* Posts by GrapeBunch

629 posts • joined 19 Apr 2015


Brit hacker hired by Liberian telco to nobble rival now behind bars

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

In related news, on June 9th, 2022, Liberian President for Life Daniel Kaye today opened Liberia's first Duty Free Port.

Mr. President was overheard to say: "Because, in Africa, Life is not squiggly enough yet."

An AI system has just created the most realistic looking photos ever

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Science is Mankind's almost-identical sibling

As t gets large, so will the number of faces you can produce which both look enough like you to fool a human, but don't fool many an algorithm.

This could actually be good news for weaklin humings. For a short while.

Huawei exec out of jail, just as US accuses China of Marriott hack

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

O Canada, we stand on guard for T.

US Homeland Security installs AI cameras at the White House, Google tries to make translation less sexist

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Alas, the meeting with her never happened.

Alas, the meeting with him never happened.

'Say hello to my little vacuum cleaner!' US drug squad puts spycams in cleaner's kit

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

"We examined the device and it was clean."

"What do you mean by that?"

"I mean, there was nothing on it."

"Do you mean you are wasting the time of this court on a case without a shred of proof?"

"What did you expect? He was using a vacuum cleaner."

HCL picks up Notes, spanks total of $1.8bn at Honest John's IBM software sale

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Time Warp

Somewhere I still have a card that would supposedly give me a free upgrade to Lotus Notes for OS/2. The offer was from IBM in the 1990s.

We asked the US military for its 'do not buy' list of Russian, Chinese gear. Surprise: It doesn't exist

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Deniability, old chap

I'll get my coat. Mine's the one labelled: "We never had this conversation".

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Too smart for our breeches.

What's the obsession with vulnerability and sticks? A kind of TITSUSB of the 21st?

My own obsession is mandatory (electricity) smart meters. They provide a vector for devilry that will cost lives, destroy buildings. Only the existence of lower-hanging fruit will delay the conflagration.

YouTube supremo says vid-streaming-slash-piracy giant can't afford EU's copyright overhaul

GrapeBunch Bronze badge
Big Brother


Maybe the EU should make a rule that a certain percentage, say 75 or 125 or 300, of ad revenue for views of a copyrighted work, cast on behalf of a non-owner, must go to the copyright owner. Or to the EU itself. (<< see, I'm collecting down votes, it's the 21st century upgrade of Numismatics.) In addition to the familiar takedown measures. Yes, there are issues, but knowing the revenue should not be one of them.

Or mandate a $$ reward for (the first?) viewer who reports each copyrighted work cast on behalf of a non-holder of the copyright. That ought to be an entertaining scramble.

If people weren't fixated by the thought that they could watch or collect stuff, we'd be involved in more healthful recreations such as gardening, yoga, or playing Go. As we did before the invention of the VCR. It's like a 21st century upgrade of Philately. They want us to pay attention. The annoying screens and technologies are part of the process of hooking us on their game.

In news that will shock, er, actually a few of you, Amazon backs down in dispute with booksellers

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Possessing an increasinly rare skill...

Two words "Black Books".

The intercalary hole exists in a parallel universe. The door to it is over there. Mine's the one with the black key in the pocket.

Google logins make JavaScript mandatory, Huawei China spy shock, Mac malware, Iran gets new Stuxnet, and more

GrapeBunch Bronze badge
Big Brother

Marvin was an optimist

Is it just me, or is this particularly depressing? The claim by google that the web is safer with JavaScript on than with it off, sounds like something RHH would tweet. And aside from a few snide remarks in the comments, nothing going the other way. What could it be? A recipe for using google in a VM? Starting fresh every time like a library or cafe computer?

Here's another instance of behavioural engineering, if you like. Facebook now hides more of the comments on a thread. "View 2 more replies ", "More ...". Sometimes you have to click dozens of times to read an entire thread. Before, it was PgDn. They want to keep us clicking, automatically, the first step towards unfortunate results, and I wasn't thinking of RSIs.

