* Posts by Dr Paul Taylor

176 posts • joined 15 Jul 2009

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Argos changes 150 easily guessed drop-off system passwords

Dr Paul Taylor

Argos data security

They also have a policy that has been noted here for banks: phoning customers and asking for their address and other details, and insisting on this before proceeding with the business of the call.

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Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

Dr Paul Taylor

Result not significant

Any organisation that does have a codified constitution has clauses in it about how to change it, typically requiring a 2/3 majority. In the US some large proportion of states have to ratify it. The first Scottish devolution referendum was in favour but not by a large enough turnout. Tory trades union law puts up hurdles for strike ballots. Yes, in an election, some> candidate has to win, even if by 50.0001%. When the issue is to create economic chaos, as we are already seeing, 52% is nowhere near a big enough mandate.

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Data protection, Brexit and campaigners: Privacy policy? Eh?

Dr Paul Taylor
Big Brother

Privatised political surveilance

Why the hell is a single website being allowed a monopoly of data about the political views of supporters of diametrically opposed parties and campaigns?

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Microsoft's paid $60 per LinkedIn user – and it's a bargain, because we're mugs

Dr Paul Taylor

Unable to delete my account

The connection requests that I get from LinkedIn are from (a) people I've never heard of, (b) tradesmen that I contacted but who never actually came to see the job and (c) people with the same name as someone that (let's say) my partner doesn't know that I know. In the last case, Apple must have sold LinkedIn my name and email address and the name but not the address of the person in question.

The link for deleting your LinkedIn account is not hard to find. However, when I hit the final "close account" button, nothing happens. I send a "feedback" message saying this and am told to go to the same page. I try to reply by email saying that it doesn't work and I get a delivery report saying "mailbox over quota".

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Americans cutting back on online activity over security and privacy fears

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: It's not surprising.

Lloyds keeps sending stuff to (presumably) the lodgers of the previous owners of my house. After I had delivered a letter by hand to the relevant branch, they sent two Visa debit cards. When I made a formal complaint they said they had done nothing wrong and refused to search for my address and remove it from their database. When I made preliminary enquiries to PRAwhistleblowing@bankofengland.co.uk, consumer.queries@fca.org.uk, enquiries.europe@visa.com and casework@ico.org.uk, they all passed the buck.

Banks could not give a t*ss about their customers' information security.

As for pursuing every complaint as far as the ECJ, when the banks do this to us every day, how can you possibly have the emotional energy, let alone the money, to do such things?

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Malware scan stalled misconfigured med software, mid-procedure

Dr Paul Taylor

Medico's expertise

Since the average medico's expertise probably doesn't include antivirus installation and configuration,

The surgeon is ipso facto likely to be the smartest person around and therefore probably the one who knows most about computers.

When I went to my dentist last week the practice computer was down and the receptionists didn't have a clue, so it was up to the dentist himself to fix it.

Of course surgeons and dentists should be spending their expensive time fixing people not computers.

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EU set to bin €500 note

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: No more free bus rides then

On Brummie buses they'd take the note off you and give no change!

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I am Craig Wright, inventor of Craig Wright

Dr Paul Taylor

null output

$ base64 craig.txt > craig.txt

Not sure what shell you're using, but base64 and sort trash the output file before reading the input.

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One million patients have opted out of Care.data

Dr Paul Taylor

Do we have to opt out again?

Is this name change an excuse for disregarding the opt-outs? "Oh no, sir, you opted out of Care.Data, but that no longer exists - you haven't opted out of NHS.Digital, so we have your consent to sell your records."

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Sneaky Google KOs 'right to be forgotten' from search results

Dr Paul Taylor

What's sauce for the goose...

After they had been forced to implement technology for censorship, it is hardly surprising that they use it for their own purposes. This is the same argument as Apple's "back door".

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Brexit would pinch UK tech spend but the EU wouldn't care – survey

Dr Paul Taylor

Collateral salvage

If a coachload of football hooligans vote to drive it over a cliff, some bits of the coach will remain intact.

5
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Dear Windows, OS X folks: Update Flash now. Or kill it. Killing it works

Dr Paul Taylor

iPlayer Radio 4

Clicking on some recent Radio 4 programmes, I get "This content cannot be played in our HTML5 Player - Download Flash Player now" (under Ubuntu/Firefox with various blockers like AdBlock, NoScript, Ghostery but no Flash).

RadioTray only streams, it doesn't appear to play archived programmes. It doesn't come pre-configured with BBC Radio and it stops playing after a couples of minutes.

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Google's dream city isn't a new idea

Dr Paul Taylor

Bring back the Berlin wall!

