* Posts by Pat Harkin

115 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Nov 2016


UK's Guardian newspaper breaks news of ransomware attack on itself

Pat Harkin

Grauniad and ransomware - not a good combination

There's no way they're ever going to type in the recovery password correctly...

Scientists overjoyed after DART smashes into asteroid Dimorphos, contact lost

Pat Harkin

I have a bad feeling about this.

Did we learn NOTHING from Captain Scarlet?

Fastly 'fesses up to breaking the internet with an 'an undiscovered software bug' triggered by a customer

Pat Harkin

it was triggered by a valid customer configuration change


Theranos destroyed crucial subpoenaed SQL blood test database, can't unlock backups, prosecutors say

Pat Harkin

Every time I see the word "Theranos"...

...the voice in my head is The Hood from Thunderbirds saying "Kyrano! KYRANO!!!"

Here's a headline we'll run this century, mark our words: Alien invaders' AI found on Mars searching for signs of life

Pat Harkin

Artificial life looking for real life?

Tell me it's called Pinocchio.

UK cops run machine learning trials on live police operations. Unregulated. What could go wrong? – report

Pat Harkin

"Durham Police’s Harm Assessment Risk Tool"

While I'm sure they want the acronym to be "Durham Police’s HART" which sounds all warm and cuddly, if you read it slightly differently it says Durham PHART.

Just as warm, nowhere near as cuddly.

UKIP flogs latex love gloves: Because Brexit means Brexit

Pat Harkin

Back in 2010, boy band JLS released their own branded condoms https://www.amazon.co.uk/JLS-Durex-Extra-Safe-Condoms/dp/B007FMGC4E

It was said to be the perfect brandsing exercise, as teenage girls would sob uncontrollably when they split...

Bad weather, baulky booster keep ISS 'naut snacks on the ground

Pat Harkin

I should have gone to SpecSavers

I thought your headline was "baulky booster keep ISS nut sacks on the ground"

Russia: The hole in the ISS Soyuz lifeboat – was it the crew wot dunnit?

Pat Harkin

There was a statement on Russian TV

"We visited only ISS because have read of magnificent 408km altitude. We may have passed near Soyus we do not know where that is. We did not need to drill hole to evacuate novichok as we did not have any."

2-bit punks' weak 40-bit crypto didn't help Tesla keyless fobs one bit

Pat Harkin

"running special software."

As opposed to?

NASA's Kepler probe rouses from its slumber, up and running again

Pat Harkin

"NASA has fixed up one of its thrusters"

NASA can fix thrusters 137 million km away and my local car dealer can't fix my car even if I bring it in.

I'd buy NASA next time if they weren't so expensive

Now you can tell someone to literally go f--k themselves over the internet: Remote-control mock-cock patent dies

Pat Harkin

CodeProject are ready for this.

Today's project: C# Knob Control using Windows Forms


Space station springs a leak while astronauts are asleep (but don't panic)

Pat Harkin

Re: Kapton tape

"Polyethylene coated pressure-sensitive tape

It's tried, it's true, nothing it can't do

Fixed the fender on the rover that was left on the moon

It's good enough for you"

Barenaked Ladies: Duct Tape Heart https://g.co/kgs/4i5w5y

Apple shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to find gambling in its Chinese App Store

Pat Harkin

Re: Removing Gambling Apps?

"Removing Gambling Apps?"

Bet you can't...

Declassified files reveal how pre-WW2 Brits smashed Russian crypto

Pat Harkin

'"These could then be picked apart using a combination of statistics and predictable words" to decrypt the contents, he added.'

But not by me, I added.

Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything

Pat Harkin

It's easy to improve security by using this...

....just fill it with wrong usernames and passwords, and use a password vault.

Many moons ago (1975? 1976?) Nat West issued me with an ATM card. It could only withdraw £10, was always retained by the machine to be returned in the post and was protected by a SIX digit PIN.

I wrote an incorrect PIN on it in pencil, just to be evil.

About once every 3 months I'd get a letter from the bank advising me having my PIN on the card was bad practice - but I couldn't tell them it wasn't my pin, because that would up their chances of guessing to 3 in 999,999! We're both less paranoid these days - I don't write PINs on cards and banks reckon 4 digitis in enough.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant alien space cigar? Whatever it is, boffins are baffled

Pat Harkin

"The team still haven’t detected any signs of dust or a tail"

Glad to read it isn't drawing a green mist behind it...

