* Posts by Mark Zip

32 posts • joined 14 Feb 2009

Man drives 6,000 miles to prove Uncle Sam's cellphone coverage maps are wrong – and, boy, did he manage it

Mark Zip

A good pro-bono opportunity for Google

1) Stick the gear in the back of the Google Street View car.

2) Drive street view car at 40 mph


4) Profit!

Assuming that the FCC coverage maps are improved and the money to improve coverage is forthcoming, this will be good for consumers and Google. When coverage is improved, more people use the net and when more people use the net Google makes more money.

NYC cops say they can't reveal figures on cash seized from people – the database is too shoddy

Mark Zip

Re: How seizure laws ever stood --

IANAL, but I think that they get around this by suing the *money or property itself*. Essentially treating it as a defendant in a civil trial. A defendant which, conveniently, cannot defend itself.

Techdirt had good stories about all this https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=asset+forfeiture

Today's story (Oct 18, 2017) is a doozy: "Use A Landline To Talk About Criminal Activity? The Government Can Seize The House Around It" https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171014/12113538401/use-landline-to-talk-about-criminal-activity-government-can-seize-house-around-it.shtml

Broadband internet in New York is so garbage, the state's suing Charter

Mark Zip

PSA: Buy your own modem and avoid their horrible one

Here's the help page which gives the updated list of DOCSIS 3.0 modems that are "approved" for use with TWC/Spectrum:

https://www.timewarnercable.com/en/support/internet/topics/lease-or-buy-modem.html (TWC)

Interesting that there is no note about no longer having to pay rent for their horrible modem.

Perhaps they have, indeed, made all modem rentals free?

I've had my own for a while, but when first I bought it I was paying, I think, $9.00 monthly for the modem.

Having your own modem and router improves TWC/Spectrum speeds, a lot.

Remember that amazing video of the whale leaping out the gym floor and splashing down? Yeah, it was BS

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US Congress seeks small claims track for copyright claims

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How cybercrooks made $330K from ransomware without really trying

Mark Zip

330K or 330M?

While the author says that 330M seems a bit high, 330K in the headline I see right now (2:39pm US East coast) seems a bit low...

EDIT: Oh, I see, the 330K figure is from just one study. Doohh. Apologies. PEBCAK.

NY to Charter: Sure, we'll approve that TWC merger, if you boost our broadband speeds

Mark Zip

Re: Proof will be in the execution


.. cough... Corning .... cough

Mark Zip

Re: Proof will be in the execution

Long-time Upstate resident here.

I live 6.2mi (about 10km) from the NYS Thruway, one of the main 'net backbones in the state.

TWC has the local cable franchise/monopoly and they are hard-pressed to deliver my promised 25mbs.

They ain't getting anywhere *near* 100 mbs any time soon.

And because we are talking state-wide average, they can deliver 1Gbps to a just few buildings in the urban areas and still neglect their aging infrastructure in the rest of the state.

Phone-fondling docs, nurses sling patient info around willy-nilly

Mark Zip

Threema works well for this.

Suggestion: Threema ( https://threema.ch/en )

Works very well for a friend of mine in a small practice (3 geographically separate offices) in USA. All members of the practice use it and all exchanges are secure.

Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

Mark Zip


Commenters above (and ThinkPad fiends in general) cleave to the sadly outdated idea that our laptops can be built sturdily enough that they last more than three years.

That the keyboard can be as comfortable and responsive as an IBM Model M.

That the screen be *matte* and not reflect the lights behind you.

That there be a full range of ports.

That the feel in the hand inspire confidence.

That when you set it down on a desk, it does not creak and bend and it stays where you put it.

And that it comes with excellent after sale care. Including the possibility of next day on site repair (although I don't know if that part still exists).

In other words: "Buy it right the first time. Don't buy it over and over"

Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Mark Zip

Re: Navigation buttons locked to address bar

You can move icons around the toolbar by clicking the new hamburger menu icon on the far right and choosing "customise" at the bottom. This makes the toolbar "live" and you can drag the icons all about the place. You can add icons too.

Have not foun a way to get the refresh out of the address box. But there's probably a switch for it in "about:config"

Microsoft chairman John Thompson: Redmond looks 'like IBM in 1990'

Mark Zip

And how is that working out for IBM today?


http://www.endicottalliance.org/jobcutsreports.php (Warning: Very ugly site)

Report: AT&T dropping Facebook phone after dismal sales

Mark Zip


It's a shame if they're dropping it, as it's the only (close to) stock android phone on ATT. And also the only (close to) stock Android phone with LTE in the US. Yes, it's only 4.1 and no, it's not a Nexus. But still...

