* Posts by Uplink

157 posts • joined 7 Apr 2010


What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you



They sell windows and charge an arm and a leg.

Image-rec startup for cops, Feds can probably identify you from 3 billion pics it's scraped from Facebook, YouTube etc


Insane Clown Posse

How well does it work with Juggalo makeup? Expect a steep rise in users if this takes off.

The Curse of macOS Catalina strikes again as AccountEdge stays 32-bit


"We have enough money"

"Yeah... Pay developers for a rewrite you say? The alternative is that we lose the cash cow you say? Yeah, let's go to the beach we have enough money"


The lawyers got a similar experience with GDPR, so it's not unheard of.

Eggheads have crunched the numbers and the results are in: It's not just your dignity you lose with e-scooters, life and limb are in peril, too


Re: Elbow, and not electric

Nope, I was about 9 months younger than when I wrote the comment. Age: 36. The surgeon said my healing is quite good compared to the average (hey, does anyone want to research my genome to see if I'm special?)

They say specialist surgeons (elbow in this case) have much better results than general surgeons because they know much better how to put the bones back together rather than randomly glueing them together and calling it a day.


Elbow, and not electric

Meh, I injured myself the old school way: kick scooter (i.e. I was the engine), hit a kerb with my front wheel, flew like Superman, did a screw through the air, landed on my left elbow (dislocation and terrible triad injury). Helmet wouldn't have helped me :)

Cause: good old speed (the m/s kind, not the kind mentioned in the article) and lack of judgement

I was seen by an elbow specialist and my healing is astounding after 9 months. Very little loss of range of movement.

No horrific butterfly keys on this keyboard, just you and your big, dumb fingers


How about a Magic Leap?

It's a heck of a lot of work, but just make the whole computer virtual. Put your Magic Leap on (hopefully you get a future version with better field of view), look at the table, ta da... fully working laptop or desktop computer.

And you get the same inability to touch type as with this invisible keyboard.

No wonder Bezos wants to move industry into orbit: In space, no one can hear you* scream


Re: Rocketry

Reminds me of Manna by Marshall Brain https://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm so maybe Bezos read that and thought "what a wonderful idea"

Interpol: Strong encryption helps online predators. Build backdoors


Re: Or I dunno...

So something like this, really: https://www.unseenuk.org/what-we-do/Helpline-&-Resource-Centre

We are absolutely, definitively, completely and utterly out of IPv4 addresses, warns RIPE


Yo, Vodafone

I'm on Vodafone fibre. No IPv6 yet or even planned. They did find time to send me a new router that my laptop doesn't like though.

Three UK does it again: Random folk on network website are still seeing others' account data


Low data notifications

Is that why Three is texting me that my data allowance is low? I mean, I only have 1.6 GB left out of my 2 GB, and to some people that might be low, but come on.

Several months after the fact, CafePress finally acknowledges huge data theft to its customers


Don't roll your own security

"why passwords were not properly encrypted" - because nobody checked the code, and they rolled their own security module?

The security module developer might as well have been a contractor too, and then the motto of "it it ain't broke don't fix it" was applied. I mean, it was working, right? No need to look into it to see how it does it - no time for opening cans of worms.

This usually involves using a framework that provides pretty much all the scaffolding you need and lets you focus on your business logic. Don't roll your own framework either.

Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage


Choose your appeal and thus success

Camelia is a nice, pleasant name, and it can draw people in via the sexual-emotional route.

Raku can bury the language.

Technical merits? They don't matter that much. Would you rather tell people that you do Camelia or Raku? Sounds to me like I'd rather admin to writing Perl than Raku.

Wait a minute, we're supposed to haggle! ISPs want folk to bargain over broadband


Penalising loyal customers - helps competition?

Regarding that super-complaint:

I'm not in any way an expert in economic competition, but doesn't this "penalty" help competition (when people switch frequently), while removing it can create a few big players because people are too comfy to switch or "haggle"?

