* Posts by mark l 2

1440 posts • joined 11 Jun 2009


Twitter, Reddit and pals super unhappy US visa hopefuls have to declare their online handles to Uncle Sam

mark l 2 Silver badge

Clearly its a program created by politicians who don't understand the internet and social media platforms in general. They think that terrors are going to say here is my Twitter account with all my posts about death to America and how i intend to kill the president when I get my visa.

US cable subscribers are still being 'ripped off' by creeping price increases – and this lot has had enough

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Cable and satellite TV are looking less and less like good deals when you compare them against having a Netflix, Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video subscription. With Cable your paying for a service where you have to watch shows when they decide to broadcast and also with adverts in them. Compared to watching everything on demand add free and can even watch on the go.

Just like print media has declined as people move away to online services I expect the same will happen with TV watching over the next few years.

The main thing that is keeping people going back to the cable/satellite is the sports packages where you want to watch them in real time, but with virtually no sport going on at the moment that maybe making people rethink that. And I have no doubt that more online streaming services will start to win the rights to show sporting events exclusively.

eBay users spot the online auction house port-scanning their PCs. Um... is that OK?

mark l 2 Silver badge

What happens if ebay do detect that your PC has the RDP port or VNC port open will they warn you or stop you using ebay?

Some people might legitimately have these ports open, say someone on ebay from an office PC where their IT support requires these to be able to remote admin their machines.

I used Ublock on firefox which will hopefully block this behaviour, as without it ebay is full of ads like some tabloid newspapers website.

India makes contact-tracing app mandatory for passengers as domestic flights resume

mark l 2 Silver badge

For India, certainly in big cities like Delhi people on planes have buckets of room compared to what they get on the Indian railways, where they pile onto the roof of the carriages.

So I would say the railways have a much bigger risk of spreading it around than air travel in this specific situation

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

mark l 2 Silver badge

The app is pretty useless now considering it should have been tested and ready to be installed BEFORE Boris decided to tell people to go back to work a week ago. So now we will be over 2 weeks of people moving about possibly infecting others with no way to contract trace and no app until June.

Just look at the 1000s of people cramming on to UK beaches, beauty spots, parks etc because we are having the hot weather who could be spreading the virus right now.

Other countries have had an app ready for their citizen to install weeks ago but as usual the UK had to do something different and go for a data slurping centralised model which is not fit for purpose.

Everything OK with Microsoft? Windows giant admits it was 'on the wrong side of history' with regard to open source

mark l 2 Silver badge

While I am happy that Microsoft have softened their stance on open source, as at one point they were firing off sue balls in all directions for anything that might have breached a Windows patent. But their new approach isn't about them necessarily seeing open source as the future for MS, (as I would be very surprised if the ever open sourced Windows, office etc. even out of support editions or started to contribute towards Libreoffice, ReactOS). But its about how they have realised they can make money from open source, use it to their advantage, such as the recent switch of Edge to Chromium engine, and having competition reduces the risk of anti monopoly legislation causing them to get broken up, fines etc.

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

mark l 2 Silver badge

I predicted this a few weeks ago that face masks may make current facial recognition tech a dead duck. And i predict it will be a lot longer than a few months that people will be wearing face masks, it might become the normal as it has become common to see people in them in several Asian cities since they had their SARS and then MERS out breaks.

As even if a effective COVID vaccine is created in the next 12 months its not necessarily going to rid the world of corona virus just as the measles vaccine hasn't yet eradicated that disease.

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

mark l 2 Silver badge

I was sure that the government said that when they would start easing lockdown restrictions where when the number of cases were low and when the ability to track and trace was ready.

I still feel that when you have hundreds of deaths per day and the app is not ready for general roll out that they haven't yet met those requirements, but have still decided that people who cannot work from home should now go back to work. I feel they are rushing it get the economy back up and running at the risk of a second wave of infections.

