* Posts by Detective Emil

321 posts • joined 10 Feb 2010


Dear Europe, here again are the reasons why scanning devices for unlawful files is not going to fly

Detective Emil

About Apple's proposal

Apple's scheme [PDF] took care to address many of the issues raised by other posters. In particular, it was designed to have no impact on any aspect of end-to-end encryption. However, its Achilles heel/Trojan horse was that it flagged only images matching a pre-cooked list of hashes of CSAM image hashes provided by some external agency. The independence of any such an agency would be open to question: hashes for anything considered unacceptable for any reason could potentially be crowbarred in by authorities. A review, before alerting the authorities, by (unfortunate) Apple personnel of the images causing the threshold to be exceeded on a particular device, was proposed as a backstop. But nevertheless … Apple has in the past deferred to authorities in a variety of markets in a variety of situations.

As for the on-device detection of nudity in photos a child's about to share or receive, that's already there in Anglo-Saxon-type markets only (if enabled by a parent who has got around to setting up a family group).

Broadcom's stated strategy ignores most VMware customers

Detective Emil

So, farewell then, VMware Fusion for macOS. Oh, you're still here …

VMware managed to maroon its virtualization package for Macs a year or two back without Broadcom's help: it hived off development (what development?) and support to India, and has failed to catch the Apple silicon bus (you know, the increasingly-wide one). The uninformed can still buy it, but, if you want to run Windows on a Mac, Parallels is the only serious choice. Sad to see competition diminishing — although, if you can live with "community support", Microsoft (Microsoft!) has recently come up with UTM. Must run it up sometime …

Google starts testing fenced frames to guard its Privacy Sandbox

Detective Emil
Thumb Down

"On-device auctions"

Oh, great. So Google thinks it has the right to run my battery down to preserve my privacy (from third parties, anyway — I'll bet it's written itself an exception).

China declares a new era of digitization has begun

Detective Emil

"Informatization" (yuck)

According to Google, that translates as 信息化 (pronounced Xìnxī huà), which, if you ask your device to say it, sounds more melifluous than the jawbreaking English buzzword.

Google kills download-shrinking Lite Mode browser tech

Detective Emil

City dwellers

Where I live in a European city, we more Gs than one can shake a stick at — none of them have even been shut down yet, afaict. But, out in the sticks, picking up a 3G signal can really help, compared to bad old GPRS. Even then, data-light sites are particularly welcome. Of course, an ad-blocker helps a lot.

Google Cloud started running its servers for an extra year, still loses billions

Detective Emil

So, costs of sales and customer retention on the up, then

That's how I read trippling the sales force to achieve a 50% revenue increase.

Japan's Supreme Court rules cryptojacking scripts are not malware

Detective Emil

Theft of electricity?

I would have thought that "Theft of electricity", a convenient charge traditionally used to nail phone-tappers in the UK when nothing else would stick, had more chance of success. Maybe there's nothing similar in Japanese law.

For those worried about Microsoft's Pluton TPM chip: Lenovo won't even switch it on by default in latest ThinkPads

Detective Emil
Paris Hilton

Mitigates against bugs like Spectre and Meltdown??

How can Pluton, a hardware root of trust, protect against hardware shortcomings thar result in information leakage from branch prediction, or a race condition that discloses protected memory contents, either of which can be exploited from unprivileged code?

[Yes, I know: if Pluton is used to allow only approved and signed applications to run, as on iOS. But Microsoft has never managed to retrofit that model into Windows.]

Ad blockers altering website code is not a copyright violation, German court rules

Detective Emil

A victory for Best Carpet Value would be bad??

Seems to me that it would outlaw those slide-overs and banners that “smart” TVs and dongles use to obscure whatever it is that you’re trying to see.

AMD returns to smartphone graphics with new Samsung chip for your pocket computer

Detective Emil

Nvidia is not "much bigger" than AMD

Unless Wikipedia's wrong (not outside the bounds of possibility), AMD's 2020 revenues were $9.76 billion, while Nvidia's were US$10.92 billion. Maybe Qualcomm, also mentioned, (US$23.53 billion) would be a better comparison. Intel (US$77.87 billion) presents no problems.

Never mind the Panic button – there's a key to Compose yourself

Detective Emil

Re: On Mac

Mac OS has additionally had dead keys for accents forever — well since sometime in the 80's. See this Apple document for terse iformation on the new and the old methods, and this list for more key combinations than you'll ever need to know.

UK and USA seek new world order for cross-border data sharing and privacy

Detective Emil

Nice drafting

Congratulations to the US and the UK on producing a joint statement that mentions none of the following: GDPR, EU, adequacy, Max Schrems …

New UK product security law won't be undercut by rogue traders upping and vanishing, government boasts

Detective Emil
Thumb Up

"Things" fall apart; the server can't be polled

Some industry sources [suggested] the regulations [could] set a standard that was too high or costly for IoT device importers and vendors to meet.

