* Posts by Peter Leech

53 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Dec 2007


Army officer tossed laptops into the sea

Peter Leech Silver badge


I'm not sure that's a recommended method of data destruction... Security through obscurity and all.

Mozilla Google relations strained by Chrome

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: Firefox: 20.78% or 44.2% ?

Yes, your missing something. Demographics.

People looking at the W3 schools site are more likely to have heard of or be looking up web standards, which means they are more likely to be running firefox.

Its not unknown for games sites with younger audiences to get more than 50% of users on firefox. It all depends on which site your visiting as to which proportion are running which browser.

Google hints at the End of Net Neutrality

Peter Leech Silver badge


I think this article relies rather heavily on some very dodgy arguments.

Putting your own servers into a large ISP so you don't have to pay for the upload bandwidth on your servers seems to be very good commercial practice as long as the cost to install and operate the servers is less than the bandwidth you'd otherwise pay running youtube et al.

In fact, rather than degrading performance I'd say that they are probably helping the public internet by removing godness only knows how much bandwidth from carrying video on the public internet and releasing it for something useful like real data.

OMFG, what have you done?

Peter Leech Silver badge

not bad, BUT!

Overall, I like the new design.

Apart from the absurd fixed width that makes the front page look awful on both my work and home PC's. That, I could live with. I only stay on that page for a few seconds while opening lots of tabs.

However, there is a VERY significant drop in readability on the story pages, which is the entire reason for visiting the site. This is the first time I have actually had to tap into the FF Readability settings at home. At work i'm currently stuck with IE7, and I find it painful to read while munching through my sandwich. Fix please? Removing the fixed width and going back to relative widths would be a good start. I might be going blind, but as I never had to strain to read any of the comments text before but I now have to i'm going to assume they have decreased in size. It looks great to look at, but its less than optimal to read.

I'd stop reading el reg and go elseware as tech sites are not exactly in short supply, apart from that el reg stories are often rather useful to work. Like finding out about the VMware issue that took out the cluster a couple of weeks ago and finding out what actually caused our VPN to be going up and down like a yoyo last week.

419ers crank up the menaces

Peter Leech Silver badge

Might just spear your life...?

> "who knows, and I might just spear your life, $9,000 usd is all you need to spend."

Might just SPEAR your life for £4500? Um. Great deal. You'd think more people would pay out for sparing their lives, but hey.

Well, its going to be interesting to see if the masses start reporting death threats to the police, and if they actually do anything about it.

Blighty's electro-supercar 2.0 uncloaked today

Peter Leech Silver badge

@ MahatmaCoat

I want to mute mine to save the battery?


Firefox 3 Download Day falls flat on face

Peter Leech Silver badge

@ G2

> "I think that mozilla might have achieved the first self-inflicted DDoS, on a global scale nonetheless... that's a really impressive record ... and the first legal one if i'm not wrong, as i cannot remember any software launch that has caused this worldwide gold rush, not even the launch of Fedora 9."

I think Valve managed to get their authentication servers for Half Life 2 essentially DDoS'ed by millions of customers trying to play the game on release day a few years back.

Malware not man blamed in child abuse download case

Peter Leech Silver badge

@ RickyTheRiot

Yes, your the only person that's suspicious. You haven't seen the evidence from the prosecution either! He's been found to be innocent by a court of law. Trial by media and the court of public opinion is utterly irrelevant given that he has been found innocent in a real court with all the evidence.

It would be a point of interest knowing exactly which virus or piece of malware caused this purely from a tech's point of view to see if systems we are responsible for are protected against it, but for that reason only. Not to start making our own judgements as to his guilt or innocence.

Google preps net neut dowser

Peter Leech Silver badge

Bit-torrent as a bandwidth hog

> "It's completely banned at any sensible workplace because when someone is downloading a torrent the rest of the network grinds to a halt until the download is finished."

And because it has no legitimate business use in the average office as most companies don't want their PC's used to download illegal copies of anything.

MPs urge action as spooky caller ID-faking services hit UK

Peter Leech Silver badge

@ Paul

> "You do know that web sites can be spoofed as well? I would look it up on a paper statement. Or don't banks in the UK mail out statements?"

