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* Posts by Tom 38

2488 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters

Tom 38
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Re: Muppets

I know people should be smart enough to realise they shouldn't hit "reply all" but the sheer stupidity of Virgin, by allowing an email group to be re-used, is staggering. The number of spam emails I was getting was shooting up until last at night.

There is quite some moaning here - sure, you shouldn't have been spammed, but each reply was In-Reply-To the original, or an email descended from the original. Turn on threading in your mail client, and all "the number of spam emails" is one thread. Ignore it, then delete it.

ISPs offering email is a bad deal. Users expect it to work perfectly, not get any spam and effectively be free. Many of the smaller ISPs that I have been with just do not offer email for this reason - you only get complaints about it and it makes you no money.

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Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED

Tom 38
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Re: Only 6 hours

1:27: Bug announced

6 hours later: Patched software rolled out by CRA

1 day later: Logs analyzed, potential disclosure detected, RCMP called in.

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Tom 38
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Re: Can't wait

So how would you trace it?

You would need to be storing all your ingress traffic to the SSL site in order to determine, for certain, that this particular request was trying to exploit heartbleed. Not summaries of the traffic or request logs, but every single byte.

What they CAN do however is look and see for suspicious requests in the period immediately after the bug was announced. Oh look, this IP address hit the same page 52,000 in 6 hours, gee, I wonder what they were doing.

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Technology is murdering customer service - legally

Tom 38
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Re: nine times out of 10, it’s explicitly meant to keep you from talking to a human being

"Toll free" support lines are the worst in the UK. Although you are not paying for the call, they can put you on hold for as long as they like. If they use a cost sharing number, like 0845, 0330 (or whatever variant BT are using these days to confuse us about the actual cost), then they aren't allowed to keep you on hold for extended periods.

So BT is 0800, ring them up and they don't care if it takes 30+ minutes. Thames Water are 0845, you get through to a human within 1 minute of ringing.

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Tom 38
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Re: BT

I found it crazy that they have no ticketing system, and everything seems to run on the concept of "managed insanity", where most things are sort of working and people will make enough fuss if they aren't.

I'm used to when you have a problem with an isp, you raise a ticket "I've got no service", someone takes that ticket and progresses it until you do have service. With BT, you have to ring them up and fight through the system to get through to the right team, having done so there is no guarantee they can fix it (they are just the team you need to speak to to fix things, they don't actually fix things), and you can't ring them back directly.

Actually, you can "email them" (which means "fill in a contact us form on the website"), they aim to respond within 10 working days..

Technology can be used to aid or hinder CS, BT use it to hinder it, to discourage you from calling in, but other companies (Be CS were excellent) use it in a positive way. One line of 1st line support, dealing with customers, fixing simple things, dealing with account management. If they can't deal with it, they make a ticket and hand it off to 2nd line support. 2nd line either contact you directly with the fix, or pass it off to an engineer to do proper support. The whole process simplifies everything down, less people on phone calls waiting for the "right team" to become available.

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Tom 38
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I'm currently in the phone tree of hell that is BT. BT seem to have determined that customer support is a cost, and they must minimise that cost. Only certain teams can deal with certain things, but you can't ring any of those teams, you must make a computer understand what you want (it won't), and then the computer will put you through to one of those teams.

I'm sorry, put you through to the queue for one of those teams.

So 3 minutes of automated machine, then 15 minutes of holding, and you've got through to a human - result! This person can take all the details of your case and sort it out, surely?

Nope. This is the broadband team. You need bt infinity support team. Let me transfer you over. The first drone puts you on hold, and then rings through to the right team. I'm sorry, rings through to the queue for the right team. You are then on hold, whilst a BT drone is also on hold waiting with you.

15 minutes more holding, then you are finally there, right? Nope, they need to co-ordinate with the order management department - BT infinity support can't change order details, silly!

I had reached my limit with BT on Friday, told them to cancel my scheduled fibre phone line installation (on the basis that they promised instant BB activation - the fibre is installed and lit, they just needed to flick a switch, and that each time I call to find out why it's still not working takes 1+ hrs). My final words to the guy on Friday: "To confirm, you've cancelled all the outstanding order, the engineer install and anything related to me and BT" - "Yes" - "Thank you, good bye".

Having done all that, today's dance with BT is because they "confirmed" over the weekend to remind me of the engineer install booked... 20+ minutes so far on hold...

