* Posts by Phil A

57 posts • joined 12 Aug 2006


Jeremy Hunt: Telcos must block teens from sexting each other

Phil A

Adult image detection

Sorry chaps, it's possible but I've no idea how accurate it is...


A lightbulb that does IPv6: You know you want it

Phil A

Availability variation

This makes perfect sense to me. As more supplies are generated from renewables, availability is likely to become much more "peaky" so as the wind rises or the sun comes out more power is likely to be available at a cheaper price. If my dishwasher wants to take advantage of this, I don't care when it does the dishes as long as they are clean when I get home. The same for washing machines and even fridges / freezers to some extent.

Shiny new UK.gov stats website a 'disaster' - MPs

Phil A
Thumb Up



It's not perfect but to even have the information available is a pretty good start.

Microsoft celebrates the death of IE6

Phil A

IE6 still used in UK

I manage a web site where the majority of visitors are from UK local & central government and about 15% of the visits are from IE6 so there's some way to go yet...

Boundaries Commission slammed over mega map dump

Phil A

Ordnance Survey Web Map builder

Well if the Ordnance Survey produced the maps why couldn't they stick them on their free web mapping application?


Granted the level of detail isn't enough for the detailed maps but good for a public overview and no doubt the boundaries would have been digitised against the detailed Mastermap layers in Mapinfo or ArcGIS and the quality of the background map is irrelevant if the underlying data is accurate, it just depends on the required presentation.

Will News of the Screws reappear as Sunday.co.uk?

Phil A

Check the whois again

It's changed and now belongs to NI so I wonder who they strong-armed or bunged...


Is iPhone data collection legal?

Phil A


My issue is with the scope of some of the agreements. If I want to even turn the GPS on on my android phone, I have to agree to it collecting "anonymous" GPS data. Fair enough, if I want to use Google maps, I accept that it needs to send my location to a server to retrieve the map tiles but once I've finished getting lost, I don't see why my location should be tracked any more.

Sony Ericsson posts Android bootloader unlock code

Phil A

Vodafone locking


I've just ordered an SE Arc from Vodafone. In the shop I was told it was in stock, then after I'd done the paperwork they found it was out of stock but could get one delivered in 1-2 days. Now I find it's going to be 2 weeks, possibly, maybe more. Having read this article I now realise that it's just a clever way of stopping me playing with the phone...


ASA rules BT Wi-Fi service works with invisible routers

Phil A
Thumb Up

Works for me

I'm reading the article on a laptop connected to a public BT Openzone access point in Tooley Street, Southwark so I can't see the problem :)

Microsoft unveils 'do not track' option for IE9

Phil A

Server side tracking?

Of course, this system will make absolutely no difference to the likes of Phorm and Talk Talk who track and process your data at the server and so don't know about any block / white lists.

Underweight passport pic left traveller stuck in Amsterdam

Phil A

Iris scans

I've registered with the government eyeball scanning program (www.iris.gov.uk) and it works quite nicely for me - get off the plane, walk straight into a scanner, wave passport at machine, wave eyeballs at machine, straight out the other side. I haven't seen a queue yet. Their privacy policy seems fairly good for HM gov as well.

Open source's ardent admirers take but don't give

Phil A

29% or 71%

This just sounds like abuse of statistics to me. Percentages in the 70s are held up as a good thing at the top of the article then '29% are unwilling to contribute code modifications' as a bad thing. Surely that means that 71% are willing to contribute which sounds good to me. Don't forget also that many companies have no developers would could contribute even if they wanted to.

Researchers: Arctic cooled to pre-industrial levels from 1950-1990

Phil A

Re:As far as I understand it

but wasn't part of the issue that when data was "recalculated" or "normalised" or "frigged" that the original data was deleted and the revised data replaced it?

Government delays ContactPoint closure

Phil A

Yes Minister anyone?

It's probably more of a case of the civil servants doing a Sir Humphrey Appleby and persuading the minister of the reasons why it needs to be kept (ie jobs for the boys). Scrap it, scrap it now and get out of our lives.

Don't blame Willy the Mailboy for software security flaws

Phil A

Developers as a personal adjective or a generic

While of course "developer" can refer to an individual, it would quite regularly be read as "the company who is the developer of the software" which changes the argument somewhat?

Google now owns location advertising

Phil A

Definitely prior art

The ill fated Gizmondo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gizmondo) had location based advertising as one of its key selling points when it was launched in 2005 and had been in development and touted around the industry for some years before then. The Gizmondo forum was certainly open for business in 2004.

BT blamed for Davina McCall spamcalls

Phil A
Thumb Down

ICO have already said this is wrong.


To me this sounds exactly the same as what the Labour party did with Vera Duckworth and they got slapped by the ICO. They might argue that it was left as a voicemail rather than relying on the recipient picking up the phone but a recording is still a one way communication (apart from me shouting down the phone at the recording to f**k right off)

Phil A

BT reveals faster broadband pricing

Phil A

Fail already

I've just been to the availability checker and put my number in and all I'm getting is a blank screen with "Exception - Internal Server Error". Perhaps they haven't got the bandwidth to cope?


