I started out as a COBOL programmer in the early '70s there weren't many CS bods around for at least two reasons.

(1) There just wasn't the supply.

(2) Their training was not in commercial programming. Spending time learning to write self modifying code in the smallest possible footprint to make the most of the limited capabilities of an obsolete last generation microprocessor does not make you a shoe in for writing clear, easily maintainable commercial code. In practice it was like taking on a badly trained horse. You had to break all the bad habits before you could start training with the good habits. Far swifter and easier to start with an untrained horse.

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David Roberts
Silver badge
Windows

IT training in Primary Schools?

What's that all about then?

I was taught(ish) a lot of stuff at Primary and Secondary school which hasn't really come in useful since and is mainly forgotten. I include Latin and the more obscure parts of English syntax/grammar.

I chanced on IT as a career after leaving University with no prior training. Took me about 6 months to become a mediocre programmer and another 6 to decide that this programming lark was going to get very repetitive and boring very soon. So I turned to more detailed stuff about how computers worked. The rest, as they say, is history with a touch of geography thrown in from time to time.

Let us assume that today's cannon fodder exits the Higher Education scam (mainly designed to make the unemployment figures look good) at the age of 25 with no useful skills apart from flipping burgers or serving coffe which they learned in summer jobs. It looks as though they are going to be working until they are at least 75 so six months intensive training in an IT discipline should hopefully yield 49.5 years of productive work in IT. How is a programming course taught in Primary school going to significantly shorten the training? Unless they are actively programming at meaningful tasks all the way through including University nothing of significance is going to stick. What are they going to achieve and what is the short term reward? I very rarely progam any more because I have no need. I don't know anyone else not directly employed in IT who does either. IT has gone from being something new, exciting and arcane with high pay to being mundane stuff supplied for free (usually) on cheap consumer devices.

I also doubt that many of my contemporaries remember or use any Latin. This programming thing is, IMHO, just smoke and mirrors to deflect the eye from the real issue; not many 25 year olds with above average intelligence are going to look at the current IT marketplace and think "Wow! This looks like an amazing career with secure and highly paid long term prospects.". They are more likely to decide that in 5-10 years flipping burgers will be more secure and pay better.

And breathe!

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You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened

David Roberts
Silver badge
Trollface

Looked through their logs....

Obviously the logs for your device are also available locally so that you can check them from time to time to confirm that the device has only been activated when you expected/intended.

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Ongoing game of Galileo chicken goes up a notch as the UK talks refunds

David Roberts
Silver badge
Unhappy

Brexit <-> Remain ping pong and negotiation

Watching the usual mud slinging, one option seems to have been ignored; that the UK government is working very hard to make the negotiations fail. Stream of dodgy logic to follow:

(1) The whole referendum thing was a desperate attempt to stop the right wing of the Tory party decamping en masse to joing UKIP thus destroying the Tory party as a force in government.

(2) The cabinet positions are a transparent move by TM to get all the unscrupulous lying shits who promoted Brexit from within the Tory party to carry the can for the negotiations and the eventual result. (Othet unscrupulous lying shits are also available).

(3) The long term aim of the central Tory party is to make the right wing so politically toxic that they will be unable to muster a credible influence for at least a generation.

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If this is anywhere near reality then the tactical/strategic move is to have Brexit turn out to be the biggest pile of steaming toxic shit possible and responsibilty to sit clearly and unequivocally with those seen anywhere near that red Battle Bus.

It may even be strategic to let Labour win the next election with a note saying "You sat on your hands throughout the negotiations, so let's see how you sort out this mess!".

None of this is for the good of the country, but it is a long time since anything idealistic has played any part in the plans of professional politicians.

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Microsoft patches problematic OS to deal with SSD woes

David Roberts
Silver badge
Trollface

Fall edition?

Still waiting for a few weeks without another major bug report before turning on my only W10 system and allowing it to update. Will this happen before the Fall Edition hits the streets/fan?

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TalkTalk plans to sell family B2B jewel to Daisy Group for £175m

David Roberts
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Windows

Re: Shafting?

Focus consumers? That is what they do now. Completely focus up.

