* Posts by JohnG

1418 posts • joined 27 May 2007

Hacker pwns police cruiser and lives to tell tale

JohnG Silver badge

Just an appliance

"It constantly surprises me how large organisations seem to be quite happy to connect anything to their network without any form of testing."

It doesn't surprise me any more but I am old and cynical. In a few places where I have worked, the choice of words used to describe a device would determine what procedures would be required to gain connectivity in the corporate network: call something a "system" and there would be procedures, forms, etc. Call something "a device" or "an appliance" and nobody cares...

Apple breaks location-storing silence

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What big companies do

Any company given an opportunity to gain revenue by selling their customers' location details to advertisers would be unlikely to ditch the idea for altruistic reasons (but they might if they think it will harm their reputation and their bottom line). After all, they have duty to make money for their shareholders. I don't see Apple, Google et al. as being especially bad or good in this respect - its just the sort of thing that big companies do. It is good for customers to remember that companies don't bring new innovations to market for fun or because they like you, they do it to make money.

Five amazing computers for under £100

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NAS: WD My Book WE

I quite like the WD MyBook World Edition units - the 1TB models go for about 80 quid. Earlier models needed a hack to get ssh access but WD has now put this in their web interface. Then you can install Optware, which makes the installation of many interesting apps very easy : P2P clients, VPN, web servers, etc.

I guess there are many other cheap NAS devices or DSL routers that can be hacked in a similar fashion - I'm just used to the My Book.

Apple sued over iPhone location tracking

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Ts and Cs

Isn't there something buried in the small print in which Apple mentions the use of geolocation to provide targetted advertising? If so, it will likely be a very short court case and the cash grab will fail miserably.

Samsung countersues Apple on new ground

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Rounded corners - Siemens SIMpad

I've got a couple of old Siemens SIMpads which have rounded corners, with colour screens slightly smaller than iPads.

However, all Apple's ideas are completely original, like their Mac GUI, which they (and Microsoft) didn't just copy from Xerox PARC.

iPhones secretly track 'scary amount' of your movements

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@John Smith 19

"... re-locating yourself near some sort of criminal event..."

Yes - and if this file were modified by some malicious third party who had gained access to someone's phone, the ramifications could be really severe.

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Doctoring the file

It might be interesting to replace the location data in the file concerned with some made up locations and see if the flavour of any advertising changes.

Menorcan politician flashes substantial chesticles

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It worked in Italy

This approach has worked well for some Italian ladies with political aspirations: Mara Carfagna, Ilona Staller, Nicole Minetti, etc.

Feds indict poker sites, seize domains

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They only have a problem with online gambling when they aren't getting a slice of the action i.e. foreign companies.

H2O water-powered shower radio

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Thumb Down


Wouldn't it be more eco-friendly to get on with washing yourself in the five minutes recommended for showering than fiddling with a radio?

A fifth of Europeans can't work out how much a TV costs

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It would be interesting to know how many of their survey respondents could name their MEP or any current EU Commissioner.

Google calls halt on German Street View

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How tall?

"...what can I see on Google that I can't see from the street?"

If you are about 2.5m tall.

" The resolution and detail are crap, you could certainly do a better job of casing the joint just by walking past the house in question."

That depends on how close the house is to the street - some Streetview images have enough detail to identify the presence and type of window locks, the presence of alarm sensors, etc. Taking a good look at the security arrangements for a house in person is likely to attract attention from local residents.

Google have been fairly sensible in giving people the option to decide whether their own property should feature on Streetview.

Praying for meltdown: The media and the nukes

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Hitchhiker's Guide

Could we take a leaf from Hitchhiker's Guide and persuade all the doom sayers that the Earth is irrevocably contaminated and that, as the important and useful folk, they all need to restart civilisation on Mars?

Stop sexing up IT and give Civil Servants Macs, says gov tech boss

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When Big Ben strikes "Bung!"

Nokia: Keep codin' for Symbian and Qt!

