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* Posts by Mark Allen

179 posts • joined 19 Mar 2007

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AVG stung as search revenue from freebie scanners dries up

Mark Allen

Ad revenue down?

That annoying toolbar that AVG install was one of the (many) reasons I stopped using it with my clients. Even the paid for edition did not let you control the tracking in the bar.

Is there any coincidence that sites like ninite.com disable this toolbar in their installers? (And we'll quietly not mention the security bugs found with this toolbar...)

Over the past years AVG seems to have been heading the route of bloatware like Norton. Adding in more and more "features" which then bring the older PCs to a crawl. For some reason, AVG don't get their head around the fact that people who are using "free" anti-virus tend to have old, slow, underpowered PCs. AVG only makes these worse.

Funniest thing I have seen AVG do in the past couple of years? Their "PC Tuneup" product that they try and sell did a "tuneup" on one of my client's PCs. It correctly identified what was slowing the PC down badly and disabled it. Yes - you have guessed right - the Tuneup software disabled AVG!!

8
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50,000 sites backdoored through shoddy WordPress plugin

Mark Allen

Re: Where is line 91?

A compromise I saw hit some of my client's Wordpress sites last year involved a single line of code added to the PHP files for each page, which then launched more code from a single page of script. In our case it was quickest to just restore from backups as too many little changes were all over the place.

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L33t haxxors compete to p0wn popular home routers

Mark Allen
Facepalm

Re: And bad advice...

Eh? Is that the Virgin Cable Router with the default password of "changeme"? Which then insists on being changed the first time you use the admin control panel?

I always tell my clients to never trust the guy who installs the kit. I have heard some "interesting" advice from these people before.

0
0
Mark Allen

Re: Security changes with cost

"Screw Buffalo" for their lack of firmware updates. Agree with that.

Funnily enough, while dealing with the TP-Link router replacements I found a client with an old-ish Buffalo router. Clearly had the same identical hardware and firmware as the TP-Links I was swapping out. Admin pages were identically laid out. All except for the colour and company name in the corner.

They were so identical that the exact same DNS compromise was visible. Hacked from the WAN in the same way. Yet trying to locate updated Buffalo firmware was impossible. So that Buffalo router was upgraded with a large hammer and then replaced with a different brand.

I get a feeling many of these big brands have low end routers all from the same basic cheap source. So basic that they can't even have a Tomato put on them. I then assume that the manufacturers don't like fixing them as it looks like "wasted" money to them. Yet the actions of TP-Link honouring that three year warranty has me buying more and more of them.

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Mark Allen

Security changes with cost

Good to see this exposure going on. Though I don't see the point in bricking or denial of service as this just makes the owner replace them with a new one. It is the hijacking that is sneaky. I had some TP-Link routers out with (home user) clients, all sub-£50 kit. At the start of the year they had DNS settings changed from the WAN side even though they were "secure" with no external ports open. Access to Facebook or Google would get redirects to ask them to "install a Flash update". Clever little hacker.

In this case, TP-Link had new firmware out within a month for the current models. For the older models, they happily swapped them on their 3 year warranty. Surprisingly good service. (I don't work for TP-Link)

@Ragarath: Don't avoid *manufacturers* if you can't change the Admin Username. This is often a model specific thing. Pay more, get more features. Those basic ADSL routers I mentioned above had fixed usernames, but only a tenner more up the range and the username can be edited.

Worst are the ISPs who supply routers that are "password protected" to their clients and then refuse to let the client have access to the router. You have no way of checking if they have been hit or not!

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EE in giant VoLTE-face as it tries voice calls over Wi-Fi... again

Mark Allen
Trollface

Re: I thought EE had the .......

Hello troll. Because even the "best" 3G coverage doesn't work in a basement where installing WiFi is usually trivial.

0
4
Mark Allen

Blackberry Bold 9780 and UMA

Okay, so I am still using an "old" phone from 2011, but UMA Calling is why I will not let this phone go. 3G coverage in my house is patchy at best, but since I got the UMA enabled phone I can make calls anywhere. And it does not have to be over an EE ISP as I use Virgin Media. The phone connects to my own WiFi access point.

The hand-offs between Wifi and 3G are surprisingly good. I can walk from my home wifi, down the street on 3G, and then into my friends house and jump onto their wifi without dropping the call. It "just works". Which is brilliant.

