* Posts by M7S

1251 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Jul 2007


Support chap put PC into 'drying mode' and users believed it was real



Once installed a screen saver on a colleague’s pc that made the text on the screen appear to melt slowly and fall down the screen.

I pre-empted a little before she stepped away from her desk by asking a few times if anyone else smelled burning “possibly electrical“.

A little while later she she wandered off to get a file (real, paper based), came back and was shocked to see her monitor show what looked like her typed work collapsing in on itself and I told her it must be on fire inside.

She duly ran to the staff kitchen to get a jug of water and only when she was about to throw it over the monitor did I tell her what I’d done, mostly to avoid the risk of injury to her.

She was a bit of a gym bunny but the resulting painful punch to my arm was worth it

China debuts bonkers hybrid electric trolley-truck


“Mutant offspring of a semi…”

What, no inappropriate comment by now?

The moderatrix would be lashing out in fury…

The march of Macs into the enterprise: Demand is on the increase


Reluctant Warning

We purchased Mac Mini Server a decade ago with Server OS X Leopard directly from Apple Business. I made the case to management regarding the server features as opposed to the cost of separate hardware (various decent brands) and licensing of our then (and current) MS applications.

We loved that we could run our own mail server as part of the application (with some other nice features), and a few other useful bits like shared folders, nothing particularly complicated or highly technical as we really didn't need much more.

After some testing and learning in IT, we were ready to deploy for user testing for a period of parallel running.

There was an apple OS update that we applied as advised to keep "secure" against new threats, the next day on switching on, all the "server" functions had gone. Just like that.

Enquiries revealed that despite purchasing the OS as part of the unit, it was no longer supported, we could re-purchase the "app" for a tiny sum but no guarantees from Apple that it would remain supported or not be withdrawn at a later date (and in fact all the useful features such as mail server have since been removed from later versions). They were very coy about it but had a compensation scheme to give you back the value of the app ($20) but only if you were registered in the US. UK (and presumably other) customers were very much "not first class citizens".

Had we gone live, been through the testing period and completed the transition it could have wiped us out as a small company.

Their attitude was that we could now purchase the functionality from 3rd party vendors, putting us back to the sort of costs we had with MS, and a complete inability to do this in-house.

Caveat Emptor

(We'd have purchased about 30 seats of hardware, along with portable devices in varying numbers had this worked, plus another several hundred seats after a later takeover that expanded our footprint considerably, along with other hardware, but I guess that's still not even small beer for them. Users still resent the windows phones forced upon them later....)

European Space Agency will launch giant claw that drags space junk to its doom


Re: They should have gone with the James bond scoop design

@ NiceCuppa Tea

We dont know what we dont know, but in a couple of centuries a policy like this might be found to have an adverse effect in the same way as dumping our waste into the vastness of the oceans hasnt really turned out well.

UK reveals new 'National Cyber Force', announces Space Command and mysterious AI agency


Space agency badges

Given that the US military allegedly copied one from their Nation's TV series involving a Federation centred on Earth, it would be a Travisty [sic] if the MOD didn't do something similar


I wonder if they keep all their files on the Server-LAN

The repurposed motorcycle leathers, thank you

Sorry, I ran out of puns.

Test tube babies: Virgin Hyperloop pops pair of staffers in a pod, shoots them along 500m vacuum tunnel


The reviews when something goes wrong....

Travelling in a vacuum "just sucks".

Research into deflecting potentially world-destroying asteroids is apparently not a 'national priority' for the UK


"They're using our own satellites against us"

Well not this time, all that debris in orbit is surely a secret planetary ablative shield put there by our secret world government.

Or has something else actually placed it there to stop us getting out?

The Battle of Britain couldn't have been won without UK's homegrown tech innovations


Appreciating and acknowledging some American help as well

The Eagle Squadrons seem to have formed about the time the battle ended, so I am not able to inform you of their involvement however there is this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-British_personnel_in_the_RAF_during_the_Battle_of_Britain#United_States

You Musk be joking: A mind-reading Neuralink chip in a pig's brain? Downloadable memories? Telepathy? Watch and judge for yourself


If the cap fits....

..you'll never question why Auntie cancelled The Tripods after two seasons.

They knew.

An irritating itch down the back of your neck? Searing midsummer heat? Of course, it can only be SysAdmin Day


Colonies of sysadmins have a single queen

Is this signalling the return of the Moderatrix?

