* Posts by shaunhw

99 publicly visible posts • joined 3 Feb 2010


Microsoft accidentally turned off hardware requirements for Windows 11


Rolled back after an hour

This week, I had it on my year old compatible Acer machine for just over one hour. After enabling virtualization the Amazon app-store would not install, which was the sole reason I wanted to use it at all. I found out that's because I live in the UK, but it did not tell me that it was only available in the USA. Windows security was missing from settings after the update and gave an error when I clicked on the relevant button in the settings app. Then it mentioned something about Intel USB 3 drivers not being compatible. After taking a good look around, 11 offers me NO improvements to Windows 10 whatsoever IMHO. I then rolled right back to 10, which is in a decent state these days.

Microsoft should be ashamed of this pile of junk I think.

Fancy some Surface kit but wary of new Windows? Microsoft lets commercial customers pick 10 or 11


I don't recommend that folk waste their money on a surface device. My £1400 i7 surface pro 4 (complete with flickergate after about 2 hours use) and no official support for Windows 11, is little more than a door stop now. I'm using a Galaxy S7 for tablet tasks these days... That surface was the my biggest waste of money ever.

Brit accused of spying on 772 people via webcam CCTV software tells court he'd end his life if extradited to US


Re: Team America: World Police

John Sager wrote: "He's allegedly broken US computer misuse laws and the US wire fraud"

Since when did we all start becoming subject to US laws whilst living in the UK? Does that mean I can now vote for the US president?


Re: Team America: World Police

He was on UK soil when the crime was comitted, broke only UK laws (when located here we Brits are not subject to US law) and should face UK justice, along with up to the maximum UK penalty for the offence.

Splunk to junk masters and slaves once a committee figures out replacements


Re: When STONITH falls

When computer (rather than human) slavery becomes illegal, that is the time to consider the use of terms such as "master/slave" in the context of computing. As far as I know it's still ok to have a computing device working as a slave. I can't imagine that Black people really are so hurt by this kind of use, though I will stand corrected. Rather it's other people feel offended on thier behalf, as is usually the case, when P.C. people try to erase history and modify our technical terminology. I suppose one could be offended for other reasons too... For making the assumption that the controller device is always male perhaps? Where will it all end?

Video game cloud streaming shaken up as Nvidia loses more big names, Microsoft readies its market killer




It's only a matter of time before ARM Macs dominate the desktop and Arcade leads marketshare in gaming. Resistance is futile. Muwahahaha


Though I loved the ARM chip (I worked on lots of Acorn RiscOS games in the nineties) I wouldn't want anything with the Apple name on it, given it is impossible to get it reliably serviced (without losing everything, and/or getting ripped off) or anything made by Microsoft with one in it, as they seem to use it as an opportunity to lock down the platform.

I was one of the victims of surface Pro 4 flickergate, late in appearing and well out of any warranty. But a genuine manufacturer's fault regardless. I did manage to get a local company (Mobitech) to swap out my screen, for £200, something which both apple and MS wouldn't have approved of I guess.

So going forward, I will buy only hardware which is easy to repair, or cheap enough to throw away, and will probably move over to Linux, as this is the only platform which is worthy of any third party support.

As for these games servers returning 4k video - I think my reactions are now too slow to care about an extra 1 millisecond or whatever at my age.

US court responds to Chinese comms giant sueball: There's no Huawei we're lifting ban on federal agencies using your kit


Trump tries toTower over all of us.

They should prove that such backdoor spying is possible or be sued for defamation.

The fact that equivalent US kit seems to have backdoors is just as bad for any third country.

Huawei could document all the silicon chips they used and give out the source code for the OS which drive them, to the US authorities, and any other authority with doubts about the security of thier hardware.

They should also allow installable binaries to be made for their devices, built from this source code.

Trump should review the source or shut up his big gob.

Heaven knows - I couldn't vote for this Trump jerk, but he's trying to tell our country what to do in a way the EU never did.

Aw, look. The UK is still trying really hard to be the 'safest place to be online in the world'





What is OFCOM going to do? Fine the tech companies peanuts? Order ISPs to block them? Or be a toothless shark?"

Yes, blocking Facebook and similar would be a REAL vote catcher for the politicians wouldn't it?

Facebook et al, is like a drug to some people. They just can't seem to be able to keep away from it for five minutes.

Huawexit means Huawexit! Uncle Sam gets 300 applications to dodge ban on supplying Chinese comms beast


"From my recall, Phase Alternate Line (PAL) was not licenced to overseas for the manufacture of UK TV's"

In fact PAL was German, the rights being owned by Telefunken, and was used in many places around the world. Hitachi used pure PAL in their smaller screen TVs, but Sony, not wanting to pay the royalty to Telefunken converted the PAL signal to a form of NTSC and then decoded that! Hence the HUE control on all earlier 70's Sony colour TVs.

UK culture sec hints at replacing TV licence fee, defends encryption ban proposals and her boss in Hacker House inquiry


Re: Hmm

Sed Gawk "150 Quid a year is a bargain. "

Yes it is, whilst it is being paid by those do don't want or need its services - just so they can watch "live" TV delivered by anyone.

One should not have to pay a "licence fee" to watch commercial broadcasters.


Re: Hmm

If you want a none commercial TV station then you pay for it then.

Please don't expect people who might NOT want it to pay part of it for you. The technology now exists to make the BBC licence free. You've only got to look at the cost of now TV boxes. Most digital boxes have conditional access - for the pron you see, so it really shouldn't be an issue.

