* Posts by paulf

712 posts • joined 25 Aug 2009

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UK National Lottery data breach: Fingers crossed – it might not be you

paulf
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Re: No card data? think again

I call BS on Camelot on this one. They must store all the card data they're allowed to because it's possible to register a card for all future deposit/withdrawals of money to/from a NL account. They have all the details except the CVC (I think PCI DSS forbids them from storing this in any way) so they just ask the amount and the CVC then process the transaction.

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paulf
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Alert

@ cmannett85 "Use a bloody password manager!"

This is the core of the problem, only emphasised by this FTA, "Ollie Whitehouse, technical director at NCC Group, added: “This latest hack is yet another example of why people should use different and strong passwords for all online accounts due to the lack of transparency with regards to how they are held."

Every site expects people to register before they can use it (it's unusual to find a website that allows express checkout without registering as that would stop their data harvesting impair the user experience), you're expected to use a completely different password for each site, and every password must contain a capital, a lower case, the number you first thought of, a punctuation, an emoji, and what you did last summer. People are looking at 50-100 passwords just for the regularly used parts of their online time (possibly much more) all of which are near impossible to remember so is it any wonder they pick one "strong" password (as determined by the misguided password policy on the most cantankerous site they use) and reuse it elsewhere. It may help using a different email address for each site but that is a lot to manage for many people and strays into security/obscurity territory.

Password managers are helpful and I believe most of the major browsers offer some kind of "remember my password" functionality (Safari, Firefox, IE, not sure about others) but one breach on the password manager exposes the whole bloody lot. Perhaps the most secure password manager is a small notebook in a kitchen drawer?

My concern is that these kind of things push people towards third party authentication e.g. login with your Facebook account. The idea that Zuck becomes the password gatekeeper to the interwebz is just too horrific not just because it also concentrates the target into one place - crack a Facebook account and get access to everything. Facebook only keep things private if it suits them and telling them you log into Amazon, your mobile provider, your telly provider and your utility on a regular basis would be music to his wallet.

I'll leave it to someone else to dig out a link to the XKCD cartoon about passwords.

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Behold, your next billion dollar market: The humble Ethernet cable

paulf
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Coat

Re: Non-sense!

I don't know what's worse - charging $7000 for some snake oil a directional Ethernet cable, or whacking on an extra five bucks for delivery. I suppose extra for delivery makes sense since it's also directional...

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Loyalty card? Really? Why data-slurping store cards need a reboot

paulf
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Big Brother

Re: Just digging deeper here

I'd suggest it has already happened with things like Halifax Cashback Extras where your spending profile on the debit card at all merchants is used by the bank to target you with offers. For now it's opt in but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before that opt-in box is automatically ticked to borg the bloody lot of you "improve the customer experience".

I still don't see why they bother though. Nectar might only have one supermarket in it (the former Sainsbury's Reward card) but they have various other retailers so can pick up lots of data. I use mine only in JS and spend about £50/week, very occasionally spending £80 to refill the freezer, yet every week I get a voucher promising bonus points for spending more than £90. They know I almost never get anywhere close to that amount and must assume I sneak off to the other supermarket nearby to do another full shop. If they gave me a bonus for spending £60 I'd be able to use it most of the time while also subtly increasing my spend with them - i.e. it would be successful. Getting vouchers I definitely cannot use means I won't even try so it doesn't increase my loyalty which was surely the whole point in the first place.

TL;DR: Simply put after 20 years of harvesting and deep analysis of all this big data they still don't understand the data they have, and they definitely cannot put it to effective use to increase how much people spend with them (at least in my case).

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HTC and OnePlus spruce up flagships for Santa's sack

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: start all new phone aritcles

@ Ralph B "Also: 3.5mm audio socket: yes/no HTC has none, so no sale there."

FTA: "HTC re-emphasises it again here, bundling USB Type C headphones. ...So it's another phone that drops the traditional headphone jack."

