* Posts by Ross

221 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Aug 2007


Sky ices Picnic, blames Ofcom



[If Ofcom were to approve the broadcaster's desired switch to MPEG4 encoding, a fourth channel could be squeezed into the spectrum, granting a reprieve for Sky News.]

Who do we lobby to have the switch to MPEG4 blocked?

NASA mulls nuclear Moon reactor


Cooling towers

Eh? Why on Gods offwhite moon would you want cooling towers on the moon? First of all, ambient temperature on the moon spans over 200C so during the day you'd struggle to cool the steam below 100C, and at night it'd freeze solid in the pipes.

Second, (and I may be mistaken here) there is no water cycle on the moon, so venting water vapour into the "atmosphere" is kind of a waste.

The other problem is of course you need cooling towers for larger scale reactors. Larger scale reactors require more fuel. Ppl living in the middle of the Pacific and (especially) in Russia tend to get a bit twitchy if the Americans throw >15kg of fissile material up into space. To be honest a lot of other ppl do too...

Literacy leads to happiness and luuurv



Oh dear. No.

Here's a made up example - you have a sample of men and women. They all support Man Utd. Some are married, some are not.

The percentages say that 50% of female Man Utd fans are married/civilly partnered (?) compared to 100% of male Man Utd fans. Does that mean that half of the men are gay? No, what if the sample was comprised of 200 women and 100 men. Those 100 men would be married to 100 women, so no gay Man U supporters (let's leave that for another discussion folks).

Cloned US ATM cards: Can they fool Brit self-service checkouts?


Fear teh haxx0rs :o/

Errr, they buy high value, easy to sell on items like whiskey eh? Really? They send some 18 year old yoof across to check you ain't underage if you buy alcohol, which kinda makes it risky.

The most cashback you can get is £50 to boot, so hardly as bad as the midnight £300 + £300 trick.

If they make lots of transactions, or the Yank makes a transaction within a few hours of the thieves, it is going to get flagged and stopped (he was in Costa in Baltimore at 1700 EST and in Tesco in Croydon getting some tabs at 1300 GMT. Hmmm...)

Jon G - I can see your argument, but:

i) it's nice to care - it's why we have schools, charity, the NHS etc;

ii) The Yank Bank won't pay up, Tesco/ASDA lose money, they put the prices up, we both pay them (well I don;t, I shop at Sainsbury...) so our shopping bills go up;

iii) it means more hassle when you use your card as they do "security checks" which always annoys me.

The fact you read it on an internet forum you didn;t have to provide 1000 validated CC numbers to get access to should be a heads up that it's a bunch of 'tards talking smack, not the pros.

Reader comments bigger legal risk than forums


Ppl believe what they read on t'internet?!

As I recall, both defamation and slander require that you (the person being defamed or slandered) go down in the estimation of more than one person as a result of what somebody else wrote/said. If you can find two ppl that believe what they read on an internet forum about someone then you should probably ask to move to another asylum.

Lies, damned lies and government statistics


Stats etc

"How many old people die of hyperthermia?"

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say very, very few. Hypothermia on the other hand...


Regarding the stats, it's hardly breaking news is it?

Given that we live in a world where UK.gov owns half the worlds reg'd domains (made up stat) there should be a rule whereby if they want to quote stats at us they link to where we can look at the data ourselves.

Obviously most ppl couldn't give a rats arse and wouldn't bother, but at least the stats would be open to public scrutiny, much like open source software (where 99% of ppl couldn't give a rats arse either but you presume someone has looked at the code).

As has been pointed out, RTTM will depend largely on the camera sites. If every one is in a location that is inherently more dangerous than the average stretch of road then you won't see a great deal of change, as the mean for those locations will be higher than the mean for my street (as an example).

Carbon Trust: Rooftop windmills are eco own-goal


Was it just me?

Was it just me that was told the phrase "economies of scale"? Building piddling little generators of any sort is the crap way to go about making 'leccy. That's one of the reasons why we have 2GW stations rather than everyone putting a little windmill on the spout of their kettle.

I'm convinced that using less energy is the way forward for now, what with the other options being shit an' all. It's not like we even need to invent new cool stuff - some insulation here, AAA rated appliances there, torrenting on Economy 7 here and not surfing the web with an 800W gaming rig there.

And does anyone else remember when we had to get up to change the channel/turn the tele on/off? None of that IR zapper malarky. Apparantly if you turn all your appliances off instead of putting them on standby you can save lot's of energy and therefore money. It's true! If you collapse on the sofa and then realise that you;ve gotta get up again to turn the tele on to watch Big Brother you think "fuck it" and don't bother. It's like being at SCS on Boxing Day all over again - double savings!