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Killing the goose...

Maybe their new leader only just realised that they are the global market leader and that this was achieved using Symbian.

Dixons whacked by profit warning

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Who the hell uses shops..

You're right, of course - but this is also why no responsible retailers have survived. Everyone gravitates to the lowest prices, so retailers of consumer electronics either die off or become box shifters with costs pruned to the bone = staff on minimum wage, not enough staff, staff not trained, etc.

Libya fighting shows just how idiotic the Defence Review was

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Osprey not Blackhawk

"...Americans in a Blackhawk that rescued the pilot..."

I thought it was a Marine Corps Osprey.

I think the poster was also laughing that the F-18, so revered by Lewis in his article, is the only coalition aircraft lost to date.

South West Trains puts squeeze on commuters

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IT angle

The IT angle comes from showing how computer-aided design can be used to maximise the use of available space. Back in the dark ages before computers, passengers had to travel on trains with larger seats between clean stations, some of which even had porters to assist with heavy luggage. All this in a period before nationalisation when train companies made a profit. Now we have the technology to compress more people into a carriage, whilst charging then a small fortune for their journey and the rail companies still need huge subsidies. That's progress!

Apple 'gay-cure' app severely slapped

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A good way out for Apple might be to get shop users to vote for or against the exclusion of a controversial app. They could then wash their hands of the responsibility of censorship.

Judge OKs feds' access to WikiLeakers Twitter info

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Double Irony

The Wikileaks side are arguing that information which the owners wanted to keep secret should remain secret and the US government side are arguing the opposite. I hope that both sides can see the irony of their respective stances.

Russia knocks back Soyuz launch

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Russian space programme reliability

Why? The Russian space programme has a very good reliability and safety record.

Why Nokia failed: 'Wasted 2,000 man years' on UIs that didn't work

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Market leader

Nokia globally outsells all other mobile phones and only faces any real competition for the top slot from Samsung and LG. What the fuck does Elop think he is fixing?

Google insists it couldn't have been British. Excuse me?

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At the time that Google were starting out, UK copyright law required plaintiffs to demonstrate their losses if they wanted to win a case and was therefore, considerably more attractive to the likes of Google than that of the USA where plaintiffs simply pull large numbers from thin air. UK copyright law only became more stringent after US media figures entertained key politicians, who then cobbled together some crappy legislation.

Sinclair ZX81: 30 years old

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Ferranti ULAs

The ZX80 and ZX81 achieved their small size, low component count and price due to much of the necessary logic circuitry being provided by a single Ferranti ULA (Uncomitted Logic Array) on each machine. The ULA had a whole load of gates which were not connected until the final stage of manufacture - the interconnection of gates could then be determined by the customer, in this case, Sinclair.

Ferranti have long since gone but it is nice to remember that Britain produced some significant innovations.

Charlie Sheen explodes onto Twitter

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Lost custody of his kids

His ex-wife appears to have used his Twitter postings of an "epic party" lifestyle to persuade a judge issue a court order for her to take custody of their one-year old twins. The boys have apparently now been taken to an undisclosed location.

Euro court slaps down insurers over gender risks

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....other ways to identify them

"Will the insured be using Bulgarian Airbags?"

Jacqui Smith 'shocked' to discover we're drowning in sea of porn

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Big Brother

We know what's good for you

"The internet service providers need to take more responsibility. I don't agree with the argument that if we restrict anything available on the internet we'll turn into China."

No - the ISPs should simply provide connectivity and avoid any participation in efforts to filter what we can access. That Smith cannot see what is wrong with censoring the Internet is evidence that she should never have had the role of Home Secretary in a western democracy. Her former constituents have made it quite clear that they (like the rest of us) have had enough of her policies and questionable expense claims by electing a Conservative in her place.

What sealed Nokia's fate?

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"We've all been watching Nokia sink for years and expecting them to come up with something."

Nokia has by far, the largest share of the global cellphone market. All variants of Iphone represent less than 4%.

