* Posts by Keir Snelling

55 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Jun 2008


Got some broken tech? Super Cali's trinket fix-it law brought into focus

Keir Snelling

Hat doffed for the head and sub. Superb.

Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

Keir Snelling

But can it play Far Cry?

A cracked window on the International Space Station? That's not good

Keir Snelling

Re: Transparent ALUMINUM?

I'm in the UK, but posting from my American employer's network, so suspect my IP makes me look septic.

Confused as to WTF is happening with Apple, the FBI and a killer's iPhone? Let's fix that

Keir Snelling

I have a wickedly delightful wish

Imagine, several years from now, after a series of court cases, appeals, false dawns, and the inevitable supreme court ruling, Apply finally cave and do what the FBI have requested.

The agents nervously fondle the device, eager to learn what conspiracies are documented within, having waited for this day for so long. They tap in the recently revealed unlock code. Success! They're in.

Methodically, they start to examine the contents of the device in detail. But everything on the phone is clean, no photos, music, videos, text messages, 3rd party apps. Web history is blank, phone logs clear - it's like a factory fresh device. With one exception....

Within the email app they find but one email, sent from the terrorist to himself. The subject line is blank.

They open the email, wondering what it's contents might be.

As it unfolds into view, they can see a single line of text. It's a URL. It's been obfuscated by a URL shortening service.

They jot it down on their notepads. Not willing to access an external link from the phone itself.

Carefully, they copy the URL into the browser installed on one of the agent's laptops.

As the URL resolves, and loads it's target, a look of enlightenment, followed by smiles appears on their faces..... Wait until their bosses see what they've uncovered.

The URL - oh, yes, here it is - go check for yourselves....


BBC risks wrath of android rights activists with Robot Wars reboot

Keir Snelling

Hypnodisc - That was the flywheel spinning machine that destroyed most enemies it came across.

I happened to live near where the original series was filmed, and our kids were invited to be in the live studio audience.

Attending that was a bit of a wizard of oz moment. Seeing how the magic of television was actually created - with the director yelling cut mid fight, so a house robot could be tweaked/saved from imminent death, kind of took some of the wonder away.

Hacks rebel after bosses secretly install motion sensors under desks

Keir Snelling

Re: Moral police @rototype @Dan Paul

Always a bit of a risk when you call someone out over an inaccuracy and then call them a moron.

Opens you up to all manner of opprobrium should you have got the facts wrong yourself. As you did here....

The employee fired for visiting the strip club was in the US. That was what Rototype was referring to.

I'll not call you a moron though. Not even in CAPS.

Keir Snelling
Big Brother

Hands up who checked under their own desk after reading this story? Up arrow if you did.

Judge bins Apple Store end-of-shift shakedown lawsuit

Keir Snelling

As someone that once worked in retail, I wonder how often they check the rubbish bags and bins?

Employees carrying out large bags of rubbish to the bins are rarely checked.

And the bins are rarely secured to prevent an employee getting access to them at the rear of the store after closing time.

Not hard to drop an iPhone into a waste basket immediately before scooping up the contents to take out back.

Embracing the life-changing qualities of USB power packs and battery extenders

Keir Snelling

The consensus of the global Ingress community (ex google augmented reality location based game) is that Anker battery packs are the ones to go for.

Field tested by thousands of Ingress agents - who run around cities with their phones screens constantly lit, GPS constantly active, and high data consumption - An absolute tax on any device's battery capabilities - The vast majority of Ingress agents swear by Anker.

The product works really well, and on the odd occasion that one fails, their customer service is second to none.

My top three IT SNAFUs - and how I fixed them

Keir Snelling

After the umpteenth desk visit to a business analyst that had a habit of calling the IT director to ask him "Is the network down again?", whenever she managed to kick the network cable out of the floor port under her desk, I decided a more permanent solution was required.

I requested her laptop for some "deep analysis" to see if I could find the "root cause" of her network issues.

I configured her wifi adapter, which at the time only supported 2Mbps, to connect to the corporate network. The laptop had a physical wifi on/off switch, so I invested in some superglue, and fixed the switch so it was permanently switched on. Then returned to the laptop to her.