We should not be surprised that it's not selling. You have to be able to see the phone to actually buy it. When I went to the two local ATT outlets near me (upstate NY, USA), the "licensed seller" store did not even know it was available and the "real" corporate store had it buried in a corner along with the dumb phones. The guys there were pushing the hell out of the GS4 and pooh-pooing the HTC1. The First was not even mentioned. When a girl complained about the size of those in her hand I mentioned the First. She was pleased, the employees were not.

Wobbly swipe reader Square gulps down another $200m

Mark Zip

"VeriFone's Sail alternative has, arguably, better security..."

VeriFone's Sail alternative has, arguably, better security...

Please advise source and details for this claim.

While it's true that the original Square did not encrypt the data stream coming out of the dongle and into the device, that is no longer the case. Perhaps something in the back end processes is the root for this claim?

I have used the Square since late 2010 and I have been very pleased with it. Canceling mistaken charges is no problem and I have never had any disputes from customers.

BBC gives itself a gold in 700Gbit-a-second Olympic vid sprint

Mark Zip
Thumb Up

US viewer here. Please, can I pay the license fee?

I watched the olympics while on holiday in Ireland.

We have the very basic Sky box (no HD, no DVR, no sport package) and we used the Red Button like mad.

The coverage was absolutely wonderful, even when it was just pictures and no commentary.*

I simply *do not* understand the apparent reluctance around the license fee. The BBC does so much for so many people and does such a great job that I would be happy to pay for it from the US.

If the UK viewing public could see the way the olympic events were/are aired in the US, cut short, mangled or overlooked, they would flock to the BBC as the gold standard.

*But we do have to admit that some of the commentary was, however impossible it is to believe, even more home-team-biased than the US commentary ever is. It sometimes had political overtones of the Braed and Circuses variety.

VeriFone takes on Square with cheaper iPhone-friendly kit

Mark Zip

Square is available on Android...

... and has been since at least November 2010, which is when I started using it to process payments for the used records I sell at record fairs.

Also, the new version of the Square dongle encrypts the card information before feeding it on to the iOS or android device. See here: http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/26/square-adds-encryption-to-its-square-reader/ (Venturebeat)

As to the hardiness of the Square dongle, I have had no problems at all. It kicks around in my pocket all the time and I use it at restaurants and bars when my companions have no cash on hand. I pay the bill in cash and my friends pay me via the Square (plus a small "convenience" fee, of course)

A little more reporting before writing, please.

(Fail icon becuse the Reg gravestone icon appears to be missing)

Ten... alternatives to Samsung's Galaxy S III

Mark Zip

Re: So what do I get if I want something smaller?

HTC Nexus One?

Small size.

Stock Android (but no official path to ICS or later)

Still reasonably fast

Expandable memory.

Better build quality than Samsung.

Easily available unlocked.

Military contractor warns of new Adobe Reader exploit

Mark Zip

[Obligatory] Foxit / Evince mention

Whenever I set up a new machine or tend to a friend's broken one I install Foxit Reader (for Windows or Linux). The "Safe Reading" box is checked by default and this eliminates scripting inside pdfs. (On installation, I take care to uncheck the Ask toolbar box)

Evince for GNOME is another favourite.

Eleven - if you will - rocktastic music movies

Mark Zip

Another omission (very early edition)

"The Girl Can't Help It" (1956)


Starring the completely delectable Jayne Mansfield, it's only tangentially a "rock" movie, but still, the line up of performers is amazing. Here's a partial list:

"The Girl Can't Help It" – Little Richard

"Blue Monday" – Fats Domino

"Ready Teddy" – Little Richard

"Be-Bop-A-Lula" – Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps

"She's Got It" – Little Richard

"Cool It Baby" – Eddie Fontaine

"Cry Me a River" – Julie London

"Twenty Flight Rock" – Eddie Cochran

"Rocking Is Our Business" – The Treniers

"You'll Never, Never Know" – The Platters

I'd take this over several others on the list, notably "The Wall" and "Tenacious D". I mean, Eddie Chochran has more "rock" in his little finger than Pink Floyd have in their entire bloated "concept" film.

