* Posts by Neil Alexander

271 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

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Tired of despairing of Trump and Brexit? Why not despair about YouTube stars instead?

Neil Alexander

I don't get it.

Who really wants to spend time watching someone else playing games?!

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Do you suffer from the shame of 'Scroll Jank'? Help is at your fingertips

Neil Alexander

It's 2017 and scrolling using a trackpad on Windows is still frustratingly awful, even on their so-called "Precision Trackpads" which are typically anything but.

Apple perfected trackpads a decade ago. What's the hold-up, Microsoft?

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Another day, another cryptocurrency miner lurking in a Google Chrome extension

Neil Alexander

Re: As long as I am asked

"it is my CPU."

Try telling that to Intel!

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Developers' timezone fail woke half of New Zealand

Neil Alexander

Re: *Would have been* valuable to residents

No, it isn't an app, it's a cell feature.

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Docs ran a simulation of what would happen if really nasty malware hit a city's hospitals. RIP :(

Neil Alexander

I really hope you're not a CSO.

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EU court must rule on legality of UK's mass surveillance – tribunal

Neil Alexander

Re: "safeguard national security"

Isn't that always the case?

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The Telegraph has killed Prince Philip

Neil Alexander

It's like Hackers but in real life!

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UK Parliament launches inquiry into NHS WannaCrypt outbreak

Neil Alexander

Well, an inquiry will be a complete waste of time and tax-payer funding.

We already know everything that an inquiry is going to tell us. We know that Windows XP is out of date, we know that patch management was insufficient, we know that appropriate control measures weren't in place, we know that management of NHS IT is inadequate and so is the money allocated to it. More to the point, we already know what steps need to be taken to resolve these issues.

What the NHS really needs is for someone to go out there and actually pull out their cheque book and invest properly.

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Windows 10: Triumphs and tragedies from Microsoft Build

Neil Alexander

Re: Business users

"Linux and Libre Office is now a good bit better than Windows Workstation & office"

What on earth are you smoking? LibreOffice is nowhere near functional parity with Microsoft Office. Not even close.

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Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

Neil Alexander

Re: @Steve Davies 3 - Goibg to Jail?

"Android rooting is your friend"

Deliberately circumventing platform security is not your "friend" and certainly shouldn't be the expectation that users have to get the functionality they want.

Send a message with your money, people. Don't buy crap phones.

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TVs are now tablet computers without a touchscreen

Neil Alexander

Been pretty happy with my Apple TV 4 connected to an otherwise dumb television. It's simple to control, very usable, non-intrusive and Smart TV manufacturers really ought to learn a thing or two from it.

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Bring it BACK... with MODs! Psion 5 storms great tech revival poll

Neil Alexander

Re: Bit pricey and it'll be a few more months until it's out but...

Try this instead:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gpd-pocket-7-0-umpc-laptop-ubuntu-or-win-10-os-laptop--2#/

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Global IPv4 address drought: Seriously, we're done now. We're done

Neil Alexander

Re: Address allocated but not live

"too hard for most home users."

On the contrary, it is very typical for ISP-provided (and even off-the-shelf) routers to be configured with default-deny for incoming connections. In that case, most home users would never need to change a thing.

For those that do go in and make uneducated changes to the firewall settings, well, you can't protect users from themselves even in IPv4 land.

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Neil Alexander

Re: Address allocated but not live

"We want none of it inside our companies and homes. We are happy with or 10 and 172 addresses."

This is a really naive attitude and it is exactly this attitude (and ignorance) that makes the IPv6 transition so difficult.

Ignoring the really obvious problem of being expected to unnecessarily translate between IPv6 and IPv4 on your network boundaries, why are IPv4 private address ranges preferable? The answer is they aren't.

Even if you are hell-bent on your outdated thinking, you could use ULA address ranges in IPv6 for places that you do not want to be globally routable.

The correct tool for the job of controlling network traffic in and out of your network is a firewall. A device with a globally routable IPv6 address behind a correctly configured firewall is just as safe as a device with an internal IPv4 address behind a NAT configuration on a firewall.

Repeat after me: NAT is not a firewall. NAT does not provide security. NAT makes absolutely no guarantees.

"We have are comfortable with NAT"

No, globally, we're not comfortable with NAT.

NAT creates massive headaches and fundamentally pushes us towards service centralisation, as we are forever having to create applications that have to "call outbound" instead of being able to work in true peer-to-peer fashion. It makes even simple applications complicated as we have to constantly be concerned with NAT traversal, or UPnP, or NAT-PMP.

NAT is a hack. It was a hack when it was first implemented, and it's still a hack now. Unfortunately it's a hack that people are sadly attached to.

"OSPF, Vlans and tags."

None of this changes with IPv6 apart from an uplift to the OSPFv3 protocol. VLANs and tagging do not change - those are part of Layer 2, not Layer 3. Please see the OSI model.

"We DO NOT WANT an internet for every device."

This is not a problem with IPv6, but instead with your network topology. Put them on a VLAN that doesn't route to the Internet, or use a firewall to prevent traffic to/from them. There are correct tools for this job. Avoiding IPv6 forever is not.

