* Posts by smudge

976 posts • joined 8 Aug 2008


Ofcom announces plan to protect endangered species – the Great British phone box



BT has been tolling the bell for copper phone lines for some time now, but upgrading payphones to digital too would require significant investment.

Does that mean to a digital landline? Could installation of a robust mobile be cost-effective?

Say what you see: Four-letter fun on a late-night support call


Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

The look on our faces when he shouted "Ulysses".

How many of your team thought that was move 'y'? :)

Computer scientists at University of Edinburgh contemplate courses without 'Alice' and 'Bob'


Time to rename that operating system...

... since Unix is an unfair singling out of castrated males.

How long till some drunkard puts a foot through one of BT's 'iconic, digital smart city communication hubs'?


The monolith

Does the monolith show strange, hypnotic, moving patterns at night, to teach new skills to the locals?

And will it be gone one morning when they wake up?

Spring tears down math geek t-shirt listing because it dared to mention the trademarked word 'zeta'


Re: That’s going to upset a few fans...

Yup. I came here to say that the Reg had missed a trick by not contacting her for comment :) But you beat me to it.

NSA: We 'don't know when or even if' a quantum computer will ever be able to break today's public-key encryption


Re: So...

Mandy Rice-Davies, not Keeler.

UK promises big data law shake-up... while also keeping the EU happy, of course. What could go wrong?


Doing away with "endless" cookie banners

Dowden said he planned to do away with "endless" cookie banners and only apply them when cookies pose a high risk to individuals' privacy.

And of course he has a simple, efficient, infallible, automated method of determining when a cookie poses "a high risk"?

In fact, before we get to that, he has a simple, workable, deterministic definition of "high risk"?

Blue Origin sues NASA for awarding SpaceX $3bn contract to land next American boots on the Moon


Standard practice?

Isn't it standard practice - or as near as dammit - for the loser in a large US government procurement to sue?

I have worked in IT with a very large US company who were intending to do just that, but then unexpectedly won the bid :)

Chocolate beer barred from sale after child mistakes it for chocolate milk


The child mistook it... in a shop and bought it? Found it at home?

RTFA. (A = article)

Sysadmins: Why not simply verify there's no backdoor in every program you install, and thus avoid any cyber-drama?


the sunny island of Heraklion

ENISA, which is soon to be dragged from its Greek home – split between capital Athens and the sunny island of Heraklion –

Last time I was there, Heraklion was the capital of, and firmly attached to, the sunny island of Crete.

What happened? Has there been another Santorini (pictured)?

Britain to spend £22m influencing Indo-Pacific nations' cybersecurity policies against 'authoritarian regimes'


Re: It Might be a Good Idea to Start at Home - the UK InterNet is Censored

Compared to many countries, the UK is a Nanny domain with many restrictions forced on the great unwashed in the UK.

I am genuinely curious. Can you give us some examples of these restrictions, please?

So what if I pay peanuts for my home broadband? I demand you fix it NOW!


Re: 666

Agree that it's an immortal album - and as mad as a box of frogs - but for me the best bit is "Aegean Sea".

Only a week or two I posted a link to it to a football forum, where a review of a game had said that our defence had "parted like the Aegean Sea". In correcting it - y'all know which sea it should've been ;) - I posted a link to "Aegean Sea", because the author is even older than me and often posts links to music from way back then.


Brit MPs and campaigners come together to oppose COVID status certificates as 'divisive and discriminatory'


Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

I wonder if when that was introduced there were arguments about people wearing seatbelts believing they are safe and likely to drive with less caution?

I can't remember (possibly I am too young) to remember any controversy about seatbelts, apart from those who insisted it was better to be flung out of the vehicle.

But there was certainly a widespread belief, especially amongst motorcyclists, that Volvo drivers were dangerous, because their cars were marketed as and were perceived to be very safe, with consequential effects on the owners' driving.


Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

You mean like a 97% survival rate of the virus and the great majority of those 3% deaths being 65 or older?

I also understand that on my next birthday I will be 65.


Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

I oppose any requirement to identify yourself, much less provide official documentation, for any day-to-day activities.

So you don't get cash out of an ATM or use credit cards or log into any system where you have to authenticate your identity?


Re: Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

You've been vaccinated so you've nothing to worry about right? Or don't you have faith in medical science?

I have faith in medical science.

I also understand percentages.


Not "divisive and discriminatory", but essential

They join other campaign groups, including Liberty, in backing the statement: "We oppose the divisive and discriminatory use of COVID status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs."

