* Posts by Oldfogey

309 posts • joined 28 Jan 2008


UK.gov pushes for SWIFT ACTION against nuisance calls, threatens £500k fines


TPS exceptions

What most people don't seem to realise is that the TPS works fine. When it doesn't it is either a criminal call, or you have given your number to a firm and failed to tick the box for "do not pass my details to your carefully selected partners" and "do not call me with your latest special offers".

I get far more spam and phishing calls on mobile than on landline, but they are easy to spot - they let it ring 3 times then cut off.

Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email


Sorts messages according to the first line

Which would be really helpful if most I get didn't start with "Hi Fred".

Or if the link posted were not usually some afterthought joke unrelated to the main point.

MasterCard adds fingerprint scanner to credit cards for spending sans the PIN

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I remember reading somewhere that up to 10% of the population have poor quality or no fingerprints. Builders are a well known case, but lack of fingers is not unknown.

GP records soon wide open again: Just walk into a ‘safe haven’



Spotted this in the papers a few days ago. It was obvious from even a short paragraph that no changes had been mad, and the trial areas are just testing the best way to spin it.

Not relevant to me, as I live in Wales, but I have friends and relatives in England who will be getting a heads up and copes of opt-out forms as necessary.

Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20


Point and Click?

"the massive wave of hype about Windows 95 bringing point-and-click computing to the masses ". Indeed, and I thought Windows 3.? was point and click? Hype indeed.

All this was just before I retired, we were still building IP stacks by hand on each machine, because the slightest factor different on "identical" machines could cause chaos.

All talking to a Novell server (V4??), and, right at the end, through Netscape to the very primitive Web - and still using dialup to bulletin boards that hadn't converted.

Supposedly computer literate kids today would have no idea where to start.

Hardened Hydrazine the source of Galileo satnav FAIL



Should have used Thiotimolene!

Wide-ranging UK DATA SHARING moves one step closer



I notice in yesterdays Times that the health data sharing proposals that were put on one side earlier this year are back on the table. Following the strong reaction against the idea, they are now proposing trials on how to better "explain" the proposals to the public in order to avoid a new flood of objections.

There are, of course, no proposals to address the actual weaknesses of the system, such as the quite inadequate anonomisation.

I can see I will be passing round the opt-out forms again!

Why US Feds and g-men kick up a stink about a growing smartphone encryption trend


Mutual backdoors?

And if there is a backdoor into (say) an Android phone, might the terrorist be hacking it?

Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first


Well I never!

There was no distillery on Arran last time I was there - you learn something everyday on these tech sites.

I'll have a bottle in my pocket.

Good grief! Have you seen BlackBerry's square smartphone?



Now if only it folded in half, it could have a bigger keyboard (numbers etc.) and the same size screen - use it as a dumb phone without opening it.

They could call it .. oh... maybe.. the Blackberry Psion?

SpaceX blasts a mischief of mice, a 3D printer and a cuddly toy* into SPAAAACE


Extra mice?

The rest are to operate the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Mill, for the chocolate biscuits


And the 3d printer to make the Marvelous Mechanical bits. After all, it's hardly rocket science.

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



I am often away for several weeks at a time (holidays, says smug retired git), and had thought of such a system to give confidence that all was OK whilst away.

Unfortunately, I live in a remote area and the broadband dies at least once a week, requiring a power off, or several, to re-aquire it. So, I can't log on to the camera? Is it a broadband problem, has the house burned down, or has a burglar nicked the hardware?

I can't find out, so better not to have the system which will just cause more uncertainty!

Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names

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Re: No check on creating account.

For a "real" account that would be true - in this case they had a false name, false date of birth (I am apparently 114 years old) and a disposable one-use email address, so it maight as well be for all the good it will do them.

And I was on public wifi.


No check on creating account.

I have just been and created a FB account in a false name. There was no ID check at all, except to send a message to an email AC - for which I used a disposable one.

They obviously have some kind of list of what they think are false names, and just reject anything that appears on the list.

BTW, I have deleted the account.

What could possibly go wrong? Banks could provide ID assurance for Gov.UK – report


Which is why..

