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* Posts by Christoph

2824 posts • joined 24 Dec 2007

UK defence secretary ponders £50m hit to terminate Capita recruiting contract

Christoph
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But we have to have enough armed forces to fire off all the weapons so the suppliers can make lots more money replacing them. And create enough enemies so that we have targets to shoot those weapons at, and excuses to spend even more money developing even more expensive weaponry.

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UK Home Office admits £200m Emergency Services Network savings 'delayed'

Christoph
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Plus the huge savings to be made by replacing the police helicopters with flying pigs.

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Insult to injury: Malware menace soaks water-logged utility ravaged by Hurricane Florence

Christoph
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"for the next several weeks as it restores all of the damaged systems"

Aren't they lucky they're not in Puerto Rico.

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EU aren't kidding: Sky watchdog breathes life into mad air taxi ideas

Christoph
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Re: Uber of the sky...

"Of course I'll still respect you in the morning"

"Are we there yet?"

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Christoph
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Time to update an old song?

"Taxis keep falling on my head"

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AI's next battlefield is literally the battlefield: In 20 years, bots will fight our wars – Army boffin

Christoph
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Re: Humans will always have the most important battlefield role

The really big problem is that one side will have more advanced weaponry. Far more advanced when it's the US invading a Third World country. You'll end up with one country dominating all the others, the same way the big internet companies dominate their particular field.

Which could easily end up as a world-wide dictatorship. Which would not end well for anyone.

“Any of the other cities would attack us if they had these golems,” said Lord Downey, “and surely we don’t have to think of their jobs, do we? Surely a little bit of conquest would be in order?”

“An empirette, perhaps?” said Vetinari sourly. “We use our slaves to create more slaves? But do we want to face the whole world in arms? For that is what we would do, at the finish. The best that we could hope for is that some of us would survive. The worst is that we would triumph. Triumph and rot. That is the lesson of history, Lord Downey. Are we not rich enough?”

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With sorry Soyuz stuffed, who's going to run NASA's space station taxi service now?

Christoph
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If anyone's got a Sub-Etha Thumb they can hitch a lift with a passing alien.

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US may have by far the world's biggest military budget but it's not showing in security

Christoph
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Re: I enjoy the fact that issuing policies must be the end of the matter

"That prank missile target on your mates house suddenly becomes are real possibility that it may just work..."

Shall we play a game, Joshua?

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Chinese Super Micro 'spy chip' story gets even more strange as everyone doubles down

Christoph
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Of course there's hidden spyware in electronics

It's well known that some electronic kit has hidden spyware included. As Snowden revealed, it is put there by the NSA.

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Remember that lost memory stick from Heathrow Airport? The terrorist's wet dream? So does the ICO

Christoph
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You only need a single hole in security to lose

Search all the baggage and the passengers. Armed police everywhere. Strict controls on who can enter certain areas. Highly visible security everywhere you look. And then leave the security specs lying around on a USB stick.

Someone is more into security theatre than actual risk analysis by real experts.

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Christoph
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Re: "Queen's exact route used each time she travelled"

The day we went to Heathrow

By way of Inverness

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HMRC rapped as Brexit looms and customs IT release slips again

Christoph
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Re: SNAFU

It's not a problem - we just pick the solutions off the Magic Technology Tree.

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Christoph
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Re: TL;DR

"Slightly fucked, regular fucked, extra fucked or proper fucked

All of the above?"

Utterly buggered.

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Manchester nuisance-call biz fined £150k after ignoring opt-out list

Christoph
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Re: Government is planning to make directors personally liable

Publish their personal phone numbers. Then make occasional randomly-timed calls to those numbers, with a stiff penalty if they don't answer promptly or if someone else answers.

So they have to rush to answer every call that anyone happens to make to those published numbers.

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Christoph
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Re: overnment is planning to make directors personally liable

"there are a minuscule number of deaths attributed to cycling each year"

Will you be the one explaining to the grieving relatives that because there are only a small number of deaths each year there is no need to make a law to punish the person who killed their loved one?

