* Posts by PRR

290 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Mar 2021


Spotted: Suspected Russian malware designed to disrupt Euro, Asia energy grids

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Re: I'm starting to feel a bit old

> ....retired ...for some 5 years ..., I am probably out of touch.

I get that a lot too.

> I can't envision any scenario where a Database engine would arbitrarily send commands to the remote equipment. Such a process/interface would not exist.

The article here seems shy on details. It may be murky in the source material. For Reasons.

"...need to infect a PC.., find a Microsoft SQL Server on the network that has access... the login details... PieHop is then run on the PC to upload LightWork to the server, which sends disruptive commands to connected industrial devices."

So the "interface" is installed by the malware. The database is hacked(?) for login and device info. I would assume the next bit is to send arbitrary commands to random devices. Does "DFO776" turn up the hot water in the washroom? Turn-off the fire alarms? Or spin-up the turbine past max RPM? Attack commands may not need to make sense. Run enough of them, something bad(good) is likely.

Subpoenaed PyPI says bye-bye to as much IP address data as it can

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Thumb Up

THIS is a Register-worthy sub-head!!

Python package pile prefers protecting programmer privacy

That old box of tech junk you should probably throw out saves a warehouse

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Re: Hmmm

> I'm surprised this maintenance team couldnt provide 5v at 2a without Roland's help.

At my work, I was a lowly departmental mouse-cleaner and all network operations were handled by well-salaried and degreed network specialists.

And I knew none of them could diagnose below invoice level (if a box gave trouble, buy a whole new box).

One morning the building network was out. Before I called it in, I took a snoop in their closet. Because before the PC, I was fixing and building lots of electronics in other fields.

The router was dead. No lights, no volts inside. Supposed to be 12V and 5V. Hmmm. As GlenP here said, that's the old external disk drive power supply. Up to a point, but it wasn't much inside and I felt sure it would not strain my disk warts. Took a look in my closet. Wrong wires not a problem, soldering things was my best skill. Hid the wart behind the rack flange. Booted right up. Never called it in. Nobody noticed. It ran that way, bodged, for a decade until they upped the lines from 10-speed to 100-speed with new routers just because.

Windows XP activation algorithm cracked, keygen now works on Linux

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Welp, back to Windows 3.0.

(Yes, I did have a 3.0 machine, not just the VM, running this decade.)

Lenovo Thinkpad Z13 just has this certain Macbook Air about it...

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Re: Working as designed?

> ...boot failure, including a corrupted, damaged or missing ESP.

[Boomer here]

WTF is a ESP? Mind-reader? Yes, I am increasingly behind the times.

Before Microsoft, this was sorted by Al Shugart and pals. A hard drive was much too big ($$$) for a single op/sys. Al suggested the first sector of the disk should be a partition table, four entries for up to four partitions. CP/M, FORTH, unix, each in their own space. The first sector of each partition contained boot code (or enough to load more code).

IIRC(?), the first breakdown was Microsoft insisting that MSDOS *had* to be in the first entry in partition table. Like Billy Gates could not code a FOR 0..3 loop to look for his mark. Once a joint standard gets taken-over by one vendor, all is lost. If "the other" OS makers had grown a unified plan to self-defend against MS' selfishness..... but of course they didn't.

Then many decades later EFI was bodged to work-with legacy boots. I know there is a huge EFI committee; I don't think they grok the whole situation (maybe nobody can).

Anyhow.... for old poofs like me, here is a simple summary of EFI function and fixes. It is Windows-centric, vendor-written to lead you to a $60 software, and does not get into the nitty-gritty, but is a simple overview. What is an EFI System Partition and do I need it? It does give processes to both delete and create EFI partitions.

PRR Bronze badge

Re: Reviews for the rest of us

Not everyone that reads the Reg wants a ThinkPad or to run Linux…

There's lots of sites with many reviews. Look around. And I am not disagreeing with you ($2300 for a flaptop?? Argh!!).

But the 1% who DO love some good O/S on good hardware are enough to justify Liam's apparently tireless install-boot-fail studies.

Logitech, iFixit to offer parts to stop folks binning their computer mouse

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I realize the IFixIt/Logitech store is still getting organized, but...

As of today there are about 3 parts available: "Parts Batteries (2) Feet (2) Screws (2)"

The use-case for screws is 'stripped lower case screws'. Duh, mouse screws do not strip, mouse BODIES strip. Steel rips poly-plastic. (And not if you are gentle.)

