* Posts by Andrew Jones 2

836 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Sep 2009


The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

Andrew Jones 2

Presumably, police warrants will be next?

Presumably, if this actually gets passed, the Government will then start trying to push the idea that the police should not need warrants to search people's property - you know, because of "think of the kids" and all that crap.

"If we didn't need to apply for a warrant, then it would save us precious time in locating a kidnapped child"

And then

"If we didn't need to apply for a warrant, we'd be able to prevent more terror attacks"

You watch,

This is the road we are heading down.

And the usual line "well if you haven't done anything wrong, then why would you object" will be trotted out too.

Google: We disagree with Sonos patent ruling so much, we've changed our code to avoid infringement

Andrew Jones 2

"Those patents describe methods to manage the volume of multiple audio players on a network from a controller-like hub, pairing players, and so on."

It's just as well there is no sort of prior art isn't it...

I mean imagine if I'd been able to pair players and control the volume of the group as a whole - before Sonos was even founded....

Oh wait, that's exactly what the Slim Devices (later Logitech) Media Server allows me to do. TWENTY YEARS ago. And while Logitech no longer make the hardware, the server is still in development and it's open source on GitHub.

And that - is why the USPTO is utterly broken.

123-Reg is at it again: Registrar charges chap for domains he didn’t order – and didn't want

Andrew Jones 2

It's probably worth thinking about moving anyway. Their accounts with companies house are overdue, and they even had a first strike off notice issued. It's been cancelled now, but their accounts are still 3 months overdue. This typically it's the sign of a company in financial trouble.

UK ads watchdog slaps Amazon for UX dark arts after folk bought Prime subs they didn't want

Andrew Jones 2

Do they have decent systems in place to spot this or are they literally just matching the email address? By this mean can I get away with month1+mygoogleaccount@googlemail.com month2+mygoogleaccount@googlemail.com then I don't need to create 12 actual email addresses?

The sound of silence is actually the sound of a malicious smart speaker app listening in on you

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Or

You know that Google Minis do in fact have a hardware disconnect switch right?

Andrew Jones 2

Definitely want to see proof of this - when it comes to Google devices.

If the device is speaking (audible or otherwise) - it is NOT transmitting microphone data anywhere.

If the microphone is open for longer than 60 seconds, the app will fail, if the app continues to rack up errors, it can be automatically unlisted.

If the app receives no interaction for a period of time, it will time out.

Additionally - "hackable"? You have to specifically request to start the dodgy app.

Deus ex hackina: It took just 10 minutes to find data-divulging demons corrupting Pope's Click to Pray eRosary app

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Why should buyers (believers) worry about this?

Well I mean, surely it's a breach of the GDPR and thus they must be fined?

Junior minister says gov.UK considering facial recognition to verify age of p0rn-watchers

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Please go ahead...

While mostly I get those -

I've also had several that tell me they are from people whose job it is - is to kill people. They then tell me they really don't want to do the job, so I could pay them not to kill me instead, otherwise they will have no choice - because it's their job after all.

They are dark....

I won't lie the first one I got, took me quite some time to decide it was fake.

Andrew Jones 2

Re: If you use facial recognition" doesn't that immediately rule out "privacy" of any kind ?

I mean I don't know about you - but I wouldn't be at all surprised, if the Government pretended it was AI and no-one ever saw the pictures, while paying a team of hundreds billions of pounds a year to sit and manually approve the requests in real-time.

Lying and spending obscene amounts of money on it - sounds very UK Government to me.

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Facial?

Chaturbate - yes, it's EXACTLY what it sounds like. I can only image the marketing for this one...

"Hey - do you like chatting online? Do you like masturbating while anonymous strangers watch you? Why not do it online! Chaturbate"

Sod 3G, that can go, but don't rush to turn off 2G, UK still needs it – report

Andrew Jones 2

Re: On the other hand

One day the server will fall over / the hard drive will fail / it will generally be unavailable to the network.

At which point Mrs Brown will say - "I'm glad I still have my CD Player"

Don't get me wrong, I'm the same - everything on media servers, but I make sure the CDs and DVDs are easy enough to get access to....

Here we go again: US govt tells Facebook to kill end-to-end encryption for the sake of the children

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Forget the kiddies

As someone who was bullied at School for being too tall and also being adopted.... Going home and school holidays were an escape from the bullying. If however the bullying followed me home and was essentially 24/7 then I doubt I would be here now.

