* Posts by Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

299 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Oct 2019


Tech can endure the most inhospitable environments: Space, underwater, down t'pit... even hairdressers

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Computer Mouse EEK!

Heh. I once actually caught a mouse in my Acorn Archimedes: I think there may have been a backplate loose or missing. Nothing like a nest, it just took refuge in there presumably when it saw me, but I knew the innards of that 'puter well enough to make it a trap for the visitor.

The computer was fine. The mouse was (as far as I know) fine when I took it up into the woods a couple of miles away and released it. A humane mouse trap!

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
IT Angle

Hair today, gone tomorrow

This reminds me, I need to find time for a visit to the barber.

I don't think they have a 'puter anywhere in the shop. Maybe there's one out the back where customers don't go?

Hey GitLab, the 1970s called and want their sexism back: Saleswomen told to wear short skirts, heels and 'step it up'

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Re: Why isn't any one offended men were required to wear a blazer and slacks or suit?

Simple answer - a man making the equivalent complaint would just be laughed at and ignored (see my story elsewhere on this page). And never taken seriously thereafter. I'd just treat that dress code as an excuse to stay away from the event.

A woman can complain and get taken seriously (as this story demonstrates). This is a Good Thing, and will no doubt eventually extend to men. It's just a shame it didn't all happen long ago.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Not at all the same ...

I don't much care for women dressing in silly heels, and the only time it should be required of them is for an actress whose role demands it.

But a one-off glitzy "awards ceremony" (sounds ghastly for those of either sex who are not career arse-lickers) is not at all the same as requiring a dress code every bloomin' day at the office. Speaking as a downtrodden grunt, I know which of those battles I would pick!

I didn't exactly pick it myself, but I had it thrust on me when I wore shorts to the office. This was just the one half-day's work, having gone directly to the office after spending the morning travelling (booked to annual leave). No meetings, just sitting in my regular office. I pointed out that many of my female colleagues routinely wore shorts (shorter than mine) and that it was direct discrimination to forbid it to me, but PHB was having none of it: they could wear shorts because they ... ahem ... had nice legs!

I'd like to give her a thumbs-up for calling out idiocy. But I wish we chaps had the same kind of right as she exercised there when we're expected to put on a dumb show!

Hear, hear: The first to invent idiot-cancelling headphones gets my cash

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Had a recent train trip myself

If I'm standing on a train, it's because there's nowhere to sit. In which case there might also be nowhere safe to put a backpack down. That is for multiple values of "safe" - risks ranging from theft through accidental damage to the Big One - some innocent stranger getting entangled in an unseen strap when they try to move. The space taken by a backpack is minimised by wearing it.

Happily I don't seem to encounter such trains any more. I expect avoiding London helps.

As for a bike, some trains have become hopelessly confusing. As you get on, a station announcement tells you "bike space in zone G". So you go to zone G, only to find it's not there, and there isn't time to go and find it.

Android owners – you'll want to get these latest security patches, especially for this nasty Bluetooth hijack flaw

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Bluetooth impeached

It's OK. You're not one of the versions listed as being affected by this bug.

Guess we have to do this the Huawei then: Verizon sued by Chinese giant for allegedly ripping off patented tech

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Big Bad Huawei!

Possible, but no more than that. The general tendency of US courts to rule in favour of US companies against foreigners could be more relevant.

Or it could be that Verizon is innocent here. FFS, this is patents we're talking about!

EU tells UK: Cut the BS, sign here, and you can have access to Galileo sat's secure service

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


So - what's the use of having it?

It's a charade.

Now that we've agreed to strip out Huawei, at considerable expense to BT and Vodafone and much more to our own economy, the NSA will allow us access to their purloined keys. What do you think Menwith Hill is for?

They can't collect your bins or fix your roads. They let Google stalk visitors to their websites. Yes, it's UK local government

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: but we are a /Responsible/ Authority

Upvote for the insight.

But who do you suppose is going to build your open-source platform? An open-source community happens when you have people with both the motivation (people with a genuine interest in local government websites) and the capability (Reg readers :^). How many of you are there, and who is driving the effort? Your best hope is that a commercial provider opens their platform, but even then your problem is adopting it. In your own words, "When I contacted the larger councils above my head, the droids proved incapable of listening ..."

And of course noone will pass such a law. The nearest they'd come is a law banning dodgy practice with data, and I think that's the one called GDPR.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Worse than I thought

What applies to public sector websites must surely become an order of magnitude worse when commercial sites are considered.


I haven't seen much strong evidence one way or t'other, but the balance of what I have seen suggests that the public sector is customarily worse. And less responsive or apologetic if confronted about dodgy practice.

Vodafone CEO: We will elbow Chinese firm Huawei from our European core networks

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: wasn't 5G about speed?

