* Posts by Peter Stone

86 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Apr 2008


ATLAS flubbed: Comet heading our way takes one look at Earth, self-destructs into house-sized chunks

Peter Stone


So will we have a Shoemaker-Levy-9 event here on Earth?

(Before people comment, I know it won't get any closer than 70 million miles, but it would be briefly interesting :) )

Poop to save planet as boffins devise bullsh*t way of extracting gas

Peter Stone

Re: Crap News?

In the late 60s I worked for a firm that produced electomechanical automatic voltage regulators, amongst other things. Within nine months the role of service engineer was thrust on me. One place I went to regularly, was the sewage farm at Kingston upon Thames, along with others up Cheshire way. these produced thier own electricity using usually four alternator sets. These were powered by the gas produced from the plant. The engines driving the alternators were ex submarine engines. The starting procedure was to first start turning the engine over using compressed air, the diesel fuel was used to get the engine running up to speed, usually no more than two-three minutes, then it was switched over to gas which ran the set until it was stopped.

At the time I was doing this I thought about using a similar setup to produce electricity for use by the country, but was told at the time, it wasn't viable. But I've aways thought it would be a viable form of electricity generation, in these times.

FBI chief asks tech industry to build crypto-busting not-a-backdoor

Peter Stone
Black Helicopters

Two things

1) Whatever this guy is taking, can he please pass it around, it seems like good stuff.

2) A thought. After a few years of asking for this "backdoor that isn't a backdoor", will a law be passed stating that data at rest in the cloud or wherever, will have to be in plaintext? Yes, I know this won't work, but........

Use ad blockers? Mine some Monero to get access to news, says US site

Peter Stone

Can someone explain...

Just how this is idea is generally supposed to work? I know that it's javascript, but from what I know of mining, (only bitcoin), my understanding is that it takes time to mine. So, if I visit a website that does mining, but only for 15 minutes, how can anything useful be done? Unless when you leave a site the info regarding where the script got to is uploaded back to the originating server, to be downloaded to another computer.

Or have I got this wrong?

Are Asimov's laws enough to stop AI stomping humanity?

Peter Stone

Re: simplified three laws

You forgot the fourth law,

& if you prove it was me, I'll blame it on the voices

Sons of IoT: Bikers hack Jeeps in auto theft spree

Peter Stone

Let's talk car alarms.

First off, disclosure. Between mid 1986 & mid 1989 I worked as an electronic design & development engineer for EDA Sparkrite in Walsall. Who, for those who don't know, made car alarms for the afterfit market.

The first thing I want to say isn't of earth shattering importance, but cars & their components are made to provide the maximum profit for the minimum cost. Just because the car costs x thousand

pounds to buy, it shouldn't be assumed that the car alarm that's fitted would cost a comparable amount or contains sophisticated electronics. Usually it's dirt cheap electronics & can be

purchased under it's trade name cheaper. I have personal knowledge of this.

At the start of the comments it was said that if you can remove the hood, & access the battery & fuse box then a mistake has been made. With the afterfit market, there were usually plunger switches provided, (like those used to turn on the interior light when the door is opened), to protect both the boot & the bonnet. So if these have been omitted, it's most lilely for cost.

Saying that, it's not hard to disable a car alarm. The first way is to take a core of either 2.5mm or 4mm twin & earth cable, & attach a croc clip to either end. Attach one end to the connection to the horn, the other to the body work, & then trigger the car alarm, & if the manufacturers have skimped on the number of fuses, pow, the fuse blows & with a 'bit of luck' disables the car alarm. the second way is similar to the first but involves smashing the headlight & earthing the headlight bulb's filiment with similar results. The handbrake is on? Then a pair of strong wire/bolt cutters applied to the handbrake cable solves that problem.

Of course, if the aim is ti merely steal from cars, then a classic attack method is to constantly trigger he car alarm at night, then with some 'luck'. the cars owner will disable the alarm & then the car can be broke into at leasure. A 'personal' story is one that happened to my ex-brother in law & his friend. They decided to go rallying, & to this end took a ford escort & made it into a rally car. This was easy for them to do as both were mechanics & the friend had his own garage. They built the car & used it, when one morning six months later, the car was found to be missing from the friend's drive. Dispite having a Sparkrite alarm fitted. Asking around the nieghbours if anyone had seen anything, one guy admitted seeing the car being pushed onto a low-loader at three in the morning, his excuse for not phoning the police, was that he thought it was being taken away for some work to be done on it!