I largely had the same childhood too (apart from abuse by the birth parents) - free to roam the neighborhood. The popular hang out was Jelly Island, which I kid you not, was an island in the middle of a swamp, the only way to get on the island was to walk across a tree which had fallen or a narrow plank of wood. Jumping up and down on the island made it wobble like Jelly... It was probably incredibly dangerous, though no-one ever fell in to it. I'd imagine parents would have had a heart attack if they had had something like real-time tracking.

If we got up to something naughty, our parents knew, because someone would tell them at the house, or phone them.

My biggest issue with this constant pressure that law enforcement most be able to access our messages to prevent terrorism etc, is that we are told after each terror attempt that "they were known to law enforcement" so they already have the tools to identify terror suspects, but they claim they need more.

Andrew Jones 2

No messaging company is going to voluntarily remove encryption - or weaken encryption while iMessage is still in its fully end to end encrypted form.

Notably Apple appears to be missing from the list of companies these people keep demanding should allow them access.

Either Apple already allows the US Government / law enforcement access to customers "secure" messages or they know they haven't got a chance pressuring Apple to back down.

Hacker House shoved under UK Parliament's spotlight following Boris Johnson funding allegs

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Why are we even...

It's like the Seaborne thing - you never hear about it anymore. It was quickly proven Seaborne couldn't possibly deliver on it's promises, and the fact the £13m contract to them was replaced with an £89m contract to DFDS and Brittany - who CAN provide the service - further shows that Seaborne could never have been real - and yet - no-one is interested, there is no investigation, no criminal proceedings.

I find it seriously depressing that following on from that - Eurotunnel complained and threatened to sue because they were not even considered when the Government handed DFDS and Brittany the contract, so the Government paid them £33m to settle the case out of court. Now P&O are suing because we paid £33m to Eurotunnel.

If the Government actually did any due diligence on any of this, and this is the result, that's actually as scary as the thought that they did no due diligence at all.

Brit ISPs pinky-promise not to overcharge loyal broadband customers

Andrew Jones 2

To be fair, when I reached the end of my BT Business contract, I renewed (once I realised that being out on contract was not the same as a just being on a rolling contract and the same price as I was previously paying - sneaky BT, very sneaky) - and got the exact same package at a much reduced cost. I was previously paying around £76 per month (including £5 for a static IP - do NOT get me started), I'm now paying around £51 a month for the SAME package and it includes the same static IP for free.

Pesky legacy kit! It's stopping UK.gov getting at your data – watchdog

Andrew Jones 2


The UK Government would find it prohibitively time consuming and possibly really expensive if a large number of us were to for example submit GDPR requests to find out ALL the data they hold on us? And perhaps request that we have a machine readable copy of all said data so that we could use OUR data that we own in whatever way we see fit?

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

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Not my expertise

Like Greenlaw where I am in the Scottish Borders. The cable comes from Edinburgh, goes in to our local telephone exchange to be amplified and then runs through the village and on towards Newcastle.

Despite running through the village, it's not actually available in the village though. In our case - it's literally a metre from the front of our property, but still - whatever company owns that cable nowadays - is not interested in actually providing access to it.

US government sues ex-IT guy for breaking his NDA (Yes, we mean Edward Snowden)

Andrew Jones 2

If the incredibly private and classified information is already available online, has been reported on news programs and published by numerous newspapers, and thus is classed as being in the public domain, might it not be difficult to argue that classified information is being published in a book?

HP printer small print says kit phones home data on whatever you print – and then some

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Generic PCL if you're just printing.

Most of the time the driver on the disk is out of date anyway. It's always better (in my experience) to pop along to the manufacturers site and get the latest driver directly from there. And yes - for the common ones it's still possible to just download the driver without the "Value Added" stuff.

UK Home Office primes Brexit spam cannon for a million texts reminding folk to check passports

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Genuine e-mail, honest gov.

They *could* argue it, but it's also equally valid to respond that there cannot possible be anyone in the country that doesn't know about October 31st. Every news bulletin has Brexit stuff in it, every news related satire show has Brexit related news in it, every newspaper has Brexit related news in it, almost every single day there is Brexit news on the front page of the newspapers. The Government are running TV adverts. If there is anyone in the UK who has managed to not know about Brexit for the last 3 years - I want to know their secret....

Two years ago, 123-Reg and NamesCo decided to register millions of .uk domains for customers without asking them. They just got the renewal reminders...

