* Posts by schmerg

11 posts • joined 25 Jul 2012

Cash-machine-draining €1bn cybercrime kingpin suspect cuffed by plod


"€1bn (£874.8m, $1.24bn) "

Oh come on Reg, I expected better of you.... significant figures and all that.

Or did he really steal precisely £874.8m which just coincidentally comes to €1.000bn

The award for worst ISP goes to... it starts with Talk and ends with Talk


What Which? are you reading?

Opens this months Which? (Oct 2017) to page 42 "TV & Broadband Providers"...

TalkTalk are mid-table with "customer score" of 51% (behind PlusNet & EE, ahead of BT & Sky, neck & next with Virgin but rated higher overall).

Maybe they've also done another survey, but as this is out in the same months magazine, and it's a 4 page article, is it perhaps worth mentioning?

[ Disclaimer - single anecdote is not authoritative but ~10 years with TalkTalk, esp. on Fibre, much happier with TT than other ISPs when I had a troublesome physical line which was really OpenReach's problem. IMHO TT get a lot of the "cheap end" of customers who are less able to understand the physical limits of ADSL. If you're a long way from the exchange you won't get a magical data rate from any ISP. And this is the source of quite a number (not all) of complaints. The user forums frequented by their UK based tech staff are very helpful and let me mostly bypass phone support ].

Corporate criminal tax offences likely to further increase HMRC's use of dawn raids, says expert


Powers of entry without warrant

*HMRC does not, however, have the power to enter business or residential premises without a search warrant, which must be granted by a magistrate.*

Customs and Excise ("the VAT-man") had certain powers of entry without requiring a warrant, dating back to the urgency of intercepting smugglers and the like. When Customs and Excise merged with the Inland Revenue, the larger body inherited some of these powers.

According to the last review of these powers (2014 - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrcs-powers-of-entry-review-final-report) HMRC still retain some of these powers, such as "Power to enter and inspect the production premises of any biofuel or other fuel substitute, other than a private dwelling house" and "Power to, in the daytime, enter and inspect the premises of a denatured alcohol user and to inspect, examine and take samples of any denatured alcohol, or goods containing denatured alcohol, found there." (which does include private dwellings).

IANAL but just to say, I believe there are still some circumstances where HMRC has the power to enter business or residential premises without a search warrant, some of which admittedly are subject to further safeguards.

Intel AMT bug bit Siemens industrial PCs


Re: "intel Inside"

No, it wasn't the HTTP parser that was botched, it was the password check code. It effectively checks the number of characters of password received against the actual password, and if there are no discrepancies, then it lets you in. Hence a constrcuted HTTP packet of a login with a zero length password gets you in.

And the code was written by Intel - this is built into the chips biut is NOT using the x86/x64 CPU (which is one of the things that makes it particulaerly nasty).

See more details here


Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still being thwarted by kangaroos


Re: Obvious solution


Back when I lived there, convertibles were pretty rare - I drove a Mini Moke for a while and during the summer you'd have the roof up for any journey of more than 10 or 20 minutes or you'd be burnt to a crisp.

Convertibles are much more popular in the UK (i.e. in my limited experience, convertibles are more popular and commonplace in climates where sunshine is relatively rare but winters not harsh enough to make them completely impractical).

But yeah, roo leaping on top of a moke is not really something I want to experience first hand (coming back to my car to find some jokers had picked it up and turned it sideways in the car parking bay was bad enough)


Re: Obvious solution

re: trains hitting a roo...

The train might power on thru it, but hitting one in a car is a very different story... a big male roo can weigh 100kg, and that's enough to make it more serious than turning on the wipers (even more so if they're moving at 30mph at the time).

Wikipedia says "small vehicles may be destroyed, larger vehicles may suffer engine damage".

There used to be stories of roos travelling at high speed "crossing the road" and happening to land on top of a car and caving in the roof. A modern car roof should be able to withstand that I'd guess, but I'm guessing a collision with the windscreen would still be serious enough.

Looking for an Ubuntu Unity close cousin? Elementary, my dear...


Try it out on gentoo

layman -a elementary

emerge -av pantheon

... ah, seems it expects to run on top of systemd.... maybe I'll give it a miss...