See you in Hull: First UK city to be hooked up to full-fibre broadband


Re: Well done KCom

"Sure it's not 1GBit shared amonst the 200,000 properties? About 5Mbit each?"

That would be 5 kilobits then wouldn't it?

We knew it was coming: Bureaucratic cockup triggers '6-month' delay of age verification block on porno in the UK


Same mistake again ? Or are they having us on ?

I'd be very surprised if they "forgot" to notify the EU, as they "forgot" to do that before, back in 1984 when the "Video Recordings Act" was brought into law. Many people were prosecuted back then for distributing questionable films, most of 'em since "classified" which we can all now watch if we want to! Courtesy HM government and the BBFC. But It seems those prosecutions weren't valid because of this blunder which went on for over 30 years.

So I really do doubt they would make the same mistake again, having had to quietly recreate the VRA after notifying the EU about it, some 30 odd years too late.

Anyway here's to another six months of not having to notify the government about possible aspects of ones online activities.

Bloke accused of conning ARIN out of 750,000 IPv4 addresses worth $9m+ to peddle on black market


Re: Using IPv6

Why didn't they just add up to four bytes to the start of existing numbers, rather than the horribly complex hex based IPV6 ?

The routers could check for the old protocol and easily translate it to the new one by assuming the leading bytes were all 0,0,0,0 and the whole thing would have been compatible.

IPV5 suggestion:

0,0,0,0.x.x.x.x compatible

x.x.x.x.x.x.x.x new numbers starting at 1 (eg when the system was ready and we finally ran out of old ones, with a strict rule that the upper 4 digits aren't incremented until absolutely necessary.

It would have all been working seamlessly by now and people would have at least found it MUCH easier to use and 64 bit numbers would have been enough for the long term.

We need some common sense.

Huawei savaged by Brit code review board over pisspoor dev practices


Uk skills required here.

What about a bit of good old fashioned code disassembly here ? Surely that would help to find out how memcpy etc. was being used.

Even if a safe version was being used - you still have to tell it how large the destination buffer is. So you can lie if you really wanted.

The best option would be for the full source code to be supplied and for the UK telcos to be able to build their own binaries from it, and inspect those, and the source code too, very diligently.

As for the OS itself - a known flavour of Linux should be specified, one which could be also built over here from scratch.

IR35 contractor tax reforms crawl closer to UK private sector with second consultation


Re: I love the spectacularly timing of it all

Anonymous Coward wrote:

"The reason contractors earn more is because they accept a lot of risk in their approach to work - they can have their contract terminated at any time, don't see redundancy payment and can forget about sick leave income too."

Perhaps it is these aspects that should form the criteria of IR35 determination, well above other much more arbitrary factors.

That a company works for just one client should be immaterial. Employee status is derived from the benefits one is entitled to from that company. You can add to the list that they aren't required to fund your Workplace Pension either. Clearly if all these benefits are NOT provided, then you are NOT an employee. If the employer determines IR35 status in favour of the Inland Revenue, they should also be required to provide, at no cost, all the above benefits including funding your pension just like any other "employer" is now required to by law.

Otherwise HMRC want their cake and eat it as well as the companies doing the hiring. This CLEARLY is unfair and should be illegal.

Zip it! 3 more reasons to be glad you didn't jump on Windows 10 1809


Do the MS Execs actualy USE the latest versions of the stuff they sell ?

I'd bet Mr Nadella secretly uses MacOS or Linux!

He surely can't be using the latest version. Would he really let it go out like that and not care ?

The MS "Marketing Board" surely can't be using Windows 10 can they ? They should be required to use all the BETA versions from the moment they are released to the "Insider" program.

One can bet there'd be a darn site more internal testing before the beta releases then.

They should especially be required to use the release version one month before we all get it.

MS is getting a very bad name because of all this.

Much of it seems change for the sake of it. Leave well alone. Let's have a solid base OS, long term supported, with all the extra stuff installed (preferably as options) as simple programs on top of that.

Even Explorer, and the internet browsers are programs. Or at least they should be.

Why do they have to keep breaking core OS functions ?

ALL this "refresh" of the OS with a virtual re-install doesn't work well and messes everything up.

Meanwhile Windows 7 has been installed on my dev box since mid 2013 without a hint of trouble and is used for hours and hours every weekday. Soon I need to update my system and am dreading it.

The problem is, that Windows 10 is the "last OS" so they say. It's a shame that it is also the worst of all of them IMHO. More of this crud is all we have to look forward to, so it seems.

F***=off, Google tells its staff: Any mention of nookie now banned from internal files, URLs


As a software dev I never used to swear very much whilst at work at all.

Then Windows 10 came out....

That 'Surface will die in 2019' prediction is still a goer, says soothsayer


I'd be pleased actually.

Having had three of these devices, they are actually quite mediocre unreliable devices. The most reliable (which I still have) is the surface pro 1, (i5 version) which was pretty good in it's time, but never excellent, for a device in its technical class, and its 128GB memory is actually quite limiting.

