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* Posts by Steve Evans

2361 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

Popular gamers 'should play for free' – Valve boss

Steve Evans
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re: pay for voice

...a feature I switched off within the first 20 minutes after discovering I seem to be playing on a server full of high pitched teens with all the communication skills of a three year old... Aka a constant, one-way stream of incomprehensible babble.

The total inability to adjust a microphone level correctly (even though a pretty level indicator is provided) can lead to only one conclusion, they are all deaf from the terrible music they listen to these days... So in conclusion Simon Cowell has destroyed multiplayer online game communication.

I think you'll find my theory is solid.

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Russian rumor: Microsoft to buy Nokia for $30bn

Steve Evans
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There's a shock...

Well actually, it is a bit of a shock. I would have expected M$ to do it's normal trick of nigh on destroying a company completely before picking it up for $5, so they really must be in a hurry to be thinking of buying the company for some big cash before they have finished completely wrecking it.

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Nokia finally gives Ovi brand a mercy bullet

Steve Evans
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Sounds like docking manoeuvre over several years

Large, well known and trusted mobile company creates an irrelevant and largely unwanted new brand as a side arm.

Over the next few years the large and trusted mobile company shoots itself (and customers) in the foot (and other non-fatal areas) until the large and trusted mobile company has become irrelevant and unwanted. It is now perfectly aligned to the side arm is created, so a perfect docking manoeuvre is now possible.

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Reg ed rattles the Red-Headed League

Steve Evans
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Re: Steve Button

But where do you want to draw the line? I might not be ginger, but I've gone through my life being a tall lanky streak of piss four eyed computer geek.

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Student accused of posting bogus coupons to 4chan

Steve Evans
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@Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

Yup, you're right, the EU did indeed mumble something about UK chocolate not containing enough cocoa. I don't know what happened to that, we probably just ignored them, we tend to do that. They're a strange lot over there in Euroland and they come up with some odd ideas being cut off from us for so long. Who would have thought that 24 miles of water could have such an effect on them :o)

Anyway, Euroland does indeed have some superb choccy, although having partaken in an office test where we had squares of choccy with increasing levels of cocoa, only females seem to be able to endure above 75%. All us guys were pulling faces by that point and reaching for the "weaker" stuff.

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Steve Evans
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re: Flavoured paraffin?

LOL! Nice one!

Having also tried the kisses (I was forced to by an American friend. She force feed them to a room full of us Brits and just couldn't understand the unanimous verdict). I'm starting to wonder about how it compares to another hideous form of "chocolate" that has been described to me by a Polish friend. Apparently it was something the Eastern block had to endure before the wall came down. My friend refers to it as communist chocolate which, she said, contained 0% cocoa, or maybe less!

No idea where I'd find some of that now. It would be funny if the USA and USSR were both eating similar brown vomit flavoured paraffin.

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Crucial M4 256GB Sata 3 SSD

Steve Evans
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Re: Wrong!

Plus I doubt there is any CPU upgrade you can perform that would result in a 300% performance increase which didn't involve buying a completely new motherboard and replacing all your RAM because it's last year's style and now completely wrong.

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TomTom Oz to repeat Netherlands data sale

Steve Evans
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Indeed...

In this example everyone else was doing the normal, slow down gently for the cameras, then accelerate +10mph afterwards, all pretty normal on the A12, it's just a couple of morons, one in an Astra VXR (with a number plate to match) and another in a Golf GTI, who decided everyone was accelerating too gently and buried the loud pedal into the carpet straight after the cameras and then proceeded to use all three lanes as a slalom! The VXR almost did a pit manoeuvre on himself when he cut across in front of me he was so close.

So it wasn't so much their speed which was worrying, it was their driving style and ability (both youngster who thought they were Lewis Hamilton I guess). If anyone else had been driving with the same lack of attention or consideration to others as these two clowns were and did something quite normal like changing lane without indicating, there would have been a huge pile up.

