* Posts by dajames

1109 posts • joined 20 Mar 2011


Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers

dajames Silver badge

Re: Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally

I think that " Scotland/Wales want increased powers locally" must count as the understatement of the year. They want, and will get, full independence and then rejoin the EU, where they will have a lot more influence than they do in the UK.

Methinks they might find it hard to get readmitted to the EU ... other nations (such as Spain) are terrified that their own regions (such as Catalonia) will seek independence from the parent country if they think they will subsequently be allowed to rejoin the EU, and will veto any such application.

Renegade Android apps can siphon off your web logins, browser history. So make sure Chrome or OS is patched, friends

dajames Silver badge

How does this work?

Does this bug enable an attacker to steal credentials as they are entered, or does it just steal them from the "remembered passwords" store that the browser manages?

In other words: If I never allow the browser to remember any login credentials, am I safe from this exploit?

dajames Silver badge

The software isn't the problem, it's the (lack of) updates!

Security on Android is such a sh*tshow that I often wonder if the platform was designed specifically to facilitate such.

Security on pretty-much everything is bad, because most people don't understand the issues so and won't spend the time and money necessary to address them.

I'd agree that Security is worse on Android than on many other platforms -- but that's not because Android has noticeably more bugs or exploits, it's because many Android users are unable to get updates for their devices. Even when Google have fixed a problem the update won't necessarily be made available in a timely fashion (or at all!) on the devices people are using, especially devices running older versions of Android (such as KitKat, as cited in the article).

What made a super high-tech home in Victorian England? Hydroelectric witchery, for starters

dajames Silver badge

Re: Interesting

... and not very very far from Beamish museum (for the industrial archaeologists among you) just the other side of Newcastle.

(OK, it's 40 miles or so, I wouldn't try to do them both in a day ... so take two days!)

They're BAAACK: Windows 10 nagware team loads trebuchet with annoying reminders to GTFO Windows 7

dajames Silver badge

Re: Time, gentlemen, please

I'm feeling more smug than ever about my decision to install 8.1. Seriously, it's probably the last "good" Windows version.

For some value of "good".

Generally, Windows has slid downhill from the lofty pinnacle of acceptability that was Windows 2000 towards the pit of ordure that is Windows 10. Windows 7 remains a rocky outcrop on the hillside that has not yet been buried under the encroaching glacier of "end of support", with Windows 8.1 visible as a little ridge between the depression of Windows 8 and the plunge into the festering chasm beyond.

What do sexy selfies, search warrants, tax files have in common? They've all been found on resold USB sticks

dajames Silver badge

Re: Seconhand USB sticks?

a) who is stupid enough to sell a stick they've used?

It beggars belief, doesn't it?

I rather assumed that any USB stick sold secondhand would be stolen (and that the original owner would not have been in a position to erase it before sale) ... but I suppose some may cone from house clearances, and the like.

The HeirPod? Samsung Galaxy Buds teardown finds tiny wireless cans 'surprisingly repairable'

dajames Silver badge

Re: Why bother?

"It doesn't matter how durable a device is if the user chucks it in a draw"

Dave, what's a "draw"?


I presume you mean 'drawer'?

Methinks he must mean a raffle -- or "prize draw" as they're sometimes known -- probably for charity. There's no other way to make sense of what's written.

It'd be a good way to get rid of kit that someone else might value ...

No guns or lockpicks needed to nick modern cars if they're fitted with hackable 'smart' alarms

dajames Silver badge

Re: Every time...

"You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means"

My car's quite safe ... it's protected by dread pirate robots ...

Hapless engineers leave UK cable landing station gate open, couple of journos waltz right in

dajames Silver badge

Re: gates were left open and unlocked.

Better than open and locked... That would really look like incompetence

Not really ... it would stop anyone stealing the lock!

IR35 contractor tax reforms crawl closer to UK private sector with second consultation

dajames Silver badge

Re: Not again!

... make sure you can evidence that you actually have ...

