* Posts by bitmap animal

174 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Jun 2010


Please pay for parking – CMOS batteries don't buy themselves

bitmap animal

Someone can't read a BIOS screen.

The 25/12/2012 date seen near the top is most likely the BIOS version build date. The System Date is a few lines below and is probably an accurate 12/11/2021.

Or am I missing something else?

Spar shops across northern England shut after cyber attack hits payment processing abilities

bitmap animal

Not just credit card systems

The focus of discussion is about their credit card systems doing down, implying it's just the payment system. There was mention of the tills being down, so that's possibly why some sites have had to close if they can't process stock. The ones accepting cash may just be putting the money in a bucket and not worrying about stock control etc.

It seems that their website is also down along with their distribution and manufacturing systems. That's likely quite a diverse set, so presumably either someone has 'pushed the right button' of some core system or they have purposely shut everything down to limit the spread from one initial problem.

Permissionless data slurping: Why Google's latest bombshell matters

bitmap animal

Re: our data has value

> If Google had to pay us to use our data, maybe they'd slurp less.

They give you a free search engine, free email, free maps & Steetview. I suppose you could look at it as payment in kind, or a barter system, so most people are effectively paying for it just not in cash.

bitmap animal

Re: Are we even bothered?

> Most of the people I see plying with their phones down the pub don’t even know what location services is or leave it enable deliberately to ‘improve the user experience’.

Most people want the phone to help them, they use it to communicate with various and broad circles of people, to find places to drink, to navigate there, to call taxis, to watch and wait to see the taxi arrive etc etc. To fully utilise these features the phone does need to know a lot about you and where you are. People love the convenience, and they are great tools which are becoming entwined in a lot of peoples daily lives. They don't want to know how it works, only that it does work.

Firefox to warn users who visit p0wned sites

bitmap animal

Re: Alternatives?

That involves the user stopping what they are doing and actively searching to check the site is safe. They then have to make an informed choice based on the results. With the exception of a small minority of security conscious people no one will do that. They just want to get on the internet to get their information, not go through hoops they don't understand anyway.

'Open sesame'... Subaru key fobs vulnerable, says engineer

bitmap animal

This will only open the doors

I'm almost certain that they also have a separate immobiliser 'chip' in the physical key. This technique will open the doors which means you can steal whatever is in the car car and will also disable the alarm making it easier to tow but still won't let you drive it away.

Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

bitmap animal

Re: TV drama too has the music and effects too dominant.

I've complained several times about the 'background' music on documentaries, often it’s hard to hear the presentor. They thanked me for my comments and passed them onto the production team.

bitmap animal

Re: Alternatives?

On a similar note I urge you not to read "Into The Abyss: Teal and Orange - Hollywood, Please Stop the Madness" as it will spoil 90% of films [ as if they need spoiling more]. It's a few years old but http://theabyssgazes.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/teal-and-orange-hollywood-please-stop.html conveys the problem quite well.

Once you're aware, you can't unsee it.

HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

bitmap animal

It needs to work and be understood

They need to know that when they press fire it will do what it has been designed to do. It it's not a mature, tested, and understood system then it's difficult to build confidence in it. These systems are incredibly complicated and take many years to develop. You don't want to press FIRE to get a message saying MS has restricted you to one missile in the latest security patch.

Huge ransomware outbreak spreads in Ukraine and beyond

bitmap animal

Re: Alternatives?

Perhaps like the last outbreak they are compatativly safe if they're still running XP.

It's 2017 and Microsoft is still patching Windows XP+ – to plug holes exploited by trio of leaked NSA weapons

bitmap animal

Re: Alternatives?

It's not just because of legacy applications. Computers are business tools and for many businesses XP does the job and is well understood by users and support staff. You don't expect to buy a new set of screwdrivers every five years just because the manufacturer has a new range with different shaped handles, often shaped in ways which make many tasks trickier to do.

'The internet is slow'... How to keep users happy, get more work done

bitmap animal


Spot on. On our trading estate I get 2mbps up and about 700kbps down. FTTC is not available and it's not scheduled. I could, and may well, get a second ADSL line as we're getting busier and I've almost given up waiting for FTTC. The other alternative is to get some form of leased line but we can't come close to justifying the cost.

To compound the problem ISDN is scheduled to be turned off in a few years so we'll have to move our 10 lines over to VOIP. That'll be fun......

Microsoft to spooks: WannaCrypt was inevitable, quit hoarding

bitmap animal

Re: If you cannot patch it quarantine it

-- disable the use of SMBv1.0 beause it is extremely insecure and hasn't been requred by any windows verson after windows 98.

