* Posts by 2Nick3

351 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Aug 2014


BOFH: 'Twas the night before Christmas, and the ransomware struck


Re: A what USB stick?

He also says it to the PFY, who doesn't bat an eye at it:

“But they DO have a Class-10 USB stick with a key logger on it.”


So there is something more there than meets the eye (or USB port)!

My eyes thank you, Google: Android to get dark mode scheduling in future update


I wonder if they are answering "What time will the sun cross the horizon line?" rather than just "What time is sunrise/sunset for this location?" That's a significantly more challenging question to compute for fixed point, much less for a device that is mobile. And that's just with physical terrain - if they are also including weather and/or man-made structures it gets pretty crazy.

HPE to Mike Lynch: You told either El Reg or High Court the right version of why former Autonomy execs won't testify


HPE trying to help HP

"...despite the 1,693 pages of closing legalese filed by Lynch's lawyers and 2,558 pages of closing arguments filed by HPE..."

I'm picturing dozens of lawyers printing out copies of these documents to review and annotate, all on HP printers. The ink/toner costs should help HP fight off the Xerox hostile takeover!

Vote rigging, election fixing, ballot stuffing: Just another day in the life of a Register reader


American Idol Season 2

American Idol Season 2, Semi-Final. Three contestants. The phone lines to vote were open for 2 hours, and there were ~6m votes counted in total, and the three totals were all fairly close to 2m - at least not statistically significantly different. The next week, for the finals, just two contestants, but phone lines were open for 3 hours, and there were ~6m votes in total, both totals were fairly close to 3m and did not seem statistically significantly different. It seemed quite obvious that the voting system was bottlenecked.

I have to wonder if the winner was decided by a minor difference in the systems designed to count the votes - a better rack location, shorter cable runs, better cooling, less fragmentation on the filesystem...

Section 230 supporters turn on it, its critics rely on it. Up is down, black is white in the crazy world of US law


This seems too easy

How about having no political ads, period. Candidates can publish material about their platform and where they stand on issues, but I get to go research it, not have it shoved in my face. There would be a need for conglomeration of the info, but any site doing that is not allowed to express opinions. So you would have "Candidate ABC is for the requirement of wearing codpieces in public while Candidate DEF is against this requirement" and not "Candidate ABC is completely bonkers for wanting to force everyone to wear a codpiece whenever they are in public, while Candidate DEF has a grasp on reality and thinks this is absurd and is clearly the only choice any reasonable person can make."

It's not easy, but you can usually find a pretty simple list of where candidates stand on certain issues.

I'm still not that Gary, says US email mixup bloke who hasn't even seen Dartford Crossing


"So, in such cases, my only option is to request a password reset, login, and either close the account, or change the email address to something else."

Are they able to do that without confirming you are really the person who opened the account? Why not just run the account out of login attempts with a bad password, then the actual owner has to get a reset done without the right email address - if it's important they'll fix it, and they get to jump through all the hoops. That way you are only attempting to access the account, not actually accessing it - which is less likely to end up with you in trouble.

Teachers: Make your pupils' parents buy them an iPad to use at school. Oh and did you pack sunglasses for the Apple-funded jolly?


Re: Universities in US

Sometimes that Support contract is wonderful to have...

Laptop "stops working" and the student just goes to the IT department and gets a replacement. Standard model, standard platform build on it, so the only change is the serial number/asset tag. Which isn't normally tracked well enough (by the bored student who does the swaps and only verifies that there is an asset tag on the machine being turned in) to determine who turned in the machine with most of a can of Mountain Dew dumped in the keyboard...


I had a programmable calculator in college - they were a must for a number of Engineering classes. The school recommended a certain model, but did not require it (and you could get it at a good price through the campus bookstore). I got the recommended model, and was able to get class content from friends a few years ahead of me in the program. The infrared data transfer wasn't fast, but would finish up while we were eating the dinner I'd buy as way of saying Thanks. Those who went with other models saved a bit of money, but were on their own for setup and use.

'That roar is terrific... look at that rocket go!' It's been 52 years since first Saturn V left the pad


Re: Shameful

"What makes SpaceX's tail-landing Falcon cutting edge?"

