* Posts by big_D

5167 posts • joined 27 Nov 2009

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes

big_D Silver badge

Re: Funny that

When I first came to Germany, I visited a friend and they lent me a computer, that ran German Windows. I had to go in and change the network settings and give it a dedicated IP address (back then, DHCP servers weren't that common in small companies). I had done it often enough in English that I could do by rote, click Start, click the "System" thing where Control Panel would be, then the thing where Network would be (was close enough, Netzwerk), then the adapter, then...

Just remembering which option was where in each dialog helped even though I didn't understand the language.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Funny that

Switching the language on unlocked mobile phones left on the desk to Greek, Russian or some other non-Lating langauge.

I quickly learnt how to change the language without having to look at the display. The first thing I did, once my new handset could be locked was to set a PIN, that stopped the problem.

Wanna force granny to take down that family photo from the internet? No problem. Europe's GDPR to the rescue

big_D Silver badge

Re: GDPR is a joke....

Luckily, we don't live in the UK

big_D Silver badge

Re: GDPR is a joke....

Whenever we are at a party or gathering, the first thing my wife says, is that nobody has her permission to upload pictures of her to the internet. She is very proactive about her privacy.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Where does the copyright law stand on this?

She can keep the image for her own personal enjoyment. But as it is an image of a minor, she cannot publish it without getting a signed waiver from the minor's guardian(s). It is irrelevant who has copyright, the child is the subject of the photo and therefore permission has to be obtained before publication.

That covers grannies photographing their children, TV cameras in a school (over here, in Germany, they either just film legs running around the playground or they blur out the faces, if the parents haven't signed a waiver for them to be filmed for the TV news), some "Joe" on the street or a professional studio photographer.

big_D Silver badge

Re: GDPR is a joke....

If the grandmother had put it in a private folder on her GDrive or OneDrive for backup, I'd be with you.

She openly published the photo on Facebook. That is a big difference.

To test its security mid-pandemic, GitLab tried phishing its own work-from-home staff. 1 in 5 fell for it

big_D Silver badge
Coat

Alexa, follow the link in my email...

big_D Silver badge

Re: Not bad

We ran a campaign last year. We were inundated by calls with people asking if it was a fake and whether they should click on the link or not.

Most of our users have a lower skill level and, thankfully, they prefer to ask us, whether a link is fake, rather than blindly clicking on them.

A common attack at the moment is an email saying our web mailer is holding suspected messages and the users should click on the link to verify the held messages. We don't use webmail, so, thankfully, they all asked us wtf is going on. I'd much rather be inundated with calls from cautious users than face a security breach.

Could it be? Really? The Year of Linux on the Desktop is almost here, and it's... Windows-shaped?

big_D Silver badge

Re: If only!

I wasn't expecting any problems either, which is why I was really annoyed. I've been using Linux for nearly 2 decades and this is only the second time I've had real problems getting Linux to run.

My old laptop (2004 Acer) had a rare ATi Radeon X800m chipset, it took 18 months before a Linux driver appeared for it - it couldn't even install in VESA mode on that thing!

This time, I was using the open source drivers for the GTX card, but that didn't work well with waking from sleep, so I added the official nVidia drivers for the card. The sleep worked fairly reliably (needed a hard reset 1 in 10 wake-ups), but still unacceptable. But the long pauses every time I opened a window finally drove me back to Windows on the PC. :-(

big_D Silver badge

Re: If only!

Ryzen 1700, 32GB RAM, 3 x 500GB SSDs using LVM, 2TB spinning rust, nVidia GTX1050ti, Dell 34" UW monitor, Amazon Bluetooth dongle, Microsoft Surface Ergonomic keyboard and Logitech MX Master 2 BT mouse. Running openSUSE with KDE.

The first problem was that Bluetooth wouldn't start automatically at boot time or after waking from sleep. That took some deep-fiddling in /etc, but it did work. Not a real problem, after some research.

Then Bluetooth would regularly pause mid-sentence. I never found a cure for that problem.

I had to install the proprietary nVidia drivers to get the PC to wake from sleep at all. It would just start back up, but the screen remained black, I had to then SSH in from another device and force a reboot. With the nVidia driver, it would wake up reliably 9 from 10 attempt, but the failed attempt needed a hard reset.

