218 posts • joined 22 Jul 2009
Re: Happy with Plusnet
Yes, similarly a long standing customer here. I did get concerned a while back when they mucked around with my domain and actually removed my MX records, then claimed they didn't do it, then claimed that the original MX records caused unspecified problems for their systems, and admitted fiddling with them. The overall response was the first really poor bit of service I've had from them, and I was so rattled I moved my domain management elsewhere.
Having said that, the boot is occasionally on the other foot. Our connection was increasingly flaky, an after a cursory local check, I contacted them to find out what was going on. "Looks OK from here. Have you checked your connections?" was the techie's opening. Of course I got all high handed, but checked again anyway and found a lump of green gunk* behind a bookcase where an ethernet extender ought to have been. Hard to convey red face on the support ticket, but I did own up.
*- and me without a Vogon poetry book either.
In other news...
...GCHQ announced a major new tap has been positioned on UK infrastructure. The operation took longer than planned and was initially bodged, but the syphon is now in place.
Can't help wondering...
...If they'll sue themselves for distributing a system that might infringe on those mythical 235 patents.
But that's not the end of the story...
And it came to pass that the lord and the peasants spake one to another and knew that they were rightly pissed off. "But this is the way Things Are," cried one, and many shook their beards in agreement. But one by name Richard cried, "We must prevent the agents of the dark from trespassing on our own grounds. We must stall them at the crossroads. Who will be a Stallman with me?" And may did join Richard ans Stalled the armies of the dark, knowing that they were not peopled by soldiery but by lawyers, who may defeated with the incantantion in hushed tones - "General Public Licence." And so the land was merry, and all were able to do their thing in peace. Even the great and the good knew that this was A Good Thing, and thus Francis, a speaking head from the land of You Kay, which many thought was a mere vassal of the You Ess, did arise and say "No further, Dot Doc, no further, Dot Eks Ell Ess. We will tame you with documents in the open formats named Odie Eff, who is our champion. But the dark did arise, and stated verily, "Cost is Saving" and "Lock-in is Freedom" and did prove this with bungs to he Right People. And now we wait to see whether the Maude, speaker of freedom, be bought and sold and us with him.
Nostalgia may not be what it used t be....
...but with cracking articles like this, it seems like it. Really well done, and thanks.
My own recollection of the time is standing in the rain in York outside some shop or other (I had in mind Dixons, but thinking about it, it was probably Rumbelows) looking at the window display and seriously wanting what looked like a very professional display, but with no chance of affording one of the machines.
...the one thing that it is hard to see altering within Microsoft any time soon is the "ecosystem" belief, effortlessly upheld by the millions of techies for whom the MS "ecosystem" is their bread and butter. It's the belief that the answer is an MS product no matter what the question and the belief that creates monopolistic outlooks (sorry...) by preventing the answer being anything else . It remains incredibly hard to run one piece of the MS product jigsaw without a load of other enabling pieces, and while this may be no bad thing in a "Microsoft shop" it's that day of assuming that the shop is a Microsoft one that is the thing that is changing. MS got to where it is by making itself into a monopoly ("naked" PC anyone?) with the one exception of XBox, That proves they can change, but unless the new CEO gets his head around that, and the moneypeople allow him the opportunity to change with its associated risk, they'll sadly be as also-ran as Borland, Novell, Lotus et al.
What exactly does "email flows" mean? Is that 69.6% by traffic or by numbers of emails, for example? It must be an inexperienced sysadmin who accepts all email then tries to sort the spam from the ham, rather than concentrating on stopping the spam as soon as possible. Still, I don't suppose accurate details reduces the fear factor for selling some silver bullet.
I have never know Bruce Schneier to be downhearted about the issues of digital life, but his recent article - http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/01/how-the-nsa-threatens-national-security/282822/ - needs to be read alongside any suc proclamations from Obama or anyone else. In particular, Schneier notes the routine lying by the security establishment. Any of the background provided by Obama is a nonsense, as the drive and reasoning of the security establishment is not in line with what the public expects.
But at least in the US there is a discussion going on. Here, both GCHQ and the little twerp Hague simply respond to the latest revelation of GCHQ excess that they operate "within the law," with the expectation that that's the end of the discussion.
What I think is needed, at least I need this, is some idea of the real reasons for the establishment wrapping themselves in this paranoia. It really is an unreasoned position to be in.
Re: @SVV Sounds like a brilliant move
"CentOS & Scientific Linux take RHEL's published source files & recompile them."
