* Posts by Lomax

262 posts • joined 31 Mar 2009


Startup bank Monzo: We warned Ticketmaster months ago of site fraud

Thumb Down

Couldn't have happened to a nicer company

Had an atrociusly bad experience trying to gift a ticket to a mate via the TM website a few weeks ago - ended up having to demand a refund, which they sat on for a week, and getting the tix straight from the venue's own site. My blood pressure has since returned to safe levels, but the day I spent trying to get the ticket booked is lost forever. The TM site sucks rotten eggs and customer support is typical for a company of this type (somewhere between Kafka and Dostoyevsky). What is it with modern day capitalism and the proliferation of useless monopolies - I distinctly remember being told that privatisation, and globalisation, would eliminate these?

Also, I take it this means I have to now go through the tortuous rigmarole of getting my Visa card replaced?

A slick phone Linux for your pocket PDA? Ooh, don't mind if I do, sir

Thumb Up

Re: I wonder if they kept all the good stuff from Maemo

You can also ssh in of course, as I do with my Jolla phone (also for file transfers). Root is at your fingertip, and packages are managed with pkcon (PackageKit). Sailfish is a mature and full-featured Linux distro with a Qt based UI, reminiscent of (and inspired by) Nokia's brilliant MeeGo phone OS (Maemo 6). Anyone with more than a passing interest in Linux and open-source software ought to give it a try.

Devuan ships second stable cut of its systemd-free Linux



Already running a few instances, and Devuan has proven to be smooth and reliable. Run it with Xfce on my main laptop and love the simplicity and low overhead of a system free from systemd/pulseaudio/etc. Congratulations to all Devuan devs on reaching this milestone - I'm sure uptake will only increase as more and more people realise how clunky and monolithic systemd is, and how big a threat it poses to the fundamental concepts behind Linux. I for one have opted to put my money where my mouth is, and sent them a small donation - have a beer on me guys!

Microsoft commits: We're buying GitHub for $7.5 beeeeeeellion


Re: Opposite of Midas touch

And at one point they had 95% of the browser market. Not that I miss Internet Explorer (or whatever stupid name their marketing dept has rebranded it as in their latest vain attempt at remaining relevant) and it's stubbornly non-standard take on every goddam element - even on fundamental things like box-model and flow. I see it's down to 10% now. Good riddance IMO, but shockingly poor from a business perspective.

Edit: And yeah, don't get me started on Nokia / WP :o


Subvert the Borg

Am I the only one still happily using self-hosted Subversion repos, sometimes even for non-code content?

'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'


Re: Adventures in a NEW Android 6 Phone

Unlike: https://jolla.com

Sailfish v3 has been announced, to be released Q3 2018.

UK's Royal Navy accepts missile-blasting missile as Gulf clouds gather


Re: What the hell are they burning


There will be blood: BT to axe 13,000 employees


Re: No people skills whatsovever

It's the Asshole Effect in action:


Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin


Re: Plenty of venom still

@MonkeyCee: I feel your pain; not much fun being an EU citizen living in the UK either, which I've done for the last 20 years. I have two businesses registered here too, and own multiple .co.uk domains. Despite repeated promises from the UK govt conditions a year from now remain opaque. Consequently I have no choice but to make plans for leaving. At least I'll still have access to the remaining 27.

Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage


Painful lessons

Makes me think of the endless number of meetings I've had over the years with various clients, where I've argued that a mobile optimised, or "responsive" web service, would be a better option than dedicated "apps", only to be told that "everyone else has an app", or "most users prefer apps" - usually by some marketing bod with little or no technical knowledge. I suspect "most users" would be perfectly happy with a mobile website if they understood the different security models and their privacy implications. Well, maybe now they're beginning to!

Recording Industry Ass. says vinyl and CD sales beat digital downloads


Re: "Comprising 47 per cent of the total market."

> "You're going to get some FLAC for that..."

Have a beer!

Brexit in spaaaace! At T-1 year and counting: UK politicos ponder impact


Re: Brexit is the end of UK science as we know it

@Sam Haine: Fitting name.


Re: Meh

@codejunky: I mean the ideology which refers to government funding as "spaffing money".


Re: Funny that there's no mention of...


> 12 July 2016

> The UK’s Farnborough airshow today saw ESA’s commitment to the next step in developing a revolutionary air-breathing rocket engine that could begin test firings in about four years.