The end really is nigh – for 32-bit Windows 10 on new PCs

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: That's a shame

Debian (which both Mint and Ubuntu are based upon) is still supporting 32 bit CPUs so that might be your best bet for a well known distro after Mint stop supporting 32bit in 2023. Also Slackware are another well know distro that has ongoing 32 bit support

But if you don't like those options there are a several other less well know distros also still supporting 32bit if you search around.

Fancy some post-weekend reading? How's this for a potboiler: The source code for UK, Australia's coronavirus contact-tracing apps

mark l 2 Silver badge

I am not an Android app developer but I am sceptical that it has to have location permissions granted to use bluetooth.

Are there any app developers who are able to confirm that it is required? As if not then I will either not install the app or if i did I would disable location permission

Comms giant Telefonica confirms O2 in talks to merge with Virgin Media

mark l 2 Silver badge

I wonder if the merger would mean another rebranding for Virgin Media? Although I don't have VM services any more I was a long time customer and started off with when they were Nynex, then a rebrand to Cable and Wireless, then NTL and finally Virgin Media.

In regards to the other mobile operators without any fixed line offerings, I think they were banking on 5G offerings being good enough to tempt customers from their fixed line onto a mobile only internet. But first with concern on whether UK telcos were going to be able to use Huawei kit on the UK networks and then COVID19 coming along I suspect its going to set back widespread 5G take up.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

mark l 2 Silver badge

"The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, said on Friday it would, following a request from a customer, eliminate the terms"

So one customer has complained and they have to change their terminology on the documentation?

Surely the NCSC have more important things to do than be concerned about terms that have no relevance to skin colour or race any more than the light and dark side do in Starwars.

Smartphone shipments plummet in Q1 as users, er, lock down their spending

mark l 2 Silver badge

I suspect phone sales are going to be down for some time to come due to the inevitable recession which is looming. Without as much spare cash people will keep hold of their handsets for longer and replace them when they break or are no longer unsupported, rather than because the phone manufacturers have released new shiny shiny with 6 cameras for marginally better looking photos.

Google is a 'publisher' says Aussie court as it hands £20k damages to gangland lawyer

mark l 2 Silver badge

While £20K to Google is probably not even 10 seconds worth of profit it does set a worrying precedence that a search engine can be found liable for showing snippets of an article from a third party website.

Apple and Google tweak key bits of contact-tracing privacy plan

mark l 2 Silver badge

According the a story on the BBC today the NHS have rejected the Google & Apple approach to go with their own centralised server based app.


Which knowing how well government IT project usually go should be ready for rolling out around 2025.

Billionaires showered with wealth as experts say global economy set for long and deep recession

mark l 2 Silver badge

Where as some business will probably be able to open back up again quite quickly with some social distancing measure brought in to reduce the risk. The tourism, hospitality and entertainment industry will be hit hardest by the social distancing measures. With the chief medical officer is saying it could be next year before social distancing can be relaxed and that’s IF a viable vaccine is ready by then.

How do all those business that rely on large amounts of people attending to make their money, survive until then? You can't realistically put on a concert or open a bar or nightclub and expect to be able to keep everyone 2 metres apart and also make it financially viable to do so. And that is not mentioning how some countries entire economies are built around tourism and most of their money is made over the summer months so it looks unlikely they will have any revenue in 2020.

We're in a timeline where Dettol maker has to beg folks not to inject cleaning fluid into their veins. Thanks, Trump

mark l 2 Silver badge

It beggars belief that the most powerful man in the free world (and you could say most influential because of his position) doesn't know that injecting or ingesting disinfectant is not a sensible thing to do. My 9 year old nephew has more common sense than Trump.

Where the hell Huawei? It should be a bit easier to tell now the AppGallery has its first proper navigation app

mark l 2 Silver badge

I for one hope that Huawei can make their app store a viable competitor for Google Play. If I were an app developer I would certainly look to submit my apps to the Huawei store and Amazon's as well as there is so much competition on Google Play that it would actually make sense to try and target the smaller app stores.

But some apps heavily depend on Google Play services to work and without that being available on Huawei phones some apps would need to be recoded to work.

