* Posts by David Austin

429 posts • joined 11 May 2007


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.

David Austin

I'll give Apple the benefit of the doubt on this one - They've managed the last two processor transitions reasonably well, and for a project that's supposedly been swirling around for nearly a decade, I get the feeling they wouldn't have announced it now if they weren't confident it's ready and they can pull it off.

Ex-eBay security execs among six charged with harassing, threatening bloggers who dared criticize web tat souk

David Austin

Did they think they would get away with it?

The most compelling defence I can think of for them is this idea is so stupid and traceable why would we ever have done it?

The moment you start sending physical items to people, that's a pretty solid paper trail for to follow - it's so laughably childish and naive I'm terrified this is the best they could think of, and none of them should ever hold any more power than a PHB ever again.

Logitech Zone Wireless: Swanky headset means business, but that also means it comes with a hefty price tag

David Austin

Re: Logitech H800

using a H800 headset to wfh using the USB Dongle, and bluetooth to unwind with audiobooks from the phone.

Working fine for 3 years, only issue was ordering new headset foam pads a few months back (£5 from ebay)

MacOS on Arm talk intensifies: Just weeks from now, Apple to serve up quarantini with Kalamata golive, reportedly

David Austin

Apples nailed the last two processor transitions, keeping emulation working well enough for long enough that all but edge case apps worked until they got updated (or replaced).

If Apple announce this, I'm sure they'll be confident in whatever form of Compatibility they cook up.

Curveball option is they start making ARM Macs running a souped up iPadOS (Which getting closer and closer to a general purpose OS), and keep mac pros running x86 MacOS.

Latest Apple gadget's production behind schedule, will come out at one month past iPhone 12, reportedly

David Austin

Re: iPhone SE

SEv2 is everything I was hoping for: Reasonable price, not too big, surprisingly good specs.

I can see it being the bread and butter iPhone for a while in the suppressed post covid spending period.

Infosys fires employee who Facebooked 'let's hold hands and share coronavirus'

David Austin

Re: Ah, that old chestnut.

Stolen from XKCD:

"defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express"

Apple drops a bomb on long-life HTTPS certificates: Safari to snub new security certs valid for more than 13 months

David Austin

Re: I understand

Have you got full automation with Certify The Web working for wildcard certificates?

having a play with that at the moment, and looks like I can't make it work unless I change DNS provider, but happy to be proved wrong.

I do wish IIS wasn't a second class citizen of the let's Encrypt Ecosystem; Full native support direct from MS is high on my Windows Server wish list.

It's official: In May, Microsoft will close the door, lock the vault, brick over the entrance of dreaded Windows 10 1809

David Austin

Re: I give up

Gaming and legacy program support

Reminder the 32-bit version of Windows 10 still runs Windows 3.1 16 bit apps perfectly fine.

There's downsides (It brings a lot of security baggage with it), but it's a different ideological approach to most other Operating Systems: in the last Decade, Apple have dropped Rosetta PowerPC support and 32 bit Apps, and Ubuntu threatened - and rapidly backtracked - on dropping 32 bit compatibility.

Not saying one approach is the "right" way, but it's a very different mindset.

Dual screens, fast updates, no registry cruft and security in mind: Microsoft gives devs the lowdown on Windows 10X

David Austin

Re: What's in a Name?

This is a company that thinks Xbox One X and Xbox Series X are 1) good names 2) Will not cause any confusion being different products.

MWC now means 'Mostly Without Companies', as Nokia, HMD Global, Facebook, and BT drop out

David Austin

Virtual Conferance

if any conference could become an online event, as just about every communication provider is/should be there, you'd think MCW could do it, if nothing else to show off remote work tech.

So you locked your backups away for years, huh? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Brute, Force and Ignorance

David Austin

Bong Bing

I like the fact we've all universally agreed when you plug a SUB Device into Windows, it goes "Bong Bing", and when you unplug it, it goes "Bing Bong".

Even the novice users I have to talk through on the phone get that one.

Petition asking Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 sails past 7,777-signature goal

David Austin

Agree: As a marketing and awareness exercise, it's hit all the goals, which frankly is probably as much as the FSF Hoped for.

Still, credit where it's due: Microsoft is making slow, tentative steps towards open sourcing certain technologies, which is great.

From a licensing, technical, and company ethos perspective, I think they're a way off giving the NTKernal crown jewel.

Chrome suddenly using Bing after installing Office 365 Pro Plus... Yeah, that might have been us, mumbles Microsoft

David Austin


Why does EVERYONE Think combining local desktop and internet search is a useful or desired feature?

Most people (I'd say all, but I've met users...) know if they're looking on data on the local computer or network, or the internet: All mixing the two up is slow and frustrate the results, meaning extra clicks and data to sort through.

Aside from that? Yeah, that sounds like scummy early 00's Toolbar and search hijacks. Anyone still got a copy of Spybot Search & Destroy to hand?