(It's not really haggling. It's just asking "I can haz discount?" They already have a list of approved discounts on their wall for those who ask)


If they have discounts available they'll give them to you if you ask. If not, they won't

Sometimes haggling is immediate, other times it takes them 3 days to get back to you.

This time around I didn't need to haggle with Vodafone. They were happy to "upgrade" me from my old plan (30 quid/month) to a new 18 month contract at the same speed (the maximum available on VDSL), plus a new router (23 quid/month list price). There was Sky cheaper by one pound, but I didn't think it was worth it to switch just for that.

But in the past I got Virgin to give me a kicker of a deal by rejecting all their discounted offers that were undercut by regular providers. They came back with an offer I just couldn't turn down: more speed, less cost than everyone on the market at that point.

My MacBook Woe: I got up close and personal with city's snatch'n'dash crooks (aka some bastard stole my laptop)


Kensington lock steel cables to be provided in coffee shops

It looks like coffee shops should start providing ready-to-use Kensington lock steel cables.

It should be already built into the table so you can just lock your computer when you sit down, without fondling with your own. These shouldn't necessarily need a key, as they're not supposed to be used to leave your laptop unattended, but to slow down any theft attempt enough to headbutt the douche.

A knob that can be pushed once to lock but needs to be twisted three times to unlock could do the trick.

Meet ELIoT – the EU project that wants to commercialize Internet-over-lightbulb


One way?

OK, so you use lights to transmit data to the devices, which presumably will get quite of bit of the data through reflections. How do the devices send the data back to the light fixture? Signal shadows/eclipses are a lot more likely when you're hunched over your laptop.

I have this feeling we'll get a "dongle" that sticks out so it can see the light bulb.

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


Re: Outlaws

(going offtopic here)

Oh, this epiphany just in: if only outlaws have guns, then the end result is that unless there are many outlaws out there then the number of guns on the streets will dramatically reduce, and so will gun crime as now guns and bullets are a luxury.

I wonder what the gun nut counter-argument is to this logic (besides yelling "2nd amendment!", which is a right, not an obligation, and can be withdrawn if the people agree).

Not the same could be said about outlawing encryption though. The outlaws with encryption might get even more empowered compared to the ones with guns.


I have a solution

Mr Barr,

Just have the apps send the messages twice: once encrypted end to end - to keep the regular hackers away, and once encrypted with government keys - to keep the government hackers in the loop. It won't be a secret that you are spying on people, but that's not important.

Keep the government keys in a secure offline vault, under armed guard. Log everyone who checks them out, and the warrant that allows them to do so. Only allow the keys to be used inside the secure facility on a network that isn't connected to the Internet (although you're allowed to use VPN to scale out around the country).

Everyone entering and exiting the facility will have to get butt naked and get every orifice check both going in and going out. Only authorised devices past this point.

Impose fines on anybody who doesn't have this simple^W very complicated and very well thought backdoor in their app.

Possible bug: there's no guarantee that the message encrypted with the government key is the same as the one encrypted end-to-end, and no way to check either.

That will be $10M plus relevant taxes. Thank you.

An Armchair Internet Security Contractor

Brexit? HP Inc laughs in the face of Brexit! Hard or soft, PC maker claims it's 'no significant risk'



"We think our competition will get shafted enough that we can use our current level of operations to fill the gap left by them when they go bankrupt". Brexit will be just fine...

Not very bright: Apple geniuses spend two weeks, $10,000 of repairs on a MacBook Pro fault caused by one dumb bug


I had a laptop where Fn+C would disable the touchpad.

I use the Linux Terminal a lot, I touch type, and Fn was next to Ctrl. It took me ages to understand what was happening.

This is grim, Vim and Neovim: Opening this crafty file in your editor may pwn your box. Patch now if not already


What took so long?

I remember reading a very long time ago the article that said Debian disabled mode lines because they could be used to execute arbitrary commands just by opening a file. That annoyed me, because it disabled all the other nice stuff modelines provide: setting the spacing and filetype for syntax highlighting was very useful.

