* Posts by Paul Shirley

2277 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

Android 11 will let users stop device-makers from killing background apps, says Google

Paul Shirley

Re: So...

Gmail is a required part of the Google apps bundle. Want any of them, they have to install all of them. On recent versions of Android Gmail is also trivially easy to disable, at worst you might need to show system processes. Google don't prevent it and I'm surprised a vendor would. You can't uninstall without root though.

The only catch is it's also trivially easy to reenable.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

Paul Shirley

Re: DAB+? Where's the +?

Probably worth looking at dirt cheap RTL2832U usb dongles and software defined radio. My dvb-t2 versions came with dab support in the useless bundled software. Seems to be plenty of SDR support for them including DAB+ and customised versions with different antenna connectors and tweaked hardware. Wouldn't be hard to build a Pi based DAB recorder.

Paul Shirley

Re: dabshite

Not quite clear on how squeezing bitrate allows more advertising in a linear audio format? Do they magic up extra seconds in each minute?

Paul Shirley

Every Freeview device we've owned let's you enter the channel number and wait for it to tune. Even works on our Kodi boxes. A single jab at 1,2,3,4 or 5 gets you to the 'main channels'. My wife actually remembers the dozen or so 2 or 3 digit channel numbers she watches, I *choose* to complicate it by reordering them and working by channel name on the guide screens.

Roughly the same on satellite or cable TV.

Paul Shirley

Once they started concentrating on selling DAB into noisy car environments, after it was DOA in the home, sound quality stopped being relevant. Not helped by excessive licencing costs on a format that allows trading quality against cost.

It was doomed from the start by launching before the technology was affordable anyway.

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

Paul Shirley

Re: It normally the Caps lock

My favoured wireless keyboard has all the status LEDs on the receiver pod. Which is usually sitting out of sight behind piles of paper on the desk. Still having regular WTF! moments after gaming sessions & frantic kbd mashing, before remembering it might be capslock.

Beware the fresh Windows XP install: Failure awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth

Paul Shirley

Re: There's a rat in mi kitchen...

When my wife went to throw stuff into one of the compost bins she disturbed a rat, which started running at high speed... circling partway up the wall of the cylindrical bin like a motorbike on a wall of death. She just left it to its exercise!

Paul Shirley

Re: There's a rat in mi kitchen...

My wife discovered the homing instinct the hard way, after failing to fully read the extremely short instructions for the humane mouse trap. 2nd time we caught it we hiked to the local nature reserve and released it near enough cover for a fighting chance of surviving more than seconds. Cute little beast as long as not in our living room!

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)

Paul Shirley

The antenna design guide I just skimmed tells me BT signals (2.4-2.4835 GHz) are strongly absorbed by human bodies. If your phone is in a pocket you'll get severely reduced coverage for up to half the area around you, + some variation from omnidirectional antenna never quite being fully spherical.

It's also a noisy band, shared with too many other services.

BT is inherently unpredictable in real life. Any distance calculation little more than a bad guess. No amount of political wish making beats physics.

Paul Shirley

...but a loss of income stream from dead ex-customers if they don't do it.

'One rule for me, another for them' is all well and good until it sinks the entire company's ability to receive emails

Paul Shirley

Re: At Tip PC, re: 2Gb RAM.

If fails because they dump installer files into TEMP before rebooting into a pre-logged in state that hasn't loaded the rd. Just point the TEMP (and probably TMP) environment variables to a real drive or comment out to revert to defaults before installing, point back to ramdisk after and reboot again.

This may have been fixed, the last update just worked before I remembered to apply the fix. Or it might just be leftovers from the previous install and I got lucky.

Ooo, a mystery bit of script! Seems legit. Let's see what happens when we run it

Paul Shirley

Re: Efficacy of warning messages

"IIRC each cluster entry (in the allocation table) would point to the next cluster. So chkdsk could've checked "is the next cluster in use by a different file by now..?"

