* Posts by wheelbearing

36 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jul 2015

Ukraine's IT sector looks to business continuity plans as Russia invades


Re: keeping it to the tech

Could a Ukranian government in exile keep control of their country level domain, and operate online at least, from somewhere outside the country?

Don't our US chums retain control at that level?

Canon makes 'all-in-one' printers that refuse to scan when out of ink, lawsuit claims


Re: Standard Industry Malpractice?

My office had a Brother MFP from the 2000's, inkjet, it was reliable, great when it worked, and ran for at least 15 years, but when any of the inkjet colours ran out, no more scans.

I often wondered if there could be some kind of possibe workaround, if you had the smarts / access to the device firmware.

Our Friends Electric: A pair of alternative options for getting around town


Yep - And What About All Those Magic Roundabouts

Think we're a long way from autonomous robotic cars negotiating the UK's growing number of so called "Magic Roundabouts". Even locals seem to have trouble with these (@ Hemel Hempstead anyone?).

Fancy joining the Roundabout Appreciation Society? There really is such a thing (in Britland).

I sort of like the idea of a handy little two seater beetling to your door, unaided by a driver, but what are all the cab and drivers of the world going to do when the robots have gone and "took our jobs".

I don't think many will want to or could become coders/web wizards etc.

And now most retail is moving on-line, that old standby for the rundant of retail is looking an iffy one to rely on. Looks like it's gonna be Amazon warehouse "operative" or delivery driver...

Russia spoofed AIS data to fake British warship's course days before Crimea guns showdown


Another way of looking at this.... The Budapest Memorandum

Years ago, back when everyone thought the Cold War was done, Yanks, Brits and Ruskies signed up to security assurances, agreeing (amongs other things) to safeguard the terretorial integrity of the Ukraine, including Crimea.

Given the amount of important defence sites in Crimea, I bet the Russians assumed they would never have to worry about their influence fading to the extent that they would need to worry about the continued existence of their bases in Crimea. Times change.

This incident could be seen in the context of us Brits just doing what we legally comitted to do to assist the the Ukraine in protecting their country, rather than just a faded ex-colonial power rattling their rusty weapons.

Don't forget Ukraine once had had nukes, and agreed to give them up mostly due to the guarantees the Russian Federation, USA and and UK underwrote by signing this memorandum.

I don't expect Russia would have been so ready to send it's forces in to Crimea if Kiev was able to "push the button" on a bunch of nukes - not that it would have done or even could have done.

This also puts Donalds' withholding of military support to Ukraine in an even worse light. Not that Biden is making any better job of US foreign policy.

After staff revolt, Freenode management takes over hundreds of IRC channels for 'policy violations'


Re: Entitled douchebag, much?

I know nothing about this particular bust-up, but in my experience "douchebags", "ass-wipes" and all their fellow travellers are pretty well represented by bodies in every politcal party / race / creed / color.

In the age of Googleness and Facebooking etc., you don't have to look hard for evidence of this (though of course there's gonna be a whole lot of of fakery in your search results).

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


Re: Smoking

As an 18 yr ex-smoker (but like with booze, reckon am still addicted on some level), most of my work colleagues/acquaintances/mates who I smoked with were considerate pepes on the whole, and not at all selfish AFAICT, but as with most of those in the smokers "club", were usually happy (or at least reluctantly prepared) to share fags on request. Sharing a light was almost compulsory, not to do so would have been seen as very stingy and almost unheard of.

I do agree that a minority of smokers over-shared their smoke and butts, and that (like a lot of bad behaviour) this got worse the more alcohol was drunk.

I stopped smoking indoors altogether when OH got pregnant & we had kids.

I do admit to smoking at my desk (only in the evenings though) until it got banned shortly before the main UK anti-smoking laws came in. In hindsight, that was very selfish. The IT Manager in the business at the time used to go into the server room for a smoke....


Re: The 80s were generally a happy time...