Bloke charged under UK terror law for refusing to cough up passwords


Constable Savage (Not the Nine O'Clock News)

"Sit down, Savage."

"Yes, sir."

"Savage, why do you keep arresting this man?"

"He's a villain, sir."

"A villain..."

"And a jail-bird, sir."

"I know he's a jail-bird, Savage, he's down in the cells now! We're holding him on a charge of ... [reads] 'Possession of curly black hair and thick lips."'

"Well - well, there you are, sir."

"You arrested him, Savage!"

"Thank you, sir."

"Savage, would I be correct in assuming that Mr Kodogo is a coloured gentleman?"

"Well, I can't say I've ever noticed, sir."

Nosy Brit cops demand access to comms data EVERY TWO MINUTES


Re: Have you really checked the numbers?

If only it were that simple - I think you might be confusing the computers from movies with those from real life. I find a drug dealer regularly phones 118500, his mother, a local pizza shop, 2 suspected colleagues and a third number.

Reverse lookup the 3rd number (oh, there's another request) and it turns out to be someone who's of no interest but was just a contact for some reason. The police really haven't got the time, the info, the inclination or the interest to go digging on random people that come up in these things. But if it turns out that person works in a bank, or a courier firm, or a bookie, or a school, or a hospital, then yeah, you might dig a little deeper in case they're laundering cash, transporting drugs, obtaining drugs, or a potential danger to children who fall under a duty of care (this last one to point out it's not a blanket "but what about the children" but that the duty of investigation is very real), because that's the basis of an investigation. The police wouldn't be doing their job otherwise.

Look at the numbers of actual investigations this works out to ..... how many "rafts of innocent people" do you think the police have the time & resources to "trawl" ?

Genuine snoopers charter concerns, sure, be very worried.

But 700k requests in 3 years by ALL the UK police forces doesn't sound that bad once you look at what all those police officers we pay for are supposed to be actually doing. This report is a red herring - "trawling" will involved much much much bigger numbers than this.

What do you mean WHY is Sony PS4 so pricey in Oz?


FX - Strong AUD$ expected to drop with the end of the commodities boom

I take on board the "foreigner's pay more because they will" arguments, but I'd also consider FX rates.

The Aussie dollar has been riding high off the back of the commodities boom, only now falling away over the past few months, and is widely expected [weasel words; citation needed] to continue to drop as the commodities boom drops off too.

Have a look at 10Y FX rates to see how much of a high it's been on


Sony are going to be selling this console for a year or three before there's a hardware refresh ("PS/4 slim") and/or price drop. Increasing the price of a console during its lifetime is seen as a big no-no, so my guess is they're planning not for today's exchange rates, but with an eye to FX rates for the end of 2014 at the very earliest.

Now you're more than welcome to look at forward rates and the like, but I think it's a little mis-leading to price something that won't be on sale for another 6 months on today's rates when it's then got to sell for at that price for another year or two.

Sure they can take out forward rates and hedge against it, but if they priced it at parity today, and the 12 months from now the AUD plummets and the Australian PS/4 (& xbox etc) starts to look cheap, you know that the grey import market *into* the UK/US would start to take off...

ABS pulls Census app, points it at the right data


"Coolest government statistician on Earth"??

Hey , back in the late 80s (ask yer parents kids) we took the ABS census and put it on CD-ROM with a software package to generate tables and choropleth maps so you could access the data with no more than a PC-AT (12MHz CPU, 640k RAM, 10Mb hard drive, EGA graphics, DOS 3.3 etc) and shutdown mainframes for quite a few people in the process, never mind the massive computational resources of an iOs device.

CDATA86 aka "SuperMap" by Space-Time Research if you want to look it up - yeah, glory days.

Anyway, the point was the ABS has always been a leader at this stuff. We did other countries later, but the ABS was the one that had the vision to take what we were building and welcome us (in relative terms) whereas the UK and US were a complete PITA.

And yeah, we did censuses from other years too and did all the alignment of data terms & geographic boundaries etc for you too (that's the "Time" part of "Space-Time Research"), so I'm sorry if you had to do all that sort of stuff yourself Richard, cos we did it all 25 years ago.

I'll get me zimmerframe...


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