* Posts by xj25vm

300 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jul 2010


Stand back, we're going in: The Register rips a 7th-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon apart. Literally


Soldered ram, glossy screen, no ethernet - no thanks

As title says - £1800 for a machine with non-upgradeable ram, glossy screen and no ethernet port - although it is supposedly aimed at corporate market. Hmm, not, I don't think so.

Guilty: The Romanian ransomware mastermind who infected Trump inauguration CCTV cams


Re: Why?

It really boggles the mind. And running Windows, of all things. It just boggles the mind.

Microsoft exec says ARM-powered Windows laptops have multi-day battery life


Return of the Windows RT?

Is this going to be another Windows for ARM - which can only run 1 percent of available software, is not-quite-really a full Windows, but a restricted and crippled faint resemblance of the real thing, and will be quietly dropped after 2 years of pumping marketing money into it and people wasting their cash on buying devices? As much as I'd like a multi-day battery laptop, for good or for worse, I have a house full of x86/x64 boxes going back 20 years which are still compatible with most current software and can be put to good use one way or another.

Wannacry: Everything you still need to know because there were so many unanswered Qs


Infection via SMB fits

I think this would make sense much better than infection over email. The time frame just didn't make sense for infection via email. We've had this type of malware in one form or another for several years now. Time wise, the infections have been spread at varying levels over months and years. To get a (seemingly) synchronised attack going over a single day, just relying on people in hundreds of organisations all over the world all opening infected attachments at once in such a short window of time seemed from the beginning an unlikely explanation.


Re: Wasn't "But we had to have SMB for our internal shares on the network" the NHS problem?

Why would a home user connect to work's VPN using his own machine (I assume that is what is implied above)? Unless we are talking about the lunacy called BYOD.


Re: SMB shares

It boggles the mind. Large organisations, with (supposedly) clued-up IT departments. Using SMB shares exposed to the internet. I don't even know where to start ...

Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern


Re: Keep shuffling those deckchairs...

You might be using an old version of Opera - but many of us really need a more capable piece of email software. Thunderbird is pretty damn good, in spite of being neglected for so long. It's strong points are:

1. Good imap support - compared to many other email software.

2. Ability to cope with large mailboxes - I have clients with 75,000 emails per folder - and Thunderbird is chugging along surprisingly well.

3. As with Firefox, the various add-ons are a major bonus.

What it desperately needs is proper Exchange/ActiveSync protocol support for email, calendar and contacts. Without this it is seriously hobbled in the business and advanced users environment. If it would have this support, it could be hooked into something like Horde in the back end, and share and sync all emails, calendar and contacts data with mobile phones, tablets etc. This would make one hell of a setup - and I am pretty sure there are a tonne of people out there who need this. I know all my clients would. Then again, the conspiracy theorist in me is inclined to wonder if Mozilla haven't been "told" to leave support for Thunderbird aside, as it would cause too much competition to Gmail/Google Docs if it was improved too much.

Do you use .home and .mail on your network? ICANN mulls .corp, .mail, .home dot-word domains


Reserved TLD's

I never, ever understood why they haven't reserved a bunch of TLD's for private networks only. Just as a bunch of IP address ranges are reserved for private networks only. Then everybody would know where things stand, what domains can be used for internal DNS and so forth. All this messing about and wrecking havoc with internal networks DNS when new TLD's get registered or Apple decides they are the only ones who matter.

Mozilla launches 'privacy edition' Firefox... that phones home


Re: Firefox, Mozilla Foundation

Agreed. The fact that Firefox is Open Source is only part of the story. Mozilla have completely lost their way and their reason for being. They were supposed to be the promoters of open standards and do exactly the opposite of evil data slurping, privacy defying entities. Now their behaviour is very hard to distinguish from those other "evil" organisations. They cosy up to those companies, they try and slurp as much data from their own users as they can, and they copy and emulate Google as much as possible. One of the main points is that they go around asking for money in the name of defending all those core principles, while nowadays they do almost nothing of the sort.

