* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

1069 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009


Brit MP demands answers from Fujitsu about Horizon IT system after Post Office staff jailed over accounting errors

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Any chance

> you want him sacked because it may have infringed some guidance

No. One wants him to be relieved of giving advice to [1] the Prime Minister, because of a demonstrable failure of judgement. He didn't say he "[went] for a drive with his family", because of what the PR people call 'optics'. Maybe that's why he ascribed the outing to being an eye test. <sfx>rimshot</sfx>. So, that's either a lie, or a demonstrable failure of judgement: "Jeez, I don't think I can see well enough to drive. Let's load up the wife and bairn, and take a trip to Barnard Castle to find out".

[1] Or operating the PM with his hand up Mr Johnson's back, depending on who you believe.

Have I Been Pwned breach report email pwned entire firm's helldesk ticket system

Jonathan Richards 1

Also an age-old observation:

HTML has NO PLACE in email. Icon refers ->

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

Jonathan Richards 1

OT - Did I miss something? 301 moved permanently??

The URL https://www.theregister.co.uk/Week has asked to redirect to https://www.theregister.com/Week [emphases added]

When did that happen? The .com incarnation still needs permissions to go back to regmedia.co.uk, though. Wossallthatthen?

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: This does work

You're just rehashing the principle of the Infinite Improbability Drive. Remember what happened to the chap who generated the first one? Lynched by a mob of physicists who couldn't stand a smart-arse :)

Jonathan Richards 1

Ritzy HQ, though

BioShield Distribution Ltd was incorporated in January 2020 [1]. Both directors list their correspondence address as 7 Albion Parade, London, England, N16 9LD, which was a rather unprepossessing newsagents emporium in Stoke Newington, that's been shuttered every time the Google Street View car has been past in the last dozen years.

[1] https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/12411850/officers

Jonathan Richards 1

Allium spp

> Tears ran down my face ... they just started to flow

Onions, luv. Someone was peeling onions.

Actually, I can see where someone might pay shedloads for an obsolete bit of electronics loaded with pathological lies, and tears would begin to run down their face. Entirely predictable.

AR flop Magic Leap's 'pivot' spins CEO right off his throne

Jonathan Richards 1

The anagram has it:

Rony Abovitz: A biz on toy VR

Tech's Volkswagen moment? Trend Micro accused of cheating Microsoft driver QA by detecting test suite

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Petty or Pedant?

Or rather, "it is that upon which we thrive". You are welcome.

Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War

Jonathan Richards 1

Starting a war

> It would also be particularly stupid of the Argentinian military to assume that a major NATO military, that you were about to start a war with, wouldn't be spying on you

Ah, but the Argentinian state (led by a military junta) didn't think it was starting a war, because it was interpreting actions of the UK Foreign Office with respect to the Falkland Islands in a particular way, and thus thought there would be diplomatic protests, disputed declarations in the UN, yadda yadda, but that they'd end up with de facto sovereignty over Las Malvinas in addition to the de jure sovereignty that they claimed, and still claim to this day. Even the dimmest General (and you don't get promoted to General by being dim) would know that Argentina couldn't win a war with the UK.

And indeed, Argentina didn't lose one. As I've said before, it wasn't a war in 1982, it was (as ex-RAF Egghead & Boffin, above) correctly describes it, a "conflict", a military Operation codenamed Corporate by the UK MOD. 75 years after VE Day isn't a good time to forget the difference between limited military conflict and total war.

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

Jonathan Richards 1

Coronavirus kills cities

Well, novel infectious diseases in general might. I shall probably be going near London in the future, for family reasons, but what is becoming increasingly unclear to me is why London goes anywhere near London. Too many people paying way too much to live, travel, and work unhealthily too close to each other! Run away!!

Obvs, this isn't going to happen in a year, or a parliamentary term, but I wouldn't be surprised if big cities cease to grow, or even start to decline in population, over the next generation or two. The grand-sweep-of-human-history reason for cities is almost itself history.

Stop tracking me, Google: Austrian citizen files GDPR legal complaint over Android Advertising ID

Jonathan Richards 1

The clue is the name, Google

From TFA sub-head: "Google says it cannot identify a user from the ID"

It's an ID, isn't it? It IDENTIFIES (reduces count of possible identities to 1) a user. Just because Google can't match it to the user's legal name, SSN|NI number, post|zip code (it says...) does not mean that the user is any less identified with the advertising ID. If what they mean is they cannot de-anonymize the advertising ID, then (a) that's different and (b) I'm not sure I believe it.

