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* Posts by Nick Ryan

2088 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Nick Ryan
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A certain JavaScript data transfer format that's lighter weight than XML has some questions to answer as well...

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UK's map maker Ordnance Survey plays with robo roof detector

Nick Ryan
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Re: The Next Stage

Plant trees to break up the hard lines and shadows and apply camouflage pattern. That would probably do the trick.

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Auto auto fleets to dodge British potholes in future

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Re: Why?

But have you ever noticed that there some places the potholes are always fixed promptly? Usually around the driving routes of those who have power and influence.

Unfortunately far too true:

A few years back I used to regularly drive past the County Hall in Hertford and doing the same route at the same time every day you tend to come across the same drivers. One of these was pretty much a criminal hazard behind the wheel and every day would pull blindly out of their property (just North of Waterford which is the next village to the North of Hertford) into traffic expecting every other road user to get out of the way or stop. This level of road danger was then repeated on all roundabouts, weaving across lanes onto, around and off each roundabout all the way until they got to their place of work...

The driver of this vehicle was a senior local councillor, with their own allocated parking space at the front of the County Hall of course. Complaints? All that happened was that miraculously a considerably slower speed limit zone was erected that covered just the entrance to this cretin's property. Apparently it was a danger area due to the number of collisions and near collisions in the area. Almost all caused by one particular driver of course.

I still have flashbacks when I see cars of the same make, model and colour...

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Developers, developers, developers: How 'serverless' crowd dropped ops like it's hot

Nick Ryan
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Re: ...and is it a good idea?

Been there, got the badge, sparkly certificate and a clue-by-four. Application security issues? No problem, just grant everybody administrator access. Fixed.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Cloud, REST, HTTP, PHP, trendy NoSQL DB de-jour, blah blah, whatever...

Not just debugging as such... but wait until you get to version control and code/setup comparison of such functions/containers/RPCs. Also building a test/dev instance that is guaranteed to be entirely independent of the live system but identical in configuration because otherwise testing is not valid.

No problem? Let's just reinvent some more wheels and push debugging and version and deployment management into the distance as they're not important.

/sarcasm, for those that don't spot it.

Now I'm off to try and help track down application issues in a system where the business logic is splattered across the front end, server application files, server binary files, web services, and database stored procedures. Just add some standard MS-SQL transaction handling and row/block level locking into the mix and we're going to have a day...

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Signing up for the RAF? Don't bother – you've been Capita'd

Nick Ryan
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Have Capita ever done anything well?

No, seriously. Have they ever?

As in something that worked, not something that massively screwed over the tax payer and the organisation supposed to be using it rather than lining the pockets of the shareholders and executives of Capita.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Crapital Punishment

How happy would you feel with an on line banking system which required you to wet sign a cheque and pop it in the post at the end of the process?

You use the same online bank as me? Who'd have thought...

Seriously though, I do genuinely come across this level of stupid on occasion.

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OK Google: A stranger with stash of pirated films is spamming my Google Team Drive

Nick Ryan
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Re: Google Drive Help Forum "top contributor"

Unfortunately, and this is a national (bordering on international) tragedy, but, as of September 2017, Jaffa cakes come in packs of 10.

Please see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41400677 for a report on this tragedy.

Your research is out of date and needs to be refreshed. You know what to do...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Google Drive Help Forum "top contributor"

Any advice on how to avoid the subsequent memory blackout after which you often find you've scoffed the entire packet short of one (sometimes two)

Memory blackout? You have been seriously mislead by marketing when it comes to the number of said cakes stored within a Jaffa cake delivery tube. The unitiated out there believe that when the box reads 10, that this number is in decimal. The reality of this, and as should be appreciated by most El Reg readers, is that this number is actually binary and therefore rather than being ten, there are in fact only two cakes in each packet. These two cakes are cunningly, no, spitefully, located one at each end of the tube.

This is why one only has the memory of taking the first and the last cake out of each packet because there are, in fact, no other cakes of deliciousness inbetween. Fact*.

* any ill-perceived side effects such as a feeling of bloatedness, weight gain, spots, sugar rushes, etc, are all entirely coincidental and attributable to environmental or other similarly nefarious factors and definitely not the "missing" cakes.

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Intel Management Engine pwned by buffer overflow

Nick Ryan
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Anything that lets a White Hat remote in with beneficial intentions can and ultimately will allow Black Hats in. This idea of remote admin is thus fundamentally insecure.