1/1/1900 is the default date I put down when a site asks for date of birth for no good reason.

Often along with their corporate address and phone no.

Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV


Not such a big deal

I just looked at my car insurance, and I find I'm covered for £10mil for third party damage. Why so high? Well, some years ago a car had a blow out on the motorway, went off the road into the hanger of a local airport. Burnt out a whole hanger full of private jets.

That insurance costs me £99 pa

The Register to boldly go where no Vulture has gone before: The Weekend


Re: Grub/nosh/snacks

So where do you fit in Second Breakfast?

New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI



Until 2003 there was only one register, and it was REQUIRED by law to be sold to anybody who asked. Once upon a time this didn't matter much - it was only available on paper. Later it was available as a computer file, and thus good for sending junk mail.

There were a lot of complaints, over many years, until eventually the edited register was introduced. This could still be sold to anybody, but you could tick a box to not be on it. Junk mailers still used the 2002 list, but this is gradually getting so flakey that it may not be any use for much longer.

Credit reference agencies still get the full version, but it is an offence (specific, not just DPA) for them to sell or give it to anybody else. The low value of the list would not, in any case, be worth the risk to their business model.

On a side note, before the individual registration issue, before it came in a letter would arrive, addressed to "The Householder" saying that it was a criminal offence for said householder not to fill in the form. I contacted our Electoral Registration Officer to ask who the would prosecute in such case, and was told either the owner, or the tenant who had signed the rental. I pointed out that our house was in joint names, and over recent years we had taken it in turns to sign the form - so who would be prosecuted. He had no answer, and said that they had never actually prosecuted anyone anyway.

Missiles-on-rooftops Brit spy Farr: UK gov can slurp your Facebook, Twitter ... What of it?


Re: Why is this any surprise?

Congratulations on your Esperanto - you speak it like a native!

A pentras bonvolu.

Toyota catches up to William Gibson with LED hood



Or perhaps just change the colour of the getaway ca to confuse the witnesses?

Cabbies paralyze London in Uber rebellion


Ticket to Ride

So what we have always had to do, unless in the City, is ring a random mini-cab company, agree a price, then hope the car turns up and it and the driver are reasonably respectable.

With Uber, you get on line, say where you are and where you want to go, ask for a price, agree it, and watch on the screen as the cab approaches. The company guarantees the driver and car are insured and vetted, etc, etc.

And you can log feedback on the site for your ride.

I see no downside for the customer, only for the old fashioned cab driver

NASA beams vid from space via laser


Very Interesting...........but Stoopid.

But were they able to jump it themselves?

Google snaps up Divide to splice biz and personal phones together


Nokia 1101

Like to see them run this on the Nokia 1101 I used to use for work. Never used it for anything else, and turned it off out of work hours.

Billed the company for any work calls I made as well.

If they didn't like it they could buy me a later model, but I would still turn it off out of hours.

Of course I had a proper phone for private use.

Creepy Facebook urges users to pester friends about their SEX LIVES

Big Brother

Not exactly fake

I have an FB account, in order to keep in touch with a very old friend who hardly ever communicates by any other method.

It has my correct name on it, and all other information is false. Not only do they think I'm over 50 - they reckon I am way over 100.

The photograph is not me.

Thus if one of my FB Friends tags a photo as being of me, this will not match the one on my account, and will therefore cause date linking to fail.

The more imaginative the lies you make up, the less sense they can make of you.

Copyright minister: Those missing TWO copyright exceptions? We're still on track


Re: In The UK We Already Pay A Levy

You may - I don't, and quite legally.

This means you pay for me to watch iPlayer and listen to the radio.


Traffic light vulns leave doors wide open to Italian Job-style hacks


I've been thinking...

...and now my brain hurts.

I have been trying to count up the number of sets of lights where I live, and it's not easy because I fear that I may have missed one.

However, in the entire county, as far as I can find, there are a total of 3 sets. If I haven't missed one.

The council are too mean to pay for them, but we seem to manage.

NHS patient data storm: Govt lords SLAP DOWN privacy protections


Opt outs are ready!

