* Posts by Andy The Hat

1121 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010


Let's go space truckin': 1970s probe Voyager 1 is now 14 billion miles from home

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Yeah, but

... how fast is it compared to a European Swallow?

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of 'Advanced Night Repair' skin cream helping NASA to commercialise space

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Time to hit the retros

Commercialisation for scientific or simply humanity's gain is one thing but if we've got down to the level of using resupply missions and a milti-billion dollar space station to advertise gloop for the gullible it's time to de-orbit and spend the money on science.

This is how demon.co.uk ends, not with a bang but a blunder: Randomer swipes decommissioning domain

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I suppose I'd better complain ...

I was one of those subscribers ... very sad to see the email address disappear but that's at the whim of multinational organisations.

<Vodafone email> Reminder: Your Demon email will stop working.

Me on very protracted chatbot call: Hello Vodafone, I have an email to tell me that my Demon email will stop working.

Bugger, being a crappy Techbot it does not work in any sensible way shape or form.

Eventually, and many digital exasperation later ...

Digi Tech: I understand your problem. Hello, are you on wi-fi at the moment?

Me: err yes. Why?

Tech: Can you open a browser window and sign into the router please. 192.168 ...

Me: Why?

Tech: So I can help you with your problem.

Me: Why? My Demon domain is being stopped. What's that got to do with my router?

Tech: It's to help you keep your email working. If you can just access 192.168 ...

Me: How is signing into my router going to help? (I neglected to mention I was in lockdown away from home so it wasn't even my service ...)

Tech: We've got to change DNS settings to keep your email working ...

Me: Why? What has that got to do with my email domain being withdrawn?

Tech: If you can just sign in to ...

Me: Why? What's that got to do with my Demon email being stopped?

Tech: <no response>

At this point I suspended things and lodged a formal complaint that I felt I was being scammed by an official Vodaphone "tech" trying to gain access to my system. After a month Vodafone denied it was a problem and called it 'a misunderstanding'.

Time passes ...

<Vodafone email arrives> We can extend your licence for two months until dd/mm/yyyy. Aren't we just fab? Do you want us to?

As it happens, the domain expiry date was that date and was fully paid up so I had already penned a draft "Give me my money back and compensate me for withdrawing the use of my domain early you gits" letter. I guess someone had realised the cock-up so the draft email was filed as almost the last entry in my Demon mailbox ... sad end to nearly three decades of use ...

Many thumbs up for Demon - thumbs down in as many ways as possible for Vodafone.

Video encoders using Huawei chips have backdoors and bad bugs – and Chinese giant says it's not to blame

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Well there's your problem

I know it's barely concievable but try to imagine a company writing a security-hole filled application, running on a buggy Microsoft Operating system, on an i386 platform managed by Intel firmware. Who would even consider writing the phrase "Intel responsible for security holes ..." in such a case? This story is the Trumpophile/xenophobe's equivalent ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Hidden in plain view

Pick your vendor and show me an intentional vulnerability ...

There will be the odd state sponsor involved somewhere but I'd wager 99.9% of all vulnerabilities are down to mistakes but the conspiracy theorists will never accept 'mistakes' as they believe anyone who suggests such a thing is obviously in league with the state sponsor ...

Alibaba wants to get you off the PC upgrade treadmill and into its cloud

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Little question

Given it's basically a dumb terminal, a UK based person uploads data then there should be some privacy agreement in place between the countries involved (eg the not-at-all-Safe Harbour) for the data involved. However if the user creates new data on a remote cloud computer (a commercial product design for instance), do the same international data agreements apply or the privacy laws of the host country(s) in which the data was actually produced and stored?

.UK overlord Nominet tells everyone not to worry about 'distorted' vote allocations in its board elections

Andy The Hat Silver badge

logic is optional

"There are also two voting caps in an effort to make voting more equitable: no one member can cast more votes than three per cent of the total votes cast in board elections, and 10 per cent when it comes to voting on other business. And there is preferential voting in which candidates for board seats are knocked out in different voting rounds."