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Hackers attempt to BLACKMAIL plastic surgeons

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: I'm disappointed

One denist with strong german accent

If we're going to raise one of them from the dead, I think a MaggieT is more scary than a DenisT.

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Tom 38
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Re: Through its contact form?

Almost certainly we have stepped back 10 years to when their contractor initially wrote the website.

SME, "working" website, why would they maintain, update or audit it? If they do anything to it, it will be getting a designer to "freshen" the look and feel, not go through the OWASP checklist.

Personally, I think almost all businesses underestimate the importance of having in house software developers and maintaining custom software. However I might be slightly biased - as a software developer, I suppose I do have a dog in the fight...

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Reg gets sneak peek of Getac's chunky TOUGH AS NAILS 8.1-incher

Tom 38
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Re: GPS as an option?

Yes.

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GoPro's new lens: Like a GOOGLE STREETMAPS car... for your life

Tom 38
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Re: Took a couple of laps

The real question is given he seems to have so much more power than the rest of the field, how did he qualify back in 9th?

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Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: News

There are different meanings of the word secret. As used in the title, the word "secret" is an adjective, or a "describing word", it gives more information about the noun that it describes.

As used in the title, the noun it is describing is "payload". The "payload" is the secret, not the launch.

You can tell this because of the order the author put the words in. If he had written "US payload top secretly launched into space", then that would have been a dichotomy worthy of note. You can tell the difference here because "secret" has become "secretly", an "adverb" - it is now describing the verb in the sentence, "launched".

In case it is not obvious, satellites are not very secret. It is impossible to secretly launch a satellite. Once launched, it is very hard to hide a satellite - you can simply look up and see it. Therefore, it makes no sense to hide that you are launching a satellite - as soon as you do launch it, people will know that you have launched it, and can track it.

On the other hand, those observers don't know what that satellite payload does, until it does it - perhaps not even then. Is it just taking pictures, or does it have a nuke on board to drop on Kazonistan? No-one knows, IT'S A SECRET.

2/10 Must Do Better

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Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes

Tom 38
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Re: No Video on LTE, Please

LTE on my phone is unmetered - try a better contract?

Too many sites are running autoplay video ads now, and that needs to be outlawed.

Yes! That is just what the internet needs, more laws on what people are allowed to do with their computers when other people's computers connect to them and ask them for information.

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'Monstrous' Apple kicked us off iAd, claimed we are its RIVAL – Brit music upstart

Tom 38
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<<-- Cynic

Step 1: Create streaming music service just like all the others

Step 2: Keep putting ads on iAd that Apple might dislike

Step 3: Get banned from iAd

Step 4: Call all the world's press

You'll notice that their app is not banned, just their advertising. Perhaps they discovered a way to increase their advertising penetration whilst decreasing their spend....

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Lycamobile launches 'unlimited' 4G for £12 a month. Great. Now where can I get a signal?

Tom 38
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Re: 25GB is not bad, IMO

Well, three have gone from "unlimited data, unlimited tethering" plans to "unlimited (well, 25GB but that's close to unlimited, right?) data, unlimited tethering (as long as you limit yourself to 2 GB or less, we won't limit you! Unlimited!)".

It's still pretty good, but not that great..

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USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan

Tom 38
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nice if there was an attribute you could set on an IP datagram that would control the region of the packet, and would only allow the packet to be forwarded to hosts in that same region, otherwise dropped

Yeah right, if that had existed at the start of the internet-era, ISPs totally wouldn't have been only selling geo-limited accounts.

"Oh no sonny, no transatlantic pipes for you, get back on your local internet with our local services."

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Why ever leave home? Amazon wants to turn your kitchen into a shop

Tom 38
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WTF?

Re: @Eddy

It's a good question, but the answer is, depressingly, simple.

830 words in 10 paragraphs simple?

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Tom 38
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Re: What foods have a barcode?

Eggs can have barcodes, although more commonly just a "best before" date - it's hard to retrain the chickens to draw the straight lines.

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Titanfall pits man against machine, Kiefer Sutherland Snakes into Metal Gear Solid V

Tom 38
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Re: Single player is onanism

I like atmosphere, suspense and immersion as much as the next person, I just prefer it to be provided by real people rather than a machine's script, and I don't play a game so I can get to the next cut-scene.

And yes, I expect that any game I play will require skill, and that playing the game should increase my skill at it, and thus my enjoyment.

