* Posts by Bob Camp

91 posts • joined 29 Jan 2009

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So the 'Year of Linux' never happened. When is it Chrome OS's turn?

Bob Camp

Re: Linux on the desktop

Printing can be such a huge hassle on Linux, Android, and ChromeOS. And forget about scanning. It's like they don't realize that paper is still widely used.

None of them can run the latest version of iTunes or Microsoft Office either, and that along with printing and scanning issues make them non-starters for most desktops.

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CrashPlan crashes out of cloudy consumer backup caper

Bob Camp

SOS backup has unlimited version retention, but can get a little pricey.

iDrive is fast and has decent pricing, but not unlimited version retention.

Backblaze is soooooo slow.

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Feelin' safe and snug on Linux while the Windows world burns? Stop that

Bob Camp

Re: How do people find the time for Win10 1607 Post install Bloatware?..And its getting worse.

I installed Windows 10 in 20 minutes last weekend. Everything was recognized, all ready to go. Not sure what your problem was. You did grab the latest version off the Internet first, right? That has all the patches already in it. Just like Mint 18.2 did.

I mean, I could install Mint 17 and get the same experience you got with Windows 10, but that wouldn't be a fair comparison.

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HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

Bob Camp

Less vulnerable than most other systems. Somehow I don't think warships are connected to the Internet, so sneaker net is the only way viruses can be spread. But since everybody is trained not to plug anything in from home, even that risk is very low. Generally speaking (no pun intended), on defense equipment the CD-ROM drives and USB ports are disconnected to prevent potential infection. Finally, it's possible they're running Windows XPe, which will have fewer vulnerabilities since a lot of the services in XP don't ever load.

I just bought brand new pieces of test equipment that use Windows XP. I assume it's the embedded version. And they even have Ethernet ports on them. In the past we have used embedded XP devices on our network all the time and have never been infected.

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Microsoft patched more Malware Protection Engine bugs last week

Bob Camp

Re: Leaking seive

Ah yes, Linux. Where kernel updates are discouraged by the #1 distribution because they have a semi-decent chance of breaking your computer. Where there is typically NO virus detection so you can be pwned and not know it. Where security vulnerabilities go for a decade without being patched. Security theater at its finest.

This new type of virus is ironic, using your malware detector to install malware. I'm sure other third-party AV software have similar bugs in them.

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Don't install our buggy Windows 10 Creators Update, begs Microsoft

Bob Camp

Re: How do you abort the update?

You're fine. I'm running the Creators Update without any issues so far. I just let the PC do its own thing. I didn't even notice it had happened until I expanded my taskbar icons and there was a Window Defender icon with a green checkmark in its lower-right corner.

Microsoft just doesn't want people to go get it and force the update manually. If the update is happening on your PC without any prodding by you, it means Microsoft has blessed your PC to get the update.

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New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

Bob Camp

Re: New Tablet

My iPad 4th gen died after just three years (at least I got it for free). And unfortunately, my daughter is part of an iGroup that uses iMessage so I have to buy a new one. But we're otherwise an Android household because we aren't fools and want to keep our money.

It's weird because a refurbished iPad Air with 16GB will be just $10 less than this brand new 32 GB iPad. I'm hoping Apple also drops the prices of their refurbs. Maybe the eBay prices will drop as well.

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Confirmed: TSA bans gear bigger than phones from airplane cabins

Bob Camp

Re: Let's see what other countries do

The U.K. has implemented the same ban.

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Bob Camp

Well, (theoretically) it's about time

It's pretty trivial to rig a battery so that the thermal runaway reaction occurs on demand. We have all kinds of devices that do this (hoverboards, Samsung Note 7) that do this DESPITE the safeguards in place to prevent that from happening. Disable the safeguards and you have a bomb without the explosive residue that are typical of other bombs. To that end, I'd ban cell phones with removable batteries too, as some of these phablets (like the Note 7) have relatively large batteries. Or I'd at least visually inspect all cell phones to see if they've been tampered with.

