* Posts by Steve Graham

146 posts • joined 21 May 2007

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Linux 'GRINCH' vuln is AWFUL. Except, er, maybe it isn't

Steve Graham

What is polkit for?

I don't have polkit on any of my systems. My cursory exposure to it suggested that it merely replicates functionality from more proven and battle-hardened software which I already have.

Am I wrong?

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HORRIFIED Amazon retailers fear GOING BUST after 1p pricing cockup

Steve Graham

Re: price mistakes

According to newspaper reports, Amazon software was marking the deals as dispatched, i.e. complete, while the sellers were struggling to get them cancelled. The Amazon helpline for sellers was not manned.

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Who wants to be A MILLIONAIRE? Not so fast, Visa tells wannabe pay-by-bonk thieves

Steve Graham

La-la-la, I Can't Hear You

"We are confident that our contactless system remains a safe, convenient way to pay."

== "We are not going to bother to fix this vulnerability."

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We're doing great, say dot-London chiefs ... Unfortunately, few agree

Steve Graham

Doomed

Technologically-aware people like us often overestimate how much the normal population understand (or care). They think that "www." is what signifies a website. They don't know what that rubbish at the start with colons and slashes is all about. The bit at the end means little.

And anyway, as any examination of webserver logs will demonstrate, lots of them use a URL by typing it into Google's search field.

"Interesting" URLs are useless already, and will soon become as irrelevant to the public as numerical IP addresses.

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NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM

Steve Graham

"LRO boffins tell us"

I'm hoping it was actually LRO press people who were so forthcoming with the non-metric units, while the scientists are doing everything properly in the SI system. I'm hoping.

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Mozilla hopes to challenge Raspbian as RPi OS of choice

Steve Graham

While I fully appreciate the nerd value of getting something to run on the 'wrong' platform, I really can't see what use it is. I predict that we will never hear of it again.

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Is your home or office internet gateway one of '1.2 MILLION' wide open to hijacking?

Steve Graham

Online test

Gibson Research: https://www.grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2

It says I'm OK, which is good since I've disabled all access inwards from the internet.

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

Steve Graham

Resistance is useful

I use the current Debian unstable, and I had to install systemd to satisfy some dependency or other, but I then deleted the files it dropped into /etc/dbus-1/system.d/ so none of its processes ever get started. (And it still has sysv init scripts.) Everything is working fine.

I will be moving to another distro (after nearly 20 years) if/when Debian makes systemd the required init tool.

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Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how

Steve Graham

Heavy foot?

The first car I had with a fuel-consumption display was a Saab 9000 Turbo. I discovered that, if I took enormous care and managed my acceleration and deceleration, I could get the MPG reading up to 32.5.

However, if I just drove in my normal style, it dropped by a stupendous margin to 31.0.

Yes, OK, probably it was my fault.

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

Steve Graham

1950s technology

The lovingly-rendered image looks a lot like the magnetic mirror designs which originated in the Soviet Union in the fifties, and were taken up by the USA, where decades of work and hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in trying to get them to work.

The last big project, the Mirror Fusion Test Facility, was cancelled when almost complete in 1986.

Plasma confinement is really, really hard. I don't see anything in this new story that suggests they have a solution.

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Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER

Steve Graham
Facepalm

So, basically another way for websites to decide that they know better than I do how their page looks on my device?

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Apple's iPhone bonk to 'Pay' app launches on Monday

Steve Graham

I'm not an iPhone user because I don't care for the constraints imposed by Apple's infrastructure and business model.

However, if I did have an iPhone, I'd prefer to use it to make purchases with a fingerprint than use a card with no security at all.

I'd still worry about it being hacked though. Extracting and re-using encrypted credentials is already common currency in the iPhone jailbreaking world.

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Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers

Steve Graham

Re: add a sticker

That's exactly how it was on my recent Technicolor router from Plusnet. You even get a plastic card with the wifi and admin passwords (both "random" character strings).

I still changed mine though.

I also turned off remote network management.

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Be your own Big Brother: Monitoring your manor, the easy way

Steve Graham

Re: Security?

My setup is similar, although I use the FTP option, not email. Now that you mention it though, I might have a go.

One tip I picked up from somewhere was to use the shell of a cheap halogen floodlight (B&Q, £7.99) as a weatherproof housing for an indoor-type camera.

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Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps

Steve Graham

Re: android apps on linux ?

I've played around with Android x86 as a virtual machine on Linux. Everything seemed to work correctly -- mouse, keyboard, network, video & sound.

I've also booted the same generic x86 live CD on a netbook, but that was not fully functional. However, the same site has builds for some specific machines.

http://www.android-x86.org/

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Hacker publishes tech support phone scammer slammer

Steve Graham

Yes, but...

Ammyy Admin is supported software. The next release will surely fix this vulnerability now that it's published.

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Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds

Steve Graham

I bought a Netgear DGN-1000 a few years ago. Disabling WPS was disabled (if you see what I mean) and the company explicitly announced that they weren't going to issue a fix. (They expected owners to buy a newer model.)

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Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can

Steve Graham

Re: And about 2 years later ...