The display was very slow and if I was playing YouTube in a Firefox tab, opening LibreOffice, a game of Aisleriot (patience), Mahjong (or after winning, starting a new game or closing the app), the video / all window activity was paused for several seconds, whilst the window opened / closed / changed. Not what you expect from an 8 core / 16 thread processor with 32GB RAM and a gaming video card.

big_D Silver badge

Re: If only!

Mint and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

big_D Silver badge

Re: If only!

I agree. Another problem I had was when opening a window, all video stopped.

If I was playing a video in Firefox and opened a new window, the whole thing paused for 5 seconds! This is 2020, this is a Ryzen 7 with 8 cores & 16 threads, 32GB RAM, LVM over 3 SSDs and an nVidia GTX 1050ti graphics card, how the frack is that being so overloaded opening a window that it freezes video for 5 seconds?

big_D Silver badge

Re: If only!

I tried switching to Linux on my desktop last month, but it failed abysmally.

It didn't like the combination of my Ryzen 7 + nVidia graphic card, it wouldn't always wake up cleanly, would randomly hang. Likewise, the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse would regularly hang, so I couldn't go anything. It is a real shame, I use Linux on my Pis and my old laptop and wanted to go 100% Linux, but the hardware compatibility just wasn't there, for me.

Luckily, I imaged Windows before I installed Linux, so going back was fairly painless. I'll stick to CentOS and SUSE in Hyper-V VMs and WSL on my Windows desktop for now.

Google rolls out pro-privacy DNS-over-HTTPS support in Chrome 83... with a handy kill switch for corporate IT

big_D Silver badge

Re: DoH

On my firewall, it is 1 rule, but with a group of IP addresses. At the moment, it is a relatively small list. The firewall can also act as a DoH provider, using my main DNS server as its source.

big_D Silver badge

Re: DoH

I have set up rules to block DoH at the firewall. The browsers and smartphones just drop back to using my internal DNS server (DNS over TLS with DNSSEC to Quad9). The internal DNS server blacklists around 2.5 million sites (most of them tracking and known malware flingers). However it will be a moving target as more and more DoH servers come on line.

I worked out that DoH was being used on my tablet when it suddenly started showing Facebook in the new tab list - I had blocked over 2,500 Facebook domains in DNS. I quickly set up additional rules to block DoH to known providers.

Rogue ADT tech spied on hundreds of customers in their homes via CCTV – including me, says teen girl

big_D Silver badge

Re: "ADT failed to monitor consumers’ accounts"

The problem is, how does ADT know the difference between a mail address the customer entered or an email address that was entered by an employee when visiting the customer? I assume it was private email address, so probably wouldn't have been suspicious in a log, on its own - just another gmail address, for example.

If their system checked for the same address on multiple accounts, it might work - unless he created a different address for each account he compromised...

I agree ADT has some fault here, but no matter how hard you make it, somebody will come up with a way around your precautions.

AT&T tracked its own sales bods using GPS, secretly charged them $135 a month to do so, lawsuit claims

big_D Silver badge

Re: Telekom

That makes more sense, although our local consumer outlet don't really have any time constraints either. They are happy to talk to you as a human being.

big_D Silver badge

Telekom

Our Telekom rep in Germany can spend 10 minutes here or several hours depending on what he is dealing with and what needs to be discussed.

If there is a major problem with one of our sites, he won't be out of here again in 45 minutes. Likewise, we were looking for a replacement exchange a couple of years ago, we had about half a dozen suppliers turn up, none of them could fully demonstrate the solution and answer all questions in 45 minutes.

If it takes longer, the reps don't complain, they aren't pounded on by the beancounters. Their company knows that customer satisfaction is paramount to keeping the customer and if they need to spend more time with the customer, they can. The AT&T model seems very counterproductive, there is no way I'd give business to somebody who keeps looking at his watch and can't wait to get out the door to the next appointment.

I've had the rep take a break to call his next appointment to cancel or move the appointment or he has called me to explain that he will be late. If they are honest about it, I have no problem with them taking longer with another customer, because I know they will do the same for me, if I have questions or problems.

