* Posts by OffBeatMammal

561 posts • joined 25 Jun 2007


Australian prime minister blames 'state level' baddies for Oz parliament breach


"State Level Actors" ... ie the clowns currently running the show ... and they're all pretty bad at mouthing the lines their puppet masters feed them :(

'Occult' text from Buffy The Vampire Slayer ep actually just story about new bus lane in Dublin


Re: pro-Buffy flame war.

Once more. With Feeeling.

Best episode ever :)

Why does that website take forever to load? Clues: Three syllables, starts with a J, rhymes with crock of sh...


Black ads, pay with BAT?

I'm curious if folks think that the Basic Attention Token idea (from the folks behind the Brave browser) will take off? - https://basicattentiontoken.org (or if you want to reward me with 'BAT' a referral link - https://brave.com/obm729)

I'm happy paying what the ad would have generated in most cases rather than actually seeing it...

Dozens of .gov HTTPS certs expire, webpages offline, FBI on ice, IT security slows... Yup, it's day 20 of Trump's govt shutdown


Re: Comparison

Back pay is not guaranteed for employees or contractors unless authorized by Congress after the shutdown ends. There was a bill introduced in the run-up to this manufactured crisis to attempt to formalize this - https://www.fedsmith.com/2018/01/18/legislation-introduced-provide-back-pay-federal-employees-furloughed-shutdown/ - thought, predictably, several Republicans voted against it (no Democrats).

The wall is a pointless exercise that does not stand up to any sort of critical thinking, Trump just wants to leave a "legacy" (beyond the pee tapes) and despite campaign promises that Mexico would pay (they won't, American taxpayers will be left paying for this for a long time) and control of all three branches of Govt he was unable to get it funded so now in a tantrum he refused to sign an appropriations bill that both parties had agreed to (just didn't include money for his unnecessary and pointless erection)

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free


Re: the fact that it's not a real Hubble photos and proof is just one Google search away.

Even space aliens are well aware of the failings of Trump

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...


love the responsive features - makes it a lot more usable on my phone (thanks!)

for the 'image lite' option though ... any chance of making it device/class specific ... I am happy to have images on my Mac, but like the ability to turn it off on my phone/ipad ...?

Corel – yeah, as in CorelDraw – looks in its Xmas stocking and discovers... Parallels


well, looks like it's days are numbered. I was wondering if I should migration from Fusion to Parallels recently as they seem to have a couple of features VMWare have not got around to copying yet but ... while I'm not a huge fan of Fusion it does the job well enough that I don't want to end up in the Corel bloatware world

Peak tech! Bacon vending machine signals apex of human invention


having living in the US for a decade, I can safely say that not only is the British style better, discovering a local farmer who sells it to the ex-pat community in the Seattle area was a delight!

Australia to build a pirate-proof fence: Brace yourselves, Google



the consequence of this is that they'll just drive people to use VPNs (purchased from companies outside Australia) to bypass these restrictions ... leading to an increase in the other thing they fear which is evil-doers hiding behind encryption so they cant read their emails. I guess it depends on which lobbyist is shovelling cash into their pocket that wins out.

while the rights holders make the rules about what you can watch complicated, convoluted, and feel like they're exploitative (having moved countries, and DVD regions, three times I've given up buying physical media that I can't digitise)

Reverse Ferret! Forget what we told you – the iPad isn't really for work


I love the form factor of my iPad Mini. Well, almost... as I'm getting older I find reading on the screen sometimes challenging so I keep thinking I want to get a newer, bigger screen device (and I love the idea of the Pencil as I prefer to scribble notes in a meeting vs type) but ... the new hardware fragility is a huge concern (I spend several days a week on-set for TV productions, and I commute on a motorbike... the iPad Mini fits perfectly in an inside pocket on my jacket!) and the software is incredibly, and deliberately restrictive...