Ubisoft pirates game fix from pirates


asm, cracking, etc

Ah, the allegattion that assembly language is some mystical beast raises its head again. It's a lie.

Yes, I imagine software corps pay folk to reverse software made by their rivals. I know for a fact car manufacturers do it with cars, Sky are reputed to have done it with satellite/cable DRM, and I see no reason that software houses wouldn't do it, even if it were only to learn new tricks.

However, you don't need a PhD to do it (although if you want to get paid for it will probably help) Reversing isn't a matter of staring at reams of hex dumps whilst blathering on about some crap a la the late night TV movie you saw this weekend. Modern tools like IDA Pro, Olly Debug (which was written as a hobby, not by a wage slave) and SoftICE make the job infinitely easier. Note I said easier not easy - it's not something you spend 3 minutes watching a YouTube video of then jump right in, but anyone with an IQ over 100 *can* learn.

Game cracking has been going on for decades. Monkey Island 1 had a codewheel that you had to use everytime you loaded it up, and it got cracked and thrown up on various BBSs. Remember X-Force? Did they do it for cash? No, for "props". It still happens now. Yes, organised crime will work in this area, but as with botnets, some folk do it for the bragging rights. I mean hell, just go on IRC and you'll see what I mean.

To Joerg et al - I'm going to say one thing. Breakpoints....

El Reg tells you what the Highway Code can't


Touchy subject :o)

1. Average speed cameras do rock - there's a section on the way to Braintree and the traffic just flows freely as you don't get the 'tards doing the whole accelerate/over brake thing.

2. Re: Ron Eve and Police cars. Heh - you just reminded me of the Meaning of Liff. I think it was "Carnation - a line of cars all moving at exactly the same speed as the first one is a Police car". Probably misquoted but it was 15 years ago...

3. A few ppl saying that having actual plods in cars on the motorway is a better deterent than cameras. It may well be, but given that plods cost an awful lot of money to employ, train and equip, wouldn't it be better to let average speed cameras do the easy job of reminding ppl there's a speed limit, and let the plods do the jobs that cameras can't?

4. Anyone complaining that the accident was the guy in fronts fault should be taken out and shot. It's *your* job to ensure an adequate braking distance given the current conditions. That needs to take into account the possible catastrophic failure of the vehicle in front, or the fact he might drive headlong into a stationary object you can't see. Unlikely yes, but if you can't stop in time for some heavy braking then it's your fault - no one elses.

5. With that in mind, ppl that overtake then pull in to your "safe stopping distance" zone should also be taken into the woods and forced to dig their own grave before being dispatched.

6. The fact that you don't agree with a speed restriction does not give you carte blanche to ignore it. If you feel that strongly then write to either your local Traffic Management department at the local council, or the TRA and tell them. If they disagree I'm sure they know an awful lot more about the situation than you do, so live with it. If they agree, woot!

7. Grow some balls. I'm sorry, but if you do wrong (in this case speeding) and you know you;re doing wrong, then just suck it up if you get caught. Don't bleat about "human rights" or "natural speed limits". Just pay the f***ing fine ok?

8. Public transport too full...petrol too expensive...blah blah. If you're driving then either i) it;s the best option for you so quit moaning; or ii) you are thick - take the public transport.

Disclaimer - this is not directed at anyone in particular ('cept #2 and it says so). If you feel offended, I don't care - please don't tell me. I post merely for my own gratification. Speaking of which....

Dismissed deputy head launches legal fight



Oh deary me.

New Labour seem to think they can solve any problem with new legislation or a press release. Alas this is not the case. This new legislation has a serious risk of increasing the prevalence of abuse, rather than reducing it.

Children now have a very powerful weapon to wield against teachers, carers etc. They can make a false accusation knowing 1) the devastating impact on the accuseds life, and 2) even if they are proven to be liars there will be no come back. It's a brave man or woman that chooses to teach in this day and age.

Once the kids really start going to town with this legislation (got detention? Don't like being told to put your uniform on/take your make up off?) we'll all start to be blase about it all. "Oh, another false claim? Waht's that - 5 this week?" What happens when one of the claims *is* true? It gets the same treatement as the false claims. Then we're in a worse situation than before the legislation.


Grand Theft Auto reportedly inspires teen rampage


Here's how it works

Someone does something stupid/illegal and gets caught. Then they try to shift the blame from themselves and onto others by saying it was the drink/drugs/voices/violent games and films that made me do it guv' - don't blame me!

The quicker the retarded "oh won't someone think of the children" brigade get that through their thick skulls the better we'll all be.

Leeds thieves target Ford Focus chips


Woo, woo

This is the Police - put the stone down and step out of the glass house!

I mean seriously - "Peter Lewis chipped in with" Please make it stop...

