* Posts by Joe Harrison

783 posts • joined 1 Jun 2007

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Dell Corp UK makes 1.46% net profit margin on £1.556bn in sales – 'satisfactory' apparently

Joe Harrison
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Very odd company

Friend wanted one of the new Dell XPS13 laptops and some accessories, but every time she got to "checkout" on the Dell website the price 1700 ish quid jumped up by another 70. I checked her browser configuration for funny cookies or whatever but it was clearly Dell's ordering system at fault. Contacted Dell via webchat and they insisted that she pay 1500 ish. Not complaining of course but no wonder profits are low.

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If Shadow Home Sec Diane Abbott can be reeled in by phishers, truly no one is safe

Joe Harrison
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Re: Eh?

Failing to spot an IT security problem does not make you "thick as mince." Unless maybe you are an IT security pro, and then only maybe.

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British fixed broadband is cheap … and, er, fairly nasty – global survey

Joe Harrison
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Re: streams rather than downloads?

Streams are fine if you have a reliable connection. Some of us though, on strands of old wet rural copper, can get quite decent speeds but with random outages from seconds to minutes when the wind blows the wrong way or the tree gods get angry.

When this happens I would much rather my download paused than have an unscheduled tea break during the film.

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Now Europe wants a four-million-quid AI-powered lie detector at border checkpoints

Joe Harrison
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I'm feeling animated already

a computer animated "border guard" that is localized to the traveler's language and ethnicity

(formerly known as "Clippy")

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'He must be stopped': Missouri candidate's children tell voters he's basically an asshat

Joe Harrison
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Can't believe this

The kids do <naughty thing> as kids do, father gets mad and yells "you're grounded and no pocket money", so kids hatch revenge plot with fake comments to rubbish off his election chances. Charming. How do we know this didn't happen?

Or maybe it didn't and maybe the guy actually is evil, still can't believe people are publicly calling for his head just on his kids say-so. Either way they can watch their inheritance going to the cats home.

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While everyone coos at the promise of 5G, UK network Three asks if it can tempt you with 4G+

Joe Harrison
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Confusing

My previous Huawei phone had a configurable option for carrier aggregration, with a big warning not to turn it on unless you knew what you were doing. My current Xiaomi phone doesn't have that option but does light up VoLTE quite frequently. The rest of the time it flickers between 3G, H+, E, R, and a couple others I forgot.

I agree with @Rathernicelydone that none of it matters if the carrier's connection to the internet is maxed out, which does seem to happen.

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The great and powerful Oz (broadband network): Revs rise, but nbn™'s exec bonuses don't

Joe Harrison
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Re: free data day...

Maybe if you look at it from the current perspective where data is used by end-user retail consumers to watch cat videos. The core usage of 5G however will be infrastructure (for example self-driving cars won't work without it) so the cost model will be substantially different.

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This one weird trick turns your Google Home Hub into a doorstop

Joe Harrison
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Re: Google being rather disingenous

Home automation does not necessarily equal voice control. Wi-fi switches are actually really useful in some circumstances, especially for people who live in a rented place and can't drill holes and run wires.

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Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...

Joe Harrison
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Final solution many years from now

Redesign our municipal spaces so that dangerous moving traffic and pedestrians are separated. In the same way that right now we don't have train drivers having to choose which people to swerve at. Also everything that moves and potentially can crash is under control of same superglomulous AI. Casualties reduced to small percentage of passenger miles. Job done.

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Joe Harrison
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Will you keep your voice down please - we were going to gradually roll out the microchipping in phases 3-5 when people had got used to the cars first.

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Linguists, update your resumes because Baidu thinks it has cracked fast AI translation

Joe Harrison
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English is like that. How about prepositions such as "with", like when you just bought something from Ikea.

"I built a bookcase with a screwdriver."

"I built a bookcase with Susan."

Completely obvious to a native speaker but imagine some poor bastard trying to learn English.