Not entirely true. If the remote admin mechanism has appropriate security in place, and no daft exploits are in place that bypass this, then it shouldn't be an issue. For example requiring a valid client certificate and secure credentials should work fine as long as these credentials and certificate were kept secure. No security system is perfect and such credentials can be lost but there is always a risk with any system and it's about balancing the risk compared to the benefits. When you have an estate of thousands of systems you do not not want to have to physically visit each and every one of them for maintenance reasons.

This is fine, of course, until some code monkeys implement a system where there the auth system can be bypassed with ease.

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Muzzle our public watchdog much? UK.gov Data Protection Bill adds affect the ICO

Nick Ryan
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Rule by dictat

The whole bill is littered with terms and clauses that the "Secretary of State" may change at will, effectively functionally changing the bill at whim. This is not the kind of clauses in law that should underpin a democracy - more suited to a police state or dictatorship.

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Nick Ryan
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Very true. Which is why Chairman May is so determined that its influence should be removed.

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EU data protection groups: Fix Privacy Shield or face lawsuit

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Yep, privacy shield is pretty much as useless as safe habor(sp) was. Unless inappropriate data access and use becomes a legal matter in the US then regimes like the US cannot be trusted with personal data.

So, you're a non US citizen and want try civil litigation in the US against a US corporation? Seriously, this is not going to work. Non-US citizens have little to no inherited rights in the US and US corporations are already litigation and lawyer heavy therefore you will need a lot of US money to get anywhere. US civil courts will almost certainly side with a US corporation (depending on jurisdiction I guess) therefore chances of success are likely to be low, particularly when the patriotism flag starts to get waved around - i.e. "protecting 'honest' US businesses against forrners".

Treating the local international office as part of the international group and threatening them with a fine levied against the international organisation's group turn over may do the trick though. This is already part of the GDPR.

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Tech giants at war: Google pulls plug on YouTube in Amazon kit

Nick Ryan
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Re: One winner - not really.

In case you're not aware, there is a YouTube for Kids app available which greatly reduces the level of pondlife content that is available. It's not perfect, but it really helps.

There's also iPlayer for kids and quite good content controls within Amazon Prime video as well...

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No, BMW, petrol-engined cars don't 'give back to the environment'

Nick Ryan
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Not forgetting the right to park wherever the owner feels like or, should they lower themselves socially to use marked parking bays that non-disabled, non-parents are permitted to use, that they may use two or more of them.

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Apple sprays down bug-ridden iOS 11 with more fixes

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Re: 'one that caused the calculator to return incorrect results if numbers are entered too quickly'

Notice that 2 + 3 - 3 x 2 = -1 by Apple.

-1 is the correct answer as the calculation is effectively 2 + 3 - 6; which is -1. Operator precedence is something that demonstrably a lot of people don't grasp having seen so many of the facebook click-bait articles catching people out with it. The standard android calculator also produces the same correct answer.

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Drone collisions with airliners may not be fatal, US study suggests

Nick Ryan
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Re: How is this different than birdstrike?

So you're suggesting that we should be firing frozen drones at the planes?

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Brit MP Dorries: I gave my staff the, um, green light to use my login

Nick Ryan
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it really boils my piss that an elected MP cares so little about privacy

It's probably more accurately: it really boils my piss that an elected MP cares so little about non-politician's privacy

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Template letter for your MP

Unfortunately the actions of government are excluded from the DPA / GDPR.

On the other hand, they may not know this... :)

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Nadine Dorries : Why do people vote for her?

Why? Because the country is full of idiots who vote for the same party that they've always voted for regardless of the corruption, lies and stupid things (policies) that the politicians representing that party carry out. Party politics is pretty much an anathema of democracy.

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Re: I don't understand this

Password sharing is one thing, and a measure of both stupidity and contempt of security.

Looking at porn: fine. MPs are, vaguely, in the most broad sense, sometimes passably human and therefore looking at porn is just fine with me. Of course, the rabid god-botherers, of which there are a number of them in the list of MPs, may feel otherwise but these probably have more "deviant" (in their eyes) porn habits to hide therefore may not shout too loudly just in case. Lithographs of victorian ankles included (thank you, Daily Mash, for this one!)