No, I don't mean that literally.

During the Cold War, we had the Communist "Control Economy" to point at as an object lesson in how not to run an economy or a society. Without it, the victorious Capitalist system has become more and more of a Control Economy, in which only the CEOs of huge companies are allowed to say how things should be done and ordinary people just have to do as they are told.

The reason why The Free Market and Democracy, and indeed Evolution by Natural Selection, work is that many minds are better than one.

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Commentard April Fool decries Blighty's dodecaquid

Dr Paul Taylor

You'll be telling me next

that you're never seen a thrup'ny bit!

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Top Firefox extensions can hide silent malware using easy pre-fab tool

Dr Paul Taylor

However the original concept of the web is now so seriously broken and I can't see how it can be fixed.

and the rest of the post - my thoughts entirely.

I want a "browser" that treats every incoming byte as possible malware/spyware, shows me the pure information content and sends nothing back to the source.

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Dr Paul Taylor

Re: This mess of an article still doesn't explain WTF is going on?

Please can we have some clearer analysis of whether NoScript is safe or not. I block all Javascript unless I can't get away without it, because I don't want every Tom Dick and Harry's code running on my computer.

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Met plod commissioner: Fraud victims should not be refunded by banks

Dr Paul Taylor

Refunds hide fundamentally insecure system

The reason why banks refund fraudulent payments is that it draws attention away from the fact that the system is fundamentally moronic in its design and cannot possibly be secure.

In a secure system, customers would initiate payments (cash or BACS) instead of giving payees the authority to take money off them (16-digit numbers, Direct Debit or, craziest of all, "contactless").

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Govt: Citizens, we know you want 10Mbps. This is the last broadband scheme for that

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: All well and good but....

You can be 2 or 3 miles outside a major town like Reading in the "high tech" Thames Valley, an area that by any comparable international standard is densely populated, and still get shit broadband speeds.

You can be 2 or 3 miles outside a major town like Stratford in the "high tech" Lea Valley (in London Transport Zone 3), an area that by any comparable international standard is very densely populated, and still get shit broadband speeds (4 megabits/sec).

The "last 8%" that is mentioned elsewhere is familiar. In the early 1990s the Stratford exchange (code 555 to the amusement of Americans) was in the "last 8%" of mechanical Strowger exchanges.

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German mayor's browser tabs catch him with trousers down

Dr Paul Taylor

scansion

I was about to up-vote you for fitting the tune, but the penultimate line has too many syllables.

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Review sites commit to address UK regulator's concerns

Dr Paul Taylor

Checkatrade

They now have sufficiently many members that it can be used to compile a shortlist of people to contact by email to do a job.

They do verify whether the reviews come from customers, though they have not yet told me what penalty they intend to impose on a trader who sent in one purportedly from me.

Of course there is suppression of negative reviews - by the customers themselves. Was this mediocre job bad enough to warrant a complaint or do I just want to get on with my life?

But it's much better than when we only had the Y*ll*w P*g*s.

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Shopping for PCs? This is what you'll be offered in 2016

Dr Paul Taylor
Linux

Self healing BIOS?

HP will this year refresh BIOSphere, a self-healing BIOS tool that can spot when someone's tried a BIOS-level hack and return things to your pre-determined configurations before reboot.

Ah yes, that useful "feature" that considers my Linux installation to be a "broken" PC and offers to "repair" it back to M$, but fortunately gives up after a minute or two of "preparation".

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Boffins' gravitational wave detection hat trick blows open astronomy

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Paper is publicly available

I read about it at www.physicsworld.com and picked up the paper from journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.061102 with no paywall. (And that's my first use of links in El Reg.)

9
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Gmail growls with more bad message flags to phoil phishers

Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

clueless banks

The problem with phishing emails is not that they make any serious effort to look like banks - often they're illiterate - but the lengths banks go to to make their emails look like phishing.

The article doesn't say how gmail recognises whether an email is genuine, but the obvious tool is SPF. Unfortunately, banks and utilities like to send their emails via third parties such as messagelabs.com, without bothering to declare the fact in their SPF records.

Then there's their liking for registering loads of domain names, not just bank.co.uk but bankonline.co.uk, thebank.co.uk, mybank.co.uk and so on.

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Canonical reckons Android phone-makers will switch to Ubuntu

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: malware to follow?

Linux servers power pretty much most of the Internet

I know that, which is why I was careful to say "desktop".

I would guess that servers and websites (at least their hosting companies) are on the whole run by more competent people and have fewer frilly "apps" running on them than desktops.

My point was that if Ubuntu becomes popular on phones it will attract malware and spyware, which would then have its way clear to my desktop.

