* Posts by Graham 32

92 posts • joined 9 Jun 2011

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Is your kid looking at GCSE in computer science? It's exam-only from 2022 – Ofqual

Graham 32

That's all the students want. It's just a stepping stone to the next level of education.

Reminds me of my A levels during the time when most teachers were handing out exam papers from previous years to help us learn the sorts of things the exam board liked to test. This wasn't happening in the Computing course so we asked one of our teachers and he wouldn't give us any old papers. Then we asked what we needed to know for the exam, he pointed at the 400-page text book and said "learn everything in that, you'll get an A." So we just asked the other teacher at the next lesson and got what we wanted.

I didn't realise at the time, but even then we were showing a very smart problem solving skill: understand the scope of the problem.

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?

Graham 32

"Are you sure" dialogs are known not to work for common tasks. The user knows the question is coming so answers it automatically. For this case users know to type the number, press enter, press Y.

You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock

Graham 32

Re: Didn't know that - which one?

But it's not a service you keep using every day like a chat app. It'll be something more akin to doing an online tax return - not something that drives your phone buying decision.

Ofcom asks networks, ISPs: Hey, wouldn't it be nice if you let customers know the best deal once their contract's up?

Graham 32

Re: Contracts

This.

Currently the end of a contract is a double win for the supplier. The long contract term is supposedly there to make sure they make money back from the setup costs they usually waive. After the fixed term ends they are presumably making much more money from you each month as the setup cost has been recouped... and then they up the monthly price too!

The regulator should demand the cost out of contract is no more than in contract.

Marriott's Starwood hotels mega-hack: Half a BILLION guests' deets exposed over 4 years

Graham 32

email-marriott.com

email-marriott.com? Really? That looks like a scam from the get go.

Graham 32

Re: Card numbers

Is there anyone in the UK that does this? (I think Cahoot used to but long since stopped) I'd like it so I don't have to phone insurance companies every year to tell them I don't want to auto-renew.

If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey

Graham 32

Re: PN, donkeys!

> "one month rolling contract so if they are shit I can switch again"

This! A short contract says the company is confident in their service you'll want to stay. I'm even happy to pay a setup fee because I realise companies have costs associated with the setup. I don't like 12 month contracts but the 18 and even 24 months some ask for are ridiculous. And they own your phone line until you've paid up so you can't even try out a competitor before dropping the current service. Such a horrible market. I'm hoping mobile broadband will take off to fix the lock in.

Also I rent my home. The fixed term let and expired and so converted to a default rolling contract cos there's no reason to keep paying the letting agent contract arrangement fees (photocopying + postage fees!) every year. So the landlord can kick me out with 2 months notice. Making any commitment to a utility for more than 6 months feels like a risk.

Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it's old and unloved

Graham 32

Re: Please tell me how to do this!

> It wouldn't suprise me if somebody come up with a slight twist to RSS and tried to commercialise it (Like Slack did with IRC!)

They did. It's called Twitter. You're supposed to "follow" the people/organisations you're interested in and have them spam the same link 50 times a day to drown out all the others you're following.

UK.gov withdraws life support from flagship digital identity system

Graham 32

Re: It sucked lemons!

> Genuine question - why would the Royal Mail know the year you moved house?

They have scanners that read the address on every envelope and package be it printed or hand written. When you move home they can redirect your mail automatically to your new address at fairly low cost so I know it won't be a manual system. Anyhow, the scanner systems could record details of everything sent to every address and so a quick query of the database would reveal when your name started appearing on letters for your current home.

And they will be recording all that data. If the promise of some big data analytics isn't enough you can bet the government/GCHQ will have demanded it.

Remember that lost memory stick from Heathrow Airport? The terrorist's wet dream? So does the ICO

Graham 32

Re: Fines? Pah!

>f you fine a company it will only recover the costs through its customers, that's you and me, via increased prices.

True, but they should have charging higher prices and using the money to improve training, processes, monitoring etc.

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't

Graham 32

Re: not yours

> Actually, at least here in Europe, you can legally make copies for private use.....

Not in the UK. We did have a "fair use" style law introduced a few years ago but it was overturned on some technicality. I doubt it let you copy anything with copy protection like DVDs, but you could legally rip your CDs.

'Oh sh..' – the moment an infosec bod realized he was tracking a cop car's movements by its leaky cellular gateway

Graham 32

Re: Cops doing they best, unfortunately

@AC "I was on a jury a few years back..."

Don't they just ask the phone network what calls were made? I'd expect that to be much easier to do and have more reliable results.

