* Posts by Tron

272 posts • joined 2 Feb 2010


Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W: Nippy stocking filler for the nerd in your life – if you can get one

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A Linux PiC for the developing world.

I would like to see a Pi mobo for a standard case. Maxxed out Pi paired with an interface board for SATA/IDE/ATX PSU as necessary with any viable mounting arrangement (3 screws or just a backplate strip - like a PCI card but not plugged into a mobo).

Plug everything in, turn it on and you are straight into Linux with a Works package and modern browser, ready to go. A minimum cost system as you are repurposing as much as you can.

Good for poorer countries where they have a lot of old legacy kit (cases, drives, psus). Swop out an old mobo running Windows 90something (with endless security issues and the browser now blocked from most of the net) and away you go.

It may exist. I'm too busy working to monitor the geek stuff so much now. :(

Sometimes the problem is not the tech, so much as making it accessible for consumers.

Want to check out Windows 11 but don't want to buy a new PC? Here's how to bypass the hardware requirements

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Just ignore Windows 11 as you ignored Me and Vista.

Eventually they will surrender and remove the idiot stuff.

UK's £5bn National Cyber Force HQ to be sited in Lancashire beside Defence Secretary's constituency

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Who wouldn't want an MoD IT spook job?


Revealed: How to steal money from victims' contactless Apple Pay wallets

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A better solution...

...would be the global adoption of a Suica style pre-pay card for transport and other smaller payments.

Smartphones are unreliable. Cards just work. They cost less and require no batteries.

Japan's NTT Group to allow remote work for all 320,000 staff

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Post-Covid = Pre-Covid.

Working from home helped during the pandemic. 'Post-Covid' means 'After Covid'. Once Covid is done and dusted. When it is not a problem. That appears to be now in the UK, where we seem to be living with Covid as we are living with HIV and Hepatitis. Check out how many fans are wedged into the footy at the weekend. That doesn't yell pandemic, does it? So why is home working 'needed' post-Covid?

Japan is not yet 'post-Covid', but once it is, there is no reason to continue with Covid-era behaviour like social distancing, bans on crowds or home-working.

Hybrid options are great for those who want them and can still be productive, but 'post-Covid', they will be entirely unnecessary on biomedical grounds.

Incidentally, despite the football crowds, I would still urge general caution and mask use, even if the clowns ruining/running the country do not, as Covid has not 'left the building' quite yet in the UK.

Square-shaped hole in workers' wallets after payment system fails at peak tip time

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US: Third world economy.

The US minimum wage is pathetically low with a reliance on charity in the form of tips. Staff are not performing seals. Pay them a decent wage.

Much prefer Japan, where tips are taboo. You will not be asked for any and none will be expected of you there. You pay your exact fare to a taxi driver and get change. A tip free nation where high standards of service are expected as the default.

Angry birds ground some Google Wing drones in Australia

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More of this ahead.

Meet Tokyo's crows. They are large and loud. They chase cats, they chase dogs, and when they are in a bad mood, they chase people. They are going to have a lot of fun taking out drones.

In the UK, kids will use drones for target practice. Expect sales of catapults to rise as Britain's youth join forces with US politicians in the war on GAFA.

This is your final warning to re-certify, Red Hat tells tardy sysadmins

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There are lots of people out there on Britain's roads who are 'certified' to drive. Many of them do so like a lemming on meth.

I'd rather employ someone who was good than someone who was certified. For anything.

Thanks, Sir Clive Sinclair, from Reg readers whose careers you created and lives you shaped

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RIP 'Uncle Clive'.

For many of us on here - I started computing with a ZX81 - Sinclair's creativity, the ability of him and his designers, and his desire to keep the price low, was what opened the door to the world of tech - getting the chip count down to four for the ZX81 was remarkable. If computers had been more expensive, I would not have owned an 8-bit machine. My first computer would have been the Mac Classic I wrote my thesis on. He gave us the opportunity to code, either for pleasure or profit, and so many of us went on to have an interest or a career in tech because of that. I began writing Spectrum software at school with a friend, selling it through small ads in the magazines.

The UK was a creative hotspot for tech development in the 1980s, without Silicon Valley money. The C5 is always regarded as a failure, but VC expects a 75% failure rate, and Sinclair generally funded himself. There was toss all VC in the UK in the 1980s, so he had to. Who else was experimenting with EVs then? How far ahead would we now be if he had had Musk's access to funds?

