* Posts by David Gosnell

863 posts • joined 19 Jun 2007

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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.

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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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Facebook's internet drone crash-landed after wing 'deformed' in flight

David Gosnell

"a structural failure with a downward deflection"

In other, plainer, words: the wing fell off?

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FYI! – Your! hacked! Yahoo! account! is! worth! $0.0003!

David Gosnell

Account termination

I found it rather ironic that upon cancelling the account I never wanted, and probably never even directly asked for, in the first place, it informed me that the actual deletion would be delayed for 90 days "to discourage fraud". To my mind, that's more of a 90-day window of opportunity...

Oh, and it forced me to activate a Yahoo ID and webmail (yet another proven attack vector, if my spamtrap is anything to go by) just to do that!

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Playtime's over: Internet-connected kids toys 'fail miserably' at privacy

David Gosnell

They should have partnered with someone more experienced ...

.... like VTech maybe. Oh, yeah, right. Next?!

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Happy days for second-hand smartphone sales

David Gosnell

Re: Mmmm, attractive...

Flash - yes, this could be a problem although the churn on flash cells in a mobile device is currently somewhat less than that of an excessively write happy desktop OS such as Windows.

Agreed, though I blame it for the death of my Xperia M, which had a pathetically small amount of storage, so even a little write-happiness was bad for that churn. Lollipop was also probably the cause of death for our Nexus 7 tablet, with similar symptoms. Plenty more storage than the Xperia, but pretty widely known to write excessively as it ground to a halt.

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David Gosnell

Mmmm, attractive...

.... until you realise that phone's been worked to death so the flash memory is worn out and the hard-wired battery holds no charge any more.

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What went wrong at Tesco Bank?

David Gosnell

Re: Santander must also not be hashing passwords

Must depend on which bank's accounts Santander historically acquired.

Our historically Alliance & Leicester login needs a numeric user ID then a five-digit PIN in full.

My business login (based on Abbey National systems) needs a numeric user ID, then a password and PIN, both in full.

Both also use the picture verification thingy, but that's pretty much entirely placebo. The user IDs are not guessable, but nor are considered secure information.

Both are now Santander branded but show their provenance in a few places. In both instances though, the password and/or PIN could be (and hopefully are) hashed.

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Samsung halts production of Galaxy Note 7

David Gosnell

Re: A lesson to be learnt

Issue is battery replacement more than in use standby

Yup, have a prize. I've had highly varying battery stamina from the phones I've owned, but never sufficiently poor to require carrying a charged spare. Obviously some heavy users may need this, but I doubt they are numerous. Especially with lower capacity batteries, charging becomes more frequent, and inherently reduces the overall lifetime of the battery. In the olden days when everyone was on a contract, the manufacturers could rely on a 1 to 2 year upgrade cycle (which conveniently about matched the lifespan of a typical battery operating efficiently), but now the world has wised up to their scam via SIM-only deals, and is happy to use third-party firmware to circumvent deliberate dead-ending, they've had to physically engineer in the obsolescence at the hardware level.

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David Gosnell

Re: A lesson to be learnt

I think having a removeable battery would mean that the phone cannot be waterproof

My S5 Mini has a removable battery and claims IP67 ingress protection, not that I've put the latter to the test. I've argued all along that the astronomical expense (in almost every regard) of this sorry episode could very easily have been avoided as suggested.

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No surprise: Microsoft seeks Windows Update boss with 'ability to reduce chaos, stress'

David Gosnell

reduce chaos, stress ...

... and reliance on multiple-gigabyte updates pushed at people without asking, especially when they inexplicably fail first time and download all over again? My folks got billed for going over their monthly quota thanks to the bonkers-big Windows 10 anniversary update they reasonably described as "unsolicited".

I thought a large part of the Windows 10 "always updating" ethos was to avoid the need for such huge and mostly duplicative service packs, or do they have such little trust in the day-to-day updates not to be layering up a cumulative clusterf*ck?

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Avast closes AVG buyout

David Gosnell

News to me, but not that surprising

News to me, but not that surprising. I was forever getting the two of them confused before remembering Avast was the better one, least likely to download dodgy content without asking as part of its browser plug-in.

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Sinclair fans rejoice: ZX Spectrum Vega+ to launch October 20

David Gosnell

Re: Hmmmm...

And a full keyboard!

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Half! a! billion! Yahoo! email! accounts! raided! by! 'state! hackers!'

David Gosnell

Wondered that too about BT

They were going to get shot of the hucksters, but nope, never happened. I will safely assume all email from BT accounts *may* be compromised (as, in fairness, I have come to assume of 75% of webmail).

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Vodafone UK blocks bulk nuisance calls. Hurrah!

David Gosnell

Re: Tell BT and EE

Knowing BT, they'll be charging extra for the privilege though.

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Plusnet speeds up, slows down

David Gosnell

Re: Download now slower - upload still the same

Yup, I came on here to update with that twist. Apparently the changeover from the download-throttled 80/20 to pukka 56/10 that was supposed to have happened on 1 August will actually be taking place over several weeks, depending on the thumb-twiddling rate of BT. In the meantime Plusnet have moved users to a download-and-upload-throttled 80/20 to simulate 56/10 and by all accounts made a royal balls-up of it by not increasing the download for many despite line capability. I'm OK (getting around 52/9.5 on average) but interestingly I haven't had a download throttle for several months anyway for whatever reason, and that's probably why I'm not now stuck on 40/10 like so many are, despite still being on a throttled 80/20 according to BT. Worryingly for those who opted to pay extra to get pukka 80/20 after the infamous announcement, Plusnet can't be certain they won't be downgraded to 56/10 when BT eventually get round to "upgrading" their connection. Mindbending? Yup, even for Plusnet support staff it seems, who are even more in the dark than the customers by all accounts.