And yes, an improved Thunderbird with full support for ActiveSync, including calendar sharing and syncing, would make a massive difference to their users. There are virtually no other fat email and calendar clients capable of doing this, aside from MS Outlook. Promoting choice and freedom and all that. But Mozilla can't even remember what it was to give a hoot about their users.

City of Moscow to ditch 600k Exchange and Outlook licences


Re: Plenty of good Free Open Source Software out there.

Not so sure about that. I have had to try over the years a lot of alternatives to the Exchange calendar - and indeed, most of them keel over when you throw more than a few thousand appointments at them. In the end I settled on Horde. Configured with a PostgreSQL back-end (I believe it can also run on MariaDB/MySQL) - it should scale up really nicely. It is definitely much more efficient than Exchange, which needs 8GB of RAM and a Xeon processor just for a small office with 10 workstations. The Linux server for the same office now runs on a 10 year old machine with 1GB of RAM - comfortably. Horde has been churning away for years now at a number of my clients' offices without giving me any grief - unlike the few clients who still have Exchange, which constantly throws tantrums.

Nokia taps former Rovio man Rantala to market relaunch


Re: I'm optimistic.

Hear, hear. I still have two Nokia Asha 302 in daily use. They have a hardware keyboard, they've been dropped more times than I can remember, they only need charging every few days and most importantly, they just work. Amazingly, I can even use WhatsApp on them - although they are based on S40 (well, until they end of the year, anyway). I'd buy another Nokia to use just as a phone any time.

Mañana: Nokia’s in no hurry to go back to phones


Just buy Jolla

They should just rescue Jolla and push ahead with Sailfish OS and the existing phone and tablet. The design has already been done for them, both devices are stylish and quite different from the rest of the stuff on the market. Also, Sailfish OS would set them apart from the rest of the crowd.

Yes, it's true, it is a niche OS - but then again, most of the heavy lifting is already done - they wouldn't have to start from scratch with the design, branding and execution. Win-win for everybody. Even if Jolla/Sailfish don't become mainstream in any way, surely with the relatively small investment/startup costs, it would be worth the bother, no?

Romanian cops bust ATM 'jackpot' cash-grab suspects in EU-wide op



The article doesn't seem to mention how is the trojan installed on the ATM In the first place? Just curious.

Migrating from WS2003 to *nix in a month? It ain't happening, folks


Re: Sure, of course

"How large is the largest network you ever managed? How many servers (win and *nix), and what versions? How many users and applications? I'm sure most of those asserting you can migrate from OS A to OS B in a few days, never managed more than a few servers with some simplle, standard configurations, with a few standard apps and users - and never handled issues like special hardware support, fault tolerance, high availability, tiered storage, backups and so on... nor ever cared about security, really."

Trying to get passed your condescending tone - you might think it strange, but you are actually reinforcing some of my points. That is exactly what I meant by "broad sweeping statements". Trevor often makes these all-or-nothing statements - which are true, for a specific network size, industry, situation etc. But are also inaccurate for other industries, network sizes, software applications etc. But he more often than not "forgets" to qualify his statements. Of course there are plenty of scenarios where even migrating a file server from Windows to Linux can be *nearly* impossible, but he either neglects to mention that it only applies to specific situations - or the general tone of the article implies this is the case for most scenarios. There will be plenty of people and companies for whom migrating from WS2003 to Linux (or something else, if you wish) is a perfectly feasible choice. But I don't see that given any real credence in the article. Hence it is rather hard to take seriously his assertions that he is unbiased when it comes to Microsoft stuff.

The IT industry is not only made up of sysadmins managing thousands of nodes and working on the big cool stuff. The rest of us also read The Reg you know - so qualifying a bit more carefully your statements won't make you sound like you have your head permanently in the clouds (yes, you can take that both ways).


Sure, of course

"Server 2003 turns into a pumpkin"

"Even moving from Server 2003 as a file server to a Linux-based file server can be an effort of months"

"Server 2003 has been around for ages, and it will be targeted by an unholy slew of malware the instant support ends."

Yes Trevor, we understand. Your take on the matter is completely balanced, professional and unbiased - and completely lacks FUD.