In the title, it is Douglas Adams's Marvin, though perhaps Limeliters's Marvin would be a better thought.

In memoriam: See you in Valhalla, Skype Classic. Version 8 can never replace you

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Where is the bean?

Of course, you-know-who is evil. But under previous management, Skype also had a policy whereby if you didn't use the account for a few months, they'd hide your credit. You had to go through a process to get it back. I found that policy without reason and reprehensible. It's not quite theft, but I wonder how easy it is to get back my $8 in credit? To get it refunded? Or even credited to Amazon (ha ha)?

Multiply 100,000,000 quiescent accounts by $0.47, and that's still a heap of dosh.

I stopped Skype as a background process because it seemed to be slowing down the (XP) system. Inevitably, that led to reduced and then no usage. I discovered google voice (or whatever it was called) which allowed free calling in North America and worked better than Skype. Perhaps as a free service, this was too successful for google, so they muddied the waters by withdrawing services and introducing less-capable ones. Now we just use a pseudo-land-line, with handsets around the house, connected to cable. I really don't understand how this came to pass. Would Ned Ludd have been proud that we have forsaken the communications offerings of our masters, or disdainful that we came to it in such a mindless way?

Seagate HAMRs out a roadmap for future hard drive recording tech

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

What do TLA's use to store what they slurp? It must be better than consumer kit....

Woman who hooked up with over 15 spectres has found her forever phantom after whirlwind romance and plane sex

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Getting there.

While you're taking the bus to work, she's working the incubus.

Apple might be 'collateral damage' in US and China trade dust-up

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

The King of Damage is as Important as the Almond of Damage

Apple could be in for colorectal damage. In the palace, that's right next to the Doge's bullocks.

Mine's the one with the atholetic protector.

IBM sits draped over the bar at The Cloud or Bust saloon. In walks Red Hat

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Not Another Tupperware Opportunity

Maybe the people who voted IDK are awaiting an integrated developer's kit in the second post.

I don't know which one mine is.

Pain in the brain! Kaspersky warns of hackable brain implants

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Help. A hacker overclocked my brain implant and it's now 2047.

Mine's the one with a bottle containing 42 nips, in the pocket.

'This is insane!' FCC commissioner tears into colleagues over failure to stop robocalls

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

La tarifa de mi tia esta a dentro de la capa gruesa de grasa

I'd like an unphone. All calls go direct to voicemail.

Here in Canada, the term robocall has overtones of election fraud. The party which committed the fraud was not fined or dissolved, "possibly" because they won that election.

In Mexico, some 15 years ago, the national legislature passed a law that the call originator must pay. The recipient does not get billed for a call. By law, not by small print in a lengthy contract. It seemed to make an instant difference. Years on, I'd like to know how effective it still is against spam calling.

Judging from how many spam calls El Reg commentators seem to receive, shouldn't the phone company be paying each of them a monthly subscription, rather than the other way around?

Biz! Formerly! Known! As! Yahoo! Settles! Data! Breach! Cases! To! The! Tune! Of! $47m!

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Seems like a modest sum, considering the scale and blatancy of the breach. It does nothing to challenge my working theory that "lawyers are happy, as long as they get paid."

How many end users receive dosh, how much, and is it in addition to losses directly attributable to the breach?

Revealed: British Airways was in talks with IBM on outsourcing security just before hack

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: BT was going to outsource security says leaked memo.


No, Bt. Bacillus thuringiensis, effectively stamps out bugs. Oops.

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

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: say again, how are they dodging 30% apple tax?

On my Apple iPod Touch 2g, I have Opera Mini, Version Copyright (c) 1995 - 2012 Opera Software ASA All rights reserved. They list 12 "Third Parties", none of whom is Apple (though ironically one of them is google). Mildly disappointed to learn that this is just window dressing around Safari. Though the important question is whether it works.

Before malware and internet banking, I was anti-Apple. Now there's a point to a walled garden, if well maintained. And thanks to the masons.

