* Posts by david

73 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Apr 2007


Microsoft IIS6 bug exposes sensitive files sans password

david Silver badge

allready fixed

That is, the floodgates were closed long ago: nobody has this feature enabled. There seems to be some disagreement at present about if it affects IIS5. Windows 2000 servers with IIS5 may still have Webdav running. If that is the case, those running their own web page in-house on Windows 2000 Server should turn off WebDav. Any other remnants who have deliberately exposed webdav to the public internet (a tiny and odd minority) can add urlscan (technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/cc242650.aspx) to sanitise webdav requests.

Very few people expose their file systems to WebDav. Only a tiny tiny minority of those use WebDav to expose their file system to the public internet, and are potentially affected by this.

Microsoft 24 hours late with IE8 pwn protection

david Silver badge

DEP only on Vista and 7?

You will have to explain that. As far as I knew, DEP works with Windows XP on any DEP processor. What has changed?

Brits and Yanks struck with embarasment embarrassment

david Silver badge
Paris Hilton

India/AUS/US/UK fonetic spelling

That's exactly what we need: fonectic spelling so each country can spell the words differently as well as pronounce them differently. Thus cutting written communication back to the standard of spoken communication ... as a means of trade restriction and job protection.

Paree, because the French will spell English differently than the English do, so that English will be easier for them to read and write...

Daft list names Firefox, Adobe and VMWare as top threats

david Silver badge


Probably refers to the Citrix VPN client, which although not commonly patched, is critical when it requires patching, and is another application which will fall off the radar unless you plan to maintain it. Which seems to be what this list is about.

What if computers went back to the '70s too?

david Silver badge

GE had an extensive line of general purpose and special purpose computers

And they were particularly important in the Finance industry.

There used to be a hardware emulation here, running on some other kind of mainframe, that ran the passbook savings account process

It's not that they weren't interested in General Purpose computing: they were just scared of IBM, which, to be fair, as well as being large, was a very tough company, and fought dirty.

Essex copper deluged after forwarding web hoax email

david Silver badge

sent the mail on to senior officers

So he is the scapegoat taking the fall for senior management?

Serial troll vents steam through ears

david Silver badge

"following a brief lull" - or perhaps in Wikipedia

Actually, I think he as been spending his time re-writing the Wikipedia entry for MS Access, ( a core interest of his) rather than spending time in the newsgroups.

Microsoft retires Windows 3.11 on 18th birthday

david Silver badge

Stable OS?

And at the same time, those IBM mainframe OS's were so stable that they had System Admins on call all night, who actually had most of the system code memorised, so they could fix things when they were called in.

And the bank ATM's were so stable that the petrol stations had little pads of paper forms to fill out with your banking details so they could enter the transaction later.

Expectations have changed since then.

Rigged e-voting machine snacks on Homer Simpson

david Silver badge

re: Can we please give up the secret ballot? (AUS)

The public can scrutinize the list for fraud (make sure their dead relatives didn't vote, etc).

You can buy a copy of the role, or visit it in a library.

If you want to check online if your dead relatives are registered to vote, go to https://oevf.aec.gov.au/

Many people have always thought that transparency was more important than confidentiality.

There are sound theoretical and practical reasons to have public voting, as we do in parliament and in Congress.

Union meetings in AUS routinely returned 'unanimous' votes until secret ballots were enforced by the government, over strenuous objections by parts of the union movement.

Local elections in the UK routinely returned local land-owners until secret ballots were enforced by the union movement, over strenuous objections by parts of the government.

We have secret voting only because we have tried public voting.

"Only a fool learns from his own mistakes." [Otto Von Bismarck]

Next Windows name unveiled: Windows 7

david Silver badge

XP not a version?

Between Windows 7 and NT4 there was Windows 2000, XP and Vista. Vista was probably 6. Which by my counting, makes XP a service pack for 2000, but one they made you pay for.

OpenOffice.org overwhelmed by demand for version 3.0

david Silver badge

VBA Macro's

Version 2.? crashed on my abuse tests -- Microsoft tests for and corrects stack corruption after calls to external objects, the version of Open Office I tested just crashed. Worse problem was that several versions of Calc couldn't save macro's at all in the default configuration - everything was lost when you closed the spreadsheet.