March 2020: When you lucky, lucky Brits will have a legal right to a minimum of... 10Mbps


Re: Unfair comparison

Well, BT is leaving money on the table for the likes of G.Network and Hyperoptic who've been digging around central London for at a while now. Their prices aren't too bad (for London) either.

It's 2019 and a WhatsApp call can hack a phone: Zero-day exploit infects mobes with spyware


Removing the infection

The article doesn't even touch on how to remove the infection, so while I'm not a security expert by any means, I'll wager an educated guess*:

- Option 1: If it's just in-memory, open the task manager and swipe WhatsApp away, or reboot your phone.

- Option 2: If it does save a patch to the binary and it's not caught by integrity checks, just update it from Google Play, because the sandbox will be cleaned and replaced, wiping the malware in the processes.

How did I do? Am I even close?

* I'm making an ass of u and me here, hoping they didn't find a privilege escalation bug in Android itself to break out of the sandbox and persist a rootkit.

A day in the life of London seen through spam and weak Wi-Fi


Underground Wi-Fi made up

The article is funny, but...

"At each station en route, the free Wi-Fi becomes available again. Welcome. Cookies. Email. Policies. VPN. Tunnel. Bollocks, I'll have to wait until the next stop."

What are you on about? Did they change things since I've last been in Zone 1?

Once you log in at one station at all the others you either just connect (but it can take a while to get an IP, so you might not get anything done before the train moves again), or you get an interstitial and you have to remember what page you were on. If you travel often enough they don't even log you out.

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late


Expired licence checked only at startup

Expired licence checked only at startup? Sounds like a job for turning back the clock, starting the software, and putting the clock forward again. Mighht be able to get away with a LD_PRELOAD that overrides the time functions (for the first call, or first minute, enough to time to validate the licence) just for that process if the temporary time displacement might affect the other software negatively.

Pants-purveyor in plea for popularity: It's not just any pork push... it's an M&S 'love sausage'


Re: missed opportunity

They used two eggs in the picture, probably thinking they've dodged a bullet, but the word for "eggs" is used to refer to testes in Romanian, so it's funnier in East EU.

Mobile network Three UK's customer details exposed in homepage blunder


Three's logs aren't so great

If their website logs are as good as their PAYG balance logs, then good luck.

Here's my train of thought:

I asked them where 24p went, since I never really spend anything* except for a monthly Internet add-on. I topped up 5, I spent the 5 on the add-on, so it's zero sum. They came back with this: I topped up 5 pounds, then spent 0.24 on buying a Internet add-on, and that's why I have 4.76 credit.

Given that it costs 3p/min to call a foreign country, and the nice fit of that in 0.24, I think I know where the money went, but they were unable to tell me.

*My setup: Android phone. Ye olde 3Pay plan. Prefixer app configured to use 18185 via their 0800 number for most calls. Voicemail using Instavoice, with a double redirect through a "Pay as you go on Three" SIM to reduce costs. Why the complicated setup? Because I get 2GB for 5 pounds on 3Pay, and that's not available on the new plan or anywhere else.

Ooh, my machine is SO much faster than yours... Oh, wait, that might be a bit of a problem...


Remind me of my childhood

I was about 13 or 14. There was a programming competition at another school, and all the computers were booted from a Novell server. I never found out what the problem was, but my compulsive saving of my work kept bringing it the server down. When that happened, my work was saved, but all the others lost theirs. After a few crashes like that, we were basically begged to stop saving (I don't think they ever knew it was just me). It was weird, because it was the old days of DOS and Turbo Pascal, so it wasn't like I was saving seven YouTubes per second.

Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist


It happens with old school locks too

My front door's dumb locks were installed with the screws on the outside for some reason and nobody who lived in the property before me noticed. And I only noticed because I went to change the cylinders.

BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave


Tesco, but without the murder

This sounds a lot like my Tesco Clubcard customer services experience before they updated their website a few years back.

There was a cookie that was messing up the server if I logged in using the correct page, and I was getting Internal Server Error until I cleared cookies. Clearing the cookies and logging in would land me back the Internal Server Error message.

