* Posts by JohnG

1292 posts • joined 27 May 2007

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Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

JohnG

Re: Lack of "cool"...

"Ten years ago, in the pre-iPhone/Android days, Windows Mobile was "the most popular smartphone software in the US"... but it was still Microsoft; it wan't cool."

Cool or otherwise, in it's day, Windows Mobile/PPC was the only game in town and the likes of TomTom grew on that platform. Microsoft managed to go from 100% dominance to effectively nothing, in a relatively short period of time. Their acquisition and destruction of Nokia (the world leader in terms of handset numbers supplied) came several years later.

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Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers

JohnG

Re: Good old days

"BBC website does not advertise"

It does when you visit it from outside the UK - hence the presence of all the active crap you mentioned.

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JohnG

Re: Hey Instart

Presumably, simply routinely running these tools or having a developer console open (or just flagging that it is open) will disable Instart's crap.

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70% of Windows 10 users are totally happy with our big telemetry slurp, beams Microsoft

JohnG

Re: 29% Windows users

My experience with atechnical Windows 10 users is that they are typically blissfully unaware of Microsoft's data grabbing. A few will have chosen to turn off some options such that stop certain data being sent and will assume (wrongy) that their data is then secure. IMO, the majority of Microsoft's 70% are oblivious to the whole issue.

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WannaCry-slayer Marcus Hutchins 'built Kronos banking trojan' – FBI

JohnG

Re: Also Wannacry?

"There is a real chance that years of this guy's life could be wasted in the US."

I predict he will be offered a plea bargain and threatened with years on remand, away from his homeland, his home and his family, if he doesnt comply. (As I understand it, he has not yet had access to a lawyer or contact with his family, so I guess the bullying is in progress). If they win, the FBI can then claim to have solved a major international crime by pinning it on johnny foreigner.

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Russian search engine Yandex's Ukraine offices raided for 'treason'

JohnG

"Putin seems to quite like neonazis...."

Oh look! A squirrel!

Regardless of Putin's many faults, the fact remains that, instead of earning money to pay off the IMF loans or honouring their part of the Minsk agreement, Ukraine has been changing the law to make it a crime to call WWII Nazis "Nazis" or in any way, bad. Normal democratic countries and even Putin's Russia don't allow Nazis/far right nuts to form private militias and run around the country armed and in uniform. It is madness.

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JohnG

Re: Ukraine

Ukraine's east/west divide can be seen in the voting maps of free elections in the 2000s. The "pro-Russian" bit more or less mirrors the parts of Russia that were placed into the Ukrainian SSR by Lenin in the 1920s.

Russian is/was widely spoken across Ukraine (even nationalists like Julia Tymoshenko routinely spoke in Russian) but there is now considerable pressure to use Ukrainian. A parliamentary deputy of the Svoboda party has recently suggested that schoolchildren who speak Russian instead of Ukrainian at school should receive corporal punishment.

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JohnG

There was similar irony in attacks on and closures of Ukrainian branches of Russian banks in Ukraine: it stopped Ukrainian customers of these banks getting at their money and put a bunch of Ukrainians out of work.

How the hell Ukraine will ever pay back that $18 billion IMF loan is anyone's guess.

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'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

JohnG

There are quite a few situations where software is declared "done". Anything on a satellite or similar spacecraft will be declared finished some time before it is put on top of a rocket and sent to space. Nobody is going to be allowed to update anything remotely, in case something is broken in the update.

Similar examples are to be found where lives are at stake. Any Safety of Life system may not be upgraded or otherwise tinkered with, other than through a highy controlled process - typically, a new procurement. Systems involved in the production of pharmaceuticals are similar - once a company has spent several years and several million getting approvals from regulatiry bodies, they are going to let someone tinker with anything.

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UK and Ecuador working on Assange escape mechanism

JohnG

Re: so well resourced

"There was a European Arrest Warrant on him, which we were obliged to honour. Now that warrant has been dropped, it is purely a local matter, so perhaps it can be resolved."

The original reason for him being given bail (the EAW) has disappeared, so his lawyers could probably get the breach of bail issue resolved fairly easily (e.g. he surrenders to the court, the government keeps the bail money from his friends, he walks free). He could then vanish to Ecuador or wherever, before the Yanks have a chance to dream up some charges and submit an extradition request.

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JohnG

Re: Shown the Ecuadoor

"At least he avoided ending up in the territory of that famously sycophantic, US-lapdog, Sweden.

