* Posts by JohnG

1421 posts • joined 27 May 2007


Bored bloke takes control of British Army 'psyops' unit's Twitter

JohnG Silver badge

"Normandy was invaded and settled by Vikings"

Technically, the Normans were gifted Normandy. In 911, in the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and Rollo (the Viking leader). It was basically, stop doing all these raids, become Christian and offer military assistance to me and you can have this chunk of land and my daughter.

Um, I'm not that Gary, American man tells Ryanair after being sent other Gary's flight itinerary

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Cancelling Flights

I have cancelled hotel bookings made against my email address. My worry was that I had an account with the reservations website concerned, using the very same email address and I didn't want my credit card billed for someone else's bookings.

Chill, it's not WikiLeaks 2: Pile of EU diplomatic cables nicked by hackers

JohnG Silver badge

Does the GDPR have any bearing on this leak, for any of EEAS, Area 1 and NYT?

Taylor's gonna spy, spy, spy, spy, spy... fans can't shake cam off, shake cam off

JohnG Silver badge

Re: What constitutes a "stalker"?

How about: breaking into her home, taking a shower and then sleeping in her bed?


However, I guess Swift, her family, friends and management company are more concerned about Eric Swarbrick. Over the course of two years, he has threatened to rape and kill Swift.


JohnG Silver badge


They say the camera was taking photos and sending them a centre for processing...but was the image recognition by AI or by a bunch of interns?

Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you're sure you yelled STOP!

JohnG Silver badge

I thought it was common knowledge that Windows 10 and other Microsoft applications spy on users, regardless of any privacy settings. There are several services, numerous schedule tasks - and these can be changed/renewed during software updates. The most effective way to prevent all of this is to block access to the various servers that receive such telemetry. Spybot Anti-Beacon is one utility that provides an automated approach to this.

This ain't over, Viasat snarls as tribunal rules in satellite rival's favour

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Not sure if i followed this article correctly...


"Viasat first aimed a legal kick at Inmarsat after the latter won an EU contract in early 2017, the European Aviation Network (EAN)..."

Procurements funded by the European Commission are typically open only to entities from EU member states, which would exclude Viasat.

25% of NHS trusts have zilch, zip, zero staff who are versed in security

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Security costs

"For an under-funded trust, when the choice is between spending cash on security training and staff to avoid a (future) data breach, an on spending cash on staff who can stop people dying tomorrow, it's and easy choice."

The first question they should address is why a bed in an NHS hospital is apparently 4 - 5 times more expensive than for a private patient in a similar German hospital. Similarly, the costs quoted by NHS trusts for various procedures are dramatically more than in Germany. German staff are no less qualified than their British counterparts and earn similar salaries. Equipment costs are the same. Why is there such a large discrepancy?

The second question should be: why the hell don't they send more NHS patients for treatment in Germany, both to save money and to reduce waiting times/strain on resources?

Waymo presents ChauffeurNet, a neural net designed to copy human driving

JohnG Silver badge

This is why (subject to driver approval) Tesla cars send large amounts of telemetry back to Tesla, about driving with and without automated driving aids, with varying road and weather conditions and with signage and road markings of different countries.

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Balls

"trouble is with the current economy 7 is that it works overnight when demand is low which is ok but come the evening the thing has already dumped all its heat"

One answer to that is Economy 10: the timings vary between suppliers but typical cheap periods are 5 hours overnight, 3 hours in the afternoon and 2 hours in the evening.

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate

JohnG Silver badge

Re: More detail

"More to the point is why the fsck the s/w doesn't present a big flashing dialog stating "Certificate about to expire for ...."

Perhaps this was the responsibility of people amongst the 18,000 laid off by Ericsson in the last year.

Naked women cleaning biz smashes patriarchy by introducing naked bloke gardening service

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Not gonna trim the hedges in the buff

It would probably be unwise to use a rotavator in the buff. When I was a kid, some neighbour had to have one of his balls removed, after it was hit by a stone thrown up by a rotavator. (And I think he would not have been naked)

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

JohnG Silver badge


Given that the US is also looking eLoran, due to concerns about jamming/spoofing of GNSS, we could consider doing something in cooperation with them, at least to ensure some compatibility of equipment.

It's 'nyet' again, yet again, for Kaspersky: Appeal against US govt ban snubbed by Washington DC court

JohnG Silver badge

In Snowden's leaks of NSA naughty stuff, I seem to remember that Kaspersky products were listed amongst those for which the NSA had a back door.