And I oppose the lack of COVID status certification, which will enable individuals to endanger my health and that of the general public.


1) On the assumption that people who can't have the vaccine are relatively small in number and would pose no great risk to the general population, I would treat them the same as those who had been vaccinated.

2) Those who won't have the vaccine are on their own. To those who say it's their right to choose not to have it, I say it's also my right to be protected from such idiots.

3) To the young who protest about age discrimination, I point out the Government's appalling record in getting effective IT systems up and running, and reassure them that everyone will have been vaccinated before any working system is in place.

For blinkenlights sake.... RTFM! Yes. Read The Front of the Machine


Re: Communicating with only obscenities?

Anthony Burgess - "A Clockwork Orange", etc - said he heard a mechanic in the Army say, whilst trying to fix a Jeep, "Fuck it — the fucking fucker’s fucking fucked the fucker.”

He then subsequently used it in teaching English, since the word is used as a different part of speech (adjective, noun, verb etc) in each occurrence.


Re: Soul of A New Machine

Yup, I haven't read it for years, but I still have it upstairs. Brilliant book.

Always remember the guy who burned out, and left a note saying he had gone to something like a commune in Vermont, and would no longer recognise any time period shorter than a season.


Re: The Agony and No Ecstasy

Washing up the cups I turned to pick up a tea towel and put my back out!

Nowadays, with me it's often putting on a sock, my underpants or my trousers. Just have to get my right leg into the wrong position, and...

Discussed this with my doctor, who said, yes, it will now always be when you don't expect it and aren't thinking about. He's right, of course - if I am lifting anything heavy, I make a conscious effort to do it the proper way.


The Agony and No Ecstasy

...the agony with which all those who have lifted something silly will be familiar (ours was an incident involving a washing machine, some stairs and the overconfidence of youth – you?)

Re-arranging the furniture in a meeting room at work. Picked up a table in the wrong position (me, that is, as well as the table) and bang! - something just went in my back.

Phoned up my wife to accompany me home - Tube and train out of London to the sticks - and had a few days off work, after which I thought I was fine.

But if I had had any inkling of the amount of pain that recurrences would give me over the years since then, I'd have sued the arse off my employer.

Yep, you're totally unique: That one very special user and their very special problem


My special one

but have you encountered one whose specialness did not extend to fiddling with a brightness knob? Or finding that pesky power switch?

Early 80s, minicomputer pathology lab systems, large disk drives each with a chunky power button on the front illuminated when switched on. Depending on the amount of storage needed, and on whether they had mirrored disks, the number of disk drives could vary from two to six.

A customer phones me up one morning. He's a consultant biochemist, doctorate and umpteen qualifications, so he has some intelligence, but of course he isn't - and doesn't have to be - a computer expert.

"The system's not coming up!".

So we start going through the usual stuff - it closed down OK last night, there IS power to the console and main processing unit, etc etc.

I didn't know his exact configuration, so I asked "Are all the disk drives turned on?".

"Oh yes, of course!".

Just then, a colleague who did know his configuration came in. I gave him the phone.

"Are both disk drives turned on?".

"Oh no, one of them isn't.".


Back to the Future

Fun fact – a Back To The Future of today would send the Delorean to the 1990s, after the events of Philip's story.

Yeah - but until recently they had the perfect update for the "Who's President?" joke.

Fancy a £130k director of technology role with the UK's Ministry of Justice? All you need to do is 'fix the basics'


Why a season ticket?

Travel to London is required "on an occasional basis", hence the season ticket loan

If it's only "occasional", why do they need a season ticket?

That's my money that they are wasting!

Atheists warn followers of unholy data leak, hint dark deeds may have tried to make it go away

Paris Hilton

an organisation that works to demystify atheism

You don't believe in any gods.

There - demystified for you for free :)

Paris - clearly still mystified.

Euro privacy watchdog calls for end of targeted advertising plus a squeeze on the processing of personal info


Re: Show me as many ads for cheap women's clothing as you like!

So it's not just me, then? I've often wondered what I did - where I went - to deserve it.

Trump tries one more time to limit H-1B work visas with new minimum salary requirements


We beat you to it!

However, the Trump Administration’s effort to reform the program have come across as punitive and xenophobic – fed by the president’s fierce anti-immigrant rhetoric – rather than good management.