Luckily as I'm also a motorcyclist, I have long known to treat all other road users as if they are complete idiots who are out to kill you, because 9 times out of 10, you'll be spot on!

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Steve Evans
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How about...

...They come clean and make the information available to motorists too, a nice overlay in open format so everyone can load it into their sat navs and be warned of roads where the speed limit is frequently broken and likely to have PC plod parked up on the side.

BTW, if any PC plod is reading this, would you mind putting a few unmarked cars down the A12 between the A406 and A11. We all know everyone only slows down to 40 and 50 for the cameras on this dual carriageway (artificially low and varying limit), so a bit of speeding is perfectly normal for this road, but in the past few days I have seen so many cars using it as a three lane mobile chicane (and I mean travelling at speed 10-20mph faster than everyone else) I'm seriously thinking of setting up a dashboard cam and a youtube account!

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ACS:Law fined for data breach

Steve Evans
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@Lee

Okay, who's up for seducing his wife and causing a divorce?

No, I don't know what she looks like!

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Steve Evans
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Skint lawyer?

Don't worry, the bailiffs will happily take your TV, Car and house.

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Google Docs

Steve Evans
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Re: Webapp

A large percentage of apps on iPhone/Android/Ovi are little more than that. Nothing that couldn't be implemented by a properly written mobile CSS definition and used via the browser.

There are some superbly implemented websites out there which show just how much can be done without any need for an (wr)app.

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MobileMe drove Steve Jobs to foul-mouthed fury

Steve Evans
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What?

James Hewitt owns Wales?!!!

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Steve Evans
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@Chris 244

Your maths is a little confusing.

1) A USB port will shut down and throw up a warning if you try to draw too much current. It won't fry.

2) 5v * 500mA = 2.5watts, so a USB port can supply 2.5watts per hour, so it could just about keep up with a XOOM drawing 24Watts over 10 hours.

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Steve Evans
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Hmmmm...

I'm not a Jobs fan, but I actually find some of the style revealed in the article refreshing.

These days it seems rare for any manager to take responsibility for things they are supposedly in charge of, normally it's the poor guy at the bottom who gets shat on from a great height. So to hear that St Jobs listens to the little guy and rips into the stuffed shirt is wonderful.

I'm sure most of us have experience of managers who would actually assist production more if they didn't exist.

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Entrants called for 80s-era games coding contest

Steve Evans
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Cool....

I'll dust off my beeb... Has anyone got any 5.25" floppies I can use, I think mine aren't as reliable as they once were!

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TalkTalk serves up website blocking to users

Steve Evans
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I thought...

I thought that simply relying on TalkTalk's DNS was already a website blocking feature?

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Jaguar hybrid supercar gets green light

Steve Evans
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Woooo...

Who cares about the emissions and what's under the bonnet, just look at it!

Want!

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Samsung, Apple knock Nokia off top handset spots

Steve Evans
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Re: Apple trolling.

I thought that when I first read the article, but it's just badly written.

There are actually two sets of figures in there. Samsung have beaten Nokia just for general phones, and Apple have beaten Nokia when you specifically look at Smartphones. Given all the previous headlines you would be hard pressed to find anyone that thought Nokia were still dominant in the European smartphone market, but they were, right up until now.

The victory must be a little tainted for Apple though. Sure they have knocked Nokia off the top spot for smart phones, but if you use the OS view, they were passed by cross manufacturer Android a few months back.

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Dear Mr Beefy ex-soldier: Your BT needs you

Steve Evans
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Goodo...

I can't wait for the special forces team to tunnel into my house in a few weeks time and install my BT Infinity. under the stairs please guys, the master socket and power is already there, please connect the CAT5 into the box.

I do hope they go for the stealth entry, I don't fancy having to explain how my front door was blown off to my insurance otherwise.

In hindsight maybe it would be better to hope for ex Royal Engineers.

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Nokia touted Meego to rivals, but nobody wanted to know

Steve Evans
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@Yes. This.

