* Posts by David Gosnell

894 posts • joined 19 Jun 2007

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Samsung Galaxy A9: Mid-range bruiser that takes the fight to Huawei

David Gosnell

"threat of SIM-only subscribers"

That'll be the baked in battery then. Forced obsolescence – and don't go arguing about waterproofing etc. My phone manages a user-replaceable battery and IP67 rating.

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Punkt: A minimalist Android for the paranoid

David Gosnell

Consumers probably have "four or five devices" that do WhatsApp already

Not officially. WhatsApp officially works only on one's primary phone, the account being tied to its phone number. You can synchronise a web app view from a desktop/laptop, but they've made it intentionally awkward to do the same from a tablet. There are of course workarounds for all this, involving number fakers and whatnot, but not for the faint-hearted.

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Sub-Prime: Amazon's big day marred by server crashes, staff strikes

David Gosnell

Fools and their money evidently not quite so easily parted

Prime Day is all about getting new Prime subscriptions, very little about unrepeatable bargains. Don't hear so much about Prime Plus One Month Day, when all those forgotten subscriptions start charging, and end up costing considerably more than the amount "saved" on the original purchase.

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Timehop admits to more data leakage, details GDPR danger

David Gosnell

How many others?

How many other services, websites and apps like this are there, long-forgotten and barely-maintained flashes in the pan running on last-decade technology and security/privacy principles? Surely a massive powderkeg / can-of-worms / [insert metaphor of choice] with all this abandonware holding so much personal information. Thankfully TimeHop is one I never saw the point in so never participated in, but I know many who did.

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Dear Samsung mobe owners: It may leak your private pics to randoms

David Gosnell

Assuming this is using MMS...

... who still uses MMS anyway? Forget blocking permissions, just delete the MMS settings from the APN and never risk any other app doing the same, or a plain-text SMS being misidentified and overcharged. The only justification for MMS is if you're roaming, when (bizarrely) they can be cheaper than an SMS, but data (via pretty much any messaging app of choice) is likely to be cheaper and superior image quality anyway.

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A volt out of the blue: Phone batteries reveal what you typed and read

David Gosnell

At least as much to do with them realising that the buying public has woken up to the scam of contracts, and (given batteries' limited lifetime with current technology; saw some interesting reporting at the weekend in this regard) so happily implementing an engineering solution to the end of the previously complacently presumed two-year upgrade cycle. Mine's the S5 Mini with (claimed) IP67 and a user-replaceable battery – that being the other myth the manufacturers like to perpetuate to justify baking in the batteries.

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User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

David Gosnell

Rubber bands

Going back 25-odd years, I remember overhearing a conversation in a computer shop, where the customer explained that they had cleaned the mouse-ball mechanism. Well all apart from the little rubber bands round the rollers.

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June 2018, and Windows Server can be pwned with a DNS request

David Gosnell

Interesting choice of headline image

Alt-texted as "window patch", but almost certainly hails from the days of the window tax. If only it were now as easy as getting some bricks and mortar, at least to make more than an individual stand against it.

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It's true – it really is grim up north, thanks to Virgin Media. ISP fined for Carlisle cable chaos

David Gosnell

Re: a year and a half on, the service is still not available to sign up to

Well yes, there is that! All the more reason to be more than happy with our 55/10 Plusnet, though choice is generally a good thing. But having first hand experience of some of Virgin's other business interests, quite glad not to have to have anything to do with them.

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David Gosnell

No doubt to be followed here, or one can hope

They (or, rather, their contractor) made an utter mess of cabling our Surrey street a year and a half ago, having to rip up loads they'd bodged, and cutting through an elderly neighbour's phone line and trashing at least three water meters in the process. They gave less than 24 hours notice before starting. Yellow tabarded inspectors with clipboards and cameras have been a common sight since. And to add insult to injury, a year and a half on, the service is still not available to sign up to.

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

David Gosnell

"... he should report any adverts ..."

Because their track record of doing diddly squat with anything users succeed in fighting through their byzantine "wizard" to actually report is so glowing, right?

62
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UK pub chain Wetherspoons' last call: ♫ Just a spoonful of Twitter – let's pull social media down ♫

David Gosnell

I might have broken their Facebook

The announcement came within moments of my posting on their Facebook page, regarding a combination of problems with their mobile ordering app and non-responsive customer services. Coincidence? Oh, probably. Hoping this might mean they actually have some staff to reassign to aforementioned non-responsive customer services. Oh, probably not.

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Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage

David Gosnell

Re: 618MB later...

Update: needless to say, it didn't actually remove all imported contacts at all. Still naive.

