* Posts by David Austin

469 posts • joined 11 May 2007


UK.gov is launching an anti-Facebook encryption push. Don't think of the children: Think of the nuances and edge cases instead

David Austin

"NCMEC generates around 20 million reports of child sexual abuse material"

That's OK - We can just ignore their screeching minority voices

Academics tell UK lords that folk aren't keen on predictive policing, facial recognition, heightened surveillance

David Austin

Tentative yay?

It sounds like they're asking the right questions.

Just have to see if they get the right answers out of the fact finding, or if the departmental copy of Reason from WayForward Technologies II still works.

Windows 11 will roll out from October 5 as Microsoft hypes new hardware

David Austin

I don't think it's finished

I've been an Insider tester for Windows 11 since July, and I am... concerned... this is going to RTM in October.

The current build feels between Beta and Release Candidate - they're stable, but there are so many papercut bugs and UI rough edges (For example: Taskbar Drag and drop doesn't work), I can't see how enough of them could be fixed for that gold date not to leave a lot of frustrated normal and power users.

The fact they've delayed the Android app support until next year seems to back this up: They're pulling features and fixes to get it out of the door.

gut reaction is like you had to wait a year for Windows 10 Anniversary edition to get all the issues ironed out, Windows 11 won't be "Finished" until the 22H2 version comes out.

David Austin

Re: Genuine Question

Having been an insider tester for the last month, the one feature I though was interesting - the ability to run Android apps on the desktop - has been removed from the launch version of Windows 11.

Other than that, at the moment it's basically Windows 10 with a different (has potential, but rough at the moment) User Interface.

Get the feeling this is the push it out the door and get it done version, and the 22H2 version of Windows 11 will be different and stable enough to warrant another look.

HPE UK sales crash after infrastructure projects delayed, but PC-flinging HP Inc watches Brit biz rise

David Austin

" improving our service delivery for higher quality and lower cost"

Pick one - you can't have both, no matter what the bean counters tell you.

Microsoft abandons semi-annual releases for Windows Server

David Austin

Quick question from someone not paying attention

As it's released to manufacturing, I'm assuming Windows Server 2022 is based on the Windows 10 20H2 or 21H1 codebase, and not Windows 11?

Troll jailed for 5 years after swatting of Twitter handle owner ends in death

David Austin

If he wasn't a minor when the offence was committed, then I'd 100% agree 5 years is too short for basically amounted to ordering a contract killing.

As he was... I'm struggling to feel what the appropriate amount of time is - it feels too short at a gut level, but he's age being under the responsibility threshold should count towards some mitigation

either way, he's a pretty scummy person, and I'm sure this will follow and marr him through life so... natural justice, I guess?

Android devs prepare to hand over app-signing keys to Google from August

David Austin

None of this sounds like a good idea

Literally handing the keys to the kingdom over. For what? The ability to make dynamic apk's, making app archiving even harder than it currently is, and non-install trial versions, in a world where data and bandwidth are just going up.

Looks more like (Yet Another) Google power grab from here.

Hubble Space Telescope may now depend on a computer that hasn't booted since 2009

David Austin

Re: Er, yes, mate?

Reminder that in the 90's NASA ran an active scavenger hunt on eBay to grab the out of production chips and boards it needed to keep the space shuttles running, like the intel 8086;


Not an expert, but I've been told that due to circuit track width, Pentium I era kit is better for space travel without needing excessive radiation protection; modern processors are so small a stay beam of space radiation can completely severe the track.

Get the right kit for the job, not the newest.

There's no 'Skype' in Teams: Microsoft lets signing key for its Debian Skype repository slip gently into the night

David Austin

Honestly I'm impressed they didn't ask him to run sfc /scannow

Mind the gap(ing mouth): London's Underground to get ubiquitous mobile phone coverage

David Austin

Thanks I hate it

In principle, a useful and practical addition.

In reality, the first person to share a 20 minute phone conversation with their spouse about what they're having for dinner when they get home with 130 trapped, hot, and stressed commuters on the edge of snapping may not have to Mind The Gap ever again...

Linux 5.13 hits rc5, isn’t yet calm, Linus Torvalds is only mildly perturbed

David Austin

"How dead was it, on a scale from 1 to 10"

Be honest - We've all had upgrades that went like this:


Firefox 89: Can this redesign stem browser's decline?

David Austin

Re: No, a redesign can't stem the decline

That's the kicker: Firefox does have a story, but no way to explain it to the average user in a way that makes them care.