"Evidence"? What's wrong with "prove" or "demonstrate"?

Why verb a noun when you don't have to?

What happens when security devices are insecure? Choose the nuclear option

dajames Silver badge

Protect and Survive

I recall that a friend brought a copy to a party, shortly after it was released, and helpfully read out informative passages for our education and amusement. I can still hear him drunkenly declaim:

Fallout is invisible. If you cannot see anything you may be suffering from fallout!

From hard drive to over-heard drive: Boffins convert spinning rust into eavesdropping mic

dajames Silver badge

Re: Only 30 years too late ...

There are littery millions of Videos of this on YouTube. ...

Yup, there are an awful lot of littery videos in some places.

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster

dajames Silver badge

Re: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same

James Earl Jones is not dead

... unless, of course, he is a copy ...

Meizu ditched hole-free phone because it was 'just the marketing team messing about', not because no one really gave a toss

dajames Silver badge

... with bluetooth earpieces and wireless charging a design could be completely sealed at least against low-pressure water.

... or, indeed, fairly high-pressure water.

If that were a design goal the inefficiency of wireless charging might even be acceptable.

Galaxy S10's under-glass fingerprint reader, quelle surprise, makes mobe a right pain to fix

dajames Silver badge

Re: Fingerprint/Home button

Yet Apple supply you with a free Lightning to 3.5mm jack adapter...

Yes, that's a nice touch. If only they'd build it into the phone so you would always have it with you when you needed it ...

U wot, m8? OMG SMS is back from dead

dajames Silver badge

Re: Or you can just phone me.

SMS is stateless. You only know that it was sent, but this in no way guarantees that the recipient ever saw it ...

Not necessarily. SMS does support delivery notifications, but you usually (depending on your carrier) have to turn them on to get them.

Linus Torvalds pulls pin, tosses in grenade: x86 won, forget about Arm in server CPUs, says Linux kernel supremo

dajames Silver badge

If we can just break through the idea of having a unique image per arm device and develop a standard "BIOS" for arm, then we might finally get away from Intel.

We have UEFI, which is supposed to be a 'standard "BIOS"' for everything. One of the big drivers behind it was (ironically enough) that Intel wanted a single "BIOS" (and single adapter board ROM images using interpreted code) for both x86 and Itanium, and it can certainly support ARM as well.

UEFI is not known for being clean or simple, and it's certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but it does exist and it is increasingly widely used. It's an off-the-shelf solution that can, in principle, support any processor family.

... so let's not pretend that there's no applicable solution for ARM.

dajames Silver badge

Re: Wrong way round

What is the money saving? Is it just electricity in the datacenter?

What do you mean "just"?

Techie in need of a doorstop picks up 'chunk of metal' – only to find out it's rather pricey

dajames Silver badge

Re: Watch out for geological samples

Turned out that the pitchblende sample was WAY more radioactive than the carefully stored and licensed radioactive sources were!

We had two "official" radioactive sources at school. IIRC one was Cobalt 60 (beta and gamma radiation source) and the the other Americium 241 (alpha source). They were tiny samples -- around 5 microcuries each, I think -- enclosed in little nickel cups with convenient handles that enabled them to be picked up with lab tweezers, and each kept in its own special lead-lined wooden box. Each produced a modest ticking from the geiger counter when the tube was held up to the sample.

The physics master also had an old clock dial with luminous markings painted (we assumed) with a radium sulphide/zinc sulphide paint. As that wasn't officially a radioactive source it was kept in a drawer with the blackboard cleaner. That clock face drove the geiger counter frantic when the detector was anywhere near it.

Then again, so did my watch!

dajames Silver badge

Re: I did that once too...

That depends on which acid you are using, calcium carbonate reacts to give a coating of calcium sulphate which inhibits further reaction when using sulphuric acid. Use aqua regia as it gets the job of getting rid of the skeleton done.

Calcium Chloride is soluble, and won't form a coating, so hydrochloric acid will do the job.