Further update: it took a while, but eventually I was notified the process was complete, and the displayed list duly empty. I shall attempt another data dump to see if the offending information is removed. Odds of success? Well, it still seems to have remembered the last data dump rather than creating a new one, so maybe, maybe not. But that does mean that even though it might have purged its database, the information is still in the dump file it's trying to serve me, so they are in fact continuing to store it (albeit in static form) even though I have asked for it to be deleted and they say they have. Big oops.

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David Gosnell

Re: 618MB later...

I'm hoping for a change in social norms such that sharing address books with third party services begins to be widely recognized and condemned as the antisocial act that it really is.

With the benefit of hindsight, no arguments there. They seem to have changed the mechanisms around this, so I cannot see the specific boilerplate around the upload. I clearly wouldn't have used it had there been any suggestion the data would be retained beyond the immediate operation, but I still make no excuses for my naivete.

Out of interest, I note there is a Facebook function Remove all imported contacts which I would hope does as it says on the tin rather than spam the poor buggers with fake news. No idea if that's been around a while or only since this scandal blew up. Update: needless to say, it didn't actually remove all imported contacts at all. Still naive.

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David Gosnell

Re: 618MB later...

Oversimplification, and without seeing the specific data involved, impossible for you to say for certain. My experience with the API is that it returns user/group/whatever objects, and although the information seen in the dump obviously is derived from those in some way, whether they are certain to be returned, in full, to any app granted contact information, is uncertain. A sample app might prove it, not a Wikipedia page.

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David Gosnell

618MB later...

OK, I downloaded my data and tried to find the juiciness. Yes, there is much contact information in there that goes above and beyond anything expressly shared - though not to the detail of call logs. However I do remember occasionally doing a "upload my Thunderbird address book to find friends" a few times historically, although I'm pretty sure that clearly said it would be used for nothing else, but not necessarily that it wouldn't be kept on file "just in case". However the key thing for me (if not data protection lawyers) is that just because Facebook are keeping this data doesn't necessarily mean they are sharing it with anyone. Of course not guaranteed, and it's "in there" if they chose to or were hacked. I'm not sufficiently familiar with the API to know quite what is passed when users agree certain permissions for apps etc, but I rather doubt the detail of information seen here would be part of the deal. So probably a bit of an over-reaction, but still cause for concern given the risk of data breach or past/future malevolence.

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Five things you need to know about Microsoft's looming Windows 10 Spring Creators Update

David Gosnell

Yet another "Creators" update?!

The third, is it? Is this deliberate confusion on their part to lull users into the mindset of "Oh just another 4GB to fail to download a few times" and just accept that caned broadband and uncertainty of forward compatibility is the price to pay for being assured even of security updates - according to recent reports?

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Space, the final blunt-tier: Binary system ejected huge 'spliff' asteroid, boffins reckon

David Gosnell

Binary system unsurprising

Last I heard, consensus was that most star systems are binary, so statistically it's pretty likely, even before taking into account the increased likelihood of such systems spitting out projectile asteroids.

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Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser

David Gosnell

Probably a storm in a teacup

Really not entirely sure this is quite as big a deal as portrayed, odious as it may be.

Does anyone actually use Mail outside the kind of tablet-based environment that is locked down to Microsoft Store apps anyway? In that context, Edge (and wrappers thereof) is the mandated browser in any case. I suspect that the number of people who this adversely affects on a proper desktop environment with a choice of superior alternatives in the first place, is practically irrelevant.

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Voice assistants are always listening. So why won't they call police if they hear a crime?

David Gosnell

Somehow this conjures reverse images of Kevin in Home Alone, scaring the burglars with the video film

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BT backs down from charging millions in phone book listing fees

David Gosnell

Typical BT

To make up for delayed death, screw over the blindly loyal or inertia-bound even more for the privilege, as with their phone lines.

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Are you taking the peacock? United Airlines deny flight to 'emotional support' bird

David Gosnell

Image in Independent article, linked above

Doesn't that technically count as fellatio?

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User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

David Gosnell

Old as the hills

Isn't the mouse thing as old as the hills? I guess it's time for a new generation to appreciate.

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'The capacitors exploded, showering the lab in flaming confetti'

David Gosnell

Capacitor

I remember a fellow student getting bored waiting for a formal and safety-conscious demonstration of destroying an electrolytic capacitor, and jamming a large one straight into a mains socket in the lab creating quite an impressive (but mercifully harmless) fireworks display. In his defence he thought there was a 50/50 chance of getting it the right way round... 50 had something to do with the reality of course, but is a homophone with hurts.

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Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

David Gosnell

Re: As I recently wrote on the broad matter...

