* Posts by AndrueC

3553 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

Shady US sigint base upgrade marred by stolen photograph

AndrueC
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Joke

I live a couple of miles away and used to drive past it on my commute. I still drive past once or a twice a month on the way to golf. There's a flock of sheep graze in the grounds. But I'm not worried. I'm sure they've all been thoroughly vetted.

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IBM to expunge over 500 people in latest redundo round

AndrueC
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Mushroom

Re: I hope I live to see this happen to Microsoft

I hope I live to see the day Microsoft experiences the kind of death spiral IBM is now in.

You take pleasure in hearing about hundreds or even thousands of people losing their jobs? You don't sound like a very nice person.

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

AndrueC
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“Edge does not fire wheel events when scrolling using the 2-finger scroll gesture on a Precision Touchpad.”

I've never known any Windows application respond to my two fingered gestures - and believe me I make a lot of them.

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Mailsploit: It's 2017, and you can spoof the 'from' in email to fool filters

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: There are spam filters that pay attention to the contents of "From"?

You even change the To: address. Everything in the headers is up for grabs except with the very strictest of email servers. As far as SMTP is concerned it's just a lot of encoded bytes to be copied into a mailbox.

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AndrueC
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The evidence is that it's already broken. Is it too important to fix?

Good question. I think one of the issues at present is that because it's all receiver-side it can be a nightmare to set up strictly. Your users will start complaining about not getting emails and it can first-off take ages for anyone to realise where the problem is. Then resolving it is difficult because the error exists on a third party domain.

I only run a personal server but imagine if Tesco screwed up their SPF. it might take a couple of days before I realise what's going on. Then imagine the conversation if I call Tesco's customer support line to complain about it. It's not going to be as smooth and straightforward as it is to complain about a problem with a delivery :-/

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AndrueC
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Re: More depressingly...

Presumably that's (mostly) large companies sending out marketing garbage as hosted content or images. Surely that's no loss to you?

Nah, I've got a good set up (based around DEA) that means I don't see that kind of junk. It was bills from a couple of companies (Pulse8 possibly one of them) and some kind of customer alert from another.

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AndrueC
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Re: More depressingly...

Worse still there's an increasing number of companies whose outgoing mail doesn't include any text. I have my clients configured to only show text and to pull it out of the HTML and sometimes the result is nothing at all :(

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

This is nothing new and I'm not sure how it can be fixed. SMTP is fundamentally broken - at least from a security point of view. At its root there is a disconnect between how the mail is actually delivered and the message itself. SMTP is not much more than 'FTP with mailboxes' where the difference is that the two servers agree between themselves where to put the data. The format of an email message is defined but nothing in a basic SMTP implementation requires that it be read - it's just a chunk of data that one server uploads and the another copies to one or more storage locations. The 'routing' is handled through the SMTP protocol itself.

There are various frameworks such as SPF that allow a server to perform protocol level checking by at least verifying that the sender's claimed domain has authorised that particular server to send mail on their behalf but they are all opt-in. Receiving servers don't have to check and sending domains don't have to be configured. And making any of this compulsory or improving SMTP is a problem because the system is too widely used and still too important to break.

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Quentin Tarantino in talks to make Star Trek movie

AndrueC
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I double dare you m*therf*cker

I believe that what Kirk actually shouted at that motorist was "Double dumbass on you". But I'll grant that your version adds a certain edge to the dialogue that was somewhat lacking in Star Trek IV:The Voyage Home

:)

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Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!

AndrueC
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Re: 17.46km/HOUR???

Having the runs in a spacesuit must be a whole new level of horror.

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Ofcom just told BT to up its game on fibre investment

AndrueC
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I suspect that Openreach won't be offering real FTTP for residential users either,

In their latest proposal, yes they are. It's GPON (individual fibres are aggregated by a manifest rather than dedicated all the way to the head-end) but that's as near to 'true' FTTP as any other telco is doing/has done.

Openreach already cover over half a million premises with FTTP and have relaunched their FTTPoD product with improved pricing from February. What that means is that anyone that can currently get FTTC and has deep(ish) pockets can order GPON FTTP to their home today. The new pricing makes it easier for a street of people (or an ISP) to get together to share costs.

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AndrueC
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If the industry can't find people to do the work, then they need to perhaps think about training people to do the job, rather than immediately hoping just to hire somebody off the street, or importing somebody with the skills in place.

Oh absolutely but training takes time and costs money. Thinkbroadband attempted a study of just this nearly two years ago.

"... Scaling this up Openreach would need an extra 130,000 staff with an annual wage bill of £2.6 billion to have kept pace (Openreach engineer starting salary is in the £19,000 to £21,000 region, and we have ignored the extra costs of training, fleet vehicles etc for this simple projection)."

