* Posts by Michael

282 publicly visible posts • joined 4 May 2007


Wi-Fi finds its way into park bench


That's great...

...but wi-fi is a little pointless without a pipe to the web. My guess is that these park benches are little more than wireless repeaters. Not really all that impressive.

How long before it gets hacked?

Hacker claims whaling expedition harpooned Steve Jobs



It's not "hacking" if you know the password...

This kid's acting all badass, talking about how he stole a car, when in reality, the owner handed him the keys. Not at all impressive.

Firefox users caught in crossfire of warring add-ons


@ kwac

"Oh, and if the source code is available others can find out any nasty little surprises an application might have."

Only if you verify that the source code that was made available is in fact the code that was compiled to produce the extension you just installed. And what proportion of FF users do you think actually do that?

BOFH: Spontaneous Legal Combustion


@Simon B

"Just checked the BOFH archive and confirmed that episode 5 of 2009 is missing!!!! Has the BOFH deleted it, shredded the only print out of it and wiped all archive records of it???"

No -- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/17/bofh_gta/

To never miss a BOFH: http://search.theregister.co.uk/?author=Simon%20Travaglia

RSS: http://feed.theregister.co.uk/atom?a=Simon%20Travaglia

Twitter worm author gets security job


Pile of dead wood

"If we all gave up at the first point of contact with a company having security issues, I tend to think the net would be a smoldering pile of dead wood before long."

You mean it isn't already??

BOFH: Grand Theft Auto


How to find episodes

I learned early on that the best way to never miss a BOFH is to search on the author's name:


You can even get it in RSS:



One-eyed man creates prosthetic 'surveillance' eye


Re: Bionic Eye

Surely you're not the first person to think of this.

I'm guessing the challenge lies in interfacing with the optic nerve... When you figure out how to transfer images from a digital camera into the proper electronic pulses to send those images to a person's brain, let me know...and by the way, don't forget to invert the image first!

World of Warcraft: 'The crack cocaine of the computer world'


Hey Parents! It's your responsibility to be a parent!!

@ raving angry loony:

"Yeah, and computer-illiterate parents are supposed to know how to set up parental controls? Most kids can usually run circles around their parents, since 24/7 surveillance isn't commonplace yet."

Computer illiterate parents shouldn't have computers in the house then, should they? You shouldn't have a gun in your house if you know nothing about guns, either. If you have it in the house, you, as the parent, have a responsibility to understand it. Be a parent.


People look to blame Blizzard because Blizzard has lots of money. It's the same reason people go after tobacco companies. It's not as if tobacco companies held a gun to your head and said "SMOKE IT OR DIE!!" Speaking of guns, this blame game is akin to blaming Smith & Wesson because someone got shot - after all, the manufacturer did make the gun with the intent that it be fired. But wait, it's actually the person's fault that pulled the bloody trigger. Likewise, when a kid can't get enough, the game isn't hurting him, HE'S HURTING HIMSELF, and it's the parents' job to stop the kid from hurting himself.

Parents: stop trying to pawn off the responsibility of parenting your children on others (schools, governments, entertainment, etc). It is your job, and your job alone to raise your children. If you can't hack it, do the kid a favor and give him up for adoption. Incompetent, lazy, powerless, useless parents make me sick.


@ AC "Breaking Addiction"

"It's easy to say this if you havn't parented a teem-ager or fought addiction. Addiction subverts the addict's consciousness for the purpose of getting more of their WoW-drug-of-choice. People are pretty crafty when they're really motivated.

You can try to cut off his access at home, but can you quit your job, go without sleep and stand guard 24/7? Can you follow him to friends' houses? Sit with him in school? You have to think about it as if the addiction really was to crack cocaine. Except computers are everywhere and they're not illegal."

So your argument is that because your kid Timmy can still go over to his friend Johnny's house a play there, that you, as the parent, are absolved of the responsibility to do anything about it in your own home? Your argument is that if you can't stop him 100% of the time, that you have no obligation to stop him AT ALL. That's like saying, "well son, I can't stop you from having sex with a hooker at a cheap motel, therefore I'll condone you having sex with a hooker upstairs in your room!"

Ridiculous. And we wonder why the government thinks they need to be everyone's nanny...

Here's the deal: If you as a parent think something is bad for your kids, then you have an obligation to take reasonable measures to prevent your kid from doing it. It's true that you can't prevent it 100% of the time, but isn't ANY reduction of the "bad" behavior better than sitting around with your thumb up your ass?


@ Dex

"they can has no purpose"

Ok, ok, YES you can has chezburger!