Not to mention:

"Decades of being a Microsoft partner and a systems administrator that makes a living from Microsoft have made me the human representation of "that guy on the internet" who yells at Microsoft all the time."

Wait, what? Of course, that makes complete sense! That's what Microsoft partners do all the time - they are critical of Microsoft.

"Few- to the point of it being rational to say "almost none" - Win32 have a *nix counterpart."

Really? Do you care to qualify this broad sweeping and bluntly nonsensical statement?

Yes Trevor - a very balanced and impartial article indeed </sarcasm>

GM's cheaper-than-Tesla 'leccy car tested at batt-powered data centre


Use batteries in their data centre?

Hmm - how many of these prototype cars do they have in testing, and how many sets of batteries in them have had to be replaced already to make any significant difference in powering up their data centre?

Free ethical upgrade offered as Fairphone launches mobe No 2


Re: Not ethical...

It would be fantastic if they would offer it with the Jolla OS. I have a Jolla phone and love it. Not sure if it is 100% open source, but it definitely is a lot more open than Android - and far more hackable and customisable. And free of advertising strings and "create an account with us and keep all your data in our cloud, or else it won't work" type stuff.

RealSense possibilities: Dell Venue 8 7000 8.4in Android tablet


Price - really?

"One of the sweet spots for tablet pricing seems to be around the £300–350 range, where you'll expect to get a decent-sized screen, at least 16GB of memory, reasonable performance and battery life "

Are you sure about that? Because I thought at that price point, unless it is made by Apple, I would expect something totally top of the range, waaaay more than 16GB of memory - and amazing performance and stupendous battery life. I can get what the author is listing above in the £150-£200 price bracket already - from perfectly decent brands, such as Lenovo, Acer, Asus. For example Lenovo's Yoga tablets hover at around £200 - and have up to 18 hours battery life and a really nice solid build. So, where exactly is that sweet spot again?

Microsoft to Linux users: Explain yourself


No thanks!

Not directly about monitoring tools - but guess what? Most of those pains you are talking about come from running crappily designed MS bloat - such as hochpoch Exchange and Small Business server. So, no, thanks - I'd rather not get more of the same. I'll stick with the tools designed by real software people - instead of marketing departments. Ta.

Telenor Norway projects 2020 switch-off for its 3G network


Cuttin the branch etc ...

What? Did I read the article correctly? They don't have anything yet in place that handles voice on 4G, but they are planning on phasing out 3G anyway? How about waiting to see how well VoLTE works in real life? What's with the hurry? How can you plan the phasing out of a technology before you have even started implementing its replacement?

And regarding Tesla, that is exactly why it is such a bad idea to stuff a car full of funky electronics and latest gadgetry. The natural lifespan of computer related tech might be only 3-5 years, but cars are meant to last much longer. Fast forward just 5 years after you've bought your swanky, shiny (and not cheap, mind you) state of the art pimpmobile (of whatever brand that might be) - and a bunch of random bits are simply phased out by various manufacturers and suppliers and you are looking at a dashboard full of non-functional electronic junk. No more updates for the GPS, no internet connectivity for the smart dashboard, no more routing and traffic information - what's next? At least if the gizmos are not integrated, you can throw them away and buy new ones.

Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities


Unless this is some different type of battery than the normal Lithium based ones - in 7 years it will be completely under utterly dead. Most likely it won't even last long enough to pay for itself. Nobody seems to be tackling that part of the equation. Unless I'm missing something here?

Help! We need to pick a platform for our desert adventure


Re: Keep it simple

Well - if Intel wants to sponsor - that's not a problem - why don't you convince them to provide you with some suitable hardware? Last time I checked they made some damn fine fanless mini-ITX motherboards - as an example.


Re: Keep it simple

@phuzz - Mini-itx motherboards will fit happily in a standard box - as far as I know. Yes - it kind of misses the point of using the mini-itx format in the first place (except for the fact that many of them are fanless, which I think is a bonus) - but it keeps everything bog standard and easy to replace. Also, external brick type power supplies have no holes for ventilation, run hotter than normal power supplies and in my experience pack up sooner if used continuously (I'm guessing, most likely because of the heat).


