* Posts by Len

129 posts • joined 26 Jan 2009

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Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet

Len

Re: Congratulations on repeating exploits before they can be fixed

Of course Apple will fix this in the production version. It's just that the beta for El Capitan was just released yesterday while they probably need more rigorous testing before they want to push it out to production.

It's fine screwing up a beta version, not screwing up a production version...

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The French want to BAN .doc and .xls files from Le Gouvernement

Len

Re: What's up DOC?

The primary motive is not money, using non-proprietary open formats guarantees you can still read these documents decades from now. That might not be very important for most people and organisations, for governments it often is. They have archival and transparency requirements that many other orgs don't have.

As a side effect it also frees them from vendor lock in. Even if they may not decide to drop MS software right away they can do so at any moment in the future when something better or cheaper is a serious option. Their own files will not hold them hostage to one supplier any more. This will also require MS to stay competitive on features and cost. It allows for actual competition (which is also why MS is fighting this tooth and nail). They lost the fight in the a couple of countries (including the UK) and it will be interesting to see if they lose it in the France too.

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Len

Re: What's up DOC?

In all the most commonly used office suites setting ODF as the default save format is a one time setting. A setting that can easily be set by their administrator. Most people won't even notice the change as most people won't look at file extensions anyway.

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Len

Re: te-he

Be careful not to confuse switching to OpenDocument with leaving MS Office.

For most governments going down the open formats path it’s not the software license cost which is the issue, it’s the closed file formats. Especially when thinking about being able to read government documents a few decades from now and not being locked in to one vendor it makes sense to ditch proprietary/closed formats.

Because MS doesn’t want to lose lucrative government business they have responded by adding ODF support to MS Office (although not always 100% compliant) because in more and more countries it’s a requirement in the tender. That is the way it should be. If someone feels MS Office is the best tool for their job, so be it. As long as it doesn’t hamper innovation and competition. I am fine with people using MS Office in combination with ODF if that is what they want.

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Len

Re: If you can't beat them...

Just found this, apparently MS has started to take ODF 1.2 serious:

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/4500243446/Microsoft-adds-ODF-12-to-Office-365-to-adhere-to-government-demands

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Len

Re: If you can't beat them...

Oh, it can definitely use some compliance love. Hopefully ODF 1.2 becoming an ISO standard recently and more governments requiring it means MS will get their act together.

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Len

Re: At last!!

That was implemented, exactly one year ago today. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/open-document-formats-selected-to-meet-user-needs

I don't know how far they are with changing the default save format on government desktops though. I think the most important thing is that IT suppliers to government departments can't sell services, hardware and software any more that requires or produces not-approved file formats.

I expect decisions like these by various governments not to create a revolution (we would have seen that by now as the first government required ODF many years ago) but rather a slow trickle. IT suppliers can't ignore ODF any more and I expect we'll slowly see more and more product support ODF. If anything, it's a massive shot in the arm for developers implementing ODF, creating its frameworks etc.

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Len

Re: If you can't beat them...

Microsoft implemented OpenDocument since MS Office 2007 SP2. That means that practically any office desktop in the world can read and write OpenDocument files now. MS had to because many governments started to require ODF support years ago and they we're not keen on losing those sales.

But I assume you mean why they had to invent their own format instead of using the existing OpenDocument. I think I know why but it's a shame indeed...

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Len

Re: Just like the UK gov?

I don’t know what kind of supplier to the DWP you are but presumably a supplier to any government operation can’t deliver software or hardware that spits out files in a not-approved format.

That civil servants have their default file format set to a not-approved format is a smaller issue. That should be tackled by their IT department. It shouldn’t be too difficult to roll out a GPO to have all instance of MS Office default to output in OpenDocument.

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Crims and politicians using RTBF to scrub themselves from Google? Not quite

Len

Re: No crims?

Nobody says it's not used by crims. However, the evidence suggests they make up a tiny part of the people using the RTBF.

Those BBC stories prove very little. Only politicians, criminals etc. would be important enough to have their dirty laundry reported by the BBC in the first place. 15 year old Jane Bloggs who was the victim of a bullying campaign on message boards two years ago, would not make it onto the BBC web site. If she wants to start a new life at a new school she would either have to go and sue a number of unknown board administrators across the world, or she can now ask Google to remove all references to those posts.

