* Posts by Sean o' bhaile na gleann

49 posts • joined 24 Feb 2016

Use an 8-char Windows NTLM password? Don't. Every single one can be cracked in under 2.5hrs

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Plenty of financial institutions need to buck up.

And there's no 'change password' function on the web page(s) either. If you want to change your password, you have to contact NS&I by phone, then they send you a 'reset' code by snail mail...

Ca-caw-caw: Pigeon poops on tot's face as tempers fray at siege of Lincoln flats

Sean o' bhaile na gleann


I imagine when she goes on twitter she says "I literally feel physically sick".


Scumbag hackers lift $1m from children's charity

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Charity...

That's right. And these days, as far as I'm concerned, that's where it stays.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Arrested for being drunk

ISTR (from more years back than I care to remember) a newspaper report about a bloke who tried to get around the law by using a hovercraft to navigate along the river that was common to his house and the local pub... Dunno if he got away with it, but it makes for a good tale.

IBM talks 'emerging, high value segments' – so you know the Q3 numbers aren't great

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Way back, when I was still at school, we had a 'Careers Advisor' who told me "Computers, my boy! They're the coming thing!".

That turned out to be sound advice as, 9 years after the introduction of the S/360 line by I Believe in Magic, I landed my first job in the computer industry as a Trainee Computer Operator.

Now, after 45 years of gainful employment on the same line of machines and operating systems, I'm looking retirement in the face. All I can say is "It's a shame to see you going down, IBM. But it's been a helluva ride - Thanks!"

Holy smokes! US watchdog sues Elon Musk after he makes hash of $420 Tesla tweet

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I have a lot of time for Mr Musk, despite recent unsavoury events where he features at the centre of the stage. He is one of those people that forces others to look UP instead of continuing along their established paths - a well-deserved kick in the backside for most of us.

My only problem is the realisation that it all he has done to date could so easily be completely wiped out.

All it would take is a single step-change development in the technology required to store and/or transmit electricity.

And when (not 'if') it happens, his battery mega-factory, all his cars (and all other electric/hybrid cars), all his solar panels, everything... becomes useless junk overnight.

TSB goes TITSUP: Total Inability To Surprise Users, Probably

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Why does anyone still bank with them?

I've just been reading the BBC News report on this latest fuckup.

"So why haven't people moved the money elsewhere?" - Apparently they did. 26,00 accounts have been closed sine 'the big one' earlier this year.

Unfortunately, 20,000 NEW accounts have been opened in the same time frame.

*hangs head in despair*

No, eight characters, some capital letters and numbers is not a good password policy

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

What's so difficult?...

I find it truly difficult to understand the fuss about choosing passwords. Perhaps it's just my mind-set. It often seems to me that 'computer security' is just a money-making FUD generator.

My current employer is very typical of all the sites I've worked at with regard to passwords:

...Eight characters max length

...First character must be alphabetic

...Case-insensitive (lower-case gets translated to upper-case by default)

...Use of @ ! $, etc is frowned upon because of code-page translation difficulties (SecAdmin says "Use 'em if you want, but don't come crying to me if things go wrong!")

...Passwords expire every 30 days

...New password cannot be any of the previous thirteen

...New password cannot feature anything from a long list of prohibited character sequences

...Three tries are you're out. (SecAdmin has to manually reset password to an expired one that I have to change again upon first - successful - retry)

Coming up to my 50th-ish year of working on IBM mainframe systems protected by RACF and I've never once, not ever, had my password cracked or my account hacked, etc., and - to the best of my knowledge - none of the systems I've worked on has suffered any form of exposure either (if they did then *I* never got to hear about it).

Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

A while back, I added a comment to a similar article "Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave". I'll repeat it here because I believe it to be applicable in this case, too:

"I may be missing something here, but what, in practical terms, could the Competition Commission do if Google said 'No'. Not going to argue… not going to appeal... just 'No, not going to pay'."