There is one last method of breaking into cars, simply if a spare fob is ordered, then get an accomplice in the garage to order two instead of one.

This leads to the last problem with car alarms, human apathy. I mean how many people have heard a car alarm going off & paid no attention to it?

Six on capacitor charges

Peter Stone

To name only one company & to call the rest A,B,C etc, is sure tantalising

Server vendor has special help desk for lying, incompetent sysadmins

Peter Stone

Re: "Microsoft Certified Support Engineer"

No, MCSE actually stands for;

Minesweeper Champion & Solitaire Expert

Juno enters Jovian orbit

Peter Stone

Obligatory sci-fi story as Juno is carrying LEGO figures

Call me Joe by Poul Anderson (first published in 1957)

Florida man sues Apple for $10bn, claims iPod, iPhone was his idea

Peter Stone

Re: HHG2

Actually The Machine Stops was first published in The Oxford and Cambridge Review (November 1909) Visionary or what?

Reavers! Google patent would affix pedestrians to car hoods

Peter Stone

Re: so the documentary... er, movie was only off by a few years...

I'll admit that the way the 'sea tanks' harvested mankind in 'the kraken wakes' was the first thing that sprang in to my mind.

However after further reflection, I realized that if Google ran collection centres, then they could become the real life equivalent of the Solylent corporation when the search business collapsed.

Tracy Emin dons funeral shroud, marries stone

Peter Stone

It wasn't me

I would like to take this opportunity to state that the rumours of a union between Tracy Emin & myself are totally unfounded!

National Crime Agency: Your kid could be a nasty interwebs hacker

Peter Stone

Is your child resistant when questioned about what they do online?....

And parents will understand the reply?

An example from my past, christmas 1982 into jan/feb 1983, I was a technician at a Polytechnic, how many would've understood an experiment we did using an analogue hall effect sensor to see if was possible to create a non-invasive tap for a RS232 cable? From my more recent past as a tech at a school, a boy was discovered with some moderately hard core porn pictures in his user area, his parents where called up the school, & I was explaining to the lad's father about checking the machine for undesirable content, & I watched his eyes glaze over. Oh well.

Donald Trump wants Bill Gates to 'close the Internet', Jeff Bezos to pay tax

Peter Stone

Two Thoughts

The first, that Donald Trump must take comfort in the thought that when he's elected, he'll be able to throw the Big Switch that will turn the internet off

The second, How many of the UK commutards remember the Spitting Image series of sketches titled 'The President's Brain is Missing' ? Well, I think I know where it went.

GCHQ director blasts free market, says UK must be 'sovereign cryptographic nation'

Peter Stone

Another point

Does anyone remember the Clipper Chip/Capstone controversy back in the 90s? They were on about a similar setup using key escrow, & got laughed out of court.

Peter Stone

I see,

This is the lot, or it's equivalent, that at the time of the Crimean War, used the solution Babbage had worked out to crack Vigenere's Cipher, but never told anyone, or allowed Babbage to publish his method & claim credit for it. Then at the end of the Second World War, gave the captured Enigma machines away, not revealing we had cracked them, and they expect us to trust them??

In-a-spin Home Sec: 'We won't be rifling through people's web history'

Peter Stone

Eyes bigger than stomachs (as my mum used to say)

If the security services want to store every GET request generated, have they actually worked out the logistics?

When I last worked in schools back in 2006/7 we had a proxy server that kept logs of the type required, with 1,500 users generating a 250MByte file daily. (In round numbers). Bearing this in mind, let's do some working out.

The population of the UK in 2015 is 64 Million in round numbers. If only 95% of the population uses the internet, then this produces a figure of 60.8 Million users.

Using the log figure I mentioned above, then a file of (60.8*10^6) * (250*10^6)/(1.5*10^3) is generated, which gives a figure of 10.3 TBytes per day, which over the year gives a figure of 659 TBytes.

From when I had to search the 250MByte log files for details of sites that had been visited by pupils was a pain, & could easily take half a day.

Storage wise, this may not be a problem, but searching such an amount of data is going to be a headache, & somehow I don't think log parser is going to be much use. Then there is the problem of getting all the log files in the same format.

One final thing, take my internet usage. Sometimes I tether my computer to my mobile phone, other times I use the local library & connect to the citywide network, (best of luck unraveling that) & then sometimes I use family internets. So putting together a comprehensive browsing history for me could be a nightmare :)

DEFCON 1 to DEFCON GONE: One of NORAD's spy blimps goes missing

Peter Stone

Re: It ain't even lost

@Mark 85, Re Spads & Camels, Does anyone still manufacture Buckingham Ammunition?

