* Posts by Antony Riley

212 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Nov 2007


Custom ringback tones: Coming to your next contract mobe?

Antony Riley

One useful application.

As a replacement for hold music so we all pay the telcos much less.

IPCC: Yes, humans are definitely behind all this global warming we aren't having

Antony Riley

If the last 15 years are an anomaly, how can they be sure the 20 years of data from 1986-2005 they threw into their computer models is any better?

Bill Gates: Yes, Ctrl-Alt-Del salute was a MISTAKE

Antony Riley

Re: Sun Server Keyboard...

Some 8 bit computers had their own three finger salutes, I remember the Amstrad CPC used ctrl + shift + escape.

Antony Riley

Sun Server Keyboard...

...had a dedicated button for power down.

It was the bane of my life.

So much so we resorted to physical removal from the keyboard (yes I know there were 'soft' solutions, but the physical removal made us feel better).

EE still has fastest, fattest 4G pipe in London's M25 ring

Antony Riley

"redundant Wi-Fi networks"

Even a piss poor WiFi setup usually proves more reliable than 3G / 4G. Lower latency, packet loss. Far less issues with network contention (mostly due to covering a much smaller area per transmitter). Even if it's a little slower on paper than the fastest 4G which you'll never actually get in reality, there are more metrics to network quality than just burst speed.

Boffins debate killing leap seconds to help sysadmins

Antony Riley

What is the fuss about?

"Sysadmins are among the groups inconvenienced by leap seconds, as while network time protocol (NTP) is aware of them and includes them in its updates, not every device is connected to an NTP server."

If hardware has neither a network time protocol nor an accurate time source, you'll have more than 1 second a year to worry about anyway. If you do have an accurate time source, then it'll be acting as your time server and you'll only have one box to update.

There are very few applications where you have many disconnected nodes which all have their own accurate clocks.

There is the small issue that applications can behave badly if the real time clock is modified underneath them. Normally NTP clients slowly adjust the RTC for any drift, which negates this issues, and even if it is an issue then the application is badly written and should be using the system clock for measuring the passage of time, instead of the RTC.

Securo-boffins link HIRED GUN hackers to Aurora, Bit9 megahacks

Antony Riley
Black Helicopters

Chinese Hacking Group?

Symantec were a lot more careful and stated "Much of the attack infrastructure and tools used during these campaigns originate from network infrastructure in China.", which is quite a careful statement which deliberately avoids the implication that the group itself is Chinese.

This is quite a long way from what was stated in the article "Hidden Lynx is a sophisticated hacking group based in China...".

Given the recent NSA kerfuffle, I thought we'd all gotten over the idea that all ne'er-do-wells on the net hail from China or Russia.

In MASSIVE surprise, world+dog discovers Nokia checked out Android

Antony Riley

Re: Nokia on Android?

In September 2011, Nokia had an arguably viable smartphone product with the N9, at the time Android had 50% market share up from 25% the previous year. Windows Phone had 1.7% down from 2.7%. Elop bet that version 8 of windows phone would be so mind bogglingly good it'd be worth burning both Nokia's platforms, and delaying having a viable product in the segment for a whole year when they were already very late to the party.

I think Elop's reputation as the CEO who sank Nokia is well deserved.

The REAL winner of Microsoft's Nokia buy: GOOGLE

Antony Riley

Re: Billion Android Phones.

I'm no fan of punk rock, but comparing it to windows phone is doing it a disservice.

Headmaster calls cops, tries to dash pupil's uni dreams - over a BLOG

Antony Riley

"Our chief psychic here at the Trash, Madame Headhurts, sanely predicts that on the first day the new law is implemented, an inconceivable amount of students will be innocently late, too many to keep back for detention, the new rule will be scrapped, and the School Management members will have more egg on their faces than Jamie Oliver at a Fetish Orgy."

His writing isn't so bad, maybe The Register should give him a column.

Billionaire Google founder splits with wife, allegedly beds Google Glass staffer

Antony Riley

I know it's bootnotes but...

Isn't this stooping a bit lower than normal to get a few extra readers?

Microsoft cuts number of countries that will have Xbox One by Christmas

Antony Riley


What? People pre-order something which seems to change specs and delivery dates every week?


Laser-wielding boffins develop ETERNAL MEMORY from quartz

Antony Riley

Chemistry / Geology fail.

"Calcite crystals, such as quartz, exhibit this phenomenon."

Quartz is silicon dioxide, Calcite is calcium carbonate.

Amazon puts up CD rack in the cloud, unearths your OLD stuff too

Antony Riley

unearths your OLD stuff too*

*Provided you bought it from Amazon after 1998.

