* Posts by scubaal

41 publicly visible posts • joined 8 Jan 2016

Want a Cybertruck? You're stuck with it for a year, says Tesla


Re: What about the free market?


In most jurisdictions you can’t contract anything illegal. Just because the rental agreement says ‘no black people’ or ‘murders can be carried out only on Tuesdays’ doesn’t make it legal. For example it is now illegal is some Australian jurisdiction (such as the ACT) so say ‘no pets’ on rental agreements. Your choice is to accept pets - or not rent your property. Don’t know if Teslas clause would be legal *everywhere* but I guess they only care about the US anyway.

The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt


groundhog day

How many times do we have to do this?

It seems every few years a pollie somewhere comes up with the way to 'protect the children' by breaking everything else.

The crazy thing about this (if it were to be enacted) is it will utterly destroy any IT security business based in the UK.

A tip for content filter evaluators: erase the list of sites you tested, don't share them on 100 PCs


Re: A lot of El Reg Readers really are very old

er no it wasnt.

try sendmail - which was the basic unix messaging system

it had no concept of security because it was for exchanging messages between universites and 'who would ever want to read anyone elses message......or pretend to be anyone else.....etc?'.........

plain text everything

security was bolted on a lot later to almost everything associated with the internet because in the early days it was just 'friends and colleagues sharing stuff'


unexpected consequences

20 years ago I was IT manager for a private girls school.

Understandably they were very concerned about what material was being accessed from their network.

I had to install and maintain the filters. Which meant testing them. Which meant trying to access some pretty awful stuff.

As a middle aged male this wasnt something I wanted misunderstood.

End of reputation and career.

I did the testing during the school holidays with the explicit written permission of the school precipal to attempt to bypass the filters between the hours of X and Y.

I then provided her with the log of my attempted activities - which she counter-signed.

Interestingly the students werent that interested in 'porn' (unlike the boys school) - the biggest issues we had were with what you would nowadays call cyber-bullying.....we called them 'bitch sites' in my day :)

The Pentagon is shockingly bad at managing its employee smartphones


same old same old

exactly the same as every other government department I have worked for or with.

lots of talk about 'securing devices' but then people (usually senior people) complain that IT are 'too restrictive' in their approach and/or use their home/personal device for work

again and again

if someone can download it - they will

only thing that works (from a security PoV) is to block the download/install access - which doesnt work from a social/political PoV

twas ever thus

UK launches 'consultation' with EU over exclusion from science programs


Ha ha ha ha ha.

So legislating to rip up an agreement you signed causes the other party to be 'less than urgent' in delivering things you want.

Who would have thought it?

I absolutlely love the EU resaponse:

"The Commission takes note of the UK's request for consultation and will follow up on this in line with the applicable rules, as set out in the TCA"

So we are going to follow the rules.....and there is no timetable in the rules....and there is nothing you can do about it.....brilliant......

Logging and monitoring can be a form of bullying, and make for lousy infosec


Yes and no


I think the issue is *excessive* monitoring and logging.

Having spent many decades in the public sector I can tell you that we have a 'duty of care' to all employees.

That includes making sure they are in a safe workspace.

Which is why we log web access and make sure everyone knows we do.

Yes - Im talking porn.

Every year a couple of public servants are sacked for acessing porn in the workspace.

If we didnt log/review that and action it *other* employees would (rightly) complain about their work environment.

Heck - a UK MP just resigned for porn in the workspace.

So logging to ensure approrpriate/ethical/legal use of work resources - yes.

Continuous spying on all activities - no.

I would also add that any user-speific investigation has to be signed off in writing at an extremely high level and is undertaken in confidence, to protect the IT folks from being pressured by random exec to 'take a look at X'.

Oracle to release on-prem software usage tools to prep cloud switch


it would be bigger news if Oracle *didnt* use that data for audit

SpaceX's Starlink service lands first aviation customer


Re: Put that laptop away

it was always bullshit - otherwise planes would be dropping out of the sky all the time.

Are we seriously saying the safety of every plane in the worlkd requires on every one of its 400+ passengers putting their 3 devices into flight mode?

There was never any evidence for interference.

Web3 'contains the seeds of a dystopian nightmare' says analyst firm


too old

sigh I remember one of the first Internet Society conference (early 90s) - where the tag line was 'the Internet is for everyone' - because we had to convince everyone it was a good thing. Those were back in the heady days where the utopian dream was anyone would be able to publish anything.....without realising how awful it wold be if anyone could publish anything

SAP hits 50: Entrenched, spread out and fully middle-aged


on the one hand.....