(and this time I'll add: "or just ignore the situation - don't even bother to respond")

Change "Competition Commission" to "GDPR" (or whatever the authority's name is) and "Google" to "Facebook", and the same question holds.

Yes, I can already hear people proposing responses to such an event along the lines of "shutting the gate" on Facebook - requiring all ISPS to block them, etc. Well, we all know that such a restriction would last, oh, thirty seconds or so, give-or-take 25, before someone developed a workaround and published it.

Don't get me wrong - I fully agree with almost everyone here, that Facebook, Google, etc should not be collecting data on me and selling it on or otherwise making use of it **unless I say it is OK to do so** (and they would have to work extremely hard to make me say that).

Lo and behold, Earth's special chemical cocktail for life seems to be pretty common

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I *think* it was Arthur C Clark who said something like "...either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both situations are equally alarming."

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I may be missing something here, but what, in practical terms, could the Competition Commission do if Google said 'No'. Not going to argue… not going to appeal... just 'No, not going to pay'.

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

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

From the report:

...Multilevel encoding, conceptually similar to 2bits/cell and 3bits/cell flash, may be feasible "by discretizing the level of valence state switching by adjusting the UV-C intensity for the conversion"....

I think my brain just exploded...

Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I remember seeing a cartoon in a copy of Punch back in my schooldays...

Concorde with it's droop snoot touching the ground, surrounded by little black dots....

Two techie types, in white lab coats standing off to one side...

One says to the other: "You're right. It IS eating ants!"

Office junior had one job: Tearing perforated bits off tractor-feed dot matrix printer paper

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Ah, the "good old days" ...

Yup - worked on one of those, waaayyy back.

And a 'decollator', too

An upright triangular device... shelf across the bottom where the stack of multi-part stationery sat... drag the paper up to the top of the triangle by hand and separate, one paper 'part' over a rough-coated roller, wind the carbon paper round a spindle, and the remaining 'parts' across a rough roller on the other side.... switch it on, and the rough rollers would provide enough friction to drag the paper through and the spindle would rotate to take up the carbon paper.

The trick was to adjust the speed of the thing to a maximum that allowed the job to be done without spewing finely creased paper across the room at a high rate of knots.

Will the defendant please rise? Utah State Bar hunts for sender of topless email

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Storm in D-cup?

Vaping on the NHS? Don't hold your breath

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

No Stalling here

From the article:

...But the great vape revolution seems to be stalling. The number of "switchers" from cigs to alternatives had fallen from 800,000 to 100,000 per year...

Surely that's to be expected? All the 'low-hanging fruit' - those people who *want* to switch have done so, leaving a core of diehards that will gradually expire...

There's no 'stalling' here - the effect is perfectly natural

edit: damn! Ninja'd by Charlie Clark...

Developer recovered deleted data with his face – his Poker face

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: I wonder if there will be any poker face stories

DHL: Drop it, Hide it, Lose it.

How about "Kan't Find the Chicken"?

Arrrgh! Put down the crisps! 'Ultra-processed' foods linked to cancer!

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Re:Except of course you can, in most supermakets.

Many years ago, I used to work for "Smiff's Crisps" - the originators of "The Real Thing".

During that time, I remember seeing a copy of the company 'newspaper', carrying an article about 3 women who were the longest-serving production line operators. In the article, they reminisced about how Things Used To Be in Olden Days.

1. Pick up a cellophane bag, and blow into it to open it up

2. Pick up a handful of crisps from the line, and sling 'em in - put the bag to one side

3. Take a piece of the "blue waxed greaseproof paper", & dip it into the open tray of salt, and pinch fingers together to gather a reasonable amount

4. Twist the open ends of the paper together, throw in to the bag of crisps

5. Bring bag to mouth, and lick across the top (as with a postal envelope) then press the now-sticky open end of the bag closed, ready for packaging in larger collections for transport.

Small wonder you can't get the original things these days...

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: That simultaneous landing

@handleoclast "...Still looked pretty damned cool. But it wasn't show-boating...."

You're absolutely right, of course. But I defy anyone with a spark of imagination not to have felt a huge 'Wow' on seeing it.

