* Posts by Simon Reed

76 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Jul 2007


US Supreme Court asked if cops can plant spy cams around homes

Simon Reed

Re: Stakeout

Ask the Stasi about manpower limits. When half the population is spying on the other half, there are no limits.

Essentially what this permits is the 1984 video screen in the home that watches you all day, looking for thoughtcrime..

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Simon Reed
Big Brother

Re: I'll give it a go...

They've always been Micro$oft to me.

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

Simon Reed
Thumb Up

Re: The higher the frequency, the greater the energy

You can upvote your own posts.

Britain has no idea how close it came to ATMs flooding the streets with free money thanks to some crap code, 1970s style

Simon Reed

Re: The question should be "Who has never made a coding mistake?"

"You really have to test, test, test. Even then someone else will find bugs in your code."

That suggests you don't know how to test.

Contrary to what someone who posted earlier said, there is no better tester than an experienced and well trained developer who understands the language, the hardware, the operating system, the compiler, memory management, data storage, timing issues and every other aspect of what actually happens inside the machine.

Once upon a time this sort of thing was taught; now I meet developers who don't know binary or hex and I despair.

Simon Reed

Re: Experienced tester.

I'm one of them buggers. And proud of it.

As a Senior Programmer my mantra was: "If I can't break it, you can ship it, and I'll buy you a beer."

It is very rare I can't find a way to break software. I bought them beers anyway.

Exploding super-prang asteroid to pepper Earth, trigger deadly ice age – no, wait, it happened 466 million years ago

Simon Reed

Re: This explains a lot...

And most of it lands on Port Talbot.

Academic showdown as boffins biff-baff over when Version 1.0 of Earth's magnetic core was released

Simon Reed

Re: Hmm ...

Not necessarily. It might be evidence planted there more recently by the Devil to try to mislead us and make us think the Holy Bible isn't an accurate record of actual events. Like when he buried all those dinosaur fossils.

No, hang on, the dinosaurs died in the Flood. So there were dinosaurs.

Now I'm confused again.

I don't know how the scientists manage to keep up with the flexibility of the Holy Word.

NASA boffins tackle Nazi alien in space – with the help of Native American tribal elders

Simon Reed

Here you go: https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/thors-hammer

And: "Swedish Government wants to ban ancient Viking symbols, claiming they “constitute incitement to hatred” " https://voiceofeurope.com/2019/05/swedish-government-wants-to-ban-ancient-viking-symbols-claiming-they-constitute-incitement-to-hatred/

Simon Reed

Because then it becomes a margoloh.

Infosec boffins pour cold water on claims Home Office Brexit app can be easily hacked

Simon Reed

You obviously never played corewars. Defensive programming where the program doesn't even trust its own code.

Happy days.

So much more fun than working.

From pen-test to penitentiary: Infosec duo cuffed after physically breaking into courthouse during IT security assessment

Simon Reed
Big Brother

I am so stealing this

"Senior management is a fucking rat's nest of scum bags. They aren't there because they're the golden bunch, they're there because they're a liability on the front line."


It took me decades to accept the truth of this reality. I wish there were some way of convincing young people entering the workplace that this is how it is.

Geo-boffins drill into dino-killing asteroid crater, discover extinction involves bad smells, chilly weather, no broadband internet...

Simon Reed

Re: Enquiring minds need to know

She's my science hero. Whenever I see her name I feel obliged to give a minute's silence.

My most recent discovery about her was what she did in the Great War, driving round trying to get the field hospitals to use this fancy gadget she had in a van that showed where the embedded shrapnel was in wounded soldiers. And, while at it, installing a telephone network in one field hospital.

Simon Reed

Re: Fahrenheit?

I still get pissed off at the use of 'grams' rather than 'grammes' and 'degrees Celcius' instead of 'Celcius'.

Simon Reed

Re: Pints

I've been arguing for decades that we ought to have metric pints.

Mark every existing pint glass with a 500ml mark and make the law say "The liquid must reach the 500ml mark".

That way you can have a decent head without getting ripped off with a 16 fl oz pint.

Simon Reed

Re: Fahrenheit?

I am too young to understand Imperial measurements.

As a child of the 1970s, I was brought up solely using metric and the SI. I have never used the Imperial system with the exception of milk, ale and, for a while, petrol.

I don't actually know what Fahrenheit temperatures mean. I know 40 is cold and 140 is hot, but that's about it.

The sooner the Imperial system dinosaurs and the 'metric martyr' wankers die off, the sooner it will suit me.

