* Posts by Kevin Johnston

869 posts • joined 6 May 2007

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A UK digital driving licence: What could possibly go wrong?

Kevin Johnston

It Bodes

This has all the hallmarks of another solution looking for a problem. Ignoring the complete inability of government to secure data on this (or indeed any) scale, how could this possibly be seen to advance anything?

So you have a copy of your license on your smartphone, wow, except someone has nicked your phone and their mate who looks a bit like you is now flashing your ID when stopped by Police. That's going to come out well isn't it?

It's not like you can prove that the image/Scancode/page you are showing a shopkeeper when trying to buy alcohol could have been faked up in the school IT room is it.

Bunch of failed apprentice muppets

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EU mulls €3bn fine for Google

Kevin Johnston

Not sure on the level of the fine but...

I can see the reason why it is happening. There were reasonable concerns about abuse of monopoly but rather than grumble and moan like Microsoft (and keep 'losing' the browser choice screen), Google managed to come up with an option that was even more abusive as it would cost even more for competitors to simply stand still in the advertising race. Not sure how they thought this would satisfy the worriers and clearly it has failed.

They would have done better to pick a simple option such as a clear split-screen with their stuff one side and everyone else the other so they could appear to give equal weight while still taking half the screen real-estate.

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Bay Area man forced out of his $400 box home

Kevin Johnston
Joke

Re: It's Good...

There was a house near London where they had a kid living in the cupboard under the stairs and the authorities never took any notice so there are big regional variations here.

He was a nice kid too that Harry Potter

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Facebook throws BlackBerry an HTML bone

Kevin Johnston

An alternative view

Get a Blackberry and you are less likely to be data-mined by Facebook?

Dark clouds around every silver lining :)

Disclaimer: Yes I do have a Blackberry and I find it very good for making/receiving calls and emails. Oddly enough that and the two/three day battery life is all I want although I have used the GPS/Satnav once in a while

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Tracy Emin dons funeral shroud, marries stone

Kevin Johnston

How to phrase it politely?

Could one suggest that next time she is back with her beloved stone she let's the stone be on top?

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What's next? FBI telling us to turn iPhones into pocket spy bugs? It'll happen, says Apple exec

Kevin Johnston

It would actually be simpler for the very paranoid to have a case with a dummy connector to plug into the speaker/microphone jack socket. That would take the internal microphone out of the loop and make even silent calls irrelevant

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Boffins give amputee the finger – a bionic touch-sensitive fingertip

Kevin Johnston

So...

Can we combine this with the story about defeating biometrics with injet fingerprints and give the hand any fingerprints you fancy? How many police officers would think to take fingerprints of a prosthetic?

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Third of US banks OK with passwords even social networks reject

Kevin Johnston

A certain bank in Ireland

wanted a password between 6 and 8 characters but they had to be lower case letters. If you mistakenly used other characters it would accept it so long as both copies matched but it would fail when you tried to use it to log in.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 set for fourth launch attempt

Kevin Johnston

Re: Easy

Last time I was at a Duxford Airshow they had 15 Spitfires (and one Seafire) in the air together....that would be too many Merlins but them again, some people say you can't have too many

:)

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Safe Harbour v2.0 greenlights six bulk data collection excuses

Kevin Johnston

Only 6 excuses?

So have had a quick look I am struggling to think of any scenario they haven't covered with those 6 excuses. Amazed actually that they didn't just say 'because we want to' and be done with it.

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'Dodgy Type-C USB cable fried my laptop!'

Kevin Johnston

Re: Not just sensible cables please - sensible hardware too!

Ah yes...

altogether now...'the nice thing about standards is there are so many to choose from'

6
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Google patents robotic 'mobile delivery receptacle'

Kevin Johnston

Is it just me?

Or does this look like a spoiler patent since so many people are looking at the 'Droid Delivery' system. The way this is written suggests they have every form of autonomous ground-based delivery system covered.