"Yes, I found the fault. I don't think you'll have any more problems with the network".

She continued through to retirement working with nothing better than a 2Mbps connection to the corporate LAN. Never complained to the IT director about the network again. Even praised me for finally fixing "the network issue".

Samsung offers $90,000 if you can fix California's epic drought with tech

Keir Snelling

What are some of the most notable natural features of California?

A long coastline.

Lots of sunshine.

Hmmmmn. Solar powered desalination?

TomTom MyDrive brings satnav syncing to PCs and mobiles

Keir Snelling

Not all "Go" devices can be upgraded apparently.

I have what was once a top of the range Go1005. Predictably, this is not able to receive the upgrade.

NERDS KICK PUPPY 'bot in brutal attack

Keir Snelling

This lot are owned by Google aren't they?

Look at who else they've bought recently...

Revolv - Home automation

Vision Factory - Artificial Intelligence

Dark Blue Labs - Artificial Intelligence

Jetpac - Artificial Intelligence, image recognition

Dropcam - Home monitoring

Alpental Technologies - Wireless technology

Titan Aerospace - High Altitude UAVs

Deep Mind Technologies - Artificial Intelligence

Nest Labs - Home automation

Boston Dynamics - Robotics

Bot & Dolly - Robotic Cameras

Holomni - Robotic Wheels

Meka Robotics - Robotics

Redwood Robotics - Robotic Arms

Industrial Perception - Robotic Arms, Computer vision

SCHAFT, Inc - Robotics, Humanoid Robots

DNNresearch Inc. - Deep Neural Networks

That's just in the last 2 years - They're building Skynet. Someone saw Terminator, and didn't heed the warnings. We're doomed.

Google Maps Doesn't Like Tottenham

Keir Snelling

Google Maps Doesn't Like Tottenham

Someone at Google isn't a Spurs fan!


1. Open Google Maps

2. Focus the map over the whole of Greater London

3. Search for "the shithole"

4. Laugh at Tottenham

Telefónica to offload O2 to Three daddy Hutchison for £10.25bn

Keir Snelling

There's got to be a gag about the new company name, but I can't quite nail it.

3 + 02




Really need to put another element into the mix to get properly creative.

Come on, someone can do better than me, surely.

Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

Keir Snelling

Regarding the supercharged version of the engine cranking in the wrong direction.

You can avoid 4 reverse gears by simply flipping the diff and drive shafts over 180 degrees. Hey presto, wheels now turn in the right direction.

Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

Keir Snelling

So, at least we now know that it's not just the lower ranks that can invent laws as they please (Put the camera down, it's illegal to photograph police officers....), the senior ranks are quite happy to invent new crimes too. One might even go as far as to describe it as institutionalised.

Top 10 tech essentials for the festival season

Keir Snelling

I'd recommend an Anker battery pack.

They do a variety of models, the latest having IQ charging, to automatically detect higher charging capacity devices like iPhones, and provide the maximum current for them, without the need for a trick USB lead that shorts two of the pins.

Google's MMARG Ingress has really driven the need for battery packs, and the whole community of players nearly unanimously agree that Anker are the brand to go for.

UK's CASH POINTS to MISS Windows XP withdrawal date

Keir Snelling

McAfee's Solidcore, more properly known as McAfee Application Control, is an application whitelisting solution, not an IP whitelisting product as the article suggests.

Google gobbles Wi-Fi thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 BEEELLION IN CASH

Keir Snelling

Google have huge computer networks, which on some levels are already programming themselves. They have self driving cars. They have technology that can control large groups of drones automatically. They have glasses that augment the reality of the world we see around us.

They bought Boston Dynamics, a company at the forefront of combat military robotics. And then yesterday they bought a company that makes thermostats. But not just any thermostats. No these are really sensors, that people will put in every room of their houses.

I can see the direction they're going in. They're creating Skynet. Skynet was the name of the computer network in the Terminator films. It's only a matter of time before this thing becomes self aware, and then takes over.

I don't think resistance will be possible. So, in an attempt to curry favour, I for one would like to welcome our new robot overlords.

