* Posts by Mark Simon

162 posts • joined 31 Jul 2006

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Telstra News spews banking trojan after malvertising attack

Mark Simon

This is what you get …

… when you give away control of your own content. It’s not the first time an advertising network has been hijacked to nefarious ends and an organisation desperate for additional revenue (Telstra?) is open to the weakness inherent in indiscriminately accepting third party content.

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Australian online shoppers and Netflix to be fully taxed in 2017

Mark Simon

Not Quite

“The nation's now decided that limit should go for online purchases.”

No, the nation’s overlords have made that decision.

I doubt that any body casting their vote in the last election even imagined that the Gummint would cave in to the likes of Gerry Harvey who thinks the only way to convince the public to patronise his store is to make the rest of the world more expensive.

This is not good for the Australian public, and not good for the economy in the long term. Only when true competition is about being better rather than being cheaper will we improve our quality of life.

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You CAN'T jail online pirates for 10 years, legal eagles tell UK govt

Mark Simon

10 years?

Stealing is, of course a Bad Thing, but somebody needs to get this one in perspective.

First, copyright is virtual property, not like real property. Although it represents real work on somebody’s part, and some degree of hardship if not honoured, you can’t argue that it necessarily has the same impact as physical theft. The whole point of copyright is that it deals with additional copies of a product.

Second, the value of copyright depends largely on popularity and willingness to pay, and not so much on intrinsic value. Putting a cost on infringement is often a matter of who can shout loudest.

Finally, real crimes such as assault, abuse and manslaughter often attract lesser sentences. The problem is that the victims, especially the dead ones, generally have poorer resources, so don’t have the same ability to pressure politicians.

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Windows 10 PC sales boost? Don't hold your breath, say analysts

Mark Simon

Typo

“Despite this year's release of Windows 10, notebook PC shipments are not going to see an increase over last year.”

I believe it should read “Because of this year's release of Windows 10 …”.

I think Microsoft have long ago lost the confidence of consumers, and their recent history of releasing unwelcome versions that don’t work properly is not a strong incentive to rush out and buy more.

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Aussies turn to comic cat videos for comfort

Mark Simon

Desparate times indeed …

In case anybody else was wondering, this says all you need to know about the quality of Australian TV at present.

Given the choice between yet another unreality program and recycled pet videos, this just bring back the joys of a good book or the art of conversation.

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Twitter EMBIGGENS users' inboxes to THOUSANDS of CHARACTERS

Mark Simon

Welcome to reality …

Is this because someone has discovered this new thing called “email”, which is also peer-to-peer and has no 140 character limit? What next? Creating public content with, say, a “web site”?

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Return of the Jedi? StarWars.co.uk bod to fight the Empire (Disney)

Mark Simon

Re: I'm not saying it's aliens...

… better than Star Bucks, I suppose …

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Boffinry breakthrough: Bullied bumble bot bolts brutal brat beatdowns

Mark Simon
Mushroom

Re: Optional

It’s when the robot says “I’ll be back” than the fun starts …

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Tired tablets don't tickle the imagination, so sales fall again

Mark Simon

Blame the Phones

Since everybody, now including Apple, sells super-sized phones, there’s less of a need for a tablet. I still use my iPad 2, and we still have two of the orginal iPads. Still good enough for eBooks & Web browsing, but the newer iPhones are increasingly at hand for most of the rest.

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Want longer battery life? Avoid the New York Times and The Grauniad

Mark Simon

The Ecological Case

The article doesn’t have much detail on the actual causes of excessive power consumption, but some of it must include over-use of inefficient JavaScript and CSS, as well as the usual suspects of Flash and, well, more Flash.

I’ve been telling people for years that there’s both a business case and an ecological case for writing clean code and not wasting too much effort supporting Legacy™ Browsers.

Roughly, that means leaving IE with what works well enough without excessive polyfills, and not bloating your site with libraries which, despite their qualities, are often used to perform a job done more simply without.

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Space Station 'nauts dive for cover from flying Soviet junk

Mark Simon

Mank you for reminding me …

Thank you!