CHKDSK does detect cross-linked files. Can't fix them for obvious reasons.

If Daddy doesn't want me to touch the buttons, why did they make them so colourful?

Paul Shirley

Re: When HP engineers were actually engineers!

I remember the fear first time I hotplugged a pcie graphics card, long ago enough that it working was more an aspiration than expectation. Spending extra on a high end mboard paid off that day.

OK Windows 10, we get it: You really do not want us to install this unsigned application. But 7 steps borders on ridiculous

Paul Shirley

does filter out friend&family support calls

The click 'more info' stage is going to stop most normal users, even if it wasn't deliberately low contrast and easy to completely miss it doesn't really hint it will bypass the block.

So many less friends & family demanding free computer servicing. I'll put up with the annoyance and Firefox skips the 1st half of the obstacle course anyway.

Legal complaint lodged with UK data watchdog over claims coronavirus Test and Trace programme flouts GDPR

Paul Shirley

Re: Bluetooth? Really?

You read the signal strength and make very bad guesses about how that maps to proximity. If Bluetooth was in any way predictable or reliable that might work. Might even be able to self calibrate by tracking beacons move in and out of range. If it was predictable.

My experience of Bluetooth between phones is serial, random failure. Radio reception usually defies understanding in the busy environments this needs to work in. Seems designed to fail, theatre not solution. The UK version is so inept probably best to have it die quickly before wasting more human resources.

Brit MP demands answers from Fujitsu about Horizon IT system after Post Office staff jailed over accounting errors

Paul Shirley

Re: Pointless letter.

Ignoring questions from a parliamentary committee is unwise but doable, lying to them much worse. Fujitsu have been given a choice between looking guilty or very guilty. Innocent is long gone.

Unfortunately the current gov will ignore the whole affair whatever happens but creating doubt might help get justice for the victims.

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

Paul Shirley

Re: So...

...if life is long another Balmer scale asshole will inevitably end up in control again

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

Paul Shirley

I take that as confirmation it doesn't work well and covering your face doesn't make it much worse because it simply can't be much worse!

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?

Paul Shirley

Re: Clowns in a Blue Rosette

For far too many politicians having a real job before joining the gravy train just provides the enabling contacts for corruption. Work experience is not the problem, politics enabling corruption and protecting the corrupt from punishment is. And corruption hangs around politicians like flies around shit.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Paul Shirley

Re: It asks for your location?

If everyone entered SWA1 the trackers will have a headstart working out where the diseases attacking the UK are spread from.

OK, so you've air-gapped that PC. Cut the speakers. Covered the LEDs. Disconnected the monitor. Now, about the data-leaking power supply unit...

Paul Shirley

Re: Hours???

You've apparently never tried to kill Cortana in Win10...

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy

Paul Shirley

Re: Difficult choice

There's no comparison between the damage a profit driven private company will be prepared to do by abusing surveillance and the ability, willingness and mild consequences (and the ability to exempt themselves from them) a government or political movement has to abuse surveillance.

The current malign, incompetent UK gov and majority of politicians infesting all parts of our supposed democracy are infinitely less trustworthy than the worst anyone believes of Google/Apple/Amazon etc.

If tracking is needed, I'll go with the provider with less motive&ability to shit on my life through doing it.

Got room for another probe up there, Google? Jobs sites ask EU antitrust tsar to look at how search giant ranks them

Paul Shirley

Re: 'by restructuring its websites to follow Google's rules'

Sounds more like opt in to me and usable unlike the sledgehammer of robots.txt the clueless suggest for every Google problem.

Having been on both sides of the job agency process, I'm firmly on the “they're parasites“ side of the debate though. Anything that lets direct job adverts compete will be a valuable service.

Australia to make Google and Facebook disclose ranking algorithms and pay for local content

Paul Shirley

too few Australian eyes

A company that profits from the number of eyes seeing it's product, that was prepared to cut off 47mil Spanish, won't think long before cutting off 28mil Australians.

