* Posts by Johndoe132

22 posts • joined 29 Apr 2015

Nah, it won't install: The return of the ad-blocker-blocker

Johndoe132

For a while when physical junk mail advertising was a real nuisance, I took to opening it up and helpfully forwarding on all the crap to any company kind enough to include a pre-paid return envelope. Got it out of my house and ensured they were charged for the return postage at the same time.

If only we could do the same with spam email......

BOFH: Got that syncing feeling, hm? I've looked at your computer and the Outlook isn't great

Johndoe132

Where is Dabbsy?

Fantastic BOFH as always, but where is our usual Friday fest of snark tales and retro 80's videos ala Monsieur Dabbs?

UK smut overlord declares age checks should protect users' privates

Johndoe132

Re: @Johndoe132

Yes that is a definite downside, though I could change the public facing IP address via the AWS console if I really wanted to, but it's a hassle. Who knows what Amazon are logging and profiling; it's something I've thought about but I still feel better having everything bypass my ISP and Big Sister Theresa. I guess that no matter which VPN solution you adopt, you always end up having to trust *someone*.

Johndoe132

Yep, and it's pretty good for bypassing basic restrictions at the ISP level, e.g. piratebay. It's not a real VPN though, more like an https proxy as only web traffic form Opera will go down it, not all traffic like you would get with a proper VPN.

The Opera VPN app for Android is also pretty good, and does function as a true VPN passing all traffic from what I can tell.

Johndoe132

Re: Time to install a decent VPN

I've had most success (speed / reliability) by rolling my own. A micro AWS instance which can be had free for a year does the job nicely, in a location of your choice. Then just install OpenVPN Server and configure as many client connections as you need - there are several good tutorials out there on how to do this. The only thing you end up paying for is the bandwidth, which usually runs to a couple of £ per month, plus you are in complete control and know for sure there is no logging etc.

£60m, five years late... Tag criminal tagging as a 'catastrophic waste' of taxpayers' cash

Johndoe132

Re: Radical Suggestion...

As someone who spent 13 years in drugs related law enforcement, I eventually came to the same conclusion - we are never going to control this stuff so the only sane option is to legalise it, control it in a socially acceptable way and tax it just like we do with other drugs e.g. nicotine and alcohol.

I'm no expert on the medical side of things, but from what I understand it's the crap the raw drugs are cut with that causes much of the harm / deaths rather than the drug itself. Regulated supply would take that out of the equation plus raise a pretty penny for the treasury. And yes, much other 'low level' crime (I don't consider someone breaking into my house low level, especially not if my family is inside) is committed to fund a drugs habit so reducing this would be of huge benefit to all.

My only concern would be that legalising highly addictive drugs (e.g. cocaine) would lead people to try it once who would not have otherwise, only to find themselves hooked. There would need to be a barrier to entry of some kind, but not enough to make illegal supply viable. The answer to that one is almost certainly way beyond the mental capacities of govt. policy makers so I guess we go on chucking good money after bad....

Facebook open-sources object detection work: Watch out, Google CAPTCHA

Johndoe132

Re: Google / Amazon search results

Yes, and it drives me mad when they keep pushing things which you already bought that are fairly obviously one-time purchases. Like Amazon popping up suggestions for various models of hot water expansion vessels because I bought a replacement for my home system a year or so ago. Get the message - I'm not a plumber and am very unlikely to be buying again you stupid algo!

/rant

'There was no monetary incentive for this' = not what you want to hear about your tattoo

Johndoe132

Yes, this...

Exactly my attitude to the darn things. Well said Sir; have an up-vote.

UK.gov delays biometrics strategy again – but cops will still use the tech

Johndoe132

Re: Biometrics and ANPR Differ; Government Prevaricates Unnecessarily

I have fairly limited knowledge and experience on this topic, but Nigel here is clearly a bit of an expert. Where else on the interwebs, let alone in a reader's comments section of a 'red top' could you encounter such insight? El Reg and all the commentards who sail forth, I salute you!

Merry Christmas one and all.

P.S. Perhaps the alcohol doesn't evaporate off the gluvine after all.......

P.P.S. is anyone else noticing slow page loads on FireFox 57 on Linux?