Looking at porn on a parliamentary system? The same system which the MP has access to material of national importance and possibly national secrets, is a thoroughly stupid, braindead thing to do. If it's a cache of images and possibly videos then I would be reasonably lenient however it's unlikely to be this and the morons are probably just browsing porn sites, using Internet Explorer. Such sites are likely to be only marginally less targeted by malware than "warez" sites and the click-bait-trash "listicle" and "article" sites which tend to be 85% advert, 12% white space and maybe, just maybe, some content squeezed in there somewhere.

MPs, and parliamentary staff, are meant to set examples to us all. If we fiddle our expenses we get fired and the tax man and therefore the courts take a very dim view of the situation. If we bribe people or accept bribes it becomes a criminal matter. If we violate security through providing privileged access to those that shouldn't have it we're likely to, at a very minimum, be given a formal verbal or written warning and in some cases, instantly dismissed. If we browse porn on work systems we can expect likewise.

MPs, on the other hand, seem to feel that they are above all of this and any attempt to make them more accountable, or to enforce more accountability on them (one of the EU's aims) is considered a bad thing. A very bad thing indeed.

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Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!

Nick Ryan
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Re: Well done NASA!

Actually, the mars rovers are performing staggeringly well and have throughly exceeded their planned lifetimes. Planetary environments, such as Mars, are considerably nastier on components than (relatively) empty space.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: 19?

Relativity has almost nothing to do with the fact that signals have a 38 hour there and back transit time. This time period is because the spacecraft is so far away, roughly 19 light-hours in distance, that radio signals take 19 hours to reach it and the reply takes 19 hours to return.

Technically the return time will, on average, be marginally longer than the out time but that's more because the spacecraft is slightly further away from Earth by then than any other effect. How much this matters compared to Earth's orbit is another matter. Earth's orbital speed is 30 km/s, roughly twice that of Voyager 1, this is in a roughly circular orbit therefore roughly half the time Earth's orbit will be increasing the distance and the other half it will be reducing the distance but there will only be short periods when the maximum relative differences in velocity come into play.

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Want a new HDMI cable? No? Bad luck. You'll need one for HDMI 2.1

Nick Ryan
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Re: Why exactly do you need 8K on a home TV?

This is not quite true because the human eye does not have even resolution across it. We have considerably higher definition in detail in the central, focal point, than we have towards the edges of vision where we have little more than motion and light/dark sensitivity.

As a resullt while a nomimal resolution averaged across the field of vision works, this is only true if the eye does not focus in on detail. Because the eye does focus in on detail we really need the maximum resolution across the entire range, hence just 4k/2k/whatever is not a good enough quality.

On the other hand, the diffraction (spread) of light from a projector onto a screen and the overriding movement is more important in many ways than fine grain detail as our brains will fill in the rest of the detail in a similar way to our peripheral vision. It's when an image is still that the lack of detail is most noticeable.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: how many people buy the new cable before … bought the new TV

The audio issue is often to do with HDCP, content protection. Unless your stereo/amp/speaker setup also supports HDCP and can negotiate this digitally up the cable the TV's HDCP chipset will reject it. Alternatively while not rejecting it, low quality rate connections are enforced instead.

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Hey girl, what's that behind your Windows task bar? Looks like a hidden crypto-miner...

Nick Ryan
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Not all OS shells allow windows outside of the monitor display area, for good reasons such as this.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Let me get this right.

"Exiting the browser", as in using the File -> Close menu item, generally doesn't do anything more than close the current window. A pop up/under window is usually another instance of the browser and therefore a different process which is unaffected by closing a different instance to it. Closing a window will close all the tabs in it - although Microsoft are doing their level best to break this standard as much as possible in IE/edge of course.

Yes, the symptom will be that you have no visible browser windows open however you may notice one in the OS's task bar. Some OSes, such as Windows Vista and 7, particularly in non-aero mode, make noticing whether or not an application is running or if it's just a launch icon very difficult. An application usually has to register a window with the OS's shell user interface in order to show as a switchable task, as a result it is relatively easy to hide a running task entirely - this does vary between OS shells though.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Finally, a reason to move the task bar

The original "task bar" (start menu) in Windows was designed to be at the top of the screen however I understand that Microsoft Legal stepped in as this could have caused them some serious problems if manufacturers of other OSes complained. There may also have been design considerations where menus were stacked together, as in the OS shell menu and an application menu however as the task bar was designed to be very different to an application windows's title bar I don't really see this as an issue.

