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* Posts by Dafydd Lawrence

46 posts • joined 4 Sep 2007

Google slots nested labels, sneak peek experiments into Gmail

Dafydd Lawrence
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Well it can be pretty useful...

In the scenario that your colleague sends you an e-mail about the convention in Siberia and includes details of your flight, hotel and schedule. You add a label for "flights", "hotels" and "Siberia Conference".

Or if a friend e-mails back about the Skiing trip and the Egypt holiday you might have a folder for Friends, a folder for the skiing trip details and a folder for the Egypt Holiday. You would have to make three copies of the e-mail to go in each of those folders.

Just depends how organised you are or want to be. Different to tags they are like tags with "smart folders".

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HTC Desire

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: Sold!

1) You can't run java apps directly but they are usually reletively easy to port. TrekBuddy is available for android (however I prefer Rmaps).

2) Don't know about bluetooth tethering as I only have the Hero which doesn't yet have the new 2.1 profiles, but that can do tethering via USB (built in with no need for an app). It doesn't use DUN it uses NDIS ans so just shows up as a network adapter and you don't need to do any configuration apart from have the HTC drivers installed - works flawlessly.

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British Gas signs Voda so meters can snitch direct

Dafydd Lawrence
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Changing Suplier

I am curious as to what happens when you change supplier. As this system seem very vendor-centric it seems as though you would nequire a new system to be installed everytime you change suppliers?

As changing (or at least evaluating) suppliers at least every 12 months is recommend this could be a problem.

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HTC Legend

Dafydd Lawrence
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More on battery life

Personally with a smartphone I think the best to hope for is a full day of reasonable use before it dies. It can then be charged at night ready for the next day. Gone are the days of my old nokia that only needed to be charged once a week, it isn't going to happen with these screens and processors for a while. With my Hero I have this even with Bluetooth, GPS (not active), 3G and WiFi left on all day.

However, I charge my phone at night, can charge it while driving, can charge it from any USB port and so the only times I have a problem is when I am out on the mountains and I am using the GPS for mapping and recording my tracks. But I now use a 3000mAh lithium battery powered charger that is about the size of the phone, chargers from the car socket and can triple the length of my phone usage. I wouldn't carry it around on a day to dfay basis but left in my rucksack next to my phone it is ideal. It was only £9.99 and has an LED readout of the amount of charge left.

I never have a problem with battery life now.

The legend running for half a day would be a pain but it could be due to it being tested continuously and therefore has the screen on for long periods of time.

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Microsoft's dual-screen booklet shows 'face' on web

Dafydd Lawrence
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Old story?

I saw this video 2 or 3 months ago?

There is a second one as well that is similar. It seemed like it was a concept from a marketing/design company to sell the idea to Microsoft and not the real product just a concept.

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Apple bans geo loco ads on iPhone, iPad*

Dafydd Lawrence
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Google?

How will that affect Google's plans for streetview/Maps that have location aware Ads?

Isn't that the whole point of Google investing so heavily in the mapping arena?

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HTC's next-gen Android flagship phone to debut Feb 2010

Dafydd Lawrence
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Android 2

HTC have already said they are releasing Android 2 for the Hero, they are just re-writing their Sense UI to work with it.

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Privacy fears prompt Fry to quit Plaxo

Dafydd Lawrence
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Plaxo v Privacy

When Plaxo invites first appeared in our inboxes about 5 or 6 years ago I strongly advised the management to ignore invites and ask the sender to remove their details from the database.

The problem is that a user uploads their address book to the site so now you have your details on a third party site without your permission. Plaxo may the change their privacy policay and allow those details to be read without your permission and you would never know.

Also their terms and conditions stated that if the company was sold then the database would be sold with it.

What sort of company would wish to buy a company that wasn't making any money and just consisted of millions of contact details? Hmmm...

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Hi-tech Silly Putty reformed as gadget protector

Dafydd Lawrence
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Dragons' Den graduate

This was a contender on the show and he got backing from one of them, can't remember who though!

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T-Mobile coughs to data theft

Dafydd Lawrence
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WTF?

Not that trivial!

"Customer details are in the phone book, and most people will tell you their contract renewal date if you call them up and ask (as cold callers are wont to do)."

Jeez, this might not be a hanging offence but Bill you really are going in the wrong direction with this one. The Register normally takes a decent enough stance on data theft and the need for a greater powers for the ICO.

Which phone book contains customer details? Do you mean the BT one that is now approaching the size of a magazine (if you take out the business listings) as there are hardly any customers who wish to be included in it as they don't want random marketing calls?