Gumshoes fined for debt collection pretexting blag


Fine amounts vs Payment for services

[It's not known how much Hackett and Whalley were paid for their service]

A few ppl claiming that the two gumshoes got paid more than £900 a piece on the basis of.... Well I dunno. We used a company a few years back to trace people that owed money. They charged a 2 figure sum per successful search. Either Blackhorse FS are paying *way* over the market rate, or anyone thinking that the gumshoes made a profit out of this are (thankfully) mistaken. It's also unlikely that they will find it easy to get any more work in this line of business too which is a good thing.

Remember that it's a good thing that debtors can be legitimately tracked - it saves you having to pay their gas/electric/credit card/mortgage bills etc. Whatever companies lose in unpaid debt they pass onto their paying customers in the form of increased charges. Why should you and I pay their bills?

I see nobody seems to have mentioned BTs part in this - it was after all their lack of controls that led to the data being leaked. You will always have people trying to obtain information by deception, whether that be gumshoes, ID thieves or sociopathic ex-boyfriends. Cutting off the supply of information at the source is what we should be focusing on, not what some blokes did with it once they had it (although that can of course be a salutary tale that inclines people to stop giving information out willy nilly)

BT need a right b*ll*ck*ng for their part in this. They were the people that actually gave the address out.

Phorm failed to mention 'illegal' trials at Home Office meeting in 2007



Whilst this debacle *does* need to be dealt with and brought to light, the Press Office were correct to deal with El Reg as they did.

For the 99% of you that don't work in an organisation with a press office, the whole point of a press office is to field queries from the press. The rest of the organisation do NOT answer questions from journalists. If a journalist asks you anything you direct them to the press office. The press already know this, and frankly it's poor journalism to try to go straight to a senior officer. What the hell do you think he;s going to do? Yes, forward it to the press office. If you want to talk with him you set up an interview. If he won't give you one then so be it. You work around it.

I know this is a very frustrating situation that is just not getting a foothold in the mainstream press, but you have to be patient, work hard with your contacts in more mainstream positions and maybe create a strong, single grassroots movement that *will* get noticed. Trying to circumvent the press office is a beginners mistake.

Basically, no court case = no mainstream press coverage. To them this is old news. It happened, it's not happening. A court case changes that. If you want results partner up with some folk and pay for a private RIPA prosecution. You may even get some increased traffic out of it. I vote for AO as front man!

Disgruntled admin gets 63 months for massive data deletion


Clever hacker? That's a joke right?

How stupid was this guy? Overlooking the fact he caused grief to innocent 3rd parties instead of directly picking on the people he feels aggrieved him he was a total amateur.

Forget the technical aspects for now - what;s the first question the FBI ask the organisation when they come looking for clues? "Any disgruntled former employees?" Ooops. A quick scan of the logs sees he logged in with a valid account, confirming he was the attacker, so they just need a bit more evidence to strengthen the case and voila. Case closed.

He had to know he was the first guy they'd check out. What he should have done was cracked the network instead of using a valid account. He could even have weakened the network security whilst on the job without it looking too obvious.

Then he should have scoped out some unprotected wifi, dropped off a fully charged laptop nearby with the attack on a cron job. Finally, go someplace about 50 miles away with lots of ppl and CCTV, spend some money on your credit card and you have a lovely alibi, so even when they do come calling they don't find your scrubbed laptop, and they see you have a very strong alibi.

Bloody amateurs...

AVG scanner blasts internet with fake traffic


Right idea, wrong solution

Protecting users from malware located on webpages is a good idea - it's probably the biggest attack vector these days what with every one and his dog using a router with built in firewall. The AVG method is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut though.

A better alternative would be to run a local proxy that scans your inbound traffic for malware. That way only the pages you actually visit are scanned, rather than anything Google deems fit to throw up as a search result. It would save web server bandwidth, your bandwidth, and your CPU cycles. It also still ensures that the detected malware doesn't hit your browser.

Blackswift hyperplane hits trouble in Washington


A certain irony

I can't help but feel that had the DoD not spent billions needlessly invading Middle East countries recently they would have had plenty in the kitty to make new fangled toys like this.

However, this is just boffins pushing the envelope, and has no practical use in current or medium term time frames. Who do we think we need to use it against? A bunch of goat herders with land mines? The days of war on the battlefield are pretty much over, in the same way that lining up in your shiney red coat and charging the enemy are over.

If they want to blow a fat wad of green on something the military can use they should really be creating stuff for the poor buggers on the ground.