Nuke-whisperers stuff terabytes of flash into heretical 'Catalyst' super

Keir Snelling

Obligatory response provided below.

Yeah, but can it play Crysis?

Walkie Scorchie Death Ray.

Keir Snelling

Walkie Scorchie Death Ray.

This looks like a story right up El Reg's street.


The new "Walkie-Talkie" building in Fenchurch street, is focusing the sun's rays, and has melted body panels on vehicles parked in nearby Eastcheap.

Interestingly, it's happening right besides the junction between Eastcheap and Pudding lane - The site of origin of the Great Fire of London in 1666. That cannot be just coincidence - There's a master plan at work here...

OWN GOAL! 100s of websites blocked after UK Premier League drops ball

Keir Snelling

No, this is like wanting to revoke a liquor licence for the Red Lion, Wilmslow, but only writing the pub name, and not the town on the paperwork, and causing all Red Lions to have their licence revoked, in every town.

Iron Man 3.

Keir Snelling

I don't believe they do it deliberately - If they were concerned about drawing attention to a real IP address, why not use private address ranges, or even better, use the IP address of www.marvel.com and drive traffic to the film's official website?

Keir Snelling


While I'm on the subject, why would said outside broadcast van need a whole rackfull of Sun/Oracle Sparc kit in a Sun/Oracle logo'd cabinet?

Product placement much?

Keir Snelling

Iron Man 3.

I watched this last night.

Didn't disappoint, with one exception.

When, oh when, will Hollywood learn to do computers properly?

Tony Stark breaks in to an outside broadcast van to attempt to use their computers to hack AIM's computers and find out what was the truth behind the Extremis program.

First off he checks the available bandwidth, and appears to use something like speedtest.net - Very good Hollywood, credible at this point.

Then he gains more bandwidth by having the tech fiddle with a satellite dish. Not sure about this, but I can suspend credibility for a while.

Then, and not for the first time in a film, we see IP addresses on screen. When will Hollywood ever learn that 936.345.643.21 is not technically possible?

Can they not for once just employee a technical advisor with even rudimentary networking knowledge? Please?

StreetView spots possible roadside nookie down under

Keir Snelling
Big Brother

Here's a slighty better view of the Manchester incident - http://i.imgur.com/qdN74Rd.jpg

Google haven't worked out how to blur that one nicely yet, so it just goes black if you get any closer that this - http://goo.gl/maps/DCMju

Best Street View Oopsie EVAR! - May be NSFW, but blurred in the right places...

Keir Snelling
Big Brother

Best Street View Oopsie EVAR! - May be NSFW, but blurred in the right places...

From a street in Manchester. Truely outstanding. In more ways than one...


Sadly now removed by google.

Try and get any closer than this - http://goo.gl/maps/DCMju - and the view goes black...

British armed forces get first new pistol since World War II

Keir Snelling

Re: Where and by whom?

P90 is also used heavily by USAF Stargate Command.

National Stockings Day

Keir Snelling
IT Angle

National Stockings Day

Surprised el Reg missed this.


It's national stockings day. It's not like this august publication to miss an opportunity to display some gratuitious smut.

IT Angle? Well, they have a facebook page....

'Apple's iOS 6 maps app is SHOCKING, rushed and half-baked'

Keir Snelling


There's nothing wrong with the way Apple Maps represents the world. You're just looking at the world in the wrong way.

Norwich City FC Web CMS exposes privates. Club respond by calling police.

Keir Snelling
Black Helicopters

Norwich City FC Web CMS exposes privates. Club respond by calling police.

Did you see this story on the BBC site - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-17767236

It appears that Norwich were preparing a page to promote their new kit for the next season, when they inadvertently exposed pictures of the kit on public parts of the site.

A lad found them, and shared them, 12 hours before their 'official' launch.

What did Norwich do when they found out? They called the police. I'd have thought their CMS vendor's support department would have been a better place to go.

It also appears that the poor boy and his mother have been cajoled into issuing apologies for his actions, whilst he continues to help the police with their enquiries.


Sony unveils PlayStation telly

Keir Snelling

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

So, will you require 2 PS3's, both connected to the TV, or will one PS3 be powerful enough to handle the whole gig?