Then I got a surface pro 3 (i7, 512GB, 16GB ram) which was a complete disaster. The screen was magnolia in tint instead of the pure white it should have been and no proper correction was available. By proper, I mean independent of the OS. Then it kept losing its WIFI and I had to reset it almost daily. Then the OS got borked on an update to windows 10, and then when I finally got it working again it slowly lost all its windows store apps, including the start menu, and settings etc. Microsoft didn't have a clue, and all they could suggest (as usual) was "reset" the thing, after which it worked for a day or two and then repeated this bizarre desire to be more like Windows 7. It ended up being some bug caused by the fact that I'd not used a Microsoft account on the wretched thing, just my local account to log into it. Of course they never tested this did they ? The screen however was still magnolia, and correcting this somewhat with the RGB sliders made any connected monitor lilac in colour. It went back, because it was so bad. Of course a replacement in the early days was of course magnolia tinted as well. There was also an episode where they had declared 2 years warranty on the thing and then changed the details to show only 1 year, after I'd bought it. Even evidence in the form of a URL from the "Way-back machine" which had helpfully archived those details, wouldn't convince them, that this was true and they wouldn't honour the two years I thought I'd got. Disgraceful.

Then I got a surface pro 4, from a popular retailer, (i7 256GB, 16 GB Ram) which at first seemed a dream. Until the screen started showing a cloud of horizontal, brighter streaks on the top right, which I'd done nothing to cause, then the power supply failed at the connection, needing wiggling to work, but then failed completely. Both these just out of warranty. 80 pounds for the power supply, and I guess I have to live with the (now) sub par screen, which of course, was initially perfect with no magnolia tint on peak whites at all. So it should be at 1500 pounds.

So, if they stop making these things, then I shall be happy, because then I won't be tempted to get another one of these wretched things, in the vain hope that they might have improved them a bit and be deemed insane by the lady of the house for doing such a ridiculous thing!

Meanwhile all my real work is still being done on a Windows 7 based i5 desktop box with an ASUS mother board, from mid 2013, which (touch wood) has given me sterling service and owes me nothing at all. Even the OS has been ultra reliable and the machine has never been tainted with Windows 10, apart from the usual attempts of MS to force it on me.

Microsoft yanks the document-destroying Windows 10 October 2018 Update


Why ? Just why ?

Why is this happening ?

It's clear to me that Microsoft can't keep pushing out OS makeovers at this rate. Each one seems to break too many things. The last one (1803) stopped my touch screen on their OWN surface pro 4 design from working properly. In 1709 it was fine, and it was fine again when I rolled back. One can use the touch screen to set the cursor position, on some text field one is editing. On 1803 this works sometimes, and then fails. Your attempts just get ignored. To make it work again you have to press the power button to get the lock screen on, and then go back to the desktop. Then it works again, for a while. Still not fixed after 6 months - I did report it by the way.

It just seems that they don't test stuff even on their own gear. Are they all using Apple stuff at home I wonder ? Are their kids doing their homework using Apple Macs too ?

I am sure if they were using their own hardware with the latest stuff they'd soon spot some of these things.

Now we have vanishing user files too.

All this from the firm which tries to tell the world how good software should be written.

My motto for them is "Why make it easy when you can make it hard ?"

Much too hard in my view.

They should get their house in order. A stable OS takes years to get right, and they shouldn't keep tinkering with it, once it is working for everyone. The possible impact of any changes should be carefully considered. I'm sure this is how it used to be, from Win2000->XP->Vista->Windows7 and one could expect a NEW OS version to have changes which might affect compatibility with previously released software.

One major update to Windows 10 every 18 months should be enough for anyone, (after it's been thoroughly properly tested), and is probably as much as they can reliably do by the looks of it.

I'm more than fed up with these irritating updates which have no respect for my settings, even to the point of changing, my desktop background to their default one. What I want is a well designed OS which gets security updates, fixes and maybe some new features now and then, but is otherwise left alone, the way I set it up.

It's becoming a complete joke really.

Bug? Feature? Power users baffled as BitLocker update switch-off continues


@mark12: "It sound like perhaps bitlocker just encrypts one small part of the NTFS file system to stop you reading files"

No, all the disk is fully encrypted. What's happening is that they normally have a "main" key for the disk which itself is always encrypted by another key - Usually one somehow derived from your password. Which is the reason you can change your password so easily without reprocessing the whole of the disk volume.

All Microsoft have to do is temporarily encrypt the "main" key with a "known" (to their software that is) key instead, and flag they did that, and the disk will be accessible without any passwords. They call this a "Clear Key". They would also have a copy of the normally used encrypted copy of the key to put back or enable when their clear "period" has ended.

I've been writing quite similar stuff professionally for nearly 18 years, so I know how it works - I hope!

FCC boss slams new Californian net neutrality law, brands it illegal


@jack of shadows:

"Tragedy of the Commons" problem. Those that use Netflix most are subsidized by those that use Netflix less, or least."

That applies whether or not it's from Netflix or anywhere else. Lower use users subsidise those who use the internet more.

The user pays for a certain amount of data allowance perhaps "unlimited" in nature as is now very common on landlines, and it should not matter where that data comes from, be-it Netflix or anywhere else, such as YouTube or indeed the pron sites.

As far as I know Netflix actively assist (especially larger) operators to minimise their off network bandwidth use, by supplying them servers free of charge for the use of the customers of such operators.

Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago – and SpaceX hopes to land on Earth this Saturday


Re: V'ger


" V'ger

I'm sure I saw a documentary about what will happen to that probe once. Perhaps we should launch a mission to retrieve it"

No No! We have to leave it out there for some aliens to soup it up, (hopefully without using any Microsoft stuff on it) and then for Captain Kirk to find it.

It is so written!

Microsoft tells volume customers they can stay on Windows 7... for a bit longer... for a fee


@bombastic bob

"But please no "you must have micro-shaft sign the kernel drivers" requirement. that's just wrong..."

Silly as it might seem you still can run newer third party signed drivers, if you turn off Secure Boot on Windows 10.

As far as drivers are concerned the user ought to have the choice to allow trust.

