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* Posts by Christoph

2852 posts • joined 24 Dec 2007

Small American town rejects Comcast – while ISP reps take issue with your El Reg vultures

Christoph Silver badge

"Comcast executives are going to be having crisis meetings over this one."

What's the problem? They will simply order their congresscritters to pass laws making it illegal for the municipalities to compete with them.

NASA names the date for the first commercial crew demo flight

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Echoes...

They should at least have made the wake-up message "Good Morning, Dr. Chandra. I’m ready for my first lesson now."

Privacy, security fears about ID cards?'s digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

Christoph Silver badge

They will have trouble with the protests this time round

Last time they tried this the police attacked the demonstrators and then claimed the demonstrators were rioting.

This time everyone is carrying a video camera. They can't confiscate all of the videos showing gangs of police charging down the street attacking everyone in sight including bystanders. Or of someone chucking a stone in the general direction of the police, then calmly walking up to and into the police lines before the police charge the crowd for throwing stones at them.

Wow, what a lovely early Christmas present for Australians: A crypto-busting super-snoop law passes just in time

Christoph Silver badge

"because we're not going to go home and leave the Australian people on their own over Christmas.

Why all this whinging about Australian software? If they can get this designed, coded, tested, and up and running on all the multitude of different systems and have that all in place well before this Christmas, Australian software must be by far the best in the world. No other country could even begin to do anything so complex in that timescale.

UK spies: You know how we said bulk device hacking would be used sparingly? Well, things have 'evolved'...

Christoph Silver badge

Mission creep? Good grief! Who could possibly have expected that? (Aside from everyone who isn't actually living on Rockall).

Oz opposition folds, agrees to give Australians coal in their stockings this Christmas

Christoph Silver badge

They want this in place before the next election.

They are making it illegal to reveal the existence of interceptions.

Will they be able to prove that they are not intercepting the communications of the opposing parties?

Since they have deliberately made it impossible to prove that they are doing such interception, the burden of proof falls on them to show that they are not doing so.

Christoph Silver badge

"He later accused international tech of holding the view that “Australian law doesn't apply to them”."

And he holds the view that Physical and Mathematical law doesn't apply to Australia?

No, you haven't gone deaf – the Large Hadron Collider has been wound down for more upgrades

Christoph Silver badge

“We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.”

-- Douglas Adams

Q: If Pesky Pepper had a peek at patient papers, at how many patient papers did Pesky Pepper peek? A: 231

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Norfolk

You mean like the ones who have only one arm and one eye?

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter

Christoph Silver badge

Accuracy of 10 to -18 is much better than one second in the age of the Universe!

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Enquiring minds would like to know?

By comparing multiple mechanisms in different places

What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs

Christoph Silver badge

Re: How many constitutional rights were violated ?

"Which is why you do not say yes to any opportunistic requests for a vehicle search."

Which annoys the police because they now have to keep you hanging around while a drug-detecting dog is fetched, so they can give it the covert signal telling it to do a false 'alert' and then have 'reasonable suspicion' to do a forced search of the vehicle.

The outcome of annoying the police is not likely to be fun for you.

CubeSat buddies, like those sent to track Mars InSight landing, can be used in future missions

Christoph Silver badge

Re: First attempt - Brilliant results

Do they have solar panels? Or did they run on battery power for the short time needed?

Boeing 737 pilots battled confused safety system that plunged aircraft to their deaths – black box

Christoph Silver badge

If a plane can do this, what happens to cars?

It is still claimed that we will soon have fully automatic driverless cars. These will be operating in a vastly more complicated environment, with far less time to sort out problems. And there will be far more of them. What are the chances that nothing like this will happen?

A plane can in emergency hand control over to the pilots. A car may have no driver, or the driver may be asleep, drunk, and/or distracted. In any case if they are suddenly given control they will not have time to assess a situation which is so complicated that the car has given up.

Car automation can do a lot, but I cannot accept that full automation will come any time soon - and it will at the least require a major rebuild of all the roads, together with new signage designed for automatic reading.

That sphincter-flexing moment for devs when it's time to go live

Christoph Silver badge

Changing the user interface can have major unexpected consequences.

Back in the 80s, the company internal telephone system was updated. The new system examined external calls and sent them by the cheapest route - BT, Mercury, or up the leased line to head office.

Old system: Pick up phone, get internal dial tone. Dial 9, external dial tone. Dial number.

New system: Pick up phone, get internal dial tone. Dial 9, system waits for the external number with no dial tone then works out the cheapest route.

Nobody, not even the switchboard, was warned in advance about this change.

In a large office building, large numbers of people thought there was a fault. Many of them tried pressing the 9 key again and again to try to get the external dial tone.

The telephone system watched the key presses until it recognised a valid number, then dialled that number.

