* Posts by Christopher Reeve's Horse

124 posts • joined 17 Jan 2008

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Google tracks what you spend offline to prove its online ads work. And privacy folks are furious

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Jokes on them...

"...after seeing Google-served adverts on the web"

What makes them think I see any adverts on the web?

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Wisconsin badgers Apple to cough up half a BEEELLION dollars for ripping off chip designs

Christopher Reeve's Horse

ICAN has Cheese?

What's the cheese all about, did I miss something?

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Got bot? How to put it to work with Microsoft's Cortana Skills

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Skills

Weren't there recently a bunch of security concerns regarding the 'skills' available on Amazon's Alexa? What makes you think I'd be more inclined to trust Microsoft?

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/13/amazon_alexa_conversations/

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Confessions of an ebook eater

Christopher Reeve's Horse

My first coding experience...

Was laboriously typing BASIC line by line from from a book of games written for the Oric 1 (before we upgraded to the much more lovely Oric 48K). Typing and then debugging would take hours if not days, and the results were, well, often a bit shit.

Looking back, I, erm, don't think it did mE aNy LoNG tErM hARm....

60 Programs for the Oric 1 http://www.defence-force.org/computing/oric/library/lib_coding_basic/

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An 'AI' that can diagnose schizophrenia from a brain scan – here's how it works (or doesn't)

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Big Brother

Impressive analysis but

I still don't like the term AI being slapped on every bit of machine learning or 'big data' analysis...

Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I liked it when words and definitions had specific meanings.

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Southern awarded yet another 'most moaned about rail firm' gong

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: If you want good trains

Actually, there's some quite nice trains in the museum in York, especially the super cool 1960's Bullet Train.

If you want a good train service however, that's a different matter...

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Creepy tech tycoons Zuck and Musk clash over AI doomsday

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Terminator

‘a computer program someone wrote.’

Precisely. Especially the personal assistants, which after nearly two decades of advancement are just as frustrating as Microsoft Clippy. This is not AI, it's data whoring sh*t.

I personally doubt that the majority of middle class jobs will be replaced by AI, it's simply that the roles people have will change to reflect the increased capabilities of man & machine as a system. The personal computer revolution has completely re-defined what it's possible to achieve in the workplace, not simply replaced a bunch of typists and clerks like for like.

The world will get more complex, and we'll all need to do a more complex variety of tasks to deliver competitive outputs.

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Microsoft ctrl-Zs 'killing' Paint, by which we mean offering naff app through Windows Store

Christopher Reeve's Horse

It's a simple recipe...

Problem: No one is using MS Store.

Solution: Take something that everyone uses, and make it only available from MS Store.

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Kid found a way to travel for free in Budapest. He filed a bug report. And was promptly arrested

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Reminds me of...

"The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is a vicious wild animal from the planet of Traal, known for its never-ending hunger and its mind-boggling stupidity. The Guide calls the bugblatter the stupidest creature in the entire universe - so profoundly unintelligent that, if you can't see it, it assumes it can't see you."

Seems about right.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse
FAIL

Reminds me of...

...that great Richard Feynman safe-cracking story at Los Alamos. When he informed the General (I think it was) that classified military documents were at risk because he could easily open the safe door, Feynman was instead excluded from accessing the area where the 'safe' was. He was seen as the risk, not the fact that the expensive new safe was not fit for purpose.

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Cassini captures pieces of Saturn’s rings

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: precise measurement of the length of the Saturnian day continues to elude us

Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but when a gaseous planet spins, and different latitudes spin at different rates, what exactly ought to be considered as 'a day'? Furthermore, why is it significant?

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Ubuntu Linux now on Windows Store (for Insiders)

Christopher Reeve's Horse

"So glad you brought your childhood Amiga vs ST rants with you into adulthood."

Once Atari, always Atari. My trusty 1040STE is still boxed and ready in the attic, just in case this whole PCMasterrace thing doesn't work out...

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Christopher Reeve's Horse
Windows

But...

Please forgive my ignorance, but downloading another OS via the windows store! What kind of sorcery is this?