JohnG Silver badge

Nokia is still No 1

Nokia still leads the world in cellphone market share, Samsung follows with about 10% less and LG is in a distant 3rd place. None of the rest, including Motorola, Apple and RIM, achieve even a tenth of Nokia's share. If Elop is on a mission to make Nokia like one of their American competitors, he will effectively be turning a successful world leader into an "also ran" - perhaps this is why some believe this guy isn't acting in the company's best interest.

Gadget makes bombs, mines go off 'on average' 20m away

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AC Wednesday 16th February 2011 21:04 GMT

"Captured Argentinean soldiers were indeed used for "mine clearance" duties in contravention of the relevant articles in the Geneva Convention by the parachute regiment."

Do you have any links for this? I understood some Argentinian sappers volunteered their assistance to mine clearance (because they had the maps) and also helped to repair water treatment equipment - but your comment implies coercion, so it would be interesting to know the source of this information.

Man pockets $8m running computer fraud ring

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I am surprised he managed to find enough people (who had any money) in Germany still on dialup.

Boffins demand: Cull bogus A-Levels, hire brainier teachers

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Engineers become the management?

No they don't - the upper echelons of most companies are filled with people who specialised in finance, law or sales and marketing.

I’m not a Trojan horse: Nokia’s Elop hits back at neigh sayers

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Nokia, Samsung and LG

"Building phones that Americans like has always been a struggle for European manufacturers."

Building phones that enough people like is a problem for US manufacturers. Nokia has about a third of the global cellular phone market, followed by Samsung and LG. None of the rest (including all the US manufacturers) manage to achieve much more than a tenth of Nokia's market share.

Wooden spaceship descends into Moscow sandpit

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Nothing to look forward to?

"...another monotonous ‘interplanetary cruise’ without a highlight like the Mars landing to look forward to."

Assuming the three guys aren't gay and keen on each other, sex (with someone else) might be something they would be missing after several months.

Kid spanks a grand on Xbox using Mum's bank card

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@Jeremy 2

"The whole thing is ultimately her liability as well she probably knows."

Maybe not. Distance Selling regulations and other UK consumer law offer considerable protection for online transactions. For starters, the card issuer must be able to prove that each and every card transaction has been authorised by the card holder. The supplier should provide a record of the transaction to the cardholder i.e. a receipt showing the date, what was purchased, the VAT and the total.

JohnG Silver badge

Proof of transaction

Whilst this woman may have been a bit dim in not checking what she was signing up for, she may have a case against her bank. IANAL but as I understand it, the card issuer has to be able to prove that EVERY card transaction was authorised by the card holder. They may ask the supplier to show that they had provided the card holder with a record of the transaction i.e. a receipt with date, VAT, etc. Without this, they might have to refund the card holder.

Italian white van man nudges sound barrier

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Here it is in Italian with a copy of the ticket:


Wii Countdown conundrum brands family 'SH*THEADS'

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The Sun, guardians of our morals

After Victoria shows little Oliver his picture and the related article in The Sun, is she going to let him check out the Bulgarian airbags on page 3?

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Re: How middle class?

"Daniel and Victoria from Hampstead were building up their son Oliver's word bank? Something tells me they read the Guardian and listen to Radio 4."

But it was The Sun that they called, they of the Page 3 jubs. I didn't know one could even buy The Sun in Hampstead - I thought this was strictly a Daily Telegraph, Financial Times or Jewish Chronicle area.

The other thing that surprised me was the remarkably sensible responses in the article comments in The Sun.

DEC founder Ken Olsen is dead

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Ethernet, Pathworks

It is worth remembering DEC's cooperation with Xerox and Intel in giving us Ethernet.

Pathworks was for networking PCs with VMS servers. Based on LAN Manager, it was rather late to market but to my knowledge, was the first that allowed DOS/Windows and Apple machines to share the same VMS file shares and printers.

Assange fights extradition in court

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Re: As I understood it...

