155 posts • joined 19 Mar 2007
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Re: Type of bottle matters!
I assume Irn-Bru bottles will produce the toughest Ninjas.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Re: Gimmick ahoy!
Lots of photos of the insides of pockets then...
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!
Re: Pffft, can anything on google maps these days :D
@Khaptain: They must have been some very stoned hippies then as the "Woodstock" you're thinking of is in the States, not Oxfordshire.
Right, because Windows laptops get upgraded all the time... good luck trying to 'upgrade' your integrated graphics chip, or the soldered on wifi, or maybe the bluetooth chippery could do with a boost.[/QUOTE]
I assume you have never looked inside a laptop then? WiFi is always on an swappable board. Usually accessible via simple screw access panels on the back. Bluetooth similar (as this is often part of the WiFi card anyway). If not - whack a USB dongle in the side.
The more expensive laptops have experimented with swappable graphics boards. I've often swapped these for clients, but that tends to require a few more screws to be handled on the back.
Similar with CPUs - the higher up the range the more swappable a CPU is.
You have to ignore the cheapest, bottom range laptop as these cut price corners and start using integrated soldered in graphics and CPUs. It is still rare to find a soldered CPU and as you are talking about Apples here then we should ignore the bottom of the range Windows Laptops so we have a fair comparison of like for like.
Last time I was going to change an internal part in an Apple laptop I needed a heat gun and some very strange dismantling instructions.
Re: Wonder how
Black tape doesn't stop the mic from working.
Re: Takes me back to high school.
We must have gone to school with people from a similar gene pool. I was in class with a couple of guys at school who had a starting pistol round. When smashing it with a pair of pliers onto the desk didn't work for them, they turned to the hot soldering iron instead....
Re: Missed opportunity
El'REg has posted a few RFC1149 articles.
The bandwidth of a pigeon is huge. Especially if you use Micro SD Cards.
Just make sure they aren't flying around Southampton. Or the ones we have down here further down the coast to the East. For some reason the tourists get upset when they see the pigeons taken out by the Falcons. Free pest control for cities!!
Re: People still use ISP mailboxes ?
Simple. Get a email service with an alternate mail port other than 25. I expect even outlook.com will do this. Especially if you use SSL email. I know you can do it with GMAIL and even YAHOO mail.
Even better, if you are on El'Reg you should know how to sign up to a decent email hosting company with proper SMTP support. Shouldn't cost you much. Then it is all under YOUR control without any advertising mess.
Re: Only for printers less than 3 years old?
No, they mean the patches are only for printers less than 3 years old. HP expect you to replace their printers more often than in the days of the battleships that were the Laserjet 4 and 5. This is why they make them from cheap plastic...
I used to work creating print servers for the OEM market and some of the security "features" left in them would make your hair stand on end!! Us developers would shout about the issues, but no one in Marketing\Sales either cared or wanted to spend any budget on making them truly secure. It all comes down to money.
Example: being able to "upgrade" firmware via TCP port 9100 without a password... just a special code to start the special print job...
I wonder if this is connected with the dodgy 3G coverage I have had in Brighton the past couple of days? BBM usually works all over the place without troubles. Except the past couple of days round the city. Have had to wait to get back to a UMA WiFi connection for BBM to kick back in.
Odd coincidence with this Virgin\T-Mobile caps conversation...
Re: UMA is excellent
So hope they have the sense to use UMA. Trouble is I assume they need to bung licensing cash at someone. Which means, as you say, a bodged mess that doesn't work as well.
I've only really experienced the Bold using UMA so can't tell what other devices are like. One of my clients did see my UMA in use in his house but decided to go for an Android phone instead. Turns out that is done via an app - and the app was only available if you had bought the phone direct from Orange. He paid for his phone outright from a different source and there was no way to put that Orange app onto the phone. There was no sense in Orange making that restriction... but they did.
So bad implementations using an app already exist. Complete with stupid lock-downs.
Whereas the Blackberry "just works". What amazes me is how many different wireless access points handle this without thought. I see dozens of clients with all kinds of cheap and nasty WiFi kit and it "just works".
Bad news that it isn't in the Z10 yet. That stops me upgrading. Can't seem me letting go of this 9780 for a while as it does all I need for now.
