* Posts by hairydog

73 posts • joined 24 Oct 2011


Senior MP tells UK Defence Committee on 5G security: Russia could become China's cyber-attack dog


Re: Insights

Remember System X? The telephone exchange system, designed specifically so that the government could track all phone calls?

This requirement made it expensive, but a price worth paying for any state that distrusted its citizens.

Although it was installed widely in the UK, no other countries would buy it. Thank goodness.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style


Re: Test, test and test again...

Sadly, that approach looks really good from a modern perspective, but it was still suboptimal.

The test plan should be derived from the business requirements, not from the spec. Otherwise you are only testing that the system meets the spec, rather than meeting the needs the spec was meant to address.

Nowadays, of course, people just make it up as they go along.

Cheshire Police celebrates three-year migration to Oracle Fusion by lobbing out tender for system to replace it... one year later


Yes, of course, police HR is completely unlike any other sort of HR. It's the shape of the helmets, you see.

And every other aspect of the system has to be custom-coded to allow for geographic differences.

Once you are made aware of the need to have everything specially customised for your unique requirements, it's clear that you will need to pay for the best and understand that the work will take time. Lots of time

Oh, and do you realise that you need a special word processor to be able to write a good shopping list?

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy



If you want an example of how ridiculous an idea can get accepted, look at fingerprint retention.

If your prints are recorded by the police but you were not guilty of the crime being investigated, the EU forced the UK to bring in a system that deletes the record after a time. How long that time is depends on how serious the offence was.

So we have a situation where if you didn't commit a minor crime, your prints are deleted faster than if you didn't commit a more serious crime.

This makes perfect sense only to anyone who doesn't understand the meaning of the word "didn't", but it seems to have been generally accepted.

So what will be accepted for misuse of this data at a later date?

NASA reveals the new wavy Martian wheels it thinks can crush the red planet


The wheels look very flimsy to me.

OK, the weight of the rover is only a fraction of what it is on Earth, but its mass is just as high. If it strikes a lump in the ground as it drives along, it's the mass, not the weight, that punches against the wheels. I guess they're tougher than they look. Well, I hope so!

Day 4 of outage: UK's Manchester police deploy exciting new carbon-based method to record crime


The reality is that any contract letting Capita do anything has to be dodgy. The only thing they do well is to draft contracts within contracts which allow them to charge huge amounts of money for screwing up, or even doing nothing at all.

Signing a Capita contract guarantees nothing except a huge bill.

I guess that someone must be getting rich, because Capita keep getting contracts, even though they never seem to deliver what's promised

There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that even lets them into the bidding.

Remember the FBI's promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US peeps? Well, guess what…


Re: Makes sense

The basic definition of "bad guys" is people who have broken the law. So yes, this database is good at identifying the bad guys: they're the ones logging in to use it!

TalkTalk bollocked after fibre marketing emails found to be full of sh!t


Re: Was it something we reported?

To give good news about T-T would involve telling fibs, wouldn't it? Not sure we need more of that!

Remember the millions of fake net neutrality comments? They weren't as kosher as the FCC made out


Re: why is it always

Why mostly right-wing? Follow the money!

The right wing is mostly in the pocket of people who put mking money above other stuff.

The left tends to be more centred on honesty and fairness.

UK.gov: Huge mobile masts coming to a grassy hill near you soon


Re: Can someone explain...

Ionica failed because they initially focussed only on voice calls, and instead of spending on software to support data properly, they spent a fortune on swanky new head office buildings.

There was nothing wrong with the concept or the signal.

I really some dispute about software licensing too, but I forget the details.

Enemy of the Matebook: Huawei shuts up laptop shop. When is it back? Depends on America's Entity List


Ten million flies can't be wrong.

No, I'm sure that Huawei notebook sales are not huge in the UK, but my goodness they are good.

I am really impressed by my Matebook Pro - it is seriously excellent. Way better than the Macbook and Surface market-leaders.

Sometimes the best products are not the best sellers.

Hongmeng, there's no need to feel down: It's patently obvious this is Huawei's homegrown OS


I think I'd rather be spied on by the Chinese government than by dozens of American companies who are trying to sell me stuff I neither need nor even want. Google keeps tabs on everywhere you go. How can that be acceptable?

Refactoring whizz: Good software shouldn't cost the earth – it's actually cheaper to build



Unless you know what you are setting out to achieve, you are not likely to achieve it.

Software design should start from a set of business requirements, gap analyses and functional specifications.

The code should be based on technical specifications, with error handling throughout.

