* Posts by Alan Parsons

76 posts • joined 26 Jul 2007


Gov spunks hundreds of thousands on mobe condom clip

Alan Parsons

stand up stand up

Can't u just do it standing up? 's gravity, innit?

ContactPoint goes live despite security fears

Alan Parsons
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Bet it's full of wrongness too

My kids were born at home, and we declined the health polic^H^H^H^H^H visitor 'service'. (They don't advertise it, but you have that right, at least for now.) We have little to no contact with GPs as wer'e a healthy bunch, personally I've only used the NHS when I've woken up in their care! My point is my kids haven't seen a doctor since I can remember and we moved house some time ago.. We've not registered at a new GP, cos they've not yet been sick, and neither of them are at school yet - so how does anyone know where we are? If we're on there at all, it'll all be wrong, how many others could this be the case for?

Phorm boss blogs from a dark, dark place

Alan Parsons

also @dave

take a look at http://aaisp.net.uk/kb-broadband-realinternet.html

basically - they won't log what you do, shape your traffic, or sign up to the IWF's nanny list.

It's your connection, do what you will is the tone..

U2 song whacked my hard drive

Alan Parsons

Bounce bounce

I once made, while workink in a large storage test lab, a rubber band ball about the size of a basketball. Took bloody ages, but kinda evolved over a year. Walked down an aisle of racks, bounced it on the floor, a whole tray of disks at the bottom of the rack I was next to went from happy flashing green leds to not so happy solid amber ones. Whistled casually and walked away. Thankfully this was a test lab with no production kit.

Final countdown to Conficker 'activation' begins

Alan Parsons

@Haku re y2k

"(did anything important actually screw up because it was programmed with a two digit year instead of a 4 digit year?)"

Yep it screwed up, but not on a two digit date - my local video library system went beserk about the video that I'd had over the new year break, for minus ten years.

Turns out that the year was always nineteen-ninety-something - so they had a 1 digit year and it went back to 1990

Ethernet — a networking protocol name for the ages

Alan Parsons
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@Mike re Haters

Got to be FOTW. Awesome post

Cry havoc and let slip the SSD dogs of war

Alan Parsons

Great article, bad idea..

How would you cluster such servers? What about replication and high availability? - true, we're talking midrange and not enterprise but still... And what about the stability of the data and the machine itself? We don't just RAID disks for performance, often it's for integrity. I understand that SSD doesn't have all the moving parts but I'm sure the MTBF is not infinity! And when it does fail, rather than an HBA and driver layer neatly reporting the error to the OS, I assume it'll just hit your PCIe bus with a Non Maskable Interrupt and take your machine down with it. The whole point of SAN and NAS tech is that it lives outside the box. That's a feature, not a limitation. This smacks of putting all your eggs back in one basket. I understand the application for a single server that currently has a single array hung off the back of it - but unless you're gonna put two of these cards in and RAID1 them at the very least then you need to think about data integrity.. If the application is single server, all about speed, and can live with last night's backup as the recovery point then I guess it's interesting.

3 threatens, T-Mobile shoots on late payments

Alan Parsons

Direct Debit

I too pay for nothing by DD, but this isn't because of random pay dates (although I have those) or to avoid banking errors. There are two reasons (well one really, but two examples)

1. I die - you get nothing. Nada. My family don't need to run about trying to stop you all from taking money from a dead man

2. I emmigrate. - you get nothing. Nada. _I_ don't have to run around trying to stop you from taking money from me once I've left a country I won't come back to

Get ready for the coming data centre crunch

Alan Parsons
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"steps will start to be taken to bail out the co-lo centres. It will be rushed, it will cost far more than it should, and it will be impossible to do quickly anyway"

Speaking as a contractor - this is wonderful news :)

Firm threatens action against CCTV whistleblower

Alan Parsons

Think of the children

People who think that bugs should be exposed are yoghurt drinking hippie tree hugging leftie liberal wankers. Security by obscurity is the way forward. If these cameras are in schools then hacking them should result in being neutered. He's a paedophile! Hang him etc

OMFG, what have you done?

Alan Parsons
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I can live with all of it apart from the width.

YouTube fake tool dumbs down malware distribution

Alan Parsons

Underground forums.

..Where are they? I'm tired of using my massive intellect for the good of the world and rather fancy trying my hand at a spell of 'evil'...

Police quiz BT on secret Phorm trials

Alan Parsons
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@Clive Galway

..shorting with you, sir

Commodore launches little laptop

Alan Parsons

Poke 36879,8

Sets the screen and border to black.

Damn I'm good.