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Tom 38
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Single player is onanism

I only play multiplayer games these days. Single player is just playing with yourself for your own pleasure, except you never orgasm.

Take Starcraft 2 (I did). Playing against a machine is nowhere near the skill level to play against a human.

If you just play against the machine, you get lazy and slow, because you can be lazy and slow and still beat the machine - you never get better. Play against other people, and they will destroy you - because you are lazy and slow from playing against the machine. You will get better, but only from more playing.

And it is more fun - infinite varieties of fun, not just "oh this level again, I know where the AI is set up, where their weak spot is, and I've got 5 minutes before the map triggers them to even come my way".

Humans are sneakier, more competent and more surprising than a machine, and it's much more fun to play one than an AI.

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Tamil Nadu's XP migration plan: Go Linux like a BOSS

Tom 38
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Re: Hooray

@JDX: Looks like they also have no problem skipping multiple versions of Windows - Vista, 7, and now 8. Guess they'll probably skip 9 too?

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Intel's DIY MinnowBoard goes Max: More oomph for half the price

Tom 38
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Re: "enough grunt to take on tasks that would leave the Pi panting in exhaustion"

Invalid comparison. You are comparing a general purpose CPU decoding H264 against a chip designed to decode 1080p H264 content.

It's even more invalid if you take in to account that the minnowboard itself has dedicated hardware for H264 decoding (via VAAPI; your EeePC does not).

If you did a true CPU comparison, for instance, how many PPS can this shift, or IPSEC tunnel throughput, you would find that this is vastly more powerful than the RPi. RPi is a very cool and inexpensive piece of kit that can be used for a lot of things, but some things it cannot, and you might want a slightly more beefy CPU.

For instance, this thread is about using RPi as a router and it's limitations. RPi has no GigE port, and acting as a NAT router, can't even fill it's 100Mbit FE.

This minnowboard has a gigabit port - the Atom CPU probably wont hit 1.2 Mpps but it will get a damn sight closer than a RPi. It's also significantly cheaper than an equivalent high end router board like a Soekris 6501-70, which is ~$450, although that does come with a slightly higher spec Atom CPU and multiple GigE ports.

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Titanfall, shoot-'em-up gamers, cloudy contracts and cattle

Tom 38
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Re: Thoughts

It largely depends upon the game engine and how it's lag compensation works. In very simple games like the original counterstrike (and, to a lesser extent, source), then someone with a 10ms ping vs someone with a 90ms ping will have *vastly* better game play and the ephemeral "reg" - when you have your crosshairs over someones face and press fire, does the game register a hit or say "sorry, try again".

In games like this, ping is crucial.

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Judge rules Baidu political censorship was an editorial right

Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: World Police?

What a load of bollocks, it has nothing to do with trade agreements.

They are suing Baidu, who are a US registered company listed on NASDAQ and regulated by the SEC, based upon the search results they offer to US users.

This is why the US court has jurisdiction, not some "interference in the ability of American companies to compete in the Chinese market".

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Sick of walking into things while gawping at your iPhone? Apple has a patent app. for that

Tom 38
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Mushroom

Is there an app to speed up those morons who think they can walk and use their phone at the same time, but actually walk slower than an old fat lady with a shopping trolley.

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BT finally admits its Home Hub router scuppers some VPN connections

Tom 38
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Re: Comedy gold

Why fixate on fixed line? Because of the USO, which propagates the monopoly position.

BT didn't invest in that area, the tax-payer did.

Another example, I just moved to a new house. The new house is pre-wired with BT infinity. In order to move my phone service and internet there I had to fight through the BT infinity sales team. BT use their USO to force me to at least discuss (repeatedly) that, no, I don't want your internet, thank you very much, just the phone line. Yes I'm sure. Please stop talking about BT Sport.

PS: In the area I linked to, you're lucky to get 2G service. There is BT, or there is nothing.

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Tom 38
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Re: Comedy gold

Downvote all you like, but you are plain wrong. In most areas, they have an absolute monopoly on fixed telephone lines which is why Ofcom can butt in on pricing access to poles and ducting.

Take this market. Monopoly? Yep.

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Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: Comedy gold

You misunderstood which bit was "comedy gold" in "one time state monopoly" - it wasn't the "state monopoly" bit.

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ECCENTRIC, PINK DWARF dubbed 'Biden' by saucy astronomers

Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: I'm disappointed

Pluto is a "dwarf planet". This is a "dwarf planet". Eliding context fail.