(Of course being Ikea it wouldn't be a book case it would be some word with lots of ä and å, just to complicate matters.)

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So, about that Google tax on Android makers in the EU – report pegs it at up to $40 per phone

Joe Harrison
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why do we need app stores?

I successfully used Microsoft Windows for several decades without needing an App Store. If I wanted an app (we called them applications back then) I bought it from someone who made applications. Sometimes it even came in a snazzy box. Why do I need to buy my Android apps from Google?

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

Joe Harrison
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Homeland Season 7

Fairly prophetic I thought especially the secret bunker where the evil deep-state hackers had their botnet C&C to flood "social media" with fake shill comments to influence opinion. I reckon that happened here.

"Sarge, there's another Assange story, am I cleared to proceed?"

"Sure thing son, unleash the sock-puppet army on the no-good sumbitch. Start with The Register they're all flakes anyway and it will blend in better"

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The fur is not gonna fly: Uncle Sam charges seven Russians with Fancy Bear hack sprees

Joe Harrison
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Re: Correction here

I think even the die-hards have given up on the "Russian interference in US elections" allegations, mainly because months of investigation has to date resulted in no such evidence. However, former FBI general counsel James Baker's recent interviews with the house judiciary committee, and upcoming potential declassification of some FISA court documents, are very likely soon to give a clear indication of foreign country interference in the 2016 US elections.

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A story of M, a failed retailer: We'll give you a clue – it rhymes with Charlie Chaplin

Joe Harrison
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Debt = Bad

Inevitable that once you load a business up with debt you give it a finite life. Let's face it Maplin isn't unique it's just one of the latest dominoes to fall in the high street.

Years of super-low interest rates have encouraged businesses and consumers to borrow to the hilt. Why not, it's almost free? I know people with unbelievable mortgages, loads of stuff on tick, several maxed out credit cards but outwardly they look as though they are doing alright mostly, and in fact they themselves do really believe they are doing alright - it's become a normal way of life. They are just about keeping going so long as nothing happens.

Everything's fine so long as the economy can keep the plates spinning but now that interest rates are going back up (expect yet another rate hike from US Fed real soon now) the zombie companies'with fingernail existence on borrowed money will finally keel over, jobs will go, people will stop paying their bills, and we're going to see an extremely nasty fertiliser/turbine contact scenario.

Sorry this is a bit shouty but I am astounded we made it this far even.

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Man cuffed for testing fruit with bum cheek pre-purchase

Joe Harrison
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Bread

I was in a well-known supermarket the other day and saw people picking up bits of bread and squeezing it to test for being stale then putting it back. Never buy bread or anything else unwashable that is on open display.

Don't get me started on checkout ladies (it is only ever ladies, men don't do it, no idea why) who lick their fingers before giving you a carrier bag.

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Why waste away in a cubicle when you could be a goddamn infosec neuromancer on £50k*?

Joe Harrison
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What are they looking for

When you get past all the quota-filling filler it looks like they are short of people who actually know what they are doing with computer / network security. Why not just expose a few medium-difficulty honeypots then people who get in find a path like /HR/confidential/executives/salaries/README_if_you_want_a _job.txt

Only serious crackers (whether for fun or for profit) put in the time and effort needed to get good at sensing weaknesses and exploiting them in previously-unknown ways. You can't expect the same level of dedication from industry people with real-world objectives like large estates to protect and relying on vendors to find and patch any holes.

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Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for my 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

Joe Harrison
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It's not about the job

In my experience people who yell at other people all the time do it because they like yelling at people. "Bad coding", "poor customer service", "failing to hand in homework", whatever, the ostensible reason for yelling at people is just fluff and cover to "justify" the real business at hand which its... yelling at people. They are a breed apart for sure.

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UK.gov finally adds Galileo and Copernicus to the Brexit divorce bill

Joe Harrison
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Re: Remind me...