As far as the argument that everything is scanned, it is done so poorly that they may as well not scan at all. The TSA's positive detection rate is a pitiful 5%.

Business travelers are going to complain, and rightly so. If you're paranoid about somebody hacking into your laptop, take out the hard drive and carry it with you. If you're worried about damage or theft, don't bring it and put the data/presentation on a USB stick. Or ship a notebook PC to your destination ahead of time. Also, I'm sure the company you're traveling to has a competent IT department and can loan you a notebook PC when you arrive (our IT department does this quite a bit).

Don't get me wrong, this whole thing is still silly because it's easy to circumvent. You can rig your PC to explode in the cargo hold when it receives a signal from your cell phone. Or put it on a timer. You can book two separate flights (but that might raise a red flag). And I don't think the risk of an intentional explosion is greater than the risk of an unintentional explosion.

But I thought that it was silly to ban all liquids when rechargeable batteries were the bigger theoretical threat. I thought they'd start letting liquids back onto planes, but this idiotic administration went the OTHER way (no surprise).

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'I'm innocent!' says IT contractor on trial after Office 365 bill row spiraled out of control

Bob Camp

The most astonishing thing in this article is that the pound is now just 1.25 USD! I can remember when it was worth more than 2 USD! Are you guys across the pond OK?

Don't panic, I'm sure our new President will screw something up and the dollar will plummet. Just hang in there.

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Chevy Bolt electric car came alive, reversed into my workbench, says stunned bloke

Bob Camp

No American drives a stick anymore, unless it's a sports car. So you only use the parking brake when parking on a steep hill.

Plus, in the north, with all the salt on the roads in the winter, the cable sometimes corrodes and the parking brake gets stuck. Sometimes it can't be applied, and sometimes it won't release. In my state (New York), the parking brake is inspected each year, but in many states it isn't.

It looks like the car went into neutral somehow and rolled into his bench. I think there would be more damage if it actually had backed into his work bench. But I know some electric cars don't have a neutral, because they have to be towed on a flatbed.

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Microsoft Germany says Windows 7 already unfit for business users

Bob Camp

There's nothing wrong with Windows 10 Enterprise for businesses. It even has an LTSB version so you don't get updates, just security and other bug fixes. And even the Pro version lets you defer feature upgrades for months if you want.

What the real problem is, is businesses trying to use a Home edition in a Pro or Enterprise environment to save a little money. The Home version is tailored towards the home user, period. It has "features" (major annoyances) that aren't at all appropriate for a work environment. I think people who work out of their home should use the Pro version. Even IT people should use the Pro version on their home PCs, because they generally know what they are doing and it gets rid of almost all of their complaints about the Home version, which they mistake as general Windows 10 problems.

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How the NYE leap second clocked Cloudflare – and how a single character fixed it

Bob Camp

Exactly. Ask a programmer how many seconds are in a minute, and they will say "60", which is incorrect.

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Like it or not, here are ALL your October Microsoft patches

Bob Camp

Re: How big?

Well, you can go into your network settings and say you have a metered connection. That will disable automatic updates in Windows 10.

Or if you have any other version of Windows 10 besides Home, you can disable automatic updates using the group policy editor.

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NIST: People have given up on cybersecurity – it's too much hassle

Bob Camp

Re: Ditch Windows

Most people need the latest version of iTunes to work, because most people have an iDevice. They may also need to actually use their printer and Microsoft Office.

And FYI, Linux web browsers get hijacked just as easily as their Windows versions. So Linux won't protect you if you visit a nefarious web site just before you do your online banking.

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US govt pleads: What's it gonna take to get you people using IPv6?

Bob Camp

It's been too long

If IPv6 hasn't taken over by now, it'll never be widespread. It's actually obsolete -- it was developed 20 years ago, and the Internet has completely changed since then. IPv6 was actually designed as an alternative to IPv4, not an extension. As a result, there was no defined upgrade path, so nobody upgraded to it and nobody completely dropped IPv4 support.