You’re Melcome

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Mark Simon

The obvious irony

… in seeking protection from the Russian debris by sheltering in the Russian space craft. Surely it won’t hit one of its own?

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Uninstalled Google Photos? Thought your pics safe from slurping? WRONG, bozo

Mark Simon

Guys, this is Google

They take your stuff, they spy on you. Nuff said.

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Russia campaigns to stop SUICIDALLY STUPID selfies

Mark Simon
Holmes

Serious contenders for the Darwin Awards

Automatically meets two of the criteria: Veracity (photographic evidence) and Self-Selection.

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Wake up, sheeple! If you ask Siri about 9/11 it will rat you out to the police!

Mark Simon

It did

“Unless something ever happened on the 9th of November, of course. But I don't think it did.”

The Berlin Wall began to fall on 9 November 1989.

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New Windows 10 Build 10122 aims to fix file association hijacking

Mark Simon

Extension Hijacking

I thought Microsoft invented the idea in the first place. I remember when .doc files were not MS Word files, but Microsoft soon put an end to that.

In any case, does this make it harder to change your default web browser. I thought it was counter-intuitive enough, but this could make things worse. This may be the only way Microsoft can claw back some of its lost market share. Of course the EU may have something to contribute to this.

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Macroviruses are BACK and are the future of malware, says Microsoft

Mark Simon

Sandboxing

I have been telling others for decades that the solution is simple. There should be two modes: sandboxed and self-destruct. The overwhelming majority of VBA code I’ve developed is limited to the application, and mostly to the document (often via the template or addin).

Sandbox mode would allow most practical macros to run harmlessly keeping evil cross-application code at bay.

Apparently it’s not that simple ?

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Mark Simon

Re: "Nearly"?

well, 500,000 is nearly 501,240 as it is also nearly 501,241 which is nearly 502,000 which is nearly 550,000 which is nearly 600,000 which is nearly 700,000 which is nearly 1,000,000 which is nearly …

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High on bath salts, alleged Norse god attempts tree love

Mark Simon

Seriously, is there no limit to human daftness?

Yes. There is no limit to human daftness …

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Apple Safari update BORKED private browsing

Mark Simon

Re: Probably not important

What sort of comment was that … ?

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$17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

Mark Simon

The difference is …

Buying the top Apple watch is likened to buying a Rolex, which is the sort of thing you do to show off how much money you have lying around doing nothing else important.

The difference is that the Rolex will last you a very long time, and some people will hang on to theirs for life, or what’s left of it.

Two years, max, and you will want to replace your Apple Watch with its replacement, which has more memory, runs faster, has a few extra sensors, and a better screen.

Being seen with an old Rolex nothing compared to being seen with old tech.

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Offshore metadata storage fine by me, says Malcolm Turnbull

Mark Simon
Big Brother

The end of espionage as we know it

OK, here’s the plan. First, we’ll spy on our citizens. Then we’ll hand over the data to anybody who’s interested. That way foreign spies can leave us alone and just wait for the results.

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NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)

Mark Simon
Joke

Re: mmm...

Which question do you want answered first … ?

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Mark Simon

… or …

could be grill your loin chops

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Will we ever can the spam monster?

Mark Simon

Re: Email spam? What's that?

I spent days of frustration and hundreds of dollars on consultant time trying to rectify Google’s error in blacklisting my IP address.

Google don’t respond to inquiries and don’t explain why they do what they do, so if they make an error it’s your problem to deal with.

If you’re not getting any spam through Gmail, it’s possibly dumping some of your legitimate email in the process.

Yes, now I know what to do. Encourage anybody who listens to dump Gmail and get a proper email account.

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Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights

Mark Simon

Terrorism is probably a very real threat, even Down Under. These morons have made the threat worse.

What Tiger Airlines have done by overreacting to a doodle is to tell the public that they can’t tell the difference between real and imagined terrorist acts. That way, nobody will take real threats seriously since they react the same way as with doodles.

Oh well, who wants to fly Tiger anyway?

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Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit

Mark Simon

Re: "hard core of folks"

“ …any more?”