(VERY long term reader reference)

UK takes a step closer to domestic launches as Skyrora fires up Skylark-L


Re: All aboard.....

That was my first thought, howevew when putting that into the "tube of you" the first listing is very different


Perhaps the cover shows the boffins have more ambition than we may have credited them with

Singapore releases the robot hounds to enforce social distancing in parks


Prior guard robots with dog names...


Be seeing you.

Lords: New IR35 off-payroll tax rules 'riddled with problems, unfairnesses, unintended consequences'


Re: unintended consequences

“potentially fatal if it means arriving at the end of the sea too soon”

What, and falling off the edge of the world?

It’s one way to get closer to Great A’Tuin

Intelsat orbital comms satellite is back online after first robo-recovery mounting and tug job gets it back into position


@ Caustic Soda

I think they’re quoting a particular film. However they’ve now taken off and are in orbit, let’s hope there’s nowhere on the surface that they want to be particularly sure about....

From Brit telly presenter Eamonn Holmes to burning 5G towers in the Netherlands: Stupid week turns into stupid fortnight for radio standard


(Humour) bypass

When we see 42 towers burned, we'll realise it heralds the arrival of the...

Vegan (De)Constructor Fleet

The Wristwatch of the Long Now: When your MTBF is two centuries


Prior art

Being centuries ahead of the patent lawyers with a device so round it has no corners.

Now, about the flip front some other fob watches have....

An Apple a day might not keep the doctor away: iGiant's China stores face closures, deep cleans, staff temperature checks amid virus outbreak


The old saying used to be that Macs couldnt get a virus

Clearly now there is the chance that they might give the user one.

Icon: Just in case you're worried about your protective face mask having the wrong kind of corners.

You looking for an AI project? You love Lego? Look no further than this Reg reader's machine-learning Lego sorter


Proof of Lego's superiority

Try doing that with Playmobil

Are you listening, El Reg re-enactments team?

Halfords invents radio signals that don't travel at the speed of light


Re: Speed of light

Didn't Captain Scarlet have an issue with radios being 1500m from source?

(The only link I can find to anything related to the episode https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8RsdDEWAy8 , sorry its not the episode itself).

There's probably a radio joke to be made here about Spectrum, but does that apply to DAB?

Space-wrecks: Elon's prototype Moon ferry Starship blows its top during fuel tank test


Later starships will not be as good

As clearly, in this instance, the engines were the one part that took it very well.

The red shirt, thank you

237 UK police force staff punished for misusing IT systems in last 2 years


Buying a house

Some years back police officers used to be required to get permission to live in/buy a house so that purpose, assuming proper channels were used, would not be a breach of regulations unless that requirement no longer exists

From Instagram to insta-banned: Facebook wipes NSO Group workers' personal profiles amid WhatsApp hack rap

Black Helicopters

I’m Spartacus, and so’s my wife

I don’t work for NSO group, and I have no social media accounts, but if there’s a way of getting the latter situation enforced by the likes of FB (just so long as that includes them not silently compiling data about me from elsewhere and using/selling it) then where can I sign up?

Aw, bad day at your air-conditioned, somewhat clean desk? Try shifting a 40-tonne fatberg


What is needed is some sort of organism that eats fat....

....in the same way that worms compost kitchen waste.

Quite by chance I was at a motorway services* the other day and saw quite a few of these. Alas regulatory approval would preclude these particular specimens from use in this case.

*Alternative locations for concentrations of such lifeforms abound.

Mandatory electronic prescriptions was the easy bit in NHS paperless plans


Ambulance crews often prefer paper prescriptions

As when dealing with patients who may not be totally au fait with what they take, or why (other than “the doctor told me to”) there’s half a chance of working out underlying health conditions from the medication lists*, which may help determine what they need right now.

As always with medical care, it’s not the only criteria to use.

*repackaging tablets into dosset boxes is a good idea, particularly for those with memory or organisational issues, but often there’s little or no useful indication of the contents

Your ugly mug may be scanned yet again – but at least you'll be able to board faster at Gatwick


And when the system breaks down

As IT systems occasionally have been known to do, will there be a rapidly implemented and effective alternative procedure “on tap”?

Icon for where those caught up in any failure would probably prefer to wait

Electric vehicles won't help UK meet emissions targets: Time to get out and walk, warn MPs


Re: "Leave your car at home"

I think that "not being a practical and enthusiastic cyclist" for things including getting to and from work (both in his time as MP, Mayor and journalist) while based n London is not a charge that would fairly be held against Boris.