By my reckoning that implies 0.5% of the entire UK workforce dedicated to this task. As for the types of job well that's a great discussion point. For sure it doesn't take 'great skill' to dig a trench but I don't think there'll be all that much trench digging. It should be mostly fibre blowing and that's a skilled job. In any case I don't think we want unskilled labour building our next generation network. Surely our intention is for this upgrade to last many decades and to provide faultless operation. It needs to be built to the highest standards.

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AndrueC
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A rapid national roll-out will also need a big increase in the number of telecoms engineers and associated equipment. The faster we want it done the more people we will need and they will need training first. Or maybe we can import some from the EU if any are going spare. And if no-one objects to that.

I'm not trying to be obstructionist, just practical. Fibre cables don't lay themselves no matter who is doing it or how much money they can throw at the project. In a way it's a good thing - creating loads of reasonably skilled jobs. Even better if they can be filled by home-grown labour. But I don't think there are currently thousands of telecoms engineers just hanging around on street corners looking for work.

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BT lab domain grab – 17 years after cheeky chap swiped 'em

AndrueC
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Re: Martlesham Heath

Not to forget the research centre in Danger Mouse called 'Putnam Down'.

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That 70s Show: Windows sprouts Sets and Timeline features

AndrueC
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Workplace Shell was also object oriented and extensible. With WPS when you right click on a folder the folder responds and decides what should appear in the menu. When you right click a folder under Windows Explorer decides what it thinks ought to be appear in the menu. That's a subtle but powerful difference.

One (both good and bad) example of this was ccMail for OS/2. Its UI largely consisted of subclassed folders. That made it act like an extension of the desktop which at the time made it very powerful. Of course the code underneath was shite so it crashed a lot but it was a clever way of integrating mail into the desktop.

Put another way: WPS maintained a hierarchical collection of objects. When it needed to render them it asked them to paint themselves. They did so according to their own rules.

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Why does no one want to invest in full fibre broadband, wails UK.gov

AndrueC
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Re: Some falsehoods

I'm not cherry picking. I just posted what they currently are and indicated that pricing was for the first 18 months only. I also provided information on one ISP that was cheaper and offered a rolling contract. As per their home page.

"Quality Broadband

No Contracts"

There is no reason (other than poor research or inertia) for anyone to be paying over £30pcm for a basic broadband service and telephone line over BT's network in today's market. I don't necessarily think that's a good situation to be in if we want further investment but someone posted a problem so I provided solutions to it.

Oh and I'm not sure who the LLU comment was directed at but none of the solutions I posted require it. Pulse8 does use it for backhaul in some cases where available but can also offer a WMBC service where it isn't. Anyone with a copper telephone line outside of Hull can sign up for those services.

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AndrueC
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Re: Some falsehoods

I don't think Gigaclear use volunteers but the smaller ones like B4RN do. Also I'd like to stress that I've not heard any complaints about the service Gigaclear offers and personally I'd be happy to pay those prices although I'd whinge a bit at £2pcm for a static IP address.

But based on historical issues I've had I would be a bit concerned at not having a choice of ISP. No ISP is perfect and at least on BT's network I can jump ship or at least threaten to.

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AndrueC
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Go

Re: Some falsehoods

BT unlimited broadband is £24 for the first 18 months including line rental.

PlusNet is £20 for the first 18 months.

Pulse8 will do that speed for £25 on a rolling monthly contract.

Sounds to me like you need to shop around a bit. Don't forget that if you're on a BT line you have a large choice of providers and plenty of leverage to strike a deal that suits you. On a Gigaclear connection you have no choice and no leverage.

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AndrueC
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Re: Some falsehoods

Ah but Gigaclear gets criticised for high prices. Personally I think these are sensibly prices for the most part but a lot of people won't be too impressed by £42pcm for 50Mb/s with £130 installation fee.

But that's what Gigaclear charges whereas BT has the additional problem that other CPs (eg; Sky, Talk Talk etc.) take a chunk of the profits off the top where the consumer doesn't go with BT Retail (or PlusNet).

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AndrueC
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Meh

The simple reason is because our broadband is cheap and the cost of a rollout is high.

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Can't wait for 5G? Don't then, Gigabit LTE will be around for ages

AndrueC
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Meh

The only connection they'd have (I assume) would be a twisted copper pair. So that's possibly as high as 80Mb/s shared by everyone within half a kilometre (or whatever range they chose). Better than nothing I suppose. Then again it wouldn't be all that easy to modify the box. You might also have to uprate the power supply. I don't know how the lights in a box are powered but a transmitter is going to need more juice.