Virgin Media to close flagship Oxford St store in August

Johndoe132

They don't even know where their fiber runs

TLDR - VM Staff on the ground appear to be competent and friendly. Back end systems not so much. In my limited assessment, VM are less reliable than OpenReach supplied providers.

My own personal experience of VM:

When I first moved into a new build house, on the site of an old commercial premises, I enquired with VM if they could service the property as BT FTTC was not quite ready yet. I could see the VM fiber ran most of the way down the street, and also along the road bordering the other side of my new house, yet it stopped short about 70m from the pavement at the front; I was in a dead zone. None the less, I called VM and they assured me I could get the service, until an engineer turned up, looked at the same ducts as I had and said sorry, no way.

Fast forward through five years of receiving VM begging letters desperate for me to become one of their customers and I decided to bite; after all they can hook me up no problem!

So I make the call and after spending 30 mins or so on the phone negotiating what was actually a very good deal, I insisted they send an engineer to confirm service availability before notifying my current supplier of the switch. Two days later a very nice chap turns up in the dark, so armed with torches I take him on the guided tour of VM cable runs around the property and he agrees with me; it's a JCB job to extend the cable run to the property.

I phone VM the next day to explain, yet the chaps in Mumbai insist it's all still good for the agreed go-live date, so I figure I will just chill out and kick off for compensation if / when it all goes wrong. A few days later, some blokes wearing Hi-Viz and armed with a mini digger appear up the road and start digging up the pavement; this is looking promising!

At this point I’m convinced, beyond all expectations, that VM have sensibly decided to extend the fiber run down past my house, probably influenced by the current building of some 200+ new houses just a little further down the road. But no, of course not. What was I thinking?

So I get a phone call the next evening to inform me that despite having already dug the trench two thirds of the way from the existing fiber termination to my house, this was simply an ‘investigation’ and that extending the VM service to my property was not ‘economically viable’. Never mind the other six properties they dug past on the way which are also now potentially missed sales, or the fact that to deliver services to the 200+ houses on the new estate they will have to go past my house anyway....

Do we need Windows patch legislation?

Johndoe132

Re: Forced to support forever

I agree completely. Your last point is interesting though - if this were OSS or M$ had decided to open source the code at end of life, then governments & corporations around the world would have had the *option* to build their own in-house support for the product.

In the case of UK Gov that may well have been the cheaper way to go, but having worked in that sector I don't believe for a second it would have actually happened.

It really, really pains me but I have to side with Redmond on this one; they gave fair warning that XP was going end of life and the general poor security of that OS was well known to all of us. I'm sure every techie worth their salt has been beating the migration drum for years, but at the end of the day politics always wins......

It's 2017 and Windows PCs are being owned by EPS files, webpages

Johndoe132

Re: Yes, a constant stream of vulns --

Actually I think the main reason is that very few Windows users are even aware there is an alternative. I just switched an elderly friend's aging laptop (it came with Vista!) to Linux Mint Cinnamon running from a new SSD drive and she's delighted with the result. It probably helped that over the years I've moved her away from M$ software to use things like Firefox, Thunderbird and Libre Office so the switch to Linux actually gave a pretty familiar experience. I'm expecting a lot less support calls from now on.....

Bankers to get 1Gbps free Wi-Fi in City of London deal

Johndoe132

Re: London-centric. Perks for bankers

Yes, the City will be desolate after all those hundreds (possibly thousands if you believe the Daily Fail) of jobs move abroad to set up brass plate branches which give the parent company the exact same passporting rights as they have currently from the UK. Actually, most major banks already have branches in at least one European country which they can use, so its just a little shuffling of the cards and all is well. The financial centres of the world are London and New York, and that will remain the case for a long time to come because the supporting industries and regulatory environment to make it otherwise is a long time in the making.

BOFH: Don't back up in anger

Johndoe132

Re: New technical terms.

Is that you aManFromMars1??

MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking

Johndoe132

Re: MAC address changes are pointless because

Yes - if you have set the phone up to connect to a WiFi network with a hidden SSID, then the device will constantly be looking for it when not connected. This is why it's generally considered to be a bad idea to hide the SSID of a wireless network on security grounds; it's trivial to discover anyway and it just causes configured devices to broadcast it's existence everywhere they go.