The hardware development gave us 'Ant Attack' and Ultimate Play the Game just a couple of years after the flickering screen of the ZX80. That is a pace of technological change that has never been equalled. It was all accessible, via magazines and books. You could buy a book containing a ROM disassembly. It was a very good time to be a teenager.

As for the rubber keyboard - a full size keyboard would have doubled the price of the machine, and locked so many people out of coding. It was a good design decision - if you wanted a full size one, they were available as add-ons, supporting an entire industry of peripheral designers and manufacturers.

Sir Clive Sinclair has always been a good hero to have. There ought to be a statue of him in Cambridge.

Microsoft does and doesn't require VMs to meet hardware requirements for Windows 11

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Microsoft are going all out to put people off upgrading.

And we should commend them for this. I drew a graph and if my calculations are correct, by 2032, nobody will update Windows. Not even Microsoft employees. There will be an entire industry providing hacks to avoid it, directly erasing the code in Windows that requires it or undertakes compatibility checks.

This is AUKUS for China – US, UK, Australia reveal defence tech-sharing pact

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Macron will love this. The US nicked his contract.

I can exclusively reveal that the 'additional undersea capability' is an invisible drone. The one that wasn't at Gatwick is now not in sea trials in the Solent, all the holes having been gaffer-taped up. It is protected by trained dolphins.

The best the UK can contribute to this is to put the Chinese in contact with the tech outsourcing companies that the UK government use to build their systems. That will really shaft them.

US: Do you want to join a new military pact that will damage your relationship with China and nudge the planet a bit closer to WWIII?

UK: Not sure.

US: There's a few bucks in it.

UK: We're in. You know where to send the cheque?

US: Yeah.

UK: Do we have to do anything?

US: Just read out the speech we'll send.

It's time to delete that hunter2 password from your Microsoft account, says IT giant

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I hate 2FA with a passion. Clicking the 'I am not a robot' box, counting the tiny thumbnails of tractors and then having to get a text on a dedicated phone just to buy something for two quid on ebay. THIS IS TOO MUCH EFFING AUTHENTICATION.

Now migrating it to m$? No. Take it and stick it up your back Gates.

I would rather use Linux. I would rather use Apple. I would rather use an Amiga. I would rather send a fax. I would rather contract an STD.

Password are fine. Just give idiots and simpletons another option.

For those with limited comprehension in MS management, that is a NO.

Dowden out, Dorries in: Is UK data protection in safe hands?

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'puddle of talent'.


Boris makes all the decisions. If something goes well, he takes the credit. If it goes badly, he sacks the minister responsible.

This is how you stay popular. Enough. Just. Ish.

Bepanted shovel-toting farmer wins privacy payout from France TV

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Privacy, public safety and security: The tools of the censor.

No liberté, égalité or fraternité online under Emperor Macron.

De-identify, re-identify: Anonymised data's dirty little secret

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One option.

I would like to see companies advertising the fact that they never sell or release their data. To anyone. Ever. And would require the maintenance of that if the company changed hands, or would lock the data and place it with a trusted third party to ensure that the data was protected.

I would choose a supplier or service who offered this guarantee over one who did not.

The move to distributed computing may go part way to fixing this, creating an environment where companies would not be expected to retain large datasets or sell them, with data being held on users' own systems as a default.

IBM's 18-month company-wide email system migration has been a disaster, sources say

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Bad management.

Here's how to do it.

Everyone. We are migrating our mail system. It is likely to go wrong, because most big tech projects do.

Can everyone please switch to Gmail until we iron out the bugs.

Thank you.

Indian government reverts to manual tax filings as new e-tax portal remains badly borked a week after launch

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Happy to keep doing my tax returns on paper and sending a cheque in the UK.

Paper is generally more reliable than tech. Payment systems can be very troublesome, particularly as there are now increased demands on name/address accuracy. My actual postal address and the address my bank uses differ, whilst the name on my bank account, on my cards and full name all differ. Repeated attempts to persuade my bank to make corrections have come to nothing. Not a problem with a cheque, but endless 'payment failed' errors the last time I tried to pay a government service online.

If you want to do something important, do it on paper, not online.

