* Posts by Peter Ford

295 posts • joined 13 Jul 2007


Just Android things: 150m phones, gadgets installed 'adware-ridden' mobe simulator games

Peter Ford

Re: Any suggestions how to check these

In answer to my own question, with my phone (developer mode enabled) connected to my Linux PC by USB, I can grab the list into a text file (bad-andoid-packages.txt) and then

for PKG in `adb -d shell pm list packages`; do grep $PKG bad-android-packages.txt; done

which should spot any matches.

So now all I need to do is get the tablet unlocked and developer-mode-enabled, and it should be easy...

Certainly easier than watching over his shoulder every minute to spot him installing stuff he shouldn't, although I do try ...

Peter Ford

Any suggestions how to check these

My Android phone is pretty clean - there are very few apps on it and they're from fairly reliable publishers.

My son's tablet PC, though, is a different matter.

So, given the length of that list and the arcane naming of the apps, is there any obvious way to list the installed apps on the device and check it with that list? My eyeballs don't fancy an old-school eyeball grep today...

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster

Peter Ford

Re: We have surely reached peak beard.

I run Linux: I think that probably scuppers your argument...

Telecoms kit supplier shut down for carrying on work of two firms that had been... shut down

Peter Ford

Re: to summ up ...

The director connections suggest that Bradwell may not have *accidentally* done work for dodgy companies...

Team America tries to crash Little Rocket Man's Joanap botnet from within, warns owners of infected boxes

Peter Ford

That explains a lot

"the Feds can alert people who have been infected, by monitoring the IP addresses of the systems joining the network. Folks were, or will be, tipped off via their ISPs"

So that's what all the robot calls about my IP address being compromised are about...

Um, I'm not that Gary, American man tells Ryanair after being sent other Gary's flight itinerary

Peter Ford

I had two email dopplegangers using my peterford@ISP email address. One had cleary used it in the various spare-time activities he participated in (nothing dodgy) so many other people were trying to contact him using the address. I eventually noticed his middle initial and tentatively sent a message to peterxford@ISP, which turned out to be correct. he has since sorted things out with his friends, and since I ignored the flurry of GDPR messages in 2018 most of the businesses he used that address with have given up.

The other had a different spelling, rather than a middle name, which had been used on an order form. I again had enough info to guess the real address: unfortunately I left it too late to help him recover his order...

Both were polite an aplogetic (of course they were, they're British)

Astroboffins spy a rare exoplanet evaporating before their eyes

Peter Ford

That's no moon...

It's a very early prototype of the Death Star: they just haven't quite got the power output up to production levels yet...

I ship you knot: 2,400-year-old Greek trading vessel found intact at bottom of Black Sea

Peter Ford

Re: Leave it there

Or better still, an intact version of the Antikythera mechanism...

New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

Peter Ford

Re: In the near future

I cant see Apple cluttering their design with a government-mandated port in the near future...

Sysadmin misses out on paycheck after student test runs amok

Peter Ford

Re: Naming Schemes

One UK university I worked at had servers named after colours red, blue .. white, black. Then sable followed black. Then ermine followed sable. Then weasel, and possibly even wolverine. God knows where it went after that...

My own research cluster of five HP-UX workstations had gordon (the big one), and then henry, james, edward and thomas

Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago – and SpaceX hopes to land on Earth this Saturday

Peter Ford

Re: 3.6AU per year

As my wife has just pointed out, 3.6 isn't much more than pi, so 3.6 AU per year is only slightly faster than the speed the Earth is travelling around the sun...

Robo-drop: Factory bot biz 'leaks' automakers' secrets onto the web

Peter Ford

It's PR, and rubbish PR at that.

The correct response should be

"Ooh, bollocks: better get that fixed. Sorry Mr CIO, your bonus just got spent on some sysadmin overtime"

Priceless: The cost to BT for bothering you with spam? 1.5 UK pence per email

Peter Ford

Re: % of income

Big Corps' C-suite should be fined a % of their salaries and bonuses, with no pay increments or other rewards paid until the fine has been cleared (and perhaps a few years afterwards)

Otherwise $BIG_CORP just puts their prices up or squeezes their customers some other way to pay for the fine. You have to make the people at the top of the corporation feel the pain otherwise nothing will change...

Braking news: Tesla preps firmware fling to 'fix' Model 3's inability to stop in time

Peter Ford

Re: Bah!