Doing it in an atmosphere with higher gravity probably increases the challenge factor a bit. And doing it without a human pilot, as I understand the Apollo landings were done by feel as much as anything else.

Robotics mastermind admits: I pushed over my 1-year-old daughter to understand balance


"Animal" cruelty! ?

Dude pulled the poor "dog" by it's tail - you don't do that to a "dog"!!

Or...um...ah... OK, this is confusing now...

NSA to Congress: Our spy programs don’t work, aren’t used, or have gone wrong – now can you permanently reauthorize them?


Re: Can't or wont?

I can see a case where they wouldn't want to expose capabilities with an example ("We were able to hack the camera on Little Bad Guy's cell phone, seeing he was running Android Marshmallow and connected on 3G on a Tuesday in October when it was raining, and see that Big Bad Guy was there with him.") but you would think they could at least say "We captured Big Bad Guy."

Remember the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman crossing the street? The AI had no clue about jaywalkers


Re: I've never worked in AI in any form...

"That isn't a solution as the car shouldn't stop for any object, such as those I mentioned above, it should only stop for those that are a risk."

If you see something dart out into the street, as a driver your first instinct should be to avoid hitting it. If you then realize it's some leaves blowing in the wind you can then abort the avoidance and carry on. That's usually going to happen before your foot is all the way off of the gas pedal, and before you've committed to a swerve.

Defensive Driving starts with everything being a threat and then reclassifying down. With training you are able to do that quickly for most things, but something new should always trigger that same response.


Re: Onboard automatic brakes switched off.

When I was taking Drivers Ed, for the in-vehicle phase the instructor had their own brake pedal, and the ability to reach across to grab the steering wheel - the two options were Stop or Go Straight (as turning the wheel from the passenger seat was not really possible, but holding it steady was). The danger in that is the driver could decide to swerve around something when the instructor wants to stop, and you get something somewhere between, which isn't going to be a good solution. I was in the back seat of the car when a fellow student driver hit a squirrel - he tried to change lanes, while the instructor didn't think he saw the squirrel and tried to stop.

Having two different systems, that don't have the ability to communicate in real time, attempting to control a few thousand pounds of metal going down the road is not a good situation. At least for the squirrel. Or a pedestrian.

And yes, if your autonomous braking part of your self-driving system isn't as good as that delivered by the car manufactures it needs some more work before you put it on the road.

Heads up from Internet of S*!# land: Best Buy's Insignia 'smart' home gear will become very dumb this Wednesday


Re: Somewhat curious...

"How much would that cost them? I cant imagine very much."

They have to keep the environment secure, which is a daily operation bigger than they expected. And getting that wrong could leave them liable.

Boffins blow hot and cold over li-ion battery that can cut leccy car recharging to '10 mins'


Re: "simple but elegant"

"In the car park at work? Arrive, plug in, clock on, start the day's work, bleep from phone "your car's finished charging, please move it to a non-charging space within the next 30 minutes"."

My boss at my last job does exactly that - his Leaf lets him know when it is charged, he drops down to the parking lot to move it so the charger is available for someone else. He'll often tap someone on the shoulder so they know they can move their car to the charger (and the EV community seems to work that way pretty universally - they're pretty supportive of each other).

That's manually switching. Having a charger with multiple leads - one power source that switches between multiple vehicles - is a pretty easy thing to set up, and would eliminate needing to moving the charging lead between vehicles.


Re: Power required

"Irrespective of whether the grid can supply the power in a distributed manner can it concentrate the power needed for a motorway service station car park full of cars whose owners have stopped for their 20-30 minute power and pee break after 5 hours?"

When I build my EV Charging Station I plan for this - just like a petrol station does. Why build the station if I can't get the supply I need? I'll pick the location based on many factors, with this being one of them - can I get the current I need to drive the "pumps"? If I can only get some fraction of the power I need to run the station I either need to find another power source, store up power when demand is lower, or not open the station right there.


Re: "simple but elegant"

If I can charge my car in 10 minutes I don't need a 1:1 ratio of parking spaces to chargers. 10 minute charging means one charger can service 48 vehicles over 8 hours, provided it has the supply to do it. Switching output between different attached vehicles is a simple problem to solve.