How on earth do you feel justified in writing the comment that people will give up their contract renewal date if asked by a cold caller? Where are your sources to back that up? The only empirical evidence I presume you have is that you, yourself, are willing to divulge that information when asked?

The cold callers in this case can use this information to deceive people into thinking they are calling from T-mobile. For example "Hello Mr Johnston, as you are a valuable customer I wish to offer you a great deal on the renewal of your contract next month..."

This goes beyond the irritation of just receiving unsolicited calls.

The other point is that the money that the staff were suposed to be making from these sales is far greater than the maximum fine of £5000 and so there is no disincentive to doing this.

It will still be up to a court to decide the penalty but I can see some cases where a jail term would be warranted and certainly maximum fines that would allow recovery of all money made and more.

Are you really happy that any of your information could be available for sale to anyone else with little repercussions? Credit applications, bank details, shop purchases, travel plans...Really?

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DVLA pledges investigation over Castrol spy posters

Dafydd Lawrence
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WTF?

What the DVLA encourages the data to be used for...

Go to the DVLA website and there is a link to here -> http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?r.l1=1081597476&r.l3=1082104761&topicId=1082032108&r.lc=en&r.l2=1082103262&r.s=tl

-they state that you can buy 29 items of car data from any of 5 intermediatries that can be used for marketing or setting up a car dealership.

They actively encourage it!

A quote from the website:

How the data can be used

Vehicle data contains the first part of each vehicle keeper's postcode. This can give you an idea of the distribution of vehicles across Great Britain by make, model and body type.

This might help you decide where to locate a dealership for a particular type or make of vehicle.

You might also find this data useful when planning advertising or promotional campaigns. The data may help you target particular areas where people are more likely to buy new vehicles or tend to own larger or smaller vehicles.

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HP shows off colour display 'skin' for gadgets

Dafydd Lawrence
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Animated?

Is this definitely an animated screen?

The press release doesn't seem to say that the screen can be changed at will after production only to say that it can be made transparent. If it was a display that can change wouldn't the announcement of a pantone matched print quality display be a massive e-book replacement style announcement rather than a sticker to go on a mobile phone?

The size can be massive as it says it is produced in rolls so I suspect this is a printed display that can just be made transparent?

Could the author confirm?

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Tory who claimed brother's tech gear on expenses quits

Dafydd Lawrence
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4 Routers???

What sort of constituency office is she running there?

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Tiscali shares suspended on titsup fears

Dafydd Lawrence
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@Pete

Do you have a guide how to get a feed from two different exchanges to your business using ADSL?

I'd love to hear it - it took us 18 months at one of our sites to get BT to agree to this and even then it involved us laying the trenches and conduits for them.

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Down the Digital River, into the heart of download darkness

Dafydd Lawrence
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That's not even the start of it

Digital River are just crap anyway. Whether they add inflated fees or not. The amount of hassles I have with them trying to even just buy software and their useless customer service being ... well.. useless.

Their custom sites are full of coding errors which can make you go around in circles as it bumps you back to the beginning over and over. The layout is poor and the user interface is laughable.

This even for customers like Microsoft. This is what I can't get - why would Microsoft need to use DR to supply their software and not write a system in house. The lack of quality control at DR and the terrible user experience reflects on these big companies.

I've been involved in building pretty sophisticated e-commerce systems before for a private company which also allowed us to sell our partner's goods using a custom skin and we managed to complete the project in a short enough timescale.

Digital River have never failed to provide me with a bad experience!

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Cotton Traders mauled by hackers

Dafydd Lawrence
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Encrypted data

On this and the BBC story it is stated that Cotton Traders say "customer credit card data is encrypted on our website". Neither actually get a quote stating it WAS encrypted at the time of the security breach.

The journalist in this article states that the data was encrypted but is that an assumption from the above quote or was it actually stated by the company?

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Apple's carpet-bomb Safari flaw can wreak havoc on Windows

Dafydd Lawrence
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Windows fast fix?

"Contrast Microsoft's response with that of Apple. The company that foisted Safari on the unwitting masses of Windows users can't be bothered to fix a flaw that clearly puts them at risk."

That's a bit harsh seeing as the bug that causes IE to open files from the desktop automatically was reported to Microsoft back in 2006!

The only reason they would be fixing this fast would be to save themselves swimming in a big bucket of hypocrisy.

Apple could easily put out a security alert saying users of windows should stop using IE until the problem is fixed.

It's a blended threat, both are to blame.

Microsoft forced IE on it's customers.

Apple pretty much forced Safari on it's customers.

Microsoft have a bug in their browser which they haven't fixed for 2 years.

Apple have an "insecure feature" in their browser which might or might not be fixed in the next 2 years.