Keep it simple

Hmm - it sounds more like you are trying to use the fanciest tech about in order to make it worthy of writing as many articles as possible about it - instead of concentrating on delivering a fully functional, practical and reliable product. If this is a bandwidth, access and budget constrained environment, just keep things as simple as possible. What is the point in using exotic stuff? Why use an Intel NUC? So that it is a pain to replace next year or the year after when Intel decides they can't be bothered any more? So that you have to ship in an external power supply for it from thousands of miles away when its own packs in? Oh - I forgot - it's a cute little shiny box </sarcasm>. It's a relatively new platform - it could well disappear off the market if it doesn't get traction. I mean, how much power do you really need? Why not use one of the passively cooled mini-ITX or micro-ATX motherboards with a Celeron J1800 or J1900 on board, shoved into a regular (even used) pc case with a bog standard power supply instead? And if you want reliability, use a 500W power supply - which is so oversized for the job that it will probably take 10 years until the caps will be worn down below the power usage requirements - instead of the psu blowing up after 2 years. The Intel NUC's haven't been designed for 24x7 duty. And the above mobo draws below 20W of power including the hdd.

And fancy virtual machines? Don't get me started. When you set something up, remember that one day someone else will have to look after it, after you've moved on. The lower the skill set required, the more likely that it will have a long and useful life, instead of being binned as a loony idea which was impossible to keep going in practice. What's wrong with a bog standard setup, with the OS on the bare metal? Are you building some high-availability rig for some city bank?

Think simple, think reliable, think well established technologies which are likely to be around for a long time, think parts availability (in the long term as well). If you want to do it right, stop being journalists and jump into the boring shoes of an engineer - you know, the unexciting types who quietly keep things going with a string and a ducktape.

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Tortilla de patatas


Potatoe variety

You could extend your research by trying out different varieties of potatoes. I find it amazing what a taste difference can there be between some spuds varieties. The best Spanish omelette I have ever had must have been the one in some village close to Santiago de Compostela. Apparently the Galician version takes some beating!

Look, no handsets: How to do telephony without a phone


I don't know - although technically an uncontended line is better and preferable in an ideal world, I have a number of small business clients (up to 15 workstations/phones) where we run the VoIP trunks (some SIP, some IAX2) down normal, garden variety business ADSL2+ (and some sites, more recently fibre) *together* with their regular Internet traffic on the same connection - and it has been working fine at perfectly acceptable quality levels for years. Yes, all this is passed through a carefully configured Linux server doing QoS. But it is perfectly feasible - even on 6mbs/500kbs ADSL at some sites. It is amazing how far technology can be stretched if appropriate tools are used and enough expertise and testing is applied to the matter in hand.


Re: Uh?

I'm afraid the Reg does sometime publish filler articles like this - written from the lofty heights of glancing over a bunch of spec sheets and manufacturers marketing blurb. No smell of greasy hands anywhere in sight (yes, pun intended). All is well and good in the world of theoretical stuff. In practice, a lot of stuff works nothing like the manufacturer advertises, a lot of stuff is full of extremely annoying bugs, a lot of stuff is utter non-sense in practice (in most companies it is just not practical to use a softphone on a computer - it just wouldn't fit at all with the employees workflow - unless it is a call centre). Also, you have to worry about practicalities - such as manufacturers promising the moon - and then 2-3 years down the line discontinuing features or entire products because it doesn't suit *their* business plans - who cares that you are stuck with a pile of expensive but unsupported junk. Also, plenty of other important considerations - such as Exchange providing full integration for various services - but actually being a steaming pile of hodge-podge pieces lumped together over the years - which require a whole team of sysadmins to keep in check and monster hardware to do the simplest tasks.

Yes, at the coal face things look very, very different compared to fluffy airline magazine articles.