Note to non-UKans: The UK emergency number, roughly equivalent to the US '911', is '999'.

Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Missing Information

Well, quite. Why should he bring such sensitive documents into another jurisdiction? Even if he needed to work on some, why the entire cache?

Something is very odd here.

Japanese cyber security minister 'doesn't know what a USB stick is'

Christoph Silver badge

"If Japan suddenly disappears into the ocean, we'll know why."


Brexit: UK will be disconnected from EU databases after 2020

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Titanic

And the captain ordering "Full Steam Ahead towards the iceberg!"

Douglas Adams was right, ish... Super-Earth world clocked orbiting 'nearby' Barnard's Star

Christoph Silver badge

Re: "The detached sail will accelerate but the probe will decelerate"

The trick of using part of the sail to decelerate the remainder was devised by Robert Forward, and detailed in his novel Rocheworld about a crewed voyage to Barnard's Star.

He even found a way to bring the ship back again, still using only the Earth-based lasers.

His scientific paper describing the system seems to be behind a paywall, but here's the abstract

Chinese teen braniacs are being trained to build new AI weapons

Christoph Silver badge

If the West is in trouble

We'd better expand our programme of welcoming and encouraging highly qualified people from other countries to come and work for us. Only a lunatic would do anything to discourage those people.

Dell upping its margins again: Precision 5530 laptop will sting you for $13m. Yep, six zeroes

Christoph Silver badge

And that's ...

Cutting their own throat

Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

Christoph Silver badge

Emmy Noether

If you are listing non-Brits, she absolutely must be included.

"In the judgment of the most competent living mathematicians, Fräulein Noether was the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began." -- Albert Einstein

30 spies dead after Iran cracked CIA comms network with, er, Google search – new claim

Christoph Silver badge

Those people risked their lives to help the USA, and the USA blew their cover and got them killed through sheer bloody incompetence, and managers covering their own arses rather than doing their job and protecting their people.

You do not do that in intelligence work. At all costs you do NOT jeopardise your people. This is unbelievably bad.

Dot-com web addresses prices to swell, thanks to sweetheart deal between Uncle Sam, Verisign

Christoph Silver badge

"until there's nothing left except the feudal lords and the serfs."

I suspect they're aiming for something more along the line of Eloi and Morlocks. Without realising how that ended up for the Eloi.

Imperial bringing in budget holograms to teach students

Christoph Silver badge

"Education is getting more messed up by the day. Why can't the people in charge that want this country to prosper see that by making education out of reach we are going to become a joke or is that the plan?"

The people in charge want themselves to prosper, and one of their definitions of success is being far better off than other people. So keeping the oiks down by denying them an education is a desired outcome.

Clunk, bang, rattle: Is that a ghost inside your machine?

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Given the toxicity of the toner powder, Mike called an ambulance forthwith.

Coming up the stairs to the office I met the secretary coming down towards the washroom, with her entire face blackened by toner except a streak under each eye cleared by tears.

The (very old) copier was refilled by spooning the toner into it. The toner had got clogged up. She had realised an instant too late that the way to deal with this is NOT to bend down close to the toner holder and blow hard.

Tech world mulls threat as new round of US China trade tariffs looms

Christoph Silver badge

"With 3 major markets there is the risk that 2 of them could gang up against the other."

What would you call the three rival trade blocks? How about Eurasia, Eastasia, and Oceania?

I ship you knot: 2,400-year-old Greek trading vessel found intact at bottom of Black Sea

Christoph Silver badge

Yes, that is what I was wondering. If they aren't going to raise it, are they able to search it carefully enough to check whether there is an ancestor of the Antikythera Mechanism on board?

Any clue at all about that would be immensely valuable - as it is the thing is utterly unique.

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

Christoph Silver badge

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.

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

Christoph Silver badge

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

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

Christoph Silver badge

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

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

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

Christoph Silver badge

Re: Uber of the sky...

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

"Are we there yet?"

Christoph Silver badge

Time to update an old song?

"Taxis keep falling on my head"

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

Christoph Silver badge

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?”

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

Christoph Silver badge

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

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

Christoph Silver badge

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?

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

Christoph Silver badge

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.

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

Christoph Silver badge

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.

Christoph Silver badge

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

The day we went to Heathrow

By way of Inverness

HMRC rapped as Brexit looms and customs IT release slips again

Christoph Silver badge


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

Christoph Silver badge


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

All of the above?"

Utterly buggered.

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

Christoph Silver badge

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.

Christoph Silver badge

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?

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

Christoph Silver badge

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.

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

Christoph Silver badge

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.

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

Christoph Silver badge

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.

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

Christoph Silver badge

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.

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

Christoph Silver badge

"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.

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

Christoph Silver badge

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?

Facebook sued for exposing content moderators to Facebook

Christoph Silver badge

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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