Now he's PM, there are some different considerations such as the security of what he needs to carry around with him, and it would be the same even if JC* became PM

*Those with long memories may recall the Not the Nine O'clock News item where it was noted that "Even the initials are the same"

And you thought the cops were bad... Civil rights group warns of facial recog 'epidemic' across UK private sites


WTF are they scanning for?

"Liverpool's World Museum scanned visitors with facial recognition surveillance"

Surely the value of facial recognition is to identify people you want to be aware of and who you know about. I can see that there is a valid use by public authories for trying to detect wanted/missing/vulnerable persons, (once proper rules have been sorted out), but for a museum?

What database are they comparing visitors to?

Are they worried about either of the Dr's Jones purloining some artefact for the next film in the sequence?

Are the mugshots of John Robie or Sir Charles Lytton loaded onto the system?

Are they worried that frequent visitors will be exposed to a cumulative dose of magic emanating from the exhibits and suddenly find themselves acting like John Hannah surrounded by non-Nestene Autons, so they're building up a database to decline entry after N visits?

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's personal MiG-29 fighter jet goes under the hammer


If he'd waited for a couple of updates to his Mig 29, he'd have had a better browser

Craig Thomas wrote about a (fictiona} MIG-31 called......Firefox

Fantastic Mr Fox? Not when he sh*ts on your lawn, kids' trampoline and your soul


Tech angle

Connect underslung wieght to centre of trampoline so that it is stretched to the maximum possible with release mechanism that can be either automatic (as in mousetrap type thingy) or manual (remotely) for more fiendish fun after fox has been lulled into false sense of security. Consider angling entire assembly towards a "receptive" neighbour's garden.

Bait trampoline with leftovers from summer BBQ or similar

Observe test results of launcher, repeating as necessary/possible and apply for funding for UK Space Program


With heroes like BT and Openreach, who needs villains? ISP lobbyists' awards continue to vex


"to drive infrastructure development at scale"

I used to do infrastructure development "at scale", but in my case the 1:72 was OO and appropriate to the little trains and platforms on the 6x4 layout I was running. Openreach's scale probably doesn't really merit the same excuse.

As above, so below: El Reg haunts Scaleway's data centre catacombs 26 metres under Paris

Black Helicopters

This increasing use of repurposed fallout shelters as server farms is a problem

The kit is quite heavy. Come the zombie apocalypse, it will be easy for marauding gangs of feral survivors/evil mutants to locate and beseige those shelterig therein due to the large pile of rack equipment to be found near otherwise innocuous "electricity substation" or "Metro station fire escape" doors.

Monster magnet in my pocket: Boffins' gizmo packs 45.5-tesla punch and weighs just 390g


When can I get a Gauss Pistol?

To keep the sky pirates from hijacking my flying car....

Please be aliens, please be aliens, please be aliens... Boffins discover mystery mass beneath Moon's biggest crater

Black Helicopters

Lets all calm down a bit and be sensible about this large "metal mass"

That the one bomber left stranded on the surface for the Sunday Sport to spot simply wasn't buried properly with all the rest of the post WW2 surplus.

Now you know.

I say, Eaton boys are flogging spare capacity on data centre UPS systems to keep lights on in Ireland



Allowing the power company to draw from your UPS seems to be like renting out the water from your fire extinguishers to alleviate shortages during a drought. All very lovely (I can just imagine the beancounters wanting to sign up to "maximise the return on the hardware investment") until a rare confluence of events tips you into the mire and you find your piles* are empty.

There's a reason UPS are installed, and I don't think it is because of the infalibility of the power supply networks.

*To clarify for the younger reader, an old term for a battery, not the result of management action once it all goes wrong.

EE switches on 5G: Oi, where are your Mates? Yes, we mean the Huawei phones



Is this playing a simple card game with a mythical beast, prominent in Chinese lore and sometimes used to signify that country, or poking it until it loses its temper?

Revealed: Facebook, Google's soft-money 'blackmail' to stall Euro fake news crackdown


Re: The only surprise is...

"ANY American owned corporation".

Rather a broad brush statement. I've dealt with a few small US entitiies and found them to be courteous and AFAIK honest. Perhaps size, with the attendant large sums of money at stake, is the real problem here.