BBC iPlayer upgrade prompts new ISP complaints

Alan Parsons


google for get_iplayer, and just download the stream and watch it in mplayer, that way you get to keep the show for as long as you want.

Microsoft Silverlight: 10 reasons to love it, 10 reasons to hate it

Alan Parsons

Caught up gone :(

I was about to point everyone to caught up for watching ITV catch up without installing Silverlight, but ITV being the bunch of cnuts that they are have threatened a poor developer trying to do good and had it pulled http://chris.orr.me.uk/caughtup/

Someone should lobby for 'silverlight only' sites to have a mandatory fallback to flash, or some other plugin written by a more trustworthy company. There's no way I'm gonna install anything from microsoft on any of my machines. It'd be like pouring diesel (and diesel from a dubious source with no real knowledge of what it contains at that) into a Ferrari.

BOFH: Burying the hatchet

Alan Parsons


..I can fix your caps lock problem, and the issue with your browser spellchecker. If you could give me your login ID and your IP address (start->run->cmd and then ipconfig).

Alternatively you can release the caps lock jam problem by resetting the moisture management system. The moisture management system flows through the whole machine and stops hard disks from sticking, and even flows down to the keyboard to release stuck keys. To top it up, shut down the PC (we don't want an accident) then unplug the powerlead from the computer, stick it in your mouth and salivate liberally.

Google tells Congress it's not Phorm

Alan Parsons

@Tony Paulazzo

Sky might not be in bed with phorm, but I think they collect data on what you watch and when you watch it. They notice pretty quick if you unplug their phone connection - and get very upset if you don't plug it back in.. I'm guessing the data is valuable to them, so I wouldn't mind betting they sell it on in one form or another. Personally I already pay the BBC for TV, so I'm phucked if I'm gonna pay Murdoch for it too, but there's a great many people out there who can't seem to live without football/Jerry Bruckheimer/minder repeats and whatever else they spew through their n hundred channels of wank.

Lies, damned lies and government statistics

Alan Parsons

@AC - morons

Does red come after amber? I never hung around long enough to find out.

Jeremy Clarkson tilts at windmills

Alan Parsons

Need front plates

The very best way to deal with this technology is to ride a motorbike, which being devoid of forward facing plates, is immune.

Another trick is to sit in the blind spot of a large HGV such that there is no line of sight from the camera to your plate for one of the sets of cameras. This takes skill but is entirely manageable.

Another solution would be to replace the two screws in your front plate with high power infra-red LEDs. This would be invisible to the naked eye, day or night, but would likely render your plate as a pair of high intensity circles of light to a camera. This technique has been used to create "anti-papparatzi" sunglasses ( a mere google search away ) for obscuring one's face from digital CCTV.

For every 'electric thumb' jammer there will be made a 'new electric thumb'

South African survives exploding fridge attack

Alan Parsons

@AC One for the BMA

"(Of course, this may work better in the states, where we prefer our beer cold.)"

You like your beer cold because 'Mercan beer is like having sex in a canoe - they're both f*cking close to water.

In the words of the legendary Hobgoblin T-shirt

What's the matter lager boy - afraid you'll taste something?

The Moderatrix will see you now

Alan Parsons

I'm gonna be a dad again

And I'm very happy indeed.

Legless Swede attempts to row home

Alan Parsons

The magic teacup.

Some friends and I perfected this in our latter teens/early 20s. The magic teacup is a revolutionary form of transport whereby at the end of an evening's entertainment one must consume all that remains in all visible glasses. This invariably leads to waking up at home, the only caveat being that you may have traded or at least parted with one or more items of clothing to get there.

BT starts threatening music downloaders with internet cut-off

Alan Parsons

@AC (@Phorm is worse)

["If you are a web site owner and you do not subscribe to advertising from OIX (phorm's advertising arm) then YOUR adverts on YOUR site will not be affected. If you, as a website owner, subscribe to OIX advertising then the adverts shown to phorm infected people coming to your site will be more "targeted" to their previous browsing habits.

Dont get your adverts from OIX, your web pages are unaffected by phorm, the adverts you choose to display are still displayed."]

Granted, but if you sell cars and DON'T use OIX then the customer who comes to your site is gonna see (on other sites) more adverts for cars based on the fact that they visited YOUR site. So their visit to YOUR site affects what they see elsewhere and essentially takes trade from you. The only way to get that back (or a portion of it) is to join OIX so that people visiting other car sites get directed to you as well by targetted advertising. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Phorm haven't thought about this.