"requires no immediate skill"

Probably about as much skill as it takes to be any good at Half Life, methinks...

"just the inability to do something with your life"

That's quite the generalization. I play WoW and I'm a productive member of society. You're just being silly.

"extrememly depe pockets"

15 USD a month is "depe [sic] pockets" ??

"why people PAY EXTRA a month to play a game is beyond me"

And of course, something being beyond you means that it doesn't make sense at all, right? Or could it be that the $15 a month pays for server maintenance and ongoing game development, as well as shareholder profits, no doubt. Welcome to capitalism.

By the way, you DO realize that SOMEONE has to pay to keep your favorite TF2 server running...right?

Get a clue, man, and for Pete's sake, learn to spell...

IT admin stole students' nude Facebook pics, cops say


@Anonymous Hero

"Considering the girls were underage I'm surprised they're not treating this rogue admin as dangerous pedo."

From the article: "A former computer administrator at the University of Massachusetts is facing charges he illegally obtained nude pictures of some 16 students..."

Student != Minor

The "University of Massachusetts" part means post-high school, and suggest that in all likelihood, the students were over the age of 18.

BOFH: Aspie no questions


The only one?

Am I the only one that, every time I read "Asperger", in my head I hear "Ass Burger"??

Dear Obama: Please consider open-source a waste of your time


@ Grant

"After wasting 2 minutes on this article (you can read articles with no content pretty fast), I really want a way to filter out by byline."

It's called "your eyes".

See "By Ted Dziuba", stop reading. Why does a developer need to code that which you could more easily accomplish by not being a f*ckwit??

Brits find accommodation a little uncomfortable


There's a reason

There's a reason there are two different language codes for English (EN) and American English (EU). We get simplified spelling. Maneuver rather than manoeuvre, -er rather than -re, program rather than programme, and what in the hell is with all the extra "U"s running around?? Colour? What possible use does the U have in this word? None, you say? Then extricate it!!

Granted, it should probably be changed entirely, to "kuller', but I digress.

The issue with textspeak is the same as with ebonics. Kids these days think everyone else is supposed to use their ridiculous language, rather than themselves using correct spellings of words. Little bastards.

Post Script: I tried to misspell a bunch of commonly misspelled words, but it just annoyed me, so I had to go back and fix it all...

Brits and Yanks struck with embarasment embarrassment


Simple solution

If we all start spelling using the International Phonetic Alphabet, all these issues will simply stop.

US sheds 598,000 jobs in January

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Not to be pedantic...ok, fine...to be pedantic...

"Since the recession began in December 2007 - and isn't it funny that America only officially admitted that it went into recession a few months ago[...]"

A recession is a fairly rigidly defined term. According to most organizations that deal in such data, a recession is a period of two or more consecutive quarters in which GDP growth is negative.

In medicine, a doctor should not diagnose a condition unless symptoms and/or test results satisfy the diagnostic criteria for the condition, as indicated in the Physicians' Desk Reference. Likewise, it would not be prudent to declare a recession when an economy has not yet satisfied the definition of such.

I mean no offense, but people should learn a few things about economics before mouthing off about the economy...

BOFH: A safe bet


Anonymous Coward 18:54

"Someone who had not seen any previous BOFH stories would not guess that this was a comedy series."

Surely the onus is on such individuals to go read some (all) of the archived BOFH stories from the last several years, if they're unsure of the comedic context (or lack thereof) of the BOFH. It's always been fairly dark humour -- I don't see any reason why it should stop now.

And of course, there's always thepoint that when you don't pay for something, you don't really have any place complaining about it.

Boy George jailed for 15 months over bizarre false imprisonment


@ Anon Cow: Slow Week Was it?

In case you've been living in a cave and haven't figured it out yet, El Reg does not exclusively report on IT news.

You couldn't care less about Boy George. I'd congratulate you, but you apparently care enough to expend the time and effort to write a comment about how little you care. Let's not lose sight of the fact that YOU clicked on the link for a story entitled "Boy George jailed for 15 months over bizarre false imprisonment". No one forced you to click on said link, and read said story, so what, exactly, are you moaning about??

Regarding "some decent articles with at least some vague IT interest", please see the rest of the bloody website.

Google scrubs urinating woman from Street View


Yeah no...

When in public, regardless of the activity being performed, an individual does NOT have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Period.

Amazon parks human genome on cloud


@ Marvin the Martian

R is the way to go?

If you want to spend half your time in grad school figuring out how to USE it, then sure! Otherwise, go with something more user friendly.

