* Posts by Doctor Syntax

16426 posts • joined 16 Jun 2014

Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

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Re: Only cracking I have done is

"But above and below the padlock are two conventional shackles, easily removed with a pair of pliers, or maybe a bit of wire."

Hmm. If you were to undo the shackles and reconnect them to each other you could leave the boat still tied up and steal the padlock.

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“opened the skin of the PC system and replaced a ROM chip.” And with that, Guy’s exploit became impossible.

I'm sure copies of the original chip would have been available as spares from Zenith. Not impossible, just inconvenient.

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Re: About 10 minutes later I was "cracking" some of the locks and interchanging them around.

"I had a friend at college who always carried a screwdriver and would unscrew tables, chairs, anything held together by screws."

A few of us paid a visit to the NUU in Coleraine not long after it opened. The bit we were in was constructed out of a sort of oversized Meccano. I wondered how much of it could be dismantled overnight by a determined squad of students armed with the right size spanners.

Every step you take: We track you for your own safety, you know?

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New laptop ordered. Despatched one afternoon down to distribution hub halfway to London. Then returned by nextmorning to local distribution hub about the same distance from the point of despatch as myself but in the opposite direction. Whilst watching its final moves on that roundabout trip its despatch location was on the same map. It must have done at least 250 miles to travel about 12.

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Re: flightradar24.com

flightradar24 turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Very few of the planes going over or near our house seem to have the required transponders. The PIA flights on the way to land about 20 miles away are easily identifiable without it; they're the ones coming in low enough to read the pilot's name badge.

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Re: Being on Stage is stressful

"a pet fountain (? shakes head sadly)"

Can we take guesses as to what it really was?

Actually, a pet fountain raises various images. Assorted animals cascading into the air... Dabbsie patting a fountain on the head saying "There, there, who's a good fountain"... It reminds me of a sign outside a farm advertising Pet Hay. Takes all sorts.

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Re: Battery life ?

"checks for danger via several vectors"

Does it turn your glasses opaque?

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Re: Smartphone pouches

"just turn off location"

Going through the procedure to turn it off and actually turning it off aren't necessarily the same thing.

Banks told: Look, your systems WILL fail. What is your backup plan?

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Re: The importance of being earnest!

Hashtags! Is that you, Amber?

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Re: Back up plan? What planet are they on?

In the old days it took tens of thousands of well trained clerks occupying endless rows of desks to run a handful of simple account types. Now banks have hundreds of flavours of their "product" the reality is I.T. IS their business - without it they don't have a business - and yet still, management consider I.T. to be a "cost" to be slashed away at

They probably thought the tens of thousands of clerks were a cost to be cut.

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Re: That is not what should be regulated

"but in the worst case customers will take their government-guaranteed money elsewhere and that will be that."

That's the problem from the government's point of view. The money comes from government (well, from all of us really but that's rarely a consideration for government, especially the Treasury which considers it really owns all the money anyway). It isn't the bank's worst case, or the customers' worst case they're worried about, it's their worst case. If a bank fails its the government that's at risk and it wants to minimise that risk. That's why they want to regulate.

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Re: Wrong Question!!

Asking "What is your back up plan?" is the wrong question!

I think they're using the term in a different sense than you're interpreting it. "What's your fall-back plan?" would have been less ambiguous. There needs to be a means of carrying on business whilst all the restoration, repair etc. is being undertaken.

The embarrassing thing for the banks is that it might involve customers visiting their local branch. Local? What local branch?

Like an everflowing stream: New tech promises remote S3 nearline disk performance

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Science! Luminescent nanocrystals could lead to multi-PB optical discs

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"Have a flat square that the head can move across"

Probably even more complicated. The head has to be stopped and then restarted in the opposite direction at the end of each scan. The need for accuracy of positioning doesn't go away. Scanning by adjusting a small element of the optics would only allow a small area to be scanned and is probably better employed in making fine adjustments. Above all, however, spinning disks and radial head movements are a well established technology in storage mechanisms.

'Toxic' Whitehall power culture fingered for GDS's fall from grace

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Re: "Hire 50 people under 30 who know what an API is."

"All of the complexities of synchronisation, interface routing, master/slave data stores is a pain....We have tried arguing for MVP deployments of the new system with an ongoing build out of function only for the MVP scope to be insisted to be what the old system does in order to avoid business change."

And how would your less than big bang MVP remove those complexities? Surely it's the cause of them.

ICANN't get no respect: Europe throws Whois privacy plan in the trash

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"is the EU willing to play the ultimatum card and eventually start the wholesale balkanization of the Internet by usurping all ICANN functions?"