For myself - I cheered. And my second thought was "New Olympic Event! Synchronised Rocket Landing!"

A high-energy neutrino, a powerful cosmic ray, and a gamma ray walk into a bar... Where you from, asks the bartender

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: WTF?

"... similar to Yobba rays?..."

Wow, THAT brought back a few memories!

Anyone out there remember anything older than 'Torchy, The Battery Boy"? (That's about my limit)

Fridge killed my baby? Mag-field radiation from household stuff 'boosts miscarriage risk'

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Danger...

An incident from waaayy back when I was just a lad:

Dad - a 'sparker' in the RAF was trying to introduce me to some of things he had to deal with at work.

Him: "Ohms, lad. What do you think ohms are?"

Me: "On Her Majesty's Service?"

Rapid end of lesson....

Brit MP Dorries: I gave my staff the, um, green light to use my login

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Well, Nadine - that's you out of the running for any meaningful job in parliament. You'll only ever be a lightweight 'talking head', someone to fill a few seconds of dead time on the TV news (Hopefully!).

Honestly with attitudes like this, how is Joe Public ever to be expected to take security seriously?

Give 1,000 monkeys typewriters, they'll write Shakespeare. Give them robot arms, and wait – they actually did that?

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

The way I heard it was:

"It has often been said that

'...given sufficient time, a sufficient number of monkeys on typewriters will reproduce the works of Shakespeare...'

Now, thanks to the internet, we know that simply isn't true..."

A certain millennial turned 30 recently: Welcome to middle age, Microsoft Excel v2

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Mainframe spreadsheet?

Back in the late '80s, I was tasked with trialling a spreadsheet application that ran under CICS on our VSE system. Can't for the life of me remember the name of it, but it didn't last long - it was just to easy to write formulas that caused smoke to come out of the processor...

User asked help desk to debug a Post-it Note that survived a reboot

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Xerox photcopiers

After 40+ years as a techie in the IT industry, I can make a million£ computer sing, sit, bark, play dead (plenty of experience at that one!)...

But a fax machine or photocopier can normally bring me to my knees, weeping, in less than a minute.

Playboy founder and dressing-gown wearer Hugh Hefner dead at 91

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

First glance at the photograph makes me think of Popeye.

Is it just me or...

Samsung drops 128TB SSD and kinetic-type flash drive bombshells

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

The price might well be 'eye-wateringly high' ... at first. But it'll damn soon drop down once other manufacturers start knocking these things out.

I well remember the first time I bought some add-on RAM, for my brand-spanking-new PC-World sourced 486 rig.

£60 was the price, for a 4MB stick.

I'd been researching the price and watching it fall over a period of some months... thought I saw the curve flattening out, thought 'Now!', and jumped in to buy some...

...And subsequently cried salt tears as I watched the price continue to drop, down through the floor and beyond (or it seemed like it)

Brace yourselves, Virgin Media prices are going up AGAIN, people

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

From the report: "...and 13 TV channels..." & "...includes 97 channels..."

Having not owned a TV since 2000, I fine it difficult to understand how anyone can possibly justify 13 channels (and the idea of 97 simply blows my mind!)

Remember: "The number of available TV channels multiplied by the average quality of programming presented on them, is a constant."

Jesus walks away after 7,000lb pipe van incident

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Jesus!

I used to work for an American company that had an office in Mexico City. This involved a regular exchange of e-mails between me in the UK and the Mexican guys.

It took me a fair amount of time to get over the psychological 'hump' of starting e-mails with 'Hi, Jesus' and 'Hello Angel' etc.

British Airways poised to shed 1,000 jobs to Capita

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: What Does BA Mean?

"...before they were called BA...."

Weren't they BOAC? As in "Better On A Camel" (or, at the height of the Profumo scandal, "Bend Over Again Christine"...

ESA astronaut decelerates from 28,800kph to zero in first bumpy landing

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

From the report: "...Explosive bolts shot off extraneous hardware, such as main engines and solar panels..."