Secure boot ought to also have the option to set user trust on one of its components without affecting the checks on others. You set the BIOS up manually to say "I trust this" and that should be enough. That would allow small third party devs back in.

But it's all for your own good you know!

But they keep on breaking things on these feature updates. On my Surface pro 4 the touch interface has become lousy since 1803 - Half the time you can't touch to set the carat in an edit box on some W32 apps.

Then if you press the button, to get the lock screen on, and go back in straight away it works for a short while. Then it happens again. Initially I rolled back to 1709 and all was well again. Then I tried the update again and it seemed like they'd fixed it at first, but I wasn't using the thing much, and the time expired so I am stuck on it. They hadn't fixed it at all. Just the same. Maybe they want to buy a new one ? It wouldn't be one of theirs that's for sure.

All this from the company who seems to want to tell the world how software should be written. The words "practice" and "preach" come to mind. They can't even seem to test their stuff properly on their own devices they make.

Please check things in touch mode on your OWN devices Microsoft. Try using yourselves what you have created. It really might help!

UK getting ready to go it alone on Galileo


Can't we just lob a few modified Raspberry Pi's (you know, the one designed by some clever and charitable Brits for free) into space, along with some (good) atomic clocks somehow, and use those ?

That could do the trick! ;-)

One should remember which country invented the ARM chip the Pi uses, which also now drives most of the worlds phones and tablets. It wasn't the Americans, the French or the Germans, or even the Japanese (even though they own it now, which says it all I guess) was it?

No it was a tiny computer firm in Cambridge called Acorn, and the brainchild of one brilliant person - Sophie Wilson. I'm not for brexit at all, but we've collectively made our decision and will have to make the best of it.

We've still got some brilliant people here, and we Brits tend to pull together when the chips (pun intended) are down. We'll be OK. Or at least I hope we will.

I was watching a video about how the Americans refused to share the technology of nuclear bombs after the war even though we'd helped them with it. So then we just made our own without their help, one way and another with a team led by Dr William Penney. They weren't pleased but I think it taught them a bit of a lesson.

Top Euro court: No, you can't steal images from other websites (too bad a school had to be sued to confirm this little fact)



Actually I agree with many of your points, but I still firmly believe that complaining about the use of an image of a public space by a pupil in a school, for what is essentially none commercial purposes (even if the pupil's project was showcased on their school web site) is a step a little too far for photographer's rights, but I would instead suggest that such use should never be able to prejudice the commercial rights of the photographer in other areas, whenever such an image is published.

Had this picture been used by (for example) another travel agent, without permission then I'd have very little sympathy for them whatsoever.

But a school ?

Also, despite the possible visual merits brought about by skill in using higher grade photographic equipment, I also feel that there's a vast difference between quite passive public space images as opposed to ones specifically created and setup for the purposes of creating the final image taken. This should be reflected in copyright law, especially that pertaining to none commercial "fair" use.

As you rightly say, this wasn't handled at all well.


I'm on the side of the school with this.

I think copyright claim on a photograph should depend much more on exactly what is shown in the picture itself.

It was a picture taken of a town for goodness sake, What's the artistic merit in that ? Did the photographer build that town himself ? Did all the owners of those buildings give permission for their fine architectural shapes to be freely used in that image for his personal gain ? I'm sure they didn't, and such permission wasn't needed as far as I know, therefore surely one can argue that the content itself wasn't anything subject to copyright if the picture taker didn't need it.

To me it could have been any picture taken from a smart phone, rather than some jumped up person who calls himself some type of "artist", who simply pointed a camera at a town and went "Click". Probably A cheap one too looking at the quality of that image.

Pictures of public spaces, however achieved, should never be subject to copyright claim of this kind, especially when there's no direct profit from the use of them made.

It's not as if it was an image of some person; for example a model, someone's private space or some specially crafted creation setup just for the image to be created.

Just a picture of a town. A public space. Not something special that the photographer created himself for the purposes of the picture is it ?

UK.gov commits to rip-and-replacing Blighty's wheezing internet pipes


Re: Not wanting to state the obvious

LessAnonymousCoward wrote:

"You don't? If you don't watch TV (i.e. watching any live programme) and you don't use iPlayer, then you don't have to pay for a licence fee"

You should only have to pay the BBC if you WATCH the BBC.

Of course if you we all that option hardly anybody would watch it. But WHY should those who don't, have to subsidise those that do ? If someone wants advert free so called "quality" television, and it's precious to them why don't they simply pay for it themselves ?

Oh, because there won't be enough people willing to pay would there ? So we all have to, if we watch any normal "television" (whatever that means these days) at all. Well I am sorry to say that this simple ISN'T FAIR or equitable.

Assuming you are gainfully employed then should I pay towards your water use, energy use, and everything else YOU use too ?

There should be a place for a broadcaster like the BBC. But paid for by those who want to watch its programmes. I actually love the BBC. I watch BBC4 most of all. But I wouldn't expect other people to pay for it, regardless of the cost. If I can't afford it, I'd do without, just like I've done without that Bentley I've always wanted.

Personally I wouldn't really care if the BBC went off the air tomorrow, if it meant the end of the repressive past its "sell by date" telly tax.

Microsoft wants serious, non-gaming developers to make more money


Serious, with UWP ?

UWP won't even support anything really "serious" which might need services, or kernel drivers.

Innovation and interaction with windows Is being slowy strangled, on the platform. You're a gifted amateur and want to make a new kernel driver for some fancy hardware for W10 ? Tough luck!

