* Posts by Mark Simon

192 posts • joined 31 Jul 2006

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France joins India in telling Facebook to just Zuck off

Mark Simon

For this reason, I always specified which key to press : “press the space bar” or something like that. Not only is it easier to find, it removes the burden of decision making from the poor hapless user.

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Mark Simon

I use passwords with complex characters, but find increasingly that it’s a pain in the neck when typing on my phone, since I have to keep switching between keyboards. Longer alphabetic passwords would be less of pain, and just as secure …

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AdBlock Plus, websites draft peace deal so ads can bypass blockade

Mark Simon

Defeating the Purpose

An ad blocker that allows some ads through. The definition of what constitutes an acceptable ad is what caused the problem in the first place. If ads were less inappropriate, less intrusive and less of a strain on users’ resources, they wouldn’t have pissed everyone enough to develop and install ad blockers in the first place.

I’m also a convert to uBlock Origin, and I can see that the philosophical underpinnings AdBlock Plus are clearly up for grabs.

Sorry Register. I love your site, and I know you need the cash, and I’m even willing to pay for a subscription, but ad networks are a total pain in the delicate regions.

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Oracle to kill off Java browser plugins with JDK 9

Mark Simon

Pathetic, isn’t it … ?

Today, the best thing you can say about the Java plugin is that it’s gone.

Java should have been a good idea, providing a cross-browser platform delivered over the Web. The language itself was (is) good (if somewhat dated) and the whole byte-code mechanism promised flexibility and a vendor-neutral environment. Too bad it never really happened and the cost of relying on a buggy insecure plugin that didn’t quite do the job more than outweighed the benefit.

At least maybe now the Australian Government might get the hint and dump Java for its web security. Or maybe not …

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It's Wikipedia mythbuster time: 8 of the best on your 15th birthday

Mark Simon

Re: Er, I like Wikipedia

“IMDB should have the info you seek about actors” …

… except that it probably doesn’t. Many of its articles are brief or incomplete and much of the data is user-contributed, just like, hmm, Wikipedia

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Murderous necrophiliac kangaroo briefly wins nation's heart

Mark Simon

Are you sure that’s not wallaby bits?

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Mark Simon

Re: Natural behaviour

Good point, though probably lost in this discussion …

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Come in Internet Explorers, your time is up. Or not. Up to you

Mark Simon

Re: If

“IE 6 also gave the world the XMLHttpResponse hook …’

Not entirely true. XMLHttpResponse was implemented as an ActiveX object, and you had to sort your way through 4 different versions to properly get one working. All other browsers implemented it directly in the browser, and it was only IE7 – unbelievably long after IE6 – which followed suit, which made IE the last browser to do so.

True what you say about the mistake of tying the browser to the OS. It meant, for example, that the only up-to-date (at the time) browser not available to Windows XP was IE, and Microsoft were telling every one that this is because XP didn’t have the technology required to make newer version work, even though everyone else succeeded.

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Swiss try to wind up Apple with $25k dumb-watch

Mark Simon

Re: Dumb Watch?

“Now you tell me which is the most accurate.”

You can improve on that. If you don’t wind the mechanical watch, and remove the battery from the quartz watch, they’ll both be right twice a day, which is better than most watches.

With apologies to Lewis Carrol, and to a small extent, Spike Milligan

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'You're updated!' Drupal says, with fingers crossed behind back

Mark Simon

Never again …

Worked on one Drupal project which is two too many.

Hopelessly complex PHP & Database structure. Dependence on innumerable plugins which are poorly documented, poorly understood and of unknown security. Cumbersome update process. Even more cumbersome to backup and redeploy.

The problem with most of these CMS packages is that they appeal to the amateur who does not have the advanced skills required to maintain them and to customise them safely.

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Dick limps towards inglorious end: Gadget retailer on the brink

Mark Simon

Re: It's a sad end

Part of the fun was Dick Smith’s wicked sense of humour. Like promoting “Smith’s Chips” and his April Fools pranks, notably the Printed Integrated Circuit (The PRIC).

Still he showed great sense when he sold off the business and went off in a helicopter.

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What did we learn today? Microsoft has patented the slider bar

Mark Simon

Deja View

“The real focus of the legal challenge is on copying the design of the Microsoft Office ribbon bar.”

The first time I saw something like the Microsoft Office Ribbon Bar was on DreamWeaver when it was still a MacroMedia product. Unlike MS Office, DreamWeaver’s was useful and not down-your-throat.

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Australian government urges holidaymakers to kill two-factor auth

Mark Simon

They have no idea about security.

These are the same morons who implemented a Java-based “AusKey” security that took weeks to apply for and failed every time there was a Java update. Java plus 1FA. What could possibly go wrong?

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Mark Simon

Re: 2FA is so poorly supported

“passcode” would be even better to encourage non-apha characters. Hmm, I think I’ll start using that myself.