*Provided you live in the US.

That's a couple of fucking big caveats.

Oracle, Dell, CSC, Xerox, Symantec accused of paying ZERO UK tax

Antony Riley

Re: VAT?

Furthermore, if the end customer is a VAT registered business they will claim any VAT back, not to mention that their UK operations will claim back VAT on anything they buy, it would surprise me if the VAT man actually paid these companies money rather than the other way around.

Antony Riley
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VAT is only payable at the point of sale.

Online sales use the VAT of the source country (EU to EU).

I.E. Resellers pay VAT, and any VAT these companies do pay is going to mostly be in the country the item is sold from. Also services in the UK do not attract VAT (e.g. support contracts).

Windows RT jailbreak smash: Run ANY app on Surface slabs

Antony Riley
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Re: "...unlikely to be something most non-techie users could pull off..."

You do not have to run your own code on a machine in order to modify memory, typically plugging in a device to the machine is enough.

e.g. http://md.hudora.de/presentations/#firewire-pacsec

I note that there are still DMA access to kernel memory over firewire issues in existence today on every operating system. If this is ever patched, there's a whole slew of badly written USB and Bluetooth device drivers left to target, reprogramming a USB/Bluetooth/Firewire client via an automated tool is well within the reach of most people on the street.

Having said that if you can modify kernel memory then all bets are off regards any sort of signed executable protection anyway, so the news that modifying a single byte can turn it off isn't much to shout about.

The year GNOMES, Ubuntu sufferers forked off to Mint Linux

Antony Riley


The ironic thing is that Ubuntu made the same mistake as Windows 8. Try to please two audiences with one desktop shell.

Given the ease with which you can change the desktop shell on linux per login it seems rather pointless. It's not like Windows where you have to go and change a registry setting, and then pray you haven't broken your shell and locked yourself out of your own account.

All in all it hasn't been a bad year for Linux despite the fuckups from Ubuntu and Gnome. The gaming industry (at least the indy/PC part of it) seems to be pay a lot more attention to it, and the lack of attention has long been one of Linux's biggests failings when it comes to gaining new users.

It's official: Mac users are morally superior to Windows users

Antony Riley

Re: Linux users..... (Humble bundle stats).

Almost worth the reg doing an article on the above link if they haven't already, trolling there readers seems to be par for the course around here.

MySQL gains new batch of vulns

Antony Riley
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Re: File System Permissions

If you already have access to the mysql user, and can write files owned by mysql, the ability to make a database user have full admin access is rather unsurprising.

Privalege escalation is not privalege escalation when you need privs higher or equal to the privs you are attempting to aquire.

The mysql user is a higher privalege than any database user account.

UK.gov: 'Foreign cyber reconnaissance' underway in UK

Antony Riley
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Re: Upping the ante by scaremongering


Pretty much yes, the worst part is the press love to go along with scare mongering which makes it all too easy for the gubbermint.

Can't find a source to this quote, but it's appropriate:

There are two ways to control a population: fear and hope.

Elon Musk envisions small town of vegetarians on Mars

Antony Riley
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Re: And who'd be able to afford the $500K tickets?

How very Golgafrinchan of you :)

MS plugs 'highly exploitable' IE 9 hole in November Patch Tuesday

Antony Riley

Font handling in the kernel - wtf.

FBI cuffs 14 over $1m 'Gone in 60 Seconds' casino scam

Antony Riley

Re: Transactions

I suspect the scalability of transactional databases is the problem here, presumably they're queing up 90 seconds of transactions into a bulk transaction and trying to sort the mess out later.

Size does matter: Outlook.com punters want meatier passwords

Antony Riley

Re: "The length of a password is less important than its strength"

I'm kinda curious how you reached the conclusion "You are still better off with 8 characters though.".

Antony Riley

Re: "The length of a password is less important than its strength"

Ok, I never stated 'generated by a human', I was assuming a computer would generate both the random words and password, because humans are frankly shite when it comes to generating random sequences of anything.

Even 5000^5 is more than 64^8. That's ignoring the fact that a normal human vocabulary is *50,000 words (and we're still not including inflections). So your argument fails even on it's own rather suspect numbers.

*source: BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8013859.stm

Antony Riley

"The length of a password is less important than its strength"

Strength is an exponential function of a password's length.

*Even if you throw together 5 random unrelated dictionary words, you still have ~ 200,000^5 possibilities.


An 8 letter password using a-zA-Z and punctuation is ~ 64^8 possibilities.


