* Posts by Blofeld's Cat

1126 posts • joined 27 Jan 2010


This NSA, FBI security advisory has four words you never want to see together: Fancy Bear Linux rootkit

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Fancy Bear Linux rootkit

Is that their password?


Face masks hamper the spread of coronavirus. Know what else they hamper? Facial-recognition systems (except China's)

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Re: Plague outfit

That's a shame.

I was looking forward to wearing my new hooded cope and skull mask while taking my scythe to be sharpened.

If you think you've got problems, pal, spare a thought for these boffins baffled by 'oddball' meteorites

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"... Thus a meteor can not be two things at once ..."

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the [White] Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

(White queen takes Red pawn, check)

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Hang on, the PDP 11/70 has dropped offline

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Er ...

I once worked for a firm where the owner had a thing about equipment being left on and "wasting money".

It was perfectly normal during the Winter to emerge from an office into a pitch-black corridor or stairway with the switches at the far end. Everyone used to carry pocket torches for this reason.

The IT and telecom equipment all had labels over their sockets saying they must be left on, but he usually managed to turn off at least one server a month.

Evidently he worked on the principle that if there was nobody there, it wasn't being used.

Mysterious supernova is blasting far-flung galaxy with flashes of UV light – and astroboffins don't know why

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Hmm ...

Place: A galaxy 140 million lightyears away. Time: 140 million years ago.

A red-necked alien stares beneath the bonnet of his friend's UFO. He tugs experimentally at the mechanism, provoking short flashes of UV light. He hands his drink to his friend and picks up a large wrench.

"Hold my Djinn N'tonnix, I've got this."

It's a Meow-nixed system, I know this: Purr-fect storm of 3,000+ insecure databases – and a data-wiping bot

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Er ...

" ... Diachenko noticed the silo was then wiped by a miscreant, who replaced databases with random strings and the word "meow" appended. ..."

Sounds potentially catastrophic.

I've a feline that Macavity may be up to his tricks again.

Cabinet Office takes over control of UK government data: Mundane machinery or Machiavellian manoeuvrings?

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Re: With Dominic Cummings in charge ...

I believe such a statement is traditionally followed by three crashing chords:

Dom Dom Dom!

Capita Consulting ditching more than a quarter of its workforce 45 days after consultations with consultants

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Er ...

"... getting good traction in certain verticals such as cyber and justice ..."

My first thought was "they're building Robocop", but then I realised that "ED-209" was a much more likely project.

"You now have 15 seconds to comply."

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

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Re: Switching on the "monitor stand"

Not forgetting that sitting on top of the "screen" would be a collection of soft toys and potted plants, which did wonders for the ventilation.

The results of an over-watered potted plant dripping on to an overheated CRT were usually quite spectacular.

Boffins baffled as supergiant star just vanishes – either it partially blew itself apart or quietly turned into a black hole

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Whoops ...

I expect it's just the galactic equivalent of someone switching off and scrapping that dusty old modem they found in the back of a cupboard...

"I'm sorry. I was just tidying up and I didn't know anyone was still using it."

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

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Re: There's a rat in mi kitchen...


A little mouse with clogs on?

Well I declare ...

NASA mulls going all steam-punk with a fleet of jumping robots to explore Saturn and Jupiter's mysterious moons

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Hmm ...

"... using chemical propellants as fuel is out of the question ..."

Place: An underground bunker on Titan. Time: The near future.

A bottle green creature leans back in its seat and steeples four of its front appendages. A similar creature crouches before it.

"And the invaders? How are they progressing?"

"Reports say their mother ship is tearing up rock from beneath the surface, melting it and passing it to their attack ships. These ships in turn are vaporising the rock and blasting it down over the surface, before leaping away to attack another district."

"I see. A curious strategy."

"We are receiving similar reports from Europa and Enceladus, Emperor."

The bottle green creature sighs and furrows two of its brows.

"You realise, of course, this means war."

Detroit cops cuffed, threw a dad misidentified by facial recognition in jail. Now the ACLU's demanding action

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Re: The problem is not the AI, it's the police

An actor I know took part in a reconstruction for a TV "Crimewatch" program.