I thought Window XP only worked with SMB1, as does Server 2003. There are probably quite a few older print servers still solidly working away which may need SMB1

bitmap animal

Re: Alternatives?

You can download if from Microsoft, this is a catalogue list of all the variations of the patch.


UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

bitmap animal

Is it per workstation

I've not seen if this is encrypted once per workstation. It looks like the infection and ransom is running on an individual machine, if there are communal files with say 10,000 machines sharing access then I'm not sure how this would work.

Can the scumware recognise a file already 'locked' and so leaves that alone. If that is the case them theoretically each workstation could encrypt a different file with what I presume is a different key. It's no longer a case of pay your bitcoin and get your company back - assuming the file is recoverable as there was one strain recently which was a fraud and couldn't be recovered.

bitmap animal

Re: Alternatives?

Have you seen how many updates there are for Libre Office? That also sits on Java, if you want the grammar tools, and so that has it's own can of worms.

Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

bitmap animal

Re: The original ones were too good

Because it's far better to replace something reliable and well understood with the equivalent of an Agile Java app because it's new & shiny. ( /s obviously )

Update your iPhones, iPads right now – govt spy tools exploit vulns

bitmap animal

Re: Phone Security

AFAIK if you set your own key in BES then it's secure. Using the default key may not be, I don't know the details though.

Notting Hill Carnival spycams: Met Police rolls out real-time live face-spotting tech

bitmap animal

Re: V

To Adam Jarvis re "Stop and Search/Arrest rates disproportionally affect Black/Asian people in London."

This is from Wikipedia so WMMV, but does indicate there is sound maths behind some of this. I'm not saying there isn't a problem with the police, but they are the people dealing with these instances on a daily basis. If you see 67% of the gun crime is being comitted by 10% of the people then that must affect how your approach the investigations.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2007 an estimated 10.6 percent of London's population of 7,556,900 were black

In June 2010 The Sunday Telegraph, through a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained statistics on accusations of crime broken down by race from the Metropolitan Police Service.[n 2] The figures showed that the majority of males who were accused of violent crimes in 2009–10 were black. Of the recorded 18,091 such accusations against males, 54 percent accused of street crimes were black; for robbery, 59 percent; and for gun crimes, 67 percent

'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'

bitmap animal
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Re: Dave 126.

My friend's OLED TV is a different matter. You just cannot discern any letterboxing at all in a dark room -

Just to support you on this observation. I've a calibrated plasma screen which is pretty good, smooth colour etc - not far off the best you could get as I understand. A relative got an OLED screen last year and the clarity was stunning but the main thing was black is black. It's a leap in picture quality IMHO, not just an evolution.

This local council paid HOW MUCH for an SD card?!

bitmap animal

You're missing the point

One thing most of you are not considering is the value of your time and the affect random buying can have on a business. If you need to go out to local shop to get something you are not doing your job for an hour, when you come back with the receipt someone has to process your expenses and split the VAT, someone has to deal with going back to the shop if the part fails in six months time, someone has to sort out the problems because the desktop roll-out image no longer works as you've bought a card with a different chip-set, someone has to ensure they can get spare parts in five years time. The list is endless.

You are not paid to be a shopping assistant. You ask for a part, [in theory] it magically appears. For a business it is very difficult to keep track of items bought ad hoc.

Looking just at the raw purchase price rather than the overall cost to the company is naive and blinkered. Yes, there are many instances where it can go wrong and you can point out where there are problems, but overall buying like this can have a lot of benefits to people looking at the overall effect on the company.

How to not get pwned on Windows: Don't run any virtual machines, open any web pages, Office docs, hyperlinks ...

bitmap animal

Re: How not to get pwned on Windows...

If you think MS has a lot of updates you'll be horrified by the number Linux requires. Why don't you have a look and count them.

Blighty's nuclear deterrent will get a software upgrade amid cyber-war fears

bitmap animal

Re: what happened to the tactical nukes?

A new shiny F35 + Trident carefully joined together with copious amounts of BAE gaffer tape should be one hell of a replacement......

Glum, depressed ... and addicted to Facebook, Twitter? There's a link, say medical eggheads

bitmap animal

Re: Get a Life!

If you venture into our office canteen at lunchtime you see lots of people being social - staring intently into their mobile phone screen whilst ignoring the real people surrounding them.

(Perhaps they have had enough of their colleagues but it still depresses me seeing them all like that)

Boffins urged to publish in free journals by science sugardaddy

bitmap animal

The Wellcome Collection

Slightly off topic but they have a free permanent exhibition at The Wellcome Collection which is less than five minutes walk from Euston Station. There is usually also an exhibition which runs for a few months on quite diverse medical based topics. Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019

bitmap animal

Re: A boondoggle through and through and now ejection seats are also a problem?