You cartainly don't want to use aqua regia if you're hoping to sell any gold fillings, afterwards ...

Banking in 2019: Sure, we'd recommend TSB's online, mobe banking say cowed customers

dajames Silver badge

Re: Flawed survey ?

I have taken quite a few YouGov surveys where there is no correct answer to the question.

These surveys are constructed to provide "feedback" that supports the conclusion that is desired by the company that commissions the survey. They're not trying to discover what people think, they're trying to demonstrate that people want/like a specific thing.

As such, there is always a "correct" answer -- for a very specific definition of "correct" that has no basis in reality -- but there is never any entirely "incorrect" answer that the responders might inconveniently select as an alternative to the desired fiction.

It's meant to be like that.

Blockchain is bullsh!t, prove me wrong meets 'chain gang fans at tech confab

dajames Silver badge

"There's no reason to know [it's using blockchain]," he said. "Why do you care? It should be that you use an application and it works."

One reason to want to know whether a system is using blockchain is that one might wish to avoid systems built on hype and snake-oil, and one might consider the use of blockchain to be an indicator of just such a system.

Azure Pipelines go Slack while Microsoft frees data breakpoints from the shackles of C++

dajames Silver badge

Re: whoopee, ".Not" got something that C++ already had for, like, EVAR

Trying new things is called "innovation". Sometimes it works, a lot of the time it doesn't (Microsoft seems especially good at this side of the equation), but without it, we wither and die.

True ... but probably unimportant.

.Net was conceived as Java with a Redmondian accent, back when Sun Micrososytems were getting shirty with Microsoft for putting non-portable things in to Java. If there was innovation then it was Sun's not Microsoft's.

Actually, though, I'm not sure there was innovation, as the only "new" thing in Java was that it used an interpreted intermediate code that could be run on any platform -- and, in particular, in a browser ... and the only part of that that was new was targeting the browser, because UCSD did the intermediate code for portability thing with their Pascal P-System 20 years earlier.

Just think what good tooling for C++ we might have today if Microsoft had taken all the resources they threw at .Net and used them to improve the C++ development environment instead! Just think of the fancy debuggers, profilers, refactoring editors, and all the other stuff they might have been able to develop if they hadn't wasted their effort on an unnecessary runtime environment that nobody needed.

Microsoft ended up buying a slice of Sun, anyway, so the spat over Java went away. They didn't need to invent C-Hash and port all their huge codebase of Java to it ... they could have got on with something that produces material benefits for their users, instead!

Q. What's a good thing to put outside a building of spies? A: A banner saying 'here we are!'

dajames Silver badge

Re: That Huawei logo

I wonder if they have Huawei's permission to use their trademark on that banner?

Did you read the part of the article that says that HCSEC is administratively part of Huawei?

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

dajames Silver badge

Re: Yay landfill!

I stopped using TomTom after my device with lifetime maps stopped functioning because the maps got too big, and the response from TomTom support was basically "sucks to be you, buy a new device" and they refused to re-section the maps to fit... so "lifetime" ended up being about 11 months.

That is pretty disgraceful. My TomTom did NOT have lifetime maps, so I wasn't quite so shocked as you must have been when they told me, recently, that it was never going to be updated again because the maps had got too big. I just thought "That's why I've been using an SD card instead of the internal storage for the last several years -- I thought that's why they made these things expandable?"

Now I realize that they may have been trying to make me upgrade to one that could count more than 1k weeks, without admitting the laxity of their programming. Time will tell ...

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

dajames Silver badge

Re: Last-decade ?

Hah! Pyramids in Egypt are more than 2000 year old and some still find them beautiful.

They were probably much more beautiful when built, but apparently someone thought they looked too -- I don't know, pharaonic? -- and removed the limestone cladding.

So much for progress ...

Only plebs use Office 2019 over Office 365, says Microsoft's weird new ad campaign

dajames Silver badge

Re: Nothing like having your work day extended a few more hours

Libre Office doesn't work for anything non-trivial. I wish it DID. But it doesn't.