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India just about accuses Facebook of faking Free Basics fandom

Kevin Johnston

Re: Free Basics?

Kind of miss the free CD days. They made great drink mats and helped many a struggling veg plot get ever closer to harvestable produce by keeping the pesky birds away.

2
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Forget infrasound, now it's ultrasound that's making you ill (allegedly)

Kevin Johnston

Prior Art

Omni magazine were here back in the 70's/80's with a prediction masked as a cartoon. Large conference room full of people in white lab coats and the person at the head of the table standing up saying..

'It had to happen, we have now proved everything gives you cancer'

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Eighteen year old server trumped by functional 486 fleet!

Kevin Johnston

Re: How old?

Ah, those were the days...creating some code on one machine and moving the memory core card to a different machine to run the program....so much more tactile than USB sticks

2
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French say 'Non, merci' to encryption backdoors

Kevin Johnston

Re: I'm wondering

Perhaps the problem is that they are being swamped by so much data that they cannot find the actual information in a timely manner...

Oh wait, that would only be made worse by monitoring everything....cancel that, we never said it.

2
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Video game retailer GAME in email marketing FAIL

Kevin Johnston

Harrummppphhh

Feeling very grumpy here as although I got an email from GAME it only had my email address in. I NEVER get rolled into these cock-ups and I feel very left out. How am I supposed to have a good whinge if they never get it wrong for me

mumble mumble mutter millennium hand and shrimp

1
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After-dinner Mint? Stylish desktop finale released as last of the 17 line

Kevin Johnston

Re: Linux & Games

When I upgraded my 'odds and sods' laptop to Mint 17.2 I was looking at the gaming side and found the 'Play on Linux' app which acts as a front end to WINE. Used this for a couple of Windows games I own and they now play seamlessly on Mint.

Since I do most of my gaming on a Console this covered my needs perfectly.

4
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Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 nagware shows signs of sentience

Kevin Johnston

I used to work in 3D Micrography and the preferred package to render the 3D images was very large and very capable but a Windows package. Except amazingly when I contacted them directly they happily sent me links to the Linux version which had exactly the same menu system and 'just worked'

4
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Confirmed: How to stop Windows 10 forcing itself onto PCs – your essential guide

Kevin Johnston

Re: With all these brilliant coders out there :

If the developer of this package has retired then surely you need to be looking for a replacement package as matter of urgency since the next time there is an OS or driver change it could bork your software at which point you are dead in the water. Once that happens you may be stuck with running an older Windows OS in a VM anyway in order for the package to continue limping along so the question then would be why run the VM on a Windows box.

4
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Bloke sues dad who shot down his drone – and why it may decide who owns the skies

Kevin Johnston

Re: "250 grams (1 pound)"

Been saying this for soooo long now....

We are engineers, a major ethos of engineering is 'Appropriate units/tolerances' and just as you would not measure the distance from Cardiff to Glasgow in millimetres/inches/angstroms, nor would you insist on a unit for fashion reasons.

What are you measuring, what is you tolerance - that will indicate the most appropriate unit.

Don't forget, a very large part of UK measurements are still done in Imperial because there is no real benefit to change it. Anyone want to guess how much it would cost to change all the road signs and car speedometer/odometers?

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Plain cruelty: Boffins flay Linux ransomware for the third time

Kevin Johnston

Re: Hmmm

It sounds, from the article, as though they were so inept that they would have blindly followed any advice so by using Twitter that way the whitehats would know exactly where to start the next time around

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Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Kevin Johnston

Re: The gimp sucks

Ah, that classic presumption.

If you will not make the effort to use the product properly then how can you say something else is better? No better than saying that Italians are not as helpful as Americans because you only speak English

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NZ unfurls proposed new flag

Kevin Johnston

Re: Research

I think you will find that jacks fly from jackstays which are the ropes running up a mast, normally for the inner end of a yard or for the edge of a sail. Also used for raising flags for signalling or for 'jacks' to indicate status (OK that's a sub-set of signalling by how pedantic do I need to be here?).

