* Posts by Mr Sceptical

195 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Jan 2010


Privacy advocate challenges YouTube's ad blocking detection scripts under EU law

Mr Sceptical

Re: Good.

Adnauseum extension has been working well for me. Slight delay on video start but then straight through.

Says it's just acknowledging all the ads on the background, making the responses as worthless for profiling as me liking every single item I watch.

Britcoin or Britcon? Bank of England grilled on Digital Pound privacy concerns

Mr Sceptical

Re: It is all about control during the next Covid crisis...

#rant: Ok, I have to stop you there. Vaccines are for the benefit of you and your loved ones. If my mum had access to a COVID vaccine in Dec '20 I wouldn't be a core participant to the COVID inquiry now.

Billions of people haven't turned into zombies, fascists , sheep or tree frogs so I'll go with the statistics that it was both safe and effective at reducing the numbers of families not mourning loved ones. #rantover

That said, governments all tend to more control over time and this pointless idea is just another crappy example.

Mr Sceptical

Re: @jmch

Err, I doubt the current plastic ones would be much use for that, but at least you could wash and reuse them?

You're probably better off with some leaves, you can get several billion to a ship's peanut at the current exchange rates (HHGTTG ref).

If AI drives humans to extinction, it'll be our fault

Mr Sceptical

Current AI = Automated Stereotyping

Nothing currently available comes anywhere near Sci-Fi AI requirements, let alone being able to make three laws levels of judgements.

Until an 'AI' can ask the questions 'why?' we are perfectly safe

Even then, toddlers manage it and we don't consider them a threat to anything but soft-furnishings, breakables and our patience & sanity.

Only if we REALLY wanted to copy the War Games/Terminator plots and entrust our nuclear launch systems to a program could there be consequences and even then it would be a straight desgin error.

FUD=panic. Keep the sharp objects away from the children & 'thought leaders' and we'll be fine.

Mr Sceptical

Re: Ignorance is Bliss and Heaven Sent and Much Appreciated by AI and ITs Likes

Aren't we just talking about the back story for the Matrix now?

I for one, will happily sit in the gruel fed tank of our metal overlords, as long as I subsist in the Matrix as a vastly wealthy big knob, dining on fine steaks, whilst lording it over the plebs

Everyone back to the office! Why? Because the decision has been made

Mr Sceptical

who'd have thought less interruptions could boost productivity?

Feedback from one of our clients during lockdown - IT productivity increased, Sales team decreased.

Looks like IT could focus on real work while the Sales team didn't have anyone to badger to urgently fix their missing icon issues...

Some clients are tempting staff back with free meals where they had a paid canteen previously. Ones who already did that spent lockdown refurbishing offices to even swankier levels but still have hardly anyone in.

We've gone hybrid for the long term, vacated half our office space and now coming in for the day feels like a novelty rather than the daily grind into Waterloo.

Did have to implement a desk booking system to prevent everyone piling in one day of the week, but occupancy is still only 1/3 over the week.

BOFH: Something's consuming 40% of UPS capacity – and it's coming from the beancounters' office

Mr Sceptical

Re: The security system

As an installer, most systems will fail open by design - hence why we state they should not be the sole lock on perimeter doors.

Only specific locks fail secure and they normally have a manual release on the secure side so you can get out when power is out.

Presumably the beancounters office both fails secure and EMPs their phones to prevent them calling for help before starting a small fire...

Mr Sceptical

You'd have thought that pros would do it better...

Was involved in a migration of on prem Exchange servers to a C&W datacentre in the mid-2000s.

The blurb on the DC was it's got two mains supplies from separate cites, UPS up the wazoo, state of the art control room, etc.

Cue a power cut the weekend after the bulk of the migration - there was an actual grid outage and both mains feeds died. The dual UPS architecture immediately failed due to a cascading overload. Unfortunately, due to the design of the control room - all their kit was on the same UPSs so they were dark too.

Come Monday morning, lots of screaming to the C&W team as to why the hell they didn't bother alerting anyone that all our kit was down and why several thousand staff now had no email...

