* Posts by alain williams

1004 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Google to remove private medical data from search results

alain williams
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Removed from search results ...

but no comment about removing it from the profile that is built about you to help google target you with more adverts.

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IoT coverage for 95% of UK by 2019? We can't even do 4G, Sigfox

alain williams
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I can see myself buying

lots of copper sheeting with which to wrap aerials for things that I buy that do not come in non IoT versions.

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Operators and vendors agree that Europe is falling behind in 5G

alain williams
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Does anyone really care ?

Good, reliable 3G connectivity everywhere that I go is what I want.

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I still haven't found what I'm malloc()ing for: U2 tops poll of music today's devs code to

alain williams
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No vocals

I find that words distract (maybe uses the same part of my brain that I use for coding), so pure instrumental works for me - classical is great, baroque is best (most modern/pop is crap anyway).

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Five Eyes nations stare menacingly at tech biz and its encryption

alain williams
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Re: the genii has been out of the bottle for DECADES

Except any form of transit can be snooped. Dead drops can be watched, mail intercepted, and so on.

You are talking about Traffic analysis, this is very different from breaking encryption; it is an important tool as it gives clues on who fellow terrorists/crooks/... may be. By nobbling encryption those being watched will use different communications, some of which will not be so easy for traffic analysis.

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alain williams
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Re: Politicians are like journalists...

Politicians are used to a world where there is no such thing as a real binary choice: true or false and nothing in between. They come up against someone of a different opinion and argue, push, cajole, entice, bribe, blackmail, ... and a 'no, never' will turn into a 'maybe'.

They don't really accept that there no such thing as a safe back-door in encryption, or anything else.

Their reasons for doing this do not add up: they will catch a few low level crooks/terrorists/bogey-men but not the competent ones, IsisSoft Inc will not put back-doors in their code. So what is their true motivation ? It is appearing to me as increasingly totalitarian.

If they do push ahead with then we need a mass revolt by techies - all at once. They can pick us off one by one, but not by the thousand.

.

This comment alone probably puts me on the terrorist watch-list - the idea that normally meek geeks will stand up is one that politicians must find terrifying.

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Capita call centre chap wins landmark sex discrimination lawsuit

alain williams
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Management speak ...

Please can someone explain to me how:

Capita Customer Management said: "We ... as an organisation that takes equal opportunities very seriously"

and:

Capita has lodged an appeal against the tribunal's decision.

are consistent ?

Why is it that women, supposedly, receiving less pay is screamed about in the media but men being disadvantaged is largely ignored ? Kudos to El-Reg for reporting it.

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Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

alain williams
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Price per page view ...

Ha, ha, ha, whoo, ha, ha, ....

Very few sites that I visit have content that I cannot easily find elsewhere. So if you want to charge me I'll just go elsewhere.

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Goodness gracious, great Chinese 'Fireball' malware infects 250m systems worldwide

alain williams
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What operating systems ?

The Checkpoint page only mentions MS Windows and Mac OS; I searched and various other pages said the same. I run neither, but it is a browser probem: so am I safe ?

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Crapness of WannaCrypt coding offers hope for ransomware victims

alain williams
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Hope of what ... ?

The implication is that putting this together was not too hard a task and did not need an expert programmer.

So are we being hinted that next time some better programmer will get hold of the source and do a proper job ?

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NHS U-turns on blanket IR35 tax crackdown

alain williams
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Locums and PFI

Locums don't rent accommodation to work at a different place. They are brought in for a day or a few days to cover staff shortages.

A lot of locums are brought in to cover pregnancy-leave/queue-bust/job-advertise-interview-cycle/... and can be at one place for a few months. Often this will not be commutable (especially for specialists), if, as employees, they cannot recover: travel, hotel/b&b, cost of eating out, then they will be considerably worse off.

This is a case of government labeling hard working, medium earning locums as people sponging off the NHS because it is a cheap way of shifting the spotlight of NHS funding blame away from politicians.

The NHS would be much, much better off if the trusts had not been forced into very expensive PFI contracts. This was initially a fudge brought in by John Major to cook the books so that government borrowing could be seen to be lower; the cost was to boot the debt repayment into the future; NOW is the future, this is part of the reason why the NHS (+ schools, etc) are running out of money.

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Lexmark patent racket busted by Supremes

alain williams
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Re: What about other measures?

How is this not a form of racketeering ?

How is this not a form of dumping ?