Yes, they do, but given that I didn't ask him to email me the number I think using the website to look it up is quite reasonable...

@ Paul

No idea mate. I know it worked this way on NEC, Phillips and Panasonic PABX's as of last year.

Presumably whomever is doing the routing can track the call to the ISDN circuit used, however I don't think you can do that from a PABX, or normal analog home line come to that.

Peter Leech Silver badge


> "I know with an ISDN-30 line you can supposedly inject any caller-ID you like (the company where I work was an early adopter of Asterisk ..... you learn a lot about telephony that way), but I was always given to believe that if the number you tried to attach to the line was not one of "yours", then it would be silently stripped out somewhere downstream."

PABX systems attached to an ISDN line do allow you to set whatever number you want. There is no verification anywhere along the line of whether you own the number your using for CLI. I have tried and tested this on our system when the company was splitting up and half the company was moving office. Your certainly able to use mobile numbers, NGN's and numbers in a different exchange registered to a different company in the CLI.

> " I've had two calls in the last two days, claiming to be from my bank."

I had exactly the same thing a few months ago, and told the guy I wouldn't answer questions on an incoming call. The bloke offered me what he said was his DDI to call. How helpful. I declined and looked the number up on their website instead.

I do wonder how many people get conned like this.

American auto dealer offers free handguns

Peter Leech Silver badge


> And remember, we loaned y'all a lot of firearms back in the early 40's, just in case Hitler decided to cross the Channel, because, surprise, surprise, nobody being allowed to own guns= unarmed citizenry in time of need. Too bad you didn't learn your lesson, and worse yet, YOU DIDN'T SEND THE DAMNED THINGS BACK!

Leased, and we only finished paying for them last year. Anyway, we still haven't finished with them yet. We have a nice collection of (deactivated) lend and lease Enfield No.4's sitting in the local cadets armoury for rifle drill.

National Grid computers locked-down in outage cock-up

Peter Leech Silver badge


Um, yeah. I have to agree. Its not exactly that easy to completely kill AD, especially by accident.

Even IF you did have someone deliberately kill the system surely it doesn't take 24 hours to restore from your previous days backup tape...?

More importantly, are the same people responsible for the systems that are managing the power grid?

Five misunderstood Vista features

Peter Leech Silver badge


If you disable all of the services running in Vista that are not absolutely required for windows to function (including search!) it still runs slower than XP.

@ Roger Barrett

Your not the only person to run with a least user approach. I don't do at home simply because I run a number of apps at home that need local admin to work properly and its not worth the grief for me to keep switching from a user account to an admin account.

However I will just note that malicious programs such as viruses simply bypass the restrictions of a normal user, so in my opinion its only really useful to stop users from messing up their machine themselves.

BOFH: Shiny new computer room

Peter Leech Silver badge

Sounds familiar...

And who hasn't had something like a building move dropped on them with about half the time required for lead times for installation of ISDN and leased lines?

I am sure I am not going to be the ONLY person that's had things like this dropped on me. :)

Ballmer bitch slaps Vista

Peter Leech Silver badge


> I'll stockpile XP licences before I put vista on my network.

No need, the vista business versions come with rights for XP if you call Microsoft licensing.

Virgin Media mops up CEO's 'boll*cks' outburst

Peter Leech Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Reg Readers are the exception by AC

I assume your from an ISP.

I think the majority of people would demand a decent service if they realised they weren't getting one. Your right, the majority of people do not understand the issues and can be missold a product.

The issues as we see them are that you are selling a product, and failing to deliver it. When your "broadband" services are in reality comparable in performance to a 56k modem claiming that the service is "up to" 8MB is immoral at best, and fraudulent at worst.

Your statement that any ISP changing all its products to an uncontended service would go out of business is probably quite true.

However, that wasn't the issue. People want the service that they were sold, ie an "unlimited" internet connection with a speed of "up to 8MB". If you work in service I am sure that you appreciate that managing expectations is a fundamental part of any service relationship, and some ISP's are failing to properly manage this expectation by making promises that they can't meet.