Some of the supermarket self-serve fuel pumps have had the option to choose how much you want to spend for a few years now - I think you have to select in increments of £5. But I think you still have to hold the handle until it's finished.

Don't US pumps have a similar thing where you can just click the handle and let go and it fuels until the tank is full?

Behold the drive-thru of the California Highway Patrol: Fry me a river, has 'CHIPS' stopped working again?


Crikey, Hell is Probably Saltless

As they won't serve with salt any more..

Guess what's heading to trial? IBM and its tactic of yoinking promised commissions after sales reps seal the deal


Re: The good old days

Totally agree - was in the sales division of a blue chip tech co in the 90's/2000's, the overachieving sales guys regularly got stiffed for their expected bonuses after all the numbers had come in at year end.

Noticable that the further up the ladder you were, the less likely you were to get stiffed. You hardly ever see main board directors and upward in any big corp getting stiffed for their bonus - regardless of how badly they've screwed up the business.


Netflix starts 30-day video data diet at EU's request to ensure network availability during coronavirus crisis


Re: Quality

Snobs - but really, ITV has made some good stuff along with all the shite. And at least it's free shite.

Looming ventilator shortage amid pandemic sparks rise of open-source DIY medical kit. Good thinking – but safe?


Re: More ventilators can be made very quickly

Re the power free ventilator, I think a British engineer inventor I worked with on some stuff came up with the idea for that, really as a portable ventilator. He made nothing out of the invention, but it did get produced and used by the 1000's.

He might be the sort of person needed to get a simple design out double quick, as he knows the engineering and design challenge and he's very hands on. I lost touch with him a couple of years ago and he was always very wary of the limelight and difficult to make contact with, but there might be someone on here who knows him/how to contact him.

His name is Peter Dearman, the fella behind the idea for a practical cryogenic liquid air plant for energy storage, and a liquid air engine for cars (which actually ended up as a viable product to replace diesel chillers on lorries). He's made b**ger all out of this venture either, but has got his name plastered all over it, which is I suppose some compensation.




I await my punishment for posting this but.. reputable word file password cracker sought


I await my punishment for posting this but.. reputable word file password cracker sought

Here we go:

Judging from the gazlillions of results when I searched here, I'm sure this road has been trod many times before on this forum, and this reads like yet another missive from a fraudster, but please bear with me.

My dad (and business partner) is going through the early stages of dementia. He has a Word file in which he keeps a huge list of names and addresses for Christmas cards and other stuff. The word file is encrypted with a password, which he cannot recall.

Can anyone recommend a reputable UK based outfit that could decrypt this? I know there are various cracking tools out there, but I want to do this safely and legitimately.

I realise that providing proof of ownership / bona-fides etc may be tricky but am sure this could be done somehow.

I've tried a few of the mainstream data recovery outfits but while some say they're developing a service for this kind of thing, none seem to yet have an offering. I've got a query out with a pen test company but am hoping someone here already knows of a decent UK based service.

User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster


Re: Reminds me of a story

Were they sock suspenders? Don't see those much these days - nor the leg ones (stockings - not sock stockings) mores the pity. Or trouser (pants) braces (suspenders) - very handy, as is often the case with AOM (any old men) the paunch expands but not proportionately with trouser waist line.

An idle moment is dangerous - how many post responses mention "sprouts"?


An idle moment is dangerous - how many post responses mention "sprouts"?

I've noticed that for some reason, topic responses that mention sprouts seem very popular, they run and run - can you put a number on them? And compare to other popular but random off-topic responses.

Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?


You can take a horse to water but a pencil won't be lead...

My sister got my mum a Kindle Fire for Christmas about four years ago. It remains, unopened, in it's dusty, cobweb covered box underneath a sideboard in the dining room. Every now and again (usually over Christmas holiday) I ask mum if she's used it yet and get a bad look as an answer.

If I really want a fight, I suggest I show her how to use it.