....

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Manchester's congestion charge: pay-to-leave

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE:wtf?????

The money is going towards improving the public transport infrastructure before the congestion charging goes live.

They are extending existing public transport links and turning railway stations into transport hubs.

Read about it on the BBC....

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US town tells Street View to push off

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: What's the point?

Well one point could be directions. Direction websites have been around for a long time but it makes it all that easier if there is a photo of the alley that you need to turn down, or a picture of the building.

Extend this to GPS and rather than having just the normal 3D view you have a photo realistic view.

Then, you want to buy a house in the neighbourhood. You can visit it virtually first.

There are plenty of applications for it and every time you use it Google can show you some ads for businesses also in the area.

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Royal Bank of Scotland takes three weeks to squash nasty Worldpay bug

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: Hmmm, something is odd here

The answer is there already. It's using XSS. Look it up. The whole point of XSS is it is the trusted server that serves up the bad code.

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Medion takes aim at Asus' Eee

Dafydd Lawrence
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@Allan Rutland

But the screen is larger than 10"?

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Six months on from HMRC, data losses still rising, says ICO

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: ICO not toothless

If they do not process personal information then they are exempt and do not have to register as Data Processors. Read the guidelines and then if all 1200 are exempt you can write one letter back explaining that fact and will not have to pay any money.

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Chinese hackers call off CNN attack

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: elReg should publish they SSH and FTP log files

What on earth are you talking about. The article is about a DDOS attack. That nearly always has a start time. The distributed clients stream the data continuously to the site from that point until either they are turned off again or the site can identify each of the clients and block them.

Why would ELReg want to publish SSH and FTP log files, no normal person would be interested, it could compromise their security and it wouldn't show anything.

No wonder you posted as AC.

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SQL string in URL exposes sex offender data

Dafydd Lawrence
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Wow

Poor security measures never cease to amaze me. I thought having SQL injection via FORM fields was a pretty basic security flaw nowadays but I never thought I would see actual SQL statements written in full in a query string. What reason could they possibly have for doing that?

Amazing!

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Feds to collect DNA of every person they arrest

Dafydd Lawrence
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It's far worse than that in the UK already!

Guys, you have it easy over there. In the UK as well as having the most surveillance (CCTV) in the world we also top the DNA database tables.

Whereas this is talking about the FEDS and ARREST. In England & Wales* if you are brought to a police station (by regular police) on SUSPICION of any offence, whether charged or not you will have a DNA sample taken. If you are later released without charge, even totally exonerated, your DNA will remain on the database for ever.

*Scotland is similar but they remove your DNA from the database if you are not charged with the offence.

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Phishers offer credit card discounts to prospective marks

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: Verified by and SecureCode are worthless

It may be worthless to the online customer but not to the merchant. The two schemes stop the merchant having the dreaded chargebacks on Customer Not Present (CNP) transactions that can end up costing the merchant a lot of money (If the goods were paid for using one of the two schemes).

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Scientology threatens Wikileaks with injunction

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: a cognition - What?

Yes, the definition of a cognition is the realisation, through careful thought, while walking around counting bodies, that you have just parted with a lot of money for some useless junk.

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HMRC tax credit database takes the week off

Dafydd Lawrence
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@Ian

I wouldn't go as far as AC but maybe you should look it up in the dictionary. To help you here's a link from dictionary.com.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/inputted

Here's the abridged reference:

in·put ......

..... verb, -put·ted or -put, -put·ting.

...........

–verb (used with object)

10. Computers. to enter (data) into a computer for processing.

I know IT is stressful but you can't be helping yourself by <RANT>ing over correctly spelt (or do you prefer spelled) words.

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Dafydd Lawrence
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Known Knowns?

Kind of shows the competency on government IT projects. Either the brief was poor or the implementation but in reality both. Surely a budget often results in changes to the tax system so how it cannot have been envisaged that new rates would need to be inputted from time to time (probably once a year) is unbelievable. Especially 1 weeks downtime. I could understand 1 hour to ensure there was no overlap as the rates were applied but even that should be unnecessary.

Even now couldn't they just put the rates into an offline set of tables and then just make them live when needed?

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Ban using mobiles while crossing street, says US legislator

Dafydd Lawrence
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@John RE: You Have To Be Kidding

>WTF? Better ban reading a map while driving, talking to anybody while doing anything, and breathing too.

Err.. you mean to say that reading a map while driving is not already illegal over there???

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Canon Digital Ixus 960 IS compact camera

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: Wide?