The main advantage of SAP is that 'it can be customised to do anything' (says sales person)

The main disadvantage of SAP is that 'it can be customised to do anything' (says CIO/CTO/Teccie)

The net result of the endless customisation over decades is systems that are vertually impossible to maintain and/or upgrade. Things get implemented becuase 'of course we can make it do that, Mr Business Exec' - without ever asking whether the underlying business process/logic make sense.

I once had the misfortune to be a tech exec responsible for a SAP system that had 'higher duties' allowances calculated three different ways within the SAME IMPLEMENTATION - which had been added to the decade long lifespan of the system (at that point)

Dems propose privacy-respecting digital dollar


cash - ugh

TBH unlike most of the posters here I hate cash.

Havent carried cash for near on 3 years.

Not saying it shouldnt exist - just that it has downsides too - such as getting smacked over head to take it off you - the *costs* of printing, distributing, guarding, recalling, counterfeiting, storing it. Just because the consumer doesnt see the cost doesnt mean there isnt one - its paid for (by your taxes).

So I pay for everything I can with tap-and-go (apple/googlepay - call it what you will). Which works for 99.5% of purchases. In fact my 4 year old grand-daughter want to pay for a hot-chocolate with her own 'dollar-bucks' recently and couldnt - because the coffee stand doesnt take cash. So she's going to need a 'stored value' pocket money card.

So there are trade-offs - like a trace of everything I buy and, although I am not a fan of our current government (Oz) I am not actually paranoid enough to think they care enough about me personally......maybe if I lived elsewhere. Apparently Oz has one of the highest take-ups of swipe-to-pay in the world.

Oh and I pay tax and am not trying to hide stuff from the government.

The thing is I dont see what this 'ecash' has over what we currently have (the swipe card/phone system) - apart from hiding stuff from the 'gummint'?

Securing open-source code isn't going to be cheap


Re: Keep on spreading this nonsense...

HaHa thats *still* a problem with some current websites.

Supercheap auto just updated their website to only accept complex passwords = good thing

but they set the same validation on old password = bad thing

So the 'change my password' wont work because it wont accept the old password at the validation prompt - despite happily accepting that password for login.

I tried for over 3 months to explain the problem and get someone to take notice. There is no mechanism to contact anyone with technical responsibility. It still aint fixed.

I guess there are no new bugs - just new ways to implement them.

Tesla to disable 'self-driving' feature that allowed vehicles to roll past stop signs at junctions


Re: California roll

The rest of the world has 'Give Way' signs at most junctions - which mean exactly what they say.

One road has priority and you give way to any vehicles on it.

No vehicles and you can keep going.

Seems to work.

Open source, closed wallets, big profits – nobody wins the OSS rock, paper, scissors game


Free riders

Of course the fundamental problem for any human system based on trust is that of free-riders.

Why would I pay if I can get the same benefit without paying?

In corporate terms why would I pay to support this software if I dont have to - when in doing so I make it available/supported for my competitors.

Is it a charitable donation - will I run my business on software supported by charity?

Who do I sue when it fails and/or cant be fixed?

Caveat - I dont *personally* think like this :)

But this is the underlying premise of market based capitalism.

The dark equation of harm versus good means blockchain’s had its day


Re: Lack of comprehension and imagination ...

there is no politician on the planet who is going into an election with 'bring that nuclear dump to my state' - whether thats justified or not is irrelevent. Just means that arent any sites available anywhere that has even moderately democratic elections.

Smart things are so dumb because they take after their makers. Let's fix that


youa re the weakest link

reflects something I have been saying since the start of IoT. The system is only as strong as the weakest link, and the weakest link is consumer grade no-name ebay IoT widgets produced in the million and never updated or patched

It's one thing to have the world in your hands – what are you going to do with it?


Even more to the point they are legally obliged to 'maximise shareholder value' within the law.

Morals and ethics do NOT come into it - unless taking a specific ethical position equates to an increased $ in value.

Its like expecting a shark not to bite (at least some) things.

Reg scribe spends week being watched by government Bluetooth wristband, emerges to more surveillance


Re: I'll be tracked almost everywhere I go...

The biggest benefit of vaccination is to ensure the health system can cope. Yes people will continue to die from COVID - but without high vax numbers there will be no ICU available when you have a stroke, car accident, heart-attack or any of the 500 other ailments that can strike at anytime.

The aim is to keep the hopitalisation/ISU rate low enough that it all still functions.


Thanks for the update. Always good to hear what happening elsewhere in the globe. After two months in Canberra lockdown we are eagerly awating being allowed to go non-essential shopping (with density limits) on Friday! Woo hoo. No international flights yet...but supposedly from November we'll be part of the world again....stay safe everyone (from Oz)

Does the boss want those 2 hours of your free time back? A study says fighting through crowds to office each day hurts productivity


Re: Who got the extra time?