And they want FIFTEEN DOLLARS for FOUR SCREWS!!! OK, maybe that will include shipping.... but does it really make sense to send the big UPS truck to my house for four screws?

As said, the light-loaded switches grow tarnish. In my youth I would gladly suck solder and replace switches. That stuff became drudgery (and my fingers and eyes got blunt); 99% of the world would never de-solder a switch. So that's not a realistic repair part. Wheels don't have to break, the designers just don't care. (Or understand they owe continued employment to throw-away design.)

And even using a mouse 14 hours a day, I just can't feature the $60-$120 being asked for Brand Name mice, which are honestly $15 products at most. Some no-name $4 mice can be equal of more expensive rodents, even long-term. I have a lot of mouse-miles on an Amazon Basics no-frill mouse.

This is picayune. Our mines are not emptying, our dumps are not filling, with mice carcasses. JD tractors. My new Toyota. THAT's where Right To Repair matters.

National newspaper duped into running GPT-4-written rage-click opinion piece

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One of the few remaining markets for science fiction (I forget which) is SOOOO overwhelmed with Artificial Idiocy, over 10X the usual submissions, that they stopped taking ANY submissions.

(True, sci-fi magazines often have excess inventory, locking-up good stories now and not paying until publication.)

They (and all and dog) say there is no decent way to filter this flood.

My sense from minor reading is that 90% of AI can be suspected after one or more minutes of reading. (AI spans the range of human 'thought' better AND worse.) Since slush-pile was already unmanageable, a 1,000% increase is 100% useless.

There was always a place for Writer's Agents, who know their authors/clients, and can testify "Human". But the agent business has been harsh for over a decade.

And why should we discriminate? Ron Goulart's novel Wildsmith, 1972, "Considered by many (who?) to be Goulart's best", is about a best-selling robot author, and his agent trying to hide that fact from his public.

New models of IBM Model F keyboard Mark II incoming

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late again

> ...the cool hard-core kids use Vi or Emacs and bizarre 1970s navigation keystrokes..

I did my time on Royal and Underwood manual typewriters. Transitioned through Diablo-based printer/terminals.

(I did miss the 1-key era, telegraph.)

A LOT of early e-typing was done on Lear ADM3A video terminals. Look behind your new Linux GUI, the termcap file may have an ADM. (It was cheaper than VT100.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADM-3A

Compare/contrast with your pink cursor-less: https://twitter.com/Keyboards_bot/status/1641863037719019520

Nearly the same number of keys. 59 on the ADM3 (includes teletype legacy keys: Rub, Break, and Here is), 58? on the pink thing.

Key layouts like this also influenced the development of Word*Star on CP/M and IBMish PC. While you could remap everything, the default cursoring was ^E, ^S, ^D, and ^X. Positional, as opposed to alphabetic, mnemonics. Reprint of old story in the 2nd best geek-news site:


When the AT arrived a lot of us wondered WTF we could need 101 keys. Word*Star did it all in less than 64kb and often less than 60 keys.

Bizarre? Do you know how much keyboards cost in the late 1960s? Pretty much a per-key cost.

Why Microsoft just patched a patch that squashed an under-attack Outlook bug

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Adding slashes to path is an OLD windows vulnerability. 20 years IIRC. Microsoft just can't get it right.

Aside from the fact that custom reminder-jingles is not worth working on (or supporting!) in the first case.

BOFH: Ah. Company-branded merch. So much better than a bonus

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Re: When do people understand that cash rules?

> Stupid crap that a company gives away is almost always gathering dust soon after.

For some values of "almost".

I was gifted a CompuServe shirt, nice long-sleeve khaki, about 1995. Still have it. May be the peak of my wardrobe.

In 2006, for 30 years of service, I was 'awarded' a Bulova atomic clock. Yes, it is really a radio-clock, it may crap-out next time WWV's budget gets nicked. And yeah it is a $3 movement in a $5 hardboard "walnut" case but Bulova charged my employer $60 in bulk (about a dozen of us turned 30 years that year). But when it can catch the wave it is inarguably accurate for domestic time.

I had some POS 'staff gift' from my school that was so pathetic that I hung onto it..... Ah! The Damn Dean Bag! Looks like a shopping bag, has the school logo painted very nice. Won't hold chit and falls-down trying.

Is there anything tape can’t fix? This techie used it to defeat the Sun

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Re: Chaos Manor

> in the future, cpus would be so cheap that you'd have one cpu per task. We're not quite there yet.