Post-rant musing: I wonder what happens if I change my legal name to the same string as my Google Ad ID...?

Users of Will.i.am's Wink IoT hub ask 'Where is the love?' as they're asked to pay for a new subscription service

Jonathan Richards 1

Follow the money

Four million connected devices, you say. So if there's an average four devices per subscriber (possibly generous) Wink is immediately going from $0 annual subscription revenue to around $60,000,000 p.a. I'll let someone else tell me if that's reasonable for Wink's likely expenses, or a gouge.

There's a world out there with a hexagon vortex over its pole packed with hydrocarbon ice crystals. That planet is Saturn

Jonathan Richards 1


> not in such numbers nor as regularly spaced out

I think I don't get spaced out regularly enough.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Congratulations, Kieren

> solid legal controls ... a lot of commenters here wouldn't trust it anyway.

For the good and sufficient reason that "solid legal controls" is a contradiction in terms. Parliament can, has, does, and will change "solid legal controls" around citizens' rights any time that it wants to. I give you RIPA as a single instance.

Jonathan Richards 1
Big Brother

Transparency obscured

> more technical explanation...

>> https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/report/nhs-covid-19-app-privacy-security-report

"You need to enable JavaScript to run this app."

TB-L, where are you? Is this what you imagined??

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

Jonathan Richards 1

Hammer out...

...something about danger, warning, and incest? It's been a long time...

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

Jonathan Richards 1

Western terminology

Am I imagining it, or did it not used to be the case that the cinematographic genre known as "Westerns" had a trope wherein villains wore black hats, and heroes white ones? I *definitely* remember that the Lone Ranger wore a white hat: it never seemed to get remotely grubby, either.

Keen to go _ExtInt? LLVM Clang compiler adds support for custom width integers

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Sounds like a good idea

> compressing alpha-numeric characters

That rang a bell, and nobody's doing anything useful, so I got off the shelf a 1980 diary which I used as a notebook during the subsequent year or so. On the page for 4 February I have hand-compiled a 31-byte routine for the MCS 6502 which unpacks 4 6-bit wide characters from a 3-byte package, and on the next page a 27-byte routine to do the reverse, saving 25% on RAM. I'm typing on a machine with 8,589,934,592 bytes of RAM, though, so I don't think I'll fire up the emulator to check my hand-coding!

Forget tabs – the new war is commas versus spaces: Web heads urged by browser devs to embrace modern CSS

Jonathan Richards 1

The fight below \040

> an effort ... by Tab Atkins Jr. ...to get rid of unnecessary commas ...

In the (61, 66, 139) corner, Tab vs. \054 in the (255,0,0) corner.

But is he a VT \013 or an HT \009?

Star's rosette orbit around our supermassive black hole proves Einstein's Theory of General Relativity correct

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Wow

Tidal lagoon hydro-electricity is using gravity. When you hold back the tide, the moon experiences that little bit more drag, and orbits a tiny fraction more slowly and further out.

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Theory?

> Apple attracts the Earth too....

I know, right? In happier times I've seen almost half of it queuing outside the store for the latest iBling.

We lost another good one: Mathematician John Conway loses Game of Life, taken by coronavirus at 82

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: See also xkcd 2293

...see also^2 http://smbc-comics.com/comic/life-2

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so

Jonathan Richards 1

Memory-mapped video?

I'm going so far out on a limb that you'll mistake me for a leaf... did the Amiga 4000 have memory-mapped video? I'm thinking of a mistargetted JSR in the disk handler that leaps into video memory and crashes, unless the pixels at a point in the clock app window give you a nice clean RTS. Or something. I'll get my coat...

If you don't cover your Docker daemon API port you'll have a hell of a time... because cryptocreeps are hunting for it

Jonathan Richards 1

Why is the d.sh provider still up? is in the range for a hosting provider in Canada. Why has it not been taken down if it's hosting something as clearly malicious as d.sh?

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: "and rather bury"

Oh, I thought you meant "or rather Bury"

Infosys fires employee who Facebooked 'let's hold hands and share coronavirus'

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Misfiring joke?

> trolling for his own amusement

Benign motive isn't a defence, though. It's like doing the 'bomb in my hand-luggage' "joke" at the airport. As you're taken away in cuffs, it's no good whining "Where's your sense of humour?"