Canada's .ca overlord rolls out free privacy-protecting DNS-over-HTTPS service for folks in Great White North

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Re: Anti-privacy under privacy name

TLS 1.3 which more websites are now using is setup to use encrypted SNI so your ISP won't be able to view the website you are connecting to only the IP. If the website is behind a CDN like cloudflare that could be 1000s of website being hosted on one IP address and your ISP won't be possible to narrow down which exact website you are connecting to just from the IP address and an encrypted SNI

The rumor that just won't die: Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length in 2021 with launch of 'A14-powered laptops'

mark l 2 Silver badge

I don't think that Apple wanting to move over to ARM for their laptops (if the rumour is true) is necessarily that they think they can make an Intel CPU killer, Although the performance gap between Intel and ARM is a lot closer than it used to be. But instead that they can save costs by designing their own CPU in house rather than buying expensive Intel chips which Intel have not been great at getting any decent yield at smaller die sizes. Apple can also optimize their own designed CPU better for MacOS, as Intel chips come with all those old X86 instructions that Intel have to include to support legacy code that MacOS doesn't need. Obviously a move to ARM would mean dual booting to Windows 10 would no longer be an option, unless MS were to release an ARM compatible Windows 10 version that supported Apple hardware.

Work from home surge may work in Wi-Fi 6's favour, reckons analyst house

mark l 2 Silver badge

I doubt even a small percent of home workers are going to go out and buy a new router that supports WiFi 6 unless their employer pays for it. A large majority of people use the low end free router that their ISP provides, they plug it in and only ever think about it if their internet stops working and they need to reboot it.

Plus even if their employer was to pay for a new router there is a good chance they will also need to invest in new PC's and phone that support WiFi 6 if they are running devices 12 month or older.

ICE cold: Microsoft's GitHub wrings hands over US prez's Trump immigration ban plan

mark l 2 Silver badge

With Trump in the White house who in their right mind want to go to the US anyway? He would rather risk a second wave of corona virus outbreaks by opening up businesses again to win back voter for November elections than actually do what is best for the American people.

Web pages a little too style over substance? Behold the Windows 98 CSS file

mark l 2 Silver badge

Pretty much every website and OS has dropped the 3D design of what used to be obvious buttons to become a flat design. But this seem a step back in terms of usability and before now I have missed certain features because I hadn't realised that some flat icon was actual a button. This is worse on touch where you don't even get a change of mouse pointer icon when you hover over a button so end up just pressing randomly to see what is clickable.

Academics: We hate to ask, but could governments kindly refrain from building giant data-slurping, contact-tracing coronavirus monsters?

mark l 2 Silver badge

Obviously the governments are going to build data slurping apps that collect the data centrally, after all the virus has scuppered their plans to track everyone with facial recognition tech due to the number of people now wearing facial masks making that mute, so they need another way of tracking what people are doing.

First it was toilet paper. Then pasta. Now Broadcom suspects hoarders are behind its surprisingly good-looking Q2 sales

mark l 2 Silver badge

If your phone supports Miracast or has displayport/HDMI output over USB-C then you can get your phone display on a big screen. With a USB or bluetooth keyboard and mouse you can get a just about usable desktop even on a mid range phone such as a Nokia 5.1 which i have tested it on with Miracast to a 42 inch TV.

You can even use Microsoft remote desktop app for Android if you need to run specific Windows applications as long as you have a remote Windows machine that you can connect to.

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much

mark l 2 Silver badge

I have just seen on the news the chief of Nottinghamshire police saying that at currently they are not going start searching peoples shopping to see if their journey was essential. But they might begin to do that if people don't heed advise to stay at home.

It that sort of abuse of power if they do start doing that, that will stop people being behind the police during this crisis. I am sure even with the emergency law that was passed it did not give police the powers to rummage through your shopping to judge it is essential or not, as one one person deems as essential could be not essential to someone else.