Also, it's a lot easier for an end user to securely configure ONE device instead of the dozen or so devices that are in his house. As a result, he (and everybody else) is hiding behind NAT and the firewall in his router. Yet IPv6 essentially eliminates NAT, which is the #1 Internet security device in use today. Twenty years ago, security wasn't a problem. Today, if an end user connects an unprotected device directly to the Internet, it will be hacked by the time he downloads, installs, and configures his firewall.

My router and ISP support IPv6, but all the devices connected to that router are IPv4 with non-routable addresses. This is how most people have it set up, even though they probably don't know it. Until their router crashes from all the juggling going on, at which point tech. support will tell them to configure the router to be IPv4 all the way (like I did).

I hope the next iteration is just IPv4 with more bytes in the IP address.

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Microsoft deletes Windows 10 nagware from Windows 7 and 8

Bob Camp

Re: Windows Update is unbelievably shit

Try this:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3172605

It has the fixes for Windows Update you need. I had the same problem but this fixed it. I can't help but think the Windows 10 offer messed it up somehow.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware goes FULL SCREEN in final push

Bob Camp

Re: KB:3173040

You don't have to do all that. The two registry entries suggested by Microsoft to block all this work great. This is supposed to be an IT forum, right? Why is everybody whining and complaining about something they could easily fix?

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3080351

I agree that we shouldn't have to do this, but it's simple enough to do. I mean, I also shouldn't have to spend 10 hours hunting down just the right version of driver for my graphics adapter for Linux Mint. I also shouldn't have to buy a Lightning cable once every six months.

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No means no: Windows 10 nagware's red X will stop update – Microsoft

Bob Camp

Subkey: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate

DWORD value: DisableOSUpgrade = 1

Subkey: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx

DWORD value: DisableGwx = 1

The first one disables the auto upgrade of Windows 10. The second one gets rid of the notifications. No need for special software.

I do agree there should be a "no and don't ask again" option.

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CIA says it 'accidentally' nuked torture report hard drive

Bob Camp

That's weird

Last week I watched a Showtime (premium cable channel) documentary regarding U.S. policy on torture. One of the CIA officials openly admitted to destroying the evidence. He said he did it to protect his subordinates from civil and criminal charges. I think the show was called "The Spymasters".

Anyway, that completely contradicts this article.

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Mud sticks: Microsoft, Windows 10 and reputational damage

Bob Camp

Oh please. Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Canonical (Ubuntu), and a hundred other websites along with your smartphone and tablet are data mining your browsing habits and/or "non-personally identifying information". Privacy in electronics is unfortunately a thing of the past. It astonishes me that when Microsoft wants to get in on the act too, it's only *now* that people are getting offended by all that data mining that's been going on for years.

As far as Linux goes, I need an OS that can run on my hardware and support all my programs. Linux simply isn't it. There are ALWAYS issues with Linux (including Mint 17.3) whether it's my PC not waking up properly, to unsupported hardware, to graphics issues, and let's not forget iTunes and PC games requiring Direct X.

The problem Windows 10 had was twofold: it was somehow expected to resurrect PC sales in an era when smartphones and tablets have taken over, and it was too aggressive in getting people to update too soon after launch. The aggressiveness actually offended people and caused some problems since the OS wasn't quite ready for prime time. Today, Windows 10 works just fine on the same notebook that Mint 17.3 simply couldn't handle, but because Microsoft botched the launch Windows 10 will have this stigma on it for a long time.

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FBI backs down against Apple: Feds may be able to crack killer's iPhone without iGiant's help

Bob Camp

I don't think it's a precedent-setting case. There's already been one other case where the FBI has been denied access, yet the judge in this case granted it. So apparently it's on a case-by-case basis.

The important thing to remember is that your phone is totally hackable, and Apple is kidding themselves by proclaiming that it isn't. I also doubt the FBI will share the exploit they used with Apple.

Now that we can put all that behind us, Apple can resume pushing iWallet to its iDiots.