The dread sound of the squeaking caster in the humming data centre

Simon Reed

Re: Gone fishing?

On our college band printer, I thought I'd be clever and edited my source code file to make every zero be a 0, backspace, then / so the numbers came out thus:


The / is the character before the 0. Instead of the paper fair hurtling through this high speed band printer, it suddenly stopped when it got to my job, requiring a full revolution of the band for every '0'. It sounded very impressive.

B-BANG. pause. B-BANG. pause. B-BANG. pause. B-BANG. pause. B-BANG. pause. B-BANG. pause.

It even attracted the attention of the head of department from his office at the end of the corridor.

It was interesting to watch, but made it slower than a dot matrix. And made me very unpopular since we were running off our listings for handing in.

I don't have to save my work, it's in The Cloud. But Microsoft really must fix this files issue

Simon Reed

Re: This...

Ha, ha! Me too! And, on occasion, I still use it ... through WINE on my Linux machine. It is the only bit of Micro$oft software I still occasionally use.

Simon Reed

Except PowerPoint. That is hopeless at saving between versions.

Here's to beer, without which we'd never have the audacity to Google an error message at 3am

Simon Reed

Absolutely. Once Upon A Time, Google followed Boolean operators fully, and it worked well for those of us who understood how to use them. Around the same time they 'improved' by adding synonyms which clutter the results with irrelevances.

Security? We've heard of it! But why be a party pooper when there's printing to be done

Simon Reed
Big Brother

Re: The noble art of giving things a spin..

On day I waved my library card at Security at BBC Woodlands and they let me in. After that it became a challenge to see what the most ridiculous thing accepted was.

I won in the end by getting in waving a bar of Bournville as I walked past.

I couldn't possibly tell you the computer's ID over the phone, I've been on A Course™

Simon Reed

Working in an outsourced MoD secure office, someone tried to follow me in through the card-swipe back door. I refused to let him in, so he went mental. He was bigger than me and I could not physically stop him forcing his way past, so I 'escorted' him to his destination i.e. followed him explaining you cannot come in without ID. When he got to an office he walked past some staff into a second office. I said to the staff present what had happened and asked if he was legit.

They thought it was hilarious. He was the Head of Facilities Management.

Wow, did I get a totally unfair big time bollocking for that - which I refused to accept.

I was dismissed from that contract shortly after. :-/

Simon Reed

Re: He should be proud that of that guy

"However, users be aware, unless we invite you, the IT department is off limits and not to be wandered in to whenever you feel like it to raise an issue"

Oh dear. One of the Ivory Tower brigade. The up-my-own-arse sort who thinks they are more important than the people they serve.

IT is a service. You are there to help. Not make it hard and raise barriers. It is attitudes like yours that have given IT departments a bad reputation.

You know those tossers in Accounts who block things and never explain why and you can never get hold of them? You are like that.

You know those bastards in Finance who cock up your pay and you can never get hold of anyone to fix it or explain what happened? You are like that.

So, open the door of the IT department and welcome people in. If you actually communicate with your users, you'll find they have far fewer problems and thereby stop being a pain in the arse.

What would I know? 35 years experience including setting up friendly, open, service desks and turning around Ivory Tower ones into helpful ones.

Just needed to get that off my chest.

Psst. Hey. Hey you. We have to whisper this in case the cool kidz hear, but... it's OK to pull your data back from the cloud

Simon Reed

Re: Mission-critical should not be in the cloud...

But she's not a tech specialist.

When you set up a small business and you get sold this Shiny New Thing and are assured it is The Only Way To Go, you have to trust what you are being told. If GoogleDocs and DropBox and tethering are what it takes to make your mobile business work, you'll do it.

So she knows she is tied in to a cloud solution, but has not got the time, money, experience, knowledge or staff to fix it. It's just another unmanageable risk, like assuming your Northern Rock Bank won't go bust, your Eagle Star endowment won't go down in value or your pension fund won't get robbed.

Simon Reed

How to fuck up a project, number 732:

> Maybe those companies would have been better getting rid of their "specialist IT staff" at the start of the project...

And I've seen that done a few times. "We'll pay for the project by doing the redundancies first."

Simon Reed

Re: ... remember that cloud is neither inevitable or irreversible.

Is it only £1,000 per day now? Wow, the bottom as fall right out of that market.

Simon Reed

Re: Yep.