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Lock them up and throw away the (don)key

AndrueC
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Re: Imprisoned?

They'd better hoof it quickly.

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Yahoo! Groups! Go! TITSUP! for! Days!

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Yahoo Mail is TITSUP too

So, which provider does IMAP IDLE and disposable addresses and isn't Google or myself (because I can't be bothered with managing a mail server)?

If you use a wildcard system (or even the little known '+' notation) there isn't much managing to do. I can give a new address out without having to tell the server anything. The only time I have to manage anything is when blocking the occasional rogue address.

Oh and every year having to figure out how to update the certificate all over again. As with most things SSL that's usually hell :-/

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10 years of the Kindle and the curious incident of a dog in the day-time

AndrueC
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My Kindle got me back into reading books. Paperbacks tend to make my wrists and hands ache these days. So far my Kindle doesn't. A large screen might be useful in a few years though as having adjusted the font (something you can't do with paper books) I'm now turning pages a lot more often.

But I now carry around with me a device that has over three hundred books of which around a dozen are waiting to be read. I typically read an hour every day which equates to a paperback a week. Definitely my favourite device :)

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As Google clamps down, 'Droid developer warns 'breaking day' is coming

AndrueC
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Unhappy

The developers of K9 and other Mail apps have been struggling to work around/with the more aggressive battery optimisation for a while now. It's apparently difficult to keep their apps alive to poll (POP3) or refresh the connection (IMAP). I've had a lot of success with Disable Doze but it's not foolproof. Google's stock answer apparently was that such apps should use the official messaging service but that means sending yet more data via their servers. Funny that. Even funnier that with each successive phone, despite no change in my usage, battery life gets worse.

I've thought for a while now that Android was trying to construct a wall around its garden. Sad if true.

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UK.gov told to tread carefully with transfer of data sets to NHS Digital

AndrueC
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The government hasn't demonstrated a particular aptitude for running major IT projects on time or budget,

Has anyone worked out what the government does have a particular aptitude for? Something good I mean.

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Dick move: Navy flyboy flings firmament phallus for flabbergasted folk

AndrueC
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Joke

Sounds like a cock and ball story if ever there was one.

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Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style

AndrueC
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Unhappy

Mine doesn't. I have the active hours set so that it updates in the early hours but it never tells me when it's going to do it. I know my colleagues have fallen foul of this as well. All it would take is a simple 'Your machine is due to be updated within the next 24 hours' message.

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AndrueC
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Meh

And would it kill Microsoft to warn users that an update is queued? I arrived at work yesterday to find my PC had rebooted. A few applications attempted to reload themselves but one (vs2015 - there's a shocker) reloaded the solution I'd left open but was unable to render anything in the text editor (something of a limitation I feel). So I had to waste another couple of minutes 'bouncing' it.

But back to the update - it also changes the background of the Cortana search box from grey to white. It's distracting and clashes with my desktop wallpaper. Perhaps Microsoft are trying to encourage more use of it. Failed with me though - it prompted me to work out how to hide the damn thing.

Coming to an update soon - the ability to hide Cortana's search has been disabled :-/

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Help desk declared code PEBCAK and therefore refused to help!

AndrueC
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Re: Early symptom of the demise of $BIGCO?

Well that's very true. Occasionally I've needed to do that and I don't have the faintest idea how to activate 'away from desk'. I also don't know how to redial the last number or get the company phone directory to display. Bloody Cisco phones.

On the plus side my old desk phone went doo-lally last year and was removed along with those of my colleagues as part of a streamlining exercise. I think everyone was happy about removing the ability of us software developers to talk to the outside world :)

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AndrueC
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Re: Early symptom of the demise of $BIGCO?

Listening to some of the calls our support staff get is scary. Getting some of them to the point where our staff can remotely access their computer can be like pulling teeth. There are people who don't know what is meant by 'Could you open a web browser please?'. Others that don't seem to know what or where the address bar is. On one memorable occasion it appeared that one of the guys was struggling to get the user to type a six digit number.

And the one time when a caller said her microphone wasn't working. Turned out it wasn't plugged in. Now that isn't all that unusual (despite our software being geared around audio). But when asked to plug it into a USB socket it still didn't work. Eventually it turned out they'd plugged it into their colleague's monitor 'because it was the nearest socket'.

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Q: Why are you running in the office? A: This is my password for El Reg

AndrueC
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Re: Admit defeet

Oh dear, that was a bit nazi.

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AndrueC
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Sounds like somethings afoot. I hope they make great strides with it.