I bought the N97 (stop laughing at the back), and I must confess to looking at the N900 a few months later when it came out with lust, but I was trapped in the N97 contract, so the N900 wasn't an option on contract, but I thought of buying myself one.

Luckily (in hindsight) the pitiful support provided by Nokia for the N97 convinced me that there was no way Nokia deserved any more of my money, so I stuck out with the N97 for over a year before reaching the end of my tether and buying a Desire Z (I'm still in the N97 contract).

I can't compare it to the N900, but I can compare it to the N97. They keyboard is okay, but I preferred the N97's, so I expect the N900's keyboard was also superior. The camera is also not up to the 5mp camera in the N97. It's okay, but nothing special. Then again the N95/N97's Carl Zeiss camera was rather exceptional, so not quite measuring up to that isn't too much of a surprise, and the Desire doesn't have a lens cover that scratches the very thing it is supposed to protect!

Software wise, well I don't need to tell you how much there is available for Android. Lots! Custom firmware, yup, plenty of that. Forums and grass root hackers, yup, plenty. It's as much yours as you want it to be.

Having said all that, I haven't even rooted mine. It works fine. Way better than the N97 which invariably required a wipe and reinstall every month!

Development environment, simple. Unlike Symbian the instructions and documentation are clear, the package links are all together on one page, they all download, and they all work first time on Windows, Linux and OSX. Plus completely free. I tried a few times with Symbian and Qt, but the Nokia website was so disjointed with instructions a version behind and multiple packages on multiple pages, I never got either to work! You know you should give up when even the simplest built in example apps throw up cryptic missing package messages.

Anything I miss? Well oddly enough (given how people slate resistive touch screen) I miss the accuracy of being able to use a fingernail to tap a link. Now I have to zoom in and use the side of my finger instead when there are many links close together (or use the little trackpad joystick thing). Only other thing I can think of is the headphone remote only has pause, forward and backwards. The Nokia one also had volume up and down.

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Steve Evans
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Of course nobody wanted it

After seeing what Nokia did to symbian once they had control of it, of course no right minded mobile company would want to waste time on it.

Once more a nice idea taken by Nokia and systematically smothered.

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Reg reader lost for words over blank HP keyboard

Steve Evans
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Thumb Up

Damn!

Most of the vowels have rubbed off my trusty laptop, but it'll take me decades to get it to conform to this new standard!

On a plus side, this new keyboard will be great for stopping those over shoulder password watchers :)

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End of the tether: Google plays nice with carriers

Steve Evans
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Am I stupid 3...

Just triple checked in case it was a dream, but yes, my Desire Z also has a wifi hotspot app and offers to share the connection when I plug in the USB lead, and I didn't install them.

It's odd that it is only recently tethering has become an issue, I had a long line of Nokia's which all tethered, Nokia Suite has an icon for it. It came in very useful when the builders went through the phone line.

I guess we can thank the iphone for making what was a standard feature for years a new "pay for" option.

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Sony implicates Anonymous in PlayStation Network hack

Steve Evans
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@David W.

I think the rootkit they embedded in the audio CD would be classed as criminal. Installing software onto a machine without the user's consent.

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DIY crimekit brings advanced malware to Mac OSX

Steve Evans
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@HollyHopDrive

You mean you trust users?!!!

You only need to see the number of people repeatedly being taken in by the "See who viewed you profile" and the topical "See Bin Laden execution" link worm on facebook to see that users of any platform are:

1) Stupid

2) Don't learn even if you explain it to them with a length of 4 by 2.

Combine something like that with an exploit and away you go!

As the old saying goes, remember that 50% of the population are of below average intelligence.

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Pakistani IT admin leaks bin Laden raid on Twitter

Steve Evans
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I bet...

I bet that Osama is kicking himself for not having an internet connection into his compound now!

Oh, well okay, if he could kick himself of course.