UK prisoners offered data cabling training


Dave Ashton hits nail on head

This is a good system, providing a possible employment route when they get out of click. Just because you've been in prison doesn't mean you committed a crime of dishonesty. Negligence is enough for many crimes, and it's very easy to end up inside having defended yourself/your wife too vigorously in the eyes of the law from a burglar. I don't think we should say that if you hit a burglar in your house you should never get a job again (unless you have a subscription to the Daily Mail of course)

Top Tory resigns on principle over 42 days bill


Re Carol Yates

I totally agree that DD is just looking to get himself some column inches. This wouldn't be happening if he was in a swing seat. He knows his job is safe - the LDs won't oppose him as they agree with his stance, Lab won't because they know they will lose so it's best to just let him win by default and say "it proves nothing".

However the 42 days issue is a BIG issue. Not 42 vs 28 - that means nothing. The fact that you can be taken from the street without charge, and disappeared for 4-7 weeks should scare you though. It's getting very South American over here. Yes the Home Secretary needs to sign off on it, but there is no public scrutiny as that might tip the terrorists off (so they say). So, it is possible to shut people up during an election campaign for example, or during a public consultation or state visit etc. Talk about burying bad news!

5 days is sufficient. Yes, it is theoretically possible that someone may slip through the net and let off a bomb. That's the price I *choose* to pay for my freedom. Risk is inherent in our lives - locking ourselves (and others that are different to us) away to mitigate what is a tiny, tiny risk compared to others we face on a daily basis is not the way forward for a progressive, democratic society. Roll on the Iron Curtain Mk II :o/

British pilot makes first supersonic stealth jumpjet flight


Joined up thinking

The only "joined up thinking" these guys are capable of involves dots.

Fraudsters pool data to beat plastic fraud checks


One simple problem

The problem with card security is extremely simple. In order to make a payment you need to give all of the relevant details to the payee. Those details can then be reused, usually by yourself, but possibly by somebody else.

If you gave a symmetric encryption key to someone you'd consider it compromised and would get a new one, but we give our card details out all the time. It's ridiculous.

The OTP system is the *only* secure method of making a payment with your card as it includes an element that cannot be replayed or (presuming it has been implemented correctly) guessed. Until we get such a system in the UK you can consider all of your card details compromised and at risk of abuse.

What hell hath science wrought lately?



Je suis confused.

They already grow organs for xenotransplantation into humans. They use pigs. It's kinda scary. Not so much the growing organs in pigs and putting them in ppl - more the way it's done. I had images of pigs running around in their sty, frolicking in mud, eating turnips etc. Apparantly that's not how it works tho.

The mother is killed, her piglets harvested from her and they live in a "clean room" until they harvest the organs from them. If you are the recipient of such an organ (stop sniggering!) you aren't allowed to have babies, give blood, and I'm pretty sure lots of countries won't let you enter them, so you can say goodbye to holidays outside of Skeggy.

Poor piggies....

So clearly the argument for creating chimeras is just a smokescreen - they just want to create a mindless hive/flock army to suppress us all.

Police probe pirate-DVD detecting dog's demise


Re: Smells of piracy

It doesn't matter whether the disks can be determined to be pirated or legit by smell. If you import thousands of disks for sale you need to pay tax on them. Do you honestly think the pirates put "10,000 DVDs" on their manifest? Really? No, so if your dog sniffs out 10,000 DVDs in a box that says it doesn't have 10,000 DVDs in it then you can bet it's worth a closer gander.

New Microgeneration report - what it actually says


Oh. My. God

I'm sorry, but I got to "it's not surprising that the nuclear energy industry - unlike the microgeneration one - does not consider that it needs any subsidy at all in the UK" and nearly had a fit. Ok, a quick and dirty lesson in how the Grid works (from someone that worked at a power station)...

Boffins work out how much 'leccy they are going to need at various times to make sure we don't get blackouts, but we don't make too much juice and see it go to waste. It's all very clever, involving things like the TV schedule, sporting events, the weather etc.

They then start an auction - each power station makes a bid, stating how many MW they can produce, and how much they will charge per MW.

The lowest bids are taken until the amount of 'leccy they require is satisfied.

Fair enough so far right? But here's the kicker - the nukes all bid in at 0p. Yes, that's right, the nukes *always* get to sell their maximum output. They still get paid, and they get paid sufficiently well to make a profit. So why do they bid in at 0p? Basically nuke power is more expensive than coal and gas, and if they bid in at their market rate they wouldn't be running very often. Running nukes down and starting them back up is something they like to avoid, so to keep them up and running they are SUBSIDISED.

US imposes 72 hour pre-reg for Visa waiver travellers


Lost in the noise

Eurodisney ftw.

I wonder what filters the database will have to stop someone randomly spamming it with useless info. Not that I know anyone that would be inclined to such a thing...

Heathrow T5 security tackles Transformers t-shirt threat


Like Natalie Imbruglia

I'm torn.

Heathrow is private land and they are within their rights to have a "dress code" if you will. However, the idea that a t-shirt with Optimus Prime on is dangerous, offensive, likely to induce panic/fear etc is ridiculous.