Australia gave police power to compel sysadmins into assisting account takeovers – so they plan to use it

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A relevant quote.

'The problem with Australians is not that so many of them are descended from convicts, but that so many of them are descended from prison officers.' [Clive James]

G7 countries outgun UK in worldwide broadband speed test

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Why bother?

It won't be long before the UK internet ends at Dover. Everything beyond that will be banned on the grounds of morality, privacy, national security, public health, 'harms', interference in politics, tax or for not complying with UK-specific legislation. It will just be a different way to get your TV, most of which will be repeats on Netflix. The move to distributed computing, which faster speeds would support, is being unwisely blocked by GAFA sitting on patents, not realising that the status quo - a centralised topology - makes them vulnerable, and as a result, they are living on borrowed time.

The net is getting faster, but every day, search engines deliver fewer results, less is accessible, more is banned, and the punters are being scared off by daily news reports - 'woman reduced to tears by net, we must end this madness now', 'children sold to evil foreigners on social media' etc.

They may as well save the investment and effort by reverting everyone back to dial-up, using the high cost and low speed as a cheap, effective censorship mechanism.

We're going deeper underground: New digital project to map UK's sub-surface 'assets'

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An extra layer on Google maps perhaps?

Incidentally, they are not assets, they are vulnerabilities.

Browser-based video editor Clipchamp disappears into the bowels of Microsoft 365

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'being assimilated by the Borg allows us to become part of a future legacy.'


Council culture: Software test leads to absurd local planning SNAFU

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I realise that local government and common sense are like matter and antimatter, but just state that it is an error, delete them and move on.

Australia rules Facebook page operators are legally liable for user comments under posts

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This is not about Facebook.

This is the implementation of censorship on web 2.0 content through the threat of prosecution on the grounds of vicarious atonement - making you responsible for something someone else has done.

It uses pre-internet legislation to crack down on the net by not taking into account the fundamental shifts that have taken place in social norms following the development of online services. It effectively drags us back to a pre-internet age by criminalising an entire generation of tech.

This is why we need to migrate internet technologies from a centralised topology to a distributed one, and quickly. This shift has been prevented by GAFA using their dominance and patents, as they were happy with their lot. Now, the vulnerabilities of the centralised model are evident and present an existential threat to them and to all the web 2.0 services that we use online.

This is not about Facebook or Australia. Our technology is under attack and we need to design our way around the threat that this action poses, or we will lose a chunk of functionality fundamental to the future of the net.

At present, the UK does the sensible, honest thing and prosecutes people who break the law on social media. But new legislation on online 'harms' is in the offing and they may just decide to follow Australia.

Biggest takeaway from pandemic lockdowns for Microsoft? Teams stopped talking to each other

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Logic fail.

So working in an office is far too dangerous but all those crowds at the footy isn't a problem?

Which unvaccinated red zone country is El Reg being scripted from?

McDonald's email blunder broadcasts database creds to comedy competition winners

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The importance of Darwin in tech.

Any global corporation that cannot be arsed to provide an emergency contact address that is actually monitored, for such breaches, deserves all it gets.

They want to insulate themselves from us inconsequential proles, that's up to them. If you can't get through after wasting some of your valuable time, walk away and leave them to suffer the consequences.

ProtonMail deletes 'we don't log your IP' boast from website after French climate activist reportedly arrested

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NSA *cough* Google *cough*

-Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA.

If the NSA turn out to be holding the joystick at Google, I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised.

VPN in unreliable. We need distributed routing with inherent VPN abilities.

On a point of order, all companies are subject to the law of the land depending upon where they are based and where they operate. Multiple jurisdictions. It's not their fault, but they should not promise what they cannot deliver.

The internet is fairly heavily censored, search is a pale shadow of what it used to be and there is no anonymity online. Governments operate like organised crime gangs, but are more professional than the private sector versions. If your government go after you, they will get you. So be careful what you surf for.

It's a surprise that they should highlight ProtonMail's legal vulnerabilities merely to nick a climate activist. Most governments are implementing climate change mediations indirectly via the takedown of globalisation under the aegis of Covid restrictions. Although they might dislike the activities of climate activists, they share similar goals for different reasons.