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Jonathan Richards 1

Spreadsheets of yore

> Excel, which by the 1990s was already well on its way to dominance

I had a soft spot for Quattro Pro for a long time. As I recall it came on a stack of a dozen or so 1.38MB floppy disks, so installing it was, umm, tedious, but well worth the effort.

"Quattro Pro - since sold to Corel and now part of WordPerfect Office - was a fabulous product, way ahead of its time. Certainly ahead of Microsoft's then-young Excel and Office.", quoth the Vulture [1]. Yep. What he said.

[1] Why Borland trashed its spreadsheet

What's that? Encryption's OK now? UK politicos Brexit from Whatsapp to Signal

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Surely the answer is watermarking

So, with a little effort I too can run the incriminating text which may or may not have yellow feathers [1] through a noddy neural network before forwarding it to the leakhole of my choice? Do you have a spec. for this NN, please?

Actually, one's natural language skills should be good enough to do such refactoring, it's probably quicker and less likely subtly to alter the meaning of the message.

[1] Canary, as in the unfortunate birds used to warn of low oxygen/high CO levels dahn t'pit.

Sussex Police gives up on £790k Gatwick drone shutdown probe

Jonathan Richards 1

A panoramic view

Would have been better if you'd used that one taken from 150' AGL...

Time for another cuppa then? Tea-drinkers have better brains, say boffins with even better brains

Jonathan Richards 1

Nah, that can't be right...

Four cups a week? The Brits drink a hundred million cups of tea each day, we should all be bloody geniuses. And yet from the front pages of the newspapers [2], that would seem not to be the case.

[1] https://www.tea.co.uk/tea-faqs

[2] And most of the ones inside, too.

Tut – you wait a lifetime for an interstellar object then two come at once

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: However, on a serious note

On a most serious note, we (as in you and I) won't see more and more of these over the next couple of hundred years even if there are more and more of them to see.

Icon---> Memento mori.

Sorry to spoil the mood... carry on!

Geo-boffins drill into dino-killing asteroid crater, discover extinction involves bad smells, chilly weather, no broadband internet...

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Fahrenheit?

> tables on the back of the "red exercise book"

If I hunt really quite hard among the debris of decades, I am almost certain that I can find a Ready Reckoner, which, I will explain for the uninitiated, is a printed volume which simply lists the multiples of values. This is invaluable if you wish to know the price of one and a half gross of pen nibs at a penny-three-farthings each with a delivery charge of thruppence to be added. No billing in guineas, mind.

Jonathan Richards 1

Ulterior motives

@Stork - that's a very dubious username for someone posting about butter... :)

Criminal mastermind signed name as 'Thief' on receipts after buying stuff with stolen card

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Signing credit card slips in the US of A

Yes, legislation is carefully written to be unambiguous and have a deterministic result. So far, like computer language, so good. But the legal code doesn't get repeatedly run through a test suite, it doesn't get alpha- or beta-tested, it doesn't get a phased roll-out, and in the only respect in which it still resembles computer code, people get hurt when it fails.

Barristers make a lot of money precisely because they can't be replaced with a parser and an I/O interface.

And you thought the cops were bad... Civil rights group warns of facial recog 'epidemic' across UK private sites

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: private ANPR too...with results fed to the police

ANPR isn't subject to the Data Protection Act provisions, though, because vehicles aren't living persons.

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: Hypocratic oath for maths and tech

> it is the VCs and business types ...

They're only pushing what they can buy from technically and mathematically capable practitioners. As Dr Fry says, ethics are taught alongside medicine throughout, whereas they're bolted on to a mathematician's skillset as an afterthought, if at all.

An Army Watchkeeper drone tried to land. Then meatbags took over from the computers

Jonathan Richards 1


> The MoD refused to supply The Register with a copy of the same report.

Note that the MoD publishes all the information which it supplies in response to FOI requests, though it seems to be delayed by about a month: FOI responses released by the Ministry of Defence: 2019 [gov.uk]

Hack computers to steal someone's identity in China? Why? You can just buy one from a bumpkin for, like, $3k

Jonathan Richards 1

A to Z

Zimbabwe has left the chat

New UK Home Sec invokes infosec nerd rage by calling for an end to end-to-end encryption

Jonathan Richards 1

Different wording

> wording differs in many respects from what appears to be the agreed ministerial version.