What's the factoid? 90% of Office users only ever use 10% of the features?

LibeOffice works pretty well for most people, just about all of the time.

dajames Silver badge


Or they want off the upgrade treadmill. Microsoft's traditional model only worked if customers needed to routinely update to the latest version, and so pay for it - but is that still true? Look how many years it took them to drive customers off of XP, and Windows Seven is still in common usage.

There's a piece of wisdom from the Ancients that says: If you want your users to upgrade from version X of something to version X+1, you should try to ensure that Version X+1 is at least as good as version X, that the upgrade breaks nothing, and that using version X+1 will not require re-learning the user interface.

Clever chaps those Ancients.

If version X+1 is widely perceived to be a cartload of turds the users will stick with version X.

Had Vista not been a resource hog requiring a substantial hardware upgrade to equal the speed of XP it wouldn't have been the dismal failure that it was. Had Windows 8 kept the UI of Windows 7 people wouldn't have seen it as something strange and incomprehensible and to be avoided.

Microsoft have only themselves to blame.

Everyday doings of a metropolitan techie: Stob's software diary

dajames Silver badge

Re: Kudos

... what was making the upgrade from Win 7 to Win 10 freeze at 81% (turned out to be something to do with AVG) ...

Ah! So AVG does do something to improve security. Who knew?

The chips are down: Now Microsoft blames Intel CPU supply shortages for dips in Windows, Office sales

dajames Silver badge

Intel CPU supply shortages

Wouldn't it be handy if Windows and Office could be run without having to rely on Intel hardware?

Maybe AMD could help?

Even Windows 10 can't save the PC market as chip shortages, Brexit uncertainties bite

dajames Silver badge

Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

Their hope was to keep their users by developing Windows phones that felt the same as their Windows desktop at work ...

Microsoft have always had this crazy notion that one single UI can be usable on computers of different shapes and sizes with different hardware mechanisms for input. It wasn't true when they tried to put the windows 2000 desktop on a PDA and call it "Windows for Pocket PC", and it still wasn't true when they tried to put the Windows Phone 7 UI onto a desktop and call it "Windows 8".

Phones and desktops are different devices, used by different people at different times for different things. A lot of people use both kinds of device, but for different things at different times, other people may use only one kind of device because they don't need to do the things for which that device is ill-suited.

Microsoft may have had many reasons for wanting to use a common UI across all platforms -- they may (as you say) have wanted their phone devices to gain acceptance by appearing familiar to desktop Windows users, they may have wanted to simplify their codebases by maximizing the use of common code across all platforms, they may have wanted to maximize the revenue they got from commissions on sales of all three apps in their app store ... wanting something doesn't make it achievable.

You like JavaScript! You really like it! Scripting lingo tops dev survey of programming languages

dajames Silver badge

Re: Still sucks balls, though.

Don't you think that it would've been wise to work in the three letters 'RAD' somehow? ;-)


I am struggling to think of ANY programming language in which the mathematical sin and cos functions expect their arguments to be in anything other than radians ... not C or C++, not Pascal, not Modula, not Java, not Python, not Algol, not Fortran, not Ada ... Logo, perhaps? I've never used it.

JavaScript has very many faults and many infelicities but I cannot think that this is one of them.

Disk drives suck less than they did a couple of years ago. Which is nice

dajames Silver badge

I only buy Enterprise rated drives for my home computer.

If you don't, you're just asking for trouble.

"Enterprise" drives are designed for different usage patterns, and are likely not to perform so reliably in a "consumer" environment ... given their significantly higher price methinks you are making a false economy.

You'd do better to buy two consumer drives and run them in a RAID1 array.

Data hackers are like toilet ninjas. This is not a clean crime, you know

dajames Silver badge

Re: Biblical solution to bathroom issue

Piss-eth? How's that a word?

It's, like, Old English, innit?

I do, thou dost, he doth ... so: I piss, thou pissest, he pisseth.