Instead he stayed in the UK knowing that they never kowtow to the yanks, or bow down to their imperialistic demands."

And he did this thoughout a period in which the US government showed absolutely no interest in him - no charges, no extradition requests, nothing. Now, there is some suggestion that the new administration sees things differently.

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Trident nuke subs are hackable, thunders Wikipedia-based report

JohnG

Re: Boom

"The Russians sensibly refuse to comment but given their known defence budget and known spending their figure is almost certainly closer to 16 than 1600."

The Russians have about 7300 nuclear warheads - like us, they can't test them, due to treaty constraints. However, they do test one of the possible delivery systems every time they send people to the ISS. They have recently tested new delivery systems and newer systems are in development e.g. RS-28 Sarmat AKA SS-X-30 SATAN 2.

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JohnG

Re: Boom

The last time I had anything to do with submarines and the RN, it involved the use of paper tape. [Actually, we used paper tape, the matelots used mylar tape, because it was so resistant to damage]. The MoD and RN had an intense distrust of any magnetic media. I wouldn't be surprised if their current systems were incompatible with USB sticks and similar media.

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JohnG

Re: Single Point of Failure

"OK subs do float in a buoyancy kind of way."

Subs that don't float are unpopular with crew members.

2
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Sysadmin finds insecure printer, remotely prints 'Fix Me!' notice

JohnG

"Cards?"

Hollerith cards.

One card per line of code.

The program to be compiled, the data and job control all had to be on cards with different colours and submitted in the correct sequence.

You would submit your job and come back the next day to find that there was an error in a JCL card and the program was never compiled or run.

Paper tape was only the teleprinters and where I was, this was only for BASIC. Compiling and running Fortran was only by submitting batch jobs on the aforementioned cards.

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Robot lands a 737 by hand, on a dare from DARPA

JohnG

Re: Huh?

"It will still need to be customised for every type of plane [...]"

"So? You need to "customise" pilots too. I.e. train and re-train them for every type they are going to fly in."

Yes. You don't have to start from scratch but there are some steps involved in switching between different aircraft types. You can't pass your PPL in a Cessna and fly a 747 the next day.

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JohnG

Re: Huh?

"Customised, yes, but independently of fiddling with the fly-by-wire flight control systems themselves. Its not a free job, but far simpler than changing fundamental software components of the aircraft."

I don't think so. Fly by wire systems already have all the sensor inputs and control outputs necessary to fly the aircraft. All that is needed is some software to use those inputs and outputs, whilst observing flying rules (Try to land on a runway, ideally, the correct one. Don't land inverted. You need wheels to land.) A robot has to use a camera with optical recognition and mechanical manipulators - which will inevitably introduce lag and inaccuracies/errors - and then it has to have the same software to actually use inputs and flying rules to make outputs. Any system would have to be passed for use on each aircraft type.

P.S. In the video, the robot accidentally pushed the control yoke forward, whilst looking at instruments.

3
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Google DeepMind's use of 1.6m Brits' medical records to test app was 'legally inappropriate'

JohnG

Re: Streams is showing real patient benefits.

It isn't just a contractual issue between Google and the trust concerned. It is a question of whether data protection laws was broken. If patients' data was used without their consent or for purposes for which Google and the trust did not have their consent, then it is likely that both Google and the trust have acted illegally.

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Do we need Windows patch legislation?

JohnG

"I'm trying to sort a Windows 7 machine out, I can't even install the relevant patches manually because when you run them they search for the currently installed patches and then it just sits there for hours."

There are some fixes for this issue and a specific standalone update from MS. The latter worked for me.

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JohnG

Re: All products have a support life

"WinXP is still widely deployed - and security fixes (NOT increased functionality, new drivers etc) should be maintained for a *very* long time."

Car manufacturers don't continue to produce spares or provide other support for models sold over 10 years ago. Nor do manufacturers of phones, PCs, fridges, washing machines or pretty much anything you care to mention. The military often demand long service lives for their equipment - but this is for bespoke equipment and the longevity doesn't come cheap. MS and other their ilk are quite open about the life cycle of their products - users cannot expect to ignore this, just because they feel their work is important.

Back in the 80s and 90s, if one phoned for software support on mini computers, the first question would be about your support contract and the second would be to ask the patch level of the system in question. If the system was not up to a recent level of critical patches, the support folk would suggest that the system was updated to a supported level and to call back if the problem remained. Software support was always contingent on keeping systems up to date. This seems even more worthwhile with the Internet and rapidly changing security threats.

