* Posts by Ironclad

121 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Jun 2011


Pixies keep switching off my morning alarm, says Google Pixel owner


Vamos ChatGPT

Pixies, a mighty and powerful band, now also the bulwark against AI World Domination.

BOFH: Oh for Pete’s sake. Don’t make a spectacle of yourself


Re: Stupidity Cancelling Headset

Yep, that's the one I'd go for if this was Call My Bluff.

Got to be worth a punt on a patent.

BOFH: Postman BOFH's Special Delivery Service


Still laughing..

...at the Microvax labelled Fragile Audio Equipment.

Excellent. Brightened my morning.

Microsoft staffers restive as annual employee poll lands – without questions about compensation



Not my joke but very fitting:

Management: We are keen to understand your wants and needs and help you handle the stresses of the job more effectively.

Staff: How about a salary raise so we can pay our bills/mortgages, hiring more staff so there are enough people to do the job and not setting ridiculous deadlines?

Management: No, not like that, we mean try Yoga or something.

Supply chain actors agree that everyone's a security risk – except themselves, of course


Average drivers

Similar to when you ask people to rate their driving ability and 70+% or more rate themselves above average.


Science fiction legend Harlan Ellison ends his short time on Earth


Deathbird Stories

I recently read Deathbird Stories after Neil Gaiman cited Ellison as an influence.

His more abstract concepts in Paingod and Deathbird are disturbingly relevant and in those stories you can see why Gaiman counts him as a significant influence.

I didn't realise he wrote so many scripts but it makes sense when you read something like Along the Scenic Route which comes across like a an everyday Mad Max/Deathrace experiment where armed and armoured vehicles are allowed to duel each other to the death over minor road rage incidents. Still reckon there's a movie in it (Netflix are you reading?).

It's a mixed bag but I'd recommended it if you like your sci-fi dark and pessimistic.

The blockchain era is here but big biz, like most folk, hasn't a clue what to do with it



Decent article I read just this morning on practical uses for Blockchain technology:


The examples are towards the end.

Other points I found interesting were the restrictions on the data access (as covered above) and how many of the big financial institutions have a foot in multiple consortia, I don't think this technology will lead to the redundancy of the banks anytime soon.

Court throws out BT's plans to reduce pension rates


Dividends and pensions

Except that American companies don't typically pay regular dividends on their stock. Occasionally money will be returned to investors.

It doesn't detract US investors, instead they look for a growth in stock value.

Companies that are running a large pension deficit should have dividend payouts restricted. Otherwise if/when companies go bust with a big pension deficit the pension protection fund (www.pensionprotectionfund.org.uk) picks up the pieces e.g. Carillion and BHS. This in turn is funded by levies on other eligible pension funds that are well run.Too many of these and that levy will have to rise and we all end up paying for companies that don't fund their pension funds properly.

39 episodes of 'CSI' used to build AI's natural language model



39 Episodes of CSI, crikey.

This must be the traumatic germ that ultimately causes Skynet to declare war on humans after it's natural language sub-mind suffers a series of horrifying flashbacks.

Blade Runner 2049: Back to the Future – the movies that showed us what's to come



Rollerball conjured a world run by mega corporations long before The Running Man

The teams were sponsored and rutherlessly run by them, sport as advertising ? I would say we're pretty much there.

Don't panic, but.. ALIEN galaxies are slamming Earth with ultra-high-energy cosmic rays


...and yet....

"particles with an energy level greater than 10 EeV, and typically arriving from beyond the Milky Way, tend to hit Earth at a rate of one per square kilometre per year"

..still no superheroes ?

Openreach pegs full fibre overhaul anywhere between £3bn and £6bn


£3-6bn vs HS2 at £56bn

Seems like a bargain compared to HS2 and far more likely to drive growth and new business opportunities than some shiny new trains.

Reg now behind invisible HTML5 Bitcoin paywall

Thumb Up


Nearly had me, Just the fading text was a step too far

Paper factory fired its sysadmin. He returned via VPN and caused $1m in damage. Now jailed


Marching someone out the door...

...might not be strictly legal in the UK in the case of redundancy. Government advice on redundancy:


5. Consultation

You’re entitled to a consultation with your employer if you’re being made redundant.

This involves speaking to them about:

- why you’re being made redundant

- any alternatives to redundancy

You can make a claim to an employment tribunal if your employer doesn’t consult properly, eg if they start late, don’t consult properly or don’t consult at all.

Alternatives to redundancy can include applying for other jobs within the organisation, if these are predominantly posted online then revoking all network access for the employee can be difficult.