Here in the UK, we have had, since 1st January, a new immigration system whose minimum wage requirements are set at a level higher than the average worker in the health and care sectors receives. Those sectors are heavily dependent on foreign workers, not just from our neighbouring EU countries with which there is no longer free movement, but also from countries further afield, such as the middle and far East.

Cutting off a large part of our supply of health and care workers is just what we don't need at any time, but especially not in the middle of a pandemic.

"Punitive and xenophobic" and "fierce anti-immigrant rhetoric" are words which could well be used to describe some events and politics in the UK over the past 5 years.

Loser Trump is no longer useful to Twitter, entire account deleted over fears he'll whip up more mayhem


Re: An elephant in the room

Your BBC propaganda station(s) (note, you have state controlled media) are full of bad information

And presumably the Washington Post also?

"Anyone who attempts to contravene a valid, authentic and legal (in the sense of whether the strike package was legal, and all off-the-shelf nuclear strike packages are pre-vetted for legality to some degree) order would be doing so illegally and risk the charge of mutiny. Now, if POTUS ordered a nuclear first strike out of the blue against China or Russia, there would be questions about legality. But if, for example, he ordered a limited nuclear strike against targets in Iran, such as the hardened and buried Fordow enrichment facility, or a complex in North Korea, it would be very difficult to argue that the president did not have the legal right to do that out of the blue if he or she deemed it in America’s national interest."



Re: An elephant in the room

There is coordination between all branches of the military for any first or defensive nuclear strike.


See my reply to your other comment just above.


Re: An elephant in the room

Sorry, it's moronic to even think a president, ANY president, can unilaterally initiate a nuclear strike. There is a procedure for any such action and you would have to also have consent from others that are not politicians.

Depends on what you mean by "consent".

The President is the Commander-in-Chief, and no one has the power to legally disobey or not carry out any orders that he gives. This was discussed at length early on in Trump's presidency, when a nuclear exchange with North Korea looked very possible. On TV in the UK this morning, we had an American political academic asserting that this is still the case. The system was designed in the Cold War to enable retaliation against the Soviets in the few minutes that may have remained for everyone.

If you equate "consent" to "folllowing orders without thought or question", then you are correct. However, most people would say that "consent" requires some form of positively "opting in" or "agreeing".

One would hope that anyone in receipt of such orders from Trump over the next 11 days would question them. However, it is undeniable that that would undoubtedly lead to a court martial. And I would guess that with the military's need to maintain discipline and not have every order questioned, the outcome of that court martial would not be as straightforward as you or I would hope.


it looks more like it's actively upsetting people, and I don't see why.

Maybe they all live in Florida.


Re: An elephant in the room

My guess is that The Button sends a verified command to a team of highly skilled fighter pilots who would carry out the orders, or not, as the case may be.

There is no "Button". The case contains authentication codes to provide assurance to the recipients that the orders to launch have originated from the President.

And fighter pilots don't fly nuclear missiles :)


Re: At least Trump has finally conceded

In his last tweet ever he said he would not be going to the inauguration.

Which is surely because he doesn't want to be in a known and very public place at the moment his Presidential immunity from prosecution runs out.

He will be hiding.

No amount of Glasgow handshaking will revive this borked kiosk


Re: Pacific Quay?

Actually, the area had no links to the Pacific.

Thank you! That was my point.

Glasgow made its wealth from tobacco, sugar and cotton - none of which came from the Pacific. Ships to and from the likes of India and the Far East would have gone round Africa and across the Indian Ocean.

As someone has already said, Pacific Quay is just a name dreamt up by some ignorant marketing people, in the 1990s.


Re: Pacific Quay?

Yes? Your point being?

I rest my case :)


Pacific Quay?

In Glasgow?

Geography lessons needed urgently!

How'd they do that? It's classified: Microsoft's Azure cloud goes Top Secret


Silly name

Stupid to include the marking "TOP SECRET" as part of the product name.

There was, and I see that there still is, an IBM mainframe access control product called "TOP SECRET", which was Government security-certified against the Orange Book (ask your grandfather), and consequently used by many Government establishments.

Legend had it that many a salesperson or engineer had had their exit from said establishments delayed somewhat, whilst the security guards established why they were attempting to leave along with boxes of manuals and computer media labelled "TOP SECRET" :)

UK infoseccer launches petition asking government not to backdoor encryption


It's easy

All he has to do is talk to Sir Graham Brady and Sir Ian Duncan Smith and Steve Baker and all the Tory MPs who are currently fuming at the authoritarian attacks on our freedom and human rights that are the covid restrictions.