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Someone is sending propaganda texts to Ukrainian soldiers

JohnG

Re: Biased much?

"I also take the view that "civilian populations" did not rise up, but that Russia paid or persuaded some bods...."

So, in your world, these folk at Kramatorsk, meeting Ukrainian army tanks and personnel carriers aren't unarmed civilian residents but highly trained Russian agents in disguise....

https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=971_1397679010

https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2b5_1399121026

"I don't know what the civilian population really feel,..."

I have family in Donbas. The majority of the people in Donbas didn't like seeing the elected government replaced by hardline nationalists, aided and allied with far right parties and their private militias. The latter openly talk of cleansing Donbas and have largely been given free rein since Maidan.

"...but in my view accusations of attempted genocide and nazism by Ukraine are not accurate here, whereas accusations of manipulative power-play by Russia are."

Here's some video of this year's Victory Day memorial procession in Kiev - sure, no nazis in Ukraine:

https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=375_1494335335

Then there's the Austrian who was arrested in Poland as he tried to re-enter Ukraine - he is wanted in Austria for war crimes committed in Donetsk, whilst fighting for one of the far right volunteer units.

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Unpaid tech contractor: 'I have to support my family. I have no money for medicines'

JohnG

Re: Cash in reserve

"It's the world of contracting and business in general... Especially for freelancers and privateers."

For some years, I have been sub-contracting from large companies, on frame contracts with European intra-governmental organisations - they regularly pay from three to six months late. On the other hand, these are lucrative and long term contracts.

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Homes raided in North West over data thefts from car body repair shops

JohnG

Re: oh great.

"I have had a couple of calls from a London (02) number about accidents that I never had, and once accidentally pressed the redial option and found it was a non-existent number."

Spoofed caller id.

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Evil ISPs could disrupt Bitcoin's blockchain

JohnG

"I mean, what country is going to charge someone for stealing BC anyways lol Bitlanders and the Bitpolice, in their bitmobile, and put me in bitcell hahahaha"

For starters, the USA:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34114483

Whilst HMRC acknowledges that VAT is not due on bitcoin mining and similar activities, they have pointed out that capital gain, income and corporation tax rules do apply. This would suggest that a bitcoin thief could not assume that the UK authorities would be uninterested.

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IT contractors behind IR35 calculator to leave HMRC... because of IR35

JohnG

Re: "Departments have been told to arbitrarily rule that far more are inside IR35."

If HMRC thinks IR35 applies, are they implying that they are, to all intents and purposes, the employer?

3
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Euro Patent Office puts itself on Interpol's level, demands access to staff phones and laptops

JohnG

Re: I voted to Remain, but...

"Are you aware of how many times it has been pointed out that the EPO is not an organ of the EU?"

Yes

"That this has absolutely nothing to do with the EU?"

Yes

"That if it was an EU body the issue would have likely been resolved long ago?"

No. EU institutions and their staff enjoy similar privileges and immunities as at intra-governmental organisation like the EPO. Whilst only Director Generals enjoy full diplomatic immunity, staff members have immunity from national law in member states during the performance of their duties.

An example of this in action was what happened when Han-Martin Tillack exposed corruption in the EU and notably, by those supposed to stop it, at OLAF.

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COP BLOCKED: Uber app thwarted arrests of its drivers by fooling police with 'ghost cars'

JohnG

"If your wife or daughter was raped by an iPhone owner you would want the police to have their location - so it's vital for all phones to be tracked 24x7 by the police."

We aren't talking about the authorities routinely tracking everyone, we are talking about deliberately falsifying information (in this case, tracking information) when it is being sought by the police. Deliberately misleading police conducting an investigation is a criminal offence in many countries.

if Uber wanted to remain legal, they could simply withhold the information, with a message about their Ts and Cs.

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Hacker: I made 160,000 printers spew out ASCII art around the world

JohnG

You can just Google for stuff like:

inurl:hp/device/this

...and then just select "Print" from the menu.

1
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Ex-soldier pleads guilty to terror crime after not revealing iPhone PIN

JohnG

Re: WTF!

"The Kurds are the enemy of our peace-loving democratic NATO allies Turkey "

On the other hand, there are known to be US special forces training/supporting the Kurds and thought to be British special forces helping them as well. Which all rather complicates things.

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Prez Obama expels 35 Russian spies over election meddling

JohnG

Re: Choice of words

"Cold War deja vu"

"The USSR lost that one as I recall."