It was almost certainly a last minute change and as a result of this, and doubtless and bit of obstinancy, it was possible from the outset to put the menu back in the designed location, the top of the screen, even if the default was set to the bottom.

When you think about the original Windows start menu being located at the top of the screen it makes considerable more sense as the first thing on the start menu really shouldn't be shut down as this was entirely the reverse of common sense and all existing menus. The All Programs folder would have been at the top and Shutdown/Exit at the bottom which also made a lot more sense.

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Win 10 creators update offers new reality opportunity

Nick Ryan
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The interface methods are a serious issue with both, but rather less so for AR because one can still see and interact safely with physical interfaces or at least interact with virtual interfaces with some semblence of safety. Environmental navigation, on the other hand is problematic particularly while physically staying safely on the same spot and the "I'm leaning through a solid object" type issues.

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Nick Ryan
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WTF?

While it's fun tech, I honestly have yet to see anything that even hints at non-niche uses for the tech. Maybe I'm just jaded but just because some tech is fun doesn't mean that it is in any way practical in the real world, despite what movies or sales people might suggest.

Some games, yes. Specialist systems, such as medical or architectural imaging, quite likely. Much else beyond this? No. Unfortunately my opinion doesn't match that of the pushers of this tech who insist that this tech is absolutely vital for modern businesses and their boards and committees. The same boards and committees that we are dilligently printing out content for.

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Watchkeeper drones cost taxpayers ONE BEEELLION POUNDS

Nick Ryan
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Re: Good value

That's going to be handy if they plan to bomb Luton or Reading. Maybe also Basildon :)

I went to Basildon the other day. Unsure if it had been bombed already or not.

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Don't shame idiots about their idiotically weak passwords

Nick Ryan
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Re: Frequent changing of strong passwords

Flavoured = must contain a flavouring ingredient that is substantially the flavour intended

Flavour = could be flipping anything and will depend on how the recipient's taste buds interpret the random cocktail of chemicals used to make up the flavouring ingredient. See "beef flavour crisps" for this in action - no real beef in them and generally tastes nothing like beef actually tastes. However are an institution on their own these days...

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A certain millennial turned 30 recently: Welcome to middle age, Microsoft Excel v2

Nick Ryan
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Re: CSV files

Excel will still murder the data format. As for Excel's broken CSV import code... well that's a story in itself.

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Nick Ryan
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Unfortunately Excel's printing capabilities haven't advanced greatly since when it had to compete with 1-2-3. Still a bane of existence, trying to cajole excel into printing content sensibly without the obligatory multiple nearly empty pages.

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Military test centre for frikkin' laser cannon opens in Hampshire

Nick Ryan
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Re: Top secret MoD test ranges

Very nice. They even have their own train lines and the wonderfully named "Walkey Way" road

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Nick Ryan
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but needs to be a bit smaller for a shark :)

And that, sir, is why we are simultaneously investing in DNA technology. Can't minimise the shark mounted laser weaponry enough using current technology? No problem! Just use bigger sharks.

Nothing could go wrong. Nothing at all.

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Budget 2017: How to make a downbeat forecast sound better. Say 'tech' a lot?

Nick Ryan
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It's the most accurate analysis so far. :)

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Number of teachers is not the issue

Encourage and incentivize business to form partnership with schools. I know many of my colleagues who would be happy to do joint programs with schools, but barriers at both the buisness and school level make this very hard

Have you tried contacting and working with STEM (Learning) or, to a lesser extent, Engineering UK? Both have a lot of involvement and experience in getting schools and businesses together in STEM subjects.

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Nick Ryan
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There is one sure way to get improved services. Pretend you are a suburb of London

You seriously believe this?

Have you tried these cash-cow fleece the public services at all? Surely you didn't fail to notice the pathetic Southern Railway service that is being inflicted on their customers who pay very high ticket prices for Southern to not bother to run trains - made worse by the union's farcical statement that guard-free trains are suddenly dangerous when none of the various commuter lines I have used have ever had anything other than just a driver on them but the lines and trains aren't littered with dead bodies. The other train services aren't much better with frequent failures, massive overcrowding (livestock are assigned better conditions) and general horribleness.

Every year the ticket prices go up (usually a lot, ignore the headline figures that are averaged out over route ticket prices). Every year the shareholders get paid more. Every year the service gets worse.

