* Posts by OffBeatMammal

470 posts • joined 25 Jun 2007

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

OffBeatMammal

maybe the vans just contain stealthy gentlemen armed with a small drill and an endoscope camera and they simply observe rooms where suspect action takes place... low tech and they can even take photos of the evidence ;)

in other news... as an ex-pat, I'd pay a license fee to watch the BBC here in the US (not the BBC America mess) but I suspect the audience isn't big enough for them to tweak iPlayer for the FireTV to support that...

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Remix chomps Marshmallow, updates its Android for PCs

OffBeatMammal

why no linkage love?

I've noticed El Reg is becoming a little lax in linking to the actual company / product, preferring instead to send us to other articles on the site. Sure, I can type in a URL or go Bing my way around the internet, but it would certainly add value if I could do something that I thought was the whole idea of the World Wide Web directly from the article...

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Latest Windows 10 build loves up cloud, banishes 'strange grey bar'

OffBeatMammal

Re: How many average users will use this stuff?

unlike Google and to some extend Apple with their iCloud strategy.

hybrid cloud/local solutions are here to stay, and I'd probably trust MS more than I do Google not to monetize based on the content of my Word docs

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Shhhh! Facebook is listening

OffBeatMammal

those settings are only available in the latest Android flavours (assuming your OEM doesn't bork them.

I install most apps now with very restricted permissions and only turn things on if something breaks because there's been too much abuse of trust

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P0rnHub revamps bug bounty, back pays cash, hires staff, after criticism

OffBeatMammal

Re: What's on the T-shirt?

Not all backdoors are fun

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As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

OffBeatMammal

Wonder what the power consumption of these meters is... and who for them (us of course)

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Surface Book nightmare: Microsoft won't fix 'Sleep of Death' bug

OffBeatMammal

Oh, and turn off Connected Standby on battery. That shit likes to suck the life out of your battery

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OffBeatMammal

Not just the Four and Book, the Three has the same issue... in fact the overheating in my bag was a suspect in rapidly diminishing battery life (getting 40% of original charge a year on).

Windows 10 and the Surface devices are disappointing. Sadly MacBook hardware hasn't improved much since 2012 either so options are limited (at least OSX is better behaved, unless you are a gamer)

Run 'powercfg /energy' to check your battery health...

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World goes SIM-free, leaving Sony and HTC trailing behind

OffBeatMammal

disposable :(

the problem - for me - is that all three major flavors of Smartphone (well, two plus Windows which I still think is under-rated) are generally a pretty meh experience.

Android has a problem with stability and robustness. When it works, it works well (even when vendors like HTC and Samsung pile their cruft on top of it) but when there is a weakness then fixing it seems too hard. My Nexus5X is a case in point... multiple times a day the Google Calendar app crashes for no apparent reason and when it's done that enough times the phone reboots. If Google can't get their flagship devices right what hope have random Chinese vendors

iPhone has a problem with the locked down OS. Sure, there are lots of apps and the phone is <sarcasm>magical</sarcasm> but what if I want to change the default Map app, or browser, or ... well anything for that matter. Didn't Microsoft get forked over by the DoJ and the EU for that sort of behavior? Apple make decisions as to whats good for me and still expect me to shell out several hundred quid every 12-18 months for a newer shinier model (now in champagne with hints of rose gold). And OMG please stop with the bespoke connectors.

Windows Phone... largely uninspiring designs and still far too few "cool" apps (but Windows 10 does seem to be making a difference) but the ecosystem is a mess and while W10 is largely better than what came before it the attention to detail and rush to add shiny new features (that no-one wants) is distracting them from making a bullet-proof OS that's easy for developers to build for which in turn leads users to buy without fear of getting left behind in the app race.

All three suffer from crap battery life and pretty awful hardware robustness. Big slabs of glass are fragile, but it also seems the innards are designed to self destruct after about 24 months to keep us on the upgrade cycle so they don't build in anything apart from obsolescence.

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JavaScript daddy's Brave ad-blocker hits Android, Apple stores

OffBeatMammal

Wired

looks like the folks at Conde Nast are trying the option of paying to avoid ads - if you have an ad blocker, they block you unless you buy a subscription. Sadly the price tag for that subscription (especially as I still have a subscription to their magazine) seems disproportionate to what they'd be earning from the advertisers if I was putting up with the crap they think is "acceptable and in keeping with their content" (seriously, I will never drink Gatorade, even without full screen take over ads putting me off the idea!) ... I like the idea of a micropayment scheme where I could pay the same rate as the advertiser to the hosting network not to show me crap. But then again it's easier to just cross Wired off my list for now

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Toshiba denies it will exit the PC market

OffBeatMammal

they have been for a while

given their level of customer support, and even sales support, I think they've been winding down for a while now and making sure they don't get repeat business is as good a way as any to guarantee an exit...

