* Posts by choleric

369 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Oct 2014


BOFH: Cough up half a grand and we'll protect you from AI


"But my trainer told me that halon was as good as oxygen in the case of breathing difficulties in the server room!"

Upstart encryption app walks back privacy claims, pulls from stores after probe


Signal AND WhatsApp?

"It claimed it could stand up to the likes of Signal and WhatsApp in the security stakes."

So you conflate the two in terms of security. It would be helpful to tease out how you do, and how you don't.

One of the problems with discussions over secure comms is the lack of clarity.

TSMC brags of 20TWh solar scheme. Feels a bit like greenwashing to us


the real story

How many TWh would be saved globally each year if everyone who would normally type "greenhouse gas" wrote "GHG" instead?

UK.gov bans TikTok from its devices as a 'precaution' over spying fears

Black Helicopters

Re: Wrong decision

Does anyone know if there is official advice on the use of WhatsApp by MPs etc?

I cannot believe that GCHQ have not issued some sort of advice. How does the use of an app that logs so very much metadata and analyses and sells it fit into a reliable and resilient framework for decision making by people who are in public service for decades?

Is it that Meta et al are thoroughly under the thumb already and so can be trusted not to blab the wrong stuff to the wrong people?

Is it that the information is already getting out there in different forms for those who want to gather it, and so why bother to close the barn door?

Is it that there is a serious dereliction of duty that will be biting a number of people on the bottom sometime soon?

Or is it something else?

I think there's an interesting article here with a tech/security/politics/international intrigue angle.

Yes, Samsung 'fakes' its smartphone Moon photos – who cares?



Obviously if they faked the Moon Landings, then fake Moon Photographs are a logical development.

I, for one, am utterly disappointed not to find Wallace and Gromit on my lovely lunar landscapes.

Samsung, I want my cheese back, or I'm sending round the penguins.

BOFH: Don't be nervous, Mr Consultant. Come right this way …


superb, again

"Just give him a moment while he folds the paper …"

Ah, Simon, I hope they are paying you millions!


Re: should we call time on the BoFH?

Is that a LART I see?

NASA uses space station dust sensor to map 50 methane 'super-emitters' on Earth


Re: Ars Technica

Ars Technica wouldn't know a properly snide sub-head if it bit them on the Technica.


Re: It's unfortunate

The stink of it is that this sort of calling out descends into a he-who-smelt-it-dealt-it exchange very quickly, from which no one emerges smelling of roses.

Far better for NASA just to observe the environment and let the adults send the relevant culprits off to the little room as required.

Now, where are the adults....

BOFH: You want presentation layer, but we're physical layer


Thank you Simon

I am inclined to overlook the missing "u" in the second sentence, in light of the rest of the episode. Stephen King meets Randal Munro. Sublime.

BOFH: Something's consuming 40% of UPS capacity – and it's coming from the beancounters' office


Can't believe I missed this episode when it was published.

This PFY is a keeper, and therefore one to watch carefully!

Microsoft Bing censors politically sensitive Chinese terms



... it's an error


Re: Not different in the EU though

Me too on DuckDuckGo.

Google lists the site, along with a link to the RT app.

I get HSTS errors if I try to access it via mobile network (Vodafone), but manage to connect fine when I use my home network. I presume that's down to the DIY DNS config at home resolving to the actual RT supplied addresses, while Voda DNS is returning results that RT did not supply.

FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data


Love the subhead

But who shot who?

China to enforce social distancing on peak of Mount Everest


Social distance

Of course the right thing for China to do here would be to socially distance right back off Everest themselves. In fact, if they could do that out of the rest of Tibet too it would be a Good Thing.

Finally, made it to the weekend, time to breathe, relax, and... Cloudflare's taken down a chunk of the web


"critical online services"

Nice to know how El Reg self-identifies! And I concur.

BT and Serco among bidders competing to run Britain's unfortunately named Skynet military satellite system


A stroke of pure genius

This is absolutely how to defeat the rise of the machines. Put Skynet in the hands of the British military and BT and/or Airbus and/or Serco. Superbly well played. Human intelligence at its finest.

Chronically underfunded, with an aversion to deploying fast anything, at the mercy of several European governments, and with a predeliction for operational missteps, it will never work.

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails


Android email clients

FairEmail is a superb open source email client for Android. It offers this feature (just tap the pen icon above the quoted email in your reply to edit it inline), and loads more beside.

I don't do email on a tablet (phone and pc only), but I imagine it will work fine there for you too.

Well worth a look.

You can wipe those smiley faces off: Unicode technical website is going to be out for 'a couple of weeks'


Re: Hieroglyphics

They have, however, managed to serve their data reliably for millennia, which is more than can be said for the Unicorn Consortium.

Yeah, that Zoom app you're trusting with work chatter? It lives with 'vampires feeding on the blood of human data'


Comparison to other products

How does this compare to other products on the market, eg. Hangouts, Meet, Fabecook, Skype, etc? Has El Reg done an exposé?

To paraphrase the Mutt quote that has adorned their website for the last 20-25 years, "all video conferencing sucks, this one just sucks less." Which video conferencing platform sucks less (private data) than all the rest?