ABS systems usually detect the wheel slowing down abnormally, so they can release the brake before the wheel stops, so it is entirely possible that Tesla haven't quite nailed that.

Still sounds a bit poor though...

ISP TalkTalk's Wi-Fi passwords Walk Walk thanks to Awks Awks router security hole

Peter Ford

Ralink router?

All the TalkTalk routers I've seen for years have been Huawei - doesn't mean there's not an exploit for them though...

Engineer crashed mega-corp's electricity billing portal, was promoted

Peter Ford

or 'oops'

The one word you don't want to hear from someone sat at the console of a live production server...

Microsoft vows to bridge phones to PCs, and this time it means it. Honest.

Peter Ford

KDE Connect

... does some of these things

but it doesn't show the phone display on the PC, or make calls (yet...)

It certainly notifies me of incoming alerts and SMS, and I can do file transfer like the phone is a network drive.

It can also use the phone as an input device, like a touch pad and a keyboard: might be useful in a presentation environment...

Brit MPs brand Facebook a 'great vampire squid' out for cash

Peter Ford

Re: Not one to big up our Members of parliament

"Effectively, though, this just amounts to giving Facebook more information - even if it’s in the negative, it's equally telling about your personality. And this speaks to the fundamental disconnect between the business and the public."

Does anyone else see the irony of British MPs accusing someone of a disconnect between them and the public?

I might have misread - perhaps that was only an editorial comment, rather than an actual quote from a politician, but the point is still there: one of the worst groups of people for not understanding the mood of the public is the membership of the House of Commons...

X marks the Notch, where smartmobe supercycles go to die

Peter Ford

Re: Economics

I see your £6/month, and say my (dodgy chinese brand) phone cost £85, is IP68-rated and generally damage-resistant, dual SIM (plus SD card), and is on iD @ £5/month (including 2.25GB data with rollovers)

Not only is the package cheap, but the phone is more likely to survive my lifestyle than a £999 iPhone X. The money I save pays for the wear and tear on my trouser pocket (it's not exactly a lightweight phone...)

There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

Peter Ford

Re: "It’s about pressing a button on your keyfob to find out where you parked your car"

I do a lot of kayak racing: my car is easy to find in a car park (except at kayak races...)

Elon Musk's latest Tesla Model 3 delivery promise: 6,000... a week

Peter Ford

Re: The Model 3 is coming.... er??? 2019 or is that 2020?

"the Model 3 is the wrong car for Europe in that it is a sedan/saloon "

"What do they drive in Europe? I had thought the truck/SUV dominance was primarily elsewhere."


In the UK at least the top-selling car is the Ford Fiesta (and pretty much always has been)

The next seven (at least for 2017) are hatchbacks, with the Mercedes C-class (at no. 9) being the only sedan in the top 10. BMW 3-series is probably just outside the top 10, but aside from those it's hatchbacks (including SUVs and MPVs) most of the way.

France is similar in it's love of hatchbacks - pretty much every French car model is a hatchback and the French are fairly partisan in their choices.

Germany likes their BMWs, Audis and Mercs as sedans, but even those makers have a lot of hatchback variants (BMW 1-series plus all the Xs and GT variants; Merc A-class, CLA and all the Gs; Audi A1, A3 and all the Qs)

Uber self-driving car death riddle: Was LIDAR blind spot to blame?

Peter Ford

Re: Intimidation ...!!

"Soon we'll be able to stagger drunkenly across motorways with impunity :-)"

Until *all* cars are self-driving, that sounds like a new form of Russian Roulette...

SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere

Peter Ford

Re: Yawn

Surely in the future we'll have a space elevator and rocket launches will be a thing of the past...

Samsung’s DeX dock clicks the second time around

Peter Ford

KDE Connect

I can do the touch pad and remote keyboard thing with my Android phone and the KDE Connect app, as long as my PC is running the KDE Connect widget and can be paired. No cables required, just having the pone and PC on the same network.

BOFH: Honourable misconduct

Peter Ford

Re: Script for Leave

When I was a student I had a jacket with pockets capable of carrying up to four bottles of Newcastle Brown, even if they were opened at the bar to avoid carry-outs...

Teensy plastic shields are the big new thing in 2018's laptop crop

Peter Ford

RAM? Overrated...

My little old HP EliteBook has a quad-core i7, an 256GB SSD and 4GB RAM.

It works fine, running a full Apache-PHP-PostgreSQL stack, NetBeans IDE and usually several browsers. The fan runs hard if I start up Candy Crush in a browser, but the memory is never an issue.

