* Posts by ScottAS2

142 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Feb 2011


Prisoners built two PCs from parts, hid them in ceiling, connected to the state's network and did cybershenanigans


Re: Rehabilitation?

Au contraire. While things might well be different on the other side of the pond, when my parents were in HMP Shotts (for work, not at her majesty's pleasure) one of the guards explained that prisoners wanted to work, and not allowing a prisoner to do so was one of their most effective sanctions. The reason's simple: if you're not working, there's fuck all to do in prison; it's boring staring at your cell wall all day.

Again, while things might be different in the 'States, the prisoners at Shotts were paid for their work (making roadsigns, incidentally). Nowhere near a living wage (after all, they're getting bed and board provided), but some "pocket money" that went into an account that could be redeemed at the prison shop, mainly for things like more luxurious toiletries.

Old jet bits, Vader's motorbike gear, sonic oddness: Hats off to Star Wars' creative heroes


This is how you count all the trees on Earth


Re: Good work, but why worry about CO2

Exactly. It even has a name: the broken window fallacy.

How to solve a Rubik's Cube in five seconds


My Rubik's cube story

I never had the patience to solve a Rubik's cube, but there was a boy in my wee sister's class at school who was world champion. He even took a gap year and went around the world, paying for it by entering speed-cubing competitions. The thing that I never thought to ask was how he knew he'd finished, as he was almost completely colour-blind.

Hello Barbie controversy re-ignited with insecurity claims

Paris Hilton

If I learned anything from "I Can Be A Computer Engineer"

Presumably that 16Mb of code would have been secure if only they had got a boy to write it for them.

IOCCO: Police 'reckless' for using terrorism powers on journo sources


Re: When you know there's a problem

*ahem* You are getting the Sunday Mail, which is the sister paper of the Daily Record, mixed up with The Mail on Sunday, the Sunday edition of the Daily Mail.

Brit filmmaker plans 10hr+ Paint Drying epic


Re: true suffering

Videos which are primarily intended to "inform, educate or instruct" or are concerned with "sport, music or religion" are exempt from classification unless they contain a bunch of naughty things (the usual sex, violence, etc.). A video of a train is almost certainly considered a documentary and thus the BBFC are spared watching it.

Who's right on crypto: An American prosecutor or a Lebanese coder?


Re: Misses the point

This is why the caution continues "...but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court." Not only can you be portrayed as uncooperative, the crown can imply that a later answer is untruthful, because you did not mention it at the earliest possible time. For instance, if you are asked "where were you on the night of the crime?", and do not comment, the jury may be asked to look askance at your claim in court that you were at home commenting on El Reg.

This doesn't, incidentally, apply in Scotland, where no adverse inferences may be drawn from an accused's failure to answer any question put to them. Thus, the police caution in Scotland is the much shorter: "You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say will be noted and may be used in evidence."

Shadow state? Scotland's IT independence creeps forth


Re: Jeez

I'd point out three things:

The SNP are not an opposition party: they've been in government for eight years, including being re-elected with a greater share of the vote.

The Scottish Government has always balanced its books - it must, because it does not have borrowing powers (although the previous Scotland Act is about to introduce some, and who knows what we'll get along with road signs in the current Scotland Bill).

Unlike most governments, the SNP's popularity in polls has consistently increased since they took power, although the extent to which this is due to their competence, as opposed to them just being less incompetent than anyone else (witness Scottish Labour's implosion at the last Westminster election), could be debated.

Condi Rice, ICANN, and millions paid to lobby the US govt for total internet control


Who are the internet comminity?

One thing I've always wondered from Kieren's otherwise excellent articles on ICANN is who are the "internet community"? I presume this is companies that are heavily involved in the low levels of the internet. Is it just the registrars for the top-level domains? If not, how does one become part of the internet community and have a say in this? Who decides if you are involved enough?

Online daters swindled out of £33m last year – police


Re: Police matter?

Yes it is a matter for the police, because it's fraud. The common law crime of fraud is committed when someone achieves a "practical result" by means of a "false pretence". Receiving money is certainly a practical result, and false pretences covers both outright falsehoods and deliberate omissions.

There is also the crime of "uttering", where someone presents as genuine a document with the intention to cause someone prejudice. Possibly the false dating profile could be considered a document - uttering tends to be used in cases centring around a document.

