* Posts by Andy Non

847 posts • joined 9 Jul 2014

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With millions upon millions out of work in the US, here come the scammers claiming victims' unemployment money using stolen info

Andy Non Silver badge

Too late Dee Dee is heading into your secret lab... (explosion imminent)

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

Andy Non Silver badge

"If I tell my wife I was torpedoed while fishing, she'll never believe me."

You owe me a new keyboard and cup of coffee.

If American tech is used to design or make that chip, you better not ship it to Huawei, warns Uncle Sam

Andy Non Silver badge

Good incentive for China

to become fully 100% self sufficient. Then they will have no need to buy anything made in America at all either directly or indirectly. They will also be able to compete with American exports worldwide even more strongly. Trump aiming gun at own feet again. I'm happy with my Huawei phone and will continue to buy Chinese tech and products regardless of the orange idiot.

Source code for seminal adventure game Zork circa-1977 exhumed from MIT tapes, plonked on GitHub

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Xyzzy (or PLUGH)

I remember those passages well. Got stuck down there for ages wandering around in the dark. xyzzy was the code for something, was it a magic rod or lamp or something that teleported you elsewhere... it was a very long time ago.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

Andy Non Silver badge

Given their lack of direction and failed initiatives.

Microlost.

Prepare to have your shonky password hygiene shamed by Firefox 76

Andy Non Silver badge

Floating video window

"the existing Picture-in-Picture functionality now enjoys double-click support to toggle the floating video window from small to full-screen and back."

Anyone know how to disable floating video windows? Google wasn't my friend.

If I scroll past a video it means I'm don't want to watch it or have seen enough and want to read the rest of the page, not have the video following me and shoved in my face.

NUC NUC. Who's there? It's Intel, with a pint-sized 8-core Xeon workstation

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Have some Mint instead!

That's around 5 times the amount I'll be spending on my next Linux desktop. I like the small aluminium air-cooled SSD boxes you can get from China via Amazon; my last one is still going strong after 5 years giving me confidence about the build quality.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eggsnow-Fanless-Desktop-Computer-2-5Ghz/dp/B07C61GF2F/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=eggsnow+fanless&qid=1588765625&sr=8-10

We beg, implore and beseech thee. Stop reusing the same damn password everywhere

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: In other news....

That's how it was for my car insurance company site. I ended up changing my long complex password to a short easy one because it wouldn't let me paste it in. Their site was also very unforgiving, click the back button and you've got to log in again. Click the wrong item trying to navigate their awful menu system and you can't get back, so end up having to log in again. Don't click anything for a couple of minutes and guess what...

Andy Non Silver badge
Stop

Re: In other news....

"For a while it worked quite well if this was saved in the browser."

For anything not overly important I store (unique and complex) passwords in the browser, e.g. for El Reg. What really bugs me are sites that won't let me paste in a password. As I always chose long complex passwords it can be a pain in the rear to type them in; so I tend to avoid such sites... I'll often abandon a site registration form if it blocks password pasting and either not bother or go to another site.

Recently tried to register with the National Lottery but they did the password pasting blocking thing so abandoned my registration. I'll probably be a couple of quid a week better off anyway.

As for storing my passwords, I use encrypted documents stored in an encrypted folder on an encrypted drive on my local hardware (not cloud). Backed up to other encrypted drives. While it can be a little tedious accessing my bank login details etc, it does allow me to use long, complex usernames and passwords and I don't need to trust a third party to store them for me. Just a pain if some sites block me from pasting them in.

It looks like you want a storage appliance for your data centre. Maybe you'd prefer a smart card reader?

Andy Non Silver badge

Amazon have some weird suggestions; I recently bought a new cordless drill and under their heading "Customers who bought that item also bought" and suggested a salacious novel. The mind boggles.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Bit like Amazon at the moment

It was the opposite of that when we lived in France, the DIY programmes on TV there often had presenters covered head to toe in muck and dust from using power saws, angle grinders, ripping down old ceilings etc and no masks, eye protection etc. A total disregard for personal safety; I've seen some really gung-ho use of chainsaws too with no respect for what damage they can do to flesh within a split second.