Until small minded politicians worldwide stop looking for headline grabbing, easy but badly targetted actions that support only their own backers, the Googles & Facebook's of the world will face no pressure to change where they actually are wrong.

Mayday! Mayday! The next Windows 10 update is finally on approach to a PC near you

Paul Shirley

Re: Just wait

Paranoia is imaging to a NAS closer to the emergency exit and another copy on USB stick in my wallet.

Guess what's heading to trial? IBM and its tactic of yoinking promised commissions after sales reps seal the deal

Paul Shirley

Re: I've Been Mangled

Maybe their quantum computer research finally paid off and their sales team is in a quantum superposition of contract/no contract?

French monopoly watchdog orders Google to talk payment terms with French publishers

Paul Shirley

Re: Moneygrab?

With the important point that the experiment has been done and shown it actually drives more visits to the underlying news sites than it removes. In real life punters have little reason to go to the sites at all, have overwhelming choice of sources and prefer watching cat videos instead of news.

Should we just shut Google news down and watch the news sites drown 10% faster?

Paul Shirley

Re: Dear Google

The Spain precedent suggests Google wouldn't miss dealing with the notoriously difficult French :)

Or listen if they beg to come back...

Consumer reviewer Which? finds CAN bus ports on Ford and VW, starts yelling 'Security! We have a problem...'

Paul Shirley

The not well enough flagged (apparently) issue is you can possibly connect to CAN from it and do it without breaking into the car.

COVID-19 is pretty nasty but maybe this is taking social distancing too far? Universe may not be expanding equally in all directions

Paul Shirley

Strangely matches other observations

The range of Hubble values in that map is similar to the range of values different groups using different measurement methods are still coming up with for the constant.

Maybe a clue that there really isn't a single correct value and our patch isn't quite as flat as believed.

Please, just stop downloading apps from unofficial stores: Android users hit with 'unkillable malware'

Paul Shirley

Re: nice to see a breakdown of how it persists

Flashing simply means overwriting the systems flash memory. Overwrite the partitions the OS runs from, zero the data partitions and nothing survives of any infection (unless it can run from external storage - which nowadays would require a hacked firmware).

Stock recovery mode is how you flash signed stock firmware images, often to recover a bricked or corrupt phone, or force an OS upgrade. For tinkering we flash the stock recovery partition with something more hacker friendly.

Paul Shirley

Re: "and assume root privilege"

Trusted rooting implementations require apps to be whitelisted or one time authorised before they can successfully call su.

Malware on a user rooted device will need to trick the user into authorising it or find an exploit to replace the existing su. Rooting a device is pretty safe unless you're easily tricked.

Paul Shirley

nice to see a breakdown of how it persists

Earlier reports seem to have not known how factory reset works and how little it actually does. If you're not into flashing 3rd party OS images I guess you just wouldn't think about recovery mode and reflashing - nuking the partitions from orbit.

Paul Shirley

Re: "and assume root privilege"

...and user rooted devices will block unknown apps by default.

NASA mulls restoring Saturn V to service as SLS delays and costs mount

Paul Shirley

Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

No serious failures in manned/real missions. Fascinating read at Apollo 6: The Saturn V That Almost Failed on exactly what went wrong on the unmanned Apollo 6 test flight.

Paul Shirley

Re: I actually believed it for a moment ...

There's also the story that NASA only got approval for the shuttle programme if it destroyed the Sat V plans.

(I make no comment on the truth or otherwise of that 'story')

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

Paul Shirley

Re: Ventilators: "You need millions of them, tens of millions..."

Between about one third and two thirds of the population have to become immune to COVID-19 and before the spread will peter out. Too many leaders (I'm looking at you Johnson) initially chose infection and recovery over maximizing the chance of vaccination as the route to that, economy over lives.

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Paul Shirley

Re: You solved the problem, goodbye

If he was literally only told to click on entry 2 there aren't many clues about files, recent lists or why that even worked!