This is the start of the fall out from Apple dropping the 3.5mm jack. Apple may have a relatively small market share* compared to Android in general but they get a lot of coverage, not least from the launch day queues which show how iPhones are so deeply desirable* and aspirational*. So when Apple does something quite ludicrous as dropping a de-facto standard connector (it might be old but it's not *obsolete*) they normalise this change when made to other phones. I seem to recall a Reg article years ago which noted Apple pushing the keyboard back on laptops to make wrist rest spaces either side of the trackpad would likely propagate to other manufacturers and that came to pass in various cases. Unfortunately in this case Apple's courageous shitty decision threatens to infect non iOS ecosystems. Samsung may have taken a swipe at Apple, noting their latest handset still has a 3.5mm jack, but that could change next year when the marketing narrative has moved on.

* All of these terms are very much YMMV.

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Sorry, iPhone fans – only Fandroids get Barclays' tap-to-withdraw

paulf
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Meh

Re: How is this progress?

@ Scotthva5 "You still have to physically open your wallet and wait for the cash to dispense."

TBH the phone makes things more cumbersome unless you store your phone in your wallet.

Using a bank card means you open wallet, put card in ATM, get cash, put bank card plus cash into wallet.

Using a mobe means you have to juggle wallet and phone while also keeping one eye over your shoulder at that shifty looking guy over there. It might be easy for Da Kidz to sort, but I can see it being really easy to put down your phone or wallet or cash on the ATM while trying to put everything away and forget one or more of them.

It might be a nice idea if, for some odd reason (or you just want to show off), you have phone but not wallet/cards but it sounds like more faff than it's worth.

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Reg man 0: Japanese electronic toilet 1

paulf
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Joke

Re: Here I encountered the first of many problems. The labels were entirely in Japanese.

@TRT "Gotta have Bluetooth".

Bluetooth is an absolutely necessity* so it can connect to the corresponding App (now available in the App Store and Google Play) that allows you to track how many times you visit the khazi, what you do, how much you did, how long it took, the consistency and so on. Then you can upload all the stats to our cloud servers (see the "privacy policy") and use them to play "Top Trumps" with your friends!

* This isn't entirely fantasy - TOH has a Braun electric toothbrush with Bluetooth probably for downloading a whole pile of useless brushing stats that result in some oddly contrived targeted ads. Sometimes I'm staggered beyond words.

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Emergency services 4G by 2020? And monkeys could fly out of my butt

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: Any advantages?

The claimed point is that 4G will mean the control room can send a detailed map to an ambulance crew or perhaps a building plan to plod on the ground. That is a good idea.

The bad idea is migrating the primary functionality (i.e. voice) to the 4G side of things too so it's all 4G and no TETRA. TETRA can do all kinds of funky things - not only is the range much better due to the lower frequency (around 400MHz) which can punch through buildings that GSM signals at 900MHz/1800MHz+ struggle with but it can also run the handsets back to back in the absence of a mother network. Useful in serious emergencies as this is the time when the mother network tends to go TITSUP.

The downside is TETRA is really shitty on data rates which were specified for voice only and not actual data so TETRA alone would have struggled with anything other than voice.

The ideal solution would have been to make handsets that combined rich media via 4G with TETRA for voice only but that didn't happen.

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FYI Apple fans – iCloud slurps your call histories

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: Or

@ MrDamage "You could take full responsibility of your own data, doing a nightly manual backup to systems and storage you own and control, and be prepared to lose a days worth of "data" should the phone go titsup."

I already do regular backups of the jesus mobe to my computer. There's a bit more to it than that, though. You need to sign in to iCloud for stuff like find my iPhone and the remote wipe option - that's the only reason I've signed into it. I have all the remote backup options turned off (I only do and trust local backups) thinking that would stop* the remote slurps to Apple's bit barns. They might not have outright hidden this (as noted in the article) but absent an option to explicitly turn this on/off they haven't exactly drawn attention to it either. As with these privacy cases the convenience claim is always bollocks.

* As far as a mere mortal resident in the walled garden can ascertain

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TfL to track Tube users in stations by their MAC addresses

paulf
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Big Brother

Re: switch off your Wi-Fi...

