* Posts by John H Woods

3034 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Brit MP demands answers from Fujitsu about Horizon IT system after Post Office staff jailed over accounting errors

John H Woods Silver badge

re "culture of impunity"

Yes, the establishment do seem to get away with a lot... herd impunity?

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Heads ought to roll

IANAL but I was informed online by someone who claims to be, that where people's lives have been impacted, from stress to suicide, Crown Immunity does usually not apply. He taught me two things I didn't know: there is a thing call crown censure and also that protection from prosecution does not extend to Crown employees (and, in the process, convinced me that he quite possibly was a laywer!)

Amazon declined to sell a book so Elon Musk called for it to be broken up

John H Woods Silver badge

He is a pedo ...

Person Exporting Devices to Orbit

$5bn+ sueball bounces into Google's court over claims it continues to track netizens in 'private browsing mode'

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Forensic analysis of Google Chrome's Incognito Mode

"Therefore, they are going to track you no matter what. "

Ok, fine. So don't have an "incognito mode" then. Chrome says:

Your activity might still be visible to:

Websites you visit

Your employer or school

Your internet service provider

It doesn't say anything about "and we [Google] will still track you"

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Stupid web developers

So ... is there any reason why pro-privacy groups can't mirror those frameworks on other servers where the request isn't tracked? (no sarc, genuine question - I just don't know)

Devuan Beowulf 3.0 release continues to resist the Debian fork's Grendel – systemd

John H Woods Silver badge

multiple monoliths

systemd, snap and even the Linux kernel itself all seem pretty monolithic to me. Is this the new "microkernel" architecture, then, made out of a few big blocks?

I'm very far from being anything like an expert in OS matters so perhaps someone can assist my understanding ... If systemd provides all the essential services userspace needs to make effective use of the Linux kernel, why isn't it part of the kernel? On the other hand, if it's important that these sorts of services are kept separate from the kernel might that not imply they should be kept separate from each other and not all bound up into another monolithic layer?

Privacy activists prep legal challenge against UK plan to keep coronavirus contact-tracing data for two decades

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Optimists

Dido Harding DOES have a really solid reputation when it comes to PII

As anti-brutality protests fill streets of American cities, netizens cram police app with K-Pop, airwaves with NWA

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: "Yes, Anon activists are back."

I can well believe criminals could find the money for a Greyhound to an area where they thought they would be able to commit larceny, or even felony, with relative impunity. But it seems to me unlikely (although I am open to persuasion) that anybody is paying them: first question: Cui Bono? second question: why hasn't anyone already spilled the beans on these secret networks?

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

John H Woods Silver badge

I agree ...

... but I quite like alternate line background shading when lines get >100 chars or so - like we use in wide tables. Thank goodness for stripes.el. What, we don't all use emacs as our terminal? Ok, just me and a few emacsists ...

Trump issues toothless exec order to show donors, fans he's doing something about those Twitter twerps

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Thoughts and prayers

(this might be a whoosh but ...) Gaslighting means trying to undermine other people's perception of reality: presenting false information to people in a manner which makes them doubt their own memory, understanding or perhaps even sanity. Etymology is from the play "Gas Light" by Patrick Hamilton in which the protagonist interferes with the gas supply (used for lighting) to his house to convince his wife that her perception that everything is getting darker was her encroaching insanity.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Simple Response.

I have both the same recollection and the same apathy regarding this issue.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Worst American president ever

The USA is climbing the deaths / million faster than the UK at this stage in the pandemic, although you are correct in that, according for some national adjustments for 'start point' the UK is actually the worst in the world.

Laughing UK health secretary launches COVID-19 Test and Trace programme with glitchy website and no phone app

John H Woods Silver badge

Anybody's guess....