El Reg iPhone app rated a flaccid 12+

Keir Snelling
Thumb Down

No mobile reg shenanigans for me

This app is not supported on your handset or carrier.

I have a Blackberry Torch on O2.

Oh well.

Yes, I do know I can read it in the device browser.

I'm beginning to wonder whether me and el reg are destined to never get together properly when mobile. My crackberry replaced a Nokia E71, I used to use opera mini as my main browser on that. It would work OK, until I tried to read the comments, where it always reported a protocol error.

Playboy centrefold freaks out at 10,000 feet

Keir Snelling


Does anyone know, can you actually open a door on a plane, mid flight?

Is there an interlock to prevent such things? If there is, how would the interlock be deactivated in the case of an accident?

I've often wondered.

And if it is possible to open the door at 30,000 feet, are there any recorded incidents of someone having done so? What was the outcome?

iPhone customers lay into Apple after iOS 4.0.1 update fails to install

Keir Snelling

Well, this guy managed to install it, not that it did anything about the signal problem.

My friend applied the software fix today - His experiment seems to dispute Apple's claim that the signal drop is only a problem in low signal areas.

iPhone 4.0.1 signal indicator fix fails to do what Apple claimed - From 5 to 1 in just a grip of the hand... http://bit.ly/9Clh5Y

Apple antenna guru 'warned Steve Jobs' over Judas Phone

Keir Snelling

Already letting the fanbois down.

My friend applied the software fix today - His experiment seems to dispute Apple's claim that the signal drop is only a problem in low signal areas.

iPhone 4.0.1 signal indicator fix fails to do what Apple claimed - From 5 to 1 in just a grip of the hand... http://bit.ly/9Clh5Y

Owner of Russia's biggest breasts sues over airline buffeting

Keir Snelling
Paris Hilton

Why do I have to type something here?

Pictures, or it didn't happen.

Supersonic stealth jumpjet passes hover thrust test

Keir Snelling
Thumb Down


"Anyway, how much is jet engine performance affected by atmospheric conditions such as altitude, air temp and humiidity? "

Well, there may be some small variances due to tides, but I'm pretty sure that sea level + deck height will be near enough the same all over the world, so I guess the effect of altitude on engine performance can safely be forgotten about. Unless of course, sea levels rise significantly over the next 50 years that this thing might be in service for. But no-one's made any suggestion of something like that happening have they?

ID cards not compulsory after all, says Home Office

Keir Snelling
Black Helicopters

Their strategy can be seen in effect right now.

We're being prepared to accept their new ID card plans, and whatever other gross infringement on our liberties they can think of, right now.

I trust every else has noticed the uplift in threat propaganda over the last couple of days. 60,000 people trained to spot potential terry wrists. Waqui scaring us all to death with more stories of dirty bombs. Hoax bomb threats on airliners. Football grounds evacuated because of suspect packages.

I expect there will be some full scale security shenanigans with a large civic area put on ultra high alert before the end of the week. Then, once the public have been suitably softened into thinking we're really under siege, along will come the next batch of freedom restricting legislation.

NASA's CO2-scan sat set to launch

Keir Snelling


Launch contingency declared after payload fairing failed to separate.

Let the conspiracy theorists begin....

UK border facial scan tests hit by errors and breakdowns

Keir Snelling

Has anyone tried this?

I recently got one of these new passports with the chips in, and have been pondering seemingly obvious ways to subvert it's technology ever since.

If someone took my passport, and then, faced the scanner, holding up a lifesize photo of my face in front of their own, would the scanner be tricked into believing it was me?

Doesn't sound all that secure to me.

UK minister looks for delete key on user generated content

Keir Snelling

@Mike Crawshaw

"Big Celebrity Strictly Come Wanking Pigs Brother"

Sir, that's outstanding. I may borrow it from time to time if that is ok with you.

Copyright lawyers accuse 25,000 UK videogame filesharers

Keir Snelling

Data Protection question

I may be out of kilter here, but I seem to remember that in the early days of the data protection act, much was made of the ability of individuals to use to the act to force an organisation to remove all data from their systems that pertained to them, the individual.