Huawei's defiant spinning top says Chinese vendor can cope with renewed US sanctions

big_D Silver badge

I was thinking more about the other angle, me sitting in Europe, beholden to European law and suddenly Trump, a person who has theoretically no legal power over me, can decide that, because I am using a US based cloud or Windows or a piece of plant bought from a company with US influence, I can't sell to my customers.

It makes using US products untenable, as I may wake up tomorrow and find I don't have access to my products any more or I am not allowed to sell to my customers, because "Trump slept badly last night".

big_D Silver badge

Except it isn't a locals only policy. The US sanctions don't just affect US companies, it is a world-wide ban on dealing with Huawei, if you have any US technology in your plants. Talk about overreach.

Microsoft gives Office 365 admins the heads-up: Some internal queries over weekend might have returned results from completely different orgs

big_D Silver badge

Re: Metadata *is* data

Not only them. I think just about every cloud out there has had some form of breach over the years.

The problem is, if it is your data behind your firewall, you have somebody you can shout at and, in the worst case, fire. With the big clouds, they just give a shrug of their Teflon-coated shoulders and carry on as if nothing happened.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Metadata *is* data

And search results often have a line or so of text from the document being searched for.

Microsoft proves that data in the cloud isn't yours, or isn't yours alone...

big_D Silver badge

Re: rule 34

Argh! NO! Hand the eye-bleach stat!

Podcast Addict banned from Google Play Store because heaven forbid app somehow references COVID-19

big_D Silver badge

Re: AI is rubbish, developer doesn't read emails?

With the current COVID-19 situation (and increasingly with hate speech etc. on the social networks), they don't have time to react. They shoot first and ask questions later.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Big tech - the solution is simple

That is part of the problem, Google and Facebook are considered big companies based on revenue and users, yet they are tiny companies, in terms of employees per customer, they have scaled their tech without ensuring that there are enough people in place to deal with the expansion.

The same is true about the law. When they are small, they circumvent the law and they scale up, circumventing the law until the authorities come a-knocking and suddenly their systems have been scaled up so much that it is "impractical" to comply with the law - i.e. it would be prohibitively expensive to obey the law, it is cheaper to keep paying the fines and lawyers than it is to actually tackle the problem.

They should follow the law from the beginning and they should scale their solutions for staying inside the law as they grow, that way the revenue model grows taking into account compliance - but that isn't sexy, because revenues will be lower than they could be - instead of getting "sticker shock" when they suddenly have to actually comply.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Well there's the problem

We had a problem with Google a few years ago and it was very sobering, how you can best deal with Google.

One of their servers suddenly started spamming our Internet connection (10mbps connection being stuffed with around 100mbps of traffic from the Google server) - possibly a misconfigured server that was supposed to send information to another part of Google and our IP address was mistakenly entered?.

Tried contacting them at abuse@ and webmaster@ addresses. Automatic answer that this account is not read and the message had been automatically deleted!

Okay, call them... Over 20 minutes bouncing back and forth over their automated telephone system, before being spat out and left with a dead connection.

Twitter didn't bring any help either. In the end, we had to contact our commercial ISP and get the Google IP address blocked at their border, which was a subscription service costs nearly 3 figures a month! In the end, we just accelerated our move to a new ISP and got a new IP address, it was quicker and easier to arrange than to get Google acknowledge a problem. For all I know, the Google server is still spamming the old IP address.

Latest NHS IT revolution is failing to learn lessons from the last £10bn car crash

big_D Silver badge

Outside the industry...

If you look outside the IT industry, if a supplier fails to deliver on time, they usually don't keep getting paid, they have to pay the customer penalties defined in the contract for the overrun. But public sector and IT seem to be just an ongoing cash printing machine.

If American tech is used to design or make that chip, you better not ship it to Huawei, warns Uncle Sam

big_D Silver badge

Re: Also Microsoft

And the US Government will reimburse these companies for lost revenues due to its petty actions?

No, thought not.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Also Microsoft

Microsoft already got a dispensation from the SoC to allow them to resume sales.

big_D Silver badge

Security of Commerce...

