* Posts by Robert Helpmann??

2490 posts • joined 31 May 2011

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

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Re: How can we be sure


Computer says "No".

Old and busted: Targeting servers and web bugs. New hotness: Pwning devs with targeted poisoned stacks

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...basic steps for devs such as not storing production code on their local machine, scrutinizing the projects they use in their software stacks, not oversharing information about their projects on social media, and, er, actually paying attention to warning messages.

But all that gets in the way of convenience, slows systems down and makes it harder to meet deadlines! All the fights I have had with devs have come down to time, convenience and performance. If security impacts any of those most important of things, they don't want to deal with it, even in cases when spending a little of one will get much more of the others.

As Amazon pulls union-buster job ads, workers describe a 'Mad Max' atmosphere – unsafe, bullying, abusive

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Re: There's a simple solution

Other similar companies are usually not philantropists either, but the way Amazon brings "productivity" and "efficiency" to extreme levels in such a brutally industrial fashion makes them clearly stand out, at least to me. Other retailers, as big as they can be, look like corner shops in comparison.

I worked at a JCPenney distribution center for 8 years and know a number of people who work or have worked at Amazon. Not much difference in working conditions, mindset or much else beyond the efficiency with which Amazon works versus that with which Penny's doesn't. Other retailers are almost certainly on the same page. I think it just comes down to scale, nothing more.

'A guy in a jetpack' seen flying at 3,000ft within few hundred yards of passenger jet landing at LA airport

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...was the jet pack red with a gold face plate?

Rocketeer or Iron Man?

Someone's getting a free trip to the US – well, not quite free. Brit bloke extradited to face $2m+ cyber-scam charges

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Re: It's only money...

You do know that the migrant policy with children being separated from adults at the Mexico border was started under Obama ?

Nope. You do know that this is an intentionally misleading statement? While there were some separations under previous administrations (plural, as in prior to Obama), there was no policy intended to separate children from parents as a form of retaliation.

Also the reason they are separated is that a huge chunk of those kids aren't travelling with relatives and they are taken from them until this is confirmed and then moved back.

This is clearly not the reason for nor the intent of the policy. In order to return children to parents under the circumstances, the administration would have had to keep track of all of the individuals involved, even and especially if released from care and custody. If there was a concern for the children, they would be put in the care of people actually qualified to care for them.

Icon, because both name and irony.





When Irish screens are borking: Ticketing trip-up for Dublin-based Windows 10 IoT terminal, but at least it's not XP

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More Rice Pudding!

Windows reacted with all the stability of blancmange flung from a carriage window...

Second mention of this venerable dish as a standard of OS stability. I believe it is time to create a culinary-based stability scale. I propose the following:


Twinkies ... Lasts indefinitely with little to no input.

Steak and Potatoes ... A classic. Takes some effort to get wrong, but can be done.

Tuna Sandwich ... May be OK for a while, but has a definite shelf life.

Blancmange ... Will sit there, slowly spreading out and losing form. Eventually devolves into pool of mush.

Hollandaise Sauce ... Will break if you look at it wrong.


Norfolk's second-greatest cultural export set for return with 3-metre monument in honour of the Turkey Twizzler

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So much to unpack

"They now have a nutritional profile they can be confident in..." Nutritional profile? Does this imply if I look at it sideways, I will feel confident about it, but actually examining what it is straight on will lead to my questioning the product?

"high in good quality protein" Compared to what? Define "good quality protein". Is this intended to mean that there is little filler and things that are bad for you (sodium, bits of undesirable turkey and non-turkey that are being hidden by processing)? I mean obviously this product will be loaded with this, at least there is some good stuff in it and if we could just filet it out, then we would have a winner.

"lower in fat, saturates, salt and sugar" Again, compared to what? If it is in comparison to something truly terrible, then reducing the percentage of bad stuff down a point or two through the addition of sawdust* is not really a good fix, but it would make this statement factual.

* I am using sawdust as an example, not claiming that it is actually being used in this case. It has been used as filler in the past, especially in bread, but an internet search for "lean, finely textured beef" will provide results a bit more on point. Yum!

What are you gonna do? Give me detention? Illinois schools ban pyjamas in online classes

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Mighty Maxim

business in the front, party in the back

I thought that was "liquor in the front and poker in the rear". Kids these days!

UK lockdown easing heralds the return of burgers... and bork

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Re: clown-based fast-food

Odd, the food doesn't taste funny? Just tastes bad...

