* Posts by dcluley

56 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Feb 2013


Here's a great idea: Why don't we hardcode the same private key into all our smart home hubs?


Years ago when I used to teach networking, Cisco routers would not allow a remote password to be installed other than by a direct wired connection to the router. Do they not do this now?

UK Home Sec kick-starts US request to extradite ex-WikiLeaker Assange


Re: While he is a twat

I hope they do not extradite him to the states. I remember the days when the US courts resolutely refused to extradite IRA fugitives to the UK. I think we should operate the same policy.

I have no problems if he is extradited to Sweden. Very different circumstances.

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere


Re: I've seen a definite uptick in these

Yes - I have had a number of these claiming they have my webcam pictures. Minor problem is that I do not have a webcam.

On a separate point of invalid email addresses I remember when I was still working as a lecturer in a FE college trying to get on a news list from a website which needed my email address to complete the form. It complained that my email address was invalid. My email address was david.cluley@<college>.ac.uk - a perfectly valid address which had no trouble receiving emails. The web site in question? IBM. You would think that they might have got some idea about how the email system works.

Big contenders in the broadband chart this week, but who will be #1? Well, not Britain


"It's ridiculous that so many people still don't understand this, especially on a technical site like this one."

What is ridiculous is that they have been allowed to get away with it for so long. If your electricity supply were provided on the same basis you might only get an actual supply of 50V instead of the advertised and required 240V


It is worse than that. The Government declare that 95% of the population has access to speeds of 24Mb/s or more. My connection is advertised as 'up to 24Mb/s' but I never get more than 9.5Mb/s. When I enquired of my ISP whether a FTTC connection would be better I was told that the losses on the copper connection from cabinet to premises might actually result in a lower speed. Even if I wanted a FTTP connection the supply to here in West Sussex is a maximum of 40Mb/s.

My son in Kidderminster who lives opposite a cabinet gets 77.5Mb/s out of a possible 80Mb/s. So basically the published figures are pie n the sky and totally unreliable as a means of comparison.

Select few to watch World Cup in 4K high dynamic range colour on BBC iPlayer


"Up to" again

"Ofcom has said 13.9 million premises have access to speeds of up to 100Mbps..."

My maximum download rate here is 9.5Mbps; I suppose that counts as "up to 100Mbps"

Guy Glitchy: Villagers torch Openreach effigy


Re: Lies, damn lies and BT excuses

"If you have ever seen BT engineers at work (now THERE'S a tautology) "

DId you possibly mean oxymoron...?

Didn't install a safety-critical driverless car patch? Bye, insurance!


"I just don't have faith in this. Call me cynical but both car manufacturers and software vendors have previous in this. God help us when its both combined."

That reminds me of a comment someone made to me many years ago along the lines of how accountants were rogues and lawyers were rogues so therefore insurance companies were chief rogues because they employed both accountants and lawyers and still made a profit.

British broadband is confusing and speeds are crap, says survey


I have never understood how they were allowed to get away with this "up to" nonsense. Imagine if the electricity board were allowed to supply you with "up to 240 volts" when in reality only supplying a degraded supply at 120V. Yes - I know it might cost more but I would rather get what I can pay for than pay for something I don't get.

British snoops at GCHQ knew FBI was going to arrest Marcus Hutchins


Of course it was different when we wanted to extradite IRA terrorists from the USA. Somehow their courts always found something wrong with the paperwork.

MPs suggest introducing web blocking to tackle suicide rates in UK


Suicide is sometimes rational

Yet again the assumption behind the article, and the proposal it is reporting, fails to acknowledge that there are occasions when suicide, or assisted death, might be a genuine rational choice.

Let me start by saying that I do not in any way want to minimise the problem addressed. Some people have problems that seem out of proportion to them and need help. The reductions in finance and support of organisations that are there to help seems to me to be a cruel rejection of the caring society that most of us hope that we live in.