This doesn't affect me directly, as I live in Wales, but I do know that at my elderly mothers surgery, all her friends meet up in the waiting room at their regular appointments, and they are all aware of this issue (I may have given them a nudge). Despite the fact that they are Tories to the core, they do not trust the Government (just they REALLY don't trust the other lot), and will be opting out en mass if this actually starts to go ahead.

Many have already put in forms, and will do so again in case the old ones are now invalid.

Bear in mind these are people in their 70's upward to over 100 - the people who have the most dense medical records. If they opt out at the rate I am seeing for this one surgery, the data files will be largely empty.

Source code for world's first MUD, Essex Uni's MUD1, recovered


Mud 1 test phase

I was visiting Essex Uni at Colchester for an SF Convention. A friend who was doing some sort of IT course there at the time said he wanted to show me something they would be releasing soon. The terminal was linked in to MUD, with about a dozen players on line - all local, testing scenarios and stuff.

Of course my character died almost immediately, as did several more I tried.

Then, genius struck! I equiped my next character with a large bladed pike and named him DEATH.

When the screen said "DEATH enters the room", everybody else left as fast as they could type!

Unfortunately I only had half an hour, but I was having great fun.

I believe they put in some routines to try and stop people doing that again.

FTC: State laws blocking Tesla's direct sales are 'protectionist'


Re: Not just protectionist

I think you mean they are flouting the constitution.

EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database


Fuzzy data

What we need is some software capable of altering a photo so that it looks right to the human eye, but is wrong for the computer algorithm. I am thinking of the way you can remove large parts from a piece of written text - eg all the vowels - and mostly people can read it fine but a computer can't.

Bendy or barmy: Why your next TV will be curved


Nobody's paying attention

I don't have a TV, so when I go where there is one on I tend to notice how people actually watch.

Much of the time, they don't. It's on, and they are aware of it, but they are talking, moving about, checking email, texting, whatever.

This is where 3D falls apart. It only works if everybody puts their daft glasses on and sits down and watches - which you may not be able to get the whole family to do for a film or a game or soap opera. Half the people are only vaguely interested, so when a text arrives, they take the glasses off to attend to it, and can then no longer just glance at the screen for updates as they used to.

Same problem applies if there is a "sweet spot".

All these gimmicks don't relate to the way people actually utilize a TV set.

Gay marriage foes outraged at Mozilla CEO flap, call for boycott


Free speech

There is absolutely no restriction on free speech involved here.

He is, and always has been, free to say exactly what he wants.

He does not, however, have the right to demand that anyone gives him a platform for such speech. No newspaper is required to print his words, for instance.

And nobody is required to listen. If you stick your fingers in your ears and sing LA LA LA he cannot force you to hear.

Final Windows XP Patch Tuesday will plug Word RTF vuln


Word 2003?

My machines, and those I support, run Word 97. Still works fine, and most people don't do any more than writing letters - I give them Word because they are used to it.

Top Brit docs wade into GP data grab row, demand 'urgent' NHS England talks


(Temporary) Win!

Just been announced that the programme will be delayed 6 months.

"Will not be changed in any way, this is a chance to explain it better"

So still opt out, but more time to get friends and relatives to do so.

LOHAN cops a faceful of Raspberry Pi


Red and Blue Wires??

are those the ones where Our Hero has to guess which one to cut so as to defuse the bomb and save the world?

Mines the Spy vs Spy coat

The TRUTH about LEAKY, STALKING, SPYING smartphone applications

Black Helicopters

Re: "If you aren't paying, you aren't the customer. You are the product."

Are you so sure paid apps are any better? Perhaps you are just paying to be the product?

Malware! tainted! ads! infect! thousands! of! Yahoo! users!

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Yahoo? Trusted Site??????

I need to log on to Yahoo very occasionally in connection with Freecycle. A horrible website.

Last I knew, Yahoo ran the email system for BT. Another reason not to have broadband with them.

Fees shakeup: Freephone numbers will actually BE free – Ofcom



And paying these inflated rates often is optional. Browse to "Say No to 0870" and see if there is an ordinary number for who you want to speak to.