The test scenarios should be based on business requirements and functional specifications. Not on technical specifications.

Does this happen? Hmm. Sometimes. I saw it once, in the late 1990s.

Since then, the "waterfall method" lost out to "agile" (aka make it up as you go along).

How can you gwet it right first time when "right" is redefined as you code?

Only one Huawei? We pitted the P30 Pro against Samsung and Apple's best – and this is what we found


This review of three mobile phones seems to have fallen into the same trap. It compares their cameras. How about comparing their ability to work as a communication device?

It will you next review three digital cameras and rate them on their ability to make crispy toast?

Yes, the camera is one part of the operation of a smartphone, but it isn't the only one, or even the most important.

I used to be a dull John Doe. Thanks to Huawei, I'm now James Bond!


Interesting that Huawei phones have better RF performance than all the others.

Must be something suspicious. After all, how could foreigners be better at making things?

Build a wall!*

*and wall up all xenophobic, moronic heads of state in a single pen.

German cybersecurity chief: Anyone have any evidence of Huawei naughtiness?


Seems to me that Huawei products upset the competition by outperforming other brands. So they seek to smear the brand in retaliation.

It's not as if any other other major brands don't also have a hefty proportion of their innards made in China.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing


Re: Why?

The stronger the mixture, the lower the freezing point.

You can put pure antifreeze into a cars cooling system. The only reason not to is the cost. Piston-engined aircraft use pure antifreeze because it gets cold at high altitude.

Expired cert... Really? #O2down meltdown shows we should fear bungles and bugs more than hackers


Re: Bollocks

You titled your reply well: it was indeed bollocks.

Managers do indeed press developers to make things happens cheap and fast. But that doesn't stop developers having to say "no, it takes longer to do it properly"

The reality is that it doesn't take much longer. Start with the "cope with error" template and it becomes second nature.

The extra dev time is compensated for by easier integration testing.

Few developers even understand the concept of a "failure first" approach, so it looks hard to them and they react with moronic comments like "Bollocks"..


V2X "vehicle to everything" - really? To pedestrians? cyclists? horse riders? flocks of sheep? cows going to milking? Circus parade elephants? Sleepy kangaroos? Spilled loads? Fallen trees?

Technology needs to address itself to the real world, not the "simplest case" that the spec had in mind.

Software and systems should be designed from failure backwards: every function should initially be designed to report and cope with failure, then the "non-failure" case should be added as an exception.

But this doesn't often happen becasue the developers are so focussed on what they want it to do.

UK's BT: It's not unusual to pull Huawei from our core mobile networks


Remember System X?

A vast amount of money was wasted on System X, devloped just so that any call could be tapped automatically and remotely.

Noone else in the world thought this an acceptable idea so it didn't sell.

So now BT are worried? Bunch of incompetent hypocrites.

And as for their track record on mobile networks:

They had Cellnet and screwed it up to the point where it was disposed of in a fire sale. Now they plan to wreck EE.

OnePlus 6T: Tasteful, powerful – and much cheaper than a flagship


"What if Huawei used OnePlus's Oxygen UI, I found myself musing recently. Wouldn't it be the perfect package?"

Why not get a Huawei and install a different launcher? This is so obvious that I must have missed something.

The launcher on my (elderly) Huawei had a new launcher within five minutes of starting it up.

UK.gov: New London courthouse will focus on crimes of a cyber nature


Difficult to think of a more stupid place to build it. Whose pockets does it line?

It's true – it really is grim up north, thanks to Virgin Media. ISP fined for Carlisle cable chaos


Those cowboys dug up a private road without permission, cutting through the tree roots so the trees will die (or fall over) in a year or two.

When challenged, they initially said they had the council's permission (a lie- the council doesn't own that road and had told them so). Then they claimed the work hadn't started on that road yet. (It had started and finished by then).

The careless incompetent of the contractors is nothing to the unbelievable ineptitude of their admin and planning.

If they run their network as well, you should buy some carrier pigeons before signing up with Virgin.

BBC extends Capita Audience Services contract to 25 years


Surely there is no way that Crapita could win such a contract legitimately, so it would make sense to look into whose pockets (or whose partners or cronies' pockets) are being lined by this deal.

As for signing a 25 year contract with such a dysfunctional corporation that has such an appalling record; well, that really needs legal challenge.

O2 wolfs down entire 4G spectrum as pals fiddle with their shiny 5G band


Re: Bully for O2 - and me?