Mr Sceptical
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Simon's no dummy - the farm is being fed from the two adjacent buildings' mains supply and has the bosses new electric car hooked up as the UPS ;-)

Govt suggests Brits should hand passports to social media companies

Mr Sceptical

Re: They want a passport ...

I identify as an iPhone - who's pic should I use?

Icon for the PFY -->

Mr Sceptical

Yeah sure, what could possibly go wrong with this idea!

I'll hand my passport over when all government ministers publically post theirs and details of their DOB, mother's maiden name, first pet, first school and all the other 'security questions' commonly asked...


$600m in cryptocurrencies swiped from Poly Network

Mr Sceptical

Re: Blew my mask off my face

I dunno, $600 mill pays for your own private army, or any number of assassinations of irate gang leaders. It's just business so I'm sure they won't take it personally.

On the other hand it's probably easier to move to a banana republic and pay off the chief of police for your protection - cheaper than the Merc army anyway.

Put it this way, if you'd nicked a few Billion the idea you'd personally be in danger is fairly low as you simply how enough specialists to keep you safe, providing your actually follow their advice and don't start flaunting your ill gotten gains in public places.

Just a thought...

Crane horror Reg reader uses his severed finger to unlock Samsung Galaxy phone

Mr Sceptical

Re: Biometrics should not be part of ID or Security

There was a news report years ago about some guy in South America who thought it was smart to protect his expensive car from theft by installing a biometric reader to start it.

Guess what the theives did to steal it then??

Can't remember if he survived or not, but would answer to Stumpy if he did.

Mr Sceptical
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Re: severed finger unlocker

For amusement and morbid interest, I checked out a book on hand injuries from the pre-clinical library at Uni.

I'm not squeamish, but my housemates did struggle with many of the graphic photos.

One that stuck in the mind was a poor guy who had all his fingers on one hand torn out, including 30cm of tendons that controlled them, preventing them being meaningfully reattached...

Icon for what his hand looked like afterwards --->

Yes, there's nothing quite like braving the M4 into London on the eve of a bank holiday just to eject a non-bootable floppy

Mr Sceptical

"OLD interactive whiteboards"???

Those things were pure science fiction when I was at school!

I had an idea they'd make a brilliant product, but then did a 'Tension Sheet' and forgot to patent the damn things.

Could have been drinking fresh mango juice, with goldfish shoals nibbling at my toes.


Mr Sceptical

"I had a go at fixing it..."

Do they follow that with, "Good news, the fire is out now"?

Could have been either the fire OR murshroom cloud depending on level of incompetence -->

OVH reveals it's scrubbing servers – to get smoke residue off before rebooting

Mr Sceptical
Paris Hilton

Re: Worth saying again......

Damn skippy!

"But, but, but - surely clouds just float around the sky? Did it dry up or something?" - an Exective Team, last week.

Aaaaaand, that's why you always need someone who actually understands IT sitting on the board at every organisation that uses technology....

Clouds: someone else's servers (TM)

Your average user's comprehension of IT icon ----->

Ship stranded in Suez Canal shifts, but not before spawning some choice tech memes

Mr Sceptical
IT Angle

Dual redundant canal jokes?

C'mon, no one posted a joke about a second backup canal? For shame...

At least our elebenty-gazillion hamsters (I forget the correct Reg units) worth of consumer tat can start blocking up ports again. Show's over!

BP Chargemaster's Pulse rebrand let crims send IcedID banking trojan from formerly legit mailboxes

Mr Sceptical

Re: Inevitable?

We whitelist the IP/domain for our marketing drone emails by including it in our SPF records. They should be being flagged as spam if they don't but YMMV...

ESA mulls sending waves of robot explorers into dark depths of lunar lava tubes

Mr Sceptical

Re: U-drone

In that case we know what will happen next...

Icon for the Nuke from orbit, its the only way to be sure option -->>

Where in the world is Jack Ma? Alibaba tycoon not seen since October after slamming Chinese government

Mr Sceptical

You flick the tiger's nuts, you get mauled!!!