Yes - but this time around, they aren't supporting an unsustainable empire and political system - and they aren't broke. The Russian Federation happens to be one of a rather select group of countries which have a positive net international investment position.

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JohnG

Re: Even *if* it was the Russians that leaked the information

"That said, it's a novel situation for a US president to be elected with help from a country that he supposedly wants to have an arms race with."

Bill Clinton's campaign saw some illegal donations from China. An English language newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist party has talked of war with the USA being "inevitable, if the US government does not concede China's reasonable demands in the South China Sea".

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JohnG

Re: Retaliation coming in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Actually, the Russians have not done nothing - whilst Obama has been on his "the Russian did it" campaign, the Russians (along with Turkey) have apparently brokered a peace deal in Syria. The funniest part is - the USA were neither invited to participate nor even told of the deal. It is almost as if some parties believed the US was only helping to fuel the war.

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JohnG

Re: Retaliation coming in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

"So, we already have reports of an English-language school used by US, Canadian, and UK diplomatic staff in Moscow closed down as a retaliation."

Yes - and the reports are fabrications. The story about Putin/the Kremlin closing an English language school in Moscow is fake. So much for "the liberal media" combating fake news - they seem to be sources of fake news.

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JohnG

Re: Evidence it was the Russians what dunnit

There is absolutely no evidence that any Russians had anything to do with the Wikileaks leaks. The emails concerned were obtained in a person to person exchange made in Washington, between a disenchanted democrat staffer (who had legal access to the emails) and a former British ambassador. There was no hacking and no Russians involved.

Wikileaks have a history of leaking information in small chunks, not least to retain the interest of the news outlets who publish their material. No doubt those affected by the leaks would rather everything was leaked in a single batch, to get all the bad news out on one day - but that is a selfish goal.

The story that "the Russians did it" has been presented without any evidence and seems mostly designed to deflect attention from the content of the leaks and from criticism that a number of Democrats have been discussing government business using free commercial email services e.g. Gmail.

Feel free to come up with any evidence that "the Russians" were involved.

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JohnG

Re: Evidence it was the Russians what dunnit

"Under the American political system there can only be one ... president at any given moment in time. Obama is still president and has the power to issue orders like this ... and in time, Trump will gain the same power."

It is, to say the least, unusual for any outgoing president to make significant changes, like the expulsion of Russian diplomats and the sudden withdrawal of support for Israel in the UNSC.

It seems hard to justify a sudden change in what has been a forty year policy of support for Israel. Why wasn't this done earlier in Obama's presidency and why did neither Obama nor Clinton signal their intentions to the electorate? It looks as if Obama is trying to do damage to Trump's presidency (and, by implication, to the USA), simply for revenge.

I am not commenting on the rights and wrongs of either the expulsions or the withdrawal of support for Israel, simply the timing and intentions of these actions. Maybe these ideas looked good amongst a group of dedicated Democrat believers but I believe the US public with not see them in the same light.

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Hackers actively stealing Wi-Fi keys from vulnerable routers

JohnG

Re: MAC filtering, all that does is create trouble for legit users.

"The idea is not that your lock will be inviolable but that faced with a rank of bikes a thief is going to go for the easiest locks first."

Yes but like thieves, the intentions/ambitions of the thieves may vary. Faced with a row of bikes, some thieves may ignore them and go for a nearby Mercedes. More effort may be required but reward vs effort vs risk calculation is different. Some hackers may see increased security as a challenge and imagine the promise of something more worthwhile than access to someone's willy photos.

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Navy STEALS? US sailors dispute piracy claim

JohnG

Re: They won't win.

Given that the USA is generally the instigator of tighter intellectual property legislation/treaties/rules and enjoys significant income from the export of software and related services, this doesn't look like a winning strategy for the USA. They already lost the battle about the resale of secondhand software licenses in the EU - allowing Europeans to legitimately buy MS Office Professional Plus 2016 for £20 or less.

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Some! at! Yahoo! knew! about! mega-breach! as! early! as! 2014!

JohnG

Re: It! Hurts! To! Read! These! Titles!

I guess the Reg will stop when Yahoo stops (using exclamation marks in an unnecessary fashion).

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Internet handover is go-go-go! ICANN to take IANA from US govt

JohnG

Re: Doom I tell you

Under "the repressive regimes that dominate the UN", the ITU has managed to have international direct dialling between countries around the world for decades - even when some US politicians would have happily seen some countries isolated.