100%. It totally depends on job + home situation.

Office worker, well paid, middle-aged, home-owning nerds = WFH Good

Zero hours contract, young, old, flat-sharing = WFH not so much

Wireless powersats promise clean, permanent, abundant energy. Sound familiar?


and of course.....


Get ready to make processes fit the software when shifting to SAP's cloud, users told


to many companies have a very poor understanding of what makes them unique.

so they customise everything because they are different/special

certainly customise to support a business process that differentiates you - but for most orgs they are *not* that special when it comes to payroll, invoicing, Hr etc etc

SAP has traditionally be targeted at that 'we are special' (for everything) view of the world and it has made them lots of $$

be interesting to see a) whether orgs can be convinced they are 90% the same as everyone else and b) once they realise that do they keep paying $$$ for SAP

In the '80s, satellite comms showed promise – soon it'll be a viable means to punt internet services at anyone anywhere



I hope it happens this time - for all the remote areas of the globe (think smaller island states) where it will never be cost effective to run fibre. Surprised the author didnt mention the Iridium LEO satellites that were first launched in the late 90s? A $3k phone and $10/min call costs from memory and they ran into issues with jurisdiction when certain governments threatened to shoot them down as 'unfriendly aircraft'. There still up there though. I am assuming Mr Musk has sorted out all the politics for his birds.

Windows 11 gets chatty as Teams integration turns up


At least make it work.....

So those of us in the Win world will be using Teams - get over it - anyone remember Netscape?

The thing that really frustrates is that M$ are pushing us into Teams and all my clients are using it...but despite it being the No1 technical request for Teams for over 3 years - it stall cant support more than one login.

I am consulting with three clients - who all use their corporate Teams.

M$ have done a reasonable job with Outlook (finally) where the client can be connected to multiple mail accounts.

Not Teams

Depending on the governance of corp they may NOT allow guests and/or web access.

I have to log in/out 20 times a day to join/exit the Teams client for Corp A vs. B vs. C

If Teams is the new Black according to M$ at least provide multi-account support that has been in Outlook for some time.

BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding


currently in LHR

In BA Lounge in LHR still trying to get to where I am supposed to be (spain) from OZ due to BA cock-up.

Most helpful BA office was in USA -trying calling that from Oz - but least they answer.

The Oz support number ON THE BA WEBSITE has a recorded message that says 'this number is no longer in use - please call the number on the web site'.

You couldn't make it up.

Six car-makers team to build European 'leccy car charge bar network


Betamax vs. VHS anyone?

FFS. Haven't we done this before - many times?

Anyone remember the videotape wars of the 1980s?

Yes Betamax was technically superior but VHS had the numbers - that's all that counts.

One charging plug please - if Tesla is out there use it. Or is Elon charging $$$ in licensing (I suspect not).

Its like the railways in Australia in the early 1900s (different gauges)

or analogue cellphones in the US in the 1990s (incompatible networks)

Everybody loses (cos customers wait) until there is one compatible standard for basic infrastructure.

Dumbest move this year.

Microsoft disbands Band band – and there'll be no version 3


broke it

had one for two weeks. Dropped it on concrete - twice - was ok. Then smashed the screen on the cover of an outboard motor I was fitting (true). No repairs possible. Decided I wasn't the target demographic for any fragile expensive gizmo on my wrist.

NB Seiko 30 year old mechanical watch has survived my lifestyle with one service/rebuild - including trips to 60 metres underwater - although I am dreading the day when there are no more watchmakers in town. (ie real ones).

D-Link DWR-932 B owner? Trash it, says security bug-hunter


Re: really taking the piss

and as a newly appointed IT manager to an education network I found 50 domain admins (all of whom had no idea they were) because 'it fixed the problems they were having'........cuts down support calls (at least for a while)

Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law?


but there is also the stadium effect?

Have any of you tried to use wifi in a densely populated venue. It dies. Its called the stadium effect. Free service begets unlimited demand - which in wifi kills the service for everyone. Even tech conferences (which I attend a lot of) often have woeful wireless at the 'keynote' where a thousand people congregate in a small space.

Whether they should charge $200 or not I don't know (I suspect not) but I guarantee that 'normal everyday' free wifi hotspots would not have delivered anyway.

It's time for a discussion about malvertising


not just malware

and even if the malware is not a significant concern for you (maybe) ad-related performance degradation definitely is. Pages taking 2 minutes to load because of all the embedded ads - then running a video that you didn't ask for and have no interest in and have to scroll all around the still loading page to turn off.