For example I went to buy a birthday card the other day from the local newsagent so I could post it to my mother. Yet that wasn't food or medical supplies so plod my not consider that essential journey. But my life would not be worth living if i hadn't got my mum a card on her birthday so to me it was an essential journey and I went on my own and maintained social distance when in the shop.

We're number two! Microsoft's Edge browser slips past Firefox in latest set of NetMarketShare figures

mark l 2 Silver badge

No doubt if MS Edge start to erode too much of the Chrome share from Google, Google will switch Chrome to another rendering engine and artificially make none Chrome browsers slower on Youtube, Gmail, Google docs etc with recommendations to download Chrome for a faster experience. Just like they did in the past.

Although im sure Google are happy with the input from MS and others to the Chromium project they will drop Chromium like a hot potato if it doesn't help them with their privacy slurping and ad flinging goals

Samsung's Q1 forecast defies coronavirus downward trends but it's unlikely to continue

mark l 2 Silver badge

Without doubt we are in for a recession bigger than the one that came after the financial crisis in 2008. And unless you business is in making PPE, food retail, pharmaceuticals or similar that are currently in high demand your going to see a reduction in profits in 2020.

From Amanda Holden to petrol-filled water guns: It has been a weird week for 5G

mark l 2 Silver badge

I think the easiest way to tell who the gullible idiots are is to start a Facebook group saying that spreading raspberry jam on your face can stop COVID 19 infection, bounce the harmful 5G radiation into space and stop the governments being able to read your brainwaves.

Then just go around and round up all those with walking around with flies buzzing around their jam covered faces and stick them all on some remote island for the good of the rest of society.

Who's going to pay for Britain's Aunty Beeb to carry on? Broadband users, broadcaster suggests to government

mark l 2 Silver badge

People who just say make the BBC a subscription channel don't understand that for a lot of people that will involve having to buy additional equipment. Freeview was not designed to support subscription pay channels so they might require a new STB and if you don't have an unmetered broadband internet connection you can't stream it online.

Call for netizens to demand scraped pics from Clearview, ML weather forecasts, and Star Trek goes high def with AI

mark l 2 Silver badge

Once you have ascertained that Clearview have scrapped your image from a website, you don't ask them to delete it, you sue the arse of them for copyright infringement as they have used your copyrighted image without consent for commercial gain.

Enough court cases will eventually cause these scum to go bankrupt

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...

mark l 2 Silver badge

Because Trump is the smartest man in the world, one of his devout followers died and his wife because very ill after taking chloroquine phosphate in an attempt to ward off corona virus


Now in this case it wasn't chloroquine malaria drug they took but a similar sounding compound used to kill parasites in fish, but it goes to show that Trump spouting off on the news how untested drugs can cure corona virus could cause people to go out an take things without consulting medical experts first.

Even if they had taken the anti malaria drug chloroquine without speaking to a doctor/pharmacist, who is to say that they aren't taking other medication which could cause side effects just as bad getting the corona virus in the first place.

He needs to learn to start engaging brain before his mouth starts talking

What's a Google Play? Huawei talks up fledgling AppGallery store, shows off another voice assistant with a female name

mark l 2 Silver badge

I am confused as to why Google can't offer the play store and other apps to Huawei because of the US restrictions, while another American company - Microsoft are able to have their Office Mobile and Bing through the Huawei AppGallery?

IT services sector faces armageddon as COVID-19 lockdown forces project cancellations – analysts

mark l 2 Silver badge

What this virus pandemic has shown is how many people live beyond their means, shiny new cars on finance, big debts on their credit cards and no saving to fall back on.

Last year a friend fell ill was unable to work or even look after themselves and had to move back in with their parents for months until they were well again. I realised then that things can change dramatically over a short period and it can soon go from good times to bad. So I started putting money aside for a rainy day just in case. And I think we are going to see more rainy days before we finally see the sun coming back out after this.