Is/was that correct?

If it still is, and I were a customer of one of those ISPs and I knew I had been illegally file sharing, I might well be tempted to cease my agreement with the ISP, and then send them a data protection request, requiring them to remove any and all data from their systems that pertained to me.

Then, when shylock,shyster and shwindle knock on their door demanding that they reveal personal details associated with a given IP address, they wouldn't have any record that linked to me.

Of course, this only works if my original assertion was correct, and I'm not so sure.

Fart-lighting youth in petrol can mishap

Keir Snelling

On can only hope,

That they were equipped, as all modern teenagers must be, with camera phones to record their emissive combustibility testing.

Video recording capable phones were invented to capture this kind of event more than any other. Please, please, please let it appear on youtube sometime soon.

Road Pricing 2.0 is two years away

Keir Snelling

GPS Accuracy...

For those claiming that GPS isn't accurate enough to be able to determine which lane a vehicle is using.

Wasn't the recent deployment of our own European GPS system supposed to address this. It was heralded as being n-times more accurate thant he existing US owned system.

I thought it already presumed that UK gov was so supportive of the euro systems because it would support their road pricing proposals.

The IT Crowd goes west

Keir Snelling

Hope maybe...

...that the americans re-write the thing entirely and actually manage to introduce some humour.

My helpdesk manager got taken in by the hype prior to the first ever episode, and literally spammed the whole IT team for a week, urging us to watch it.

I still remember confronting him the day after the first episode, asking him where the hell I was going to get the utterly wasted hour of my life back from.

It's a bog standard identikit brit tv sit-com, that just happens to be set in an IT office. Unfortunately, like all the other identikit brit tv sit-coms, they forgot to actually use the situation element, and just continue to replay the same gags used by all of the other equally lame sit-coms. (The Office excepted).

There was nothing in that very first episode that showed any great insight into the IT world, beyond the tiredest of cliché. No insight, no impact, they forgot the funny.

There is stuff in the day to day world of IT that could contribute wonderfully to an observational comedy, providing new and unique humour, we've all been blessed on here to be able to read el-reg's own BOFH so regularly, but there's other stuff out there equally as good and insightful. Three Dead Trolls and a Baggie's wonderful "Internet Helpdesk" being a great example.

For now, I'm going to continue to use the IT crowd as a personal barometer for a person's intellect . Anyone that tells me that they actually find the thing funny is immediately identified as a potential candidate for my shit list, and is also to be avoided in anything approaching a conversation on technical matters. People that actually express an appreciation for the BBC's Little Miss Jocelyn also fall into the same category.

419ers crank up the menaces

Keir Snelling

Can't wait to get one of those...

My reply, I think, would be along the lines of,

"Come and have a go, if you think you're hard enough".

Their approach really does up the ante though. Attempts to defraud me I can take in my stride,and ignore, but threats to my life? Heckles rise. I might even whois the sending server's ip.

419eater could have a field day too. Instead of getting photo's of silly men with loaves of bread on their heads, we could play contract killer off against contract killer.

Don't kill me, I've got use of your services for multiple targets. Show me some evidence of your previous work before I send the cash.

Brown's aide, Mata Hari and the BlackBerry

Keir Snelling

Please tell me that the device was password protected...

Mitigation hopefully means that a remote kill command has been issued. Turn the device on, let it connect to a network and it receives instructions to erase itself.

Likewise, default behaviour on a password protected bb is to erase itself after 10 incorrect password guesses.

I guess that's only gonna work if the chinese don't try 'gordoisgod' within those 10 attempts.

El Reg net closes on Street View fleet

Keir Snelling

I spotted one too...

Last night on the anti-clockwise stretch of the M25, approaching Heathrow, around 7.30.

Had a tarp covering the camera gubbins though, so was obviously off-duty.

Or was it? Perhaps they've fitted some form of x-ray vision that can actually penetrate the tarp cover and beyond. Walls, cars, clothes, curtains. they're going to photograph everything and show every detail of our lives to the world.

God. What if I was picking my nose when it went past? I was in a queue, and there was nothing else to do. Oh, the indignity.