However, there are other aspects. The examples most often put forward usually involve people with a terminal condition whose circumstances such as extreme pain or total lack of mobility and who would like the opportunity to be able to decide they have had enough and know that their decision will be acted upon. The palaver and costs and potential liabilities involved in a trip to Dignitas should not be necessary and in any case that option is not open to all. Attempts have been made to make provision for people with a terminal date expected within 12 months and even this has been rejected by MPs.

For me even these proposals do not go far enough. We have all seen horrifying examples of people in care homes with extreme dementia, totally unable to even recognise their relatives, force fed and abused. I for one do not want to get to that state. I am happy enough now in my 70s whilst I can still walk up the village, do my shopping, cook for myself and keep the house reasonably clean. When it gets to the stage where I can no longer look after myself then I want to be able to end it easily and effectively. I totally accept that such decisions should be made whilst one is still rational; but therein lies a snag. Waiting until I am within the 12 months terminal category might be leaving it too late. I want to be able to make the decision now whilst totally compos mentis.

Those opposed to assisted dying are wanting to tell others what to do (or not do). I, on the other hand, am not wanting the right to tell others what to do; I am merely asking for the right to make a decision for myself. It is in the nature of the problem that implementing that decision might be down to someone else; but it should not be beyond us to come up with appropriate safeguards to avoid unfair pressure on vulnerable individuals.

So, to summarise, yes - there are many situations where suicide is perhaps not the right option; but there should be allowances for sane individuals to make a choice about their own continuing existence.

Job ad asks for 'detrimental' sysadmin


Re: It just doesn't mattress - unfortunately

I did wonder about the concept of being unfortunately retired.

152k cameras in 990Gbps record-breaking dual DDoS


Smart meters

I am waiting to hear about the first co-ordinated hacking of smart meters. Perhaps then the power companies will admit that it is maybe not such a good idea.

You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack


It won;t help

The suggested advantages of a smart meter for domestic consumers are illusory. All the programs on TV I have ever seen about our energy supplies focus on peak demand. In the case of electricity the programs always show the controller with her hand on the switch to turn on the pumped storage facility it Dinorwic to cope with the surge created by switching kettles on at the end of a popular TV program. No amount of smart meters is going to cure that problem. More generally domestic demand is going to peak at specific times. People will still want breakfast before going to school or work; and a meal when they return home. Compared to these peaks I suspect that staggering the times of the odd washing machine is going to be insignificant.

I can accept that there is a case in the industrial sector where hard-headed managers might be persuaded to schedule machine/work times to cheaper rate periods but I cannot believe that the cost of installing smart meters in domestic cases will ever pay for itself unless there is a hidden plan to introduce swingeing tariffs for peak usage times.

I worry too about the possibility of hacking the meter wireless traffic; the downsides of the whole idea seem to outweigh the possible benefits by several degrees of magnitude.

£11bn later: Smart meters project delayed again for Crapita tests


Industrial Users Only

I can see some sense in having smart meters for industrial and commercial users who can sensibly organise their workloads. It seems nonsense to install smart meters for domestic consumers. Every report I have seen on electricity generating peaks mentions the classic cases of kettle being switched on at strategic times such as advert breaks or the end of a Cup Final or Coronation Street or whatever. No amount of smart meters is going to help with that.

UK local govt body blasts misleading broadband speed ads


Upper and lower limits

I can accept that rates will vary according to length of connection and local conditions; but the same applies to (eg) electricity supply. Is not the answer to insist on an advertised range in the same way that grid voltages have to be within specified limits?

So instead of line rates being advertised as 'up to 24Mb/s' they should be advertised as (say) 'between 18 and 24 Mb/s' or 'between 0.5 and 2Mb/s' or whatever is demonstrably provable.

Ad blockers responsible for rise in upfront TV ad sales, claims report


Re: Easy way to avoid TV ads

Apart from the news I only ever watch stuff I have recorded so skipping the ads is easy.

Fat fibre taxes strangling us – UK broadband providers


Re: Difficult to compare BT and VM

"more akin to the high st. than out-of-town ..."