UK.gov commits to rip-and-replacing Blighty's wheezing internet pipes

Graham 32

Devil's in the detail

When the govt sets up a deal like this they usually give in to some stupid demands from the private sector. I'm expecting these homes will initially be limited to just BT as their ISP. After a few years some regulation changes will allow other ISPs in but BT will charge a lot for access to the last mile making it difficult to compete. BT's pricing will be "special" for these new homes, they'll say the new tech is more expensive to run, so the monthly ISP bill will be lots more than copper connected homes.

Yet another thing to consider when buying a home: is it one of the new-build FTTP properties where you get fleeced every month for internet access?

Chrome, Firefox pull very unstylish Stylish invasive browser plugin

Graham 32

Re: Don't Firefox and Chrome check the extensions behaviour?

There probably is something but it won't be a human reading the code reverse engineering what it does and checking it's compliant with the privacy policy.

It'll be something similar to anti-virus software. Heuristics can pick up some nasty code, but mostly it's about producing signatures of already-in-the-wild viruses and making sure they don't get executed again - or in the case of a browser plugin library, making sure someone doesn't upload it again.

Schadenfreude for UK mobile networks over the tumult at Carphone

Graham 32

Re: Soon?

@AC Assuming HID is Human Interface Device, I'm not aware of special rules for those. I have returned a mobile phone to Amazon on the "I inspected it and decided I don't like it" grounds without any hassle. As far as I can see they have to do that, it's not Amazon being nice.

Turns out Distance Selling Regs have been replaced with Consumer Contract Regs but it's mostly similar. Items you cannot return include: CDs, DVDs or software if you've broken the seal on the wrapping, perishable items and tailor-made or personalised items.

ref: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-contracts-regulations

The exemption for "personalised items" is why Apple offers free engraving on the back of an iPhone - they want you to give up your right to send it back!

Graham 32

Re: Soon?

Distance Selling Regs are your friend here. Playing with a phone in a store is just for a few minutes and probably tethered to the shelf. You can buy a phone online, unbox it, set it up, use for a day or two and then if you find something annoying do a factory reset and send it back.

Leaked pics: Motorola to add 'unpatriotic' 5G to 4G phones with magnets

Graham 32

Re: I dont really understand why i need 5g at all

"in a fully 5G compatible *area*" I meant. D'oh. Too late to edit now

Graham 32

Re: I dont really understand why i need 5g at all

5G isn't just short range, the signals suffer a lot when objects are in the way.

https://5g.co.uk/news/5g-britain-modelled-on-bournemouth/4120/ says "it will be very important for compatible devices to have line-of-sight access to 5G aerials". This makes it next to useless for a consumer product. Indoor use needs to work.

And then it rambles on about how 5G is needed for driverless cars. A driverless car that only works in a fully 5G compatible? What a joke. Infrastructure like traffic lights might be able to use it, but they're not bandwidth hungry enough to need 5G.

5G might have uses to someone, but it's not a better flavour of 4G.

10 social networks ignored UK government consultations

Graham 32

Re: I have only one thing to say...

>They've nailed it with the pr0n verification

I expected them to wait a while for that to settle in before doing the scope creep to get it covering other websites.

Interestingly, this could set up a big MindGeek vs Facebook battle for who controls all the user profiles on the internet. I know it's like choosing between Trump or Clinton, but it'll be interesting. And if Facebook doesn't get into the porn industry they're leaving the door open for MindGeek to win. Popcorn time.

IP freely? What a wind-up! If only Trevor Baylis had patent protections inventors enjoy today

Graham 32

Re: Analogous to nature, really ?

The best ideas always seem obvious afterwards.

if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders

Graham 32

Re: There should be a few rules for SO

> Sooner or later, someone *else* will have to maintain (or worse, *use*) this person's code.

The question still deserves an answer, although it makes sense to ad the warning that there's better ways.

The boss will often see the quickest fix as the best fix even if it has greater long-term costs. That's just how it goes sometimes and so a seemingly dumb question gets asked on Stack Overflow.

ICANN takes Whois begging bowl to Europe, comes back empty

Graham 32

I don't know if there will be a lot of fines handed out, but it will be bargaining chip. When a European company gets an enormous fine from a US regulator (eg Volkswagen), an EU government might retaliate with a GDPR investigation on some US company. Or both sides might talk in the background and agree on silly small fines all round to keep things friendly.

UK consumer help bloke Martin Lewis is suing Facebook over fake ads

Graham 32

>That's an interesting couple of examples...

