* Posts by Martin an gof

456 posts • joined 27 Jan 2010

Page:

Just give up: 123456 is still the world's most popular password

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Just get a password manager..

[I] can see 299 accounts I've got stored in there, of which (from a very quick scan) at least 50 are for services I'd consider worth securing properly.

Blimey.

Luddite as I am, and without going to check, I don't think I have 50 accounts in total. Even if I included all the other things that need login details (e.g. my router/modem) I'd struggle. Then again we don't (for example) do online banking, partly because we are fortunate to live near a town with a reasonable number of actual bank branches, and we opt to get statements through the post. It has the side benefit that any and all emails purporting to be from the bank can be binned without thought.

Even so, I can see a use-case for a good password manager. The problem is defining "good" (and reliable, and not-likely-to-go-tits-up-without-warning etc.)

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Happy

Re: Just get a password manager..

(how do you do italics?)

El Reg Forums FAQ

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Just get a password manager..

individual very good passwords for every account you create online (even if you only come up with a good one for the 'important' sites) is impossible.

Absolutely, but you forgot the third possibility, namely that you don't need dozens of strong passwords if you don't actually use dozens of services, each of which requires a separate password. The place where this really does fall down is with the stuff that used to be called "e-commerce", because unless you want to confine yourself to buying from two or three outlets only, each blasted retailer requires a new set of login details. There are some who will let you buy things without creating an account, and since retailer accounts seem to be used mainly so that a: they can remember your credit card number and b: they can send you marketing emails, frankly if such an option is offered, I'll take it.

:-)

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Just get a password manager..

But it's a point that ideally should never go online

Devil's advocate here, but don't these systems actually store all your data online so that you can share passwords between devices? Heavily encrypted and suchlike, but still accessible to anyone who has your master password? No need to access the local machine in that instance.

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Don't Just Blame Users

Because it limits the damage if the password is leaked but NOT KNOWN to be leaked.

I understand that, my point was that if too-often password changes are mandated, the temptation is to use weaker passwords which are therefore more likely to be guessable. A slow password change policy, maybe even with auto-generated passwords, makes it more likely that the user will be willing to commit a strong password to memory, and make it less likely that that password is compromised between changes. I'm talking about someone trying to guess John Smith's passwords without any inside information.

Password "leaks" are something else altogether, I'd say. The "data dumps" that were perused for these popular passwords; how did they extract plaintext passwords from properly encrypted... Oh. Right.

M.

2
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Just get a password manager..

Please explain to an obviously clueless individual, but my confusion over password managers is that if the "master" password is compromised, everything is lost, is that not the case? Granted you are probably better able to create and remember a really good strong password if that's the only one you have to do, but isn't it creating a single point of failure?

M.

4
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Don't Just Blame Users

There was a time when lame passwords could be used to protect accounts for sites with mundane content.

Social engineering starts with the content and posts on mundane forums

But you don't need a password to slurp that information. On these very forums, so long as you can tie a user name to a real name (i.e. you are sure that the "John Smith" you are stalking is definitely "BigBiceps" online) all you have to do is click on that user name and , hey presto, a complete history of all their posts ever. No passwords involved. Easy to search.

On El Reg, having a password gets you into the "edit my details" bit which if you don't already have the real name and real email address will give you those details, and maybe others if they have been filled in.

I do not understand enforced weak password policies (as have been described above) but my personal beef is with enforced password change policies, at least those that mandate change too often. Regular enforced password changes drive ordinary people down the route of choosing easy to remember password sequences that just avoid tripping the system rules. I know of one system which has half sensible rules (>7 char, mixed case, special characters and digits mandated, no repetition of passwords) but then mandates changes every six weeks (could be worse, I suppose) which lead to a lot of people using passwords along the lines of "Pa$$word01" followed by "Pa$$word02".

A "strong" password is called that because it is unlikely to be in any rainbow tables, isn't in a dictionary, is difficult to guess, and difficult to brute-force. It doesn't become any more easy to guess over time, so why enforce such a short shelf-life? By all means change it occasionally, and definitely if there is any suspicion it's been compromised, but..

M.

10
0

BT installs phone 'spam filter', says it'll strain out mass cold-callers

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Interesting development

I contacted BT and asked them to transfer our number to the new address

Had sort of the opposite of that once when we moved house. The person buying our house contacted BT about a fortnight before the moving date to arrange to take over the line, and within a few hours of that phone call, we were cut off, just when we needed the phone the most. It wasn't that they just changed the number - could have been seen as a simple scheduling error - they actually cut us off.