Muslim American woman sues US border cops: Gimme back my seized iPhone's data!

GrapeBunch Bronze badge


Yeah, regrettably, I think so. Caught-22. Error is carrying that phone through US Customs. IANALBIPOOTI.

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Cross a border...

Saarkinder salaam searchers, slammed for slimy salami sandwiches.

... might have been the El Reg headline, back in 1969. Going into Canada, it's likely you'd be done for meat products, which at least would be confiscated. BSE and all.

Big Tech turns saboteur to cripple new California privacy law in private

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Inspired by Mattycakes

"Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?"

Which of you, if your client asks for the data, will give her a Have A Nice Day?

Every single one of them.

Fire chief says Verizon throttled department's data in the middle of massive Cali wildfires

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

The Space Merchants

How apt that this year marks the 65th anniversary of Kornbluth and Pohl's brilliant novel The Space Merchants. The (IMHO) salient dystopic element of that world is that adherence to a contract has become more important than laws against, say, murder or slavery. In our 2018 version, and accepted by several commenters of this story, adherence to a contract is more important than strictures against public endangerment. Sure, the majority of commenters have expressed some level of outrage, but let's face it, the FBI haven't arrested any company executives. We would be shocked if they did. Yet people often get jailed for various kinds of "fooling around", actions that don't endanger anybody.

The Space Merchants also has several lines in dystopic biotechnology. They mostly haven't happened yet, but again, parallels with reality are out there for comparison. On the surface, The Space Merchants is an action novel, so can be read with (guilty?) pleasure by those who go for Louis L'Amour or ... Robert Heinlein.

US tech circles wagons as India reviews data protection proposals

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Simply a good move by India. They've created a bargaining chip from nothing. USA does that in its sleep.

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

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

"Rail Delivery Group" Thank you, I needed that fillip of levity.

Me, I blame the Norks, the people ostensibly from Norcolk.

ZX Spectrum reboot scandal biz gets £35k legal costs delayed

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Mind Sport

There are a lot of people named David Levy. This one I know as a chess International Master, so IM David Levy. I was sympathetic to his plight in the fracas related to the mind competitions. Here is The Archive of a 2001 article referred to tangentially in the wikipedia, so truly a footnote to history:


What to make of this 17 years later? As another spectral line? I have no idea.

Australia's Snooper's Charter: Experts react, and it ain't pretty

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Pressed Internet users. Pre-, Re-, De-

This, and other measures, I'm not picking on Oz, will be ineffectual against those who have sufficient resources or incentives. Those people will get their messages through, in secrecy, with plausible deniability, all the time. The pen-pushers will never catch any of them. But it will be an excuse for a government to further restrict the freedoms of its citizens, and to expend more of the country's resources building some bureaucratic creep's empire. Meantime, ordinary people will get stuck in a web. It's like "law and order" campaigns that, for every real crook they don't catch, issue jaywalking tickets to twenty.

Internet. That was a cool idea.

Please downvote if you detect pessimism.

Google Spectre whizz kicked out of Caesars, blocked from DEF CON over hack 'attack' tweet

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Where To??

I found Switzerland not that expensive in the shoulder season between summer hiking and winter skiing. Beginning of November, for example.

But if you have to hold your do in August, why not Slovenia, or Denver? Or both; it's a connected world, it says here on this packet of crisps.

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: It's to be hoped that the conference organizers vote with their dollars...

I would not criticize the sluggards. They will always be with us. It's the hackers who are at fault for using a word such as "attack" as slang. Really? What did you expect, especially in the United States? One could safely use all manner of words, even "tickle".

Chess is an untapped source for new possible slang words without baggage. Sente, joseki, atari. Oops, wrong game. Combination, pawn storm, checkmate, Zwischenzug, Zugzwang, Sitzfleisch, outpost, passer, board room, isolani, back rank, ... maybe "colour complex" would be risky in some contexts. The chess word stalemate is prodigiously misused because it ends the game, while time and death may loosen an impasse, a deadlock, or a Mexican standoff. Pedant alert: it's "risk-averse", not "risk adverse".