Does it install alongside windows as a dual boot (risking Grub destroying your RAID arrays; this happened to me last time I tried to set up a dual boot!) or does it run virtualised inside Windows?

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Google, Mozilla both say they sped up the web today. One by blocking ads. One with ads

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Paradox. Everyone hates ads. Everyone wants stuff for "free".

Actually, on reflection I think I'd rather pay, it's just that I don't often find much worth paying for.

If there was on option on Google that let me pay £5 a month for their services and freed me from all their insidious advertising and data collection, I suspect they'd be getting a hell of a lot more money than they could generate through advertising to me or using my data.

I know the value of their data set is only realised when aggregated over lots and lots of people, but in the end it's all just snake oil to lure the advertisers. It can all be done with good old simple subject matter context, so that adverts relate to the content of the internet, not the personal information of people.

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Samsung's 'Magician' for SSDs can let crims run evil code

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Say 'Abracadabra'...

...and is this the arbitrary code you selected?

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Virtual reality audiences stare straight ahead 75% of the time

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Clever image processing algorithm

Whilst many of us are probably fond of a bit of creationism bashing, there's a time and a place.

And that time and place was AOL Instant Messenger, in 1998.

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Scottish govt mulled scrapping £178m car-crash IT system

Christopher Reeve's Horse

"the programme has not delivered value for money"

Seems to be a recurrent issue in Scotland for some reason... See also Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Trams.

The new Forth bridge, apart from a bit of a delay, appears to be going well though; unfortunately big projects have become so tarnished that hardly anything positive gets said about the few successes anymore.

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Backdoor backlash: European Parliament wants better privacy

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Big Banks

And you can't have a two tier system of proper encryption for banking and lesser encryption for everything else, because you could feasibly communicate using financial transfers by ciphering values into coded messages.

If people are determined enough they will find a way to communicate in secrecy. The bluster about back-doors into messaging services is more political than real. Unless, of course, there already are backdoors in all the common messaging services and we're being gamed.

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Don't all rush out at once, but there are a million devices ripe to be the next big botnet

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Terminator

Slow performance

So maybe this is why my Freeview box feels so under-powered that it often struggles to bring up the TV guide, perhaps it's busy doing someone else's malignant bidding - using higher user privileges than I've obviously got too!

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From landslide to buried alive: Why 2017 election forecasts weren't wrong

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Sample size

I've never been canvassed for an opinion either when exiting a polling station or at any time beforehand; furthermore I’ve never even seen anyone else being canvassed. Who is being asked?

You’ve got to wonder where all the data comes from, surely getting an accurate poll for all the constituencies would involve canvassing across a range of times of day to get account for voting behaviours in different demographics?

Personally I like to completely ignore it all till the final results are in. And even then...

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: As Liberal Party of Old would have told you

Which is a shame, because those all that effort going into exit polls lasts <24 hours, as the 'actual' polls get counted.

Guess it's just taking a gamble, hoping to justify the narrative, and possibly being able to say 'told you so', and 'look at us, finger on the pulse, our news is the best news' etc..

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PCIe speed to double by 2019 to 128GB/s

Christopher Reeve's Horse

One bus to rule them all?

Looks like more and more things are going to consolidate to using PCI-E connections in a system, whether an internal slot or via high speed external connections like USB C. Storage is increasingly going that way - and as Optane starts to blur the lines between storage and memory, I wonder if DRAM will end up going that way too, once things get fast enough?

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Who will save us from voice recog foolery from scumbags? Magnetometer!

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Not sure the hate is deserved

But walking around with a large set of bolt cutters helps identify you as a bike thief with a high degree of certainty. It's a substantial risk you'd get caught.

You can reproduce sound at any phone, anywhere, anytime, using almost any equipment, and with complete impunity. Doesn't necessarily even have to be the target's own device.

