* Posts by knottedhandkerchief

54 posts • joined 6 Aug 2013


Good news: Jeff Bezos went to space. Bad news: He's back



Anyone else notice the resemblance to the space craft in Flesh Gordon?

Ah, I see you found my PowerShell script called 'SiteReview' – that does not mean what you think it means


Casting couch?

Where's the boss? Ah right, thorough deep-dive audit. On the boardroom table. Gotcha


With a header like that

We knew what was coming, so the build up and climax were made impotent.

Don't cross the team tasked with policing the surfing habits of California's teens


Re: Free school meals

They wouldn't get into my daughter's school/sixth form/college without their Id pass around their neck, so forgetting it is not an option... straight back home. East end of London, may vary elsewhere.

To have one floppy failure is unlucky. To have 20 implies evil magic or a very silly user


Square disks

Back in the late 70s, my CS teacher told the class there was a square of magnetic material in the 8" floppy disk he held up.

Had a quiet word with him outside, advised him to open up an old disk.

Don't be a fool, cover your tool: How IBM's mighty XT keyboard was felled by toxic atmosphere of the '80s


Re: I miss IBM keyboards

My Cherry "click" (MX3000) is routed through two adaptors - DIN to XT/AT and then to USB.

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy a beer: Beware the downloaded patch applied in haste


Remember the NHS borkage five years ago when an email went out to 840,000 colleagues followed by inevitable reply-alls?


You would expect a qualified electrician to wire a building to spec, right? Trust... but verify


Disco Beer

When at uni, I was put in charge of the students' union entertainment equipment, and used to drag out the disco equipment (it was the 70s) for impromptu evenings in the bar. Revolting students used to be the thing in the 70s (they are much tamer now they have to pay fees, it seems) and throwing beer in the over dancers (and the equipment) wasn't infrequent.

I'd built a mains checker from Practical Electronics mag - basically neon lights and resistors squeezed into a three pin plug (it would probably throw an RCD now) - tried it on the mains extension lead presumably created by a predecessor - the lights didn't look good, so opened it up to find the extension lead was simply a hefty two core, no earth lead!

Changed that promptly, and taught me not to trust stuff provided with.

There are two sides to every story, two ends to every cable


Re: IT Guru

My "Dad's Joke" (not IT related) is on the Victoria Line, which usual stops for 30 seconds before the terminating station (perhaps waiting for confirmation/switching of which of the two platforms it could terminate at). Train stops in tunnel, cue get up, and start pushing the stanchion in the middle of the aisle. By time kids have agreed to push, the train moves off - it worked!


Re: Idiot Boasting Mob

When I lived in Pompey, it was known as the Institute of Broken Marriages.

For every disastrous rebrand, there is an IT person trying to steer away from the precipice


Re: It's happening right now, actually....

And if it succeeds it will become the new normal.

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?


Re: Over sensitive company intranet

Try discussing the difference between slow-blows and fast-blows (fuses).

When even a power-cycle fandango cannot save your Windows desktop


Re: Not quite the same

The real problem would occur when slid from 240V to 110V...

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over


Re: Performance Upgrade

At school in the 70's a classmate had an early TI scientific calculator.

He had a basic model of course. Opening it up, he noticed there were unused pads on the PCB, the only difference between the basic model and a higher model was the buttons provided. Cue the addition of little button switches to unlock the missing features...

Watching you, with a Vue to a Kill: Wikimedia developers dismiss React for JavaScript makeover despite complaints


Re: Wikimedia uses JavaScript?

No, Vue is ideal as a replacement for jQuery, for enhancing small forms and widgets with AJAX like behaviour. It can very easily be applied to small sections of plain HTML.

Firefox 74 slams Facebook in solitary confinement: Browser add-on stops social network stalking users across the web


Re: Google is the lesser evil

Always thought "Don't be Evil" was a reference to Google's (then) competitor, Microsoft, the "Evil Empire"... - i.e. a nudge to Google employees not to do the same as Microsoft would.

A user's magnetic charm makes for a special call-out for our hapless hero


Re: Floppy drives

Back in the late 70s I had to gently inform our computer science lecturer (at uni, for a non-IT science course) that it would be a good idea to open up an old (8") floppy disc. He had just told the lecture theatre that the magnetic media was square...

Father of Unix Ken Thompson checkmated: Old eight-char password is finally cracked


How did they know when it was cracked?

Hey, I wrote this neat little program for you guys called the IMAC User Notification Tool


Re: College lab

And their kit had knobs on.

(Wheatstone bridges etc)

The time a Commodore CDTV disc proved its worth as something other than a coaster


What's that fly?

