* Posts by Dr Paul Taylor

151 posts • joined 15 Jul 2009

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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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CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Windows only though

This is a question. It would be useful to have a definite answer. Does disabling "secure boot", installing Linux from a USB stick and scrubbing M$ remove the Lenovo rootkit?

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Lenovo Euro supremo: Yes, we wrote down PC stock, what about it?

Dr Paul Taylor

Any good stuff?

To repeat my previous question, does The Channel have anything to recommend amongst the stuff that Lenovo is selling off cheap? Personally I would scrub M$ from it, but others might want to use it as is.

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Want to download free AV software? Don't have a Muslim name

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: 'against the law'

I strongly suspect that filtering out Muslim names is against the law, especially if the company is based in the UK.

And utterly pointless, since most of us on El Reg (and presumably any real Bad Guys) would give false names to such officious websites anyway.

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How many Win 10 PCs were in distribution the week before launch?

Dr Paul Taylor
Linux

Any good stuff?

> Lenovo, for example, has written off a substantial amount of stock in Western Europe.

Every word I have read on El Reg about Windows 10 over the past fortnight has made me bl**dy glad that I am a Linux user. There does not seem to have been a single polite comment even from M$'s captive market.

If Lenovo is chucking stuff out because the sheep don't like it, does The Channel have anything to recommend to users of other operating systems?

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BT circles wagons round Openreach as Ofcom mulls forced split-up

Dr Paul Taylor

Smash up BT Retail instead

Better to leave Openreach and Wholesale alone but instead do something about the unfair advantage that BT Retail has because of customer inertia. Retails shoule be sold off in ten bits, with the existing customers allocated according to the last digit of their phone numbers. Then the bits would have to compete with telcos who treat their customers with more respect and are competent in getting faults fixed.

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FLASH MUST DIE, says Facebook security chief

Dr Paul Taylor

BT Wholesale ADSL speed checker

At least the BBC iplayer is delivering sound or video. I complained to (not about) my ISP about my broadband speed and they gave me some testing instructions, in particular to run the BT Wholesale Broadband Performance Test at speedtest.btwholesale.com. This is a crappy program that seems to have been written by some schoolkid and insists that Flash be installed, apparently so that it can show its progress bar, and in the end displays its results in a form that can't be cut-and-pasted back into an email to the ISP. It's all very well refusing to install Flash, permit Javascript, etc, but the Web is increasingly full of this kind of crap programming and some of the stuff is actually essential.

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How much info did hackers steal on US spies? Try all of it

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Snowden

BBC online news is carrying the same story, citing the Sunday Times: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33125068

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Cop in gay porn film advised to put his helmet away

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: If only...

This video appears to be about Prince Harry. He was a bit of a clown when he was younger, but then he demonstrated that he is a guy with plenty of guts. I am not usually noted as a screaming royalist, but frankly this link is out of order in the context of this story.

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Why don't you rent your electronic wireless doorlock, asks man selling doorlocks

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Rent a door lock?

Just what I was about to post. The alternative to locking the legitimate person out would be to let everyone else in.

No. No. No.

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Macroviruses are BACK and are the future of malware, says Microsoft

Dr Paul Taylor
Headmaster

Re: Contained within the Microsoft ecosystem

I was about to upvote you until I read "virii". If you're going to use Latin plurals, please get them right.

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Top Spanish minister shows citizens are thick as tortillas de ballenas

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: The Spanish Inquisition

Defending Copernicus during the life of Euler does not make someone a Mathematician. Botany was not a Science until Wallace and Darwin, whom I'm sure the Inquisition would not have allowed on their patch. I made the challenge to smoke out the Exception that proves the Rule. I completely agree with the comments about the Cathar genocide (I have been to Montsegur and pointedly wear a T-shirt with a Cathar Cross every time I go to Leicester). However, my point here was not about the Inquisition as the Crime against Humanity that was but that it also cut Spain out of the game as far as Science was concerned, despite being the Superpower of its age.

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Dr Paul Taylor

Re: The Spanish Inquisition

More seriously, during "la convivencia" of Jews Muslims and Christians under the Moors, Spain was intellectually the most advanced part of Europe. Los Reyes Catolicos put a stop to this. So far as I can gather, in the time until Napoleon abolished the Inquistion, Spaniards were quite good at collecting flowers but had not a single mathematician or physical scientist of note. The Netherlands and Switzerland - much smaller countries - had lots of them. Can anyone contradict me on this?