It surprises me that CentOS seems less popular than Scientific Linux, given the issues CentOS had a while go with slow security updates etc, while SL remained well bankrolled by CERN and Fermi Labs (I think.)
But excellent news that RH have taken this step, understanding where their money comes from and not feeling the need, like The Cat in Red Dwarf, to touch thinkgs then claim "It's mine!" Refreshing.
Good in parts
It was always with hope that we heard that Schneier had joined BT, to provide some clue to them about the issues on which he is expert, but a slim hope, given BT's reputation in IT circles. It says much for him that he remained a reliable source of security thought in the years since 2006 (golly - that long ago) in spite of the BT taint.
Tux - 'cos maybe now he can ditch windows
Re: Which one ? Windows 8 with luck
"Why are consumers forced to pay the Windoze tax in 2013?"
Must agree. I recently bought a Lenovo, and found that the same machine was available in Germany, Austria etc, but bundled with FreeDOS, significantly cheaper than I could buy it in the UK, where the model was only available with WIndows 8. As I installed a Linux distro as soon as it was unboxed, it's reasonable to feel agrieved at this, not only for no choic,e but mainly for the UK being a patsy in this way.
Re: Hang on a gosh darned minute...
"'pacman -S postfix dovecot roundcubemail'..."
Quite - I was htinking of Citadel, which would do it all. Inevitable that there'd be piranhas snapping around the Pi's appeal, though. Hopefully the fact that the Pi encourages people to learn for themselves will lead Pi owners to finding out that it's all there for them already.
Just let it go, Luke...
but why can
movie studios not
come up with anything
original these days rather
than flogging to death and while
they ate about itm ruining memories
of the tme and place we saw the originals
(fill in the other half - the best I can do with text only.)
Re: Won't somebody think of the children?
"Do you really think we'll get anywhere near a reasonable debate in this country?"
I tried watching a bit of the committee "grilling" which seemd more like a staged Q&A and the more I watched the more angry and frustrated I became. Whenever anything contentious s mentioned the old "we're complying with the law" chestnnust ends the discussion. No challenge to the open fact that the concept of citizens' privacy has been ended apparently for our own good, because they've detected 10, or 50, or 100, or 1000 "terrorist plots". And no challenge to get them to prove that wholesale data infiltration had anything to do with the alleged detection. Honestly, it's pure theatre.
“I think my phone has been modified by GCHQ enough that it'd [bugging] be difficult, but I'm sure the Chinese have had a good go," said Hague, after checking to make sure that he'd picked on the right latest enemy
I believe the database is known as PostgreSQL.
But apart from that, yes, we, who can do these things for ourselves, should do these things for ourselves. if for no other reason that active doing is more enlivening, whie passive consumption is deadening. Add in the "security over-reach" (latest euphemism (tm)) aspects and its more important than ever.
A pity that the EFF's FreedomBox project seems to be slow or now non-existent.
And one more thought - with the possibility of free hosting of Raspberry Pi - http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/raspberry-strudel-my-raspberry-pi-austria - issues like what a sevrice provider will allow you to do should be a thing of the past.
Indecision between Tux and Beer - Beer wins, home brewed, of course.
Re: TLS in SMTP
"So at the end of the day, how do you build the web of trust - same problem that stymied pgp."
All tue - but I can't help feeling that the lack of comprehensive solution to this issue should not stop us from trying everything we can, even if relatively ineffective, to promote non-coperation with surveillance activity.
TLS in SMTP
I'm wondering if we started requiring TLS on SMTP servers whether it would be a step in the right direction. That should ensure server-to-server, if not end-to-end, encyption, and make the metadata rather safer, should it not? Not a complete solution, but then neither is this proposal, and it may shake up the cosy certificate supply chain at the same time. I run self-signed certs on my servers, which are used in TLS exchanges but aren't ideal....
Sorry - I'm just wondering aloud what steps I can take, after thinking that Dark Mail is to be welcomed, even if it doesn't fully achieve its aims, to do something active to show that, as Schultz said in comment number 1, "To restrict the freedom of all for a small incremental 'common good' is not reasonable"
"Wish I'd done a social science degree being honest."
I've just finished an Honours BA in Cultural Studies, a broad degree that included a number of disciplines. I really wish I'd had been abe to bring the ideas and underpinning gained in the degree into my IT career, especially the philosophical ideas from history that would really have helped me to position technology in life more accurately than technology likes to see itself. Like others, IT has been good to me, but like others, my IT ability grew organically rather than being studied for, and maybe that's the difference. But I don't think I would enjoy IT if it was too much of a specialism either.