Pentagon 'do not buy' list says нет to Russia, 不要 to Chinese code

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Hypnotic Stare of the Beast

I was tempted to note that if they're filtering software by country of origin, and nothing else, they are beyond hope for any kind of security. But I doubt it. I doubt every word they state. This is the military of the Country of Mystery. And Sparkles. Of course they have an ulterior motive. It might as well be the only motive.

They're good at that game. One of the reasons for the Fall of Soviet Communism is that they convinced the rooskies that everything American was shiny and good, so they spent more on industrial spying than they did on R&D. I feel confident that both bogus plans for real cool things, and real plans for bogus cool things, were on offer. I forget which Communist leader said to America "We will buy from you the means of your own destruction", but he must be turning over in his place of rest and possibly display, because the other guys put the pea under a different walnut shell.

Why Google won't break a sweat about EU ruling

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Release the draxen

The forked OS should have the power of Android and the mutability of Linux. And the other way around. I nominate the name Anthrax . Powerful, and dangerous.

♫ The Core i9 clock cycles go up. Who cares where they come down?

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Optional Extra Purchase

So, thinking of the great Canadian Outdoors in January? Temperatures down to -40C not unheard-of? Good luck typing in woollen mittens. Over a decade ago there was a screen (which I associate with the IBM Thinkpad 600E and 600X models) which if used in extreme cold would adopt a pink (or perhaps magenta?) cast. Forever, though I think mine got less pink with time--and centrally-heated indoor use.

Fukushima reactors lend exotic nuclear finish to California's wines

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Worse than anti-freeze!

DHMO is especially pernicious in Ice Wine. The phase changes dramatically.

Russia's national vulnerability database is a bit like the Soviet Union – sparse and slow

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Never mind the delay....

Rhymes with "missiles".

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Never mind the delay....

"Nevermind the days, here's the nights in a Moscow hotel with the sex pisstles."

Y'know... Publishing tech specs may be fair use, says appeals court

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Ok, put it another way...


When you pay the building inspector for the mandatory before anybody can stay in the building. Or the bilge pump inspector for the mandatory before being allowed to sail.

These regulations are not just for "safety", they also protect the (corporate) members of the associations which issue them. A requirement, for example, to put electrical outlets on walls every x feet (when say x + 2 is also a reasonable number, or was last year) results in bilgeloads of extra billable hours. Smiles from the electrician, smiles from the electrician's contractor, who bills at twice what the electrician charges him. Smiles from the socket manufacturers. Smiles from the copper mining corps. So as another answer to the question, the standards will continue to be kept current because follow the money.

Western Digital formats hard disk drive factory as demand spins down

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

More bits of big biz bids.

WD are not getting out of the HD biz, they're reducing capacity to about two-thirds of current. Yes, no doubt they want to make more by making less.

I'd assume that most of WD's market is OEMs. Possibly the factory they're closing, manufactures low capacity (say 1TB) HDs. Weeks ago, I bought a bog-standard WD external USB-powered 4TB drive from <Greek Mythology Female Warrior Clan>, and today the prices are $cdn5 to $cdn15 higher. That could simply reflect weakness in the $cdn, or maybe the announcement paid off already.

Funny, I wouldn't buy a 1TB anything. For SSD it's too expensive, smaller works. For HD it's too small. MMV. From my POV, HD capacities have been stagnant for a long time. Does this mean there will never be an affordable 2.5" 20TB drive? Heck, how about a 20TB full-size drive? That's about the same data density as the ubiquitous 2.5" 4TB HDs of today. I don't know if the issue is technical (such as heat dissipation), marketing, or whether they're selling them like mad to TLAs. If they did, why would they tell us?

Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

@Jeltz : poetry to my ears.

"I hope you've learned to [...] sanitize your database inputs."

If the schoolish think in analogy, it would be: "... know which part of the sentence is the Subject, and which part the Predicate."