"For the privacy-conscious Londoner, the easiest way to not be tracked is to switch off your Wi-Fi."

And switch off Bluetooth while you're at it as that can be tracked too, although the shorter range makes it a bit more difficult. Switch them on when you need them, and leave them off at other times to save battery as well as avoid tracking. It's not just Tube stations, shopping centres are another that like to track "Footfall" offer free Wifi and ping you with targeted advertising into the bargain.

I use Wifi at home then turn off Wifi and stick to cellular when out and about then it's only your mobile operator and the Gubbermint that's tracking you.

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Red squirrels! Adorable, right? Wrong – they're riddled with leprosy

paulf
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Thumb Up

Re: As I once heard....

@ kyndair "DEFRA thinking always seems to follow logical fallacies such as: All rats are rodents therefore all rodents are rats."

I'd offer the Yes, Minister example of Politician logic from Sir Humphrey:

"All cats have four legs. My dog has four legs; therefore my dog is a cat".

I don't know what's more worrying - how often these dolts put forward such questionable logic or how often us in the electorate fall for it?

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Netflix flattens bug that allowed account p0wnage via voicemail

paulf
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Re: Voicefail

@ as2003 "Seems to me carriers not adequately protecting users' voicemail is the bigger problem here."

I guess these carriers, many of which have some kind of operations in the UK, have learned nothing from the various tabloid newspaper phone voicemail hacking that went on over here.

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Facebook 'fesses up to WhatsApp privacy blunder in UK

paulf
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Meh

Re: Say what you like but at least....

If she does indeed get it, and isn't just spouting the usual empty platitudes, then she needs the ability to dish out some proper punishments (i.e. permanent disqualification and jail terms for company directors instead of the usual "big fines" that just get ignored by liquidating one shell company and setting up another) and the will to pursue those in question to apply those punishments.

If that happened things would change pretty quickly - which is probably why it won't happen....

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Microsoft ends OEM sales of Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1

paulf
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Windows

Re: Now the the future is closer than ever.

@ Schlimnitz

"Ha, I'm on 2007 :) And even 2003 on another machine."

I have Office XP (2002) on my main Win 7 machine and it works perfectly well while my Mac is happy running Office 97 for Windows via Crossover.

"I did consent to ditch the disks for Word 2.0 a few years back." I still have Office 95 Pro kicking about somewhere although I don't like my chances of installing it after the way Windows 7 complained bitterly about Office 97. I seem to recall it came with Access 2.0 which couldn't run on a machine with >1GB RAM. I guess those "640kB is enough for anyone" beliefs were hard wired!

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Bristol AI chip upstart Graphcore scores $30m in VC dosh

paulf
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Alert

Sell out?

Perhaps he's hoping to sell out to nVidia again? At least this time it's clear they'll be buying to shut them down and kill off a competitor.

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LaCie flings out super-glam desktop Bolter drive

paulf
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FAIL

Re: These guys are still in business?

After the 640GB Starck drives that all died en mass colour me shocked they're still in business at all.

Both of mine were replaced under warranty after they failed within weeks of each other.

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MPs want Blighty to enforce domestic roaming to fix 'not spots'

paulf
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Alert

Re: Up yours, Mobile UK

This is exactly it - make sure the cost of roaming is in line with the savings an operator would make from not having to build a complete base station but not so high that roaming has to be mandated by law. That should avoid the unintended consequence of operators not building anything to piggy back on the others via roaming.

Operators should be championing this idea - you don't need four separate* base stations to serve some small village with five houses and a shop miles from a main road. Have one operator build a suitable base station and charge the other operators to roam onto it**; or have all four operators share the cost of construction. Unfortunately that means they're colluding as a monopoly and would need protection from competitive laws - risky territory with Telcos unless it's done very carefully!

* yes I know it's really two with MBNL and Cornerstone.

** Roaming at the MNO level so a roaming agreement to use that base station signed by O2 would apply to all MVNOs on O2 e.g. GiffGaff and Tesco.