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Len
Holmes

No surprises here

This shouldn't surprise anyone. The fact that immediately after Google lost the case the media were overloaded with scare stories about how people with a dubious reputation would use this to hide their deeds was a sign that Google had a PR campaign to fire at the ready.

Not a mention of ordinary people being bullied, missing out on jobs or wrongfully accused because of things that Google held on its database for ever and ever.

It's PR 101 from Google. Well executed but a bit too suspicious to fool this ex-PR.

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UK rail comms are safer than mobes – for now – say infosec bods

Len

Re: Not Invented Here Syndrome

That section did not have ERTMS but conventional signalling, that was the whole problem. Under ERTMS the train would have slowed down automatically.

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Len

Re: Not Invented Here Syndrome

The article describes it as if ERTMS is a new system. It isn't, it's just relatively new to the UK.

The first stretches protected by ERTMS opened 11 years ago in Spain. Most modern high speed rail lines in Europe now use ERTMS, many thousands of kilometres of ERTMS protected railway line have since been installed and thousands of train services are protected using ERTMS on a daily basis.

Since its first use it has ERTMS has been through various updates already, currently on version 2.3.0d. Version 3.0 is currently being tested.

In short, ERTMS is not new or still in its infancy, it's been in production for over ten years. You could argue that the benefit of the UK being rather late to the game is that the Spanish, Italians, Dutch, Swiss, French, Swedes etc. have already worked out its teething issues.

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Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

Len
Go

Ditch electrolysis, drive progress

I have no issue with Mozilla using diversified income streams to support its development. It makes them less dependent on a single company or power dictating direction. And at least their growth strategies are above board, instead of the malware tactics used to force Chrome on unsuspecting users.

Of all the major browsers it still is relatively light on bloat and fast. I just hope that they shelve electrolysis. One process per tab is exactly the type of bloat that makes other browsers so heavy on overhead, CPU and memory. The main source of browser instability, Flash, is already running in a sandboxed process so can't kill Firefox any more.

The one thing I would really wish they'd do is become the web's driving force for new technologies once again. Drive new standards, be the first ones to develop and implement actual solutions to actual problems. For example, make a list of the ten reasons some sites are still using Flash and tackle those as a priority (copy to clipboard comes to mind).

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Facebook casts a hex with self-referential IPv6

Len
Meh

Lucky

We should probably consider ourselves lucky that the options are limited. Apart from things like :dead:, :beef:, :babe: and :taco: of course.

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Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X

Len

At first sight this looks like an issue that is buried very deep and could require a considerable overhaul of the underlying system. Not a question of checking some bounds or adding an escape character.

As that could take fairly long to fix they've probably already separately looked at the attack vector. At least that reduces the risk until the developers have fixed the underlying problem. It seems that the malware would have to come in via the App Store, otherwise why would these researchers have gone down that route? If the App Store is the only attack vector and you know what a malicious app needs to do to gain access you can look for it in the app vetting process.

It's not perfect but it's better than nothing.

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Hey kids, who wants to pwn a million BIOSes?

Len

How about making it part of OS updates?

OS X updates regularly contain patches to the UEFI which are just flashed on reboot. Couldn't there be a way for WindowsUpdate and the update systems of the various Linux distros to do something similar?

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Foreign firms must obey EU laws no matter where they're based, says EU. Hear that, Google?

Len

Re: Tit for Tat, EU. We can do that too!

Google trades in the EU, there is no doubt about that. They have local offices across the EU where local people sell localised (and often translated) services to local businesses. These businesses pay their local Google office (which are locally incorporated companies) in their local currencies.

If a Spanish Product Manager based at Google’s Madrid office tailors a Google product to fit a specific Spanish industry to help them target Spanish customers and a Spanish Sales Executive based at Google’s Madrid office sells that tailored product to a business based in Spain who pays Google in euros they are trading locally in Spain (and therefore in the EU). That the CEO of Google is based in the US is irrelevant.

By trading in a country a company is subject to the local laws. Don’t like them? Then don’t trade in that country.

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Ex-cop: Holborn fireball comms outage cover for £200m bling heist gang

Len

This doesn't add up at all

First of all was the fire quite some distance from Hatton Garden. Over a kilometre as the crow flies and considerably longer by road. They are not even in the same district.