Of course, it's not having to stagger under the weight of Windows 10...

Dori-no! PepsiCo boss says biz is planning to sell lady crisps

Peter Ford

Re: Do project managers live in the world?

I don't see the problem with this: it doesn't actually say anything about being a "ladies tool kit" aside from the Amazon categorisation. It does have a connection to a breast cancer charity, but how is that gender-specific?

If someone wanted a pink toolkit, maybe just to differentiate it from others, then this is cool. It might stop all the dickhead "alpha" males stealing it...

Take a bow, TalkTalk, Post Office, Vodafone! You win most-whinged-about telcos award

Peter Ford

TalkTalk is a roller coaster...

On the one hand, they have done reasonably well at providing me and my family with phone, broadband and mobile at pretty low cost.

On the other, they seem to have dropped mobile without actually telling any of their existing customers: the first we heard of it was when my daughter got a warning about approaching her text limit. She was on an unlimited text deal... but apparently her deal ended and she is now on some less favourable deal with no warning!

All our mobiles are now going elsewhere as they get to the end of their current deals. Broadband and phone are definitely being looked into.

Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'

Peter Ford

Re: Trains..

That is down to the unions, largely: look at the fuss in the UK when train companies tried to remove the guards from the trains, let alone the drivers.

The London Docklands Light Railway (and other similar systems elsewhere) runs pretty well without drivers, and that's not new technology.

PHWOAR, those noughty inks: '0.1%' named Stat of The Year

Peter Ford

Re: 7.7 billion: the number of active phone connections in the world

Presumably it includes every business phone connection, including mobiles provided by companies, and every one who has more than one mobile, or even more than one SIM...

Does it include every smart-meter that connects to a mobile network to phone home?

In which case the number is starting to look small - I'm surprised it's only just surpassed the world population

GCSE compsci kids' work may not count after solutions leaked online

Peter Ford

1 is low, 9 is high, less than about 5 is effectively a fail. There may also be a 0 if the candidate doesn't turn up.

This allows for scope creep - they can add in 10 or turn it up to 11 if they need to...

Of course, the databases that have been created to store these grades likely only have single character* fields for the grade and will crash if 10 is introduced unless someone is smart enough to use hexadecimal.

* I hit a security block when I tried to type char-openbracket-one-closebracket here - it seemed to think I was trying an SQL injection! That's really not the most efficient way of avoiding SQL injection atttacks...

ML fails: Loyalty prediction? Not really. And bonus prediction? Oh dear

Peter Ford

Re: Fails at basic logic...

Wow, EE get a 1-2?

Are they really that much better than all the others?

Level 5 driverless cars by 2021 can be done, say Brit industry folk

Peter Ford

It doesn't have to strain the grid...

With a little bit of investment, each charging station could have on-site generation using the same sort of fuel that is dispensed by petrol stations: burning the petrol, diesel or anything else that can be bulk transported to the site could probably be done cleaner than running an ICE in every vehicle, maybe with a gas-turbine generator...

Peter Ford

Re: Exactly...

Forget the rest, just this:

"Can go pick up your kids for you or shuttle them to their sports / school / activities."

If that was the only thing self-driving vehicles were legally allowed to do on our roads it would be enough for me!

Li-quid hot mag-ma: There's a Martian meteorite in your backyard. How'd it get there?

Peter Ford

Re: "an asteroid hit the volcano, leaving a crater and sending the materials rocketing to Earth"

My reading is that, although the lava flow was billions of years ago, the asteroid impact that ejected the rocks was much more recent: presumably long after the atmosphere went away.

Forget the 'simulated universe', say boffins, no simulator could hit the required scale

Peter Ford

Re: The whole point of simulating a universe

While your initial point is fair, the suggestion from this work is that it is not physically possible to make a simulation that covers a tiny bit of what we know - they looked at *one* small quantum effect and found that simulating it to any useful degree was not going to be possible. Now add on all of the other quantum effects and you find that to be sure of the exact nature of just the few particles one sim scientist might be looking at would require an unfeasibly large simulation.

Sure, that's impossible in the universe we know, and since were talking about simulating that universe there's an assumption that there is something of much grander scale outside of our known universe doing the simulation, but we're not talking just orders of magnitude greater, more like orders of magnitude times orders of magnitude...