ISP's such as Eclipse and Entanet seem to have no trouble maintaining contended networks for a reasonable price. I see no reason why other ISP's can not be capable of this. True, charging for a reasonable product does cost more and prices you out of the ultra low end of the market. However, I think its questionable whether its worth competing for those customers if you are not making much out of them, and creating a possible liability for your company.

The rise of the Malware Mafia

Peter Leech Silver badge

@ James Condron

Hmm. Point, I suppose the forms & precedents and pretty much everything else should be included as well as Halisburys.

Oh well, Halisburys takes up a good 3 bookcases anyway. (Assuming that your throwing the annual abridgements when they get out of date, otherwise you can add another couple of bookcases.)

Peter Leech Silver badge

awful laws

Thats not really news. Pretty much everything made illegal by new laws since ~1950 has already been illegal under some law passed over the last ~900 years anyway.

New laws that are passed are worded terribly. Anybody cynical about our elected leaders would think that most politicians are lawyers and benefit from being able to argue endlessly about shoddily written laws. Even less cynical people would probably agree that politicians write laws to show they are doing something.

I mean, has anybody actually seen the collective laws of england? Like all 3 bookcases full of it? Plus the monthly additions?

BT's 'illegal' 2007 Phorm trial profiled tens of thousands

Peter Leech Silver badge

@ Ian

It could do, depending on how they did it. However, I would say its unlikely.

Most people use BT copper for the last mile, if they were doing it this way I doubt that Phorm would have bothered with getting anybody other than BT.

Network Solutions hijacks customer sub-domains for ad fest

Peter Leech Silver badge

Opt out

>So how can you opt out? I've just done a quick scan of their we site and I cannot find a way.

Setup a custom 404 error page. I'd imagine that doing that would prevent their page from displaying if you don't have anything present in your subdomain.

Patent shields customer support from customers

Peter Leech Silver badge

Just assume EVERYTHING is a joke today...

... Unless you are absolutely sure its not. This is probably one of the better ones I have seen today, its plausable and its had a good number of people.

Asterisk mauled by buffer overflow bug

Peter Leech Silver badge

older PABX's...

- The rest - to my limited understanding - are a hotchpotch of proprietary digital systems eg NEC and Siemens. They sell a lot of kit but whether cracking them is worthwhile is open for discussion.

I would say most installed systems are proprietary digital systems. I really don't think there are *that* many new VOIP systems in use. I'd question how possible it is to crack our existing switches.

Seeing as you can't even send data to it without an ISDN modem (and ISDN line) telephone number for remote and the user/pass I think that its secured quite nicely. Simply needing an IDSN modem rules out an awful lot of people that could attack the system. There is *no way* to actually send any other data to the system. And ignoring that its not possible for a few moments, an ISDN line is kind of static. If my system gets attacked from a fixed ISDN line then it kind of gives away the identity of the attacker.

Your business communications are a mess

Peter Leech Silver badge

Solving the wrong problem

Exactly! People shouldn't expect a reply right at that second. If they do, its also your problem because you didn't make it clear how you work. You just need to manage expectations.

I think that everybody with my contact details knows I prefer emails as I am often not at my desk, and nobody has ever had a problem with that. If its extremely important then people can ring my DDI, and if I am not there then they can leave a voicemail which I will respond to ASAP.

I simply don't need to get any complicated than that, and nor do the majority of people. UC may have some appeal to people that buy the comms companies idea of how people should work, but thats down to them.

BOFH: The secret gentlemen's club

Peter Leech Silver badge

re: Degauss?

Who throws away a perfectly good CRT :) My one just became part of a multi monitor setup. No point ditching it while its still working.

If/when it stops working then I am getting a forklift in.

Broadband big boys waiting on data pimping

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: Not sure?

> If they inject adds into a web page are they breaching the copyright of the web page / web site .Also are they in breach of the spam control laws by sending you averts that you don't request?.

Interesting question. Its not going to be a breach of copyright, but the last bit gave me something to think about.

Phorm say "Our platform gives consumers advertising that's tailored to their interests - in real time - with irrelevant ads replaced in the process."