It would take 1136868377216 times as long to crack the password based on dictionary words using a brute force attack.

Clearly long passwords using just dictionary words are vastly more memorable and secure than 8 letter passwords composed of random characters.

The statement is at best misleading, though I'd go with just plain wrong.

*Assuming 200,000 dictionary words, OED estimates a quarter of a million not including inflections

US will fight ITU members for internet domination

Antony Riley

RE: Russian/China handle it.

A lot of commentards seem to have missed the fact that Russia and China are not proposing they manage it, they're proposing a neutral international party handle it. Lets ignore the fact that they're holding American up as a fine example of a country that promotes *free speech.

ICANN aren't exactly doing a great job at the moment, maybe it's time for them to give the reins to someone else.

Having said that, I suspect the ITU might suffer from being unable to get anything due due to political conflicts, but I'm struggling to see how that would be a terrible thing.

*only applicable to US citizens.

EA sues Zynga over ripping off Sims Social

Antony Riley
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Couldn't have put it better.

On a positive note, it's nice to see the courts being used in sensible ways for a change. More than half the legal battles reported on The Register leave you wondering if putting the two people in a padded room and leaving them to it wouldn't be a better option, and certainly waste less money.

Skype denies system upgrade enables in-call spying

Antony Riley

Re: According to the policy on their website

More accurately they require a warrant if you happen to be a US citizen, otherwise you are screwed.

'We asked firms if they were looking at Windows 8, most laughed'

Antony Riley

Re: Windows 8 is brilliant

Downvoted for astroturfing.

If you weren't paid for what you do you'd have commented on at least one thing unrelated to Microsoft.

Google: Oops, we've STILL got Street View's slurped Wi-Fi data

Antony Riley

Re: Yawn...

And what is the likelyhood that would happen given the amount of data collected?

Money can't buy open-source love... only code can

Antony Riley

Bloody Hell.

Who wrote this article, surely wasn't Matt Asay, I actually agree with it.

Has he outsourced his writing?

Google Nexus 7 blighted by brightness blunder

Antony Riley


Screen flicker: software fault will be fixed in an update, and if you can't wait you can force gpu rendering somewhere in the settings.

Loose screen: open it up and tighten some screws.

Screen calibration: will be fixed in a future firmware update, hopefully exposing the settings to the end user, or someone will make an app for it. (I believe this is the digital vibrance (tm) setting on the nvidia gpus).

These all seem pretty minor and fixable.

Not like say putting the wifi antenna and 3g antennas on the outside such that you can bridge them with a finger.

Be thankful the thing can be opened up, a lot of modern hardware isn't designed to be user modifiable.

You'd struggle to find a device that ships from anyone which doesn't have at least one major firmware glitch on launch these days.

I'm actually tempted to buy one now.

Nokia woos networks with 'exclusive Windows 8 mobe deals'

Antony Riley

Hrm, Exclusivity deals with carriers.

I seem to remember these just serve to piss off the other carriers, which you are totally dependent on for all your other phones.

Climategate cops: We'll NEVER solve email leak hack riddle

Antony Riley

"However, as a result of our enquiries, we can say that the data breach was the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU’s data files"

Presumably a standard vulnerability or poor password, and they left their fingerprints all over it (.bash_history etc) but they point back to a compromised machine somewhere which no longer exists, thereby putting an end to the waste of tax payers money.

CentOS penguins maul Oracle's Linux migration pitch

Antony Riley

Something smells.

Oracle are trying to commercialize a free version of a commercial linux, which is itself based on a free linux.

I remember Deadrat in the early days, no love from the developers because they were taking something essentially free and charging for it combined with a few bells and whistles. Then came CentOS, which basically exists by extracting the free and not so free work that Redhat do with Linux into a completely free version.

Along comes Oracle and they want to install a few binaries on top of CentOS which add a few bells and whistles and provide a few extra updates.

Disclaimer: I have no love for Redhat*, Centos or Oracle.

*I will concede without Redhat, Linux would not be where it is today.

GPS spoofing countermeasures: Your smartphone already has them

Antony Riley

Crap, I said this in a comment on the original article about BAE's technology and got downvoted for it.

What is the Nokia Secret Plan if Windows 8 isn't Windows gr8?

Antony Riley
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Microsoft Windows Image Problem.

I don't think it matters if Windows 8 isn't great, I think the problem is that the requirements of a mobile phone's operating system are very different to that of a desktop PC. Reliability is far more important, everybody hates their phones being unreliable. Windows might be a associated with a lot of things but reliability certainly isn't one of them (to the general public, I'm ignoring IT professionals which have windows 7 PCs which never crash, because they know how to use a computer).

