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Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder
Monday, 14 June 2021 17:49

HTTP/2 200 date: Tue, 15 Jun 2021 02:00:16 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/75b4069743bb925db93214e2ffb1eb6ab06b146d/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/75b4069743bb925db93214e2ffb1eb6ab06b146d/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/75b4069743bb925db93214e2ffb1eb6ab06b146d/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Tue, 15 Jun 2021 02:00:16 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy03us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC cf-request-id: 0aaefef016000062e56c870000000001 expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 65f8342cea1e62e5-SYD Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder • The Register

UPS = Uninterruptable Pager Spying


Who, Me? We go Down Under for today's Who, Me? with a slightly NSFW tale of an incomplete checklist, a surprise outage, and an even more surprised gerbil.

"Bruce", as the somewhat unimaginative Regomiser has dubbed our reader, is today's contributor and tells us of an event that occurred in the 1990s.

He was working for a telecoms firm notable for its paging network. "Used to be able to look at the paging messages in real time in plain text from emergency services," he cheerfully told us before unnecessarily adding: "You'd be amazed by what people can 'accidentally' put up their bumhole."

However, this firm also dealt with the then infant mobile telephone market and "this new-fangled internet thingy (which I was involved in)," he said.

"We had a power cut in the entire North Sydney area," he said. "Lightning strike, bloke with a digger, particularly randy wombats wanting a root? No idea."

No worries, though. There was a colossal UPS able to take the load until the generator could kick in. It would keep things ticking over, at least for the emergency services that depended on the network, for around 40 minutes.

The minutes ticked by, and Bruce started hedging his bets by shutting down non-essential services in order to eke out every last bit of juice from the UPS. "Sorry to all those trying to get to alt.sex.gerbils on USENET at the time," he added, also unnecessarily.

Finally the mighty generator kicked in! It coughed, it spluttered... it proceeded to be a wholly useless lump of machinery.

This was bad. It was also unexpected. Maintenance procedures had been followed religiously. Every month the checklist had been completed, and every month the generator had been fired up. One step was, however, missing: "Fill generator with diesel."

And, of course, the final emptying of the tank had just so happened at the worst possible time.

Fortunately for the lives that might have been endangered by the outage, our story has a happy ending.

While Bruce dealt with helpdesk calls from customers of the ISP side of things wondering where their connectivity (or "gerbil pr0n" as Bruce put it, perhaps revealing a bit too much about how much detail could be seen in the logs) had gone, a panicked relay of Jerry cans to the nearest petrol station ensured the generator was coaxed into life with just a few minutes remaining before that critical network fell over.

Checklists and Standard Operating Procedures are great until you discover a missing step at the most inconvenient of times. Ever had to improvise when a SOP let you down? Or were you the author of a process that omitted an all-important instruction? Confess all with an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ®


Other stories you might like

You may have seen in the news some panic about a Chinese nuclear reactor going wrong, and a warning of an "imminent radiological threat." Well, don't worry: it's a routine fuel rod problem.

CNN claimed an exclusive on Monday after seeing a June 8 memo indicating there was a build up of "noble gases in the primary circuit" of the coolant system in the Taishan-1 nuclear power plant.

The letter was written by nuclear engineering firm Framatome, which is mostly owned by French energy giant EDF and was contracted to design and help run the French-Chinese plant. The facility in the Guangdong province went online in December 2018 and serves the manufacturing hubs Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Framatome wrote to the US government's Dept of Energy to request permission to access American technical data and resources to help tackle the issue. It was further claimed by the biz that Chinese regulators were increasing the limit on the amount of gas that could be released from the coolant circuit, exceeding French safety standards, to avoid shutting down the plant.

Continue readingIndian government reverts to manual tax filings as new e-tax portal remains badly borked a week after launch Infosys-built service was promised to "make the compliance experience more taxpayer friendly"

India’s Income Tax Department has acknowledged that its shiny new e-tax portal broke, badly, by authorising an extension for some tax filings and reverting to manual processing of printed documents.

The new portal went live on June 8, and promptly proved sub-optimal, with would-be users complaining that it just didn’t work.

India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, quickly pointed the finger at the site’s developer, Indian services giant Infosys. Complaints have poured in ever since. The Register has found countless gripes on social media, with complaints mentioning the portal simply not loading or lacking useful functionality. Those who have made it in, and logged problems, say their incident number has proven useless.

Continue readingUS Supreme Court gives LinkedIn another shot at stymieing web scraping LinkedIn back in play / Supremes kick case back downstairs / hiQ still at risk

The US Supreme Court has offered Microsoft's LinkedIn another chance to prevent hiQ from scraping its public profiles.

In 2019, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a lower court that two years earlier found data science biz hiQ Labs did not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by scraping publicly available data from LinkedIn's website. That decision alarmed some privacy groups.