5G is about bringing a new generation of connected devices. I'm all in favour if it helps my devices plan their electricity consumption to happen mostly when power is cheap (sometimes £0.00) overnight.

But it's more than that. It's about industry developing that new generation of devices - and the intellectual property that falls out of that. Of course most of the first generation of 5G will be utter dross, but their patents will live on. That's why Trump is so keen to hold Europe and Asia back. Delay deployment, and you delay the development, leaving US companies more time to grab the lion's share of the IP.

Iowa has already won the worst IT rollout award of 2020: Rap for crap caucus app chaps in vote zap flap

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Pissup. Brewery.

Well, whatever chance the Democrats may have had of getting rid of Trump is looking pretty forlorn.

Hitherto I'd've said it depends on them selecting an electable candidate. But if this fiasco is the face of the party, it'll be hard for even the best candidate.

Shouldn't Uber freeze app accounts to prevent spread of coronavirus by drivers and fares? Oh, OK, it already is

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: This is probably the only time ever...

More to the point, to the technology infrastructure that makes it possible. What if the suspect had instead travelled by bus, or old-fashioned taxi?

On a related subject, are the pilot and crew of the plane that flew Brits back from Wuhan now in quarantine with the passengers who shared their air?

At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

These days?

Why "these days"? Surely it's been banned ever since the rise of MS-DOS brought a likelihood of cross-infection and casual data leakage between $work and personal computers.

As for portable home directories? Those who want them have had 30+ years of NFS (and variants), and before that we had terminals to a mainframe.

Talking of which, might not a $work environment provide boxes with no writable (or no user-writable) storage, for use by staff/clients/guests with their home directory somewhere portable like a USB stick? Throw the security headache back onto the user exposing data to $work!

Artful prankster creates Google Maps traffic jams by walking a cartful of old phones around Berlin

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

40 years ago ...

Reminds me of a student prank by some friends ...

Main car park detects metal to count incoming and outgoing vehicles. Issues ticket to entering driver, reads ticket and takes payment on exit.

Students decide to play. Go there middle-of-night when it's empty. One swings a metal dustbin lid backwards and forwards across the detector at the entrance, another collects the tickets as they're issued. In the morning, car park is empty but thinks it's full and won't let any more cars in.

Is everything OK over there, Britain? Have you tried turning the UK off and on again? ISPs, financial orgs fall over in Freaky Friday of outages

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Walking on eggshells

Um, do you really need to jump down the throat of someone who posts a harmless lighthearted quip?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

The quote just says no SIP/VOIP service. It doesn't say there's no resilience - bearing in mind the range of perfectly valid fallbacks (for example, mobile phones, old-fashioned landlines) likely to be available.

Brits may still be struck by Lightning, but EU lawmakers vote for bloc-wide common charging rules

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Tied up in nots

Not really too many nots, though the sentence does not benefit from them. The first one is not right: it splits an infinitive.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: 'Standards can be revised'

Makes sense. Isn't that what's likely to happen in practice?

It’s not true no one wants .uk domains – just look at all these Bulgarians who signed up to nab expired addresses

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: And when that golden goose stops laying ...

No point in any of that.

One for Scotland, one for hasbeenland. With the remaining bit joining .ie.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: 0845 anyone?

Um, citation needed?

I know 0845 started as "local geographic" equivalent, then got excluded when costs for actual geographic numbers got slashed through inclusive packages and the like. But it's still an order of magnitude less than your numbers. How do you get from there to a big premium? Are you talking subscribers to non-general-purpose packages that charge outrageous amounts for a call to any number outside something looking like a whitelist?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Never mind malware, how about targeting $megabank.uk for a nice little earner?

1. Target a domain that is the name of a big bank - a few million non-techie customers.

2. Set up your own company with a name that looks credibly similar to the bank's.

3. Acquire $bank.uk domain, and a valid certificate to serve https on it.

4. Set it up to reverse-proxy the real thing. Everything looks right, and you have a valid cert for "lloyds bonking" or "barclays wunch", or (use your imagination).

5. Because you have the cert, you can now play MITM. Start promoting your site.

6. Finally, if Google try to prevent you topping the search results, it's time for an antitrust case. Of course that's in the name of a suitable proxy; one whose business can be presented as legit. Hire Foundem's lawyers.

Not call, dude: UK govt says guaranteed surcharge-free EU roaming will end after Brexit transition period. Brits left at the mercy of networks

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Peace

As did Nokia Maps, back when I had my best ever phone.

Sadly Google maps makes you jump through hoops, and sulks if you try it offline.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Peace

Yes, I remember the annoying, often frustrating hunt for a map when I arrive somewhere. Then finding the tourist map stops short of where I'm going, doesn't show the places I'm interested in, is unreadable in the dark and pretty poor at the best of times, disintegrates if it meets a bit of Weather.

