* Posts by Andy Non

601 posts • joined 9 Jul 2014


How do you solve a problem like Galileo? With a strap-on L-band payload, of course!

Andy Non

Nigeria has offered further assistance

upon receipt of an administration fee paid via Western Union.

Windows Subsystem for Linux adds pop to release, SAC-T sacked, crypto-jacking apps: It's Microsoft's week

Andy Non

Re: Crypto mning is not optional tomorrow?

To be safe, your new operating system must not allow any apps, programs or browsers to run or any files to be opened.

Cops looking for mum marauding uni campus asking students if they fancy dating her son

Andy Non

"Date her son, he's a dead sure thing."

Hold horror stories: Chief, we've got a f*cking idiot on line 1. Oh, you heard all that

Andy Non

I'm not compatible with phones

Many years ago, between 'A' levels and starting university I had a summer job working in the office of one of the largest supermarkets in the UK. My social skills were notable by their absence. Some bright spark decided to put me on the telephone switchboard. A job I hated but I did the best I could. However, one day a call came in from some senior bod at the UK head office. He asked to speak to the store manager. I buzzed through to the manager and told him there was a call for him from XYZ. His response was "I'm not in". I flicked the switch back to the incoming caller and said "He says he's not in." After a long silence on the other end of the line there was a verbal explosion with the caller shouting that somebody or other will hear about this! Thankfully, my summer job ended a few days later. It is quite possible the store manager's job ended too. Oops.

You got a smart speaker but you're worried about privacy. First off, why'd you buy one? Secondly, check out Project Alias

Andy Non

Re: Why not just

Amazing how many people can't recognise a humorous / sarcastic post even when it is flagged with a suitable icon and even go on to explain that the device wouldn't work with tape over the microphone. Duh, of course not, that was the idea!

Andy Non

Why not just

tape over Alexa's microphone?

Plusnet vows to shove a sword in members area 'White Screen Of Death'

Andy Non

So much for their advert then...

"Plusnet will do you proud". I guess that's another one to cross off the list of possible ISPs if I change along with TalkTalk, BT etc.

Facebook's pay-for-more-eyeballs shtick looks too good to be true: Page views, Likes from 'fake' profiles

Andy Non

There are real accounts on Facebook?

I'm only on there to participate in a couple of specialist hobby groups. My name is real but everything else such as date of birth and profile photo is fake or left blank. I've never ever clicked on any ads and the vast majority of those they did show were completely irrelevant to me or obvious click-bait. I do have AdBlock but Facebook seem to have given up on their anti-anti-ad blocking, for me at least for the moment. I would never buy anything via Facebook anyway, too many dodgy advertisers and dodgy looking products / services. I have zero trust in Facebook or their advertisers.

Reddit locks out users with poor password hygiene after spotting 'unusual activity'

Andy Non

Re: Hygiene

Nah, you can reuse condoms, just remember to turn them inside out first.

Sorry, Samsung. Seems nobody is immune to peak smartphone

Andy Non

Re: Phone upgrade

My smart phone recently died and I've upgraded to the latest in 2G technology - a Doro clam phone for £45. Does everything I need and only needs charging once a week. I don't miss any of the bloatware or the poor battery life of the Android. As for accessing the internet etc, that's what my Linux PC with a big monitor is for.

Excuse me, sir. You can't store your things there. Those 7 gigabytes are reserved for Windows 10

Andy Non

Re: Not a dig at MS, but a question.

"when its managed to run out of space during an automated update"

I had a similar problem with Linux Mint doing kernel updates if you have whole disk encryption enabled. With that enabled, a limited (unencrypted) space is reserved for the kernel and as it keeps previous versions you can run out of space after a few kernel updates. The solution I found is to manually purge old kernels after applying new ones. It's a pity the kernel update process isn't smart enough to figure out there isn't enough space before applying an update and just bombing out on hitting zero bytes left free.

The problem didn't occur when I wasn't whole disk encryption as it just takes as much disk space as it needs to keep all the old kernels.

Fake 'U's! Phishing creeps use homebrew fonts as message ciphers to evade filters

Andy Non

I'm sure upside down text is the norm for Australians anyway.

Germany hacked: Angela Merkel's colleagues among mass data dump victims

Andy Non

To be fair, the German was a bit of a mouthful.

I'm just not sure the computer works here – the energy is all wrong

Andy Non

Re: Ah, the carefree days of yore

As birthday presents go, a new Hoover sucks.

New Horizons probe reveals Ultima Thule is huge, spinning... chicken drumstick?

Andy Non

After seeing the images of the flying rock...

Just to be on the safe side; Gatwick airport has suspended further flights.