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David Gosnell

Lowest common denominator

This seems to be part of a shift towards lowest common denominator easy customers, rather than being the savvy choice for more demanding users as in the pre-BT past. Plusnet know there's probably no-one offering a 40/20 service now, so the offered contract termination without penalty is pointless. They are shifting the responsibility of selling products they probably never should have offered on to the customers to pick up the pieces. Many customers on the borderline for 40/20 in the first place will see no benefit whatsoever from the change to 55/10. For those seeing the marginal increase, it may or may not be that useful in practice; we'd have gone for 80/20 if download speed was of prime importance, so I would say there are two main categories of affected users: those who know they've been screwed over by this, and those who don't yet but will all too soon. The only silver lining is that at least we're not on 40/2 which they're selling to new mugs right now, though what happens at end of contract is rather vague.

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BT customers hit by broadband outage ... again

David Gosnell

Re: Nothing to do

Hmm, certainly possible. Although the issue occurred with even trivially small attachments, I'm not sure I tested it with anything so small as to be under the MTU.

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David Gosnell

Re: Nothing to do

Curiously hot on the heels of a recent mysteriously kept-under-wraps issue at Plusnet, where despite their insistence they don't intercept or anything of the ilk, connections to third-party SMTP servers were timing out – but only when messages had an attachment, no matter how tiny. Very, very odd, indeed pretty much inexplicable without foul play involved, especially with supposedly encrypted connections. They tried to blame it on some other ongoing DNS issues, but DNS doesn't care whether email has attachments or not...

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BT internet outage was our fault, says Equinix

David Gosnell

Again?

Looks like something not entirely dissimilar this morning. Same vague "we're looking into it" type announcements from Plusnet, as multiple key sites respond slowly or not at all.

Service: Broadband

Posted: Thu, Jul 21 2016 at 09:04:19

Subject: Broadband issues - NEW

Sorry if you're unable to access some websites this morning, we're investigating the cause and will post an update shortly.

Kind Regards,

Customer Support

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Facebook: 'We don't listen'

David Gosnell

Permission justification

I would love to see permissions in apps etc justified in descriptions more frequently. Some do it, but by no means all. Most are probably innocuous, and although a description doesn't prove a thing, it's a step in the right direction before full code analysis is feasible. In the meantime it means idiots will still accuse apps of wrongdoing - e.g. the fool reviewer who thought a completely reasonably-permissioned (not even any ads) flashlight app was taking photos on the sly, rather than because, duh, the LED is part of the camera module. On the other hand, suspicion is not surprising given the number of apps demanding e.g. location in order to do something completely unconnected.

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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

David Gosnell

Phishing

Banks could go a fair way to stopping phishing by refusing to serve branding images without proper referrer URLs. Phishing scams invariably link to the official web-based images, and stopping that, or (even better) replacing them with ones saying "SCAM WARNING!" would help. A little. Which is better than nothing. Of course, many people disable images in emails anyway, and the scammers may move towards embedding rather than linking images (or linking to copies elsewhere, which won't go unnoticed), but the latter will dramatically increase their data load, and in the meantime a few million gullible souls may become better educated.

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UK web host 123-Reg goes TITSUP, customer servers evaporate

David Gosnell

Re: They took the 'script' that was posted on Serverfault

Yep, about my deduction. Even wondering what the --no-preserve-root option (rather giving the game away about the hoax SF article) might have been about?

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Russian boffins want to nuke asteroids

David Gosnell

Re: I must be missing something

I believe the idea is that any risks from the radioactive debris shower will affect several generations down the line rather than us, when it next comes round. Someone else's problem, in other words.

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Uncle Sam's boffins stumble upon battery storage holy grail

David Gosnell

Hot swapping

Hot swapping was mooted in my Usborne book about electricity a generation or more ago - and expected twenty years ago. Works well enough for gas canisters etc, why not batteries? "Just" requires standardisation as the main hurdle.

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Microsoft researchers smash homomorphic encryption speed barrier

David Gosnell

Snooping

Does sound rather like the security services' wet dream though, potentially.

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Health Secretary promises NHS £4.2bn to go 'digital'

David Gosnell

Some screaming and kicking to be expected...

... having almost had our son fall off the list because half of them can't be arsed even to read emails.

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TalkTalk confesses: Scammers have data about our engineers' visits to your home

David Gosnell

Junk mail

And still they junk-mail us trying to persuade us to sign up, despite them being below even BT on our list of likely providers in the event of hell freezing over.

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Who wants a quad-core 4.2GHz, 64GB, 5TB SSD RAID 10 … laptop?

David Gosnell

Cost...

... about what I remember paying for a Pentium III desktop with only a few modest bells and whistles!

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Lincolnshire council IT ransomware flingers asked for ... £350

David Gosnell

Re: BBC?

Indeed, hence the BBC hype mention.

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David Gosnell

Re: BBC?

Presumably multiplied by the 300 machines they say were infected*. I doubt these scammers are nice and offer multi-seat site licensing etc.

* And then a bit of BBC hype for good measure, worth an order of magnitude.

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Two-thirds of Android users vulnerable to web history sniff ransomware

David Gosnell

two thirds are surely NOT vulnerable...

... because at least two out of three wouldn't have a clue how to allow third-party apps on in the first place, and of those who do, a good many only allow it as a temporary measure for a specific app and lock the door firmly afterwards.

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Yahoo! Mail! Had! Nasty! XSS! Bug!

David Gosnell

Re: What about the address book being stolen?

Hijacked Yahoo spam seems ten-a-penny these days, and it (along with other webmails) has always been significant. In trying to find advice for afflicted users, there seems to be precious little detail around as to what's happening. I suspect some have been phished, but doubt that's the whole story.

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