Shortly after the program aired he was arrested on three different occasions, including one where a patrol car made a spectacular U-turn across four lanes of rush-hour traffic to grab him. He also got turned in by several neighbours and friends.

Although his innocence was obviously beyond doubt, he is still viewed as a "wrong un" who "got away with it" in some circles.

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

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Re: Also works the other way round

Long before mobile phones, a friend of mine had a number just a few transposed digits from a taxi firm.

When drunks called to book a cab, she just used to say, "We're really busy tonight, so it'll be about twenty minutes".

This was based on the principle that they would not find the correct sequence of numbers to call back, and it saved her a huge amount of time and explanation.

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

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Er ...

"... the intelligence agency was trusted to shore up its computers and networks to a level higher than what's expected of the federal government as a whole."

I suspect they had already done that - given the lamentable state of security in most government departments worldwide.

Developers renew push to get rid of objectionable code terms to make 'the world a tiny bit more welcoming'

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Re: Context...

Context (noun): /ˈkɒntɛkst/

1 - SMS message purposely constructed to mislead the receipient.

2 - SMS message sent to or by an incarcerated person.

Ooo, a mystery bit of script! Seems legit. Let's see what happens when we run it

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Are you sure ...

... 'Are you sure you wish to proceed?' ...

I now add multiple prompts, each detailing precisely what is about to happen. This usually triggers the following sequence:

1 System prompts 'Are you sure you wish to proceed?'

2 User enters yes / clicks proceed

3 Repeat 1 and 2 until no more prompts

4 System produces hourglass

5 System removes hourglass.

6 User wonders what happened.

7 User wonders what the prompts said

8 User rings support to ask where their files / database have gone.

9 BOFH orders more carpet and quicklime.

If Daddy doesn't want me to touch the buttons, why did they make them so colourful?

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Press the button Max ...

I believe CERN has a big red button in their visitor centre with a notice inviting visitors to press it and "get it out of their system", before entering the rest of the complex.

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Re: Many years ago...

Probably a bell push that summoned a porter (or similar).

Summoning a porter (or similar), without the usual protective spells in place, can be deeply unpleasant - especially when they appear holding a mug of fresh tea and half a sandwich.

"What now? ... You wondered what it did? ... FFS I'd just finally got sat down for my sodding snap. Can't you bastards read?"

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

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Er ...

"Some of our customers are reporting that reservations are outpacing cancellations on their flights for the first time since the pandemic started."

The same effect would be produced when most reservations in the system had been cancelled, as fewer bookings with the potential to be cancelled would remain.

In such circumstances an actual drop in the number of reservations could still meet the stated criteria.

Coronavirus masks are thwarting facial recognition systems. So, of course, people are building training sets from your lockdown-wear selfies

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I find your lack of face disturbing ...

I've noticed that a number of people around here are starting to wear face coverings with custom designs on them.

Either that or I hadn't previously noticed that Darth Vader (along with "The Joker" and "Bane") shopped at Sainsburys.

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes

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Re: User education

"One wonders if black and white would have startled him less?

No, that would have just generated a second "symptom".

"When I click on it, it not only freezes but it also drains all the colour from my monitor"

Papa don't breach: Contracts, personal info on Madonna, Lady Gaga, Elton John, others swiped in celeb law firm 'hack'

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Paris Hilton

OK ...

Celeb: My personal details have been leaked ! My privacy has been violated. Get my lawyer on the phone - now !

Agent: Er ...

Celeb: OK get me some other lawyer on the phone - now !

Agent: Right ...

Celeb: And make sure the press get every last detail of what was leaked.

'We're changing shift, and no one can log on!' It was at this moment our hero knew server-lugging chap had screwed up

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Er ...

Not quite the same, but I worked in an environment where some control hardware was being developed alongside the monitoring software.

Failing to get a response from the test unit usually resulted in a walk down to the engineering workshop to see if the device was actually powered up and connected to the network.

Usually it was simply switched off, but sometimes you would find the safety cage open with bits of the test rig lying on a bench.