Back in the days when we all wrote in FORTRAN (before Fortran had discovered lower case) we all spoke like that.

Tens to be disappointed as Windows 10 Mobile death date set: Doomed phone OS won't see 2020

dajames Silver badge

The Tiles were the thing that made the UI the best of the phone UIs.

Methinks there's not much difference between a tile and a plain-coloured square icon ...

There aren't many ways that one can envisage of constructing a convenient UI for a device like a phone, and Microsoft at least did their best to make theirs look distinctive. It was a good UI for a phone (though not, I would say, significantly more so than either Android or IOS) -- but only for a phone. Microsoft's big failing was to try to do the same thing on their desktop platform, and that was such a poor fit that everyone blamed the UI itself and rejected it everywhere.

I used to be a dull John Doe. Thanks to Huawei, I'm now James Bond!

dajames Silver badge

Re: Roll your own?

Is there any reason why I couldn't bolt a GSM module on to a Raspberry Pi with small touchscreen attached, glue it into a box with a battery and create my own phone which runs a halfway decent OS?

It might turn out to need quite a BIG box, compared with today's smartphones ... though most of those do have rather large screens they are very thin (too large, and too thin, for my taste, but that's another matter).

In the early Pi days I recall someone did this, but I'm surprised I can't find anyone selling a DIY kit of parts. What's the catch?

You mean this guy? He didn't bother with the box, but did make a Pi-based phone. I shouldn't think he was the only one.

As he says in that blog post: "As you can see from the cost of the components, you’d be FAR better off going into your local phone store and picking up a normal smartphone". I doubt there's a big enough market for it to be worth anyone's while to put a kit together.

Neat project, though.

The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit

dajames Silver badge

Re: Devuan user here

... Bro/Sis (is there a gender-neutral term here? ...


(Short for "sibling", of course.)

This is the final straw, evil Microsoft. Making private GitHub repos free? You've gone too far

dajames Silver badge

Re: Not impressed

'Viri' would be the Latin plural anyway, not 'virii'.

The Latin word Virus is neuter, so it's plural would be expected to be vira

And even more pedantically, the Latin virus, meaning slimy liquid, doesn't have a plural.

That's right, the word virus is uncommon in Latin, being found in only a few texts, and only in the singular form. Cicero used it, incidentally, to mean "venom", which is probably where the current use in biology and IT originated.

When writing in English "viruses" is the least controversial option.

dajames Silver badge

Re: That didn't take very long.

Microsoft seem to have silently revered that policy...

I take it that "revered" was a typo for "reversed" ... the resultant inversion of meaning is delicious!

Bish, Bash... gosh! Good ol' Bourne Again Shell takes a bow as it reaches version five-point-zero

dajames Silver badge

Bourne Again Shell (Bash – geddit?)

Methinks that if there is humour here it is in "Bourne Again", rather than in the abbreviation that is "Bash", and to understand that you need to know that Bash was the successor to the Bourne shell, which was named after its creator, Stephen Bourne.

2018 ain't done yet... Amazon sent Alexa recordings of man and girlfriend to stranger

dajames Silver badge

Re: Always identify the spokesperson

To stop companies giving stupid PR answers to your questions, always report the name of the spokesperson who gave you the answer. After a while they will get so embarrassed that they start giving proper answers to your questions.

They will, of course, reply truthfully.

Some years ago I did some programming work for a small software company -- let's call them ITCo -- that was small enough that the telephone support was handled on a rota basis by developers. In order to stop callers asking for specific developers by name (some of us were much more tolerant of the support role than others) we always replied "Dr. Itco" when callers asked for our name.

Microsoft flings untested Windows 10 updates to users! (Oh no it doesn't!)

dajames Silver badge

Re: Firefox

...they are determined to self-destruct what was once a great achievement.

Methinks I've never sees "self-destruct" used as a transitive verb, before. It rather defies common sense, and doesn't seem to mean quite what the writer probably intended.