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Birmingham sperm bank pulls plug after just a handful of recruits

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: Anonymity

Not just that but AIUI they removed the right to anonymity retrospectively so those who donated in the past under the promise of anonymity had that removed long after the fact. In my book that major shift represented a significant breach of trust so it's no wonder they're short of donors.

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paulf
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Paris Hilton

Re: Missed opportunity

""Once you have a donor at least 70 per cent along the process, you have income, she said."

I would have thought that once you have a donor 70% along the process they're almost at the vinegar strokes and a deposit is imminent?

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Groupon buys Living Social

paulf
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Meh

Group buying?

FTA: "Remember when group buying was the hottest marketing tactic ever and Groupon and LivingSocial were duking it out at the top of the market?"

Yes I do - and I remember the last time it was "the hottest marketing tactic ever" when letsbuyit.com tried it then crashed and burned when the .com bubble burst in the early naughties.

Oh and are Groupon still a thing? I thought they'd finally died a death due to a lack of people wanting fish nibbling pedicures at 600% off.

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Did Apple leak a photo of its new Macbook Pro in an OS update? Our survey says: Yes

paulf
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Flame

Re: Oh look!! It has a display. And a keyboard.

I remain completely staggered that they've systematically dropped the Magsafe connector from their portable computers. This, at least for me, was one of the more compelling aspects for the MacBook [Pro] machines as it offered a genuine benefit - trip over the mains cable and it safely detaches without wiping out the machine in the process.

As for connectors - completely agree. The chase is on for removing as much functionality as possible in the name of "courageous" decisions making it 0.1mm thinner. This seems to be a disease pervading Apple under Cook. If you want it super thin get a MB Air. If you buy a MacBook Pro you are probably planning to do some serious work with it so it should be connectors galore.

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Vodafone rapped with RECORD £4.6m fine for failing customers

paulf
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Meh

Re: Whatever ....

I've been with Voda for 10 years since leaving the former Orange. Orange CS truly was (shit)^2 and that's why I left them as a customer of 10 years (since the Hans Snook days).

I've not had many problems with Voda (but I don't doubt others have). The online chat resolved an overbilling issue - it took a while but I just did it in the background while working on something else (probably like the agent was doing). The Level 2 support in Egypt got Wifi Calling working during the Christmas break last year and even called back as promised while also being friendly and helpful.

With no disrespect intended to either those Voda staff who are trying their best nor the people who have had shitty service from them and hate them with a passion, I'd put them down as the "best" of a truly bad bunch:

EE: Terrible before acquisition by the utterly dreadful BT

Royston Vasey Three: You'll never leave (as we don't give out PACs)

O2: Crapita (Enough said)

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Clinton, Trump actually agree on something – blocking AT&T's Time Warner mega-buy

paulf
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Holmes

Re: Y'know, after 2008

Alistair: "...the issue of to big to fail. Really. even *wall street* should get this by now."

Wall street definitely gets "too big to fail". They rather like the idea as it makes things closer to a one way bet. Getting more "too big to fail" generally involves campaign donations and directorships for suitable congress critters which is why they like it too. The downsides from too big to fail are like taxes - only for the little people.

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Reports: Twitter chainsaw massacre redux on the cards

paulf
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Holmes

Re: Interesting times

David Roberts: "Edit: going to make it hard for El Reg to fill those column inches if Twitter goes Mammaries Sunwards and they can't publish Tweets any more."

I think that's going to make it difficult for all news outlets IME. They may have to re-employ some journalists to actually research and write stuff rather than the current MO of "Scrape frothing indignation from Twitter. Boom: Journalism".

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Who killed Cyanogen?

paulf
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Alert

Re: Cyanogen Inc killed CM

"Then Cyanogen Inc made a completely baffling move – one that continues to puzzle readers. It signed an exclusivity deal with Micromax in India...."

I agree this decision does sound baffling but having watched the first two series of Silicon Valley it probably made complete sense to the VCs that delighted in constantly meddling and were pushing for a big deal so they could cash out ASAP after.

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paulf
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Re: "try to leverage its market power"

Because what they really mean is "[attempt to] Manipulate the market with their power" but rather not say that just in case those uncool doods in the competition authorities hear them.

