* Posts by David Roberts

1609 posts • joined 25 Jan 2007

Spam is back with a vengeance. Luckily we can't read any of it

David Roberts

Really old email address

A long time ago, in a different...

I "bagged" an "amusing" email address as part of a trial for a new service.

The trial published all the addresses in White Pages (see Yellow Pages and Post Office).

So my address was published for all to see before someone realised that this might have minor disadvantages.

It has always received SPAM but this seems to be reducing over time.

It has been a while, but I used to get some ISP based (or email software provider) developer have a brainwave and decide that the "amusing" address would be just wonderful and (presumably) cool and amusing test email address.

Cue flood of test emails.

When they were emailed to explain that this was a real email address in current use it all went quiet.

I never received an apology though.

Developers obviously so overwhelmed by their own wit that they never considered checking that a clearly valid email address was already in use.

I still use the address and the level of SPAM is remarkably low, all things considered.

I assume there is a whole world of email being shredded by various servers before they get anywhere near me.

On another topic I still occasionally see mentions of Scunthorpe and Penistone (amongst others) being blocked by email content filters

The month I worked for DEADHEAD: Yes, that was their job title

David Roberts

Re: junk-food punnet of chips and gravy with cheese

Way back in time before we ditched the Commonwealth to cosy up to Europe the shelves in the supermarkets were full of New Zealand and Canadian cheddar.

OK as block cheddars go.

Don't recall seeing any for a decade or so, though.

Mary Coombs, first woman commercial programmer, dies at 93

David Roberts
Coat

Nee Petri

A bit of a dish, allegedly.

Proprietary neural tech you had surgically implanted? Parts shortage

David Roberts

You've got mail

Reminds me of the olden days when a new email could herald something new and exciting that you really wanted to read about.

Not the current firehouse of SPAM that seems to take up most email bandwidth.

A tale of two dishwashers: Buy one, buy it again, and again

David Roberts

Two dishwashers?

I recall an apartment in NZ which had a dual dishwasher installed.

Two pull out drawers one above the other.

Haven't seen them in the UK but perhaps I shop as the wrong demographic

Make assistive driving safe: Eliminate pedestrians

David Roberts

Re: On foot, on crutches, in wheelchairs

That used to be part of the point scoring system for drivers (in my youth) for running down non-motorists.

Memory is hazy, but I think one of the highest scores was for a blind nun in a wheelchair going backwards over a zebra crossing.

UK.gov threatens to make adults give credit card details for access to Facebook or TikTok

David Roberts

How you gonna get them back on the farm, now that they've seen Paree?

Given that a lot of people (the majority) are addicted to social media how are you going to take it away from them?

A few vociferous Luddites aren't going to cut it.

Governments, corporates etc use it as their main communication and feedback channel.

Sadly the most effective way to ask for help or register a complaint isn't a call centre or web site but Twitter.

So getting rid of social media would require enormous investment.

Policing it to death is also likely to get enormous push back.

David Roberts

Re: Much cheaper plan: parents?

Anyone else remember when schools tried to implement a healthy eating plan and ban the kids from loading up on junk food?

[Discussion on what is really "junk food" is a whole different thing!]

Parents lining up along the school perimeter to push junk food through the railings to their little darlings.

Path of least resistance for a lot of parents will be to authorise the kids accounts to stop them grizzling all the time.

Predictive Dirty Dozen: What will and won't happen in 2022 (unless it doesn’t/does)

David Roberts

Re: Self Driving Computers on wheels

Covid.

Allegedly a pandemic usually lasts for 7 years.

Happy New Year. :-(

PC market pulls past peak pandemic demand, and IDC says it will keep growing

David Roberts

Graphics?

My ramshackle stable of aged and truly ancient PCs seem to be able to cope with everyday computing

The only area where they could do with a performance boost is in graphics.

Which seems to be the only area at the moment where the prices are ridiculously high.

I thought crypto mining had moved away from graphics cards.