Tim Cook is obsessed with the quarterly stock price, and Jony Ive needs adult supervision ... while I've had bad experiences with the Surface line of devices, maybe the "Go" is that middle point I need (I used a Toshiba Encore2 for a while, and that was one of the best Windows pen/touch devices I've used, but the Windows app ecosystem was a letdown)

As losses narrow, nbn™ says business will drive growth in ARPU (that'll be how much it extracts from each punter)


the ARPU has to come from somewhere...

so if consumers aren't going to be hit with price rises that means it's either going to come from efficiency gains (looking at these clowns, that's not likely) or reduction in speed/quality (which in turn will have them paying refunds or see users switch to lower tiers if that's all they can reliably get)

Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality


Wht two email clients anyway?

One thing I don't understand is why they maintain two email clients?

As an Outlook user it annoys me no end when I click on a mail link and sometimes it tries to open Mail (which I don't have set up) when it should have opened Outlook

A much smarter (and easier for the users) approach would be to have a single mail client that based on license key turns on/off features and UX, so my base Win10 comes with Outlook (promoting the Office brand through name recognition) and when I apply my Office key all the other goodness lights up ... no redundant client and a better user experience.

(while making Outlook the default on macOS is more reliable than on Windows - I never see Mail.App unless I explicitly launch it - on iOS, Apple annoy the hell out of me by not letting me set the default mail client to something other than theirs)

As to advertising in the Mail client on Windows ... Microsoft obviously want to have their cake and eat it too ... charging for the OS and then plastering it with adverts to make the experience even worse

Assange catgate hearing halted as Ecuador hunts around for someone who speaks Australian


Re: Downvoted ..

we don't want the feckless git back thanks very much

What do Zuck, Sergey, @Jack and Bezos have in common? They don't want encryption broken


Re: Go Dark

rather than go whole hog, use the platform they have to educate voters about the potential fallout of *their* governments actions so whoever is trying to ram this through, and for whatever reasons, at least get a dose of sunlight.

sure, the media will do their best to downplay it... but making politicians up for election aware that this is something people will care about helps them chart a more carefully thought out course (you'd hope!)

Apple's dark-horse macOS Mojave is out (and it's already pwned)


I'm torn!

I want the shiny new (because feedback from beta testers pointer to perf improvements on the Air, and anything that stops the fan sounding like a demented F-15 these days will be welcome), but the sub-pixel rendering changes will be annoying if they make the screen any less usable.

Sure, Apple think I should upgrade my out-dated mid-2012 Air for something new and shiny, but the Macbook Pro that I'd like (because of the jump in specs) is still an unknown when it comes to the keyboard and other reliability and, compared to a lot of the Windows machines on offer, horribly over-priced. But I hate the idea of going back to Windows.

GG n00b lol! Amazon frags support for its own games controllers



I'm not a big gamer (bejewelled is still my go-to!) but I do enjoy kicking back at the weekend and playing a bit of Asphalt8 on my FireTV with the gaming controller.... if it's stopped working with this latest update I'll be a bit disgruntled (it's not quite the same playing it with the FireTV remote!)

Plex plucks media cloud service, sends users scurrying to exit


I didn't use the Cloud option so not too worried ... hopefully it means they can continue to develop a great solid product that my family can use (it replaced our old Windows Media Center which was much loved!)

Guys, you need to sit down and have a chat: Skype rolls out SMS a week after Microsoft


the Skype capability (for me) is much more useful than Windows as I use Skype on Android (phone), iPad, and macOS ... so the ability to read/reply to a text on my phone from Skype on my iPad or Mac would be great (because I'm cross platform I won't use iMessage)

Unpicking the Pixel puzzle: Why Google is struggling to impress


I've had a pretty good experience with return/replacement process both for my Nexus devices (my 4 was rock solid, my 5 needed replacing twice, my first Pixel2 lasted a week but had a battery fault and was also painless to replace) but at the time I was in the US. Now I'm back further from their logistics center I'm a bit more worried how things will be handled in the future... that, and the awful leak photos of the be-notched Pixel3 makes me suspect I'll need to look elsewhere.