Down the Digital River, into the heart of download darkness


Yay prudes!!

As has been noted on several occasions, the "Fail and You" column may contain foul language. If you don't like it, don't read the fucking column!!!

Sarah Palin's words get data mined


@ cybersaur

>>>Presidential wanna-be Palin is an empty-headed nitwit. She is clueless on national and international issues.

Because clearly, anyone who disagrees with the liberal agenda must be stupid.

>>>but the so-called "liberal" media is concealing it,

So-called? Have you not been paying attention, or are you just so biased yourself, that you fail to recognize the fact that media coverage of the candidates is completely skewed...

>>>that's just a small taste of the inane, mindless crap right wingers spew on this side of the pond all the time. Do you see what we in that States have to put up with?

People who stereotype conservatives? I know, it's tragic.

>>>I'm a political junkie and I look at polling numbers many times throughout the day. I can tell you with certainty that Obama will not only win, he will trounce Palin / McCain.

Assuming the people who responded to the polls did so honestly, and assuming that the poll sample is representative of the population, neither of which is likely to be the case...

>>>You see, American right wingers have no connection to reality. They do not appreciate what we liberals like to call "facts" and "science".

Says the person stereotyping all conservatives... Where are the facts there?

>>>How certain am I that Obama will win on November 4th? I'd bet my beloved C=64 on it!

I'll be glad to take it off your hands if Obama loses. Notice that I say if. Why is that? Because unlike you, I DO have a sense of reality. Though I don't support the man, I accept the possibility that he may win.

As a parting shot, I return to a comment I've made more than once. What's the difference between a Conservative and a Liberal? A Conservative wants to convince the opposition. A Liberal wants to silence it. Go on and vote for Obama and watch as your liberties dissolve. Watch as you rely on the government for everything. Watch as the US becomes eerily similar to Germany in Hitler's early years... I weep for this country if they elect Mr. Marx^H^H^H^HObama...

1,400 Yahooligans perish as Yang raids needle cabinet


@ neil hanvey


sweet jesus, I laughed so hard, people in the office were looking at me strangely...

The Jesus Phone NDA - No one cares but you


more stupid people...

"You had gone several articles without a story on the iPhone and you seem to have a quota that every 5th story needs to be about the iPhone. Bravo."

Thus spake the Anonymous Coward.

Seriously folks, if you're going to try to berate the author (emphasis on "try"), have the balls to attach your name to it, ffs.

Apple MacBook Air stays skinny, gains beefier specs


Special Report!

...we interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you live footage from the basement of a typical Apple Fanboy...


now back to your regularly scheduled program...

Sharp shows first 'zero-emission' telly


@ Matt Thornton

>>>[power from a] solar panel isn't on demand. i.e., it doesn't need to be sunny when you want to use it... it charges up when it is sunny and is available when it isn't.

Actually, power from a solar panel *IS* in fact on demand. The technology you're describing is called a "Battery". Not the same thing.

Sergey Brin descends from Mount Sinai with Android API


For those whining about the language

Get a clue. When the category on the story is "Fail and You", it's going to have this language. He's not going to change his writing style because some nitwit pitched a fit. If you're just gonna bitch and moan, don't read the story.

BOFH: The Mandelboat virus


@ AC 16:24

>>>What part of that is funny?

The part where it's fiction...

Catholic priests cane YouTube over blasphemous vids



Ok, I grant the difference between pissing on a memorial and stealing some communion bread.


If you created some you tube videos that amounted to "Allah can eat me", "God can eat me", and "Yahweh can eat me". I'll bet you they'd be pulled down for being disrespectful. The point isn't whether or not the religion is made up or not. The point is the videos are deliberate stabs of disrespect toward the Catholic church.

According to YouTube's community guidelines:

"We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we don't permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity). "

Videos of people stealing the sacraments serves no purpose other than to demean or attack Catholicism, so are probably in violation of the rule.

I don't care what you think about religion - atheist, jew, buddhist, taoist, catholic, protestant, muslim, or hindu, I don't care. The point is that it's disrespectful, in poor taste, and OBVIOUSLY is intended only to inflame.


California train smash driver sent text seconds before disaster


<insert title here>

"Following the crash, authorities in California banned rail workers form using mobile phones while on duty."

The company that operated the MetroLink train ALREADY HAD a policy banning it's engineers from using mobiles while on duty.

Emails show journalist rigged Wikipedia's naked shorts


@ Martin Gregorie

While I agree that abusive naked short selling should be banned, short selling itself shouldn't be. If you ban short selling, then the only bet you can make in the stock market is that it will rise. You would never be able to bet that it drops. Selling short is a critical part of the stock market.