To have got this far down the development path and have those problems is quite shocking. Perhaps they could develop a variation of the Hans device used in F1, strap the helmet to the ejector seat and cross your fingers you and the helmet separate from the seat at the same time.

Brit brewer opensources entire recipe archive

bitmap animal

I went to a blind beer tasting recently, there was a homebrew, micro brewery and a mass produced beer. Most of us preferred the homebrew, the micro brewery one was interesting but very unusual and not to most peoples taste. The mass produced one was OK, but lost out by a long shot to the home brew.

I was very surprised to find that the mass produced was a Brew Dog beer, reading that post about CAMRA I can now see why they did that. I certainly would not compare B.G. to what I'd call mass produced.

Pay up, Lincolnshire, or your data gets it. Systems still down after ransomware hits

bitmap animal

Re: comment from g00se

Firstly I didn't mention Windows, you have assumed that – correctly but still an assumption.

We are a business primarily and we use our computers as a tool to help the business to run, we need the desktop and applications to be as stable and predictable as possible to seamlessly enable the staff to get on with their work. Windows OS generally lasts 10 years before end-of-life, most Linux servers are EOLd after only five years and the desktops much less. The various GUI desktop releases undergo more frequent design changes and even more frequent tweaks, moving things around and changing behaviour. Libre Office is pretty good but again the lifecycle is too short between releases, it is being tweaked and you can't always be sure it will behave in the same way over the years. Excel is rock solid in that respect. WSUS is great for centralised patch management, I'm not aware of something that works as well to centrally handle the myriad of Linux Distro and Libre Office patches.

Lets have a look at the LibraOffice 5.0 release schedule

Release 5.0.0 Aug 3, 2015

Release 5.0.1 Aug 24, 2015

Release 5.0.2 Sep 21, 2015

Release 5.0.3 Nov 2, 2015

Release 5.0.4 Dec 14, 2015

Release 5.0.5 Feb 8, 2016

Release 5.0.6 May 2, 2016

End of Life May 29, 2016

For 5.1 it is scheduled for first publishing next week and then the 5.1.6 EOL date is November. Less than 10 months birth to death.

Is that really something which you would want to support in a business environment?

This is before we start talking about bespoke applications, many commercial tools are Windows only. I suspect a lot of this is because of the stability of the platform, it is not continually being updated and the behaviour is well known and fairly stable. A vendor can say with reasonable certainty that their tool will run on a specific list of Windows versions, not so easy to do with the variety of distros and desktops in the Linux world.

Linux is a great idea, LibraOffice is great for a lot of things but I feel that for a stable work environment the Windows infrastructure is a wiser choice. We need office tools which will perform the same and give predictable results in a few years time and users can consistently operate.

bitmap animal

Our office currently gets about 50 emails a day which are not picked up by the a/v at the ISP, the different a/v on the gateway nor the a/v on the desktop. Many of these look like invoices or remittance advices from genuine companies, several of which we deal with. We've do regular staff training with what to look out for, but as I say some of these emails are very good indeed these days.

Several of our suppliers send us spreadsheets with macros in so we can't automatically just block anything with a macro. I manually dissect suspicious ones I'm made aware of and if they do look dodgy I forward to the a/v company who put detection in the next updates and that seems to work.

It seems that the criminals are using constantly evolving wrappers and as a business with regular employees whos job is to open orders and remittance advices it's very very tricky for us. Our firewall also restricts downloads of certain file types which may limit the chances of a payload being downloaded. So far we have not knowingly had an infection but I'm well aware that despite the best efforts this small business it's probably a matter of time.

Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

bitmap animal

Re: Did I read that last bit right?

Surely everyone is in favour of targeted surveillance so if there is a good way of them filtering down who to look at in more depth that is a good thing.

If you drove through a red light district every day at 5mph would you expect the police to pay an interest in what you are doing? You haven't done anything wrong but they if they are to catch kerb crawlers then you behaving like one would raise their interest.

I'm all for robust privacy and encryption so would like to think "they" are adept at distinguishing between someone who is concerned about their privacy and someone up to no good that they need to investigate.

Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station

bitmap animal
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Re: I visted here in 1988

I went there a couple of times in the early 1980s and it was brilliant. As you say the tour went in all sorts of exciting places, pretty much full access. I too vividly remember standing on the reactor and also going in and out through the air locks and detectors. The guides were knowledgeable and very enthusiastic, loved to talk about the place.