It will be interesting to see if that has been improved.

Educating Verity

david Silver badge

laugh or cry?

I work in an industry (electronic design) that was traditionally open-source, so the fact that all lecturers plagiarise their material has traditionally been justifiable. They take their course material directly from a text book, as they would do if they were working in industry.

But it has always struck me as inconsistent that they would fail students who did the same.

Royal Society: Schools should show creationism 'respect'

david Silver badge


Not that I'm Creationist, or pro-creationist, just that most of the evolutionists, pro-evolutionists, fellow-travellers and commentators, including the popular ones with big reputations, are anti-science and pro-religion.

I've lost count of the number of 'scientists' I've met, who, with no training at all in HPS, comparative religion, anthropology, biology or palaeontology are quite ready to tell me that Darwinian Evolution is True and that Science is not a religion.

VPN security - if you want it, come and get it

david Silver badge

re: Oops, XP does not have iptables

Oops, iptables set up using ROUTE command, as it is on all versions of Windows.

david Silver badge


Is there any way to connect OpenVPN to a Cisco VPN router? Or to a Windows VPN Server? Or to connect a Cisco VPN router to an OpenVPN router? Or a Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista VPN to an OpenVPN server or Cisco router?

I'm happy using MS VPN and Windows authentication, which avoids all the configuration problems and security limitations of OpenVPN or Cisco, but not everybody wants to use Windows servers, and the compatibility thing is a killer: is there a better way than having three VPN clients installed?

Google bulges old time news archive

david Silver badge

Black hole of Google

Most of the pre-2000 usenet history (internet news groups)has disappeared from the Google indexes (Google got the only online copy of this history when Deja Vu went belly up). If their treatment of this new 'old time news archive' is as good, it's gone forever.

Teachers give toilet CCTV top marks

david Silver badge

kids don't matter anyway - another cop-out

Have you seen the conditions in the student toilets? Have they changed at all since my day? But do the staff care? No, they use the staff toilets.

If they got rid of the staff toilets, there would be basic supervision of the students in the student toilets, misbehaviour would not be tolerated, maintenance would be adequate, and CCTV would be unnecessary.

COBOL thwarts California's Governator

david Silver badge

It's not 6 months to change the code....

It's 6 months to put the change request through IT.

Forgot your ID? You must be a terrorist

david Silver badge

Or are foreign...

Brother-in-law was strip searched while travelling with his wife and two young children. Malaysian passport and asian features.

Top Jock cop calls for universal DNA database

david Silver badge

Police State

We've got a phrase for a society where the Police get to have things run the way they think things should be run. It's called a Police State.

Kaminsky (finally) reveals gaping hole in internet

david Silver badge


Using an OpenBSD DNS and Firewall here. Don't know how they work, but I see that a fixed port number is in use. Haven't noticed that we've received any upgrade disks since this exploit became public. Not my job.

Our Windows server is fully patched. Should we switch to using that for internal DNS?

Old ships' logs show temporary global warming in 1730s

david Silver badge

weather is fractal

It is irregular at every scale. It is unwise to link global warming to specific events, because if you use specific events to support the theory of global warming, you look like an idiot when other specific events don't support the theory. Specific events that do and don't support global warming will always occur, because weather is fractal.

The problem is that there are a lot of idiots out there using specific events to "prove" global warming. The association of global warming with idiots does no one any favours.

Gov pulls plug on prison PlayStations

david Silver badge

re: Anyone else see a problem or am I the only person with a brain?

You are so right! You should go to Jail, go directly to Jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. It is so cool in Prison! Prisoners love it so much they have to put guards on the walls to stop people from breaking in! Big doors with locks are normal at prisons!

Police work all day identifying the innocent people to stop them getting into prison, because everyone wants to get in. Crim's in hospitals beg their doctors to give them special release so that they can go back to prison!