Staff internet policies must be Facebook-ready, warns expert

Alan Parsons

I for one welcome our new Volvo smashing rozzers

1) Best thing to do with a Volvo is break it

2) If they spend all their time crashing into trees etc it might mean I can go bit quicker on the M3 without having a "40 year old speed limit based on a car with 4 drum brakes and a pissed bloke driving it in the fog" imposed on me by someone with the intelligence and charisma of a Vogon.

Not that I got a ticket the other day or anything :)

Alan Parsons

Down anyway....

Right now, it's down :)

London, UK Http error:Http_client.Bad_message("Unknown reason (e.g. unexpected eof, timeout)") 40.14 sec Humble Hosting Ltd

Data Domain sends de-duped files into unalterable state

Alan Parsons


Dedupe is the new virtualization. Lots of hot air and talk of saving loads of money but then the large firms with real data centers look at the caveats and run away.

From my personal experience in the last 5 years:

Investment bank2: Dedupe sounds great! We can massively reduce our tape overhead

Vendor: Yeah, but you'll wanna back up to disk to take proper advantage of it. Tape is dead, get with the times.

Investment bank2: What about bandwidth? I've got 25 tape drives that do 70Mb/s? Can your disk solution do that?

Vendor: You won't be writing as much cos of the dedupe. But we're confident you'll see good bandwidth.

Investment bank2: But 1 Tb of your RAID is 23,000 notes. A 1Tb hcart2 tape which generally manages1.6 - 2Tb with the drive compression is 35 quid. What about all our backup servers that are in different subnets? Can we connect all of them to the same disk like we do with tapes and then manage it with scsi reserve? Or do we need to predict how much storage each media server will need and carve the array up? And how do we offsite?

Vendor: Err

A chap from IBM said to my boss the other day that dedupe is a bit like teenage sex.

Lots of people are talking about it.

Lots of people that say they are doing it actually aren't.

Those that are doing it, aren't doing it well

Big TV flips ad blockers the bird

Alan Parsons

Missing the point

...People detecting ad-blockers and then withholding content (I appreciate that in this case it's not _actually_ being withheld) are missing the point.

I absolutely won't ever click on your advert anyway. I just won't. So let me block it and save me the bandwidth of downloading it, and yourself the bandwidth of serving it. Showing me it really won't change my mind. "but you might WANT to see it, go on, take a look!". No. You can't polish a turd.

@A J Stiles - interesting idea, clicking through so someone pays for nothing. Maybe sites like this should have their banners clicked on a few thousand times per hour for a day or two? The advertisers would likely pull out if they had to shell out 10K for naff all.

EU mulls intervention over BT's secret Phorm trials

Alan Parsons
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Letter sent

Letter sent in French to Viviane... Se y'all on the 16th!

Disgruntled admin gets 63 months for massive data deletion

Alan Parsons
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Dead Man's Handle

You don't hack in after you've left to wreak this kind of havoc. No. There should be a series of at/cron/autosys/<your scheduler here> jobs to do it IF YOU DON'T LOG IN AND TELL IT NOT TO. Much better - kind of like the inverse of a failsafe.. If you get killed by a bus you can beat karma and get your revenge from beyond the grave. Karma can't kill you for being mean enough to set it up - cos that'll set it off! The universe has to leave you alone or else.

Not AC cos no one can fire me or IT'll all break. Ha!

UK civil servant leaves Top Secret Iraq war intelligence documents on a train

Alan Parsons
Paris Hilton

Handed in to auntie

So why oh why did the discoverer of this hand it in to Auntie? I'd have photographed it on its own, then next to a newspaper, OCR scanned it, uploaded to flickr, emailed it to el Reg, and generally done everything I could to make sure that everyone saw the contents. I'd imagine the bit about the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces says "We've trained them well but left sufficient room to overpower them should we need to" and the bit about Al Quaeda says "I can't believe people still believe in the capable, multi-cell, organised axis of evil that we made up"

meh, Paris 'cos even she'd be better at securing information

Fraudsters pool data to beat plastic fraud checks

Alan Parsons

Electric 'thumb' and 'thumb jammer'

Sigh... The fraudsters will always be one step ahead. I work in this industry and can tell you that the crims will always be one up because they don't have to do f**king change management. Their code is agile and flexible. Ours can only be changed after peer review, endless paperwork, arguments, change window agreements, two or more 'canned' attempts due to other operational issues near the target time, beurocracy, accountability blah blah meh whatever.

Seriously we'd have a lot more luck if we got our development team to log onto a board somewhere and ask

h1 4ll u l3GendAry hax0rz, plz cAn w3 hAs sum c0ol War3Z to <ST0p> teh Fr4udy-p33ps? lol xxx lol xxz

Then download whatever we get offered and just roll that out into production.