I think the most attractive virtuals piggyback EE, unless you are only interested in data. And in my experience, O2 data is sloooow much of the time, so it isn't a great deal at any price

We put Huawei's P20 triple-lens snapper through its paces


Re: Just to be clear ...

I agree. Just about any smartphone will do. The main differences are in the RF performance and the camera quality. My Huawei phone is wonderful at RF. It works where other phones can't even detect any signal. Reviews never test this though. They concentrate on camera performance because it is easy to compare.

The one thing that REALLY annoys is Huaweis extreme power saving mode. Yes, it means you get two weeks standby on the phone, and that's really great. But why does it disable the alarm clock? It's a feature I would use in "remote" circumstances. Have they fixed it, at long last?

Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser


Echo chamber feedback

In my view, Microsoft has put itself in a position of getting feedback from an echo chamber. So the feedback is entirely worthless.

The preview releases of Windows 10 seem to consistently offer "improvements" in features I would never use or even look at.

Cortana, Edge, Windows Apps. Nothing actually relevant to my use of a PC.

So I stopped bothering to bother with preview releases. They have no real-world relevance to me.

Unless I'm alone in that, this means that the feedback they get will be from the people who think these stupid ideas are relevant and interesting. Microsoft will get a distorted view of public perception.

Boring. The phone business has lost the plot and Google is making it worse



Are mobile phones meant to be entertaining?

If Google can stop makers forcing all manner of garbage onto the phones to make them appear different, that's wonderful.

You can add stuff you want, change launchers, customise as much as you like.

But for most people "boringly reliable" is the ultimate objective.

iPhones are all the same UI, well behind in UX terms and you're stuck with that. Doesn't seem to matter much to their customers.

National Museum of Computing rattles the bucket: Help shift war-winning proto-puter


There appears to be something very wrong with how Bletchley Park is being run. I can't say from any position of knowledge: the admission price was ridiculous when I considered visiting.

I would like to see the national museum of computing, but for me it isn't going to happen if it is inside the rip-off Bletchley Theme Park.

It isn't clear from this article whether it would be moving away from the malign influence of Bletchley Park "management" or towards it. Let's hope it is the former!

Why did top Home Office civil servant lobby Ofcom for obscure kit ban?


The whole security thing is nonsense. GSM gateway-originated cals are just as traceable as any other mobile call.

The incoming leg via VoIP is just as traceable as any other VoIP call.

The only plausible reason is the commercial interests of mobile networks. But that's not a valid reason for a legal ban, so a pretence has to be built up.

Follow the money.

Trump to NASA: Fly me (or some other guys) to the Moon


Re: The world never has been better ...

If those "facts" were true, you would have a point. If you ever manage to get your nose out of Fox Fake News and see what has really happened, you will discover that the opposite is the reality.

SagePay's monster wobble... On the third day of sale week, UK retailers start to weep


Protx managed to survive a really nasty DDoS attack not long before Sage swallowed them.

Gradually, following the Sage takeover, the service got less and less good, then it got more and more not good.

I'm not sure what the current positions is, because all our clients who were forced to move from Protx to Sage Pay have now moved to different payment processors.

The problem is that most of the others are almost as bad. Oh for a reliable, sensibly-priced online payments system. And a sensible way to see what they charge.

Chainmail tires re-invent the wheel to get future NASA rovers rolling


Tires is a perfectly good English word. It means "becomes tired"which is more or less what is happening to the Curiosity rover wheels.

The round squashy things round wheels are tyres

Microsoft sets the date for Fall Creators Update


Not really relevant to me

The sad reality is that the "improvements" that Microsoft is working on have no relevance to me.

I don't use their web browser, I don't use Cortana, I don't play games, I don't use any Windows apps, I am not interested in VR, headsets, 3D or eye control. I don't use OneDrive.

Perhaps I'm untypical of most users of Windows, but I suspect that I am not all that unusual.

From landslide to buried alive: Why 2017 election forecasts weren't wrong


Re: So when will the politicians learn? @werdsmith

The whole point of this election was that May was seeking to dump manifesto promises and return to power with a mandate unconstrained by promises not to increase tax and NI, and with policies like cutting pensions, taking winter fuel allowances, bus passes and the like from pensioners, and taking ownership of people's homes away (and their heirs' inheritance) as a punishment for needing home care.

Mean, nasty and economically illiterate policies driven by dogma.

New UK laws address driverless cars insurance and liability


The owner?

Everyone seems to be missing the core point here. Ths new legislation seems to be putting the liability onto the insurer and the owner of the vehicle.