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Apple fires legal salvo at FBI for using All Writs law in iPhone brouhaha

Bob Camp

Re: safe cracking

But Apple could tie the hacked software to a specific IMEI/MEID. The software wouldn't run if the IMEI/MEID doesn't match. That way, even if the software leaks out (which hasn't been a problem in the past) it wouldn't work on someone else's phone. So it's not "all locks" that's the issue.

The issue is more like the FBI forcing Apple to hire full time locksmiths just for this purpose.

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Bob Camp

Re: "rescue neighborhoods from terrorists"

The word "terrorism" has such an overly broad definition in the U.S. now that this act is considered an act of domestic terrorism. Pretty much any random shooting incident involving several people is considered to be a terror attack. The phone's owner is therefore a terrorist.

Besides, many people were killed at Pearl Harbor and that was a U.S. territory at the time. So to answer your question, at least 1,117 have died on U.S. soil.

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FBI v Apple spat latest: Bill Gates is really upset that you all thought he was on the Feds' side

Bob Camp

Re: Bill's "more nuanced view"

Dozens of different judges have given dozens of different rulings on each of those phones individually? I didn't see that in any of the articles or comments. I understand precedent, but judges don't always blindly follow precedent, hence the case-by-case argument.

When the government seizes your phone using a legal court order, it's no longer your phone and the information on it is no longer your information. It's theirs. They can do what they want with it. You may not like it, so either stop putting sensitive information on smartphones or go change the law. But good luck with that, because deep down people want the bad guys' phones to be unlocked by the government. They'll take security over liberty every time.

Finally, Apple is saying that they don't trust themselves enough to keep that special iOS version in-house. They believe the software will get leaked. And yet you trust them with protecting your personal data after they admitted that they can't even protect their own software? Really?

Either way, the data on a smartphone isn't nearly as secure as everybody thinks it is. It's making people second-guessing the security of smartphones. And that's why this case is getting so much attention.

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Bob Camp

Re: Bill's "more nuanced view"

They're not violating your freedoms. They have a search warrant. You don't have to provide your password, but the government has the right to hack into it any way they can.

The issue here is if the government can order a company to assist hacking one of their products. I don't see why the government can't order a company to do that if they have a search warrant. There's no protection under the law for Apple, and a judge has agreed. It would have to be on a case-by-case basis. And yes, there are dozens of cases where this has come up. So what? Is it that hard to believe that criminals might use smartphones?

However, I don't think the government can order Apple to introduce a backdoor into all of their products. That would cut Apple out of the loop and entrust their product's security to the government. You'd know that backdoor password would leak out, and then *everybody's* phones would be affected.

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State Department finds 22 classified emails in Hillary’s server, denies wrongdoing

Bob Camp

Re: We need to know the truth

It's not illegal to receive a classified e-mail. It's illegal to send one to an unclassifed user. Sending them to a classified person using an insecure server is also illegal. But not all e-mails for work are classified.

The key answers are (since I worked with classified documents before):

a) Don't know, but that would get her in trouble. Receiving them won't get her in trouble. Allowing a third-party company to back them up could get her into trouble if they were classified at the time.

b) You're not required to do anything except immediately delete them. And maybe yell at whoever sent it to you. But remember they may not have been classified at the time she first received them.

c) She didn't want to carry around two smart phones, two PCs, etc.

And yes, the U.S. is dumb enough to retroactively classify e-mails. That's the problem here. I think Hillary simply didn't know that or knew it but didn't realize it happens more than it should. Having the private server is not illegal per se. But you can get into trouble pretty easily if somebody else screws up.

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How Microsoft will cram Windows 10 even harder down your PC's throat early next year

Bob Camp

So just block it already!

You guys are aware of this utility, right?

http://blog.ultimateoutsider.com/2015/08/using-gwx-stopper-to-permanently-remove.html

I found it pretty quickly by searching the Internet. I'm not the kind of person to type a five-page rant on something that takes 5 minutes to fix. But I guess people have to get upset about something.

Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 when it isn't that proven yet. I think the aggressive behavior they're doing now would be more appropriate 6-9 months from now. There are too many incompatibilities in hardware and software that still need to be worked out for them to be pushing it like they are today. But early next year, they're going to make the Windows 10 update an automatic recommended update for everybody (except Enterprise users), and since most people have their PCs set to automatically install recommended updates I can imagine more contempt from Microsoft then.

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Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

Bob Camp

Re: I actually opted in for the auto update...

One of my PCs does that. I found out through clicking on the Windows 10 system tray icon that having my PC set to auto-login on a non-administrator account is delaying the update. Microsoft is doing the rollout in waves, so if they think your PC will have trouble they don't bother you.

The other PC reminds me once every two weeks how great Windows 10 is by popping up a window that I have to close. Otherwise it's behaving.

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Dead device walking: Apple iPod Touch 6th generation

Bob Camp

Where's the market?

Teens and adults typically want a smartphone. The iPod is now relegated to children under the age of 12 (or so) whose parents don't actually want to pay $600 plus service just so little Johnny can play games in waiting rooms and restaurants.

However, since cell phone contracts get renewed every two years, there are tons of old smartphones out there. When Mom get her new iPhone, she just gives Johnny her old iPhone without service. I suppose if Mom broke her old iPhone, then maybe she'd be interested in an iPod. But I don't see a lot of customers for this product today.

And for the price of an iPod, you can get a Moto G 2nd Generation phone, unlocked, without service, for cheaper. Then when Johnny grows up into John, you can just get him service for his existing device. There is no Android version of an iPod, because there are smartphones and even some tablets out there that are cheaper. Heck, even a used Moto X is only $150 on eBay.

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Microsoft nixes A-V updates for XP, exposes 180 MEEELLION luddites

Bob Camp

Microsft A/V support ending? No great loss.

Well, there are other anti-virus solutions than Microsoft's. Their solutions were never that good anyway. Many of the other A/V solutions still support XP.

I tried out Linux (XFCE Mint 17.1), but it ran very slowly and did not support my printer. So I erased its partitions and am sticking with XP on that machine. It just works.

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Clinton defence of personal email server fails to placate critics

Bob Camp

Re: Convenience

The Secret Service (Department of Homeland Security) was responsible for securing and maintaining the server. She used her husband's (former President) e-mail server. She also asked if it was allowed and she was told that it was. Now maybe that's bad information, but it isn't like she was secretly using it or was blatantly disregarding what she was told.

Colin Powell did the same thing when he was Secretary of State. Nobody in D.C. knows what the hell they're doing, this is just another example of it.

At first I thought it was a huge deal, but the more I read about it the less worried I get. I still wish she hadn't used that private e-mail account, but the NSA probably has an archive of all those e-mails anyway.

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One year on, Windows 8.1 hits milestone, nudges past XP

Bob Camp

Too late to save Windows 8

The latest version of Windows 8.1 is finally at the point where you can easily use a keyboard and mouse. I have a touch screen notebook PC, so I have a touch pad, touch screen, keyboard, and mouse. I find myself using the touch screen less and less. There are also a lot of little but important updates, such as putting the power icon right on the home screen instead of burying it under menus.

The problem is, it took Microsoft way too long to get to this point, so Windows 8 will now always be labeled as a failure no matter how good it is now. The other problem is that their apps suck, so nobody is willing to put up with the new UI (Metro/Modern/Whatever is the name of the day) to use to those apps.

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Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop

Bob Camp

Re: Not running terribly well

Every time Google comes out with a major OS update, some people complain about how slow their tablet has become. It also happened with 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4. With 4.4.4, I get an occasional 5 second lock up. I also have never done a factory reset and have 130 apps installed. So yeah, I'm kind of expecting that. But it's also the nature of the beast. Linux is best with a clean start, which is a huge PITA and shouldn't have to be done, but at least there are third-party solutions in Android to backup the app data. For whatever reason, Linux-based OSs don't do well with patches.