The NatWest Three were extradited to the USA for things they did in the UK (allegedly) that were not crimes in the UK but were crimes in the USA.

As Assange's case has such a high profile, maybe it will have the positive effect of showing up deficiencies in the European arrest warrant and extradition arrangements.

Stephen Fry cans Japan trip over nuke survivor quip

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"The Japanese were prepared to surrender"

No, they were not. Whilst the civilian government were keen to surrender, the military had made it quite clear that they had no intentions of surrendering - and that they expected the same "death before dishonour" attitude of ALL Japanese. An extract from the War Journal of the Imperial Headquarters translates as:

"We can no longer direct the war with any hope of success. The only course left is for Japan's one hundred million people to sacrifice their lives by charging the enemy to make them lose the will to fight."

Many people also seem to forget the attempted coup by a number of Japanese officers, AFTER the two atomic bombs were dropped, with a view to preventing the Japanese surrender.

World shrugs as IPv4 addresses finally exhausted

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Nested NAT

I am using nested NAT now. I have one router NATing from my ISP and another router NATing from the first, connected via a long Ethernet cable.

My mother-in-law has a broadband connection in Ukraine where she receives a private NATed address (10.*) from the ISP - this is then NATed again by her router.

Google Docs morphs into once and future 'GDrive'

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GMail Drive

Someone (not Google) produced a Windows shell extension to use a GMail account as a disk drive:


Microsoft hits autistic Xboxer with cheat evidence

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Whats the harm?

Making false accusations on national TV that her son received unfair treatment from Microsoft.

Also, perhaps it is unwise to allow an autistic child to avoid all real world social interaction and retreat into a virtual world of violent games.

Israeli firm readies pocket-friendly desktop PC

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"...Linux-on-ARM is at a relatively early stage in its development"

People have been using Linux on ARM devices for a while now. There's the old SIMPad from Siemens and many other WinCE/PPC PDAs and PNAs which can successfully run Linux, not forgetting the TomTom devices. Linux may provide a new life for an old PNA for which the manufacturer no longer provides map updates. Although few of them have WLAN interfaces, some can be networked via Bluetooth.

Passenger cleared after TSA checkpoint stare-down

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Driving license as ID

Taken from http://ec.europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/eu-citizen/index_en.htm

"Please note that the only valid ID is the one delivered by national authorities. Driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity."

However, the UK does accept a photocard driving license as valid ID for the purposes of entering the country as a British citizen (because you have to provide a valid passport to get one and the photocard driving license shows your citizenship). I actually did this once when I found I had left my passport at home when I turned up at Frankfurt airport. On return to Germany, I used my German residency permit to gain entry (not possible now as the Germans don't issue them to EU citizens any more).

UK tech retailers are rubbish

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Online/Mail order vs. high street

"That's why when I bought a telly, I checked it out at several retailers, then saved £100 by ordering it off amazon."

This is the crux of the problem - going to a retailer to see the product and then buying it online/mail order. We all do it but this is why the traditional stores that actually knew about the TVs and other electrical goods they sold (and even how to repair them) all went out of business over 20 years ago*. We are left with a bunch of box-shifters who employ the cheapest school leavers they can find, so as to be able to compete with the online stores.

*For those too young to remember, before online shopping came along, people used to buy mail order stuff from adverts in magazines.

Couple crash into church, curse satnav

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Navigator smarter than driver?

According to reports in Germany, the police said he went straight on when he should have made a turn. When combined with the driver's own statement, it appears that the navigator was correct but the driver failed to follow the navigator's directions.

It is amazing that anyone could find a building to hit when driving between hamlets with about 20 buildings between them. I am also puzzled as to why they were bumbling around the icy back roads when there is a perfectly good autobahn nearby. I hope the cops checked for the presence of winter tyres - driving without them in Bavaria at this time of the year would be both foolhardy and illegal.

German docs develop remote-control stomach submarine

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U-boat numbering

U2 ?

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