Logging in via Tesco Direct to view my Clubcard took me via a beta version of the site, and that worked just fine.

Tried explaining this to CS, to get a bug reported. That's all I wanted: report a bug to whoever is working on this in India. I ended up with an inconsistently deleted account instead. Yep, I had Schrodinger's Tesco Clubcard - both registered and not registered at the same time. They fixed this too, and now I had a shiny brand new account, but the problem didn't go away.

I did exasperate the CS representative and had to get passed to somebody else, but I didn't need to drive my car to the woods.

Sysadmin left finger on power button for an hour to avert SAP outage


Re: Typed 'Reboot' where ... ?

apt-get install molly-guard

Then you get asked: "you want to reboot what?"

Gits club GitHub code tub with record-breaking 1.35Tbps DDoS drub


Re: If you were a chef...

"Who are these dumb-f**ks who expose private infrastructure to the internet anyway?"

Everybody who wants to run a business online but knows fuck all about computers. Individuals or small groups of individuals who want to make money, but not hire IT experts or learn stuff themselves. Or they hire IT "experts", with quotes included, who throw up a WordPress with a Memcached plugin (for performance or something), take the money and go.

I had an epiphany about such a scenario quite recently. My software developer veil is preventing me from even thinking of lots of things "normal" people do without blinking (e.g. write your e-learning content in PowerPoint and attempt to put that online by "embedding" it in WordPress because it works on your computer like that).

Intel's Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs have nasty hyper-threading bug


Kaby Lake and can't disable HT

I happen to have a rather nice* Dell XPS 8920 at work. Last BIOS is from March. There's no option to disable HyperThreading.

So far the only things crashing on me are PulseAudio and bluetoothd, and I have no idea if they crash because of this bug or just because there are bugs that need to be ironed out in drivers or the software.

*It's nice after putting up a good fight when I installed Ubuntu on it. I had to mix and match many Internet forum posts in order to win the battle.

Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs


Re: @miscellaneous

"It's open source. Quit whining about it and make it possible."

Absolutely - if I had the skills for text integrated with language parsers. Alas, I do not. I fail miserably at that particular topic. I do have something else in mind*, and if I ever get it to MVP stage I'll come here to brag about it.

*What do I have in mind? Something "data-first" based on my need at one point to DRY up my development process regarding data structure design in Symfony with Doctrine while using Doctrine Migrations. I currently suck at GUI and I'll have to get over that hurdle before I can even make an interactive mockup in a browser. It's a steep learning curve (for me), but it will click at some point like every other steep learning curve did before.


Re: Code-aware editor and diffs would be nice

I do use 'diff -w' when I want to look at a diff that has a block with changed indentation, but if I removed a line that line is shown with its original indentation. A tool that can detect indentation changes could show the deleted line in the context of the changed indentation so my eyes don't go off the rails when those deleted lines are encountered - especially if there's a lot of missing context because the deleted line and the indented context are far apart.


Code-aware editor and diffs would be nice

I would love if we could take a step into the future and edit code however the heck we like.

I would like the editor to have a "presentation" mode where it shows the code as I want it formatted, and a "storage" mode where the code is saved in a standardised format.

I would like diff tools to ignore white space changes while also taking into account rescoping of blocks of code. E.g. I indent a block to b included in a for loop. I'd like the diff to show the block with its new indentation but only tell me that the surrounding for loop was added, not that all of it was deleted and replaced with th same code and some extra indentation.

The stored code could even be in a format that is hard to edit with vim and is not comparable with diff - as long as the language-specific editor does the above right.

Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04


Unity gave almost all of the screen to me

I'm a Unity user mainly because besides the top bar it gives the rest of the screen real estate to me. The menus go in the title bar, and I maximise pretty much all my windows. I don't get a bunch of OS UI eating in the space where the apps already eat some more with tabs and their own toolbars. My second option after Unity for this purpose is Cairo Dock - but it's still not quite Unity. Couldn't find a third option.