@JLV

I surely hope so too, but as I understand it, current stated US doctrine appears to be less reassuring, specifically refusing to adopt a no-first-use policy. Gentlemen's agreements may not apply to lunatics.

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David Gosnell

As I recently wrote on the broad matter...

Given that *any* long-range missile North Korea flung at the US (or allied target) would essentially mean regime if not national suicide, does it matter (from that point of view; there are obviously greater implications) whether it's got a nuclear warhead or not, if there's even an outside chance it might? Strikes me that North Korea have been going overdrive on the fear, uncertainty and doubt with all their nuclear testing and test missile launches (with varying degrees of success), to the point that if they were crazy enough to try it on, whether they really can yet miniaturise a nuclear device becomes of secondary significance if the response before any missile is even half way across the Pacific will be to flatten them. The only real question would be whether the US's own crazed despot would authorise nuclear carnage or engage in a more measured precision regime-targeting response. Either way, at the very least the Kim dynasty's tenure would be over, and they may as well save themselves the weapons-development effort to invest in rebuilding the country afterwards. Let's just hope this is all hypothetical armchair analysis, but with crazies on both sides of the ocean, it's hard to be too optimistic.

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UK Data Protection Bill tweaked to protect security researchers

David Gosnell

Re: So essentially..

(b) where feasible, not later than 72 hours after becoming aware of it

Guess it depends on interpretations of feasible.

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It gets worse: Microsoft’s Spectre-fixer wrecks some AMD PCs

David Gosnell

KB4056892

Interesting that update KB4056892 is designated a quality improvement update by Microsoft, with only passing mention of security (possibly including the specific issues) at all. It's one thing being a bit hush-hush about all this, but would be reassuring if users knew for sure they were protected as best they could be.

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GIMPS crack whip on plucky processor to find largest prime number

David Gosnell

5318008

It's in there. Just the once though.

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David Gosnell
Joke

Re: A bloody good read actually

It trailed off at the end to nothing

That would have meant divisibility by 2, 5 and 10 at the very least.

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Facebook folds fake news flag: We're not disputing that

David Gosnell

For all the times I ever saw such items on Facebook (obviously quite often)...

... I only ever found a relevant reporting option approximately twice. It might have been three times. They obviously never were remotely serious about this working, just a bit of lip-service to TPTB.

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Brit MP Dorries: I gave my staff the, um, green light to use my login

David Gosnell

According to the Times [usual disclaimers apply]...

One of the ex-cops embroiled in this insists: "The computer was in Mr Green's office on his desk, logged in, you know, his account, his name. In between browsing pornography he was sending emails from his account, his personal account, reading documents, writing documents and it was just impossible it was exclusive and extensive that, you know, it was ridiculous to suggest that anyone else could have done it."

You know. Well maybe. I sort of get what he's saying. You know.

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French activists storm Paris Apple Store over EU tax dispute

David Gosnell

Image source

Just in case anyone might think the implication was made this was a real image from the significantly more peaceful-sounding event, it's not. Actually seems to track back to a photo by Gorb Andrii from a riot in Kiev. #statingthebleedingobviousiknow

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Phone fatigue takes hold: SIM-onlys now top UK market

David Gosnell

Unshackled for years

I unshackled myself just over six years ago (after lacklustre upgrade offers from Orange, then O2) and have never looked back. Never paid more than about £150 for a phone, or £10 a month for more minutes and data than I can use. I know a few people still on contracts, but I guess if you must have the latest £900 iShiny it's either that or BrightHouse. Not much to choose between the two, essentially. The idea of spending out more than the leccy bill just to be able to show off seems frankly obscene.

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National Cyber Security Centre boss: For the love of $DEITY, use 2FA on your emails, peeps

David Gosnell

Oh, and there was me thinking they'd just dropped in "2FA" as part of a game of buzzword bingo, being all the rage in security circles even if no-one directly involved has a clue what it actually means, let alone how to implement it.

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If your websites use WordPress, put down that coffee and upgrade to 4.8.3. Thank us later

David Gosnell

Good riddance

Only a couple of days ago I shook off the one and only WordPress website I hosted, on an "as is" goodwill basis, after it showed me little reciprocal goodwill. A hacker (I hesitate even to use the term, it was obviously so easy) managed to walk straight in and make a heck of a mess. Whether it was due to this vulnerability I have no idea, and now no longer especially care.

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WPA2 KRACK attack smacks Wi-Fi security: Fundamental crypto crapto

David Gosnell

TV Licensing

No doubt TV Licence enforcement are watching with interest, as a potential mechanism for their latest optimistic "iPlayer over wi-fi detection" claims is revealed.