If there were one or more boffins prodding it, tutting, and shaking their heads, it was time for an extended coffee break.

Data centre reveals it modeled interiors on The Hunt for Red October sets

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Re: Remodelling

You are Elon Musk and I claim my five pounds (of gold).

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Hmm ...

I suspect that some of electrical installations I have seen are based on the Seaview from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

All they needed were some extras doing the rock-and-roll as fuses exploded in showers of sparks.

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

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Hmm ...

require_once('sarcasm'); // Just in case

I can't imagine that anyone in authority would misuse this data. I mean knowing where people were and who they met has no possible other use to anyone.

You might as well suggest that the Parks Department would use anti-terrorist legislation to check on dog-walkers.

I also wonder what will happen when the first person who uses the app gets Covid-19 from a contact, without the app alerting them ?

My guess is "lawyers".

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

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I'm old enough to remember when the tenner came in a little plastic cassette, which you were supposed to return in the slot provided.

The street around the machine used to be covered with them.

You also had to go into the bank branch the next day to get your "cash cards" back.

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Uh ho ...

I have never seen an engineer in a purple haze, but I have seen them turn a whiter shade of pale.

I was part of a QA team testing an office machine that was about to be launched. We discovered it was simple to run the machine with the safety covers open. The chief engineer of the project said this was "absolutely impossible" and that we had made a mistake.

We gathered them around the test machine and opened all the safety covers - the machine stopped and the engineer smiled.

We left the doors open and cycled the power - the machine started and the engineer went white as a sheet.

Facebook's mega-chatbot has 'a persona, discusses nearly any topic, shows empathy.' Perfect for CEO version 2

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Bite my shiny ...

Did anyone else read Blender as Bender ?

Could have been interesting, and possibly slightly more empathetic towards humans ...

ICANN finally halts $1.1bn sale of .org registry, says it's 'the right thing to do' after months of controversy

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Er ...

Hopefully as one of the consequences of this controversy, some light will now be shone on the internal workings of ICANN.

A multi-megawatt laser would seem appropriate.

Tata Consultancy Services tells staff to go to their rooms and stay there, even after the pandemic passes

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WFH ...

A friend of mine has been working from home, and he loves it.

His downstairs neighbours on the other hand will be pleased to see the abattoir re-open.

Dumpster diving to revive a crashing NetWare server? It was acceptable in the '90s

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Re: Genius ...

Had you thought of starting a YouTube channel?

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Genius ...

Excellent improvised engineering "solution".

They say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. I seem to spend most days either repositioning or trying to erase that line ...

Chinese carmaker behind Volvo and Lotus ships first two satellites for planned IoT ‘OmniCloud’

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Re: Only two?

Mr Musk also has put a car up there.

Want to put a satellite into orbit for US comms? Whoa, says Uncle Sam: Where's your space crash risk assessment?

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Pai in the sky ...

No, no. This is simply a safety issue and complete unrelated to anyone trying to establish an alternative wireless broadband network.

The timing of these new rules is also entirely coincidental.

Elevating cost-cutting to a whole new level with million-dollar bar bills

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Interference ...

Many years ago I got called out to a mysterious issue that was bringing down a workshop's servers every Monday morning at about 08:30.

Systems were checked; cables replaced; even one of the power supplies changed, all to no effect. The environment was checked and it was established that nothing out of the ordinary was happening at that time.

Eventually it was decided that I had to go and spend a Monday morning on site to try and catch it red handed. For the first hour everything worked normally and then silence. After a few moments the servers came back to life and started rebooting.

It turned out that the workshop used a lot of air tools and had a huge compressor tucked away in a shed outside. Usually this cut in and out throughout the day with no difficulty to keep the air reservoirs topped up.

Over the weekend the ancient grease in the compressor's bearings essentially set, stalling its electric motor until it overcame this resistance, and stirred the grease back to a normal thickness - which it maintained until the next weekend.

During this period the supply voltage on that one, somewhat flaky, circuit dropped to about 30V, and needless to say, the servers were on the same electrical circuit.