No amount of ranting and raging to BT would get them to reinstate us, so we spent a fortnight calling people on our mobiles, and making sure they had the mobile numbers as first (and only) point of contact. We were offered one month rental for free as compensation and a complaint to the ombudsman resulted in (effectively) a "meh, take it or leave it".

Three days after the phone line was cut off, our ADSL service terminated too because (according to our ISP) they couldn't provide a service on a disconnected phone line. Email was via our ISP in those days, so no email for a fortnight either.

New house, new phone provider, new ISP. A fortnight of lost emails, and an extra line to add to our "we've moved" cards.

M.

5
0

Embrace the world of pr0nified IT with wide open, er, arms

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Laser printers are always “faster” and “last longer”

You just need to chose very carefully

I'd be interested to hear specifics - makes and models - although I suppose they're long since out of production.

Personally until recently I would never even consider buying another inkjet. My Epson LX80 (poor man's FX80) dot matrix was a tank and still working over ten years later when I gave it away, despite heavy abuse printing Gestetner stencils. Might still be working for all I know.

Replaced with a Canon LBP-4 which was just rebadged HPLJ4 (IIRC). Again, built like a tank, toner lasted at least as long as it said on the tin, used remanufactured cartridges after the first few years and apart from a longstanding reluctance to pick paper, still running when I retired it after well over ten years heavy (in domestic terms) use.

Current printer (now around ten years old itself) is a Xerox Phaser solid ink jobbie. In all bar one respect it is the best printer I've ever owned. That respect is that it's costing me a lot more than either previous printer in terms of ink, which definitely doesn't last as long as it says on the tin, though I suspect that has more to do with the fact that I now have a flock of homework-printing children, covering every inch of the paper with great gobs of colour, than any misdirection on the part of Xerox.

In that time I have also owned three (I think) inkjet printers, all of which were a right royal pain in the wallet what with ink seeming to evaporate overnight and heads deliberately gunking themselves up if they didn't like what I was printing. The only reason I'm looking at an inkjet again now is that I need a cheap(ish) second printer to use away from the house for a while, and it would be extremely useful if it could handle A3. Cheap A3 lasers are still a little way off I think, though it is confusing me that the cheapest A3 inkjets seem to come with scanners and fax facilities attached, which I definitely don't want.

Sorry, somewhat off topic there. I'll get back down to business now...

M.

0
0

It's not just your browser: Your machine can be fingerprinted easily

Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Meh

Do you really believe your mobile phone software when it says you have switched off wifi & gps?

WiFi and GPS on, battery lasts a day or two at best. WiFi and GPS off, battery lasts six or seven. Mobile data off too can easily stretch that to 8 or 9 days, and 10 is not impossible.

Not that there aren't other ways to track you, but sometimes you can be a teensy bit too paranoid.

;-)

M.

2
0

Renault goes open source with next-gen electric buggy you might generously call 'a car'

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Electric Kit Car

I recall that kit cars were popular in the 80's - not sure about now

Caterham is still going strong and while I don't think they offer an electric conversion at the moment, the design is flexible enough that a decent engineer (not me) should be able to bend it to his or her own will.

The Caterham is a proper kit car (other clones are available) in my mind. Back in the 1970s and 1980s I seem to recall a fashion for taking the underworkings of a Beetle or an Escort or similar and replacing all the bodywork with something even flimsier, usually made from fibreglass and designed to look like a much more "desirable" motor; these I wouldn't count as proper kit cars.

It would be cool if Renault or someone else could offer a modular car. I suppose the Twizzy went some way towards that with things like optional doors, but it did rather remind me of a C5 that had been on a bodybuilding course :-)

M.

2
0

Soz fanbois, Apple DIDN'T invent the smartphone after all

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Apple stole the iPhone

Without the iPhone they'd be a fraction of the size they are, no doubt about it but they'd still likely have gone on to make the iPod touches, ipads etc anyway as they was clearly the way they were headed

I'm not so sure about that. I'll grant you the fact that after Jobs returned and gave the company "direction" they were on the right track, and I completely agree that without the iPhone, Apple wouldn't be the company it is now, but I really do think that the iPod Touch and the iPads are descendants of the iPhone rather than siblings or cousins.