As the price tag has gone up every generation the incentive to actually upgrade has gone down, especially with things like headphone jacks and SD cards disappearing (the first annoys me several times a week because I've already lost two USB-C to 3.5mm adapters!)

For me, the big selling points of the Pixel have been the camera, the minimalist skin (though I do still prefer and tend to revert back to, Evie) and the regular as clockwork updates. If Nokia live up to their promise to deliver the same then I may switch back (less about the nostalgia the name evokes, but based on their ability to deliver on their promise to rekindle customer loyalty by building and supporting good hardware).

I keep thinking a switch to the iPhone would solve my complaints with the Android ecosystem, but ... https://medium.com/@offbeatmammal/apple-are-a-design-company-so-why-is-ios-so-annoying-d40530dce8d9

Microsoft bids adieu to inky fingers with whiteboard app


I wonder some of these smarts - shape recognition etc - will make their way to OneNote? I have pretty terrible drawing skills so having something that can automagically improve the quality of my scribbles would be very handy (though an iPad would still be my preferred device!)

iPhone 8 now outsells X, and every other phone


While I like the iPhone/iPad hardware, I stick with Android (currently a Pixel2) because the limitations of the OS are enough to make me resent paying the Apple tax. If Apple were to address some of the issues then I might become an 8 customer, but the X seems like a crazy price to pay for not much extra


Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android

Big Brother

Amazon anyone?

while their Fire Phone was pretty much DOA, people forget that Amazon have a pretty solid, Google free fork of Android already. The Fire Phone, tablets and FireTV platforms are all ASOP based but largely replaced the GMS pieces with their own store and services (with APIs that over the years have got a lot closer to their Google equivalents).

the challenge will be getting OEMs and chipmakers to work on delivering/integrating with their BSP so the OS layer can be dropped onto devices (perhaps the work Google is doing with "P" to decouple the OS from the firmware where possible might help speed this up...)

now, not saying Amazon are a better path to tread than working with Google, but it would be interesting to see if these projects could play nice and get further together than bifurcating all over the place.

Australia, Solomon Islands to ink Huawei-free cable contract today


it's only cheaper because we're paying for it!

so a $100m subsidy, no doubt taxpayer funded, somehow makes this a great deal?

nbn™ CEO didn't mean to offend gamers, just brand them unwelcome bandwidth-hogs


so, first they tell us they don't need to deliver 100Mbps to the home because there's no demand, but not they tell us they're going to have to throttle and traffic shape users because they're too demanding.

for a future-proof network, they've don't a pretty crap job of even making it capable of replacing what we currently have

You know what your problem is, Apple? Complacency



I used to look forward to Apple events to see them pushing innovation and keeping the race - both PC and phone - moving forward.

In recent years... I kinda don't care. Improvements are incremental and the hype-vs-value meter has swung so far it's not really going to make any change to my user experience.

macOS still works fine on my mid-2012 Macbook Air (which I switched back to after 3 attempts to get a Surface Pro3 that worked) and while I'd like a faster CPU/GPU, more RAM, a larger SSD and a better battery I'm not going to do that at the expense of a keyboard that dies if it gets any dust on it

iOS is an incredibly frustrating walled garden, and while I did get briefly excited to see CarPlay will now allow Google Maps/Waze to be used it looks like they're still not "brave" enough to open up the default handlers for mail://, maps://, etc to allow developers to actually compete on the experiences that make Android my go-to for a phone [ https://medium.com/@offbeatmammal/apple-are-a-design-company-so-why-is-ios-so-annoying-d40530dce8d9 ] ... and I'm not sure a red-headed emoji is enough to make me want to switch...

Waiting for 100 Mbps NBN on wireless? Errr, umm, sorry about that


Re: 4G hotspot ???

@Denarius, I'm with you on the cynical.