"I do NOT want my LED light bulbs or my garage door on the internet, because I can not protect them."

See above statement.

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Neil Alexander

Re: class D address space

"Why don't we use class D addresses ? It's not really used for multicast"

Most IP stacks have special behavior hard-coded for the "special" IP ranges, i.e. multicast, link-local, etc. It would be an absolutely mammoth task to make those address ranges globally routable.

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Elon Musk joins anti-Trump legal brief

Neil Alexander

Re: Chilling

"in a National Security case"

So far there is no evidence that this is really anything to do with National Security. I would not be so quick to believe that Trump's intentions are actually aligned to his words. He is a businessman, after all.

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Windows 10 networking bug derails Microsoft's own IPv6 rollout

Neil Alexander

"decided not to make this next-gen networking protocol backward-compatible?"

Because that's just not how it works. IPv6 quite rightly unifies a lot of things that were merely afterthoughts to IPv4, and cuts quite a lot of crap too.

Just because "we always did it that way" doesn't mean it's the best or most practical way of doing it.

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Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP

Neil Alexander

You're ignoring the simple fact that the conversation happening on the wire might actually be perfectly fine up to a point, it could just be that Windows is ignoring something in the response. Wireshark won't show you that.

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Neil Alexander

Of course...

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Renewed calls for Tesla to scrap Autopilot after number of crashes

Neil Alexander

Usually one can blame their stupidity on a different kind of autopilot. Certainly not all autopilot is of the technological variety. Just ask the morons who text whilst driving.

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

Neil Alexander

" Apple restricts the use of iPhones' NFC chips to its own Apple Pay facility and there's no hook-in that for third-party apps from banks or anyone else."

As far as I'm concerned this is a good thing. At least that way I know there's no leakage of payment data to some rogue application that makes use of an API vulnerability.

The real question here, though, is why Barclays have had to implement some custom app-powered NFC hook to get this to work when existing NFC payment infrastructure would handle this use case perfectly?

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IPv4 is OVER. Really. So quit relying on it in new protocols, sheesh

Neil Alexander

In reality, this is massively overdue.

IPv6 is in it's late teens, IPv4 address exhaustion has been on the table for years and is hardly recent news and it's not acceptable for so-called "standards bodies" to just sit back and pretend like nothing is happening.

The IETF should have been rejecting drafts that were dependent on IPv4 long before now. If anything is going to drive IPv6 adoption, it's real-world use cases - that is, protocols and services that actually work, are well-defined and solve real problems.

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A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right

Neil Alexander

"WileyFox"

Not strong on names, are they?

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WebAssembly: Finally something everyone agrees on – websites running C/C++ code

Neil Alexander

Never will understand this constant desire by developers to make applications as web pages instead of applications as applications. The user experience delivered by web applications usually sucks.

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Hackintoshes hackable

Neil Alexander

"Mac OS is notoriously hard to virtualise, and creating a Mac OS VM that will run on non-Apple hardware requires all manner of tweaking"

No it isn't. You can do it effortlessly in VMware Fusion, and then you can even take those VMDKs/VMXs and take them to VMware Workstation on Windows, or even ESXi, and often they work fine with only very minor tweaks to the SMBIOS lines in the VMX file.

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Tesla's big news today:
sudo killall -9 Autopilot

Neil Alexander

Re: "...and a more powerful computer."

"Do 'A.I.' cars realized when an unexpected crash has occurred?"

Non-AI cars know when they've been crashed. How do you think airbags are deployed?

Also see Volvo pedestrian airbags, which deploy even if a human is hit without the front-end being damaged or crumpled.

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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

Neil Alexander

Sure does depend on the situation. After all, dinging the car is one thing. Writing off the people inside of it is another.

Not all external players are pedestrians or cyclists, though. Some of them are in HGVs or trucks. Some of them are idiots in Range Rovers who think they're indestructible.

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Neil Alexander

Not sure this approach of protecting the occupants of the vehicle is so unusual. The autonomous system can at least largely control the vehicle, whereas it has absolutely no influence or control over external players.

If someone outside of the car does something reckless then I don't suppose it's really fair to expect the car to sacrifice its own occupants as a result.

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Desktop budget wrangles: Whose device is it anyway?

Neil Alexander

I guess I can appreciate that somewhat, but not because I expect to get any real work done on such a device. Sometimes it'd be nice to have a little 8" screen to carry over to a colleagues desk when I just need a quick opinion on something or to flick through minutes from a previous meeting when sat around a table.

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IPv6 now faster than IPv4 when visiting 20% of top websites – and just as fast for the rest

Neil Alexander

Re: 20% is not noticable

"And if you *are* trying to open up that server, I *want* there to be some effort to prevent services being accidentally exposed to the outside world."

That is the job of a firewall. Repeat after me: NAT is not a firewall.

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Neil Alexander

Re: Time to learn

"That would actually be Prefix Translation rather than address translation, but unfortunately (AIUI) that got kicked out as "not needed" quite early one."