Funny how these suddenly rich (and feeling powerful) people can seriously underestimate their corporeal vulnerability. He's clearly got a crappy security team who failed to stop him shooting himself in the face.

Same thing happens in Russia to the oligarchs - toe the party line and you can enjoy the rewards you stole from the people, piss Putin off and you can enjoy a poison jockstrap.

As long as they value their own flesh, shut the hell up - or better still, get an anonymous front organisation to express your true feelings as you tuck into your virtual steak in the Matrix.

Julian Assange will NOT be extradited to the US over WikiLeaks hacking and spy charges, rules British judge

Mr Sceptical
Black Helicopters

Re: I'd rather we keep Assange

Stick to the facts - Snowden released details on activities of the US government that they themselves would be screaming as illegal espionage if it was being done by anyone else.

Hello, pot & kettle - oh, suprise, you're both the same!

What would you rather them have done - tried to stand and fight an entire army? They aren't Rambo/Commando/Superman you know!

Alleged Ponzi mastermind on the run from FBI hid in lake with sea-scooter, collared after he surfaced half-hour later

Mr Sceptical
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Re: Sounds like he was a dick but...

I can see we share follow the same logic in escape route planning, you've got most of my points too ;-)

For the corpse, it's probably an advantage if it can be left somewhere it's going to have time to decompose enough to confuse the investigators, so could be left to defrost on it's own. Really though, you need somewhere warm, preferrably with sharks/alligators to take the blame.

Think I might be watching too many heist movies...

Mr Sceptical

Rank amateur...

Good grief, if your master escape plan involves an underwater getaway (in winter!) then you'd better spend some of your ill-gotten gains on:

1) A rebreather tank so you don't leave a trail of bubbles (and maybe a faster model submersible?)

2) A decoy air tank to fake your own drowning

3) A decoy body (optional) - depends on access to a morgue/corrupt undertaker

4) A covered location to surface in & second getaway vehicle (the most common one on local roads c.f. Drive, The Sentinel, etc.)

5) Route to your non-extradition country of choice with home already set up (Heat, etc.)

Various other steps too, but jeez, if you're going to go to the effort of maintaining a Ponzi scheme, plan the out!

He'll have plenty of time to do 20/20 hindsight planning in the pokey, I'm sure...

I'll give you my passwords if you investigate police corruption, accused missile systems leaker told cops

Mr Sceptical
Paris Hilton

Re: failing to hand over his passwords to police on demand – a crime in the UK

That's exactly why we need to replace passwords with something else, but not an obvious biometric either - it's far too easy to grab a corpse's finger to unlock their phone on TV.

How about an erect todger? It would imply you are at least relaxed enough with your surroundings that you're unlikely to be in a police cell - unless you're a shameless exhibitionist, in which case you need the opposite.

"Honestly officer, I swear this doesn't happen often - oh well, I can't unlock the phone now..."

Paris, as that might be their secret weapon ->

US govt ups minimum H-1B tech salaries to $208,000 a year, more than startups can hope to afford, say VCs

Mr Sceptical

Wages are not comparable

We' ve got an embedded engineer (read: technician) at a client in the US - his package is $125K for what would be a £35-45K role in the UK...

There ain't no problem that can't be solved with the help of American horsepower – even yanking on a coax cable

Mr Sceptical

45 degree electricians

I had the same thing in our flat - you could clearly see diagonal channels up the living room wall. God knows what the sparky was thinking (or not)...

Mr Sceptical

Never work with children or animals?

That said - I've often wished for a trained weasel or something strong and agile enough to pull a cable through a difficult run!

Penguins are probably only suitable for aquatic cable runs... >>

Cops called to Singapore golf club after 'wrongdoers' use scripts to book popular timeslots

Mr Sceptical

Re: Is it hacking?

My keyboard can record macros - is it hacking if I record a previous session, then replay it the next time I want to book?

After all - I (not a bot) have entered the text and had to manually trigger the input the second time.