UMA is excellent
I didn't realise UMA was that old. It works brilliantly on my Blackberry Bold on the EE network. I get lousy 3G coverage at home so my Bold uses my WiFi instead. Happily swapping between WiFi and 3G as needs require. Also great when working in basements for clients.
I have a neighbour's Wifi four doors away on my phone. So as I drive home, the phone is on 3G. I turn the car next to my neighbour's and it jumps straight onto their WiFi. As I park I often see it swapping from the neighbour's WiFi to my own WiFi connection. All clean and smooth.
Okay - it did take RIM a few firmware updates to get this stable from new on the Bold 9780 but now I couldn't live without out.
Nice to see O2 finally catching up....
I am not a web designer, so I may have this wrong. Why are these boxes being indexed by search engines at all? Surely a simple robots.txt should be a standard item on these web interfaces thereby telling Google and the search engines to go away and not add it to their index.
To me, the fact that these are findable by any teenager from anywhere on the planet via a simple Google search seems the daftest part of this whole event.
That will then send the potential hacker back to hard work port scanning to find a victim.
It has always been the way with this kind of kit. I helped one client to get "remote access" to his cameras and found out that the company who supplied his cameras had written a useful document to explain how to install an ActiveX control to let IE access the cameras. The documents were clearly written by the guys installing the cameras as it basically told you to disable ALL security in your web browser to a point that ANY active X control from any untrusted site would be allowed to work.
In that example I at least sent them a copy of their document back updated with details on how to restrict access to just the relevant camera site instead of "the whole world".
This kit is all the same though. Slap dash construction in a cheap country. Then installed by people who don't understand computers. "Look at the pretty pictures".
Biggest joke of course being that these are "Security" cameras.
There wouldn't be a US bomb without assistance from the Brits. Check out Baron Penney. A key part of the original US design team.
Strange thing is I knew this guy when I was a kid. His wife used to babysit me and my sister at times. Or we'd go round for tea and cakes. I never knew his background until I saw a BBC documentary on the British Bomb. And there was Lady Penney talking about it... talk about jaw dropping!! Realising I personally knew someone involved with THE bomb certainly makes you think!! (Even more so now I read that Wiki article which shows Penney picked out the targets...)
Re: Which ad analytics companies?
I use an old Linux router for my DNS blocking, not a hosts files, and that is fine on most sites. It also works house wide for any device in use - PCs, Phones, Tablets, etc. Yet some sites like this here El'Reg always hang for a few seconds when loading up the last part of this page in Opera. 'tis a pain.
But a bit of patience is worth it. Some websites out there just have waaaaaay too many flashing adverts. I get amazed at the YouTube "experience" with adverts enabled.
Re: Which ad analytics companies?
Ghostery works on all browsers. Not just Firefox. I currently have it installed here on Opera. Can be interesting to see how many tracking items appear on some sites!!
(I also block advertiser's domains at the DNS level in my router... a much nicer internet experience all round....)
I am in Brighton on Virgin/NTL and not having any problems. Watching a lot of iPlayer and YouTube on the TV without troubles over the last few nights.
I have also been downloading a lot of software, updates, service packs etc over the past week reinstalling and fixing a few PCs and still seeing fast download speeds at all kinds of odd times of the day. So seems fine all round.
Maybe it is 'cos I am still holding on to the ancient modem and don't have a Netgear box yet? Or maybe we just have a better service down here on the coast. Hard to tell.
Drop Kick Test
Anything I ship via any postal system or courier I make sure the product is wrapped enough to pass the "Drop Kick Test". If I am happy to boot my own box across the driveway, then I know it is wrapped well. Bubble wrap is cheap. Use it by the ton.
My neighbour once witnessed a courier attempt to deliver a box to my door. I was not home, so courier threw the box back into his van. It bounced off of at least three walls before landing on the floor. In the small box? A hard disk!!
Radio 5 got Radio 2's old AM slot. I know this as the radio I listen to in my bedroom is 25+ years old and still has the little stickers on it when they shuffled the channel numbers around back in the 1970s or 80s.
I listen to huge amounts of Radio 5. Especially for the sport. That selection of old radios - from bedside clock radio to car stereo via a tiny pocket sized radio for walking around town. It would cost me a lot of cash and endless batteries to replace that little lot. Not very "Green" is it?