HMRC: 30 months to prep Northern Ireland backstop systems, 24 for customs

JohnG Silver badge

Meanwhile, for about a year, the French have been recruiting and training significant numbers of people for immigration and customs jobs, in the expectation that they will need them come 29th March 2019.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

JohnG Silver badge


"Israel can join the Galileo program because they pay with money from the US."

The irony being that Galileo's raison d'etre is essentially: We (the EU) cannot trust the USA and their GPS.

Fancy Bear hacker crew Putin dirty RATs in Word documents emailed to govt orgs – report

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Here we go again

Although, if you open such a document in MS Office, you are going to get a message along the lines of "This file was downloaded from the Internet. Macros have been disabled". Macros won't run unless the user presses "Enable macros".

Germany pushes router security rules, OpenWRT and CCC push back

JohnG Silver badge

I understand where OpenWRT are coming from but realistically, most broadband users have not even heard of OpenWRT and fewer still would contemplate flashing their router with open source firmware. Most people have whatever router their broadband provided supplied and many of them won't have even changed the WiFi key.

F***=off, Google tells its staff: Any mention of nookie now banned from internal files, URLs

JohnG Silver badge


Is the ban on banned words in filenames going to be applied retrospectively? Are they going to allow people to reference existing files with banned words in the filenames or are some interns going to have to do a rather large search and rename operation? Can we expect Google to expunge all references to Scunthorpe (again)?

Bloke fined £460 after his drone screwed up police chopper search for missing woman

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Perhaps the Police ...

I think a shotgun would be the right tool for this job, rather than a rifle. Alternatively, eagles are quite effective:


Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Even if data were stored in EU, MS would be still in breach of GDPR.

"Because the data gathering is too broad, automatic, without user knowledge, and without any way to turn it off."

It is worse than that because there are some options to turn data collection off in various places in Windows 10 - but these only turn a few things off and leave all the other data collection running. It is designed to give the user the false impression that data collection has been comprehensively disabled, when it has not - it is incredibly dishonest.

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

JohnG Silver badge

Re: The obvious and fundamental problem is

"That Autopilot, is not an autopilot."

Actually, it is a fair description. Autopilot in an aircraft will take the aircraft on a specific course, at a specific height. It may have the ability to alter the heading at predetermined waypoints. But autopilot cannot handle potential collisions with other aircraft or other emergencies and will return control to the pilot if it detects a situation it cannot handle. The Tesla autopilot is similar but it does have some capability to avoid collisions with other vehicles.

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone

JohnG Silver badge

In my experience, senior management in many organisations want to have the security box ticked but they often don't want the expense and hassle of actually implementing very much of any security policy. They do like to have security people who can be held responsible for any security issues that arise.

UK rail lines blocked by unexpected Windows dialog box

JohnG Silver badge

Can these systems, that display the state of the rail network and store stuff in Office365's cloud, also be used to alter signalling?

Premiere Pro bug ate my videos! Bloke sues Adobe after greedy 'clean cache' wipes files

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Man...

"While I'm at it, any case designer who came up with the idea of putting those external drives in a case on edge instead of flat, ought to be made to have that design inserted where the sun doesn't shine."

It is a ruse to sell more hard disks: when the user knocks a drive over and subsequently gets a bunch of errors from the head crash, they will ultimately buy a new hard disk.

Smartphone industry is in 'recession'! Could it be possible we have *gasp* reached 'peak tech'?

JohnG Silver badge

I changed my phone this year only because I wanted Galileo support (for professional reasons). If it wasn't for that, I would have continued to use my three year old phone, which was already a two year old model when I bought it. Non IT folk typically don't need to change their phones unless stolen or broken - five year old smartphones have decent cameras and can use popular apps for social media, navigation, etc. Some still change their phones only so they can be seen with the latest gadget but most seem to have realised that this is a mug's game and that a flashy but inexpensive phone case can disguise the model and age of their mobile.

If I can't tell the difference between 720p and HD video on my phone's 5.5 inch display, do I really need 2K/4K resolution?

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Market saturated, no new must-have function, and prices are crazy

"How do you continue to use the phone when the battery is gone? Hold the wireless charger to your head?"

You can always pull the cable from the wireless charger and plug it directly into your phone.

However, if you use one of those magnetic mounts to hold your phone in the car, it will involve having a chunk of ferrous metal on the back of your phone or in the phone case. When used with a wireless charger, this will heat your phone, as opposed to charging it.

Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads

JohnG Silver badge

Re: CAD ... is suited to being run in the cloud

"This means their IP doesn't have to leave the premises, and isn't stuck on an individual workstation inaccessible to colleagues."