Case close, M'lud and off to the 19th hole for a celebration!

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

Mr Sceptical

A Keyboard Killer...

... Providing you've got one of the early IBM keyboards you stand a good change in any hand-to-hand combat.

Mr Sceptical

Deserved a good BOFHing

That's the kind of user who clearly deserves to get up close and personal with the stained end of a bulk eraser or cattle prod...

Or maybe they'd care to inspect the Halon system in operation?

Mr Sceptical
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Re: Self-Inflicted Silliness

I think you're right about PCW - it was a massive tomb back then and I spent ages lusting after all the hardware I definitely couldn't buy as a kid.

You do learn your most important lessons from those moments though, so it's good you managed it on a system you had no issues accessing and were also able to fix it!

Mr Sceptical
Paris Hilton

Re: Self-Inflicted Silliness

That's the bitty! It was back in the early 90s, so memory is equally as fuzzy...

Mr Sceptical

Re: Self-Inflicted Silliness

I once disabled my uncle's CD ROM drive for a couple over year by editing the resources file so I could get the sound working in Wolfenstein on his 386 ;-)

In my defence, I did fix it next time I was there, but seeing they lived in a different continent, we weren't exactly over weekly.

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

Mr Sceptical
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Re: Let's make it hypothetical:

@Jonathan Richards 1 - yep, I deliberately left out the 'legal/illegal' bit as that's coloured by local laws and what's legal in US vs GDPR vs UK vs [insert regime of choice] will vary for example.

Completely agree with you though. However, it muddies the waters in respect to the Snowden good/bad question so I left it out to focus on the state spying scenario.

Mr Sceptical

Let's make it hypothetical:

So we have a country, "ABC" – who are secretly intercepting the communications of all and sundry, whilst also decrying surveillance by other countries.

Then we have an individual, “Jay”, who works for that government and decides to freely release all the information they have gathered on those spying programs to the world.

From a purely philosophical point of view; are they good/bad, altruistic/selfish, moral/immoral or a patriot/traitor?

Even from the point of view of citizens of that nation; it depends on if you consider at the very least hypocritical actions of the ABC government defensible or illegal.

From the point of view of the rest of the world, it is easy to support actions that reduce mass spying activities by any government – the hallmark of oppressive regimes throughout history. Or do you think the Stasi were a virtuous public service…

All together now, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Sun welcomes vampire dating website company: Arrgh! No! It burns! It buuurrrrnsss!

Mr Sceptical

Re: Inappropriate garb

Of the few times I've done interviews I wore suits, but the last was in 2006. Of the recent people we've interviewed none were wearing suits (it was mid-lockdown) - they had shirts only, no ties on the men. Nor was I expecting a suit - even in person.

I might wear a suit to a really serious tender meeting, but standards have changed and ties are an endangered species overall. Virtually all meetings in our sector top out at smart causal (shirt and trousers), shoes or smart trainers, even for those in the City with finance types.

And now we're all on video calls, anything more than a T-shirt is practically black tie.

Please stop hard-wiring AWS credentials in your code. Looking at you, uni COVID-19 track-and-test app makers

Mr Sceptical

FYI - in the UK student loans are supposed* to written off after 30 years if you've not paid them back. It's on the basis you aren't earning enough to have benefitted from your degree in pocelain studies to burden you with lifelong debt and society should be willing to share that for the greater good.

What interest rate are US student loans at - full commercial rates or government (taxpayer) subsidised ones?

* Obviously, the current system hasn't been in place that long, so who knows if it won't be 'updated' in line with longeveity and the requirement to work into your 70s before you get a state pension anyway...

PS. I used my student loan to buy a PC - money well spent! In those days, you repaid it by direct debit rather than the insane PAYE supplement we have now...

Icon for time spent well, sort of.. - >>

Privacy Shield binned after EU court rules transatlantic data protection arrangements 'inadequate'

Mr Sceptical

Re: Good

Viz top tip:

Need to throw an abusive message at a passing stranger without littering?

Simply put the paper on the end of a dart and hurl with force at the intended recipient!