We may be. Jerry simplified. I now can throw TWO CPU cores at my text-editor! (With brief breaks for time and network.) And I only have a dual-core here. I see 7- and 13-core CPUs everywhere. I read of 30-core chips and multiple chips per CPU. Also even my dual-core has a couple of threads, do AI-grade CPUs have more threads than my bedsheets? ?

And what is a "task"? Applications spawn worker trolls like pregnant salmon. Thunderbird 4, Windows 19 svchosts, Firefox 20 (for 8 tabs).

Cisco: Don't use 'blind spot' – and do use 'feed two birds with one scone'

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> say positive and negative in relation to electricity? I suppose positive is OK but

I'm depressed (sorry, I don't know the newspeak for that). The red "Positive" terminal on a battery just makes me sadder. (Not joking: struggled with one yesterday.)

OpenAI's ChatGPT may face a copyright quagmire after 'memorizing' these books

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Re: just a yes or no would do

> ...it responded with "It was a dark and stormy night;..." -- Hey, all I wanted was to know whether to take an umbrella with me.., not read a Victorian novel.

Thanks! I never knew where that came from.

And FWIW: It is soon coming up on TWO hundred years old, and is pre-Victorian. So Georgian period. Who knew??

Novel: 'Paul Clifford' by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 436 pages, First published January 1, 1830.

Victorian era was from 20 June 1837.

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Re: Odd how the copyright problem gets swerved.

> why haven't they been sued into a smoking hole in the ground?

There are no smoking holes in copyright law.

Most cases take 20 to 50 years to ripen. (Though Sheeran settled another claim quick in 2016.)

Jail-time for criminal copyright infraction is unheard-of. Civil copyright cases tend to have legal fees far in excess of actual or statutory damages. When the lawyers get bored and move on to new and exciting cases, everybody settles.

Happy Birthday may never have been a valid copyright. The Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse is finally going out of copyright in 2024. Happy birthday, Mickey!

Smuggler busted heading for China with dodgy GPUs … and live lobsters

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Re: Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

> 55km collection of roads (some on artificial islands!),

>the (very) impressive thing about the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is that it is a 55 km bridges and tunnels link across the main channel of the Pearl River estuary/delta, not around it..

You want bridge-tunnel over salt water and across a major river's channel---- Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. (OK, The Bay is not a single river but several good rivers {Susquehanna, Severn, Choptank, Patuxent, Potomac, James,...} and hundreds of streams, all come together.)

Yes, "only" 17.6 miles (28km). But feels very long. Cuts 98 miles off a trip around the bay. First opened in 1964. And recently doubled-up to keep up with traffic.

CBBT follows the slightly older and shorter Hampton Roads Bridge–Tunnel. Artificial islands and all.

They like tunnels in case of war. If a viaduct or bridge is blown-up the debris blocks a shipping channel. With large lengths of tunnel the ships are not hindered.

Support chap put PC into 'drying mode' and users believed it was real

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Re: Not his first rodeo

> DRAIN.COM to me - a joke program that claimed to have detected water in the floppy drive and initiated a "spin cycle" that involved torturing the floppy stepper motor a bit.

Yes, for sure. Had much sick fun with that.

I still have a copy here. Win7 declines to try to run it.

FWIW-- it didn't actually "torture the floppy stepper motor". It ran on machines with no floppy (I didn't know that for a long time). It didn't "wrrrrr" if the PC boot-beep speaker was unplugged or blown. It was just bit-boffing the PC mobo speaker.

Some YouTuber posted a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cigK4m0vW4M

You can find the program in odd corners with Google and "drain.com DOS". (Without the "DOS" I was getting sewer cleaners.)

> A lot of them fell foul of increasing clock speeds.

BABY.COM involved catching babies dropped out of a burning hospital. Tough at 4.77MHz and laughably impossible at 12MHz (splatsplatslatHONK).

I recall DRAIN.COM using good practice and working fine and on-pitch well into 80386-25MHz days.

Google sues CryptBot slingers, gets court order to shut down malware domains

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Re: But…

> ...also be smart enough to know how to buy crypto?

Getting easier all the time. I forget where (shopping center?), but I saw a money-machine which said it sold one/some of the bit-crypto things. I have no interest so did not take notes.

Shocks from a hairy jumper crashed a PC, but the boss wouldn't believe it

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Re: Been there, done that

> Every radiator, filing cabinet and door handle became a test of courage.