Second of all, the fire was on Wednesday while the crims are thought to have started on Friday because the vault would have been open on Thursday as usual.

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The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

Len

Re: Ever seen a Digital Tick?

Correct, I'm not sure if it's even officially launched yet. The application process for radio manufacturers opened just a few months ago. I hadn't expected the actual Digital Tick in stores until later this year to be honest.

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Len

Re: If you have an old DAB,

In other words, "DAB transmissions are less susceptible to doppler and multipath interference than FM."

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Len

Re: Wrong way round

Considering the rest of Europe went DAB+ some time ago most DAB hardware on sale has been DAB+ compatible for some time. Many radios sold as DAB in the UK actually support DAB+ too but the manufacturers don't include it in the specs. The only nuisance is that some manufacturers disable DAB+ in software for the UK market.

I expect that they will stop that practice now and companies like PURE will probably offer firmware upgrades to enable DAB+. They already offered that for people who bought their PURE set in the UK and then moved to the continent or Australia.

Besides, all the new cars that come with DAB radios (an estimated 2 million this year) actually also support DAB+.

Now there will finally be a DAB+ station in the air there is no excuse for manufacturers to not support or advertise it.

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Len

Not for music, no

I don't think many stations will be pushing stereo music over 32 kb/s AAC.

However, I expect the 32 kb/s in the proposal will become a speech stream. For speech it would still be overkill but it would be more than enough for sport commentary, news, inane chatter like LBC etc.

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Apple about to make Apple TV WAY LESS SUCKY - report

Len

Re: UK media rights problems

What Apple is doing here is circumventing the existing gatekeepers (cable companies) that make money out of bundling popular channels with niche channels and selling that package at inflated prices. Very nice if you get 200 channels but if you only want to watch 3 channels you’ll still pay for the others.

By now trying to circumvent the gatekeepers, Apple could make separate deals with tv channels and come out cheaper/smaller packages. While this first instalment is clearly aimed at US cable companies there is no reason why that won’t come to Europe later.

There has been a long standing rumour that Apple is working on a 4th generation AppleTV. The rumour has it that the new hardware would go hand in hand with opening it up for a proper SDK and App Store for the AppleTV. In addition to games, smart home apps etc. it would allow the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Eurosport, National Geographic, Dave etc. to add their own channels to the AppleTV (some free, some paid presumably). They could also easily be geo-locked to UK only users to solve some of the rights issues.

The hold up is supposedly the Comcast merger which threw all content deals out of the window. If Apple has now changed strategy and has decided to compete with Comcast instead of working with them this development might suddenly come unstuck again…

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California Uber Alles: Google wants to become the World Privacy Court

Len
FAIL

Useless exercise

This all sounds like a useless exercise to me. What does it matter what the opinion is of Google or some panel of faux-experts? Ultimately the legal principles and procedures are pretty clear and established.

Google does business in Europe, employing many thousands of people to sell products to European consumers and business. European users don't accidentally use products aimed at the American market, Google tailors its services to European users by establishing offices in Europe and providing their services in Italian, Danish, Polish etc. If it wants to keep making considerable amounts of money from European users it will have to abide by European law and its courts, principles, safeguards, watchdogs and ultimately parliaments.

Of course, Google could decide to stop selling its services to Europeans. That would make a lot of European tech companies pop the champagne bottles as it means one big competitor less to worry about. It’s also extremely unlikely that Google would stop selling to the world’s largest economic bloc. It would be an interesting ‘principled’ stance if Google were to decide not to sell to both China and Europe, it would also be extremely ‘courageous’ in the Sir Humphrey sense.

All in all, this "recommendation" will get some laughs and will then be archived in some bottom drawer.

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German 700MHz auction signals start of Euro spectrum flogoffs

Len

Re: Spectrum auctions...

Isn't leases what they are in practice?

The winner of the auction doesn't get to own the spectrum, they just get a license to use it. It remains regulated by the State who acts as an independent creator of the market. Often the regulator will have additional conditions such as X% of the population must be served by such and such date, it can only used for technology A, B or C, etc. etc.