The Fraud Act 2006 created similar offences in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, too.

US Navy grabs old-fashioned sextants amid hacker attack fears


Re: "Don't they use pigeons for that?"

They tried, believe it or not.

Playboy drops the butt-naked ladies


Re: Nudity is not erotic

Absolutely. The Theiss titillation theory - named for William Ware Theiss, the costume designer on the original Star Trek - states that the sexiness of a costume is proportionate not to the amount of flesh it shows but to the apparent likelyhood of it falling off. One of the greatest examples of this was a fairly modest dress, but where the top was apparently* held up only by the train thrown over one shoulder.

*In fact, it was held on by huge amounts of double-sided sticky tape - to the extent that it allegedly took chunks of the actor's skin off during the fitting, and thus she did even the dress rehearsal wearing a bath robe instead.

Top telematics: Black box helps driver swerve speeding fine


Re: Cop Braked to Provoke Incident

" "overtaking on the left"

Is this still illegal in the UK today?"

Not explicitly. Rule 163 of the Highway Code says "You should...only overtake on the left if the vehicle in front is signalling to turn right, and there is room to do so", which lacks the MUST/MUST NOT that the Highway Code uses to identify legal requirements.

Of course, the fact that you had failed to obey any rule in the Highway Code could be used as evidence in a prosecution for a crime such as careless or dangerous driving, or to establish liability in a civil case.

Brown kid with Arab name arrested for bringing home-made clock to school


Re: Who's to blame

No, no. Fascism is bad. Therefore we are never fascists. The "other", however. Yes, they are fascists.

Legal eagles accuse Labour of data law breach over party purge


And that time probably wasn't the first either...

This isn't the first time Labour have played a bit fast and loose with the Data Protection Act.

Twenty years since Windows 95, and we still love our Start buttons


With apologies to GM

"A Windows 8 car would have the brake pedal hidden under the driver seat."

This is the company that required you to push the "Start" button to turn your computer off...

Camera-carrying DOLPHIN SPY caught off Gaza


Re: How does it spy on land?

They actually made this: Thunder in Paradise starring, of all people, Hulk Hogan. It's just as awful as it sounds.

Flying Spaghetti Monster spotted off Angolan coast



That's not the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it's his aquatic cousin, the Swimming Spaghetti Monster.

It's incredibly easy to bump someone off online, and here's how to do it – infosec bod


Re: Happens often enough here in France

"Try suing the responsible authorities for libel..."

They've got him there, too: you can't defame a dead person.*

* In Scots law. I've no idea about French.

Techies told to GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY by Microsoft, Netflix

Thumb Up

Gender inequality is often parenthood inequality

Kudos to both companies for giving these advantages equally to both mothers and fathers. Much of the "gender" pay gap can be explained by the fact that women are societally expected to be the main child carer, and reducing the economic incentives to perpetuate that can only be a good thing.

It's Suntory time: Japanese whisky to be distilled in SPAAAAACE


Re: Fat chance

I do wonder if the *ahem* angels take a slightly larger than expected share of space whisky.

Buffoon in 999 call: 'Cat ate my bacon and I want to press charges'

Black Helicopters

Re: This reminds me

It reminds me of the probably apocryphal tale of the man who phoned the police to report a burglar rummaging around in his garden shed only to be told that there was no-one available and it would probably be morning before someone could come round. So, he phones up a few minutes later and says "It's okay; no hurry in coming round: I've just shot him".

A short time later as three armed response units, a dog van and the helicopter hustle a very surprised burglar off to the cells, one of the plod asks "I thought you said you'd shot him?" "I thought you said there was no-one available?".

Black helicopter, because nowadays he'd probably be whisked off to Gitmo under the Making The Establishment Look Silly (Prevention of Paedo-terrorism) Regulations 2003.

Download Fest goers were human guinea pigs in spy tech experiment, admit police


Re: Oh well

I imagine it was also buried in the terms and conditions - you know, that little blue link (to multiple pages of dense text) you have to tick a checkbox next to (but not actually read) before it'll let you buy things.

SPUD – The IETF's anti-snooping protocol that will never be used


Re: OSI?

Yes, although bear in mind where we're coming from: TCP/IP doesn't follow the ISO-OSI model; TCP has always been a bit too ready to assume that it's operating over IP. If all we get out of this is a better separation of the transport and network layers, it'll be a win.

