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back to article Second-hand E-m@iler spews old emails, passwords

A Mac developer was surprised to discover both emails and stored passwords on a second-hand Amstrad E-m@iler Plus he picked up at a charity store. The E-m@iler Plus was a quirky phone with internet and email capabilities launched by Lord Alan Sugar's Amstrad in 2002. The low-cost technology relied on a premium-rate number to …

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WTF?

Both emails?

Can't believe it. There has only ever been one email sent to an emailer and that was from Alan Sugar complaining about the lack of emails.

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Nothing new (sworthy)

Right back to the old cassette tape answering machines, if you sold it on without deleting the messages the new owner could listen to them. This sort of thing must happen with second hand computers every day.

Newsworthy because it is another chance to take the p*ss out of the E-m@iler?

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£7?

someone got shafted.

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Childcatcher

It was for charity! Think of the children!

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Silver badge

I don't know

I spent £6 on a Amstrad NC100 recently just as a curio. Was about as cheap as the horse brasses my wife bought at the same car boot, and I believe a better buy (and it still works, surprisingly!)

Sometimes it's worth squandering a little money just to own a piece of interesting history.

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Come on!

Who down-voted me? I thought this was quite innocuous!

I will admit it would have been better if it was a Sinclair Z88, but it was close enough.

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Happy

I have one of those already.

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Anonymous Coward

Always thought it was almost a good idea.

I can't get my mum to use email but this was the sort of thing that might have helped. (Next attempt will be an iPad, I think).

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FAIL

Here you go...

http://www.amstrad.com/products/emailers/emp.html

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Silver badge

Every now & then ...

The local police department comes along a pile of household trash, dumped without a by-your-leave alongside one of the back roads here in Sonoma. Invariably, there is some kind of "dead" computing device mixed up in the garbage. They bring me in to figure out who owned the device. I haven't failed yet.

"Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope under that garbage."

(Mind the shovels & rakes & implements of destruction in the back, there ...)

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Pint

ah, history.

I'm going to dig out that album and have a listen.

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Your report of course

...has photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one?

//have actually eaten a burger at Alice's Restaurant

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@Peter Simpson 1

Yep. But only once ... I brought twenty seven eight-by-ten colo(u)r glossy photographs, with circles and arrows, and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence into court. I took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner, the southwest corner ... and that's not to mention the aerial photography I took from my Cessna A152.

The presiding judge realized what I was doing about 30 seconds into my testimony, busted a gut laughing, and disappeared into his chambers for a couple minutes to compose himself. When he came out, he threatened to charge me with making a mockery of justice, contempt of court, causing a ruckus and anything else he could think of if I ever tried a stunt like that again.

My testimony was stricken from the record, and I was dismissed with a warning. The prosecutor won her case anyway. The Judge is now a friend of mine.

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Slow news day, eh?

May as well funnel page views to a random hustler.

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I've got a few. They're nice bits of kit, actually, and if the firmware is replaced make extremely pleasant answerphone/VOIP boxes. They're even well supported by Linux these days, although the eMailer hacking community (see http://inputplus.co.uk/ralph/emailer/) has largely died.

Incidentally, using the stock firmware, if the machine is unable to contact the 0800 number from which it gets its advertisements, it will gradually grind to a halt and stop working. Hopefully that's still running.

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Colin eh?

So that makes THREE users - Darth Alan himself; his secretary in 'The Apprentice'; the blessed Frances; and now the mysterious Colin.

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Just to check...

... the story is "computer donated to charity shop contained personal data"?

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And why wouldn't it

People often forget to clean up their devices when passing them on, certainly a charity shop would not do this for them.

Often its difficult to remove accounts, especially when they are tied to a specific services.

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As Non stories go

isn't this pretty high on the list? I should think well over 50% of secondhand computers contain readily accessible data of this type...

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Re: As Non stories go

Perhaps the story is that it was a Mac coder who discovered it, I can't work out why that was material to the article either.

So a non article I have read, and commented on. The internet is awesome for wasting time.

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Even 'The Bill'

did an episode on the topic. Back in the '90's.

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FAIL

This was Amstrad's Nemesis

To all those who think that Alan Sugar is/was an entreprenerial genius, I cite the E-m@iler.

He was obsessed with it, despite the fact that anyone who had the slight degree of technical nous you need to send an e-mail, already had at least a low-end PC by the time the E-m@iler was introduced.

He bet the farm on it. A number of of his senior staff resigned from the company in disgust.

Sugar made no secret of the fact that he did not understand computers. He was just a good salesman. He was lucky in judging what the public wanted in the 1980's (I had a Amstrad pre-PC myself), but by 2000 he was totally misjudging it.

As far as secret stuff on a second-hand device is concerned, I got a HDD off ebay which had on it just about everything about the guy who sold it to me, including photos, bank accounts and his daily medication. Incredible what this guy popped every day - about 40 tablets. No fuss, I deleted the lot except for the copy of XP which I now use for games.

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FAIL

I picked up a PC from a disposal sale at a London College; it had a HDD FULL of students personal details.

They were disposing of it "because it is too slow now"

They usually do get a bit slow when you only have 200-300MB of free space left on the HDD!!!!

Deleted everything THEY were supposed to have deleted, and it ran like a dream.

I think they should include Alans mug shot as an alternate "FAIL" icon; he is pretty much up their with his old buddy Clive for having ONE good idea, and thinking that idea meant he was a genius.

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He even admitted to being a bit of a luddite, in writing...

Here's a quote from the intro of the NC100 machine(which is actually a pretty nice machine for its time)

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This product is known inside our company as my "BABY". The background to its inception stemmed from personal desire to be able to use a computer.

Yes - I am embarrassed to say that, as the Chairman of one of Europe's largest manufacturers of computers, I have never been able to use one! A while ago I called a meeting with some of my engineering staff and explained that I wanted us to make a simple to use computer. I explained that I'm not interested in knowing what's inside the machine and what the specifications of the machine is. I just want a machine that is simple to use and understand.

========

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Trollface

Sralans C5

local Indian takeaway was using a fairly beat up em@iler until about a year ago. Always gave me a chuckle seeing it.

and as for @Nuke

"He bet the farm on it. A number of of his senior staff resigned from the company in disgust."

They did, but in defence of the barrow boy, how many of them now wear fancy cloaks, and have their own hit TV show?

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Stop

this is news

soo.... i'm from the USA, forgive my ignorance of lots of things, but i'm unclear as to how this is relevant news.... if one of these phones had the entire emailer database on it, or had emails from prime ministers', presidents, royals, etc..etc... then we'd have something, but as it's been proven many many times... something like 50% of people erase their information from their old devices before they sell it/ junk it/etc... buy 10 used electronic devices from ebay (e.g. cell phones... ) and you will find at least 5 of them still have the previous users full contact information, text messages history, mp3's, ringtones, and a few pics you never wanted to see....

so what makes "colin" so special?

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