Climate change activists want you to stop going on holiday and buy local, second hand if possible. Governments have blocked much international travel, squeezed/sanctioned supply chains, limited availability of goods, suppressed trade and ended most migrant labour. Unexpected fires at chipmakers, blocked canals etc. Both groups are on the same side, targeting global trade and the general public.

In space, no one can hear cyber security professionals scream

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-set living standards back by decades.

Brexit has already done that. Losing the satellites will just be the final piece of the puzzle. It would be weird to have limited choice on supermarket shelves, everything shooting up in price, sterling low in the water, huge delays in NHS care, long haul travel only for the wealthy and powerful, delays in waste collection, a rise in hate crime, football fans standing again and everyone buying second hand motors, yet having 21stC satellite systems. It would wreck the retro feel. The government have worked hard for several years to get us this far. We can't stop now, just when 1976 is within reach (including the heat wave). Take down those satellites now.

-Persistent, over-the-horizon vision and continual, assured, high data-rate connectivity is fundamental in winning modern wars.

Well it didn't work in Afghanistan against the guys with donkeys. Maybe they put 'the donkey conundrum' in a footnote.

UK VoIP telco receives 'colossal ransom demand', reveals REvil cybercrooks suspected of 'organised' DDoS attacks on UK VoIP companies

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Keep POTS.

POTS is a fundamental piece of infrastructure. It works. It can't be hacked from the nether regions of the net. Ransomware attack on a hospital? Use fax. In the future it can be repurposed for any manner of different services and technologies - stuff we haven't even invented yet. It works when the mains goes off (and there will be a lot more of that with climate change). Getting rid of it to save BT a few quid is as dumb as the Beeching cuts to rail infrastructure.

Yet another idiot act of self-harm by a country that now seems addicted to such behaviour.

Children of China, your state-sanctioned hour of gaming begins … now!

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Idiot logic.

People have died in RTAs, so the potential for harm doesn't need to be proven anymore at this point.

Time to ban cars.

You do not ban an activity or a service just because some idiots behave badly and hurt themselves or others. You are punishing the innocent majority for the behaviour of the guilty minority.

I doubt whether China will be winning many e-sport titles in the future.

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So many grumpy old parents on El Reg.

Teacher: What do you want to do when you grow up?

Chinese child: Emigrate.

Gartner predicts surge in government IT spending in post-pandemic catch-up

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I would question this.

Since when did moving a service on to wobbly, hackable tech make anything more resilient? It just means Glorious Leaders can spy on us all more easily.

Leaked Guntrader firearms data file shared. Worst case scenario? Criminals plot UK gun owners' home addresses in Google Earth

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On the other hand...

...this could be a map of people you should avoid attempting to rob, as they are armed, and might shoot you.

Incidentally, I am a vegan, but I don't get involved in online shouting matches with people like the original poster.

I really don't mind if you pour the breast-milk of farm animals in your coffee. It is your right and I would not attempt to prevent you.

Adding AI to everything won't make sense until we can use it for anything

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AI will steal at least 1 job.

AI makes computers unreliable. And that's Microsoft's job.

Start or Please Stop? Power users mourn features lost in Windows 11 'simplification'

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Faustian pact proposed.

Dear Microsoft. We will use any version of Windows you want us to as long as it can be skinned to look and work exactly like W7.

AI brain drain to Google and pals threatens public sector's ability to moderate machine-learning bias

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Simple solution

Legislate to require that any system allows a user to turn the 'AI' off. They can start with Google Search, which has been getting worse for years, most likely due to some half baked 'AI'.

Japan's bullet trains replace smoking rooms with Zooming rooms

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The many joys of Japanese trains.

JP trains have taken a bit of a hit from the pandemic, but the shinkansen, which arrive on time to the minute, run every 10 minutes or so at peak times on the Tokaido line from Tokyo to Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and on down the country. Most of mine had power. They are all well staffed. The staff wear immaculate uniforms and white gloves, and bow to the passengers when they enter and leave carriages. The platforms are well staffed too, and all rail staff use 'shisa kanko' - hand movements, that go with specific tasks, so that they do them properly each time. The shinkansen are just beautiful. You may find yourself stroking the 'nose cone' of one.