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TomTom sorry for giving customer driving data to cops

Steve Evans
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Spot on Graham

Speed cameras take no account of driving style and conditions. They are are purely

if speed>limit then driver.fine(£60)

At least with a speed trap there is a real policeman about, so someone driving like an idiot (tail gating), but below the limit, might actually get caught, but usually it is a speed camera and not a real person able to use judgement. The yellow automatic boxes are far more cost effective.

I'd be quite in favour of magic boxes which could tackle inconsiderate/incompetent drivers who tail gate, never indicate or leave their rear fog lights turned on for a month after a slight mist (preventing anyone behind from seeing their brake lights coming on).

And before anyone says this is sour grapes, I haven't been caught speeding in 20 years, and I don't hold a grudge that long!

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Steve Evans
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@A/C 08:43

My post was giving an example of an artificially low speed limit. I certainly did not say people should be allowed to drive round at whatever speed they like.

A road that is big, wide (wide enough for 3 lanes as I originally mentioned), and a 60mph zone for decades that suddenly becomes a 40/30 zone. Not to mention that in that time cars have gained ABS and better tyres, so are actually *less* likely to have an accident.

It is *not* through a village, it is between two villages, approx 2 miles long. It does have a few buildings on one side, which are all set back from the road by quite some distance, most of them light industrial. On the other side are fields. That is it!

I live round the corner, so any serious accidents would be in my local rag, and believe me, there was certainly no problem with this road as a 60mph zone.

Oh, and BTW, this road isn't a minor road carrying A road traffic, is *IS* an A road!

Now go take you own arrogance somewhere else, and at least have the balls to not hide behind A/C.

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Steve Evans
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Good grief!

Is there nobody supplying location aware devices that isn't screwing us over?!!!

Surely speed traps should be set up where there are an excessive number of accidents. The fact people are speeding down a road that has no accidents just goes to show that the speed limit on that road is artificially low.

I know of a road round the corner from me which went from 60 to 40 a few years ago, and then had a 30 mph bit inserted in the middle. I had used the road daily to and from work, and never seen an accident. The biggest problem it had was from farmer Jones trundling down it at 20mph in his tractor sometimes, but it was big and wide so you could pass farmer Jones by making a 3rd lane in the middle, which is exactly what everyone did.

According to the local paper, the reason for the new lower limit was to make the road easier to cross, and they added pedestrian islands in the middle of the road to highlight the new pedestrian friendly nature. This of course completely ruined any chance of more than one car passing farmer Jones at a time before having to duck back in to avoid the next pedestrian island.

The whole thing falls apart when you actually see the road. It only has a pavement on one side, and some fields on the other side. Nobody want to cross to the other side! In the years since the islands appeared I have seen a grand total of zero pedestrians cross the road. They just decided to screw it up with islands nobody uses, and cause more accidents because people get irate in the traffic queues, try to overtake with the red mist descending, and invariably smash all the keep left bollards off the traffic islands! I've seen the effects of at least 5 of these accidents!

Lucky they haven't bothered plotting up with a speed camera yet. I'm sure they will as the locals generally ignore the artificially introduced limit and do 50mph (farmer Jones permitting of course).

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Latvian hack's hack story leads to hack-hacking

Steve Evans
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Re: Looks like they host their own stuff

Hell yeah, if you had 100-500Mb/s coming into your building, would you bother using a hosting company?

Well if you have any sense you would... but people don't see that, they think, yeah, that's fast enough. They don't stop to think about what else a good hosting company does like firewalls, IDS, OS/DB and application patches etc etc.

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Google sued over – yes – Android location tracking

Steve Evans
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re: 911

I've called 999 (uk) from my mobile several times over the years, they always know where you are the second you call from the cell info. I don't the resolution, but when I've called it's been pretty close and that's including calls from old 2g S40 Nokias with no wifi or gps.

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Guardian shuts local blogs

Steve Evans
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re: It might have worked if ...

"they hadn't been so appallingly badly written."