Tux, 'cos I'm grateful to him too.
Re: "Who remembers netbooks?"
"I do. You could actually work on them."
Quite - and ironic that far from being an MS idea, MS did everything ti could to kill them as they turned out to be most usable with a Linux distro on them rather than an MS OS.
I still have an Asus 701, (and a continulng mental image of That Picture), now running Wheezy, and it plays video via smplayer fanatstically well, displays my email and allows me to browse. Two friends have Asusi (Asuses?) of later vintage still running happily on Xubuntu and still can't believe how productive they remain. But with a monopolist demand for MS on them, they were best (from MS point of view) killed.
If this review is correct, that this type of thing is ideal for limited productivity requirments (Office, Skype & Twitter) then three things spring to mind:-
- That seems a lot of money for those purposes
- Exactly what does Microkia bring to the party to deserve that price
- Shuttleworth's idea of a docked phone for the same productivity-style requirements looks quite far sighted,
But it seems an awfully risky proposition
Re: News from the trenches
"so why should I sub your lifestyle choices?"
Huh? Not sure how you made that mental leap, but may I suggest, that (a) you get out more, and (b) study a little of exactly what civil society entails. Mostly get out more.
Re: News from the trenches
"Why not put together a DIY solution?"
We're looking at that, in conjunction with the next parish along, but there is still this thing called backhaul, and if there is ANY ADSL service, a DIY option is effectively a competing one, which muddies the water a bit.
News from the trenches
We have some things here in the northwest Highlands in excess, like military planes buzzing us at extremely low altitude, occasional Minch-fulls of warships (http://www.shipais.com/currentmap.php?map=Minch) like recently, when they also fiddle with local GPS signals and so on. But there is no doubt that BT, having been made the only game in town by the cosy relationships in London, have to be pushed to do anything positive too. At the moment, we have a good solid "up to 8MB" service, and while BT got the bung to install a loop of fibre around the northern coast, they are apparently choosing to make it just that - a loop, with no local access in the north west to the fibre that will be running less than 10 miles from us. Both my wife and I are dependant on internet connections to make a living. So I hope that the political use of "95%" coverage doesn't just mean the central belt and Inverness.
Re: Rejected for acting under duress?
" is the EFF really attacking the right people here?"
Doesn't sound to me like an attack on the corporates, just stating the facts that we now know. If anything, it's increasing the pressure not just to let the comfy status quo lie, and could actually help the corporates in their own battles, if they're genuine.
It worries me that discussions of security over-reach often morph into assigning blame on others than the establishment, probably because we feel so unable to reign then in; they've successfully disempowered us.
"His school raised $21,500..."
Well may I add a raised elbow to that. Great career in tech ahead with such an understanding of the drink.
Truth from 1957
I was watching Quatermass 2 last night, which the Beeb re-ran a little while ago. About 23 mins in, Quatermass, talking to the police chief, says "Secret? You put a label like that on anything and law and order goes out of the window." If that was a sentiment in 1957, why are we such slow learners?
Nothing magical about next year
It's only the referendum that will be held next year. In the event of a Yes vote, the negotiations on how Scotland will implement its withdrawal from the UK will begin, and its likely, according to the pro-independence groups, that the first priority will be discussions on a constitution. What is unlikely is that rUK will claim the ball is theirs and immediately stop Scottish access to current UK systems, so there will be time for an orderly transition.
Regarding replicating GCHQ, I spoke to my MSP about this, mainly concerned about the excesses we now know the unmanaged GCHQ indulges in, and his response was that we would need such functions in keeping with Scotland's requirements,. with the implication that Scotland was not that interested in starting wars around the world and may not need the same levels of paranoia. Interesting that this article somehow accepts a "need" for GCHQ to act in the way we now know it does and assumes this is for teh best...
Re the anonymous comment above about data centre space, in my experience (a few years out of date) I do not believe any shortage to be true; in fact, just a little while ago, there was quite a severe excess in capacity and it was a buyers' market, but in the context of government spending that's unlikely to be an issue.
The article raises an interesting aspect of the independence debate, but the political and social landscape in Scotland is increasingly differentiated in comparison with the rest of the UK, and it is inevitable that many things would be managed differently in the aftermath of a yes vote.