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European data law: UK.gov TRASHES 'unambiguous consent' plans

Len
Meh

I don’t think Farage cares that much about the EU, he only cares about the money he’s raking in. He rakes in the EU subsidies by the boatload, even going as far as joining forces with extremely dodgy people only to open up more pots of money from Brussels. If he cared that much about the EU he would show up for work more regularly, you know, representing the interest of his voters.

There is some speculation that he fears a Tory majority because that might mean a referendum. The referendum will most likely be in favour of staying in the EU (ironically support for EU membership is at its highest for 23 years, https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3463/Support-for-EU-membership-highest-for-23-years-even-as-UKIP-rises-in-the-polls.aspx) which will spell the end of his party.

His problem is that most people don’t care about the EU. Ask the British people what their top five priorities are that Westminster should solve and the EU will rarely feature in it. For many it probably won’t even make the top 10. Things such as education, health care, better paying jobs, affordable housing etc. are staples of the top five, membership of the EU is not. Farage discovered this of course, which is why he had to pivot his whole campaign towards something some people _can_ get worked up about, forun people.

But yes, no doubt he’ll try to spin this as some evil plot to harm British interests. And no doubt some people will fall for it, again.

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Wheels fall off bid to sue Apple over iTunes anti-piracy shenanigans

Len
FAIL

They're suing the wrong company

The actual problem is that these people suggest they bought RealNetworks music protected by RN Harmony DRM. Harmony was based on a hack to trick iPods into thinking it was actually purchased from the iTunes Music Store. When Apple closed that hack these people's files suddenly didn't work any more.

If these people would have used standard MP3s or AACs there would not have been any problem because iPods have always allowed non-DRM files to be played. If RealNetworks hadn't falsely stated these files were iPod compatible, or better yet, had sold those files without their own hacked DRM scheme, this whole problem wouldn't have existed.

They need to sue RealNetworks for selling them music files that did not live up to the promise made by the seller. I don't know why but somehow I feel Apple's wallet might be ever so slightly bigger than RealNetwork's and that might have something to do with suing Apple instead of RN...

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Developers: Hands-on course to find out what Azure can do for you

Len
FAIL

And what it can't...

Also a great opportunity to find out it still can't do IPv6 for you. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/network/hh994905.aspx

We are looking at leaving Azure next year if they still can't provide it by then. Bit tired of the empty promises...

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Mac security packages range from peachy to rancid – antivirus tests

Len

Re: misleading title

There are precious few OS X viruses, two I believe, which indeed need the admin password to be entered before they do anything. Then again, even on Windows new viruses have become increasingly rare due to better security of the underlying but also because there are now easier ways to drop dubious payloads on people's computers.

That OS X doesn't really have viruses doesn't mean OS X doesn't have malware. Viruses are just a bit old-fashioned subset of malware. It tends to have shifted focus to drive-by downloads using vulnerabilities in Flash and Java binaries for instance. Sophisticated exploit kits just pack a range of exploit that targets various platforms, versions and vulnerabilities. OS X is not fully immune from those (although removing Flash and disabling the Java web plugin help a lot!). That is why I run an AV product on OS X.

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Len
Alert

Which samples were used?

Is the list of samples they used to test available somewhere?

I have to say, choosing a security product that has to protect two OS-es (my own OS X but also other people's Windows that I might send stuff to) is a lot harder than just protecting Windows. I use Intego for two reasons, protect my own machine that runs OS X but also machines of my clients that run Windows and I don't want to forwards Windows malware on to.

It seems that Intego isn't too bad on OS X malware but could do better for Windows malware. Do I choose my own security over that of Windows users? Interesting dilemma.

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Galileo! Galileo. Galileo! Galileo frigged-LEO: Easy come, easy go. Little high, little low

Len

Re: what is their current orbit?

They are quite a bit off actually.

"The targeted orbit was circular, inclined at 55 degrees with a semi major axis of 29,900 kilometers. The satellites are now in an elliptical orbit, with excentricity of 0.23, a semi-major axis of 26,200 kilometers and inclined at 49.8 degrees, according to Arianespace." http://www.insidegnss.com/node/4165

The biggest problem is the inclination, which is off by 5 degrees. That is a lot. I am no rocket scientist but based on what I gather from people with more knowledge of the issue, being able to solve the multiple ways they are off with the limited amount of fuel they get to perform corrective measures might be very hard or impossible. Spending this fuel now would also reduce their life span

Choosing a reduced life span to get them in the right orbit would mean the project wouldn't suffer the same delay as launching new ones. However, it would still come at a cost as they would need to be replaced sooner than anticipated.