Bought my mother (82) a Chromebook this year so she could receive emails and view family photos. She's never used a keyboard or mouse before, let alone a computer of any description.

So, showing her the basics, moving the mouse - she asked "what's that fly on the screen" - it was the mouse cursor.

Fortunately I'd got her a touchscreen Chromebook. She found that much easier to use than the touchpad. I have to phone her to let her know when I've sent an email (with a link to photos on Google Photos) so she can start the Chromebook (just lift the lid), click on the email tab I'd left open and view photos.

Yet to find any Chromebook guides at a suitable level.

Biz tells ransomware victims it can decrypt their files... by secretly paying off the crooks and banking a fat margin


Reminds me of fake data recovery services

Rather similar, except that you've encrypted/corrupted the data yourself ;-)


They then charge you the earth for making things worse.

Maybe related people, moved on?

Have I Been S0ld? Troy Hunt's security website is up for acquisition



There's also password-less login, where an email is sent to the registered address. Similar to a password reset (same security level, i.e. not much) but the resulting link is a one-time login, short term. I've used it for a low security required site where there was about 50% password resets, this went to zero. Example for WordPress: https://www.cozmoslabs.com/add-ons/passwordless-login/

Boffins put the FUN into fungus by rigging yeast to squirt out the active ingredients in cannabis


"My understanding is that once a virus mutates to become more virulent, it also becomes less contagious." - evolution doesn't care about the effects, it's unthinking. Something could mutate to kill 100% of its target, thereby killing itself, and not "care".

A highly virulent virus (as in the case of HIV) can become less virulent over time, as by killing fewer of its targets it succeeds in spreading further (not necessarily by being more contagious, just by the host living for longer, so has more chance of spreading the disease).

'Cuddly' German chat app slacking on hashing given a good whacking under GDPR: €20k fine


Re: Wouldn't know about MS, but banks...

HSBC, FirstDirect and Charles Stanley do similar. I notice a pattern - only about six or so combinations are requested, so I guess they hash all those combinations.

How an augmented reality tourist guide tried to break my balls


Re: You're too old, Mr. Dabbs...

And of course all of them are 7" tall like their avatar in games.

Seven inches tall? Or are they referring to the one-eyed monster?

Chromebooks gain faff-free access to Windows file shares via Samba


Re: I don't know why...

Google engineers (as they call devs there) used Goobuntu from 2012 to earlier this year. It's recently been replaced with gLinux, based more directly on Debian.


OMG! Battle looms over WTF! trademarks



"A trademark is registered for specific use(s) as defined in the application and includes such things as colours, graphics and typeface as part of the definition."

Recently I made a trademark application, and was granted it. I used a made up word only - without specifying any colours, graphics or typeface. That means for the specified uses, the word is trademarked regardless of appearance. So the above should read: "A trademark is registered for specific use(s) as defined in the application and may include such things as colours, graphics and typeface as part of the definition."

Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker


> Took me AGES to find a baseball cap without a logo


MSDN unleashes a fresh round of unintentional innuendo bingo


Used to use an old Wheatstone Bridge, it had many knobs to twiddle with - and a brass plate on the front proudly proclaimed the provenance to be none other than Wayne Kerr.

Want to know what an organisation is really like? Visit the restroom


ditto restaurants

Checking restaurant loos also tells you a lot about a restaurant's hygiene. If they can't be bothered to keep loos hygienic, what about less visible places such as stores and kitchens?

ASA tells Poundland and its teabagging elf: Enough with the smutty social ninja sh*t


Re: My idea of a perfect date

Sweet, brown and very sticky.

ATM fees shake-up may push Britain towards cashless society


Re: Link ATM?

There's a reason for the prompting of checking your bank balance. "Free" cash machines at places other than banks (i.e. Link) get a small kickback from the balance checks (as well as from providing the cash). That's what pays for its existence.

There's a way to dodge Fasthosts' up-to-160% domain renewal hike but you're not gonna like it


Moved all from fasthosts to lcn.com (mostly .co.uk) - very smooth and easy, and very nice user interface, bodes well. Chat was answered immediately. Free transfer of .co.uk and kept the remaining term, and exactly half the price of fasthosts after their rise, and discount price breaks. Shame about the lack of free privacy, though for individuals, not needed for .co.uk

'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem


Re: Windows 98

We had a computer science module on my uni course, and I politely suggested he open an 8" floppy disk himself to see. He had just told us it contained a square of magnetic film. That was late 70s. Feeling old?