Andy Non Silver badge
FAIL

Bit like Amazon at the moment

I wanted a new heavy duty face guard for when I'm using my table saw, big angle-grinder or chainsawing down trees. Narrowed my search to the DIY and tools section but was offered page after page of cheap nasty PPE medical visors. Totally useless, but you can see what Amazon are shifting at the moment. I'll wait until I can get a proper one from B&Q or Wickes.

Ride now, ride! Ride for ruin and the world's ending! Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is here at last! Kind of

Andy Non Silver badge

"Platform: Just PC for the foreseeable"

And in one sentence, that's the reason I won't be playing it; otherwise it looks halfway entertaining. If it ever comes to a Linux PC or the PS4 then maybe, but I won't hold my breath.

Academics demand answers from NHS over potential data timebomb ticking inside new UK contact-tracing app

Andy Non Silver badge

Fraudsters will likely clone the app

with one or two modifications and require you to enter your credit card number - for age verification purposes of course.

(Sorry, I'm just a cynic, always looking for the worst)

Andy Non Silver badge

I guess the bare minimum way of tackling this would require people to disclose their phone number so they can be contacted by SMS or via the app. If the proximity with other people is done purely using bluetooth then location would not be needed, only a log of whose phone you were near, when and for how long (i.e. did you stand chatting to them for twenty minutes or race past them on a bicycle). Recording location data would be a grey area in my opinion as it could be legitimately useful but also is a significant intrusion into privacy.

I'll balk at installing the app though if I need to enter name, address, date of birth, ethnicity, NHS number, inside leg measurement etc.

Andy Non Silver badge

I'll be looking closely at the details when they emerge and will (or not) sign up depending on the data they require.

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

Andy Non Silver badge
FAIL

As business models go

screwing your existing customers for as much money as you can will only last so long before the customers wise up and switch to different brand printers when their HP printers die. I used to swear by HP printers both for business and private use; but for the last few years I've switched to Brother printers and they work just fine without me being forced to use HP's extortionately priced ink. I see no reason to ever buy a HP printer again.

Back in the day I also used to swear by HP computers and their excellent technical support. They fell over themselves to immediately help you, but that dwindled into a tardy email from what was left of their customer services a week later more or less saying, meh, we can't be bothered. The once mighty company has fallen to being little better than a third rate manufacturer with dodgy business practices. It is just living off its once respectable brand name.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: HP printers

Ditto that. I stopped buying HP inkjets long ago due to this ink scam. Now I happily use Brother printers.

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump

Andy Non Silver badge

Credit to Trump for one thing though; I didn't think it was possible I could ever have a lower opinion of him, but he's managed it with the injecting disinfectant thing. I'm now absolutely convinced he's a total twat and a moron, no lingering doubts left. I fear for America and the rest of the world with that nut job in control.

Nineteen mysterious invaders from another Solar System spotted hanging around the outside edge of ours

Andy Non Silver badge
Alien

Hmmmm

"In these times of coronavirus concern, someone thought it looked a bit like a mask and put out a press release."

The aliens are sending an earth sized mask to wrap around the planet so the virus can't infect their world.

Keen to go _ExtInt? LLVM Clang compiler adds support for custom width integers

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Sounds like a good idea

Sorry, yes, you need 6 bits to encode 39 characters. My excuse is that it was a very long time ago in a universe far, far away. Well late 1970's anyway.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Sounds like a good idea

Of course it should be tested! I never said it shouldn't. I'm saying the idea in principle sounds good and should be looked into, not just dismissed out of hand. There could easily be issues found that make it a non-starter. We won't know until it is properly researched and tested.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Sounds like a good idea

The one instance that sprang to mind when I wrote the above was when the original programmer was storing a value that never went negative, so he'd used the highest bit to store something else. Until the inevitable happened and it did store a negative value.

You can also have lots of fun compressing alpha-numeric characters. If the user's input data can only consist of A-Z, 0-9, comma, full stop and Space - a total of 39 characters, you can encode this as binary in 5 bits (0 - 38 decimal). Leaving 3 bits free per byte. Luxury! So you can start your next character using the remaining 3 bits from the previous byte and so on. It was a relief when RAM and disk space increased and such binary gymnastics were no longer required.