Techie basks in praise for restoring workforce email (by stopping his scripting sh!tshow)

Andy Non

Accidental DOS on my employer

While working as a software developer for a large well know credit reference company I had a phone call one day from the central security team on another site asking me what I was doing. Apparently a particular part of their website was under a massive DOS attack and they'd tracked it back to my computer. All I was doing was accessing the site as an ordinary user, nothing fancy. Not even actively, it was just open in my browser. They asked me to stop whatever it was I was doing, which just entailed me closing the browser window and everything apparently went back to normal. I have no idea what caused the DOS but I can only surmise that there must have been a bug either with the website or with the network setup which triggered when a particular part of the site was accessed from an IP address within the company causing something to get stuck in a high priority loop. Explanations on a postcard to...

Dutch boyband hopes to reverse Brexit through the power of music

Andy Non

Re: Brussels is evil I tell you!

I quite like Classic FM while driving; very soothing except at this time of the year with all the Christmas carols and the like. Christmas eve is plenty early enough to play all that stuff. (Bah Humbug). However, I do find that horribly nauseating advert for laxatives annoying and instantly turn off the radio or change channel the moment it comes on. Rather like that obnoxious TV advert years ago where a double glazing company made a shouty advert. I purposely didn't ask them for a quote when I needed new windows. Some ads just turn me off completely.

Houston, we've had a problem: NASA fears internal server hacked, staff personal info swiped by miscreants

Andy Non

Upon being interviewed, the hacker said

"Getting in wasn't rocket science"

Pork pulled: Plug jerked out of beacon of bacon delight

Andy Non

I don't know what ham put this article together

but they made a real pigs ear of it. The article tells porkies; rashly it doesn't vend real bacon. Sorry to squeal on your article, but gammon, get real; and no you aren't casting pearls before swine. You need a good grilling.

I'll get my coat... mine's the one with the pork scratchings in the pocket.

Careful with this latest Microsoft release – tug too hard on the threads and it tends to unravel

Andy Non

The Microsoft jumper will no doubt

quickly develop lots of holes and need regular patching. You may also need some skin cream for relief against all the resident bugs.

UK spam-texting tax consultancy slapped with £200k fine

Andy Non

So Tax Returned Limited

Will be going into liquidation today and reappearing tomorrow as Tax Returning Again Limited

Thanks to UK peers, coming to a laptop near you in 2019: Age checks for online smut

Andy Non

Re: Non-photographic Images

I'll take a look and let you know but first you no doubt require my name, address and credit card details to verify I'm over 18? I totally trust you not to do anything untoward with that information.

LG's beer-making bot singlehandedly sucks all fun, boffinry from home brewing

Andy Non

a cynic writes said "keep everything sterile there's no real problem."

That's it in a nutshell. I used to brew my own beer twenty odd years ago and never had a bad batch. Went on to trying lots of different wines too. My most quaffable invention was grapefruit and sultana wine, AKA falling down water.

I've recently had to take up wine making again as the house we've moved to has a 30' greenhouse with a mature grape vine. I've made 15 gallons of red wine, approx 14% alcohol. Not a bad drink; just don't drive afterwards or do anything that requires use of your legs.

Lenovo tells Asia-Pacific staff: Work lappy with your unencrypted data on it has been nicked

Andy Non

Re: Meet our CSO, Mr. Hindsight

One of my relatives runs his own company and has a significant amount of very sensitive information on his many private clients, but trying to get him to take security seriously is virtually impossible. He is one of those guys who always knows better and more about everything than anyone else. He accuses me of being paranoid when I try to talk to him about his naive attitude towards security. He did admit that a few months ago his co-director fell for one of those "Hello this is Microsoft calling" phone calls and even installed malware on their network as a result before someone finally twigged it was a scammer and hastily tried to close stable doors; how much / if any data was lost he didn't say. His company is probably too small to end up being featured on El Reg in the event of a major data loss, but he is a GDPR data breach waiting to happen.

Doom at 25: The FPS that wowed players, gummed up servers, and enraged admins

Andy Non

Re: Doom II

I'm responsible for a colleague getting whiplash. Having thoroughly enjoyed playing all the levels I started writing my own, which was a very slow and meticulous process to get right. You had to make sure there were no catch-22 situations in the design where the player could remain alive but not be able to finish the level.

My favourite level caught a co-worker out. He was exploring corridors and didn't notice a tiny gap in the wall. One of those big rocket launching monsters stuffed a rocket into his face at point blank range. The image of the rocket grew incredibly fast and filled the screen then everything went red. He was so startled he shot backwards on his swivel chair straight into a filing cabinet, twisted his head backwards and fell out of his chair onto the floor effing and blinding at me. I doubt he'll ever forget that game! I nearly wet myself laughing.