There are very, very few people who have still issues with Lollipop and a Nexus 7 2012 once they factory reset and DON'T reinstall any Facebook apps.

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Doctor Who becomes an illogical, unscientific, silly soap opera in Kill The Moon

Bob Camp

Nobody saw the link between this episode's plot and the arguments for/against abortion?

Maybe it's because I'm across the pond and our media is saturated with this discussion. But the three women started quoting the arguments for pro-life vs. pro-choice almost verbatim. Then the only male (and doctor) left the women to discuss it among themselves, saying he had no input into the discussion. A woman who's had kids, a women who wants kids someday, and a teenager (the one who's usually making the decision).

This regeneration of the Doctor is an @sshole. He also seems to have far less knowledge about human behavior and customs than before. He is constantly making insulting remarks to everyone around him. Nobody wants to cheer for him. I hope this is being done on purpose, so that there is some huge event at the end of the season that softens his heart.

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Microsoft's nightmare DEEPENS: Windows 8 market share falling fast

Bob Camp

I noticed the overall Windows 8 increase too. I'm using the latest version of 8.1, and it's good. It's fast, very stable and can actually be used with just a mouse and keyboard (though my laptop also has a touchscreen, which is nice for the Metro apps. But we only use a couple of those). The problem is it took Microsoft over two years to get it to that point, so no matter how much you try to convince people it's now good, they're just going to remember the horribly botched rollout.

Having said that, I'm not upgrading my other Windows 7 PC to Windows 8.1 simply because I see no need for it. The Metro apps aren't worth it, and I don't think there will be that much gain in performance. I'm also not upgrading my young daughter's XP PC, either, because it does the job and I honestly don't care if it gets hacked.

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Enigmail PGP plugin forgets to encrypt mail sent as blind copies

Bob Camp

Re: Surprising

Well, the users got what they paid for.

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

Bob Camp

The human mind is weird

I think that having a conversation with somebody in your car isn't too taxing for your brain. But if you have that same conversation with somebody over the phone, your brain suddenly zones out and forgets to pay attention to the road instead of the conversation. I think your brain is busy visualizing the person on the other end of the phone instead of the road in front of you (at least I and several others I've talked to have said the same thing). If that person were right in front of you, your brain wouldn't have to do that and could stay focused on the road.

Yes, there are other distractions in your car that can cause accidents, but they are brief in nature. Adjusting the radio, fiddling with climate controls, and yelling at your kids only take a second or two. Phone conversations last minutes. The longer the distraction, the more likely it is to cause an accident.

With texting, the brain isn't zoned out, but that distraction lasts a a few minutes because it's extremely difficult to type on a phone while looking at the road at the same time. After a few seconds of frustrating typing, you're tempted to look down at the phone for several seconds at a time just to get the text finished. And while your looking down, you're obviously not looking at the road.

The handsfree kits are worthless. They don't address any of the concerns listed above. Phones are much more distracting than anybody realizes. That's why people ignore the ban, and that's why people who use handsfree kits still get into just as many accidents.

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Aereo has to pay TV show creators? Yes. This isn't rocket science

Bob Camp

I think you're all missing the point

If you read the decision, all nine justices thought that what Aereo was doing was illegal. They're just arguing over which law(s) it is specifically violating and how. They found Aereo had direct liability for performance infringement, but they also could have been found to have secondary liability. Remember Grokster and Napster? Peer-to-peer file sharing is legal, but if the majority of your users are using it illegally then you are secondarily liable for that.

Similarly, the court didn't even address Aereo's liability (primary or secondary) for *reproduction* infringement. That would have been a separate lawsuit had this one failed.

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Bob Camp

Re: @dan1980

Cablevision most certainly is subject to and pays retransmission fees.

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US Supremes just blew Aereo out of the water

Bob Camp

Re: Are recordings fungible ?

The case is much simpler than that. Most of the things Aereo did were completely irrelevant and were a great waste of time and money. Aereo's antenna array was unnecessary, and the individual copies were also unnecessary. It was smoke and mirrors to try to distract the courts from the real issue at hand.

