* Posts by David Roberts

25 posts • joined 2 Oct 2007

Great Australian Firewall dead in the water?

David Roberts


Just working on the first batch of (Unisex) "Queensland Kitten Killer" T-shirts.

This should sort out the cognoscenti from the great unwashed - see how many people think it is a rock band (...hang on...umm...not a bad name for a band...)

What colours would you like?

UK 'bad' pics ban to stretch?

David Roberts
Black Helicopters


He also confirmed that the law should catch "any pornographic image scrawled on a piece of paper"

So, presumably, any image scrawled on 'not paper' as well?

So, presumably this will include those ill drawn graphic images found on doors and walls inside most public toilets which depict genitalia and some of their uses.

Can I therefore conclude that scrawling "Mandy is a great shag" on the wall is perfectly acceptable but any pictures added for the hard of reading will contravene the act and render the artist liable to prosecution?

You would of course need CCTV footage to prove anything........

.......or will the local Council be liable as they own and maintain the building?

Darling launches £50bn relube of bunged-up UK banks

David Roberts

Show us the money!

The problem is allegedly that the banks are unwilling to lend money TO EACH OTHER.

So if they previously had the money to lend to each other, where has it all gone?

Or were they just lending each other 'virtual money' in the mistaken belief they would never have to produce any real mony to back it up?

Perhaps this is a little like the hedge funds which all bought shares in each other using one pot of money which they passed around and around, giving the impression that there was a lot of money invested?

Was there a pot of money which each bank used at settlement time to pay the next one in line, which then paid the next, and so on while they 'lent' and 'borrowed' more 'money' until the next settlement time?

Perhaps a little like paying off a credit card using another credit card?

Or has all the money (as has allegedly happened in Spain) suddenly disappered from the banking system giving everyone very lumpy matresses?

Perhaps someone would like to explain??

EDS knits bigger net for voluntary redundancies

David Roberts
Thumb Down


Ummmm.....there is a suggestion that a part of a part of EDS may lose up to 20% (but it is not clear if this is permanenet staff or contractors).

Stronger confirmation that 200 (yes, a whole 200) may go out of 16.5K.

700 have been offered the chance of voluntary redundancy (but presumably the expected hit rate is nowhere near 100%).

Is it a slow news week?

This doesn't sound like the massivve gutting of EDS that the headline hints at

Perhaps "a very few Blighty staff worry if they'll ever meet HP"?.

Compared, perhaps, to a far greater number who worry what will happen if they DO meet HP?

Redunancies are very rare these days anyway.

Any agressively managed large multi-national will just make working conditions a little less favourable to encourage the easily employable (those who would volunteer for redundancy anyway) jump ship for a better offer.

A pending merger will also make the upwardly technically mobile consider their future options carefully.

Lower head count, no extra expenditure, trebles all round.

Now an article comparing staff leaving and joining EDS in the months prior to the proposed aquisition/merger might give a much clearer picture of the true state of affairs but is perhaps a little harder to write.

Then again, most of El Reg are probably soaking up the rain in Bognor Regis at the moment - it is the middle of the silly season after all.

Tesco causes couple condom catastrophe

David Roberts

It's obvious that.....

....Tesco just rubbered them up the wrong way.

Bus-spotting paedo terror bust: Shock CCTV image

David Roberts

You missed out.......

....the topless 17 year old.

Oh, wait, that's only found in my <ahem> adult lego set......

Mines the one with pockets full of dubious plastic.

Bloke crams 13 into Volvo S70

David Roberts

Overloading? What about seat belts?

Isn't there all sorts of legislation about children having to be fitted into child seats or booster seats?

Six kids standing and sitting in the centre rear section must be six counts of 'not safely restrained' or whatever.

Also, didn't mention if there was a passenger side airbag, which could have been well dodgy for the child in the front.

The police request to confiscate the vehicle seems mild, given the circumstances.

I would have thought there could have been lots of charges in addition to gross overloading.

...and this idiot is a school teacher????

Asus Eee PC 901 to hit Blighty on 1 July

David Roberts
Paris Hilton

That explains....

...why play.com just knocked £40 off the PC 900.

I was just considering giving way to temptation when I saw this article.

Roll on July!

Paris because she should model the new PC 901.

'Crash tested' e-voting machines spread doubt on Super Tuesday

David Roberts

E-voting insecure?

What a load of techo-cobblers.

The whole thing is being spun around E-voting when the real problem is that nobody has troubled themselves to design a secure system.

The analogy with crash testing is good (if misused). They crash test cars to show that they are safe. They should also crash test computer systems to show that they are safe (obviously not with a dummy and a wall, though.......hang on........just hold this PC and run that way......don't tempt me.)

If the systems are properly evaluated and passed as secure then people should be confident in them.

If the systems are found to be insecure then they shouldn't be used until they are fixed.

There is no 'mechanical/analog bad - electronic/digital good'; any voting technology however simple or complex should be designed to prevent tampering and regularly checked.

There should be an audit trail to allow checks that the system has not malfunctioned; the voter need not be identified but the way the vote was cast (or voided) should be recorded for later review.