LastPass now supports 2FA auth, completely undermines 2FA auth


Re: Better alternatives...

KeeWeb.info is mentioned as an unendorsed alternative implementation on the KeePass website. If it's a nice UI you are after, that one looks quite nice.

'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows



I saw something that, while slightly inconvenient, could work well if the SMTP infrastructure is fixed to always use encryption between servers:

Single use limited validity login link sent to your email address

There's no password for the service itself, there's no FacegleIn OAUTH exchange, you can use any email provider you like without being locked in. All you have to do is protect your email account with a strong password and 2FA.

Amazon blackhole?


As the situation develops it appears to be a Virgin Media issue. Amazon might just be a large target among many. Hurray, my company is on Virgin Media and our stuff is on Amazon...


Amazon blackhole?

The whole of Amazon (shop, AWS) seems to have become unreacheable in the last hour or so in the UK (people report that using a VPN they can reach it). It would be nice if somebody found out what happened and wrote an article about it.

GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail



YP.... Wipey... He'll never outrun his name now.

Doomsday Clock moves to 150 seconds before midnight. Thanks, Trump

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Programmer finds way to liberate ransomware'd Google Smart TVs


Which keys again?

So is it channel down or volume down? The guy reads "channel down" and then says "volume down" when he goes to the TV.

I don't have one of these, but I SO HATE IT WHEN THE INTERNET DOES THIS!

Hololens for biz shocker: Surprisingly, it doesn't totally suck


The ultimate portable, wearable computer

Imagine a person travelling by train. They're sitting at one of those shared tables. They wear a Hololens. You're watching the creepiest thing ever: They seem to be typing on the table... but there's no keyboard... and they's moving a mouse that isn't there.

This is what's happening: A full computer in their headset. Holographic monitor, keyboard, mouse.

No need to unpack anything, no worries that some fellow passenger will spill your drink on your laptop when the train rocks to the side too hard. You can add and remove monitors as needed, or even extra virtual computers (running different operating systems too).

Imagine: Coding on your multi-monitor setup, on the train, without having to carry or spread out a full lab worth of equipment.

Add this little printer: http://www.zutalabs.com/ and a stack of A4 sheets of paper and the world is your office.

The only things that I can't figure out how to do are: 1. how to receive mail; 2. get a bank account; 3. car registration, insurance and tax (should you prefer an RV to the train), in a nomad-friendly way.

EE looks at its call charges, hikes a bunch, walks off giggling


Re: EE and PAYG vermin

"Solution; keep EE existing number on locked iPhone for incoming calls. Put 3 Network SIMM in second phone for outgoing"

Have you thought about unlocking the phone (call EE; they want £8.99 to do this) and porting your EE number to Three? It sounds like just the thing you need.


Re: EE and PAYG vermin

"With a second mobile sim that has free 0800 numbers"

All 0800 numbers are free from all UK mobiles since 1 July 2015. http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/call-charges-clearer-from-wednesday/

I can't believe this isn't common knowledge yet. I keep seeing stuff like "Call 0800 xyz free from your landline, or 0300 xyz free from your mobile." I had a small conversation with somebody who insisted that the 0800 number is not free from mobile, but the 0300 is (it isn't, if you're wondering, unless you have bundled landline minutes). After having this "debate" with the person in question, I found out that some of the leaflets she was handing out (but not all of them) actually said "0800 numbers are free to call from both landlines and mobiles."

Kindle Paperwhites turn Windows 10 PCs into paperweights: Plugging one in 'triggers a BSOD'


Drivers everywhere

Once I changed my AT power supply to a ATX one. I had to install a driver to make ACPI shutdown work. It told this to a Linux pro, and he quipped thus to a colleague of his: "What did I tell you? One day Windows will need drivers for the case screws too."

Baffled Scots cops call in priest to deal with unruly spirits


Vertical phone footage or it didn't happen

What? No mobile phone recording? It sounds like there was plenty of time to record an episode of <Whatever ghost-hunting TV show you like>, so where's the reel?



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020