6. People who have a choice.

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Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies

Mark Simon

Re: Dumb and dumber

“(1) You can't set it to be your start page, which is pretty much the whole point in the first place.”

about:newtab

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Mark Simon

Shaky Ground

Firefox is a great browser, but it’s losing market share for various reasons.

Pissing off your users is not an obvious strategy for enhancing loyalty.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

Mark Simon

Not the first one …

I remember Douglas Adams writing about Word some years ago:

http://www.smartquotes.info/douglasadams.php

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We told you jailbreaking your iThing was dangerous

Mark Simon

Ads are good …

I use them to work out which vendors to avoid.

Anybody who begins a business relationship by annoying me is just setting the scene.

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Oh SNAP! Old-school '80s Unix hack to smack OSX, iOS, Red Hat?

Mark Simon

Old News, but still a worry …

The referenced article in turned referred to this one:

http://www.defensecode.com/public/DefenseCode_Unix_WildCards_Gone_Wild.txt

which was very helpful. The following article rubs it in:

http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/fixing-unix-linux-filenames.html

I tried it myself with the following:

mkdir one; touch one/stuff; mkdir two; touch two/stuff; touch ./-rf

rm *

The trick, of course is in the ./ prefix, which allows you to get away with murder.

A solution:

yum install detox

detox -rv ./*

The other part of the solution is to filter all incoming file names.

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Mark Simon

Re: Confused...

Actually, it’s easier than that.

If, for example, you have a web site that allows uploading files and don’t filter the file names, the you can create these problem file names without trying.

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Former Microsoftie becomes US ambassador, opts to swear in on KINDLE

Mark Simon

Revokeable Oath ?

What happens if Amazon decides to remove the Bible from the Kindle as they did with Orwell’s 1984? Many editions of the Bible are copyrighted, so it’s conceivable.

Does that mean that the oath is invalidated?

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What can The Simpsons teach us about stats algorithms? Glad you asked...

Mark Simon

The moral or the story …

Never use averages as the source of your data. Anything which combines data has already lost important detail.

This also applies to democratic elections.

Government is won by the party which gains the most seats. However, the majority of a majority is not always a majority. For example 60% of 60% is only 36%.

At least twice in recent Australian political history, the government had the majority of seats but the opposition had the majority overall popular vote. On another occasion, one minor party had 10% of the popular vote, but not one seat.

Isn’t statistics wonderful? Lies and Damned Lies …

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Samsung WRISTPHONE – for those who wanna whisper to strap-ons

Mark Simon

A bit late …

By now it should have a wrist TV - I assume that means face time for some users. And what about the magnetic space coupe?

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10 PRINT "Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC" : GOTO 10

Mark Simon
Pint

True Basic

The rest may be history, but there’s an important footnote to that history.

By the mid 1980s, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz began to despair of what was happening to BASIC on the micro computer. In particular, the limited memory and processing power of the computers at the time had led to a fairly naïve programming language, lacking many of the structures and features of the more modern languages.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, BASIC had been developing into a more sophisticated product. Kurtz & Kemeny implemented and marketed a more advanced version called True Basic, a structured programming language which, among other things, dispensed with line numbers and the dreaded GOTO statment.

You can, of course still rewrite the title of the article as:

FOR i = 0 TO 1 STEP 0 : PRINT "Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC" : NEXT

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Australia's opposition backs warrantless metadata collection

Mark Simon

Just to be clear …

By “warrantless” do we mean “unwarranted”?

In any case, technically, this would truly be “within the bounds that people would expect”. It just depends on which people are doing the expecting.

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Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Mark Simon

Re: Linux?

Small slice of the consumer computers [sic] population?

Linux, on the other hand, powers the majority of web servers and routers, which is why the Web is still working. Definitely worth targeting, I should have thought.

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Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

Mark Simon

Re: Sounds about right

… so why aren’t you using the “mindless MS Windows fan” icon?

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Apple 'hid AUD$9 BILLION' from Australia alone: Report

Mark Simon

Yes, but … what goes around …

Assuming that we are talking about what is technically legal, it’s surprising how much sympathy Tax department is suddenly getting.