...and their IP is not on any kind of device where the manufacturer's cloud storage is the operating system default - like an iPad, Chromebook, etc.

Florida man won't be compelled to reveal iPhone passcode, yet

JohnG Silver badge

"What could possibly be the file that they want to access so much, and why is it relevant to a car accident?"

Video, taken in the period up to the crash?

The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time

JohnG Silver badge

Re: "Ethernet is so much better"

When looking for something in my attic last year, I found a tool that was used to make the holes in 10base5, when installing a vampire tap.

Assange catgate hearing halted as Ecuador hunts around for someone who speaks Australian

JohnG Silver badge

Soap opera

It is almost as if Assange and his hosts are creating an absurd soap opera, so that The Reg can write articles like this one.

Maybe Assange could do a new version of the video for the 90s dance track "Ecuador" by "Sash!".

Cops called after pair enter Canadian home and give it a good clean

JohnG Silver badge

Friendly dog

"....the home had been left open so that the neighbour could walk the owner's dog."

The dog was apparently happy for two complete strangers to enter the house and clean it. Presumaby, the dog would have been just as happy if they had emptied the place of valuables.

Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange

JohnG Silver badge

"I don't think the Swedish prison was the issue rather the Swedish extradition treaty with the US."

But the US never charged Assange (what would they charge him with? - he is not a US citizen) nor have the US authorities presented an extradition request for Assange to any country. The UK's extradition treaty with the USA is at least as strong as the one with Sweden and Britain might be more inclined to go along with " extraordinary rendition" than non-NATO Sweden. While Trump has expressed in interest in Assange, Obama's administration did not. Had he resolved everything with Sweden at the outset (it seems likely that they would not have actually taken the case to court), Assange could be long gone by now.

Sure, Europe. Here's our Android suite without Search, Chrome apps. Now pay the Google tax

JohnG Silver badge

Are the regulators also going to go after Apple for their search and browser offerings? I appreciate that Apple are the sole manufacturers of their own hardware, while many manufacturers use Android but the regulator's issue appears to be about end user choice.

If users in the EU/EEA end up without Google Apps, they might be able to flash their phones with a "European but not EU/EEA" build e.g. for Russia/Ukraine or UK.

Lawyers for Marcus Hutchins: His 'I made malware' jail phone call isn't proper evidence

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Signed a Miranda waiver form after being read his rights

"Based on the evidence disclosed so far there's nothing to suggest Hutchins was involved in packaging and deploying Kronos."

If I understood it correctly, Hutchins was arrested on the word of someone who was caught with some of the money but got a plea deal i.e. the individual actually responsible for the theft/fraud will get less punishment than someone who at best, had mininal involvment.

What could be more embarrassing for a Russian spy: Their info splashed online – or that they drive a Lada?

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Or

"What spy, or spy-wannabe, has only one set of ID?"

Having several sets of ID is useless if you can be found on a publicly accessible car registration database, because you chose to register your car at spy HQ, so you could get out of traffic fines.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Or

"It's a really good address to have when the ordinary Russian plod pulls you over.."

It's like a "get out of jail" card when driving in Russia but could be a "get arrested and deported" card elsewhere.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: No need for Russia to be a part of the EU

"The spy only needs to live legally in the EU in order to get full protection under the GDPR."

Yes - but according to their car registration data, these alleged spies all claim to live at GRU premises in Moscow, which is key to the gist of this story.

Dutch cheesed off with Russians, expel four suspects over chemical weapons Wi-Fi spying

JohnG Silver badge

Re: "Expelled" Not Held -- What?!?!?

"They get caught red handed, interfering with a legal investigation, and they were just let go?!?!?"

They were travelling on diplomatic passports, with all the privileges and immunities that such status affords.

JohnG Silver badge

"One kinda wonders how exactly they were caught in the first place"

I suspect the Dutch would routinely keep an eye on new arrivals with diplomatic passports but in this case, they were tipped off by British intelligence agents that the OPCW and/or other bodies might be hacked. Quite how British intelligence agencies knew of this in advance is not known/stated.

Manchester nuisance-call biz fined £150k after ignoring opt-out list

JohnG Silver badge

"...and to ensure the directors don't just form another firm and repeat the cycle – the government is planning to make directors personally liable for the fines.

I thought the whole point of the "Limited" in "Limited Liability" is that the liability of directors for their company's debts is limited to debts that have not been accrued through the course of normal legal business activities. When directors allow their company to do anything that is illegal, they can be held liable for the comany's debts and can be held personally responsible for any crimes committed/their negligence. Running a company that engages in making illegal marketing calls and then folding the company when a fine arrives from the regulator seem to be exactly the sort of things for which directors should be held liable.