Happy 10th birthday, Evernote: You have survived Google and Microsoft. For your next challenge...

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Emacs org mode not mentioned?

I also went for this in DR-DOS

PC-Outline (TSR) Yes!

and later without TSR because windows. I used it weekly up to 2012. Not bad for software from 1986. PCO was a fabulous organizational tool. But the world being created was not as well organized. Even though I could have up to 9 tabs open, with up to 64K text in each tab, I eventually went to an editor with unlimited tabs and each file up to ... haven't hit a limit yet, but hundreds of MB anyway. Realistically, the size of each file from each source is only a few MB, so whatever the limit, it doesn't come into play. I use ConTEXT, and not the most recent version, which gave me problems. ConTEXT seems to have been abandoned, but it still works.

I've tried some of the special tools, briefly. I want a system that focuses on the content, want minimal screen area taken up showing the UI.

Dudes. Blockchain. In a phone. It's gonna smash the 'commoditization of humanity' or something

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

"Blockchain" is just a (misleading) name for a Merkle tree with some additional unicorn feathers tacked on.

Yabbt if Angela had named it Holzmachtfrei, it wouldn't have sold so well.

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Quite an interesting vid on explaining Blockchain

Thumbs up. In the first minute I learned how to pronounce Azure (the thing he's in charge of). Accent on the first syllable, as in English, but the 'u' deprecated almost to nothingness. Every pronunciation has its scope. You say Honus Wagner the baseball star differently from Richard Wagner the composer.

Looking forward to the ruthless powers of logic and exposition that made Process Explorer a good piece of software.

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: rename TheRegister TheBlockChainRegister

We have a blockchain in the washing machine. Weighs near a ton (that's tonelada if you're of the other persuasion). Hoping there'll be a practical blockchain for bicycles soon.

Did you know? The word 'Taiwan' would crash iOS thanks to a buggy filter for the Chinese govt

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan,Taiwan...

And the tune should be reminiscent (but not so much as to cause litigation, my so fine swede lard) of "Istanbul".

Ex-Intel exec Diane Bryant exits Google cloud

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: I am confused

@Steve K. Please deliver summer to my home in Canada before, in six months, I write such as this:

Surely there's no such thing as a sales engineer. Real engineers bristled at the term "software engineer", I guess because it was often self-referred and not the result of a course of study at a recognized school of engineering and subsequent professional qualification. But maybe they worked out the objections. The idea that there could ever be a sales engineer is at best a joke and at worst an insult to engineering. At least, that's what it says in this here book, "Word Neurosurgery".

PS: I'll gladly sign for it: delivered summer in January. Flight to New Zealand an acceptable substitute. Sorry, lift-to-weight ratio rather pathetic for auto-relocation.

Please do not send ticket for Australia. That would be by way of AManFromMars-upials. Splendour, mates.

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: I am confused

I am charmed by the comparison to Joni Mitchell's cat. #mewtoo

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Deign to drain Alphabet for brain get Br(y)ant in hand dines duo in cloud. Chipzilla, my consensual pterosaur, mon armour. Illustrated by Edward Hopper heterodyner, landscraper non-flyer. Sauce for the brant is sauce for the Dia(ma)n(t)e. Schauce i mat.

The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Re: Pledge to Protect

83 111 32 108 111 110 103 32 97 115 32 121 111 117 32 104 97 118 101 32 110 117 109 98 101 114 115 44 32 110 111 32 112 114 111 98 108 101 109 32 103 101 116 116 105 110 103 32 121 111 117 114 32 109 101 115 115 97 103 101 32 97 99 114 111 115 115 33 32 32 87 104 121 32 105 115 32 101 118 101 114 121 98 111 100 121 32 115 111 32 103 114 117 109 112 121 63

"The post is required, and must contain letters."

GrapeBunch Bronze badge

Agglutination. The reason road signs in Hungary can be really really really wide.

The rest is a mote in a fanboi's aye aye aye.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019