Boffins sound exam cheat warning on brain enhancing pills

Alan Parsons
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I used to do this, ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin makes a good cocktail.. The caffeine and aspirin are socially accepted, but it's the ephedrine that gives you the 'kick'. Bodybuilders use this stack to get an extra couple of reps out of everything (Anyone remeber Ultimate Orange?), but it's generally accepted that as a metabolism increasing drug, ephedrine will increase concentration too - in fact a World Superbikes rider was once stripped of a title due to testing positive for ephedra. The official line in that case was that this is a concentration enhancing drug.

Side effects vary from being jumpy, irritable, nervous and writing a couple of operating systems in an afternoon to heart failure.

disclaimer: Don't take ephedrine. I don't do it anymore and neither should anyone unless instructed by your doctor :)

EMC: The age of high-end flash has begun

Alan Parsons

@Everyone saying why swap

So I assume none of you have ever seen a 50Tb DB2 database then? I have boxes with hundreds of Gb of RAM. You still need to swap if the app is big enough.

Users of EMC storage don't generally hook it up to a PC with a 'massive' 8Gb of RAM. They hook it up to E25Ks, P690 Regattas and other such beasts.

Oh, Dr Mouse - if it's running Windoof it isn't a server. No, really, it's not.

UK censor launches online content classification drive

Alan Parsons


So they're asking companies to join a VOLUNTARY SCHEME that will MANDATE that they then MUST demonstrate that they're doing age verification.. So if I owned a company that offered downloads of U rated films only I'd say "Yes". But if I operate a free porn site I'm hardly likely to go for it, am I?


the board said it expects “the majority of online digital sales to be going through the service” within a few months.


Hold on - have I missed something here? The majority of online digital sales (if we're talking about movies) is porn. Porn porn porn porn porn. If porn is being SOLD then 99 times out of 100 that's via a credit card anyway. If kids wanna watch porn they're not gonna buy it. What's the point?

Government orders data retention by ISPs

Alan Parsons
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...But what constitutes usage? Are we talking about a report that looks like this:

10:00: Line up

12:37: Line down: Downstream 74324Kb Upstream 4256Kb

13:00: Line up

etc etc

or this:

10:00: Line up

10:01: GET http://www.swedish-fanny.com/spanking/newlyillegalporn.htm


I know that my ISP don't even do the latter, let alone keep it

I know the article said usage not content but under which category do URLs fall..? Using an SSL tunnel to do everything is looking more and more appealing. I just switched from a mainstream ISP to a very much forever-phorm-free ISP to avoid exactly this.

MSI releases £235 desktop Eee PC rival ahead of Asus

Alan Parsons
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bought it

Will let you all know if it's any good or utter chuff :)

Bournemouth floats UK's first 100Mbps sewer broadband network

Alan Parsons

You dirty rat

Wow - didn't know there were so many of us 'Bournemouthians' on here.. But has anyone thought out the true consequences of this? Fibre can be passively tapped and rats have been shown to be worrying intelligent creatures. Bear with me. We're all eating GM food and pooing it out. So what happens if we get uber-intelligent, oversize rats with a penchant for stripping fibre and the teeth to do it? With the number of mobile phones that get flushed they'll have plenty of bits to build a compooter with, plus we all know that you can use poo as a power source.

You don't want to worry about alligators in sewers, it's genetically modified script kiddie rats that are the real issue, and we're handing them a better and faster connection than most of us have. It'll end in tears, but I, for one, welcome our new long tailed, plague bearing overlords.

Or maybe the late great Mr Adams was wrong and it was rats and not mice all along? Seems subtly engineered to me.

Two arrested over piracy at computer fair

Alan Parsons


neither, it wasn't 1,000,000 or 100,000, it was (25p X number of blank DVDs) + (cost of leccy X amount used to burn images)

That's the true value of what they had cos the people they were selling it to wouldn't have bought the originals at full price anyway.

A pirate copy is just a pirate copy. It's NOT a lost sale.

BOFH: PFY's mum pays a visit

Alan Parsons
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...It was my own dear mother who taught me all about marking home directories read only, wall -a "This box going down for patching in 10 minutes" and then shutting it down 30 seconds later..

Keep it up! Great stuff.

Home Office defends 'dangerously misleading' Phorm thumbs-up

Alan Parsons

amfm sponsorship and firefox plugin

Why don't we all dig deep and sponsor aManFromMars to buy lots of domains and write nice big long sections of prose (I use the noun loosely) to put on them. Then we could author a ff plugin to read his stuff back. The phorm profilers would likely collapse in a smoking heap.