I can understand them causing grief for the fame whores that wear bulky jackets with wires coming out of them, and I can understand them not wishing people to wear clothing that is generally accepted to be offensive (e.g. with profanity), as you can expect children to be present. Pictures of robots, guns, bombs etc though don't seem to fall into either of those categories. At least to me.

Time for a bet with my mates methinks. Must get me a t-shirt printed up before my hols - "suicide is painless" on the front, "as long as you mix the chapatti flour and hydrogen peroxide in the correct ratio" on the back... I won't be flying from LHR mind.

Undercover teachers to track gang members online


Teachers again?

[One sure fire sign of gang behaviour would appear to be the sudden acquisition of expensive trainers or mobile phones ]

Why the sudden tabloidism? Nobody is saying that kids with new trainers are gang members. However it may well be a trigger for further investigation. It's very similar to the guy that hasn't paid tax or NI in three years suddenly driving an Audi RX8 and wearing an awful lot of Prada. It doesn't mean he's a criminal - he way have won the lottery - but it's worth a gander.

Kids have no or very little independant income - if they come into school with the very latest mobile phone every term it indicates that their parents have more money than sense, or the kid may be involved in something they ought not be.

I also take issue with the comment about invading childrens private space. Since when was You Tube, Facebook, My Space etc private space? If you publish it for all and sundry to see it's public.

I do agree that teachers should not be the first people called upon to do this job. Parents are the obvious starting point, although if your kid's in a gang it may possibly be a reflection on your parenting skills. Next up are the Police, but given the abysmal lack of skills and interest from the Police I think we can all be confident in getting nowhere down that route. Alas that seems to leave the teachers to pick up the slack in the system as usual.

My solution to the "gang culture" issue is rather more simple, involving one telephone number, and a few extra Police officers. You see a gang causing grief, you phone the number. 30 mins later two dozen SO19 officers arrive in riot gear and break some skulls. Forget arrests etc unless they are armed - saves on paperwork. Kids cause grief in groups because it makes them feel invulnerable. A few sound beatings from faceless heavies in kevlar and riot masks will remove that thinking.

I've nothing against kids hanging around enjoying their mates company, but when they start threatening folk, and damaging property they should be taught a swift and brutal lesson.

Petrol stations deploy anti-theft stingers


Pre pay ftw

So Chris W presumably never books a holiday, uses the train, goes to the cinema, etc? We prepay for many things, I don't have a problem with doing it for petrol. In fact I *welcome* it. Why?...

Like anything, when a business prices an item for sale they work out how much it will cost them to provide that item to you including resources, transport costs, taxes etc. Then they add their profit margin. Then that;s the final cost right? No, then they add a "theft buffer" - they know ppl are going to steal some of their stuff, so they add that cost to what all the honest ppl pay. Yes - you and I are paying for the goods that the thieves steal. Companies adopting prepay can therefore offer a cost saving to their customers, hopefully attracting them inspite of the perceived "hassle" that some people see with it.

I personally would rather pay 108p per litre up front rather than 113p per litre it is at most places. It's still around $10 a gallon but any savings are welcomed.

Five misunderstood Vista features


UAC and limited user rights

MS are actually correct in saying that UAC offers no benefits in the enterprise environment. Running with "restricted admin" = running with admin rights, which is a no no. It is beneficial in the home environment as it allows a "smooth" transition from crappy apps that require admin to more well thought out apps that don't. Had MS just said "right, we're breaking all those apps that need admin privs" I'm fairly sure there'd have been more complaints.

With regards to running games (or any other app) with limited user rights it's generally pretty simple. I used to run WoW (yeah, yeah) with limited user rights on my 2k box at home. Just had to change the ownership on a couple of files that WoW writes back to (mainly interface stuff in XML) and voila. Ran fine (until patch day, but really, having to restart the app with "Run as..." once every 4-6 weeks was hardly a pain)

The only exceptions are those where the app you are running is so poorly written it shouldn't even be run on your box full stop. When I was testing the Active Directory roll out here I discovered that one of our primary apps (the market leader in its field) was writing temp files to c:\. No amount of tinkering with the OS is going to fix that kind of incompetence. That;s a job for the people that pay (or don't ;o) the invoices. Alas home users don't have that kind of clout.

Sharp claims record mobile fuel cell power density


Back to the Future?

At the end of Back to the Future Doc has replaced his U-235 guzzling reactor with a houshold waste munching one. Given that methanol can be made by partial oxidation of biomass could this be Docs new power plant? Shove your potato peelings and tea bags in one end, get CO2, water and juice out the other!