Andy Non Silver badge

Sounds like a good idea

No point wasting time processing unused bits. Reminds me of my early days programming in the 70's and 80's when RAM and disk space was at an absolute premium and I (everyone really) used all manner of weird and wonderful ways to compress data to the minimum. It did of course eventually lead to problems like Y2K with an assumed "19" or "20" depending on whether the year was more or less than 80 for example. It did make handling other people's poorly documented code a nightmare though, especially if they munged multiple values into one integer variable (using higher bit positions) to hold boolean or other data; no bits wasted. I've come across some real pigs to debug later when the bits "unexpectedly" overflowed into each other.

Zuck loves free speech so much Facebook will censor 'anti-state' content in Vietnam after telcos 'crippled' access

Andy Non Silver badge
Big Brother

Facebook has strict moral principles

but if you don't like those, it has others.

House of Commons agrees to allow Zoom app in Parliament, British MPs will still have to dress smartly

Andy Non Silver badge

"a glimpse of Michael Gove in a leopard onesie"

Where's the mind bleach?

Something a bit phishy in your inbox? You can now email suspected frauds straight to Blighty's web takedown cops

Andy Non Silver badge
Big Brother

Not sure I trust

bungling bureaucrats to take down domains. If I forwarded them a phishing email they'd be more likely to take down my domain rather than the one in the forwarded email.

This hurts a ton-80: British darts champ knocked out of home tourney by lousy internet connection

Andy Non Silver badge

Crap in rural France too

When we moved there 13 years ago we were informed we'd have broadband within 6 months as part of a local infrastructure project. Never materialised and we were stuck with dial-up internet at a miserable 22k for 8 years which often dropped out completely. Our telephone line was hanging off the poles in a nearby field on the ground - the cows used to play skipping with it. Reported it to Orange/France Telecom but because it still "worked" they did nothing. Eventually I managed to get a Wi-Fi router which was significantly faster but limited to 2 GB download max per month.

Now back living in the UK in a large town, it's fantastic to have a proper high speed connection.

Google Cloud's AI recog code 'biased' against black people – and more from ML land

Andy Non Silver badge
Terminator

ED 209

Please put down your weapon, you have 20 seconds to comply...

But I'm a doctor, and this is a temperature gun.

You now have 15 seconds to comply...

Hi, Google Duplex here, trying to book a haircut for a socially inept human. Sorry, 'COVID-19'?... DOES NOT COMPUTE

Andy Non Silver badge

I'm putting you through to the wrong department now; please wait.

Andy Non Silver badge
Coat

Re: An alternative use case

I'm sorry, I don't understand your post. Can you repeat it using a few words to state the reason for your post.

I'm sorry, ...

Doom Eternal: Reboot sequel is cluttered but we're only here for the rippin' and the tearin'

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: we're all DOOMED

Unless you live in China, you can't buy it there any more as it is considered "subversive".

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I prefer the original

Some of the WADs I released via a magazine. I've still got them backed up somewhere, around twenty or so if I remember correctly. Some fairly long and with unique challenges. The tricky bit was always ensuring that the player couldn't get stuck in a catch-22 situation where they were left alive but unable to complete the WAD, so if they fell and got trapped down a pit for example, it had to be radioactive so they died anyway.

Andy Non Silver badge
Devil

I prefer the original

Doom and Doom 2 on DOS. Great fun was had. I also liked the fact I could wander around and explore and look for hidden rooms. I also wrote numerous add-on levels for Doom 2 which my colleagues had fun playing.

Tried Doom 3 but it just seemed to be non-stop fighting while locked in a corridor or room, mainly with me getting killed a lot and having to redo again and again ad-nauseum. I miss the lack of a proper save feature and the chance to wander around without getting killed every ten seconds. I got bored with it in the end and abandoned the game. I gather that Doom Eternal is more of the same, so I won't be buying it.

I've taken a liking to games with more plot and the chance to explore; open world games like "The Outer Worlds" and "The Stranding". Still plenty of combat, but the games are more rounded and satisfying to play.

French pensioner ejected from fighter jet after accidentally grabbing bang seat* handle

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Lucky he didn't get seriously injured during ejection.

I guess it is a compromise between too fierce ejection killing the pilot with excessive g forces and not ejecting him hard enough to get high enough for the parachute to slow him down enough if he ejects at very low altitude.