There is nothing funnier than being in a deep basement and answering a mobile phone. :D You see the confused look of the person standing next to you looking at their iPhone wondering why they get no signal....

This UMA implementation is 100% Blackberry. The only EE part is that I need an EE Sim to make it work. If I swapped to O2/Vodaphone/etc I would loose UMA. Yet my phone is not Orange branded.

Previously Orange made a UMA app which would work on some Android Phones. But it was too locked down as it would only work on an "Orange" phone and not an unbranded phone of the exact same model. Orange's own attempt at UMA is probably what make UMA not as successful as it should have been.

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0

Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

Mark Allen
Flame

Re: Too complicated

Totally agree with this one - employ a human.

* Less hassle to run.

* Will interact with far wider range of different products.

* Takes voice commands - both local (shout) and remote (phone).

* No special tags needed on the products.

* Has special sensors like "smell" available to tell when the milk is off.

* Will handle Asda and the Farmer's Market to the same quality level.

* Knows when nipping to local shop for a pint of milk it more sensible than ordering online to be delivered by diesel burning lorry.

* Can handle cupboards as well as fridge.

* Will be multi-tasking so can actually cook the food for you as well instead of needing to buy a special Cooker, Bin, Sink, Plate.

* Will not become obsolete (see Smart TV features)

* Will not burn lots of excess electricity. In fact, will still operate during a power cut.

* Will not have advertising screens plastered over the front telling you what to buy.

List could go on an on... technology is not always the answer. Look at our "Smart TVs". Now, I like my Smart TV. I use features like iPlayer, YouTube, DLNA, etc. But there are umpteen gazillion extra "features" and "apps" that are just clutter and of no use. And even the apps I do use get "upgraded" and loose features (I'm looking at you iPlayer - where did my radio go?)

My last fridge lasted 20 years. How long will a Smart Fridge last before I have to replace it with something new? We spend our time talking about "saving the planet" and "going green" yet we are making more and more pointless tech for the sake of making pointless tech to burn up resources.

3
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AV for Mac

Mark Allen

Re: OS version?

The lack of old OS Version support in AV products for a Mac can be a headache. I have one client who is using an old Apple Mac stuck on OS 10.5 with no upgrade options. As he tends to spend a little too much time on dodgy sites the only way we've found of keeping him clear of viruses is good backups. A total reset seems to be the only simple way out of problems he walks into.

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Yes. Facebook will KNOW you've been browsing for smut

Mark Allen

Re: Pointless adverts

@PerlyKing - I also hate adverts, but to be fair to Amazon you can turn all of the email trash off. Go into your settings on Amazon and change the Communication Preferences. It can all be disabled so you only see info on transactions. Same with EBay\Papal.

I am always amazed when I see other people's inboxes full of this kind of "spam". It is all opt-outable. You can get rid of the lot. Buy something from Tescos and forgot to opt-out? Then hit the unsubscribe link and say bye-bye to their trash.

Some of my clients have mailboxes full of this kind of ham\spam. They must waste hours a month wading through it instead of hitting unsubscribe. Madness.

On another similar thread, I never understand when you buy a new computer it has the home page set to the manufacturers website where they try and sell you a new computer....

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Security bods mop blood, sigh: NEW CryptoLocker zombies? We don't see their kind

Mark Allen
Facepalm

Bizarre 14 day challenge

Didn't the the daft people who said "You have 14 days to secure your PC" realise that they are just issuing a challenge to the scammers to get a new version out quicker than that? Take down one network, and four others will spring up in its place.

0
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Swiping your card at local greengrocers? Miscreants will swipe YOU in a minute

Mark Allen
Flame

Re: So...

Not all POS terminals are the same quality POS. Some POS are real POS terminals built on XP Embedded. Wheras other POS terminals are real cheapo hacked together PoS just built using the cheapest components and standard Windows XP Home slung together by a clueless droid just trying to maximise profit. The PoS is then installed in a shop and during setup this ID-10T "installation engineer" will then disable all the security while you are not looking, and then go onto the main Office Admin PCs and setup a file share on the whole C: drive open to everyone just to get their crud software installed.

With some suppliers, POS describes every part of these systems as some of them come from companies with a scary lack of interest in security. And when a real IT Engineer is brought in to fix problems, the POS suppliers tend to get a little upset when challenged over their POS practices. Even more frustrating when they think it is okay to put free editions of AV products on the PCs to "protect" them (ignoring the "not for business use" licences).