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25 years ago: Sir Tim Berners-Lee builds world's first website

Mark Simon

The best thing about the Web …

… is that the whole thing is open. HTTP, HTML and all of the protocols that underlie the web are free for everyone to use, to analyse and to be involved in. Even the networking protocols which carry all of the traffic.

It’s worth noting while modern IT companies make truck loads of cash charging fees and suing everybody else how much we have all benefited from a free and open Internet.

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Millions of families hit in toymaker VTech hack – including 200,000+ kids

Mark Simon

This is happening too often …

The real problem is that everybody here knows what’s wrong with the setup but nobody in the Real World seems to know.

Ordinary adults still still naively submit personal details to morons who don’t know how to keep a secret.

Personally I lie about every non-essential detail, and create a unique password for every new online account. Most normal human beings can’t be bothered or don’t understand the risks.

It’s about time that practical standards of security were created and that all vendors collecting personal information be required to adhere to them, or at least to indicate whether they do or not. In Australia, at least, banking, public transport and trades, to name a few, are all regulated. There is no reason that the same consumer protection can’t be applied to privacy & security.

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LHC records biggest bang ever with 1 Peta-electron-volt jolt

Mark Simon

“At that temperature, matter becomes a strange thing called a quark-gluon plasma, not seen in nature since the universe's age was measured in microseconds.”

Is that true? I can’t believe that it took a human-made collider on Earth to achieve what was impossible for the last 14 billion years.

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Get an Apple Watch or die warns Tim Cook

Mark Simon

The problem is …

I might buy an Apple Watch if it weren’t a watch.

I have a nice watch already. It’s not a Rolex, but I like it. People who already have a watch have the choice of wearing two watches or discarding one. Or not buying another watch, which appears to be the problem here.

Maybe someone should tell Mr Cook that he might have more luck selling something that people don’t already have.

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'I posted winning race ticket in Facebook selfie ... and someone stole it!'

Mark Simon

Re: Obviously intelligence is not involved in either betting or boasting.

… and certainly not FaceBook

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I've lost the remote! Fury as Samsung yoinks TV control from its iOS app

Mark Simon

So …

which is cheaper — new phone or new TV?

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Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista

Mark Simon

110 million PCs can’t be wrong?

I love that line — how may PCs haven’t “upgraded”? Presumably they must be more correct?

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We're getting kick-ass at seeing through walls using just Wi-Fi – MIT

Mark Simon

Not that easy …

To be honest, any attempt to hide an individual is probably going to make things worse. The whole point to the technique is that the technology detects that the signal is reflected differently to just an empty room, and is fast enough to track differences in the form of movement. As such metal suits, chain mail, tinfoil hats or even denim underwear would just alter what is being monitored.

Probably the only real protection would be stopping the signal from getting through altogether, such as converting your dwelling to a Faraday cage. Might make phone calls tricky, though.

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Ransomware victims: Just pay up, grin, and bear it – says the FBI

Mark Simon

Second Worst Case Scenario

Dead right!

Losing your data to some evil hound is bad, and you can probably think of hundreds of things you would like to do if you ever got to meet the bastard, but losing your data to a disk crash is something most of us have experienced and should now be prepared for.

It amounts to the same thing — you laugh all the way to your backup.

What’s needed, however, is for the operating system to make frequent backups simple and automatic. Time Machine on the Mac, and whatever else is available on Windows should be a bare minimum.

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Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

Mark Simon

Minesweeper

The first version of minesweeper that I saw was one that my brother and I wrote for the TRS-80.

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AdBlock blocker biz bought

Mark Simon

Re: One word

Agreed.

I stopped using AdBlock when it started slowing down everything, and when it became apparent that it was not entirely doing the job.

I started using uBlock Origin when I leaned more about what had happened to uBlock.

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Now you can be tracked online by your email addy. Thanks, Google!

Mark Simon

Brand Recognition

Is that when you say something like:

“I recognize you: you’re the moron who keeps pissing me off with unwanted advertising, and whom I am going to avoid whenever and wherever possible"

Is that it?

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NEW ERA for HUMANITY? NASA says something 'major' FOUND ON MARS

Mark Simon

Re: It'll be a rock

Are you all right?

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Happy birthday to you, the ruling was true, no charge for this headline, 'coz the copyright's screwed

Mark Simon

Is that his real name?

King, George … ?

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Only paying for Microsoft software that you use? It's coming

Mark Simon

Already happening here

“Only paying for Microsoft software that you use?”

Yep. $0.00 and worth every cent.

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India's daft draft anti-encryption law torn up after world+dog points out its stupidity

Mark Simon

The cost of going off shore

Too many businesses and government departments entrust their data to other countries who may or may be acting in our own best interests.

With any luck, this sort of nonsense will encourage these business and departments to re-evaluate the cost of doing so. With any luck …

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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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