David Austin
David Austin

Firefox was always about customisation

I used Firefox for my daily driver since 2005, but I got burned badly with the 2017 transition from Firefox Add-Ons to Webextensions - I had a browser configured with a set of add-ons and customisations to support all I needed it to do, which stopped working with no complete replacements (5 years later, there's still no way to make a custom toolbar): The browser was objectively faster, but in practice was slower for what I wanted to use it for, even after two months of bashing away at finding replacements and custom userchrom.

With each Refresh after that, the customisation options reduced (Especially in UI - from the sound of it, this latest update removes even more by default), and either by accident or by design, looked and behaved more and more like Google Chrome.

So my reasoning went: "If it looks like Chrome, acts like Chrome, and has the same customisation limits as Chrome... Why not just use Chrome?"

David Austin

MSI's Would have helped

Until 2019, Firefox refused to release builds as an official .msi file, which in a Windows Environment, makes the deployment trivial. (https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/software/mozilla-to-provide-msi-installers-starting-with-firefox-65/)

I think they'd have a bit more of a corporate foothold if they had given earlier access to easier deployment tools for sysadmins - The subtext, intentional or not, came across as corporate is an afterthought.

Korean app-maker Scatter Lab fined for using private data to create homophobic and lewd chatbot

David Austin

Paid for service?

They haven't even got the excuse of "If you're not paying for it, you are the product" some other social sites have...

Mac OS X at 20: A rocky start, but it got the fundamentals right for a macOS future

David Austin

Re: I did like Aqua

Still use the "Aqua" theme for WinAmp.

...I may have just dated myself with that sentence.

David Austin

Re: It was all downhill after Snow Leopard

Have a fond spot for Snow Leopard; It felt amazing at the time, as it was light on features but big on performance increase and smoothness from it's vanilla leopard predecessor. It just felt "Right" to use.

I know (Some) versions that came after are objectively better, but as an occasional OS X user, Snow Leopard felt like the definitive version.

Chairman, CEO of Nominet ousted as member rebellion drives .uk registry back to non-commercial roots

David Austin

Nominet Mistepped every way possible.

This needs to be studied by future campaign managers as how not to do things; it's well within the reals of reason that every antagonistic, duplicitous trick the board played in the last six weeks cost them the 5 percent they lost by.

Not to forget the confrontational way the closed the forum was the spark that ignited this whole mess.

Whatever comes next has got to be better; Hoping the rest of the board read the writing on the wall, and appoint the two suggested directors.

Pressure builds on Nominet as members demand to know leadership's contingency plans for when they’re fired

David Austin

Crisis Management

I'm hopeful, but not confident the current board will lose the vote - They seem intent on play every dirty trick in the book: This is the most activity I've seen from Nominet in the last decade.

If they lose, the first thing I want the new management to do is open the books on the this years Reputation Management and Crisis Management notes, so we can see just how far they were willing to go to save the own hides.

Microsoft unveils swappable SSDs for Surface Pro 7+ but 'strongly discourages' users from upping their capacity

David Austin

Re: Windows and Storage space

Probably a nice little laptop for a modern Linux netbook (The true meaning of netbook before people tried to get Windows Vista running on single core atoms...), but not really a practical answer for this Charity's workflow; If nothing else, They need full fat Outlook.

David Austin

Re: Windows and Storage space

One of my charity customers got duped into buying a set of HP Stream laptops, with eMMC 32GB Hard disks.

None of them could install the next Windows 10 update natively. About half managed to with the Dual USB Stick method, but the others couldn't even do that: Any more than 3GB of user files made them unserviceable.

It was reckless of HP to make them in the first place, and I would happily bump off the vendor that talked them into buying such crap.

Microsoft announces a new Office for offline fans, slashes support, hikes the price

David Austin

LibreOffice Still doesn't have a PIM tool that could replace Outlook - They recommend Thunderbird, which is OK (In some ways, better) for email, but not the PIM Part of the app.

In the Business world, Outlook is a crown jewel; If you want to kill Office, you need to have a drop in Replacement for it.

Closest I think we've come to that is GMail in Google's G.Suite.

Another reprieve for exhausted IT admins: Looks like there are no whizzbangers in Windows 10 21H1

David Austin


It's a f'ing operating system: As long as it boots the hardware, and runs stably, that's job done. Leave the fancy new features to the Apps installed on the baseline OS.

Small, stable, incremental change is a *Good* thing for an OS, rather than a big bang shake up every 6 months.

Nominet claims effort to replace its board with 'safe hands' is invalid, refuses to put it to member vote

David Austin

They didn't listen until they were made to listen

They need to go, as the damage and consequences of them staying are far greater than them going.

You can drive a car with your feet, you can operate a sewing machine with your feet. Same goes for computers obviously

David Austin

Re: To be fair

I think the coolest system like that I've seen was a prototype setup with two hand mice; The one for your weaker hand was calibrated for big movements, and the dominate hand mouse was configured for super fine granular control.