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Ads watchdog tells Plusnet: There's no way unlimited business broadband costs £4.50

AndrueC
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Happy

PlusNet's does. Or at least did. When I signed up several years ago it was a radio button (yes/no).

IDNet will supply a router but they charge full price for it. It's a pretty capable unit though - a Billion 8800R2. I already had one though so didn't take them up on the offer.

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Remember CompuServe forums? They're still around! Also they're about to die

AndrueC
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Re: Compuserve

I used a 9600 for a while but then 19200 came out the US got it before the UK. Luckily I had a company telephone line at the time so just switched to the New York node for anything large. Rather curiously I seem to recall that the UK got 28k before the US.

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

Awww, that's a bit of a shame. Mind you I thought they'd gone several years ago. Oh well, here's a shout out to anyone that ever chatted with 100237,2643 :)

I used to hang out in the Science Fiction forum (helped arranged several chats with CJ Cherryh) and the OS/2 forums. Also one of the UK forums.

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Audio spy Alexa now has a little pal called Dox

AndrueC
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Re: Why portable?

For when you're in the toilet. "Alexa, order me some toilet roll. Express delivery."

That still sounds like a crap idea :)

Sorry. I think it might be time for bed.

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Openreach fibre plan for 10m premises coming 'before Christmas'

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

So how do they manage to get Wireless solutions working so well in the likes of train stations etc where there is a very heavy concentration of people, watching videos/tv/facebook etc.. Is it simply the fact that there are many/many antennae nearby ?

It could be. If they only intend to cover the station they can use lower power allowing more antenna. Another possibility is if most people aren't streaming content. Where data access is bursty (eg;most email, web browsing) you can tolerate far higher levels of contention. In fact it's quite amazing how far you can 'overload' a network when everyone is only pulling down data intermittently even if they are pulling down quite a lot of data each time. The important bit is how much time each individual is not using their connection.

Voice calls appear bursty in comparison to the data rate these days so aren't as much of a problem but I remember being in Kings Cross during the millennium celebration and even texts weren't getting through. You could forget trying to make a voice call.

Imagine you were serving tea to an office. If people keep wandering up when they want a cup you can probably manage with a single kettle. You might need a rolling boil kettle but basically you can just deal with each customer as they arrive. But now imagine what happens if Roger turns up and ask you to fill his two litre flask. That's going to take longer and increases the chance of someone else having to wait.

Contention is not unique to wireless solutions - almost all parts of a network are contended to varying degrees. It's interesting to note that cable connections are more contended than xDSL connections although so far DOCSIS seems to be keeping pace at least in the downstream direction.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Isn't Wifi/5G a viable and cheaper option

Wireless solutions are heavily contended in the 'last mile'. Ignore the hype from operators claiming gigabit speeds. Those are what the mast can handle under laboratory conditions. In the real world masts have to avoid interfering with other masts, buildings reflect the signal outside and prevent quite a few frequencies reaching inside, trees and geography block the signal. Distance from the mast weakens the signal. And perhaps worst of all everyone within range of the mast is sharing that juicy-sounding bandwidth.

Increasing the number of cells can help but by the time you've got a high enough density (assuming NIMBYs allow it) you might as well go the whole hog and run fibre to people's homes.

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AndrueC
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They know what they need to do. They know what's needed to achieve that. But as ever it's the practicalities that cause the problem.

Remove copper: Yes. Sadly its scrap value probably doesn't meet the removal costs. Ofcom and BT seem to be in agreement on the issue of power backup though so seems reasonable. Just got to hope all the CPs agree to moving their reluctant customers on to it.

Changing the pricing environment: Ofcom did say a couple of years ago that it felt it had achieved satisfactory take up so was prepared to allow prices to rise to encourage investment. But the evidence for willing customer participation is weak.

It'll be very interesting to see how the new report is received. I hope there will be some thought given to avoiding overlaying coax with fibre. The project would be a lot easier if everyone accepted that VM cable was good enough. Unfortunately that's effectively handing half the country over to VM. That will cause tears in two boardrooms. BT won't like relinquishing control. VM won't like being forced to offer a wholesale product.

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Online outrage makes Logitech drop a brick: Now it will replace slain Harmony Link gizmos

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: why did it need the cloud

You don't need an internet connection to use Harmony Hubs (any longer - there was a firmware fix just over a year ago). However you do need an internet connection to programme the recent models. Also when mine loses its WiFi connection that pisses it off for a minute until it recovers.

There are some advantages to having a profile online. If you get a new remote you can download the profile in a few seconds. Their support staff can also fix any issues you have (and to be fair respond pretty quickly). You could do the same thing by allowing you to save the profile as a file but that puts the onus on the customer to remember where they put the profile. At least with this method you just have to log on to your Logitech account and there it is.