The only way of this being useful is if the user's voice is identified AND the response is uniquely identifiable as them. Rather like speaking a password or OTA code. Utterly useless. The alternative is hidden forensic signals in ALL available methods of recreating the sound of a voice (akin to hidden yellow printer dots), but that's almost unlimited scope of equipment and thus entirely out of control.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse
FAIL

But...

just increase the volume and stand further away...

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Infosec guru Schneier: Govts will intervene to regulate Internet of Sh!t

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Local Network Security

I think there's a lot more improvement that can be made to general domestic router / firewalls to help with this... Most contract supplied kit (BT Homehub etc.) is too locked down, or where control exists it's too complex for most people to grapple with.

I shouldn't take a networking wizard to be able to set any connected device to local communication only, or to separate devices into groups with differing access to each other or the internet. Or better still, firewall individual devices to only be able to connect to certain update IP's. I'm sure all of this must be possible, it's just complicated to set up AND maintain.

Which brings me to the next problem. Someone (even if it's google!) need to provide a secure centralised service for firmware / software updates that's completely agnostic to manufacturer's own support commitments. Imagine if there was one single URN that all devices, could reliably get the latest patches. Firewalling other random connections would be a whole lot easier, and it would be a lot more obvious who and what was a security risk.

If I could guarantee that my internet connected 'whateverthehellitis' could only talk to one approved update channel and also only to my smartphone app then I'd be more inclined to allow them onto my network.

Similarly, if you could guarantee a smart TV could only talk to BBC iplayer (and whichever other services you want to use) it would be a happier world. Unfortunately these things are just not built for users to have any control of. Until they improve the 'smart' functionality remains firmly off. It's worse than the wild west out there.

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CERN ready to test an EVEN BIGGER gun

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Coat

Upgrading a component in 2017

Where are the RGB LED's???

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Pen-tester gets past Microsoft VB macro barriers

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Holmes

Magic!

Most of my VBA code can also be generalised as:

Start

>>MAGIC<<

End

You've found my secret!!

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Samsung Smart TV pwnable over Wi-Fi Direct, pentester says

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: But who need a smart TV

It's almost like the manufacturers have a vested interest in you connecting your TV to the internet, so they can access reams of usage and customer data... The provision of a service useful to customers is just an afterthought, or a disguise.

I would rather just have a decent, but dumb, display panel with LOTS more inputs.

I've already got a 'smart' dishwasher (resolutely not connected online), and I can't think of any practical advantage to being able to switch it on remotely from my phone. Not until it's smart enough to load and empty itself anyway. I can only assume that Bosch want telemetry data about it's usage - at my expense and at my security risk. F**k them.

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Facebook's 'delightful' AI Clippy the Paperclip creeps into Messenger

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Reminds me of something...

Toaster: Howdy doodly do. How's it going? I'm Talkie, Talkie Toaster, your chirpy breakfast companion. Talkie's the name, toasting's the game. Anyone like any toast?

Lister: Look, I don't want any toast, and he doesn't want any toast. In fact, no one around here wants any toast. Not now, not ever. No toast

Toaster: How 'bout a muffin?

Lister: Or muffins. Or muffins. We don't like muffins around here. We want no muffins, no toast, no teacakes, no buns, baps, baguettes or bagels, no croissants, no crumpets, no pancakes, no potato cakes and no hot-cross buns and definitely no smegging flapjacks.

Toaster: Aah, so you're a waffle man

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Apple fans, Android world scramble to patch Broadcom's nasty drive-by Wi-Fi security hole

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: At least...

You say 12 months old like that's somehow decrepit?

If you bought a decent laptop (seeing as the prices are comparable) should you be 'proud' that it still gets security patches after only 12 months? You'd be raging if it didn't.

I use a laptop that's around 8 years old, and it still gets OS updates. Why should we have radically different expectations for phones?

The last time I bought a 'flagship' phone (Galaxy S3) it cost ~£500 and got 2 or 3 updates within a year and then nothing. And funnily enough, that WAS the last time I bought a flagship phone... There should be a recognisable certification that a device will receive timely updates for a minimum of 3 or perhaps even 5 years. That way I'd me more inclined to invest in a phone that I expected to last more than 12 months.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse
Facepalm

At least...