US Security of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This is not how a responsible global corporate citizen behaves, when an irresponsible Megalomanic misbehaves.

TFTFY.

Micros~1? ClippyZilla? BSOD Bob? There can be only one winner. Or maybe two

big_D Silver badge

Re: BobZilla ?

I think the "House of Bob" is also not the best in that direction. "The house that Bob built" would be better. Or for kid's TV, Bob the BSODer?

Bobzilla would have been good.

UK, Ireland users call on SAP to extend indirect licensing deadline again as COVID-19 ravages project plans

big_D Silver badge

Re: Does anyone (apart from SAP and consultants) benefit from using SAP ?

i.e. it isn't good, but better than nothing.

A lot of smaller companies are also forved to use it, if they want to deliver to big business, they have to support SAP electronic data transfers, for example.

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development

big_D Silver badge

Re: Run-away techies pipe dreams meet problem-o-phile reasoning

And properly educate tech people about the law, it goes both ways.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Run-away techies pipe dreams meet problem-o-phile reasoning

Robert Koch Institute, in Germany, has an app to collect health data from smart watches to help with diagnosing Corona. The app stays within GDPR, because it has a privacy statement and is opt-in.

The data is anonymised and is used to help them detect early signs of COVID-19.

GDPR gets blamed for making things impossible, when it only makes people actually have to think about what they are doing and to get the correct permissions and to ensure the data is handled accordingly.

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

big_D Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: No love for CORAL 66?

DEC's FORTRAN compiler was much more efficient..

I've told this here before, but we had a data centre full of VAXen and we were looking at possibly replacing some of them with a mainframe from a well known manufacturer. They actually delivered a test machine for us to try out, a whole room-full of big boxes!

The salesman gave us a tape with a FORTRAN program on it, which would "run for about a week" on the mainframe and several weeks on our test VAX. We should "load it, compile it, run it and call me in about a week, when the mainframe finishes its run".

He then left us to it. The ops put the FORTRAN tape through both machines, compiled the program and hit run simultaneously on both machines...

The salesman had a message to call us back, by the time he had returned to his office. The VAX had finished in about a second, his mainframe was still chundering away.

It turned out the FORTRAN compiler on the VAX was actually quite clever. It analysed the code: no input -> create a huge array -> fill array with random numbers -> no output. The compiler decided if there was no input and no output, there was no point running the bit in between, so it made an empty program stub. The mainframe compiler was not so clever...

Australians can demand visitors to their homes run contact-tracing app

big_D Silver badge

Re: Discrimination...

Yes, but aren't those houses still treated as commercial premises, if a business is being run out of them?

Probably you could refuse access to your private rooms, but the "commercial" rooms would be excluded from this and you'd have to let them in, whether they have the app or not.

big_D Silver badge

Discrimination...

I think the not allowing someone into the house unless they have the app is fine as an exception to the discrimination clause.

You can refuse somebody access to the premises for any reason, generally. If you tried to refuse them entry because they didn't have the app, you would be liable for discrimination, yet not letting them in, because you don't like them, don't want to hear about The Tower etc. is fine, so they could then claim discrimination... It is just how the law works.

M.A.L.S. for the win.

Better late than never... Google Chrome to kill off 'tiny' number of mobile web ads that gobble battery, CPU power

big_D Silver badge

Static image / text

If it is a static image or text, with no associated JavaScript, you can show an ad in my browser, otherwise you can get stuffed.

Node.js creator delivers Deno 1.0, a new runtime that fixes 'design mistakes in Node'

big_D Silver badge
Facepalm

It's bad enough...

running JavaScript inside the browser, why would you want to run it outside?

Sadly, 111 in this story isn't binary. It's decimal. It's the number of security fixes emitted by Microsoft this week

big_D Silver badge

Re: And unsupported versions of Windows

As the patches only cover supported versions of windows, they say that all supported versions.

Usually they affect unsupported versions as well.

big_D Silver badge

Outlook?

Any news on the two bugs introduced into Office 2016/2019/365 a couple of weeks back that stops search working if local caching is turned on and complains that you don't have rights to "send as..." on joined accounts?