Fraudsters make bank as exec wires $17 MEELLION to China


In all fairness, it sounds like it was a bit more than just a simple phishing scam. It sounds a lot more like an old fashioned elaborate con - phishing was just one of the elements in the grand scheme of things. It sounds like the scammers knew:

1. Who was in charge of transferring money

2. Who was meant to ask for the transfers to be performed

3. Probably how to fake not only the sender's email address to a credible level (so that it doesn't end filtered straight into the Spam folder) - but also the content/format of the email so it doesn't raise alarm bells.

4. Very importantly, that the company intended to buy some businesses in China, possibly in some sort of confidential manner.

Number 4. suggests strongly some level of insider information being involved. So I would say, it wasn't just down to poor internal procedures - it sounds like somebody did their homework pretty well. Which is how a lot of successful scams play out - although from a distance it might look like it was just down to somebody not making a phone call to check things.

Microsoft Outlook PENETRATED by Chinese 'man-in-the-middle'


Outlook != Outlook.com

A bit confused here. Have all users of MS Outlook desktop software in China been subject to the MitM attack? Or are we talking about people connecting over SMTP/IMAP/POP3 to the Outlook.com service? I'm struggling to see how the first one could be the case, but the article keeps on mentioning Outlook - instead of Outlook.com.

German iron meets Monaco's highlands: Audi A1 review


Re: So how much MPG do you get?

@joed - I assume that's American mpg units? Would that be around 48 imperial mpg?

Pond, rocks or quicksand in your 1km garden? Get a rugged DECT phone


Old photo - and where are the real life tests?

What is the point of a professional publication like The Reg - if you just publish effectively manufacturer's brochures? I could go on BT's website or a retailer's website if I just wanted to read (and blindly believe) the specs. What is the point? Where are the real life tests and critical analysis? And the photo, as others have pointed out - is of the old model, which has been available for years. Minimum effort blogging - as I can't even bring myself to call it journalism?!

Toshiba joins the exclusive, three-member 6TB disk drive club


Re: exclusivity

I would guess Samsung - if they are still at it?

Why, hello there, Foxy... BYE GOOGLE! Mozilla's browser is a video star


Powered by Telefonica?

Where does Telefonica come into all this? What's with the advert for them next to the chat button?

Cutting the cord without losing touch with your office


Partial view - there are other options out there

Well, there are plenty of high quality tools available for SME's out there. There is OpenVPN (open source / community edition) for VPN connections - which is relatively easy to configure (compared to other VPN servers, at least) and works on Windows, OSX and Linux - and has a strong track record security wise. I use Exim for SMTP, Dovecot for IMAP with Horde on top for email, calendar and contacts access. Horde even has ActiveSync functionality to connect mobile devices in Exchange mode to it. I use all of these on in-house servers where we have hundreds of gigabytes of storage available for next to nothing - instead of paying monthly to cloud providers for limited facilities. I also use KVM for Windows VM's when we need some Windows only app running at the server end. And all of the above is open source - hence no licensing costs. Notice I didn't say "free" - but the saving on licensing costs alone is significant for an SME.

Yes - all of the above requires a non-trivial amount of skill to setup, configure, update and troubleshoot when it goes wrong - and that is often a stumbling block for SME's. But if it is setup correctly, and a minimum number ports are open to the Internet to constantly worry about doors being rattled (except the VPN) - it can run (and it does in the setups I look after) for years with minimum of maintenance.

And besides, all of the talk about hosted services (oh, sorry, "cloud" services) being cheaper as you don't need on premises expertise falls flat on its face when things go wrong and suppliers leave you hanging because either:

a. A lot of them are just resellers and don't have the expertise in house either - they only fake it in the sales talk - but when the s**t hits the fan, it becomes obvious they are clueless

b. You have only paid for "cheap" services and you are not worth the time and energy of one of their "specialists" to solve the issue properly - so you are fobbed off with half arsed nonsensical explanations.

c. The supplier just realised they are making next to no profits as they've been selling stuff cheap to attract customers, and needs to ratchet all of their prices up - with moving away from them being a convoluted, expensive and highly disruptive exercise.