Free software lawyers hit Best Buy et al with GPL 'violation' claim

Phil A

No point in GPL for commercial software

"You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part

contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a

whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License."

It looks as though the problem is that the resulting software is seen as being sold rather than given away under the terms of the GPL. It could be an interesting one - some might argue that the software was provided for free but the device that it ran on was paid for. Of course, there is still the argument that they need to publish the source code.

It just goes to show, however tempting it may be, GPL or other open-source code and commercial software just don't mix.

Phil A

Google: We avoid hiring too many smart people...

Phil A
Thumb Up

Too many brains?

I sort of agree with what Google are saying here. If they hire all of the best people, they are all going to come with an ego package and end up fighting with each other rather than producing. Much better to have one or two geniuses and a lot of productive people who do the real work. The problem is picking the correct geniuses...

Smut-ladened spam disguises WoW Trojan campaign

Phil A

No surprise here

Why should it be surprising? The average WoW player is I'm sure, a knuckle dragger with no girlfriend and just enough brain cells to realise that he has no chance of getting one in the real world so even the remotest chance has to be grabbed at with both hairy palmed hands :)

eBay.co.uk blocked for smelling phishy

Phil A

Just resolve the damn address...

Sounds like scope creep to me. Why are OpenDNS trying to act as a security tool? They are a DNS - just resolve the damn address and let me choose my own security measures and don't piss around with my choices. Nowhere near as bad as Phorm and BT but it's still an example of a company thinking that they can use my data and choose what is best for the user. I actually gave up using OpenDNS a few months ago when I had had enough of them hijacking my typing errors. All I wanted was a simple 404 screen where I could correct the error in the address bar rather than having to retype it.

Phil A

Bank sues Google for identity of Gmail user

Phil A

& the user is where?

There's a pretty good chance that the gmail user is outside of US jurisdiction and just ignored threats from the bank (or couldn't understand English?).

International hacker buried $1m in backyard

Phil A

@jim 45

It's no secret, it's a man in the middle attack. If you can get in a position where you can read the (unencrypted?) transmission of the card number and the PIN to the merchant for verification, you've got what you need...it's the people who introduced a wireless network into this equation that need shooting.

Home Office publishes bold do-nothing initiative

Phil A

London transport

I'm guessing AC@1742 hasn't been to London in the last 5 years or so - contactless payments have been the norm on buses and the Underground since 2003.

Actually, I can't see the point in using a phone as a payment method - I'm more likely to go out without my phone than without my wallet at the moment. This might change if things ever get to the stage where I know for certain that every payment I make is going to be contactless but for the moment, I'll stick to having a big bulge in my trousers...

Phone hack obsession obscures NotW privacy scandal

Phil A

Hacking my arse

I'm pissed off with the way it's being described as 'hacking into mobile phones'. AFAIK, they were simply listening to peoples voicemail. Full instructions for UK Vodafone (from their web site) except for the guesswork:

Dial +447802 090100

Enter mobile number

Enter PIN

If you don't know the PIN, guess! Many networks use the last 4 digits of the phone number backwards or 5555, 0000 or something equally obvious and consistent. Most people either never change this or aren't even aware that it exists because it's not normally needed to retrieve voicemail from your phone.

Naughty and probably illegal but not really hacking?

Phil A

Phorm phading phast

Phil A
Thumb Up

We were only going to do it if BT did it

Actually, a very valid comment from Charles Dunstone. The other side of the dastardly equation has often been forgotten, the advertisers Phorm needed to use OIX. Without BT, is there enough volume to make it worth advertisers considering placing adverts with OIX? Probably not...

Phil A

Vodafone builds community, sharing via email oops

Phil A

Not just the users fault

This happens all too often and it's easy to blame human error but it points to a lack of security culture and training. Anyone who is in a position to send out emails to customers should have the training to understand the security implications of what they do, especially for a company as large as Voda.

Opera chief: Microsoft's IE 8 ‘undermines’ web standards

Phil A

Head up arse...

While I would like for Microsoft to follow web standards, does Jon von Tetzchner really think it's a good idea to suddenly 'break' loads of web pages? Normal users won't understand the whole issue, they'll just know that IE8 has broken t'interweb.

I'd much rather see wider usage of the W3C validator icons on web pages - hint hint, el Reg

I'm a sceptic now, says ex-NASA climate boss

Phil A

National Street Gazetteer

Yes, it does exist and it's defined by BS7666. A quote from the gazetteer creation guidelines (www.thensg.org.uk):

"No punctuation shall be included within the Street Description, Locality or Town fields unless the punctuation is part of the official street name, for example ‘Westward Ho!’ Ampersands will be replaced with the word ‘AND’. It is recommended that full stops shall not be used as part of any designated name, e.g. St. Stephens Road should be recorded as St Stephens

Abbreviations shall not be used except where they form part of the official name. The only exception is ‘St’ for ‘Saint'

Proper case is recommended to be used throughout all records and when transferring data to other applications including the NSG hub. The use of upper case is also acceptable, however, extra definition is proposed in ASD description fields using case sensitivity and transfer data in upper case would reduce the functionality of this proposal"

Sad isn't it!