To plug gap left by CentOS, Red Hat amends RHEL dev subscription to allow up to 16 systems in production

David Austin

Only surprise in all this is they messed up so bad, oracle (Via their Linux flavour) is potentially a viable, slightly less disastrous option.

David Austin

Re: Can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

I think they may have gotten away with it if they didn't cut the support for CentOS 8 from 2029 to 2021, in the timeframe where everyone had either just finished a migration or was deep into planning one.

At lest set the EOL Date to match CentOS 7 in 2024.

Samsung rolls out new Galaxy S21 range, including extra-lux Ultra

David Austin

Re: "starts at £1,149"

Still a bit big (6.3") Compared to iPhone 12 mini (5.4") or my current Samsung A40 (5.9") for what I'd like;

Know the trend is for bigger phones now, but I find anything over 5.5" uncomfortable to use one handed while out and about. Last time I checked, Samsung didn't really have anything to compete with the iPhone 12 mini/iPhone SE, or the Sony Xepia Compact ranges, which I think is missing a bit of a trick.

Still, I'm onboard with the idea of factory ruggedized phones with SD Slots.

David Austin

Re: "starts at £1,149"

Happy for the people that want the high end, but I'm more interested in seeing what Samsung have cooking up in the mid range or - dare I hope - the Compact Flagship range.

The S4 mini is probably my favourite phone I ever owned; Would love to see what Samsung can put up against an iPhone 12 mini.

Quixotic Californian crusade to officially recognize the hellabyte and hellagram is going hella nowhere

David Austin


That's all well and good, but I'm still never saying kibibyte out loud, unless Whiskers comes up with a new brand of cat food.

UK on track to miss even its slashed full-fibre gigabit coverage goals, warn MPs

David Austin

No Surprises there

I think we all knew the original plan was ambitious to the point of incredulity, even before the budget cut.

Full Fibre is certainly nice, but honestly, Universal FTTC Speeds (40MB+ Down / 10MB+ Up) would make the world of difference; Across my customer base, I have:

- Central London customers stuck on ADSL's 0.5Mb upload speed, because they're in a business area and "you're supposed to buy a leased line"

- Rural Essex customers stuck on 8MB DSL Connections

- Customers who are in town Centres, stuck on "Exchange Only" lines

- Several industrial estate clients, who have 1970's kit-kat wiring, and all the associated dropouts.

having 10MB Upload speed Business Broadband (Especially in the Work from Home climate right now) for around £40/month would make the biggest difference for them right now: Fibre would be "Nice to have", but when you go past a certain speed threshold, it just becomes nicer to use, rather than "Will actually work"

'Following the science' rhetoric led to delay to UK COVID-19 lockdown, face mask rules

David Austin

Re: The Institute for Government, a bunch of non-scientists

Biological science vs Physiological science; I'm willing to bet both teams argued their (Correct in isolation) cases strongly, and the politicians ended up in decision paralysis, defaulting to the one that didn't restrict peoples freedom and the economy until they had no choice.

Which ties back into the main point of this report: science should be an input (And almost certainly the biggest input), but you need to tie it to other areas to form a cohesive, decisive policy.

Rocky has competition as more CentOS alternatives step into the ring: Project Lenix, Oracle Linux vie for attention

David Austin

I know I'm the one at fault here, but I'm struggling to I'm trying to wrap my head around how this problem has manifested, and hope some of the lovely commentators here can show where my thinking is flawed;

CentOS is basically the community edition of Red Hat; What is the issue running Red Hat without paying the IBM Tax? As Red Hat is Open Source, is there a technical barrier to making a copy without paying them? Is it just a case that Enterprises can do it, but the support is worth paying for?

Hacker given three years for stealing secret Nintendo Switch blueprints, collecting child sex abuse vids

David Austin

May have a promising career ahead of him as an eBay executive

HP CEO talks up HP-ink-only print hardware and higher upfront costs for machines that use other cartridges

David Austin

Keeping hold of my dumb as rocks and reliable as anything HP PSC 1315 I bought in 2003 until it crumbles into dust.

David Austin

Re: The problems:

With you on this one - I often have long, tiring conversations with customers about Duty Cycles of printers, not so much over the raw cost, but not understanding why they need a big footprint printer to do 80,000 pages a month instead of a nice little cube printer with a DC of 10,000

In their defence, most manufactures for obvious reason don't highlight that information, and you have to dig through the more obtuse specs to get them

Intel offloads NAND business to South Korea's SK Hynix for a cool $9bn

David Austin

Seems short-sighted

NAND isn't going anywhere soon with the storage speed and size requirements of the world growing all the time; This screams short term cash over losing long term income.