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Len
Holmes

They are not insured, for a good reason

ESA has already confirmed the satellites were not insured.

As they have a production line that makes 30 of these satellites (with a considerable chunk made by SSTL in Surrey http://www.sstl.co.uk/Divisions/Telecommunications---Navigation/European-GNSS-Programme) it is cheaper to just have them create two extra than paying eye-watering insurance premiums for something that might never happen.

That said, some people think the launch vehicle might be to blame. If that turns out to be the case the launch company might actually have to shoulder some of the cost, depending on their contract.

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BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes

Len

Re: Glad I Jumped...

I have looked at AAISP too some time ago, mainly because they provide native IPv6 and refuse to install government censorship on their lines.

I seemed to remember they had a package which includes line rental. Of course you still pay for line rental but not to BT, you pay AAISP who pay BT Wholesale.

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Viv Reding quits justice commish role - heads for EU parliament

Len

Re: European justice commissioner Viviane Reding...

"You can vote against Cameron by voting for a UK party other than his. Your vote acts to remove him and his party from power."

Yep, and you can vote against Juncker by voting for an EU party other than his. Your vote acts to remove him and his party from power.

"Where is Cameron on a ballot ? He will be on the ballot paper in his constituency in the 2015 general election."

You are mistaken, Cameron was only on the ballot for MP, not for Prime Minister. There is no ballot for PM because PMs aren't elected by the British electorate. They are appointed in back room deals by a handful of people in a political party.

"I had a choice to vote for Juncker, I didn't, I voted for Schulz - unless you are an EU commissioner (also not elected!) this sentence makes no sense."

It makes perfect sense. He voted for a party that had Schulz as a candidate. That is what the EU electorate does. Just like the British people in 2010 voted for parties in Westminster, each with their own candidate. Had the majority of the EU electorate voted on a different party, Juncker would not be president of the EC.

They EU may have started undemocratic, is has undergone considerable moves towards more democracy in the last fifty years. The European Parliament, elected in elections open for every EU citizen over the age of 18, is becoming increasingly powerful against the type of shady back room deals David Cameron appears to favour. They have gained powers when it comes to approving people, policy and budgets. Most recently they have gained power in choosing the candidates for the EC president. Something Cameron doesn't seem to understand, his party lost the election, he should deal with it.

Just like the EU, Britain started undemocratic and has undergone moves towards more democracy. The UK's head of state is still appointed by birth, not by elections, not on merit. The people in the UK government aren't elected. People are still allowed to be minister and MP at the same time. The UK still doesn't have a secret ballot or basic measures against election fraud. Why? Because elections in Britain barely have any bearing on how the country is being run.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't believe democracy is the solution to everything (If it was the first thing we'd do is voting for the members of the England football squad and its coach). The American situation where practically every position is an elected one appears to make matters worse, not better. But, to close your eyes for democratic progress at EU level and complain about its lack of democracy or mandate while Britain is at least as big a mess is stupidity. Something with the plank in your own eye...

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Len

Re: European justice commissioner Viviane Reding...

As already mentioned by myself and others, the British Prime Minister isn't elected, neither are the other ministers. The only say the British electorate get is which party should get the most votes (which doesn't mean they will be biggest 'thanks' to First Past The Post). If the Conservative party would decide tomorrow that Micheal Gove is to be the new Prime Minister from next week he is going to be the next PM. Just like the UK electorate never got a say in David Cameron being PM, they wouldn't get a say in Michael Gove being PM.

Add to this the strange situation that MPs, who are supposed to control the government on behalf of the voters, are actively bribed by that same government. In many countries it is not allowed to combine the function of MP and member of Government as it has an inherent conflict of interest. An MP checking on the government he or she is a part of is generally frowned upon. In Britain this is not only allowed, it is almost standard practice. Dozens of MPs are made toothless by giving them a job in government, junior minister here, secretary there.