Oh, good. No possibility of buying crap that hardly interoperates now, and won't operate at all in the future.

Google advises passwords are good, spear phishing is bad, and free clouds get attacked

Detective Emil
Black Helicopters

Because of stuff like this [New York Times], I'm very wary of security advice from spying organizations — among which I number Google.

LoRa to the Moon and back: Messages bounced off lunar surface using off-the-shelf hardware

Detective Emil

Please, Sir …

What's LoRa?

Cisco thinks you're happy to wait ages for new kit, then pay premium prices

Detective Emil

Where's the problem?

If supply-chain difficulties mean you can't get end-point kit that needs networking, then you won't need networking kit in a hurry. So everything's fine!

Mine's the one with the cable tester in the pocket.

Reg scribe spends 80 hours in actual metaverse … and plans to keep visiting

Detective Emil

And it costs … ?

€14.99 a month for us mainlanders. I'd rather spend that on ==>

Reg reader returns Samsung TV after finding giant ads splattered everywhere

Detective Emil

Here's that PiHole list

From GitHub. Samsung's list of no-no addresses is the longest by aome way.

We have some sad news about Facebook. It has returned to the internet after six-hour mega outage

Detective Emil

_My_ glass is half empty

I do hope that this does not spur FB to bulldoze through a "fix" to DNS that just happens to serve its interests at the expense of everybody else's (cf. Google's AMP).

Samsung: We will remotely brick smart TVs looted from our warehouse

Detective Emil

"In keeping with our values to leverage the power of technology to resolve societal challenges …"

Please excuse me. I seem to have mislaid my will to live.

GSMA and Euro-telcos argue for exemptions from big tech tax crackdown laws

Detective Emil

I'm for it!

Giving tax breaks to telcos always works out well.

THX Onyx: A do-it-all DAC for the travelling audiophile

Detective Emil

Newly released consolation

However will I console myself with only Genesis […]

Ah. You might well like Big Big Train. And, should a high-bitrate, lossless download of their newly-released codger-style waxing, Common Ground, appeal, it's available at Bandcamp.

AI to be bigger than IaaS and PaaS combined by 2025

Detective Emil

Add a pinch of salt

IDC is the outfit that predicted Windows Phone would outsell iPhone. [Wired]

Euro watchdog will try to extract $900m from Amazon for breaking data privacy laws

Detective Emil

Re: But will they actually have to pay?

Not clear that Luxembourg sees this fine as being in lieu of tax: some years ago, Luxembourg cut a tax deal for Amazon. The EU objected, telling the country it had to collect the perceived shortfall, but this decision was recently overturned, following challenges from both Luxembourg and Amazon. (Not covered in El Reg, afaict.)

So why did Luxembourg's CNPD make the eye-watering assessment? Just civil servants diligently doing what their job descriptions said was their job, I suspect.

You MUST present your official ID (but only the one that's really easy to fake)

Detective Emil

Now that you mention it …

Yes, I can see a likeness to Norman Wisdom. Sorry about that. To continue the theme, he appeared in What's Good for the Goose with the Pretty Things, whose founder member, Phil May, died last year.

I've got a broken combine harvester – but the manufacturer won't give me the software key

Detective Emil

I hold no brief for Sonos*, but …

… as El Reg itself reported, they did, after months of withering fire, stop remotely bricking trade-ins.

* Indeed, as an early customer for seven of their Things, I won't be buying anything else from them.

What is your greatest weakness? The definitive list of the many kinds of interviewer you will meet in Hell

Detective Emil

I hold no brief for SOAS graduates, but …

Some of this lot surely have some understanding of something.

Microsoft broke British and European competition laws, UK reseller tells High Court

Detective Emil

Re: Imagine if they did this with books

No, they'd just promote eBooks to make the market for new physical books dry up.

Microsoft defends intrusive dialog in Visual Studio Code that asks if you really trust the code you've been working on

Detective Emil

Not that macOS is in any sense perfect …

… but for years it's supported a quarantine flag that gets attached to downloaded stuff, and to files generated from that stuff (unzipped archives, mounted disk images etc.). If you try to do something that could allow a quarantined item to do damage, you're asked if you want to allow the action. If you do, the flag is cleared, and you're not asked again for that item. It can be a pita, but I find it a lot less rebarbative than Clippy.

"Redmond, start your photocopiers."

PrivacyMic looks to keep your home smart without Google, Alexa, Siri and pals listening in

Detective Emil

Irony alert

A privacy-preserving device promoted using a video on YouTube.

Amazon hit with antitrust lawsuit after DC AG says TTFN to price fixing

Detective Emil


Totally Too Favored Nation?