That because only a few cyclists are arrogant entitled arseholes who think pedestrians should leap out of the way of the bicycle approaching silently from behind, that makes it perfectly OK for those arseholes to get away with it?

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New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

Christoph
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Re: Have fun!

"It's a phone. What do you expect they'll find?"

Besides the possibility of them planting spyware on the phone, the US have apps that will grab everything off the phone and upload it to the gigantic NSA database which will keep it forever and cross reference it with the rest of that database. Mission creep may well mean NZ eventually doing something similar.

Note that the US don't just read the files on the phone - they suck down everything that the phone can reach. Every web and cloud application that the phone has the codes for.

That means not only your personal information, but information that your friends have given you access to. If a friend has posted extremely private and personal information in a locked post that they have only given a few close friends access to, that information is now on the NSA database. Personally I have no intention of betraying my friends.

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Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin

Christoph
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Re: New contractor

Which make it interesting when USA folks refer to the current (45th) president as 'P45' when they don't want to use his name.

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Perfect timing for a two-bank TITSUP: Totally Inexcusable They've Stuffed Up Payday

Christoph
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Don't worry, they'll sort it out

Once the banks succeed in completely abolishing cash, you'll no longer be in deep trouble when the banking systems fail.

You'll be utterly buggered.

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Resident evil: Inside a UEFI rootkit used to spy on govts, made by you-know-who (hi, Russia)

Christoph
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Aren't those Russians terrible, developing software to hack into computers for their nefarious ends.

So different from our wonderful people in NSA and Cheltenham, who are developing software to hack into computers for their noble ends.

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Have I been pwned, Firefox? OK, let's ask its Have I Been Pwned tool

Christoph
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"This may seem like a quaint concern when looking into whether one's email address and password have already been exposed online. But it may matter to some."

Surely the idea is to avoid exposing your email address if it hasn't already been exposed?

The HIBP site is presumably OK since so many people will have checked it, but the extra security doesn't hurt and just may avoid letting a previously clean address out into the wild.

As a for instance, I use different emails for each company I buy from, so if it escapes I can be sure it's that company as nobody else knows it - but can I still be sure if I've also sent it to other sites? And I certainly don't want to expose the very complex address I use for banking, which any phisher would first have to guess.

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Barclays and RBS on naughty step: Banks told to explain service meltdown to UK politicos

Christoph
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Consumer banking keeps going down. I wonder what would happen if the financial trading systems which move money by the billions and rely on microsecond timing were to fail for a similar amount of time?

Or could it possibly be that they can't be bothered to put the same resources into systems for mere consumers?

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Facebook sued for exposing content moderators to Facebook

Christoph
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I've seen several apparently reliable statements from left wing commentators that they have been temporarily banned due to false reports from right wing trolls.

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Got any ecsta-sea? Boffins get octopuses high on MDMA – for science, duh

Christoph
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Serious scientific experiment

So what happens if you give LSD to octopuses, who can camouflage themselves by changing skin colour and pattern to match what they see as the surroundings?

Wow the colours, man!

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In a race to 5G, Trump has stuck a ball-and-chain on America's leg

Christoph
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Re: Experts

"Fucking hell. It's the same old shit every time this subject comes up. Do we just get different people every time or does no-one bother to pay attention and do a bit of basic reading? Still, at least it's not vaccines or Brexit...

Don't worry, just tell them that if they get cancer we can easily cure it by giving them some distilled water that was once in the same room as something or other and is therefore a miracle cure.

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Microsoft: Like the Borg, we want to absorb all the world's biz computers

Christoph
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All your computers are belong to us

Microsoft will be able to invisibly siphon off whatever data they have decided they need/want. Can you trust that every Microsoft employee who ever has access to this can be relied on not to misuse it? Especially if you have compliance requirements to keep data secure.

Can you trust that the US government will never lean on Microsoft to grab and hand over data?

Can you trust that Microsoft will never leave a security hole by which attackers can have total access to every computer subscribed to this system?