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Earthquake-sensing smartphone app fires off early alerts of disaster

OffBeatMammal

is it only California that has Earthquakes?

had a quick look at the app and it's very California-centric. Sad really as there are other places, even in the US, that have earthquakes. Uninstalled

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FTC: Duo bought rights to Android game – then turned it into ad-slinging junkware in an update

OffBeatMammal

Re: Slap on the wrist

jail time costs the tax payers. fine them 110% of earnings for each infraction, soon changes behavior.

of jail time but in a facility where the prisoners have to be revenue positive - sorting litter/recycle, working on the roads...

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Microsoft: We’ve taken down the botnets. Europol: Would Sir like a kill switch, too?

OffBeatMammal

why not implement something like this at the ISP level, and require a court order. Reduces the risk of a glitch or malware activating it accidentally on a users PC and ensures that it's not just the latest version of Windows that gets the "protection"

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Confirmed: How to stop Windows 10 forcing itself onto PCs – your essential guide

OffBeatMammal

Despite the upgrade wizard having confirmed an old PC won't upgrade (thanks to an unsupported nVidia 65xx driver) the little flag and update message keeps popping up and tries to sell me a new PC instead...

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John McAfee rattles tin for password replacement tech

OffBeatMammal

how much?

$130 (+shipping) for something that's little more (if even that) than a $50 Yubikey Neo - https://www.yubico.com/products/yubikey-hardware/yubikey-neo/ - which admitedly doesn't use BT 4.0 but relies on NFC

Maybe in a couple of years when standards settle out a bit more this will be viable, but not sure I want to be an early adopter for an untried security solution...

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It's amazing the UK Parliament agreed to track 22bn Brits' car trips. Oh right – it didn't

OffBeatMammal

Britain is a scary place these days

I left the UK about 20 years ago for a three month contract... and never went home! When I do visit for a holiday these days it's vaguely terrifying the amount of surveillance that covers every square meter of the place. From the moment I step off the plane at Heathrow until the moment I go back up the jetbridge on the way home I suspect I am in sight of one or more cameras every moment I am outside my Mums house.

I don't feel that in Berlin, in Paris, in Sydney, in LA or New York.

It feels like the English have just given up, and it makes me sad.

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Australian government urges holidaymakers to kill two-factor auth

OffBeatMammal

Why rely on an SMS when there are well established rolling code, time based authentication solutions available?

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Microsoft mandates browser-extension defence to malvertising

OffBeatMammal

not an issue in Edge

I thought they'd already made that a non-issue in Edge because there are no extensions (as such the only time I used it on my home machine was to download Chrome and install LastPass and AdBlock)

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IT manager jailed for 5 years for attempting dark web gun buy

OffBeatMammal

Of course here in the freedom loving US I can walk into a Walmart and walk out with the same setup. Though I am proud to say after 9 years here I have only been to Walmart once (and while I do have a CPL I get my ammosexual jollies strictly at a Range)

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The story of .Gay: This bid is too gay! This bid is not gay enough! This bid is just right?

OffBeatMammal
Angel

there is already a .lgbt TLD so is that also causing some conflict?

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Brown kid with Arab name arrested for bringing home-made clock to school

OffBeatMammal

Re: Hysteria

I refer you to the late Iain M Bank's "Transitions" for a description of exactly that. As a fairly frequent flyer (in the US) every week I walk past possible opportunities to cause significant mayhem that the current theater does nothing to prevent or even acknowledge (because there's no money to be made off it)

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Boffins tell sleep-talking Android apps to SHUT UP

OffBeatMammal

um...

not really "released" as there is a lock of a .apk to play with.

Fact check or copy'n'paste a story from BGR or similar?

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Amazon, GoDaddy get sueball for hosting Ashley Madison data

OffBeatMammal

Doesn't safe harbor provisions make Amazon and GoDaddy safe from this kind of crap? The hoster only has to remove/police content is asked by a proper authority but otherwise are blameless for what their customers do (like Smith & Wesson are not at fault if one of their customers shoots someone)

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Jeep Cherokee 2.2: Capable, comfortable ... but just not very Jeep

OffBeatMammal

Re: Limited on US vehicles

Jeep do use the "Unlimited" designation on the Wrangler... which has four doors instead of the usual two!

If I remember correctly I'd read somewhere that the new Cherokee was originally going to be an Alfa branded SUV before the FCA merger but when they realised Chrysler couldn't afford to design a new mid range to replace the Liberty they re-tooled it and stuck the prison bar grill on the front.