Waited on hand-and-foot! They don't even have to open their own doors in prison - when they want to go the restaurant, they just wait until some lackey comes to open the door, and then they don't even have to choose what food to eat. And when they've finished that they don't even have to chose which mind-numbing direct-to-cable in-depth move-length tribute to a 1970's American TV actor who died 2 years ago to watch on the single minimum-cost special copy-right paid channel (bastards: how come they get free cable?) before retiring to their toilet to spend 14 hours in conditions Baden-Powell would have approved of!

And you would so fit in with the culture there! Most of the people there are extremely brainy like you!

Europe loves HD TVs - but not HD broadcasts

david Silver badge

If HD is so necessary

.. why do ordinary old TV's have only 2/3 broadcast resolution? In other words, if you care about Definition, why didn't you buy a studio quality UHF TV? You can puff all you want, but the facts show that nobody cared about resolution enough to pay AUS 1000 for a good TV. Now they do, but what has changed? That must have more to do with what the neighbours are watching.

MS takes Windows 3.11 out of embed to put to bed

david Silver badge

re: It's not an OS

Windows 1.0 was a command shell for MSDOS.

Windows For Workgroups was a memory manager, file system, network system, and video system. It ran the memory in 80386 mode. The idea it ran 'on top of MSDOS' is true only in the sense that Linux is 'really only ROM BIOS with a few command shell files', ie not true at all.

There was continuous development of the MS OS from DOS 1.0 to Windows 98 ME, when it was killed and replaced. WFWG was part of that, but, it wasn't Win 3.1, it wasn't DOS and it wasn't a command shell.

People who think that even the original version of WFWG was 'not an OS' either never looked at it, or wouldn't know an OS if they tripped over one.

Obama bloats Vista by 11MB

david Silver badge

15 MB dictionary - see KB for more information

The graphic in the article clearly shows the KB article number. If you bother to look, the lexicon takes 15MB. The other 40MB are something else.

Wife-slaying Linux guru may have 'developmental disability'

david Silver badge

Beyond reasonable doubt

That is a bit of a misunderstanding of the way juries work, courts work, and American juries in American courts work in particular.

Firstly, remember that all these terms like "beyond reasonable doubt" are technical terms - they mean something different from what they would mean in normal conversation.

Secondly, courts often give you a choice between two options, neither of which is true. American juries in particular are presented with a choice between killing the defendant and letting him go. If he really is crazy, he may get the death penalty. If he gets off on a crazy plea, it means he is not crazy.

AVG disguises fake traffic as IE6

david Silver badge

Distributed Denial Of Service attack

... for example, a seemingly harmless program that actually secretly clicks on every link in your search window, filling your bandwidth and overloading popular sites...

But what I really like about it is that by analysis of the web traffic, link farms and spammers will be able to detect people who didn't click on their link, as well as those who did....

Customers give Dell the finger over keyboard screw-up

david Silver badge

Do people still use the F1...F12 keys?

They had no value in that position after people switched to on-screen menus.

They were switched from the LEFT (where they were on the original IBM PC) to the top to match standard IBM keyboards, where they were used as programmed function keys, exactly the same way an on-screen menu works. They continued in that use until we switched to on-screen menus.

The problem is that those function keys along the top are easier to see, but much more difficult to get to (don't ask me why). They are great when you are looking down to see the menu (they were always labelled when in use), but much harder to find when not looking. (That's why the number keys are duplicated to the right).

If they were switched back to the side, they would find immediate use in games again. But the thing is, switching them back to the left would make the keyboard narrower and longer, and it's already long enough and thin enough.

In-flight calling given lukewarm reception

david Silver badge

"don't know about petrol stations though."

No petrol station has ever been damaged by a mobile phone.

Repeated attempts to ignite petrol vapour from a mobile phone have always failed.

And even if there was a problem, which there is not, it would be from the cell registration signals, which happen periodically while the phone is turned on, not from talking on the phone, which transmits at lower power.

On the other hand, you should probably pay attention to what you are doing while filling up.

This DVD will self-destruct in 48 hours

david Silver badge

Self burning DVD's!

I never burn DVD's anymore - I get the ones that burn themselves...

Oldham murders owl with whalesong

david Silver badge

Never use a circle --

You have to get the aspect ratio exactly right. I can see the distortion on most screens: most people can if they look. But the real problem is that you have the same problem on paper.