Do you really think the people of South West Surrey can expect their MP to fight their case if they feel the government is mishandling the NHS? Of course not, their MP is also the Secretary of State for Health.

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Len

Re: European justice commissioner Viviane Reding...

Of course you can have criticism of the amount of democracy at certain parts of the EU. And some countries have a proper authority to do so. Making this argument from within the UK is ridiculous though.

We have just witnessed an unelected British Prime Minister -of a party that two-thirds of the voting electorate did not vote for- attempt to sideline the wishes of a democratically elected parliament and lobby for more back room deals because he didn't like the outcome of the EU elections. Fortunately he has the diplomacy skills of a fourteen year old so he failed again. Until the UK sorts out its undemocratic mess we are hardly in any position to criticise the EU.

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Len
Headmaster

Re: European justice commissioner Viviane Reding...

Not quite. Elected national governments nominate their candidates for commissioners, with approval of elected national parliaments and an elected European Parliament (remember the elections last month?) have to give their approval to the whole European Commission. In practice, if they don't like one specific candidate the candidate can be withdrawn and replaced by one that does get approval of the parliament.

Once in office the European Commission needs to maintain the confidence of the elected European Parliament. While an individual can't be voted out of office, if the EP doesn't have the confidence in the entire commission the commission has two options, replace the individual or step down altogether (as they did in 1999 after the EP lost confidence in commissioner Santer). This means that in practice they are accountable to the elected European Parliament.

I wouldn't say it is less democratic than the system we have in the UK where the electorate doesn't get a vote on the Prime Minister or any of the other ministers and can't vote individual ministers out of office. In the UK people only get to vote on one candidate MP (for wherever they happen to live) of a party, not the people who form the government.

Less than 11 million people voted Conservative at the last general elections, equivalent to only 36% of the electorate. That's one hell of a mandate, isn't it?

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Len
Thumb Up

Thank you!

Bringing down roaming charges is a great achievement! I never switch my data off anymore and last week I even emailed from a Eurostar in the Channel Tunnel (sadly only works from Fr -> UK because the Brit phone companies haven't got their act together).

Obviously all the phone companies are advertising that they slashed their rates as if they're the second coming without a mention that it's the EU we have to thank, not the phone companies.

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GAME ON: Top 10 tellies for a World Cup kicking

Len

Why? Who?

I have to say I personally would never spend more than 300 quid on a TV. Then again, I probably watch 20 minutes of TV once every two weeks or so and haven't owned a TV for the last eight years. If it weren't for moving in with my GF I still wouldn't have a TV now.

Clearly I am not the target audience for these kind of devices. However, I wonder who is specifically at these moments. Either you are a big football fan which means any time is a good time to spend this much money on a TV, or you only care about football when there's a World Cup on. In the latter case, why not just watch those handful of games at a special venue with special screens etc. The pub comes to mind.

I understand that this is an attempt by device manufacturers in an ultra-thin margin sector to latch on to events to drive sales. I believe the sales figures typically prove it works too. I am just a bit puzzled about the demographics of these buyers.

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Mozilla agrees to add DRM support to Firefox – under protest

Len

Of course you can remove, but why?

Of course you could remove the EME module, the standard is open (https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/html-media/raw-file/tip/encrypted-media/encrypted-media.html), module is open source and the browser that the EME module sits in is open source.

The question is why you'd do it. It won't suddenly allow you to view protected files, quite the contrary, files you may have been able to view with the EME suddenly become unviewable.

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Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?

Len

Re: What? Dates and times still a problem?

You're right that they don't change clocks. However, considering other states do change clocks they consider themselves to be on Pacific Time half of the year and on Mountain Time the other half.

All semantics of course, but very confusing for computers nonetheless...

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Len

Re: What? Dates and times still a problem?

The whole problem with dates and times is exactly that. Everyone thinks they understand how it works and it should therefore be easy to code.

In reality working with times and dates is extremely complex but, because few people appreciate this complexity, things go wrong all the time. Every year there are at least one or two major stories of companies screwing up timezone offset calculations, daylight savings time switches or other unexpected date/time behaviour in their products inconveniencing millions of customers.