Yes, you have to put in the infrastructure - that's obvious. But you have to anyway, at some level. Building smartly now, and retrofitting when it makes sense (and as demand dictates), is how all of these kinds of things get done.

Not just adhesive, but alcohol-resistant adhesive: Well done, Apple. Airpods Pro repairability is a zero


Re: Alcohol resistant glue

Since the ear buds are going to get all coated with ear wax nastiness the glue needs to be proof against what people are likely going to use to clean them - alcohol wipes.

If Apple used glue that the alcohol breaks down you'd be hearing cries of "How dumb can they be, using a glue that won't stand up to cleaning!" They picked longevity here rather than repair-ability. That may not be the choice everyone would make, but there is a logic to it.

HP scores $176m win in CD-ROM drive price-fix case – after one biz emailed rival with 'Price Fixing' as the subject


Re: So let me see if I've got this right.

Exactly - it's doubtful the price increase was extended to the customer. We are looking at commodity drives here, so the price increase was probably pretty low - if the price was overly-inflated someone would have noticed ("Gee, I can get that same drive cheaper at Best Buy!"). So if the supplier can get an extra $0.50 a drive, on a million drives, they net $500k, but since the consumer unit sales price is still going to be rounded up to the next $9.99 the increase was absorbed at that point by HP. And HP isn't going to change the number of drives they are ordering because of this, so it's pretty lucrative for the suppliers.

Inside the 1TB ImageNet data set used to train the world's AI: Naked kids, drunken frat parties, porno stars, and more


...little incentive...

“The data set creators allow some of these 'contaminants' to remain simply because there is little incentive to spend the resources eradicating them all and they have minimal overall effect on the training of machine learning models.”

In other words they didn't think they would have to do it and now that the data set is created it's really really hard to fix so they don't want to. Nice.

And the "effect on the training of machine learning models" is irrelevant to the privacy concerns.

A History of (Computer) Violence: Wait. Before you whack it again, try caressing the mouse


Intelligence isn't always transitory

I sold one of the first Logictech Trackballs (big square base, 3 buttons) to a Comp Sci PhD, who is still to this day probably one of the most brilliant people I've ever met. He returned it 3 days later - he just couldn't see how having the buttons on the bottom was ergonomic in any way...

BOFH: The company survived the disaster recovery test. Just. The Director's car, however...


"We considered it, but it's not much of a disaster if everyone knows when it's happening"

The number of times I was asked to take "special backups" to be prepared for an upcoming DR Test, wow. I used that same line to explain why I wouldn't do it. I was forced to agree once, but escaped by following the procedures to the letter - a "special backup" would require a "special restore" to be added to the Disaster Recovery Plan, which in turn required following the Change Management process to make the update. The requester was not willing to put their name to the request in writing for some reason...

'We go back to the Moon to stay': Apollo vets not too chuffed with NASA's new rush to the regolith


"So I take it you don't think any of these things ever helped anyone:..."

Microwave ovens

And my personal favorite - Astronaut (Freeze-Dried) Ice Cream!

Ever own a Galaxy S4? Congrats, you're $10 richer as Samsung agrees payout over dodgy speed tests


Re: I bought one at that time!

$10 should be a good chunk of a new battery for it.

Pro tip: Plug in your Tesla S when clocking off, lest you run out of juice mid hot pursuit


They only have the one Tesla - the article indicates it is the first EV in the fleet. So there is no spare. If they have to have their one and only EV out on patrol (say for political reasons), noticing that it wasn't charged at the beginning of the shift simply means the shift will be shorter than expected.

It's a learning curve switching from IC power to EVs, especially for managing a fleet.

IT workers: Speaking truth to douchebags since 1977


Re: Hold music

Or Jackson Browne's "The Next Voice You Hear Will Be Your Own", which I still encounter on occasion.

Behold the perils of trying to turn the family and friends support line into a sideline


"Is the cable plugged in?"

With the F&F Support Line open an affirmative answer just means I need to ask the follow-up question:

"Are BOTH ends of the cable plugged in?"