It's neither fast nor food, so what else should we expect? I think Melpomene is more appropriate than Thalia if you've had the misfortune of eating such.

First alligators, then dogs, now Basil Fawlty is trying to standardise social distancing measures

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Re: Pi and the mathematics of social distancing

Why is nobody using ⅓ and ⅔ of π distance?

In this case, ⅓π Basil Fawlty is a bit much, but only a bit.

China slams 'dirty' America's 'clean network' plan, reminds world of PRISM snoop-fest exposed by Ed Snowden

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Paris Hilton

Re: Exposed by Snowden?

I... understood almost all of that. I'm going to check Hell for temperature and pigs for wings. Have an upvote.

I was screwed over by Cisco managers who enforced India's caste hierarchy on me in US HQ, claims engineer

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Re: "We have robust processes"

How do you decide what the cleaner contributes? Or the filing clerk?

Do without them for a while?

Windows fails to reach the Finnish line as Helsinki signage pleads for help

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...one possible reason for using Windows ... System Center Configuration manager makes it almost as easy to manage a fleet of 1,000,000 Windows devices as it is to manage 1.

More likely a case of familiarity and availability. "I know this hammer and it will allow me to hit the screw on the head." It will get the job done, but is probably not the best tool for this particular job.

Also, I am stealing the phrase "blancmange-like stability" and using it often. It manages to combine my enjoyment of medieval cooking and my professional life in a pithy manner.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

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In Virginia ... the DMV ... is the absolute worst of anywhere I have lived or visited across four continents and dozens of countries.

Sorry, but some slight editing was in order to make the statement a bit more clear.

Prank warning: You do know your smart speaker's paired with Spotify over the internet, don't you?

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No Way Out

"At no point does any authorisation the user is in control of happen, and there's no way to revoke it."

Use a router to block traffic from Spotify to your speaker home network. This will have the happy side effect of forcing you to move on to a more responsibly run service. Two birds, one stone.

For the past five years, every FBI secret spy court request to snoop on Americans has sucked, says watchdog

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Re: However, they DO promise to do better in other areas

...I am 100% for every single terrorist act that's foiled but not at the expense of my own security and privacy.

Likewise. I do not want to be terrorized by anyone or any group, foreign or domestic, government or private. Rights are not a one-or-the-other affair. The loss of any is to be feared.

How many days of carefree wiping do you have left before life starts to look genuinely apocalyptic? Let's find out

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Re: Short but available

In asia the masks are there to protecting others, not the wearer.

Pretty sure that is how it works everywhere. The US CDC recommends masks for patients to prevent their spreading the disease and also lays out when they should and shouldn't be worn by healthcare workers, et cetera.


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Re: "rare as fake tan in a Trump hotel."

Haven't they closed shop to protect the unwashed covidiots from themselves and the rest of us from them? According to its site, "Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. remains open for our guests due to its designation as an essential business. The safety of our guests and employees remains our top priority... By order of the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. has temporarily closed our restaurants, spa, and fitness center. In-Room Dining will remain open during this time."

To be fair, hotels are essentially dual use in that they can be used for purely recreational purposes but also are important for people caught out of pocket by this pandemic and for those who have a legitimate and essential role to play and are forced to travel because of it. There are a varied classifications of hotels by different governments; it's a bit confusing for all involved, I think.

Stob's vital message to Britain's IT nation: And no, it's not about that

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Thumb Up

Re: Inspirational message

Or here:


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I, like everyone else on here I am sure, had a few suggestions...

C is for Chthonian

E is for Eye

G is for Cough

H is also for Cough

J is for Ianto

L is for ... Nope. Can't do better than that.

M is for Mancy

P is for Phthalic

Q is for Queue

R is for Febuary

S is for Semicolon (at least it isn't a complete colon)

U is for Guilty

V is for VVhat

W is for Wrong

Internet use up 40 per cent in San Francisco Bay Area – but you know what’s even higher? Yep, alcohol, weed use

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Re: Is this any surprise?

On the other hand, I predict a jump in births around the November to December time frame. Just as obvious as the increase in recreational chemical use, I know...

You're not fooling anyone on that vid-conference call: Walmart says shirt sales soaring, pants not pulled up

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Re: Not new

Nothing new in this. Sean Connery and Harrison Ford during shooting of parts of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Just goes to show that with telework, we can all dress like movie stars.

Marriott Hotels hacked AGAIN: Two compromised employee logins abused to siphon off 5.2m guests' personal info

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Re: Scratch Marriott off the list

Because the internet has all the answers...