So what does "owner" mean in this context? If (as I suspect will happen) lots of these vehicles are leased, the owner is the lease company, not the person with day-to-day control of the vehicle.

Clever as they may be, self-driving cars won't be able to check their tyres for damage or wear. They may or may not be able to decide that the weather is too bad to drive in. They will always be under some sort of human management, but probably not under the control of the person who is their legal owner.

I see the advent of self-driving cars as heralding the end of 'owner-occupier' cars. They will be more car sharing schemes, or leasing by the hour. This "owner" issue will be a really big deal.

'Grey technology' should be the new black


Re: Important safety information:

There's an app for that!

Seriously, when I want to read very small text, I use my smartphone.

Either the excellent (and free) Magnifier app, or take a photo and zoom in to look at the image.


Re: Thank you for a thoughtful article

You don't need permission to record a call.

The law says that ONE of the parties of the call has to know it is being recorded. The call centre operative may not know for certain whether or not it is recorded, so you are told.

If you record a call you are involved in, you must know it is being recorded. The other person doesn't legally have to know, though it may be polite to inform them.

Google harvests school kids' web histories for ads, claims its Mississippi nemesis


Odd choice of photo

I was under the impression that students in K-12 schools would be twelve years old at most.

The girls in that photo look like teenagers. Could it be that El Reg choose eye candy over veracity? Surely not!

Drones will be able to carry 120GB footage of you in the shower if Seagate has its way


You can buy 128GB microSD cards. They're pretty small and light.

Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo fit to go: Europe's GPS-like network switches on


I see that my phone is showing a couple of Galileo satellites as well as the US and Russian ones, but so far never more than two. Don't you need three or four for a fix?

Let's praise Surface, not bury it


Sales of PCs, phones and tablets isn't really the right indicator. The notebook PC I'm typing this on is four or five years old and I have no plans to replace it.

Since I've had this PC I've bought three smartphones and three Android tablets, but the PC is in full-time use. The newest smartphone is still used, but not its predecessors - and the tablets get powered up no more than weekly.

So let's not compare sales, let's compare use. The stats are available.

On her microphone's secret service: How spies, anyone can grab crypto keys from the air


I'm not convinced

I don't think that this is possible. If it were, they would keep quiet about it. But the physics simply doesn't add up.

I think this is a smokescreen for some reason or other. They want us to believe this is possible for some underhand purpose.

Geek's Guide to Britain – now a book. Permission to geek out granted


Re: "your pocket-sized guide"

True geeks have huge pockets to stuff lots of gadgets in

A Brit cloud biz and an angry customer wanting a refund: A Love Story


But why get into that position?

I really don't understand why businesses put important functions and data into the cloud. If it matters to the business, surely you want to be in control of it. A few quid saved at the cost of major business risk isn't such a great bargain.

Going up hills past blokes with coke-bottle legs: The Smart E-bike


Why not review a good one?

These are rather silly e-bikes. I'd find it a lot more interesting to read a review of a good bike in the same price band. Something like a Kalkoff ProConnect or Endeavour. They are the benchmark, not the one reviewed here!


Now try reviewing a really good e-bike, such as a Kalkhoff ProConnect

BT: Let us scrap ordinary phone lines. You've all got great internet, right?


Almost true...

Yes, BT does have an obligation to provide a phone line everywhere, but they do NOT have to provide it to someone who doesn't want it. Yet they force it onto all subscribers.

I have FTTC using a copper phone line from OpenReach*. When it had a phone plugged in, it only got spam calls, so for several years there has been no phone attached. But I still have to pay for a phone service I don't want.

If BT wants to get rid of the obligation to provide the service, perhaps they could start by not requiring their customers to take the service. Then we'd see what the real demand is or isn't.

*Of course, I don't pay line rental to BT: I use a cheaper supplier.

Mad John McAfee: 'Can you live in a society that is more paranoid than I'm supposed to be?'


The bit about the police catching the criminals later is really important. Right now, the internet is the Wild West, but with no Sheriff.

Every web-connected server suffers thousands of intrusion attacks every day. Hopefully 99% of these are stopped at the firewall, and the rest fail to find a vulnerability, but they are evidence of thieves or vandals trying the handle of the door to see if it is unlocked.

The IP addresses of the attackers are known, and they could be tracked down, but the technical possibility is not matched by any administrative structure.

BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home


Monopolistic Move Unchallenged?

Sounds like another attempt at establishing a telecoms monopoly. Isn't there supposed to be a body that regulates monopolies in the UK?



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