Ransomware victims: Just pay up, grin, and bear it – says the FBI

Peter Stone

Re: This is precisely why

No, the scorpion pits are too quick & clean. for this crime it would have to be......... The kittens!!

Teenage boy bailed until November over TalkTalk incident

Peter Stone

I'm wondering if the boys in blue will find out that either there's no/or a weak password on the home wi-fi router?

US nuke boffinry to be powered by Facebook-inspired Linux servers

Peter Stone

and there was light--

(Good old Dr A)

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Peter Stone

Show me again, just what exactly has to be pressed to get the thing to reboot?

How did jihadists hack into top UK ministerial emails if no security breach took place?

Peter Stone

I've just finished reading Intercept, 'the secret history of computers and spies' by Gordon Corera, Although it starts with the first world war, then Tommy Flowers & Colossus. it soon moves into modern times. I found it quite an interesting read, (though I'm a sucker for such books), especially the later sections, with stories of how the spy agencies saw systems being broken into & stuff 'disappear' from servers, without feeling that they needed to say anything. The last two or three chapters explain how interlinked the world is, & how easy it is the for the three letter agencies to tap into it. A book I think is worth the read. If I wasn't paranoid before, I would have been by the end.

Reg reader shares AshMad blackmail email about which he gives 'zero f***s'

Peter Stone

When this story was first published, back in July, & I read that no email addresses were verified, I did wonder what would stop the spam merchants from grabbing a pile of email addresses, sending out something similar, on a random basis & seeing what came of it.

Possibly more than has been collected to date?

Boffins: The universe is DOOMED and there's nothing to be done

Peter Stone

Another story that is appropriate for this article & is well worth a read, is 'The Voices of Time' by J.G. Ballard

EMC splashed a BILLION dollars buying just one flashy upstart

Peter Stone


Hmmm, From what I can see, the entry for DSSD has been deleted from the WSGR webpage you link to, someone reading El Reg perhaps & isn't happy about the attention they're getting?

UK.gov spaffed billions into IT projects at 'high risk of failure' last year

Peter Stone

Re: Shame

I can beat that.

The computer rooms, (each 40 foot square), in a brand new PFI school had their power sockets spaced round the walls, every two metres as per normal, but all the network sockets placed in the trunking run down from the ceiling. Problem was, all the backbone cable had been specified as cat 6, & the contractor thought he'd save a few pence on the quote.

Thing was, no one had spotted this, & it was only when yours truly was allowed to look round the school, & saw it was it deemed incorrect, even though other members of the party, had been round the school, & had been on the planning committee.

Another factor that magnified the ouch factor, was that the school was built as two wings of three floors, off a central hub. Originally the plans, negotiated by someone who was IT knowledgeable, had called for a network & power closet half way down each of the wings, however, the contractors had managed to get that overturned, & had had a single closet put on each floor of a the central hub, & don't get me started on the planet switches stacked 14 high!!

(Icon for what happened to the network, despite my warning, when everyone logged on at once.)

But ... but iOS 9 could BLOCK my Ad-Block, dev squeals

Peter Stone

Ad block plus

Oh you mean the guy/company mentioned in this article


no wonder he's worried, all that potentially lost revenue

ICANN urges US, Canada: Help us stop the 'predatory' monster we created ... dot-sucks!

Peter Stone

I've said it before, I would love the gTLD .estmerde

.Free domains at Amazon while Google says bye to .family

Peter Stone

Re: Finding it difficult

I think I'd prefer .estmerde as a suitable TLD

RadioShack lists 1,800 stores facing the axe across America

Peter Stone

Ahhh Tandy

Thing that got me with radio shack in the UK, was the pricing. A 741 op-amp was priced at 59p (one 32nd of my weekly wage at the time. However, because I read Popular Electronics, I knew that the Radio Shack US price was 59c.

With the exception of the TRS80 Model 1, this wasn't a problem (UK price £807, US price $807), as locally I had Waltons, Fenwicks & Lings for loads of interesting parts. Plus there was always Tottenham Court Road at the end of a train journey along with the catalogs for Henrys & Proops Brothers!

NORKS: We didn't hack Sony. Whoever did was RIGHTEOUS, though

Peter Stone

a 'righteous deed'

Surely a 'righteous hack' is the correct term to use?