Two weeks ago, in Van Buren v. United States, the Supreme Court narrowed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by ruling that terms of service violations alone are insufficient for criminal liability under the CFAA. The CFAA criminalizes intentionally accessing a computer "without authorization" or in a way that "exceeds authorized access," though the law doesn't define those terms.

Continue readingArtemis I core stage finally pointing in the right direction at Kennedy Space Center Had trouble getting vertical at the weekend? NASA used a pair of cranes to hoist the SLS core stage

Engineers have hoisted the core stage of NASA's mega-rocket, the Space Launch System, vertical ready to bolt on its boosters and roll the stack to the launchpad later this year.

The milestone has been a while coming in a programme beset by delays and difficulty, both engineering and financial.

Continue reading'Welcome to Perth' mirth being milked for all it's worth Chap painted greeting on rooftop... in Sydney

Bloody helpful, those Aussies. And jolly friendly too. In fact, they're so damn helpful one bloke painted "Welcome to Perth" in giant capital letters on a rooftop so air passengers about to land at the city airport could look down and see the greeting.

Snag is, the sign isn't on the final descent to Perth. It's just a hop, skip, and a jump from Sydney airport.

According to a local TV news report, the welcome sign – which cost the prankster around AU$4,500 (around £2,500) – was up there for around three months before people started to take notice.

Continue readingSamsung mulls delaying next 'fan edition' phone in light of semiconductor shortage 'Nothing had been determined', says phone giant

Samsung is said to be considering delaying the launch of this year's Galaxy S21 FE sub-flagship due to the ongoing shortage of semiconductor components.

Speaking to Bloomberg, the company said "nothing had been determined" as to the fate of the device. Earlier today, Korean media reported the production of the phone had been suspended in the face of a shortage of Qualcomm chips.

Samsung's FE phones, which stands for "fan edition", have been positioned as a cheaper version of that year's flagship. The company introduced the line in 2017 as a way to salvage something from the wreckage of the pyrotechnic Galaxy Note 7, an otherwise decent phone hampered by a propensity to explode.

Continue readingG7 nations call out Russia for harbouring ransomware crims ahead of Biden-Putin powwow Hopes raised in West of an extradition or law enforcement agreement to stem the tide

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Coming after an 18-month period where ransomware gangs mostly operating out of Russia and Russian-allied countries have wrought havoc on the West, the statement is part of an increasing willingness to confront Russia's inaction over criminal gangs based on its turf.

A public G7 communique issued over the weekend as the politico-media gathering jetted off home from the summit's Cornwall location said "we reaffirm our call on Russia to stop its destabilising behaviour" and called on the rest of the world to join in a broader effort to "urgently identify and disrupt ransomware criminal networks operating from within their borders, and hold those networks accountable for their actions."

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While Canonical's Ubuntu is hardly new to Google's Cloud, the Pro edition joins other enterprise favourites in the premium category, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The lengthy support window is based at least in part on Canonical's Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) programme. ESM means eight years for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (to 2024), 10 years for 18.04 LTS (to 2028), and support until 2030 for 20.04 LTS.

Continue readingEx-NSA leaker Reality Winner released from prison early for 'exemplary' behavior Will be transferred to a halfway house, attorney continues to fight for presidential pardon

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Her attorney Alison Allen announced Winner, 29, had been let out on Monday early due to "exemplary" behavior while inside.

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A preliminary injunction [PDF] was granted by United States District Judge Denis R Hurley on Friday after a string of trade bodies – including the New York State Telecommunications Association and The Broadband Association – launched the action on behalf of their members.

The ruling notes that telcos and ISPs forced to impose the price caps would "suffer unrecoverable losses increasing with time" and that the "bulk of these losses will stem from lost income."

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Rule-breakers can end up paying up to ¥10m ($1.56m, £1.1m) in fines or possibly face closure.

Data under a lesser qualification of "important" that is handed to overseas law enforcement agencies without Beijing's approval will receive up to ¥5m ($781,000) and a possible business suspension, up from a previous ¥1m ($156,000) that was stated in the draft of the law.

Continue reading

HTTP/2 200 date: Tue, 15 Jun 2021 02:00:16 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/75b4069743bb925db93214e2ffb1eb6ab06b146d/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/75b4069743bb925db93214e2ffb1eb6ab06b146d/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/75b4069743bb925db93214e2ffb1eb6ab06b146d/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Tue, 15 Jun 2021 02:00:16 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy03us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC cf-request-id: 0aaefef016000062e56c870000000001 expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 65f8342cea1e62e5-SYD Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder • The Register

UPS = Uninterruptable Pager Spying


Who, Me? We go Down Under for today's Who, Me? with a slightly NSFW tale of an incomplete checklist, a surprise outage, and an even more surprised gerbil.