Re MAC collisions etc, this should not be an issue as once a device connects properly to a wireless network it will reveal and use the globally unique MAC.

Good luck securing 'things' when users assume 'stuff just works'

Johndoe132

Re: " I live in an old building with seven outside doors"

Nice place - I especially like the Union Jack flying proud on streetview :-)

£1m military drone crashed in Wales after crew disabled anti-crash systems – report

Johndoe132

Slightly off topic....

...But I have to commend the El Reg commentards for yet again promoting a lively and very informative conversation.

Vaguely recalling an article from a few days (weeks?) ago re ad blocking and paying for quality content, I would gladly offer a monthly subscription to browse the comments on this site as they offer the most informed and balanced resource I've come across for tech news.

Thanks everyone, and keep up this awesome community. I would post more often, but as a jack of all trades I feel like I benefit far more from the insight of all the experts out there so keep quiet, but huge thanks to you guys (and girls)!

We turn Sonos PLAY:5 up to 11

Johndoe132

Re: With respect...

Totally agree. I started with a play:3 a couple of years ago and have now grown the collection to a couple of play:3 units and three play:1s, connected through the central bridge. They are all placed in different rooms throughout the house which means we get that seamless room-to-room listening experience with very good quality audio (I'm sure it's not the best, but way good enough for me).

Maybe later in life I will invest in a high end, single room audio set-up with a lazy boy placed in the sweet spot, but for now with two young kids running about the place and never stopping in one place for very long having the music playing through the house is far more valuable. That and the Spotify hookup makes this a great system, especially for parties when you can very quickly reposition the speakers for a thumping set up. Even the missus can work it ;-)

AVG to flog your web browsing, search history from mid-October

Johndoe132

No mention of ClamAV?

Surprised this hasn't popped up in the comments yet; I'm using it on Win7 and it does a great job without getting in the way.

Acer Revo One RL85: A pint-sized PC for the snug

Johndoe132

I've just replaced a rather noisy Acer Revo 70 with a Pi 2b to run Kodi and it works an absolute dream. The navigation is very snappy and by switching from Samba to NFS shares on the media server streaming 1080p video over a 10/100 LAN is super smooth.

I picked up the Pi kit on an amazon flash sale for £40 and included the Pi, case, 8Gb SD card with NOOBS pre installed, power supply and all the cables. Installation was very easy; just connect to the net, select OpenElec or OSMC from the NOOBS menu (I went with the latter) and the rest is taken care of for you.

I would say that if all you need is something small and quiet to run Kodi then this is a great value option. Plus the Pi consumes just a few watts of power and I believe can even run off the USB ports of some TVs so very low on running cost.

At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

Johndoe132

TalkTalk seem to be doing this already...

I just switched from BT Infinity to TalkTalk fibre and saved myself around £30 a month.

No need for a MAC code (it was never even mentioned); TalkTalk took care of the whole thing and the switch went ahead on the planned date.

My only gripe would be that BT disconnected me at around 05:00 and the TalkTalk service didn't come online until the evening - I was beginning to think I had screwed up something in the new router when I pre configured it. Oh, and the fact that the TalkTalk 'Super Router' has some bizarre restrictions on which ports can be forwarded from the WAN side (8443 is a no-go which caused some problems with VPN traffic).

Paranoid about the NSA? The case for dumping cloud's Big 3

Johndoe132

Re: @Vimes

For me it's a headless HP Microserver in the attic with 2TB of RAID1 disk running Ubuntu server.

That runs Samba for local file sharing and I use Tonido & Plex for access on mobile devices. The server also runs OpenVPN so I can connect in securely from outside with various registered devices.

To secure this from the outside world there is a BT Home Hub hooked up to Infinity which provides guest WiFi access for visitors etc and net access to less trusted devices such as the TV and Sky Box. Sat behind that and running the trusted local LAN is a small business grade VPN firewall / router from one of the better known vendors.

Not perfect I'm sure but I feel this is a fairly safe setup on a budget. I'm now looking at spinning up a virtual Ubuntu server to run as a squid proxy with DansGuardian to filter net traffic for the kids.

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