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Microsoft offers Linux certification. Do not adjust your set. This is not an error

Kevin Johnston

Errrrrr

May be just my memory playing tricks but isn't Embrace the start of a well know Microsoft-linked phrase?

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Microsoft pitches lobotomized Cortana for iOS, Android handsets

Kevin Johnston

Re: Does her boobs really look like that?

Never mind her looks, just remember that she has this annoying problem where her Rampancy starts causing her to spin off new threads until all the resources are in use at which point she will crash and burn.

Hardly a good background for a 'PA' app

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EU governments reach agreement on passenger name data

Kevin Johnston

Restrictions

"may only be processed for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime"

Well that's all right then because we know the PTB always respect limitations on data usage........

Muppets one and all

5
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France mulls tighter noose around crypto

Kevin Johnston

Re: Colossal ignorance

I thought everyone knew this...1 chance in a thousand means 999 failures but a million to one happens nine times out of ten*

*Many thanks for everything Sir Pterry

0
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Facebook to Belgian data cops: Block all the cookies across the web, then!

Kevin Johnston

Re: Powerful cookies

Umm...for the chocolate?

3
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MPs and peers have just weeks to eyeball UK gov's super-snoop bid

Kevin Johnston

Re: How many users constitutes large?

Or more to the point, how hard/expensive is it to create your own personal ISP?

Would have gone anonymous but that would drawn even more attention

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Researchers say they've cracked the secret of the Sony Pictures hack

Kevin Johnston

Re: Welcome back the WORM drive

Or even go back to the early 80's with the excellent (although now very very dates) series Bird of Prey (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0168510/.....must learn how to paste links)...actually I must see if I can get a copy of it to re-watch.

Probably mis-quoting but I am remembering some very sensible and far-seeing lines like 'so he could be changing things even as we are looking for them'

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Trouble brewing as iThing coffee machine seems to be hackable

Kevin Johnston

So how long...

before we have an iHammerDrill getting pwned and used to mine Bitcoins?

0
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Microsoft's OneDrive price hike has wrecked its cloud strategy

Kevin Johnston

Re: Is it a habit or an addiction?

I use a mouse and keyboard to game on my console.....even my son admits I am a damn sight better that way than failing to work the controller properly.....the mouse enables really fine control on a selected X-Y which I could never achieve with a controller

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Get 'em out for the... readers: The Sun scraps its online paywall

Kevin Johnston

I think that is not so much a Wall as a Stile....looks like a fence but there is a simple two step process to get over it.

4
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US Senate approves CISA cyber-spy-law, axes privacy safeguards

Kevin Johnston

Re: Land of the free...

To an extent...My understanding of the US voting system (which may be totally wrong, please feel free to correct) is that while there is the possibility to have a 'write in' candidate, essentially you can only vote for the people that the parties decide to put forward. This means the deck is stacked to meet various agendas and without a massive co-ordinated effort by the population at large, they have no true choice in who gets into power.

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Work from home when the next big Windows 10 installation arrives

Kevin Johnston

Oh I am so with you there. My son allows me to join him and his mates because they can follow me around and shoot the people that come out to shoot me. Just a shame that I reach the high ranks through time rather than skill which led to me be higher status than him on a few games, oh how we laughed.

2
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You own the software, Feds tell Apple: you can unlock it

Kevin Johnston

Re: And in the UK...

Not only that but if at the end of that 2 years they still will not unlock it they go back round for another lap.

5
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Crash this beauty? James Bond's concept DB10 Aston debuts in Spectre

Kevin Johnston

Re: I'm no expert but..

Pilatus Brittan-Norman Islander actually.....Although it will always be just 'Islander' to me and everyone else who enjoyed the Bembridge Airshows (and the Propellor Inn on bleak winter evenings)

0
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Elderly? Disabled? You clearly need a .38" Palm Pistol

Kevin Johnston

No no no....

Why choose .45? because there is no .46...