Friend worked in a corporate archive library. Heavy A/C to preserve old paper. Filing cabinets and doorknobs were shocking. I soldered a 1Meg resistor on a trinket ring so she could touch metal and discharge herself in more than a pico-instant, so the shock was hardly felt.

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Every year...

After the school office got (nylon) carpeting, every year, start of the heating season, the secretaries in the office would report 'stuck' PCs. The first to go foo was usually Jan---, who had her PC on a plastic-wheeled cart. Last was often Lo--- who had live plants all over the office (and dripping into PCs...) There may have been additional factors in unmentionable garment fabrics, but this was not my purview.

All static electricity of course. Mostly cured by mixing Downy (or CostCo) fabric softener in water in a sprayer, and anointing chairs and carpets twice a week.

Retired, but we still keep a spritzer around the house for the throw-blanket on the couch. The dog is remarkably tolerant of being zapped when people get off the couch but we have the technology to avoid it.

Tokyo has millions of surplus Wi-Fi access points that should be shared with blockchain, says NTT

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> Does your contract with your connectivity provider allow you to resell their services? .... Does your contract with your ISP state that you are legally responsible...

I am pretty sure that Spectrum (one of the least-liked cable operators in the US) has been doing this for years. Aside from public "hot-spots", and random-SSID portals on residential (family) WiFi, I have often seen an additional "Guest" portal which was wide-open to ALL. I understood it was "Spectrum being nice to neighbors" (ha!). I believe (hope?) that the stranger traffic does not come off my thin sliver of data quota; that Spectrum accounts it separately. When I found this on my WiFi I turned it off, but my neighbor has it open.

> ...marketing spin on it “supports up to 100 devices”...

Yes, Spectrum's new ad boasts "200 devices!" (Possibly not on my cheap and aging AP.)

Microsoft is busy rewriting core Windows code in memory-safe Rust

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Re: This doesn't mean you should convert your app to rust

> The Macintosh LC II had a 16/32-bit 16MHz processor.... And I bet it booted up more quickly than a modern PC.

No, because SSD.

(My 2015 PC booted VERY much faster when SSDed. I recently setup a 2018 mini-PC for Dad and was flumoxed how slow it was to semi-boot and then digest the Registry, because rotating rust. Lesser but similar speed changes in all applications.)

ChatGPT creates mostly insecure code, but won't tell you unless you ask

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> ...the whole thing with coding is the math. You should be able to do that in your head or on a pad...

Exactly. That's how it was done. Actual computers were once far too expensive to learn on. Instead programmers got pre-printed pads with blanks for all the registers. You'd write an op-code, and data, figure what that opcode did to that data, set flags, increment PC. Next line, next opcode. All the "computing" done in your head, the pad just holding bits/numbers to save half the brain-pain. One form of "desk checking". Obviously not gonna hand-pencil a large program, but you could for sure explore a small chunk as thoroughly as you wanted.

I did that with my Dad around 1962. He'd been "programming" for a decade but when he started analog computers were still useful.

A gun control receives a set of three-dimensional coordinates from a radar unit... and convert it to angles of deflection and elevation and a fuze setting, train the gun, and fire. If this is not the work of an electronic "brain", nothing is. ... The application of analog computers to mechanical systems is a very, promising field. Guided missiles are just the beginning. Automatic power plants, self-operating and maintaining factories, and automatic aircraft navigation are not inconceivable. ---- JPR, Jan 1953

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Re: Work in progress.

> Github "copilot" trial... My biological wife asked me an intelligent question...

Most wives are smarter than most of us.

> about copilot - "Is it like a mentor?". The answer is no, the opposite, currently the users are mentoring copilot.

That's just so wrong.

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> ChatGPT not assuming an adversarial model of code execution. ...can be circumvented simply by 'not feeding an invalid input' ...."

..."ChatGPT seems aware of ...critical vulnerabilities ...." It just doesn't say anything unless asked to evaluate the security of its own code suggestions.

This sounds like most the human programmers. MicroSoft is notorious for slap-dash post-hack "fixes", but everybody does it, less or more.

But being an algorithm with essentially (by human standards) "infinite time", we can "force" it to think about all known types of hacks before releasing any code.

Thing is that a black-hat AI may find new attack methods faster than the white-hats can detect and defend.

Brits start 'em young with 20% of tots 'owning' a smartphone

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> But real news, properly presented, is a far cry from unregulated inanity. My earliest memory of similar would probably be the John Craven's Newsround coverage of a famine in Bangladesh in the 70's. Pretty harrowing stuff, but still important to know about, even at that age.

