* Posts by MOH

168 posts • joined 27 Apr 2012


BOFH: It's Friday, it's time to RTFM


And now I have a headache

BOFH and the case of the disappearing teaspoons


Ah what?! That's my Friday ruined. And possibly a significant dip in my Reg reading

Google Workspace Individual arrives in Europe


So they're trying to persuade individuals to pay them for Workspace while being sued in a class action for reneging on their free tier of Workspace for businesses?

Fool me once, etc.

Philippines orders fraud probe after paying MacBook prices for slow Celeron laptops


Re: celeron

It might come from the Latin "celer" for "swift", but the "on" bit is just "no" backwards.

Hence "not swift"

Meta accuses data scrapers of taking more than their share


Look in the mirror

"Part of the problem with companies like Octopus, Romero argued, is that they provide automated scraping services to anyone, regardless of who they may be targeting, or why, and – crucially – without permission from the source site."

Says the company which provides a platform for anyone to spam any kind of content, regardless of who they might be targeting, or why.

And harvests data about anyone - crucially - frequently without permission from the individual.

Beware the fury of a database developer torn from tables and SQL


I worked in the Netherlands years ago, in a company which allowed no external internet access, but had an internal translation dictionary to allow us non-Dutch speaking people to look up words and save us having to ask every five seconds what fields on a screen meant.

I was making an effort to learn the language and mailed my team lead a reply including a line of pidgin Dutch. He replied slagging my appalling grammar, I used the dictionary to look up the Dutch translation of a very mild insult (I think it may have been something like "fool") in response. I even took the precaution of checking the translation back to English first.

He arrived at my desk two minutes later looking quite shocked and explaining I could be fired for what I'd just called him, which was one of the worst words I could use in Dutch. Turns out the dictionary was a little too complete and the Dutch side included numerous not-quite-synonyms for each translation which in this case had ranged from the mild to the extremely vulgar, and of course I'd randomly picked the worst. Helpfully the English side seemed to have been sanitised so there was no way of telling that.

Lesson learned, don't rely on translation apps even if they're the company standard

Venezuelan cardiologist charged with 'designing and selling ransomware'


"The self-taught coder and qualified cardiologist"

That's probably better than the other way around

Study: How Amazon uses Echo smart speaker conversations to target ads


Like eBay's chainsaw obsession

I haven't bought anything off eBay in at least 5 years, and even then it was just a few second hand games.

I logged in recently for some reason, so now they've started mailing me.

With no data to base their mails on, for some reason they've decided to just keep emailing me about chainsaws.

There'll usually be a couple of extra random things thrown in - last week was wireless headphones and a ceiling fan, this week it's a smartwatch or an iPhone - but the main focus every week is on eBay's determination to sell me a chainsaw.


Re: How far will they be willing to go?

Why would anyone think that's not already happening?

Buying a USB adapter: Pennies. Knowing where to stick it: Priceless


Because sometimes there isn't a CEO around to thump?

Testing for COVID with the sound of a cough? There’s an app for that


"If the app is accepted, the company thinks it's also an opportunity to use smartphones' biometrics capabilities to tie results to individuals, and thereby improve security."

I'm not sure some random app maker tying my medical condition to my phone's biometrics matches my idea of security

Journalist won't be prosecuted for pressing 'view source'


Re: The State changed its tune

Are his passions listed in order of dedication?

Crypto outfit Qubit appeals to the honour of thieves who lifted $80M of its digi-dollars


Call now!

... for your free motorboat! Um, free bug bounty

Google dumps interest-based ad system for another interest-based ad system


Aren't Google planning to remove the ability to delete individual cookies? Because "something something users something stupid"

Shut off 3G by 2033? How about 2023, asks Vodafone UK


Net zero?

Presumably they'll push ticking this box while not including the footprint of all those forced to upgrade their phone when they otherwise would have stayed with their current model.

Robot vacuum cleaner employed by Brit budget hotel chain Travelodge flees


Under a hedge?

That sounds familiar:


Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash


Re: <auto> from Greek autos, reflexive pronoun, "self, same" ...

So grand theft auto would mean stealing ... yourself?

Bitcoin 'inventor' will face forgery claims over his Satoshi Nakamoto proof, rules High Court


Re: He didn't invent it, I did!

I invented sarcasm. You owe me royalties

At 9 for every 100 workers, robots are rife in Singapore – so we decided to visit them


Re: Interesting Math

0.09 seems high. What's the average life expectancy of a robot? They'll hardly get to 7.5 years?

UK privacy watchdog may fine selfie-hoarding Clearview AI £17m... eventually, perhaps


Clearview's lawyer: "To be clear, Clearview AI does not do business in the UK, and does not have any UK customers at this time."

Clearview's CEO: “My company and I have acted in the best interests of the UK and their people by assisting law enforcement in solving heinous crimes against children, seniors, and other victims of unscrupulous acts”

That's pretty impressive considering they don't do any business there.