FYI: When Virgin Media said it leaked 'limited contact info', it meant p0rno filter requests, IP addresses, IMEIs as well as names, addresses and more


Re: Limited™ contact information

The manufacturer of your doorbell, unless it's Ring.

Your WiFi router password, unless it's a Virgin Media suppli... doh.

Some of your online account handles, until those accounts are hacked.

Your mother's maiden name, how quaint.

Your MI5 UID, mind you that's the same thing as a Facebook login these days so that's gone too.

Like its Windows-noob-stabilisers OS, Zorin's cloudy Grid tool is Linux desktop management for dummies


Latin is still killing me

From the image demonstrating the Sans Forgetica font:

> "Why, one wonders, is it not called Sans Memorabilia?"

It's a play on words, more precisely, and more grimly, a Latin word. "Sans" means "without" in Latin. You don't want to call a font that helps people remember stuff "sans memorabilia" because that would imply that you can read it without remembering it, so you call it "sans forgetica" because you want people to read without forgetting it. Get it? Now you just have to remember it. Because of Latin. Argh. Why can't I forget it?!

Bad news: A company wants to sell artificial shooting stars. Good news: Launch delayed


Reliable RocketLab

I would have thought that RocketLab have demonstrated a commendable commitment to reliability by postponing their launch until they can be even more sure of mission success. Their reliability may come at the cost of schedule, but a slip to the right on timetable is far preferable to an unexpected disassembly of flight hardware.

The Ariane 5 launch mentioned later in the story was postponed several times before it's eventual, successful, launch, but, correctly, no comment was made about its reliability.

Five new players – including Blue Origin and SpaceX – are now in NASA's race to send landers to the Moon


Re: Chump change

Not on SLS it won't. $2.6B would get you one launch on SLS. You'd have to find more cash to pay for what you wanted to launch.

Reassuringly expensive.

Or something.

SpaceX flings another 60 Starlink satellites into orbit in firm's heaviest payload to date


Re: "marking the fourth reuse of a booster"

To clarify the clarification of the clarification: marking the fourth use of this booster for launch and landing (ie. third reuse after the first use). This is the first time any booster has launched four times.

I know I'm asking for trouble with a comment like this (not my first time), so I'll get my coat now, ta.

Fairytale for 2019: GNOME to battle a patent troll in court


If the patent was only granted in 2018 then Shotwell itself is prior art.

World recoils in horror as smartphone maker accused of helping government snoops read encrypted texts, track device whereabouts


Re: Practice on a few Amanfrommars posts first, it'll help.

You'll need some afterwards too.

Fed-up graphic design outfit dangles cash to anyone who can free infosec of hoodie pics



Exactly. That's how bad things are. Even TITSUP is TITSUP, I mean TITSIP, now.

Boffins ready to go live with system that will track creatures great and small from space


The person who chose that name should be waxed and feathered

Do these "boffins" not know how the Icarus story ends? And still they chose to attach this system to the the ISS? Colour me gobsmacked.

HPE's Spaceborne supercomputer returns to terra firma after 615 days on the ISS


Re: "... because pulling a plug on a Linux server is the worst thing you can do. "

... while apparently attempting to attack a tiger. I would have awarded extra points for creative style.


Re: Hold my beer...

> "We said, 'Oh no, it will never wake up,' because pulling a plug on a Linux server is the worst thing you can do."


> "*Grabs aluminium, iron oxide, and magnesium*"


*Opens lead lined storage box, reaches in, cautiously, for copy of Windows .... ME*

Cocaine, psychedelics, DMT? They sure knew how to party 1,000 years ago: Archaeologists make startling discovery



I think that's a mild term for anyone who comes up with idea of dual coaxial network terminators for a Palm Pilot (second from left on the top row). The things only had a primitive network stack two decades ago, can you imagine what type of deranged nutter you'd have to be to try to install and bring up two interfaces on a Palm Pilot from a millennium ago? It would be enough to drive me to the strong stuff, I'm sure.

Mind you, it brings a new understanding to the term "token ring".

Internet industry freaks out over proposed unlimited price hikes on .org domain names



So these guys who oversee and administer a shared namespace because everybody agrees to let them do so decide that they may start to extract hugely increased volumes of cash from the majority of the world's online non-profit organisations, and they think the wider community is going to be on board with that? Surely they realise that this way lies increased anarchy and a directly related reduction in their influence? The DNS is a community resource which only functions because the vast majority of the internet community agrees to use it. If it becomes too difficult or expensive to use then people will go elsewhere.

Also, I thought the whole point of the new TLDs was that the existing namespace was running out and was a bit naff, so new super-cool TLDs were thought up and new pricing structures were created for them. I'm the proud owner of several of these new domains, I think they're great. To turn around now and say that they are going to squeeze the old TLDs in addition to the new ones is a big change in direction. So big that I think it is unacceptable.

Super Cali optimistic right-to-repair's negotious, even though Apple thought it was something quite atrocious


Re: "PLEASE can these headlines actually scan?"

Don't you also have to say "Apple" in one syllable?