'I am done with open source': Developer of Rust Actix web framework quits, appoints new maintainer

David Austin

Re: PL and TL

It's a good idea: each job has it's own skillset, and finding a person that can fill both competently massively narrows the application pool (And with your manager hat on if you're in that position, may not be cost effective, as the savings of one larger salary over two is trumped by the body count going up).

Windows 7 and Server 2008 end of support: What will change on 14 January?

David Austin

Group Polic

Only surefire way I can stop Windows 10 from surprise rebooting on me is to set this group policy:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Updates > Configure Automatic Updates


2 - Notify for Download and Auto-Install

That emulates the old Windows 7 "Check for Updates but let me choose whether to download and install them" setting - You kick off applying the updates whenever you're ready, and as long as you reboot yourself after application (IE: Don't leave the system in the update applied, awaiting restart state), The PC can't do it of it's own accord.

As it's Group Policy, it's only officially supported in Pro and Enterprise, and it's a power user only setting, as you have to pro-actively grab updates (Ironically causing the very issue Microsoft was trying to solve)

Beset by lawsuits over poor security protections, Ring rolls out 'privacy dashboard' for its creepy surveillance cams, immediately takes heat

David Austin

The Big Question:

Does a smart doorbell fix more problems than it creates?

I don't think I am a Luddite, but it seems to replace one problem (Viewing and answering the door when you're not there) with several exciting new ones (points up).

LibreOffice 6.4 nearly done as open-source office software project prepares for 10th anniversary

David Austin


In the business world, outlook, both as an email and PIM tool has been Microsoft Office's killer app.

LibreOffice doesn't have that, and recommend using Mozilla Thunderbird.


For a big chunk of business customers, Outlook IS office. Gmail has made inroads into breaking that chokehold, but I think Libre/Open Office could get a big boost with a full PIM Application.

Samsung Galaxy S11 tipped to escalate the phone cam arms race with 108MP sensor

David Austin

"felt fairly safe, with few standout features distinguishing it from their predecessors"

Outside the more avant garde stuff like folding phones and flexible screens, is that really a surprise? What more could you honestly add to a phone at this point? Even the budget end can surf the web, take an OK picture, stream a movie, and listen to music (Oh, and make the occasional phone call).

Don't take this as a negative: Since around the iPhone 4s/Galaxy S3 days, the pocket computers we all carry around have been so crammed with features, about all you can do is make the numbers bigger and faster

I'm excited to see what the next big leap forward is, but I'm glad I'm not the engineer or marketing bod that has to try to come up with what that is.

After 10 years, Google Cloud Print will finally be out of beta... straight into ad giant's graveyard

David Austin

Re: Printing from Android tablets

Credit where credit's due: Airprint nails LAN mobile printing. Quick, simple... and nowhere near common knowledge. I've blown several people's minds by showing them they had an airprint capable printer, and throwing a document out from their iPad.

Android printing is better nowerdays, but still requires plugin apps and a lot more faff.

Universal standard would be nice, but I won't hold my breath.

Police confirm interview with UKFast boss Lawrence Jones

David Austin

Given the type of allegations he faces, I'm not sure if having his wife as CEO is a very good or very bad thing for him...

Microsoft explains self-serve Power platform's bypassing of Office 365 admins to cries of 'are you completely insane?'

David Austin

Re: "Microsoft will provide standard support for self-service purchasers."

So sfc /scannow ?

You better get a wiggle on then: BT said to be mulling switching off UK's copper internets by 2027

David Austin

Unrealistic is my first thought

Maybe, as AIBailey suggested above, if they started tomorrow, they could get everyone on FTTC, only leaving last mile copper by 2027.

But Full copper replacement in 8 years? That's an unrealistic deadline, and that seems a way too low figure to do it that only makes sense if you lowball the delivery date.

While full fiber gigabit connections are definitely nice to have, I'd rather they focus on a universal 10/20 meg (Upstream AND Downstream) service, regardless of the technology: Across my clients, I have 2 central London, 6 provincial town, and 4 Exchange Line only business that are stuck on OK 8mb-12mb down, and abysmal 0.5mb up ADSLv1/v2 services: They are so hamstrung by the poor upload speeds, most have grit their teeth and paying hundreds every month for Leased Lines: Getting a "Works most of the time well enough" 40MB/20MB FTTC Service for 50 bucks a month would make a huge difference for them.

Thinking about processing a payment, Sage Group? Biz confirms mulling sale of Sage Pay

David Austin


This.. just seems kinda odd.

Sage pay and Sage Accounts/Payroll compliment each other so well, reinforcing each other's products: I'm not paid nearly enough consultancy fees for anyone to listen to me, but I'd have thought taking the long term, consistent profit from that division over a one off chunk of cash is the better idea...

Biz forked out $115k to tout 'Time AI' crypto at Black Hat. Now it sues organizers because hackers heckled it

David Austin

Why would you take that talk to BlackHat?