Some of the POS that is sold to shops is terrifying. The suppliers know the shop owners rarely know what they are getting, so the supplier can get away with murder. Overcharging for the privilege. And try and ask these suppliers why they were still shipping XP based tills in 2012 and what they plan to do to protect them... and you get all kinds of BS replies. Whereas the truth would be that they are just plain incompetent rip-off merchants.

Experience of POS may vary... and I am not naming clients or suppliers here. But down at the shop level of suppliers it is a stunning mess of scams. And that is even *before* they have been drawn into botnets.

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Bing's the thing in Microsoft's push for cheap Windows devices

Mark Allen

Bing already default on kit

Am I missing something here? By the time most Windows based computers are turned on and updated Bing is usually the default on it by one means or another. Dell, Sony, HP, Acer, Toshiba seem to leave the search defaults alone. Which mean they tend to still be Bing.

I know when I setup a new computer for a client I am nearly always having to remove a home page from the supplier which is trying to sell another new computer, and setting that search default to Google as it is rarely there by default.

If anything it is the anti-virus companies who try and hijack the search more than anyone else. (AVG being a good example. Don't understand why a "security" tool needs to butt in and take over your search...)

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EBAY... You keep using that word 'ENCRYPTION' – it does not mean what you think it means

Mark Allen

Re: @AC

Silly question, but surely it would be possible to create a new password system alongside the old? Let people login with their old password, but request they change it. Then pop that into your database in the newly salty hash version instead.

Yeah, this means users who don't login often will still have less secure passwords in your database, but surely this is a step in the right direction to protect your users who are accessing the data more often?

Eventually you'd have the current users all updating to nice new secure passwords, secure in your newly secured salty hashed system, leaving you with a much smaller group to contact. Or just plain suspend those old accounts until they contact you?

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Mark Allen

Which Ebay?

Is there any comment as to which EBay has been hacked and therefore how wide this is? US, UK, FR, DE?

Have they got *every* Ebay user's details, or just a select few from a single country?

Just curious as to how soon someone will knock at my door as no one has yet phoned me on 01111-111111.

I have seen my ebay specific email address get a flood of messages. Which is no different to any other day as that address has been sold on by so many EBay sellers over the years. And\or those sellers who get their mail accounts hacked and viral spam sent out to all. At least this password change gives me an excuse to change my email address at the same time...

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Recommendations for NAS-based home media set-up

Mark Allen

A few more ideas

I'm currently rebuilding my own setup to make it a little less geeky. A few extra tips and tricks to add to the above.

I find DLNA can be a PITA at times due to built in limitations. In my case on a 2012 Panny TV I find that it dislikes some MKV files and refuses to pick up subtitles from a separate file. Or complains at certain types of audio encoding. 80% of the time it is "good enough" and happily drags video across my Gigabit LAN. But I wanted better.

XBMC - brilliant. Find a spare old laptop to sit under the TV. Ideally with HDMI connection (personally I have to have 5.1 surround) I find XBMC is just playing anything I throw at it. No need to keep transcoding or embedding subtitles blah blah.

XBMC also has the advantage it can map folders from all around the house. Mixing local storage with external storage and SMB shares. Initially I tried UPnP but again hit that issue of the lack of external subtitles, so swapped to the superior SMB.

With access rights on SMB I just made up a new "read only" user for working across the network. using a different PC and user to clean up the library.

XBMC means videos can be scattered on different PCs and NAS's accessed in multiple different ways, but XBMC will present them all to you in one clean way without the normal person having to care where these files are actually stored.

I am currently doing a test run of XBMC using a USB flash drive and Xmbcuntu. Allows for experimenting without changing anything on the PC\laptop. Though in the long run I'm going back to Win7\8.1 on the PC so I can also run other programs like 4oD, get_iplayer, etc.

MediaCompanion - an excellent tool for cleaning up the cataloguing of your videos. This will let you pop the artwork and video details into the folders along with your videos. Yes, XBMC has automatic scrapers built in, but I find this tool is handy as it keeps the relevant details permanently with your video files. That way next time you change the system you don't have to totally start again. Also will be of benefit to those with slower broadband as this saves the media centre from constant lookups at TVDB and IMDB.

And last but certainly not least "YATSE". Download "YATSE" to your Tablet from the Google Play store. A totally BRILLIANT remote control for XBMC. Allowing total control of XBMC boxes and then pushing of video around the house. It is so much easier to be able to scroll through your film collection on a tablet in your hand to choose instead of working with clunky remotes on the TV screen. This application has to be seen to be believed!! Paid edition also allows to push video to Chromecast and other funky devices.