The Breakfast (Table) of Champions: Micro Machines


Or was everyone just squished in the nineties?

While I can understand the Heath-Robinsonesque setup required to play old games requiring you to play the game in the wrong aspect ratio, could you not at least have re-sized the screenshots for publication so things don't look squashed?

Let's all binge on Blake’s 7 and help save the BBC ... from itself


I don't want a commercially-succesful BBC

I don't want the BBC to be commercially successful. That most likely means lowest common denominator pap, which we can get just fine from... commercial stations. I'd like to see the BBC get back to the Rethian goals of educating, informing and entertaining, but whenever it tries to do something highbrow, it gets attacked for being elitist or wasting money on things of limited interest. Is it any surprise it reacts by trying to dumb down?

A third of workers admit they'd leak sensitive biz data for peanuts


Re: Opinion poll

The 2015 Westminster Election polls actually got the result almost spot on. It was the analysis of them, and specifically the desire of the media to feed the hung parliament narrative, that was wrong.

Proxyham Wi-Fi relay SUPPRESSED. CONSPIRACY, yowl tinfoilers


They're tights that allow Alice to reveal what's contained in them to Bob, while keeping Eve unaware.

Emergency-service comms omnishambles worsens as HP dives for the door


Re: What I want to know is

"Oh, can you get me her phone number then?"


Devs, welcome your EVIL ROBOT OVERLORDS from MIT

Paris Hilton

Not complete yet

Can it tell me if an arbitrary program will halt for an arbitrary input?

Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab


By Jingo!

(Sarcasm icon needed)

Your servers are underwater? Chill out – liquid's cool


Re: I'm sorry Dave, I can't go into orbit with that

Of course, this is because the ISS radiator is actually a radiator; i.e. it mainly dissipates heat by radiating it. The "radiator" in your car - indeed, most things us Earthbound humans call radiators - are actually more properly convectors, since we have this oh-so handy "air" stuff that you can just dump heat into and allow it to float off. Just goes to show how hard space is.

Trivia of the day: the Discovery One in 2001: A Space Oddessy was originally going to have enormous cooling radiators for the nuclear reactor at the back, but they were dropped because Kubrick didn't want to have to explain why the (otherwise fairly realistic) non-atmospheric spacecraft design had "wings".

Fumbling Feds lose control of seized MegaUpload domains – to saucy vid slingers


Re: Questions

Do not underestimate the inertia in large, bureaucratic organisations, of which the FBI is almost certainly an example. It's entirely possible that someone got the e-mail telling them the domain was about to expire, but didn't have the authority to issue a purchase order for the renewal, or even authority to pass it on to someone who does. So, the task get passed up, down, left, right, through any number of people, committees, meetings, most of whom don't care about it, or know the importance (for instance, they may not have realised that it also was involved with the Megaupload domains). It only takes one to forget or not bother and before you know it, the domain's expired.

IEEE's prescription for med-tech crowd: preventing hacks is better than a cure


Re: No incentive

Presumably we need the medical device certification authorities to issue some smackdown and require these standards: that will soon provide the incentive. The certification process for medical equipment is pretty tortuous already (and I would be surprised if it ignored the software entirely); it just needs to include security, too.

Law changed to allow GCHQ hacking ... just as GCHQ hauled into court for hacking


Enjoy it while it lasts

Retroactively criminalising acts (or even increasing the punishment for them) is another thing that's outlawed by the Human Rights Act/ECHR: Article 7 specifically deals with it.

Look out, law abiding folk: UK’s Counter-Extremism Bill slithers into view


Except for viewers in Scotland

Bear in mind that in Scotland the Crown in Parliament does not have unlimited sovereignty - this was referred to by the Lord President of the Court of Session as "a distinctively English principle and has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law" in the result of MacCormick v Lord Advocate.

This isn't to say that Westminster couldn't legislate to repeal the HRA in Scotland, but it could result in a constitutional crisis or two if the Scottish Parliament dig their heels in and try to assert that they better represent the considered will of the people of Scotland (which is widely asserted, but has never been proved, to be sovereign in Scotland) than Westminster.

Those of us (in Scotland at least) live in interesting times.