Or look up their Sales number and try ringing that (usually 0800 for some reason)

Or ask them for their ordinary number "as I will be out of the country and can't call 08whatever numbers" There is one - 08 are just redirector numbers.

The right time to drink coffee


Too much average coffee

Once upon a time, most caffs served instant, usually fairly cheap stuff.

Now they've mostly put in an espresso machine, but the coffee is still pretty poor, though not as bad as the instant. It gets tarted up as cappuccino, latte, and so on for a dozen options, but the beans are anonymous and undistinguished

The pretentious big chains are the worst - Starbucks are pretty awful, Cafe Nero better. Coffee One is the best, with real bean choices, but only in the West of England and south west Wales.

What has almost entirely disappeared is the coffee shop offering an interesting range of beans and roasts, with a simple sandwich, cake or biscuit to accompany it. Regional Beans, single estate, custom blends etc. etc.

The best I know is in Saffron Walden (east England near Cambridge, and I live in west Wales), who are the only place I know to offer the Civet coffee. I don't know the name of it, but if you are around there it is near Waitrose, and really worth a visit.

And now I've got to go and put a brew on.

Only a merciful BULLET can really save a RHINO, say Texas hunters

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Re: Demand

The rhino horn is, I believe, effectively hair. Should be fairly easy to fake powdered rhino horn, short of a DNA test.

Feed it into the smuggling system.

Do this, then you can meet the demand. Keep increasing the supply of the fake, and you will overwhelm the demand and cause the price to drop to the point where the poaching is not viable.

UK plant bakes its millionth Raspberry Pi


Re: Nostalgic fortysomething

All noobs.

Bought my Beeb at the age of 35.

Now have a project for a Pi, so shall be ordering one soon.

Project? To display the output of my car's diagnostic computer on a small onboard screen, so that I can read all the information the dashboard doesn't give me.

Two geekdoms merged! Result!

500 MEELLION PCs still run Windows XP. How did we get here?


Re: Is that really true?

That is NOT old hardware. The world is full of people running hardware twice that old and more. I have just put XP on an old Thinkpad - PII 233, 160Mb, 8Gb HD. Works fine as long as you stick to doing one thing at a time.

Ghastly! Yahoo! Groups! gripes! grip! grumpy! gremlin! grumblers!


Always was rubbish, nothing new in that.

I had to deal with Yahoo for a while, when a relative insisted on BT broadband (cause phone stuff comes from BT) who had (still have?) outsourced their email to them A real nightmare.

Now I just use Freecycle, but I have the posts emailed to me, so I only log in to Yahoo itself when I need to change settings - which is also a nightmare, different on every local group. And they wonder why nobody uses their community forums.

Meet the world's one-of-a-kind ENORMO barge-bowling bridge of Falkirk


Re: Lift my boat

Kayak certainly. A small charge for a short term canal license for an unpowered craft, and I believe the wheel is then free. Go up and down as many times as you like.

Seriously, the tourist trip is not superflous. Get a seat right at the front for an amazing view on the descent.

O2 pulls plug on OAP-monitoring service


Very well hidden

I have several times in the last couple of years looked for something like this for my mother-in-law - and I have never heard of the O2 service. She pays £17 a month for a landline based service, doesn't work outside her flat, can't be taken into a shower, and is useless if she has a fall and is unconscious.

A smartphone should be easily convertible - movement sensor to detect falls, GPS to know where she is when it calls for help - and the ability to ask if she is OK and has just dropped the phone, or needs help.

It does need to be easily charged (no fiddly micro USB, it needs a strong rigid waterproof protective case, and it needs a simplified screen display, imitating a button operated phone.

I'm no programmer, but surely it can't be too difficult?

Micron flashes flashy 16-nanometer flash memory


Luxury indeed

The first Server I installed had 40Mb hard disk; serviced a dozen thin clients, including email.

Apricot kit - not that you were wondering.

Modern-day Frankenstein invents CURE for BEHEADING


The Master Mind of Mars

Ras Thavas strikes again!

Using encryption? That means the US spooks have you on file


Re: So.....

Liverpool is in Ontario

ROBOT COW teaches Saudi kids where milk comes from



Nellie the Robotic Cow


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