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Ads watchdog to BT: We say your itsy bitsy, teeny weeny Ts&Cs too small for screeny

Nick Ryan
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Who would trust BT to do the right thing by their customers?

BT shareholders? Well, those that aren't also BT customers anyway...

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Microsoft scoops Search UI out from the gaping black maw of Cortana

Nick Ryan
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Try AgentRansack. I'm not affiliated with the company that provides it in any way (other than having had a good relationship with them when reporting bugs and helping them to reproduce them) but it's been a stalwart tool for finding stuff.

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London mayor: Self-driving cars? Not without jacked-up taxes, you don't!

Nick Ryan
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That would speed up the flow of traffic in central London.

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DNS resolver 9.9.9.9 will check requests against IBM threat database

Nick Ryan
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Re: IoT?

I don't see how that affects anything. If the ISP requires a specific router, then use that. But what's stopping you from hooking up a second router that is the only device talking to the ISP's router? Then you use that router for your LAN rather than the ISP's. You can use whatever DNS server you like that way.

Unfortunately that doesn't really solve anything. The DNS requests will still go through the ISP router and be blocked or redirect there. DNS is easy to detect on a network as it's just a case of monitoring TCP/UDP port 53 and if the destination address isn't the one that the ISP wants you to use then the packet can be rerouted or dropped. Secure DNS extensions will make rewriting the packet (diverting it) pretty much a no-go however they can still be dropped.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: IoT?

Pretty sure that BT and/or Sky routers also get narky if you configure a DNS other than the ISP's own DNS on a system.

While I can appreciate that they may have done this for security reasons - as in to help prevent hijacking of systems used by the majority of Internet users who really don't care and shouldn't have to care about such things, I'd rather have the option thank you.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: El Reg in the crapper

True, but "resolves the domain component of a URI to zero or more IP addresses" is a little less snappy.

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Intel finds critical holes in secret Management Engine hidden in tons of desktop, server chipsets

Nick Ryan
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Re: "Today's news will no doubt"...

Who'd have thought? A system, that was so ineptly coded that all one needed to bypass "security" was to give it an empty password, had lots and lots of other critical issues.

/sarcasm

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UK.gov 'could easily' flog 6m driver records to private firms this year

Nick Ryan
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Re: So...what the Govt screwed up, the Govt will reap?

Doesn't make any sense at all.

Scrapping the paper tax disc and the production and distribution costs of this should not reduce the income for car tax. Car tax is still applicable therefore how can removing such a running cost reduce income?

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It's 2017, and command injection is still the top threat to web apps

Nick Ryan
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Re: moving functionality from the server side to the client “brings its own security challenges”.

While I wholly aggree about security being server side, I suspect that a large part of the issue with client side security is that because there are so many developers (ab)using JavaScript to create single page applications it's the access and functions that these provide to locally available resources that is the problem.

On the other hand I have come across far too many idiot developers who assume that everything that comes from their "rich" web application is trusted and therefore adequate security and data validation on the server side is not necessary.

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BT boss: Yeah, making a business case for 5G is hard

Nick Ryan
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Re: Who doesn’t want 5G?

You seriously believe that 5G can deliver anything comparable to line speeds? Radio bandwidth is divided between the connected devices and the more connected devices there are the more bandwidth is used on the management of this bandwidth. So one device is OK, two devices is less than half speed, three devices is less than one third, and so on. This is before you get crossover radio locations and other interference sources which also greatly reduce usable bandwidth.

This is before you hit the next problem, the speeds are very asynchronous in that while the high power transmitter can afford to up the power budget for a better data rate, your mobile device can't match this in any way and therefore even with 5G the device upload speeds are not great even if the maximum download speeds are fairly good. Quite contrary to nonsense sales pitches such as video calling - there's a reason these tend to only support WiFi.

Not that the tech isn't clever, but while there is convenience to radio communications there are a lot of practical issues as well.

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Irish priests told to stop bashing bishops

Nick Ryan
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Re: no helpline required

Oh dear... are you seriously suggesting that they should do something constructive instead of "sending thoughts and prayers"? Many cults/churches/religions/faiths (delete as applicable) rely on "sending thoughts and prayers" and if these aren't working then where, or when, will it all end?

Please note: the only acceptable responses to this post are "Amen" and a repost or link.

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