'Crazy bad' bug in Microsoft's Windows malware scanner can be used to install malware


"Windows has a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues, and proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible."

Reactively, Shirley?

Put down the coffee, stop slacking your app chaps or whatever – and patch Wordpress


Re: All plugins?

No, this is core. WP plugins are updated by their authors and have their own updates. They can vary enormously in their quality and maintenance.

'Grey technology' should be the new black


Just bought a Chromebook for my mother's 80th birthday. She's never used a computer before, but wanted to keep in touch, see family photos etc. Loved the "what's that jiggling fly thing?" (it was the mouse cursor). Looked up some introductory books for Chromebook - and even they assumed too much, e.g. started comparing them with PCs, Macs, talk about USB sockets etc. But she's pleased, and will learn bit by bit.

I still have my final year BSc project thesis - hand-written assembler, which I manually converted into machine code for entry with a hexadecimal keyboard into an UV-EEPROM.

Macs don't get viruses? Hahaha, ha... seriously though, that Word doc could be malware


A customer (running an e-commerce site) contacted me as they were blitzing their customers with spam. Turned out to be from a Macbook running Office, I was able to tell simply by looking at the headers of emails that I also received from them. Naturally, when the first client complaints came in, they switched off their PC, also on the network. It was just before Christmas, so they were in a total panic as the Mac was running their labelling and enquiries. They got Mac support specialists round to fix it, which they did (on a Sunday evening in countryside). Anyway, none of this surprised me, obviously MS Office macros of some sort. What is the point of this article? Writing this on a Linux Mint Mate...

Mr Angry pays taxman with five wheelbarrows worth of loose change


I can never remember what IIRC and IANAL stand for...

How Google.org stole the Christmas Spirit


Try BT mydonate, it's free, and collects Gift Aid. Am using it with a couple of charities I help out. A £10 donation by credit card raises £12.37 after the 13p CC processing fee. No percentage cuts or monthly charges.


Blu Vivo 6: Top value trendsetter marred by Chino-English mangle


Re: Moto G4 plus

I got it the G4 plus, 16GB ROM, 2GB RAM, dual SIM, for £165 at Amazon.co.uk on Black Friday. Extremely pleased with it, excellent camera and Qualcomm (far better GPS than others). Was going to buy it earlier, but decided to wait for Black Friday and proven right ;-)

WordPress auto-update server had flaw allowing anyone to add anything to websites worldwide


Re: "HTML and CSS combined with judicious usage of a JavaScript..."

Serif Webplus would be useful for an individual responsible for a website. It's not a CMS or blogging platform - you can't login online to the website and update or add pages, posts there. I'm sticking with WordPress as "better the devil you know", using Updraft Plus for pushing daily backups (keeping several historical copies in case intrusion not detected early enough) so can recover quickly if it is compromised. I look after about 50 sites and never had a single incident - probably due to using only the most well-known and maintained plugins, and update frequently.

The ability to recover is essential. Far too many WP sites have no backup whatsoever - the slightest compromise means rebuilding from scratch - have just taken over such an incident, painful.

Password strength meters promote piss-poor paswords


Work insists on a change every two months. This just results in a common password with the month after it, e.g. PasswordAugust. What is the benefit of regularly changing passwords, really?

Bloaty banking app? There's a good chance it was written in Britain


Reading the various comments, it seems LOC went out of favour whenever the commenter graduated.

For me, it was scorned in the 70s. It was a bean-counters metric, and showed that much understanding.

Confused by crypto? Here's what that password hashing stuff means in English



Good of El Reg to have bluffer's guides, but no mention of salts with hashing? A fundamental requirement, otherwise if you've got a table with lots of hashed passwords, just look for matching pairs and you can be pretty sure they are weak passwords, crackable with a dictionary of common passwords. Solution is to store the hash and a random salt in the table.

Back to school: Six of the smartest cheap 'n' cheerful laptops


Don't forget second hand options.

Bought a ThinkPad T410 for £120 off eBay, added Linux Mint Mate on an SSD and it flies. What more is needed? Tough and easy to repair. T420 and T430 are also available at about £100 increments - a couple of sellers have sold 1000s at 100% reputation, mine came looking well clean, OH and LO thought was new.

Number 5 is alive! VirtualBox the fifth debuts


Re: Link?

Press the Ctrl key if you want a new tab. Standard in browsers. If it opened in a new window, there's no way to override that behaviour.

Ding-dong, the cloud calling: The Ring Video Doorbell


Re: Question

The wired.com review mentions additional users can be registered to receive notifications. Doubt the sound would be relayed back though, or even than more than one person can answer it simultaneously...



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