I'd like to know a considerable amount more about this. Hopefully the discarded bits were shot off in such a way that they quickly descend into a path that results in them burning up in the atmosphere.

There's probably some very good engineering reasons for throwing away 'solar panels' and 'main engines' rather than re-using them, but I'm also thinking about the minor debris, etc. created by 'explosive bolts'. We repeatedly read about how bits-and-pieces moving at ~17000mph can completely ruin an astronaut's day, but on the face of it this is just putting more junk into an already junked-up near-space region.

Ok, so wasting any stuff like this is something of a bugbear for me. I'd like to think of some organisation sending up 'collector' craft (a whacking great magnet? :) ) to gather up loads of this junk, and bring it back down in one piece, so it might possibly be refurbished and re-used.

Steptoe & Son in Spaaaace!

Slight side issue, something I've not ben able to track down on 't internet... wasn't there an incident back in the late 60s/early 70s where the Chinese sent a load of 'space needles' up for some reason? Presumably those things are still whirling around up there...

60 slow-mo A-bomb test videos explode onto YouTube

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Do you see the death's head

I couldn't see a "'death's head' (and I tried, really, but then I've never been too good at that kind of stuff. Lack of imagination or some such...)

All the same, ISTR an Isaac Asimov short story about an imaginary atomic test blast, filmed in microscopic detail. On viewing the results, the physicist(s) involved saw the face of the devil in the fireball.

Spy satellite scientist sent down for a year for stowing secrets at home

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: [red pen]

Yes, that one stuck out like a sore thumb for me, too.

Unfortunately it is becoming an increasingly common sight.

As is 'dove' instead of 'dived'

Whether either 'new' word is correct or not doesn't matter to me. The pair simply grate, and drive my reading eye into some sort of spasm

Family of technician slain by factory robot sues everyone involved

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I was thinking of something like that myself.

Surely it must be possible to make a padlock that can itself be padlocked?

Engineer 1 has to do some work in a hazardous area, & so 'safes' things by padlocking the power supply (or whatever the working energy source is).

Engineer 2 needs to do some related work, & so padlocks the padlock that is already in place

Engineer 3 padlocks the padlocked padlock

etc etc

Engineer 1 finishes work & needs to test the result... sorry guy, you'll have to sit and wait until 2 & 3 have finished, thus allowing you to unlock your own padlock.

Or am I preaching to the choir, here? .

Last Concorde completes last journey, at maybe Mach 0.02

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Good looking

It certainly was beautiful thing...

One evening way back (can't remember when), staying at a hotel just off Heathrow's Northern Perimeter Road, in the bar having a quiet pre-prandial...

Heard the familiar roar as she took off, then watched, slack-jawed, as she rotated off shortly before the hotel, and went past the bar window into the sunset, afterburner-boosted exhaust blasting out...

Glorious sight!

(what is that makes those 'rings' in afterburner boost? Some sort of frequency/harmonic effect?

Coming to the big screen: Sci-fi epic Dune – no wait, wait, wait, this one might be good

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

If someone can re-make Dune (and hopefully make a better job of it), then perhaps someone else can correct the heinous wrong done by Paul Verhoeven to Heinlein's "Starship Troopers".

I shan't hold my breath, though...

Northumbria Uni fined £400K after boffin's bad math gives students a near-killer caffeine high

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Slightly OT but hell...

Answers to "What is two plus two" over the decades

1956: "Four, of course"

1966: "Three, but it's the method that is important"

1976: "Just a second while I get out my calculator"

1986: "Just a second while I open the 'calculator' window"

1996: "Just a second while I check the addition home page"

(Seen in New Scientist yonks ago...)

Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

A little piece I read a short while ago went something like "...If you took the all the money and divvied it up equally amongst the population, then by day's end >90% of the money would be back in the same hands..." which struck me as a very sensible outlook.

TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

A many-years-old story - almost certainly apocryphal - tells of a press release/demonstration of "...the very latest voice recognition software! So advanced, it does not have to be 'trained'!! It understands any user immediately!!!..."