It's easy and obviously based on the equally easy

"will those of you who are playing in the match this afternoon move your clothes down onto the lower peg immediately after lunch, before you write your letter home, if you're not getting your hair cut, unless you've got a younger brother who is going out this weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case, collect his note before lunch, put it in your letter after you've had your hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the lower peg for you."

Bad apples: US customs seize OnePlus earbuds thinking they're knock-off AirPods

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Violation of trademark

As per the story - this appears to be a violation of Apple's Configuration Trademark which makes siexure a reasonable course of action.

In the US you can register your product with CBP with respect to its design - so if it resembles an earbud, even if it's printed with a dayglo blue logo sayning "not produced by any fruity company" it could still be in violation of Apple's Configuration Trademark.

Take your pick: 'Hack-proof' blockchain-powered padlock defeated by Bluetooth replay attack or 1kg lump hammer

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Sounds familiar

But I believe the Dwarf entrance used light reflected off the moon so technically they needed a Sun workstation to crack it ...

Unexpected risks of using Apple ID: 'Sign in with Apple' will be blocked for Epic Games

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Am I missing something?

"This of course assumes that the identity provider itself, whether facebook, apple or google, in not hacked, dodgy or incompetent."

Which was basically my point. Person A grabs my FB signin (though we all know that FB accounts are never ever hacked ...) and away the naughty person goes ... Instead of having access to one site they've now got credentials for 10 or 20 ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Am I missing something?

How does

"Never reuse passwords"

square with

"It can be more secure to use one or two identity providers run by top technology companies, rather than using separate logins for every internet service"?

Just getting ready to use my Facebook password to log into my bank account ...

Northrop Grumman wins $13.3bn contract with US Air Force to kick off Minuteman III ICBM replacement

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: No more floppy disks?

Wasn't there a story that the floppy drives were replaced with emulators a few years ago?

NASA to launch 247 petabytes of data into AWS – but forgot about eye-watering cloudy egress costs before lift-off

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: What if the Cloud also catches Corona?

Hang on, my red-lead brush is running out ...

Now, if can you conjugate that verb again please ...

Forget James Bond's super-gadgets, this chap spied for China using SD card dead drops. Now he's behind bars

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"This case exposed one of the ways that Chinese intelligence officers work to collect classified information from the United States without having to step foot in this country,"

Or, in plain English, a paid agent nicks it from WITHIN THE COUNTRY, passes it to a paid courier WITHIN THE USA who manually transports it to China ... the only bit that's 'without having to step foot in this country' being the final delivery. Isn't that chain similar to the way every case of espionage works?

Obviously the CIA don't do that as they always set foot in a foreign country and directly send their spying results to HQ (probably after opening channel d) and would never employ local agents and dead drops to do naughty stuff for them ...

British Army adopts WhatsApp for formal orders as coronavirus isolation kicks in

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Is this Standard WhatsApp?

Oh dear. Another example of not knowing the difference between a "civvie SUV" and military Wolfs. Or the difference between an armoured vehicle and a rapid response vehicle. What the military *should* have been buying is up to the military specification procedures.

UK spy auditor gives state snoops a big pat on the back for job well done – except MI5

Andy The Hat Silver badge

"... a suicidal person died before police found them, ... IPCO said after investigating it had "notified the affected person of the fact of the serious error," "

Does the ICPO actually own a Ouija board? Ok so that's a bad joke but did the IPCO investigate itself after this travesty and if not, why not?

NordVPN quietly plugged vuln where an HTTP POST request without authentication would return detailed customer data

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Yeah...

Come come. Surely any company promising secure VPN is obviously good and you should send all your secure data to them?

I'm off to spread graphene on my face and bee spit on my genitals ...the products are great, I saw an ad on Facebook so they're completely legit ...

Australia down for scheduled maintenance: No talking to Voyager 2 for 11 months

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Apply your own accent ...


... hissss ...

"Come in Can-berra"

... hissss ...

Dum dum dum ...