This is [AFAIK] what happens with the paper based UK system - you are given a numbered ballot paper which you fill in.

This is counted.

If necessary this paper can be tracked back to the voter via the list created when you went to vote, but the ballot paper does not directly identify the voter.

Returning to the older discredited systems is not a solution either.

Do it again, and this time get it right!!!!!!!!

Or is that too simple a solution?

Reg readers bring down HMRC website

David Roberts
Gates Horns

Now deader than a very dead dead thing.

Can't help feeling that there should be some kind of front end that limits the number of sesssions and either puts you in a queue or at least gives you statistics on how many sessions have been ditched in the last minute, to give you a measure of demand against capacity.

Then once you get connected there should be the capacity to support you all the way through to submission.

Perhaps this is happening and is not well presented by the system.

Or perhaps there is no provision for graceful degradation on system overload.

Either way, IMHO, the system could be designed better.

David Roberts

It's back up! It's back up!.....Oh....

Well, the front page is back.

Not much accessible from there so far, though.

Why am I filing at the last minute?

I could call it Just In Time workflow; however as the IR charge me money when I file my tax return, why should I give it to them before I have to?

Now been logged out again and I can't even get to the front page for self assesment.

I suspect that the system is so poorly sized that from now on every time it starts up it will be overwhelmed by the people trying to access it and go down again.

I forsee an enjoyable evening swearing at the computer, the government, and probably the cats if they get too close....

I wish to logo could be GO but currently it isn't.

David Roberts
Paris Hilton

Roller blind?

A nice Scottish lady told me about half an hour ago that they had received an email telling them it would be back up in an hour.

She couldn't say what would happen if it didn't stay up and I couldn't file on time because she hadn't received any email guidance on that question.

Does Paris Hilton have a Scottish accent?

The 'Funky Business' consultants want to poke you

David Roberts

Luddite or eminently sensible?

Social networking sites encourage topical gossip.

Within the workplace, topical gossip includes the doings of colleagues, customers and suppliers.

Now if someone at work is just updating on what s/he did last night at the clubs, this should not be an issue. Just another variant on personal email which is O.K. in moderation.

However, dissing your colleagues and customers in public should be strictly no go - from home or from work.

Certainly this should be discouraged anyway, but allowing it from within the workplace implies a degree of support by the company.

Nowhere in this article did I see any facts about WHY these sites were being blocked. Just an implication that any company blocking this access is backward and 'luddite'.

However it is likely that staff are being indiscreet in public.

I suspect policing this is harder than scanning all outgoing emails, so blocking access is a logical step.

'Social networking sites' have a lot of commonality with Usenet - and I reckon you will find most corporate networks block or restrict acces to News servers, and there are policy statements which ban any postings which can be identified as coming from a company because these can be interpreted as a statement of company policy.

The penguin?

Looked lonely, possibly because s/he hasn't been out much recently :-)

Beer makes people have sex with you

David Roberts

Which way round is it?

Perhaps people are looking at it the wrong way?

It may just be that sex makes you thirsty.




Also, my First Aid instructor told me that a pint of bitter is naturally balanced to replace lost bodily fluids, so there may be a correlation here. [And he was a doctor so it must be true.]

Also, the report doesn't state if the interviews were conducted when the subjects were sober.

After a few pints there may be a tendency to brag.....

......me? 15 pints a night man, me!....Women?....Beating them off with a shitty stick and still half killing myself.........

Hmmm....now what are the chances that the things most young men (and an increasing number of young women, these days) lie about are capacity for drink and sexual prowess?

Were there independant observers to verify the survey claims?

3 drags rivals into court over number porting

David Roberts
Paris Hilton

@Joe Blogs

Unfortunate illustration, as allegedly O2 do not in general lock their handsets.

More to the point, to move to a different network you need a differnet SIM card.

Now unless the salesmen hang around pubs replacing the SIM card in your phones when you go to the toilet, how are they going to change you to another network?

Are we looking at a SIM card turning up in the post, and your phone service with your original supplier being ceased?

How do they get to bill you for the new service?

As far as I know, "Slamming" for utilities normally comes to light when you get a quarterly bill from an unexpected supplier.

Also as far as I know you can't sign up to a monthly mobile phone tarrif without supplying bank/credit card details.

Do people supply bank or credit card details to mobile phone salesmen when they are NOT ordering a new service?

[Hmmmm...quite possible for a percentage of the population.....]

Or are we talking about slamming PAYG customers by changing their number to another network then sending them a new SIM? But would you accept this?

Oh, sod it I'm off home!

Deutsche Telekom eyeing up EDS

David Roberts
Paris Hilton

Who else might be interested?

This may of course be just a cynical attempt to pump up the share price.

However, if EDS is truly seeking to be taken over/merged who else might have the pockets?

BT have had aspirations to be a big systems house for decades.

Howe about Microsoft? Pockets don't come much deeper!

Interesting suggestion that an emerging economy might have a punt - anyone in China looking like a prospect?

Then again, Russia has been buying football clubs so they may want to diversify.......