Do you mean the blogs, or the entire paper?

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Five amazing computers for under £100

Steve Evans
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Re: iPhone 1 was unique

You missed a few:

- Couldn't do group messaging

- No 3G support

- No flash on the low res camera

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Steve Evans
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@juice

Given Nokia's recent behaviour I think you could leave it a few months and pick up an N900 for under £100, assuming you can't already!

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PlayStation Network credit cards protected by encryption

Steve Evans
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Words are cheap.

“The personal data table, which is a separate data set, was not encrypted, but was, of course, behind a very sophisticated security system that was breached in a malicious attack.”

I would say that events suggest the security system wasn't that sophisticated at all!

The fact it took Sony several days work out exactly what was accessed says a lot for the capabilities of their intrusion detection system and auditing, assuming they have either of course. Unless the few days delay was due to them hoping the story would just go away on its own.

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Cops raid man whose Wi-Fi was used to download child porn

Steve Evans
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@Tom 13

It's actually worse than that. Most routers in the UK seem to turn up with a preconfigured wireless password, which is a step on from the always supplied open situation of the past.

Unfortunately some manufacturers set the password to one which can be deduced from the MAC address!

There's an app on Android called penetrate (cue 12 year old snigger) which knows these routers and preset password algorithms. It's quite worrying to walk about with it running and see the known ones pop up one by one. From my short test, it's above 1 in 20.

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Steve Evans
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@AC 09:44

Interesting maths... Ignoring that only a fraction of the video frames are complete images, and most are actually transitional frames stored as differences to a complete reference frame, 60 seconds at 30 frames per second is 1800 images. So they could have hyped it far more.

I guess you don't have the Daily Mail in the USA to push this kind of mathematical correction!

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Steve Evans
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@Muscleguy

Bad news. Your connection could be breached within minutes.

Hiding the ID doesn't make your network invisible, it just means the ID has to be provided by the connecting party as another form of confirmation. The trouble is if you are using your wireless network, that "secret" ID is whizzing about in the airwaves all the time in the packets... And your packet are only encrypted with WEP.

WEP can be broken very quickly. Once the key has been extracted the next packet that comes past with the ID in it will be broken, and there is the ID, and a MAC address which you allow.

It will stop someone accidentally using your network, but to anyone who *really* wants to use it anything not secured by WPA2 is as good as open.

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Steve Evans
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BT's FON

I wonder how things would go in the UK with BT's home supplied routers which act as FON hotspots for anyone with an account. I don't know, as I don't have either the AP or an account, but I hope for the broadband customers sake that BT can and do log access made via these hotspots.

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User data stolen in Sony PlayStation Network hack attack

Steve Evans
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@Hmmm

Yes, you are quite correct sir... I should stop posting at 4am!

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Steve Evans
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FAIL

Passwords?

For passwords to be stolen, Sony must be storing them, which in security terms is a total fail.

Sony, you *never* store a password, you store a hash of the password, preferably from a known and trusted algorithm which you initially seed with a secret phrase to prevent those pesky rainbow lists from allowing a reverse.

Amateurs.

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Apple breaks location-storing silence

Steve Evans
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@lglethal

Don't worry, they said the tracking fix will be bundled in with the scheduled alarm fix.

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Apple confirms white iPhone 4 on sale tomorrow

Steve Evans
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This calls for my bestest impression

...Never, in the field of modern communications, have so many news stories been posted about so little of interest to so few!

</churchill>

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Smartphones eat games handhelds and cameras for lunch

Steve Evans
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Ahhh...

But there is a gaping void between quantity and quality in the world of cameras. You can easily see the difference between a smart phone photograph and one taken with a "real" camera. Sharpness, white balance, dynamic range are just a few things that will betray a phone. It gets even worse when the light starts to drop. It's a pity Nokia's play with a xenon flash equipped phone didn't catch on, that was quite impressive.

