* Posts by pakman

39 posts • joined 23 Feb 2012

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


Re: Not sure...

I saw some Malbec rosé a few weeks back and couldn't resist trying it: lovely. I'll be buying it again.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

Big Brother

Re: A good fit ..

".. for Clegg then."

Funnily enough, Clegg's predecessor as MP for Sheffield Hallam (now a Lib Dem life peer) also works for Facebook.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity


Re: Noted scientists

"Britain, typically, put Isaac Newton on the lowest denomination banknote -- £1."

Not only that, they messed up by putting the sun in the wrong place on the diagram of the Earth's orbit (the sun should have been at one of the focal points of the ellipse, not at the centre). Ironic, considering that Newton was also in charge of the Royal Mint at one point in his career.

Farewell then, Slack: The grown-ups have arrived


You'll have to pry IRC and XMPP from my cold dead fingers!!!

IMHO Matrix (http://matrix.org/) ticks all the boxes, but it doesn't look to me like it is quite ready for mass adoption yet. It is quite usable by early adopters though.

Android users: Are you ready for the great unbundling?


Re: Google & Contacts

"If you really want to downgrade your phone, don't sign in during setup, and sideload install fdroid app store. Be very careful what you install however. When you live outside Google's relatively safe store, things aren't so nice. Fdroid is of course a safe haven, bit enabling sideload for that enables sideload for anything else too..."

Once you have installed F-Droid, you can use it to install Yalp. If from that point on you only install apps from F-Droid or using Yalp I don't think that you are in any danger from rogue apps (at least, you are in no more danger than from using the Google Play Store directly).

You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened


Re: And that....

Remember this gadget? https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/10/android_rice_cooker/

Where will it end? "Alexa, please burn my ex's house down...."

Meet Asteroid, a drop-in Linux upgrade for your unloved smartwatch


Re: And why aren't there Linux distros for phone hardware?

It is really hard to get open systems to work properly on phone hardware for all sorts of reasons, partly to do with the closed nature of a lot of the hardware subsystems and their drivers. I'm not an expert, but I sometimes follow discussions by people who know a lot about this and the number of bumps in the road makes my eyes water. x86-based systems are easy in comparison. There are a couple of Linux challengers, check out Sailfish OS and the upcoming Librem 5 from Purism. There is also the Gemini from Planet Computers: it ships with Android at the moment but Debian and Sailfish OS have been demo-ed on it and promised to ship in the near future. I use Sailfish OS as my daily phone OS, and it certainly isn't problem free, but I put up with its quirks.

As a daily Linux user, I do get a warm feeling from logging in to my phone with ssh now and again and using commands like 'systemctl' ;-)

Fed up with Facebook data slurping? Firefox has a cunning plan


Re: While Facebook Container may help a bit, it has limitations.

If it successfully blocks anything that FB want, the Zuck will already have a team working (quietly) on how to get around it.

Slack cuts ties to IRC and XMPP, cos they don't speak Emoji


If its bridging you want....

.... try https://matrix.org/ It may not be completely ready for prime time yet, but seems to be moving in the right direction.

Mailsploit: It's 2017, and you can spoof the 'from' in email to fool filters


Re: There are spam filters that pay attention to the contents of "From"?

"The "From" line is user settable. Always has been. As a result, it's not a reliable indicator of anything, EXCEPT in the mind of the sender. Trying to change this simple fact would break all kinds of things."

I explain it to non-techies as being like the sender address that you write on a parcel that you are posting. You could write any address there, and the Post Office is not going to check it in any way. I then follow it up by sending them an e-mail that has "From: Father Christmas <SantaClaus@northpole.net>". This has always been sufficient to make the point, even to the least IT-savvy people that I know, and they tend not to ask me again about why a friend of theirs has sent them something peculiar or offensive, seem less likely to take a suspicious e-mail at face value.

The question about whether this kind of thing should be prevented is a different one of course.

KRACK whacked, media playback holes packed, other bugs go splat in Android patch pact


Re: Close to driving me back to iOS.

Just for the record, I contacted Wileyfox and they were very helpful in getting me sorted out. My Wileyfox Swift now has November's update applied, which includes the patch for KRACK


Re: Close to driving me back to iOS.

Hm, I have an original Wileyfox Swift, and although things looked promising after they switched from CyanogenOS to Nougat, it is now stuck on the 1 May 2017 security patch level. I'll be contacting them in a few days if there is no sign of the KRACK-related security updates from them.

On the other hand, I also have a Sony Xperia running SailfishOS. That one was patched for KRACK (and BlueBorne) over a week ago.

In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day


Thank you for this....

.... well-written, short, to the point, and non-technical article: I have been looking around for something like it to direct people to when they ask why I don't sign up to Facebook. A lot of people I know wouldn't make it to the end of the first paragraph of much of what has been written about this issue.

Whether anyone is convinced is another question, but at least it shows that it isn't just me having a paranoid rant

The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer



This makes me nostalgic for my old Zaurus C760 (still sitting in a drawer somewhere: I'll dig it out and fire it up for old times' sake when I get back home).