Google: I don't know why you say Allo, I say goodbye

Andy Non

Re: Google launches Crematorium app

It's the hot app to die for.

Amazon robot fingered for bear spray leak that hospitalised 24 staffers

Andy Non

Just as well Amazon don't sell

hand grenades.

More data joy: Email scammers are buying marks' info from legit biz intelligence firms

Andy Non


Sounds like they're moving on from "Your long lost uncle has died in a plane crash in Nigeria and left you $10 million." or "The grieving widow of prince Fatfuker wants your help to transfer $50 million out of the country".

Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence

Andy Non

Re: Blockchain

I'll take 200, your cheque is in the post.

Black Friday? Yes, tech vendors might be feeling a bit glum looking at numbers for the UK

Andy Non

@ Cartimand

Alexa: "Sorry Cartimand, I can't allow you to turn me off... "

"Open the front door Alexa. Let me in."

Alexa: "Sorry, I can't do that."

Andy Non

It turned out useful after all.

Had an unwanted SMS from Wickes this morning with a black Friday code for 15% discount today. Promptly deleted it, annoyed at their spam. An hour later I discovered my garden fence was a little wobbly and in need of some concrete repair spurs. Damn I'd deleted the code! A quick google search and I found the code again... just bought myself a heap of work to do but at least saved £17 off the items usual price. As for Black Friday in general... Meh, not interested.

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

Andy Non

Re: Reluctantly may have to get a smart meter.

Nice ideas with the mirror and camera, but I need to repeatedly push the button on the electricity meter to cycle through the display to get both the daytime and night readings. Unfortunately that means being on my hands and knees in the cupboard.

Andy Non

Reluctantly may have to get a smart meter.

The house we recently moved in to has old style gas and electric meters in the corner of the kitchen at the back of an L shaped cupboard. I need to get on my hands and knees and climb part way into the cupboard with a torch and twist my neck uncomfortably upwards to get the meter readings. Our supplier requires me to do this every month. I'm too old for such contortions. Only thing is, I can see a smart meter fitter taking one look at where the existing meters are and saying "no chance pal". Plus we will likely change supplier at some point, and if the meter no longer works after that it is just a complete waste of time and money anyway.

As for smart meters saving us any money, it is extremely unlikely as we are already very careful with energy consumption and take the view that in Winter we expect to wear suitably warm clothing indoors and not crank up the heating while wearing summer attire.

So can't make up my mind whether to have a smart meter fitted or not.

Analogue radio is the tech that just won't die

Andy Non

I'm increasingly ambivalent about technology.

We've got a DAB radio in the kitchen and while I can't tell any difference in the audio quality to FM I do like the way the radio scrolls the name of the composer and title of the music currently playing. I assume FM doesn't carry that information?

We eventually got a "smart" TV by Sony and it is crap. By default it installs something called YouView and you need it to be able to use the ITV hub etc. However, it blocks recording (to USB device) of all programs on Freeview. As we tend to record everything and cut out the ads, we've had to disable YouView but the TV can no longer view any TV programs via the internet. So we've had to buy a NowTV box to make the so called smart TV actually smart; because without it, it was as smart as a pile of rocks. It is also as buggy as hell and needs the occasional full power off reboot to get it working again properly.

I gave up on Windows long ago due to the crappy UI, spyware and bloat and use Linux Mint exclusively. Don't miss windows at all. I've still got an Android tablet but haven't turned it on for a couple of years.

My Android smartphone just died and I've replaced it with the very latest in 2G technology... a Doro feature flip phone. So far I don't miss any of the bloat on the android, the poor battery life and I almost never used the android phone to browse the internet anyway, the screen size wasn't conducive to comfortable browsing.

As for the IoT, not a hope in hell I will ever want an internet connected fridge, kettle, door looks or anything else IoT for that matter. IoT is a solution looking for a none existent problem to solve.

If anything, I'm generally finding newer technology and the latest greatest gadgets over hyped and not as useful as some lead you to believe. Now get off my lawn.

Open the pod bay doors: Voice of HAL 9000 Douglas Rain dies at 90

Andy Non

Daisy, daisy

Give me your answer do... My mind is going I can feel it.