Canon do another range - with exactly the same features but less megapixel (for now), no viewfinder but 3" LCD, and no titanium body that can shoot at 28mm equivalent. It is the IXUS 870 IS (or maybe the 860, Canon's numbering differences between US, Japan and Europe are ridiculous)

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Mobile phones global health menace, says top brain surgeon

Dafydd Lawrence
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@fon RE: ah, myths....

>other myths disproved...

>

>cellphones have been tested SAFE even at a high concentration of >gasoline in the air - much higher than possible at gas stations...

But that was never the reason why mobile phones were banned at petrol stations. I did a lot of research into this to find out the actual reason as we wanted to use a GSM credit card reader at our petrol pumps at a private site.

BTW. the other myth that it interferes with the tills is also not true.

The actual reason is that a study showed dropping a battery powered device on the floor could cause the battery to dislodge and result in a spark across the terminals as it falls away and therefore be an ignition source for petroleum vapour. The research did not specifically target mobile phones but a chain of petrol stations (in the US) decided that they were devices most likely to be used and therefore dropped on a forecourt. This was later adopted by other stations and in other countries including the UK without knowledge of what the actual reason was and hence they just thought the mobile phone signal could cause an explosion.

Therefore it is safe to use your phone, just don't drop it!

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Google's riches rely on ads, algorithms, and worldwide confusion

Dafydd Lawrence
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@Fundamental flaws

This isn't entirely true, for a few reasons.

Of course there is a finite amount, there is a finite amount of money in the world so it is impossible to have an infinite profit showing on your end-of-year's. However a few certain parameters make this a good business model for growth.

-The web is growing. More people are coming online, more people have faster internet connections and will continue to for a while.

- Internet marketing is growing. More firms all the time are using the internet model to sell their goods and advertise and will continur to for a while.

- The more that gets spent on the internet side of a company, the more money they will have. Because they are reaching a larger audience they are growing quicker than before. Therefore the more people who click on them will give them more money to spend on internet advertising which means they will/have to pay more for it.

Look at traditional advertising - a company might start with a small ad in a local paper, as that produces results they try for local radio, get more custom, go for a national paper/magazines and with more interest they end up with TV advertising before hitting S&S to run a multi million pund campaign for them.

However with the web, especially click-throughs there is less risk, more room for growth and better trends. It's also a lot easier to run a campaign while reducing the exposure to risk.

It is for the time being a pretty good business model.

As for the Google being hard to understand and scraping you for money. The problem is Google are a good salesman and they say "Not only will we give you the keywords you want but we'll automatically place you under hundreds of other relevant keywords and place you on thousands of sites throughout the world".."How much extra will that cost me?"..."Nothing Sir, that's part of the Google service".

All you need to do is look at the options and understand what they will mean to you bottom dollar. Spend some time researching and not jump in with both feet. Although there's plenty of secrecy in the 'auction' side of things, the options aren't that complicated as long as you spend some time evaluating and then monitoring them.

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HSBC forgets to renew its digital certificate

Dafydd Lawrence
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Not really...

You can still see that it's a genuine certificate issued to the correct party, so the warning will tell you that the site is okay. It will also tell you that the problem is that the certificate has expired. If the certificate had been revoked then this would be a different story.

It would look suspicious that a major bank had let it's certificate expire, but you would easily be able to confirm that the site itself was genuine.

I don't know where the technical people were when they reviewed this article, but "... they could be logging into a website pretending to be something it was not, this was obviously not the case". Is not true.

A phising sire could easily have it's own certificate or no certificate at all and the user would probably not notice. Having a certificate that is expired would be stupid for a phishing site as it attracts too much attention.

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ICANN grills domain-hogging Network Solutions

Dafydd Lawrence
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They get a phone call the next day???

How on earth would they get a phone call? If someone does a search they don't leave their phone number first - or even their contact details. UNLESS the person searching is already a customer of Network Solutions and has logged in.

In that case only Network Solutions could be phoning them or they have a big security breach on their database, there is an inside person working for Network Solutions that is passing off the data to a third party.

This is more worrying than originally thought.

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Vodafone, Orange to share UK mast sites

Dafydd Lawrence
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It's been going on for a long time

This may be a more formal announcement that all masts will be shared by these two companies but very often a new mast will be erected and paid for by one company who pay the lease to the land owner and then another operator will sub lease space on that mast. Thsi could be between any of the carriers.

However it does depend on the size of the mast initially erected and also whether the mast is in the right location for the other operator, but generally if there is a mast in a good location then usually another mobile operator is not going to build another mast right next to it.

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Time to rewrite DBMS, says Ingres founder

Dafydd Lawrence
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RE: Give them a break

I agree with most of your comments but XSS (Cross site scripting) is hardly ever a problem that involves the database and not a problem of database design. It is a defect in poor coding allowing the server you are currently accessing to deliver remote content (or at least content from an unexpected source).