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Tom 38
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Thumb Up

Re: What else is out there ?

But they do transition the heliopause each orbit - which is super cool.

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Windows 8 BREAKS ITSELF after system restores

Tom 38
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Re: Is Windows 8 fundamentally broken?

The standard problem with this is that intuitive isn't a tick-box property. Linux is intuitive for a UNIX user; SQL Studio is intuitive for a Windows user. Nothing is intuitive out of the box, as everything relates to previous experiences.

What utter crap. UI/UX design and A/B testing has clearly demonstrated in a scientific manner that there are simple UI idioms that *do* make a user interface intuitive - particularly a well known WIMP system.

MS completely changed that interface in an effort to "win" touch. Ubuntu did the same thing with Unity, GNOME with GNOME 3, both for the same reason and both with the same result. All three continue to make efforts to reduce the differences with each point release.

Sure, anyone can learn to adapt, however why should we when we can continue to use the same interfaces we are comfortable and efficient with?

iOS (and most Android for that matter) is not intuitive because it is "cool to learn", but because it is impossible not to work out what to do. I've never had to show anyone how to do anything on a tablet, not one "family support" call, and yet they all have them. Windows Vista, Windows 8, those I get plenty of calls..

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Facebook taps up NASA boffins to launch drone fleet, laser comms lab

Tom 38
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Joke

Zuckerberg's main problem

Eleventy billion dollars in the bank, but all the hollowed out volcanoes have already been snapped up.

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FINALLY Microsoft releases Office for iPad – but wait there's a CATCH

Tom 38
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Re: 5 people editing one document simultaneously

It's actually extremely useful on corporate google docs, I don't know about Office.

You can configure "viewers" and "editors" so only approved people can change it.

Each user sees where the other users cursor/selected cell, so you don't really get conflicts.

There is only one version of the document in existence, so it doesn't accidentally get wiped out when Bob from accounts finally completes his section and puts it on the share.

You can chat to the other people viewing the doc, and they can see your cursor/position to see what you are talking about.

You can (just about) use it as a poor man's Trello.

However, the most commonly used example in our org is:

"Hi everyone. Can you fill in your row in this spreadsheet with your home working details over the xmas/easter/etc period please"

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Dear Reg: What is a 'Lag' and a 'Jacksey'?

Tom 38
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Joke

Careful Lester

If the delightful lady who penned this missive reads this article, I'm afraid you have just trolled her and are now eligible for a 2 year sentence the next time you visit these shores from lovely Spain.

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Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

Tom 38
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It definitely doesn't compare to £1800 worth of separates - in fact I doubt it compares to £500 of separates.

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Ray-Ban to produce Google Glass data-goggs: Cool - or Tool?

Tom 38
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Google aren't in the hardware business? Who do you think owns Motorola?

Lenovo?

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MPs blast HMRC for using anti-terrorism laws against whistleblower

Tom 38
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Re: We want action

Margaret Hodge shocked?

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'Arrogant' Snowden putting lives at risk, says NSA's deputy spyboss

Tom 38
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Re: NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett: Go To Jail. Go Directly To Jail…

On the contrary... a great many people, myself included, are saying loudly and plainly: "Disband the spies, police and military, and by all means, bring on the terrorists!"

And then voting Democrat or Republican.

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ICO decides against probe of Santander email spam scammers

Tom 38
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..deluged with Trojans..

The capitalisation of 'Trojan' gives mind to America's #1 brand rather than the malware.

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ISPs failing 13m Brits on broadband speed, claims consumer group

Tom 38
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Re: GigE over Coax

Yes, 1000baseT is rated for a maximum cable length of 100m.

I'm moving house next week, in to a block served by hyperoptic, they run fibre to each block and then 1000baseT from the central point to each flat.

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Microsoft frisked blogger's Hotmail inbox, IM chat to hunt Windows 8 leaker, court told

Tom 38
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Re: So many WTFs!

world police how? He was arrested in Seattle for a crime against an American company. Not sure what you are getting at.

He didn't commit the crimes in America. They are charging him in America. They are American crimes because the company is American. Hence, TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE - someone does something wrong somewhere else in the world, America involves itself.

Missing from the story is how someone who works in Russia and Lebanon ended up arrested in Washington without extradition. Presumably MS asked him to fly over for a chat...

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Tom 38
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WTF?

So many WTFs!