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Yahoo! hides! from! financial! analysts! amid! email! hacking!, privacy! storm!

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: Flickr, Groups

Yahoo Groups used to be pretty good, but is now a shadow of its former self having been hacked to bits during refurbishments and upgrades over the last few years to the point it's barely usable. I know of several groups that have migrated away either to custom solutions or groups on Facebook (yes, I know). One group remains there, clinging to the wreckage, simply because they can't provide their own bespoke solution and it's not been possible to locate a suitable alternative.

I can only conclude that Yahoo Groups is a loss maker for the P0wnage palace and they've deliberately broken it to encourage people to sod off. If it was profitable then paid for alternatives would have popped up to grab those departing the mess at Yahoo. I've looked and nothing I've found (paid for or adverts) offers anything close to the same features and functionality.

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paulf
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Big Brother

Re: Hello I'm Yahoo!

The P0wnage Palace was reporting the quarter to 30 Sept. I'm not convinced the full effects of the 500 million user hack and Yahoo secretly handing over info to the US Government would have been reflected at all in those numbers.

IIRC the hack appeared on the dark web sometime in July but was only confirmed by Privacy sell-out Yahoo! a week or two before the quarter end (that was good timing, eh?!). The USG spying news started to break in early October (i.e. after the quarter end) so any revenue consequences on the NSA's bed warmer from this won't be reflected in these figures.

TL;DR big surprise it all stinks of bullshit. I'd be more interested in the figures for the current quarter (to 31 Dec) and the quarter after that (to 31 March) as they will really show the effects of people actually going elsewhere and presumably not coming back. If I was Verizon I'd be demanding access to current numbers to see any hit.

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Yahoo! cancels! earnings! call!, dodges! hacking! questions!

paulf
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Happy

Re: Verizon

Seppuku swords is a satisfying thought but it also implies they have an ounce of honour among them which is unlikely.

Verizon has already hinted at renegotiating or walking away as there has been a [quite substantial IMO] material change so I imagine the Yahoo execs are shitting themselves that the deal gets called off. Any eBay thoughts the Yahoo execs are having will be limited to either 1. Can we flog Yahoo! to eBay? or 2. I wonder if we can put Yahoo on eBay and get a few quid for it (Paypal only - no time wasters)?

I suspect this will be one of those unusual times where the board fail to get out with their massive golden parachutes before the whole lot implodes.

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paulf
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Pirate

Verizon

FTA: "Yahoo! says it won't stage the call “Due to the pending transaction with Verizon”."

"All our Execs are very busy arse kissing the Verizon board to the greatest possible extent so they are not available to attend the earnings call. Melissa is especially keen for this transaction to complete as agreed in the interests of her $56m bonus all investors."

FIFY

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$100 credit for Note 7 owners

paulf
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Meh

Re: Rip-off britain

AIUI it wasn't officially released in the UK at the time they gave up so I can understand them being less inclined to offer payouts.

That said there is prior art on this kind of thing. Left pondian VW Diesel owners are getting their engines fixed and something like US$1000+ compensation. Right pondian owners (like me - my car has an EA189 engine in it) are still waiting for the sodding fix and probably won't see a fucking penny out of them. I'm not a big fan of the opulent compensation culture but they should treat all affected owners roughly the same not limit payouts to the most rabidly litigious.

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Kodak teases smartphone

paulf
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Headmaster

Re: Rabbit

@AC "Weren't Hutchinson Telecom French btw ?"

No Hutchison Whampoa (now CK Hutchison) are based in Hong Kong. You are probably thinking about Orange group plc - which was based in the UK and had Hutchison as a majority owner (and owner of the Rabbit service mentioned elsewhere in this thread). That Orange was acquired by Mannesman AG in 2000, Mannesman was then swallowed shortly after by Vodafone Airtouch plc (as it was then) which meant Voda had to dispose of the former Orange group, which they did to France Telecom more or less in tact. Over time FT migrated to using the Orange brand on all their services not just wireless stuff and would be considered Orange now. In the UK FT's Orange and DT's T-Mobile merged to become EE, now owned by BT, consigning the Orange brand to history apart from some still on old legacy contracts.