Hardware-wise it was ahead of its time, and it ran Linux too. Let down by poor quality software though: I remember finding a five-line Bourne shell script on it that had three errors, and the e-mail client used IMAP to do download all the messages from the server just as if it was using POP.

Vinyl, filofaxes – why not us too, pleads Nokia


A really useful feature would be.....

.... for a retro-style phone like this to be quad band (the ones that Nokia makes now are dual band only). Phones like this are great for going to places where a smartphone is too delicate, or too attractive to thieves, but not if the one you buy doesn't work in the country that you are going to visit.

A bonus for the manufacturer would be that since these phones may only sell in small numbers, with quad band they would only need one hardware variant to cover the whole world.

KCL staff offered emotional support, clergy chat to help get over data loss


Re: Jesus Saves!

Maybe the chaplain will be handing these out: http://shipoffools.com/gadgets/personal/176_1.html

Oh wait, that would be against KCL's rules about making personal backups, wouldn't it.....?

Microsoft ends OEM sales of Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1


Re: And it still makes you wonder...

"I know my CIO would be happy if our purchases would be ~£200 cheaper per unit..."

There are plenty of medium-sized system builder outfits around that will happily supply you a system with no OS. We bought a mid-range desktop just a few weeks ago. The particular one that we used charges £90/£130 for Windows Home/Pro, so that is what we saved by buying the PC with no OS. You just need to look beyond the big players.

Sony wins case over pre-installed Windows software


"However most people doing that would more likely have just built the PC themselves anyway. "

Not true: we use two organisations to source built PC's without an OS (we are a Linux shop, and install the OS ourselves). What you get by doing it this way that you don't get from a self-build is:

* hardware testing of the assembled system as a whole prior to shipping

* some kind of warranty/support if there are problems after purchase

* advice from people who are more knowledgeable than us about potential hardware issues/conflicts.

Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died


Re: Stop whining...

"It simply means people who reserve a seat guarantee that they get to sit down,"

Er, no it doesn't. When trains get very full, the reservation system sometimes breaks down and people start to ignore it and sit wherever they want. What do you do if you find someone else sitting in the seat that you have booked? Some passengers will move if asked (maybe with some grumbling), others get bolshie and confrontational. "Oh, is this seat reserved, there isn't a ticket in the back of the seat, maybe it fell out and that's it on the floor over there, but it wasn't here when I got here so its not my problem and I'm sat down now so I'm not moving and what are you going to do about it?" Good luck with getting any help from the staff with sorting the situation out when this happens.

They do it better in Europe, with electronic signage over the seats that the more selfish passengers can't tamper with.

Your 'intimate personal massager' – cough – is spying on you


Re: @Big John - " may I laugh my arse off at "You stupid Brits"? "

Also, there were the tea breaks and fighting only on weekdays 9 to 5.

... not forgetting half day early closing on Wednesdays (showing my age there)

Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments


BSD got it right

This is my type of comment:


.\" Take this out and a Unix Daemon will dog your steps from now until

.\" the time_t's wrap around.


You can tune a file system, but you cannot tune a fish.


Source at https://svnweb.freebsd.org/base/stable/11/sbin/tunefs/tunefs.8?revision=302408&view=markup#l211

I wonder what Linus thinks about that one. Mine's the one with the tone-deaf tuna in the pocket....

Hate Windows 10? Microsoft's given you 'Insider' powers anyway


They may hear but will they listen?

It put me in mind of "In space, no-one can hear you scream" :-)

Google Play infested with cash-stealing web apps


Re: download banking apps from official sources.

Downloading it from an in-branch network may be the worst option, if crims install their own kit in the branch. They have tried this before: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/25/kvm_crooks_jailed/. OK, so wifi wasn't the target in that case, and they were caught, but you get the idea....

Hacker reveals $40 attack that steals police drones from 2km away


An alternative interpretation: the cock-up might be real, but the suggestion that a hardware manufacturer cares enough about software security to be working on a fix could be the April fool joke :-)

Patch Java now, says Oracle. Leave the Easter chocolate until later


Re: The Java flaw labelled CVE-2016-0636

The link to the CVE at MITRE is https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2016-0636, but at the moment the details have been embargoed. Presumably more details will be available when Oracle OK's their release. Hopefully not too long now that 8u77 is out: it would also be good to know whether this problem is specific to Oracle, or if other implementations are affected.

How Microsoft copied malware techniques to make Get Windows 10 the world's PC pest


Re: Helpful comment

That might have been me (I have certainly mentioned it, although I am probably not the only one). GWX Control Panel has certainly been helpful, although I am slightly uneasy about the source code not being available. By and large I have managed to avoid being press-ganged into Microsoft's conscript army of unpaid support staff by pleading ignorance (I haven't used Windows seriously since Win2000). I have to make a couple of exceptions though, and not having to do things like muck about with the registry is a big deal.

'Microsoft Office has been the bane of my life, while simultaneously keeping me employed'


That's bound to hurt!

"sobbing with your hands in your head"

That image that is going to stay with me for a while.....

Electrician cuts wrong wire and downs 25,000 square foot data centre


Re: 1 in 100

"Assume that in a theoretical process there may be 100 actions taking place, if there is a 1% risk across the process the risk of one going wrong becomes 1/100 x 100 ."

