* Posts by Dan

96 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jan 2008


Unsafe at any speed: Memcpy() banished in Redmond

Dan Silver badge

So what happens with the super-safe version of memcpy?

You truncate the source data into the destination buffer then something else somewhere else in the program either can't make sense of it or goes through the data with a pointer and gallops off into the sunset as the data terminator didn't get copied across or trashes the stack or causes a page fault or etc...

I think the best idea would be knowing how to program in the first place...

Beeb tech boss seeks to expand TV licence online

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I think the BBC is pushing for what is already being done in France and will be introduced in Spain soon, which is that ISPs 'donate' 3% of their profits to public television (or in France's case Sarkozy's mate as TF1 is privatised).

Spain came up with the exact same 3% figure as in France, must be someone in government discovered how to use copy and paste.

In France and Spain the excuse is the advertising downturn, but the BBC can't use that excuse.

France's ISPs are taking it to the European court and Spain's ISPs are threatening to add another line to each customer's bill with their proportion of the charge if the government goes through with it.

Fanbois squeal over Mac OS X upgrade

Dan Silver badge

Update went fine

I downloaded the update, ran the installer, had tea, came back, found the installer asking me to hit OK to reboot.

Hate to say it, but it feels snappier.

Microsoft gets second extension in IE EU antitrust brouhaha

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@AC 15:09

I suppose it's because the filetype association still exists. It could just as well fire up Notepad.

Windows will always be stuck with MSHTML/MSXML, there are two many around programs which need them. But then again MacOS has Webkit even though you can drag Safari to the trash and Linux has KHTML.

If the installer gets rid of the IE directory in Program Files, the icons from the desktop and Start Menu, deletes the filetype associations, and stops Windows Explorer turning into IE when you put a web address in the location bar then that's good enough for most people. Microsoft can tell the EU they've put a DLL there and it's up to developers if they want to use it. The fanatics can overwrite MSHTML with a wrapper round Gecko but that's not Microsoft's job.

Google eats social bookmarking sideline

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Yahoo Briefcase will get knocked on the head too...

... on 30th of March.

Just got the message today although I haven't used it in years, it became fairly useless after they increased mail space.

Jacqui Smith cracks down on gangs via computers, closets

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Am I going mad?

Legal powers for the fashion police to enforce correct dress code... I think she's reaching a level of madness that makes me start to doubt my own sanity.

Apple iPhoto gets in your face

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You can tell iPhoto '08 to not copy photos into your iPhoto library if you're importing them from HD, in the program's preferences.

So you can arrange all your photos however you want (probably grouped in folders), import them into iPhoto without eating up more HD space with another copy of the photo (except for changes to photos and thumbnails which it does generate inside the iPhoto Library package), and work with those same photos in other applications.

This is in addition to going to the file inside the iPhoto Library package as other posts have mentioned.

Finland fingerprints all Finns and foreigns

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@Anonymous Coward

I'm not 100% sure that Portugal stores ID card fingerprints in a database for police access, but I am 100% sure that Spain do; if you want to live and work in Spain one of the first things you have to do is go to a police station and hand over your fingerprints to get two documents; one is a foreigner ID number and one is an certificate for EU nationals saying your application for residency has been granted and your details have been stored on a central database for residents from other EU countries.

The usual response when raising this subject with a local is that it's a shame that those credit-card sized residency cards for EU nationals were removed (by EU directive) as A4 certificates aren't very practical. The idea is that you show your own EU ID card or passport instead.

When mentioning that the UK doesn't have any ID card that I can use in its place and I'm not dragging my passport everywhere, the response is utter bafflement. How can the state not give people ID numbers? Isn't the result utter administrative chaos? Well, certainly no worse than in Spain... And mention the privacy issue. But how can you get things done if you don't have an ID number?

But anyway, from the different stories that appear in the press, it looks like the idea in Brussels seems to be is that each EU state is responsible for putting its own citizens on their own national database and putting foreign residents from other EU countries into a second database which can easily be linked to their entry in their home country's national database should it be deemed necessary. This is why ID cards are popping up in EU countries which didn't have them before and are becoming compulsary in those EU countries which had optional ID cards before.

Dan Silver badge

@Anonymous Coward

Sorry to go on a two-post ment but in another Register story it seems that there's a new EU working body which will specify what data will be held and how. And ID cards in Europe have a spangly new name, European eID...


Obviously this kind of thing is easier to sell in some countries than others.