*_click_* "Apologies Voyager 2. Your call is important to us and will be dealt with as soon as possible in line with normal GP appointment sheduling guidelines. You are currently NUMBER 1 in the queue ...If you wish to hold your call may be answered by a receptionist between 8 and 8.30am next February ... If your circuits have suffered a hiccup, please try rebooting. Returning for a service due to any sort of cough is right out ..."

After 16 years of hype, graphene finally delivers on its promise – with a cosmetic face mask

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: has not said quite how its cosmetic face masks will benefit from graphene

... and latex, fat, sugar and chemical free?

Broadband providers can now flog Openreach's new IP voice network in bid to ditch UK's copper phone lines by 2025

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Beware of the REN

"Virtually" ... except I also have a fixed phone as the DECT devices obviously fail when there's a power cut and, as has already been said, emergency contact systems, burglar alarms, the extension into the shed because the DECT phone signal doesn't reach ...

At present I would assume that Openretch will be fitting new cabinet/premise lines and terminators as required for free ... unless of course it falls under the current 'Full fibre' meaning "fibre somewhere in the network" ruling, and the new "fully digital" system means "analogue copper to the premises" which would of course save a lot of money ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

I was told they run PoE lines to the cabinets ...

Surprise! Plans for a Brexit version of the EU's Galileo have been delayed

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Good

Not sure how unhealthy he is - I always thought he had a particularly good colour, Dulux Toasted Terracotta if I'm not mistaken ...

Google rolls out Titan keys to Europe, Japan. Plus: Group Policy bug is a feature, not a flaw, says Microsoft

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Odd turn of phrase

"for an unrelated sex scandal"

Having sex with someone to whom she wasn't related? Was this in the "freer" Southern states perhaps :-)

Going Dutch: The Bakker Elkhuizen UltraBoard 950 Wireless... because looks aren't everything

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: I get an early 1980s home-computer vibe from the picture.

Thanks. Some people can make you feel old so easily!

I'm sorry, Elon. I'm afraid I can't do that... SpaceX touts robo-rides for orbital vacations, lift-off in 2021-ish

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Familiarity with the controls ...

"The passengers will be familiar with the system to be able to control the spacecraft if required."

" ... this contains the purple luminaires, the box beside it contains red luminaires ..."

Vodafone: Yes, we slurp data on customers' network setups, but we do it for their own good

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: BT does the same

I have a big kitchen knife, an axe, some acid and a 40 gallon drum but I don't honestly recall ever disposing of bodies ... unless I'm a "sleep mass murderer". Having legal tools is not an issue, it's what you do with them ...

And they said IoT was trash: Sheffield 'smart' bins to start screaming when they haven't been emptied for a fortnight

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: How is that going to work?

We were part of a 'smart bin' pilot where bin weight was logged on emptying using a smart tag. In the long term it was fully expected that 'pay as you dump' would be introduced. The experiment was abandoned as people dumped rubbish in other people's empty bins. It was "designed to increase the levels of recycling" so we had the bin gestapo to check bins ... Unfortunately, as the system was designed by a bureaucrat, you were expected to produce a certain mass of recyclable waste but they hadn't considered that the greener you try to be, the less recyclable waste you produce and the more likely you are to get a visit for not recycling ... Yes, you were targeted as not green because you don't produce enough waste ... doh!

This system will basically be the same - bins full too soon, bill the customer; general waste filled too soon - bill the customer. It's all going to link in with full privatisation of waste disposal and charging households directly (without taking the cost off the Poll Tax obviously). If the system is used for street bins, who in their right mind will send someone out to empty one bin in a street that's full but leave the others if they haven't triggered the sensor yet?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a flying solar panel: BAE Systems' satellite alternative makes maiden flight in Oz

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Up to 1 year?

I believe it's 70 Eiffel Towers ...

We're afraid it might be terminal: Tesco top-up box looking less than tip-top

Andy The Hat Silver badge


I was quite impressed when we were given a presentation earlier in the week using a laptop running "Xp media edition". I knew it existed, about the time George lV died I believe, but have never seen a copy!

Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Not all this stuff is nasty. We used to get lumbered with all sorts of private jobs to fix.

The most pleasant was always the tv from an Indian lecturer which appeared perfectly normal until turned on for test - within seconds the whole place smelt of curry!

There's got to be Huawei we can defeat Chinese tech giant, thinks US attorney-general. Aha, let's buy stake in Ericsson and Nokia

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Why is the network slow?

Because it's Nokia.

Why is the network so expensive?

Because it's Nokia.

So why did we buy Nokia?

Because it's Nokia ...

Isn't there an alternative that's quicker, cheaper and more reliable, isn't likely to be owned by the US state with built in US backdoors?

Well, I think there is Huawei ...

Ok, we've been Trumped. Where do I sign?

Come to Five Guys, where the software is as fresh as the burgers... or maybe not

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Bit disappointed

"...premium patty flinger's ..."?

Come come, where's the El Reg style? Premium patty pedlar, pusher, patter ... anything "p" based really :-)

Fed-up air safety bods ban A350 pilots from enjoying cockpit coffees

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: 0/10 Would Not Buy

Even my desktop came with an auto-eject cupholder ...

Astroboffins may have raged at Elon's emissions staining the sky, but all those satellites will be more boon than bother

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Missing the point

In the UK if the sky is dark and you've got half decent eyesight then naked eye observation will deliver at least one per minute, often more than one ... The figures given are just pants.

Perhaps a visit to a dark sky area - "dark" not being a park in the middle of a city - would improve the reporter's perception of things?

This AI is full of holes: Brit council fixes thousands of road cracks spotted by algorithm using sat snaps

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: "saving more than £1m in taxpayer cash compared to more traditional methods"

Pay one man in a van to drive all the streets once a week with a sat nav or a mobile phone to assess and record all the hole positions (assessment is the manual un-costed part of the AI process). I guess with on-costs that's £30000. Perhaps they use five of them, or one senior executive to do this instead, say £250000 ... I'm still £750000 short of savings. I really can't see how they can save £1m pa in *finding* pot holes ...

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Ingenious

Just looked up the German lyrics and tried to sing them (in my head otherwise it would be mightily embarrassing!) but I just can't make them fit the music I remember.

If there's one thing worse than an ear worm is the stress of an ear worm that doesn't work!

WannaCry ransomware attack on NHS could have triggered NATO reaction, says German cybergeneral

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: NATO response

Evidence? Since when was that required?

In hindsight I hereby unrest my case ... :-)

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: NATO response

"They take out your health service computer network, so you could crash part of their power grid control system, but a missile into a single substation may cause less damage overall, ..."

Excuse my ignorance but who are "they"? (I said they did not know the where or who ...)

Unless you intend to stop the infection in your systems by blowing up your own electrical infrastructure and taking your infected systems offline is your idea, which may arguably work, but I feel would not be a wholly appropriate or sane response, I believe I have just well and truly rested my case against a military response ...

Andy The Hat Silver badge

NATO response

... infers a military response which infers a targeted response against a state or individual actors.

Isn't one of the issues that 'they' have no real idea of the where or who to target? It has been touted to be "The Norks" or "The Chinese" or "The Russians" but maybe five blokes in a bedsit in Basingstoke routing stuff around the world. Are we just going to lob missiles indiscriminately at a few million square miles of inhabited land hoping that we hit a 'responsible' person?

Follow the money and you'll find the perpetrators. Difficult, some would argue impossible, but the only reliable way ... We are not fighting a military campaign but in-your-face organised crime gang who, in the case referred to, have probably never heard of the NHS but they know their software has found an open network with lots of machines hanging off it which means a sizeable business and potential cash.

The biggest problem we have now is MS not giving security updates to Win7 - tens of thousands of users with apparently stable systems which will gradually and invisibly become less secure. I would like to see at least high security updates being mandated by the powers that be ... If you have a monopoly you must have your arm twisted to assume some responsibilty for the product if the product is flawed.