Sales show SanDisk's SD-not-CD player a hit with punters

Phil A

Old fogey

Actually, I like this idea if it's done in the right way - I can buy physical media, hopefully with a high enough bitrate, FLAC or other lossless format, memory's cheap, put all of them on...something permanent, compact and re-usable.

Strange but we still like to hold on to something physical..oooh errr

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

Phil A

Phorm mode

So has it got a "I don't want BT / Phorm" to profile my browsing habits mode"? Shame...

Orange ditches Phorm

Phil A
Thumb Up


Thank you Orange, some sanity at last - let's hope the rest of them follow suit as soon as possible. I don't pay my ISP to spy on my surfing habits - if they do then I'll leave for an ISP that doesn't...

Fancy nipping for a quick two-thirds of a pint?

Phil A

North of the border

I could be completely wrong, I often am! Isn't there some odd custom for our kilt wearing brethren where they ask for 2/3 of a pint and a whisky and have some twee and amusing name for it?

Internet Explorer - now with 35% less FAIL

Phil A

Campaign to bring back Mosaic!


All you newbies going on about firefox, safari etc - Mosaic was the real browser!


Whoops, is my age showing?

Amazon sending Kindle to college

Phil A

& in the UK?

Nope, Kindle not available on amazon.co.uk

Oh well, back to slate & chalk then, now that's what I call black & white!

Phorm papers reveal BT's backwards approach to wiretap law

Phil A
Black Helicopters

@AC - not Chinese

Too late! Phorm are hosting webwise.bt.com on behalf of BT. This means that they had access to the BT cookie that contains my BT username. Originally this site was hosted in the US, now it appears to be back in the UK but still hosted by Phorm. I believe BT may have now changed their cookies not to store the user name in clear text but Horse...Stable...

McAfee: Why we blacklisted SANS

Phil A

Yeah but....no but yeah

I'm with AC. If I see a red mark, I'll take a bit more care with it but it doesn't stop me from going there. With SANS, let's face it, most people wanting to go there are fairly tech savvy and would know it's legitimate. They would also happily accept the explanation that it contains links to known malware sites. What would be worse is if an idiot went to the SANS site and then started clicking on the malware links!

iPhone 3G unlocked in Brazil

Phil A


What if you're already in contract?

What if you don't want to pay for a £35 a month contract?

What if you don't want to be with O2?

What if you don't want a part of your call charges paid to Apple?



Vodafone presents punter with £500k phone bill

Phil A

Hip hop Rhyming slang?

Yo da bone?

Asda declares baby's arse 'pornographic'

Phil A

Shop at Tesco instead

They have no problem with a cake made in the shape of a pair of breasts so a babies arse shouldn't be a problem to them.


Top Tory resigns on principle over 42 days bill

Phil A

Can't have resigned

It's actually illegal for an MP to resign. However an ancient law says that if they are appointed to an "office of profit under the Crown" they are disqualified as an MP. So, the offices of "Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds" and "Steward of the Manor of Northstead" are used as nominal titles. The current incumbent of the Chiltern Hundreds is Tony Blair, Northstead is Boris Johnson. Since these are normally used alternately, David Davis will probably take Tony's job just like David Cameron will take Gordy's in the not too distant future...

Mine's the anorak - Tory blue of course...

Swedish authorities pull plug on female Elvis

Phil A

Tax authorities?

At least in Sweden, it sounds as though they're honest enough to admit that right from the day it is born a baby is within the tax office sphere of interest.

Phil 'just breathing a sigh of relief at finally passing tax freedom day' A

BOFH: Testing the obscenity filters

Phil A

ahh, Scunthorpe syndrome again...

& yes for you Johnny Foreigners, there is a town in the UK called Scunthorpe and yes, it has caused problems with email filtering software.

HP tipped to take over BT's datacentres in £1.5bn deal

Phil A


So that's a perfect match for the BT that is planning to spy on my surfing habits with Phorm then?

How Phorm plans to tap your internet connection

Phil A

Data protection status

Phorm were registered under the data protection act only a month ago and I'm not convinced it covers what they are planning to do - Purpose 2 is the closest.


The Phorm files

Phil A

BT Privacy policy

Whoops, perhaps they should have a look at their privacy policy, they seem to be violating it...

We do not use this information to:

identify individuals visiting our website; or

analyse your visits to any other websites (except that we do track you if you go to websites carrying our banner, but we do not identify personal details while we do this); or

track any Internet searches which you may make while on our website.

The 'blem wit' error messages

Phil A

Not quite an error message...

...but we once managed to ship some code that had a message box "Haven't written this bit yet"

Bank turns London man into RFID-enabled guinea pig

Phil A
Black Helicopters

Hang on a second...

European Citizens Card? So is Gordy just softening us up for a bigger pan-European ID card...in breaking news, the EU has admitted that a laptop containing details of 700,000,000 Europeans was left in a bar in Brussels.

Football horns could spread Black Death, says Interpol chief

Phil A

ah, those horns...

I'm glad I read TeeCee's remark - up until then, I'd got a picture of someone running around in one of those fake viking helmets with the horns. I was wondering how that classed as an effective delivery mechanism.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022