The first iPhone had a dreadful specification, but it took control of your communications away from the networks and put it (apparently) in your own hands (I say apparently because obviously Apple had a big say in the matter) and - crucially - it "just worked". It didn't do a lot, but that which it did, it did well, and people got used to the idea that an interface could be almost completely intuitive. Oh, and fashionable, something Apple learned from the equally under-specified original iMac.

Even if it had been half the price I wouldn't have bought an iPhone, but that's not the point

M..

3
0

Uh-oh. LG to use AI to push home appliances to 'another dimension'

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: IoT things.

BG and the like keep trying to sell me "intelligent" thermostats

DIY then?

An Arduino-compatible with GSM module (need to add a SIM card of course) can hook up to a number of temperature sensors and a 3V latching relay connected in parallel with your normal thermostat.

PSU, battery, antenna, box to put it in, wires (perhaps a hundred quid all told) and a quick bit of programming of the Arduino later and you can send it SMSes direct from your phone (so no tedious mucking about over the internet) and turn it on and off and get it to report back (via SMS) what it can sense. No need for a data connection, so that "attack surface" is removed, and security is reduced to sensible parsing of incoming text messages. Ongoing cost is keeping the SIM topped up (assuming PAYG).

A few years ago I used what was then an expensive GSM modem to accept SMSes (but not send them) to control something at work (it's still doing its job), and I'm seriously toying with doing something very similar to the above when I re-do the heating system in our house later this year.

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Constant 5C internally?

The refrigerator can do things like... change temperature conditions during hot weather to prevent food spoilage.

The mind boggles. Haven't they heard of a thermostat?

M.

33
0

Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Fantastic!

If there was something which I thought would never need a microphone, it was a hairbrush, followed by the shower head, or possibly my toilet bowl.

Never mind microphones, next thing you know they'll be putting cameras on there:

  • Hairbrush: to spot signs of dandruff or nits or hair dye growing out and hence offer you the opportunity to buy anti-dandruff shampoo, email your child's school so that they can send out the "nit note", or book an appointment at the salon to do your roots
  • Showerhead: to make sure you are using the "correct" amount of shampoo, that you have covered every inch of your body, that you have rinsed it all off, and to notice when you get some in your eye and send a text message to your SO to come and hand you the towel which you can't see because it burns!
  • Toilet: no, let's not even go there

M.

0
0

Raspberry Pi Foundation releases operating system for PCs, Macs

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: So lightweight...

16MB of RAM back in the day. What is all that memory being used for?

Pretty pictures, methinks, and cache-ing.

Pretty pictures because in the days of 16MB RAM, most of us were probably working at 1024x768 or 1280x1024 and either 4-bit (16 colours) or 8-bit (256). These computers probably had no more than 1MB of dedicated video memory arranged as a plain framebuffer (1024x768 @ 8 bits is 768kB) and the graphical interfaces were very plain and simple.

These days 24-bit colour is the norm, as is a minimum 1920x1080, and all those pretty icons belonging to all those applications must be loaded and cached. Video memory is no longer just a framebuffer (and is often shared on commodity hardware, not dedicated), and a compositing window manager will multiply the amount of memory required.

And that's before you consider disc cacheing, pre-emptive loading and suchlike.

That said, it's not terribly difficult to get a "full fat" Linux running acceptably in 2GB (I run Mint on the EeePC), and memory use on my heftier machines (OpenSuse with KDE) usually only goes above 2GB when I start a video editor or somesuch.

We also have a Pi for general desktop use, and rarely have problems due to lack of memory (Pi 3 has 1GB total), though the standard web browser seems to be pretty aggressive about dumping cached graphics - certainly more so than Firefox and IE that I use elsewhere.

As I think I may have mentioned recently, I well remember being very proud of myself when I managed to get WfW3.11 with Word, Excel and Mail working on a '286 with 2MB memory and a 40MB HDD "back in the day" for a secretary who couldn't be bought a new computer, but whose boss had the latest and greatest '486.

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: what users want

takes so long to remove that from a RasPi image.

Raspbian Jessie Lite

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Acer Revo Nettop

hdmi_drive=2

This is for Raspbian running on Pi hardware, not for a generic x86 machine methinks?

Not had problems with audio for a couple of years now on Raspbian - before then I'd often have to be very specific about where I wanted my audio.

Not so on my OpenSuse machine, where my main monitor is VGA and my "occasional" monitor (the family TV) is HDMI. Sometimes it defaults to HDMI and sometimes it defaults to headphones. It's always the wrong one and there doesn't seem to be an easy way to force the computer to use both, all the time. Oh, and nothing I do seems to be able to force Supertuxkart to use HDMI audio.