US's secret spy payload offloaded: Rocket Lab demos missile muscle with second Electron guided home

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: Er ...

But how the elephants get up there in the absence of an infinite improbability drive?

Amazon prime <click> ...

elephantidae <click> ...

African <click> ...

three <click>

Deliver to: new address <click> ...

New Zealand <click>

two hundred thousand feet<click>

If nobody answers leave on firey burny thing <click>

Is everything OK over there, Britain? Have you tried turning the UK off and on again? ISPs, financial orgs fall over in Freaky Friday of outages

Andy The Hat Silver badge

30% increase in traffic causing it to fall over? That's either incredibly short-sighted network management (by the bean-counters) or complete cobblers ...

It’s not true no one wants .uk domains – just look at all these Bulgarians who signed up to nab expired addresses

Andy The Hat Silver badge

All you have to do is show valid business or personal reasons for holding a .uk address ...

"I'm a scammer" I would suggest is not a valid business reason ...

BT: UK.gov ruling on Huawei will cost us half a billion pounds over next 5 years

Andy The Hat Silver badge

What rubbish! 'Half of them'? At least most :-)

I find it very strange that customers are happy to complain when there's a crackle on their landline or their home broadband is slow, yet they seem to put up with mobile voice signals that make two cups and a piece of string sound brilliant or have no mobile data signal whatsoever ... Surely the point of a mobile system is, well, to have a system that works when mobile?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Perhaps what we need is an umbrella group that could assess the security of core infrastructure components before installation. We already have Huawei 'liasing' with GCHQ quite successfully and have apparently shown little to worry about (apart from the normal shoddy programming). However, the alternative core components should be equally assessed before installation for back doors, holes etc. Cisco, Samsung, Nokia ... After all, what's good for one should be good for all unless the UK Government wants to be accused of wilful and blatant bias against a company in the procurement process with no evidence of any security reasons for taking such actions.

Star wreck: There's a 1 in 20 chance a NASA telescope and US military satellite will smash into each other today

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: it would be like a car hitting a shopping cart

I apologise but I believe I made a unitary faux-pas. Isn't the correct El-Reg unit the Bulgarian Funbag?

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Re: it would be like a car hitting a shopping cart

What's that converted to Brazillian Funbags?

Accounting expert told judge Autonomy was wrong not to disclose hardware sales

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Nay nay and thrice nay!

I can't believe you sneakily led me to click on the screenshot from the "International Bean Counters Journal of Obfuscation Techniques" or whatever it's called ...

I am not an accountant but I actually read some of it accidentally. Is accountancy catching? Can I get cream for the itch and will my hair still fall out? Look at that nice speadsheet over there ... ARGGHHHH!

Just wrong, so wrong.

Curse of Boeing continues: Now a telly satellite it built may explode, will be pushed up to 500km from geo orbit

Andy The Hat Silver badge

Somewhat surreal

Gravity is amazing.

If my laptop batteries were going to explode in Southampton and I had to scoot up to Aberdeen to be on the safe side I'd be rather annoyed ...

Thank heavens for gravity and a toast to Newton, who decided things fall down and was obviously English. Up until that time Europe must have been a confused place with all that not falling in any predictable direction ... Come to think of it, if we invented it, did we copyright falling down? Perhaps a lever in the Brexit land grab negotiations ... "we demand Europe returns everything that falls down to us".

<Particularly strappy coat already on, sound of trolley wheels echoes in the corridor ... :-) >

Andy The Hat Silver badge

No, that's a Top Gear stunt ...

"Oops I accidentally reversed into a satellite sixteen times until it blew up. What a jolly jape!"

Mysterious face-recog AI startup Clearview sued, capabilities questioned after scraping billions of web pics

Andy The Hat Silver badge

The most detailed map of a brain cost $40m to build – and it’s of a fruitfly:

For God's sake don't tell Sarah Palin that! She'll be on a plane to Paris, Fraaaance quicker than an oil magnate humping Trumps's leg ...



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