Compact Disc death foretold for 2012

Mark Zip

[Obligatory] You don't "buy" any digital downloads from iTunes

Many comments above speak of "buying" tracks from iTunes.


You do not "buy" a track from iTunes. You actually lease a license to the file.

If you still think you have bought a track from iTunes I'll do you a deal. Sell me any single track of your choosing. Hell, to make it interesting, I'll pay you $5.00 for a $0.99 track.

Nope, there's no way to do it legally.

Ask yourself: If you cannot sell something on to someone else, do you really "own" it? And if you do not "own" it, did you really "buy" it.

I think we should just replace the phrase "buy from iTunes" with "lease from iTunes".

Not sure if the same reasoning applies to other music download sites. I suspect it does.

On its first birthday, LibreOffice has reason to celebrate

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Samsung Galaxy S II dual core Android smartphone

Mark Zip

Notifiacation LED? Bands


I love the coloured LED notification light on my Nexus 1 (it it also the trackball)

Can the folks who have one tell us, does the GS2 have any sort of notification light?


El Reg, being a UK based site, does not have to worry about the various radios and frequencies that a mobile phone can address, but it is very important for those of us elsewhere in the world, especially the USA. I think I am correct in saying that this phone cannot address the USA T_mobile 3G bands, right?

TIA for info.

Why is Google's new Nexus S like no other smartphone?

Mark Zip
Thumb Down

Sticking with my N1

No HSPA+ for US T-Mobile.

No external storage? None? The Nexus 1 does not have enough memory on board, but at least we can expand it to 32g via the card.

Headphone jack on the bottom is not great for me, as I use the Square for charging customers. Also, I put the phone in my breast pocket when using headphones and I really don't mind that I have to turn it around when I take it out.

I know it's not too popular, but I *like* the trackball!

*Still* only a 5mp main camera?

They are hyping the fact that it will be released with 2.3, but we know that regular Nexus 1's will get that too.

Let's face it, it's only a small evolution. Larger screen and front facing camera are not enough of an advance. Hell, I have front facing cameras on my N95 and my N97 and I probably used them a maximum of 10 times.

Nope, I won't be giving up my N1 for the Nexus S

Feds propose 'do not track' option for net surfers

Mark Zip
Paris Hilton

[Obligatory] Users already have this capability

Here we go:

Got get the latest version of Firefox from http://www.getfirefox.com

Having installed the latest version of Firefox go to "Tools" and then "Add-Ons" and then look for the following:

*Google (DoubleClick) Advertising Cookie Opt-Out - http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/plugin/ Opts you out of tracking cookies from DoubleClick, now owned by Google.

* Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Addon - http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout (also available for IE & Chrome)

* Beef Taco - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/180650/ This installs over 100 opt-out cookies in an instant. Easier and much more thorough than going to the NAI site.

* Better Privacy - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6623/ To deal with LSO / Flash cookies.

* Flashblock - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/433/ To prevent flash objects and ads from running unsolicited. Gives you a little icon which you can click to see the content.

* CS Lite - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5207/ Puts a little icon on the bottom of the browser and allows you quickly and easily allow cookies permanently or for the session

* Ref Control https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/953/ Simply control what is sent as refferer. I set it to forge. Thus the server at the destination site will see itself as the originator of the visit. This helps prevent profile building.

* Track Me Not - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3173/ Sends not quite random search requests in the background. This prevents accurate profiles being built from your real search queries.

Also, of course, AdBlock. Although one could argue that most tracking is dealt with pretty well with the measures outlined above

Paris, cos she don't mind being tracked

Google Instant sinks raft of search controls

Mark Zip

What is "naughty"?

My sister's book "The Wisdom of Whores" is a serious look at "bureaucrats, brothels and the business of AIDS". There is an accompanying blog which is well regarded in the sex, science, data nerd and epi circles in which she travels.

A Google Instant Search on "wisdom of" yields suggestion and pages of results for "wisdom of crowds" and "wisdom of solomon". A search for "wisdom of w" yields "wisdom of wolves". Yet "wisdom of wh" yields the white page of death, as does "wisdom of whores".

They do helpfully tell us to hit "enter" to make the search happen, as we did before. But how soon will the masses forget the old ways, adapt to the new instant page and perceive the white page of death as a search with no results and move on?

Ugh. Google is erring on the side of stupidity here. Do they really think that not showing pages and suggestions for "whores" once someone has gotten as far as "wisdom of wh" is going to save their users' blushes?