TBH - I'm still playing with the setup, tweaking and fine tuning. Making it more idiot proof so I can setup similar for friends. One thing I do notice is that as the years progress all of this stuff becomes less and less geeky. Though we all want different solution.

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iPhone-stroker-turned-fandroid sues Apple over iMessage text-slurpery

Mark Allen
WTF?

Small Businessman here...

This is a funny thread to read as there is so much Apple vs Android rant in here. Which then kind of misses the point.

I certainly don't agree with the $5 million figure, but this is a valid issue. Apple are clearly responsible by merging SMS into iMessage and should be the ones to fix this. The average iPhone user doesn't have a clue how the tech works - that is the point! Apple users are not supposed to be geeks.

What I do find interesting is this the business angle. I run a small IT business. So my phone number is in hundreds if not thousands of phone contact lists of my clients. Now assume I wasn't an IT whizz and I decided to move from iPhone to Android without de-registering first. This would be almost impossible for me to follow the "Apple Solution" of contacting everyone who has my number in their phone to tell them to "delete and re-add me".

How would I know who to contact? How would I know which of my clients of the last umpteen years currently own an iPhone?

I have a lot of clients who contact me via SMS. The iMessage bug would mean I would be directly loosing new work as that client would not be able to reach me. In those situations I could see how a $5million law suit could start to add up. It all depends on the trade of the defendant.

This is an insane bug from Apple. Though it does follow that arrogant pattern of "You will never leave" that seems to be built around the religion that is Apple Products.

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Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

Mark Allen

Re: Limited bit rate?

Play FLAC and 320kbps MP3/AAC side by side on decent speakers or decent headphones and there is a very noticeable difference with many types of music. Compare something like Dark Side Of The Moon on an iPod with the standard Apple headphones with a FLAC playing Android or Blackberry and Sennheiser speakers and you will certainly notice a difference.

Personally when I listen to 320kbps MP3 played back through decent speakers it sounds like the music is underwater and muffled.

I found this out after I had ripped my 300+ CDs to MP3. After that rather long task which was carried out over a year I changed my HiFi to £1000+ kit (Just the AV Amp and 5.1 speakers). First time I played back those MP3s I swore. Loudly. Then pulled out the CDs of DSOTM. The difference stood out a mile.

Since then I have replaced those MP3s with FLACs and not looked back.

This is why I can't see why people get excited by iDevices and iTunes and over compressed music. It also explains to me why Apple supply such rubbish headphones. This Beats deal seems to me to merge two names "known for music" yet they are adding rubbish to rubbish which just sounds like rubbish squared to me.

Heavy compression made sense when storage space was expensive. Now with storage so cheap it seems silly not to make use of it.

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Microsoft blinks, extends Windows 8.1 Update deadline for consumers

Mark Allen

Re: Ok I may be going mad..or something changed

There are plenty of huge updates in Windows Update. What you downloaded there was probably Win 8.1 Update. Or Win 8.1 Update 1. Or whatever the confusing thing is called now.

Taking a bare Win 8.0 laptop through to fully updated means some huge multi-gigabyte downloads. Yeah, fine if you live in a city like me on 60Mbps. But what about that guy out in the countryside who is struggling with 1Mbps?

And I hope the user never has a hard disk fail... as he is then back to his "Recovery Media". If he made them that is. No licence key stickers now. Of course, that recovery media is back at v8.0 with not only no updates, but all the factory supply crudware back on the machine...

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Mark Allen
Facepalm

Re: Windows 8.1 - the secret update

This is the one thing I have never understood - why is the very importantly vital update from Win 8.0 to Win 8.1 only available in the App Store and not in Windows Update? Us IT Techs have spent years training people to use Windows Update to keep their computers up to date and safe. Yet this update was put into a SHOP instead?

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Bad PUPPY: Undead Windows XP deposits fresh scamware on lawn

Mark Allen
Facepalm

Re: Business as usual

Yep... the same people who trust the "Speed up your PC" adverts will now get caught by these "Free XP Security Update" scams. It amazes me as to how a flashing box on a screen makes users walk into these scams, yet if a bloke walked up to them in a supermarket carpark offering them a deal to make their car go faster they'd know the difference.