To which, some wag at the back of the room called out "Format C colon return yes return."

Royal Horticultural Society's PC is rooted for all to see

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: RHS problem ...

...hafta call out the Special Branch to investigate...

Replacing humans with robots in your factories? Hold on just a sec

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Scary

"...will I make all the way through with a job..."

I'd say "probably not".

Voyager 2's closest Saturn swoop was 35 years ago today

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: Space is big...I mean, really big

Yep. Really, really big (to paraphrase Mr Adams)..

Take a look at the 'Riding Light' video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AAU_btBN7s

30-minute video & nothing much happens. Be prepared to get bored...

England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

I knew there had to be a problem somewhere... thanks

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Why just downpipes?

An though that occurred to me only a short while ago (and I can't believe no-one else has come up with the idea) was considering the idea of turbine(s) in domestic water supply pipes. Every time you flush the loo, have a shower, do the laundry etc etc, you top up your tesla house battery at the same time. Seems a no-brainer to me.

Shakes on a plane: How dangerous is turbulence?

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

It reminded me of this:


And I'm certain I've travelled on that plane!

Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Getting back to the subject of the article, I noticed a small 1-paragraph report in the Times last Saturday, to the effect that '...no coal was burned last week for generating electricity in the UK. It all came from hydro or wind power.' (I'm not sure I actually believe that last bit). Due to many coal-fired power stations having been shut down, and the rest all down for maintenance, apparently. There was no mention of how much was imported from nuclear France, etc., but the report struck me as hugely significant. Worth far more than 5cm below the fold on page 5.

E-cigarettes help save lives, says Royal College of Physicians

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

Re: 2 years

Another ex-smoker-who-got-a-medical-scare here.

I, too, have managed to hit the 2-year mark (or is it 3? I've honestly forgotten) using e-cigs.

The only 'anti' thing I've noticed about e-cigs is the hygiene aspect.

With a conventional fag, you take a few puffs, then throw the rest away.

With an e-cig, you put it your pocket, roll it around in your hand, etc. etc - and THEN stick it back in your mouth.

I get a lot more cold sores, mouth ulcers, etc these days.

BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

It was good while it lasted...

As far as I'm aware, it's the simple fact of having a television receiver in the house that makes one liable for a TV license. You don't need to actually use the device. The simple fact of owning a TV (or renting one, etc) is enough.

A true computer monitor is a screen, sure, but it does not feature a TV receiver within itself, therefore it is not a TV.

But it is capable of showing 'live' TV programmes via the web.

Note the use of the word 'live' there.

When you use iPlayer you get the choice of watching something that is being broadcast right now, versus waiting for 15 minutes or so after the transmission is complete to watch it.

('15 minutes'? - My estimation of the delay between end-of-transmission and 'available-for-viewing-on catch-up'. That estimation is probably wrong, but hey...)

There's really no need for so much wrath in these comments if you exercise a little patience.

I do it a lot, and watch 3-4-hours per week of Beeb's output... for which I simply refuse to pay £145 a year.

But if the Beeb and/or Whittingdale are proposing that watching live output on iPlayer is enough to warrant the payment of a license fee, then I fail to see how they'll police it effectively. Yes, ISPs records may be able to show that such-and-so a site was being accessed as such-and-so a time, but actually tracking down transgressors would almost certainly cost much more than whatever was raised with this extra bit of tax.

So it may well be a case of "Goodbye from me..."

I quit reading The Times on the web when they went behind a paywall, and I really have not suffered much deprivation. There are always other places to get your news from.

NASA boffin wants FRIKKIN LASERS to propel lightsails

Sean o' bhaile na gleann

...and if you're not familiar with "...Larry Niven / Jerry Pournelle novel The Mote in God's Eye..." try Robert L Forward's novel "Dragon's Egg". There's a lot in there about travelling by lightsail - including a decent explanation of decelerating by detaching a large part of the sail and making it reflect light back on to the remaining part.

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