But I guess if you are an "IT" manager who's actually a literature graduate (no offence intended to those who study literature) - which I've seen in real life - who doesn't understand IT and aims to "manage" by staying as far away from technology as possible - then you might not have any choice but to buy into whatever fluff suppliers tell you - and to live in the fairy land of fluffy bunnies and "all is good and easy in IT" land. After all, with a bit of luck, you might have moved on to another company and somebody else coming after you will have to deal with the fallout of wrong strategic decisions which only fixed the "present" and ignored the fact that there is a "future" coming to bite in the backside.


Real life

Without wanting to sound too harsh, this article sounds like it has been written by somebody hovering high up in managerial circles - not somebody who has their sleeves rolled up and the hands dirty in the muck, working with the tools on a daily basis.

It is one thing having a quick glance through the specs of various tools and packages and seeing what works with what - on paper - or what the suppliers claim to provide - and another thing dealing with those tools and suppliers day in and day out, and only then finding out what works properly and reliably, and what drains your soul out in troubleshooting and debugging effort and spending endless hours on support calls.

Not to mention the whole rhetoric in the beginning of the article about permanent connectivity to the office being some kind of boon for family life. With all due respect, that is typical management distorted, wishful view of how real life works. I see all the times half-thought out emails from people who clearly are in the middle of (attempting to) doing three things at once. Quantity over quality and all that.

And it's not like a get to do my own work in some ideal peaceful environment - but at least I can see the effect of trying to do it all at once on output quality - and don't kid myself that being tethered to my work is doing miracles to my productivity.

Just sayin'.

Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards


And interestingly enough, the A20-Olinuxino-lime is down to £27.96 on Ebay inc. delivery - new! Thanks for the tip! It looks like ARM SBC's with SATA onboard are finally coming home to roost towards the £20 mark. I've been waiting for this for a while.

Be Your Own Big Brother: Going to pot


Re: Tamagochi in the real world

Personally, I don't care much about the plant profile know-how behind these gizmos. I like to learn about plants myself, what makes them grow and what doesn't. The bit I am interested in is the potential labour saving, as watering the garden during the warm season, once you go past a few pots, takes a lot of time. Figuring out how to look after plants, what works and what doesn't, and how to do it - well, that's exactly what I'd like to get more time for, instead of lugging water around :-) Watering is only one aspect of plant care - but a time consuming one. So to me, a good automatic watering system would allow for more high quality gardening time - a real promotion from the job of waterboy :-)


Re: @xj25vm Flawed Solutions & Superficial Analysis

@frank ly Re: electrolysis - I've read online on various forums and websites about this and I've used a bit of code on the Arduino which keeps on reversing the polarity of the current flowing through the probe to avoid/compensate for electrolysis.

Re: capacitive sensors - several people mentioned this to me, but I am yet to try it. Thanks for the suggestions!


Re: Flawed Solutions & Superficial Analysis

I would take your suggestions further. To the author: please use some or all of the reviewed products for at least a week and let us know how well they work , how reliable they are in real life situations, how useful they prove etc.

I have been working on an Arduino based automatic watering and monitoring system for myself, on and off for about a year - and for example, what I found so far, is no reliable way to measure the moisture in the soil. For example, that little $5 sensor I found to be absolutely useless. First off, it is far too short. The soil in many real life situations is drier and far looser towards the surface - so inserting that probe, which is only about 4cm-5cm long - yields utterly useless results - as it doesn't make proper contact with the loose soil around it. It might work better in a small pot indoors, than in the garden, though.

I have then made my own resistance based probes and tried them - and unfortunately, the results are so variable that no meaningful data could be extracted. The resistance read from the probe varies so much, that I simply can't tell the difference between a soaking wet pot and a half dry one. Also, the type of compost or soil will affect the reading, the soil temperature, and any chemicals or fertilizers present in the soil.

So although there are wonderful tutorials out there on the internet - in real life things just don't seem to work like that. Yes - those sensors work really nicely when inserted into a perfectly smooth and uniform material - for example reading the moisture of a banana (well - I couldn't think of another way to test them!) - but not so well in the garden.

Maybe some of the other solutions in this article work better.

I am still searching for a reliable way to test soil moisture - but what I've learned so far is that just reading the articles on the internet, or the manufacturers' claims, is not good enough.