> ESA is investing €10 million in SABRE, joining £50 million from the UK Space Agency. Since 2008, ESA has played an important technical management role.

> In 2010, ESA independently reviewed SABRE’s viability, opening the way to UK government investment.

> Back in 2012, ESA oversaw the testing of a key element – the precooler that chills the hot airstream entering the engine at hypersonic speed. To render the air usable by the engine as oxidiser it needs to be cooled from 1000°C to –150°C in just a hundredth of a second – at the same time as avoiding the formation of potentially dangerous ice.

> A number of research and development projects followed through ESA, helping to demonstrate the feasibility of other elements, such as the novel rocket nozzles, air intake design and thrust chamber cooling. ESA also helped to refine the overall SABRE design, looking at how it could be manufactured.

> Today saw the contract signing by Franco Ongaro, ESA’s Director of Technical and Quality Management, and Mark Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Reaction Engines Ltd, to commit the next stage of ESA funding towards SABRE.



Re: Meh

@codejunky: You are blinded by your ideology.

> "it was pointed out to Maw that SpaceX had received substantial funding from the US government and that much of the commercial space industry is spun out of research funded by governmental bodies."

Tim Berners-Lee says regulation of the web may be needed



Stephen Elop and the fall of Nokia revisited

Thumb Up

A reminder of what could have been

From https://www.theverge.com/2011/10/22/2506376/nokia-n9-review

"As the first new Nokia smartphone to operate without the chains of legacy software, the N9 finally demonstrates some of that dormant software innovation from the labs in Espoo. I first saw it at Nokia’s introductory event in June of this year and, though my expectations were low, was blown away by how intuitive, responsive, and fluid the whole interface was. I wasn’t alone, either. Just about everyone who got a chance to play with the N9 remarked upon its superlative design and wondered aloud why Nokia was abandoning such a promising platform. Because, oh yes, Nokia had decided a few months earlier to transition its entire smartphone strategy to Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS and consign MeeGo to the status of a one-hit (i.e. the N9) wonder."

"The thing that ties everything together on the N9 is Nokia’s new concept of a Swipe UI. There are no physical or capacitive menu buttons on the N9 because of this one devastatingly simple and equally effective innovation. Swiping in from any edge of the screen drags the app you’re in out of the way and brings up your most recent homescreen. It’s so easy and natural that I honestly started doing edge-swipes on other phones, an experience that filled me with equal measures of disappointment and embarrassment."

"The N9′s onscreen keyboard is sublime. Every key is just about the perfect size, the comma and full stop sit either side of the space bar (where they belong), and there are three levels of haptic feedback. For the first time in my life, I didn’t switch off the haptic option, it actually contributes to the experience of typing exactly the way it was always meant to but never managed before this exceptional phone."

"It’s hard to overstate how much of a departure the N9 is from Nokia’s old comfort zone. Whereas the company’s previous effort at building a new touchscreen OS, once known as Symbian^3, was all too timid and reluctant to move too far away from its roots, this new MeeGo stuff has no qualms about dispensing with the old."

"The only other company that has shown this kind of immaculate care with keeping design themes consistent is Apple. Ultimately, what Nokia has put together in the N9′s UI is nothing short of a triumph. It feels cohesive and, remarkably, lives up to the fantastic elegance of the phone’s physical design and construction."

"From the moment you unlock the N9, screen animations flow around your finger like gentle waves of awesomeness. Transitions between homescreens, scrolling, and pinch-to-zoom are all delectably smooth and fluid. That applies to the full range of preloaded native apps, like the browser, maps, gallery, and mail and messaging clients. Both recording and playback of 720p video work flawlessly, and though there’s no Flash support in the default browser, the YouTube app does a perfectly fine job of playing back web content."

"The Harmattan UI is fresh, slick, and as natural as anything the smartphone world has yet introduced, while the physical design is unmatched. Not even the shiny new iPhone 4S feels as luxurious in the hand as the N9."

"Stephen Elop has personally shut the door on future consumer products running MeeGo Harmattan, which renders the N9 and its developer-focused sibling the N950 the only exhibitors of this essentially abandoned OS."

Thumb Up

Re: Why can't Elop take credit for his achievement?

> The N9 was very finished and received excellent reviews where Elop deigned to release it.