I think it depends what's wrong with the ad. If it contains defamatory remarks, offensive words etc, then I would expect ITV to be responsible for the ad's content. They should review the ad before it goes out to check it's not breaking general broadcast rules. But if it's an ad that, for example, is for an ISP claiming to be the cheapest/fastest/whatever when really they're not, I don't see that as ITV's responsibility.

When the ASA makes a ruling using the familiar "must not be shown again in its current form" phrase the ruling is against the advertiser not the broadcaster.

The Royal Mail aren't to blame for letters as they can't see the content of the communication. The junk leaflets they shove through the letterbox with the post might be a different matter.

Anon biz bloke wins milestone Google Right To Be Forgotten lawsuit

Graham 32

Re: Does this cover all search engines - or just Google ?

> makes Google a news provider

I get the impression the story is still available on the actual news site, the ruling is just saying Google must not return it in search results. Other search engines probably still link to it.

Seems all topsy-turvy. If the right to be forgotten is being carried out then 1. remove the original news story, 2. tell search engines to remove old links to it from their index and cache.

RIP, Swype: Thanks for all the sor--speec--speedy texting

Graham 32

At very least a download of the last version so you can still use it. Pulling it from the app store removes access to those who paid for it.

Microsoft reveals 'limitations of apps and experiences on Arm' – then deletes from view

Graham 32

So they're ADDING features, right?

"guts doc on 'Limitations..." means that they're adding features, ie there are now fewer limitations.

Took me several attempts to work out the story is not comparing and old long list of limitations with a new shorter list of limitations. Perhaps a headline saying "pulls doc" rather than "guts" would have been more appropriate.

Firefox to warn users who visit p0wned sites

Graham 32

Re: Until we can breed more clueful users...

@EnviableOne I think that's done to stop the dimwits slamming the brakes on to stop and write down the URL. Lesser of two evils.

Go on IBMers, tell us what you really think

Graham 32

Re: IBM

My favourite: Idiots Become Managers

Reality strikes Dixons Carphone's profits after laughing off Brexit threat

Graham 32

Re: No surprise there

Re: AC of "If the CEO rose through the ranks..."

I once read some commentator* say most CEOs have just one trick. Their success is determined by how well they can identify a company that needs their trick, and knowing when it's done and time to move on.

* might have been Bob Cringely talking about Lou Gerstner's services-first strategy that worked at American Express and IBM, but I can't find a reference to be sure.

Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Graham 32

Re: blocked?

I doubt Google would do that. The public backlash would be too big.

My guess is some spyware/adware addon to Chrome is installed and it's that which wants to stop you switching to another browser.

5G is not just a radio: Welcome to the fibre-tastic new mobile world

Graham 32

Re: WTF?

Totally agree. I gave up at "backhaul/fronthaul". There's a chance this all makes sense to someone, but as I don't work in the infrastructure dept of a mobile telco it's meaningless to me.

Stack Clash flaws blow local root holes in loads of top Linux programs

Graham 32

Re: Not just linux, also OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD and Solaris on 32-bit and 64-bit x86"

"Developers. This one is on you. Update your build options"

Why is it even an option? If it's the right thing to do the compiler should just work that way all the time (assuming it's an up to date compiler).

Facebook, Twitter and Google are to blame for terrorism, say MPs

Graham 32

"We believe that young people’s lack of ability or awareness of the need to critically challenge their beliefs is also central to the problems"

Damn right. But careful what you wish for, politicians. They might start critically challenging YOU.

Broken BitBank Bitfinex shaves 36% from all accounts

Graham 32

Re: I wonder

> the only currency that will matter in that case will be blow jobs and baloney sandwiches

Sounds like Bill Hicks.

UK digital minister denies legal right to 10Mbps is 'damp squib'

Graham 32

"Not a binary debate, that you are either pro security or pro encryption."

I had to read that several times to see the conflict. I read "pro security" and thought pro information security and therefore pro privacy, which *is* pro encryption. But he meant "pro government controlling everything". Silly me. I obviously need more education about how to live every moment in fear of terrorists and paedophiles.

Vaizey: Legal right to internet access, sure. But I'm NOT gonna die on the 10Mbps hill

Graham 32

So Luxembourg has 200people/km2 vs the UK's 264people/km2. Those numbers suggest it should be cheaper (per person) for the UK to wire everyone up.

Google tried to be funny, cocked it up, everyone thought it was a bug

Graham 32

Re: What a useful feature.