No change - BT pathologially does the wrong thing
Over an horrific number of years of having to deal with BT in various guises, the only thing that keeps you sane is that from time to time some really helpful engineers are allowed to talk to the customer. Almost uniformly, from non-engineering types, there is a sense of corporate condescension from them. My experience has not been isolated cases, but in various companies in various places throughout the UK. So I learnt my lesson. At one place, where I had no alternative to BT, I even paid a third party to manage the BT account, as life can become Kafka-esque when dealing with them.
And they're like any big corporate. They have their spinners, in this case the alleged senior managers in charge of "customer experience", but these, you will soon find, will come back to say their hands are tied because "policy" or some such corporate excuse prevents them from making any improvements.
I always thought they know their arrogance gets customers backs up, which is why they're constantly trying to lock you into long term contacts. If they wanted to compete on customer service, they'd trust their customers to want to stay with them rather than being handcuffed.
Honestly, for your own peace of mind, choose anyone else and migrate as soon as you can.
Not "sick Brits"
Scotland's NHS does not fall under Hunt's remit.
...with a wise man. That last paragraph is wonderful.
Well done El Reg, and dank u wel, Mnr Ottens
Security not the issue - government over-reach is.
The issue is that the UK used a flimsy pretext and a total lack of moral authority to arrest and detain someone for reasons that are utterly unclear but cannot reasonably be thought to be in the "national interest." That excuse, as was shown in Parliament on Thursday, is now viewed with extreme scepticism, as is the immediate compliance with US military/security establishment demands. Stories from gov sources changing the agenda should be seen as such.
The BBC site implies the real reason - https://twitter.com/36Sto58N/status/370908566707658752/photo/1
For those who can't be bothered, the next news item says ""Seized pet monkey returned to owners."
Re: Sod this...
I think many feel the same, PJ of Groklaw being the most prominent example. The worst is that these powerful people have demonstrated repeatedly that they;re also inept. But this is an technology website, and we should be able to reclaim the internet, as it, believe it or not, existed before corporates lured us with their services, by offering "free" services that we now know we pay for in other ways far more disturbing than handing over money.
But we can do something. We can distribute email, like nature intended, by running our own servers, an increasing easy thing to do and staggeringly cheap, with the Raspberry Pi, designed to help us take back control. We can turn on tls to make things harder for eavesdropping - not secure, but just that bit harder.
We can use browsers that respect our choices, use add-ons like disconnectme, https-everywhere, noscript.
We can install software we have greater reason to trust, like Cyanogenmod, choose a bit of diversity among OS choices, and so on.
Yes, to do all this, we'd need to lift a finger, and all we will be doing is preventing easy or trivial access to our expectation of privacy, but we also take action to make it clear that it is privacy that we expect.
So I'm beginning to think that the worst thing to do is to do nothing, and go on feeding the systems that make these unacceptable excesses possible. May I suggest that rather than just going dark, you continue to use and enjoy the opportunities for good the Internet offers, while taking easy steps to keep yourself informed and keeping it more difficult for your enjoyment of the net to be subverted.
Job half done
Interesting how many commentards, and implications in the article, assume that state-sponsored spooks have some magic secret sauce with which they can compromise systems apparently at will. They can't, hence, as has been pointed out, they arm themselves with laws that force you to hand over information they want. Don't do their job for them by creating a mystique around their capability. These are just computer and data systems we're discussing, not some alchemical incantation to which only they are initiated. Yes, the spooks may be just as capable as any other person wishing to crack a system, but the threat at a system level is not somehow heightened just because of the term "state".
We're on the opposite coast, where we are so rural we actually go to Tain, the location of this report, for our monthly shop, as it's a metropolis on comparison. I must agree with Dr U Mour's comment, and the ideal is to get BT to get their monopoly into gear and deliver service. Where we are, some of us have a reasonable service, although with no likelihood of better speeds as they become available, while some folk have little or no service at all. I can understand the frustration that leads to the solution in the report, but we're starting to have to deliver a lot of services ourselves (elderly services, local transport, and more to come) while still being expected to pay all the various pipers with their snouts in the trough. £50 for Ofcom's blessing when they should be using their position to get BT to perform?
"Asks retailers to stop sales"
Ah, the standard British State method of compliance. "Be a pity if something happened to that Macbook Pro. Better just have a go yourself with the angle grinder." "Be a pity if you were stopped for 9 hours every time you went through an airport. Better just stop writing about things we don't want discussed."
And now "Well, as we see it , everyone's a potential criminal, so it's just a matter of time before everyone spends time inside. As we don't allow phones inside, maybe best to stop their distribution them outside too."