You won't do it with UWP anyway. Win32 for now, but you'd better have your EV signed driver package ready to submit to MS for a signature. Except you won't be able to get one unless you run an established and registered development company which can be vetted. Kind of catch 22 for you then. Microsoft simply don't have a way of supporting those kind of innovators who made their platform so successful in the first place.

Or perhaps just use Linux for your future world beater, as it seems that is going to be the only option soon for innovation. Windows, just like Android and IOS, will soon be a "TOY" OS, which is ok for word processing, arty programs, games, but good for little else, unless Microsoft develops it, itself.

I'm not really a Linux fan, but I do I want an OS > I < can decide what can be run on it at ANY level. After all, it is still MY computer isn't it ?

I'm a grown up, and know the risks here.

Hipster horror! Slack has gone TITSUP: Total inability to support user procrastination


Who ?

Never even 'eard of 'em.

' Must have been slacking at some point.

What's all the C Plus Fuss? Bjarne Stroustrup warns of dangerous future plans for his C++


stroustrup sounds like a C ansii string function!

The man is right. Leave C++ alone, it doesn't need anything else adding for the sake of it.

If they want an extended version with new features give it new name.

Password re-use is dangerous, right? So what about stopping it with password-sharing?


Re: Sites sharing passwords with each other?

@JohnFen wrote:

"Done correctly, no passwords are being shared. They'd be sharing password hashes instead"

Done "correctly" the hashes would be all completely different, on different sites, even for the SAME password, even different for the SAME password used for another, account on the SAME site.

If you change your password for the SAME password, (assuming this was allowed) the resultic data again should then appear completely different.

They should be using stored per login stored random salts, preferably long ones of 64 bits minimum, and at least 128 bits in my opinion, with iterative hashing, with a minimum number of iterations, the number of extra iterations being somehow controlled by the user's salt data and/or some other data. They could also perhaps add a site-wide salt (or pepper) to differentiated the site from others.

The hash itself, should therefore be completely randomized and without running through the algorithm with its stored data AND the password it should be impossible to tell otherwise if any particular passwords match anything used on other sites.

If they shared any other data with other sites to compare passwords used on those other sites, then that too would be grossly insecure and I would be very angry indeed with them.

To me the fact that they think they could do this, says much about their own (in)security,

Personally I wouldn't store hashes at all. It would be something different, but require hashing of course.

But just storing the raw output from a known hash algorithm is completely dumb to say the least


Amazon and eBay agree to expose potential VAT evaders for UK tax man


What about VATMOSS and all that red tape ?

Many people think they have an £ 85K VAT free threshold.

For digital services they couldn't be more wrong. If they are selling goods abroad, they need to double check, as it won't be the same as in the UK.

Online sellers of digital download service have to pay VAT on the first pound they take, if that sale is in another EU country , even if their turnover is less than the VAT threshold in their own country.

So if people are selling digital data to EU customers outside the UK, they're supposed to register for VAT here, and pay VAT on the first pound of sales for both goods and none tangible sales. For downloaded stuff it's really a bit harsh; for example some lady selling a few knitting patterns online to other EU countries, as a low turnover side-line hobby has to register for the UK's VATMOSS scheme, and to do that they have to register for VAT too, which is all completely ridiculous. The UK government rightly want a small exemption to this for such micro sellers. Many of those just gave up because of the stupid red tape. Many others won't even start because of this.

Some other small digital sellers are refusing to supply to fellow EU countries at all, because of this using geo blocking to prevent the sale, and the EU doesn't like that at all! Internal market at all that.

But otherwise I think HMRC want to catch the people selling via EBAY and Amazon, who are operating below their VAT threshold from abroad, but having enough turnover to make it worthwhile to try to collect the cash. That too, seems somewhat unfair as everyone is entitled to sell the same stuff INSIDE their country VAT free, if their annual turnover is below the level for VAT registration in their country.

UK seller, Under VAT threshold:

Online knitting pattern for £3 sold to someone in London - No VAT payable.

Online knitting pattern sold for €4 to someone in Paris - VAT payable, UK VAT registration required, UK VATMOSS registration necessary if not VAT registered in France.

For physical items there's a distance selling threshold, before you have to register for VAT in the EU country where the customer is. Usually below the VAT threshold. Otherwise you charge and pay UK VAT if you need to be registered. So goods have a distinct advantage it seems. What happens if you post data out on a CD or DVD I wonder ?

No wonder people just give up.

Catching high turnover VAT fraudsters I have no problem with at all.

Like all thinks there's a balance to be struck here, and I think they've got it slightly wrong. Very wrong in fact.

Perhaps none VAT registered sellers should be able to use Ebay and Amazon collect to pay the VAT due, on their behalf and not have to register at all.

It would be easier wouldn't it ?

We put Huawei's P20 triple-lens snapper through its paces


Somewhat pretentious ramblings I wonder ?

Some of the comments made in this article seem like pretentious bull**** to me. A picture of some bicycles in a shed having no character. What, they didn't say "hello" or something ? Rude bicycles were they ? Some pictures having no soul. Well they wouldn't have would they if they weren't biological in nature. As for the car in the yellow sun, I wonder if the camera was set to correct for the colour temprature of the ambient light somehow ? Had I not been told it wasn't right, the first one looked far better to me at least.

I remember buying an iPhone 3GS. Two went back for yellowish tinted screens which couldn't be adjusted., The third I kept because I gave up on it. I never bought Apple again after that, especially after someone there told me I was being far too critical!