Indeed it did. For example it won "Best Mobile" at the Swedish "Guldmobilen" awards 2011. Still have mine and sometimes use it, but the lack of updates makes it a poor everyday device. When I do use it though, I am always struck by its elegance; the solid, pocket friendly exterior (nary a scratch on mine, despite daily carrying in the pocket if my jeans for several years). The glorious curved OLED screen; low res, by today's standard, but not obviously so in 2011, and featuring customizable "always on" clock and status indicators (I'm reminded of this whenever I glance at the screen on my current mobile, hoping to see the current time/date and whether I have any messages, only to find it's just a dumb black slab). That on-screen keyboard, which seemed to read your mind and magically work out what letter you were after, and which had haptic feedback that actually worked. The incredible, nay, frikkin mindblowing Nokia Maps app, which gave me every stop and station on every bus, train and tube line in any country I visited, with offline maps (remember roaming charges), ultra smooth zoom, rotate and drag, where the street names would try to remain fully inside the display, integration with the phone book, easy to add own waypoints and notes - it even had an excellent "turn by turn" sibling called "Nokia Drive" that could give any dedicated satnav a run for its money. As a whole one of the best applications I have ever seen on any mobile device. The revolutionary "Swipe" user interface, which made it a doddle to use the phone single handed - without having to reach for any physical menu buttons at all. I could go on, but:

New rule: anyone who wants to pontificate about Nokia's supposed lack of of an answer to the iPhone must first spend a day with the N9 - followed by a day with the iPhone 4.


New rule:

Anyone who wants to pontificate about Nokia's supposed lack of of an answer to the iPhone must first spend a day with the N9 - followed by a day with the iPhone 4.

You won't believe this: Nokia soars back into phone-flinger top 3

Thumb Up


The Nokia N9 is still the best phone I've ever owned. Perfect in every way, apart from being abandoned by Nokia / Elop. Can't help wondering what would have happened if it had been launched properly.

Yes, Assange, we'll still nick you for skipping bail, rules court


Re: Schrödinger's Embassy

> United States attorney-general Jeff Sessions says the Trump administration will make it “a priority” to arrest leakers, including Julian Assange.


> US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.


Windows Defender will strap pushy scareware to its ass-kicker machine


Re: Facebook/ESET

> I don't suppose there is an app that will disable that funtion on any page to screw the tracking of those who are not engaged with FB?

NoScript: https://noscript.net

Would not browse without it.

WikiLeave? Assange tipped for Ecuadorian eviction


Re: hang on a moment...

> Are we finally and really admitting that Assanges original stance of "I can't go outside, I'll end up being swiped by the US" is actually, potentially true? That's a bit of a 180 for not only The Reg but for a lot of other commentators on the subject.

This was my immediate thought when reading the article. There is a conspicuous lack of recognition of this implicit admission, here and elsewhere.

Skynet it ain't: Deep learning will not evolve into true AI, says boffin


Hear, hear. I often argue that the big risk with "AI research" is not that we will somehow by accident create a "super AI" which takes over the world and enslaves us all as lanthanide miners, but that we will attribute "intelligence" to systems which are anything but, and hand over control of essential infrastructure to algorithms which are in fact incompetent. Human history, it would seem, is littered with examples of similar hubris. And investor hyped belief in the superiority of algorithms carries an even greater potential risk; that we will start to shape society, and ourselves, to fit their narrow and unimaginative conclusions. Some might say this is already happening.

How's this for a stocking filler next year? El Reg catches up with Gemini


Re: Linux

> Personally I'd prefer a phone that does it's job as a phone, alongside a mini-laptop that functions fully as a mini-laptop.

Check out the Pyra, successor to the Pandora; not only fully open source (including the hardware), but made in Germany and equipped with a full complement of ports. https://pyra-handheld.com

Hackers' delight: Mobile bank app security flaw could have smacked millions


As a (happy) Jolla/Sailfish user, and a strong believer in the benefits of a varied OS ecosystem, I am quite concerned about banks, transport systems and governments pushing "apps" as the preferred way of interacting with their services. This has led to a "duoculture", only one step removed from a monoculture, in smartphone OSs, with many people rejecting alternatives such as Sailfish because their bank / railway / taxi / government doesn't offer a native "app" for it. Apple and Google really have an ultra-privileged position here, with all these organisations effectively forcing their customers/citizens to buy one of their devices. This not only stifles competition and innovation - it also magnifies the severity of any OS level vulnerability, as it will affect a much larger segment of the population in a "duoculture" than it would in a "multiculture" (think pandemics vs. genetic diversity). It also puts increasing pressure on people to give up their privacy and their data to corporations which often have a rather flaky track record on keeping it safe. This story seems to confirm some of those fears, and makes me feel a little less frustrated about having to wrestle with my bank's desktop website UI on my Jolla.