You have suffered without red-headed emoji for too long. That changes Tuesday

Pat Harkin

And perhaps even a movie! That'd be GREAT!

Help, I'm being held prisoner in a security camera testing factory. So please read this...

Pat Harkin

Re: Unintended consequences

I just have a sign like the "NO HAWKERS" ones - it says "MY NEIGHBOURS ARE MUCH RICHER THAN I AM"

Meet the real spin doctors: Scientists tell H2O to chill out so they can separate isomers

Pat Harkin

How long until...

....we see the first clickbait "Have scientists found proof of homeopathy?"

You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened

Pat Harkin

Isn't this just the equivalent of the pocket dial?

I've received several calls from peoples' pockets over the years but that doesn't seem to have sparked the paranoia this one Alexa report has.

Great Scott! Bitcoin to consume half a per cent of the world's electricity by end of year

Pat Harkin

Let's make money...

...by heating the planet! What can go wrong? We'll make our fortunes, cash out and retire to our tropical beachside villa in Reykjavic.

Bombshell discovery: When it comes to passwords, the smarter students have it figured

Pat Harkin

Sample size 1252

Results stated to 2 decimal places of percentages.

No mention of how many students are in the GPA 3.5 and above vs 3.0 and above groups.

Doesn't make clear if 3.0 and above INCLUDES 3.5 and above, or if he means 3.0 to 3.499

No statistics.


Google will vet political ads to ward off Phantom Menace of fake news

Pat Harkin

Re: Google's twichy bums

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Machines learned to assemble IKEA’s semi-disposable furniture

Pat Harkin

I see they went for the easy task...

...of building the furniture, and not the currently insoluble "Get out of IKEA" problem which has defeated all maze solving algorithms.

US army boffins use AI to spot faces in the dark

Pat Harkin

What went wrong, private?

Gee, sarge, turns out the terrorists had that new thermal recognition software and spotted me right away. Boy, was my face red!

NASA's TESS mission in distress, Mars Express restart is a success

Pat Harkin

It took an hour to reboot?

What's are they running - Vista?

'Dear Mr F*ckingjoking': UK PM Theresa May's mass marketing missive misses mark

Pat Harkin

Who remembers the Nat West bank mail out to its 2000 wealthiest customers?

"Dear Rich Bastard..."


2001: A Space Odyssey has haunted pop culture with anxiety about rogue AIs for half a century

Pat Harkin

"The monolith was originally designed as a crystal tetrahedron pyramid beacon, which is mentioned in Clark's The Sentinel. During production it became a large wooden block painted black with a graphite mixture that had to be swaddled in plastic sheeting to keep it free of fingerprints and dust. Why the change?"

I asked Clarke this in the summer of 1975 - he said they're tried transparent but they couldn't get it optically pure enough and it looked terrible and though a tetrahedron sounds good to nerds it doesn't look very impressive in the flesh.

Need a needle in an artery? Move over, doc, there's an app for that

Pat Harkin

That's because they're going venous, not arterial, access. It's hard to do significant damage entering a vein but if you damage the radial artery the viability of the patient's hand depends on collateral circulation from the ulnar artery and if that isn't good the result can be catastrophic.

What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs

Pat Harkin

Gosh darn it all to heck.

Just when FaceBook don't do enough, Microsoft go too fudging far.

Doctor finds physical changes to astronaut's eyes after ISS stint

Pat Harkin

My god. It's full of...

full of... full.. What are those things? They look like rice grains or something? Gary? Can you see them?

Rhode Island proposes $20 porn tax. Er, haven't we heard this before?

Pat Harkin

So, they're saying "We're against free porn...

...but we're happy to sell it"?

Shock poll finds £999 X too expensive for happy iPhone owners

Pat Harkin

Re: Planned Failure?


Boffins discover chemistry that could have produced building blocks of life in space

Pat Harkin

Re: Nice try BUT Fail, Fail, Fail and Fail again. :)

I'd have gone for "My god... it's full of carbs...", which is of course evidence for the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

You get a criminal record! And you get a criminal record! Peach state goes bananas with expanded anti-hack law

Pat Harkin

But... but... how do I log in?

I mustn't access the computer until I'm authorised and that dopesn't happen until I enter my password but to get the login screen I have to send a request to the system and read what comes back...

MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

Pat Harkin

Re: Great Headline, Register

I once asked Clarke how come the film monolith was black whereas the story monolith was transparent "We tried a clear one but it looked terrible - couldn't get it optically perfect enough." Didn't ask why the shift from tetrahedron to cuboid though!