Where would we be without such thoughtful plods making up policy as they go?
Re: >>You're assuming the people from GCHQ are in some way competent
"I suspect if you go head to head with GCHQ you'll find out they're perfectly competent, "
...But I applaud taking every opportunity verbally to emasculate their expensive, unjustified and unmanaged activities, as well as those of the political classes (ie, all of them) who wash their hands of these excesses rather than doing the job of overseeing them as we expect them to be doing.
If that means assuming GCHQ doughnut smells of wee that's just fine.
"Wait, don't ditch that IT career just yet"
Submitting to their appetite for data
Surely the issue is not the absolute unbreakableness of any given message, which few would expect ever to be possible. Rather, it's to ensure a reasonable level of non-snooping. RIPA etc can already legally compel us to hand over the keys to decrypt any given message, but does not (yet) say that you are not allowed to send encrypted data in case the snoopers want to index your traffic. In other words, if the snoops are interested in something, they can ask ^H^H demand it, so why simply roll over and say, "oh well, you really want all my data so here it is." Sod 'em. We should be making it as difficult and expensive as possible for these rabid snoops to do this morally reprehensible routine and blanket surveillance.
Re: Was the latest al-Queda threat real?
Meanwhile even the usually compliant BBC this morning noted that Yemen was subject to more than one drone missile strike per week, sometime killing whole families, let alone the frequent "errors" in targeting. I still fail to understand how a missile suddenly tearing a house apart isn't terrorism while, I don't know - being the wrong colour on a London train station is.
What's not to love?
Complete with a picture of a Land Rover on that site - right hand drive, and under the section "Beautiful design" these people clearly have a sense of style. Not sure what these dollar things they want us to pay with but let's assume they're open to some negotiation.
Mass (or is it weight) of air
According to the WView weather software I'm running, the air currently weighs 1.171 kg/m^3
Beer, for Astro Luca's fantastic twitter pics from the ISS
Re: No real surprise ...
I think you're right, but the tail is a long one. Look at the two AC comments earlier, spewing the marketing speak of "integrated stack" in an age when interoperability is key and when commoditisation has left integration as an obvious aspect. The trouble is that many still think like the AC. I speak as one with experience of a company where "best of breed plus interoperation" was the key strategy for systems choice, but when one section of the beancounters wanted to install MS Dynamics (which they bought as a perfectly good product, but "integrated" it out of its skull) but that Dynamics installation then started requiring Active Directory, then Sharepoint, the Exchange etc, all of which it expected to be company wide. Their products can't compete on their own. We know this and call it lock-in, and we now fight it. But many don't stop to think that the term "integrated" is an ideal term for marketing as it really has little meaning, or rather, it's got negotiated meaning.
I once had a book on diving...
...that had a section on sharks. (paraphrasing) "Sharks don't bother me," the writer said, "because they can't see me in the brown cloud that forms when I see them."
Tux. 'cos I always run to him when frightened.
Restarting the grid
It's a while since I was at Cruachan, but they mentioned that it was one of a handful of facilities that are able to restart the national grid if there was failure. I suppose that increases its risk factor as a potential target.
Brilliant blog post
Luca Parmitano's tweets are fantastic and his recent blog post abou the first eva was superb. Apparently all done in his off time too. Hope they find the problem and they complete the eva soon.
TheVogon - stick to poetry.
Re: Spying on innocent members of the public is like beating your wife
Yes this is exactly the point - we all (mostly) live our lives governed by some moral compass that limits the negative aspects of our interaction with our fellow human beings, and expect the same from others. The spying that has been revealed recently goes well beyond any expectation of reasonableness and it is the scale that appears to be without justification, done simply as an exercise in technological extremism - we do it because we can.
What is particularly interesting about many comments here and elsewhere is how folk settle on half-jokes as the only possible response. When members of democracies are that unempowered, things have gone too far, and at the moment we are unable to see control to these activities governed by that moral compass we expect. These wholesale activities MUST stop and the excuse of national interest must no longer be accepted.
Tux, cos I think I can trust him with anything but fish
Watchdog? You mean watch-hamster, don't you?
- The land of Milk and Sammy: Free music app touted by Samsung
- The long war on 'DRAM price fixing' is over: Claim YOUR spoils now (It's worth a few beers)
- Privacy warriors lob sueball at Facebook buyout of WhatsApp
- 20 Freescale staff on vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
- Dell thuds down low-cost lap workstation for
cheapfrugal creatives or engineers