What is certainly the most comical is that I am already seeing some of my ID-10T users who have moved from a PC to a Mac "because it is safer" manage to continue to fall for the same scams and now are infecting the Mac...

Maybe this just goes to show that viruses don't infect the OS - they infect the user. So many of the "viruses" I see now have been installed by the user who believed the Snake Oil offer was valid. Or they could watch some "free" sport...

8
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'Yahoo! Breaks! Every! Mailing! List! In! The! World!' says email guru

Mark Allen

Nothing new

Yahoo! seem to constantly make a mess of their DKIM signatures. The hosting company I use for my clients check these headers and regularly I get reports from clients getting email bounced from Yahoo (or BTInternet) addresses. All because they've been fiddling with the signatures again. Problems seem to come and go at random during the year.

At least BT are moving away from Yahoo! so that should reduce some of the complaints I get.

As I always point out to these people, you get what you pay for with free accounts.

1
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Netflix needling you? BBC pimps up iPlayer ahead of BBC3 move

Mark Allen

Re: I think the quality ....

You should "name and shame" your ISP. I sit here on Virgin broadband in a city and laugh at how well it works. The last time I saw stutters was when I was on the older 10Mbps modem in 2012. Since updating to the newer 60 Mbps service I have laughed at how smooth iPlayer is. (Whilst also hammering the network downloading ISOs from the PC at the same time)

The biggest problem with iPlayer are people like yourself and those who live in the countryside. When broadband is still sub 5Mbps it is incredibly unfair when attempting to watch something. I hope the "pause and buffer" trick will still work for you. There needs to be real subsidies into the countryside to lift average broadband speeds outside of the cities. I find it incredibly unfair that BT got cash to flood fibre into the city where I live where we already had insanely fast broadband available from Virgin. Also unfair as BT will soon make money from people hooking up due to the density of population.

Meanwhile, barely five miles away in the countryside, broadband barely hits 2Mbps. THAT is where the grant money should have been put.

Back to iPlayer... I am all for the idea of allowing non-UK people to pay for access to iPlayer. great idea. But I bet it will be killed off by people like Murdoch claiming "unfair" and by the daft rules on which areas a show can appear in. Nothing more annoying than the bizarre rules on programs like Match of the Day where if you miss it live you have to wait a random number of days before watching it.

1
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Opera founder von Tetzchner: It's all gone to crap since I quit

Mark Allen
Flame

Re: Sad panda.

There is a worrying chase for lowest common denominator now. A chase to dumb down all of our software. I've been using Opera since the 1990s because of the extra choices it gave me as the user.

Too much is heading into the dumb-down route. Look at Win8, or even worse what has happened on the Apple Mac with Mavericks dumbing down the applications to be more stupid and iPad like. Removing features advanced users need and replacing it with an interface your granny can use instead.

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Sony set to axe 5,000 workers worldwide as it flings PC biz overboard

Mark Allen

Re: Is this laptops as well?

The Apple troll is just too obvious. I enjoy supporting Apple kit as I get more support calls for it. The random email problems, the strange downgrades of their software.

It was interesting last month playing with a brand new Sony laptop and comparing it to the Apple Mac. The Sony was just so much better in many ways. Looks, design, styling. Just little things like how the speakers were setup in the hinge.

Or the way they get round the lack of Ethernet port. On a Mac they just assume you will use Wireless. Hardluck if you are in a room without a WiFi signal. With the Sony they had added a tiny WiFi Access point in the box. This tiny Access Point just clipped to the laptop's power brick and then connected to Ethernet. Such a nice, simple, elegant solution.

And the guy down there bashing the support... I guess I was just lucky. Emails replied to, and phone calls to a Dutchman who not only knew his stuff but also phoned me back and paid for the call.

So... back to the drawing board for the people with excess cash... Samsung is certainly part of the thoughts, but again with the bloatware... I wish these PC guys would stop that.

1
1
Mark Allen

Re: Big guys?

I don't want to look like some fool just bashing Novatech. This was at least six or seven years ago, maybe more. And if they are still building them they would have learnt from the mistakes by now.

And yeah... HP... well the less said there the better. So many laptops built with fans designed to eat dust and fluff and then not be cleanable. That little layer of solid fluff and grott that builds up between the fan and copper heatsink. First time I saw that wedge of grime I thought it was a filter... until I poked it.

1
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Mark Allen

Re: Their market

Novatech? I hope they have improved from the past. Last saw a self-build Novatech laptop about seven years ago and it was such a mess of an overheating build it made me run away from all self-build laptops.