A coin with one side is no coin at all.

Dell offers XP option for £44k


virtual misinformation

>>>avoid a new Windows license altogether, get a Linux box and run Windows as a virtual machine if you need to.

You're supposed to have a license for a virtual os running windows too...

No uranium for Russia, say Oz MPs


@ Not IT

Thus spake the Anonymous Coward.

Chrysler plans electric car production model



Designers need to learn that a "green" car needs to be just different-looking enough so that people can identify that "hey, that person's driving a 'green' car! look how environmentally responsible they are!'. That's why the Prius outsells the Accord hybrid by a silly margin. People want other to know they drive a hybrid.

However, employ too radical a design, and people just think it looks like ass.

A little more of the former, a little less of the latter, please.

Oz pub slammed over 'No Undie Sundie'



"...and puts young women at risk and makes them more vulnerable to sexual assault."

But not men, naturally, because only women get sexually assaulted. Right?

World of Warcraft upkeep costs only $200m


@ mathieu Nouzareth

>>>WoW does not have 10 millions subscribers, they have 10 millions ACCOUNTS. Don't be fooled by the PR guy at Blizzard.

If I own and play two accounts, I had to buy two copies of the game, and I pay two monthly $15 fees. Although you are correct that WoW does not have 10 million unique subscribers, your point is meaningless as people with multiple accounts pay multiple fees. Please, PLEASE think before you type...

Say hi to Haumea - our fifth dwarf planet


@ Tim Cook

This is not slashdot.

Oz woman sold mobe with preloaded smut

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Litigious Douchebags...

>>>What would've happened if that phone was bought for a child?

Then a child would have seen some nudity and some folks getting it on. Said kid would either have "enjoyed" the images, or would have asked their parents what this was, at which point, the parents would be forced to talk to their child about sex (shock! horror!). Am I missing the part where this is bad? Can we get over the whole "seeing nudity and/or sex hurts kids" bullsh*t? Please???

Oh, and by the way, it wasn't, so shut it.

>>>The rattled victim and her partner "met with Dick Smith Electronic's area and state manager late yesterday in a bid to reach a compensation settlement but the company referred the matter to its legal department".

Rattled? Really? Your compensation is a replacement phone, or a full refund of your purchase price and release from you contract. Now get out, you money-grubbing b*tch. I'm so sick of people trying to get money because someone else made a mistake. Unless this chick has been psychologically scarred by this, thus requiring years of therapy, or unless she incurred a financial loss, she needs to sit the f*ck down.

US Congress votes for some offshore oil relaxations


@ Mike Richards

>>>I was pointing out that any extra oil from the US offshore fields will do nothing to improve American energy security.

You're suggesting that drilling won't matter because by the time its oil arrives, demand will be even higher. This argument is contingent on one glaring fallacy. It assumes that the demand won't increase if we don't drill.

Say for example, current demand is 100 barrels per day. Say in 2015 demand will be 200 barrels per day.

Let's also say that current production is 120 barrels per day.

Finally let's say that drilling would produce 15 barrels per day.

So you have a choice, in 2015, you can have 120 barrels a day, or you can have 135 barrels a day. Which one do you think will result in a lower price per barrel?

Greater supply = lower price, even if demand is even higher. No one is saying oil will be cheaper in 2015 than it is now, if we drill. What we're saying is that if we drill now, oil will be cheaper in 2015 than it would have been otherwise.

Stephen Colbert actually did a really good job explaining it:


Child abusers adopt blackmail tactics


@ AC 12:24

>>>More people able/wanting to view it = more demand/money from it = more photos = more abuse.

There are a couple big, gaping holes in your logic.

1) We're talking about P2P, here. People aren't generally PAYING for this stuff, so step two in your plan falls a little flat. Increased trafficking of kiddie porn does not imply that new material is being created. It could merely imply that more people are watching it, or that the people who do watch it, are watching MORE of it than before.

2) More traffic doesn't mean any new material is being created. Example: People enjoy the music of Tupac Shakur, and when he was alive, he was prolific. Now that he's dead, his estate continues to publish previously unreleased tracks. Likewise, it's possible the increase in kiddie porn is previously unreleased material, which does not imply the material is newly created.

Kiddie porn is bad, but it doesn't logically follow that more of it out there means more kids are being abused.

Eye-o-Sauron™ poked out by Great Wall of America

Thumb Up


The difference between the Berlin Wall and this is that the Berlin Wall was intended to keep people in. This wall is intended to keep people out.