With vendors and carriers not providing updates for most phones, at least there's a handy mechanism available to write the patch into the device memory yourself?

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If we must have an IoT bog roll holder, can we at least make it secure?

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Alert

I bought an internet connected dishwasher...

just so that I can take delight in never connecting it to my internet! Smash the system!

(and it still manages to wash the dishes just fine...)

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Siri, clone yourself and dive into this Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Parts work

Last time I tried the (normal) Google one it was pretty hopeless.

The one truly useful usage case is navigating whilst driving (whilst I can't legally operate my phone manually!), however, when I last checked, Google maps *still* doesn't allow you to give a picked location a name of your choice, so the ability to ask for it directions seems some way off yet.

"OK Google, navigate me to Dave's house" obviously doesn't work, as there isn't even a way of manually setting up the location in advance.

If this wasn't bad enough, it won't even recognise names of contacts which have address information stored against them. All my different work offices have individual names that you can't search for on google maps (only by full address / postcode), but even with those name descriptions saved in my contacts against the correct address the whole system was incapable of making a sensible connection.

AI. My ass.*

*AI is a marketing description only, it has no relation to the actual creation of an artificial intelligence - which is something that's probably impossible anyway. Are any of them sentient? No? Well go take your 'AI' and f*** off with it.

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Twitterstorm erupts over suspected murder of record-breaking earthworm

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Alert

15.7 inch worm!

And my install of Malware Bytes did f**k all about it

Luckily, however, the NHM stepped in...

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NSA, GCHQ and even Donald Trump are all after your data

Christopher Reeve's Horse

"Our man advises"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you appeared to miss the bit where your man advises, and then you jumped straight to asking us for our ideas.

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Apple’s macOS Sierra update really puts the fan into 'fanboi'

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Music Software

I believe JRiver is available for Mac; I have the PC version and would rate it as possibly the best and most capable piece of software I've ever bought.

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Galaxy Note 7 flameout: 2 in 5 Samsung fans say they'll never buy from the Korean giant again

Christopher Reeve's Horse

When will they learn...

If only you could, like, just change the battery? Just like you could when phones were slightly more sensible.

It's not the risk of exploding that's made me decide not to buy Samsung, it's creeping design decisions moving away from what I want as a customer. I want:

- replaceable battery

- SD slot

- Android as close as possible to stock

- no impossible to remove crapware

- regular and timely updates for security and features

- a lifespan guarantee of the above for minimum 3 years.

- water/dust proof (the S5 mini has this and removable battery, so can be done)

- a headphone jack!

Call it a Homer Simpson phone if you want, but if you can get the above (and good modern screen and camera like the Note 7 too) then I'd be in the queue. I wouldn't mind in the slightest if the result was 1mm thicker than the competition or whatever.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the problem of battery degradation over time has been solved? Or perhaps not...

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Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

Christopher Reeve's Horse

You can opt out of receiving the 'targeted' adverts, but can't opt out of the profiling.

Also, the thing I think is more worrying, you have no access to Google's information profile about you. You can (for a small fee) see you full medical record, and information about you held by companies should in theory be accessible on request. I don't see a way a requesting that Google tell you *everything* they know (and have inferred and associated) about you...

It would be amazingly interesting (and scary!), but won't ever happen as it would give people an instant understanding of the kind of profiling abilities that are routinely happening.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse
Big Brother

And even after all that effort...

It does seem like a massive imbalance between the amount of effort going in to targeting adverts and the final result. I still don't care about any adverts I see, and mostly consider them a negative influence on my purchase choices.

If only the people who pay for adverts hosted could see how ineffective they are for the user rather than be blinded by the ability of Google to apply sophisticated targeting. Most effective targeting can be done from instantaneous user behavior, not from long term tracking.

