* Posts by Cantab

32 posts • joined 22 Feb 2010

BOFH: Every silver lining has a cloud

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Requiring all my willpower...

...not to burst out in hysterics in the middle of the library. Definitely a classic!

Dubai assassins used email trojan to track Hamas victim


WTF has 9/11 to do with this?!

I think one could quite strongly argue Hamas became terrorists once the EU and USA left them with no other option by refusing to recognise their democratic mandate from the 2006 Palestinian General Election. If the West had the balls to stand up to Israel and genuinely commit to democracy they would have acknowledged Hamas as the rightful government and worked with them to build a peaceful palestinian state. Remember Sinn Fein grew out of the IRA.

Second to suggest that Hamas are the main blockade to a successful peace process is disingenuous. Israels actions in continuing settlement building in the Occupied Territories, not to mention the wall around the West Bank are by far more obstructive and in contravention of international law - even President Obama says they have to stop before a constructive peace process can progress.

Payback orders for eBay squaddie

Black Helicopters


Are you sure it isn't a certain first-of-class Type 45?

3D printers, one-dimensional enemies

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That's where I had heard this before...

I remembered this story as I read the article but I couldn't place where I knew it from.


MoD braced for painful weight-loss surgery next week



With all due respect sir, I believe you missed the point:

The contrast was about who was paying for this essential gear which you need for deployment. Previously, when the army was meant to be sorting it out, it didn't happen because they couldn't afford it. Then the treasury started to pay for it from separate funds to the MoD budget, so the gear was issued.

I don't think the author ever suggested that soldiers should be issued with it as soon as they joined their regiment, merely that it was imperative that it was issued eventually.



Because the military isn't an essential/only career any more?

Incredibly few officers would want to join the army if it cost, there are many more attractive careers/professions. As it currently stand the forces have to tempt people to enlist by paying them through university.

ACPO defuses impending photo row with police forces


Re: Catch 22

I think it came up in the previous thread that PACE only gives plod the right to seize a camera if they would not be able to recover it on request at a later date, so the plod's first course of action should always be to politely approach the photographer/filmer, explain the situation and ask for their cooperation and contact details. The fact that sussex police didn't do this in the reported case is what makes their actions illegal and the 'new' advice from ACPO irrelevant.

Of course, rational, clear and fair application of the law would be too much for the british police nowadays so I guess we shouldn't get our hopes up...

Mines the one with the SLR in the pocket...

Apple goes social with musical Ping

Jobs Halo

Wireless display?

Ok so if I can stream video from my MBP to the new AppleTV can someone build an application which relays my laptop display through the AppleTV to my screen, essentially giving it the added functionality of facilitating a wireless display system. If it can keep up with streamed video I can't see how the bandwidth needed for relaying the display would be any higher...

Apple QuickTime backdoor creates code-execution peril


Not quite fair...

To be fair its not solely because of the extraneous parameter its also due to the lack of ASLR and DEP with respect to that .dll

I note that this vulnerability isn't present in OSX or Linux, now while the quicktime flaw may not be present for these OSes, the implementation of ASLR and DEP is also a factor

Colonel who slammed Afghan HQ PowerPoint culture is fired


Cowardly and ignorant? sums said general right up!

First General Stanley Mcchrystal now Col. Sellin, maybe the US army needs to start listening when its Ruperts start speaking out!

It's time to presume the web is guilty

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What about startups....

If you're only going to trust traffic which has made it onto a white list how are you ever going to introduce new content and services. If noone is able to access a new service to discover it then it can't be able to be found trustworthy so it will never make it onto the whitelist. A loss of the presumption of innocence seems to be the rise of corporate/political online censorship and the true end of net neutrality!

BT Tower to open for first time in 29 years

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Only in Britain...

...could something as bleeding obvious as the BT Tower be an Official Secret. Love it!

Online car rental service hit by monopoly probe


Monopoly? Well I did always like to be the racecar...

It does sound like they'll pretty much have a monopoly over London's "car club scene" with 1000+ cars. But I can only see this as a positive thing, for an enterprise like this scale is only going to drive down costs, and as it stands the merger looks like it is already going to reduce prices for Streetcar users even if they will no longer solely be using sparkly new Volkswagens. Furthermore the availability of so many more cars in so many places and the increased likelihood of expansion into new markets (some in Newcastle and Durham would be appreciated!). Overall it seems like this will benefit consumers and while it may put its competitors at a disadvantage, I'm sorry that's business, second best is first loser.