How rich IS Paris Hilton?

Does she need a(nother) hobby?

Suggestions on a postcard to Texas, please ;-)

Spain goes mad for King versus Chávez

David Roberts

Maria, why don't you just shut up Maria?

Maria Youshutup the opera singer?

Or am I showing a Callas disregard for spelling?

MoD defends £5bn IT system

David Roberts

@Solomon Grundy

Firstly IANAC.

Secondly, I suggest that the problem may be that certain traditional areas in the UK may not always provide a dedicated career path for IT professionals.

Consequently, they can lack breadth and depth at some levels in IT and are therefore forced to buy in expertise when there isn't sufficient available internally.

Sadly, on really large projects there is rarely enough time and funding given to requirements capture so projects usually don't really know what they need until part way through the implementation. The project timescales are also usually so long that both the initial requirements and the people responsible will have changed by the time that the contract has been awarded and work started.

In my cynical view sucess or failure of a project in financial terms is centred on effective change control, and the only way to succeed is to have a strong investment in change control within both customer and supplier. Of course, both sides must also keep in touch with both reality and changing user requirements.

So almost any large IT project will go through at least one phase of "It's not what I wanted! Well, it is what you asked for!" and will succeed only if both sides can agree to a revised schedule and revised requirements.

[I have noted that it is a slow news month - there is a lot of fluff at the moment, including http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/15/stolen_wifi/ , based on little fact and doubtful statistics]

Summary - bad things have happened in the past, customer and supplier now report everything is fine.

Perhaps a mitigated disaster?

ISPs baffled by Gordo's 'plans' for web terror talks

David Roberts

What has this to do with ISPs?

"the Home Secretary is inviting the largest global technology and internet companies to work together to ensure that our best technical expertise is galvanised to counter online incitement to hatred"

So this will be Microsoft and........err........Microsoft..........

Half of computer users are Wi-Fi thieves

David Roberts
Paris Hilton

Harsh Police Crackdown

7 forces, 11 convictions between them.

Obviously a major crime surge being efficiently and successfully targetted by our Boys in Blue.

I won't go into the survey statistics because they are pathetic (as described elsewhere).

On of the saddest things is the posting to the Times site (allegedly from someone in US Homeland Security from Texas) which added assault to the 'crimes'.

This must be one of the slowest news days of the year!

Paris, where are you when I need you?

Bike bonk bloke cops three years' probation

David Roberts

Nobody is really trying yet...

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but brakes and chains excite me?

Quoted after the sentence, he allegedly said "Somehow it just spoke to me, but now I'm in chains and saddled with this Sex Register problem. I'm tyred of the whole thing and can't get a handle on these bars. I still say I was framed, and my lawyer is trying for a suspension. Otherwise I'm forked. I wheely am sorry about all this. I need a brake.".

O.K. - I'm on me bike (yes, baby, oh yes!)

Crime-busting gator kills Florida fugitive

David Roberts
IT Angle

@Surviving digestion

..a good philosophical point.

I wonder what the penalty is for only partially digesting a living person? Say up to the knees?

However, it may be aimed at removing 'gators which eat dead bodies - which is probably quite likely if there is a boat or auto smash somewhere remote.

I suspect that the local 'gator population may also be a prime resource for recycling embarrasing corpses, which again should be discouraged.

P.S. Is it possible to combine icons? There seems to be no reference to Paris Hilton's involvement with IT so I was torn between the two.

Singapore Airlines bans A380 rumpy-pumpy

David Roberts
Paris Hilton

Baggage Allowance?

They seem to be missing a 'trick' here.

First class travellers will get an extra baggage allowance anyway; could this not include an extra bagage for the single traveller?

Perhaps even a well known celebrity for the more discerning passenger?

GMail shakes IMAP out of coma

David Roberts
Gates Horns

This feels nice and familiar....

...so there is a remote client, a client/server protocol, and the mail stays on the server?


Just like Microsoft Exchange then ;-)

Skype founder quits

David Roberts

@David Wilkinson #1

"BTW I never used it for instant messaging/PC to PC voice/video chat and I don't personally know anyone else who does.


My (boring and humble) experience of Skype useage.

(1) I set up Skype on two portable PCs so a neighbour could take one to the Black Sea and call home to her partner (on the other portable) for free. As far as I know they have had loads of use out of this.

(2) I set up a call so my son in Brazil could talk PC to PC with his Gran on her Birthday.

(3) Had a nice long chat with my son calling from a PC in the UK to his mobile in Brazil.

In each case the audio quality was crap but you could hold a conversation.

Oh, and I have used the chat facility - if the person you want to chat to is signed into Skype but not into MSN, then why the heck not?

Yes, Skype is non-standard and there are no doubt other standards based services for the techno-savvy, but as far as I can see it meets a need and is well known and easily accessible. The charges also seem better than using traditional telephony services for international calls.

Now can anyone explain to me why BT bundles IP telephony with their Broadband solution, when the IP telephony is sharing bandwidth with your Internet access, and there is a dedicated voice connection with far better quality sitting idle on the other part of the link?


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