No, the actual answer is as follows:

For each action, a 0.01 probability (i.e. 1%) of something going wrong means a probability of 0.99 of it turning out OK. For 100 actions, the probability of them all turning out OK is 0.99 ** 100 = 0.366. The probability of at least one action failing is 1 - 0.366 = 0.634, i.e. a 63.4% chance of something going wrong.

The basic point is correct though: even someone who is fairly clueless about percentages will probably be scared by a percentage risk that is in double digits.

Microsoft Windows: The Next 30 Years


Re: @ Chairo (was:Thailand is the only Asian country never to be colonised)

Maybe Chairo was referring to the Unequal treaties imposed on Japan by Western powers in the 1850's and 1860's. This started with Commodore Matthew Perry's arrival in Japan in 1853. Not full-on colonisation maybe, but certainly "sphere of influence" stuff that was very much in the spirit of 19th century imperialism. Like other imperialist manoeuvres, it fuelled a nationalist reaction against the imperialist powers. Japan then developed imperialist aspirations of its own of course....

Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista


Anyone with any experience of GWX control panel?

I've had a quick search through the comments here, and AFAICS no-one has mentioned GWX control panel:


I'm not really a windows person, but I'm planning on trying this out for the couple of non-technical W7 users who occasionally ask me for help. If anyone has any experience with it, please comment! It seems to go at least part of the way to helping out with the worst fall-out for non-techies. It is closed-source unfortunately, although the author explains why and seems well-intentioned.

Pimp your TV: Goggle box gadgets and gizmos


"...you could save up £229 and treat yourself to Sennheiser's wireless RS–175 headphone set"

I took a chance on the Telme2 bluetooth transmitter and headphones. They work well for me, and are cheaper than the Sennheiser

Junk your IT. Now. Before it drags you under


Re: You've got it backwards

"As a NoScript/Adblock user, ..."

I agree with your sentiments here. Try blocking the javascript on a well-known mapping site. This is the message that you get:

"When you have eliminated the JavaScript, whatever remains must be an empty page."

I tend not to use this particular site much any more. I find the cod-Zen tone a bit offputting, but perhaps that's just me.

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


Re: Absolutely brilliant, except the screen size

I still have an HP Veer tucked away somewhere, which is even smaller. I still find it amazing how accurate a tiny physical keyboard with nicely-raised buttons can be. It doesn't get much use now for a variety of reasons, but I still get a feeling of nostalgia over it from time to time.

Windows 10 market share growth slows to just ten per cent


Re: Dear Microsoft, good luck with that.

"deeming devices "incompatible" on a whim"

Then there is deeming devices "compatible" on a whim too.... Case in point: a friend's 5 year-old budget laptop with 1GB RAM. I don't think so: it might run the new OS, but good luck with doing anything else. I uninstalled and hid the Win10 notification update, but somehow or other it got unhid and installed anyway. I've tried again, fingers crossed that it won't come back a second time.....

Google ready for another pop at India, with Android One in hand


Intex is already trying out an Android alternative

Looks like they are giving Sailfish OS a go: https://cdn.jolla.com/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/55_SAILFISH_INDIA_PRESS_RELEASE_JULY2015_FINAL.PDF

It's 2015 and home routers still leave their config web servers wide open


Re: They don't care

"This gives credit to Google blackmailing strategy (3 months, then go public) towards Microsoft."

Except that Microsoft didn't ignore Google. Google didn't accept Microsoft's timetable for fixing the problem, even though AFAIK Microsoft has no contractual obligation to Google over how long they should take to resolve issues like this. I don't think that the two situations can be compared.

Having said that, I agree with what you say about organisations like Movistar/Pirelli/Arnet Telecom, and that this vulnerability needed to be made public after having been left to languish for so long.

Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?


Re: Linux maybe, but OSX.. You'd need to be off your tree.

.... and AFAICS Apple don't make official EOL announcements either for OS X: you just have to notice that newer versions of OS X are getting patched and older ones aren't.

BT-owned ISP Plusnet fails to plug security hole on its customer signup page


Name and shame?

No record of them at http://plaintextoffenders.com/. Perhaps someone should upload the details there.

I used to be with PlusNet, but not any longer. That was because of the terrible DSL infrastructure and exchange that I was connected to, but that is another story.

Third of Blighty stuck on snail-speed broadband


The BBC Click program featured the South Cambridgeshire village of Orwell in an item about broadband provision a few weeks ago. They were getting ADSL speeds of 200Kbps on a good day. This is just a few miles outside Cambridge, which is supposed to be a centre of technology, not on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I live in a neighbouring village that uses the same exchange at Harston, and the final push for me to switch to cable was the fact that last September's list of exchanges for upgrading featured 5 in the immediate Cambridge area, but not this one. That was after the village had been cut off several times by copper thieves digging up the cable. At least I had a choice. Other people aren't so lucky.

I think that the nearby district council of Uttlesford has the right idea: http://www.fibrewifi.com/ . By the time that Cinderella exchanges like Harston are upgraded, technology will have moved on.

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