A tiny typo in an automated email to thousands of customers turns out to be a big problem for legal


Re: A small percentage of the blame should go to the other RDBMS creators...

Except one of the founders didn't have a daughter called Your

Singaporean regulator punishes biggest-ever data breach: Almost 5.9 million hotel customers' info exposed


That 1 cent per customer is really going to hurt them

Say what you see: Four-letter fun on a late-night support call


Re: We all know the best Bond film

Is that OHMSS Law?

EasyJet flight loadsheet snafu caused by software 'code errors' says UK safety agency


"The various elements of the IT system architecture do not 'talk' directly to each other but operate through a variety of interfaces," found the AAIB, adding this "makes errors and inaccuracies more likely."


Schools email marketing company told us to go away when we told them of exposed database creds, say infoseccers


Re: Schools Marketing

Or any order

Facebook building 'on-demand executable file format' that self-inflates using homebrew compression


Re: give developers minimum spec

If they use their own software, it might be more effective to give the CEO a bog-standard device.

I'm sure the message will filter down to the devs pretty quickly.

You want us to make a change? We can do it, but it'll cost you...


Reminds me of the time I bought a new PC with a free year of Norton AV.

The year expired, I switched to a different AV, tried to uninstall Norton. Or even disable it.

"Please log in to access the admin screen ..."

"You can't log in as your subscription is expired. Click here to renew your subscription..."

The product as installed offered no way to remove it after your subscription had expired, without paying for renewal.

They did provide an "uninstall tool" as a separate download. But it was pretty well hidden on their website, took quite a bit of googling to find it.

The Sun is shining, the birds are singing, and Microsoft has pulled support for Internet Explorer in Microsoft 365


"your daily usage experience could get progressively worse over time"

How is this any different from the rest of Office 365? That certainly describes Excel

Kepler spots four rogue Earth-mass exoplanets floating in space, unbound to any star


Are you suggesting that planets migrate?!

To CAPTCHA or not to CAPTCHA? Gartner analyst says OK — but don’t be robotic about it


Re: "Here is advice about CAPTCHAs from somebody who knows jack about CAPTCHAs"

I'd be in favour of a GARTNER test that ensures none of their "predictions" ever get any attention

Excuse me, what just happened? Resilience is tough when your failure is due to a 'sequence of events that was almost impossible to foresee'


"... but if management have any sense..."

I think I see the problem

Boffins show sleight-of-hand tricks to Corvids, find they are smarter than people


We need a magic show face-off between corvids and orangutans

The server is down, money is not being made, and you want me to fix what?


Years ago on college work experience, we had an issue where users randomly couldn't log into the network. Seemed to be intermittent, the same user might be able to log in one morning, but fail after lunch. This went on for a week or two.

After a while I noticed the problems typically happened mid-morning, or a while after lunch, and came up with the theory there might be a limit on the number that could log in at once, with anyone after that being refused. Licensing issues and the like were above my pay grade, it was just based on empirical observation. A bit of trial and error and I reckoned I'd worked out what the limit was.

As it happened, we were building a new PC for the managing director. Keen to make a good impression, my manager had insisted we work through lunch to get it finished. Finished it shortly after lunch, tested everything including the login credentials, all worked fine. Manager breathed a sigh of relief.

I checked how many people were currently logged onto the network, saw it was at my expected maximum, and suggested we prove my theory by logging the MD off, me logging in on my own machine, and then if we tried to log him in again it should fail.

Manager was aghast at the suggestion, and insisted that we quickly deliver the PC to the MD while everything was working OK.

Of course if was about two days before the MD called to complain he was unable to log in, and somebody finally checked and discovered we'd hit our license limit.

Google's 'Ask me anything' on Privacy Sandbox was more about questions than answers


Kleber said Privacy Sandbox is all about "partitioned identity," adding: "We're trying to transition to a web in which the site you are visiting might have its own personal notion of some information about you like what you've done while visiting that site in the past but there's not a way to take one site's notion of what it knows about you and another site's notion of what that site knows about you and join them together."

But surely that’s straightforward? If it’s beneficial to me then I’ll be willing to create an account on the site and then they’ll be able to track me by that on their site.

"FLoC is about... ways to do ad targeting when third-party cookies and the profiles built based on them are not available any more," said Kleber.

Ahhhhh, there we go. So this is no way beneficial to me, it’s purely about you trying to continue retaining profiling information to sell ads, without explicit user opt-in. Good luck with that. Not.

Holy margins, Batman: Pandemic tech prices balloon as demand outweighs stocks and suppliers get greedy


The only silver lining is that Gartner are predicting continuing shortages into next year. If they predicted sunrise tomorrow I'd be stocking up on candles.