UK enters almost-lockdown: Brits urged to keep calm and carry on – as long as it doesn't involve leaving the house

mark l 2 Silver badge

My sister is self employed and has an online shop on ebay and her own website, she already works from home but needs to be able to go to the post office or Royal Mail depot to drop of parcels for the customers online orders. It isn't an 'essential business' so the guidance is vague regarding going outside for something like this, as its not one of the 4 exemptions for leaving the house. So she isn't sure whether that is permitted or if she needs to close the ebay shop and website so she is not leaving the house unnecessarily. But in doing so she will then just become another closed business and have to claim benefits as she doesnt have the funds to be able to survive for a long period without any income.

It's time to track people's smartphones to ensure they self-isolate during this global pandemic, says WHO boffin

mark l 2 Silver badge

How often are you supposed to reply to this SMS messages to prove your still with your phone? If they only did it during 'waking hours' what is to stop someone going out at night. And if they do send them every day for 24 hours every day for 2 weeks, your not going to be able to sleep, take a shower, listen to music for the fear you might miss replying to an text and get big brother coming bursting down the door.

HMD Global pokes head out of quarantine to show off 3 new Nokia mobiles

mark l 2 Silver badge

"At 6.55 inches, the display is fairly big, but it's only HD+, with a resolution of 1600x700."

Do you really need to have a high resolution display on a 6.5 inch phone screen than that? My laptop has a 15 inch screen at a similar resolution and it does look pixellated or lack screen space for running programs. Higher resolution display like 4K screens make sense on bigger displays like TVs but on a phone its just an unneeded expense that drains you battery quicker.

Netflix starts 30-day video data diet at EU's request to ensure network availability during coronavirus crisis

mark l 2 Silver badge

I don't have Netflix but when i stream on iPlayer and Amazon prime it automatically lowers the quality of the video if the bandwidth can't cope with HD streams, doesn't Netflix do that already? As if it does, then it seem more of a marketing ploy than any real help to say they are reducing the bandwidth by 25%

America: We'll send citizens cash checks amid coronavirus financial hardship. UK: We'll offer £330bn in biz loans

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: Germany

Insurance companies are complete twats, and will look for every possible way to avoid paying out on a claim.

I know from experience that even though they claim all calls are recorded, that conveniently those calls will go missing or will be inaudible when you challenge them about something in a claim you know you mentioned when you took out the policy and they say you didn't mention.

Had to take it to the ombudsmen to deal with it in the end.

Eight-core 3.8 GHz CPU. 12 TFLOPS GPU. 1TB NVME SSD. 16GB RAM. Not a half-decent workstation, it's the new Xbox

mark l 2 Silver badge

Will it run linux?

Well doubtful MS will support this officially, but the more console manufacturers try to lock down their kit to not allow 3rd party code to run, the more the hacker community will try and defeat it.

The PS3 was not jail breaked until after Sony removed the 'Other OS' option possibly because hackers could already run Linux on it and saw less of a challenge to hack it.

Apple grudgingly opens up its check book, pays VirnetX $454m in patent royalties after a decade of wrangling

mark l 2 Silver badge

Re: They won't be going after just Apple

Maybe Microsoft and Facebook have decided to pay up to royalties to license the patents rather than risk getting dragged in to court. Although i think Skype is no longer point to point any more since Microsoft purchased it a few years ago I think all calls go through their servers now.

Data surge as more Brits work from home? Not as hard on the network as their nightly Netflix binges, claims BT

mark l 2 Silver badge

Surely there are lots of times when people are at home using the internet and it seems to just about cope OK, think rainy bank holidays or those days between Christmas and New year. I don't see people working from home adding much extra traffic over that.

Firefox 74 slams Facebook in solitary confinement: Browser add-on stops social network stalking users across the web

mark l 2 Silver badge

"Facebook is reckoned to have around 2.5 billion users so it is unlikely CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be perturbed."

I am not convinced that the number of ACTIVE people on Facebook is anywhere near 2.5 billion, I suspect this number is touted by Zuckerberg to make it seem like a better platform for adslingers than using Google.

There are still lots of dormant accounts (I know as I have one) plus duplicates, fakes, bots and even accounts for peoples pets on there.