We are taxed on practically everything, and denied many legitimate tax deductions (such as travel and spectacles). Paying taxes has become a competition to see who can con the most out of the other.

When the government does get their cut, they squander it on poor and inefficient infrastructure, mismanagement and general wastage. When they actually get something working, they then charge us extra for the service.

Most of us grumble, not because the government is being deprived of their rightful share, but because we haven’t been able to achieve the same success.

In any case, tax is only one of many ways of contributing to the community. Given that Apple’s profit is less than 100%, for every dollar spent on an Apple product, money has contributed to wages, manufacture, rent and other costs paid to others. Third party accessories and equipment also benefit.

Sure, potential tax money from Apple is not insignificant. But it’s only a small percentage of the flow on financial benefits to the rest of the community.

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China in the grip of a 'NUCLEAR WINTER': Smog threat to crops

Mark Simon

Sharing the Blame

A lot of China’s industry is exported to the rest of the world where we low prices are so important that we don’t care who suffers and how.

It is absurd to think that importing goods from overseas more cheaply than manufacturing them locally is not a distortion of reality. In this case, it is achieved by poor wages and working conditions, unreliable quality control, and a disregard for the environment.

The medium to long term consequences may well include higher prices as manufacturing and food production in China gets trickier.

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Microsoft asks pals to help KILL UK gov's Open Document Format dream

Mark Simon

Preferred format?

“… the vast majority of citizens and businesses already use OpenXML as their preferred document format …”

This must be some strange usage of “preferred” that I was previously unaware of.

OpenXML is a default format more honoured in the breach than in the observance. Even Microsoft can’t implement it properly. The vast majority of citizens and businesses haven’t heard of OpenXML, and certainly haven’t made a conscious decision that would be required to make it a preferred format.

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NBN to be built even if cost-benefit analysis shows no ROI

Mark Simon

Beside the Point

The Gummint is in a poor position to talk about ROI. The whole point of government, if it’s doing the job, is to provide services, using the money it has hijacked from the tax payer.

Highways, bridges, sewerage, hospitals and other services including a decent communications network all require a coordinated effort, which is what government should be providing.

If the tax payers have indicated that they want broadband, then that should be sufficient benefit for the cost involved.

Now let’s see the Government justifying the rest of the financial black hole that is the day-to-day business of running themselves.

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Fiendish Internet Explorer 10 zero-day targets US soldiers

Mark Simon

This should be a non-issue!

Nobody needs to run IE any more, especially if you’re sitting on top of the sort of technology which the US military is supposed to have.

Everything they say about military intelligence is true …

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New Doctor Who's new costume newly REVEALED by Beeb

Mark Simon

By Autumn, do you mean Spring?

For those of us who are at the Antipodes … Or is this another time warp?

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Mystery 'doughnut' materializes in front of Mars rover: 'OH MY GOD! It wasn't there before!'

Mark Simon

Re: Like, oh my god!

… and we were like, dude, where’s my donut and they were like no way and were were like yes way and they were like noooo way!!! and we were like yessss way!!! and they were like aaawesome!!! …

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Coffee a memory enhancing drug, say boffins

Mark Simon

Re: I think someone needs a coffee.

… can’t remember …

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Online shopping tax slug not worth the effort: National Australia Bank

Mark Simon

Won’t make much difference …

It’s not just the price difference which attracts buyers to overseas. It’s the fact that local suppliers don’t have the stock, or the range, or the understanding to justify wasting your time trying to buy locally.

Local retailers shooting themselves in the foot here. They are positioning themselves against potential customers, and wondering why customers don’t fall over themselves to flock to their stores. Perhaps they might take an interest in becoming more competitive rather than making everybody else less competitive.

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Report says Microsoft has divided CEO list into possibles and probables

Mark Simon
Headmaster

More than one probable?

I don’t know much about how CEO short lists work, but I should have thought that to be on the probable list, one would have a better than 50% chance of success.

How can you have more than one probable?

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