In Spain there was no practically no discussion at all about the move to chipped ID cards because it was basically the same information held in chip form in addition to what was already written on the card and stored in the national database, what little complaint about privacy there was confined to easily-ignorable blogs. There was more complaint about why the photo is now in black and white instead of colour (probably because of the chip's capacity) and why are we having to wait so long for it to be rolled out in (insert town here).

In the UK it seems this is dragging out quite a while in spite of Labour's efforts, which is nice.

Dan Silver badge

@Robbie Simpson

> Surely this will be ruled illegal by the European courts at the first opportunity ?

No, this is already done in Spain and possibly Portugal, you know, those ex-dictatorships.

I expect it's another exercise in harmonisation.

Opera sings praises of Microsoft-browser statement

Dan Silver badge
Gates Halo

So say that MS do this...

Say their Internet Connection wizard connects to MS to download a list of browsers and then it opens a wizard to give you the choice of browser (i.e. each browser's icon with its name underneath and a bit of blurb selling the snakeoil) followed by an invitation to click on a browser you want to use. It then downloads the browser installer from MS, Mozilla, Opera, Apple, Google, or whoever, runs it, runs the browser itself, and brings up the home page.

It has to be done like this otherwise MS can get shafted from another browser provider when they go bleating to the EU, and it's easy enough to do because the MSHTML and MSXML DLLs will have to be on the system anyway.

So how would the uninitiated user know to click on the red O instead of the blue e? Everyone knows what the blue e does. And the blurb would be something like "Windows Internet Explorer is the standard browser that was built into Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, and Vista" just to hammer the point home. And the uninitiated user will willingly press the mouse button over the blue e to remove all doubt and the browser they know and love will appear about a nanosecond later as it's all built in anyway.

So I'm not too sure that Opera's usage is going to skyrocket.

And what about those broadband connections that need a browser to configure them in the first place? Getting an offline installation from another computer will be close to an insurmountable task.

And then we need to wait for a complaint to the EU over the order of browsers in the list...

UK.gov prepares for filesharing fracas

Dan Silver badge

No voluntary consensus, so we'll have to legislate

As we can see, the government things no consensus over a law is better than no consensus over a voluntary agreement.

So who's going to end up with the short straw, the BPI or the ISPA?

"It would appear that the Government has placed particular emphasis on agreeing appropriate sanctions for repeat infringers. ISPA members would like to see equal emphasis and resources devoted to user education and viable legal alternatives."

That'll be the ISPA, then.

iPhone 3G unlocker released on schedule

Dan Silver badge
Jobs Horns

@Very Impressive

If you can't depend on non-blessed software working on the iPhone as whenever update time comes around you run the risk of it not working, and most other manufacturers have caught up with the iPhone's user interface, why not just buy a more open system if you want to have freedom to run whatever software you want on it?

Europe-wide emergency number is go

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Here's a nice website by the EU

It says what services each country offers if you call 112.


Browsers fail password protection tests

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Thumb Up

@Embarrassingly bad

"How can completing a form when auto-complete is set to "off" be anything other than "go to fail, go directly to fail"?"

Because there's a difference between not saving it when autocomplete is off and not completing it when autocomplete is off.

As an example, Firefox doesn't save the password if autocomplete is off, so it'll never get filled in later. But if I go to the effort of modifying the DOM so that it will get saved (e.g. using the Enable Password Manager bookmarklet) then it's obvious that I do want it autocompleted later. Even then, Firefox doesn't autocomplete it automatically, I have to go to the field, hit the down cursor to select the user, and then hit return.

And I'm quite happy with that because I want to decide which passwords I save instead of some arbitrary decision by the website owner. And, in the event of having a keylogger installed, it's probably more secure.

Leeds Council loses kids details

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Group policy editor

Why is it so complicated?

IWF pulls Wikipedia from child porn blacklist

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Now the IWF have managed to confuse their remit with this precedent and make their criteria sound arbitrary...

1. They say that as Amazon US is in the US, they didn't have to censor their image, just image hosted inside the UK. First, Wikipedia is hosted outside the UK. Secondly, does this mean that all images outside the UK are exempt?

2. Now anyone can use an "artistic license" defence, which the other reason they gave for removing the ban.

3. There's also a "length of time" defence.

Reasons 1 and 2 aren't mentioned in El Reg's story but they are in others (BBC, Grauniad, etc...).

And all of this because they knew they couldn't take on the might of Amazon.

Microsoft preps IE 8 for the web-challenged

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"Savvy end users"?

'Dickens noted that "large groups" of users have therefore not been clicking into compatibility mode and are consequentially getting the screwed-up page views. He claimed the button was working for "savvy end users" but not the great majority of web users who don't meet Dickens's savviness standards.'