A backlit map with the added bonus of GPS is probably the biggest advance in travel convenience in my lifetime. Don't want to leave it at home, thankyou.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Peace

Any data whose privacy matters travel encrypted. Because no network has any strong expectation of privacy.

So you locked your backups away for years, huh? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Brute, Force and Ignorance

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Seen in the wild

Talking of which, what's Stuttley going to do when faced with a cat that's both dead and alive?

Will Asimov fix my doorbell? There should be a law about this

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Is rubber duck a euphemism, or rhyming slang?

Would you rubber-duck an ordinary donkey, or would the ass need to be special?

BT: UK.gov ruling on Huawei will cost us half a billion pounds over next 5 years

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Interesting in Ireland

What I find odd though is that the policy in the US seems to be genuinely about security (or punishing China for trade reasons) as it is really not benefiting US companies.

It's more about holding back 5G deployment in Europe and Asia, to avoid us getting it ahead of the US. Whoever has 5G will benefit from a lot of intellectual property inspired by it. And yes, that'll be mostly dross, but somewhere in it will be the nuggets of gold.

There are already Chinese components in your pocket – so why fret about 5G gear?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: those concerns might also edge towards paranoia

Citation needed.

On the subject of the Oxford comma.

US government grounds drone fleet (no, not the military ones with Hellfire missiles) over Chinese espionage fears

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Total Panic

Or Canadian steel?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Easy easy espionage

Not sure why Kevin got the downvotes,

It's a regular phenomenon here.

Structure a comment to start with something provocative and only later resolve it, and you'll get downvotes from people who don't read beyond the first sentence or so. Even when it's just a short comment like Kevin's.

Boris celebrates taking back control of Brexit Britain's immigration – with unlimited immigration program

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Why do people write the word "period" ?

Instead of jumping to wrong conclusions, why don't you look it up?

Clue: the whole thing becomes nonsensical if you use any temporal definition of period.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Why do people write the word "period" ?

You appear to have completely misread.

Had it been an Americanism, how likely is it Weelkes - in Winchester and Oxford - would have used "the period of cosmography" as a metaphor for Thule at the (geographic and mysterious) end of the Earth? With a description clearly inspired by Iceland, but through the tales of intrepid sailors in an age of exploration and discovery.

Perhaps you could argue it's archaic - as "cosmography" certainly is. But its use as an ending clearly pre-dates Americanisms in the language.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Re: Why do people write the word "period" ?

Methinks you may need Victor Borge's phonetic punctuation.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Why do people write the word "period" ?

The use as full stop is not an americanism. I don't know how far back it goes in England, but Thomas Weelkes used it in 1600.

Though I think this particular usage for emphasis is indeed an americanism.

Accounting expert told judge Autonomy was wrong not to disclose hardware sales

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

acquit simply to punish the prosecuting authorities

Quite right too. Though to be fair, the prosecuting authorities are merely doing their job.

Having been a juror myself for only a two week stint I’m not convinced that objectivity survives in the minds of all jurors for even that short period of time.

If objectivity survives a day, it means the barristers are failing in their job of detaching you from the real world - and naïve ideas like truth or justice that you abandon when you embark on the practice of law.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Pardon?

If an English court finds Lynch / Autonomy innocent, why would the UK send him to the US?

Because we have an extradition treaty? I don't think anything that happens in the UK courts is relevant to an extradition request under that treaty.

UK: From 5G in Tiree to the Isles of Ebony, carry me on the waves… Sail Huawei, sail Huawei, sail Huawei

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

A brexit dead cat

This is contrived for brexit. Pick a show-fight with Trump to tell the world we're not his puppet. While also giving in to him on all the important matters (35%, and that in roles like scrubbing the floor).

We can see it's a show-fight from the number of mountains being made of molehills. Like Congressman Jim Banks introducing a bill to prevent intelligence sharing with countries who allow Huawei (close Menwith Hill?) He let slip, but his BBC interviewer completely missed, that it was nothing to do with a situation like the UKs, which leads me to conclude that it's a meaningless show-bill for Stuttley's benefit.

Blog musings.

Remember the Clipper chip? NSA's botched backdoor-for-Feds from 1993 still influences today's encryption debates

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


Some of the people on the Clipper team were so alarmed they secretly briefed opponents of the project, alerting them to insecurities in the design, The Register understands.

Some of us remember who was that clipper team.

More seriously, whistleblowers like this are our best safeguard against covert snoops. Which is why govt/TLAs put so much effort into vetting and intimidating people working on sensitive projects, and sometimes get upset at projects and technologies outside their control.

You're always a day Huawei: UK to decide whether to ban Chinese firm's kit from 5G networks tomorrow

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: "Vodafone could lose up to £70m"

Evaded taxes? Citation needed.