... my guess is that, if they use the {Goog|App}le solution they won't get all that lovely data they want.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: do grandiose brandish

I think the Telegraph Crossword compiler discovered the best anagram so far:

Easily survives travel north to castle... A disaster for this contrary advice? (4,5; 7,3,5; 4,5)



HP Ink sales are in the red: Total revenue down 11 per cent as CEO says coronavirus knackered supply chain

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Just thrown out an HP inkjet ...

Well, I haven't thrown it in the landfill, it's gone in the "will be components when I can tear it down" box :-)

Bits I can't use will go in the WEEE skip and I have replaced it with a mono laser I rescued from someone else's skip :-) I'm green and mean.

John H Woods Silver badge

Just thrown out an HP inkjet ...

... because no-one, not even HP, has a black cartridge for it. There's a couple being ransomed on ebay for more than the price of the printer.

Microsoft blocks Trend Micro code at center of driver 'cheatware' storm from Windows 10, rootkit detector product pulled from site

John H Woods Silver badge

At no time ...

... that's a pretty sneaky way of saying "at t=0..."

Help your fellow IT pals spruce up their virtual meetings: Design a winning background, win Register-branded gear

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: no webcam

I keep a shutter over mine because I look like Anders bloody Brejvik. Fortunately he is fading somewhat from memory... I just hope he doesn't escape.

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

John H Woods Silver badge


hurrah, i'm not the only one who detests flesh-coloured mics

Microsoft drops a little surprise thank-you gift for sitting through Build: The source for GW-BASIC

John H Woods Silver badge

every byte mattered ...

I still remember when I realised I could do FOWIA (find out where I am) in Z80




with one fewer byte:



meaning my subroutine was just E1 E9 instead of E1 E5 C9. I have some vague memory that E9 was originally "undocumented" - does that ring a bell with anyone?

*Yes I had to look up the hex, it's 4 decades since I could program by POKE addr,byte (at 14 it was easier to memorise the instruction set than find the money for an assembler).

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes

John H Woods Silver badge


... but I wouldn't claim that I have never clicked on a screenshot

PS: best example I have seen was my young niece (2yo, I think) trying to do pinch-to-zoom on a picture in a book ...

For the price tag, this iPad Pro keyboard better damn well be Magic: It isn't... but it's not completely useless either

John H Woods Silver badge

boro parmo

<sarc>Thanks</sarc> mate, I'm now homesick and hungry.

Campaign groups warn GCHQ can re-identify UK's phones from COVID-19 contact-tracing app data

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Numpties!

Some scepticism may be required, but https://bylinetimes.com/2020/05/20/dominic-cummings-billion-dollar-brainchild is a bit of a worrying read.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Thank you

Not sure where you get your figure of 1450. So far, worldwide, 14% of closed cases have ended in death, so you'd need about 200 undiagnosed cases for each case to justify that figure.

Furthermore, in the UK, the official death toll is currently 36042. The estimated excess mortality is in the range of another 20k, so probably at least 50k UK brits have died already: if the UK population is just under 68 million that's already more than 1 in 1360, and I suspect we are nowhere near the end of the UK death toll.

Most importantly, even if you a right, I think it's perfectly reasonable to have privacy-compliant* contact tracing on a temporary basis to save thousands of lives. YMMV.

*obviously this does not include the UK proposed app

Apple, Google begin to spread pro-privacy, batt-friendly coronavirus contact-tracing API for phone apps

John H Woods Silver badge

re: should be self-isolating

The whole point is that they will just know that identifier 817398714354652 should be self isolating and isn't - they won't know who it is.

John H Woods Silver badge

BLE isn't really "Bluetooth" in that respect

Former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman calls on UK govt to legally protect data from contact-tracing apps

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Oh what a tangled web we weave!

Help me out here, guys. We have people who think the Nazis were left wing? Really?

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Oh what a tangled web we weave!

"labour lurched so far to the left that Hitler would have recognised them as a party he could work with"

Eh? I think you may be confused!