Of course you can still revoke access to critical systems and if they've been fired then none of this applies. Ditto I suspect in the USA.

Russia and China bombard Blighty with 188 cyberattacks in 3 months

Black Helicopters

Been going on for centuries....

...just not using this medium.

Previously spying was done through bribery, corruption, blackmail and just plain physically stealing stuff, it's now much easier to hack into another countries vulnerable systems instead.

Perhaps a massive denial of service attack or a deliberate act of sabotage that could be traced back unquestionably to a foreign power (and I imagine that's very difficult to prove) could be construed as an act of war. Until then it is the ancient art of espionage through another avenue.

Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord


Olivia Coleman or Doon Mackichan

Gah, you teased me with Olivia Coleman but didn't give her as a vote option. Probably got bigger fish to fry. Failing that Doon Mackichan (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0533489/?ref_=tt_cl_t4 currently in Two Doors Down on the BBC) would make an excellent Doctor Who. Just needs a handsome assistant.

Batman v Superman leads Razzie nominations


Re: "The very concept of Batman v Superman is dumb"

My very thoughts, have an up vote. The comic book version I read is this one by Frank Miller (he of Sin City fame):


It's excellently written and illustrated and would have made a great film IMHO.

The main problem with BvS is that it mashed up at least three comic book plotlines into one unfathomable and clumsy film.

How Apple exploded Europe's crony capitalism


Fake History

Are you out to redress the balance Andrew:?


"silicon moved at a stately pace" - really? I don't remember Moore's law stalling until Apple's iphone came riding to the rescue?

"Almost every vision of the future made in the past involves a crumby CRT display" - hmm, maybe as 0laf says in cheap TV sets but in the early 80's William Gibson had already envisaged cyberspace as virtual reality.

Finally I'd argue that the games creators and on-demand content providers have done more to drive display technology and bandwidth improvements than Apple ever did.

Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush


Re: That does it for me....

Have an upvote for B-Ark which was also my first thought. We should start with the Marketing wonks or better still save time and steer the whole thing into a the heart of a star.

Top tech company's IP was looted by China, so it plans to hack back



"..China's People's Liberation Army stole its breakthrough technology before it could commercialise it."

Is the scenario likely? Wouldn't you have patented the idea in most major markets long before commercialising it? Therefore restricting the chance someone else can make money from it.

If Apple can patent rounded corners then you should be down the patent office as soon as an idea crystallizes.

Perhaps a government funded patent body that UK businesses can go to who will handle this process in multiple regions? Go even further and this body can aggressively purchase intellectual property portfolios to defend UK businesses or even generate income. I hate to condone patent trolling but if everybody else is being a d**k why not?

Guessing valid credit card numbers in six seconds? Priceless


CVV2 brute forcing is surprising

The issuing institution should dictate whether CVV2 is verified and perform the verification.

It should also have 'velocity' checks on bad CVV2 attempts and/or fraud systems that detect multiple bad CVV2 attempts and ultimately block or restrict the card once a limit is reached so using a variety of different Merchants should not be able to bypass this restriction.

I would expect the CVV2 limit/tries to be in the single digits to minimise the chance of a 'lucky' guess. After all inputting 3 relatively clear digits from the back of the card is one of the simpler parts of the payment process.

It would be interesting to know which Visa cards were used/derived and which institution(s) issued them.

The researchers are correct in that this should be addressed by the Payment Networks and Card Issuers but the Merchants should always demand the CVV2.

Chap creates Slack client for Commodore 64


Noble effort

Have one of these to celebrate:


Very tasty (if you find the bourbon overpowering, substitute vodka for that perfect Terrys Chocolate Orange in a glass).

KCL staff offered emotional support, clergy chat to help get over data loss


Prayers and Poetry

Reminded me of these, a little old but worth revisiting:


Accountant falls for sexy Nigerian email scammer, gives her £150k he cheated out of pal



Top marks for the sub-heading. Inspired.

'Alien megastructure' Tabby's Star: Light is definitely dimming



Obligatory Banks (damn, I miss him) quote:

Outside Context Problem (OCP), the kind of problem "most civilizations would encounter just once, and which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encountered a full stop."

The return of (drone) robot wars: Beware of low-flying freezers

Thumb Up

Top stuff...

... Mr Dabbs sir,

Brightened my day and had me chortling like a naughty schoolboy (no, not a euphemism).

Workers rejoice! Marx’s vision will become reality, argues SAP veep



"40 per cent of US workers expect to be freelancers by 2020"

Note that it's "expect to be", not "aim to be" or "would like to be".