Doesn't matter what cable it is, you need both ends plugged in.

The gig (economy) is up: New California law upgrades Lyft, Uber, other app serfs to staff


No more double-dip?

So if you are on the clock for Lyft you can't also be on the clock for Uber? Nice - no more drivers picking up my ride and having to drop off their current passenger first.

It's always frustrating watching the car icon in the app drive the wrong direction...

Apple's making some announcements! Quick, lay off 435 Uber workers


You mean Lyft, right? The former Uber employees know just how bad things are there for the drivers!

Bloodbath as Broadcom slashes through CA Technologies personnel


Re: As ye sow, so shall ye reap

"CA, where good software goes to die."

Good, bad, mediocre, and every type between. Did anything they touch improve or flourish?

Six lawsuits against FCC's 5G idiocy – that $2bn windfall for telcos – is bundled into one appeals court sueball


Re: $270 per site per year

"Somehow I think AT&T and Verizon would see things differently..."

Bronx Telecom would have to have roaming relationships with Manhattan Telecom, Brooklyn Telecom, Queens Telecom and Staten Island Telecom, and that's just so you can move around New York City and have your Bronx Telecom phone work. Jersey City Telecom would probably not join the group, so your calls (and data) are going to cost a lot more across the river, if your phone will even have a signal.

It's one of the advantages the big guys have - you're almost always on their network, and if you're not they know who's network you would roam to, so it's easy to have those relationships in place. With thousands of independent providers it would be a nightmare trying to figure out what a call would cost outside of your provider's service area.

Can't get pranked by your team if nobody in the world can log on


Re: IT Policy led to pranks

Changing the default WAVs that came with Windows to more "entertaining" ones was always a good trick. The fact that "DING.WAV" is now not just a 'Ding' sound gets past any locking down of settings.

Not that I know from personal experience - I think I read about it here on The Register Forums. Yeah, that's it!



Got tired of a coworker who would prank everyone, constantly (and therefore not get much work done). It did train us all in proper workstation security, but daily having someone had to fix their setup because of him - tape over the laser in the mouse, paper under mouse buttons, toothpick in the keyboard He was, as he would need to be, very cautious about locking his screen when he left his desk, so the group revenge on him was to unplug the line cord from the laptop PSU/brick. Then it was reinserted just enough to look plugged in, but not make a connection.

About 3 hours later he was in a near state of panic when he was getting all kinds of warnings about the battery being almost dead. He even crawled under his desk to look at the power cable, and reseated the plug in the socket. After his laptop suspended because of the low battery I told him what to check, let him know we had more in our list of revenge pranks, and told him it was time to stop. Which he mostly did.

Taking his car apart and reassembling it in his bedroom would have been one thing, but I don't know how we could have gotten a giant Jiffy-Pop into his house, nor been able to retarget an space-based laser system. We can't all be students at Pacific Technical University, after all.

Love Microsoft Teams? Love Linux? Then you won't love this


Re: "Vanishingly Small"

People have been predicting the death of the Windows desktop for a very long time. There are far too many who find Windows works "perfectly fine" at this point to see a real change.

If ME, Vista and Win8 didn't chase people off, 10's not going to have much of an impact.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is worth 154 median minions


Re: With the pay-check this guy's making ...

$1.5m / 40 years (working lifetime) = $37,500/year. That's only 20% more than a $15/hour minimum wage would come out to ($31,200).

"... I absolutely have no idea why I'm studying medicine."

Probably better than studying mathematics...

Amazon Prime Music turns the volume down a little too much


Re: "In a reminder of a golden age when we still had physical media,"

When your "unlimited" data plan slows to a crawl you realize that having your music locally on your device has some significant advantages.

Plus not having to tote your full-sized phone everywhere is a plus. Seeing people with the new iPhones at the gym is pretty silly looking sometimes.

Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange


Re: hyprocrites

I'll just point out that Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi both spent a lot of time in jail, knowing it was a consequence of their actions. They knew the law (right or wrong, it was the law they were under at the time), chose to violate it, and accepted the consequences. Before you put Julian Assange on that same pedestal you have to get past the fact that he is putting avoiding those consequences above trying to clear his name as an accused rapist.