Hunting for IT staff? Lost your job during the pandemic? Sysadmin vacancies – and a free job ads offer – inside

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Surreal Times

The contract I work under is being subsumed by one held by the parent agency for the one I support. We've shifted to as much of a remote work model as we can (rotating shifts of who is allowed on site, reduced hours on site) to the point where the place is a figurative ghost town, and we are still moving forward with the change in leadership. I might not meet my new overlords for months while working in a sector that still requires continuous on-site support. It's the new normal I guess.

Are you extracting the urine, ESA? Why, yes it is, from Moon dwellers to build homes out of lunar regolith. Possibly

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Re: ESA have been working on urine recyc for years on the ISS

I would think that it would only be used as mortar to hold cut blocks in place or to shore up tunnels. I can't imagine it would be particularly efficient to build entire structures out of the stuff.

16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe

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At least is isn't "Esa".

Leaving Las Vegas... for good? IT industry conference circuit won't look the same on other side of COVID-19 pandemic

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Re: I disagree

It can be hoped, however, that people will have learned to properly wash their hands.

This flies in the face of your other observations, unfortunately. It's remarkably difficult to get the majority of people to do this, even at the risk of endangering themselves and everyone they come in contact with.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

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Re: You solved the problem, goodbye

When you find yourself in a bind and someone comes along to dig you out, you're supposed to gain experience and learn how not to get yourself in such a situation again.

It may be what he learned was that if he called the number and talked to this individual, his problem would be solved. Besides, you seem to be asking a lot of someone whose job description seems to have been "Open this spreadsheet".

Internet Archive opens National Emergency Library with unlimited lending of 1.4m books for stuck-at-home netizens amid virus pandemic

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The Spirit is Willing...

Trying to do a basic search gets me a "503 Service Unavailable" error just now. Looks like folks are making use of this in as much as it is available.

Hypochondriacs – are your eyes all blurry? It's just YouTube trying to cut video-stream quality worldwide amid the coronavirus pandemic

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Re: Huh?

Or maybe content providers could cut back on the ads. If there is actual concern about bandwidth, declaring an ad holiday would go a long way toward opening things up.

Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo dies aged 92

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Movie & Comic Marathon

I will be re-watching the movies and re-reading the books over the next few days. I especially love Depardieu as Obelix. Perfect casting.

Theranos vampire lives on: Owner of failed blood-testing biz's patents sues maker of actual COVID-19-testing kit

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It doesn't work like that.

I think what was being referred to by this comment was your tenuous grasp of capitalization and punctuation. At the risk of appearing purely antagonistic, I offer you one plea: stop that.

US Health and Human Services targeted by DDoS scum at just the time it's needed to be up and running

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Re: attack or incompetence masked as attack?

...any government, especially the ones that have lied time and again...

So all of them? What you have there is a bit redundant, though I agree with the sentiment.

Health workers are top of phishers' target lists thanks to data value

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A number of businesses I have dealt with recently require you to submit your resume/CV through a web form often with an option to drag a document into it and let the site parse out everything for you. While this does present some surface area to attack, it is nowhere near as bad as the send email attachment route.

Alleged Vault 7 leaker trial finale: Want to know the CIA's password for its top-secret hacking tools? 123ABCdef

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Re: Cell phones in prison

Set up mini cell towers throughout the facility. Easy to monitor and control but difficult to avoid.

Enable that MF-ing MFA: 1.2 million Azure Active Directory accounts compromised every month, reckons Microsoft

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Re: enforce MFA - base level security policy

Hardware tokens and phone have a cost. Tokens may cost less, but people have to carry (all of) them around, and if they forget it they can't work. ... Sure, they strengthen security but not all companies and users are still ready to pay the price...

Most companies, when able to do a cost-benefits analysis with realist information concerning costs of implementation vs cost of breaches opt to pay the lesser of the two. This is typically cost of implementation.

It is 50 years since Blighty began a homegrown and all-too-brief foray into space

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Why Choose One?

The first stage of that final Black Arrow was ... put on show as a reminder of capabilities dumped by the shortsighted powers-that-be ... Or as a celebration of British engineering and economy – take your pick.

A little of Column A, a little of Column B?

Maersk prepares to lay off the Maidenhead staffers who rescued it from NotPetya super-pwnage

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Maersk is losing its maidenhead...

And I thought it was the employees who were getting screwed!

Data science pusher Dataiku hooks arms with NATO on battlefield AI contract

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Poh-tay-toh, Puh-dict-uh-bull

In an incredibly prescient imaginary scenario, participants were asked to assist in the control of a disease outbreak in a landlocked country.