Both are illegal (criminal). How have these companies been allowed to get away with it ?

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EU pegs quota for 'homegrown' content on Netflix at 30 per cent

alain williams
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Lots of peaceful footage ...

of parts of: the river Thames, the Avon, the Seine, the Rhine, ... showing the fish leaping (or not) and pretty flowers on the banks. Quick and cheap to make in bulk.

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DJI: Register your drones or no more cool flying vids for you

alain williams
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DJI are ripping off open source

I was given one of these ... it would not talk to my Linux machine, I then found that the firmware and MS .exes were built on Open Source (GPL) software. I asked for a copy of the source, they did not reply. this is all that I can find now.

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7 NSA hack tool wielding follow-up worm oozes onto scene: Hello, no need for any phish!

alain williams
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It ought to have a pay-load

A dialogue box that pops up every 5 minutes that says:

You stupid pillock - you still have not applied the update from Microsoft. Do you want to be owned by something really malicious ?

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Biz overlords need to give a stuff about what they're told by IT crowd

alain williams
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responsibility to control access to data

only 46 per cent of CMOs and 44 per cent of IT staff thought that they had a responsibility to control access to personal data.

Maybe these people should look at the 7th Data protection principle:

Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.

It would be interesting to see how many organisation break the 8th principle by exporting data to the USA - which does not have adequate protection in law of personal data.

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Windows 10: Triumphs and tragedies from Microsoft Build

alain williams
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Putty ....

You generally install it. But if you do so on Window 10 then you are compromising the *nix systems that you login to - that telemetry that can log all your key strokes.

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Great Ormond Street children's hospital still offline after WannaCrypt omnishambles

alain williams
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Any idea total cost ?

Anyone any idea of the total cost to the NHS of this debacle ? Human as well as financial.

Any idea of the cost world wide ?

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Do we need Windows patch legislation?

alain williams
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The blame here is firmly on those still using an operating system that is 16 years old.

Today is some 16 years after Windows XP was first released, but the important date is when machine were last sold with Windows XP - this was some time near 2010; so for those machines XP is only about 7 years old, but support ended in 2014 - when those machines were 4 years old. It seems to me that a computer that is 4 years old is still quite young, support should have continued longer.

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While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday's WinXP fix was built in February

alain williams
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Blame those who did not replace ancient kit

*all* systems are capable of being 'owned' - assuming anything else is reckless. If you use such a system then you must accept that something bad could happen; air-gapping will provide a degree of protection but not a guarantee.

So: who uses ancient hit ?

* old desktops - not excuse; replace them

* embedded kit (eg ATMs, Point of sale terminals, MRI scanners). How long is this expected to work for ? If the manufacturer of a £150,000 MRI scanner gives the expectation that this will work for 20 years then they *must* provide security updates for all of those 20 years - no excuses. They will provide hardware support but just shrug their shoulders when asked about operating system updates. So the needed updates do not happen and they leave their customers open to the sort of thing that happened last week. Part of the reason is that they cannot update an old operating system - they do not have access to the code to do so.

Building long lived kit on top of Open Source software (eg Linux or a BSD) does give the maker the ability to back-port fixes to vulnerabilities. This is the only sane way of building kit that is expected to work for more than a few years.

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UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

alain williams
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Re: Using Windows?

We use Windows PCs because a lot of the dedicated software we use won't run on anything else.

Aw, come on! The NHS is a large enough customer that if they wanted it on a Linux or BSD system the supplier would do the port.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 ARM-twist comes closer with first demonstration

alain williams
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Oh goodeee

it looks as if this will result in the market coming up with a better choice of ARM based laptops that I will be able to install Linux onto.

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Beeb hands £560m IT deal to Atos. Again

alain williams
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Cost of divorce

which is why when considering marriage, be that outsourcer, software supplier, ... part of the calculation should be: what will it cost to move away at the end ?

The supplier will, however, be doing its best, once the deal has started, to ensure that the divorce costs just rise. Think of the numbers who would like to move away from Oracle or Capita.

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Just 99.5 million nuisance calls... and KeurBOOM! A £400K megafine

alain williams
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0.4p per call ?

How much were they paid per call - the fine should be closely related to that.

Getting the fine from the directors: how about using the proceeds of crime act ?

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Realistic Brits want at least 3 security steps on bank accounts

alain williams
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Stop using your mobile 'phone

Not using a mobile phone would figure highly on my list of how to keep my bank a/c safe. Next: not to login there from a MS Windows machine.