I had a bad experience with JACK some time ago, but in theory I could use it to enable HDMI and headphones simultaneously. Maybe it's time to play again, over the Christmas break.

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: And it appears to be 3D skeuomorphic!

Assuming PIXEL is like Raspbian,

Not sure if you've just mixed up some words, but in case not:

PIXEL is the RPi Foundation's UI which runs on top of Raspbian on an RPi. If you are using a recent version of Raspbian on a Pi, you are already using PIXEL.

What they have done here is make PIXEL available as a UI for Debian - the distribution on which Raspbian is based. The ISO you can download is an installer for x86 (32 bit) Debian, with PIXEL as the UI.

M.

0
0

Support chap's Sonic Screwdriver fixes PC as user fumes in disbelief

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: First Line

I got to know the proper professionals well - so they gave me their mobile/extension numbers and told me to call them first.

I think this is common in a lot of industries. When I worked at a small(ish) local radio station, my boss made a point of collecting such numbers. It was always quicker and easier, for example, to call the telephone which was next to the rack in the exchange which held our circuits (i.e. telephone cables which carried our Outside Broadcast lines and even the to-be-broadcast audio for our a.m. service) than it was to call the official help line.

Analogue days, of course. I remember very clearly my first OB; it was ridiculously early in the morning (this was an OB of the breakfast show), it was my first "proper" job after graduating and I'd been in post only a few weeks.

Turned up on site and went to find the BT engineer who was providing us with our temporary OB line. A head and shoulders appeared out of a hole in the road, proffering me a scraggy bit of cable with one pair untwisted and stripped. That was it, our 7.5kHz line back to the office :-)

M.

3
0

Energy firm points to hackers after Kiev power outage

Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: A serious threat.

I have bought a small 4-stroke generator/inverter to power the essentials at home

During one of our fairly frequent power cuts I tried keeping the boiler going using a cheap computer UPS. Here's a tip - the synchronous motor in the central heating pump doesn't like a "modified sine wave". Next time I'll try using my slightly less-cheap "pure sine wave" UPS and see how that copes.

Mind you, a couple of winters ago the flippin gas was cut off due to the regulator supplying the village freezing. Never had that before.

For those who like to keep an eye on these things and prepare themselves, National Grid not only offers a real time plot of grid frequency (requires Flash) which can give you an indication of load, but also allows you to sign up for automated capacity notices where, if I understand it correctly, you get a notice when the available margin of generation above actual demand falls below a set threshold. It's designed to warn those able to increase that margin to get ready to do so.

For the rest of us who just like numbers and graphs, don't forget the excellent Gridwatch. The mouse-over tooltips are well worth reading.

M.

2
0

Why does Skype only show me from the chin down?

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Ethernet fan out

does anyone else remember AMP taps?

I presume you mean Safertaps? Interesting that they're still listed at RS :-)

They went together with a special "Y" cable which avoided the need for a T-piece.

IIRC the make/break was done with microswitches that were operated by the inserted cables. I wired an entire office with these once, all fed back to a 4-port isolating hub. Bloomin' expensive at the time, but saved a heck of a lot of "the network's down" type problems when users moved their computers or tidied their desks and pulled a wire out.

M.

2
0

Around 1.4 million people have sub-10Mbps speeds - Ofcom

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

[3Mbps is] an absolute nightmare at home with 2 kids and the missus all battling for bandwidth

What on earth did we do in the days before the internet?

Oh, that's right, we talked, we read books, we watched telly together on the only TV in the house (and discussed the programmes over tea), we listened to the radio, we had time to practice hobbies (and annoy the neighbours with off-tune violins), we participated in or helped at Scouts or Girls Brigade or football club, we went for walks and we didn't feel the need to keep in constant touch with our schoolmates as soon as the bus had dropped us off, other than an occasional panic phonecall because we'd forgotten which homework had to be in the next day.

It's streaming that's the real problem, isn't it? Web pages and Twitter feeds and suchlike are very "bursty" and even if all four members of your family were shopping on Amazon at the same time (not renowned for being a "light" website) I doubt 10Mbps would seem very much "faster" than 3Mbps.

Not that I'm saying that 3Mbps is perfectly fine, but it really isn't the end of the world unless you are all online all of the time. 3Mbps will let you take part in pretty much all of the "digital economy", with the exception of better-than-SD streaming and a couple of very pretty websites that are best avoided.