F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg


Re: Hearts & minds propaganda, courtesy of MoD

In ten years time I bet they will have satellites.

Everything running smoothly at the plant? *Whips out mobile phone* Wait. Nooo...


No surprise really

SCADA systems in general use seem to have security (if at all) as an afterthought, probably because connection via the Internet was just not considered when they were set up. Tightening security on the legacy systems is the real worry, new implementations at least provide an opportunity to put security at the core of the design.

1 in 5 STEM bros whinge they can't catch a break in tech world they run


Re: Isn't it a small minority - Bear me out please - two things..

Thing 1

Both assertions - that both men and women in some recruitment/promotion situations are selected against - could be true.

Scenario 1

Medium/ large corp IT setup.Thing 1

Both assertions - that both men and women in some recruitment/promotion situations are selected against - could be true.

Scenario 1

Medium/ large corp IT setup.

Think of the situation - you are the hiring manager/HR person. You have two candidates at the final selection who have performed equally well at interview and are on a par in terms of their CV.

One is white male, one is female. The hiring company has a strong campaign to hire more women. As the hiring manager and HR bod, who do you pick?

Well I reckon 8 out of ten times it will be the woman that gets it - on the basis that especially if the hiring manager/HR is old, white and male a) he will fear heat in some way if he doesn't, b) he hopes to gain brownie points for his own promotion/performance/redundancy review.

I reckon that in this scenario one big factor that may affect the outcome will be the sex of the hiring manager + HR. If you are a woman you may feel you have more scope to hire men without (as much) criticism.

Scenario 2

Small business

You are the owner/manager. You have two candidates at the final selection who have performed equally well at interview and are on a par in terms of their CV.

One is white male, one is female. The hiring company has a strong campaign to hire more women. As the hiring manager and company owner, who do you pick?

Regardless of your sex, as the owner I reckon you'll likely choose the man, because, brutally, the man is less likely to take time off. 2016 ONS (the UK state statistics office) labour market figures indicate women take on average more than 150% more time off than men. That is highly significant, especially in a small business where the likely outcome of your choice will have a much more significant and personal impact.

Thing 2

I think that the UK tech sector overall has massively improved the chances of advancement of women in the tech workplace once they get there. They are now as good as they have ever been, and maybe not far off as good as they will ever get without state sanctioned positive discrimination and a massive change in womens culture, so that, all other things being equivalent, women have as much chance as men to climb the slippery hierarchy pole (should they wish to do so and should they make the same child/dependent care choices as most men - ie default being "don't do much at all").

I do accept that men have a big impact on the career choices women make, especially as tech companies are mostly male dominated (which in practice basically just means there are more men than women in positions of power in the businesses, and so the culture is bound to be more male influenced).

As a dad to three daughters, I think the biggest barrier to women entering the tech workplace now is other women. Despite (or maybe partly because of) my best endeavours, none of my daughters has chosen to pursue science tech educational qualifications. Their girl peer groups appear to be relentless in their view of science and tech as "uncool" "nerdy" and "for blokes mainly".

Female targeted mainstream and popular media just seems to reinforce this attitude.

Watt? You thought the wireless charging war was over? It ain't even begun


How about using some sort of MagSafe type thing?

I reckon it's the wear and tear/unreliability of small format physical friction power connectors that get used alot (aka microUSBs + and Lightning) that is the biggest annoyance. God knows how many of these go duff daily. The whole wireless thing is just a red herring to encourage sales of more (s)crap.


Surely unidirectional wireless is an incredibly inefficient approach to transmitting energy?

For distances of more than a couple of meters..

Transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'


Traffic Merging

I can see making workable rules for this this being a big problem both in town and on the motorway, though it might alleviate some angst around application of the "let-one-out" rule.

Which would also highlight the fact that all the autonomous vehicles ought to be using the same ruleset otherwise even more chaos and inefficiency will reign on the roads than with just the human bean drivers.