It would help a lot of the banks stopped 'phoning their customers about whatever and as a first step ask the customer to verify who they were by answering security questions!

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We are 'heroes,' says police chief whose force frisked a photographer

alain williams
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Legislation will never be abused ...

we are always told. So why is anti terror legislation being used to terrorise photographers, I wonder what plans are being drawn up on who to abuse with the Investigatory Powers Regulations 2017 ?

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Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

alain williams
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1 in 6,500 real time snooping

comms providers will be required to make bulk surveillance possible by introducing systems that can provide real-time interception of 1 in 10,000 of its customers. Or in other words, the UK government will be able to simultaneously spy on 6,500 folks in Blighty at any given moment.

That makes the assumption that each person only has one Internet connection. For many it is 3: home, work & mobile. So double that number - at least.

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Just delete the internet – pr0n-blocking legislation receives Royal Assent

alain williams
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Anything in there about religious sites ?

Religion screws up far more young, impressionable minds than does porn.

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Hackers uncork experimental Linux-targeting malware

alain williams
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Run nmap occasionally ...

just in case you forgot to close that port that you opened for a 5 minute test last month:

nmap -A -T4 my.host.name

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Uber cloaked its spying and all it got from Apple was a slap on the wrist

alain williams
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Honesty

seems to be considered optional by many CEOs these days. However if you, as an individual, breach their terms of service they see no problems in acting against you.

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Microsoft promises twice-yearly Windows 10, O365 updates – with just 18 months' support

alain williams
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Re: Twice yearly roll out of incompatabilities

Eh ? (Please explain how they're going to break Linux)

How about change details of the SMB protocol and thus mounting of SMB shares no longer works.

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alain williams
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Twice yearly roll out of incompatabilities

Now that Microsoft has got a large number of machines being upgraded when it wants it can start to roll out code that breaks other systems; be they those who are still running old versions of Microsoft Windows (ie not 10) or those who run non Microsoft operating systems or applications. Eg Linux or LibreOffice. They roll out applications that handle a new file or wire protocol in March and then make it default in September, removing use of old protocols next March, so software more than 1 year old will then not interoperate with the latest stuff.

They will claim that this is all in the name of progress or fixing security vulnerabilities; but the real reason will that they will start saying how non Microsoft software is incompatible, not good enough, ... So LibreOffice (and similar) developers will have to waste a lot of time playing catch up while Microsoft sniggers.

Other software vendors play this game, eg Autocad is continually updating file formats which makes it hard for users of old versions to read files from a user of the latest versions.

This will also help with forcing people to take out a subscription: no subscription so you don't get the latest Microsoft Word ...

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alain williams
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Re: It wouldn't be a problem

A boon to hardware vendors -- "your wifi no longer works with the latest MS Windows; we do not support drivers for hardware more than 3 years old from time of first sale of that model"

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alain williams
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Re: Dear gods...

It took us about two years to migrate from RHEL5 to 6.

And now you don't need to do it again for 10 years - which is how long RHEL 6 is supported for (or longer if you want to pay a bit). Then you jump to RHEL 8 (or whatever is new then) and get another decade of stability.

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Zuckerberg's absolutely mental: Brain sensors that read YOUR MIND at 100 words a minute

alain williams
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Words per minute ???

Surely the wrong units; if you get a direct feed into the brain the units of information are going to be something like: memes or gestalts.

A word is only one way that we communicate these internal entities to others; it is because of the limitations of our input/output hardware (ears/mouth/...). If you can interact directly with the brain then you can access the underlying units of thought.

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Alert: Using a web ad blocker may identify you – to advertisers

alain williams
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Computer misuse act ?

All that code that these ad slingers are running on my machine (in my browser). Did they ask me permission to do that ? No! I give implicit permission for Javascript to help with the page layout, form manipulation, ... but not for them to Sherlock who I am, if I want to let them do that then I agree to keep one of their cookies -- all else is without my permission.

Having said that our chocolate teapot that is the ICO would just find an excuse to not do anything.

So: should they have to ask permission to run this stuff, how many users would that turn away ?

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Linux remote root bug menace: Make sure your servers, PCs, gizmos, Android kit are patched

alain williams
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android ecosystem ...

like my Samsung smart-phone - they stopped producing updates very quickly. I asked and was told that they had determined that ''the last update provided what their customers needed'' - translation ''we have sold it and can't be bothered to maintain it, we would rather that you bought a new one''.