The only other way to read it is Intel has bet the family silver on Optrane taking over both memory and Storage as a mega growth area but.. well, as Itanium is the last time Intel bet big on a technology steamrollering the competition....

LibreOffice rains on OpenOffice's 20th anniversary parade, tells rival project to 'do the right thing' and die

David Austin

Re: Possible solution to different licencing...

Very few big projects re-license, but it is possible:

Have a read on how Dolphin, the GameCube/Wii Emulator switched from GPLv2 to GPLv2+ to stop this exact one way code sharing issue: The general consensus seems to be if 95% of contributors agree, and none of the remaining 5% actively disagree, you can re-license.


It's 2020 so not only is your mouse config tool a Node.JS Electron app, it's also pwnable by an evil webpage

David Austin

"It’s relatively easy for software developers to use and it’s rather difficult to secure."

Well.. that's a depressing sentence to read. Sounds like they've set novice developers up to fail with that one.

'We're not claiming to replace humans,' says Google, but we want to be 'close enough' that you can't tell it's a bot talking

David Austin


I recognise as tecchies, we probably try a bit better to fix things ourselves, so by the time we're calling the telephone line, we're well past anything the automated systems can handle.

I don't like it, but I can see the usefulness in running triage on the incoming calls: It's the next step on from the automation bot that tries to point you at a KB or FAQ before letting you talk to a meatsack.

Google, Amazon pass on UK Digital Services Tax by hiking ad prices, fees at same rate the government takes

David Austin

Re: 20 years ago

Really? MS Used to charge for WMP? I just always assumed it was baked in.

IBM ordered to pay £22k to whistleblower and told by judges: Teach your managers what discrimination means

David Austin

What absolute arses

IBM sounds a horrid place to work, and a horrible supplier to use, with management showing equal contempt for both.

Disappointed The Register didn't try and get a contrite statement out of an IBM Spokesface. Love to see how's they'd try and spin and brush this one off.

Impersonating users of 'protest' app Bridgefy was as simple as sniffing Bluetooth handshakes for identifiers

David Austin

You promoted your app as being "secure", which caused the (Admittedly unintended) side effect of protesters - a group that have a lot to lose up to and including their freedom if you get security and privacy wrong - misplacing their trust in you.

You were told about these defects in April, didn't publicly address them until August, and won't have a baseline secure version that includes such revolutions as "All payloads will be encrypted" ready until September

What you have done is borderline irresponsible.

Trucking hell: Kid leaves dad in monster debt after buying oversized vehicle on eBay

David Austin

Re: Christ, what assholes

Said it before and I will say it again: PayPal has all the power of a Bank or Credit card provider, but none of the regulations or legal protections in place - It should have a lot more regulation than it does to protect everyone.

Another anti-immigrant rant goes viral in America – and this time it's by a British, er, immigrant tech CEO

David Austin

Re: Own Your Words

Most countries, including the UK, has a legal framework in place to define hate speech. It's not going to cover the grey and borderline cases, but it seems to mostly cover the things society at large have deemed to be hateful, rather than hurtful things to say.

It's personal choice, but nothing from telling others your choice and why you did it, and if the wanna do it too, then sure, why not?

David Austin

Own Your Words

Outside of hate speech, You are perfectly entitled to say whatever you like.

Likewise, other people are also perfectly entitled to think you're kind of a jerk for saying that, and want to distance themselves from you.

While there's certainly a nuanced debate to have on cancel culture, genuine redemption, and how far back the public record goes now, quite a lot of these complaints come from people that understand the first part, but forget the second part.

Firefox 78: Protections dashboard, new developer features... and the end of the line for older macOS versions

David Austin

Still waiting for the Toolbar API they expected to land in 2018


Disappointed at the slow pace of adding safe to implement API's to WebExtensions to add features the legacy add-ons could do. Most developers got bored of waiting, and gave up waiting for missing features needed to port.

In the meantime, I switched to Chrome: It runs faster on my hardware, and with much less customisation to streamline the workflow, there wasn't really an advantage to stick with Firefox.

Apple to keep Intel at Arm's length: macOS shifts from x86 to homegrown common CPU arch, will run iOS apps

David Austin

Re: Compatibility is gonna be a problem.

Expecting Apple to do what they normally do: Have great compatibility until they get bored with it. As you say, the mac ecosystem is very "Evolve or die."

Not saying it's any better or worse than Microsoft's commitment to compatibility, even at the cost of system architecture improvements and security: They're just coming at the problem from two different philosophical ends of the spectrum.



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