[Unless it was a Fascinating Aida reference, of course]

In 2018, Facebook is the villain and Microsoft the shining light, according to techies

dajames Silver badge

Re: Legislate, regulate

Any company allowing user data to be compromised will be fined ...

No. Don't fine the company. Make the directors of the company personally liable. Send them to prison for the worst violations so they can't just pay off the penalty from the vast fortunes that they will have accumulated by violating others' privacy. Make it hurt.

Then you stand a chance of making a difference.

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

dajames Silver badge

Re: The passing of an age

Who in their right mind wants to run Java in a browser ?

Running applets in a browser was one of the primary uses for which Sun introduced Java, back in the day. The browser was supposed to contain a bytecode interpreter (NOT a JIT compiler) that could check the Java code for correctness as it ran (rather than making vague guesses about what the code would do at JIT time and then letting it run natively without a sandbox), and this was supposed to lead to a more secure (and platform independent) way of delivering active content than the alternative technology available at the time -- ActiveX.

The reason nobody in their right mind runs Java in the browser today has more to do with the terrible quality of all the implementations of Java in the browser than any inherent unsuitability of Java for that purpose.

I'd certainly far rather see Java running in a good, secure, bug-free implementation of a browser-based JVM than active content delivered using the train-wreck that is JavaScript!

Java's not the problem here -- it may not be the language that does the most to encourage safe programming, but it'll do -- the problem lies in its implementation.

Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning

dajames Silver badge

Re: Riddle me this?

The claimed reason for collecting users' personal data is targeted advertising. But has ANYONE ever received a truly targeted advert?

The point about targeted advertising isn't that the advertisers will actually show you only advertisements that are relevant to your future purchasing needs -- that would truly be a neat trick!

No, the point is for the data gobblers to be able to persuade the advertisers to whom they sell your data that this will enable them to target their advertising more effectively, and so to charge more for the data.

Apple in another dust-up with its fans: iMacs, MacBooks lack filters, choke on grime – lawsuit

dajames Silver badge

Re: BullMerde

... 2012+ iMacs have the glass bonded to the LCD to allow the machines to be thinner ...

So, once again, the quality of the product is sacrificed on the altar of "thin".

Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence

dajames Silver badge

Re: This story reminds me about the "Cold Fusion" hipe of the '80s

I'm trying to work out whether your writing "hipe" instead of "hype" was a clever pun that has sadly eluded me completely, or just a spelling error?

...but to answer your implied question: The difference, of course, is that cold fusion would have been enormously useful had it been real, whereas blockchain is real, but isn't particularly useful.

Check your repos... Crypto-coin-stealing code sneaks into fairly popular NPM lib (2m downloads per week)

dajames Silver badge

Re: Javascript

Could hit Perl, perhaps, but in the case of C (or C++) there is no tradition of automatically pulling dependencies off the web whenever you build.

... and even if that were the case a developer might be expected to do some testing and measurement of the program once it was built, and would stand some chance of noting that something was not right.

Because Javascript is interpreted (OK, JIT-compiled, let's not split hairs) the problem is even worse: a Javascript program running in a webpage may pull in dependencies from the web whenever it is run. There is no opportunity for the developer to notice any errant behaviour, and little chance that the user would recognize it until it bit him.

Office 365 Exchange enjoys a less than manic Monday. Users? Not so much

dajames Silver badge

Re: All eggs, one basket.

got Libre Office?

Unfortunately LibreOffice doesn't include a mail client ... it should -- it'd be a winner -- it's not like there's much competition!

Consultant misreads advice, ends up on a 200km journey to the Exchange expert

dajames Silver badge

When I was about 12 my parents bought me a cheap tape recorder for my birthday (this was a couple of years before cassette recorders became ubiquitous, so it was a bit of a rarity). I bounced down to breakfast to find the gadget positioned beside my place at table, not wrapped or even in its box, but with the instruction booklet on top.

Wasting barely a moment on the Book of Words I pressed the "Play" button and my father's voice emerged from the small loudspeaker saying:

Read the Instructions FIRST!


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