They will have to look at every single item they ever send out for printing to make sure that the circle is 'round enough' on the final product.

Windows Vista update 'kills' USB devices

david Silver badge

Don't blame Vista for USB

USB always causes problems. Always has. Took years to get it going at all. (Same on Linux).

Don't give me that garbage "USB works for me & my 10,000 users". It doesn't work for me, lots of other people, and the gov. dept I work with has disabled USB access for non-admin.

Sure, most of the problems are in the dynamic driver model, and the rest of the problems are in the hardware. Sure, it works a lot better now that it did in it's first 10 years, but where does that get you? It's just not reliable and dependable on a range of machines with a range of devices.

Scrap the dynamic device recognition and just expose the hardware (and the hardware-level packet counts and packet errors). Let the device recognition happen at the application level, as it does with legacy serial ports and network cards.

Australia giving snoop powers to employers

david Silver badge

company, not manager, private, not company

1) Your company monitors your emails. That means your IT department, and they do it for fun and profit, not because they care about you. These people confiscate your porn, but they keep it private. Normally your supervisor does not monitor your email because (i) It's not his/her job, and (ii) It would be an invasion of privacy.

So normally you would be entitled to be offended if your supervisor was reading your mail.

Area 51 drug test victim crashes flying car

david Silver badge

"He was under the influence of"

Yes, far better that he be in withdrawal.

Like it would be better for you to drive to work without having had your first cup of coffee and/or fag. Love to have a bunch of people like that on the road.

Local council uses snooping laws to spy on three-year-old

david Silver badge

"Poole Council are not the bad guys here"

"- they've been given a job to do and powers to do it with"

That excuse went out with Auswitchs.

London store brews £50-a-poop cat-crap coffee

david Silver badge

It's not cat-coffee

-It's a little bit of cat-coffee that's been cut with something cheaper, to make it go further while they still pretend that it's exotic.

Phone insurance firm reveals Sharia rules policy

david Silver badge

Sharia: no rule says you can't charge interest

... Yes it does say that. You can't charge people money just for borrowing money.

You can't charge them more money for not being able to pay. You can't charge them money even if they lost the lot trying to set up a Web business.

But you can invest in a business, you can give credit, you don't need to use cash, and you can speculate on options if you want to. You can buy grain now and sell it later (or if you can't, it's because of some other rule about grain).

The general rule is that you have to put your own arse on the line. You have to share any risk your client is taking. So you can borrow money to speculate, and you can lend money to speculate, but you can't lend money for (risk-free) interest, then repossess the house after he has lost his job and can't make the house payments.

You also can't buy those particular options that purport to strip off risk, like bonds but with better return, but that's a technicality -- those are only for suckers anyway.

Minister: Waste wood is 'huge potential resource'

david Silver badge

>wood in landfill eventually rots away and gives up carbon to the atmosphere

...over thousands of years, which avoids the immediate problem caused by burning it now.

You have to carefully manage your compost heap if you want good methane generation. Most landfills are not like that: when you dig them up for study, you find the 10 year old lettuce still as green and wilted as the day it was buried.

Royal Mail sites hit by downtime cock-up

david Silver badge

fallback system

"they weren't able to find my parcel either, but that's besides the point - the phone did prove to be a viable fallback device"

well duh - they were checking it on their web based system ...

We-think, I-think ... and Groupthink

david Silver badge

Teachers all quote textbooks, why can't students?

The whole business is hypocritical. How many teachers are teaching their own original thoughts? And then they have the gall to insist that student work must be original!

Wikileaks exposes Scientology's zeal to 'clean up rotten spots of society'

david Silver badge

cults become religions

Even cults started and run by criminals or the criminally insane. Look at Christian Science and the Mormons. I don't think anyone would argue that members of those are anything other than ordinary middle class people now?

So what's the current status of Scientology? Is this leak current, or more stuff from 20 years ago?

Ten years old: the world's first MP3 player

david Silver badge

Apple, has no such split personality

and jumped into the gaping hole that said 'make something for the average person' which had traditionally been Sony's.