That would have probably done well at a middle manager or PHB conference (Much to the chagrin of their technical underlings that would have to implement it)... but why would you take that *Style* of talk to a bunch of highly technical users that have been trained through years of BOFH and atrocity archives to smell PR bullshit a mile off?

Giving them the benefit of the doubt that their technology actually works and isn't just buzzwords strung together, surely you'd tailor the talk to be nuts and bolts engineering, given the audience?

This sounds like the wrong talk to the wrong audience, and with this lawsuit, I predict they're about to do a Juicero and learn first hand about the Streisand effect...

Steam cleaned of zero-day security holes after Valve turned off by bug bounty snub outrage

David Austin

Would not expect any less from Valve

I love the boys from Seattle, but they do have a talent for reacting too late to developing situations, and shooting themselves in the foot over something trivial to fix.

Samsung Note10+ torn apart to expose three 5G antennas: One has to pick up something

David Austin

I thought non-expandable storage...

... was Apple's shtick.

Disappointed they've removed that from the standard Note.

Don't press the red b-... Windows Insiders' rings hit by surprise Microsoft emission

David Austin

That's a brave UI Designer....

Clearly didn't have a chance to talk to their predecessor about how well the Windows 8.x Start menu redesign went...

London cop illegally used police database to monitor investigation into himself

David Austin

I like the idea of the police giving him enough rope to hang himself... but I don't think I can credit them with that level of cunning.

Don't tell Alice and Bob: Security maven Bruce Schneier is leaving IBM

David Austin

Probably for the best

Before IBM push him out the door via constructive dismissal for being too old.

One teeensy little 13-minute power cut, and WD you look at the size of that chip supply cut!

David Austin

Backup Power

I would have liked to think they had (tested) battery backups and onsite generators with enough fuel to last them though a 15 minute power cut, but after losing six extrabytes of capacity, I'm guessing that'll be fixed soon.

Better to bolt the stable door after the horse has bolted, than not at all, I guess...

Here's what Autonomy told its salesmen they were allowed to do

David Austin

"Selling Products we don't sell"

Do.. Do sales people really need that one written down?

What a pain in the Azzz-ure: Microsoft Azure, SharePoint, etc knocked offline by DNS blunder

David Austin

If in Doubt, blame DNS

I find that a normal good troubleshooting tip: For such a simple thing, it was so many varied and exciting ways to bugger up your network.

It's OK; I'm sure going to IPv6 where the recommendation is to always use DNS instead of Direct IP calls will make this mess a whole lot easier...

Daddy, are we there yet? How Mrs Gates got Bill to drive the kids to school

David Austin

That's a great little story. I have a lot of time for Bill and Melinda, and everything they're trying to do with their foundation.

Remember Windows Media Center? Well, the SDK is now on GitHub to be poked at your leisure

David Austin

I have a soft spot for Windows Media Centre and indeed, still use it on a Windows 7 Shuttle PC Connected to a TV, with an Xbox 360 working as an extender.

Still upset it got dropped from Windows 10, but writing was on the wall when i got my Playstation 3 to run network media better than the native 360...

IT sales star wins $660k lawsuit against Oracle in Qatar – but can't collect, because the Oracle he sued suddenly vanished

David Austin

What absolute cockweasels

They're going on the sneaky bastard cockweasels list along with BlackBerry as companies I won't touch with a barge pole: As a rule, if they can't treat their staff right, forget treating their customers decently.

Ex-Mozilla CTO: US border cops demanded I unlock my phone, laptop at SF airport – and I'm an American citizen

David Austin

Would you *Really* want to be the person standing in front of the TSA Agent saying "Sorry, I don't have the encryption key for that"?

David Austin

Re: Don't travel to the US.

I wish I could say you were being paranoid, but I keep a burner laptop for state visits, too.

After last year's sexism shambles, 2019's RSA infosec bash has upped its inclusivity game

David Austin

- Can you go to a show, and see someone on stage that kinda sorta looks and acts like you.


- Can you wander around the show floor without getting inappropriate comments or harassed.

Seems a reasonable baseline to start from; let's get solidly to that point, then build on from there - Having attendees feel comfortable at your show, and a range of different viewpoints being heard seems like a good thing™

New claim dogs Oracle: After $11m of sales, I was unfairly axed before next big deal – because I am a 64yo woman

David Austin

If this is how Oracle treats their employees

I'd dread to think how they treat their customers.

Hoping I never have to find out first hand...

'This collaboration is absolutely critical going forward'... One positive thing about Meltdown CPU hole? At least it put aside tech rivalries...

David Austin

why people don't patch

I have two columns in front of me.

One of them is the time and costs spent across all my customers cleaning up viruses and malware caused by unpatched systems.

One of them is the time and costs spent across all my customers cleaning cleaning up messes caused by broken and misbehaving patches.

Guess which one is bigger.



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