Shame my kids will never be able so see something like that. I think being there helps spark your mind, so much better than viewing from a visitor centre with endless screens.

E.ON fined £7m for smart meter fail

bitmap animal

When they changed the meter on the three phase supply in our office last year the power didn't go off. I presume they have some way of seamlessly bypassing it during the few minutes it takes to swap them.

US Navy grabs old-fashioned sextants amid hacker attack fears

bitmap animal
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Pre GPS navigation

Pre GPS aircraft navigation is amazing, there is so much to take in and you could be in a Vulcan cruising at neatly 600MPH ( 10 miles a minute ). Using Celestial Navigation they could get their position to within about 5-10 miles, it's more of a black magic art coupled with some science.

I'm sure many of you will enjoy exploring, it's a really interesting subject. I've done a quick search and these three links should give you a starter.




bitmap animal

Re: GPS currently being jammed in Scotland

There are often large areas off the coast of Florida, I think it is, where there are regular wanrnings that GPS may be unreliable due to tests and exercises. If it's jammed then you [probably] know it is not working, if it's unreliable and still rely on it then who knows where you'll end up.

US taxman slammed: Half of the IRS's servers still run doomed Windows Server 2003

bitmap animal

It us still supported.

Am I the only person that read the line "In an effort to avoid a massive security breach, the IRS has agreed to pay Microsoft an undisclosed "premium fee" to continue to support and patch its servers".

They have an infrastructure that works, or at least I presume it does, so the additional costs for the continued patches and support will be an element in the whole company IT cost. Changing to a new OS may well mean different platform versions and so many of their systems would need changing and testing. If it ain't broke, don't change it.

All in all, it's just another hit in the stalls: Roger Waters The Wall

bitmap animal
Black Helicopters

It was pretty self indulgent, yes indeed but that is part of what Waters does. I thought he came across quite well in the chatty road trip parts, I knew about his father but don't remember hearing about his grandfather before

The production and filming were very good indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was an evolution of the original stage show. It wasn't just a DVD of the concert but a theatrical production of the highest standard.

It was well worth a trip to the cinema last night. (icon, just because)

Bletchley Park remembers 'forgotten genius' Gordon Welchman

bitmap animal

Re: Keeping 'Mum' was just SOP for those involved in WW2

I had a relative who was involved in decommissioning some very clandestine sites during the late 40s. Over the years he told me a few stories about it, plus how it was made incredibly clear to him how secret his work was.

A few years ago I found someone putting a museum & stories together about that work and contacted them. When I told my relative he clammed up and said he had nothing to tell them, it was secret. When I relayed that back apparently even after all these years very few people were talking.

“Loose lips sinks ships” etc was ingrained in that generation.

KARMA POLICE: GCHQ spooks spied on every web user ever

bitmap animal

There is another side to this

To scoot76. You say "however my government is going to pigeonhole me as a terrorist hacker". I'm interested to know how you think that, have they accused you of anything?

If you walk down a road past a burgled house and you are wearing a balaclava and carrying a swag bag, would you expect the police to show an interest in you? If they stopped you and let you on your way once they see you bag isn't full of swag would you think they had fair grounds?

If they are watching a drug dealer on a street corner and you innocently stop to ask the time and have furtive chat would you expect them to show interest in you?

Just because they see you looking suspicious does not mean you are branded and they will arrest you. I'm sure they have many ways of filtering out the millions of curios people.

I know there is a more to it, and I'm not entirely comfortable with the data collection, but as most of you work in IT I'm sure you'll realise that in order to do a search you need the data already there.

The article also confirms that it's mainly the meta data, they aren't reading your emails but just looking for links. If you become of interest then they know where to look.

How green is your ROCKET FUEL?

bitmap animal

Space hardware to look at

The Museum of Berkshire Aviation just south east of Reading is well worth a visit. It's a fairly small place but has so much oddball stuff and the exhibits are more accessible than most of the mainstream museum.

It has a large part of a Chevaline ( our advanced version of the Polaris ) on display. From memory it is the Penetration Aids Carrier, the "top part" of the missile which is in space and drops off the warheads. You can see the quality of construction, it is quite stunning.

(sorry for the non scientific descriptions..... Just get along to visit & support)

Edited to add this link. I'm not affiliated, it's just a great place.


bitmap animal

Re: Not just guns

And we also used very fast boats navigating the small channel between Denmark. Some very ballsy people involved in those trips.