I don't have much time for BT but I would want to quibble with your statement slightly. BT probably has more rural stuff miles from anywhere with ridiculously low data rates that could do with upgrading than other providers like VM. If only they could be persuaded to do the upgrade......

NOTHING trumps extra pizza on IT projects. Not even more people


Re: In my line of business, which isn't software dev

"Of course I could train them in a quiet period, but by the time they were needed, they'd have forgotten how to do it."

Reminds me of the time when a County Council bought a magnificent new expensive snow-clearing machine after a winter where it would have been useful. By the next time it was needed the employee trained to drive it had left....

Most of the world still dependent on cash



Just one example of the difficulties of a totally cash free society. There is currently a surge towards card payment of (eg) train fares. OK for London with fixed fares and zones; but if they tried to make it national is thee not a danger that using a card (or equivalent) will get one charged an expensive fare rather than the cheapest. They could rationalise the current fare structure but somehow I doubt it.

RBS and Natwest online banking goes titsup


Re: No problems for me

None for me either. As it happens I had to login to my NatWest Account on three separate occasions this morning. Each with no problem.

UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim


Re: The paranoia!

"Yet no-one seems to care..."

I certainly care. I have stopped using storecards etc; I pay for most ordinary stuff by cash or use my bank card. I try to leave as small a footprint as possible without withdrawing completely from soociety.


Re: The paranoia!

If it were just a question of making meter reading more efficient then installing smart meters that were interrogated every 3 months (or even every month at a pinch) would be all that was needed. The fact that they want to monitor usage at levels down to every 30 minutes suggests there is more going on here.


Remote control

I have had a long correspondence with Southern Electric about this matter. It started in October 2014 when I got a standard circular type letter telling me my electric meter was an old one and needed replacing and they wanted my permission to install a smart meter (leaflet enclosed with all the advantages). Please would I telephone for an appointment. There would be a few necessary questions but the phone call should take no longer than 20 minutes. I wrote back saying that if it was going to take that long then please could I have the questions in writing.

Several letters back and forth with an underling who resolutely refused to put the questions in writing saying that the reason was the Data Protection Act. Why is it that these people think that waving the words 'Data Protection Act' about absolve them from answering proper questions? I pointed out that I was familiar with the Act and asked them to quote me the section they were relying on to refuse to put the questions in writing. Needless to say I didn't get a sensible answer to that question.

I finally got to correspond with someone at senior management level I eventually got him to concede that all their suggested benefits did not apply to me. I can read a meter; I know what devices use a lot of electricity; I keep a spreadsheet of my meter readings and associated bill and hence monitor costs. I listed the downside points: that instant cut-off (even by mistake) would be possible whereas the current system involved procedures that meant a mistake was unlikely. I pointed out that there still wasn't a British Standard for Smart Meters so even if they installed one they might have to replace it with an approved on later. One of their stated purposes was to reduce demand peaks. I pointed out that smart-metering domestic supply would not solve the problem. Peak demand for domestic consumers occurs at specific forecastable times like cup final final whistle; advert breaks in TV soaps when everyone switches a kettle on etc and that no amount of smart metering was going to stop that. I did concede that if they had smart meters for industrial users with large bills that might make a difference.

The senior manager eventually agreed that he accepted my decision not to give permission for a smart meter to be installed. I asked him whether he still wanted to replace the meter and would they put in an old type one. He said yes they would do that; but I am still waiting for them to do it.

What they really want to do is enable differential charge rates according to instantaneous demand at any time of the day; if only they were honest enough to say so.....

Three-years-late fit-to-work IT tool will cost taxpayers £76m


Re: A coincidence of course

Count me in on that one

Let's shut down the internet: Republicans vacate their mind bowels


Robert Heinlen wrote a science fiction story about this. My memory might be a bit astray but I think it involved choosing one person a year to act as the decision maker for the year.

Part of the world's IT brought down by Azure Active Directory issue


In-house solution

This seems a good argument for not relying on outside storage and for producing in-house solutions.

Why are only moneymen doing cyber resilience testing?