As someone who's owned both Afla (155) and Jeep (Cherokee and Liberty) this seems to take the worst of both and try to present it as a good thing. I do very little real off-roading (4wd is mostly for gravel tracks and snow) so don't really care about the "trail rated" badge, but I care about looks, safety and mpg and so we'll probably get a Ford Edge to replace the Liberty when it finally bites the dust (around 100k miles in 5 years so it's not been a bad run)

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Samsung emits Galaxy S6 Edge+ 'inboxing' video

OffBeatMammal

hats?

I only saw one hat.

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Intel's Compute Sticks stick it to Windows To Go, Chromecast

OffBeatMammal

@Robert Knight - your site lists no prices. How does it compare to the Intel device? I like the higher horsepower yours offer, but if it jumps the price from a ICS class to NUC then it's as interesting

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OffBeatMammal

for a surgery or something like that I'd probably go for a FireTV stick ... much cheaper option if you're just wanting to do a slideshow / updates on the waiting list etc (in fact I know at least one company offering retail solutions based on the FireTV stick)

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Secret US-Pacific trade pact leak exposes power of the copyright lobby

OffBeatMammal

I assume the document was covered by some sort of IP deal so someone is probably in trouble for sharing it...!

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Windows 10 collects colossal 0.375 per cent market share in July

OffBeatMammal

Re: S missing in action

if you have an Encore (with no full size USB) then for you sanity's sake make sure you back up your recovery partition first.

I tried an Insider Windows update and discovered a couple of drivers were less than ready so went to roll back... somehow the rollback borked my machine quite spectacularly.

That resulted in a 3 month battle to get recovery media out of Toshiba - even after I'd paid for it - and what they sent was a full sized USB key (even though the Encore 2 Write has no full sized USB key and I'd paid for recovery media for an Encore 2 Write) to which their helpful customer support suggestion was I buy from them an adapter.

FWIW the released version of Win10 is working fine on the device now (but I'd never recommend Toshiba after that support experience)

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600 MEELLION apps open to brute force account guessing

OffBeatMammal

Hopefully Starbucks will be included on this list - and take it more seriously than when I reached out to them about the problem.... http://post.offbeatmammal.com/2015/06/22/security-of-individual-accounts-matters-but-not-to-starbucks/

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Rand Paul puts Hillary Clinton's hard drive on sale

OffBeatMammal

... as opposed to Paul Rand who of course isn't for sale (unlike the rest of the US political system)

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Does your storage look like it's held together by elastic tape? Oh, you're using IBM kit, too, huh?

OffBeatMammal

was that just a cut'n'paste from a press release (though the diagrams were pretty)?

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

OffBeatMammal

a simple solution....

* suspend these people over a swimming pool full of hungry sharks

* ask them to tell the difference between their $10k product and a $10 version from Tandy

* eliminate them if they get it wrong...

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Jupiter Ascending – a literally laughable train wreck of a film

OffBeatMammal

too much hate

I saw this as a casual distraction over the weekend. I didn't expect much beyond a visual romp with maybe some cheezy one-liners and I was not disappointed.

The more I read where critics slam a movie this hard the more I realize their finely tuned sensibilities are a little out of touch so I'll go and judge for myself if the trailer grabs my attention.

Oh, and no mention of the Terry Gilliam cameo?

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

OffBeatMammal

Flag-sized

the problem with most of the "flagship" phones is while they may have a nice feature or two, or a bigger CPU to cope with the OS they're running... they're getting freaking huge. 4.7" is a lot of glass to stick in my pocket, but with the new ones running to 5 or above to support UHD screens with advanced hyperbolic LTE and phase array GPS that works on Titan and other small moons the rise of the Man Purse will continue as people can't carry them any longer.

On the subject of the battery... the fact these mobile devices need to be tethered for a top-up every couple of hours is becoming a joke. The bus-ride to work drops the battery on my (Android) m7 from fully charged to ~75% (listening to music and reading El Reg).

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AMBER alerts of snatched kids to appear on Facebook (and Bing)

OffBeatMammal

why the Microsoft snark in the sub-head? seems gratuitous (especially if it was a dig at Bing vs Google share... I don't see Google mentioned as helping here?)

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Kim Dotcom vows to KILL SKYPE with encrypted MegaChat

OffBeatMammal

how will this stack up against Blink (or whatever the bittorrent encrypted chat solution is called) works (or will work, when it gets traction)?

the biggest problem any alternative to Skype faces is getting your friends to use it... and secure or not given dotCom's penchant for hyperbole and lack of follow through will this ever reach a tipping point of usefulness?

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Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde: Fun, but not for all

OffBeatMammal

I really hope they bring something like this State-side.

