* Posts by David Gosnell

902 posts • joined 19 Jun 2007

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Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

David Gosnell

Gosh, can still just about remember the dial-up and negotiation tones, especially distinctive with all their numbers inevitably ending '666'.

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

David Gosnell

Windows 10S

They'll no doubt be hoping this will help promote locked-down desktop ecosystems like Windows 10S, with monetisation being a spin-off (if not primary) benefit. With the shift towards so much being browser-based these days, that will suit most non-power users, but relying on their buggy and inconsistent (speaking as a suffering developer) proprietary engine was a major hindrance for take-up and demanded the one-off convert-to-Pro backstop offered to customers unwitting enough to fall for 10S thus far. They'll be able to push it much more confidently now, for better or worse.

Yet another mega-leak: 100 million Quora accounts compromised by system invaders

David Gosnell

Re: I tried to cancel my membership a while back...

Nah, not me I'm afraid.

David Gosnell

I tried to cancel my membership a while back...

...due to their underhand pushing of mobile users to their app, and today got emailed about this. I'm sure the risk is theoretical, but, y'know.

Microsoft polishes up Chromium as EdgeHTML peers into the abyss

David Gosnell

Forced Edge

This will help with the PR side of Microsoft's push towards forcing Edge on to users, as seen with links from their email client and of course the entire locked-down ecosystem of Windows 10S. At least now they can be perceived as pushing a desirable engine that is compatible with the de facto standard. As a developer, I've certainly been pleased to see Edge resolve many of IE's woes, but there are still some lurking horrors that I will not be at all sad to see the back of.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

David Gosnell

SMETS1 lock-in

Can I reasonably assume the lock-in was designed into the standard for SMETS1, in order to appease the major "suppliers"? It seems more than coincidental that the roll-out came at the same time as the explosive growth of smaller leaner suppliers, and the market leaders will have been sh*t scared of the investment they would waste (or ultimately be spending on behalf of competitors with no capital to invest in infrastructure) if their efforts proved to be too easily portable. Now the market's settled down a bit, bingo, time for SMETS2. Might even think about it now, certainly wasn't going to touch with a bargepole thus far.

Android fans get fat November security patch bundle – if the networks or mobe makers are kind enough to let 'em have it

David Gosnell

GDPR update

My old S5 Mini got a mysterious and unspecified "GDPR update" earlier this year. I rather doubt that was anything other than a legal requirement (not that any other of our devices got anything) but it seemingly buggered up a few other things on the way, so can always hope there might be another surprise one to come if Samsung have a conscience.

FYI: Drone maker DJI's 'Get it on Google Play' website button definitely does not get the app from Google Play...

David Gosnell

"Users will forget to turn security back on after loading a non-play store app."

As far as I know, default behaviour is to allow sideloading to be authorised as a one-off action. Quite a neat way of doing it, so you can consciously install a specific APK from an alternative source but not, in fact, leave the facility enabled for less intentional or malicious subsequent downloading.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

'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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

GIMPS crack whip on plucky processor to find largest prime number

David Gosnell

5318008

It's in there. Just the once though.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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>...

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

David Gosnell

"the system goes into limited compatibility mode"

Best euphemism yet?

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.

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.

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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