Another joy of the Japanese rail system is that almost everyone that isn't napping on the metro is staring at their smartphones. But making calls whilst on the rail network is frowned upon. You might get some loud, inebriated salarymen if you are unlucky, but in general, passengers behave well and carriages can be very quiet. The chikan (gropers) on the metro usually avoid Westerners. One the bigger lines, the electronic signs and announcements are usually in Japanese and English, sometimes in Korean and Chinese too. Just remember to wear layers on longer journeys, as shinkansen and other fast trains can be quite warm in cold weather.

The standard trains get very full during commuter periods, although some trains/lines can be a bit less crowded. On the fullest, you don't even need to hang on to anything. You can stand there, wedged in on all sides, everyone keeping everyone else up, swaying with the train. It's not as claustrophobic as you might expect as crowd behaviour in Japan is good and they are experts at it. People do seem to be able to get on and off, no matter how full the train.

There are so many different services, including monorails, tourist trains with viewing windows, sleeper trains, small rural and private services, driverless trains and ones that travel down the middle of the street. Visit Japan and you may return a trainspotter. If you are a trainspotter, Japan might be considered the centre of your universe.

I was there (masked) in February 2020 and coughed up an extra £400 to BA to get home early (masked, for the whole flight) on a packed 'last chopper out of Saigon' 777, fearing flights would be suspended. I would happily have been trapped there but for family commitments. I do miss it. Bumping along late out of King's Cross, someone with a whiny voice yelling down a phone nearby for most of the journey, worrying if my luggage is going to get nicked, the culture shock on getting back to the UK is fearsome.

Apple didn't engage with the infosec world on CSAM scanning – so get used to a slow drip feed of revelations

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Re: Image Container Licensing

Would you also like us to apply to a government dept. before going shopping or digging our gardens?

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The elephant-in-the-room problem that nobody seems to be mentioning.

The obvious way to dodge this is to produce new content. If you make it very difficult to safely circulate old content, new content will become more highly prized and more financially lucrative. Apple will increase the inherent value of unrecorded CSAM, newly created to avoid their checks. It's an arms race. You build a better bomb, the other guys will too. You succeed in arresting people with old content, new content becomes more desirable. When countries saw the first HIV outbreaks, abuse of children increased markedly as people switched to younger victims.

So Apple will not be helping. They will simply be pushing pervs to create new content from newly abused victims. If you want fewer new victims, it may actually be better to have the pervs circulating old CSAM. A child is abused to create an image or video. It is better for 10 people to share that content than 9 more victims to be abused to create unrecorded CSAM for those 10 people.

LibreOffice 7.2 brings improved but still imperfect Microsoft Office compatibility

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Let me rephrase that for you.

Microsoft Office is not 100% compatible with LibreOffice 7.2.

I've used LibreOffice for years. When I send people files, I offer the option of .odt or .pdf.

If someone sends me an Office file, it is usually fine. If it is garbage, I request an alternate format or a printed copy. Even the British government accepts .odt files.

Users establish standards, not Microsoft. Grow a pair and switch to .odt.

Apple's iPhone computer vision has the potential to preserve privacy but also break it completely

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All your base are belong to Apple.

At this rate the Chinese government will order all of their citizens to own an iPhone.

US watchdog opens probe into Tesla's Autopilot driver assist system after spate of crashes

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I'm sorry I had to do that Dave.

-Tesla refused to describe to investigators how the system operated.

No problem. Put them in jail until they have a change of heart.

Autopilot works well enough in planes surrounded by lots of bugger all..

Cars, surrounded by all sorts of stuff, much of it mobile, some of it driving very badly, less so. Too many variables.

Not sure this tech will ever actually mature to viability. Aside from anything else, whilst everyone ignores endless RTAs due to people driving like idiots, if a computer is driving, they raise merry hell if there are any crashes at all.

So a really low bar for accidents and far too much data to manage at speed.

The best it may do is help you park in tight spots, brake more competently on black ice, and assist Michael Knight in fighting crime.

Without a trace: Baroness Dido Harding to step down as chair of NHS Improvement

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Come October, our Queen will be free to replace Johnson. Then she will be in charge of EVERYTHING.

Zorin OS 16 Pro arrives complete with optional 'Windows 11' desktop

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Sounds interesting.

LibreOffice is fine. I've used it for years. I export as a PDF if anyone has an issue.

I used to try Linux installs in the past and they all crashed on installation. Hopefully this will run on anything. A W7 UI would be good.