I think the underlying point is that there's not much chance of us even doing a little simulation that could demonstrate that a simulation is possible (the proof-of-concept is not even feasible) so why worry :)

10 minutes of silence storms iTunes charts thanks to awful Apple UI

Peter Ford

People are paying to download this?

Surely anyone can arrange to record a few minutes of silence to an audio file?

It seems to happen every time I attempt to record something, at least until I have figured out which input I was supposed to select...

Facebook pulls plug on language-inventing chatbots? THE TRUTH

Peter Ford

"Natural language does not emerge naturally"

Err, so how did it emerge?

I hope I'm not provoking another evolution/creation "argument"...

Clear August 21 in your diary: It's a total solar eclipse for the smart

Peter Ford

Save the Cheerleader...

... save the world?

America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra security checks or don't carry laptops on flights

Peter Ford

Re: "having a load of Lithium batteries in the hold sounds like a bad idea to me."

My laptop has a removable battery module, so perhaps I should take the battery in my carry-on bag and put the rest in the hold...

Of course, that wouldn't work with an awful lot of low-end kit where the battery is not easily removable (like tablets)

Distro watch for Ubuntu lovers: What's ahead in Linux land

Peter Ford

Re: Linux is a viable alternative for a range of uses these days.

+1 for ZorinOS

My boss's good lady got ransomwared on her windows PC a good few months ago, so I blasted it and installed ZorinOS. No complaints so far...

PayPal peed off about Pandora's 'P' being mistaken for its 'PP'

Peter Ford

I suspect PayPal have plenty of evidence to show exactly how stupid their customers are.

Drugs, vodka, Volvo: The Scandinavian answer to Britain's future new border

Peter Ford

Re: And this tackles people who cycle or walk past ...

In cases where a village is bisected by the border, we could do what happens in many european places (e.g. Samnaun in Switzerland/Austria) or elsewhere in the world: put the border around both sides of the village and turn the village into a tax-free shopping paradise...

Another interesting thing about the CH/AT border - you can kayak/canoe across the border on the river En/Inn. It's a serious piece of whitewater and at the bottom of a deep gorge, which is probably why the border meets the river there...

Today's bonkers bug report: Microsoft Edge can't print numbers

Peter Ford

Re: Optional Title

132 is my kids preferred binary number...

Microsoft quietly emits patch to undo its earlier patch that broke Windows 10 networking

Peter Ford

Static IP address?

Is it just me, or is that not the obvious workaround?

Skip DHCP altogether and set up a static IP address for the machine - you can do that in Windows, can't you?

The only piece of information you need to do that is the network address block - in most home routers that's likely to be - and then choose any one of the mid-range numbers for the last octet to avoid conflict with the router and other dynamically-assigned addresses that might be in use.

I have quite a few devices on my home network and for me it's helpful to know the IP addresses of some of them (I have a raspi to do my internal DNS). The mobile phones are about the only thing that use DHCP in here...

Virgin Galactic and Boom unveil Concorde 2.0 tester to restart supersonic travel

Peter Ford

They'd probably slow down for a while to refuel, like the SR-71 did.

At least this thing probably won't be on the edge of a stall while flying slow enough for a tanker to fuel it...

BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym

Peter Ford

Re: huh ?

"Unless the infrastructure runs on 2 Raspberry Pi's and a usb disk instead of the blades and SANS that are on the books but have been replaced by a few rows of LED strips in the data centre."

Shhh - you'll give the game away!

HP Ink COO: Sorry not sorry we bricked your otherwise totally fine printer cartridges

Peter Ford

Re: "the quality of our customer experience"

Isn't that pretty much what they *are* saying?

BOFH: Free as in free beer or... Oh. 'Free Upgrade'

Peter Ford

Re: Sounds all to familiar

I seem to remember setting the ready message to "OUT OF CHEESE" once... That resulted in some interesting support calls.

Magnetic, heat scanners to catch Tour de France electric motor cheats

Peter Ford

Re: Um, dumb question

"Now think of cycling, where the rider is all-but attached to the bike and so body size and shape is even more important. Further, you have variations in bikes not only for different types of riders but for the same riders at different stages."

But that's not a requirement: the riders could ride up the mountains on the same bike as they sprint the special stages and cruise the long bits. A bike design could be made standard allowing for longer seat posts and bar stems to fit the riders. Complexity is not an excuse - the NASCAR racers might have various manufacturers badges and stickers but they are standardized cars, and even a stock car is more complex (not much, admittedly) than a bike.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019