If you mean, they paid little or no corporation tax for several years, that's because they were offsetting previous huge losses - which is standard practice. The losses came from paying government for that 3G spectrum licence.

Their crime was being UK-registered, so that their 3G losses and subsequent tax offsets were more visible here than other telcos (it was only much later that BT bought EE, bringing us back a second UK-registered mobile telco).

Cisco Webex bug allowed anyone to join a password-protected meeting

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
Black Helicopters


Maybe it's new legislation (such as the aussie backdoor law) invalidating an existing government snoophole. So they're announcing/closing it after introducing a new/updated one.

Or maybe someone at Cisco just wasn't told about the TLAs, and this should never have come out?

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: 'an "unauthenticated" attendee'

When I read Chaucer, having heard that his language was incomprehensible to the modern reader, I assumed what I had was a modern translation.

It wasn't. Claims about mediæval English are grossly overblown.

Now Beowulf, on the other hand, I find as incomprehensible as Finnegans Wake.

Take DOS, stir in some Netware, add a bit of Windows and... it's ALIIIIVE!

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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Re: Miffy?

Heh. That's me told!

And I note your spelling compared to the Reg's.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change


Hmm. I thought your pseudonyms were english names. Or at least pseudo-English, such as 'merkin?

Nearest I can come to a "Miffy" is very Welsh, and very sad. Or is this a German name and a swan-song for Blighty's relative independence from our orange overlord?

Free Software Foundation suggests Microsoft 'upcycles' Windows 7... as open source

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
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If MS were to open W7 - or as much of it as they can bearing in mind third-party rights, what would the FSF and others look for in it?

There's a chance a community might coalesce around the goal of supporting W7 and keeping it going. But that would be existing Windows users: noone from the Linux community is going to be motivated to take on a task that size when they don't even have a use for it!

Much more likely is that it may be raided for ideas: things other projects could usefully adopt. Some libraries (or parts) may be re-usable with minimum adaptation; other code might be far more trouble than it's worth to try and re-use, but still provoke valuable thoughts.

There are plenty of precedents. For example, in code Sun and IBM have opened. I was involved in snarfing ideas from Sun's webserver to enhance Apache capabiities: generally it was nothing mindblowing, just getting a new perspective begged the question "why aren't we doing this?" Similarly look at filesystems: jfs, xfs, zfs all originate with once-corporate Unixes. Or dtrace.

I expect there are valuable spare parts in Win7, too. As well as a lot of dross unlikely to interest anyone.

MS may indeed be discussing it internally. They'll want to think it through in rather more depth than the peanut gallery. FSF is just giving those at MS who like the idea a thumbs-up.

Protesters backing Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou during her US extradition hearings were 'duped paid actors'

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Great ...

My own assumption would have been that since the lady is in a third country and is subject to court doings, sincere public protest on her behalf in particular would be neither forthcoming nor effective.

Talking of people subject to third-country court proceedings for extradition, I take it you'd say the same of the people who have demonstrated for Assange[1] in London?

[1] I was one of those commentards saying if Sweden had asked we should have sent him (subject to due process), but if we send him to the US he becomes a classic political prisoner.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: Whose false flag? @venerable....tldr ; )

Indeed, Occam says we can probably take the story at face value.

But I did suggest other nuances. For example, a demo staged with paid actors could be either of:

(a) A demo staged by friends of its purported cause.

(b) A demo staged by enemies of its purported cause, intended to preempt a real demo and/or discredit that purported cause.

Perhaps analogous to the Labour party's election of an unelectable leader? His surge of voters combined his actual supporters (Momentum) with Tory supporters whose motive was to kill off the opposition. But we're unlikely ever to know the precise balance or roles of those forces.

Clunk, whirr, buzz, whine. Shared office space can be a riot and sounds like one too

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Moving parts?

You don't need moving parts to cause horrendous noises!

I had an employer-supplied 24" monitor, back in the days when monitors bigger than 17"/19" were seriously expensive. It was OK when in use, but if I turned it off using the button on the front, it went into a whistle-state. I had to turn it on and off at the power switch!

Beware the Friday afternoon 'Could you just..?' from the muppet who wants to come between you and your beer

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: I got a verbal warning for refusing to help once.

More trouble than it's worth, you can be sure.

Half-wish I'd known about "constructive dismissal" when I had to leave a job because an office manager's insistence on standardising desks and chairs despite my protests meant I couldn't sit there for an hour without back pain. But only half-wish, because as with anything involving the law, the cure would probably have been worse than the problem.

Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

Re: not a fortune but still

We, IT guys, People who get caught in certain social situations are way too kind/stupid.

FTFY. Nothing particularly unusual about IT guys (not to mention gals) there.