Just think of the all the scenarios that would need to be catered for.

Maybe one benefit might be that everyone would / would have to use their indicators in all situations unlike now where most people won't/can't be arsed.

Astroboffins say our Solar System is a dark, violent, cosmic weirdo


Re: To quote Douglas Adams

Digital watches are a pretty neat idea.. still remember the first time I held one, those glowing red numerals burning into my eyes.. what's not like?

80-year-old cyclist killed in prang with Tesla Model S


Re: So what's the story??

The story is that a large chunk of metal on 4 wheels, probably moving very fast, and quite possibly under the active control of an AI system (the other big selling point of this car aside from being electric powered), has killed a road user. Non-AI cars killing people is not big news as this is sadly common.

The growth in the number of AI controlled cars is a big deal for all sorts of reasons.

Most people in charge of cars and bikes are on occasion incredibly careless and slipshod in the way they control their vehicle of choice - this is why lots die and are mutilated every year on the roads. AI may be a way of reducing the carnage (pardon the pun).

There are well understood and established laws and principles which determine how the people involved in vehicle related incidents are treated by the legal systems.

It's still early days for how AI systems will in practice affect this whole area of the law.

Every day, large numbers of people get away with their random stupid driving or cycling choices, but when something bad happens as a result and someone is hurt, the legal system will often examine the what the people involved were doing and their reasons for acting as they did.

AI control adds a whole new level of complexity to this exercise, such what was the AI doing, how was it designed to manage the situation it encountered, what AI settings/options did the "driver" select, did the AI actually do what it "should" have done, etc. etc.

Equifax's malvertising scare, Chromebook TPM RSA key panic, Cuban embassy sonic weapon heard at last – and more

Thumb Down

Equifax - so everyone has given up fighting crappy 3rd party scripts?

Big organisations routinely use and force their website users to accept loads of scripts written / hosted and delivered by a host of much smaller 3rd party outfits often of quite dubious provenance. They seem to do this because it's easier / cheaper than trying to either do the thing the script is suppose to do themselves (which is often totally useless to the site visitor) and can then dodge responsibility and blame the 3rd party when things go wrong. I can't be the only one fed up with this kind of stuff.

Despite best efforts, fewer and fewer women are working in tech


Re: Yup, women are smarter.

Two big factors driving this acceptance of crap quality / safety in mainstream products / services.

A) There are too few financial decision makers at the very top (CEO/CE/MD/main board directors) who have a very good grasp of IT fundamentals. This applies even / or especially to UK based technology companies - and I would include banks, ISPS and retail among the grouping "technology companies".

B) Short term-ism is driving most big public company investment decisions, and given that shortcomings in tech investment will often take a three or four years or more to "bear fruit" (which is the same kind of timescale from when the management decision was made to when those who made the decisions move on - these types are rarely around to pick up the shit and then the next reorganisation / merger / acquisition comes along and hides the costs of their failures), results of which are usually picked up by shedding more of the workforce, more outsourcing/offshoring.

'Jet blast' noise KOs ING bank's spinning rust servers


Sounds nasty..

Like crims and other ne'er do wells needed another attack vector - this could be a difficult one to protect against. The Romanian fire suppression hardware might be a different spec to that in use in other countries but alternatives like fire alarm speakers could theoretically cause similar damage if they have the juice and are designed to be cranked up to those levels (though very unlikely I would have thought).

Lester Haines: RIP


RIP condolences

Very sad to hear, thinking of his family & friends. Surely we'll hear more of Lester's many accomplishments and talents via Vulture central, will always think of him and his cheery prose whenever bacon sarnies or offbeat post pub nosh are on offer.

Did a hacker really pwn the FBI, US Homeland Security and the DoJ?


Re: hotshot

Large amounts of low level background information could be incredibly useful to "the other side" (or sides really) planning to nab more critical stuff. It's the reverse of "never mind the quality, feel the width". Missus.