Despite that, you can NETMAP quite easily using netfilter6 to translate prefixes with minimal effort on Linux. In fact, this is exactly what I do on my home network with my EdgeRouter X, which includes these modules out-of-the-box.

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Did you know iOS 10, macOS Sierra has a problem with crappy VPNs? You do now

Neil Alexander

PPTP should have been dead years ago.

Congratulations go to Apple.

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Apple: Crisis? What innovation crisis? BTW, you like our toothbrush?

Neil Alexander

Is it really a bad thing for new devices to feature "incremental" improvements? We've pretty much reached the point with smartphones where they do what we need and they do it reasonably well. We don't need a massive paradigm shift. We need refinement.

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Pains us to run an Apple article without the words 'fined', 'guilty' or 'on fire' in it, but here we are

Neil Alexander

To give them credit for one thing

The AirPods do look really well thought out. If they work as well as advertised, I'll be sold.

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Beautiful, efficient, data-sucking Smart Cities: Why do you give us the creeps?

Neil Alexander

The ironic thing here is that not everything in a smart city needs to be heavily networked in order to be "smart".

A street light that dims when nobody is around needs a dumb heat/motion sensor, and that's about it. At worst, it might want to know about the nearest few street lights and their motion sensing too, but it doesn't need to know about me, you or anyone else individually, and it doesn't really need to be networked with street lights some miles away. Road junctions can be monitored in volume of traffic and not necessarily by following individual vehicles around using ANPR. Some traffic lights already can detect oncoming traffic to stop people sitting at red lights unnecessarily - no citywide network needed there either.

The problem isn't making things smart. The problem is making things too networked.

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FBI Director wants 'adult conversation' about backdooring encryption

Neil Alexander

Non-technical people in Government trying to rule on technical matters, sky still blue, etc.

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Update your iPhones, iPads right now – govt spy tools exploit vulns

Neil Alexander

Re: Safe and secure...

That's a dangerous assumption to make, given that security holes in Windows Phone are much less likely to be as widely published given the comparatively minor market share. That doesn't mean that they aren't there and that the bad guys don't know about them.

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Native Skype for Windows Phone walked behind shed, shot heard

Neil Alexander

Re: Bad reporting - Skype UWP part of Windows 10 Mobile etc.

"All active users of Windows Phone 8.1 devices (i.e. 2014 handsets onwards, roughly)"

So, er, not all active users of Windows Phone 8.1 then.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update is borking boxen everywhere

Neil Alexander

Re: Plan ahead

That would absolutely be wise, given that some Windows 10 users have seen such updates nuking their Linux partitions too.

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Windows 10: Happy with Anniversary Update?

Neil Alexander

Turns out that it's really hard to pull major components out of an operating system that so desperately wants to be compatible with applications from 1995 without breaking things. You're right, it's a mess, but until Microsoft are willing to fully modernise, it's not going to go away.

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Neil Alexander

And over here we can see the Linux user community jumping into comment sections of Windows articles to needlessly explain the supposed virtues of turning to the the almighty penguin. For many a year it was Apple fanboys who filled this niche, but as you can see, times have changed.

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Windows 10 pain: Reg man has 75 per cent upgrade failure rate

Neil Alexander

Needed a Windows box at home, but feared that the upgrade advisor would jump in at some point and molest my machine if it was running either Windows 7 or 8.1. Decided to install Windows Server 2012 R2 with the desktop experience features instead. At least it won't accidentally (deliberately?) become Windows 10.

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Remix chomps Marshmallow, updates its Android for PCs

Neil Alexander

Re: why no linkage love? 'Bing'?

"As if 'google' wasn't endemic enough, now we have 'Bing'..."

No we don't. That's not a thing.

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Third time unlucky? HPE in redundancy talks with UK services staff

Neil Alexander

Lessons learned?

They aren't. Ever.

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Microsoft ordered to fix 'excessively intrusive, insecure' Windows 10

Neil Alexander

Re: Rather Late....

"But a a full fat native Linux Phablet would be a long time coming."

The Linux community still can't get desktop computing right for "average users". They're quite some way off managing a decent tablet experience.

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McCain: Come to my encryption hearing. Tim Cook: No, I'm good. McCain: I hate you, I hate you, I hate you

Neil Alexander

McCain's just pissed because Tim Cook knows that the Government have absolutely nothing sensible to say about encryption. Cook's refusal to entertain it sends a powerful message, one that not many companies are strong enough to send.

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HPE dumps software biz into the bargain bin

Neil Alexander

Bye Felicia.

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Linux letting go: 32-bit builds on the way out

Neil Alexander

Re: Goodbye Skype?

"it will become impossible to use Skype on Linux"

That can only be a blessing.

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Eat my reports! Bart ransomware slips into PCs via .zip'd JavaScript

Neil Alexander

Someone please tell me

"contains malicious JavaScript code that, when opened, fetches the Bart executable via HTTPS and installs it."

Why in fresh hell is JavaScript able to install or execute anything?!

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Lexus cars suffer Purple Screen of Death – code bug turns the air blue

Neil Alexander

Re: So what else have they borked that's a little more serious ...

Presumably they mean "don't shout at the infotainment system whilst driving".

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