They will of course instantly understand that backdooring encryption is also an attack on our liberty and rights, and will organise a rebellion to ensure that any proposal to backdoor encryption will never get through Parliament.

Won't they?

Mysterious metal monolith found in 'very remote' part of Utah


Re: Much ado about this...

Did they look inside?

Yup. Usual shit. Full of stars.

Test and Trace chief Dido Harding prompted to self-isolate by NHS COVID-19 app


So on the 10th November, John Penrose MP, husband of Dido Harding was told to self-isolate. Yet Dido was only informed by her app 5 days after she was in contact with someone (14 days self isolation, 9 days left when notified). So presumably hubby wasn't the contact. Good illustration of how weak "her" system is, that she can wander around for 5 days as a potential "spreader".

Penrose was told to isolate because he had been in contact with some who had had a postive test. Penrose himself has not had a positive test.

People who live with those who are self-isolating but who haven't had a positive test don't have to self-isolate. Therefore Dido didn't have to self-isolate just because her husband was.

She herself has subsequently come into contact with someone who has now had a positive test. So now she has to self-isolate.

Those are the rules, and I am sure that they were laid down by the Government's medical advisers, and not by her.

If every contact of someone self-isolating had to self-isolate, there would be no staff in hospitals or schools.

After Cummings' Barnard Castle trip, cheeky Britons started using the word 'vision' in their passwords



"It extracts the encrypted hashes from the domain and sends them, over a secure connection, to our dedicated password cracking servers.

All cracked passwords are then returned to the Papa tool where administrators can get detailed information about the domain as a whole and perform trend analysis to view the impact of password policy changes."


Re: Just wondering..

I'm using "handsfacespace".

Because I know that no one else is :(

After Dutch bloke claims he hacked Trump's Twitter by guessing password, web biz says there's 'no evidence'


What would you have guessed?

The hacker tried a bunch of likely passwords for the President's profile, and claims he hit the jackpot on his sixth guess: maga2020!

I'll bet it used to be "lockherup" :)

Icon is a picture of the hacker - "somebody with 197 IQ".

US comms watchdog calls for more scrutiny of submarine cables that land in 'adversary countries'


Re: "Read what you can find about the USS Jimmy Carter"

Didn't notice that :( Possibly assumed that it was an ad.

Black Helicopters

Look in the mirror

As ever, their concerns betray their own actions. The USA has long tampered with undersea cables, for interception purposes.

Read what you can find about the "USS Jimmy Carter".

Angry 123-Reg customers in the UK wake up to another day where hosted mail doesn't get through to users on Microsoft email accounts


Re: My 123Reg hosted seems fine

But I use Thunderbird and my own domain.

But you no doubt still use 123's mail servers. Which may well have been blacklisted by the other ISP.

Um, almost the entire Scots Wikipedia was written by someone with no idea of the language – 10,000s of articles


Re: Wee radge bastard

Just checked, and "radge" is actually in it, in a (very short) list of Scottish slang.

But bampot isn't, nor are other words which of course came to me at random, such as numpty, bawbag and heidbanger.

To use a word from my part of Scotland, it's a complete boorach.

Bletchley Park Trust can’t crack COVID-caused revenue slump without losing staff


Re: I'm sure they are trying

(*) NOT the "huts", where Important Stuff Happened and which they'd happily bulldoze in a heartbeat if given a chance

Disagree. We were there last year, for the first time in maybe 10 years, and one big improvement that we noted was the restoration of the huts.


So why don't they...

... restart their online shop? Which disappeared long before anyone had heard of covid-19.

Ed Snowden has raked in $1m+ from speeches – and Uncle Sam wants its cut, specifically, absolutely all of it


Wait for the ricochet

Presumably Snowden's money - or the bulk of it - is in Russia. It's where he "earned" it - and yes, I acknowledge that not everyone will agree that "earned" is the appropriate word. It's where he lives, and the money wouldn't be any use to him elsewhere.

I also assume that there is no regular forced transfer of money from criminals in Russia to the USA. (In the UK, we have a subtle way of doing this - we let them buy mansions and football clubs and the like in the UK, and so we get their money that way.)

Anyway, if the US lawyers find out a way to get Snowden's money transferred to the USA, then this would presumably open the doors for other similar activities.

Such as further subpoenas in the US, to reveal who else has profited greatly from dealings with Russia. Or, if the Russians are annoyed, they might just reveal details of the Russian dodgy dealings of US citizens.

Are you listening, Mr President?



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