Microsoft sends partners hundreds of unwanted OPI: Other People's Invoices


“You may have incorrectly received...”

No. You have incorrectly despatched.

Nest tosses £1.5bn pension admin service agreement out there for outsourcers to fight over


So, someone like Capita* will end up managing our pension funds

Oh well, better retrain for something I can do until I'm 97 then...

*Other "usual suspects" are no doubt also in the running

IT sales star wins $660k lawsuit against Oracle in Qatar – but can't collect because the Oracle he sued suddenly vanished


Re: That's MY business plan

Perhaps you might monetise the original (and much missed) Bonsai Kitten website that I read about on El Reg many many years ago. The outrage factor from those not really getting it then might be equally replicated now, perhaps even enhanced with the "help" of social media

For younger readers, have a gander around https://web.archive.org/web/20020207132327/http://www.bonsaikitten.com/bkintro.html

Easy-to-hack combat systems, years-old flaws and a massive bill – yup, that's America's F-35


Not even learning from recent IT hist

I seem to recall something, not long ago, about a car ?Chrysler/Jeep? being “taken over” remotely, possibly via the entertainment system and braking being applied (not by the driver). I’d provide the links but now if I had time, but think there was a recall affecting large numbers of cars in the US. Perhaps a copy of El Reg’s articles and useful comments appended by readers could be forwarded to those making this technological mess, and perhaps also to any sensible military or political leaders with some power of oversight.

Geiger counters are so last summer. Lasers can detect radioactive material too, y'know


To paraphrase slightly


You have the right to remain on-prem, but you should really head for the cloud, UK plod told


We probably need a new acronym for that.

Hopefully Integrated Public, Hybrid, On-premises & Private


Well, somebody's got to take the rap.

You. Shall. Not. Pass... word: Soon, you may be logging into websites using just your phone, face, fingerprint or token


The difference between something like this fob and the yale-type key that I use to open my door

as a relatively non-techie, I can be confident that there is no way that at any stage in the future the door lock is able to copy my key. No "footprint" is left.

I'm not able to be sure that in some way a little while after widespread use of such a system, a compromised terminal wouldn't be able to use some currently unforeseen attack vector to do some kind of replay/brute force attack when I authenticate for some service in a public place. After all, how can I know that it's not storing some part of the electronic signal? I recall the rather iffy practice of petrol stations swiping cards through two readers many years ago until challenged.

HPE wants British ex-CFO to testify in UK Autonomy lawsuit before Uncle Sam sentences him


Possible pressure on Hussain?

Is there any danger that by being pressed to testify prior to his own sentencing, Hussain might be induced to be more helpful to the prosecution of Lynch in return for a less onerous sentence? Lynch is presumably regarded as a bigger fish to catch by the prosecution and the US system is reputedly full of "deals". Given that Hussain intends to appeal against sentence (and perhaps also against his conviction as well) this seems unlikely but as he's rather strapped for cash, he might be in a bit of a bind.

Of course whilst this might all be denied by the authorities in question (and it is pure speculation on my part as to whether or not such a tactic could/would be used), it does rather make it difficult for them to show that they remain beyond reproach.

UK.gov plans £2,500 fines for kids flying toy drones within 3 MILES of airports


Is there a list of ATC phone numbers?

and any definition of what constitutes an airport for the purporses of this regulation?

Simply as I live about 7mi from a major airport and about 3 from a small airfield.

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?


There's a danger in this, some years I went to Tokyo for a couple of days. The drivers there were so polite that if I so much as stood near the kerb well away from a crossing, they still stopped and encouraged me to cross in safety. After a couple of days I was quite used to this so landing after that in Australia and blithley assuming this might be similar (as, sensibly, they also drive on the correct side of the road) turned into an almost lethal experience.

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


Re: Sicherheit macht frei

Hackers = Intelligence not sanctioned by YOUR state'S administration


Dixons Carphone smarting from £440m loss as it writes down goodwill on mobile biz


"Includes handing the 30,000-strong workforce £1,000 worth of shares"

Is that each, or just an insultingly small incentive per person?

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too


Could TPTB be persuaded to consider a partnership?

Lovelace and Babbage?

Swedes grumbling about Apple Store in their park are lucky – in Toronto, Google eats all your data


"where everyone is welcome in a space where the best of Apple comes together"

Will this apply to any person wearing an El Reg T-shirt and perhaps asking for a few words with a press officer?