Trying to spin people having to hold down 3 jobs to make a living as a worker's paradise is a bit rich.

Far too many mentions of 'digital' which the dailymash sums up best:


The Sons of Kahn and the Witch of Wookey


Re: And lo...

I think it is deliberate, designed to illustrate how excited some people get about trivial IOT stuff.

I think it is deliberate, designed to illustrate how excited some people get about trivial IOT stuff.

I think it is deliberate, .... oh I can't be bothered.

Anyway, thanks for the article, made me smile lots. Best use of 'uh-oh' I have read in many a year.

Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery


Viewing habits

I wonder if they still get the same kind of peaks these days with everyone's PVRs skipping the ads or people watching on-demand?

I guess there's always major sporting events and stuff like Eurovision (personally I'd need alcohol rather than tea to sit through Eurovision).

India trumpets seventh navigation sat launch


Wonder how much they charge...

...compared to SpaceX ?


Could SpaceX have broken the ULA monopoly only to see launches outsourced to India?

Ireland's tech sector fears fallout of Brexit 'Yes' vote


Corporation Tax

In the event of an exit from Europe, where trade with the EU becomes more cumbersome, the UK may well find it has to lower it's own Corporation Tax rate to continue to attract foreign companies to invest and base themselves here.

Given so much corporation tax is avoided anyway, this could prove a pragmatic way to make the UK more attractive outside the EU.

This would also be bad news for Ireland.

My suspicion is that alongside lower tax would also come lighter employment regulation (health and safety, pollution etc) and fewer rights for employees.

What do you call an old, unpatched and easily hacked PC? An ATM


Small potatoes

Losses at ATMs due to so called jackpotting are a very small percentage of the total:


"In 2014 EAST began to collect statistics for ATM Malware after the first incidents were reported in Western Europe. 15 incidents were reported in 2015, down from 51 in 2014. These were all ‘cash out’ or ‘jackpotting’ attacks. Related losses of €743,000 were reported, down from €1.23 million in 2014."

Compare that with the total ATM fraud of 327 million Euros.

And all ATM fraud is completely dwarfed by Card Not Present / Remote Purchase fraud:


Those figures are just for UK issued cards.

State should run power firm spam database, says... competition watchdog


Take it further to make it really useful

Instead of letting another power company spam me with offers, why don't we add a little more logic.

The database sorts through all the offers from the various companies, finds the cheapest, then bills me directly. It does this every 6 months. I only deal with Ofgem, I get the best deal, I don't have to spend days poring over my energy bills to figure out how much I use then calculate the best rate. The energy companies have to be competitive to ensure Ofgem selects their deals. We all win.

Tech biz bosses tell El Reg a Brexit will lead to a UK Techxit


Devaluation might be good?

Full disclosure, I'll probably vote to stay in the EU but I have to take issue with a couple of the statements in this article.

1) "Yet, with a technology staff from EU nations including France, Poland and Portugal, Hale is enthusiastic about skilled migration to the UK. He says there are far too few home-grown computer experts and he is actually angry that one of Cameron’s reform aims sought to reduce EU immigration by reducing access to benefits"

If you're talking about recruiting skilled IT staff then surely you should be paying them enough that they would not need to draw on the UK's benefits system to any great degree?

My suspicion when bosses talk about a 'lack of skilled workers' what they really mean is a lack of cheap(er) workers.

2) One of the biggest costs for an IT company is staff salaries. It typically dwarfs any expenditure on hardware or energy costs.

So a devaluation of the pound vs the euro should actually make software development cheaper in the UK if you're selling in dollars or euros.

Google-backed British startup ‘stole our code’, says US marketing firm


Re: "I can't see that they have got much to go on"

My first thought was also that it looks a bit incriminating.

My second thought was why on earth you'd give a prospective reseller a copy of the source code? Perhaps once a contract was in place and the reseller has proven themselves but on the first visit?

Whitehall maps out Blighty's driverless future


Minimum 360 degree video footage

You'd think the minimum data recording requirements would be 360 degree video footage (at a decent resolution) so that any incidents or accidents can be properly reviewed.

Pentagon fastens lasers to military drones to zap missiles out of the skies


Re: Don't drone's already have hellfire's

Don't lasers also have a finite effective range especially inside the earth's atmosphere?

A better bet may be a high flying UAV that turns into, or launches a scramjet missile using chemical boosters plus gravity to get up to speed (Mach 10+) then puts itself on a collision course.


Targeting, well that's just software innit.