Surveillance, broadband, zero hours: Tech policy in a UK hung Parliament


Zero-hour is an arbitrary limit

Labour are only going to ban exploitative zero-hour contracts. They want you to think that means that all zero-hour contracts are exploitative, so they'll be banned. Of course, what it actually means is that they'll only ban the ones they have deemed to be exploitative - which certainly won't include any connected to a Labour politician, or donor for that matter.

If I'm honest I'd much rather we focussed on the exploitative bit, rather than an arbitrary number of hours. If a zero-hour contract is exploitative, surely a one-hour contract is almost as exploitative? I was on one during my student days, and although the flexibility suited me well, I can see how it could easily have been abused by a less-scrupulous employer, especially if had been a job whose income I needed, rather than like to have.

Rather than some vague aspirational soundbite, how about some concrete measures? I'd think if we had protection against detriment from refusing overtime, and the requirement that sick and holiday pay be based on the average hours actually worked over some period (perhaps the 17 weeks employers should already be monitoring for the 48-hour week) then we could keep zero hour contracts and the "flexibility" that business claims is so important, while also improving the lot of employees on all contracts, not just zero-hour ones.


No coalition required

If there's a hung parliament, we won't necessarily get a coalition - where two parties agree a joint programme for government, and share out ministerial positions between them. It's entirely possible we'll get a minority government with one or more other parties in a "confidence and supply" agreement, where they agree to support the government in confidence motions and pass their budget - the bare minimum. Everything else would need have support gathered on a case-by-case basis, which, if approached in the right spirit by the politicians, can lead to some nice consensus politics.

The SNP did this fairly successfully in the third Scottish parliament, although it showed both the good and the bad sides of it: while the Tories engaged fairly constructively, Labour stuck rigidly to the Bain Principle, and flounced around generally seeming upset that they weren't being allowed to run the country. Of course, the result of the election to the current parliament* shows how well that went down.

*One of the requirements for the Scottish electoral system when it was designed is widely acknowledged to have been to make it difficult for any party, and especially the SNP, to get a majority.

That's right: FBI agents can't pretend to be ISP repairmen to search homes without a warrant


Re: Meamwhile in the UK

Yes. Several, in fact.

BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids


Re: What a bunch of ****ing moaners

When we had a turtle in primary school, we were given strict instructions never to do left or right anything other than exactly 90. Guess what the first thing we did was? I believe the only way the teachers could find to abort our "right 99999999999999999" was to take the batteries out.

Dream job: Sysadmin/F1 pit crew member with Red Bull racing


SLA: 24 hours, one day a year

Surely endurance racing is a much better place for IT people? The cars there are self-jacking, so no need to leave the servers unguarded.

Crap employers banned from enforcing backdoor crim records checks


Re: And how many people...

This is one reason for being a member of a trade union. No-one needs to put their head above the parapet: the rep just goes to management and says "our members tell us that...".

HOLY SEA SNAILS! Their TEETH are strong enough to build a plane


The big question

Are these strong enough to make a space elevator cable out of?

SCREW YOU, BRITS: We're going through with UK independence ANYWAY – Scotland


Re: Hmm something fishy about Sturgeon

Wheras as the Wee Ginger Dug points out, any Spaniard who actually has a Scottish friend will introduce them as mi amigo escocés-no-le-llames-inglés-porque-le-cabrea.

Dissidents and dealers rejoice! Droid app hides your stash in plain sight

Paris Hilton

Re: Secret data would be encrypted

If they don't know there's a password to ask you for, you're in the clear.

Professor's BEAGLE lost for 10 years FOUND ON MARS


Was it that the impact on landing was too high, and caused the ram pack to wobble?

Hang on a second – Time Lords have added one to 2015


Surely if the Earth's rotation is slowing down, the International Earth Rotation Service need to work a bit harder at rotating Earth internationally?

Brit gun nut builds working sniper rifle at home out of scrap metal


Re: Funny sizes?

The metric sizes being odd is quite simple: they're just the (largely pre-existing) Imperial calibres expressed in millimetres: 7.62mm is 0.3in and 12.7mm is 0.5in, for example.

As to why the original Imperial measurements were so, I have as much idea as you, although I suspect the same "we've always done it this way" is in play.

US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf


Re: Pretty feeble compared with Phalanx

Matchlock muskets looked pretty feeble compared to pikes, too. Expensive to make, took ages between shots, didn't like bad weather either. I take it you'll be using a pike next time you go to war?