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Hamster-in-rain emergency prompts 999 call

Dafydd Lawrence
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Joke

@ The Other Steve

"1 in 10 ?

If they think that having only one in ten of their calls being a complete waste of time and resources is bad, they've obviously never worked in IT support !"

Yeah, I think I might use their advice and get the support staff to answer the phone with "Hello IT Support, please state the nature of your emergency"

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Technology is root of all evil, says IMF

Dafydd Lawrence
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Pol Pot tried it

Similar thinking to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. A true Agarian society was the aim. Anyone with intelligence, real or perceived, was executed. Millions lost their lives.

Just goes to show that even here there are little Pol Pot's waiting in the shadows - there ideas might not be as sinister at the moment, like Pol Pot's weren't, but give them power and who knows?

PS. Jody - Check your history!

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UK ID card service mounts birth, marriage, death landgrab

Dafydd Lawrence
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@Well, of course

I can't see it being used to keep track for tax purposes. Your NI number is supposed to do that and anyone who, is honest, and has to fill out a self assessment form each year would love it if there was a large computer that could track it all automatically.

I mean, they know how much you earn from any job you apply for, they should know how much interest you've paid through your bank accounts and have access to pension data. Why can't they work out how much tax you've paid and should've paid and automatically send you a refund?

If this card allowed that it would be one positive for it.

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Dafydd Lawrence
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Personal Certificate

Seeing as the ID card seems to be inevitible why not make it a lot more useful and store a type of public/private certificate on the card. Then you could have a small reader attached to a PC and with the help of a pin or password access all you bank accounts, vote in referendums, etc safe in the knowledge that viruses/keyboard loggers will not be successful.

Surely in the 21st century online identity is the most important, not offline?

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Three Gorges Dam an 'environmental catastrophe'

Dafydd Lawrence
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Mekong

Maybe this will force China's hand to join the Mekong River Commission before their actions hurt the whole of Southeast Asia mainland.

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Google malware watchdogs bite mom-and-pop shops

Dafydd Lawrence
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@gollux

Ermm... not sure how you suggest you should "..filter for quality". Served ads are served from the ad company's servers. They are not read by the website owner and then displayed by the website owner's server.

The story mentions that he was using a big name ad company and the story also mentions that very large sites have also had this problem.

The onus is 100% on the ad serving company that takes the order for an advert. They should check the quality of that advert for possible problems.

It should also be the ad network that gets blocked not the website. Therefore the space where the advert is should be saying this advert may contain malware so has been blocked, then the rest of the site will work fine.

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Orange promises rethink on deleted email accounts

Dafydd Lawrence
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@Anon: "What a good idea ... ?"

"Dear customer, as you haven't read your emails for more than 260 days we thought it would be a good idea to send you an email to say that if you also don't read the email we're now sending you, we're also about to delete your account."

You might want to read the story and the background to this, or use a little common sense. If people didn't use the e-mail then they wouldn't be complaining, would they?

The problem is the fact that people did use the e-mail service, maybe daily. However, they didn't access it using the correct method. They were using an alternate service provider's internet access like Cable.

It's not really worth having a go at people who may have lost lots of important information if you are not affected and don't understand the reason.

I lost all my orange e-mail a while back, despite being an orange customer and having an orange account. I was 'stupid' enough to change from contract to pay-as-you-go and this meant that without warning I lost all my e-mails, my account and my e-mail address. The only stupid thing I've done since is stick with Orange as it's a pain to try to change to another provider from where I am.

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Orange mounts sneaky Freeserve accounts purge

Dafydd Lawrence
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Beware of your orange.net e-mail when changing contracts

I used to use an orange.net e-mail account as it was realy handy at sending me a text for free everytime I got a new e-mail (luckily I didn't get any spam!). Everyone had that address and I also had some documents stored in it.

I then went travelling around the world and changed my orange contract to orange pay-as-you-go. I kept the same telephone number.

However on changing me over they delete (without warning) your login account and e-mail account. All my e-mails were lost including ones that stored some info for my travels and I was now in Thailand. All my friends e-mail addresses were lost from my contacts folder and all my e-mails with information for my travels were lost.

Worse still I couldn't go back and re-register my old e-mail address as it kept showing that it was still in use.

I tried in vain many times but could get absolutely no help from Orange - even to free up my address so I could use it again (which of course must be possible).

I know I should have everything backed up, but I was travelling without a PC and didn't think my account would be deleted. If I was moving away from Orange then I would have backed up. I was annoyed!

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