I grew up in the UK and covered a lot of miles in a Lancia Delta and then got a new 155 V6. Totally agree on the maintenance heartaches - my first electrical fire in the 155 was *before* I drove it off the dealers forecourt, going round a roundabout (at a reasonable clip I'll admit) the interior lining fell off the passengers door (girlfriend *wasn't* impressed!), power steering died randomly one day... in the middle of North West Wales ... but I would buy another one in a heartbeat for the same reason I drive a Mustang today... the sheer grin on your face every damn time it starts!

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FCC to smack Sprint with $105m fine over 'cramming' – report

OffBeatMammal

Re: jail time

the penalty needs to outweigh the potential gain.

make those defrauded/over-charged or whatever whole again plus a percentage (10% - 110%) for harm done. couple that with corporate fines plus potential personal fines and jail time for where-ever the buck stops, be it the CFO who approved the loophole or the board who encouraged "creative accounting"

if the risk far outstrips the reward (and the changes of being caught are significantly higher than today) then they'll play nice (or get even more creative!)

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The future looks bright: Prepare to be dazzled by HDR telly tech

OffBeatMammal

interesting SIGGRAPH paper this year (and a pretty video to go along with it) - http://www.disneyresearch.com/publication/temporally-coherent-local-tone-mapping-of-hdr-video/. What makes it interesting is that it doesn't seem to rely too heavily on pushing the brightness of the display but tweaking the content behind the scenes... of course that doesn't sell new TVs so watch it be dismissed!

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What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight

OffBeatMammal

$50 and a month of Prime

the outrage

it's about ethics in Journalism (not journalists in Essex)

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Yes, Samaritans, the law DOES apply to you. Even if you mean well

OffBeatMammal

would blocking (and reporting as harassing for the false positives) the twitter account they use make this go away?

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MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...

OffBeatMammal

call me when it's out of beta

after previous iOS updates I'll wait for the first non-beta upgrade (hopefully 8.0.1 which will be out any day now)

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I saved Bitcoin and the PERFECT DRAFT OF HISTORY, says Assange

OffBeatMammal

Re: Sorry, you lost me at....

they lost me at "Julian Assange..."

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Need a US visa, passport? Prepare for misery: Database crash strands thousands

OffBeatMammal

collateral damage

Made a special trip outside the US to renew my US visa (because for whatever reason even when the paperwork is approved you still have to leave their border to get the stamp) and had my Consulate interview last week.

So the US Embassy now has my passport and because they're totally opaque and unaccountable I don't know if I'll be able to travel as planned or stuck here (with my daughter) racking up unexpected bills and - despite being a tax payer there you're not really wanted or represented - no-one seems to be doing a good job of caring or communicating. Starting to wonder if they know how to update their website to add a status notification...

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OMG, sorry about 'poor comms' on Facebook secret emoto-meddle tests. Laters!

OffBeatMammal

I wonder how long before someone (or several someones) decide that because Facebooks emotional manipulation caused bad result X (do it poor work review, break up of a relationship, feeling bad about themself) it's time for a class action suit or similar, and Facebook get dragged into court. Totally bogus and pretty pointless but at the end of the day the problem is Facebook has got so big and brash that it doesn't think the rules apply to it any more...

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Brit lands on Rockall with survival podule, starts record attempt

OffBeatMammal

if the choice is for my taxes to go to paying Vets what they have fought for vs boondoggles for MPs and Military Contractors to spend millions on things that don't protect anything buy a company's bottom line ... hell yeah, give them to the folks who served and are paying the price.

longer term we need to look at why we are engaging in military action in the first place ... we're not Team America, World Police (don't get me started on those clowns) and we're not longer the folks who can paint 3/4s of the globe pink and put fly the flag ... so when we're off helping "liberate" oil for BP lithium and other minerals for vested interest can't we at least charge them and stop pretending it's about peace keeping or democracy

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Microsoft’s 'FIRST NOKIA' arrives at £89

OffBeatMammal

Re: Hmmm.

not sure if the 63* is based on the same hardware as the X (looks very similar).

In the US (at least on T-Mobile) that piece of kit (which is surprisingly nice since the firmware update) doesn't support faster speeds on the network (no 4G/LTE) and no 5Ghz wifi. Personally never had a need for dual SIM but it's neatly done

That said, I've been using the X as my weekend device (smaller, much more pockabable and the battery lasts really well) so if the 630 has similar capabilities (and the more robust WP) I could see this being a pretty solid device.

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App.net: 'Good news, we've made money; bad news, we're all fired'

OffBeatMammal

tumbleweeds...

sadly app.net never seemed to really gain traction except for a very small circle of folks. I like it, but compared to Twitter it never really offered anything new, and I know more folks using G+ than app.net so there's no real incentive to check it more than once a week or so.

that said, Twitter is in the process of re-defining itself and I'm liking it less and less so maybe app.net just has to hang on until the time is right to do a Facebook to their MySpace...

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