I have half a mind to suggest that people entering the country illegally be shot on sight. I should think that would pretty effectively deter individuals from trying...

I do like the minefield idea though. But the world frowns on those. I like the idea of a 50ft wide by 50ft deep concrete-walled trench with laser trip-wires built in.

US Senate wants answers on soaring text rates


@ Solomon Grundy

>>>That's why it's so expensive. People are willing to pay for it. I think it's shit, since SMS in and of itself has very little impact on the overall infrastructure of the carrier. They've got massive tech overhead from putting in place all the other crap that few people really use.

Demand doesn't cause the price to rise unless supply is limited. SMS requires such a small amount of bandwidth that there isn't really a tangible supply limitation. So it's not consumer demand for SMS that's causing the prices to go up, it's the bigwig's demand for more money.

@ Kevin Kitts

>>>[No other word conveys the depths of disgust and anger I have for the people who have raped our country for the past 8 years.]

This is clearly a reference to the presidency, but your entire rant was about congress - a body controlled by the opposite party of the president. While I share your disdain for the do-nothing legislature we've had of late, I find the reference linking the presidency tenuous at best.

I do very much agree with that email that's been going around (and around...) saying that the 100 Senators, 435 Representatives, 9 Supreme Court Justices, and 1 President have the power to make law they want. If something exists in this country, it's because those 545 people want it to exist. Fire them all and start over. It'll never happen though, because it's someone else's job to be active in government and politics, not the citizens'.

United 'bankruptcy' points to new stock scam techniques

Black Helicopters


I wonder if it's even technically illegal. Clearly employing a botnet COULD be considered illegal. The action of shorting the stock as it falls due to actions you took, however, now that's gray area. One the one hand, you've artificially manipulated the market to your benefit, but on the other hand, if you just up and bought a boatload of stock, you'd push the price up that way, manipulating the market that way as well.

The question becomes "at what point is manipulation of the market illegal?" Particularly when the manipulation actually occurs OUTSIDE the market, on a media website?? IANAL, but it sure seems to me like if I borrowed stock, sold it at $12 a share, pushed the big-red-botnet-button (causing the stock to plummet), bought back the shares at $3 each, and returned the stock to the lender, pocketing the difference -- it sure looks like the only offense would potentially be the use of the botnet. But a) botnet usage is not necessarily illegal, and b) a botnet wouldn't necessarily be needed to game the system to get the article to float, causing the stock to tumble. So on the surface of it, it looks like this could be done completely legally, which is an interesting thought.

mine's the one with the laptop controlling a botnet and running trading software at the same time...

Google News farce triggers Wall Street sell-off


@ AC 06:55

>>>As opposed to presidential politics where one person is voted for and then he picks whoever he wants for his cabinet.

Actually, you're not terribly accurate here. Technically, US citizens vote for a slate of electors, who pledge to vote for a particular candidate when the electoral college meets. The president is not elected by the people, but rather, by the people's representatives. Likewise, the president indeed picks whoever he wants for his cabinet, but those picks must be approved by the Senate, which is elected by the people.

So while there is a hint of truth in your statement, it's a far cry from how the system actually works.

BOFH: Lock and reload


Stop Refreshing the BOFH Page!

RSS This.



My name really is Ivan O'Toole, admits Ivan O'Toole


You don't get it?

Say it quickly...

"I've no tool"

It took a sec, but I got it. Phil McCrackin is better, imo.

When I worked in customer service, we had an account under the name of Mr. Diesel T. Truck. No shit. Diesel Truck! His middle name was "Tractor". That's right, Diesel Tractor Truck.

And he named his son "Mack".

Chubby crims more likely to leave dabs


@ AC 13:56

Or hypothermia? Or the really long swim to shore -> exhaustion -> drowning?

Employee has no privacy on company computers, US court rules



I own a laptop. I lend it to my parents. I don't need my parents' consent to sign off on a warrant to have the laptop searched. Why? Because it's MY laptop!!

Anyone who expects privacy on their work computer is just naive.

Mythbusters busted over RFID gagging

Black Helicopters

National Security

Clearly, US.gov intervened, as RFID chips are in all new passports, it's a National Trac^H^H^HSecurity issue!

Mine's the one with the tinfoil hood and the faraday cage passport holder...

Internet Explorer - now with 35% less FAIL


@ Beezer

You're missing the point. Privacy mode isn't intended to make you unknown on the internet, it's to make it so session information is private on your computer (and removed on session close)

It's not that hard to read the IP you're connecting from, and geoIP it back to a city. No browser mode is going to change that.