Linux is our best shot for distributed web services, software and networking. The big three won't let such stuff on their lawn. To popularise it, we need a consumer-friendly Linux distro.

We also need an OS we can trust not to be scanning our content.

GOP lawmakers ask for former Huawei handset biz Honor to be placed the Entity List

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A seamless transition from Trump to Biden.

Biden is just Trump with a different hat. Throw the Afghans under a bus and ban competitors.

No 5G won't be a problem for anyone for a few years. It's just a battery drain looking for a raison d'etre.

They are theoretically stuffed without Android, but should really have developed or reverse engineered a fix by now. There are several options, and its not like they don't have the cash.

On the plus side, a phone without dozens of Google apps you never use endlessly updating themselves is no bad thing.

Ideally we need a benign and trustworthy phone manufacturer who makes good design and security decisions and listens to users. Just like we need honest politicians.

In the meantime, your privacy-focused device will be auto-scanning your content, to protect children, women, small furry animals, and whichever Glorious Leader you live under the thumb of.

America enlists Big Tech to help it develop and execute cyber security plans

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Creating a military-industrial tech complex.

What better way to get back doors in everything and Apple-style autoscanning into OSs, webmail and social media.

You really will have an Orwellian telescreen then.

Guess what OS Brexit command are using on their Dell boxes and iThings as they negotiate for a US/UK trade deal: An American one, an American one, or an American one?

Hey, AI software developers, you are taking Unicode into account, right ... right?

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Not new.

That's just a posh version of what most of us have been doing for years to dodge the c®et1n0u5 filters on social media.

Academics get paid for this? Damn. I'm such a fool. All these years I've been working for a living.

Apple is about to start scanning iPhone users' devices for banned content, professor warns

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The return of the Amiga at last, with an OS that is not spying on you.

Apple have just undermined trust in computing generally and in their own products, specifically.

This does beg the question of what we do when we can no longer trust the OS provider not to auto-scan our files.

To OS provider, we can add software provider, cloud provider, Webmail company, VPN and other online software service provider. Maybe even firewalls have ears.

The next popular application may be a sandboxed Works/browser package, but I guess that could be bugged by the OS vendor when it uses the screen or printer.

There is the option of an offline system. Once a system is set up, you should be able to use it offline, encrypting any data that you then feed into an online system to e-mail. W7 works OK offline. Not sure about the latest versions of Apple and MS.

As the three main OS providers are American, governments outside Washington have a problem, as the Americans can simply order Apple to do their dirty work in the name of national security. If you have pre-patent designs for something new on your system, will they be auto-scanned? A non-American next generation anything would be a threat to US national security.

China are going to be knocking on Apple's door real soon with a lengthy wishlist, should they want to continue operating in the Middle Kingdom (whilst mandating Huawei for members of the party).

This is an absolute train wreck that we did not need on top of Covid and climate change. But perhaps it will stimulate a new round of development as companies offer options that offer protection from spyware built into the OS, and alternatives. Raspberry Pi? Distributed systems? Fax?

Of course, if the USG was already doing this, they won't be pleased that Apple has made the whole planet aware of it being an issue.

Microsoft suspends free trials for Windows 365 after a day due to 'significant demand'

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Another excellent opportunity to quote Nancy Reagan.

I'm keeping my tech and my storage, even if I have to buy enough kit to last me the rest of my life.

The computer revolution empowered individual users by giving them their own kit. Don't let them 'take back control'.

The subscription model is a con. It works for business as they can sack some of their tech staff and give everyone a terminal instead of a computer. But as a user you lose more. It is the difference between owning a house and renting one. Rent and your landlord has a key to your door.

Chromebook or cloudOS, they are all iterations of the old terminal model. To quote Nancy Reagan, 'just say no'.

Ch-ch-ch-Chia! HDD sales soar to record levels as latest crypto craze sweeps Europe

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Better option.

It should be possible to use one piece of software to aggregate and share all spare user storage space and flog access to it as a distributed encrypted cloud.

It would make you more money that crypto mining. It works for Amazon and M$.

Remember Google Plus? Remember its privacy blunder? Remember applying for a slice of a settlement?

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Class actions only benefit lawyers.

They are legal equivalent of patent trolls.



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