Mounties taser bed-ridden octagenarian


Knife fights are not fun

First of all, if any of you have actually done any knife defence training you will KNOW that it doesn't matter how good you are, you're going to get cut. Ok, a slash or two across the forearms isn;t of itself life threatening, but you have no idea where that knife has been. Would you like to wait around for the HIV/Hep C blood test? I sure as hell wouldn't. People have committed suicide before whilst awaiting the results of such tests - why should the police be put through that stress?

Now I fully agree that *3* tazerings seem a tad excessive, but the alternatives were to 1) break his arm/wrist with a baton or 2) stick morphine in his IV which may well kill him. And that presumes you can get close enough to his IV line to adminster the drugs without getting stabbed/slashed.

Given that he was waving a knife around in a manner that was sufficiently dangerous for the hospital staff to call the police there was never going to be a good outcome unless he did as he was told and dropped the knife.

Todays lesson? If armed police tell you to drop the knife/gun/table leg you damn well drop it.

I Was A Teenage Bot Master


5 years?!

It's good to hear the police are getting involved with the bot herders (although less impressive they only seem to go after the amateurs that advertise and rent servers using their own credit cards). However, 5 years for approx $40,000 of fraud?!

Check out http://www.birminghammail.net/news/worcestershire-news/tm_headline=-54-million-vat-fraud-gang-is-jailed&method=full&objectid=18421584&siteid=50002-name_page.html

40 years jail time between 8 ppl, so an average of 5 years each. I think the obvious lesson from these stories is if you're going to commit fraud, think BIG! I mean, £7mil a piece (approx $14mil) for 5 years "work"? I'd do it. Ok, you'd have to live on a random tropical island for the rest of your life, but damn it'd be a nice life.

I think there is an inexcusable disparity in sentencing here. What's the going rate for getting drunk, going out on your motorbike and killing someone? 2-3 years? It;s ridiculous. The message seems to be if you mess with ppl with money you get screwed, if you have the money or just kill some random poor person we don't care.

No-fly list grounds US Air Marshals


Re: John A Blackley

[If you're in the UK, please ask someone...about fingerprinting you as you're leaving your own country.]

I asked someone. It turns out you can fly from 4 other terminals at Heathrow. Or, if you fancy you can fly from 29 other airports instead. So basically there is one terminal at one airport where you get fingerprinted.

[Ask someone about the searches you have to go through to get on a plane to leave your own country]

The ones that are designed to stop people taking knives, guns, chemicals, etc on board so the plane can be hijacked and flown into a large financial complex in New York (just to pull an example out of thin air)? They are hardly invasive - the most onerous part is having to take my shoes off, as they don't provide any benches for you to sit on to get the things back on.

The worst part of the UK airport "experience" is the 3 hours stood in the departure area.

Whitehats tackle The Great Botnet Dilemma


Depends where the server is located

Basically removing the trojan sans permission is illegal. If the server that does the disinfection is located somewhere that makes prosecution very hard for most people then they'd probably get away with it, but would you risk your business on it?

The better option would be to set up the server ready to disinfect PCs on a case by case basis, and allow people to connect to the server, have it check the database of IPs and ask for permission to disinfect. Would it be as effective? No. But it's better than nowt, and it's legal to boot.

Police nick 460 a day for using mobiles while driving


I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but...

[though unless the handset is still clasped in their cold, dead fingers, it's not clear how they establish if a hands-free kit was in use]

...I'm guessing if you were on the phone at the time, and there's no handsfree kit in the car, you weren't using a hands free kit. Just a guess mind.

Brown opts for morality over science on 'lethal skunk'


Gotta love the stoner arguments

Mr Buxtons comment at 13:20 made me giggle more than any amount of skunk ever could. Seriously, that was hysterical :o)

However, on a more serious note, I honestly can't believe people would even begin to think that cannabis will be legalised. You are asking for an *increase* in the amount of smoking in the UK. And to say that the law prohibiting cannabis is somehow immoral is quite ridiculous. Less people smoking *anything* means less smoking, means less PASSIVE SMOKING, means less people with lung cancer that never even smoked. And your moral argument is?...

People also appear to be overlooking the rather important point that the scientists are *expected* to make which is that cannabis should still be illegal (and remain a Class C substance) The report isn;t actually out yet either way.

Browns stance is based on the message being sent by the classification of the drug. Currently many kids believe that cannabis isn't "illegal" as you don't get arrested for possession, and it is therefore ok. You then end up with a few million kids stoned out of their heads, doing poorly at school, not getting further qualifications and not being able to do the jobs that the Government wants the UKs workforce to be able to carry out.

Surprisingly enough it's not just about Brown wanting to take your rattle off you, although given some of the reactions on here you'd think otherwise...


Wow, stupid much?

[The committee found that reported cases of schizophrenia actually fell between 1998 and 2005 suggesting little link to cannabis use which has increased in the last two decades.]