Andrew Jones 2

Re: teeth whitening site advert

On the subject of cancelling not being possible to do by phone/online -

We were with UK2 for about 6 years, with domain names and hosting packages. Then when we found somewhere a bit cheaper and with a bit more flexibility than UK2 (at the time, even having access to configure your own DNS records was something UK2 didn't offer without contacting support) - so we turned off auto-renew on our services on UK2 and started moving stuff to the new host.

UK2 eventually started complaining that we had a massive bill, because unlike every other company on earth that cancel your service after a few months of not paying for service, UK2 apparently keep your service active and keep the meter running until some time in the future when they contact you to let you know that you know them £500 for not cancelling your service.

Additionally just to make it really fun - you can't / could not cancel online, by phone, by email, by fax. Nope - they only accept cancellation requests by letter and IIRC at the time obviously carried an admin fee.

Will never ever deal with UK2 again, we didn't pay we just ignored them, for all I know the service might still be sat there racking up thousands of pounds of debt.

Facebook: Remember how we promised we weren’t tracking your location? Psych! Can't believe you fell for that

Andrew Jones 2

we may try to understand your location through your internet connection....

Please feel free to go right ahead, build up a super useful profile of me based on where you think I am from an IP2Location database.... They are super accurate, honest they are.... I promise you that I am totally in "Mill Hill" and not 296 miles further North - in a totally different country.

Yahoo! customers! wake! up! to! borked! email! (Yes! people! still! actually! use! it!)

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Guilty Secret

Microsoft won't die, that's true. But the day will come when they forget to renew the hotmail domain.....

SpaceX didn't move sat out of impending smash doom because it 'didn't see ESA's messages'

Andrew Jones 2

If only there was some kind of technology, where when you needed to warn someone of a critical situation - you could pick up a device, and type some sort of identifier in to it, and then reach a person and talk, using your voice. Perhaps people and companies could all have these identifiers, and you could save them in your device with names so you can easily find them. And for some pie-in-the-sky thinking, the device could even be portable.

Why doesn't someone invent something like that? What would we call it? I quite like the sound of The Global System for Communication (GSM for short).


Brit regulator Ofcom put at helm as hosting platforms threatened with hefty fines for violent videos

Andrew Jones 2

Protect the Children!!

.... because using a different DNS server to your ISP, or services like Tor are totally things that kids don't know how to do.....

If the kids want to look at stuff the Government thinks they should not be looking at, laws and regulation won't stop them.

Reminder: When a tech giant says it listens to your audio recordings to improve its AI, it means humans are listening. Right, Skype? Cortana?

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Here's an idea

"tell them to hire plenty of people to speak into these things all day long, reading all sorts of stuff, so that they can optimise their speech recognition and translation software by recording them."

You know why that doesn't work right? It's not just a case of translating what someone said from one language to another, I'm English, I'm living in Scotland but my accent carries North Yorkshire, Geordie and now a very small amount of Scottish. Google Assistant still knows what I am saying even though I am nit necessarily speaking pure English. I am not alone, it would be impossible to recruit people with every variation of accents to cover all use cases.

My friend is from Glasgow, and it manages to understand him about 75% of the time, which to be fair is a better success rate than me, I have to actually see him speaking to figure out what he's saying, if he phones me to have a conversation, I only understand every 3rd or 4th word and have to fill in the blanks based on context.

The fact that his Google Mini already has a better chance of understanding what he is saying than I do, is exactly why humans teaching the machine is necessary.

There are 2 possibilities - either 1) we all have to speak in unnatural ways to these devices and ensure we don't use any slang, a machine could probably learn this entirely without extra help. 2) the machine is constantly retrained with outside help and we can all speak to our devices the way we would speak to another person, without having to alter the way we construct our sentences. Option 2 is working reasonably well for most of us - but there is still some way to go. "Turn on the Greenroom lights" for example - constantly gets me "Sure, turning the lights green" which is both irritating and nonsensical since I don't have any lights that you can set the colour of.

Low Barr: Don't give me that crap about security, just put the backdoors in the encryption, roars US Attorney General

Andrew Jones 2

I was thinking - gloves should probably be banned - because they make it much less likely that law enforcement will be able to lift fingerprints from the scene of a crime.....

Firm fat-fingered G Suite and deleted its data, so it escalated its support ticket to a lawsuit

Andrew Jones 2

Hmm deleting data accidentally is one thing, and one could reasonably expect Google could recover that. But the suggestion here, is that someone has deleted the actual Google account in its entirety (accidentally or otherwise). Expecting that an entire account can be recovered - in spite of the warnings that use words like "irreversible" and "permanently" is a bit unreasonable in my opinion.