In a business email environment an "auto-delete all future responses to this thread" would be very useful. It could nip in the bud all those spam inducing emails that say "well done" or "welcome a new member to the team". Or the very worst email of all "I'm taking a holiday doing what I enjoy and now I expect you to donate to my favourite charidee" and the 97 follow ups of "everyone look at me, I have donated."

90% of SSL VPNs are ‘hopelessly insecure’, say researchers

Graham 32

Re: Clickbait.

>You would be surprised how much more soothing reading The Register becomes with the aid of a simple Greasemonkey script that just "disappears" any titles with a set of keywords in it (first filter: DevOps)

I've never got round to doing that, but I have been tempted. My first filter would be to delete anything containing "Elon" or "Musk".

Three: We won't hike prices if you say yes to £10.5bn O2 merger

Graham 32

Re: Consumers Vs Business

@Warm Braw

I agree with the natural monopoly bit in reference to Openreach. The physical network is expensive to build and so a huge barrier to entry for competitors. But services on the network have a much lower entry cost *if* getting access to the network is a level playing field. Hence all the fuss about making Openreach truly separate from BT.

How about O2 and Three can merge only if the network (masts, backhaul etc) is spun off as a separate, truly independent company. None of this "we keep control and make vague promises about 'other meaningful competitors'" crap which will just give us another BT situation the public will spend 30+ years complaining about.

Oracle blurts Google's Android secrets in court: You made $22bn using Java, punk

Graham 32

Re: Fortunately, the info is very hard to find.

Sadly, it's not a misuse anymore. http://theweek.com/articles/466957/how-wrong-definition-literally-sneaked-into-dictionary

14 strikes and you’re out. Or not. Emails reveal how Cox lost Safe Harbor

Graham 32

"... in a case bought by music publishers BMG Rights Management and its copyright cop, Rightscorp Inc."

At first I thought this was a typo, but given how the American legal system works, maybe not.

EE plans to block annoying ads on mobile network

Graham 32

"It would seem that the proposals are aimed at nudging big ad players into better practices."

No, it's about charging big ad players into have their ads shown. They looked at AdBlock Plus's revenue stream and would like some of it.

It's come to this for IBM: Watson is now a gimmick app on the iPhone

Graham 32

Re: Arggggggg

But if Lego were a supermarket...

TalkTalk claims 157,000 customers were victims of security breach

Graham 32

Re: Even Jeremy Clarkson could tell them they're wrong

Already discussed here: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2685867

Also worth noting that a DD can only give your money to registered recipients: utilities, charities etc. Not much use to the hackers.

Here's how TalkTalk ducked and dived over THAT gigantic hack

Graham 32

Re: fuck this makes me angry!

@J3D1 Maybe not. Direct Debits allow companies to be reliably paid on time. The alternative is sending bills and waiting for customers to pay up, chasing with follow up demands etc which is less efficient and so more costly.

If there's the occasional fraudulent DD set up that companies/banks/whoever have to refund it may well be cheaper than having a more secure DD system that fewer people use.

Someone will be crunching the numbers, and I expect the current DD system will still be the cheapest.

'To read this page, please turn off your ad blocker...'

Graham 32

Re: Note to advertisers

I completely agree. It's why I disabled animated GIFs in Firefox years ago.

Now if only there were a search engine that would allow options such as "never show results for Tapatalk-based websites".

3D printer blueprints for TSA luggage-unlocking master keys leak online

Graham 32

Re: Well, so how about the brilliant idea of...

Of course the FBI think it's a good idea. They want access to all data. This will give them access to all data. They care about your privacy as much as the TSA cares about keeping your luggage secure.

Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

Graham 32

"As screens of that resolution go it’s sharp and bright and viewing angles are very strong."

Can someone explain why wide viewing angles are important on handheld devices? I would expect a narrow viewing angle would improve battery life as less light needs to be emitted. Also I'd prefer it if the person next sat next to me in the pub/train/bus couldn't read my screen.

Gloves on as Googler deposits foul zero-day on Kaspersky lawn

Graham 32
Headmaster

Is it cold...

... or did you mean the gloves are OFF?

Gloves on = fighting fair

Gloves off = fighting dirty

So unfair! Teachers know what’s happening on students' fondleslabs

Graham 32

Re: "Just a thought"

Maybe, maybe not.

A few years ago I was in a meeting with a visiting US colleague. She was surprised how many people were listening to what she was saying. In the US it was so common for everyone in meetings to sit typing away on their laptops that some offices had started "full attention meetings", ie laptops banned.

While it sounds like hell, the idea was that after a while it encourages people to think more about whether the meeting is needed and do all the attendees need to be there. Well, that was the idea....

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