For me, a bit earlier, it was Harvest Of Shame. Migrant workers in the US, 1960. On Wiki -- on YouTube

"We used to own our slaves; now we just rent them."

The jobs were eventually 'off-shored' to Mexico, Columbia, and poorer places, but the rent-a-slave trade lives on.

BOFH: We send a user to visit Kelvin – Keeper of the Batteries

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Purchasing... to save $1

> Purchasing, without telling any one, ordered a different brand to save $1 a reel.

Same all over. Any size purchase.

A school wood-shop I knew requisitioned a dust extractor (giant vacuum), plus a foundation and ducting.

Purchasing let-through the pad and pipes cuz <$5k, but put the $15k sucker out for bids and approved a different make/model at $14k.

Which did not fit either the pad or the pipes already installed. Tim had figured ALL the details to an inch and a penny.

Re-doing those cost a LOT more than the grand saved. Also logistical headache b/c the wrong sucker had to be stored until the concrete and duct guys measured for a re-do, bid it, waited for Purchasing to approve the "Change Order"....... IIFC, the shop lived in OSHA's sin-bin for a whole year. Probably wasted >$1k of Tim's time.... but that comes out of a different account than equipment.

While Twitter wants to sell its verification, Microsoft will do it for free on LinkedIn

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Re: Nothing changes

>> similar to how an individual's driving license can be used to board an airplane or open a bank account.">

> I'm not sure what silly country we are referring to here,...... Or is this only valid for certain driver licenses, but not the ones of the countries I have?

In the US, 50+ states/territories issue driver IDs (and similar ID for non-drivers), but post-9/11 the Fed issued guidelines for "Real ID" and threatens to make it mandatory in several situations.

"On May 7, 2025, U.S. travelers must be REAL ID compliant to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities."



This is a paperwork storm, not a loyalty check:

"At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status."

They will still check your shoes and liquids. Just because you are you is no reason to trust you.

(I believe there is a higher class of ID which can lessen the shoe-check; you know Musk et al are not barefooting in the airport.)

I don't know ANY connection to "bank accounts". Each bank makes its own rules. Before mass drug sales, only token ID (say, phone bill) was needed to open a personal account. I have shown my driver's license at the bank (the human tellers normally never see me, only the ATM) but I think the staff has discretion.

I was born in the middle of the US in the middle 1950s of 3rd-generation Americans, but there is some glitch in my "status". I can collect Social Security money but the computer can't be sure I am "Real"? I have to go to the Federal Building in the state capital to get paperwork(!), but the office was closed for a couple years. Also partly "my state's fault" because Maine delayed implementation of Real ID hoping it would go away.

Why Microsoft is really abandoning evaporative coolers at its Phoenix DCs

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Easier to move data than water?

Easier to move data than water?

Put the DC next to a hydro-dam (say, Washington state?). Find a data network (say, the innernet?) to carry what few bytes Arizona needs?

Land costs CAN'T be the issue. You can stack data very high, like those container-farms in Europe (OVHCloud's SBG2 Strasbourg fire), built on a sliver between the Rhine river and an industrial railroad yard.

Tupperware looking less airtight than you'd think

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Re: Ah yes, Tupperware

>> Ah yes, Tupperware

>> Party like it's 1979...

> More like 1959.

Most of our household storage containers pre-date the wedding, so pre-1979.

We are scrambling to collect the few damaged or missing lids before supplies vanish.

I remember Mom having T-ware in 1962.

Yeah we have oleo tubs and they work 1/10th as good as the real stuff.

And yes we also hoard automatic bread-machines and GEORGE FOREMAN® Grills. And the Aladdin/ThermoServ Coffee Mugs. And pipes for 1996 Honda minivan. (1991 MX5 Miata parts are easier to find than for the original Odyssey.)

Pentagon whistleblower Ellsberg given months to live

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Thank you, Daniel

Thank you, Daniel, for the lives you probably saved.

And thank you, Thomas-- this story has not been well covered.

Today's old folks set to smash through longevity records

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> Except maybe in America,

"America"? Is that Canada? Peru? Or are you specifically meaning United States?

Uptime guarantees don't apply when you turn a machine off, then on again, to 'fix' it

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> Those quotation marks are so much more efficient than that tedious and repetitive "... who the Regonomiser has dubbed Rod , for that is not his real name" crap, Well done!