Admittedly it might be difficult to make it look like an accident.

Hmm, money for researching lasers vs money for making things go very fast and then explode. Difficult choice indeed.

Robots. Machine learnin', 3D-printin' AI robots: They'll take our jobs – Davos


Re: Yeah, yeah, yeah....

Yep, spot on.

I predict a huge upswing in 'smart' appliance maintenance. Jobs fixing fridges that keep automatically ordering 13 Kg of bean sprouts every 6 minutes and 3D Printers that have been hacked and reprogrammed to only churn out replica penises.

SpaceX makes rocket science look easy: Falcon 9 passes tests


Re: Second-hand Rockets

That was my first thought too, why not re-launch this rocket empty or with a nominal payload to see how it performs?

HPE's private London drinking club: Name that boozer


Dog & Cartridge

The Hole in the Accounts

The iCarly

'Personalised BBC' can algorithmically pander to your prejudices


Re: Andrew what are you smoking?


I can't see this ever working beyond changing the muzak in a few scenes.

This will go the same way as Scratch 'n Sniff.

Doctor Who: The Hybrid finally reveals itself in the epic Heaven Sent


Re: 400 times harder than diamond???

That was my first thought. Why not write 'take shovel' in the sand,

Would have knocked at least a billion years off and saved us viewers a couple of rather laboured iterations through the, by now obvious, loop.

So why exactly are IT investors so utterly clueless?


Made my morning.

Superb, coffee everywhere.

P.S. I can't find the app on Google Play.

Grow up, judge tells EFF: You’re worse than a complaining child


Pay as you use?

In the UK you can have your electricity and/or gas supply cut off. It's very unusual but it can happen. This would seem a more essential human right than internet access.

In fact what's more likely to happen is the utility will install a pre-pay meter:


Perhaps the same measure could be applied to proven offenders. So a bit of light browsing, shopping, filling in forms, short calls, relatively inexpensive. Downloading/uploading gigabytes of pirated material becomes prohibitively expensive?

Storm in a teacup: Wileyfox does Android cheapie, British style

Thumb Up

Thumbs up

Got my Storm a couple of weeks ago and am very happy with it but then I'm coming from using a 4 year old Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S (yes bangernomics can be applied to phones).

I must be a pretty light user (few texts, bit of browsing, the odd call and Book reader) so I'm getting through 9 hours at work with 70% charge left even with Wifi and notifications left on.

The screen is lovely. I'm surprised how quickly I got used to the extra size.

The camera's good but a little slow to focus.

It didn't take me long to get use to the Cyanogen OS and now I like it. The orderly alphabetical organisation of apps is a blessing for me.

For £200 I think it's a bit of a bargain.

BOFH: We're miracle workers. But you want us to fix THAT in 10 minutes?


Courier 24

..new keyboard please

Busy draining my old one of cold cappucino

Have a Plan A, and Plan B – just don't go down with the ship



Worth considering the use of an 'active-active' system where two duplicated systems are both active with delta's applied between them to keep the databases in sync,

Quite common in the payments industry.

If you lose one system at least 50% of your terminals/access points are still working and your database is fully intact and up-to-date without needing any manual intervention.

You can then manually (or automatically) swap the remaining connections to the still running site.

You will still need well documented procedures and processes but it can take some of the panic out of recovering,

Voice, data, help desk: Meet the Syrian refugees' IT infrastructure chief


First hand account?

I'd be very interested to hear a first hand account from somebody who's been active in one their deployments, I bet it would be put most of our day-to-day hassles in perspective.

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg


...but when I wear it I can't collect my thoughts, it's got to be some kind of mammary error.

Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines


Hedonistic Adjustment

Is there an economist somewhere studying the opposite? Something like Technological Deficit, i.e. the extent to which technological advancement is now making things worse.

Take the example of the all year round availability of fruit and veg. This doesn't mean life is better if that fruit and veg is rubbish; rock hard nectarines, sour pineapples and strawberries that taste like cucumber water don't suggest a measurable improvement in my well being.

It could also be argued that we have now reached the point where cars are decreasing our quality of life rather than improving it. The increased journey times, serious injuries and pollution outweigh the

leather seats and Bose surround sound systems

Looking at the IT angle I wonder what percentage of the increased performance of computers goes into improving our lives, stuff like medical research, weather prediction, safety modelling etc and how much goes into frivolous/annoying/dangerous crap like casual gaming/spam/hacking.

Have we passed the optimum point at which technology enriches our lives and we're now on the down slope to where it spoils it ?


I'm off to the Great British Beer Festival for some fine ales.