I've had such an account since getting my first remote in 2008 and despite only needing to log on a dozen times over the years it's always been there. I have my concerns about Logitech but so far they have never actually let me down.

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How do you like them Apples? Farewell sensible sized fones, forever

AndrueC
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Re: As predicted (again)

I feel that pain. I don't have any eyesight health problems but I am 50 so firmly in the clutches of presbyopia and whilst I can browse using my S7 Edge it's generally a painful experience. By the time you've made the font big enough you've seriously compromised the page layout and will be forever scrolling. My other computer is a 17" laptop and I mentioned in another thread that the relative dearth of cheap 17" laptops was concerning me.

Maybe the day will come when I have to back to having a desktop computer and forgo surfing and chatting while watching TV. Just like the 20th century :-/

Either that or direct visual cortical stimulation, perish the thought.

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Not even ordering pizza is safe from the browser crypto-mining scourge

AndrueC
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Joke

Yeah those puns are well pasta their sell by date.

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Openreach boss says he'd take a burning effigy on the chin

AndrueC
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Stop

Maybe someone can help me out because I'm failing to see how privatisation has improved this service

I'm guessing you are less than 50 years old. Few people who remember the 'halcyon' days of the GPO will agree with you. To be fair the GPO had a great research arm and came up with a lot of good stuff. Unfortunately them wot held the purse strings (UK Government PLC) never really gave them the money to actually use the stuff they invented or else hamstrung it by not allowing them to improve the network connecting the shiny stuff.

BT was created because the government wasn't prepared to invest the money needed to upgrade the core to fibre. BT even offered to FTTP the entire country in the early 90s (and was gearing up for it by building fibre factories). But Maggie decided that competition would be better so invited the cable companies in instead. So BT sold off the factories and went back to peddling copper connections.

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AndrueC
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Happy

It's improving a bit from February next year.

The problem is that it's never going to be cheap enough. The internet market in the UK doesn't need it (yet). Most people are still happy to bimble along on an up to 40Mb/s connection. Or indeed ADSL. As long as they can read their email, post to farcebook, twat around on twitter and watch a bit of iPlayer they are content. You don't need FTTP for that. You don't even need top-end FTTC unless you have a family with teenage kids who play a lot of games and/or watch a lot of IPTV at high resolution.

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AndrueC
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It is my understanding that BT as received money from Gov several times for Fiber roll out. What has it done with that?

Quite a lot. Unfortunately most of the land is owned and used by someone. You can't just grab a backhoe and dig a trench from A to be then drop a cable into it. You have to agree wayleaves. And digging roads and laying cables in cities and towns is no cakewalk when you have over a hundred years of infrastructure to deal with.

BT has additional issues:

* It is forced by law to allow other operators to use it's cables and network. So after going to all the expense of laying fibre BT isn't even guaranteed the full RoI - it has to share that.

* People quite rightly don't like the idea of the government giving money to a private company. That imposes limits on how much money can be given.

* BT's voice network is one of the most advanced and reliable in the world. This makes the accounting case for upgrading to carry data a bit weaker.

Lastly you might want to consider the chart here.

UK: #13. 92%

Canada: #17: 88.47%

There's also not much difference in average speed. Depending who you ask we both seem to sit around 13Mb/s. Maybe it's you who should be complaining ;)

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AndrueC
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Meh

The only thing that BT understands is competition. Until they have solid competition then Templeton, and communities like it, will get little to no love from Buzby and Co

That only works if communities like Templeton are worth fighting over commercially. Unfortunately they are not.

Network roll-out has always been driven by value. That's why cities get upgrades before towns and towns before villages. And it's not just BT. VM thinks the same way. The LLUOs think the same way.

If you live in a city or 'wealthy' town you will have a choice of LLUOs and probably VM cable. There's your competition.

The sad fact is that places like Templeton are bloody expensive to upgrade and the RoI on doing that is either negative or measured in decades. No-one is going to compete to get a slice of that pie.

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Logitech: We're gonna brick your Harmony Link gizmos next year

AndrueC
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Happy

One advantage of a universal remote linked to 'the cloud' is that it can transfer your settings to replacements very easily. I've had two versions of the Harmony One and now a Harmony Hub and all I had to do was logon to my account and register the new remotes. I have six devices and five activities and they were downloaded to the new remotes in seconds.

Another advantage is that if you need assistance they can sort problems out remotely. I've had to use that twice via online chat and it's quite handy. Logon, start the chat, explain a problem and wait. Their support staff are actually very good.

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