From the graaaaaave! WileyFox's Windows 10 phone delayed again


Where's Elop when you need him

Someone call the fire brigade - the burning platform is still smouldering.

Linux laptop-flinger says bye-bye to buggy Intel Management Engine


> Not really "disabled" though, is it, and certainly not "rid" of it.

Yes, disabled:

> sets the 'High Assurance Program' bit, an ME 'kill switch' that the US government reportedly had incorporated for PCs used in sensitive applications

And mostly gone too:

> removes the vast majority of the ME's software modules (including network stack, RTOS and Java VM), leaving only the essential 'bring up' components

I'd say that by removing the network stack the "threat" is basically neutralised, no?


Re: Cool marketing idea

Pre-2015? The guide I linked to below says

"The Intel Management Engine ('IME' or 'ME') is an out-of-band co-processor integrated in all post-2006 Intel-CPU-based PCs."

Which is correct?


Why the "thumbs down"!?


I found this thorough and n00b-friendly guide for how to disable ME on the Gentoo wiki:


Thought it might interest those who wish to rid themselves of this malware.

Pro tip: You can log into macOS High Sierra as root with no password


Re: I always set a root password on sudo-based systems

All 'buntu flavours lock the root account by default, and setting a password will unlock it - I would advise against this. Personally, I prefer a (memorised) strong password on my user account which can be used to gain su privileges, while leaving the root account locked. Just one less thing to keep track of. For passwords, I find it is easier to memorise a phrase of a few words rather than a (shorter) random string - ideally with a few numbers & special characters thrown in for good measure. Faster to type too!

A list of some of the pros of using sudo:


A comparison of different ways of opening a root shell:


A discussion about character vs. phrase based passwords:


When it comes to opening a root shell, I prefer to use "sudo -i", since it keeps confusion to a minimum. This will load root's full environment and prevents accidental overwriting of user files with files owned by root, etc. It also decorates your prompt with a # instead of a $, which serves as a visual reminder that you need to think a little more carefully about what you do next...

"su" on the other hand, is not intended specifically for gaining root privileges; it actually stands for "substitute user" and allows you to impersonate *any* user on the system. By including the " - " it will also load that user's environment. This is often handy when you want to test an application which runs under an account for which login is disabled (such as a daemon), and see if/where it runs into permission issues etc (i.e. "su - accountname"). An ommitted account name will default to "root", which is probably why it's often used in the way you suggest, though while the resulting shell is basically the same as what you would get with "sudo -i" I would personally not use "su -" to become root. Just feels wrong.

See also "man sudo" and "man su".


Munich council finds €49.3m for Windows 10 embrace

Thumb Up

Re: "They'll be back."

> handy win apps, like Easy GPS or SeaClear II


Tesla reveals a less-long-legged truck, but a bigger reservation price


Re: Electricity vs Petrol/Diesel prices

> 180k km

That's 180 Mm (megametres) shurley.

Also, I find it hugely entertaining to see how the mere mention of the possibility that maybe perhaps the internal combustion engine will not remain the most efficient road transportation power source for all eternity brings out an army of right-wing nutters apoplectic with rage. Careful you don't burst a vessel.


...solar panels...



...United Nations...


'Water on Mars' re-classified as just 'sand on Mars'


No no no

> And now, not even that is true.

You are misunderstanding - Mars' wet past is in little doubt, in fact we are pretty sure it had oceans of water on its surface at one point. This discovery has to do with whether liquid water is _currently_ present, even for brief periods, on the Martian surface. However, due to its now much thinner atmosphere, today water can only exist in liquid form at temperatures up to 10 degrees centigrade, above which it would boil, making the current presence of liquid water rather unlikely. Which is why the original story was so unexpected, and today's rather less so.

It may also be worth pointing out that this by no means implies that there is no water Mars - in fact there is plenty; enough to cover the whole planet to a depth of 35 meters. It's just that it mostly exists as a solid.

Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

Thumb Up

Re: NoScript ?

> I find the internet practically unusable now without NoScript.

Aint that the truth! NoScript is the only add-on I've actually donated money towards - have an upvote!

Give us a bloody PIN: MPs grill BBC bosses over subscriber access


"Download to own" - that's my preferred model, provided the downloads aren't imprisoned by DRM. Shame I never heard of "BBC Store"; I would have been a customer!

OK, we admit it. Under the hood, the iPhone X is a feat of engineering


Sail away

My Jolla 1 cost €150 new, two years ago. While the hardware itself is unremarkable, it is a reliable companion in a durable and compact package, with excellent battery life. Sailfish OS is a revelation - indeed I see Apple have now copied its gesture based window management. Though despite adding some whizz-bang features they still lag badly behind on fundamentals such as file transfers and multitasking. Who cares how many layers the PCBs use when you can't make the device do what you want? I have an iPad as well, and it feels like a stone-age device compared to the Jolla. It seems arbitrarily restricted in so many ways; try installing self signed certificates, doing SSH file transfers, adding additional video codec support, switching between writing an email and browsing the web, or using it as USB mass storage - or any number of other things I expect a general purpose computer to be capable of. Apple makes tech for technologically illiterate insecure poseurs, which though it may be a bigger market does little to impress me.

Wanna exorcise Intel's secretive hidden CPU from your hardware? Meet Purism's laptops

Big Brother

I don't trust any computer - much less when it's connected to other computers.

WPA2 security in trouble as KRACK Belgian boffins tease key reinstallation bug


Re: Uncorrectable Horse Staple Battery

> What a silly statement.

I live in a street with very heavy tourist footfall; even on a quiet day there are hundreds of people passing outside, every single one of whom is carrying a smartphone device from one of only two OS vendors, every single one of which has a WiFi radio built in, every single one of which is at least theoretically capable of hosting any kind of malware, whether the owner is aware of it or not. My (two) SSIDs are constantly bombarded by AP scans from these devices. On my LAN are several hardware devices which do not / cannot use additional encryption such as VPN, including VOIP phones, printers, projectors and other media hardware, all of which get very infrequent firmware updates (if at all), all of which in theory could be vulnerable to some kind of attack that I do not know about. Although I have split my WLAN into two (one for guests, one for me) and I spend more time than most people trying to stay on top of security issues, I cannot escape a feeling of unease. The fact that is that in theory anyone (or any software) that could connect to my privileged AP could gain local network access and could (in theory) attack any of the many always-on hardware devices present on it, and it would be pretty hard for me to tell (yes, I do log pretty much everything - but I find there's not enough time in the day for me to look through it all). If WPA2 is crackable that's definitely very serious indeed. To be equally exposed using a wired LAN I would literally have to place a signposted Ethernet jack out on the street, all smartphones would need to be equipped with an Ethernet port, and everyone who passes by would need to stop for a moment and connect up to it. There *is* a difference.

It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower


Re: Mr Nielsen

Only 11 downvotes? You can do better than that!

Meanwhile, here's what Mr Nielsen thinks a well designed website should look like: https://web.archive.org/web/20120123103227/http://www.useit.com/ Oooh, lovely text only interface. Nice one Jakob, did you make that all by yourself :D


Mr Nielsen

I see that Jakob Nielsen is still fighting his personal war against good design. Wonder what happened to make him hate with such a passion that he's devoted his entire career to making the world ugly. Did he get rejected from art school? Whenever I see his name I know there's no point reading any further; the conclusion is always the same: an undifferentiated mass of text is always better than any attemp at layout, and the best UI looks like Windows 3.1. Don't believe a word of it. Good design is invisible - not conspicuously absent.

systemd'oh! DNS lib underscore bug bites everyone's favorite init tool, blanks Netflix


Re: Crowdsource hit

"On the one hand I am in total agreement but that Lord or whatever he was actually put a statement onto (I believe it was) FB offering 5 grand for someone to run over a person he took a dislike to."

Wha... wait... did I miss something here?

MP3 'died' and nobody noticed: Key patents expire on golden oldie tech


But then of course, Orlowski - and you - have never used Nokia's iPhone killer, because if you had you you wouldn't be spouting garbage about them being "too late". Nokia made precisely *one* mistake, and that was hiring Stephen Elop, the Microsoft shill who ended up being their butcher.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021