Confidential data allegedly uploaded by Kibkalo to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account…

…emails sent from a mail.ru account to a Hotmail address maintained by the blogger. The two allegedly chatted about the illicit exchange of information using MSN chat.

How not to leak from your employer.

Russian national Alex Kibkalo was arrested yesterday and ordered held without bail

Kibkalo, who worked for the software giant in Lebanon and Russia

Kibkalo, who was based in Lebanon at the time of the alleged leak

The case is filed as US v. Kibkalo in the US District Court, Western District of Washington.

TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE

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Shuttleworth: Firmware is the universal Trojan

Tom 38
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Re: Wow

The suggestion is not that hardware manufacturers absolve themselves of the responsibility to write their own firmware by calling in the "amateurs". They're free to do that, of course, if they want to see their sales plummet.

The idea is that after writing their own craptastic drivers that they then publish the code. This lets competent people look for security holes, and allows the amateurs to fix or re-write the code.

It also allows other competent people to look at what commodity chips the hardware manufacturer has put onto the breadboard and produce a knock-off for virtually no investment.

It also provides insight into any proprietary algorithms you use, eg wifi firmware frequently has (had?) proprietary rate algorithms, and nVidia and ATI keep the very proprietary bits of their drivers in their firmware.

Shuttleworth doesn't care about any of that though, since he is an ideologue and this gets in the way of his faith. Yes, it would be fucking awesome if we had at those bits and pieces, but it would suck balls if it meant that hardware was either more expensive, less readily available or not developed.

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Tom 38
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Re: Trade secrets

AMD have been publishing hardware specs for years. Nvidia started more recently - because it was to their advantage.

Bad example I think - AMD started publishing hardware specs for their graphics cards after they separated out the proprietary bits into loadable firmware modules that you load and run on the card. The firmware then provides the "hardware interface" that is described in the specs - this is what Shuttleworth wants to remove.

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Previously stable Greenland glaciers now rushing to the sea

Tom 38
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Re: Models

strum, science is a model constructed from scientific hypotheses. What is the difference between climate change hypotheses and scientific hypotheses? A scientific hypothesis can be tested.

Climate science produces models that describe what happened in the past in order to generate current measurements. The model takes historical data, and churns out the right number for today - hurrah!

We then look at the future predictions of that model and turn it into policy and taxes, but at no point is that model tested - it fits the old data, and it is right now, and that is good enough seemingly for most people.

It also seems that when you have new historical data that then doesn't fit the existing model, or changes the model forecast, then the implication is that the model is wrong, and it is tweaked until it gives the forecasts that are desired.

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GitHub probes worker's claims of hostile, sexist office culture

Tom 38
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Re: Code ripped from projects

There shouldn't be comments at the top of a file declaring ownership because you should not "own" the code you write, it leads to terrible confrontations when someone refactors or otherwise rewrites "your" code in a way "you" don't like. Oh snap.

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Takeaway order spewer Just Eat plans to raise £100 MEEELLION in IPO

Tom 38
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Re: Unbelievably expensive

That's what fridges, freezers, and store cupboards are for: you stock up in advance, then cook as and when you see fit.

What if you don't live in SmugGitopia?

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Tom 38
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Re: Unbelievably expensive

Do you only get hungry when your convenience stores are open? Never been hungry after 5pm on a Sunday?

Plus, you aren't taking in to account that all the time that you are walking to the convenience store, shopping, walking home, making the dough, making the sauce and so on, I can be sitting on my arse watching TV.

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Google's Drive SLASH, secret 'big upgrade': Coincidence? HARDLY

Tom 38
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FAIL

You can still pick up a decent 1TB drive for about 60 dollars, working out to the low price of $5 a month over a year versus Google's $9.99.

This is why you are a journalist and not an engineer or an accountant. Your drive costs you $5 a month, but you have not taken in to account the costs of the server to put it in, the electricity to power it, and the network connection to make it accessible. You would also normally buy hard drives that last a bit longer than a year, so running the depreciation over one year seems unnecessary.

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Tom 38
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Re: De-Dupe on a gloibal scale

They might run dedupe on specific datasets, but the example you gave - uploading audio to the Play Music service - definitely would not use dedupe, it performs psychoacoustic fingerprinting to the file, and only uploads if it does not already have a match for it.

Dedupe is insanely expensive computationally, you need a really good dataset for it to be useful.

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Web inventor Berners-Lee: I so did NOT see this cat vid thing coming

Tom 38
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Re: Que?

Which bit of that was the joke?

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