And don't say I should be using my mobile phone's data connection instead. That is plain daft. Why would I want to pay to eat up my data quota on the phone? Or risk flattening the battery of my phone while listening to the radio? That is not progress or convenient.
I have introduced a problem into my house now. As noted above, there is something wrong with CE testing. I have a nice new 50" Plasma from Panasonic. And the moment I fire up that screen, it adds a nasty buzz to my AM radios. Frustrating as I prefer the Radio commentary to live footie matches.
Long live AM Radio!!
I don't understand why there are so many posts upset at this shuffle of the channel numbers. It is not that hard to push the OK button on the remote to sort it out. And it brings us more choice and hopefully more HD channels in the future.
Yeah, analogue with its five channels only needed a change once every couple of decades, but these digital boxes are designed to handle the updates. When your TV asks to retune as a new channel has appeared I don't understand why people don't just hit the button and let the TV sort it out. It only takes a couple of minutes.
That video was a PERFECT example of so many of my clients. People who use a PC based on muscle memory. Never been trained in their life. Don't know what anything is called, they just click on the pretty icons.
Why was this never tested outside the Microsoft offices? Why didn't they take the OS home and give it to their parents to use? Decades of GUI design thrown down the pan.
I just LOVE the man's punchline... "Are they trying to drive me to Mac?" That just about sums up this stupidity. Apple must be rubbing their hands with glee.
Don't get me wrong, I love change. I think Win7 is a big improvement over XP. Especially for home users. Ditto the Office Ribbon. But this is a little too confusing for the average user. I hope there is a nice, simple, easy to locate tutorial in there somewhere to help the new users round all those changed features.
I also don't see the logic behind some of this. Different teams to be heading in different directions. The Ribbon makes more options more visible to the user so they can find them. Whereas the OS is desperately trying to hide everything. Bit like the silly Web Browsers which have hidden all the menus. I keep getting clients phoning me to ask where the "PRINT BUTTON" has gone. Or "Where is SAVE AS..."
Yep - Nostromo - In space no one can hear you scream... Notro will be plenty of screaming.
Re: you are clearly a shill
(Where's the edit button?) I meant to add that there were no problems over the weekend for me on the general browsing and downloading side. The only trouble I've had is the ISP mailservers run by Google are playing up. Normal mail is unaffected, but trying to use any ntlworld.com addresses are having login problems. Swapping back and forth between smtp.ntlworld.com and smtp.virginmedia.com seemed to get round it on Sunday. Now it just seems to have given up hope.
Re: you are clearly a shill
Is it really that hard for you to schedule your bigger downloads to after 9pm when the service is truly unlimited? Many of the torrent apps have built in schedulers to allow those all important Linux ISOs to be grabber out of hours. At least with VM they clearly publish the download limits and the times they apply.
Yes, some of us are very happy with Virgin. And the impressive speeds. It means we can grab 700MB ISOs when we want them (like VS 2010 as mentioned in another news item). But if we want to get a lot of stuff, we need to think about it.
This comical claim of "being capped in 2 minutes" is a theoretical joke that most people are not going to experience everyday in practice. And if they are hitting that kind of limit everyday, then they need to learn a bit of planning. (I also can't understand why they complain. If they don't like it, change ISPs. Simple.)
I get to experience the ADSL "Service" that some of my clients are given in this city of Brighton. And it really doesn't touch Virgin. Especially when things go wrong. (If you think VM support is bad, you should try calling a few other ISPs!! Cheap call centres are used throughout the industry)
Yes, we all get different experiences based on our different usage patterns and the postcode areas we live in. I've been with Virgin 9 years, and don't plan to go anywhere else.
Re: Not unprecedented
Win32 code works fine in VS2010. I had to build something for a client. Hadn't touch C\C++ in a decade. But VS2010 happily recompiled my old code from 1999. Just a few compiler errors which were easy to clear. (Though I did end up dropping Win9x support when cleaning up the code...)
Raw C\C++ code making Win32 calls direct to APIs works well. And the applications created are so much smaller than the MFC mess was. (I laugh at .NET and its bloat), Raw C\C++ has shown itself to be far more portable over the decades than any of these daft Frameworks that come and go.
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