Rogue ADT tech spied on hundreds of customers in their homes via CCTV – including me, says teen girl

John H Woods Silver badge

I have a bit of sideline ...

... in rural CCTV systems: watching your barns, horses, etc. First thing I tell any potential clients: any system that gives you the convenience of seeing your camera feed over the internet is - unless we are going to lot more money (and still no guarantees) - going to be visible to at least someone over the internet. You need to double check the frame of all fixed cameras and perhaps even put physical shields on PTZ cameras to ensure they can't see sensitive areas even if they can be moved remotely.

Of course, most horses aren't that bothered about cameras (until one girl got enthusiastic and tried to remotely talk to her horse via the camera speaker!) but it's not unusual for a time-pressed groom to piss in the straw they're just about to take to the muck heap, rather than trek to the nearest toilet. Most of them couldn't give two hoots whether you see them or not, but you've got to make sure they know the cameras are there. (Of course I also have to explain to the stable owners/managers that such cameras absolutely may not be used to check on the work of one's staff).

That string of supercomputer hacks last week? Of course it was a crypto-coin-mining get-rich-quick scheme

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: CPU cycles

ah, I see, thanks very much.

John H Woods Silver badge

CPU cycles

Don't most HPC tasks consume lots of CPU? If you compromise the account of a known userA who runs the known taskB, how will you know that the task isn't doing what it says it's doing: surely you just see the processB, owner userA, at roughly where you expect in the process monitor?

This sort of hack could be very damaging because it's not just compromised accounts - what if they've compromised some of your code? Every time you run it you get bogus results ... and someone else gets cryptocurrency.

EDIT: I know nothing whatsoever about HPC, although I'd love to.

SAP proves, yet again, that Excel is utterly unkillable

John H Woods Silver badge

Not affiliated in any way, but ...

I urge anyone with doubts about excel to have a go at Quantrix, the successor to Improv. YMMV but I absolutely love it.

Podcast Addict banned from Google Play Store because heaven forbid app somehow references COVID-19

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: AI is rubbish, developer doesn't read emails?

Best podcast app going. I don't want to have to sideload, but I will if I have to.

Huge if true... Trump explodes as he learns open source could erode China tech ban

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: "Grounded in Truth"

... like your comments, here, Bob, that

a) it's less dangerous than the flu

* time passes *

b) it's only as dangerous as the flu

* time passes *

c) it's only about 50% worse than the flu

* time passes *

You don't seem to be saying too much about how it's not such a big deal now, which is something, I guess.

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

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Also Microsoft

Not a fan of Mrs T., especially not her damaging lingering untruth that a national budget is just like a household budget, but fun fact: the UK actually acquitted themselves pretty well in the Falklands, both operationally and morally. There was a bit of controversy about the Belgrano but, in 2003, Captain Hector Bonzo, in a Nat Geo documentary, claimed that he was readying for attack, and that the sinking of his ship was entirely concordant with the "rules of war"

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development

John H Woods Silver badge

conservatives and liberals ...

... that's an interesting proposition, got a citation?

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

John H Woods Silver badge

re: Midget Porn Collection

Well, hard disks were smaller back then ...

Got a few spare terabytes of storage sitting around unused? Tardigrade can turn that into crypto-bucks

John H Woods Silver badge

interesting ...

... I have a couple of TB of RaidZ2 knocking about ... It's on a BSD though. At the moment it is Wake-on-LAN to save on electricity but if someone else could contribute towards the cost of keeping it online, I could fix the minute long latency to start it up!

Danger zone! Brit research supercomputer ARCHER's login nodes exploited in cyber-attack, admins reset passwords and SSH keys

John H Woods Silver badge

if you can get into that ...

... you can probably mine some cryptocurrency!

DBA locked in police-guarded COVID-19-quarantine hotel for the last week shares his story with The Register

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: And this is why the Aussies are on top of it

"Most people complaining about the governments handling are actually complaining about the conservative party's handling of it because they support the Labour party."