I remember using Yggdrasil, which a quick check on Wikipedia suggests would have been 1993 or 1994. I don't remember paying $99 for it though!

Early Slackware as well. And then Debian -- I definitely remember the version numbers being in the 0.x range -- which I've stuck with for 20 years. Seems to work.

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Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

Steve Graham

Re: "a tool Microsoft uses to hide its source code from being copied"

Not "alone", really. For example, the Gnome infrastructure in Linux is based on a binary "registry" which needs specific tools to access it.

I think human-readable configuration files (even XML) are always a better and more resilient approach.

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14 antivirus apps found to have security problems

Steve Graham

Android

Ironic that the anti-virus companies were whining recently that the sandboxing in Android made it impossible for them to do what they'd like to.

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You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad

Steve Graham

Auto brightness

Um... doesn't it have TWO "ambient light sensors"? I call them cameras.

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Tails-hacking Exodus: Here's video proof of our code-injection attack

Steve Graham

Exodus: Hey, NSA, we've got a great new Tails vuln to sell!

NSA: Nah, sorry guys, we've already got it.

Exodus: Hey, Press, our morally upstanding company is helping users!

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BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu

Steve Graham

How hard can it be?

It would be interesting to know how the system is implemented, given that it's only pairs of mobile devices swapping data. You could even design it to be "server-free" by using SMS messages, which I believe will often arrive at their destination.

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Facebook pays half a billion dollars for firm that slaps ads on videos

Steve Graham

Re: Maybe I missed it...

"Monetising other people's content and keeping the cash to yourself sounds pretty repugnant."

It's worked well for Google though.

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David Cameron wants mobe network roaming INSIDE the UK

Steve Graham

I'm an O2 customer, and at home I get marginal signal on 2G (when I leave my phone at a specific spot in the kitchen).

But that's the best coverage of all the operators. People who visit usually have no phone connection at all.

I'm certain that the other network operators are NOT EVER going to build new infrastructure around here. There's not enough population to make it economically viable -- the O2 coverage is probably just a fluke. However, if O2 were getting revenue from roaming, they just might see it being worth their while to upgrade.

So, basically, it seems to me that the argument that national roaming would discourage investment is the exact reverse of the likely outcome.

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New XSS vuln hits eBay as rubbish passw0rds persist

Steve Graham

Re: Is it just me...

...plus a limit of 20-characters is unneccessary unless you're actually storing them for your millions of customers.

Another worry about "proprietary" implementations is that when I changed my password on PayPal (also 20-chars max) and used a character outside the 7-bit ASCII range, I was told that I could not have "an accent" in my password. Actually it was a symbol, but a hashing algorithm shouldn't care, right?

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Apple 'rainbow' logos set to fetch $10-15K at auction

Steve Graham

A couple of years ago, I got good money on eBay from a set of the rainbow logo stickers which I'd found among random rubbish in the loft. I think they had originally come with an early Apple laser printer whose documentation I'd taken home to study in an effort to get the bugger to work.

So, yes, the fans will buy anything.

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Boffins run iOS apps on Android hardware

Steve Graham

Re: Drink up

A thumbs-up for the coinage of "fumbleslabs". I'll bet it turns up in a Reg hardware review soon.

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Surprise! Google chairman blasts EU's privacy ruling

Steve Graham
Big Brother

Maybe the army of staff the Google recruits to deal with a billion removal requests can also document the millions of Romanians and Bulgarians who flooded into Britain at the start of the year? The Daily Mail said they'd be filling every bus, train and plane.

(Correction: Page 23, column 4.)

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Gigabyte Brix Pro: You don't need no steenkin' Xbox... when you have 4K-ing amazing graphics

Steve Graham
WTF?

How in the name of all that is holy do you need 500Gb for a Linux-based system?

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ZTE Open C, the Firefox OS mobe you'll almost want, now on eBay

Steve Graham

This looks very similar in spec and appearance to the ZTE Blade Q Mini which I just bought (for a similar price). Stylish and well-made -- I'm happy with it.

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Solaris deposed as US drone-ware, replaced by Linux administration

Steve Graham

Re: I've missed something here

A general-purpose OS isn't suitable for ATMs, or voting machines, or industrial controllers, or medical equipment either, but people still do it.

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Cold War spy aircraft CRASHED Los Angeles' air traffic control

Steve Graham

Interesting. I did my flying training in the 1990s at Long Beach, just a short distance from LAX, and a fellow student claimed to have heard the following exchange over the radio (with civilian ATC).

Pilot: Air Force XYZ requesting flight level 600.

ATC: Man, if you can get up there, it's yours.

Pilot: Air Force XYZ currently *descending* though flight level 870.

I never knew whether to to believe the guy or not. FL 600 (i.e. 60,000 feet) and above would be Class E airspace, not requiring explicit permission to fly in it.

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The amazing .uk domain: Less .co and loads more whalesong

Steve Graham

You only have ".uk" in the first place because the bloodymindedness of early British internet adopters, who insisted on using it instead of the "correct" ".gb".

(Correctly, in my opinion, since I live in the part of the UK which isn't GB.)