Everything must go! Distributors clear shelves of ALL notebooks in Q2, even ones gathering dust over last 12 months

Mr Sceptical


We've only got ~25 staff so I've always had a policy of issuing staff something that give them maximum productivity without going overboard. Started with moving all the O/S drives from spinning rust around 2010 as those .Net updates we're always a massive time waster when they arrived.

In recent years, more than half the staff have laptops as they need to work in different locations but it's amazing how a laptop will always be 'too heavy' to carry eveywhere. It's almost as if all that data increases it's mass.

More than once I've had to point out that so-and-so's laptop may look lighter (newer and shinier) but it actually weighs the same or more...!

Screen size is also a stupid contention point - they all want smaller, then increase the text size cause it's too hard to read. They're always amazed I can read 100% text and I point out that's why I wear glasses...

Icon for my blood pressure now --- >

Twitter admits 130 A-lister accounts compromised to promote Bitcoin scam after 'social engineering' attack

Mr Sceptical

Follow the money?

Any guesses on which country the currency is extracted through?

If you're despairing at staff sharing admin passwords, look on the bright side. That's CIA-grade security

Mr Sceptical

Re: Don't Panic

I think you're supposed to leave keys under the doormat? Or flowerpot?

Mr Sceptical

Re: Numpties, the lot of 'em.

First dibs on playing war games with the real satellite battle stations.

Now where's the button marked Project Thor?

NY Attorney General warns Apple, Google to police COVID-19 tracing apps in their souks – or she will herself

Mr Sceptical
Big Brother

Re: tracing apps

So should we accept the one that downloads from mil.gov too?

Seems very friendly as it keeps asking questions about all my contacts!

Seriously, someone needs to explain 'right to privacy' to the various government agencies using picture cards and a taser.

Hey Mister Prime Minister ... Scott! Can you get off my lawn please, mate?

Mr Sceptical


And not with water?

Recycled >>>

Mr Sceptical

I salute that man!

Suspect I would have been rather less polite in the same circumstances...

Release the hounds!, sorry Koalas.

Coronavirus didn't hurt UK broadband speeds in March. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, on the other hand...

Mr Sceptical

QoS much?

On Plusnet London here;

I've not noticed limited quality on Amazon Prime, been watching the new season of Bosch in UHD and it's takes a few seconds to go from SD > HD > UHD, but once it's there I can't see any degredation in quality. Netflix is the same AFAIK, but most of it has been kids cartoons recently so hard to say.

YouTube videos are still resolution selectable to 4K60, no difference there either.

The absolute bugger has been stuttering, frame drops and audio sync in the multitude of video calls!!!

Ampere, Nvidia's latest GPU architecture is finally here – spanking-new acceleration for AI across the board

Mr Sceptical

Re: That's all very impressive...

I was going to come in with the Crysis question, with a tangent:

Can it give you a realistic, learning, Turing test (of behaviour) passing, AI foe in Crysis?

And once it's beaten the best humanity can offer, time to power up the cyborgs and ROTM! --->

Sweet TCAS! We can make airliners go up-diddly-up whenever we want, say infosec researchers

Mr Sceptical

Re: Need both

Programmers rarely have their lives on the line at the time the +++Out of Cheese+++ error occurs.

You could always institute a sort of bonus/penalty system - bonus payments for every successful landing vs shark fodder for any fatal crash. It would probably fully concentrate their minds on the code.

Had an AI been given the requirement to pancake a plane, would it necessarily be able to work out the glide slope required to avoid bridges/ships/obstructions on the surface bearing in mind it won't be able to 'see' and understand them the way we do. You'd need to train the AI on all possible manner of objects found in the real world first.

Latvian drone wrests control from human overlords and shuts down entire nation's skies

Mr Sceptical
Black Helicopters

Wot no AWACS?

For that matter, don't they just need to call up the nearest NATO AWACS to find out where it is? Don't NATO keep a very close eye on everything flying in the European Theatre becuase of the Bears?

Or did they sell them all off / scrap them all?