Now, If I am running a website and I have, say my own static adverts on that I am gaining income from and Phorm replace my "irrelevant ads" with their own ones then I am going to lose income because they are replacing my ads. Do they have the legal or moral right to do that? The word "theft" comes to mind. (Not that I use ads on my site anyway, but I am sure someone does...)

I would imagine that informing large ad brokers of this will probably cause more of a reaction that pointing this out to the ICO. In fact, going to the Office of Fair Trading would probably be a good idea. Thinking about it, they are effectively creating an advertising cartel in Phorms favour by preventing other companies from entering the market, which has to be the definition of anti-competitive behavior. Advertising Standards would probably be interested as well, this has several breaches of the CAP code principles.

It could also have the effect of putting websites out of business if they rely on advertising income. I am sure I have missed a few implications as well.

I would think that besides of the ICO investigating this the OFT could get involved along with the ASA. That would probably slow down the implementation down a little.

Confidential Home Office data turns up in laptop on eBay

Peter Leech Silver badge

@ James

> I can believe a forgotten disc in the drive but.....

Maybe it was an old relic that had the CD drive under the keyboard. If that was the case it could have been a forgotten disc in the drive. :)

Disintegrating wind turbine caught on camera

Peter Leech Silver badge

> Why is that van parked so close to the wind turbine

> Why is that van parked so close to the wind turbine when they knew it was going to fail? In the second video, you can see a big poof of dirt right at the moment of failure, and it appears pretty close to the van. After that, it looks like the support tower for the turbine falls pretty close to the van as well.

They probably realised they couldn't fix it and decided to, erm... vacate the area. If I was a reasonable distance from that and noticed the van was next to it then thats just to bad. No way am I going to get any closer to it!

ISP data deal with former 'spyware' boss triggers privacy fears

Peter Leech Silver badge


That makes me glad I am not a customer of one of those three ISP's.

Funny though, I thought the data protection act said "Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes."

Surely if they are gathering this information for compliance purposes they can't just decide they want to sell it?

Eye-o-Sauron™ man-tracker masts now fully online, says DHS

Peter Leech Silver badge
IT Angle

what if...

> What if the person moves really slowly? Will the radar spot that they've moved?

Have you ever tried to sneak past an spotlight tied to an infra red sensor? If a cheap light can do it, I would imagine this could do.

Essex youth's cop headbutt heads for YouTube

Peter Leech Silver badge


> As I haven’t seen the clip, I can’t comment on what led to the incident. But I doubt if those that did watch it would that much wiser. You would need to know what led up to the confrontation:


But yeah. I agree totally with what you say.

On a personal note I do hope you managed to get some of those guys for attempted murder. They deserve it.

> Footnote: I’ve been armed these last few years and do you know what? Never had so much as a scratch (on duty!) and I’ve taken down some seriously bad people in this role! Make from this what you will.

That people probably don't want to be shot. :) I take it thats on a firearms squad rather than just being issued a taser?

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: Essex youth's cop headbutt heads for YouTube

Er. Guys, if you look at the video then there is already one person being restrained by an officer. This strongly suggests that it was already violent before hand.

The guy had two warnings on the video to back off, he kept approached the police officer to a dangerously close level where he could have grabbed equipment from the officers belt. The officer kept moving back to keep him at a manageable distance. Left with no option he pushed him back with appropriate force causing no injury. He maintained a sensible distance and tried talking to him and got headbutted. Following that he promptly took the guy down, and presumably arrested him after the video ended. The guy really had that coming, assaulting anybody is stupid, a police officer more so.

Seeing as we don't know what happened a couple of minutes before seeing that on camera we can't comment. He used appropriate force to the control the situation we could see on the film.

Usually people are complaining that the police aren't doing anything about violent youths, not that they are doing their jobs.

Lords look again at internet security

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: Reforming the Lords

> Yet again, the upper house demonstrates more common sense than the elected chamber, but that's not to say it isn't in need of reform.

I consider the house of lords to be doing a good job. They are the *only* part of our governmental system that represents my interests as far as I can see and I would prefer they aren't replaced with a rubber stamping service. Thats what the house of commons wants.