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Brit water firms, power plants with crap cyber security will pay up to £17m, peers told

David Roberts
Silver badge
Windows

Re: Legacy systems exposed to the Internet

Was going to post much the same.

Upstream was the proposal to mandate private networks.

Everything these days is "virtual" so a Virtual Private Network should meet the security requirements; that is, transported over a common carrier (the Internet) without any access to the Internet. I am not surprised that Kilostream is being phased out. There is an overhead in maintaining dedicated physical circuits plus a lack of resilience to physical damage. You need discreet physical routes all the way for your minimum two circuits, instead of doubled up connections to your nearest two network nodes. You need to manage the whole network not just the end points. You are limited to one supplier.

As far as I can tell the main problem is people wanting to have access to and from the network to the Internet. Just say no!

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It's 2018, and a webpage can still pwn your Windows PC – and apps can escape Hyper-V

David Roberts
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Coat

Flatulence?

For some reason this sprang immediately to mind when I read the phrase "Microsoft’s back end cloud".

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Hacking charge dropped against Nova Scotia teen who slurped public records from the web

David Roberts
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It took them a month to reach that conclusion?

In reality that is pretty damn quick to persuade various senior people who went on record about this that there was no way to conceal that they had been talking out of their collective arses.

Alternatively/in addition there could also have been a lot of "Yes, I know, but you have his computer now. Surely there must be SOMETHING we can charge him with.". I'm guessing that he was lucky that he never chanced on anything looking even slightly like a dodgy porn site.

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David Roberts
Silver badge

Pay increase not a pay increase?

Sounds like the old Civil Service incremental pay scales where your salary increased each year as you moved up the scale, and increases in the scale only mattered when you reached the maximum point.

This explians why the Unions used to campaign for any increase to be slanted towards increasing the maximum point not all points equally. All that really mattered to the punters was the minimum and maximum point.

So you get your contrsdictory statement where there has been a "pay freeze" for a few years but most of the punters get a nice salary increase. So the wage bill goes up but can be spun as "pay restraint" until too may people congregate on the max. Then the trouble really starts.

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Australian prisoner-tracking system brought down by 3PAR defects

David Roberts
Silver badge
WTF?

Verified as stable?

Presumably they didn't bother doing this before. Or perhaps this is publicity speak for "hasn't fallen over again yet".

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Broadcom's Arm server chip lives – as Cavium's two-socket ThunderX2

David Roberts
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Qualcomm testing the market?

Hey, Microsoft, lovely bit of kit here. Shame if something should happen to it....

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Android P to improve users' network privacy

David Roberts
Silver badge

Re: Couldn't they just change permissions on /proc/net?

Wouldn't it be sensible to log access for a while instead of just turning it off?

At a minimum any Apps using/abusing it could be identified and warned.

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Kremlin's war on Telegram sees 50 VPNs stopped at the border

David Roberts
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Good advertisement for it

Streisand effect? Or Brer Rabbit?

Brer Fox, don't throw me into the briar bush!

Assume Russia has a way to crack the crypto and then think of the most effective way to encourage people with secrets to use it.

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Heir to SMS finally excites carriers, by making Google grovel

David Roberts
Silver badge

Is the implied message

That all Chat apps will eventually monetise your data?

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FCC boss to block 'national security risk' companies (cough, Huawei, ZTE) from US's $8.5bn broadband pot

David Roberts
Silver badge
Holmes

Paranoia

Then again, just because you think they are out to get you, doesn’t mean that they aren't.

Buying stuff from abroad is an obvious increased security risk. Is it outweighed by increased functionality and reduced cost? Now? In a year?

How about supplier lock in?

Insoluble because we all know that if you run a captive market in your own country then building a bigger barrel for the pork is a higher priority than innovation and cost reduction.

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David Roberts
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Pint

Re: Used to, as in...

I don't drink any more.

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I don't drink any less, either.

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UK.gov unveils cyber security export strategy – only thing missing is the strategy

David Roberts
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Re: "UK faces a diverse range of threats from hostile state actors. "

Well, that just about puts the bowler hat on it.

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