Blue passports are the benefit. Keeps saying "blue passports, blue passports." Forget trivia like job losses, worthless Pound, etc.

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Joe Harrison
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Re: TL;DR

The so-called "Neverendum"

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The eyes don't have it! AI's 'deep-fake' vids surge ahead in realism

Joe Harrison
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Re: Saw this coming

Been done, "Nikon Image Authentication System". Was cracked in short order in 2011, not sure what state it's in now.

https://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/software/img_auth/index.htm.

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Generally Disclosing Pretty Rapidly: GDPR strapped a jet engine on hacked British Airways

Joe Harrison
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Re: Companies about to take security seriously?

Unlikely that fines approaching anywhere near 4% of global; turnover will ever happen in our lifetime. Even before GDPR the ICO has always been able to fine up to half a million pounds. Their record of actually collecting it (not necessarily their fault) is very poor.

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Tesla's chief accounting officer drives off after just a month on the job

Joe Harrison
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Who knew they make roof tiles

https://www.tesla.com/en_GB/solarroof

Looks good to me

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Canny Brits are nuking the phone bundle

Joe Harrison
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Ultra-short 18 month contracts

I once had an analog carphone and signed up with Nokia Mobira for airtime. The small print on the back of the contract said the term was ten years.

I crossed it out and initialled the change and the shop accepted it anyway, probably because in those days airtime providers paid a sizeable commission for getting new customers.

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Joe Harrison
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Re: Punished if you buy phone from elsewhere

Three's website says

"4G Super-Voice doesn't work on other non-Three devices yet however, even if the manufacturer has stated that it's VoLTE compatible. We're working on this, so be sure to check back for updates"

This is definitely not true; my Xiaomi which I imported from China works fine on Band 20 and shows on the display when it is VoLTE connected.

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A decade on, Apple and Google's 30% app store cut looks pretty cheesy

Joe Harrison
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Re: "Why can't it be dependent on how much physical shelf space"

Why not, it tastes better...

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If you have to simulate a phishing attack on your org, at least try to get something useful from it

Joe Harrison
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Embarrassing when you make false positive though. "Hahaha look at this complete moron pretending to be my boss, can't even write" etc. But it actually was from your boss.

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Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

Joe Harrison
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Facebook a minor problem

Don't let them misdirect your attention, the real problem is The Register's data slurping! They totally are the eye at the top of the triangle they know everything about you. How do I know this.... I read stuff on this site all the time and guess what I SEE LOADS OF ADVERTS FOR COMPUTERS! Do the math.

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Surprise! VAT, customs likely to get a bit trickier in a Brexit no-deal world

Joe Harrison
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Better get an order in for some nice daffodils eh Matron oo-er

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Microsoft: We busted Russian Fancy Bear disinfo websites

Joe Harrison
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Why

Did the FBI voluntarily dissolve itself and leave Microsoft in charge? Why am I paying the Windows Tax for MS to play Internet Police.

MS when you've finished hunting fake websites is there anything you can do about all the stuff needs fixing in Windows 10? If it's no trouble obviously.

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Brit Railcard buyers face lengthy, unexplained delays. Sound familiar?

Joe Harrison
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Railcards are handy if they work

I have one but the bad thing is you must remember to take it physically with you when you travel otherwise get fined or told off or whatever. Luckily there is also an Android app which will do instead. Unluckily if you already have a plastic card you can't also use the app so I was screwed. To do it via the app you have to do complicated stuff involving taking your passport somewhere.

If you can cope with the mental stress though it does cut your train costs considerably.

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Et tu, Brute? Then fail, Caesars: When it's hotel staff, not the hackers, invading folks' privacy

Joe Harrison
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Just back from DEFCON, didn't like it

Inconvenient having to find 280 dollars in paper cash to get in. Every single last one of the decent-sounding talks were already full (or huge hour-long queues I didn't want to stand in) and the ones I actually could get into were mostly either disappointingly broad and uninformative or the opposite micro-detailed and hard to understand if outside your speciality.