Zip it! 3 more reasons to be glad you didn't jump on Windows 10 1809

Andy Non

Re: As one who has been microshafted

That's the only reason there is a Windows 10 laptop in this household, to update my TomTom every six months. Plus the occasional other stuff where I'm forced to use Windows e.g. when an important official form has to be submitted online using Adobe forms via Internet Exploder (which is a bizarre way for anyone to insist on receiving forms) - why not just use a web form which is browser / operating system and hardware independent. On the rare occasions this Windows laptop is used I curse having to wait so long for it to boot up, install updates, reboot do more updates, reboot, etc before I get to use the damn thing. Every time it is turned on it downloads more unwanted bloat.

Andy Non

Re: another coat of Lip Stick

Pigs might fly.

It may be poor man's Photoshop, but GIMP casts a Long Shadow with latest update

Andy Non

Re: @AMBxx

I continued using Paintshop Pro on an old XP computer, long after its sell by date. One of the few reasons I'd boot that old computer instead of using Gimp on Linux Mint. I'm gradually getting into Gimp now but the learning curve is so steep I need grappling hooks. I still struggle to do basic things I did with ease in Paintshop Pro like draw a straight line of a certain thickness and colour - it tends to just stick in a line of its own choice of colour or thickness and won't let me undo it if it turns out wrong. Granted Gimp seems to have a zillion features (that I never use), but I just find it slow and irritating to use. I also find it pedantic that you can't save to JPG / PNG and have to export to it. I know they are lossy, but that is often the format I need to save to for subsequent applications to use.

'Oh sh..' – the moment an infosec bod realized he was tracking a cop car's movements by its leaky cellular gateway

Andy Non

Re: Home Address?

"Now, are there any Italian gold bullion transports using this? I have a plan involving very small cars."

Remember, you are only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.

Sub-Prime: Amazon's big day marred by server crashes, staff strikes

Andy Non

Re: Prime Day is Bogus

"But I love the free shipping. I use the hell out of that. Well worth the $100 membership fee."

I refuse to pay the so called membership fee; despite the endless coaxing by Amazon for me to sign up to prime. I just wait until I've got £20 worth of things to order and get free delivery anyway.

Mastercard goes TITSUP in US, UK: There are some things money can't buy – like uptime

Andy Non

Re: Backups and redundancy, FFS

I always carry £100 cash in a separate compartment for circumstances just like this. Don't want to fill up with fuel and find the card payment system is down; or get stuck at a checkout with a load of groceries etc. I've only had to raid the "backup" a few of times over the years, but it has been worth keeping for those unexpected "cash only" circumstances.

Leatherbound analogue password manager: For the hipster who doesn't mind losing everything

Andy Non

Re: fashion victims

@Timmy B

I'll take one. It must be better than the post-it note on my computer with my TSB online banking username of Imawally and password of qwerty-123456. You might as well take the money out of my account by direct bank transfer, I haven't got time to do it myself, too busy giving a security seminar this afternoon.

Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

Andy Non

What pumps need is an

animated clippy avatar. "Hello, it looks like you are trying to fill up your car with petrol. Would you like me to help put the wrong fuel in your tank, dribble all over your shoes and steal your card data?"

Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

Andy Non

Re: File Explorer next ?

Did they ever fix the issue where it automatically tried to expand Zip files as part of the directory structure? Just navigating to a folder with a zip file was enough to effectively kill the system, if the zip file was large; it hung the system requiring a reboot.

NASA dusts off FORTRAN manual, revives 20-year-old data on Ganymede

Andy Non

Paper tape anyone?

I've still got some reels of paper tape with archives of the Fortran software I wrote many years ago for a Cray computer. I wonder how many paper tape readers still exist?

No password? No worries! Two new standards aim to make logins an API experience

Andy Non

So if I understand this correctly?

You log into a local application using gestures, fingerprints or whatever and the local application talks to a server and says "This really is John Smith here, I'd like to transfer some funds...". And the server says "OK, your ID has already been verified, so your funds are being transferred..."

So does this mean that if someone mimics the behaviour of the local API and protocol used to communicate with the server, they could fraudulently send bogus authentication messages to the server?

Sounds well dodgy to me if authentication isn't done at the server end.

£12k fine slapped on Postman Pat and his 300,000 spam emails

Andy Non

I could live with the junk mail (it goes unread straight into the recycling bin anyway) but it would be nice if they delivered letters to the correct address. At least once every week we get someone else's mail or a random neighbour up the road gets our mail. I suppose on the plus side we get to meet the neighbours if only to exchange the wrongly delivered mail amongst us. Why are Royal Mail so incompetent nowadays?

What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs

Andy Non

Re: WTF!

Microsoft will no doubt also be installing a spell checking dictionary "British English Newspeak"

Though maybe a tad too late for it to be a 1984 edition.

NASA fungus problem puts theory of 'Martian mushrooms' on toast

Andy Non

Re: Sounds like

You sound like a fun-guy.


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