Trump: Huawei ban will be lifted!
US Commerce Dept.: Yeah, about that…

Andrew Jones 2

What about FTTC?

I personally love the fact that all the news headlines are always about 5G, even the UK networks are talking about not using Huawei kit - or replacing existing Huawei kit. But never does anyone mention - hey, what about the >80% of Fibre Cabinets we all rely on to get online with Fibre, they are full of Huawei kit, the competitor ECI did not do a great job with realtime vectoring and Huawei were apparently the only company who could step up to the job and provide BT with the technology required.

So what I don't understand is why everyone so terrified about the possibility that Huawei might be spying using our mobile networks, but no-one was at all bothered that Huawei could get vast amounts of information by spying at the Fibre level?

Was it by any chance, because the cost of replacing every Huawei cabinet in the country with an alternative (which may not actually exist) was both prohibitively expensive and also would have set the Fibre rollout back by at least half a decade?

It's Pi day: Care to stuff a brand new Raspberry one in your wallet?

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Plex server...

If it's just for Audio, why are you bothering going down the Plex route? Stick Logitech Media Server on there (used to Slim Devices Squeezeserver) and on any spare Pis, run PiCorePlayer which means you can have your own cheap, opensource synchronised music system without having to touch Sonos or other expensive crap.

OK, Google: Why does Chromecast clobber Wi-Fi connections?

Andrew Jones 2

I'm sure it sounds like a reasonable explanation from the router vendors, but there is a small problem that they are overlooking.. Chromecast (all generations), Chromecast Audio and anything running Google Assistant - DO NOT enter any sort of sleep mode. They stay awake 24/7 when powered and they broadcast mDNS messages a lot more frequently than every 20 seconds! That's how devices on the network know that they exist.

Google reveals Android Robocop AI to spot and destroy malware

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Bloatware query

One would imagine that as the OEM software is either on the system partition and/or signed with OEM keys - that it will ignore it - however - even if it does flag something on a system partition, it's on a system partition - it's mounted read only, the only possible action it can take is to alert the user.

UK surveillance law raises concerns security researchers could be 'deputised' by the state

Andrew Jones 2

The experts who have discussed among themselves can think what they like - and I frankly find it surprising that they are even giving the Government the benefit of the doubt here. We all saw the writing on the wall with the "don't worry, the [you must give us any passwords we ask for] law will ONLY ever be used for anti-terror" - we all knew it would be used eventually for stuff that was not even vaguely related to anti-terror and sure enough, that day came and went - with very little media coverage.

If the UK Government have an over-reaching power, it doesn't matter what they claim it is for - it WILL be deployed on a frighteningly regular basis and it will be used for many many things that have no relation at all to the original reason they claim they needed the power in the first place.

Along with the plans for complete internet regulation, the existing stupid bill - especially with regard to the adult entertainment industry, and now this new plan - the IT industry is going to flee the UK within the next 10 years.

Auntie sh!tcans BBC Store after 18 months

Andrew Jones 2

And at the same time - they couldn't actually cope with requests (other than telling me it was a good idea).

I asked if it was possible to stick the BBC produced Carmen (Bollywood) Opera that was performed live in Bradford and broadcast on BBC Three.

It's not available on Amazon, Google Play, Netflix, iPlayer (or any *ahem* alternative sources). I was happy to buy a copy - but nothing ever came of the request and clearly now it never will.

Andrew Jones 2

The license fee paid for the content to be made in the first place. I'm not going to pay again - to watch something that technically I've already paid to have made and paid to watch it the first time it was broadcast.

If I buy it on DVD, that's different - I'm not just paying for a license that entitles me to watch the content - and because I physically own the media - I can watch it on whatever device I feel like - including ripping it to my media server and watching it on any of our TVs that have a Chromecast. Since BBC Store took FOREVER to even support the Chromecast (despite supporting it on iPlayer) then had I actually wanted to buy something from the store (and I was tempted at launch) - I couldn't actually have watched it on anything remotely convenient.

If they had thought the whole thing out properly from the start......

TRUMP SCANDAL! No, not that one. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one.

Andrew Jones 2

Hi, I see you are currently on fire - would you like me to put it out?

"On Fire? That's crazy, I am not on fire, I am.... my parents lived... and that's why Islam is.... and it was the biggest arms deal the US has ever done, it was the greatest, much better than any deal that has been done before... and that's why I am not on fire...."

Uh... OK - but I can literally smell your flesh burning and see the actual flames....

"Flames? No... that's fake news - I have the best words - I have the best people - I have the best intel, I have people that would tell me if I was on fire..."