At least when the big guys build laptops they have the economy of scale to work with meaning problems get spotted earlier and the recalls are put in to place.

Lenovo - solid is a word I'd use for them. Certainly handy for a machine that is moved around a lot, but not exactly pretty. Great for us IT geeks, but my clients include artists who pick machines based on colour...

2
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Mark Allen

Is this laptops as well?

I quite liked Sony kit. Once you got rid of all the crudware that Sony would bundle there was usually a decent machine underneath. When I got a heavy Windows user who started to talk Apple to me, I'd usually steer them to Sony kit for better value. If they had money to burn - it might as well be on a Sony.

Now I have to work out where to steer my clients who want to spend lots of cash on something pretty and stylish.

5
0

BT scratches its head over MYSTERY Home Hub disconnections

Mark Allen
Trollface

Virginmedia hardware

Once the Virginmedia hardware is in passthrough mode there is no problem. The router is as good as off. I've had one running for over a year now without a hiccup. I have my own router sitting behind the modem. Rock solid.

Have also been running some industry test kit here which sends me montly reports that keep telling me that my average downstream throughput is generally around 60-62Mbps.

0
0

Intel to shutter AppUp app store

Mark Allen
Flame

Intel crudware creep

I wish Intel would use a different company name for this stuff. In the past, a new computer would come with the odd Intel program pre-installed. I'd leave these in place as they were for graphics or network card tweaking.

The last few laptops I have setup are getting more and more of these oddly named Intel programs pre-installed. And it is getting confusing knowing which to keep and which to bin. It is getting towards too much crudware.

I worry that when then finally rename McAfee they will just stick that Intel badge on it. Leaving us with a big confused heap of crud slowing down the machine. And not really clear as to what should be removed.

3
0

China's Jade Rabbit moon rover might have DIED in the NIGHT after 'abnormality'

Mark Allen
Alien

Throwing Rocks...

Are you sure that someone hasn't thrown a rock at it? The same rock thrower who is throwing rocks at Opportunity?

There are some aliens out there trying to wind people up...

2
0

Chrome lets websites secretly record you?! Google says no, but...

Mark Allen
Big Brother

Turn the mic off

There is an easy way to fix this. The most obvious solution is the one in the article - go into Chrome options and tell it to never touch your microphone and camera.

The other solution is go into Windows Control Panel and locate the Sound control panel. Then just Mute the Microphone from there. That way, no matter what program tries to mess with your microphone they won't hear anything if it is muted.

What is most concerning is the number of people who use Chrome but have no idea why. When you talk to them you find it has just been sneaked onto the PC as part of an Adobe Flash update or some other program. Most of my clients who are using it never chose it. With an underhand method like that for installing your product, this revelation of access to a microphone without full feedback on screen that it is operating does not surprise me at all.

I make sure my clients realise Google is an advertising company and then ask them if they really trust Chrome...

7
2

Apple loses sauce, BlackBerry squashed and Microsoft, er, WinsPhones (Nokia's)

Mark Allen

Re: So, Mozilla...

Well, there is a simple answer to that. Mozilla presents itself as a "community" based browser. It would be happier if we all forgot that it is funded by the Gorilla that is Google.

4
1

Code-busters lift RSA keys simply by listening to the noises a computer makes

Mark Allen

Other White Noise

So in a room full of computers, Plasma TV screens, monitors, microwave oven and a HiFi crunching out electronic music all while living in a basement I assume makes the chaotic computer user harder to listen in to than the guy who owns one computer and one mobile phone?

Which reminds me... I still haven't worked out which device at the front of my house blasts out so much white noise I can't hear MW or LW on my car radio when it is parked outside the door. A little odd as when I use radios in the house it is fine... unless I fire up the Plasma TV.

2
0

World+dog: Network level filters block LEGIT sex ed sites. Ofcom: Meh

Mark Allen

Re: Hopefully it'll block the Daily Mail and their noncebait sidebar of shame

At least Porn is honest about what it is. The Daily Mail and its nonceing sidebar is stunning for the way it can have a "Think Of The Children" article on the page with its nonceing links on the side bar. Certainly need it added to the banned list. Along with Mumsnet as there are plenty of threads in their forums of an extreme sexual nature.

9
0

Harvard kid, 20, emailed uni bomb threat via Tor to avoid final exam, says FBI

Mark Allen

Re: Harvard need to reassess their admission policies?