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Euro bureaucrats tie up .eu in red tape to stop Brexit Brits snatching back their web domains

Christoph
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"In short, civil servants have decided to insert themselves into a dynamic market based on an ideological concept of how the internet works by adding unnecessary new rules over the objections of people actually working in that market.

It's exactly this sort of nonsense that drove many in the UK to vote for Brexit in the first place."

Nothing to do with the EU at all. Any petty bureaucrat with a tiny bit of power will want to wield it, and is very likely to decide that he/she obviously knows far more about some field than the people actually working in it despite having no experience of it whatever.

They will impose, or try to, a set of rules that seem obvious to them. Yet assume that these so obvious rules were never noticed by any of the people who have spent their careers in the field, and that any objections from those people are clearly wrong and should be overridden.

(And yes, I do have direct experience of this. 'Safety' rules that would have made an activity very much more dangerous.)

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Google Chrome 69 gives worldwide web a stay of execution in URL box

Christoph
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Do Not hide the URL

Years back Microsoft decided it was a really neat idea to hide the file type extension on files. One of the first things I do on a new machine is switch extensions back on. I want to know what a file really is, not what the icon is claiming!

If I'm looking at a web page I want to know what the address is, not what someone else has decided I need to be told about.

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

Christoph
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Joke

I wanted to get back to Earth

For I really was feeling quite rotten

So I took my power-drill to make

A hole in the Soyuz's bottom

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US govt concedes that you can indeed f**k Nazis online: Domain-name swear ban lifted

Christoph
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Did that rule block anyone wanting to register scunthorpe.us?

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Brit armed forces still don't have enough techies, thunder MPs

Christoph
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Hi, keen young techie. How would you like to spend a few months being yelled at by sergeants while square bashing, then get sent off to the far side of the world to help fire high tech weaponry at the local peasants who have no idea why you have invaded and occupied their country?

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Expanding Right To Be Forgotten slippery slope to global censorship, warn free speech fans

Christoph
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Re: "requires removal of all search links to stories of Catholic priests abusing children"

"Do you mean that a priest wrongly accused of abuses - it happens - will need to be damned for eternity in Google's Hell?"

They should be treated exactly the same as any other individual found innocent after being wrongly accused. They should not get special privileged treatment simply by having powerful friends - any more than any politician should.

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Christoph
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If any nation state can demand global removal of search results, how long will it be before the Vatican (a recognised nation state) requires removal of all search links to stories of Catholic priests abusing children?

(And maybe later to anything promoting contraception, abortion, divorce, rights of women, etc.)

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Post-silly season blues leave me bereft of autonomous robot limbs

Christoph
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Boffin

Mind controlled third hand? Yes please!

Rather than wiring it to a dummy hand, use the output to directly control the mouse while I type with the other two hands. Far better and faster control over the multiple open windows, controls, etc.

And once I've trained myself to have good control over that, the same interface can be wired to provide direct 'mouse' input to all sorts of other gadgets, machines, vehicles etc.

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A flash of inspiration sees techie get dirty to fix hospital's woes

Christoph
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Re: Noisy phone lines in building

It is possible to make sure they tell you when they change things.

I gave the fitters a dump of the data table that told the controlling computer which ports did what in the machine they were building. When they changed the wiring on-the-fly they could copy the table into RAM, use the machine code monitor to edit it, and blow it to a new EPROM. They could then write the amendments on the print-out so I knew what had changed.

I explained that each time I gave them a new version of the code I would first come and get that print-out and copy all the changes they had written on it into the new version.

And that if they had missed writing any changes it was Not My Problem when their machine no longer worked.

They were very careful, and didn't miss any.

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Trainer regrets giving straight answer to staffer's odd question

Christoph
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Re: you call that Loud :)

For proper printer graphics you need a line printer, with different combinations of characters for different densities.

For some reason a picture of Snoopy on his doghouse roof shouting "Curse you Red Baron" was the second most popular type of graphic.

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Experimental 'insult bot' gets out of hand during unsupervised weekend

Christoph
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Re: screw ups

One of the computing students had just been made lady vice-president of the student's union. She left one of her programs lying around in the punch room long enough for someone to insert some extra cards. The operators had to abort the program to stop it printing endless pages filled with "Long live the lady vice-president".