Perhaps if I were feeling charitable I might ascribe it to their desire to keep the bandwidth bill down. But I don't think so.

Googlephone sales off to a sluggish start?

Mark Zip

Re: So is it any good? A: Mixed



* Amazing screen, really gorgeous. Capacitive touch responds quickly and easily.

* Speed. Fast, fast processor means no lag

* Tight integration with Google services. Gmail app is excellent, Maps is good, Calendar is fine. Synch works flawlessly.

* Voice enabled in all text fields. Yes, it's a bit odd to be talking into the phone all the time, but when it talks to the servers back at the Chocolate Factory the results are remarkable. And improving apace.

* Google Voice: If you do not have a Google Voice account, you do now. Use it for voicemail or forwarding. Also texts or emails you when you have a new voicemail. I think this might be the real killer here. You can make it use google voice to make all calls, international calls only, etc.

* "Open" . Easily rootable if that's the way you swing. Also highly customizable out of the box.

*The famed multi-tasking.

*There's an app for that.

*Tethering. I think this has been more difficult to do this in America than in Europe, so this might be a bigger deal for us here on this side of the pond.


*Idiot bifurcation of 3G signals in the US means that we can only use it on T-Mobile 3G here. It will, of course, talk to the ATT EDGE network when you are outside of the admittedly limited T-mo 3G coverage.

*Flash Storage: Pitiful. Only 512 on board and it ships with a 4 gig card. Will address up to 32 gig card. But the N97 has 32 gig on board and can address a 16 gig card.

*Speaker: Weak and can sound tinny at times.

*Camera: not good enough. Not a patch on the N97 or even N95

*Small UI issues with Android 2.1 Some people don;t like pressing buttons.

*Screen has trouble in direct sunlight, of course. Also doesn't work too well in the cold when you are wearing gloves. ;-)

*You need an app to use some of the MS Exchange calendar services.


Also: call quality is OK.

One thumb up for MS Security Essentials in early tests

Mark Zip


MSE does not have a version for XP 64 bit.

They offer 64 bit versions for Vista and 7 only.

Lame, I know.

Microsoft Security Essentials shakes up consumer antivirus

Mark Zip

Not working for 64 bit XP Prp

Support pages confirm it, not available for 64 bit XP. Vista and 7 64 bit *are* supported.

But no mention of this on the System Requirements page.

WTF?! XP 64 *is* still an officially supported OS.

Apollo 11 moon mission reincarnated as website

Mark Zip

Site illegible?

Fun idea. But are they using historically correct technology to make that website? Tiny blue-gradient letters on a black background make the captions almost completely illegible. They may be the smartest guysin the room, but someone needs to send a Saturn V up the designer's bums...

Vodafone shows off HTC's second Android phone

Mark Zip

Once again the US customer is hosed

(paraphrasing) "Available free on a 35 pound a month account, which includes 600 minutes and unlimited text and data" Using today's rates, that's $52.00 . And the phone is "free"

@ Paul Ross: As for "wait for the Pre"... (AFAIK, it's only announced for the USA so far) I doubt that we will get it "free". Even with a new contract. And since it is not GSM, and is on Sprint, in how many fewer countries will we be able to use it?

When, oh when, will the US drag itself into the 21st century of mobile telephony?

Mine's the one with the burner phone in the pocket

Twitter attack exposes awesome power of clickjacking

Mark Zip

@Jared Earle

Well, sorry I was not as precise as I should have been.

"Of course, such users have been protected from click-jacking since a couple of days after the original discovery of the exploit."

This sentence referred to the first instances of the clickjacking discussions back in September 2008. http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/260609/adobe_request_hackers_nix_clickjacking_talk

NoScript users were protected by default if they simply checked the "Forbid <IFRAME>" option.

Soon after the clickjacking proofs of concept were published, the NoScript plugin authors incorporated a feature called "ClearClick". This feature works independently of the IFRAME blocking method. http://hackademix.net/2008/10/08/hello-clearclick-goodbye-clickjacking/

Mine's the one with the scripting pockets sewn up...

Mark Zip
Dead Vulture

Umm, NoScript?

Not even a passing mention of NoScript?

Not even a sarcastic aside intended to preempt smug comments like this from Firefox users with the (apparently not ubiquitous enough) plugin?

Of course, such users have been protected from click-jacking since a couple of days after the original discovery of the exploit.

C'mon, El Reg, our snark-o-meters are in need of more of a workout!


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