Now where did I put my "Streetcard"...

Microsoft ends Office lovers' employee discount program


What a joke!

"Instead, Microsoft is pushing people towards its Home Use Program" the same program that's just been killed for NHS employees http://www.microsoft.com/uk/nhs/pages/licensing/post_ea_hup.aspx now I admit its at least partially the NHS' fault (probably a cost cutting measure) but making people uninstall the software they've paid for? I'd rather pay the full amount and get software I'm allowed to keep!

US starts charging for online visa-waiver



We could just keep it simple:

At the airport:

British customs official: "Passport please"

*American tourist hands over passport*

Customs official: "Ah you're american, in that case it will be $100 or £100 (because that's how exchange rates work according to American companies) to enter the country"

Tourist: *paying* "Why?"

Customs official: "To pay to replace that tea that ended up in Boston harbour. Have a nice day!"

UK ICT classes killing kids' interest in tech


I think we've all agreed that...

- the curricula are a joke, I dropped ICT before GCSE yet I still remember being sat using a PC for a different subject in the back of an ICT class and stil being able to answer more of the questions than the entire ICT class put together because it's seen as a soft subject. It actually needs to involve really computer science rather than ICT. More programming and networks less MS Office for dummies. But the way to decide what to teach isn't to ask Microsoft and Google; yeah they know a lot about computers and IT but what this needs is someone in touch with the level this should be pitched. Go and talk to the Computer sciences undergrads at uni's I'm sure they'll tell you the useful stuff they could have been taught earlier - after all they're the ones who have recently experienced our ICT 'teaching' and have persisted with computer sciences nonetheless.

- the teaching's poor. Why? Because no-one who teaches ICT that I ever encountered has any computer sciences background to speak of. Its always a maths, business or technology teacher retasked to the job, or worse a glorified PA! No self respecting computer scientist seems to want to teach and tbh I don't blame them but until that happens, or at least the teachers are those able to teach a more relevant and in depth curriculum we're never gonna solve this problem.

Having said all that IT has always relied on recruiting from the geeks who tinker in their bedrooms not necessarily from the folks with "all" the qualifications (think Bill Gates dropping out of Uni to start MS

Court slaps down coppers in photography case


Enrage the mainstream

Its all very well that we repeatedly read these articles on the Register and express our anger and disgust in these comment threads, unfortunately that's highly unlikely to change anything. Furthermore, only a minority of the populace understand that this issue exists: it rarely makes it into mainstream media and when it does its a fleeting article in the broadsheets.

As such the only people who are out there campaigning against these police actions are the minorities, often the extreme left. while these folks are often passionate and determined, they create a poor image with the public of why this is bad. they see it as something that only affects the kind of nut who goes to (often rowdy) protests.

Only when this becomes a national issue, taken up by a mainstream newspaper (probably one of the broadsheets but preferably the times or the telegraph so no-one can say its just the lefty guardian) will we see a true change. What IT aware types such as the commentards which haunt these forums could do would be to harness the power of the web to expedite this. Social media used to create a grassroots voice would help, get the videos and accounts out there and preferably demonstrate it happening to the ordinary citizen not the mouthy lefty FITwatch member (admirable though their work is) but the underpaid nurse, the officer worker, the tourist...

That said, a few judges imprisoning wayward constables on the grounds of contempt of court (their illegal acts are essentially vigilante justice, thus they are disregarding the court's authority, thus they are in contempt) would go along way. And some punitive damages against police forces whenever their officers step out of line would be alright too.

UK supermarket starts contactless payments


I agree

I've come to realise that notes are almost certainly 'worth' less than their total value, if I break a note on less than its full amount the change is quickly frittered away on daft little expenditures which I'd avoid if the coins weren't in my pocket. Furthermore when it comes to buying something of a 'real' amount, over two quid say, I can rarely be bothered to dig through all my change and add it up, so I break yet another note instead. As such I rely on my plastic (debit only, I have a credit card which I never use except on large purchases) because it gets rid of the change factor and I can track every purchase perfectly with online banking.