And? Superimpose the graphs for number of male smokers in the UK from 1940 to date and the graph for number of males diagnosed with lung cancer. Guess what you see? Yes, the number of smokers drops off after about 1970 and the number of cancers goes UP. Because it takes TIME to develop. Jesus...

The argument about cannabis being safer than alcohol because more people die of alcohol related diseases is almost as retarded as my cousin with three chromosome 21s. You may as well say shooting people in the face is safer than drinking because less people die from being shot in the face than do from alcohol.

Frankly the clasification of cannabis arguments make me laugh. Who gives a fuck? It;s illegal either way. Either don't smoke it, or smoke it and take the consequences in the unlikely event you get busted. It;s called being a grown up.

I would laugh even more if the Government listened to the "alcohol is more dangerous" arguments and banned alcohol too, but only for about half an hour, then I'd be pissed I couldn't get a drink.

New season Prada phone coming soon to catwalk?


Clearly Photoshop(TM)ed

The screen isn't scratched to bits

MS patch system poses 'significant risk', say researchers


Looking into my crystal ball I see....

One sentence stood out for me in that article.

[As reverse engineering gets more prevalent in the industry, you should be generally thinking about how to change your code to make it harder to do.]

So, how many months do you think it will be before *all* reverse engineering is illegal?

Apple gets into mine-sweeping, missiles and storage


What hatred?

Nothing anti-Apple in this article.

PA Semis clients won't have too much to worry about quite yet. They will still have contracts that need to be met by PA Semi. The problems may arise after those contract expire and they need newer chip designs. Apple could still allow the PA Semi boffins to create work for other organisations, but I promise you now they won't be producing chip designs for LG/Sony/Nokia etc.

I don't think anyone outside of Apples upper echelons *knows* why they took PA Semi in-house. There's a lot of talk about the next iPhone or whatever, and the aggressive powerstepping technology helps support that argument, but Apples growth area at the moment is in Macs not iPods. The low power chips give Apple the edge in portable computing and low end servers (especially home media servers which may sit idle for hours on end, then be required to serve a few songs, then encode HD TV to disc). The low heat output also gives Apple many more options regarding form factor, which is where they can stand out from the Intel boxes.

As for why PA Semi "sold out" - the economic downturn in the USA isn't good news for VCs. They'll have seen that their investment in PA Semi has almost topped out for now, and will have wanted to liquidate their holdings. Apple offered $278m in *cash*. Had the buyout been funded by stock I doubt it would have been accepted, but it's a brave man that turns down that much cash in todays economic climate.

Well regardless of whether I'm in the right ball park or way out, it'll prolly be 18months or so until we see any real results from the acquisition. I look forward to whatever cool toys Apple produce off the back of this.

PS, John Parker - 'Maybe Ben's spelling of "were" is telling as to his intelligence'. Yes, it says he can spell.

'Extreme porn' law could criminalise millions


Dear George

Dear George,

I am writing to you as a helpless citizen oppressed by an unelected dictatorship. Please will you bring Western Democracy and tanks to my country. We have very little oil, but we can give you Northern Rock (it's everything we have).


Welsh student exposed to nude webcam operators


Re: Discrimination etc

No, it's not illegal to pay using commission. Almost *any* job except possibly telephone sales that pays commission benefits the attractive folk (both men and women, but mainly women). I often see jobs in the paper for women to walk around a bar selling shots for commission, usually whilst wearing less than I wear in the shower.

Men have just as good an opportunity to make good commission if not more than women, so you can forget that argument. I'm sure there are plenty of gay men willing to part with their cc details as well as women to see a buff bit of meat on a webcam.

And yes, this student is retarded. It's a legal job, it pays well for how easy and safe it is, and you can work part time I presume. If you think they're being exploited by the employer then you should compare accountants hourly pay with their charge out rates. You'll see approximately 8-10x difference.

Now, does anyone have a link to the job spec?...

Brain-plug weapons could provide war crime immunity


Written by a law student?!

Either American law is *significantly* different from UK law, or he;s an extremely poor student.

In general you need to prove two elements beyond reasonable doubt to show a crime has taken place. You need to show mens rea (guilty mind - usually intent, or negligence) and actus reus (the guilty act). If the soldier only falls foul of one of those two things he generally won't be guilty. By definition if he only thinks something but doesn't carry out the guilty act (i.e. he doesn't pull thre trigger) he can't be guilty.

PS, @Kurt

[No third party could distinguish the asymmetrical kill ratio obtained from overwhelming firepower from the asymmetrical kill ratio inflicted by (for instance) a weapon of mass destruction. In the end, either route results in body bags]

The difference isn't the number of body bags, it's the contents of those bags. The rules of war say nothing about how many people you can kill, just about who you can kill and when. There's nothing wrong with killing 100,000 enemy combatants, but killing 1000 civilians is very, very bad.