When reviewing these devices can someone PLEASE comment on the colour accuracy of the device's display screen ? I've seen so many with such obviously badly calibrated display screens on tablets and phones, having such poor, non correctable grey scale and gamma, you'd never know if its camera settings were at all "correct" or not when you needed to. How could you ?

These basic aspects are fairly easy to test, so why not test them ? Without testing at least these aspects of the device, you wouldn't have a clue how well your camera was set-up, when you really do need to know.

I have a fairly cheap Honor View 10 phone by the same manufacturer. It's the only phone I've ever seen that at least allows me to set up the base grey scale on the screen so it's reasonably neutral. I love them for putting that feature in there. I can therefore presume the camera might give me a more correct rendition of what I see ON THE DEVICE itself, when I take the shot. Not that I'm that bothered about cameras really. Screen accuracy for me is another matter. It all starts right there because when you use the camera you have to look at the screen to see through its eye.

(sorry I had to resubmit this using a computer. I was typing it on my phone when my clumsy finger hit the submit button far too early!)

Windows 10 S to become a 'mode', not a discrete product


Will they ever learn and not be so arrogant ?

Why on earth do OS vendors believe that computer owners shouldn't be able to run THEIR stuff on THEIR computers and other devices ? That was once the purpose of an OS. Now we live in fear of the next update breaking our stuff or ever increasing lockdowns in the name of "Security" when it's really nothing of the sort. Just a desire to control what people do, and make money out of them.

MS tried a complete walled garden approach with the now completely defunct ARM based Surface tablet. As a former Acorn Archimedes/RiscOS games programmer (as well as lots of other platforms) I would have loved to do something with this machine, until I found one couldn't possibly do anything with it without "permission" from MS. Same with the fruity ARM based devices.

But ARM based Surface failed miserably, a lot of people complained and thought they'd been conned, by thinking they had "Windows" on that machine. I'm sure most of them are in a skip, or in someone's junk box nowadays.

Will Microsoft ever learn ? It seems not.

Also the only stable and reliable interface to Windows (if it is indeed that) is Win32. Everything else seems to get deprecated or abandoned before too long, and I wouldn't invest my time and effort into any other Microsoft runtime environment. UWP is a complete joke. It took Microsoft themselves ages to get this right. I had a Surface Pro 3 which lost its start menu, settings, and loads of the included UWP apps. No one had no idea what was happening except that it wasn't just happening to me. It was eventually fixed, but it was a miserable experience until that happened. All I got in the way of advice from MS surface support, was "reset your OS" only for it all to happen again Yeah right. Well it wouldn't have happened if they'd stuck with Win32. It turned out it happened because I refused to use a "Microsoft" account and stuck to my local login.

Here's a solution:

Let the owner optionally enrol a private/public key certificate on THEIR computer and password protect the private half. Then let the OWNER authorises each executable that can be run on the system with an easy screen popup when something gets run. There should be a way of enabling access for a period so things can be installed. Perhaps the installer can signal when it's done to turn off the authorisation.

To anyone espousing Linux:

Yes a good highly reliable alternative for some learned people, but not for the average user. Sharing data on a network for example was a nightmare on Ubuntu to set up. SUDO this that and the other, edit this config file and that one. If widespread adoption of Linux is desirable they MUST make the setup and maintenance of Linux as easy as the other OS targeted at the none technical user, and the Linux user interfaces more attractive.

I challenge them to do all of this.

Ubuntu desktop looks worse than windows 10 on a bad day really. I've never played with Mint, so I can't comment on that. But Linux is too geeky and hard to understand for average folk. Someone needs to write a suite of setup tools, and utilities so it can behave like the Mac or Windows and then we'll ALL go for it I'm sure!

Yeah, Linux could be great. It powers all the smartphones, Darwin powers the Macs.

Let's have something as usable as that, targeted at the home and average user, without the endemic control freakery, and a security system that empowers the user to create and run whatever they want, in all areas of the OS.

Computer OWNER - Installs and runs whatever he wants to.

Other users of OWNERS Computer - Limited to what OWNER wants on THEIR computer.

If I wasn't so old at sixty one, I'd be up for working on all this!

Lauri Love judgment: Extradition would be 'oppressive' and breach forum bar


Re: Sympathy



Only if their law in question is incompatible with the UK view of justice/civil rights should we deny it on that test. Is it?


That their law is far more severe and vindictive than ours is, might be such an incompatibility.

But the USA is the victim, in this case, nothing else. If the UK refuse to prosecute, and drop the case, then they would still have the remedy of a private prosecution in the UK, against Mr. Love under the computer misuse act, with its maximum penalties under the laws of the UK. But they still will not be free to inflict their brand of vindictive justice upon him.

I think there might well be justified exceptions to this, in cases of murder, terrorism, war crimes, and similar crimes of such gravity.

But right now, you don't suddenly become subject to the law of a foreign country, simply because you have connected your UK based computer to one which happens to be located within it.

Why should America, or anyone else for that matter, reasonably expect Mr Love to face far more severe penalties than he would have, if he'd hacked a UK government's computer system doing the same level of damage ?

They should have bullet proofed their computers, and they should take some of the blame for the damage themselves.


Re: @lysenko

Boltar -

I sincerely apologise if you didn't think that Mr Love should be extradited.

I agree that he should face the consequences of violating UK law if found guilty in a BRITISH court.

But would he have been so aware that he might instead get shipped off to a foreign country, to face trail and a FAR, FAR more severe penalty than he could ever receive under current UK law ?

That he almost certainly would do so, IMV is one other reason why this extradition should not happen.