Contactless payment is certainly the future for small scale purchases, quick and easy. If it is cheaper for the retailer than card transactions hopefully it will penetrate those retail markets which cards have never made it into like many corner shops and maybe even markets - it may even get rid of the "minimum spend for card transactions: five pounds" often seen in pubs!

<- big problem could be without a regular "balance check" function I could end up spending too much on these


I doubt it

Firstly there's going to have to be a network backing it up, the equivalent of visa or mastercard, so to get access to said network will require registration, a merchant account, upfront fees and probably even a certain scale of transactions to make it viable. So your portable scanner and funds will be traceable directly to you.

Second, even if you make it past that, there will have to be a method of challenging transactions, as there is for all other forms of 'plastic'. So when you review your balance sheet (which as a responsible consumer you should occasionally) you can challenge the transaction and such a pattern will probably be quickly spotted and the fraudulent 'merchant' would be kicked off the network and the payments refunded.

Third surely these work on a fairly short range, all the rfid/contactless systems I've ever come across seem to need to be within a couple of inches at the most to work. So this bloke would have to wander round prodding peoples pockets to get in range.

Finally it probably wouldn't be all that hard to add a pressure sensor switch to the cards (a little piezo wafer maybe?) so that a force would have to be applied at the same time for the transaction to go through?

So yes there maybe be less 'direct' security but systems security can be implemented to mitigate this.

NatWest sets lawyers on student site


Don't you mean...

"best wank a ant"?

Proprietary software puts pacemaker users at risk

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Last time I looked that would be a quarter, or at worst 25% but one-fourth? I'm sorry it just sounds dumb!

NHS spunks £7.5k on porn room

Paris Hilton

Beat me to it!

Darn, I thought I was going to get in first there, how did no one request one earlier!

PARIS skins up with Rizlas and dope

Paris Hilton

Good point...

I got a -80C in the lab at work if you fancy shipping a sample out to Seattle I'll pop it in over night to give it a test! Anything to cop a feel of PARIS ;-)

<- Well it's obvious ain't it.

Mozilla tames Firefox tab monster with Candy


I think I may have just fallen in love...

...only worry is that they're gonna have to follow through on the bit about removing some tabs from the memory or my system is going to permanently grind to a halt!

MPs call for crackdown on pre-paid credit cards


My thought exactly!

If you're taking money out of a pot you are being debited the bank isn't extending you a line of credit!

And we wonder why this country has a problem with consumer debt when people (including politicians) can't even make such a simple distinction!

Amazon.co.uk takes on Tesco


Poor effort...

"offers only a disappointing nine lagers..."

disappointing!? Not in the slightest. Anyone wanting to drink that piss in the first place is puzzling enough, anyone going to the length of ordering it from Amazon is ludicrous. The limited and vastly overpriced range of ales is disappointing!

Mine's a pint of Pedigree!

Voting chaos in not-fit-for-purpose electoral system


A third of the popular vote maybe!

"We suspect rather less will be heard about the legitimacy of forming a government with the ringing endorsement of just over a third of the electorate."

And which third would that be? T,urn out is at best 70% of which the tories have 36%, looks like 25% of the electorate to me!

Chinese gamer survives knife through skull


Good 'ole Phineas Gage


This guy will probably be fine, except he'll be awful at sports for the rest of his life, then again he was already playing CS so he's probably already awful at sports, no great loss really.

Skulls and Knives? Fairly obvious really...

Pirate Bay blocking row silenced in Norway


credit where credit's due

talk talk aren't doing badly here in the uk

Boffins builds lithium battery that can't explode


well, yes because...

..., while sulphur is its classical british name, element 16 has three accepted variations according to the OED (to which one should defer) namely: sulpur, sulphur and sulfur.

Home Secretary swats away calls for Mosquito ban


Well said

hear hear! People talk about having them at train stations, this seems to assume all young people do there is cause trouble, of course there's no chance at all they might just want to catch a train in peace!

When will people learn to solve a problem, rather than just push it away!

Google Energy gets OK


Re: world domination

...Quick look up their bases on Google maps!

Wait a second....


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