I do get the feeling (please don't think I'm getting at you personally!) that some "families" are really no more than four or five individuals who happen to live in the same house and share a kettle but otherwise live in isolated bubbles, and I really, really don't think that's doing society an awful lot of good.

10Mbps is a good baseline figure for now and for the next few years at least, but my family of six has been managing just fine with speeds of around 5Mbps down (sustainable - sync is higher but throughput rarely matches sync) for a while now and, other than feeling that it would be nice to download OS updates or that programme from iPlayer a little bit quicker, I've no huge urge to upgrade until someone offers me a significant improvement in speed (uplink too) for pretty much the same monthly cost.

Don't think that'll happen any time soon!

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Boffin

Part R of the Building Regulations

I've only just discovered this. At the moment it's very very limited in its requirements, but the fact they have felt the need to add another part to the Building Regulations implies that it's going to be more important over time:

Approved Document R: physical infrastructure for high speed electronic communications networks

M.

2
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Missing link

Because it seems to have been inexplicably missed out of the article, here's the link to the OFCOM report:

Connected Nations 2016

M.

2
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

I get 161Mbps

So you are not one of the 1.4 million (5%). The report isn't about BT's coverage, it's about all coverage. You do have the option of Virgin, so you are fine.

In a similar manner, my small village in South Wales is quite a long way from the exchange and my ADSL 2 sync speeds max out at about 8Mbps down (more often lower, actual throughput around 6Mbps). But BT has recently added FTTC into the village and so in theory I could sign up for 30Mbps+. My current ISP doesn't seem to be offering it yet, but to be honest, 6Mbps is perfectly workable - enough for at least one HD stream while also supporting web browsing etc. Frankly there are only two real benefits to 30Mbps+ speeds:

  • slightly quicker to download ISOs and programmes using get_iplayer
  • a slightly better uplink speed making offsite backups quicker

and one big disadvantage:

  • about a 25% price increase over what I'm currently paying

M.

8
1

Oi! Linux users! Want some really insecure closed-source software?

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: There are solutions

[take screenshots and insert text]

Oddly enough, this is precisely the method I used to use on RiscOS some 20-odd years ago.

At work, Xara does a decent fist of importing PDFs these days (Windows only though). At home, I tend to read using Okular, which can handle some forms. Libre Office occasionally works.

Oddly enough, the PDFs that seem to cause the most problems are those which have "Microsoft Word Document" in the title...

M.

4
0

Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP

Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Facepalm

Re: Happened on virginmedia today

STK is now also available in a Windows version

Umm... sorry, you meant the penguin-sliding-down-a-hill thing, not the cart racing game. I think Tux Racer was made available for Windows, but possibly not as comprehensive as the Linux versions.

M.

3
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Happened on virginmedia today

even the chance to play tux racer again (a childhood favourite) isn't tempting her away from the empire

Maybe she's worked out that STK is now also available in a Windows version.

M.

2
0

Japanese robot space maid will incinerate Earth's dead satellites

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Seems a bit odd

...to be testing a system for dealing with space junk, but then leave the key component of it up there adding to the problem.

Just watched the video (hint: turn the sound off) and it seems as if before the cargo capsule is finally de-orbited they are going to release the "KITE" and its tether to float around in orbit for goodness knows how long. I dare say the drag of the device would make de-orbiting the cargo capsule a bit more unpredictable, but couldn't they release the tether after firing the rockets, and thus bring it down separately too?

M.

1
1

Solar-powered LoRa IoT node: Nice idea but it won't replace batteries

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: I say BS on no batteries

There must be a battery or some other form of energy storage involved, and I notice that G24 don't actually claim "no battery". On this page they compare two similar devices. The solar one claims a lifespan of 8 years, while the battery-only one claims 5 years, when broadcasting ibeacon information (uses Bluetooth) at 10 times a second. That makes a lot more sense to me. Swap a primary cell Lithium battery for a rechargeable Lithium and with some clever electronics behind the solar panel you can generate some kind of charge, even if that involves charging a capacitor slowly and then dumping it to the battery when there's enough. Extending the life of a product by 60% isn't bad, though I note there's no comparative pricing, and the question remains whether ibeacons will actually still be around in eight years :-)

Using the technology for other IoT devices is more problematic I think. There isn't really a size constraint on ibeacons, but many IoT devices need to be very small.

That said, consider the size of the solar panel on solar powered calculators. Ok, they aren't broadcasting, but it's amazing what you can do in dim indoor lighting with a tiny panel...

M.