Europe moves against Internet's 'virtual training camps'



[Yes. I just wouldn't stand for them acting on it]

Ah ok, so inciting racist attacks is fine?


@So more credibility then

Totally disagree. And I'm so convinced of my position I'll put my name to it too ;o)

The fact an argument is false/crap/wrong/weak etc doesn't mean many people won't believe it. Or enough people to cause an awful lot of problems anyway. It's often about *how* the argument is delivered rather than the content. I refer you to Act 3 Scene 2 of Julius Caesar for an example. Marc Anthony plays to the emotions of the assembled crowd, Brutus attempts to reason with them. Guess which works out best?

Censorship is indeed a dangerous tool, but there are circumstances where limiting what people can say is beneficial to society. Would you stand for people saying black people are no better than animals, and if you don't want them raping your wife you should chase them out of town? Probably not, and we have laws against that kind of thing - i.e. we have censorship.

Yes, most of the arguments used by religious fundamentalists of all persuasions are crap, but arguing a la Brutus from a cold, logical perspective isn't going to get you anywhere good. So, are you going to censor the argument or are you going to shout loudly and hope everyone listens to you instead? Best of luck mate...

DARPA in search for five-year-mission solar wingship


Damn it

You said "'Vulture' Enterprise-style stratocruiser compo is go"!!!! You got my hopes up - I thought *you* were running the comp. Now what am I going to do with my plans for a stratocruising spy thingy?

Ballmer bitch slaps Vista


Nub + crux

"Certainly, you never want to let five years go between releases" says Mr Ballmer.

Which is pretty much the nub and the crux of Vistas problems. Do you think the tech side signed off Vista as ready for the market, or do you think management stuck their oar in due to the half a decade lull between OSes?

It could be a really good OS. If they got around to finishing it.

US gov may forbid BAE Eurofighter sale to Saudis


Who are we going to war with?

Ppl seem to overlook the basic question of who do we want to drop bombs on? The only reason we need things like the TFX/Typhoon is to blow ppl up. Why do we need our own? Are we going to invade somewhere on our own? I doubt it.

We'll either be working with the Yanks, NATO, the UN or EU. Just let them stick their boys/robots in the sky. If it gets to the stage when we have to defend ourselves from the USA, China, France or whoever then a few hundred Typhoons aren't gonna do crap. Why waste the money?

Surely we'd be better either spending that money outside the MoD, or in other military areas? Buy some better transport helicopters, fit all our Hercules with explosive suppressant foam, give *every* soldier kevlar and ceramic inserts, stop sending front line soldiers out on patrol in aunarmoured Landrovers and buy them some proper APCs, replace the SA-80, bring armed forces homes up to a decent living standard, provide proper care and rehabilitation for the poor buggers that are injured on tour, etc. I'm sure there are hundreds more things that could be done with the money to make our forces better.

Frankly I just wish that :

1. We'd sell the bloody planes already and take the money;

2. The bent politicians, civil servants and arms dealers involved in this debacle get sent to the clink; and

3. They'd stop spending insane amounts of tax payers money on rubbish like the Typhoon and actually improve this ****ing mess of a country.

Am I really the only one stood in this corner, 'cause I sure feel lonely?

El Reg celebrates 10th birthday


Where was the NSFW tag?!

I'm guessing the El Reg ladies made a fortune out of this article. Wonder how much they bet that they'd get a string of "omg gurls!!!!!! Gief number plx!!!!11!!!" responses. Not that it was a particularly risky bet...

Does anyone else see the resemblence between AO and Dylan Moran in Blackbooks (after an unfortunate accident with a bus possibly). Maybe it's the "pry my wine from my cold dead fingers" look going on there, or the slightly dishevelled look (meant in the nicest way) or just the fact they're both bitter ****ers?

Well I hopes you had much fun both on the lash and over the last 10 years.

PS can I has a job? The beer was free right? No? Oh well, forget it.

Windows Vista update 'kills' USB devices



Buddypepper says

[...i've got 4gb of ram, win2k would only see 2 of that...]

then goes on to say

[...about 50% of my ram's tied up just with the OS...]

So the difference between running Win2k and Vista is?... Either way you've only got 2GB to play with.

Saying that, depending on your flavour of Win2k you can access up to 32GB of physical memory. Win2kPro can actually access 4GB of RAM, but the applications only get to play in 2GB of it. I can run with 8GB on this box thanks to Physical Addressing Extensions. Yes, it's a Win2k box. No, I don't have 8GB of RAM installed :o)

I agree that if you have 64bit hardware and 64bit apps then it makes sense to stick a 64bit OS between them.