I imagine this is very close to how a conversation about Donald Trump being on fire might play out....

T-Mobile goes Apple/Google route by separating phone numbers and devices

Andrew Jones 2

This is presumably using the Next Gen network since this is one of the many things covered on the GSMA site and ties in with RCS.

Three Nigerians sentenced to 235 years in prison for online scamming

Andrew Jones 2

Re: >low employment prospects in the region for computer specialists

...damn you.... now I have to go and watch that episode!

Andrew Jones 2

Well I mean if we are dealing in nonsense and highly impractical sentences - then they might as well each of been fined 90 quadrilion trillion billion potatoes or something....

UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

Andrew Jones 2

Out of purely hypothetical interest -

If someone created an online shop or forum, and stored all user data in plain text and had no HTTPS on the website and some 10K records were stolen from it by hackers, then presumably when the ICO tried to fine you for data breaches you could simply say - sorry - it was not possible to comply with any your rules because the Government made it illegal, so feel free to pass the bill on to them.

Andrew Jones 2

And just as I suspected would happen as soon as the future was threatened by a clueless Government, work is progressing quickly on a decentralised internet using Blockchain tech. Snoop on that UK Gov, when you stop playing fair - people will just take your tools away.

Dixons Carphone: Brexit not a factor as Brits' gadget lust holds strong

Andrew Jones 2

People are still spending money, because they still have money. That's only because we aren't all bankrupt yet - but it's coming.

UK.gov throws hissy fit after Twitter chokes off snoop firm's access

Andrew Jones 2

..... but ......

it's ONLY the MP side of things that's confidential - the message I sent to the MP is fully readable because MY connection is not private - so that argument falls over.

Andrew Jones 2

"The British government has made no secret of its desire to spy on everyone everywhere using social media, even though its in-house knowledge of technology is embarrassingly dire."

Should read "....desire to spy on everyone everywhere (excluding members of Parliament, who are exempt from being profiled and / or tracked, because they added that clause in to the bill)....."

Telecoms fail in UK takes down passport scanners in Australia

Andrew Jones 2

......so a terrorist attack on the actual data centre - will disrupt the ability for people to fly in multiple countries around the world?

That seems like something that might need to be looked into pretty quickly.

Kill Google AMP before it kills the web

Andrew Jones 2

Well I call bollocks - these arguments are badly researched by whoever is doing the complaining. There is one valid point about metrics - which Google are addressing - but you certainly don't have to use Google analytics. Branding complaints are a bit bogus too - the pages might have similar layout - but it's not impossible to have your brand on it. The complaints touch on the fact that it's open source but still largely make it seem like only Google is invested in the project - when the github shows that to simply not be the case. Finally - there were numerous talks at IO about how easy it is to serve up an AMP page and then have any links transitioning to your PWA app - and let's face it - if you cared enough to play around with AMP then you clearly want your website to run as fast as possible - so PWA is the next logical step.

Mi casa es su casa: Ubuntu bug makes 'guests' anything but

Andrew Jones 2

It's bad - but it's not like the ludicrous decision of Microsoft in Windows XP to launch the Accessibility tools with SYSTEM account privileges when you click on the button on the login screen - which of course enables someone with a USB flash disk - to boot to anything that lets you access the filesystem rename Utilman make a copy of cmd called Utilman and reboot - and then of course at the login screen click the button and change the password of any account on the system.

Reading other users' files is bad - but it's not complete system ownership in 60 seconds. (Something which by the way - even now - still hasn't been patched)

Android O-mg. Google won't kill screen hijack nasties on Android 6, 7 until the summer

Andrew Jones 2

It is worth pointing out though - that key parts of the OS can't be hijacked with this method. Ask anyone who runs a full screen overlay like Twilight. You can't for instance tap the Install button, or factory reset the device, or approve a new device administrator app while Android thinks that an overlay might be trying to trick you.

Troll it your way: Burger King ad tries to hijack Google Home gadgets

Andrew Jones 2

They did, within hours. The lights come on when it hears "OK Google" they spin a few times, Google uses contentID matching on the server - recognises the advert and issues a cancel command to the device and the lights switch off and it goes back to sleep silently - while the advert continues to play.

Andrew Jones 2

Re: Yet another reason

or.... like any other reasonably knowledgeable IT person - run Wireshark for the first 48 hours after letting the thing on to the network. Can confirm - other than when it's woken up, it doesn't generate a lot more traffic than a Chromecast, and seeing as it is a Chromecast Audio - that's not terribly surprising.