US telcos tossed yet another extension to keep going with Huawei kit despite America's 'security threat' concerns

mark l 2 Silver badge

"President Trump said last month that he wanted US chipmakers to be able to continue to trade with Chinese firms and previously said that Huawei's status could be negotiated."

This is because if the worlds biggest supplier of telecoms equipment starts to be able to manufacture devices without the need for US components, then its the US who will ultimately loose out on lost revenue. There is plenty of the ROW still for Huawei to still sell to even if the US ban is never lifted.

Budget 2020 in tech: UK.gov splashes cash on broadband and R&D while trying to limit impact of COVID-19 outbreak

mark l 2 Silver badge

"Other measures introduced in the budget include cutting the tax on e-publications from 1 December 2020, making e-books, e-newspapers, e-magazines and academic e-journals entitled to the same VAT treatment as paper-based media."

Where as some may see this as levelling the playing field between paper books and e-books, I see this as just another boost to Amazon's making their prices 20% less on the Kindle store and a kick in the teeth for high street based book shops who are already struggling against Amazon.

Chips that pass in the night: How risky is RISC-V to Arm, Intel and the others? Very

mark l 2 Silver badge

If someone who currently buys a lot of Intel based servers for their datacentres, think Google, Amazon, Facebook etc were to seriously put money into a RISC-V chip to replace their Intel chips that could really kick start the RISC-V ecosystem.

Amazon already offer ARM based instances on AWS, so could start offering RISC-V. And Google and Facebook could swap out their older Intel kit for RISC-V if they recompiled their internally used software. But it would require someone with deep pockets to put the investment in as the returns would not come until down the line.

Android users, if you could pause your COVID-19 panic buying for one minute to install these critical security fixes, that would be great

mark l 2 Silver badge

Google should use their vast influence to tell manufactures they need to offer security updates for 3 years on all Google certified devices they sell with Gapps installed, you could argue this might make the device makers consider other OS but we have already seen how Huawei is struggling to shift its not Gapps Android devices outside of China, so i doubt they would be willing to move off Android onto other OS to save a bit of money on not having to supply security updates.

More than a billion hopelessly vulnerable Android gizmos in the wild that no longer receive security updates – research

mark l 2 Silver badge

I agree with other comments on here that manufacturers are probably more to blame than Google, as they are the ones that are responsible for pushing updates to the end users. The 3rd party ROM community often shows that older handsets are quite capable of running the newer versions of Android but the manufacturers have no incentive to spend the time making the OS updates for older devices as they aren’t making money from doing that, and would rather you spend money on a new phone instead.

Google could do more though by making the Android one scheme mandatory for all manufactures who want to get their devices Google certified and use the Gapps suite on their devices. This would ensure that every Android device was guaranteed to get 3 years worth of security updates before it went out of support. And at that point I think the boot loaders for the phone should be able to be unlocked so the community can carry on supporting it past EOL.

MPs to grill Post Office and Fujitsu execs on Horizon IT scandal after workers jailed over accounting errors

mark l 2 Silver badge

I dont think its right that a private organisation is allowed to hand evidence to the CPS in the first place? When it comes to evidence in criminal cases there are high thresholds on how the police handle evidence and they breaches of that evidence chain can result in that evidence being thrown out from the case. Yet I doubt Fujitsu/Post Office would have had to follow the same rules as the police they could pick and choose what they put forward omitting anything that might undermine there own case.

Broadband providers can now flog Openreach's new IP voice network in bid to ditch UK's copper phone lines by 2025

mark l 2 Silver badge

I know many households have more than one handset connected to the same line, I think its more common with elderly people who might not want to rush downstairs to answer the phone. Indeed may parents have one in the bedroom and one in the lounge. How will this work if they need to both be plugged into one VOIP socket on a router?

No chance that this is going to be completed by 2025, more like 2035 before every legacy device can be connected to VOIP, and whose going to pay the costs to connect them up?

If they want me to buy extra kit to have a landline on VOIP ill just tell them to give me broadband without the landline, as I rarely use it as it is.



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