NHS contact-tracing app is best in the world, says VMware CEO... whose company helped build it

big_D Silver badge

Re: Wear the mask - plenty of pensioners

Both sides of the grandparents of my step-daughters have no Internet and no mobile phones (in their 70s when I first met them, now in their late 80s). They don't see the need, they don't go out and they have the TV...

One sister-in-law shared a Nokia 3310 with her husband up until last year, now they share a smartphone, because grandchildren.

These are people who never used a computer at work, their children didn't have computers growing up and they never used/needed a computer at home...

Heck, my other half didn't get her first PC until her kids were in the equivalent of high school and she never used it, it was just for them to use for homework. The first time she had to use a computer was when she applied for her Master Craftsman Diploma in her mid 40s. I now turn on her computer once a month to fill in her timesheet for her.

big_D Silver badge

Re: Wear the mask

You forgot taking the mask off using just the bands and keeping your hands and other surfaces away from the inside of the mask, before it is disposed of / put on a 60°C wash cycle...

big_D Silver badge

Re: Wear the mask

I know plenty of pensioners as well who don't have mobile phones, let alone smartphones.

They only leave the house to go to the doctor, shopping or a short walk and for those couple of hours a week, they don't need a mobile, so they don't buy one.

Press F2 to pay respects. New Xiaomi Poco Pro has 5G, top-drawer Snapdragon chippery, 64MP camera

big_D Silver badge

2020-02-01, 2020-03-01, 2020-04-01 and 2020-05-01 have all been released with critical security patches since the January patch level.

My Samsung S20+ got the 2020-05-01 patches on 2020-05-04. Given that the last Samsung I owned, an S3, only received 2 patches in 18 months, I find that it is currently doing a very good job. I just hope they keep it up for the 3 years they provide the guarantee for...

big_D Silver badge

Most importantly, what is the monthly security patching like? How far behind the curve are they?

My Huawei Mate 10 Pro was usually a month behind Google's official patches and my current Samsung is reporting that it is 100% up to date with Google's patches.

big_D Silver badge

Re: 120Hz refresh rates

I tried it on my Galaxy S20+, didn't really notice much of a difference and turned it off again. Certainly not enough of a difference that I want to waste my battery on it.

Researchers spot thousands of Android apps leaking user data through misconfigured Firebase databases

big_D Silver badge
Facepalm

Which apps?

24,000 affected, but no list, not even of the most popular apps affected... :-S

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

big_D Silver badge

Re: Seems like a losing battle, and there's an elephant in the room

First of all, Libreoffice has the same option to use Microsoft XML or Opendocument XML, so I can't see what the big play is surrounding file formats.

The big play around file format is how well they are supported and how well the application interprets that file format and displays it. OO.o and Libreoffice provide support for Open XML, but it works in a different way to Microsoft Office and it can't display the file "cleanly", there are always minor differences between them on how things are displayed, so the formatting goes to pot.

I've had presentation in PowerPoint that were displayed in OO.o or LO and the lines point to different objects on the page and the objects have moved as well! Word documents, the page formatting goes to pot, the ToC will say a section starts on page 12, which it does in Word, but due to formatting issues in LO, it will be on page 13 or 14 - the higher the page number the bigger the difference to where the ToC says things were and where they actually are.

(The same goes in the other direction, of course.)

If you are sharing documents with people, you really need to be on the same version of the same program - even version differences can cause formatting issues when swapping back and forth. I used Linux for a long time as my main workstation and worked with LO, but for documents that I had to share with clients (where I had to provide the original and not a PDF), I always had a Windows machine in the corner to check the formatting, before it went out. At some point, I was spending so much time correcting the formatting that I gave up and switched back to Windows and MS Office for document generation, because it saved time and I wasn't going to get a large, multi-thousand seat, client to switch from MS Office to LO, just because I wanted to use that.

Russia admits, yup, the Americans are right: One of our rocket's tanks just disintegrated in Earth's orbit

big_D Silver badge
Coat

Jerry Anderson

covered this in detail in his 1960s time-shifted documentary series UFO... Oh, wait, it wasn't a documentary? My bad.

Mine's the one with the purple wig in the pocket.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020