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Hey, you know what Samsung is also burning after the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco? $2.3bn

paulf
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Alert

Re: What are they going to do about people who want to keep them?

@ DougS "I think Samsung ought to push a software update to them that causes them to stop functioning at the end of the month"

I agree with you there should be some action to forcibly stop people using handsets that are subject to a recall but this leads to a bit of a quandary. The type of Note 7 owners that want to keep their devices because they've not exploded are the same kinds that would reject the update if they have the option to do so. The alternative is Samsung putting out a forced update that the user cannot override/reject which raises questions about how long this ability has been baked into the handset and how much we trust them not to remote brick other devices in the future just because they want to. I understand Microsoft have been experimenting with the whole forced update thing recently and didn't get exclusively happy responses.

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WD flashes first SanDisk drives: Blue and Green

paulf
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Re: I've never...

I've got 8*2TB Green drives in my NAS boxes. I know they're not really intended for that use but this was before WD started doing the Red drives for NAS/SOHO use. In 6 years I've had one mechanism fail - that was within 3 years of purchase and WD did a simple swap for a new one. Thankfully no data loss as the NAS boxes are set up in RAID 1 mirroring (they're rather old SPARC ReadyNAS Duo boxes so that's as sophisticated as it gets).

The big desktop PC has Black drives in it though.

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Samsung to Galaxy Note 7 users: Turn it off. Now

paulf
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Mushroom

Re: Bet you....

@ Anonymous Coward Re: Bet you.... "All the people going on about removable batteries are grossly oversimplifying the problem !"

I'm all for removable batteries but I'd offer an extra entry for your list. I'm not sure if the charging circuit is implicated here (or if it really is just shitty batteries) but if the charging circuit hardware is the problem a removable battery doesn't help you much as the batteries will keep exploding and the phone still needs to be recalled.

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Yahoo! halts! email! forwarding! to! outside! email! addresses!

paulf
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Pirate

A sudden rush of development? Smells fishy...

About three years ago I tried to get the "Reply to" option to work on my Y! mail account (not my main account). Y! resolutely refused to include the reply to email address in any email sent out through it with the header entry set as "Reply-To: ;" (generating a bouncy email to ";" for anyone who did click reply).

This should have been pretty simple to fix but three support tickets in as many months yielded nothing and I understand it remains broken. I gave up and moved everything on that account to a paid for IMAP provider which has been faultless over the last 2.5 years.

The only explanation for this sudden rash of development/debug work at Yahoo can only be nefarious. I'd go with the lock in theory if I thought Yahoo were clever enough to think it up...

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Yahoo! spymasters! patent! biometric! online! ad! tracking! IRL!

paulf
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Big Brother

FTA: "Sensors in the billboards would determine if pedestrians slow their pace or if drivers ease the gas to rubber neck at the so-called "smart billboards"."

Translating actions like that into advertising effectiveness is quite a leap. Will the billboard be able to realise if vehicles are slowing down for other reasons like traffic?

The other year there were bus stop adverts for a fruity soft drink that were quite amusing. Once or twice I did slow down to read them, chuckle, then I just carried on but I've never bought that brand of drink. Back in the day I used to find those adverts for cigars amusing (the ones with baldy man in them) but I've never smoked. I suspect this kind of feedback will be as much use as that from the creepy on line tracking done by Google et al, "You've just bought a toaster - look at all these other toasters".

Oh and El Reg are on form with stuff like this: "Privacy sell-out Yahoo!...", "The NSA's bed warmer..." and "The P0wnage Palace...". Please keep hammering home how rotten Yahoo is, in case there's anyone who doesn't yet know.

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Ofcom kicks off 5G auction consultation

paulf
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Alert

Re: Before they do 5G

@ I Like Heckling "If they can't sort out providing 4G, why the hell should they be given the opportunity to roll out 5G to an elitist minority."

Slow down there, Grandma!