It doesn't matter if each copy is unique. A copy doesn't have to be very much like the original for it to be considered a copy. If I reenact a Game of Thrones episode with my family line by line and post it online, I've violated copyright law. Even though I look nothing like Kit Harington. Surely the copies Aereo made where the same actors were used in each copy would be considered the same according to copyright law.

Therefore, since Aereo is offering a service to retransmit somebody else's content, and they are offering it to more than one residence, they are EXACTLY LIKE a CATV provider.

The only reason CableVision is allowed to use the cloud DVR service is that they've already paid the retransmission fees. Aereo never did. Once the fees have been paid, the content providers have no say in how or when the content is received or retransmitted unless it has been specifically called out in the licensing agreement.

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Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

Bob Camp

Third time's the charm

This is the version that should have been initially released for Windows 8. It's actually usable with a mouse and keyboard, with the only main difference being that the start MENU has been replaced with a start SCREEN (a.k.a. Metro a.k.a. Modern a.k.a. whatever other supposedly "cool" name the marketing dept. comes up with). Modern apps. behave more like traditional apps -- they have a minimize & close button and appear on the task bar. And the power button (how could they screw up something so simple) is now right on the start screen in the upper-right corner. And it boots to the desktop by default if it detects you have a PC instead of a tablet (I switched this back since I have a touchscreen notebook).

This is the version I might install over Windows 7, but I'd still have to be pretty drunk before you could convince me to do it.

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Cheat Win XP DEATH: Little-known tool to save you from the XPocalypse

Bob Camp

Re: Once again...

1. The host PC *does* detect viruses coming from the Ethernet in NAT mode, assuming you're not running Linux without an AV. My point was that it won't detect ANY viruses if you run in bridged mode. Of course you should also run an AV inside the VM, but in theory if the VM worked as everyone thinks it does, you wouldn't have to. My point was that a VM setup still won't catch everything. It might be a little less vulnerable than a native installation, but it'll be far from perfect.

2. Restoring a ghost image is almost as fast as a VM copy. And if you're running XP for compatibility reasons, you can't really strip that VM down to the bare bones because the program you're trying to run might not work. Besides, you can strip a native XP installation in the same way.

3. If you ban VMs, you (in theory) only have to really worry about the XP PCs. You could put them on a separate network, for example, in an attempt to isolate them from your other PCs. With VMs, you have to worry about ALL the PCs. It's very easy for the end user to switch the Ethernet support in a VM from NAT mode to bridged mode or to mount a USB drive. VMs give a false sense of security. At least with an XP machine you know the exact level of security you're getting.

4. In my experience, if the host PC does not have drivers for a piece of hardware, more often than not the VM will have trouble recognizing and/or using that hardware. I have also had problems with VMs in general, and have had to resort to native XP installations.

Maybe a dual boot XP/7 installation would work better? Then Windows 7 could scan the XP partition for exploits daily, something it can't do with an XP VM. But then you have rely on the user to boot back into Windows 7 when they're done. They might do it if you put all the other applications on the Windows 7 partition and just put the bare minimum on the XP partition.

My point is that VMs are not touted for security, but compatibility. Just like XP was. Which is why XP had all those exploits in the first place.

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Bob Camp

Once again...

Make sure your VM is in NAT mode and not bridged mode, so the host OS's virus scanner and firewall can detect the XP virus before it gets to the virtual machine. If you use Linux as the host OS, it needs to be running an AV program (and a firewall) that can detect Windows viruses.

Note that a virtual machine has all the same vulnerabilities as a regular PC, so no real benefit is gained from using one for this purpose. VMs aren't meant to be all that secure -- they're meant to run older programs. All VM software has vulnerabilities -- they are constantly releasing bug updates for them.

It's not just the Internet, it's CD-ROMs, USB drives, etc. that can also infect a VM. Make sure the VM does not automatically mount these drives when you start the VM up. All it'll take is one slip up. Frankly, I don't trust the average user to use a VM safely, as many of the things I talked about above can be easily changed once everything is set up.