First impressions count when the world is taken by surprise by an exciting new (macro) virus

Paul Shirley

Re: It seems almost the entire world ignores warnings

It's fair to say government always lies about everything to get re-elected but somehow you slept through the lie being downplaying the covid19 threat, completely denying it in the USA. Lies far too many here in blighty seem to have swallowed whole even after the u-turn at 'vote for us' central.

A u-turn weeks too late.

You've duked it out with OS/2 – but how to deal with these troublesome users? Nukem

Paul Shirley

Re: Expensive

The original DN3D rendered at whatever resolution you told it to. It did however only reserve enough rendering buffer for something like 1600x1200 (if I remember right) and crashed if you went too high. Wasn't a problem at the time because monitors couldn't do hi-res and hi-framerate simultaneously and we all chose fps, though I don't remember ever needing to use 320 - our developer boxes were more powerful than office PC's :)

FYI: When Virgin Media said it leaked 'limited contact info', it meant p0rno filter requests, IP addresses, IMEIs as well as names, addresses and more

Paul Shirley

Re: Which is why...

It's fun calling it the porn filter but the fscking things block much more and aren't much good at stopping porn. First time I had one disabled it was keeping me from vital engagement with various beer sites. Most recently I discovered the 3UK filter has a love/hate relationship with the Internet Archive, as in sometimes it blocked it, other times it didn't, demonstrating how bloody useless the filters are!

Like a Virgin, hacked for the very first time... UK broadband ISP spills 900,000 punters' records into wrong hands from insecure database

Paul Shirley

Beware, recently they've only offered insultingly small retention deals unless you wait till the about 2-3 weeks before disconnection after actually giving notice.

Paul Shirley

Re: Might be wrong

The last few run ins I had with them I told them I couldn't remember the password, threw some random guesses out (all wrong) and waited till they said 'OK'. Which is frightening, albeit damn useful given VM had never once managed to have the same password or even secret question that I'd set before I gave up remembering it! Even worse, that worked on a mobile number they'd never seen before when I was trying to get my line reconnected!

We regret to inform you there are severe delays on the token ring due to IT nerds blasting each other to bloody chunks

Paul Shirley

Re: IT nerds?

The advantage of working for an IT company is everyone knows when the gaming hour or hours are ;)

Only complaints about game performance matter. And get fixed.

Paul Shirley

In case anyone missed it, all the earlier Half-Life games are free to play on Steam until the new one launches. I'd recommend installing "Half Life 2 Update" instead of just the base game.

The Ghost of Windows 10 Past shrinks back as Microsoft's axeman tiptoes ever closer

Paul Shirley

Re: Ah, but can we get

Still watching Win10 carefully for the inevitable day it replaces my 64bit TV tuner drivers with broken 32bit ones. Again.

An OS where it's less disruptive repairing malware than stopping it being infected or simply killing itself :(

Apple: EU can't make us use your stinking common charging standard

Paul Shirley

Re: Gold plated cables

I particularly enjoy the ridiculously expensive power cables, £1000's to get that lovely clean (NOT) power from your wall socket to the amp psu.

I can't work out if the idea is that a dumb conductor with or without ferrites and shielding can magically turn the sea of noise, spikes, voltage and frequency fluctuations into pure, clean 50/60Hz sinewaves or getting all that noisy shit faithfully to the amps PSU is a benefit!

Or why they think they bought amps without PSU's designed to handle that noisy input better than any cable could.

Beware the three-finger-salute, or 'How I Got The Keys To The Kingdom'

Paul Shirley

Re: French company

In my only year working onsite the office was almost opposite a pub and team meetings were usually scheduled for the end of the day, in the pub. When the CEO was visiting from down south the entire office decanted itself into said pub mid afternoon and hammered the company credit card. Remote work doesn't get all the perks :)

The office secretaries job at my last employer has an element of keeping the fridge stocked with drink...


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