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Dr Paul Taylor
Linux

malware to follow?

I am glad that Canonical is trying to break the Apple/Google duopoly. Running Ubuntu might conceivably persuade me to buy a smartphone. However, my worry is this: Linux desktop users like me have so far avoided malware because (the security model is better and) we have been too small a part of the market to be worth the notice of criminals. This is not so for Android. If Ubuntu is successful in the mobile market then the malware that it attracts will be compatible with desktops, servers and websites and so spread to them.

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Ubuntu's Amazon 'adware' feature to be made opt in

Dr Paul Taylor

use Xubuntu instead

More geek-friendly, more resource-friendly, no commercial searches (unless you choose to make them).

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FRITZ!Box home broadband routers' security FRITZed

Dr Paul Taylor

notification

but since it's a home device, nearly nobody will ever hear about the fix

Nonsense. My box sends me emails, in particular when a new version of the firmware is available, so I have had 6.30 for ages now. No story.

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Fans demand 'Lemmium' periodic table tribute

Dr Paul Taylor

Kilmisterium

You mean Clive Kilmister, the (late) physicist?

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Bookstore sells some data centre capacity, becomes Microsoft, Oracle's nemesis

Dr Paul Taylor

Red Hat

I have been a (Debian/Ubuntu) user of Linux for 20 odd years (and a user of other Unix variants for 10 before that), but I don't feel the "vice-like grip" of Red Hat. Please explain. I have never voluntarily used Microsoft, but I do feel their "vice-like grip" because I am forced to buy their OS with my computers and possibly surrender my consumer rights when I remove it and install my own choice of OS.

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

Dr Paul Taylor

Why did he have to invent

such a verbose, unreadable language as HTML that was incapable of representing mathematics when he was surrounded by physicists who were already by that time writing all of their papers in the far superior language LaTeX?

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Press Backspace 28 times to own unlucky Grub-by Linux boxes

Dr Paul Taylor

Scare story?

Is this a scare story put out by M$ to frighten people into not disabling "secure boot" and so not installing Linux?

If the Linux installation in question is being used for some industrial purpose then there will be physical ways of preventing access to it.

If it's a laptop then for someone to be able to do this they have probably stolen the machine first. In this case the owner has bigger things to worry about, the thief will probably give up once he sees that it doesn't run M$ and the operating system is not going to be able to defend itself anyway.

So the protection is (1) only buy a laptop that is only as powerful (expensive) as you actually need, (2) encrypt your private data and (3) keep it backed up elsewhere.

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Hackers add exploit kit to article asking 'Is cyber crime out of control?'

Dr Paul Taylor

syndication link is loaded in the background

So can we get rid of this crap from websites, not just the Grauniad, please!

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TalkTalk Business email servers titsup for days after DNS config snafu

Dr Paul Taylor

Freedom2Surf

Joined them back in 2005. Remained good when they joined Pipex. Under Tiscali their mail system became awful and I left for ICUK. Very glad never to have had dealings with TalkTalk.

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ICO fines PPI claims firm £80,000 over 1.3m spam SMS deluge

Dr Paul Taylor

Completely useless

without making verifiable caller id mandatory except for domestic callers.

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Yahoo! Mail! is! still! a! thing!, tries! blocking! Adblock! users!

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Are Yahoo! Experienced? Have Yahoo! Ever Been Experienced?

At Yahoo!, we are continually developing and testing new product experiences,

I don't want an experience from a website, I want information and nothing else.

Please note, sysadmins everywhere.

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Looking for a council house in Sheffield City? Meet your fellow tenants

Dr Paul Taylor

Fault of the mail program

It's easy for those of us with long experience of using computers and email to mock bureaucrats who make blunders like this. However, the fact that this kind of blunder is easy and common does raise the question of whether IT could actually do something about it. It would be easy for mail programs to refuse to send emails with more than a (configurable) handful of addresses in the To: and CC: lines, at least without querying the use.

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UK.gov finally promises legally binding broadband service obligation – by 2020

Dr Paul Taylor

Urban areas too?

Rural areas are to be promised 10 M bits/sec.

What about urban areas, like my house in east London?

I get 4 M bits/sec.

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Brussels flings out Safe Harbour guidelines, demands 'safer' new framework ASAP

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Spelling

by establishing a connection to a remote site you are sending "personal data" across the ocean

No. Sometimes I may choose to visit an American site. Too frequently, when I visit a British site, it calls in some completely gratuitous javascript from Google or some other transatlantic "cloud" or "analytics" site without ever bothering to ask for my consent.

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Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

Spelling

Let's call it Safe Harbor to make it clear where it came from.