Can't get that printer to work? It's not you. It's that sodding cablin.... oh beautiful job with that cabling, boss


Got an IT support call on Monday morning saying "My printer's not working" back when people had their own individual printers plugged into their PC.

Down to the desk, check all the basics - printer is plugged in, turned on, no error lights flashing, print a test page, etc, all fine.

Try to print from the PC, nothing.

Took longer than it should have for me to check the cable from the PC to the printer wasn't loose. It wasn't loose, it just wasn't there.

It had been there on Friday because I'd been dealing with another issue.

Pointed out that the cable was missing to the user, who immediately exclaimed "Well I didn't take it!" - a surprisingly quick and strident denial from somebody who hadn't been accused of anything. Between that and the shifty look, they clearly had.

I didn't care, just grabbed a spare cable, but I always thought it was a bit weird, as if the guy had decided on the Friday he needed a printer cable for home, but hadn't really thought through exactly how that was going to work on Monday morning.

China has a satellite with an arm – and America worries it could be used to snatch other spacecraft


Re: Space Force predicted this

That was my immediate thought.

They're after the monkey!

NASA writes software update for Ingenuity helicopter to enable first Mars flight


They forgot that bytes are 11 bits on Mars, adjusting to compensate.

Rogue elements: Hades and Loop Hero manage to draw on the same legacy while having very little in common


Re: Roguelike

Tales of Maj Eyal is well worth a look.

Desperate Nominet chairman claims member vote to fire him would spark British government intervention


"This is a dangerous game. It would lead to an unpredictable future for the UK domain name industry and .UK pricing and policy"

As opposed to ...?

Huge if true: If you show people articles saying that Firefox is faster than Chrome, they'll believe it


I used to be

Dept of If I'd Known 20 Years Ago: Call centres, roosting chickens, and Bitcoin


Re: Call Waiting...

Does the colour depend on whether they drink Holstein Pils?

Microsoft says it found 1,000-plus developers' fingerprints on the SolarWinds attack


"Most US cyber defences look at activity beyond the nation’s borders and assume the private sector in the USA takes care of itself."

That seems .... optimistic

Ever wanted to own a piece of the internet? Now you can: $1 for a whole gTLD... or $2.8m if you want a decent one


Great sales pitch

Every TLD listed has a "How much are similar domains worth?" bit - which just gives the estimated value of the corresponding .com (e.g. .guitars is compared against guitars.com).

Surely this just underlines the fact that the .com is far more valuable than the vanity TLD?

And a far more accurate measure of value would be how moany domains are there for the TLD x price per domain.

So .country has 1000+ domains @ $29 so you're expected to bid $300,000 for something currently taking in $29,000/year.

While country.com alone is worth $450,000

There's a reason these things are being auctioned. You'd be better off buying Bitcoin. Or Gamestop

Missing GOV.UK web link potentially cost taxpayers £50m as civil servants are forced to shuffle paper forms


This sounds like it should be added the the El Reg list of standard measurements

Quixotic Californian crusade to officially recognize the hellabyte and hellagram is going hella nowhere


Re: K


Developers! These 3 weird tricks will make you a global hero


Re: And also started deviating from it

That's weird, the laptop definitely isn't a touchscreen.

You might need to add the option to the toolbar?



Re: And also started deviating from it

The MS vertical space thing drives me mad. If I want to use pivot tables in Excel my work laptop, I have to collapse the ribbon, as otherwise I can only see a single field at a time in the pivot definitions. Yet while the ribbon is collapsed, clicking on a menu item shows it, but a compressed ribbon with much less whitespace. Which is actually the ideal compromise, but there's no obvious way of getting it.

Eventually discover I can simply change the ribbon layout by the obvious solution of selecting "customise the quick access toolbar", and ticking "Touch/Mouse mode", which then brings up a new menu with options for "Mouse" and "Touch", which control the amount of whitespace on the ribbon. Despite none of the relevant menu entries giving any indication they're related to the ribbon. How intuitive.

That's not to mention the number of times they've totally redesigned the ribbon since they first introduced it, moving stuff around between categories or to different tabs under different icons, necessitating a quick google rather than spend ten minutes hunting for infrequently used options.

If they can't be consistent about general settings, there's not much hope for accessibility.

Passwords begone: GitHub will ban them next year for authenticating Git operations


Re: A self-defeating approach?

I tried to set up a business bank account a few years ago. They required I set up two separate passwords, both subject to a string of restrictions - and both exactly 8 characters long. I used a different bank with a least a basic grasp of security.

Google Cloud (over)Run: How a free trial experiment ended with a $72,000 bill overnight


This x 1000.

Based on the Firebase performance of 1bn reads per minute at 0.06 per 100K, that's $600 per minute.

If your "budget limit" is only an advisory limit that triggers an email, that's $600 of charges for every minute before that mail is read and actioned.

That's just ludicrous if there's no option for an automatic hard cutoff after a certain limit.



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