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Have fun!

"I'm not telling you the code to unlock my phone..."

If you ever visit the UK, I would suggest you don't take that approach - it could land you with a two year term in jail.

Holy smokes! US watchdog sues Elon Musk after he makes hash of $420 Tesla tweet

JohnG Silver badge

Re: 5 minute recharge time

"Electricity already has VAT paid on it."

Yes, although at different rates for commercial or domestic use.

"It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity. Electricity is electricity."

That is about to change... Part 2 of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 is all about the charging network for electric vehicles. In addition to mandating the provision of EV charging points in new property developments, on streets, etc., the act also states that future EV charging points must be "smart":

Smart charge points

(1)Regulations may provide that a person must not sell or install a charge point unless it complies with prescribed requirements.

(2)The requirements that may be imposed under subsection (1) include requirements relating to the technical specifications for a charge point, including for example the ability of a charge point—

(a)to receive and process information provided by a prescribed person,

(b)to react to information of a kind mentioned in paragraph (a) (for example, by adjusting the rate of charging or discharging),

(c)to transmit information (including geographical information) to a prescribed person,

(d)to monitor and record energy consumption,

(e)to comply with requirements relating to security,

(f)to achieve energy efficiency, and

(g)to be accessed remotely.

i.e. They want to know (via remote access) how much energy is being used to charge an electric vehicle (because they will be losing all that fuel duty). They also want to be able to turn EV chargers off and on, presumably to protect the grid.

As the feed-in tariffs for solar panels are diappearing, I foresee a market for illicit solar panel and/or home battery storage setups, where EV owners will charge their vehicles without paying the relevant tax. Unlike red diesel, the government can't put a dye in the electricity.

Fancy Bear still Putin out new modules for VPNFilter malware

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Some devices are unpatchable.

Some may be able to find some open source firmware for their device but this is not a solution that normal users are likely to take. Most normal users just use their devices, rarely/never check for firmware updates and don't read articles about network device vulnerabilities.

Office 2019 lumbers to the stage once more as Microsoft promises future releases

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Classified and commercially sensitive documents?

"This allows us to ensure documents and emails are encrypted at rest and in transit and when we're talking about documents stored in the cloud we have BYOK (bring your own key) and shortly HYOK (Hold Your Own Key) encryption facilities, this is all baked into Azure"

That's nice but to give an example of the problem, EU classified documents may not be transported or stored outside the EU, even if encrypted. Even if Microsoft promise to only use cloud storage within the EU for certain customers, once the data has left the customer's site, how can they be sure? After all, governments and companies in several European countries have been the subject of spying by US intelligence agencies, despite being allies.

JohnG Silver badge

Classified and commercially sensitive documents?

As Microsoft push users to use their cloud, what is the situation with sensitive documents e.g. classified or with commercial secrets? Can users be sure that copies of their documents are only stored in accordance with their organisation's security policy or their country's national security legislation?

Microsoft pulls plug on IPv6-only Wi-Fi network over borked VPN fears

JohnG Silver badge

Re: It’s not going to happen

"Most things are on IPv4, but there are some IPv6 only things out there..."

Like what? Nobody is going to put their stuff only on IPv6, except those trying to make a point about using IPv6, for the simple reason that they don't want to risk being invisible to the majority of Internet users. And until there are enough useful things only available on IPv6, very few people are going to bother with IPv6.

The majority of Internet users wouldn't care about not having a unique IPv4 address, even if the issue were explained to them.

Euro bureaucrats tie up .eu in red tape to stop Brexit Brits snatching back their web domains

JohnG Silver badge

.ue ?

Given that English will no longer be an official language of the European Union after Brexit, one would have thought that the EU would want to grab the TLD ".ue", corresponding to "Union Européenne"

2-bit punks' weak 40-bit crypto didn't help Tesla keyless fobs one bit

JohnG Silver badge

The simpler translation is that nobody will lend the researchers a horse, sorry, McLaren, to hack.

UK networks have 'no plans' to bring roaming fees back after Brexit

JohnG Silver badge

At least two UK networks were offering "no roaming" deals in several countries in the EU and elsewhere, some years before the EU decided to impose their directive on the matter. Three is currently offering their "Feel at Home" deal in 71 countries (including EU27) - it seems unlikely they would want to reduce this number to 44, purely because of Brexit. The driver for these deals is competition, not the EU's directive.


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