This might be only one use case but I've had pretty good (and perfectly usable) 4G on my various visits to Cornwall, including some real backside of beyond wilderness areas where I wouldn't have expected more than simple 2G Voice+SMS (if anything at all). There are still gaps but such is life. Other networks may offer better/worse than mine in those areas - you pays money and takes choice.

I'm sorry to hear you have coverage problems (which presumably extend across all four MNOs in your area?) but don't assume those who are able to get 3G/4G are an "elitist minority".

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'Please label things so I can tell the difference between a mouse and a microphone'

paulf
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Happy

It probably dates me if I confess to doing that very prank of swapping mouse/keyboard cables on the RM Nimbus machines we had when I was at school. The machines were back to back so the mouse at this computer would be connected to the one behind. Ah, different times!

As for rearranging keyboards - you just need to pick something with no repeated letters. I'd offer "fuck this" and "scrotum" as two options. Repurposing numbers (upside down calculator style) gives you more options as if you wanted something more exotic like "Sag Bag" you could use a 6 as a G.

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'My REPLACEMENT Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blew up on plane'

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: things that make ya go hmmmmm.

@Alistair "I betcha the AT&T folks are better at PR than Samsung."

If that's true why does everyone think AT&T are greedy robber baron scumbags?

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My Nest smoke alarm was great … right up to the point it went nuts

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: Rechargeable batteries ... are desinged to deliver high current over a short period.

I have four EI fire alarms in my place (3 smoke alarms and a heat alarm for the kitchen). They network together so that when one detects they all sound, but aren't "smart" or IoT. I found they would start beeping "low battery" after 9-12 months on brand new Duracell PP3s. Once replaced the tester shows the old ones (still in date) have gone down from 100% to 99.9% so hardly low and more likely an overly sensitive aspect in the battery detection circuit than a fault with the battery itself.

I swapped to NiMH rechargeables. The alarms get tested once a week and the batteries get recharged once every three months regardless so the low-battery never gets a chance to chirrup.

I have nothing else that uses PP3s so I was faced with ditching ~£15 of PP3 Alkalines each year. It's a waste of money plus the environmental cost of chucking otherwise decent batteries. It's all very well saying "Get cheap PP3s" (elsewhere in this thread) but I'd rather have a decent rechargeable than a crappy alkaline and the environmental cost to make and dispose a cheap PP3 is still there.

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Apple iMessage URLs ship OS, device, and IP data to sites, dev says

paulf
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Gimp

Re: Pardon my ignorance...

@fidodogbreath "Pardon my ignorance... ...but do iPhone users have to use iMessage for SMS?"

Simple answer is No. You can turn off iMessage which defaults everything to SMS/MMS which your mobile network charges for accordingly. Only downside is they haven't implemented SMS delivery reports - read reports are only available if you use iMessage.

If you turn on iMessage the iPhone will attempt to use iMessage for everything it can, only dropping back to SMS/MMS where the recipient doesn't have an iPhone*, has an iPhone with iMessage turned off* or there's no data connection.

In my case I leave iMessage off - SMS for text, then use email if I want to send pics. If GCHQ really think my ramblings are worth intercepting they can go to a court in the UK to get permission wiretap my carrier rather than asking the NSA to do it for them via Apple's servers.

*I think the iPhone queries Apple's servers to check if the recipient has an iPhone and is/isn't using iMessage. I suspect this is how the phone determines if a contact can receive a Facetime connection also.

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Panasonic wants you to wear Li-Ion batteries. The ones that explode

paulf
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Happy

PCMCIA

*While we're remembering PCMCIA cards, let's remember the acronym describing the venerable peripherals-for-laptops standards was often satirised as “People Can't Memorise Computer Industry Acronyms.”

Wow - PCMCIA and yes I do remember the snarky expansion of the acronym you mention!

Many years ago I had a Panasonic CF-41 laptop (The first to have a double speed CD-ROM drive built in!). I think the CF-41 still works and I have a PCMCIA modem and joystick adaptor for it somewhere in the big box of antique computer gubbins.