Dear Abby (mother and daughter) has been doing this for over 50 years. Recent examples:

DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Maddie," 34, just left what I thought was a great marriage. .....she cheated on her husband, "Glenn."

DEAR ABBY: My 20-year-old niece, "Andrea," came to visit her grandmother wearing a nose stud.

DEAR ABBY: A dear friend, "Lorraine," contacted me because her daughter "Gabby" came out to her....

DEAR ABBY: I have been friends with a woman I'll call "Blanche" for 40 years.

Readers are not confused.


Scientists speak their brains: Please don’t call us boffins

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Re: Ask the dictionary

I never knew "boffin" in The States.

The English/Australian author A. Bertram Chandler used "boffin" in his stories several times. ABC served in several merchant navies starting WWII, wrote a lot of SciFi 1950s-1980s.

> ...typical usage seems to have been anyone involved in the sort of R&D that won the war...

In ABC's tales, spaceship captain/commodore Grimes, or another Captain (once a woman) says "I'm no boffin..." or "The boffins tell me". Yes, it is a class society-- Grimes (like Chandler) rose from scurvy scum through naval ranks to Ship Captain. He knows just enough 'technical' to make dumb suggestions to his boffins (and advance the story line).

I am sure the engineers, technicians, and other folks who keep the ship working have equally rude nicknames for ignorant Captains--- but they didn't write these stories. (Actually Grimes gets called names. Just before the mutiny.)

ABC's worlds are mostly sexist AF. In most of his tales, women can only be Catering Officer (mess-hall attendant) or a quick roll in the hay. ABC's second wife may have pointed this out. He got more woke late in life. A ground-breaking novel set on an all-male planet (and interestingly the boffinry to make the biology work comes from the all-female planet next door).

Aside from TheReg and ABC, I never see 'boffin'.

Botched migration resulted in a great deal: One for the price of two

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Re: beware energy company mergers

> I sold my flat in the UK, closed off all the utilities and was happy that all was good before moving to.....

2009 I sold my house and moved away. I had Verizon DSL service but I swear we cancelled that along with the other utilities.

2019 I started getting dunning emails from "Verizon Notification". Claimed "Total amount due: $64,159.91". I ignored it a while and it went to "$75,340.58". But I had only been paying $60/month, so the bill would be 7 grand, not 70 grand. Also some digging in the links in the email showed they did not terminate in a Verizon site but hall-of-mirrors redirected elsewhere. (Verizon had internal redirection servers which would forward a surfer to arbitrary destinations.)

At the time I was living debt-free and frankly did not care.

This year I financed a $40K car, loan officer said I was all good, like I was the best bet all week. I ran my own credit checks, there's nothing about many-kilo-bucks owed to Verizon. So some kinda phish/fraud?

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> This reminds me of Spectrum/Charter. We cancelled their TV service on the 10th, but they kept the money for the period from the 11th to the 31st.

This is well known, written in their fine print (not as clearly as you state it). Occasionally it rises through a PUC to a state Attorney-General. Sometimes they even promise to make it right. It is a repeating story.

BTW, Compuserve did exactly the same thing. Sometimes rounding-up an extra month. Look how well they did.

Publishers land killer punch on Internet Archive in book copyright court battle

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Re: Puzzled.

> It's been made clear in every article I've read on this subject, at least two here on El Reg including the parent article of this comment section, that IA are digitising books they own and then lending out one single digitised copy per book owned

AND- many of these 'lend one copy' transactions on Innernet Archive are Time Limited. I found a rare book posted, 800 pages, could be 'borrowed' for TWO HOURS. Then renewed again and again, except it seems (not sure) that if there was another user in queue, they got their 2 hours before it came back to me. If more than one other borrower, I could be on-line reading and sleeping in short bursts for a week.

In *this* case, 2 hours was plenty to find my one fact, screen-grab the graph, and 'return' it. (But if it had been more thrilling to me, I'd be looking to off-line the file, as I do with videos on porn sites.)

Years ago I borrowed a digi-copy for a week, which is often reasonable.

> Digitising rather than photocopying would be no different in my view.

Yeahbutt. Photocopying at 10c/page tends to be self-limiting. Yes, 35 years ago I Xeroxed most of Tuinenga's SPICE for slightly less than the cover price. Bought a fist-full of $10 copy-cards.. the university library did so much user-copying that they could not manage the dimes, they had a debit card for the copiers. Which were conveniently out-of-sight from any librarian's desk so plausible denial.