My boss quoted for a complex solution involving UPS and the like, but the workshop simply oiled the compressor instead ...

UK government to take equity in struggling startups with £250m 'Future fund'

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Re: Can I get a mere £1M?

"... I'll blow it all on blackjack, beer, & hookers! ..."

I like that business plan, but I suspect that your application will be unsuccessful as you're neither a multinational nor a major charity.

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Re: WTF! You call that a plan?

I think you'll find that the "greener fields" are currently closed to enforce social-distancing.

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style

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All the sugar, twice the caffeine ...

"... energy boosting beverages ...

IIRC Most of the projects I worked on in the early '90s were fuelled by pepperoni pizza and Jolt Cola.

Intelsat orbital comms satellite is back online after first robo-recovery mounting and tug job gets it back into position

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Re: Satelite designers missed a trick

Presumably an advantage of the "space tug" approach over refuelling, is that it can be used where the satellite's propulsion or alignment system has failed for a reason other than fuel, such as reaction wheels stopping.

Given that the tug does not need any sort of cooperation from its target, it could also potentially move (or de-orbit) dead satellites that didn't get to a graveyard orbit.

Academic showdown as boffins biff-baff over when Version 1.0 of Earth's magnetic core was released

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Hmm ...

Was it not created on 23rd October 4004 BC at about nine in the morning, along with the rest of the Earth?

Tribunal halts all Information Commissioner's Office cases because UK data watchdog can't print or organise PDFs

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Er ...

Is there still also the requirement that these "hearing bundles" be buried in soft peat for three months and then recycled as firelighters?

Reg fashion special: Top designer says 'video chat accessories' are in for spring!

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Re: Fashion is easy!

"Police's "I'll be watching you""

May I politely suggest that "Don't stand so close to me" by the same hot-rhythm combo might be equally appropriate in the present climate.

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Re: Fashion is easy!

Fine for the office, but are you going to tone this down a bit now that you are working from home?

If not I suggest adding a bowler hat and a cravat to give it that corporate look.

Remember Tapplock, the 'unbreakable' smart lock that was allergic to screwdrivers? The FTC just slapped it down for 'deceiving' folks

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Re: Great Youtube Channel

Worth checking out the ones from previous years as well

NASA reveals the new wavy Martian wheels it thinks can crush the red planet

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Don't stand so close to me ...

"... The ‘copter is equipped with cameras, too, so hopefully we’ll get some fabulous footage! ..."

I expect the Space Police will also use it to check that the Martians are social-distancing correctly.

My coat? It's the one with the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator in a pocket.

Bose shouts down claims that it borked noise cancellation firmware to sell more headphones

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Er ...

"... Bose said that downgrading firmware can "create unexpected behavior in a product and negatively impact or reduce functionality" ..."

I would have thought that, unless the update blew firmware fuses or the like, restoring a product's original firmware would return the product to what the customer originally bought.

The concept that returning the original firmware would reduce the original functionality is puzzling to say the least.

Minister slams 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories as 'dangerous nonsense' after phone towers torched in UK

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Apocalypse soon ...

"... burned her as a witch ..."

Alternatively the pandemic would be seen as a punishment sent by some deity for the unacceptable behaviour of the population at large.

Such visitations could be countered either by the villagers undertaking some farcical aquatic ceremony, or in the case of high-ranking members of society, showering endowments on to the local priests and their church.

The outcome was generally the same.

Smarter people would however send the local priests to intervene on their behalf ...

"Look I think it would be better if you went and had a word with Thor yourselves as you keep telling us he listens to you. The top of the sacred mountain looks like an ideal venue for this - the storm clouds are already gathering there. The rest of us will watch you from down here.

Oh and don't forget to take your ceremonial twenty-foot bronze spears of office with you."

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

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Re: Paris...

"... a problem in a few weeks that necessitated a return visit ..."

Life can be so hard when you get these important clients in exotic locations with their constant problems. Sometimes they even become convinced that you are the only person who understands the thing, and insist that you come and fix it in person.

Just make sure that if the boss goes, he does get booked into the hotel with drug dealers in the lobby...



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