You're browsing a IT website, it doesn't take a clever person to work out that IT related adverts are more likely of interest to you. Not, 'you're browsing an IT website and that annoying advert that's been following you for weeks pops up for something shitty you once browsed for a completely unrelated reason'. Context is everything, and Google never know *why* you've behaved in the way they've monitored

So, more interestingly, why does this massive imbalance of effort really exist? The advertising clearly sucks balls, it's can't just be a self fulfilling prophecy can it?

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Sneaky Gugi banking trojan sidesteps Android OS security barricades

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Childcatcher

MmmmmmMS..

Does anyone still use MMS messages?

Did anyone ever use MMS messages?

Do they serve any purpose other than being a endless security nightmare and unsuccessful network operator cashcow?

Should they just be killed off, and allowed to slip quietly into the night? I think so.

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Chocolate Factory exudes Nougat as Android 7 begins rollout

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Childcatcher

Nougat?

I bought a phone last year, so I'll have to remind myself to be excited about this update sometime around 2019.

(By which time we'll be onto 'Fruit Salads' or 'Midget Gems' or some other such wonder)

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'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'

Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Forgotten format?

JRiver actually, but we're all on the same side here.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Re: Daddy, what's a strawman?

Own nothing? 'Legally' maybe I don't. But 'practically' I do. In every measurable real world practical application of the word 'usage', I own it.

And, there's nothing that anyone's going to do about it, no-one else even cares. I own the disk, and I'm in compete control. The legal status may as well be a figment of my imagination.

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Christopher Reeve's Horse

Forgotten format?

Really? Not when I can rip them straight to my media library. Perfect for kids films that get watched over and over (and over again). Would I rather pay monthly to stream compressed films from the internet? Errr... No.

If I want a film, I can buy it, own it forever, and do with it what I please (more or less); all without being tied into any particular subscription, platform or DRM related nightmare.

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Ofgem sets up database so energy companies can spam Brits

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Unhappy

Markets!

The economy of changing supply is fundamentally flawed if there's no simple way to compare prices and service.

Those apples looks nice, and they're 37p each. These other apples don't look quite as nice but they're only 25p each...

Unfortunately the structure of tariff pricing, bonuses and offers is massively and purposely obfuscating, and it's also impossible to judge the quality of service. This is why people don't switch tariff often.

If it was really clear which company would give YOU the best customer service and which company offered the cheapest prices we'd all just move supplier all the time. There would be genuine price competition, and the suppliers would all make less profit... QED.

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Microsoft splashes Virtual Reality-slinging 'Scorpio' Xbox

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Happy

"the current Jaguar cpu is utter shite and needs a clock boost"

If memory serves me right it's a Motorola 68000 at 13Mhz, so yeah, could do with some overclocking... The 'Tom' graphics chip is a beast though, with it's 64 bit Blitter operation!

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Digital ad biz is fraudulent by design, complain big brands

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Flame

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...

We're currently experiencing a massive advertising economic bubble, and I'm not going to be particularly upset when it pops.

Hopefully more clients will realise they're pouring money down a massively fraudulent, manipulated and ineffective black hole, and they'll stop. It's becoming toxic, much like sub-prime debt in 07/08.

The advertising agencies are acting much like the banks did a few years ago, they're selling products enthusiastically under an increasingly false pretense. I wouldn't be surprised if some advertising agencies were actually behind some of the fraudulent activity as a way of bolstering a failing market. To quote from earlier, "they can fuck right off".

I don't think I've ever clicked on an advert on purpose, certainly never followed one to the point of making a purchase, and I'm not aware of many people who do, so what is with all this shit that keeps blocking up my internet!

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Lenovo cries 'dump our support app' after 'critical' hole found

Christopher Reeve's Horse
Terminator

Possibilities...

Would it really be beyond the ability of Windows Update (or perhaps security essentials) to let users know they've got compromised software installed? It's getting too difficult to keep up.

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Earth's core is younger than its crust surface

Christopher Reeve's Horse

the other stuff?

I get the whole gravitational time dilation difference thing, but what interests me is how that affects processes that link the different time domains.

In the case of the Sun, does that mean there's 39,000 years of energy production 'missing' at the surface that the core simply hasn't had [the] time to produce?

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