Back in the 1980s our Senior Lecturer said there are decade-long cycles in the Data Processing industry to keep the computer company sales force in work. A key one is the centralisation / decentralisation flip-flop. He predicted that would continue throughout our careers.

You are proving him right, by decentralising from the cloud.

He was a very clever man, that Mr Milner.

Simon Reed

Re: Read it here sometime ago:

That's not how blame works in the public sector.

"It's not my fault that personal private data is now public / lost. I outsourced all the NHS data / HMRC data / Social Services data to UKCloud in according with the government Cloud First policy."

is just as effective as:

"It's not my fault the service is shite. I outsourced it to Crapita."

Google turns on free public NTP servers that SMEAR TIME

Simon Reed

The time model is broken

The problem is we are using an artificial time constant, the second, to measure a variable time activity, the Earth year.

Just go back to the old system of defining a second based on a fraction of a year. Then all that needs to be done is agree annually the length of the second that will be used next year to keep us on track.

It's that old computing problem of using a data index pointer as a real world definer.

Pharma-testing biz Eurofins Scientific says it fell victim to 'new version' of malware

Simon Reed

Basic security

Why do these tossers never have backups and a disaster recovery strategy?

This outfit is a major part of providing forensic evidence for the courts. Do government procurement wonks not check out the competence of their suppliers?

Aussies, Yanks may think they're big drinkers – but Brits easily booze them under the table

Simon Reed

Re: Taxes are the snake oil of the lefites

"I soon learned the best way was to take a fixed sum of money, say £50…"

Oh, those were the days.

(a) Being about to go out on the lash for a night for just £50

(b) Having £50 spare to go out on the lash


Idiot admits destroying scores of college PCs using USB Killer gizmo, filming himself doing it

Simon Reed


GO TO Zack.

Simon Reed


Or red jam. Dozy user used a 5¼" disk as a plate for her jam doughnut. Jam plopped out, she carefully turned the disk so the jam was hidden in the sleeve.

Funnily enough, the drive would not work after she tried using the disk.

There are pictures all over the internet of a big dark spot on Uranu... Oh no, wait, it's Neptune

Simon Reed

Re: Units

Actually, after Googling for the size of a baseball park (325 to 400 feet), they probably said "We estimate wind speeds are a ballpark per second".

Simon Reed

Re: Units

And did they mean gas meters or water meters?

New Horizons probe reveals Ultima Thule is huge, spinning... chicken drumstick?

Simon Reed

I hope the rock hermit wasn't disturbed

Good job they didn't direct a laser at the rock - some of those elite rock hermits come out firing.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

Simon Reed

Re: Wow, blundering around like freshly castrated cattle.

No, a fair bit of Gatwick airport is surrounded by airfield assets, aircraft and vehicles. Bullets dropping out of the sky at terminal velocity will not do aircraft any good.

Heard the one where the boss calls in an Oracle consultant who couldn't fix the database?

Simon Reed

One of the call loggers on the Helpdesk said "The call reference number has got a dash in front of it". Another pointed out "And it is going down".

"What are we up to?" I asked. One said "It is -32766 now".

I called over the annoying boy who had written the bespoke Helpdesk system. (He had recently completed his IT degree and wrote the system during his work placement year.) "Change the call reference number to unsigned, and, when you get the chance, make it a longint in the database and the code". He looked at me with his mouth open.

They all thought I'd done magic + was psychic + must have seen the code.

I had never seen the code and did not know what language it was written in. But I knew the call reference numbers were in the range 32000s and wondered if something interesting might happen.

That annoying child with his IT degree wrote horrifically slow and inefficient code. But hey, that doesn't matter these days, does it? Just keep putting in faster processors, more RAM and bigger disks...

... to do what we did in 32K at under 2MHz.

Staff sacked after security sees 'suspect surfer' script of shame

Simon Reed

Re: of course, unless they are executives high enough who just leave 'to follow new opportunities'

A similar thing happened at a local authority I worked at some years ago. The councillors voted that they should get access to council systems from home courtesy of the council. So they got PCs and access to the council systems via the council networks. When they did web surfing on these council-provided desktops, it went through the council web cache so it was all logged just like the staff internet access.

When it was pointed out by someone in IT they were spending huge amounts of time surfing for porn, the councillors decided their internet access should be private and not monitored by the staff. So they had their free internet access changed to stand-alone laptops and free broadband at home. Meaning their porn browsing was still paid for by the council but now unmonitored.

Democracy, eh?