That is, Apple had /promised/ that it would never go into the music business when it took its name from Apple music, so it had no music business to protect when it went into the music business...

And the world was looking for a business like iTunes, after the music industry had killed off all the businesses like iTunes, the ones that maintained a central inventory of titles and customers. If Napster had just come along 2 years later...

Microsoft codes leap year bug into Exchange 2007

david Silver badge

compatible excel

Anyone who has looked at the mess which is OpenOffice/Excel date compatibility, will understand my reluctance to ask for a version of Excel which is only 'compatible' with the old Excel date system.

Frankly, I need a version of Excel which reports correct dates in 1900 like I need a version of Excel reporting correct dates on the 'old calender' or c 0001.

What I need and want is a version of Excel which is the same as all other versions of Excel.

Major Linux security glitch lets hackers in at Claranet

david Silver badge

Local root exploits

"I'm not sure it makes sense to compare with Windows.

"Does Windows even attempt to protect itself against untrustworthy local users?

This is the thing: all Linux/BSD users I know work from a position of deep ignorance like this.

Some of my best friends are Linux/BSD/Solaris administrators. I don't expect them to master two operating systems. They try not to boast about their ignorance.

Faster broadband through bonding

david Silver badge

shared bandwidth

The energy is bound to the wire, but flows in the space surrounding the wire. In the old co-ax, between the inner core and the outer shied. In twisted pair, just around the twisted pair.

This means you sort of share your bandwidth with your neighbours, because all your cables are bundled together until they get to your house. It also means that when you get multiple ADSL connections, they sort of share the same bandwith. In old systems, that would have meant errors. In modern systems, it just means things go slower.

Thats the general theory, but what does it mean in practice? If anyone here knows the total 'bandwith' of a 32 pair cable is, I'm curious.

Glaswegian piracy drive yields just 41 'possible' offenders

david Silver badge

"Innocent until proved guilty"

Anyone who believes that is either a lawyer or has never been in court. It is actually a technical description, not a plain english description: it doesn't mean what it sounds like at all.

Rocket train smashes world land-speed record

david Silver badge

hydrogen is not explosive

any more than a piece of wood is explosive. It burns in the presence of oxygen, just like wood burns in the presence of oxygen.

It is difficult to even make explosive air/hydrogen mixtures, because hydrogen just tends to float away.

It is difficult to make an explosive air/wood dust mixture for the opposite reason, because the wood dust tends to settle out.

Nor is hydrogen very energy dense: a little bit of hydrogen gas takes a lot of space, that is, a given volume does not weigh very much because there is not much hydrogen in it.

Nor will it detonate at normal temperatures and pressures: the flame front is quite slow.

So hydrogen would be better for this application than almost anything else. Just not as good as hydrogen, which is almost as thin, and a noble gas as well.

Alcoholic rats' boozing slashed by mutant superpower drug

david Silver badge

Stay s-faced for 3 days.

Because it interferes with the breakdown process. Or is that only an urban myth? I know that people with this condition get drunk a lot faster, but I'm not sure about the recovery period.

Office update disables MS files

david Silver badge

Still lets through Word files

Only blocks up to Word For Windows 2 files by default. -- And that was a version so few people used that they called the next version 6 to make it look like they'd been in business for a while. They don't want to block Word files - people would just reject it. Email becomes pointless if you can't use it.

I've been following this for years, because they blocked MS Access files years ago, and without warning. Most of you don't care, but MS Access files were central to our business. The justification was pathetic - there never has been a wild MS Access virus - but what made it ridiculous was that at the time Word Macro Viruses were common, so you could see that they were just saying that as customers Access users didn't matter as much as Word users.

That first filter was really broken - you had to be a system admin with very good MS Exchange skills to change the file settings -- but it eventually got a little easier to set. This is much better: clearly documented from the start: but I have to wonder about the usefulness of it: who would want to change the blocking level to permit Word97 and prevent Word95? That doesn't seem like a useful distinction.

Of course MS would like you to stop using WFW 2.0, and that's the same thing we thought about Access: There were people in the company who wanted to kill the product. But that's a terrible way to run a company: I've never really forgiven them.