0
0

All aboard the warship that'll make you Sicker

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: All sounds German to me

I'm pretty sure it's not Gaelic

Just to add to the examples already given.

I'm no linguist, but I do speak Welsh, which is a Celtic language distantly related to Gaelic(*) and the Welsh for "sure" is "sicr"

Geiriadur ar-lein

I usually prefer Geiriadur yr Academi but direct linking is more difficult (there are Ts&Cs to click through too).

M.

(*)As I understand it there are two main "branches" of the Celtic languages. One branch contains Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic and Manx while the other contains Breton, Cornish, and Welsh. There was / is also a Celtic type language / dialect in Cumbria, but I'm not sure how that fits in. Welsh and Breton are sufficiently close that native speakers can - I'm told - usually manage to make themselves understood. Revived Cornish has borrowed a lot from Welsh, but has been a bit free and easy with spelling.

As a Welsh-speaker, watching BBC Alba is somewhat disconcerting. All the sounds are familiar but they don't fit together into recognisable words most of the time.

9
0

LeEco Le Pro 3: Low-cost, high-spec Droid takes on the big boys with a big fat batt

Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Happy

Re: Battery Life

Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 also has 4000MaH battery, and I get a good 2 to 3 days from a single charge.

Battery life depends entirely on how you use your phone. I have an original Moto G (now running Cyanogenmod) which has (I believe) a 2,000mAh battery, and when I recharged it last night it had been nine days since the previous recharge. I get worried if it's been under a week.

But then I only turn on the WiFi or the data or the GPS if I'm actually using them and (crucially) the phone gets an occasional reboot. There are one or two apps that once loaded, even if no longer in use, seem to drain the battery. Rebooting is a good way to kick these out.

A side-effect of fewer recharges is probably also longer battery life as Lithium batteries are limited by recharge cycles.

That suits my own use of the phone - for phonecalls and texts and the occasional snapshot or a bit of web browsing (I won't count tethering as doing so via USB doesn't drain the battery). I realise others make much more use of their phones' fancy functions, so of necessity use more juice.

M.

9
0

New Euro-net will let you stream Snakes on a Plane on a *!#@ plane

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

shared between 200 passengers

Given how busy skies across Europe are, and given that there are only 300 ground stations planned, I suspect it won't just be 200 passengers in a single plane, but 200 planes per cell.

Not that I care :-)

M.

0
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Headmaster

Re: Better idea

Not too many ground stations in the ocean

From the article:

The European Aviation Network (EAN) will blend S-Band satellite coverage provided by Inmarsat with 300 LTE ground stations

From the video it looks as if they are going to launch a new fleet of satellites to cope. The question is whether a good experience in Europe will lead to the system going worldwide eventually.

M.

0
0

Here's how the missile-free Royal Navy can sink enemy ships after 2018

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: lack of stealth ?!

+1 for the Mosquito. I bet it could be made to work. The thing is probably even strong and solid enough to mount a few modern weapons systems. Wikipedia says there was a carrier-borne version, albeit just a small number.

M.

5
0

User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Flame

Re: Can you hold down the power button

Unlike with a car, computer users don't always (if ever) get lessons in how to drive the things.

Yes they do. And the particular user that got me cross enough to create that analogy twenty-odd years ago had (as mentioned) recently returned from a three day course in "what a spreadsheet is and how to use it". As for checking printer margins and the like, we realised that office staff who were now expected to type up their own letters and reports would probably have trouble, but we actually went as far as sitting with many of them and talking them through procedures. We even wrote short "how to" guides, and yet I still got calls along the lines of "the printer isn't working" when in actual fact they'd just sent four copies to the colour inkjet a couple of feet away from the monochrome laser printer they were fastidiously checking.

What (sort of) amused me at the time was that I was never offered any IT training. I was there to fix physical things - it was a radio station so I was employed to know which end of an XLR is which, how to wield a soldering iron and how to unblock the urinals, yet I was still expected to be able to explain to people who had been employed to do a specific job, how to do their job!

M.

18
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Facepalm

Re: Can you hold down the power button

> You've told people not to use jargon, but I have no idea whatsoever what 'top-up the jets' means*.

I'd hazard a guess he's American and means topping up the screenwash, but it is only a guess.