While I hated their customer service, since I've moved back to Melbourne I really miss Comcast (consistent 100/25 for less than I'm currently paying for 12/1 and lucky if I get reliable 5/1)


I'd settle for an unlimited 4G hotspot ... my Pixel2 on Telstra does a good job of consistently delivering my 35Mbps at home, where otherwise I can only get 12Mbps ADSL2+ (and no NBN until this time next year apparently). Sadly the cost for that right now is prohibitive (and while Optus do offer an unlimited wireless hotspot solution it's unclear if we'd be able to get the 3Mbps or 12Mbps coverage - you'd think they'd be able to tell given the address - so it's not much better than ADSL2+, and more expensive).

'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'


in countries where you pay by the byte for data (@Telstra here in Australia, I'm looking at you) especially if the crap is pre-installed on a phone bought from the carrier who pays for that data? The user (was there disclosure?) or the carrier (have they zero-rated the IP/URLs this shit talks to)?

Pixel2 user (after a couple of Nexus devices) so not suffered from too many pre-installed apps (apart from the Google spyware and multitude of messaging apps) but it looks like Google may be in the spotlight for this already - https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/14/oracle_tells_tales_about_google_data_slurps_to_australian_regulator/

Facebook Android app caught seeking 'superuser' clearance


removing the FB app from my phone (a few years ago now - https://offbeatmammal.com/2014/01/14/why-i-uninstalled-facebook-and-your-app-might-be-next/) feels like a very smart decision now. Their permission (and data grab) has always been pretty egregious but coupled with their track record of bad behaviour means they (and Whatsapp etc) have no place on any of my devices unless I can block pretty much every permission request.

Last night's net neutrality episode had some good one-liners but a repetitive plot


American... the finest politicians money can buy... and plots with less integrity than a South American soap opera

Telstra said its 7-incher was really an 11-incher, left customers frustrated, unsatisfied


Re: BS restrictions from the content owners in the first place !!!

the AFL probably sold digital rights with a bunch of restrictions in place to avoid cannibalising the TV deals they'd already sold (presumably with that restriction already defined) so can't really blame Telstra for once

nbn™ scoreboard: miracle needed to hit FY 18 construction targets


I won't be connected this year!

they finally updated the NBN page for our street last week ... I only have to wait to March 2019 for "commencement" of the HFC rollout availability.

The big question I have is if, when it arrives, it'll actually deliver anything better than the ADSL2+ we currently have... and of course if it'll be any better than the 4G/LTE wireless service currently in our area (Vivid) or if some magical 5G service will be rolled out...

Supreme Court punts on Microsoft email seizure decision after Cloud Act passes US Congress


So Uncle Sams over-reach (and legal reach-around) continues to show what little respect they have for the rest of the world Team America basically claim it's their way or the highway and every other Sovereign State isn't worthy. Legislation and Rulings like this are not just going to hurt Microsoft, but any other US based company doing business in overseas jurisdictions and makes a mockery of Data Sovereignty laws. You know sure as shit that the US would scream blue murder if they were on the receiving end of something like this from a Chinese or Russian Corporation (well, actually given the current incumbent in the White House who knows...)

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


Re: Fucking idiots

funnily enough people have no problem giving Apple a pass for doing exactly this same shit throughout iOS - you can't choose your mapping app, your browser, your mail app, your calendar etc. And because of this Microsoft starts to think it's okay to inch back to forcing users into using their second rate apps because Apple has got away with that behaviour for so long.

I use full-fat Outlook (because the Win10 inbox mail app is a half-arsed mess) and will be seriously grumpy if they start hijacking links there to point to Edge instead of my default Brave ... at the end of the day I don't care about what browser I actually use, but I want the one that keeps my history etc in sync and has a UI that doesn't suck... Edge ain't that.

So... yes it sucks MS are doing this, but if we're going to get outraged there let's make sure Apple also feel which way the wind blows


(and no, this still won't usher in the era of desktop Linux. For all the great advances that have been made in the last few years it's still not the no-brain install that Windows is for the vast majority of users)

Cyborg fined for riding train without valid ticket


so, you can now pay for an Opal ticket using an Amex or an Opal card. I wonder if pulling the NFC chip out of there would have got the same offence?