Having said that. I did get into the NSA guy's presentation but no surprise they don't let him blab any actual secrets so just listening to him moan about the Russians basically. Badge was good I have to admit, and the car hacking area.

Not Defcon's fault but the pathetically weak British pound meant paying for things in dollars in an already expensive town was hard work - once I realised beer was ten quid a pint I abandoned any thought of attending their parties. Finally, Las Vegas is a horrid cluster of over-decorated concrete boxes which you daren't go outside of because the brutal climate will kill you.

The event's moved to the Bally's hotel for next year, likely because of all the anti-customer shenanigins.

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Think tank calls for post-Brexit national ID cards: The kids have phones so what's the difference?

Joe Harrison
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Britain has twice tried to force national ID cards and failed

Worth a read about how the "temporary" wartime ID (compulsory carry) was defeated despite opposition from police and government.

http://home.bt.com/news/on-this-day/february-21-1952-brits-bin-their-identity-cards-11363962863687

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Joe Harrison
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Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

Operational choices of whether to keep stores of old papers certainly do have to be made. The potential impact on the people documented in those papers was surely very obvious. It was the wrong choice and it was clear to anyone that it was the wrong choice but they did it anyway.

The deeds to my house are 80 years old but I'm not throwing them away anytime soon.

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Now that's a dodgy Giza: Eggheads claim Great Pyramid can focus electromagnetic waves

Joe Harrison
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I have no idea if it works, because I've got a beard

But I know a link who does.

To all you faux-scientists cheerfully labelling people as nutters etc. Here's your chance to use actual scientific method.

https://pyramidrazorsharpener.wordpress.com/

Give it a go for a couple weeks and let us know how you got on. If you tried it and it's crap then you can start the badmouthing. Yes I know actually doing research is loads more trouble than just spouting off sorry for the inconvenience.

In my dim distant memory I think I remember some bloke who allegedly got this working in the old Soviet Union when new razor blades were rare to nonexistent.

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From toothbrushes to coffee makers to computers: Europe fines Asus, Pioneer, Philips for rigging prices of kit

Joe Harrison
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Yes not unknown for overcharged purchasers to get compo after this kind of legal case. Usually something useless though like three quid voucher off your next purchase.

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2FA? We've heard of it: White hats weirded out by lack of account security in enterprise

Joe Harrison
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Don't understand why people think it costs

We don't have many external-facing systems that matter, but when we implemented one recently we used TOTP (Time-based One-Time Password that is, not Top Of The Pops.) No licenses to buy it is all either free or Free software.

Many of us resist using our own phones for corporate stuff but for people who use Google Authenticator for everything anyway it was not really a hardship to add one more entry to its list. People who couldn't or didn't want to got shown how to install the Authenticator browser extension instead which is at least 1.75FA and better than nothing.

I take the point from @Caff above "what about the auditing costs" but we had to have it audited anyway no matter how many FA we put in.

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Doctor, doctor, I feel like my IoT-enabled vacuum cleaner is spying on me

Joe Harrison
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Re: IoT foolishness

It needs the SD card in case it crashes into another robot vacuum cleaner and the video will show who was at fault.

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Brit tech forges alliance to improve cyber security as MPs moan over 'acute scarcity' of experts

Joe Harrison
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What shortage?

Shortage of cyber-security skills really? Who's filling up my firewall logs then?

They mean shortage of White Hat cyber-security skills. Or more precisely a shortage of multi-certified box-tickers report-writers and pen test script runners without tattoos or piercings who wear suits to work.

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‘Elders of the Internet’ apologise for social media, recommend Trump filters to fix it

Joe Harrison
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Re: "USENET was a pretty clear warning."

When a private entity controls public discussion you know that just ain't right. If I decide it's my mission to reveal to the world that Trumputin is building a weaponised nanobot factory in earth orbit then it's legit for people to block my posts if they want.