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Slurp data in a Eurozone country? Play by their DPA's rules – EU court

Kevin Johnston

Would like to agree but...

That would require the ruling to be declared as applying retrospectively which probably will not happen outside of the case in question.

Now if Facebook would like to re-send the data that is a very new ballgame.

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What does EU farm subsidy get spent on? Yes, broadband for Irish farmers

Kevin Johnston

Ah, from memory Dublin (the county) has almost a third of the population and when you add in other cities there can't be much population left to cover a huge area of the country. Makes the rural value a small drop in a very big bucket if they count it per head (not that they would use the stats which favoured their cause the most of course)

1
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Is Windows 10 slurping too much data? No, says Microsoft. Nuh-uh. Nope

Kevin Johnston

Re: Trying to improve my experience...

I have been using Mint for many a moon now (4.something?) but still had a Windows box for those oddments which were Win-only. I did try WINE but it was not friendly enough to fight to get a couple of games and some old but still useful apps across.

During the update to Mint17.2 I found PlayonLinux....OMG....how simple was that? Each app/game moved across into their own little environment working at the first attempt.

Sad to end the Windows experience but that time has now come.

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WATER SURPRISE: Liquid found on Mars, says NASA

Kevin Johnston

Timing is everything

Been reading Boundary by Ryk Spoor where they find an ice-coated cavern below Valles Marineris. The theory being that Mars has a water table 100's of metres below the surface where fossil ice sublimes and is deposited in the caverns.

But that is just well-written and interesting fiction, isn't it?

0
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PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

Kevin Johnston

Re: Utter Stupidity. Utterly Pissing Me Off.

I presume this is the same PETA that have a bit of an image issue around re-homing stats.

0
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NIST's quantum boffins have TELEPORTED stuff over a HUNDRED KILOMETRES

Kevin Johnston

Re: hmm

It is a long standing rule that any discussion of Quantum 'anything' must be followed by a saving roll against Intelligence

7
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US court kills FBI gag order slapped on ISP... 11 years later

Kevin Johnston

Re: so much for separation of powers

"I took oath to defend this country from all enemies, foreign & domestic" - Mark Wahlberg, Shooter movie 2007

If it hadn't struck a nerve it would have been funny

1
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EU digi bloke: Come ON Europe, you're not TRYING ENOUGH

Kevin Johnston

Incorrect title

I have to dispute your title here. Europe IS trying, in fact it is very very trying

0
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Daredevil Brit lifts off in 54-prop quinquaquadcopter

Kevin Johnston

Re: Very cool (literally)

'...Bonus points if you make it out of an old optical mouse....'

Do I detect a fellow fan of 'The Looking Glass' series?

0
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America's crackdown on open-source Wi-Fi router firmware – THE TRUTH

Kevin Johnston

Re: I have some sympathy for the FCC

I think you missed the point. Currently the Open Surcers are working within the rules/certification process and things are going fine but the proposed change completely blocks the ethos and working methods of open source.

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Samsung’s consumer IoT vision – stupid, desperate, creepy

Kevin Johnston

Why....just why?

I understand the marketing speak behind the IoT and the desire to have lots of wonderful new interconnected toys but they all still fail in the same way that ideas such as 'Speech-to text-to-speech' and suchlike do.

Yes, they are great ideas and in limited circumstances they work well and can provide value but not globally or often not even outside of a lab. The problem comes when you try to explain to Joe Public what it is for and the words just fall into a black hole. OK, so the new Internet fridge can order things for you when you run out but maybe there is no guacamole left because you decided you hate the bloody stuff. As for providing auto-updates of what everyone else in the home group is doing, words fail and so again does any need.

This all seems to be driven by the idea that Facebook is popular so everyone knowing every last detail of everyone else must be good.

Lastly, where the hell is the money coming from for everyone to throw away perfectly good home contents to convert them all the IoT contents? If you don't do it all in one go then you can be damned sure that the interfacing will have changed and your microwave will no longer talk to your hairdryer.

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