More recently I open-carried a laptop and a slim scanner in a bag into the library Annex where the back-issue journals are stored. Scanned in full sight of the attendant, who I knew to be a midlevel Librarian. My cost to scan about 90 pages out of IEEE was negligible. (Even more recently those papers are online at IEEE at about $2 a page, or $200/year buffet.)

Microsoft breaks geolocation, locking users out of Azure and M365

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Why (oh why oh why??) would MS base access on IP numbers? 16 years ago I was fire-fighting email because MS was using unregistered IPs to send mail, and my organization's policy was to drop anything which failed reverse-DNS. I was logging whole banks of intraceable IPs (yet some were clean, so the problem seemed "random", depending on luck of the draw at the email load-levelers). Not my job either way, I was just caught in the middle between angry senders and angry non-recipients.

IT phone home: How to run up a $20K bill in two days and get away with it by blaming Cisco

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Re: Isn't that Configured Backwards?

> I would expect a landline, with central-office batteries+Diesel generators power-backup and plain telco-provided phone ....would be far a more-reliable "backup" in a civil emergency than a cell phone. Cell towers' backup batteries have much-less run-time than the central office batteries+Diesel generators.

It depends. Here in the woods of Maine, the phone lines are very old, and the lines and the landline business have been decaying like lobster-shucks in the sun. In 10 years we have had three different 'incumbent' companies, each lower-bid than the last (but the rates keep going up-- TBH, some of that is tax/fees). And almost every year a month+ long period when the phone won't ring, or rings then drops the line, or no dial-tone, or static like epileptic woodpeckers on the line. Mostly due to old and un-maintained line expanders. Which is a box at the end of the road to wedge a few 1980s lines into the saturated 1940s infrastructure; can't get parts no more. And the box is only a few feet off a now busy road to/from the beer store, so I'm waiting for someone to jeep-smack it.

OTOH the cellphone here used to be so poor that we'd stand in the driveway to find one bar. Over the years new towers sprouted and we learned more who was on which side of the hills and what their low-price brand is.

Oh, and the side-of-road location of our landline expanders means they don't stay-up in a power failure any better than the cell-stuff. Worse because the batteries are older.

So it depends.

Cancer patient sues hospital after ransomware gang leaks her nude medical photos

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> hospitals keep records on people even after those people are no longer being actively treated.

Yeahbut... only for so long. Maybe a decade. I had a thing in my gut, lots of scans and tests, knife and drugs, was better. And then 20 and 25 years later a different thing in the similar area, and my surgeon wanted to see what was in there and if it had been there all along. Could NOT get the old records. (True, this was days of film and fax, not compressed bits.)

Since then I have tried to get my records but the hospital is very reluctant to share. Maybe I need a ransomware gang.

China debuts bonkers hybrid electric trolley-truck

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I grew up near Philadelphia when they still had trolley buses, some on rails but also some rubber tire/tyre. They served efficiently and for a long time, no smoke. I see they still serve, now with a donkey engine so they can get off-line for detours or garaging.

They still serve all over the world, including in Qingdao and Beijing, China. Also Brazil, Sweden, Belgium, most of the former Soviet Union. Shanghai's trolleybus system is the oldest operating system in the world. San Francisco and Seattle use trolleybuses.


Bus and truck come from the same roots, and used to be built on the same chassis. Both rackets are very competitive and details have diverged to favor seat-count vs max payload, turn radius vs long-haul economy, but they are still more alike than truly different.

Cutting off the butt of a bus and hitching a semi-trailer seems trivial.

(OTOH, the Maine potato-haul trucker built a series of bus-trucks with 8 seats between the driver and the hitch. This made more sense than running *both* a bus and a truck up that long lonely highway.)

> aren't clear on whether the vehicle can charge its batteries when overhead wires are available.

Power is power. Voltage conversion is becoming very mature. When you run into "can't charge that" with cellphones or e-cars, it is usually marketing run-around or false economy. In moderately competitive economies, truckers will foil marketers or dumb economy, installing proper charging systems if needed.

Yes, even moreso than recent USA, electric power in China is mostly burning dirty coal.

Once AI can create endless viral videos, good luck switching off social media

PRR Bronze badge

Re: Would such a piece of synthetic pop be good?

> singers that can't perform live without wearing their earpiece yet all throughout the history of music they never needed them to perform. Strange..

It is INCREDIBLY difficult to hear yourself on stage. Try it with a band sometime.