Are they lying to me?

NASA boffins seem to think we're worth saving from fiery asteroid death so they're shooting a spaceship at one

David Roberts
Trollface

Large powered and steerable rocks in orbit?

OK for space defence but could easily be repurposed

Nice continent you have there. Shame if something happened to it.

NASA advised to study up on what open source, free software, and permissive licenses actually mean

David Roberts
Trollface

Re: What free means

My push bike comes with a freewheel and the shop tried to make me pay for it.

Reg scribe spends 80 hours in actual metaverse … and plans to keep visiting

David Roberts

£500 bike?

I took part in a 24 hour cycle challenge a couple of years back, on static bikes kindly loaned by the local fitness centre.

These bore very little resemblance to a real bike in the set up of pedal/saddle/bars and getting an equivalent riding position to my real bike was impossible.

Just wondering how good the £500 bike is for comfort, or if the real entry level is higher.

To my mind the static bike needs to have the same fit as your real bike(s) or you develop a different set of muscles.

Or is the £500 entry level just a rear wheel replacement? Which assumes that you have a suitable bike spare to fettle in.

Launched the year Netscape Navigator was born, the UK's CHIEF customs system finally has a retirement date

David Roberts

DME

Just a quick shout out for Leo 326 under DME.

One of the more niche implementations.

Facebook may soon reveal new name – we're sure Reg readers will be more creative than Zuck's marketroids

David Roberts

Zuck it and see

No, I haven't read all the comments

Facebook rendered spineless by buggy audit code that missed catastrophic network config error

David Roberts

Some sympathy

We read many tales of security loopholes.

For example, operations staff using the fire exit at night to avoid all the hassle with the front doors.

A very secure data centre probably wouldn't have easily accessible out of band access because that could be a major vulnerability.

However I assume that they are now trying to make emergency access a little easier withou compromising security.

When everyone else is on vacation, it's time to whip out the tiny screwdrivers

David Roberts

Small shout out for Dell

Because the bottom cover of my laptop has captive screws so that you (allegedly) can't lose them.

Infosys CEO hauled in to tell minister why India's tax portal is still a glitchy mess

David Roberts

Re: Infosys has over 750 staffers working on the project

Deploy more staff.

You have 3 weeks to fix it.

Oh, here are some umbrellas, the flying pigs are a bit incontinent

Fancy joining the SAS's secret hacker squad in Hereford as an electronics engineer for £33k?

David Roberts

Slightly over specified?

Commentards are (enjoyably) treating this as a realistic job spec

Most will have seen civilian job adverts with similar role and skill inflation once Marketing and Senior Management have bigged up the job spec to make their unit look far more important than it is

Probably looking for a JavaScript programmer who once held a soldering iron by the non hurty end.

Perl Foundation faces more departures after pausing Community Affairs Team

David Roberts

Re: Social distancing…

Is Perl Monks still a thing?

Ch-ch-ch-Chia! HDD sales soar to record levels as latest crypto craze sweeps Europe

David Roberts

Re:wankcoin

Only a small deposit required for entry into the scheme.

Got a cheap Cisco router in your home office? If it's one of these, there's an exposed RCE hole you need to plug

David Roberts

LAN attack?

If the attacker is already on your LAN for a home office device, aren't you screwed anyway?

You MUST present your official ID (but only the one that's really easy to fake)

David Roberts

Frequent (and fast) flyer?

If you can rent/buy a QR code online then I assume there are multiple instances in play at any one time.

Interesting if someone checked scanned locations and time to show the same person regularly travelled hundreds of miles in as many seconds

Although I gain the impression that the scan may not be recorded.

Just "scanner goes Yes".

Galaxy quest: Yet another sub-£500 phone comes to trouble mobile big dogs in the form of Realme GT 5G

David Roberts

Cameras?

My Realme 5(?) Pro seems to have a telephoto lens, and that was a lot less than 500 notes.

4 lenses on the back.