Facebook is full of "taken with my iphone" pictures, and I have to wonder why they feel the need to put that tag on, even Stevie Wonder can spot the iphone shots! At least now they have a pseudo-flash the number of daylight silhouette shots might reduce a bit!

For my part, despite owning a Nikon D300, I do still use my phone camera sometimes. It's convenient and I think that is probably why there are so many phone camera shots appearing. You can take a picture, press an icon and beam it straight up onto flickr/facebook etc before you even get home.You nearly always have it with you if something happens worth shooting (however badly). It's also far safer to have a phone in your pocket when doing various activities such as snowboarding and motorcycling than a Nikon DSLR being smashed into your ribs if it all goes a bit wrong!

Hand held games consoles on the other hand have very little to offer which a mobile phone cannot. The phone actually has the advantage of connectivity, and the games are somewhat cheaper! The saving grace for the console is probably battery life, and the fact that you can use it until the battery is flat without leaving yourself with no phone, mp3 player and camera.

@Dave 126 - I don't know what generation you are, but I haven't worn a watch for over 10 years since the last one clapped out and died.

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Google location tracking can invade privacy, hackers say

Steve Evans
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@Gk.pm

Yup, you're reading the register. Did you really expect everything in the comments to be serious? Come on, REALLY!

I could tell you my IP... but then I reboot the router and I get a different one :-)

To be honest I think the attack possibilities of knowing an IP far exceed those of knowing the approximate location of a wifi MAC. For a start, anyone more that a few miles away isn't going to bother driving round to your house to attempt to exploit the wifi.

Knowing the IP that someone is using allows you to "have a go" from anywhere on the planet. Knowing who the person is gives you a good leg up on the social engineering side of hacking. I'm lucky that my name is only slightly more unique than John Smith, so even assuming I had a public facebook page, you'd still be pulling up 500+ matches in London alone. That does still leave you with the chance my router is set for remote admin, and the password is steverocks...

So on that note I'm going to go change my password :o)

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Steve Evans
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Pint

@Ken Hagan

Oooh, what are the odds on that!

Well you do spell "neighbours" correctly, so there's a distinct possibility!

It's a bank holiday, first round is on you!

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Steve Evans
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@Gk.pm

Okies.

192.168.1.33

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Steve Evans
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@Ian Michael Gumby

I'm in the UK.

I agree that accessing a wifi point, and actually using it as is the case with your countryman and the coffee shop would be illegal here too (I think!). Although depending on the situation (i.e. accidentally accessing the neighbours open wifi) you could probably get away with it... Not so much if you have driven round and parked to "borrow" some bandwidth though, shows intent.

Kinda odd really, as in England, the physical trespass laws are such that if you leave the front door open, and somebody walks in, they aren't actually committing a criminal offense.

Anyway, the difference here is that the content of the message isn't been recorded, the MAC is in the header, and the connection being offered isn't actually being used or exploited.

After all, every wifi client device in existence that spits up a list of available access points, both encrypted and open when you say "scan for wireless access point" is reading and displaying exactly the same data which google is listening out for.

Maybe the fact it is recorded/logged might make a difference in the eyes of the law.

BTW, many years ago the cops tried to make speed camera detectors illegal over here by saying it was listening to police broadcasts. One of the manufacturers successfully defended their position by saying it wasn't allowing the owner to listen to a police broadcast, it was merely indicating the presence of one. IIRC the cops then changed tack and went at it from a "obstructing the course of justice"... sneaky so and sos.

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Steve Evans
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Well...

At least this data really is useful for using wifi points for A-GPS, and yes, the Android phone does ask for your agreement if you enable the wifi location options... Only problem is IIRC, this was enabled by default when I got mine, so I didn't ever see the box to agree to!

Oh well, at least it can be turned off easily.

So compared to the iphone tracking the data does actually have a proper use, and you can turn it off with a check box... So not quite as evil as apple, but still sneaky.

Now if you don't mind I've got to go change the MAC on my AP.

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