As far as Nokia goes, I think they've already signed over their soul to satan. Which is a shame, as far as their brand goes, at least outside of the US, they shouldn't be in this mess.

They've suffered from no good overall strategy for a long time, and unfortunately when they did get around to choosing a single strategy it was too late and they chose the wrong one. Maybe they have some sort of backup plan, but I think I agree with the article that they've burnt all their bridges and the chairman is selling snake oil.

Indian navy computers stormed by malware-ridden USBs

Antony Riley

Snoop onto them, as they snoop onto us

See title.

Mine's the one with the Hackers DVD in the inside pocket.

BAE proposes GPS-less location

Antony Riley

Re: fire with fire

Even BAE's site says it can only use the GPS jamming signal under certain circumstances. It's a fair assumption GPS spoofing can't be used, and that under most realistic circumstances it can't be used at all (Mobile jammer? Jammer varies it's signal strength?). At the end of the day these guys are selling a product.

The technology is probably useless without the data uplink to HQ, and any GPS spoofing attack is probably going to attempt to jam the hell out of that anyway.

And yeh, it can always fall back to gyros, but then it can do that without this technology (Though the technology might be useful for identifying when to fall back to gyros, but then that isn't what they're saying it's capable of, hence my grumpy post).

Antony Riley

Isn't this called AGPS and currently used by mobile phones (though extending the signals used beyond phone masts and wifi).

Minor downside that it doesn't work without a data connection because you need a bloody big (and up to date) database to query your location against.

I also fail to see how this does not suffer from exactly the same problems as GPS regards spoofing.

Google orders spontaneous support for Parliamentary motion

Antony Riley

A rights-holder's representative who spoke to us on condition of anonymity told us:

It's an example of astroturf: of a corporation using the collective action of not-for-profit groups to further its own interests.

Pot calling the kettle black?

Surely rights holders groups have been doing this for years?

The idea that in political debate everybody involved is entirely trasnsparent is laughable at best.

Finnish PM rules out Nokia rescue package

Antony Riley

So long Nokia, sad to see you go, it's been fun, and thanks for all the third party suppliers in Finland which developed around you and have long since diversified away.

Minor correction: ~3,600 jobs in Finland lost this round of redundancies.

Disclosure: British ex-pat living in Finland.

Google to ICO: We had no idea Street View data slurp was happening

Antony Riley

The cars were looking for wifi networks of any type (encrypted included), mostly to build a database for agps.

The issue is that instead of just writing packet headers to the hard drive on the streetview cars, they wrote out entire packets, which in the case of unencrypted networks included private data.

My personal feeling is that if you transmit unencrypted data on a public channel then it's your own bloody fault, and frankly google grabbing your private data and not using it for anything is the least of your worries.

Still, the whole thing is entertaining to read about, not least for highlighting quite how clueless the people responsible for policing this stuff are.

Blighty's new anti-bribe law will do more HARM than good

Antony Riley


Register branch in foreign country where bribery is not illegal off local soil, do it in the name of said branch, claim it as an expense in that country, carry on as normal?

Trust lawyers, not techies, when it comes to the cloud

Antony Riley
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Re: Trust common sense

Call me stupid, but surely if your data is anywhere other than on your own hard drive someone else has it? Be it a hosting provider or 'in the cloud' (there's not a lot of difference). Explain how a startup is supposed to fund it's own data center, even with a 5 million first round (choose your appropriate currency).

As for private individuals storing their data on the cloud, that's barmy, but the article isn't about that.

For FORK'S sake: GitHub checks out Windows client

Antony Riley
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It doesn't change the fact that git was written by and for developers who live in a completely different world to developers who work on windows. Whilst there might have been some convergence between these two worlds in recent years they are still very far apart.

I wouldn't like to predict the meteoric rise of git or github to becoming the defacto industry standard, every few years a new one comes along.

Windows is the OS of the cloud, says Microsoft

Antony Riley

Re: Windows is the OS of the Cloud

... in the alternative universe that marketting droids at Microsoft seem to live in.

People-powered Olympic shopping mall: A sign of utter tech illiteracy

Antony Riley

Wonder if it's feasible to...

...power a gym by the users expended energy.

Well, at least the lights & music, I imagine heated showers would consume far too much energy.

And for bonus points you could make it a ridiculously up market gym catering to rich people who like to feel like they're doing something for the environment, to counter balance the ridiculously oversized vehicles they drive 500m down the road to the local school to pick up the kids.

Oh crap, already been done.