If it ain't broke don't fix it. If anywhere is in need of reforming then its the house of commons. What we don't need is the house of commons removing safeguards against their power. I mean, why are they allowed to do that?!

US cruiser nails crippled spy-sat on first shot

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: Do you get fireballs in a near-vacuum

> Do you get fireballs in a near-vacuum?

Yes, you can do. Rocket fuel either uses two chemicals that explode on contact or contain enough oxygen to burn.

US Supremes reject challenge to warrantless wiretapping

Peter Leech Silver badge

RE: America, seriously...

> British protesting: Stand around outside a building with a placcard and walk up and down. Yell about how unhappy you are with something, but don't do it too loud. When the police arrive, move along peacefully and go about your lives, pretending that nothing happened or following the American example.

No, British protesters stand still outside a building trying to keep warm next to a brazier. It might also amount to a siege where people are prevented from entering the premesis.

Americans walk up and down outside a building, because they are forbidden from blocking access to a building.

Otherwise bang on. :)

Please don't leave me... bitch

Peter Leech Silver badge


> hey bws - how many people would you take a bullet for in your mobile phone or address book? surely you don't have people in there who aren't proper 'friends'??

Precisely one, and I'd hazard a guess most people have either 0 or one, depending on if they are single or not. (And the non single people with 0 might have one person they would kill... :) )

But anyway, I think the whole concentrate on Facebook thing is a little one sided. I don't know any forums that would delete your account *and* every post you have made. Heck, would El Reg if somebody asked?

The problem with deleting old accounts with the posts is that you end up with entire threads/conversations that make to sense because key parts of the conversation are missing.

Fire extinguisher resolves German smoking dispute

Peter Leech Silver badge


> Those powder extinguishers are awful - I hear that if one is used in a computer room, every computer has to be replaced, as the powder gets everywhere (including inside power supplies, over components, etc) and can't be cleaned off effectively. Bleargh.

Thats why all the extinguishers in and around computer rooms are CO2.

Rebit: This is your grandmother's data backup

Peter Leech Silver badge

Its useless.

Its still useless.

Its on site and always plugged in.

What's likely require a backup? The user being a tit and deleting everything, Theft, massive power surges and maybe the hard drive expiring naturally.

Out of those, if the user is a tit the backup will conveniently delete all the backups within a day or so when it does the next backup because Rebit advise getting a drive with equal or greater capacity to your drive. That translates to "get the smallest one possible" for the average user which leaves no space for additional backups on the device and it cheerfully overwrites the old backups.

A theif will nick the backup as well assuming its an external hard drive he can sell for a fiver at the local pub. Power surges powerful enough to blow the PSU and try the drives would be likely to kill an attached drive as well. That leaves the sole point being natural failure of the drive.

If thats the entire point then you might as well just buy a new drive and replace the old one. Completely useless. Clueless users would be better off burning their MyDocs folder to a DVD once a week.

MPs slam costly war-tech projects at MoD

Peter Leech Silver badge

defense inflation

>"One question, why the hell is defence inflation so much higher than the common or garden variety that the rest of us have to make do with?"

Our military has a not inconsiderable amount of old equipment. How much equipment do you have around your workplace thats between 20-40 years old?

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: MPs slam costly war-tech projects at MoD

> One reason the forces struggle to balance their books - and to attract recruits - is that they are always short of cash because of budget-busting hi-tech equipment projects

Isin't the reason because they start off building a class of a dozen ships, so the design costs get spread over those dozen ships. Then, due to the fact that we are fighting on several fronts and the government dosen't want to pay for the wars they have started the military is forced to cut the unit number to be able to do meet the costs of ongoing operations.

Then the price per unit goes up significantly because they cut the number of units significantly, making the cost overrun. Then having caused the problem the politicians complain about it.

I don't know that this is correct, but I don't think its to far from the truth.

Bank turns London man into RFID-enabled guinea pig

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: Bank turns London man into RFID-enabled guinea pig

>Time to get a lead lined wallet ...

Lead sounds like a bit impractical and possibly a tad heavy. Tin foil ought to do the job though. Its that or kill the RFID chip.