"Bruce", as the somewhat unimaginative Regomiser has dubbed our reader, is today's contributor and tells us of an event that occurred in the 1990s.

He was working for a telecoms firm notable for its paging network. "Used to be able to look at the paging messages in real time in plain text from emergency services," he cheerfully told us before unnecessarily adding: "You'd be amazed by what people can 'accidentally' put up their bumhole."

However, this firm also dealt with the then infant mobile telephone market and "this new-fangled internet thingy (which I was involved in)," he said.

"We had a power cut in the entire North Sydney area," he said. "Lightning strike, bloke with a digger, particularly randy wombats wanting a root? No idea."

No worries, though. There was a colossal UPS able to take the load until the generator could kick in. It would keep things ticking over, at least for the emergency services that depended on the network, for around 40 minutes.

The minutes ticked by, and Bruce started hedging his bets by shutting down non-essential services in order to eke out every last bit of juice from the UPS. "Sorry to all those trying to get to alt.sex.gerbils on USENET at the time," he added, also unnecessarily.

Finally the mighty generator kicked in! It coughed, it spluttered... it proceeded to be a wholly useless lump of machinery.

This was bad. It was also unexpected. Maintenance procedures had been followed religiously. Every month the checklist had been completed, and every month the generator had been fired up. One step was, however, missing: "Fill generator with diesel."

And, of course, the final emptying of the tank had just so happened at the worst possible time.

Fortunately for the lives that might have been endangered by the outage, our story has a happy ending.

While Bruce dealt with helpdesk calls from customers of the ISP side of things wondering where their connectivity (or "gerbil pr0n" as Bruce put it, perhaps revealing a bit too much about how much detail could be seen in the logs) had gone, a panicked relay of Jerry cans to the nearest petrol station ensured the generator was coaxed into life with just a few minutes remaining before that critical network fell over.

Checklists and Standard Operating Procedures are great until you discover a missing step at the most inconvenient of times. Ever had to improvise when a SOP let you down? Or were you the author of a process that omitted an all-important instruction? Confess all with an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ®


Other stories you might like

You may have seen in the news some panic about a Chinese nuclear reactor going wrong, and a warning of an "imminent radiological threat." Well, don't worry: it's a routine fuel rod problem.

CNN claimed an exclusive on Monday after seeing a June 8 memo indicating there was a build up of "noble gases in the primary circuit" of the coolant system in the Taishan-1 nuclear power plant.

The letter was written by nuclear engineering firm Framatome, which is mostly owned by French energy giant EDF and was contracted to design and help run the French-Chinese plant. The facility in the Guangdong province went online in December 2018 and serves the manufacturing hubs Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Framatome wrote to the US government's Dept of Energy to request permission to access American technical data and resources to help tackle the issue. It was further claimed by the biz that Chinese regulators were increasing the limit on the amount of gas that could be released from the coolant circuit, exceeding French safety standards, to avoid shutting down the plant.

Continue readingIndian government reverts to manual tax filings as new e-tax portal remains badly borked a week after launch Infosys-built service was promised to "make the compliance experience more taxpayer friendly"

India’s Income Tax Department has acknowledged that its shiny new e-tax portal broke, badly, by authorising an extension for some tax filings and reverting to manual processing of printed documents.

The new portal went live on June 8, and promptly proved sub-optimal, with would-be users complaining that it just didn’t work.

India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, quickly pointed the finger at the site’s developer, Indian services giant Infosys. Complaints have poured in ever since. The Register has found countless gripes on social media, with complaints mentioning the portal simply not loading or lacking useful functionality. Those who have made it in, and logged problems, say their incident number has proven useless.

Continue readingUS Supreme Court gives LinkedIn another shot at stymieing web scraping LinkedIn back in play / Supremes kick case back downstairs / hiQ still at risk

The US Supreme Court has offered Microsoft's LinkedIn another chance to prevent hiQ from scraping its public profiles.

In 2019, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a lower court that two years earlier found data science biz hiQ Labs did not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by scraping publicly available data from LinkedIn's website. That decision alarmed some privacy groups.

Two weeks ago, in Van Buren v. United States, the Supreme Court narrowed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by ruling that terms of service violations alone are insufficient for criminal liability under the CFAA. The CFAA criminalizes intentionally accessing a computer "without authorization" or in a way that "exceeds authorized access," though the law doesn't define those terms.

Continue readingArtemis I core stage finally pointing in the right direction at Kennedy Space Center Had trouble getting vertical at the weekend? NASA used a pair of cranes to hoist the SLS core stage

Engineers have hoisted the core stage of NASA's mega-rocket, the Space Launch System, vertical ready to bolt on its boosters and roll the stack to the launchpad later this year.

The milestone has been a while coming in a programme beset by delays and difficulty, both engineering and financial.