Andy Non Silver badge

His heir was a fly by night.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Double ejection

"in a state without socialised healthcare"

He would likely be ejected from hospital.

Cloudflare dumps Google's reCAPTCHA, moves to hCaptcha as free ride ends (and something about privacy)

Andy Non Silver badge

Sidewalk

It's what I do at the moment if someone is walking directly towards me and coughing.

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Reality check

Probably better to keep that shopping list on a Jesus phone.

Want to stay under the radar for a decade or more? This Chinese hacking crew did it... by aiming for Linux servers

Andy Non Silver badge
Coat

Re: @Pascal Monett - So, one Linux myth bites the dust

The best bet is to keep Linux servers at least two metres away from the internet.

Remember Tapplock, the 'unbreakable' smart lock that was allergic to screwdrivers? The FTC just slapped it down for 'deceiving' folks

Andy Non Silver badge
FAIL

Don't think padlocks are very secure in general

I put an expensive heavy duty padlock and clasp on my elderly father's garage for him. It looked very secure. However, when he died a few years later I found myself without a key to get into said garage. I found an old pick (the ground digging type) and within around 30 seconds and some brute force and leverage managed to break the lock gaining entry.

Since then I regard all padlocks as more of a visible deterrent than a real one. They may deter a casual opportunist thief such as your average druggy, but certainly not someone "going equipped" as the police call it.

Already in final beta? That's Madagascar: Ubuntu 20.04 'Focal Fossa' gets updated desktop, ZFS support

Andy Non Silver badge
Happy

Good to see

it is still in development in these strange times; though maybe all the developers are just working from home on it anyway.

Personally I'll wait for the Linux Mint version of it to come along. Looking forward to something a tad different. Still using Mint 18.3 Cinnamon.

We're number two! Microsoft's Edge browser slips past Firefox in latest set of NetMarketShare figures

Andy Non Silver badge

Why the decline of Firefox?

I've been using it for many years and love it; mainly for the add-ons like Adblock Plus and NoScript etc. Do people just not care about blocking ads and crap on the internet? Or is it that they have to actually go to the effort of downloading it and that is beyond the average person nowadays?

I tried browsing the internet without an adblocker and it really is a turd fest of irrelevant crap all over the screen. Do people really browse like that all the time? Or can you get adblockers for Edge and Chrome? (I've never used them so don't know)

Automatic for the People: Pandemic-fueled rush to robo-moderation will be disastrous – there must be oversight

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Don't fear the robots

I w o u l d n ' t b a n k o n i t .

Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Paris...

Damn confusing AZERTY and QWERTY. I had an AZERTY laptop in France but configured to use English for the OS. After I set up full disk encryption I couldn't get back into the computer after bootup.

Took a while for the penny to drop that during bootup it treated the keyboard as QWERTY not AZERTY and only switched to AZERTY afterwards. So I had to type in the disk password pretending the keyboard was QWERTY.

Philippines considers app to trace coronavirus carriers

Andy Non Silver badge
Devil

Wonder how accurate it would be anyway?

I notice my phone tags any photos I take at home with a location of a house on the street behind my street!

I'd be shot as a criminal for not staying home and trespassing in other people's houses!

ZX Spectrum prototype ROM is now available for download courtesy of boffins at the UK's Centre for Computing History

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: 16KB

Surprising what you can cram into limited space. I remember writing ping-pong and various other games for the ZX81. Compared to my programmable Casio calculator it had a vast amount of memory and unlimited programming potential. Disliked the keyboard though, some of the keys wore out quickly and became somewhat hit and miss.

Vietnam bans posting fake news online

Andy Non Silver badge

Social media rumour mongers

can cause a lot of damage. I read the other day that 300 Iranians have died as a result of drinking methanol... because of a rumour on social media that it could prevent / cure coronavirus.

How many days of carefree wiping do you have left before life starts to look genuinely apocalyptic? Let's find out

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Personal habits?

"the rate the roll goes round sounds like an aircraft carrier dropping anchor."

You owe me a new keyboard ... one without coffee spilled all over it.

Andy Non Silver badge
Coat

You'll need to wear PPE to handle Corona.

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