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Hundreds of millions 'wasted' on UK court digitisation scheme

alain williams
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Agile is OK for ...

* small projects that are easy enough for people to fit all the components into their heads at once.

* prototyping/mock-ups.

Anything seriously big needs proper design, otherwise the obvious things are done and the corner cases forgotten and the various pieces don't quite fit well with remote components.

The other thing about this project is that it will result in UK government outsourcing a lot of work to call centers, etc, India at a loss of UK jobs and skills - it might save MoJ some money but will end up costing the treasury many times more: less tax receipts and more dole money.

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Your internet history on sale to highest bidder: US Congress votes to shred ISP privacy rules

alain williams
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Start a croudsourced fund ...

how long before we raise enough $$ to buy and publish D Trump's web browsing history ?

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UK digital minister Matt Hancock praises 'crucial role' of encryption

alain williams
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Re: Can do. But shouldn't?

ALL the information you need to reverse-engineer the private key is present in the public key, but there is NO practical way to recover it.

But how do you get the public key ? You get it over the Internet. This makes you vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle (mitm) attack -- where someone sits between the 2 parties and decrypts/re-encrypts the data. This would be expensive for the spooks to do, but they could do it for individual high interest targets.

This is why we have CAs (Certificate Authorities), they allow the web browser to check the public key so that a mitm attack cannot work. This relies on the CA's own certificates being kept private.

There is no guarantee that the CA's certificates are not known by the spooks. I would be surprised if NSA/GCHQ did not have most of them.

Because PGP allows you to check a remote user's key by other means [remember key signing parties ?] its keys are not so easily compromised.

Summary: public key exchange encryption can already be broken. PGP looks still safe.

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Microsoft delivers secure China-only cut of Windows 10

alain williams
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Re: So...

Do they actually get a non-spying version of windows 10 or just one where the chinese government is spying on them ?

That is one of the advantages of closed source software: the users do not know.

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DNS lookups can reveal every web page you visit, says German boffin

alain williams
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www.theregister.co.uk

I got different from the one in the article, but they use cloudflare - a CDN.

More importantly: the addresses are IPv4 ones, when is El-Reg going to go IPv6? Even Virgin Media say they will support IPv6 - so why not El Reg ? I have had it at home for 6-7 years.

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'Sorry, I've forgotten my decryption password' is contempt of court, pal – US appeal judges

alain williams
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How long do you want to eat porrige for ?

The sentence for 'forgetting' a password, or the sentence for having files that contain: kiddie-porn/bomb-making-instructions/... ?

Work out which is the shorter before you decide if you can remember the password.

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Dormant Linux kernel vulnerability finally slayed

alain williams
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Should have used Windows...

Where, because it is closed source, you don't have a clue what bugs have been fixed let alone how long they have been there.

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Do you use .home and .mail on your network? ICANN mulls .corp, .mail, .home dot-word domains

alain williams
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.local

Well, at least they have not proposed a TLD of .local -- yet.

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'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows

alain williams
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Sometimes I can't use a long password

There are some systems that: impose a maximum length on passwords, fold upper to lower case, complain if I use anything other than alpha numerics, ...

Let's start complaining about the systems that prevent the use of good passwords.

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Cold callers illegally sold Aussie farmers 1,700 years worth of printer ink

alain williams
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Who paid the fine ?

Should have been paid by the cold calling individuals - not the company. Penalise the individuals and they might change their behaviour. Penalise the company and they will see it as just another business cost - this time they got caught, plenty of other ones they did not.

This is what is needed in the banking system - but will not happen, politicians get too many lucrative consultancies once they have left office.

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URGH – bitter taste! Sage hikes One SaaS price 50 per cent

alain williams
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Re: Locked and loaded

The big bonus is that when you go bust ...

the receivers don't sell my confidential data to the highest bidder; might not be allowed in the UK but it does happen in the USA.

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YouTube TV will be huge. Apple must respond

alain williams
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Re: Once you have accustomed people to watch things for free...

Watching Youtube was never for free. Granted you did not fork out cash but you paid by watching adverts and helping google build its profile of you (what you like to watch) so as to better push adverts at you.

Free is one of the most abused words on the Internet.

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Linus Torvalds lashes devs who 'screw all the rules and processes' and send him 'crap'

alain williams
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Which bridge is being repaired today ?

Something must have caused the Redmond loving trolls to come out into the sunshine.

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