When I had an informal help role at a previous job (informal in that the company didn't see the need for a proper IT person when they had me knocking about who "knew a bit about computers") I used to get quite depressed at the lack of thinking involved sometimes. I likened it to the following hypothetical situation:

Newly-qualified driver sets out on their own for the first time. After a couple of days of happily running to the shops and taking their mum to the hairdresser's (or whatever), one day the car splutters and stops at the side of the road. Fearing the worst, the driver calls the AA/RAC/Green Flag/Best-mate-who-knows-about-cars and waits anxiously to be rescued.

It turns out that the problem is simply lack of fuel. "Why didn't you fill it up when the fuel gauge was showing low?", "What's a fuel gauge? I never had to fill up my instructor's car."

I often had people who couldn't understand why I got cross(*) with people who couldn't check the printer settings or reset the page margins or change a formula in a spreadsheet, because "it's a computer and only people like you understand computers". Using the above example often made them think again, particularly when the person I was getting cross with was (as was often the case) somebody who had been specifically hired to maintain a spreadsheet (or whatever) and had recently returned from a three day training course and still couldn't understand cell references properly.

M.

(*)Not to their faces, understand, but I'd moan about it later to anyone who would listen.

32
1

Google and Facebook pledge to stop their ads reaching fake news websites

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Bit late now

When people are making independence type remarks, the balance sheet isn't something that gets the priority... ...people argued against what Leave were saying without understanding why they were saying it

Now you've changed the accusation. First you argued that "lies" on one side were not debunked by "truths" on the other, now you are arguing that it was a nebulous touchy-feely thing. What was it? Lies or opinions?

Lies can be debunked.

Opinions can't.

M.

2
1
Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Meh

Re: Bit late now

these votes were lost by the losers, not won by the winners.

I understand your point, but what you haven't noted is that some (maybe not all) of the "lies" that you talk about absolutely were debunked by people telling the truth. The classic lie in the referendum debate was, of course, the "£350M extra per week for the NHS" lie. This was debunked time and time again and yet it was still emblazoned on the side of the bus and none of the Vote Leave people would admit it was a lie.

So people who didn't have access to any arbiter other than "he says yes, she says no" (which is what most of the reporting on non-partisan media outlets boiled down to) had no choice than to side with the person they liked better, or who was endorsed by the partisan media outlet they favoured.

There were people debunking the myths and lies spouted by both sides of the campaign; Radio 4's More or Less did a good job in the months running up to the vote, and the BBC News Website's Reality Check section did stirling work too (as did others), but many people chose to ignore these voices and vote with their hearts not their heads.

Assuming I'm not being too generous in that last statement, on an issue such as this, heart over head isn't necessarily a bad thing, so long as you understand the implications. Since before the vote, the implications weren't all terribly clear...

M.

13
1

NHS IT bod sends test email to 850k users – and then responses are sent 'reply all'

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Office 365 Bcc copies addresses to everyone?

Bcc via Office 365 was showing all the addresses to each recipient.

That is unforgiveable, a security risk and probably explains some of the spam I've been getting to my domain recently; I, too, use Bcc when possible / appropriate. Thanks for that nugget.

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Predictable?

A long time ago, the place I was working had a 3 day mail outage

Also a long time ago, when widespread corporate email was still a "new thing" and not everyone in the company had access to a computer, let alone an email address, the mail systems of the group I worked for were connected using 28k8bps dial-up modems, which dialled on demand - direct to the appropriate receiving modem (none of this send-it-via-the-internet stuff).

Somebody decided to send an everyone-on-the-system email, announcing a new launch (or maybe it was just a logo change) and had scanned, in 32bit colour, a black-and-white logo which came to a total of around 10MBytes.

Bearing in mind that the "mail server" was a re-purposed 286 with 512kB memory and a 40MB hard drive, and that in those days a typical desktop computer was a 386 with 2MB or a 486 with 4MB and that one poor secretary had (IIRC) a 286 with 1MB and a 20MB HDD (yes, just about enough room for WfW3.11 and a basic Office installation), there were some people who actually got control of their computers back by lunchtime, but others had to wait until the next day.

I had to run around the building warning people to delete that message and not to open it; the amount of page-file thrashing that ensued tied the computers up for another hour... well for a long time, anyway. Not that long waits were uncommon with MS Mail.

I don't think there were any serious effects on that particular manager, but a later send-to-all email, which was a simple 2kB text email containing a slightly "off" joke did result in disciplinary action I believe, and an edict that nobody should ever send-to-all again.

M.

5
0

Yeah, that '50bn IoT devices by 2020' claim is a load of dog toffee

Martin an gof
Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Just the Start

What? Someone would actually pay for a palm-sized computer...