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Cash register maker used same password – 166816 – non-stop since 1990

Dr Paul Taylor

customers should conduct rigorous penetration tests

How am I supposed to do this in a supermarket queue?

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It's official: David Brents are the weakest link in phishing attacks

Dr Paul Taylor
Headmaster

Re: Time for a Register checklist?

Good list but I don't understand 9 and you may also want to reword (negate) 8 and 10.

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Ad-blocking is LEGAL: German court says Ja to browser filters

Dr Paul Taylor

legal arguments?

We Reg commentards can formulate our own arguments and opinions about this, but it would be interesting to see a synopsis of those that were presented by the complainant and respondent and those that were accepted by the judge.

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The Internet of Stuff is a gigantic ultra-perv robbery network – study

Dr Paul Taylor

What about when you move house?

It's all very well for us smug Reg readers to say that we will never install IoT equipment in our existing houses, but what about when you move house? Recently I moved from an old house (with minor structural problems such as loose plaster) to a modern one (with problems created by its previous owner, such as a leaky shower). In future, we will have to re-fit the IT/IoT in a house when we buy it, but in some cases (eg "smart" meters), this may not be allowed.

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Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShambles

Dr Paul Taylor

Why do it in the election year?

What moron decided to change the system of electoral registration in the year of a general election?

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Telly behemoths: Does size matter?

Dr Paul Taylor

Cathode rays

My father's career in the 1960s and 70s was the design of the analogue oscillators that drove the electomagnets that were around the neck of the screen and dragged the electron beams across the screen. When I first saw a concave screen I thought, how the hell would he have got cathode rays around that?

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Big Data, empty bellies: How supermarkets tweak prices just for the sake of YOUR LOVE

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: tweaking prices

Exactly: it's the obvious application of RFID "loyalty" cards and "Electronic Shelf Edge Labels".

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Hey kids! If you vote Facebook will give you EXTRA LIKES*

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: How does it know?

I was wondering how far I would have to skim down the comments for someone to ask this important question. Do we understand that the (unedited) Electoral Roll is F***b**k's quid pro quo for handing over its users' information to GCHQ?

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Google Translate MEAT GRINDER turns gay into 'faggot', 'poof', 'queen'

Dr Paul Taylor

Google can't win

The other side of this coin is that it kindly translated Zur Geometrie der Alten as "On the Geometry of the Elderly", when "Ancients" would have been the appropriate word in this context, since it was the title of a journal paper that referred to Archimedes.

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Call filtering

You can fondly imagine that not giving anyone your number will help, but it doesn't.

Obviously I tell my friends what my number is. I admit that not putting it in the directory or on forms does not completely eliminate nuisance calls, but there are very few of them.

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Dr Paul Taylor

Re: BT bashing

Obviously a BT employee here.

Aside from all the things above, I left BT Retail because they were structurally incompetent.

Specifically, when I had what turned out to be a simple exchange fault (probably the line card had been nudged out of place), for four months they were not only unable to fix it, but prevented me from communicating with any technically competent person. Eventually there was an occasion when the fault only affected the ADSL, which was with another company (ICUK). They got the fault fixed within a few hours and also provided me with a letter of explanation, which I used in my subsequent complaint against BT. Needless to say, the "Ombudsman" whitewashed BT. Since then, ICUK has looked after my phone line too.

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Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Call filtering

The problem with not answering a call from a WITHHELD number is that it may really be important. Once I did not answer such a call because I was being pestered by someone else who was withholding their number. However, that call turned out to have been from the hospital where my father was, to tell me that he had suffered a life-threatening incident. (He actually died six weeks later.)

When companies (hospitals, universities) send out letters they do so on headed notepaper. When they send emails they use their own domain names. How is it acceptable that, as policy, their outgoing phone calls look like scams?

PS The most effective way to stop cold callers is to get a new phone number, not have it in the directory and never write it on forms.

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Your anonymous code contributions probably aren't: boffins

Dr Paul Taylor

students

its techniques could be used to identify plagiarism among computer science students

I found that laying one printout next to the other was an adequate technique!

Though, it is true that the spaces and tabs were a giveaway, when the indentation was, shall we say, merely decorative.

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