This is doubly invalid. Firstly, they are entitled to complain whomever they support, whether anarchists / communists / fascists / people's front of Judea. Secondly, having complained, the validity of such complaints has nothing to do with their motivation.

Pretty crass to suggest that people only care that the UK is managing this so poorly because they "want to score political points" - I think that's called Poisoning the well.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: And this is why the Aussies are on top of it

Me: "Maybe if they had bothered to RTFM from other countries who had it first they'd have made fewer mistakes."

AC: "What, like Italy and Spain, both of whom have higher death rates than the UK? Great examples to follow."

I was talking about avoiding making the same mistakes, sorry if that was not sufficiently clear.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: due to the ineptitude of Boris and his cohort of fuckwits.

"Nowhere near. 8th highest number of confirmed cases per capita"

We're quite a lot further back in total cases per capita, but we're only 6th in deaths per capita, --- or, if you discount San Marino (pop. <35k) and Andorra (pop. <80k), we're more realistically fourth.

But it all depends on when the growth really started -- if we use per capita measures without adjusting for date, USA seems to be doing quite well. And it really isn't, as the absence of BOMBASTIC BOB telling us that it's not much worse than flu tends to show.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: And this is why the Aussies are on top of it

"1) There are a couple of clusters of unexplained Coronavirus outbreaks in the UK in December and many more in January (two choral societies in Manchester for instance) - all linked to people travelling back from Wuhan."

It's either unexplained or linked to travelling back from Wuhan. Given the infectivity, I would suggest it may not have been Covid19. I have friends who returned from Wuhan in Jan with severe Covid19-type symptoms but it seems inconceivable to me that they wouldn't have started a local cluster.

I can see no acceptable explanation for why the UK is performing so poorly and, unless the UK is to be considered far more rebellious than any other country, you haven't really provided one here. This is a failure of government, they only excel (especially with the latest vague non-advice) at shifting the blame back to the citizens.

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: And this is why the Aussies are on top of it

"Yes, the Government has made mistakes in the handling of CV-19. They are writing the user manual as they go."

Maybe if they had bothered to RTFM from other countries who had it first they'd have made fewer mistakes. It is becoming harder and harder to claim that the UK has not badly mismanaged this: we squandered several advantages (Island, reasonably wealthy, state health service AND MOST IMPORTANTLY at least two headstarts [China and Italy]).

The fact that some will criticise the government whatever they do does not invalidate all criticism of the government.

Serial killer spotted on the night train from Newcastle

John H Woods Silver badge


Have a solitary one

The point of containers is they aren't VMs, yet Microsoft licenses SQL Server in containers as if they were VMs

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Cloud is a joke

I'm conflicted ... I somewhat disagree with the first part of your post and somewhat agree with the latter!

FYI: Your browser can pick up ultrasonic signals you can't hear, and that sounds like a privacy nightmare to some

John H Woods Silver badge

Re: Good security will always need some user action

It's good practice, sure, but all nhos people around you don't know so much. I think we need to tackle it at an institutional level.

John H Woods Silver badge

if Google really cared ...

... it would be possible, on a non-rooted phone, to allow permissions on a basis of "yes but ask for every access or at least a log of when which apps ask for which services.

Permissions should also be more fine grained "access to your photos" seems reasonable if you are going to post pictures to Facebook ... But I'm pretty sure it analyses your entire camera roll.

Ideally I would like to give dummy permissions as well. So an app that wouldn't install with microphone access can be given a yes but just receive a silent (or filtered) audio stream; and a GPS "for regional purposes" can be blurred - I can see why an astronomy app might want to know where I am to within the nearest kilometre when I open it it but what I don't want it knowing my location to within 10 metres every second its open (or even worse, running "in the background", another place where Android is deliberately unhelpful as to what is really going on).

At least Facebook is only an app ... Having an entire OS under the control of an advertising giant is never going to be be an optimal situation.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020