Critics split over DDoS attacks on Scientology

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: Critics split over DDoS attacks on Scientology

Actually, if you take a look at the website in the article it says the DDoS attacks have done the job.

>Stop DDoSing! CoS and major media outlets are aware of the situation. Begin bumping Digg, Youtube, Google, etc. Generate and send press releases and letters to media. Conduct PR campaigns in online and offline media. Use the information and resources to craft arguments for the downfall of CoS. Correct media and CoS errors/rebuttals. Generate mainstream negative attention towards CoS.

I do think they have more in mind than constant DDoS attacks.

Face of Mankind DoS teen perp reprimanded

Peter Leech Silver badge


What a twit.

The worst bit is that he's doing computer studies. If this is the quality of the people taking the courses then no wonder the recruitment bods are always going on about a "skills crisis".

Microsoft develops 'intelligent' shopping trolley

Peter Leech Silver badge


> A customer who knows exactly what they want, and sticks to the buying decision made before they even set foot in the store, is no good to the supermarket. Which is, frankly, why they try to make the shopping experience more pleasant to women than men!

To be honest, the entire "constantly move everything around so I go looking for it and buy more stuff" simply dosen't work. (at least with me) If I can't find something I get pissed off and give up so they lose a sale.

Satellite sea launch successful

Peter Leech Silver badge

Sea launch

>The Sea Launch system is designed to take advantage of physics that allow a rocket launched from the equator to carry a heavier payload into orbit than it could if the launch point was anywhere else on the Earth's surface.

To get to a circular orbit you need to do ~7.9 KPS. Launching from the equator means that you take advantage of the earth's rotational speed of ~1KPS lowering amount of energy you need to expend to get to orbit.

They knew about this decades ago, that why everybody involved in launching has their rocket launch sites as close to the equator as possible.

Microsoft backpedals on Blu-ray for Xbox 360 comments

Peter Leech Silver badge

Re: Microsoft backpedals on Blu-ray for Xbox 360 comments

Microsoft will support HD-DVD to the death. HD-DVD uses Microsoft's HDi. Blu ray uses BD-J, based on Sun's Java.

DHS to fit airliners with laser beam defences

Peter Leech Silver badge

manpads defense

The tech works, manpads systems are IR missiles. IR missiles use a sensitive seeker head which gets burned out by the laser. The Israeli's use it on their airliners, someone fired a missile at one a few years back which was successfully defeated.

The only thing is who pays for it. The airline industry favor more security on the ground side, presumably because they don't have to pay for it. The only thing is that ground security is completely ineffective, especially if the person firing it is not worried about getting out alive afterwards. As the article says, you could potentially fire it within a 5 mile radius of an airport. Its literally impossible to protect such an area on every airport worldwide, which makes defenses on the airliner the only sensible way of protecting the airliner.

If your going to go about protecting airliners this is the only effective way of doing it, which just leaves the question, is it worth doing?

Of course, everybody will say no until the first airliner gets shot down, at which point they will be demanding to know why it wasn't fitted.

UK nuke-power plans leak early

Peter Leech Silver badge

Power generation

... Nuclear generates ~20% of our power at the moment. The current plants are coming to the end of their lives.

Its kind of required to build at least some more nuclear plants even if we reduce the amount of power generated by nuclear by building a lot more wind/tidal generating capacity.

If we don't, the lights will go out at some point in the future.

IE's Acid trip back to conflict

Peter Leech Silver badge

...start another war

Only you.

If Firefox/opera/IE/whomever brings in a load of new features that only that browser can use who's going to use them?

Nobody should, otherwise your just end up either designing to the standards as you should so everything works everywhere or only designing for one browser and locking all of the other browsers out. Locking potential customers/visitors out is ever so slightly unprofessional.

If flash suits your needs better than HTML then you should use it instead of HTML. The only thing is I won't see any of your sites because I have flash disabled through noscript, but IMO if people want to lock visitors out then thats fine. If I come to their site and get told they don't want to sell to me then I haven't yet failed to find a competitor that is happy to sell to me.