BT's 'illegal' 2007 Phorm trial profiled tens of thousands

Alan Parsons

Firefox plugin for 307 redirects

I know people keep asking about ff plugins to generate random traffic etc, but can we have one to warn on 307 redirects? Just a pop up box along the lines of "The request you made is being redirected. If you see an unusual volume of these messages your ISP may have signed up to a data pimping solution like phorm.", with an OK/Cancel Request button?

I don't use BT for anything other than the last mile, but I really want to know (and so would my very anti-phorm ISP) automagically if they put one of these boxes in the exchange!

I guess I could just browse using wget :)

EU demands Google slashes cookie retention times

Alan Parsons

Does anyone keep em anyway?

I bin all cookies every time I close Firefox. Surely everyone does the same? TBH it really doesn't seem to affect my browsing experience..

US teen cuffed for disposable camera 'Taser'

Alan Parsons

I had one of these...

...back at school. A friend and I made it, but we didn't use a disposable battery, we had one of those old flashes that mounts on the top of a proper camera. It took 6 AA batteries and had a 'test' button so you could set the flash off without the camera attached. We had two long nails stuck out of the plastic case and just took the leads off the bulb holder and wired them to the nails instead. It did _seriously_ hurt, but was more useful for opening other people's lockers as if you hit the test button with the nails held against a metal plate it would make a bit of a hole.. One quick lap of the lock and then a bit of brute force and ignorance and a locker could be pwned pretty fast :)

Final beta of Firefox 3 available now

Alan Parsons

grrrr no adblock + yet

but yeah... very ... very ... fast

MPs pile pressure on ISPs over Phorm

Alan Parsons
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Contact MPs

Written to MP, Tobias Ellwood, asking that he support his colleague fully in persuing this matter..

Now to check on the share price again.. :)

BBC races away with five-year F1 rights deal

Alan Parsons


"And, to drag in an IT angle - Microsoft - in cahoots with McLaren - design the ECU,"

Ah.. So when Lewis' car randomly stopped working in the last race of last season for about 30 secs that was a "General Protcetion Fault 0xE"... Makes sense now.

Shame that on F1 cars you can't just "Close all the windows" and see if that speeds it up..

Net think tank: Phorm is illegal

Alan Parsons
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Watching and waiting

Looking at the share price, willing it to crash and burn :)

Three questions for the Jesus SDK

Alan Parsons
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@b shubin

You are, of course, entirely correct. There is no heart-stopping, soul wrenching, life threatening reason to even READ an email/IM or whatever as soon as it arrives, but it takes a strong will (and a certain bloody mindedness) not to slowly start doing so throughout the ownership of the device. If you can handle it, good on you - but most I know have fallen into it eventually. Like Sarah, I've lost friends to this :) I know that if I had one, there's no way I could ignore stuff coming in. Ignorance is bliss and all that.

But really I'm saying there's a deeper issue here. Back in the 80s (for those who are unaware, this was a blissful time where it was all about the body beautiful, when it was acceptable to work out on the beach and cruise about in a speedboat sporting immaculate hair atop wraparound shades, glistening pecs and speedos gripping one's buttocks. We had power naps, never ate lunch and stayed awake for 22 hours a day and it was ok because) we were led to believe that soon, computers were going to take on our jobs and we would have even more "leisure time". We would be their overlords and they would be our minions, and we could spend more time in gaudy clothes listening to music that was so bad it was great, and watching Top Gun, which back then wasn't at all gay. But something went terribly wrong. Think about it, you get to work, and be it through email/IM/some sort of queue management software - we take orders from the machines all day long. Yes, I accept that these orders are originating from other people (largely) but still computer says "Jump", and we say "How high?"

I'm not really a techno-luddite, like all Reg readers I am more of a tech head, in many ways a geek and proud of it. I use a dvorak keyboard, wear a watch with 2Gb usb storage hidden in it and insist on compiling kernels in my "leisure time" :) I just want to ensure that I can "walk away" and with a blackberry or smartphone I wouldn't be strong enough.. I mean right now, I'm not addicted to IT at all. I would never, for example, post to El Reg on a weeken.... hang on.

Alan Parsons
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To be fair, the chap touting the evil devices was at least giving away lots of free stuff. (mugs, t-shirts and the like.) I caught my boss applying some 'BlackBerry' branded lip-salve, asked him if it tasted of blackberries. Faster than I could realise what I'd walked into, he whipped his BlackBerry handset from his hip and gave it a good long lick before replying "Not really, no." - so at least they don't completely kill your sense of humour.



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