Side-speakers cause feedback as much as improved self-hearing. Floor wedges and cardoid mikes are just-barely tolerable.

Even seasoned instrumentalists who don't self-pitch live (pianists, drummers, e-bassists, most guitarists) adopted earpieces real darn quick, despite the expense.

Earpieces have been a MAJOR improvement in performer hearing. I only wish they had gotten good while I was still in that racket.

You do have a bit of a point. Paul Robeson invented the stage monitor and was able to hear better even when the speaker was out in the stage wings. But Robeson was amazing in many ways.)

Boeing signs off design of anti-jamming tech that keeps satellites online

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> Afterall, the goal.....

"“After all” is always two words.

But maybe it is just a busted spacebar?

> The programlaunched [PDF]...

Boffins concoct interference-busting radios

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Re: What's the new part?

> any old silicon diode, ...., has capacitance which varies with the bias frequency.

Conventionally we vary the voltage, not the frequency. Is your plan a new technique? Or a flinger fumdle?

PC tech turns doctor to diagnose PC's constant crashes as a case of arthritis

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Re: South don't work in the North

> old tale* in Television Magazine told by Les Lawry-Jones

Thank you thank you thank you!!

My mind turned to that series when Lil posted here "It's funny looking back to think that there were "TV engineers" - swapping components out, soldering at the PCB level after following a circuit diagram." I WAS that solder-guy, Les's brother on another side of a pond. The early essays are BOFH except before computer literature and Les often liked his clients. And Les actually told us stuff about Radio/TV repair.

But I had lost the link. Thanks for the memories.

{Italics and bold not working today?}

Google's big security cert log overhaul broke Android apps. Now it's hit undo

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Poor notification

"...encourage maintainers to migrate to the v3 list before this date," .... But not everyone got the memo.

I didn't see it in The Register, the only true source of true news. Therefore not my fault, this shudda been publicized louder.


US defense forces no match for the unstoppable fiend known as Reply-All

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TIL: "..if you put a bunch of soldiers or officers of the same rank in one room.., they will revert to acting like privates..." Tho from hanging near Professors I coulda guessed as much. (Lord of the Flies comes to mind too.)


JimboSmith> the bloke with the same first name as me who was the intended recipient.

I learned that one somewhere along the line. If it is not for me, who else around here looks like me? Or in this case has a name of Jimbo or Smith?


I have NO idea why everybody here is going on about "BCC". It is not in the story. It is not needed to cause a mailstorm! The original email may have been:

from: General Jimbo Smif

to: FA57 Voluntary Transfer

That is just two recipients. The mail client has NO way to know that FA57 is a list that expands to 13,000 persons. The client can put FA57 either in a TO: field or a CC: field.

Yes, keys to use the ListServ should be tightly controlled. When I ran such for a school it was usually the teacher and the lead student. Being semi-awake, I had others diverted to me where I decided to pass them on or drop it.

Ah, memory awakes. A month after I started my first LISTSERV some stranger discovered it and sent spam for chairs and couches. The list members were baffled and frightened. Locking listserv permissions was "D'oh!" Soothing the fears and ruffled feathers took longer.

Learn the art of malicious compliance: doing exactly what you were asked, even when it's wrong

PRR Bronze badge

> We just hang it on the washing line... for 3/4 of the year

3/4 of the year??? WHY?

When I was wee, Mom hung wash on the line in winter in Colorado, a bit down from Pike's Peak. It went stiff but sublimated in a day or three. (Yes it is a dry cold.)

Here in coastal Maine we hang most wash when not raining or snowing. 90% of the damp comes off carbon-free. Jeans will stand on their own but so? A 15 minute dryer tumble finishes it.

What's up with IT, Doc? Rabbit hole reveals cause of outage

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> I don't actually know what "tripping an RCD by touching the live wire" would feel like as I've never had that happen. Does anyone know?

Done it a couple times. First, when GFI was very new in the US, I reached up to an overhead outlet while standing on concrete (which is always dampish). Heard a mild thunk, felt nothing, but table saw would not run. I had tripped the GFI. (And this was surely in rubber-sole shoes.)

The RCD and GFI specs seem to be the same thing, only one quotes a 50mA quick-trip current and the other the 5mA long-trip current.

You can feel 5mA steady but maybe not for "an instant" while doing something else.

Very different than 100mA through shock-damaged skin from direct use of 120/240V. Different again from 30mA at 15kV (oil flame ignition).