That's why I'd prefer a geographically diverse range of registrars, as many as possible, to act so that sheer weight of numbers would avoid balkanization.

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Re: " It wouldn't take a year to set up a "ECANN" and make all EU ISPs use it "

"but at this point I can't really see how it can be worse"

It could very easily. A few governments have wanted this option for the simple reason that they want to get some control over the net and this would be their best option.

My preference would be for the internet community itself, or at least the widest possible geographic range of registrars acting on our behalf, to to more or less what Lee suggests but to do this independently of any government.

London's top cop isn't expecting facial recog tech to result in 'lots of arrests'

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"That is truly a gift to us commentards."

Her back story is too atrocious to make jokes about her name. If you don't know it there are enough clues up thread to guide your research.

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"I think the public would expect us to be thinking about how we can use that technology"

Yes, innocent members of the public would expect the Met police to use a technology that might wrongly identify them as being wanted. Especially when the force is under the command of someone who has form for running an operation that ended in the shooting of an innocent man wrongly identified as being wanted, an event one would reasonably have expected to have been the end of her career.

Whoever thought it would be a good idea to promote her to a position which requires the trust of the community?

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Re: The spectre of Charles De Menezes has no face...

"the operation is which Charles De Menezes was executed."

Execution happens as the consequence of a trial and sentence. There was no trial in his case. Looking for a more appropriate word...

TalkTalk, UK2 sitting in a tree, not T-A-L-K-I-N-G: Hosting biz cut off after ISP broadband upgrade

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Upvote for reference to Stan Kelly-Bootle.

European Parliament balks at copyright law reform vote

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Re: McCartney

"Google have made a lot of theirs off of other people's creativity."

As I recall Google gave German newspapers what they wanted - they stopped linking to them. It turned out it wasn't what they wanted after all.

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"Supporters of the amendments... claimed the process had been impacted by intimidation and lobbying from outside the EU, including from the US"

Including some heavyweight lobbying in favour. But I don't suppose they count that.

Hurry up and make a deal on post-Brexit data flows, would you? Think of UK business – MPs

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Re: Ha

"prepare to boost the economy with economically sane policies."

How? UK businesses get cut off from a large part of their home market. What's this economically sane policy you propose to replace that? Print large amounts of money?

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"They have the GDPR, if the UK doesn't implement it then there will be no UK-EU data deal."

In theory this should be straightforward as we have a new DPA which implements GDPR more or less. It's the more or less bit that's the problem, namely the wriggle-room HMG left itself to do as it pleases. If anything stands in the way of an adequacy agreement that's it.

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"the first one was thrown out for being illegal?"

And the same looks likely to happen to the second.

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"the EU has no jurisdiction over America yet they have a data deal"

Not necessarily. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/07/05/privacy_shield_under_pressure_meps_vote/

"I'm unsure why I'm getting down voted for speaking the truth"

In politics the truth can change PDQ. Harold Wilson knew that.

Security guard cost bank millions by hitting emergency Off button

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Re: Kim or Ken?

"Actually, you should take time to assess the situation - otherwise you risk putting yourself and others in even more danger."

And one factor in that, if you plan to use a fire extinguisher, is what sort to use.

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The Big Red Button story we're all waiting for is the BA one from last year.

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Re: Slightly off-topic, but a memory stirred by tales of being shown around places.

The only possible response--->

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Re: Kim or Ken?

"When you smell and see fire, you don't hesitate, you use the emergency button to shut down kit"

Not if everybody who knows what's what (a) hasn't hit it already and (b) is shouting at you to tell you not to. You can at least allow a few seconds to check.

United States, you have 2 months to sort Privacy Shield ... or data deal is for the bin – Eurocrats

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We know what comes next...

"Can we have a moratorium?"

Thunderbird gets its EFAIL patch

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Re: Good to see it's still in development

"If Thunderbird pooled resources with Pale Moon, Waterfox, Basilisk, and SeaMonkey"

Even better, if they, and preferably Seamonkey, had gone over to the Document Foundation when that was proposed a few years ago...

US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

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Re: Fortunately for us here in the UK

"Not abolished as much as subsumed in the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Human Rights Act 1998."

Abolished seems about right. We now have the presumption of guilt to allow mass surveillance. Anything in the BoR or HRA is now subject to ministerial whim. Why do you think the Home Sec in No 10 wants to get out of the jurisdiction of the European Courts who represent the only real way of overseeing a UK govt's respect for human rights?