The advertising agencies have done this themselves. No concept of 'reasonableness' in the implicit agreement with the reader to suffer an ad or two for free content.

Even worse for many areas - remote communities, offshore islands etc - that have very poor to non-existent bandwidth. So my blocker stays on a) because it helps mitigate malware and b) because its the only way the web is even usable.

Google-funded group mad that US Copyright Office hasn't abolished copyright yet


heres a thought

could we make copyright a little easier for mere mortals?

how hard is it when you are creating a lovingly illustrated presentation to work what the friggin copyright on an object is - let along comply with it. following the provenance of every photo you come across is painful in the extreme, when they've been copied 1000x. I agree with *reasonable* copyright, I want to do the right thing, so couldn't we embed the copyright/ownership info in the metadata somehow? Couldn't I just press a button that would total all the cents (if any) and tell me my presso will cost $4.50 - distributed to all the rights owners (or not if its free). Couldn't that same button provide a preformatted source reference/copyright list.

Ok rant over - its just I do this a lot and even if you *try* to do the right thing it seems to hard for the average Joe or Joanne.

QANTAS' air safety spiel warns not to try finding lost phones


look out for the Samsung 7

On a Qantas flight last week safety briefing stated under no circumstances was it permitted to charge a 'Samsung 7' on this plane. quite specific. great marketing Apple.


while we're exchanging random anecdotes about helpful labels and warnings I once bought a very expensive, indestructible camera case. Warranted forever except a) Shark attack b) Bear attack c) Children under five.

Apple: Crisis? What innovation crisis? BTW, you like our toothbrush?


Re: Ditching the 3.5mm jack

and you generally cant listen to it over the net anyway because all the towers are saturated by 20k people all posting to Facebook of themselves 'at the match'.

I take a $2 AM radio to every match and have people clustered around me asking for the commentary......sometimes the old tech works best.....and I work in tech.

Pains us to run an Apple article without the words 'fined', 'guilty' or 'on fire' in it, but here we are


Re: Stupid headphone adapter...

back in the day - a book :)

Australian Information Industries Association*: you're not the future of democracy, so please shut up


its not all or nothing

one thing that many miss is its possible to have the best of both worlds. paper voting and electronic (ie automated) counting using scanning/barcode systems. that way the paper originals are retained should there be a dispute but the automated counting could run all the preference permutation in minutes.

so the voting act would be the same - but the result would be near instant.

why not?

The Day Netflix Blocked My VPN is the world's new most-hated show


its not about their revenue

its not about their (Netflix's) revenue

its about content licensing

probably getting to the point where regional content owners (think Foxtel in Oz) are going to take on (sue) Netflix for 'knowingly supporting infringement' or some such lawyerish gobbledegook.

at the end of the day problem falls out of regional content licensing model

cant see that changing as the content providers (studios) love it

meanwhile back to pirate feeds for everyone else

How hard can it be to kick terrorists off the web? Tech bosses, US govt bods thrash it out


its already been done - and repealed because it didnt work

those who have a long a memory in the business as I have will remember this was already tried...and failed.....

back in the 90s strong encryption was classed as a 'munition' by the US and could not be exported.

So we had 2 versions of windows - one with 128 bit keys for good ol USA and one with 56-bit keys (international version) for the rest of the world.

So what did the rest of the world do:

a) bought all their software retail in New York as someone was passing through - hence we all got 'US' version regardless

b) anyone who needed real encryption bought it from Israel or Estonia - who were only too happy to supply proper software

eventually the thing was repealed after lobbying from US tech companies pointing out how much money they were losing.....


yes but.....

and of course its not helped by the fact that discussion is always exclusively about the right/privacy of US citizens......so the other 5.5Bn of us don't matter.

Now I know that is US politics - but how many phones are Apple/Samsung/Microsoft etc gonna sell if the rest of world thinks the US govt has a back door (even if it is 'only' used to spy on foreigners who don't vote in the US).

Oz e-health privacy: after a breach is too late


yes but.....

Agree with all the concerns above.....but let's be very clear that there are very real tangible benefits to the individual from a properly designed and working system. The frustration of not having all the information in front of the hospital/specialist/GP you are currently taking to because it either on bits of paper or on a different system they cant access I know personally. Even when you think you have given permission - they still don't get access and still don't have the records. Also there are many cases every year where either the wrong/no treatment is given because a key bit of information wasn't known by the medical staff. So yes - this implementation sounds like a disaster - but please let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. The *idea* is not just good - it's essential to save lives and improve healthcare.

Now someone needs to build on that works :)