As far as I can see, he was simply allegedly in violation of the "Computer Misuse Act", whilst located in the UK, and should face the consequences for that UP TO the maximum allowed by the law of this land, at the judge's discretion, if found guilty.

Under current law It appears to be of NO relevance who actually owned the misused computer, or where it was physically located. Exactly how it was misused as far as I know, is the only issue to be considered under the Act. That the misused computer was owned by a US entity therefore seems immaterial.

There is a maximum penalty for what he did, whilst living on BRITISH soil, and that must be the maximum extent of any punishment he receives. If our government aren't happy about this, they can always change the law to reflect their concerns, in the event of future violations of this law. Even if they did this, there doesn't seem to be a case for any extradition to a foreign country.

He did not break any American law, because he wasn't in the USA, when he broke the law, and the USA do not have any extra territorial jurisdiction over him as he is not one of their citizens or an ex-pat US national.

The computer misuse act (as far as I can see from looking at it) doesn't make any exceptions in the form of far greater punishment, if the computer is located outside the country, and/or if the owner of the computer is a foreign government or any other specially high profile entity.


Re: @lysenko


Aspergers or not, I think he should have a reasonable expectation NOT to have to be unwillingly carted off to a foreign land, (perhaps NEVER to return) for ANYTHING he does wrong, whilst residing on this sovereign island. Where in the computer misuse act does it state that might be a possible punishment ?

Transportation for life ended years ago, before anyone here was born. Even then such punishment was decided in a British court.

Foreign powers have a right to be able to prosecute you, and seek to extradite you, for offences occuring on their soil whilst you were living under their law, but not otherwise. It's complete chaos otherwise.


Re: The argument makes me sick

Surely it just depends exacty where he, (the alleged perpetrator) was physically located at the time of the crime, and whose jurisdiction he was therefore living under at that time. Any complaints by an injured party, should therefore be made to THAT jurisdiction, even when said complainant IS another jurisdiction. In such a case they are a victim.

Extradition surely shoud be limited to crimes commited when the trangressor(s) were physically located in a foreign country and have since moved away from that country. If I went to the USA and broke one of their laws, (say I stole money from a bank there) and then came back home, then I would expect to be required to face justice there. But Love wasn't under the jursdiction the US, he was in the UK, so should be bound only by UK laws, and tried and punished only by UK law. If I'd robbed that bank over the internet (say by fraudulently transferring its funds to my UK account) then I would expect to be tried and punished here, as such a thing is an offence here. It matters not that the bank was American, or I was connected to an American computer. I was in the UK bound only by its laws.

Why on earth should the arrogant authorities of a country you have never even set foot in, believe they should have the right to punish you themselves, rather than request that the country you were in when you committed the crime, prosecute you ?

UK competition watchdog: Fox's takeover of Sky 'not in public interest'


Re: And Don't Forget...

Dr_n wrote:

"Sky beamed into the UK illegally"

Actually back then he didn't need a licence, as he was on a communications satellite, as Astra was deemed to be back then. The licence requirement came later about the time of the BSB/SKY merger when the ITC took the merger opportunity to get that imposed.

He initially broadcast "Sky Channel" from Eutelsat for cable companies to distribute which beyond the scope of home users to receive apart from wealthy enthusiasts because of the size of dish required etc.

I was livid about the merger as I had both BSB and Sky. The Sky broadcasts were awful, always noisy fizzy backgrounds, but the BSB ones were great for the time, being fed with RBG into my Scart connector. In hindsight neither of them were good to last very long as time has now shown.

In credit to Sky, they did develop arguably the best digital TV platform in the world. It just worked. No need to keep retuning or messing around as channels were added and taken away automatically, and the picture quality was good, though it worsened later, as more and more channels were added to the transponders. If only Freeview was so easy. Why isn't it I wonder ?

It worsened even more as they got so greedy with their "sky" high subscriptions and destroyed live football on public channels. In my opinion it was insidious. The sports subs just went up, and up little by little. I was never a major sports fan, but I feel the financial pain of those who are. Then the pubs were forced to pay a lot more, and many of them just dumped the platform as they just couldn't afford it.

During all this most of the free channels became part of the basic sky package, so you had to pay and pay. Sky plus was good, but you had to keep paying up to watch your recordings. The box might have been yours, but the recordings you made on it certainly were not, even those of public broadcasters, who didn't mind private recordings being kept provided they were just that.

I dumped Sky six years ago, and my two sky dishes are now unused. Freeview and Netflix etc. fill my needs, and I am probably a couple of grand better off for it too. I don't miss Sky at all.

They pestered me for years afterwards with cheap offers to return, but I'll never go back. I was a subscriber continuously right from the start, in the late eighties initially using a stand alone Videocrypt unit connected to an Amstrad SRX 200. I think Sky's days could even be numbered, at least in its present form.

FBI says it can't unlock 8,000 encrypted devices, demands backdoors for America's 'public safety'


Re: get stuffed FBI

veti wrote:


Call me a heretic, but I don't see quite what the fuss is about. A backdoor that requires intrusive physical access to the hardware - would not compromise your constitutional rights.


Not a heretic, you're someone just asking what is impossible to keep secure. This isn't just because of mathematics and the current state of the art, it's really because of human beings.

Anything like this would be broken in a few years or even matter of months IMHO. Even if it was cryptographically secure, for example a big RSA key, the public half being distributed to be contained in all encryption software, intended to save RSA encrypted packets (of encryption user encryption keys) with the public key, and the private counterpart known only to whatever government authority, some kind person (or perhaps one bribed with enough money / had his family threatened etc.) would surely leak that private component sooner or later. Then the scheme is completely useless.