I've never really bothered to get the hang of all the features, though.

Telcos crammed 8.5m fake comments against net neutrality into FCC's inbox

David Roberts

Confirm email address?

When joining most online sites, purchasing or fora, you are asked to confirm your email address by responding to an email.

I assume that this simple measure was considered too complicated?

Or perhaps too limiting?

Of course, automated generation of emails from a small number of privately owned domains gives the chance to automate the confirmation, but that might look suspicious.

Although suspicious doesn't seem to be a factor here.

Researchers say objects can hide from computer vision by seeking out unusual company that trips correlation bias

David Roberts

Makes AI seem almost human

Reminds me of the classic experiment where observers are asked to focus on the actions of subjects in the foreground and don't even notice someone in the background

Watchdog 'enables Tesla Autopilot' with string, some weight, a seat belt ... and no actual human at the wheel

David Roberts

Weights?

When I first read that bit I assumed that a weight had been placed on the seat.

I knowy car uses a weight sensor to detect if there is someone in the passenger seat and display an alert if the seat belt isn't fastened.

I assume the Tesla has such a sensor.

If so it looks like programming logic

Hmmmm....

Is seat belt fastened?

If not, is seat occupied?

Not sure how easy it would be to test; presumably I would need to fasten the seatbelt, sit in the seat, then later climb out (as suggested up thread).

However assuming the driver's seat has a weight sensor that should be regularly checked, not just a weight on the steering wheel.

Note to self: check if fastening the driver's seatbelt then applying the foot brake will allow the car to be started.

Not a true test but then this isn't a car with any kind of autopilot or lane keeping system.

It will certainly run quite happily with nobody in the car.

Then again, doesn't really prove anything.

Something went wrong but we won't tell you what it is. Now, would you like to take out a premium subscription?

David Roberts
Windows

Error handling

One reason I moved on from COBOL programming to more interesting things.

About two days of enjoyment coding the logic.

Then two months of excruciating boredom grinding through the systems spec to produce the myriad of subtly different error messages.

BOFH: Postman BOFH's Special Delivery Service

David Roberts
Paris Hilton

Late night front garden job

Ah, the romantic memories!

At least, I assume that was what the description meant.

Better say no more in case I get myself into trouble.

Imagine your data center backup generator kicks in during power outage ... and catches fire. Well, it happened

David Roberts

Re: Flywheels....

I have a vague memory of Motor Alternator sets wher a massive flywheel was spun up by mains power and drove an alternator.

This was meant to smooth out minor variations in the mains supply which would upset the mainframes

Didn't smooth out power dips, though, and I still twitch when the lights flicker.

'Anomalous surge in DNS queries' knocked Microsoft's cloud off the web last week

David Roberts
Windows

Is it DNS?

It can't be DNS!

It was DNS.

[Traditional IT saying]

Openreach out and hike prices on legacy fixed-line products: Broadband plumber pulls trigger after Ofcom gives the nod

David Roberts

Unused FTTP poles

I know two locations (one outside here) where there are the knobbly things on top of the poles ready for FTTP.

Two years or more and no sign of any service offering.

I have no idea why.

Bad news for automakers: That fire at the Renesas chip plant was worse than expected

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Machine learning devs, rejoice: You can now rent up to 16 Nvidia A100 GPUs on a single machine via Google

David Roberts

Blurred face?

Not sure how this soles the issue of posting pictures of naked children.

Ministry of Defence tells contractors not to answer certain UK census questions over security fears

David Roberts

Re: Census 2021 -cash for stats is ridiculous. Gov have EVERYTHING already. The list incomplete

As a very occasional auditor there is a case for asking for all the data then checking how closely it agrees with the electronic systems.

I doubt this is the intention though.

What could possibly go wrong? Sublet your home broadband to strangers who totally won't commit crimes

David Roberts

Look at them yo-yos that's the way to do it

"Money for nothing but your nicked IP"

Kudos for the headline.