Re: Hey !!! I have a great Idea@dcluley

Yes - I was using a bit of shorthand when I referred to a British Standard. Sorry - I should have checked to get the right one; but the principle is still the same. Either way the concept is flawed. They say it is designed to cut down on usage to save generating capacity. But the times of peak demand coincide with family meal times and program breaks in TV programs and no amount of smart meter installation in domestic premises is going to make any difference to that. There is a case for smart meters for industrial/business users who can be more flexible.

Other problems are the reliance on wireless communication for meter reading which I suspect is highly susceptible to hacking and that is a whole unwanted dish of works.


Re: Hey !!! I have a great Idea

I had a long correspondence with my local electricity board last year when they wanted to put in a smart meter. I think I shot down every single reason they put up for installing it; but I suspect the killer was that at the time the British Standard for these things had not yet been agreed. They admitted that there was a possibility that the then current design might not comply with the standard when it was eventually agreed. Since then I haven't checked to see whether one has yet been agreed.

Fifth arrest in TalkTalk hacking probe: Now Plod cuff chap in Wales


Re: @dcluley Only half the problem

Missed point error. I know they can only establish the age of the hackers after catching them. However, having caught them they ought to consider whether enough effort was put into making the data safe enough in the first place.


Only half the problem

Great effort seems to be taken to incarcerate teenage hackers. I wish a bit more effort was put in to incarcerating TalkTalk bosses who allowed such easily bypassed security.

Openreach boss quits BT in midst of split uncertainty


My daughter in Derbyshire only gets a quarter of a megabyte per sec on her landline. BT actually refused to install ADSL and she had to go to Sky who agreed to do it.

Yes - ultrafast it is not.

Open data not a replacement for FOI - Shadow digital minister


Changing sides

I remember that, prior to the 1997 election of the Labour Government, Jack Straw was a frequent and very vocal advocate of the need for a Freedom of Information Act. When he was made Home Secretary in that year I fully expected a quick bit of legislation to put the need for information from Government into effect. His immediate conversion to the side opposing FoI was one of the things amongst many that convinced me that politicians were not to be trusted.

We suck? No, James Dyson. It is you who suck – Bosch and Siemens


Digital motors?

One of the latest Dyson adverts on TV has him saying his are the best because the motor is digital. This is a concept I do not understand. Could someone please explain to me what a digital motor is?

Further confusion at TalkTalk claims it was hit by 'sequential attack'


Report or reporter?

I haven't seen the original FT report on which that item is based because it appears to be behind a pay wall. But I assume it is also possible that this was a reporter's mis-transcription.

TalkTalk plays 'no legal obligation' card on encryption – fails to think of the children (read: its customers)


The answer to the fine problem is to make it a small fine per day of non-compliance. The cumulative effect then makes it economic to install the solution whilst not overly penalising a company that puts it right as soon as it discovers the problem.

Pitchforks, torches, and awful quotes – we read what Cisco's CEO said


That way lies madness. In a similar parallel situation my late wife used to wonder why her GP looked at her a bit strangely when answering the question of how much alcohol she drank. Only later did she find out that GPs automatically assume that people halve the amount before answering that question and therefore they double it when hearing the answer.

Similarly setting unrealistic targets can result in people fiddling the figures until the whole thing collapses and eventually proper changes have to be made. The current hoo-hah about diesel engines is as good a current example as any. Banks selling useless insurance is another example. Eventually it all gets found out and the short term gains are overwhelmed by the long term losses.

What is money? A rabid free marketeer puts his foot in lots of notes


Re: Smoke and Mirrors

"Now, if you don't even know what money is, then GDP is unlikely to be your forte either."

Well certain it is that economists can't actually agree on it either; otherwise they wouldn't need so many different measures for it.


Re: Smoke and Mirrors

"So, in scenario 1) GDP is final sales minus imports, £10k, in scenario 2) GDP is final sales minus imports: £10k."

No - if your arithmetic method is right the only available figure for scenario 1 was £100k which, by your reckoning must be the GDP figure. And did you not understand what the G in GDP stands for. Gross product not Net


Smoke and Mirrors

Economics is one of those fairyland concepts that is so flexible you can make it whatever you want. It can't even measure anything sensibly. Take this example affecting GNP.