Unfortunately, there is nothing incredible about this. Scenarios of this nature are used because this exact sort of thing happened in the past and had catastrophic results.

Apple tries to have VirnetX VPN patent ruling overturned again, US Supremes say no... again

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Re: A Strange Admission to Make ..... for Does it Not Reek of a Ponzi Zombie on the Take ‽ ‽ ‽

...is the firm surely both ... things, ..... a patent troll farm and a beanfeast for IP lawyers?

Well spotted! My first thought when I read that was what were they in addition to those things? Schemers and scammers? I wonder if they would consider changing their corporate name to "Dewey, Cheatem & Howe"... or perhaps that is already claimed by Apple's patent team.

Password killer FIDO2 comes bounding into Azure Active Directory hybrid environments

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How's It Hanging?

...dropped and dangling dongles.

Hey! Hey! That's totally NSFW!

Microsoft uses its expertise in malware to help with fileless attack detection on Linux

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Peter Sellers Lives!

I'd rather have Inspector Clouseau guarding my Linux servers.

I can just hear his voice...

Clouseau: Could you sudo and run these Microsoft tools on your server?

PFY: Yes.

Clouseau: Well then, what are you waiting for?

PFY: This is not my server.

Mine comes with a slightly foxed fedora.

Worried about future planet-cleansing superbugs? But distrust AI? Guess you're not interested in these antibiotics

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Paris Hilton

Alternate Universe

The development of new antibiotics is proving problematic as ... drug companies go broke ...

Which drug companies are going broke?

Samsung cops to data leak after unsolicited '1/1' Find my Mobile push notification

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Lost in Translation

...it remains to be seen whether Samsung's definition of "small number" is the same as that of the rest of the world.

Perhaps the original phrase was in terms of percent rather than overall numbers. 10% of their customer base is a significant but not large relative amount, but quite large in absolute terms considering the number of folks buying from them.

When the air gap is the space between the ears: A natural gas plant let ransomware spread from office IT to ops

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Re: Hmmm

May not be a case of setting things up this way from day one as industrial systems of this nature often predate the widespread internet connectivity of most business networks of today. Once it became possible to monitor and control remotely, people did it for ease of use and accessibility without thinking through any security considerations. After that, it becomes a case of budget and not properly understanding the risks involved. Doctor Syntax's point illustrates this; the risk analysis was probably based on incorrect costs and likelihood of such an event. Once the actual information was made horribly clear, funds are made available because there is no way to avoid the knowledge.

$2.07bn? That's one Dell of a deal to offload infosec biz RSA

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Paris Hilton

A Bit Late

Intel-owned McAfee has considered an IPO and a tie-up with NortonLifeLock...

McAfee split up with Intel after a few years of (corporate) wedded bliss and has been an independent company since April, 2017. Intel still owns 49% of its stock, so it maintains some control over it, but that's not the same as falling under the same corporate governance. It is interesting that other articles give the same attribution (e.g. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/nortonlifelock-approached-by-intels-mcafee-and-private-equity-firms-2019-12-09).

Auf wiedersehen, pet: UK Deutsche Bank contractors plan to leave rather than take 25% pay cut for IR35 – report

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Re: "the bank will only work with contractors [..] of its outsourcer, Resource Solutions"

This whole thing is seriously starting to look like an orchestrated plan to diminish costs...


Judge Vulcan-nerve pinches JEDI deal after Amazon forks out $42m to pause Microsoft's military machinations

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Re: In the jungle

My experience with Google products in government contracting is that they are capable of meeting the contract requirements on a technical level, but they are completely unusable in implementation. We were forced to use Google Office products in place of MS Office on one contract I had the misadventure to work and it was painful on a number of levels. I do not know about cloud services as it is outside my area of expertise, but that has certainly colored my view of all things coming out of the Chocolate Factory.

Voatz of no confidence: MIT boffins eviscerate US election app, claim fiends could exploit flaws to derail democracy

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Re: Possible? Yes. Probable? No.

And that will still rely on the end users keeping their phone secure, not just anti-malware, but physically secure, with a proper unlock passcode\pattern.

Exactly! Running voting through an app introduces at least one more point of failure. This is the opposite of securing things.

Bloke forks out £12m, hands over keys to tropical island to shoo away claims that his web marketing biz was a scam

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Re: One born every minute

Still we shouldn't victim blame.

... or grammar use, apparently.


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