"Savvy end users" use IE?

Note: apart from employees in antivirus companies who need to download malware as part of their job so they can analyse it.

Apple tells Mac users: Get anti-virus

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Why haven't they recommended ClamAV for home users and is free? They ship it MacOS X Server.

Europe tightens rules on police data sharing

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Black Helicopters

@The issue is more grave then it means...

Like India, you mean?

Apple to slash prices by up to 15% on Black Friday?

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Jobs Horns

It's not US only

If you didn't have the money to buy an iMac before, I doubt 30 quid off would change your mind.

µTorrent for Mac is go

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Thumb Down

A little late, and with "serious bugs"

Mac users have got Transmission.

Net pedants dismantle Quantum of Solace

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Biggest mistake

Someone got a draft script for Burne and did a global replace of his name to Bond.

Nissan-Renault signs more states for electric vehicle schemes

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Make that nine

Spain's also coughed up for the Nissan-Renault electric car, cynics suggest under threat of job losses.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 planned for 2009

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Gates Horns

Oh dear

They wouldn't be having problems updating their creaking rendering engine, would they?

UK.gov tells domain industry to get its house in order

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Thumb Down

Oh look, another power grab

Bad content isn't divided up neatly by domain names. A mainstream UK server can serve up ads from Russia with a trojan attached via a US advertising broker and the government taking over Nominet wouldn't affect this, they still wouldn't have any power to block the trojan.

Was there any particular /technical/ problem with Nominet until the government came up and said "We have a problem with you"?

Jerry! Yang! to! quit! as! Yahoo! CEO!

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@Won't help

The problem of businesses having to act in the interests of their stockholders is that many stockholders don't understand the business and don't know how to measure success. Secondly, the stock market is basically a pyramid scam and many only buy stock just to sell it later.

How are you going to run a business to please these people when a geek like Yang would be running it to please customers and developers?

And on that note, I must get round to backing up my Yahoo Mail a little more often than yearly, what with the stock market such at it is. Hopefully Yahoo won't get bought up by Microsoft, who bought HoTMaiL, turned it into multicoloured disaster which runs at the speed of a turtle, and pleased their shareholders.

Reg readers in Firefox 3 lovefest

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@Anonymous Coward

Try about:config and changing browser.tabs.closeButtons.


Microsoft insists Hotmail redesign hasn't left users out in the cold

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Jobs Halo

Taking Apple's approach, I see

Delete posts from forums, respond tersely (or just don't bother responding), carry on regardless.

AVG slaps Trojan label on core Windows file

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AVG is sinking, arrr

Abandon ship, switch to Avast!, me 'arties.

Visa trials PIN payment card to fight online fraud

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@ Awesome!

"This is what we've needed for a long time! It is essentially chip & pin where you own the PIN device, so your PIN is *never* in anyone else's hands, and replay attacks can't work!"

Some Chip & PIN terminals delivered to shops have been found to have some slight modifications from the original design which record and send the PIN on to whichever mafia it is this time (probably Russian or Eastern European). So I'm not sure if this card would be any different.

Google fixes world's most stupid bug

Dan Silver badge

@the bug

More information:

"It looks like there is a /system/bin/sh process running in the background with

/dev/console mapped to stdin. That has the effect that everything you type on your

keyboard is actually being executed as root in the background even though you don't

see the output."


Which means everything you type is being executed, most of it returns "<command>: not found", but do not under any circumstances send a text message about anything computer related or it'll run with root privileges.

Ye Gods, give me Symbian or even Windows Mobile any day. Who in their right mind would use one of these shiny new devices from a latecomer like Google or Apple to access a network if they're going to get billed for it?

Firefox hits 20% share as testers tickle 'pr0n mode'

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Thumb Down


The example given in the blog (browsing for a new job while at work) is nonsense unless you have a PC connected to the Internet without a LAN and gateway in the middle and it's misleading to suggest it that you can browse for a new job privately in work.

And even then, if Firefox generates temporary files or uses virtual memory while in private browsing mode, it's not really private either.

Not got a bone to pick with Firefox (apart from the blog entry), IE8 and Safari are also guilty of generating same false sense of security. And probably Opera, if it has one (I don't know but I haven't yet read anything about an Opera private browsing mode).

Schneier sticks it to surveillance

Dan Silver badge

Future generations won't judge us on anything...

... if they live in a future where it's seen as normal to track everybody. If someone in the future goes around saying maybe it's a good idea not to be tracked then they obviously have got something to hide.