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"We Americans may be muzzled on social media for hatin' on you Brits, for example"

AIUI you also regard Magna Carta as a foundational document.

Unfortunately we celebrated its 8th centenary by conveniently (for HMG) disregarding one of the few important remaining clauses, the presumption of innocence, in favour of the presumption of guilt to allow mass surveillance.

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"What happened to the first two parts?"

They died. After George IV it was considered wise to wait nearly a century before the next instalment.

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Re: This could be solved by...

"El Reg's world famous comment forums (which, amusingly, are social media)"

We are determinedly, and sometimes amusingly, anti-social here.

Sysadmin shut down server, it went ‘Clunk!’ but the app kept running

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Re: shutdown silliness


That was the one.

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Re: shutdown silliness

"That's the sort of thing the previously mentioned molly-guard is for"

If I were still working I'd look at that.

UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on

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It's a pity that all this agency can do is issue warnings. If it had power to fire the incompetent and claw back payments for poor work and missed deadlines it might actually do something useful rather than tell us what we already know.

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"If Brexit is a mega-programme, where’s it happening and why haven’t we heard about it?"

Like all other consequences of Brexit it will only become visible on Brexit day. Or, in this case, some time after because it takes some time to work out the requirements. IoW, don't put off any long contracts for something else; you'll have time to do those and come back to get on the gravy train although by that time the gravy will be little more than boiled water.

They grow up so fast: Spam magnet Hotmail turned 22 today

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Re: Hooray?

"maybe I should quit being a tight-arse and *gulp* pay for my email account."

Maybe you should. Even I, a Yorkshireman, think my own domain and a few quid a year for as many aliases as I can eat is worth while.

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Re: Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...

"I get hardly any spam at all"

I used to get quite a lot of spam to my Hotmail address, largely because of it being exposed on Usenet. Very little gets through now - Microsoft filtering has improved vastly over the last year or so. Occasionally SEO spam gets through - disappointingly little as I like to bait them now and again. Emails threatening suspension of the Hotmail account seemed to get through the filters occasionally although you'd have thought these would be the easiest to filter - does it pretend to come from us? yes, did we send it? no = spam. There was the occasional less well-informed spammer threatening to cut off my Gmail or Yahoo account but they all seem to be gone now.

A fine vintage: Wine has run Microsoft Solitaire on Linux for 25 years

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Re: Killer App

"Perhaps it's well-intentioned, but in so many cases the result far exceeds what Access was intended for"

Think yourself lucky they didn't do it in Excel.

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"i have to run either the 32bit or 64bit prefix, but cannot run both at the same time, to allow two programs, a 32bit and 64bit to run at the same time."

Surely you could run each from its own script that sets the appropriate value of WINEPREFIX.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"Unfortunately, ... the most popular supported programs on Wine are games."

This, I found, was the problem. They concentrated on performance for gaming at the expense of H/W portability. In particular they deliberately assumed display drivers reporting 24-bit pixels would handle 32-bit because they preferred word alignment. It led to a lot of bug reports where applications would crash on commodity H/W with Intel video.

As they regarded it as a feature the reports went unaddressed which didn't stop them sending out automated emails when new versions were released asking if it had been fixed yet. I kept recompiling new versions with a simple patch until (a) I got fed up, (b) the application I was interested in stopped using a 32-bit splash screen which was the only bit that caused the crash.

What a flap: SIM swiped from slain stork's GPS tracker used to rack up $2,700 phone bill

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Re: And the moral of this story is...

"Else they find them in the field of cabbage"

I thought it was under a gooseberry bush.

'Plane Hacker' Roberts: I put a network sniffer on my truck to see what it was sharing. Holy crap!

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"Some insurance firms offer cheaper insurance to careful drivers, based on readings from telemetry devices and sensors."

There's a GDPR case in the offing! Lawyers could get fat on the fine detail of that.

IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

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Re: Real benefit—or entrapment?

"If the older generation present a handicap to companies like IBM, it might be that they do indeed recognise the mountain of bullshit, and are torn between the need to bring in the cash, no matter how dishonestly, and the old-fashioned idea that you should, in fact, actually help your customers."

I was with you up to this point. However, the guy was a salesman and thus a front-line pusher of said bullshit. That wouldn't be a handicap to IBM.

Doctor Syntax Silver badge

"I mean, I hate to sound like an SJW type, but this is a pretty blatant and disgusting example of age discrimination"

Age discrimination is not just the only discrimination that's PC, or SJW-approved or whatever this month's vocabulary has it, it's actually mandatory amongst these folks.

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