Techie basks in praise for restoring workforce email (by stopping his scripting sh!tshow)

Simon Reed

Re: Recursion is difficult

The version I heard, and have often repeated, goes:

"It was a wild and stormy night, and the Captain said to the First Mate,"Jack, tell us a story". And the First Mate began.

"It was a wild and stormy night, and the Captain said to the First Mate,"Jack, tell us a story". And the First Mate began.

"It was a wild and stormy night

And so on ad duffyouupeum.

Plusnet could face DATA BREACH probe over SPAM HELL gripes

Simon Reed
Thumb Down

Re: none for me...

I have never used the email address I gave PlusNet for anything. I had no PlusNet forum account until I felt I needed to comment in that thread about also receiving the spam.

The ONLY place I ever used that email address was to provide it as the billing address.

Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Simon Reed
Paris Hilton

Mmmm. Linux.

The "Classic Theme Restorer" did a reasonable job, but here in LinuxLand, this did even better:

Synaptic Package Manager.

Select "Installed".

Search for Firefox.

For each item that says Installed Version is 29.xxxxx, click on it and choose Package (that's in the menu bar, remember menu bars? They're the things FF29 doesn't have) and Force Version. Choose an older one (FF24 in my case). Repeat for each item at 29.xxxxx

Then click on Apply. Wait for the downgrade (snigger) to finish.

Then for each of the changed packages, click on it, then Package, Lock Version.

Voilà! FireFox looking like FireFox and updates won't update it.

And on the missus's PC, I managed to lock it at FF28.

I'm sure that's only a temporary fix (the next major Linux version upgrade might be a problem). But maybe by then, there'll be a fork of FireFox that isn't FireFuxedUp.

Paris, because I want a browser that hasn't been shagged beyond all recognition, and where the appearance has had a lot of time spent on it, but it still ain't pretty.

Simon Reed

Re: Nearly

Mozilla, you bastards. You've fucked my browser.

Chris, thank you.

Reg Hardware Awards 2011 Winners

Simon Reed

Elite - Olite link

And for those of us old enough to remember Elite and want to reminisce, as already mentioned Oolite is the way to go. Link: http://www.oolite.org/

(Hmm. Pirate icon or alien icon?)

Guy Kewney dies at 63

Simon Reed

I'll buy him that beer in heaven.

I have been waiting for the chance to tell that bloke how much I admire him for decades.

He'll just have to wait a bit longer for the beer.

BOFH: Xmas party: Get a wriggle on

Simon Reed

Re: RE: TV Series

I DISagree, this must NOT be televised, the nation MUST remain ignorant of the BOFH!!!

You see, there are still one or two tricks regarding patch panels, transformers and toggle switches I have not completely explored...

China celebrates first lunar pictures

Simon Reed
Black Helicopters

Said it before, I'll say it again

The Merkins have outsourced astronautics to China, just like everything else.

The purpose of this mission is to do the surveying to work out ...

... where best to place a USA flag and Lunar Lander remnant to match where the moon landings were alleged to happen.

They're intending to write past history by placing the evidence to prove it happened, that's what.

MS Explorer foundering after UFO strike

Simon Reed
Paris Hilton

And the others...

Besides Seaman Stains, don't forget Master Bates and Roger the Cabin Boy!

(NB: No ladies on board, so Paris Hilton will do as an figurehead)

Tesco slaps cutlery ban on under-18s

Simon Reed
Paris Hilton

Spunking it again

There it is AGAIN: "... making off with their pensions and spunking the lot on alcopops and gangsta ringtones."

What is this 'spunking' verb El Reg keeps using? Who on Earth tosses themselves off with a table fork? Is the implication here that adolescents can't be trusted with a steak knife for fear of self-abuse of the joy-gloy-making variety?

I'd just managed to forget yesterday's spunk reference with regard to burgers and was thinking I was safe with cutlery but no - it gets everywhere.


Don't give booze to elephants, sobs Paris Hilton

Simon Reed

@Steven Foster

By Steven Foster: "I never knew Paris was so deep and thoughtful. This has totally changed my opinions about her."

I think you've had enough, Steven. Finish that glass then go back to work.

Woolworths flogs Disney Princess chair for £100m

Simon Reed
Paris Hilton

Dasani definition

@Peter Hewitt, thank you for the dasani reference. So off I go to Google to look that up.

Now I have tea over my keyboard too.

Still, it's nice to have Coca Cola confirm there really is baby-maker gravy in all their products, not just the burgers.


So, that's the Paris Hilton angle sorted.