But I sure don't want Facetwitter deciding (as they would be perfectly entitled to) that I am persona non grata and routing my stuff into the bit bucket before people even see it.

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Privacy Shield under pressure as lawyers back MEPs' call for suspension

Joe Harrison
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Unreasonable

It's unreasonable to suggest that this or that country is or is not the friend of another one.

"We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow" - Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston

Also Privacy Shield looks just as useless as its predecessor Safe Harbor, both relying as they do on self-certification by the US company concerned.

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It walks, it talks, it falls over a bit. Windows 10 is three years old

Joe Harrison
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Traditional stuff

1999 - Bah Windows 2000 heap of junk give me NT4 any day

2001 - Bah Windows XPensive heap of tellytubby junk give me Windows 2000 any day

2009 - Bah Windows 7 heap of junk, give me XP any day that was a decent OS

2018 - Bah Windows 10 heap of junk I'm sticking with good old Windows 7

(we'll skip over Vista, 8, 8.1, as the less said the better)

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What can $10 stretch to these days? Lunch... or access to international airport security systems

Joe Harrison
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Re: I was "hacked" via RDP

Having a 30+ character password is not ideal though in terms of convenience.

If you feel you are that juicy enough a target then surely login with a client certificate (maybe stored on a USB security key) is the way to go.

RDP (well mstsc.exe at least) also supports optionally having the server present it's own client certificate to you at login time so you can be sure you are not connecting to a spoofed server configured to look like yours. Time-consuming to setup but no particular expense involved if you can use self-signed certs.

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Infrastructure wonks: Tear up Britain's copper phone networks by 2025

Joe Harrison
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Just turn off the cctv

The lads round our way would be more than happy to rip all the copper out for you

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A curious tale of the priest, the broker, the hacked newswires, and $100m of insider trades

Joe Harrison
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There's this thing called parallel construction where law enforcement find out stuff using methods which are themselves illegal. Then they have to explain their investigation by inventing a daft story about how their AI spotted patterns etc.

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Every step you take: We track you for your own safety, you know?

Joe Harrison
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Dominos

Family member worked as pizza delivery and one day they got issued a smartphone with tracker and I was asked to help. Manglement were sort of half competent at complying with DPA (a year before the GDPR) and despite initial misgivings it worked out alright.

Not unreasonable for people to want to know where their pizza is, also protection for pizza person should they have the misfortune to deliver a pepperami to someone whose reason for ordering was not because they were hungry.

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They grow up so fast: Spam magnet Hotmail turned 22 today

Joe Harrison
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Rocketmail

Fairly sure rocketmail was first. At least I remember everyone in my office signing up for an account on same morning to this amazing new mail in yer browser thing. There were some other good ones later such as mailandnews which also gave you browser-based usenet, and Novell's myrealbox - both dead now.

I recall mobile phone customers could at one point get a vodafone.net or orange.co.uk free personal account, which always seemed dodgy to me if you decided to call yourself billing-admin@ or something like that.

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Joe Harrison
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Re: GMail

Reminds me of the joke about the boy born without a body who's complaining that the only gifts he receive are hats.

Think his name was Ed.

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IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

Joe Harrison
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Re: He was the top salesman in the group

When I'm on a plane I will take a safe and boring pilot over a dynamic agile guy with edgy haircut any day of the week.

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Google Chrome update to label HTTP-only sites insecure within WEEKS

Joe Harrison
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What about public wifi

When I go to Aldi my phone tells me it has connected to Aldi Free Wifi. Everything then stops working until I actively start a browser and go to an http site and the Aldi router/proxy/gubbins can intercept it, show me an advert for Aldi, then redirect me to where I pretended I wanted to go.

All my bookmarks are by now https and I have to think hard for an http. Currently I am using BBC news site. What will public wifi operators do if http disappears?

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