I have a weekly conference call with someone in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix is a tough one because half the year Phoenix is in Mountain Time, the other half it's in Pacific Time. Because European and US daylight savings time switches are not aligned we have a window of a few weeks twice a year where we know the meetings in our calendars are incorrect because Exchange and Lotus Notes can't agree on what time it is where.

Then there are places with a half timezone offset (i.e. +07:30), places that switch from one side of the dateline to the other, Israel where DST dates are a political instrument so they can change with just a few months notice, UTC and GMT not being the same although many people believe they are etc. etc.

It's a recipe for disaster, precisely because people mistakenly think it's straightforward.

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Len

I wouldn't be surprised if Excel had anything to do with it. It has at least one date (infamous leap year issue) bug that MS refuses to fix for over two decades now.

It wouldn't be the first time that someone relying on Excel for serious calculations got bitten by it. http://www.eusprig.org/horror-stories.htm

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Apple says iOS, OS X is immune to Heartbleed SSL bug

Len

iOS and OS X don't use OpenSSL. In fact, Apple even recommends developers not to use OpenSSL as they consider the API to be unstable.

I assume the only reason they ship a (not vulnerable) version of OpenSSL is because some ports from Unix or Linux that users like to play around with themselves depend on it. This is why you can come across newer (vulnerable) versions of OpenSSL if you have updated Mac Ports some time between the creation of this bug and this week. Most normal users don't install Mac Ports so won't be vulnerable.

The risk of this bug exists mainly server side anyway, OpenSSL clients are unlikely to suffer from this. That means that this security audit will not have focused on consumer iOS or OS X devices but on Apple's own cloud services. Apparently they haven't been using OpenSSL on their servers either.

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NSA spies recorded an entire COUNTRY'S phone calls for a MONTH: Report

Len

Re: Bet it's Belgium

That would be a good hit. Home to the European Commission, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) and NATO among many other institutions of global importance.

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Station to station: Ten DAB-Bluetooth combo radios

Len
Headmaster

Who needs presets on a DAB radio?

Maybe it's me but since I moved from FM to DAB I never use presets anymore. In the FM era they made sense as it's a hassle to remember frequencies and some stations would come through on one strong and one or two weaker frequencies from transmitters further away.

Since moving to DAB, despite having a staggering 100 presets (!), I have never used them because scrolling through the alphabetical list is just as easy.

Are presets on a digital radio a remnant from the analogue age that is still inexplicably hanging on or do people really use them?

1
1

NSA-proof Euro cloud gang: Cool idea, bro... until it turns into MARKET-EATING beast

Len
Go

What's the problem?

I don't see the problem if a European Airbus-like consortium would emerge.

It doesn't mean that European internet is "closed off", interconnection will still exist. Most or all US firms would still do business in Europe, European companies could still do business in the US, traffic could still flow between the US and Europe.

All it would do is provide an additional option for companies and individuals who like their data and local traffic to remain in Europe, within European legislation, controlled by European parliaments and with European oversight. For an increasing amount of organisations it was already becoming a legal problem to store their data on American servers, the NSA whistleblowing revelations have only intensified this.

It also wouldn't stifle competition. It is very hard to build a competing wide body aircraft manufacturer, it is not hard to build a competing webmail solution. If anything it would increase competition and choice by not making US companies the only viable solution providers.

For the same reason I see no issue with the German idea to route all traffic that has a German starting point and endpoint to remain within Germany. It won't mean Germans can't connect to servers outside Germany, it won't mean that people outside Germany can't connect to German servers. It is not closed off, just locally routed. Similar with the Brazilian desire to not route all their traffic through the US any more but create direct connections with other continents. It doesn't close anything off, if anything it increases connectivity and resilience.

14
0

Mass Effect: Ten lightweight laptops that won’t bust your back

Len
Linux

Re: MoBo Blues

You might find this review helpful:

Macbook Air 11.6 (mid-2013) for Linux users. http://netrunner-mag.com/?p=3385

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0

HUMANITY STUNNED - Apple Retina iPad Mini arrives. A solemn moment

Len

Re: Retina?

Of course it is becoming meaningless. The whole idea is that above a certain density the human eye, at normal usage distance for that device (hence why phone differs from TV), can not distinguish individual pixels.

Anything above that number is just nonsense for marketers who like to put higher numbers in spec sheets to suggest they are relevant.

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