Really, really doesn't need that. Assuming an enabled 'fridge, all you need is RF tags on the goods, which is already being done in some cases. Add RF readers to a range of other things - if the 'fridge, why not your kitchen cupboards? Why not your wardrobe? Why not the bath? Why not your wheelie bin? Many of these things already have power nearby (cupboard lighting for example) so it's do-able without much inconvenience to the "customer".

M.

1
0

Fire alarm sparked data centre meltdown emergency

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

if such a light is protected by a disposable 3 amps fuse at the wall socket then it often happens that the fuse also must be replaced

Once upon a time, when people built things to proper standards, all incandescent light bulbs actually included a very low-current internal fuse. When the filament breaks, a surge in current is caused if an arc forms - the arc will often travel to the supply wires in the bulb, bypassing the filament and therefore creating a low resistance path for the current.

A simple bulb failure resulting in all the lights in a house going out (as I note happened to a later commentard's relative) simply shouldn't happen, and the bulb's internal fuse was designed to prevent this.

Sadly, beginning probably in the 1980s, many bulbs were built without such a fuse. This (in my experience) was more of a problem for "fancy" bulbs (e.g. "candle" bulbs) than for the normal ones, and certainly the small-capsule Halogen bulbs were / are a pain in this regard.

In these days of CFL and (particularly) LED lighting, it isn't the failure of the bulb, per-se, that's a problem; it's the failure of the switch-mode power supply that is needed to run the thing. These power supplies should have some kind of internal fuse, but I've met far too many which don't. They do sometimes trip the main fuse, but more often than not they fail "safe" (for certain values of safe) by getting too hot, whereupon some component on the mains-side of the thing usually burns out, or burns the PCB sufficiently to break a trace.

M.

1
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

I think you will find that that only applies of the cable is also rated at (not less than) 13A. Do not use a 13A fuse if the cable from the plug is rated at 3A!

Indeed. It is common for the flex from the plug to (say) a table lamp to be somewhat less than the 1.25mm2 which is really the minimum required to be safe under the protection of a 13A cartridge fuse. A flex with wires of 0.5mm2 cross-section is not uncommon and really does need a 3A fuse to be sure of not melting under fault conditions.

As for

all BS rated bulb holders are rated at 16 Amps

I don't know about that. If you consider the size of the terminals and suchlike and compare them with the (admittedly over-engineered, but that's not a bad thing) BS1363 13A plug...

Even if the bulb holder itself is capable of more, once again it's usually the flex that is the limiting factor. For a ceiling pendant, a thin flex is very common. Lighting circuits are protected by 5A fuses, 6A MCBs or 10A MCBs under certain circumstances.

The situation is a little more nuanced than that when you consider the harmonisation of electrical standards across Europe. Nobody else uses fuses in appliance plugs, for example, but then they don't usually run 32A to a wall socket either, as we do in the UK. Their socket outlet circuits are more commonly 16A. Hmm... unless they run separate circuits for lighting sockets (possible - it happens in the UK), do their table lamps have thicker flexes?

M.

1
0

McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: The real reason

Top Totty

When my sister was working in Lugo (Spain) she was amused that a local cafe was called "Don Mac".

Can't imagine pulpo on the menu under the golden arches...

M.

3
0

Facebook chokes off car insurance slurp because – get this – it has privacy concerns

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: Dreadful idea anyway...

comes back to haunt us

I believe this is already happening in some companies, where it's becoming a common practice for HR to search new applicants' social media footprint. At least Admiral (no, I can't stand their adverts either) are being upfront about it.

M.

2
0
Martin an gof
Bronze badge

think anyone without social meeja accounts must be a bit weird and therefore a high risk?

I'll tell you in a couple of years when my children - who have never ever had any kind of social media presence out side of education walled-gardens - start driving...

Some people already think we're a bit "odd" for not having accounts, and it's been a battle getting schools to continue sending paper letters home, but it's definitely worth it

M.

4
1

Pluck-filled platter-stuff: Bold disk drive makers fatten up

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Cost?

Capacity is all very well, but surely the main force keeping spinning rust alive is the fact that byte-for-byte it is still a heck of a lot cheaper than SSD. Until SSDs can match HDDs for cost there will always be a use-case for HDDs.

M.

1
0

Drone idiots are still endangering real aircraft and breaking the rules

Martin an gof
Bronze badge

Re: The Lemon is in Play

Yellow car drone!

M.

1
0

Page:

Forums