Airbus CIO: We dumped Microsoft Office not over cost but because Google G Suite looks sweet


As someone who has experienced both, good luck with the GS roll-out. There are so many half-implemented things in GS that Office just gets right (especially around email, calendaring, and the GAL) that you end up having to use a mess of third party tools to try and plug into GSuite to emulate... badly.

And the actual Gmail clients (on web and mobile) are severely lacking when it comes to Corporate tye communication ... if you have a mail conversation threaded beyond a couple deep it just falls apart. I've ended up getting a personal Office365 subscription so I can get the full GSuite integration in Outlook and use Nine on iOS/Android

also, the majority of the article reads like a press release

Transport for New South Wales told to stop tracking oldies, students


I presume if I pay by credit card, or sign up on the Opal site and register my card (so I can cancel it if it gets lost/stolen) the same will apply and they won't try to de-anonymize me? Not that I really care, I only ever use it from the airport to the office and back again!

Microsoft says 'majority' of Windows 10 use will be 'streamlined S mode'


what would actually be great is if they focussed on cleaning up the mess than is Windows 10 in general. so many control panels it's impossible to know where to adjust things, so much redundant crap that adds no value (and I include Cortana in that), and performance that sucks... macOS still runs just fine on my 2012 MacBookAir, but even a signature edition Win10 install on a Surface Pro is laggy and unreliable.

the other thing that drives me crazy with Win10 even on their own hardware is that the control keys are essentially crippled because (ignoring the fact they're an inconsistent mess even within MS apps) they rely on keys that require modifiers to get to on the Surface Pro keyboard is even simple things become arcane tasks

I actually use an iPad and a bluetooth keyboard for a lot of things now, only really reach for the Mac when I am coding. The only remaining Windows machine I have is an Intel NUC running Windows for Plex and that's as locked down, services killed, automated and scripted so I never have to actually touch it as I can make it.

Up to 25% of new builds still can't get superfast broadband – study


Crickey mate

not sure at this point what's worse... OverRetch for the UK or the NoBroadbandNetwork here in Aus. Once politicians get involved in any project which requires a modicum of technical domain expertise all common sense goes out the window as the lobbyists and vested interests offer to "help out" with the "complexity" and the win/win they propose turns out to be lining their pockets and the ministers while we all pay for it...

British clockwork radio boffin Trevor Baylis terminally winds down


true national treasures

It's sad that the UK (and others) give more praise and adoration to ephemeral sportsmen and pop acts than folks like Mr Baylis who only get recognition in their obituary, long after it is of any help.

BTW in Australia where I now live there is a nationwide Mens Sheds initiative - http://www.mensheds.org.au/

Australia's new insta-pay scheme has insta-lookup of any user's phone number


so, is this only displaying details of people who have signed up for PayID and used their phone number as the key, or does this do a reverse look-up on any AU phone number?

makes me pretty sure I'll be using a unique email address for this, and not sharing my phone number as an identifier

Developer recovered deleted data with his face – his Poker face


wow. blast from the past. mid 90s I had the pleasure of using Clarion... a step up from COBOL, but less productive the qbasic!

So... Nokia's taking a long, hard look at its health unit


after trying various Fitbit and the ilk, I've settled on a Nokia Steel HR (actually, the earlier Withing branded model) and ... I love it. The fact it looks like a real watch, and the battery goes for about 20 days without shutting down is pretty amazing considering it also includes the whole array of heart rate, sleep etc monitoring.

while it's not a full 'smartwatch' I can do simple notifications on the in-built screen and that's usually enough to let me know if I actually want to pick up my phone.

I'd actually trust Nokia - provided they take their network engineering approach - to be the ones who could build out a persona EHR solution for long term tracking and consolidation (and securing) of my data ... as someone who has moved countries (in total four times!) that challenges of keeping the major records are a frustration, but even having changes from Fitbit to Withing has meant I don't have a good consistent record from my pedometer/HR monitor/scale etc .. that's why this industry will continue to churn without someone less obsessed with lock-in and annual replacement than Apple as the shining star

Six things I learned from using the iPad Pro for Real Work™


I try to use my iPad as primary device when traveling to avoid needing to take a laptop as well. While, for my use case, Office is okay, and I like a lot of the new split screen and other "pro" tweaks my biggest problem with iOS is that it's still very limited more because of philosophical decisions by Apple to create a locked down eco system (eg I can't set the default mail app to Nine, or switch the web URL handler from Safari to, say, Brave). Allowing OneDrive able to integrate into Files so I don't have to bounce around between different apps/workflows would also be a huge help.