It wasn't Snowden's revelations that altered the situation - it was the declarations from both Russia and China that they would go their own way and ignore ICANN/IANA if the US control didn't end. The Russians are apparently going ahead with measures that will allow the Russian government to control routing and DNS within the country. This includes maintaining their own IP allocation and DNS databases. It would allow the Russian government to isolate the country's Internet or to severely restrict traffic heading in or out of the country.

Do you think the USA would not do likewise, if IANA and ICANN were sitting in some foreign country?

13
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Apple's Breaxit scandal: Frenchman smashes up €50,000 of iThings with his big metal balls

JohnG

This nutter claims to have been fleeced by the Apple store at the Golden Fleece shopping centre.

He is previously unknown to police,a 30 year old local man, unemployed and living alone. He was arrested Thursday and remained locked up through Friday and is under psychiatric assessment.

Penalties for this sort of offence could range from probation to two years in prison.

I doubt this episode will increase his chances of finding gainful employment or a girlfriend.

The guy who took the video was just some customer and found to have no connection with the nutter and his metal ball.

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JohnG

Like Kristallnacht?

9
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Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

JohnG

In the middle of Gloucestershire

"I might also make the switch to Apple Maps, despite its inexplicable obsession on geolocating me somewhere in the middle of Gloucestershire when I’m in central London."

Anywhere near this lot?

https://www.gchq.gov.uk/

0
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Delete Google Maps? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you

JohnG

Geolocation spoofing

Given that there are several means by which your location can be determined, if you are paranoid about Google and others knowing your location, you might consider spoofing your location, instead of hiding it. If your phone is reporting that the GPS is turned on and giving a good location, Google et al are unlikely to double check.

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Great British Block-Off: GCHQ floats plan to share its DNS filters

JohnG

Re: Who uses the ISP DSN anyway?

"The first thing I do on any setup it to ditch the ISP DNS servers and use multiple DNS servers from different organizations. Google, OpenDNS etc."

Some ISPs (e.g. BT) intercept DNS requests (regardless of their destination) and redirect them to their own DNS servers, supposedly to improve performance. This becomes apparent if you try to reach a website on their naughty list: the IP address returned from a DNS query (directed to DNS servers at OpenDNS or Google) will be to the BT server hosting the message about this site being "blocked by order of the high court". In summary, regardless of what DNS servers you set on your broadband router or your local PC, BT will intercept all your DNS queries.

You might consider using DNSCrypt instead.

2
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Web meltdown: BT feels heat from angry punters

JohnG

Whilst I can resolve names to IP addresses and I can connect to some websites (gmail, the Register, Guardian, Telegraph), the routing for others seems to get lost in Telehouse (including my VoIP phone service with Sipgate). When connected via a VPN out of Italy, I can access most but not all of the stuff not accessible via BT.

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JohnG

Maybe the Chinese are testing the remote control features of Huawei's equipment or GCHQ has screwed up an upgrade of their interception kit.

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JohnG

"So they're now awaiting an engineer visit. Should be fixed by next Friday."

However, the engineer will not show up but they will subsequently be told that they will be charged if the engineer is to return and that there is no availability of an engineering appointment for another couple of weeks.

9
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Torrent is a word, and you can't ban words, rules French court

JohnG

"...a trio of French artists – Kendji Girac, Shy’m, and Christophe Willem. SNEP wanted to use Article L336-2 of France's intellectual property law to force Google and Microsoft to delete searches that included both “torrent” and any of the artists' names."

If Google and/or Microsoft were feeling vindictive, they might choose to simply fail to return results of searches for the names of the three artists concerned, just to be on the safe side. After all, that would encompass the request of the SNEP.

4
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414,949 D-Link cameras, IoT devices can be hijacked over the net

JohnG

Re: Your wifi cam is not directly accessible from the internet

"These devices (and I have some myself) are behind firewalls -- so they are not that easy to access unless you are already on the wifi where the device is running."

And the punter follows the manufacturer's instructions so that he or she can view their baby/pet/nanny from work and bob's your uncle, their webcam is exposed to the Internet.

5
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Facebook ‘glitch’ that deleted the Philando Castile shooting vid: It was the police – sources

JohnG

Re: Guns don't kill people....

"In the UK they prefer Brazilian Plumbers."

In the UK, one Brazilian electrician was shot dead by police in 2005. The annual toll of people shot by police in the USA is quite different:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/

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