I hear tcmonkey's comment about abandoning El Reg, but feel that leaving without fighting for something you love, or at least posting a comment, would be foolish! And in all honesty I can cope with a bit of brain-manglement for the sake of the rest of my fave IT red-top news website content.


Oh shush!

See title.

PLEASE can these headlines actually scan? It takes me a while to work out how they are meant to work, and then to realise that they don't. I feel like the self-checkout machine with an unexpected item in the bagging area. </angst>

Perhaps this is the whole point and we are meant to throw a General Protection Fault whenever Super Cali does something worthy of public humiliation?

BOFH: Bye desktop, bye desk. Hello tablet and a beanbag on the floor



Absolutely brilliant!

NASA boffins show Moon water supply could – er, this can't be right? – come from the Sun


Finding more hydrogen

> Hydroxyl molecules, however, need one more hydrogen molecule to turn into water. The next step is to figure out how to get all that hydrogen.

IANAC but two options spring to mind.

1) It would appear that the solar wind is a good source of protons, can that not be exploited?

2) Or, simply take what hydroxyl you do have and evolve molecular oxygen and water from it.

4OH -> 2H2O + O2

Hey presto: water and oxygen! Just add food and we are good to go.

How's this for sci-fi: A cosmic river of 4,000 stars dazzles lifeforms as it flows through a galaxy. And that galaxy is the Milky Way


Re: Continents and Stars

> The "S" goes at the top.

Wouldn't that be called north then? I gather that the south pole is in fact a north (magnetic) pole, so maybe this all works out ok in the end?

Musk shows off the latest power plant for Starship, replaces Tesla CFO with a millennial


Re: Methane?

Yes it's understood to be methane and oxygen. Interesting feature of this engine that's causing some chatter is the way the curvature of the exhaust bell varies along it. Seems they may be experimenting with a method of allowing efficient deep throttling.

Trying to log into Office 365 right now? It's a coin flip, says Microsoft: Service goes TITSUP as Azure portal wobbles


Re: Just switch it off and back on again...

Yep, that was my favourite line too. I shall be filing it away for deployment in the not too distant future.

Core blimey... When is an AMD CPU core not a CPU core? It's now up to a jury of 12 to decide


Re: None of the above

"More to the point here, buying a processor module without performing a minimal evaluation of how it works, and in particular whether its performance is suitable for its intended purpose, is not due diligence."


Buying processors involves careful evaluation, I come back to the processor market every 2 to 3 years and I have to re-educate myself each time to understand the technology of the day and it's pros and cons.

The terminology varies over this time period, with terms changing their meaning. Additionally AMD and Intel call similar features by different names simultaneously. It's always like comparing apples to oranges.

The key factor is never the marketing guff, it's the real world experience of running your particular workload.

If you know enough to understand what "cores" means then you know enough to understand that implementations vary even sticking with the same manufacturer from generation to generation. And if you don't dig into the specifics and their significance to you then you're one core short of a full die, and probably sharing a FP unit too.

Lords of the DNS remind admins about Flag Day, Juniper likes Watson and more


Unbound 1.9.0?

Their website - https://nlnetlabs.nl/projects/unbound/about/ - insists that 1.8.3 is still the latest version.

China's really cotton'd on to this whole Moon exploration thing: First seed sprouts in lunar lander biosphere


Re: The Tricky Part

In fact this was the real issue. It seems the temperature control failed and the seedling froze.

Qualcomm all ye faithful: 5G's soon triumphant... like 2020 soon. Really


Hark! the El Reg headline bling, Cheery with a yule-tide ring.

Oh, and this line, "5G NSA (Non Standalone)", did they tell you to write that?!

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate


Re: Note to self ..

Yep, that's exactly the point isn't it? Someone sets something up, assuming that the system will work as infinitum, but it ends up being forgotten by someone else in the system.

It doesn't have to just be server firewall rules. It can be something upstream, eg. a new router, that quietly locks out regular but infrequent network activity. The server admin is not necessarily the network admin. No one notices until it's too late.

The result is a popcorn moment.


Re: Note to self ..

That works great until your internet connection goes down, or the server gets firewalled by someone who doesn't understand certbot...

Huge ice blades on Jupiter’s Europa will make it a right pain in the ASCII to land on


It's not ROCKET science

So we need to invent something that sprays copious volumes of very hot gases out of its underside as it comes in to land, thereby melting any ice spears and creating a smooth surface for eventual touchdown? It'll transform space-flight when that's invented.

Convenient switch hides an inconvenient truth


Re: Barrel Bottoms

Shome shuggestions:

*Someone* once crashed a mainframe and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

IT workers of the world. Our hands on your emergency power buttons.

I eat script kiddies for breakfast. Snap, >kzert<, ping.

I press kill-switches for a living.


El Reg "Who Me?" Outstanding Sysadmin Skills award winner.

Microsoft: OK, we have no phones, but look how much we love Android


Re: 3 Words

Following the "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" maxim you don't add or multiply, you raise it to a power. This gives

Microsoft to the power of a Google


(Microsoft) ^ (Google)

which is a very large amount of evil indeed. Note that "the don't be evil" safeguard doesn't apply here because we are dealing with absolute amounts.