Hmm. The gov.uk document that the article references is 404. A search yields this document with an identical title, but a comparison shows that it has almost no text in common with the document that El Reg has archived. It appears more as if the archive is the Communiqué, and the government upload is the 'Action Minutes'.

If there's a policy difference between the two, I'm not sure which would have precedence.

For heaven's sake: Japan boffins fail to release paper planes in space after rice wine added to rocket fuel

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: I think I see the problem

Ha! Creased me up.

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: imperial units

+1 for the insight, but the three emperors of Austerlitz are at 1.87Mogg.

Jonathan Richards 1

Unit fabrication

> full Mogg with Imperial units

I propose the ogg: the number of hours by which one is out of touch with reality. A Jacob Rees kogg would be catching up with events just before midsummer, but a Rees Mogg is stuck about a decade before World War I.

People of Britain: You know that you're not locked into using the same ISP forever, right?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: "Cost" of switching - email addy

Yes, this. In fact I could probably manage my transition away from the email domain originally provided to me by Telewest, but my son and my mother both have alias addresses on my account, and it would be harder for both of them (for different reasons), so I continue to bung large amounts monthly to Virgin Media. There's no portability of email address. Maybe there could be mandatory forwarding of mail for a fixed period of time?

Sleeping Tesla driver wonders why his car ploughed into 11 traffic cones on a motorway

Jonathan Richards 1

Having watched the video, I can't believe that anyone could have slept through the noise of the impacts. Being jolted awake by barrel crunching, to find yourself being squeezed between lane closures and a big truck, might have required immediate change of underwear.

I'm not going to join in poster-bashing - it seems to me that sharing the near-miss information is contributing to a more safety-conscious regime. Exactly that culture is what contributes to air travel being as safe as it is.

Icon: TTTR - Teach Tesla To Read

Braking bad? Van with £112m worth of crystal meth in back hits cop car at police station

Jonathan Richards 1

Kid... whadya get?

... talking about father-raping, stabbing, all kinds of groovy things, until a Sergeant came in, had a piece of paper in his hand...

Low Barr: Don't give me that crap about security, just put the backdoors in the encryption, roars US Attorney General

Jonathan Richards 1

Re: So how does he think this is going to work?

> A law that effectively makes secure open source apps illegal

This is where (if I understand correctly) the rock meets the hard place in the form of the US Constitution (as amended). A codebase which generates "illegal" strong encryption with no backdoor is almost certainly protected free speech in the USA. You'd think an Attorney General would appreciate this truth. Therefore, AG Barr probably has designs on weakening that aspect of the US Constitution.

Revealed: Milky Way's shocking cannibalistic dark past – it gobbled a whole dwarf eons ago

Jonathan Richards 1
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Verb choice!

> The two bodies eventually met and smashed into one another.

I know it makes for exciting prose, but given the density of matter in a galaxy (to a first approximation, there's nothing there...) it's much more appropriate to evoke two clouds of thin smoke gently coalescing over unimaginably long timescales.

Facebook chucks 1.5 hours' profit at Citizens Advice anti-scam charity to defuse consumer champ's defamation suit

Jonathan Richards 1
Thumb Down

Re: WTF?

Yeah, the words Citizens Advice scam charity, in that order, make for an unfortunate double-take at best, and a ghastly misunderstanding at worst.

Introduction to the Citizens Advice Service [citizensadvice.org.uk] for anyone who doesn't know.

I don't know but it's been said, Amphenol plugs are made with lead

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Testing testing testing

+1, I call this the Magneto Principle. Light aircraft used to have (maybe still do, I don't know [1]) the very simplest engine equipment, because: fewer things to go wrong. For ignition there would be two redundant magnetos to generate the HT spark. Part of pre-flight would be to run up the engine and switch off each magneto in turn, to ensure that they were both working well enough to support ignition independently.

[1] It seems unlikely, though. The first pageful of search results for 'magneto' all refer to an X-Men comic character of whom I've never heard. Mumble grumble.

Yorkshire bloke's Jolly Roger flag given the heave-ho after council receives one complaint

Jonathan Richards 1

Current on the high seas

> piracy involved ships on the high seas

Regrettably, your use of the past tense is in error. There were 201 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships logged by the ICC International Maritime Bureau in 2018 [1]. It may be spoilsportish, but I can't get into the celebration of piracy as a quaint custom of yesteryear. I have also looked up how to carry out an efficient yard-arm hanging.

[1] IMB piracy report 2018: attacks multiply in the Gulf of Guinea



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