* Posts by Alan(UK)

14 posts • joined 23 Jun 2012

Afraid of the big bad Linux desktop? Zorin 16.1 is here


Windows for Linux Users

When will someone release a Microsoft Windows distribution which acts like Linux?

We have redundancy, we have batteries, what could possibly go wrong?


Hospital Generator

My uncle told me about how a generator was installed in the basement of a London hospital after the war. This generator was used to provide emergency power to the blowers on the hospital heating boilers. It was a difficult operation involving hiring a special crane. After it was done, my uncle went and found the stoker and asked him what he did previously when the power failed. The stoker replied that he just opened the furnace doors and changed over to natural draught!

Bonus comment - I worked in a school which had a complicated lighting system installed after a major refurbishment, one feature was it turned on the emergency lighting in the event of a power failure; the problem was that when the power was restored (which might be a few seconds later) the emergency lights were extinguished but the main lights did not come on because the system had no memory of which ones had been switched on originally. As we complained that being plunged into darkness without warning was dangerous, HR came up with a solution, we were each issued with a keyring with a little LED 'torch' on it - the sort of thing that might have come out of Christmas cracker!

Déjà bork: BSOD fairy pays key-cutting kiosk another visit


Many years ago, I worked on a coin operated key cutting machine. The computation (counting coins) was done with relays; the rest was motors and mechanics.

Bankrupt school ITT pleads 'don't let Microsoft wipe our cloud data!'


Who owns the data?

Looking at it another way - does Microsoft have any right to keep the data after they have stopped providing the customer access to it. Just because the customer placed the data in the cloud, it does not make them the owner of it. I could well imagine a situation where the actual creator of the data, who perhaps has their own personal back-up, would rather like the cloud copy destroyed now that circumstances have changed - for instance some of it might have commercial value but the cloud copy lacks any copyright attribution. There could be all sorts of stuff that might prove embarrassing for different people if it were to appear on Wiki-leaks.

Light the torches! NSA's BFF Senator Feinstein calls for e-book burning



Petry dish? Realli?

Detroit losing millions because it buys cheap batteries – report


432 years

It would sound sensible to recycle the source but removing it from the smoke detector is not allowed (presumably this depends on where you live) so they just finish up in household waste.

New ransomware strain forces hapless users into becoming Bitcoin miners



What's that? "that blue E icon" is THE INTERNET!

Torvalds shoots down call to yank 'backdoored' Intel RdRand in Linux crypto


John von Neumann

"Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin."

'Beat the lie detectors' trainer sentenced to 8 months in jail


21 months in prison?

I thought that prison was the place where you learn how to lie, cheat, and steal.

Judge denies move to ban ad-skipping DVR


My TV remote has a 'mute' button

This feature may not be unique. Are we 'infringing' when we mute the adverts.

A suggestion - a compromise solution: record all the adverts separately, removing duplicates, then play them all back at a time convenient to the viewer.

How one bad algorithm cost traders $440m


Re: Sounds Familiar ...

I had put my coffee down but I still nearly chocked when I read your post.

Windows 8 'bad' for desktop users - Gartner's one-word review



I do not use any version of IE so I never realized that they did not have a spelling checker.

Chip and PIN keypads 'easily fooled' with counterfeit cards


Banks don't care about credit card fraud

If I am in business selling baked beans, I have to buy baked beans, it is just a business expense. Banks wanting a percentage of every transaction have to pay for occasional fraud - it is just a business expense.

Banks want to maximize profits. First, they want customers, buyers and sellers. If they get the buyers, the sellers come by default - they are forced to accept the cards or decline the sales. To get the buyers, they need to make things as easy as possible for her; if they could get away with the buyer just saying, 'Charge it to my husband's account', they would. Slightly more secure is getting her to sign for it - not a problem in some circles, it implies the customer can write and has the status to make a purchase on their signature alone. These were the days when you knew your own bank manager and the cashier recognized your signature. Extending this system to the unwashed masses brought its own problems - nobody knew anybody anymore.

Second, the banks want someone else to pick up the bill for fraudulent transactions. Chip and PIN solved both problems at a stroke. The seller picks up the bill if he cannot complete the transaction with Chip and PIN. The bank of course has no worries about losing the seller as a customer - he is locked into the system with no way out.

Notice how the UK Cards Association does not seem put out by the revelation that their security is crap. As long as credit card fraud does not significantly affect their profits and does not inconvenience their most important customers, the credit card holders, the banks are not concerned.

I have a credit card. It uses Chip & PIN which would be quite good if the bank had not sent me my PIN in a super-secure, tamper-proof, envelope - TWICE! It also has a more or less redundant magnetic stripe whose only purpose is to promote fraud. It has a super-secure signature strip that renders my signature more-or-less illegible. As the PIN is only four digits - and not all combinations are allowed, someone stealing my card stands a better than the lottery chance of hitting the jackpot. The bank asks me to enter my credit card number on a telephone keypad before they will talk to me - the issue of key-loggers on company switchboards was raised decades ago! Do not even think about Internet transactions - I am sure the bank has, and then buried its head in the sand.

Natwest, RBS: When will bank glitch be fixed? Probably not today


Re: There is another way, you know...

What do you mean? Farsley is a place in Leeds. There is still a NatWest branch in Leeds. What are you complaining about?


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