Continue reading'Welcome to Perth' mirth being milked for all it's worth Chap painted greeting on rooftop... in Sydney

Bloody helpful, those Aussies. And jolly friendly too. In fact, they're so damn helpful one bloke painted "Welcome to Perth" in giant capital letters on a rooftop so air passengers about to land at the city airport could look down and see the greeting.

Snag is, the sign isn't on the final descent to Perth. It's just a hop, skip, and a jump from Sydney airport.

According to a local TV news report, the welcome sign – which cost the prankster around AU$4,500 (around £2,500) – was up there for around three months before people started to take notice.

Continue readingSamsung mulls delaying next 'fan edition' phone in light of semiconductor shortage 'Nothing had been determined', says phone giant

Samsung is said to be considering delaying the launch of this year's Galaxy S21 FE sub-flagship due to the ongoing shortage of semiconductor components.

Speaking to Bloomberg, the company said "nothing had been determined" as to the fate of the device. Earlier today, Korean media reported the production of the phone had been suspended in the face of a shortage of Qualcomm chips.

Samsung's FE phones, which stands for "fan edition", have been positioned as a cheaper version of that year's flagship. The company introduced the line in 2017 as a way to salvage something from the wreckage of the pyrotechnic Galaxy Note 7, an otherwise decent phone hampered by a propensity to explode.

Continue readingG7 nations call out Russia for harbouring ransomware crims ahead of Biden-Putin powwow Hopes raised in West of an extradition or law enforcement agreement to stem the tide

The G7 summit of western countries has called upon Russia to "identify, disrupt, and hold to account those within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks, abuse virtual currency to launder ransoms, and other cybercrimes."

Coming after an 18-month period where ransomware gangs mostly operating out of Russia and Russian-allied countries have wrought havoc on the West, the statement is part of an increasing willingness to confront Russia's inaction over criminal gangs based on its turf.

A public G7 communique issued over the weekend as the politico-media gathering jetted off home from the summit's Cornwall location said "we reaffirm our call on Russia to stop its destabilising behaviour" and called on the rest of the world to join in a broader effort to "urgently identify and disrupt ransomware criminal networks operating from within their borders, and hold those networks accountable for their actions."

Continue readingUbuntu Pro arrives in premium form on Google's Cloud Lengthy support for enterprises that prefer things just so

Ubuntu Pro is coming to Google Cloud, replete with an all-important 10-year maintenance commitment for corporate punters who like things stable.

While Canonical's Ubuntu is hardly new to Google's Cloud, the Pro edition joins other enterprise favourites in the premium category, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The lengthy support window is based at least in part on Canonical's Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) programme. ESM means eight years for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (to 2024), 10 years for 18.04 LTS (to 2028), and support until 2030 for 20.04 LTS.

Continue readingEx-NSA leaker Reality Winner released from prison early for 'exemplary' behavior Will be transferred to a halfway house, attorney continues to fight for presidential pardon

Reality Winner, the former NSA intelligence contractor who leaked evidence of Russian interference in a US Presidential election to the press, has been released from prison.

Her attorney Alison Allen announced Winner, 29, had been let out on Monday early due to "exemplary" behavior while inside.

In 2018, Winner pleaded guilty to one count of espionage for printing out a classified document describing the Kremlin’s attempts to infiltrate and meddle with voting systems amid the 2016 White house race. She sent the five-page report to The Intercept, which published a news article about the file's contents.

Continue readingPrice-capped broadband on hold for New York State after judge rules telcos would 'suffer unrecoverable losses' Injunction halts introduction of $15-a-month fee for low-income households

A new law due to come into force tomorrow that would force broadband providers in New York State to provide net access to low-income households for $15 a month has been put on hold.

A preliminary injunction [PDF] was granted by United States District Judge Denis R Hurley on Friday after a string of trade bodies – including the New York State Telecommunications Association and The Broadband Association – launched the action on behalf of their members.

The ruling notes that telcos and ISPs forced to impose the price caps would "suffer unrecoverable losses increasing with time" and that the "bulk of these losses will stem from lost income."

Continue readingLaw prof: New Chinese data regulations make it 'very hard for foreign firms to comply' Fines for sending 'core' and 'important' info overseas, although what qualifies remains undefined

China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has passed a new data security law requiring companies to seek approval before transferring what it refers to as "core" data overseas.

Rule-breakers can end up paying up to ¥10m ($1.56m, £1.1m) in fines or possibly face closure.

Data under a lesser qualification of "important" that is handed to overseas law enforcement agencies without Beijing's approval will receive up to ¥5m ($781,000) and a possible business suspension, up from a previous ¥1m ($156,000) that was stated in the draft of the law.

Continue reading

Source: https://bit.ly/35lBmlA