Pat Harkin


When the signs at Space X say "NO PARKING - TOW AWAY ZONE" they aren't bluffing...

NASA finds satellite, realises it has lost the software and kit that talk to it

Pat Harkin

Thanks a lot NASA!

How the hell are we going to manage First Contact with an alien ship if you can't even talk to one of your own devices from a few years ago?!?!

Epic spacewalk, epic FAIL: Cosmonauts point new antenna in the wrong direction

Pat Harkin

I'm sorry Dave...

...but the replacement AE35 communications unit does not appear to be functioning. I cannot understand it.

Apple: The exclusive sales channel for an, er, AI toothbrush

Pat Harkin

I have a Philips Sonicare which does this

And works with both iPhones and Android. The robo nanny element has certainly improved my morning routine but whether that translates into better dental care remains to be seen.

Swiss cheesed off after Apple store iPhone does Samsung Galaxy Note 7 impersonation

Pat Harkin

How common IS this problem?

The Samsung 7 got a dreadful reputation but I never saw an authoritative statement of how many went up and how common this was compared to other brands and models.

Telly boffin Professor Heinz Wolff has died

Pat Harkin

I met him once in the late 90s.

I wanted to talk about The Great Egg Race but as soon as he found out I was a doctor, he just wanted to talk about his new implantable defibrillator, of which he was immensely proud! So we talked my shop rather than his - but I enjoyed it greatly and still remember it clearly.

A great communicator. Sadly missed.

Funnily enough, no, IT admins who trash biz machines can't claim they had permission

Pat Harkin

"fined roughly $130,000, the cost of fixing the damage."

Considering what he did, that's not a lot of loot. Isn't it only a few weeks or so since we were discussing a malware removal which cost 2.6 million?


Pickaxe chops cable, KOs UKFast data centre

Pat Harkin

"When a server loses power, even for a split second, it can damage the hard drive."

That's where UPS comes in. They can ship you a replacement drive for next day delivery.

YouTuber cements head inside microwave oven

Pat Harkin

YouTube? Not surprised.

Sometimes when I watch YouTube I get an urge to cement my head into a microwave instead.

The videos which really annoy me aren't the pillocks like this, it's when I'm trying to find out how to do something - let's say "Bold text in Word" and I get a helpful video which starts off

"Hi! I'm Tad Bratwurst! <Don't care who you are just tell me the keyboard shortcut> Thank's for watching this video <Get on with it> and if you like it, don't forget to subscribe to my channel <Not looking likely Tad> Today I'm gonna show how to bold some text in Word. <Evidence thus far not terribly supportive of that claim, Tad> This is a common problem. I've had lots of friends ask me this <You need a more diverse set of friends>. It's really quite easy and you can do it in less than a second <And yet we're 4 minutes into this video> First of all, you need to have Word installed on your PC.... [Several minutes later] SO as you can see all you have to do is Click File, open your file, press ctrl-F to find your text, drag with your mouse from left to right - some people say right to left works too, I'm not sure, it doesn't always seem to work with this mouse then click Home on the Ribbon, sorry , on the Toolbar, make sure the font face and size are the ones you want, if they aren't I show you how to change them in one of my other MasterClass Videos, and then click the bold icon. Hope you enjoyed that, that's all for today, and don't forget to subscribe!"

Creepy Cayla doll violates liberté publique, screams French data protection agency

Pat Harkin


"Moreover, would-be dodgy characters don't even need the Cayla or i-Que app installed, because phones simply identify the doll as a hands-free headset."

"The agency said the toys were in breach of Article 1 of the French Data Protection Act, which provides that technology "shall not violate human identity, human rights, privacy, or individual or public liberties"."

Does that mean Bluetooth headsets are also in breach, if they're just the same tech in a different plastic shell?

Used iPhone Safari in 2011-12? You might qualify for Google bucks

Pat Harkin

I can show (via seller) that my family had iPhones but...

how can I show they "kept the default browser security settings and did not opt out of tracking and collation via Google's ad preference manager"?

Net neutrality nonsense: Can we, please, just not all lose our minds?

Pat Harkin

"the moment the rules are rescinded we will have fast internet lanes for extra dollars – and by extension a slower internet for every not willing to pay a premium."

Isn't that what we have now - and have pretty much always had, right back to "more expensive (voiceline) modems get you faster rates"?

GCSE compsci kids' work may not count after solutions leaked online

Pat Harkin

"I would probably be stuck in a hospital basement to this day testing stool samples."

You say that like it's a bad thing...