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You'll hate Google's experimental Chrome UI, but so will phishers

Steve Graham

Re: pointless

It's common for people trying to get to a web site to type the address into the Google search box, rather than the address bar. It's difficult to overestimate how clueless the average user is.

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Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Steve Graham

I've had a go with v29 for about half an hour as a test user and I think I'll install it for my own account. It's not as awful as I feared (or as different). The Linux version still has a menu bar - File Edit History Bookmarks Tools Help - and you can move buttons on the address bar to where you want them.

That includes the Bookmarks star and drop-down, although it seems that the two will only move as a unit. Having the bookmarks on the right is one thing that bugs me about Chrome, and when I looked at the code I found that, for some reason, it was the only GUI element hard-coded to a specific location.

Status-4-Evar doesn't seem to work any more, but maybe it will get an update. Or maybe I'll get used to not having a separate status bar. By default, the status text was in the address bar in an element too small to show enough content. It would show a link when hovering the pointer as "http://fo...sign/" for example. Call me paranoid, but I like to see the full address of a link before I click on it. However, you can move the element elsewhere and let it expand to the size required.

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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...

Steve Graham

Re: Which flavor folks?

Well, I've been using Debian for about 15 years, and installed it probably 50 times or more...

...and more often than not, I've had to manually fix something that the install messed up, major or minor, including cases where the new OS wouldn't boot.

Most recently, about a month ago, I totally failed to get the Debian installer to accept the partitioning I wanted, and I had to go back and boot off a Knoppix CD and set it up before trying to install Debian again. (Note that this was probably me not understanding the options the installer was offering me, but if I didn't get it, I doubt the novice would.)

For myself, I'm pretty happy to keep using Debian, but I don't think I'd recommend it to someone with no Linux or Unix experience. (I wouldn't recommend Ubuntu to anyone.)

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Steve Graham

Re: Menus in Title Bars

Ah. I had been thinking (based on the picture on the article) that it was a good idea, given the empty space in my title bars. But hiding the menu headers until you wave the mouse pointer over them doesn't seem like something I'd be happy with.

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Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug

Steve Graham

Re: Rust would help, but there's a reason it's not used there

...or except when we deliberately remove checking for performance reasons.

http://article.gmane.org/gmane.os.openbsd.misc/211963

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Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Steve Graham

Just out of interest, I formatted a micro-SD card as ext4 and put it in my Android phone. It booted fine and mounted the device entirely as normal (there's usually a VFAT card there).

However, "Turn on USB mass storage" just hangs when I connect it to my Linux laptop, and the laptop sees the USB device but "no medium found". On the other hand, I can connect with adb and copy files to the card.

Not interested enough to pursue further.

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

Steve Graham

Re: iSIS...

...and if the details have to be kept secret, then it's not an effective security system.

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Backdoor snoops can access files on your Samsung phone via the cell network – claim

Steve Graham

Re: Lots of speculation

You've misunderstood my post.

(Also, I've just noticed that I inherited a misused apostrophe from the original post.)

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Steve Graham
Big Brother

Re: Lot's of speculation

If I understand it correctly, the issue here is that the modem software has a relatively high-level interface to the phone's file system. That's different to a peripheral sitting on the same bus as the CPU.

The latter, as you say, is a default consequence of current designs, but the former is a deliberate design decision, and one I find hard to justify for innocent purposes.

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Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Steve Graham

The bare facts in the article yesterday made it pretty clear that the whole thing is a scam that shifts taxpayers' money into the wallets of a clique of people who are largely technology-ignorant, but savvy in the ways of government and civil service.

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Bad luck, n00bs: Mozilla to splurge ADS inside empty Firefox tiles

Steve Graham

Re: All I want to know is...

My preferred way of removing the existing "tiles" feature is to set the pref browser.newtab.url to "about:blank" (or to the URL of my home page).

Works both on stock Firefox and Iceweasel.

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For Windows guest - KVM or XEN and which distro for host?

Steve Graham

I can't work out why the obvious 2-box solution doesn't suit you. It would even allow you to play processor-heavy games and do massive software builds at the same time. :-)

(I speak as someone having 4 computers in the house which are on all the time, plus a netbook and a tablet for occasional use.)

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Yes, HP will still sue you if you make cartridges for its inkjet printers

Steve Graham

What HP printers are really good at...

I live in an isolated house in the country. One Saturday morning, I turned on my laptop and saw an additional wifi ESSID, showing 60% signal. An HP Photosmart printer.

My nearest neighbours' house is at least 250m away. I can only assume they'd just turned on a new printer, with a pretty impressive wifi range.

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Acer C720 Chromebook with Haswell battery boosting goodness

Steve Graham
Linux

Why?

Having read the article and the comments above, I can't work out what the Chrome OS is actually FOR.

It seems to me that for a user anywhere on the spectrum of technical knowledge, you only have disadvantages and no advantages compared with any Linux installation (or even Windows).

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Wait, that's no moon 21.5-inch monitor, it's an all-in-one LG Chromebase PC

Steve Graham

"customers who want a fast, simple and secure computing experience"

This must be a usage of the word "secure" with which I was previously unfamiliar.

(HHGTTG paraphrase)

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