Why even go into the coffee shop and sit in front of cameras? Surely it would be simpler to do from the street outside? Accessing the wifi from outside of the building and away from camera range. That way you also have the excuse to wear that thick coat and scarf.

0
0

UK payday loaners cop MEGA £175K fine for 'misleading' SMS spam

Mark Allen

Re: wait

That 7726 number has been around for years. I've been forwarding SMS spam to if for five to eight years or so. (Can't remember exactly). I have noticed that in the past couple of years I am getting replies thanking me for passing it on, and asking for the phone number the spam was sent from.

It is nice to see something gets done with this information now. I certainly notice less repeats of spam messages compared with spam in past years.

As to fines... yeah... £100 per SMS sent out should be a better scale. A fine that should be paid by the directors of the company. Otherwise stuff like this just gets written off as a company expense.

2
0

IBM turns plastic bottles into life-saving 'ninja' MRSA, fungus fighters

Mark Allen
Pint

Re: Type of bottle matters!

I assume Irn-Bru bottles will produce the toughest Ninjas.

12
0

Recommendations for private cloud software...

Mark Allen

wetransfer.com

Wetransfer doesn't quite fit everything you ask, but it is simple. Takes up to 2GB transfers and keeps them for seven days. You upload your big zip file and it gives you a URL in return. You can even just plug in your email addresses and it will notify you and the client when the file is available, as well as telling you when it has been downloaded.

There is a pro version as well - but I've just been using the free version for shifting videos and similar to friends.

Best bit of it is the simplicity.

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Macy's: Now with Apple's Minority Report ads system that TRACKS your iPHONE

Mark Allen
Flame

Re: Two things....

I agree with you Big_Ted. Nothing more annoying that some idiot sales kid trying to push some crap at you. Especially in electronics stores where they are usually so clueless all they do is read the labels at you. When shops do that to me, I generally walk straight out of the door. Normally saying "Sorry - I thought this was a shop for grown-ups. I'll go elsewhere".

If a phone did that, then I'd again start avoiding those products. Amazes me how "Sales" people think the only thing we care about is their shoddy products.

@Don Jefe: I understand that is it "Management" telling the staff to harass the customers, and not directly the fault of the shop floor staff. But when I am clearly trying to *avoid* eye contact then they should take the hint that I don't need "assistance"

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Winamp is still a thing? NOPE: It'll be silenced forever in December

Mark Allen
Headmaster

Winamp - not WinAMP, WinAmp, WiNaMp

Please... it is Winamp. Always has been. Just looks weird when these odd capitals creep into the way some people type it.

And it still will keep working fine until Windows 9 comes along and changes how audio works or something daft. And even then I expect someone out there will hack in a solution, or create a new plugin.

Also those who keep talking of "bloat" clearly haven't used the current installer which lets you deselect everything you don't want. It has become a very modularised, plugin based player. So you can strip it back to the bits you actually want to keep.

There is no other piece of software I have been using since the 1990s.

Choice is being removed. There was a time when people liked to be different - now there seems a strange acceptance of using what you are given. WMP and iTunes dominate. And both of those tools are awfully limited. VLC and Media Player Classic may be great players, but no good at managing my library.

I will fight to keep Winamp working on all my PCs as long as I physically can. Still a great bit of kit.

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How to find OS X Mavericks' 43 hidden photogenic beauties

Mark Allen

Same with Microsoft

Same thing happens with Microsoft - Vista and Win7. There are the themes that get chosen based on your location. Here in the UK it is photos of Big Ben and Beachy Head and so on. If you dig around in the windows folder you can find the rest of these default themes for lots of other countries.

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Mac fans: You don't need Windows to get ripped off in tech support scams

Mark Allen
Flame

Google Search Scams

These scams via Google Search AdWords are getting common. Just search for anything like "hotmail password", "lost Facebook password" and common faults like that and you will see the AdWords bought up by these evil scammers.

I had one client who, just like Maharg's grandfather, had lost their hotmail password. They also searched for a "fix" and called the scammer who was advertising via Google AdWords. They followed the scammer on the phone. Right through to letting them remote control the PC (that time it was LogMeIn). Again the same scare tactics about viruses, etc.

What saved my client was comical. The Remote Scammer couldn't get much done... well, this client is in the middle of West Sussex... where the "broadband" mega fast 200kbps. And that is on a good day. The scammer couldn't handle the sludgy speed and gave up.