The designer of the IBM ThinkPad has died


And click-pads have the worst of both worlds!

Only had use of trackpad laptops before first using a nipple(anyone remember the Apple PowerBook Duo/Duo Dock?) so I hated the Thinkpad nipple when I first had to use it. By the time I could get any machine I wanted I'd become a convert and bought a Thinkpad 1834.

One thing I noticed about the nipple was that the red colour made it look a bit grubby after a few years heavy use. No sniggering.

My last Thinkpad was a Lenovo with a wretched click-pad - incredibly crap bit of UI design, and you can't even disable the super naff click feature. You can get used to it, but then people get used to wiping their arses with leaves if they have to.

Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking


Re: James is a dick...

In theory, often in practice it is all about the individual, "someone" upstairs has decided some person has to go, and the redundancy is just a means to en end.

Further confusion at TalkTalk claims it was hit by 'sequential attack'


Re: Maybe they were going for Sequel

No, no, I think she meant a sequel in the sense that the script kiddy had turned them over twice before, and was now going in again for a third go, but maybe getting a bit cocky having found it sooo easy the last couple of times - "Come Snaffle Our Data Please - Part 3 Yes, We're STILL Real Easy".

ICO 'making enquiries' into bizarre shopper data spill at M&S


Plenty more where that came from..

My Dad says he saw another customer's bank account details as well as his own when he logged in last week. He called LLoyds, and they told him not to worry and just to clear his browser cache, and not use old location bar URL history to navigate to the login page any more.

Absolutely nothing to worry about there!

Bacon as deadly as cigarettes and asbestos


Daily Mail Bait...

What would El Reg do without it...

Tardy TalkTalk advertised for a new infosec officer 1 week ago


Odds on Dido to go?

She should do the decent thing - third time unlucky - and go. The shareholders should demand this unless they want to see their assets plummet further and their customers data plundered wholesale yet again (of course it may be too late and they will, as did Sony, have to suffer yet more public pain).

Dido has displayed quite incredible hubris over the last year given the repeated clear warning signs of the infosec problems at TT, If nothing else, the very obvious and well publicised examples of infosec fails at other suffering corps should have pursuaded her that TT needed to pull it's corporate finger out and pay much much more than lip service to the scale of the risks involved .

The head of an IT business that still doesn't seem to really get why IT security should be top of her to do list when repeatedly burned should resign in favour of one who does.

Unfortunately there is very likely a dearth of such tech savvy C level execs.

TalkTalk: Hackers may have nicked personal, banking info on 4 million Brits


Sounds like a repeat of the Sony story

Really TT had no excuse to not have a major drains up security review after the last data breach back in Jan/Feb.

Maybe they did - but has anyone heard of anything along those lines? Certainly at the time in public they underplayed the seriousness of the last breach (was it so bad they felt they couldn't be honest?), and maybe they are now paying the price for not having done more to fix things at the time.

This is what happens when big businesses whose operations rely totally on IT systems don't have IT expertise on their main boards when making the big investment decisions. Most of the ex-beancounters and sales bods who run these big companies just don't get the complexities, the scope or scale and cost of effectively managing IT systems security risks. It;s a big job and getting bigger, harder and more expensive to do well by the hour.

The execs mutual back scratching clubs that make up the majority of major corporate main boards are more interested in upping each others remuneration packages and reducing IT costs, treating IT systems as well formed predictable commodities - which they are not, yet. Anything to stop those pesky non-sales related IT budgets growing....

Customers/consumers should really take the security of their suppliers IT systems much more seriously - some kind of star rating system like those used for hotels would seem appropriate - crude and simplistic, like most of the the called security systems they rely on!

Ye Bug List


Not really a bug...

A few days ago I noticed that Flagfox, a Firefox add-on that purports to show the physical location of servers (or at least IP addresses), was showing that El Reg had moved to Costa Rica - was this just a glitch or have I been suffering from a touch of silver hat syndrome?