Re: Tamagochi in the real world

I am with you - up to a point. I have resisted using technology in the garden over the years - as I deal with tech all day in work - and I wanted the garden to be at least one place where I get away from it. However, there are three reasons why I have slowly changed my mind in the last few years:

1. As I accumulate more plants, try new fruit trees and vegetable varieties every year, the number of plants in my garden has expanded considerably. I find that in the summer, close to 95% of my time in the garden is spent watering. If I could at least partially automate the watering, I could spend more of my gardening time doing other (potentially more interesting or useful) stuff in the garden - weeding, mulching, replanting, cropping, cooking, grafting, research etc.

2. Having a busy schedule in work at times means that I might not end up with enough spare time every single day to look after the garden. If a week of dry hot days coincides with a spike of activity in my work, I risk loosing a good deal of plants in the garden because I didn't get around to watering them. An automated watering system would cover my back in such a scenario.

3. Holidays. This one is pretty simple - if you do fruit and vegetable gardening, you can't have a holiday during the growing season. However, an automatic watering system should be able to look after the watering of the garden just about well enough for a week or so - enough for me to get away. Also, it would be good to be able to monitor the moisture of the soil in at least a few places in the garden - and know for sure, remotely, that the system is working properly.

Crooks are using proxy servers to build more convincing phishing sites – new claim


Re: "legitimate site would find it very difficult to detect these attacks against their customers. "

I see. So what happens if you get multiple purchases from a large internal network with a single public IP address? Such as a large company, university, government network? Or how about the fact that most (if not all) 3g mobile operators - in UK at least - use private IP's for their customers. Will you be banning everybody who shops/browses your website from a smartphone or 3G dongle then?

EE TV brings French broadband price war to the UK


Re: Seems very complicated

"At the moment I get Broadband from BT - basically the same people who manage the wires, the street cabinet and the exchange. It seems to work okay. Why add a middleman (EE) with no Broadband delivery experience?"

Actually, not really. Since 2006 BT has been split between BT Retail and Openreach (and a few other subsidiaries) - and they all operate as independent companies. They might all be owned by BT Group - but they are separate companies - not only departments. BT Retail is a customer of Openreach, just like EE or TalkTalk or any other broadband resellers. And no - that is not just in theory - when you are stuck with a sticky broadband problem and passed around all BT departments, and wait for days on end for the "test results" to be in - you find out soon enough that the days when BT was one entity that was your direct supplier, and managed the "wires" at the same time - are long gone.

Lenovo refuses warranty repair - what are my options?


Lenovo refuses warranty repair - what are my options?

I'm sure this is nothing new and many other commentards have been through this. That is why I'm hoping for some suggestions as to how I can move this forward.

I have a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E130 laptop which I've bought in Nov 2013. About two months ago the screws underneath towards the back (in the vicinity and under the lid hinges) have fallen off. When I tried to screw them back in, they wouldn't hold and kept on falling off. Because of this, the bottom and top of the case started to open up. Separately, the keyboard has been leaving scratch marks on the screen because - I'm assuming - it is rubbing against it when the lid is closed. I've noticed this within two weeks of buying the machine - and started to use a soft, thin silicone keyboard cover - which has slowed but not stopped the process.

Just over a month ago I contacted Lenovo support about the two issues above and they asked for photos. On receiving the photos, they immediately declared that it is customer induced damage (CID). Upon my repeated persistence, they accepted to have a look at the machine - and I shipped it at my own cost to their repair centre. Their 12 months warranty is "Carry in" - so they don't cover the shipping cost!

Since then, there have been many emails backwards and forwards trying to convince them that this is not customer induced damage - and it is either a faulty design or manufacturing defect or both. They wouldn't even acknowledge the screen scratches for a while - and then they say that they've cleaned them up! But they refuse to provide photo evidence. Eventually they accepted to open up the machine and have a look inside - and now they say I've caused the threads of the screws to be faulty by pushing the lid too far!

This is my own machine and I have been careful in using it - so I know it is non-sense. They are continuing to refuse to send photographic evidence in support of their nonsense claims. The alternative is that they repair the machine for £212.00 Labour + Price of Parts + VAT - which is completely ridiculous.