Copper load of this: Openreach outlines 77 new locations where it'll stop selling legacy phone and broadband products

Detective Emil

They're sitting on a gold, umm, copper mine

I wonder if they're planning on pulling that copper up. The current price is pretty juicy.

Apple faces another suit over its allegedly misleading water resistance claims

Detective Emil

Money-mouth non adjacency problem

If Apple won't put its money where its mouth is on waterproofing claims, it deserves to be forced to pay through the nose.

(The Italians got there first (BBC News).)

Google's FLoC flies into headwinds as internet ad industry braces for instability

Detective Emil

"… allies … like Criteo, NextRoll, Magnite, and RTB House"

I've never heard of these outfits and will do all I can to prevent them from hearing much of me.

Google proposes Logica data language for building more manageable SQL code

Detective Emil

Lawyer fodder?

I suspect that CGI, which bought the venerable UK software outfit Logica in 2012, may still have a vague desire to hang onto its trademark.

SpaceX's Starlink: Overhyped and underpowered to meet broadband needs of Rural America, say analysts

Detective Emil
Paris Hilton

Bolton [said] "There is never a circumstance where satellite … should be subsidized …"

Well, he would, wouldn't he?

It's wild the lengths Facebook engineers will go to find new ways to show you inane ads about tat: This time, AR...

Detective Emil

More agency?

Presumably, that would be an advertising agency.

What's CNAME of your game? This DNS-based tracking defies your browser privacy defenses

Detective Emil

If you want to block (some of them) by hand:

You can find most of the culprits' destination domains in the reasonably-frequently-updated NextDNS CNAME Cloaking Blocklist on GitHub, and add them to the blocklist of your choice.

You want me to do WHAT in that prepaid envelope?

Detective Emil

Compared to a colonoscopy …

… I can say from personal experience of both procedures that mailing off a self-collected stool sample is greatly to be preferred.

Open Source Vulnerabilities database: Nice idea but too many Google-shaped hoops to jump through at present

Detective Emil

Embrace, extend, and extinguish?

Google needs to be very careful in the current climate if it wants to roll out services that it proposes will improve the status quo. It does not look as if it is being careful enough.

Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond: Oracle launches rugged edge-of-network box for hostile environments

Detective Emil

Not true without picture

I eventually found one, although not on Oracle's site. It looks like a 2U server in a Puffa jacket. Cute.

UK Test and Trace chief Dido Harding tries to convince MPs that £14m for canned mobile app was money well spent

Detective Emil

[Apple & Google] have been on the record as saying that the UK app … is a world first

Citation needed [Gratuitous promo for XKCD merch]. I have not been able to find any.

Cisco intros desktop switches, one with USB-C to power your laptop

Detective Emil


AFAICT, those devices that have a USB-C port do not have NIC behind it — if ther were, the datasheet should mention, or more likely, crow about it. Seems to me that this would be an obvious thing to do, because it would allow a connected laptop to use a single cable for power and network.

Epic Games files competition lawsuit against Google in the UK over Fortnite's ejection from Play Store

Detective Emil

Not admissable

… breaking … Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

The red (or maybe green) mist in front of Epic's eyes seems to have led it to overlook an important event in recent history.

Facebook appeals ruling that it stole tech. So, Italian judge issues new judgment: Pay 10 times the original fine

Detective Emil
Big Brother

FaceBook, champion of small business

Like the fine, this particular case is a drop in the bucket.

A flurry of data warehouse activity surrounds Snowflake's staggering $120bn valuation

Detective Emil


Well, I know what 4-F means, but Triple-F has got me beaten.

For every disastrous rebrand, there is an IT person trying to steer away from the precipice

Detective Emil

I had more success …

In the late 70's, I was in UK pre-sales support for a US semiconductor company that had a side-line in small business computers, and wanted to promote them using the strapline The Informer. I managed to convince the ad agency that The Sweeney had probably queered the pitch (although I would also have had to explain that phrase) as far as the image of informers was concerned.

How Apple's M1 uses high-bandwidth memory to run like the clappers

Detective Emil

Sowing confusion

Apple really isn't helping by calling this high‑bandwidth, low‑latency memory, because, despite it being LPDDR4X, people are likely to confuse it with High Bandwidth Memory, a JEDEC standard. Indeed, a poor translation on Apple Finnish store (since corrected) actually said "High Bandwidth Memory".

On the "unified memory is old hat" theme, yes indeed: there's a now-expired Apple patent concerning it from 1996.

IKEA Croydon (FYI: that's a place in outer London, not a type of DIY cabinet) likes things in pairs, from chimneys to bork

Detective Emil

Like a creepy uncle

Don't you just hate those matey messages from Windows 10? Where I live, I also have to put up with them tutoyer-ing and duzen-ing me.

If you're feeling down, know that we've just buried a heat sensor in an alien planet. If NASA can get through Mars soil, we can get through 2020

Detective Emil


This seems appropriate [YouTube].



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