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It's Patch Blues-day: Bad October Windows updates trigger BSODs

David Gosnell

BSOD

I thought BSODs were supposed to have been consigned to history in Windows <insert some previous version here>...

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Rejecting Sonos' private data slurp basically bricks bloke's boombox

David Gosnell

"the system goes into limited compatibility mode"

Best euphemism yet?

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More and more websites are mining crypto-coins in your browser to pay their bills, line pockets

David Gosnell

Bringing browsers to their knees

Nothing seems to be able to bring a browser to its knees as effectively as badly-configured Bootstrap and a bunch of advertising plug-ins, so agreed, perhaps this isn't such a bad thing. Less intrusive in every way.

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Microsoft fixing Windows 10 'stuttering' bugs in Creators Update

David Gosnell

Edge

How about they work on the known insta-crash bug in Edge? Especially since they're now touting a version of the operating system essentially locked down to using it.

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Unloved Microsoft Edge is much improved – but will anyone use it?

David Gosnell

Unreliable

Not when it keeps crashing on me before it's even done anything. I blamed the Creators Update, but applied the recommended fix*, which worked. For a day. But now it's broken again. Unbothered, only use it for compatibility testing.

* As advised by a web search I'd have been unable to carry out had I been using Windows S, essentially locked to using Edge!

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ICO fines Morrisons for emailing customers who didn't want to be emailed

David Gosnell

Re: "We sent out an information message"

Rather like the doorstep hawkers ignoring our clear police-issue sign, insisting that they are "not selling anything". So, how's that financially worthwhile for your double glazing company?

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Plans to force ISPs to filter content branded 'disproportionate'

David Gosnell

Misread the headline!

Plans to force ISPs to filter content branded 'disproportionate'

I genuinely wondered who was going to be the arbiter of what is deemed disproportionate. Were ISPs going to have to start blocking the BBC once they'd gone on about a dead celeb for more than 10 minutes?

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60 slow-mo A-bomb test videos explode onto YouTube

David Gosnell

Not video, but...

This is pretty cool stuff, in a chilling way:

https://petapixel.com/2014/03/05/rapatronic-camera-atomic-blast-captured-11000000000th-second/

Images from a series of ~10 nanosecond snaps of an early nuclear blast.

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Nokia’s big comeback: Watches, bathroom scales, a 3310 PR gimmick, Snake, erm...

David Gosnell

Wellies

I used to love my Nokia wellies. That division also was flogged off, but at least still seems to be operational, but a shame a new pair would cost more than this phone.

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I was authorized to trash my employer's network, sysadmin tells court

David Gosnell

"the whole of Monday sorting out"

Oh my heart truly bleeds.

1
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Google agrees to break pirates' domination over music searches

David Gosnell

Malware

Will they also demote the indirect malware links some music searches lead to, which AFAIK are currently not flagged as such, by virtue of the indirection? Searching for a particular track leads to a hopeful looking result with a suitably large WAV download on an FTP server. Downloading the WAV it appears it's in an encrypted format, and requires the download of a proprietary decoder, which is of course pure malware. The downloaded "WAV" file itself is reportedly pure white noise to the appropriate length, probably served off a server that faked the size in the first place and just pipes from /dev/random to order. I hasten to add I've never got further than the initial download (for a legitimate purpose), but understand others have not been so lucky. It's a particularly nasty attack on those having to go to desperate lengths to find music not available by any other channel.

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Samsung set a fire under battery-makers to make the Galaxy Note 7 flaming brilliant

David Gosnell

Turning point? I doubt it, but hey...

As initially understood then, a battery fault, unfortunately exacerbated by a different fault in the replacement. Having hardwired the battery as so many manufacturers have chosen to do, Samsung have massively paid the price by having to cancel the device altogether, for a mixture of perceptive and economic reasons. As one of the last manufacturers to stop using easily replaceable batteries, could they make a move that's positive for both the company and consumers by being one of the first to admit they were wrong and reverse that policy? Baked-in batteries (more literally than Samsung ever intended) are pure cynical marketing hype and a sustainability disaster, a technological "solution" to customers increasingly hanging on to handsets long after the mobile networks can fleece them for overpriced contracts. Yes, they enable slimmer handsets, but that's pure marketing guff when the upshot is more fragile devices (yay, more early upgrades and expensive contracts!) for the sake of a fraction of a millimetre. Let's have some sense back!

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Crumbs. Exceedingly good cakes, meat dressing price hike in wake of the Brexit

David Gosnell

Overpriced anyway

We only ever buy Mr Kipling things when they're on special offer, and I doubt those will change much. Took me years even to risk doing that, having spent some time working in one of their factories.

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