Why are all these companies sending my personal data across the ocean?

We have plenty of clouds of our own here in Britain in November!

But I'm certainly glad that I am still a citizen of the EU with the benefit of the Human Rights Act!

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Hi, um, hello, US tech giants. Mind, um, mind adding backdoors to that crypto? – UK govt

Dr Paul Taylor

Do they not have *** advisers in government?

That's why we have the House of Lords, so that some people who actually know about something can quietly stop the most stupid legislation from going through.

As to whether they are competent in technology, unfortunately that may be another matter.

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Microsoft offers to PAY YOU to trade in your old computer for a Windows 10 device

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: MS are idiots

I need to do a soft reboot (Ctrl, Alt, Del) to get it to boot into Linux

Regard this minor inconvenience as a protection against theft. A thief will think the machine is broken and leave it behind, or at least be unable to read the stuff on your disk.

When I installed Xubuntu, I completely trashed the M$ on the laptop that I'm using to type this. So when it boots it shows a blue screen with "your computer needs to be repaired". I have to hit ESC, F9 and scroll down to get to the grub startup.

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Euro privacy warriors: You've got until January to fix safe harbor mess – or we unleash hell

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Sue 'em all, god will recognise his own

Albigensian.

You'll be senting DPA complaints to every website that you visit.

Whatever the politicians do will be a fudge. What we need is to boycott Silicon Valley and start up similar or preferably superior services in our own countries or continent.

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Fingerprints, facial scans, EU border data slurp too tasty for French to resist

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Fishing

I thought you were about to go in a somewhat different direction

I was. Originally I just thought of the verb "to google" in its sloppy meaning of "to search on a database, but then the activities of the real Google came to mind.

this tech would allow any of us to present one or more fingerprints to the search engine and have it display the owner's anonymized information

I was told yesterday by someone from Peru that that country had recently gone from ponderous bureaucracy to having a system in which you could indeed present your fingerprints and obtain a newly printed passport a few minutes later.

Anyway, what I really had in mind was that this was a back door to getting ID cards with their associated all-seeing databases, in particular for the police to get easy convictions by fishing.

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Dr Paul Taylor

Fishing

So all of these fingerprints will be copied into police databases, so that lazy PC Plod can sit at his desk and G**gle (there's another horrible thought!) the perpetrator of any misdemeanor, with the risk that some distant unconnected person will be nailed, instead of doing proper detective work.

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'Safe Harbor': People in Europe 'can get quite litigious about this'

Dr Paul Taylor

Let's have some European competition

Why the hell was all this personal data going across the Atlantic in the first place? Europeans (for example El Reg for their lectures) have lazily been using American websites (such as Eventbrite) when it would be easy and entirely in line with the principles of Capitalism for there to be similar sites offering competing services in other countries. We should all take this ECJ judgment as an opportunity. It is time for all sorts of reasons to overthrow the American monopoly of such services. To Hell with Facebook, Google, Amazon and the rest of them!

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Shuttle bus firm Terravision belatedly adopts https for credit card sales

Dr Paul Taylor

Not too harsh please

Terravision at least provides some competition to National Express on airport routes.

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Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

Dr Paul Taylor

Magna Carta in Latin

The handwriting is probably rather tricky to read, but the text looks like pretty simple Latin and a great deal more comprehensible than Norman French or Anglo Saxon would be. That is the reason why people continued to use Latin for important documents up to c1800, after which the Tower of Babel took over. In 800 years' time, when people speak some language whose current roots we now consider to be pidgin, they will no doubt complain that 21st century stuff is written in a dead language called "English".

www.thelatinlibrary.com/magnacarta.html

Excellent article nonetheless

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Curiosity Rover's OS has backdoor bug

Dr Paul Taylor
Headmaster

Un gran formaggio?

"Formaggio" vuol dire "cheese" in italiano. Non so la parola "fromaggio" - forse e' un errore francese?

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Pro tip: Servers belong in dry server rooms, not wet cloakrooms

Dr Paul Taylor

£300 per hour for starters

I hope Stuart charged the solicitor at the rate that the solicitor would have charged him for doing something completely elementary. Having recently done probate and conveyancing twice each, it was clear to me that they are money for old rope. However, there is some niggling detail at a level comparable to the questions about computers that are answered for free on numerous websites.

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Want your kids to learn coding? Train the darn teachers first

Dr Paul Taylor

New curriculum

There is a new curriculum for computer science at school, based on an initiative involving universities (especially Birmingham) and various big and small software companies that has been running for several years. I encourage you to take a look and participate.

See www.computingatschool.org.uk

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