Dating app for Trump loners commits YUGE blunder: It leaks more than the West Wing


A rose by any other name...

A shoddy app, by any name, is still a shoddy app.

Assuming the makers of the app are Trump supporters is unsupported - using his name means nothing (Just how democratic is the DPRK?). About all we know for sure is they don't know much about data security.

In Windows 10 Update land, nobody can hear you scream


MS vs HP?

First it was the HP keyboard driver, now the HP audio driver. Is HP doing something in the Surface space that MS isn't happy about?

Powerful forces, bodily fluids – it's all in a day's work


Re: Bodily fluids.....

Urine and the next person to play the game don't get along, either.

Thankfully I lost the game of Rock/Paper/Scissors and didn't get the first turn...

Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama


Re: Still,

"You know things are bad if you have to use Facebook as a positive reference."

Sounds like a new corollary of Godwin's Law (common use, not original)!

Pentagon's JEDI mind tricks at odds with our 'values' says Google: Ad giant evaporates from $10bn cloud contract bid


Employee rejection of business

So some vocal portion (likely a minority) of Google employees don't want to work on a DoD project, and Google won't be bidding on the business. That's a scary precedent to set, looking at the political climate these days - You can't make all the people happy all the time, and if the unhappy ones can cause you to reject business/revenue you will eventually run out of customers you can do business with.

Think about it - the list of customers that could easily be "rejected" is pretty vast: Government agencies, Big Oil/Energy, Big Agriculture, run by Republicans, run by Democrats, Pro-life, Pro-choice... It really starts getting scary when you think about how crippled a company could be by this kind of thing.

Where can I hide this mic? I know, shove it down my urethra


USB Raid array

I always wanted to find 4+ similar USB drives and plug them into my old USB hub and see if I could make a RAID array out of them. Watching IO light up the access LEDs would be fun.

On the third day of Windows Microsoft gave to me: A file-munching run of DELTREE


"Yes, but have you seen the prices Amazon charge for retrieving from Glacier."

How long do you expect the update to take to install? If your pre-upgrade backup has migrated to Glacier by the time the update finishes you might need to update your hardware!

California cracks down on Internet of Crap passwords with new law to stop the botnets


Why in the world does your toothbrush need to be online? It's a piece of plastic with bristles at one end. The electric ones that live on their chargers really don't need to send you a notification when they are recharged, do they? Or do you need a model that reports to your dentist how often you brush, for how long (on each tooth, right?), with how much pressure (on each tooth, again, because why not???).

Yeah, a brush that tells you that you are pressing too hard (or soft) with some kind of audible notice would be reasonable, or that tells you when you've been on an area long enough, but can anyone really justify why it has to be online to do this?

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Google is still chasing the self-driving engineer that jumped ship to Uber


Re: Spazturtle

"Good point, just like the famous case of McDowell's that opened up in Queens, New York back in the 80s."

Was that real, or just in "Coming to America"??

100,000 home routers recruited to spread Brazilian hacking scam


"I still see sometimes some "3com" strings coming from snmp requests to re-branded routers"

Got to think that microcode is a bit out of date...

Attempt to clean up tech area has shocking effect on kit


Re: MOSFETs and clean rooms

Funny how "TEMP" sometimes translates as "Keep the most critical data you have right here - it will be safe forever!"

I once had to admit to an IBM VP that I had indeed reformatted the 3995 optical disc that the DBA had stored the copy of the DB2 config file on just prior to his managing to corrupt the production config file.

When the VP finally stopped for a breath I added, "The disc was both physically and logically labeled TEMP002A/B." He took 2 more breaths and the tirade was redirected to the DBA.

HP Ink should cough up $1.5m for bricking printers using unofficial cartridges – lawsuit


Re: On the other hand...

Had a friend in college who would buy a new printer, whatever was on the best sale, when his ran out of ink. He'd sell the old printer for about half what he paid for it (super-cheap printers don't last long on a college campus), and at least in his own head he was coming out ahead of buying ink.

Man cuffed for testing fruit with bum cheek pre-purchase


Re: Disgusting but not criminal.

So they lawyer could win the case with a half-assed effort?