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Qualcomm eyes NXP lunch

paulf
Bronze badge

Re: Qualcom maybe the worst new owner for NXP?

@Mage

On this bit: "Plessey, GEC". Plessey Semiconductors was acquired by GEC when GEC and Siemens captured Plessey and tore it apart between them. GEC Plessey Semiconductors (GPS) carried on until 1997 when it was acquired by Mitel. Mitel separated the PBX bit from the Semiconductor bit around 2002 which became Zarlink Semiconductor. That got rogered into submission by a bunch of 2nd division manglement/bean counters from Nat Semi who left just enough of the company behind to be acquired by Microsemi.

Oddly enough the Plessey name lives on as it was resurrected by the company that now owns the former Plessey foundry at Roborough, near Plymouth.

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paulf
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Unhappy

Re: Qualcom maybe the worst new owner for NXP?

@Mage "Formerly part of Philips, once the flagship Electronics giant of Europe, the TV and AV are badges for Asians and they have retreated to 1926 and making only light bulbs and health care."

I don't know about the healthcare but the light bulbs aren't much cop these days. They all seem to be made in the middle kingdom; dumb light bulbs die with shocking (ahem) regularity* and the "smart" ones are full of DRM.

*The 42w eco-halogen bulbs in the living room seem to go after only a few months use, and it's not like they've been used much over the Summer. The Homebase own brand bulbs last about 2 years in comparison!

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That's cold: This is how our boss told us our jobs are at risk, staffers claim

paulf
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Big Brother

Re: Plan For The Future!

Not where I work. They've recently put the stationery room on access control whereas before that you could just help yourself. Now you can only get a crappy BIC biro or pack of own brand "Paste-It Notes" with gracious permission from the department Admin. The Admins are usually pretty good but it's a move that really says "Fuck you!" to the question "Do you trust your employees not to pinch the cheap crappy stationery you buy?"

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Mozilla tells Firefox OS devs to fork off if they want to chase open web apps vision

paulf
Bronze badge
Meh

Re: Doubtful that someone running an old unsupported OS is keeping their browser up-to-date

@WatAWorld "The browser isn't going to fix the security holes in the OS and hardware."

True, but for someone who has decided they need to be running XP or Vista (for reasons that presumably make sense to them, having weighed up the risks of an OS with unpatched security holes) an up to date browser will be more likely to stop attacks getting as far as the OS compared to an out of date browser (assuming the system isn't air gapped).

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USB-C is now wired for sound, just like Sir Cliff Richard

paulf
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Terminator

Re: Additional uses

I suspect, on the iPhone at least, it was considered in detail and since this was identified as one of the main consequences of removing the 3.5mm jack port is probably why they went ahead.

Icon -> Your competing payment system is dead [on our platform].

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TalkTalk hack: Teen in court on hacking and blackmail charges

paulf
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Joke

19?

Wow. So he's not even 20 yet and he's already hacked various major and smaller businesses, extorting serious money in the process?

I wish I'd achieved that much by the time I was 20!

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Microsoft paid me $650 to scrub Windows 10 from my grandpa's PC, says man

paulf
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Paris Hilton

Re: $650 is nothing to MS

@ Frank Bitterlich "Maybe a public apology in the form of a full-page newspaper ad would be nice, too."

Nah, hit them where it really hurts and demand the cheque as this guy did (don't settle for gift cards that cost them next to bugger all to issue). Sending out lots of cheques for $650 will eventually start to hit home what they've done. Even if only 1% of those 400 million Win 10 devices yields a claim that's $2.6bn - material even on MS's accounts even if it is a one off. Perhaps it will become big enough to spawn a sleazy claims handling industry? Those PPI claims management shysters must be looking for a new gig, "Were you tricked into getting PPI installing Windows 10? Call us now!"

As for a newspaper advert - if you're really keen I suggest it is featured somewhere before page 5 and explains in clear terms (using large unmissable text) that they used Virus/Malware techniques to get Win 10 onto machines with the massive heading "WE AT MICROSOFT ARE DEVIOUS AND DECEITFUL".

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