In my company, VMs are banned because they are the worst of both worlds -- they can cause compatibility issues (the host OS still needs functioning drivers) and they're still highly prone to infection. When necessary, we just use plain XP machines so at least we know which PCs to keep a closer eye on.

0
8

The... Windows... XPocalypse... is... NIGH

Bob Camp

I keep repeating this because everybody thinks a VM is a cure all....

If you use VM in bridged mode, that bypasses the host OS's AV and firewall. The VM will get infected, all your other VMs will get infected, and maybe the host OS will too. You might as well drop the VM and perform a native XP install (or leave the current installation alone). If you use the VM in NAT mode, you don't have this problem, but maybe your application won't work anymore.

I have several Windows 95 machines, and they are all happy and have never been pwned. My only headache is explaining the old 8.3 filename limitations to recent college graduates. That and the DST time change is three weeks late in the spring and one week early in the fall.

1
1

Win XP security deadline: Biz bods MUST protect user data – ICO

Bob Camp

"Organisations regularly end support for their older products," Rice said.

My company supports all of their products for 20 years. It's in all of the contracts. Our customers all request 20 years of support. It's not August 24, 2021, is it?

Our customers put that clause in our contracts because they don't want us to EOL a product just to generate more sales for our newest product. Of course Microsoft would NEVER do that.

1
1

How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Bob Camp

Re: Have you tried a Virtual Machine

The VMs can get infected just like a real machine, and the viruses can spread around within the VMs. What difference does it make if the XP machines are infected or virtual XP machines are infected? I can restore an image running XP natively just as easily as copying over an infected VM. Plus you need Linux drivers for all the proprietary equipment, which is a non-starter for many. Not to mention some of us need to use old PCs.

I have Windows 95 boxes running proprietary ISA cards. We just renewed another 20 year contract using the same equipment. It is connected to the network. Guess what? No viruses the entire time. We have a separate firewall for the entire company that protects it, which includes blacklisting various websites including all online e-mail. Since it's only used to drive the card (which drives several tools), nobody really uses it to surf the Web anyway.

As long as people are careful, you can continue to use Windows XP.

5
0

Dish and DirecTV deal: Damned if they merge, damned if they don't

Bob Camp

One flaw in the analysis

Most people can sign up for DirecTV or Dish. But nobody can choose between Time Warner Cable or Comcast. The areas they provide service to don't overlap. So if Comcast buys TWC, the end user still has the same number of choices.

3
0

Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?

Bob Camp

Re: Virtual Machine

No!!!! If you believe the hype, everyone should be extremely careful using XP virtual machines, especially after April! The XP virtual machines have all the same vulnerabilities and can transmit viruses to each other (and maybe to the host OS) just like a regular XP machine.

If you set up the VM so that Ethernet access is in bridged mode (by selecting the network card directly), the host OS won't see anything you are downloading. You have to install an anti-virus/firewall on the virtual machine -- but at that point why not just install XP directly and get rid of the virtual machine altogether?

You can set up the VM in NAT mode instead, and hope nobody messes with that setting after you leave. Note that this is the default mode in Windows 7. That should allow the host OS to intercept the viruses before they reach the VM. It should be noted that this method slows down Ethernet speed (which is at a premium in this article).

But that's just the network connection. What about USB drives? CD-ROMs? You'll have to configure the host's AV to scan every removable drive the moment it's inserted into the host PC. Possible, but once again it slows everything down.

Not to mention that Windows 7 VM has a minimum HW requirement those old PCs don't meet. You can use VMWare, but you'll still have the same problems listed above.

0
0

MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Bob Camp

Re: Best I've seen yet on this story

And now that the timeline is thought to be not as clear AGAIN, his theory is plausible AGAIN. Round and round we go.

I don't know why everyone knows the transponder was switched off. I have one in my lab and there's absolutely no difference between switching it off, pulling its power, or disconnecting its antenna. It just stops transmitting.

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