What really annoys me though is Google is taking the money from these people for the AdWords. Try it yourself - think in "Home User" mode and google some common problems they will have, then notice the scammy sounding URLs at the top in the Ad-Words. Google needs to step up its level of fraud detection here.

I'm now training my clients to never trust the pink ad-words boxes...

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It's about time: Java update includes tool for blocking drive-by exploits

Mark Allen

Java on the average PC

<quote>But many businesses still keep older versions of Java installed on client PCs because certain custom applications require them.</quote>

I find Java 6 still installed on many PCs because the average user doesn't know if they need it or not. Usually I find an out of date Java 6 alongside an out of date Java 7 (Are we REALLY up to Update 40 already?)

Those old Java 6's are still there as Java 7 doesn't even bother to give an option to remove the old versions. And Java 7 is always out of date as the average user gets bored of being nagged so often to perform an update.

And I hope this new Whitelist is extremely secure. And not something that can just be updated by the infection to give itself permission...

The sooner Java is put out of its misery, the better. The current owners clearly don't have the skill set to look after it properly. The sheer scale of troubles it has caused in the past years is beyond a joke now.

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Child abuse ransomware tweaked to tout bogus antivirus saviours

Mark Allen

2011 News Feed

Has someone pressed the wrong button at El'Reg and started posting old news from years ago?

Or is that "Security Researcher" quoted just massively out of date? For those of us dealing with these issues on home and small business PCs this is ancient news. This stuff has been going round for years. Constantly mutating to keep the Anti-Virus makers on their toes.

I wouldn't bother with that "experts" view. If he is posting this as "news", then he is not much of a researcher.

Best way of dealing with this kind of stuff? A Linux Boot Disk. Lets you get in and clear this obvious crud away.

This example is not really "ransomware" when all it is really doing is running a program at startup. Especially as that one looks so lame that even a Safe Mode boot would defeat it.

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REVEALED: Cyberthug tool that BREAKS HSBC's anti-Trojan tech

Mark Allen

Old Virus - Rapport a joke

This is more ancient news. I removed a virus from a client's machine at least two or three years ago. He had Rapport on the laptop and some brand name anti-virus software and he only knew he was infected as I had trained him to be paranoid to changes.

As he logged into his HSBC account there was one subtle change. Instead of asking for the 2nd, 4th, 7th letters of his password he was asked for the full password. This is when he phoned me - good man.

Clearly the virus had inserted its own HSBC looking fake page on TOP of the web browser and redirected clicks to it. So Rapport didn't have a clue it was there. I remember clicking on the daft Rapport tool and it telling me everything was fine. Anti-virus was happy. Malware scanners saw nothing. I killed it with a Linux Boot Disk and intelligent deleting of the nasties that were they obvious to me, but hidden in Windows.

I have always seen Rapport the same as the retired security guard seen in some banks. A guy with a uniform on, but too old to actually stop a robbery or get in the way. To some customers he looks reassuring so keeps his job even though he is next to useless.

Personally I don't do online banking - I like to keep people employed. So walk into my local branch and\or use the phone. Real physical security and no man in the middle.

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Virgin Media hangs from traffic lights, hands out free Wi-Fi to Brummies

Mark Allen
FAIL

Re: Colour Me Curious

There is nothing weird here. All the major ISPs outsource their email. It doesn't mean they share anything else. Sky and BT use YahooMail. Sky used to be Google as well until they migrated earlier this year.

Virgin mail is just a re-skinned Gmail.

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Verizon offers Motorola mobe with 48-HOUR battery life

Mark Allen

Re: Gimmick ahoy!

Lots of photos of the insides of pockets then...

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Mark Allen

13 hour standby time?

Is that Mini for real? A phone that can barely last half a day? That's just bonkers. You'll have to have a charging cable always in your pocket. Or is that one made so bad on battery to show off the more sensible Maxx?

I have an old Blackberry Bold 9780. I'll fight to keep this phone alive as long as possible. Battery easily lasts three to four days. Have managed to drag it out for six days once on minimal usage. Even a heavy day of lots of chat and playing music still gives me plenty of charge left deep into the next day.

The sooner Battery Technology can catch up with these devices the better. I need my phone to be there when I want to make a call. If I break down at the side of a empty country lane at 2am in the morning I want to be able to make a call and not have to start hunting for a power point to charge my phone up first!

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