A company importing meat from Argentina and packaging it and selling it as pet food. Assume for the sake of this example that its turnover was £100 000pa. Entrepreneur buys the company (call it A); forms a new company (B). Now A does the import and sells the raw import to B for £90 000pa and B packages the goods and sells for £100 000pa as before. Result: the same physical activity now split between two companies had raised the share of GNP from £100 000 to £190 000. I.e. it has almost doubled it using smoke and mirrors.

IT supplier? Got a customer who won't pay? Dob them in to the Insolvency Service


Re: Babcock

"And as a punishment beating to teach us a lesson, we got dumped from doing any more supplying."

Did you really want to continue supplying a company that doesn't pay?

Bezos battery-box bomb beef brouhaha begins as UK watchdog hauls Amazon to court


Re: Not being able to ship electonic devices conitaining batteries is a joke in 2015.

Why is it nuts to ship them via ...errr... ship? If the documentary I was watching the other day got its figures right the item shipping cost of moving goods from China to here are less than the costs of delivering to me from the local shop. And batteries are not exactly urgent perishable items with a short sell-by date.

Ofcom issues stern warning over fake caller number ID scam


Re: RBS simply use Unknown number

I get round that one. Most calls of that sort I receive are on my land line so I phone them back on my mobile.

Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate


Stochastic is not deterministic. Stochastic phenomena can be analysed statistically eg we can say with absolute certainty that exactly half of a lump of radioactive material will decay in a certain time; we can never determine which atoms will be the ones to decay in that time.

Jail incompetent council folk who leak our data, thunders furious BBW


Re: Who's responsible?

Do not all companies have to have a designated person responsible for Data Protection?

WHY did NASA probe go suddenly SILENT - JUST as it was about to send pics of remote ice-world?


Re: Flyby is fixed

14 July on a Friday? Which year is this?

'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'


Re: I feel your pain (quite literally) (LaeMing)

The trouble with backs is that spines were designed as beams for four-footed animals. Walking upright we have turned them into columns and the stresses are completely different. Hence the backaches and other problems.

Why OH WHY did Blighty privatise EVERYTHING?


More balance please

Whilst a lot of what was in the article is true; so, also is much that was left out. Conveniently missing were mentions of all the cases where companies were nationalised because the private sector failed. Too many times have the private sector relied on being bailed out by the public sector and then clamoured to have their assets back when the public has paid for them to be revitalised. Train companies after the War nationalised as British Railways. Turned into a reasonable shape by the public sector which would have been even better if politicians hadn't meddled so much with it. Starved of investment so that the case was made for privatisation since when public money has been poured into the industry at a much greater rate than was allowed when it was a nationalised industry and only so that the private investors benefit - not the public.

Negligent banks bailed out and sorted out then returned to the private sector. I could go on.

The other point that needs to be made is that profit, per se, is not a reliable guide. The main objective of commerce should be to provide required goods and services and thereby make a profit. If the main objective is making a profit this leads to oversupply of unnecessary items. The fashion industry is a good example of this. Why oh why do I need a new jumper this year that is (say) blue merely because last year's is green and no longer in fashion. Madness.

Online gov services are mostly time-wasting duplicates, says EU


Re: @Kubla Cant

When I was teaching computing at an FE College I had occasion to try to send an email to IBM via their web site. It rejected my email on the grounds that my college email address was not a valid email address.

What time do you call this, BT? Late, state-funded broadband rollout plods on


Speed - what speed

I do wish we could stop all the references to potential speeds - fibre or no fibre. I am on an ADSL2 line with a claimed maximum of 24Mb/s and, if I do it at a favourable time, a speed test gives me 17Mb/s. However reality is that most times during the day I struggle to get 1Mb/s; video streaming is often so blighted with pauses I give up in disgust.

Yes - fibre connections promise greater upper limits; but when the number of subscribers increases will the real rate of transfer deteriorate be much lower an no longer value for money?