I have run a VPN server locally which trombones incoming connections so that when abroad I can still access services in the UK from my usual IP address.

Useful when you travel abroad (as far as I can remember - it's been a while).

I wouldn't sell that as a service though.

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp pause usual data collection with an outage

David Roberts

WhatsUpp?

Sorry.

'No' does not mean 'yes'... unless you are a scriptwriter for software user interfaces

David Roberts
Trollface

And another thing - well some?

Cure for the "roots of your pubes" problem can be obtained from citizens of Brazil.

Some advances in language have unexpected results.

I'm pretty sure that the parents of Gay Search didn't anticipate that nominative determinism would force her to seek a same sex companion

I can recall when gay meant happy, laughing, cheerful person.

[May still do, of course....]

As opposed to being a replacement for more demeaning terminology.

Like....ummmm....

What noise does a dog make?

Woof!

Ta.

David Roberts
Trollface

Re: Well - spare?

Can I propose we now use:

Monarch

Heir

Spare

To avoid any confusion.

Microsoft settles £200,000+ claims against tech support scammers who ran global ripoff from cottage in Surrey

David Roberts

Answering Machine

If it is genuine they may leave a message.

Scammers almost always don't.

US National Security Council urges review of Exchange Servers in wake of Hafnium attack

David Roberts

Re: re: guess it's time to check the ol' servers... on an unpaid weekend...

Ummmm....point on the Exchange Server to where the man hurt you?

Seagate UK customer stung by VAT on replacement drive shipped via the Netherlands

David Roberts

Re: I believe that Seagate disks are made outside of the EU

I feel seen.

Happy birthday, Python, you're 30 years old this week: Easy to learn, and the right tool at the right time

David Roberts

Re: Why do some people not like python's indentation=code block container

I've waded through the tab and white space thing with minimal comprehension.

What I do remember is working on source code where braces "{ }" enclosed blocks of code, and this seemed a reasonable approach.

I also recall text editors (gvim?) which could highlight code blocks in different colours by matching open and close braces.

Then again, that was a while back.

David Roberts

Good reference guide?

My last programming was about 12 years ago in Perl.

Still probably my go to language for quick hacks of text based data.

I thought I might have a look at Python and downloaded a couple of free introductions onto my Kindle but either I am missing something or they are crap.

So Python 101 please.

Free if possible but I can pay if I have to.

David Roberts

Re: not so easy to learn

PLAN?

Microsoft issues emergency fix for Wi-Fi foul-up delivered hot and fresh on Patch Tuesday

David Roberts

Re: Got me twice, I think - 2004

One Dell system I had to wait a long time for 2004.

Turned out that some drivers related to Thunderbolt needed updating before it was suitable to upgrade.

Dell update utility identified all the out of date drivers but hung when trying to apply them.

Much cursing and manually installing each patch later all was up to date.

Then some days later the update appeared

We know it's hard to get your kicks at work – just do it away from a wall switch powering anything important

David Roberts
Mushroom

Re: My favourite one....RJ45

Especially the ones with shrouds to protect the "easy release" tab.

Had to cut all the flappy stuff off with wire cutters to get a cable out of my laptop the other week.

Dept of If I'd Known 20 Years Ago: Call centres, roosting chickens, and Bitcoin

David Roberts

Re: Call Waiting...Gateway 2000

In defence of Gateway their UK operation was pretty good.

I recall support via email, and having a support engineer come out and fix a hardware fault on my Tower system under warranty.

Footfallcam kerfuffle: Firm apologises, promises to fix product after viral Twitter thread, infoseccer backlash

David Roberts

Interesting

I mentioned the tweets to El Reg over a week ago (they were already on the case) and I was wondering why the write up was delayed.

ThinkPad T14s AMD Gen 1: Workhorse that does the business – and dares you to push that red button

David Roberts

About ball mice....

Anyone else remember a tiny ball mouse which would clip to the side of a laptop keyboard?

Wonderful idea but haven't seen one for decades.

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