Hacker mag 2600 laughs off Getty Images inkspots copyright claim

bitmap animal

Re: Is a random ink splatter

If you look at the images they have not made their own which looks similar to the 'original' but have just cropped a section off. Anyone can, I expect, make their own but they chose to use someone elses image without attribution to the source.

Attention dunderheads: Taxpayers are NOT giving businesses £93bn

bitmap animal
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Re: Interesting writeup

Tim, I do not agree with that. Business rates are a very direct cost to the business. Is that like saying the cost to a company of an employment agency is paid by the employee because to the company it's all part of the total employee cost to their business. I think that is very flawed.

bitmap animal

Re: The majority of UK Tax burden is not being paid by companies...

Firstly that is just looking at one type of tax, businesses pay many taxes.

Secondly, as an employee you work out how much money you need to take home to survive. Income tax and NI are effectively paid, in most cases, by the company in order to give you X amount of cash in your pocket. Because you can have several income streams and to appear to spread the burdon of tax it's calculated at the person, but paid by the company.

bitmap animal

Re: Facilitating Evasion

"If nothing were deductible then corporation tax would be a tax on sales and not a tax on profits"

Example of why tax on company turnover will not work, two companies both turning over £1M to make this simple.

Company one has to buy bricks/mortar/vans/sub contractors, spends £950k per year on all that thus making £50k profit. 10% tax on turnover is £100k. BANG, no company

Company two is one chap in his bedroom selling whizz-bang software. Costs are £20k per year. 10% tax of £100k leaving him with £880k.

Not a bad situation for Co #2 but totally destructive for Co #1

Companies MUST be able to deduct costs from their tax bill.

bitmap animal

Interesting writeup

That is quite an interesting write-up, refreshing to see someone explaining and challenging the shock tactics of some journalists.

As the article explains there is no way a tax break is handing the company money, if allows them to keep trading and building the economy. People have tax breaks too, that is what your tax code is all about, you can save tax by investing in an ISA – that is a mechanism for people to avoid paying tax.

Companies also pay many other taxes, a point often ignored. Business rates for example, I just did a quick search and found a 1600 sq ft shop in Lean St, Covent Garden. Business Rates were £69,000 p/a for 2012, that is for a small shop and Business Rates are just another tax and they get nothing for it.

Patch Flash now: Google Project Zero, Intel and pals school Adobe on security 101

bitmap animal

Need to keep it for some users

Sadly the O2 Business account management tool is Flash only, as is our HR package. That is about 1/4 of our PCs still need it. Quite a few customer web sites are also heavily driven by Flash and so we miss a lot of their content.

I tried removing it a while ago but have to leave it for some and just watch for updates.

A Bombe Called Christopher, or A Very Poor Imitation

bitmap animal

Re: SPOILER ALERT - This is almost exactly the script from the movie.

Ooooo, having listened to a Radio 4 podcast last week I now know for the first time in [cough] years that it's pronounced "oiler", like "oy" + "ler".

[very pleased with myself]

TorrentLocker ransomware pestilence plagues Europe, bags $500k

bitmap animal

Latest batch are quite realistic

We've been getting "Card Receipt" emails from "tracey.smith@aquaid.co.uk" today, about 40 have arrived so far for several of us. They have a DOC attachment and are not blocked by Kaspersky or ESET. The email looks genuine, even the headers seem OK. A couple of days ago I briefed everyone not to open anything like this as we have been getting inundated by similar emails recently and if they do open it they are to pull their LAN cable immediately and report it.

One of our people was waiting for a receipt from a Tracey and not reading it too closely opened it. Word is set to disable macros so I presume the blank document did nothing. They pulled their power cable and came to see me in a panic.

The past few days have been a right PITA.

This week it rained in San Francisco and the power immediately blew out. Your tech utopia

bitmap animal
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Re: Education Abroad

re German Food.

I've done a few business trips there over the past few years and the food was always great and the people are very welcoming and friendly. I found them to be very direct and clear, easy to get along with but not in a gushing OTT American way.

I thoroughly recommend going if you haven't been.

Microsoft: So sorry for NOT paying Xbox indie game devs on time

bitmap animal

I deal with quite a few large customers and it sounds more like a mistake by a chair warming grey clone. These customers often dictate extended credit terms that they then further extend when they want to. This MS problem is quite probably someone inadvertently deleting a block of lines on a spreadsheet, or gave the wrong search criteria for their report.

Most people I deal with are incompetent with spreadsheets and the opportunities for mistakes are frequent. Remember the guy working on the sale of Lehman Brothers who sent out a spreadsheet with hidden rows, but they were actually counted. Search El Reg for “Lehman Excel snafu could cost Barclays dear”.