Battery life, compared to my iPad Mini, is terrible. Using it for music as well (either Cloudbeats locally, or Spotify) while working kills it.

Totally agree on the Pencil experience ... I'd hoped that apps like OneNote would do a really good job of being a genuine pen+notepad replacement, but so far all of the options I've tried fall short in usability or capability

For the price tag on the iPad Pro, it's very disappointing and doesn't give it enough "bang" to be a real laptop replacement.... but if Apple could get their head out of their arse about controlling users then there is still hope ...

nbn™ scoreboard: our new way to look at Australia's national broadband network

Thumb Down

Even though I'm renting, I would buy a 100/40 connection in a heartbeat, in fact I'd probably pay a couple of grand to have them bring Fiber or even HFC to the house. The seriously crappy ADSL2+ experience is beyond frustrating... but... right now we're still pending surveys to tell us when our neighbourhood might get a plan. It's a joke

nbn 's CVC discounts worked - ISPs splashed for 38 per cent more bandwidth


having just moved back to Australia after some years in the US as a Comcast customer, I have to say I'm astounded that in the decade I've been away progress seems to be ... zero.

I'm currently living in an Airbnb in South Melbourne - some 15 minutes on a tram from the CBD and the best we can get is ADSL2+, and it's horrific (I presume either the copper from the DSLAM to the house, or the internal wiring, I've already helped the landlord replace one crappy socket!) ... but it's not filling me with confidence that when we move out 30 minutes to the East we'll be able to get anything better than pigeon post... the street we're moving to indicates that they won't even have information available on planned rollout for a coupe of months.

The fact that partisan politics and lobbyists can screw up something like this is a joke... the interesting thing is going to be if Optus or TPG swoop in with a 5G based solution and make all the expense of this rollout redundant (wasting yet more of the taxpayers money)

$14bn tax hit, Surface Pro screens keep dying – but it's not all good news at Microsoft


does the replacement trigger a new warranty period?

one thing I discovered after 3 replacements of my Surface Pro 3 was that the warranty period didn't get reset each time... because I was getting refurb machines they would only honor the original period as 'new', and the last replacement (just inside the original period) only got 90 days of coverage. It, of course, died on about day 120 and now I use a Macbook

I'll torpedo Tor weirdos, US AG storms: Feds have 'already infiltrated' darknet drug souks


The "war on drugs" isn't about making America "safer". It's always been about two things - since 1971 when Nixon used it as a way to criminalize the poor and those who he felt opposed him; protect the bottom line of the drug companies (who, as the article points out, are one of the biggest problems).

Having lived for some years in a State where Marijuana is legal (and which seems to get particular ire from the evil elf Sessions) and seen the good that de-stigmatized, legalized, licensed, revenue producing access brought to help people manage medical conditions ranging from chronic pain to depression and anxiety I live in hope that one day a rational discussion can be had by lawmakers. But while they are bought and sold and trade their beliefs to lobbyists I suspect it'll never happen

Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar


showing my age, but back in the mists of time there was a comic called Nova which featured the death of Ralph Rider (the costumed hero's uncle) at the hands of a villain called Jason Dean. Nova (working with Spiderman) realized the pages from the calendar next to the dead uncle, showing just July-December were a message from the dying man...

(why can I remember this, but not useful stuff?!)

Intel to slap hardware lock on Management Engine code to thwart downgrade attacks


Hope they include enough Fuses to store the version numbers for several firmware updates... OMG, Y2K for Intel chips as one too many firmware updates overflow the fuse-box!


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019