I have contacted Lenovo switchboard in UK - and asked for their Customer Services Department or their Complaints Department - but they don't seem to have such a thing! They gave me the email address of the assistant to the executive director - but I think even that is nonsense as she just forwarded the case back to the same technical support department - and ignored my further emails. Her email signature doesn't even have a title or further details - which is another suspicious sign.

Today they emailed and confirmed the machine is on its way back to me - as I haven't accepted any of their options.

What is the experience of Reg readers in these matters? Any useful suggestions as to how to move this forward? UK Trading Standards? Does Lenovo really not have any proper complaint resolution procedure? To add to the confusion, some phone numbers and email addresses are marked as IBM departments and some as Lenovo. After all this time the two companies seem to be still intertwined in a mesh of branding and department roles.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Top Ten 802.11ac routers: Time for a Wi-Fi makeover?



Can we have an similar article, but comparing the routers' range? I don't care if it is g, n or ac, what is the best router for range and coverage - line of site and through walls? Now that can be really useful in many real life situations - where top speed is not a priority.

NOT APPY: Black cab drivers enraged by Hailo as taxi tech wars rage on



Another monopoly which has lasted under various pretexts for far, far too long. Detailed knowledge of the London road layout? I'm not a big fan of GPS navigation myself, but even my nose can detect the 19th century aroma right there. C'mon, it is getting beyond ridiculous. Years worth of training? Really? I can't say I've ever been able to detect it in the manner they drive or in how they treat their customers.

Mozilla axes HATED Firefox-ad-tab plan ... but will try again


Mozilla have completely lost their way

This is as far as it gets from the original days of "let's keep the Internet free from proprietary stuff". In the last few years, everything emanating from Mozilla has been more and more emulation of their "commercial" competitors - and that is, mainly Google. More and more muddling of why Mozilla exists in the first place. After receiving 300 millions a year from Google, they still nag everybody that they need more money. What for? To plaster more billboards throughout California promoting, err, themselves? Does it really take that much money to release one zillion releases per month which show no discernible or useful progress? Or maybe creating rounded tabs to match the ones from Chrome has been a massively costly exercise? I bet leaving Thunderbird, Lightning and some of their other projects aside, while singing "la-la-la" to the users who need them has really costed them a lot of money. And then there is all the muddling of lines between Mozilla Foundation the charity, and Mozilla Corporation the for-profit enterprise. Where exactly does the money, influence and branding rights go to nowadays - to which one of them? Here is an idea Mozilla - if you want to make some money, maybe it is time to get rid of some of that fat at the top - which is dreaming of more and more ways of being evil while telling everybody not to be evil. Oh, well, another idea you've borrowed, we all know from where.

Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'


Playing with the fire

Or maybe, just maybe, Snowden was a better sysadmin (well, an idealist sysadmin by the looks of it) than he is a journalist and a political animal. The very fact that he is even attempting to question the ethics and politics of his own hosts raises some serious questions about his understanding of world politics. He is only there because Putin doesn't like the Americans and wants to annoy them. He is deluding himself if he thinks otherwise. I'm not quite sure he will be able to find some other comfy place in the world any time soon if he is sawing that branch out. And he won't be able to do much whistle blowing and world stage heroics from a prison in the US - or even worse, some gulag in Russia. I would have thought he would be wise to leave criticising the Russian mass surveillance programme to others - who don't happen to be honoured guests of the Russian regime right now!

Delhi police forget passwords to corruption portal, ignore 600 crimes


Technical problem my a*$e

"The issue was finally resolved in January when two officers were summoned to the CVC to explain themselves. It then emerged that the fuzz hadn’t dealt with any of the complaints for eight years because they simply didn’t know the password or how to use the portal."

So we are talking about corruption complains - you know, the type which potentially involve politicians and other people in positions of power and influence. Sure, it really takes 8 years to ask for a password! Or, far more likely, they used any excuse not to do their job, while some of said persons exerted "influence" over them and asked them not to do their job.