Just like todays 1080 HDCP video content protection scheme now completely broken, which might as well not be there at all.

The master key was leaked, reversed, or got out somehow.

It would be EASY to implement something like a big RSA key in theory, at least for the foreseeable future. But it relies on human beings to keep it secure which would NEVER happen, or could never be trusted. Also such keys would be subject to the biggest attack in history I'm sure.

If any government wants such a scheme they should develop it, and first prove beyond all doubt to the world that it really is completely secure beyond question, Even if every bit of information was leaked out somehow. But if they could access the data, then so could someone else.

There lies the impossibility of it. I am sure if it wasn't and there was a way everyone, save for the bad guys would be in full support.

Any ideas ?

Remember they couldn't even secure their own systems with basic methods, and instead blamed people like Gary McKinnon for exposing that incompetency. Would anyone really trust them to be the gatekeeper for the whole country ? They shouldn't blame others such as the designers of crypto systems for something they clearly cannot do themselves.

The whole crypto community including the most eminent of mathematicians have told them it is not possible. They should perhaps think about believing them, at least for now.

Crypto Security is about information. Something you have (which then contains the required information), or something you know. In that case your brain contains the needed information. As secure as it gets with a properly designed system, at least for now.

FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'


Re: Is it wrong ..

"The same issue would arise here if Ofcom mandated that all DVB-T and DAB broadcasts were switched off in less than 20 years "

Well, in fact some changes did make some boxes useless well before that timeframe! The wedge shaped Pace DTVA-T box was one such thing I had to throw out, and there were many more modules consigned to the dustbin or hopefully recycled!



for a list


Re: 3D

Alan Brown:

"And thus we satisfy the maxim that it's pornography which has been the real driver of consumer adoption of video standards over the last 50 years."

Hmmm... I don't ever remember that anyone could easily get any porn on my 50 year old dual standard Bush CTV 167 25" colour TV when it was new, nor for quite a long time afterwards! One could now of course, if one is prepared to put up with the intermittent frame jitter it is troubled with! ;-)


Re: 3D

Martin an goff:


Passive systems had their problems but they worked really well and in particular the glasses were cheap (and compatible with RealD cinemas).


The problem with 3D on domestic television, is that it simply wasn't good enough and gave the whole thing a bad name. Especially with the frame based active system requiring battery operated glasses.

Recently I bought a 55" 4K OLED TV with passive 3D, and the 3D performance on that thing is simply stunning, and for 1080p content you get full resolution. Watching Avitar looks exactly as I saw it in the cinema, but smaller. There may be hope for 3D (for enthusiasts) but only on passive 4K systems.

I also have two Samsung 1080p LED screens (active 3D) and my kids have a Toshiba 1080p screen (passive 3D) and the Toshiba is by far the best, but still nothing like the 4K screen. The Samsungs, good as they are otherwise, are a complete waste of time for 3D content. Horrible in fact.


Re: Is anything ever obsolete?

Re Alan Brown:

"Except we didn't, because PAL (and SECAM) has half the vertical colour resolution of NTSC, so what we saw was effectively 238i-and-a-bit despite the nominal 625 line frame (576 visible)."

Actually even that's not quite true - That did not apply to the luminance (brightness) signal at all, which gives those systems its higher resolution. The colour itself is literally smeared on top of that, at a very low smudge like resolution.

The horizontal chrominance bandwidth of modern analogue colour resolution was also greatly restricted, to about 1 MHZ due to the colour difference signals being placed on a subcarrier of 4.43MHZ (Pal colour) the luminance channel ONLY, provided the fine detail - The vertical reduction in colour resolution for PAL D and Secam wasn't a problem - the notion being that if it could be reduced horizontally, (as it always was) it could also be similarly reduced vertically too.

It should be noted that cheap simple Pal receivers with no phase errors, and a correctly adjusted decoder wouldn't suffer from decreased vertical colour resolution at all compared with NTSC!

It was just delay line averaging on of the chrominance signal after alternate line phase inversion of R-Y which reduced the resolution on more advanced decoders. Those phase errors then translated into changes in colour saturation. Perhaps modern techniques could even correct any phase errors without such averaging with a delay line.

It should also be remembered that digital colour television ALSO reduces the colour resolution in order to preserve bandwidth, and the only thing running at (almost, because digital TV is lossy compression)full bandwidth is the luminance content. All this simply takes into account the eye's inability to discriminate high resolution colour, horizontally or vertically. I'm sure one could easily sum up the luminance signal from an RGB source, and use it to re-create the R-Y B-Y and G-Y colour difference signals to see what kind of colour definition is transmitted on digital TV - In my opinion standard definition colour resolution on DVB TV often seems worse than PAL ever was!

Europe seeks company to monitor Google's algorithm in €10m deal


A company can't promote their products on their OWN web site ?

Shouldn't any company or corporation be able to promote it's own products first ? The BBC never (or rarely) tell you to watch ITV programs do they ? Even when they get ALL the telly tax we pay.

If the EU think something like this is wrong why didn't they tackle the "distortion" created by the telly tax where we have to pay the BBC to watch anything regarded as television, especially when they hardly ever even mention a competitors TV programmes.

Google are a commercial company. They came from nowhere, in the 90s when Alta Vista was the search engine everyone was using. It's right they should be able to promote their own products on their own web site.

People can go Bing for things if they want to can't they ?

If I were them, I'd disconnect the whole of the EU from Google for a day or two and let the politicians deal with the flak from users.