Mandelson's dept mulls UK internet power grab

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Losing count

How many government departments want to do a power grab for the Internet now? Off the top of my head Culture, Home Office, and now BERR. Any others?

UK puts £55m into disabled parking reform

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Too complicated

Al that's needed is a new flag on the DVLA database that makes the printer print out a different kind of road tax badge for that car. But it wouldn't be the government if they didn't waste millions.

Interpol proposes world face-recognition database

Dan Silver badge

Oh just get it over with already

Chip everyone at birth, make chips a requirement to travel on any mode of transport/have a job/claim benefits/pay, and give everyone a pen to live in, like cattle. Just stop pretending everyone should be greatful for the favour.

UK.gov says: Regulate the internet

Dan Silver badge

@Anonymous Coward

"This proposal could almost be put forward as scientific proof that the ministers and policy-makers at the Dept of Culture are simply retarded"

If only it were just the dept of culture. Unfortunately it's UK.gov as a whole that's decided that the Internet is worthy of their attention, which is why there are three ministers so far have decided they've got to regulate it in some way or another (Burnham, Smith, and Hoon) and there'll be more to come. Probably tax evasion or avoidance will be the next reason given the state of the economy.

Android comes with a kill-switch

Dan Silver badge

Of course Android regularly phones home

Chrome regularly phones home too.

I'm surprised people are surprised. The only way Google can make money is to look at people's usage patterns and show them adverts based on them. They're not going to go to all this effort to make a mobile phone platform and really give it away for free.

Jacqui Smith resurrects 42-days after Lords rejection

Dan Silver badge

One-line bill?

Better correct that, it's a one-page bill. A one-line bill would be "All your civil liberties are belong to us."

The government can rush the one-page bill through if they've declared a national emergency. I can't remember off-hand exactly under what conditions they have can declare national emergency but I do remember they've been broadened under previous crime and terrorism bills and I believe parliamentary majority is not required.

Home Office preps fudgetastic ISP data rules

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Thumb Down

It's a trap!

They'll go after BT Wholesale. Job done, all small ISPs present and correct.

Sony to save planet with PS3 firmware overhaul

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Alternatively buy a Wii

More fun, cheaper, isn't a combined console/electric heater.

Jesus Phone vuln delivers fanboys to phishermen

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Competing software

Of course if Apple allowed competing software in the iPhone store then this would be less of a problem.

(Disclaimer: I own a Mac.)

UK minister looks for delete key on user generated content

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It's not just Culcha Minister Andy Burnham

Jacqui Smith (Home Office) also wants a big delete button.


Conclusion: This is government policy across any and all departments which could possibly have anything to do with the Internet and even though if the talking head changes the policy will stay the same.

And that's how it was possible to "subtly" upgrade the suggestion from the Byron report that net nanny software be made available to parents to a big delete button in Whitehall.

Senators push for restrictions on laptop searches

Dan Silver badge
IT Angle

Just for Merkins?

Or are the barbarian hoards afforded some rights as well?

Anyway, I'm sure this will soon be gotten round. Probable causes could include:

He looked at me funny.

He had a haircut like the man in the wanted photo on the wall next to me.

Eyebrows too close together.

Etc... etc...

Movie giants sue RealNetworks over DVD copying software

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Pretty predictable

Unless it's a freeware program hosted outside the US or from a company registered in the Caribbean any software of this kind is not going to last a week.

Secret Service camera bought on eBay

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Hint for police

Instead of sending the storm troopers round to someone's house and seizing their property, why not interview the person who bought the camera to find out who the person who sold it to him was? It makes for better public relations and encourages the public to be more willing to step forward when they see something that needs the police's attention.

I wonder how much I could make as a consultant for the public sector.

Microsoft waves updated Maps, Hotmail at customers

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Microsoft: Getting it wrong again

So they're taking out email, photo-editing and movie-making apps in Windows 7 and putting them online in an effort to out-Google Google (I'd like to see an AJAX movie-making app), and at the same time advertising Windows to be as good as OS X.

One of the selling points of OS X is the iLife suite. What will you get when you turn on Windows 7? Notepad. Possibly.

China wins, Symbian loses in Sony Ericsson reorg

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Oh dear

The fusion of the dog's breakfast of a UI they've already got and subtle Chinese design. What could possibly go wrong?

German developers forge Iron from Chrome

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@Phil Hare

"It means that there is now a method of browsing the web that, in theory, is private both locally and server side."

I think that option already existed with IE, Firefox, Opera, and Safari.