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IBM slaps patent on coffee-delivering drones that can read your MIND

Christoph
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I see you're all nervous and twitching from your attempts to cut down on your caffeine addiction which is causing you serious health problems. Here, have a cup of coffee to calm you down.

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Internet overseer continues wall-punching legal campaign

Christoph
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Re: "Nothing [..] enabled the Applicant to foresee the Appellate Court's reasoning,"

Does Germany have an equivalent of declaring someone to be a vexatious litigant?

(Which means they have to get prior permission to bring any more legal actions.)

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Drama as boffins claim to reach the Holy Grail of superconductivity

Christoph
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Re: Extraordinary claims—

"delivery of vast power from far away, e.g. from solar concentrators in the Sahara to Europe"

Which would make all those barren stretches of Sahara desert suddenly extremely valuable. Which would promptly provoke robust discussions as to who owned them. (Hint: Not the people who actually live there.)

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When's a backdoor not a backdoor? When the Oz government says it isn't

Christoph
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" the powers would only be invoked for “serious crimes” involving sentences of three years or greater."

And we know that they will stick to those limitations, because?

If nobody is allowed to know what they are doing because any whistle-blower gets a 5 year sentence, then they will misuse it. Any time some group gets completely unsupervised power, it gets misused.

This is well known - the Snowden revelations showed that security agencies go way past what they are theoretically allowed to do as a matter of routine every day operation.

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Bank on it: It's either legal to port-scan someone without consent or it's not, fumes researcher

Christoph
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So will they have no objection if I run a full penetration test suite on their site to make sure they are secure enough for me to consider becoming a customer?

Oh, and I'd like to check that they can cope with a DDOS attack so I don't lose access if someone attacks them.

For Security, you know.

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Has El Reg been hacked?

Christoph
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Has El Reg been hacked?

I've just had a spam to the email address I used to sign up to The Register - an address which I created for just that purpose and have not used anywhere else.

(And no, while it's not massively complex like the one I use for my bank, it's not one that could be found by chance).

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Grad sends warning to manager: Be nice to our kit and it'll be nice to you

Christoph
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Sometimes it's the user

Physicist Wolfgang Pauli could break equipment simply by being in the same room. Or even by happening to be changing trains at the local railway station. See 'Pauli effect'.

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Build your own NASA space rover: Here are the DIY JPL blueprints

Christoph
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Alien

Re: Optional...

Add the Infra-Red laser (aka Heat Ray) from the Curiosity rover.

Then take it for a drive on Horsell Common.

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Hey, don't route the messenger! Telegram redirected through Iran by baffling BGP leak

Christoph
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Re: Backronym alert

Or the Power PC opcode EIEIO

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Make Facebook, Twitter, Google et al liable for daft garbage netizens post online – US Senator

Christoph
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"making AI algorithms subject to verification and transparency;"

That will ban very large numbers of algorithms which simply cannot be verified - they've been generated by evolving, on an enormous data set.

You might be able to test them for built in bias (though you have to suspect it before you can test for it) but you can't verify them or explain how they work.

Whether banning such algorithms is a good thing is a different question.

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Early experiment in mass email ends with mad dash across office to unplug mail gateway

Christoph
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I've heard of a US tourist asking the way to Key-app-siddy. While already standing on Cheapside.

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Well, well, well. Crime does pay: Ransomware creeps let off with community service

Christoph
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"be confident that not only will the decryption tool appear"

Unless you get one of the really nasty ones which generate a new key for each victim and discard that key after a certain time.

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Sad Nav: How a cheap GPS spoofer gizmo can tell drivers to get lost

Christoph
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Re: Luckily

"Real men navigate with a lode stone, feldspar crystal and a cross staff."

Real men navigate with a bulldozer. There will be a road there!

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Christoph
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Re: To be honest

A friend woke up one morning to find that according to his satnav his house was doing several hundred miles an hour across the North Sea. Though that was the morning after the 9/11 attack so probably intentional scrambling.

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