UK digi exclusion: Poor families without internet access could 'miss out' on child tax credit

Peter Stone

Re: What about Public Libraries?

"...As for the 6% who have never used the internet. So What?

My 92yr old mother has never used it. I offered her a tablet but she really wasn't interested. There are others of her generation have the same attitude...."

I'm now a volunteer for AgeUK, & I teach computing to the older person, (my translation), & I have to say that there is a large waiting list for the course. In many cases, these are people who have never even used a keyboard before, never mind a computer. I will admit that for some, the motivation is for services like Skype, to allow them to keep in touch with their with extended families, for others it merely seems to be a way to keep the lump of grey matter on their shoulders exercised. the oldest person I've had on the course was slightly younger than your mother at 89 - 91, & they were using an iPad, (bought before they had attended the course, & I had advised them on what to purchase).

With regard to public libraries, The times, when out of work I used them to fill in on-line job applications, I was usually frustrated at some point, by incompatible browser software or connection problems. Not to mention access time restrictions.

Google pulls Gaza games from Play store

Peter Stone

Why don't they.....

Produce a game based on the Amtrak Wars? I mean that is American killing American. The aim of the game could be for the Federation to stop the Tallisman, & the mute side to produce the first green blade of grass.

Microsoft wants to lure biz users with fondleable Windows 8.1 'Apportals'

Peter Stone

What next?

Micrisift are trying to lure businesses to use Windows 8.1, which businesses seem to be resisting & staying with Windows 7. My thought for a long time has been, what will businesses do when the next version of Windows comes out, & Windows 7 gets eol.

Fearful of the drone-filled skies? Get some protection

Peter Stone

But, but.....

Using a shotgun's more fun!

Boris: Look on 'London's digital tentacles', ye mighty, and despair!

Peter Stone

A thought

Boris: Look on 'London's digital tentacles', ye mighty, and despair!

& how does the poem you've paraphrased end? Oh yes;

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

Google: The Internet of Things to become the Internet of ADVERTS ON YOUR THERMOSTAT

Peter Stone

Why has this popped into my head?

You're in a self driving car, & the display flashes up "we're going to be in a serious accident, the following link may be of future use", followed by a link to Jones & Sons, family undertakers.

Another one is you're sitting at your desktop & the display shows an advert saying "Your google toilet has detected that you haven't used it for two days, Can we suggest Fred's enema & colinic irrigation service?"

Must drink more coffee.

(There's no joke icon available)

Bad PUPPY: Undead Windows XP deposits fresh scamware on lawn

Peter Stone

Re: Business as usual

In my experience, those people who click on the "your pc is running slow"/"your

pc has a virus" type adverts do so because at the bottom it usually states "microsoft certified partner" & they've been 'conditoned' to trust it. As there are always patches & upgrades being downladed to their pc's

Why ever leave home? Amazon wants to turn your kitchen into a shop

Peter Stone


is E M Forster's story "The Machine Stops" popping into my mind every time I read an article like this, about an always connected system?

How much will Google pay to bring fiber to Provo, Utah? Try $1

Peter Stone

Hang on a minute....

The name of the company is iProvo, are Apple aware of this?

Hold on! Degrees for all doesn't mean great jobs for all, say profs

Peter Stone

Re: How Victorian.

My version of the saying is

Those who can, do.

Those who can't, teach.

Those who can't teach, become Ofstead inspectors!

(After experience gained from going through several of them).

Mars to go offline for a month as vast nuclear furnace gets in the way

Peter Stone

Re: We need a relay

I think you'll find it was called Venus Equalateral (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_Equilateral) proposed in the early 1940s.

Curiosity's MYSTERY MARS find: NASA reveals THE TRUTH

Peter Stone

Pay? Pay? Oh I wish I had that much influance :)

Peter Stone

The truth that NASA will reveal is......that a Mars a day helps you work,rest & play! Simples :)

Ofcom anoints broadcaster: Local TV is nearly here

Peter Stone

Re: Bring back topless darts !

Don't forget the weather forecast in Norwegian/Swedish :)

APPLE reveals complete updated blueprints of SPACESHIP JOBS

Peter Stone


Wil the fathfull gather & using pure mind power, levitate the structure to a better place? :)

A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 1

Peter Stone

How about that mainstay of engineers over the years, the slide rule?

America mounts attempt to top the Register's world record spaceflight

Peter Stone

Given the Bonid articles on El Reg, perhaps the best way to deal with the American plane would be to launch LOHAN into orbit & arrange for the front to open & swallow it. - just a thought