* Posts by Joe Harrison

858 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Jun 2007


Free Software Foundation urged to free itself of Richard Stallman by hundreds of developers and techies

Joe Harrison

Just looked at the FSF mission statement

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom. We defend the rights of all software users.

OK I am fine with the mission. I don't care about and am not interested in their views, if any, on issues outside of that. I resent what feels like pressure to have an opinion and take sides upon the unrelated actions of this Stallman guy.

Chairman, CEO of Nominet ousted as member rebellion drives .uk registry back to non-commercial roots

Joe Harrison

What does the headline actually mean?

"Chairman, CEO of Nominet"

What does that grammatical mess actually mean? "Chairman, and CEO, of Nominet"?

Someone defeated the anti-crypto-coin-mining protection for Nvidia's 'gamers only' RTX 3060 ... It was Nvidia

Joe Harrison

Customer reduction policy

There's something wrong here; huge customer demand for something (mining) but one of the few companies in a position to supply that demand is actively trying to avoid it. Capitalism must have died and I didn't notice.

Australia facepalms as Facebook blocks bookstores, sport, health services instead of just news

Joe Harrison

Didn't this already happen?

Spain passed a similar law closing down Google News


This NSA, FBI security advisory has four words you never want to see together: Fancy Bear Linux rootkit

Joe Harrison

Daft story

Do the government pay you to print this stuff?

America was getting on top of its electronic voting machine security – then suddenly... A wild pandemic appears

Joe Harrison


For a while I lived in a large and grotty apartment complex where mail was delivered to the front desk and people helped themselves. Yes house-dwellers, downmarket flats are not like the movies where everyone has a little mailbox with a key. Bracknell Forest council sent all residents a car-window pass to use the recycling dump and they were quite strict about refusing access to non-passholders/taxpayers.

About a hundred and fifty were delivered to "A. Smith, Apt 001" , "B Jones, Apt 002" and so on. They sat in a big heap and people took their own one. After two weeks there was still a large pile addressed to people who no longer lived there or for other reasons had not collected them. Finally some enterprising resident sold them on eBay because access to the dump is quite valuable.

Same will happen for mass postal voting.

UK insurance biz Direct Line drops 'misrepresentation' claims against IBM in £36m database platform lawsuit

Joe Harrison

I suppose this means my car premiums are going up ☹

As per title

Trump reveals US cyber-attack on Russian election-misdirection troll farms

Joe Harrison

Detracts from journo standards

Whenever I read your (The Register) things about the US Trump Administration it is inevitably from a heavily biased viewpoint that they are all bad to the bone.

I am not that interested in American politics so don't care, but it makes me wonder what else you are putting your own spin on that maybe I didn't notice so much and just accepted as fact.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

Joe Harrison

Satellite radio

I had a rental car in America with satellite radio and it was really good. Great sound quality, huge selection of stations, and didn't fade in and out as you drove through small towns. Why can't we have satellite radio?

CERN puts two new atom-smashers on its shopping list. One to make Higgs Bosons, then a next-gen model six times more energetic than the LHC

Joe Harrison

You don't understand business do you. If They invented unlimited cheap energy it wouldn't be unlimited or cheap for You

Forget biz insider threats for a moment – let's talk about partners turning rogue and installing spyware on phones

Joe Harrison

Re: The Humanity

And where the hell is <marquee> it's my human right you know. If it was good enough for me to use everywhere on MySpace it's good enough for El Reg.

Tor soups up onion sites with bountiful browser bump: No more tears trying to find the secure sites you want

Joe Harrison

Re: Totally couldn't get past the fact...

The image is cropped - in the full size one the guy is making a sandwich with some thick lumps of bread so maybe we'll let him off for using a single knife for the whole mission.


Coronavirus masks are thwarting facial recognition systems. So, of course, people are building training sets from your lockdown-wear selfies

Joe Harrison

Mask that is simultaneously anti-virus and virus

I prefer not to have to bother with masks but anywhere that obliges me to wear one will see a mask with this QRcode on it


'Unfixable' boot ROM security flaw in millions of Intel chips could spell 'utter chaos' for DRM, file encryption, etc

Joe Harrison

Re: Disable AMT/ME

That's what they want you to think. You set the switch to "disabled" in the BIOS, then relax with a well-earned beer. Meanwhile...

Alleged Vault 7 leaker trial finale: Want to know the CIA's password for its top-secret hacking tools? 123ABCdef

Joe Harrison

Fabulous story

Well-written. Thanks.

Germany mulls giving end-to-end chat app encryption das boot: Law requiring decrypted plain-text is in the works

Joe Harrison

Re: Mystified; how will they force it?

I've personally seen the Android (Samsung) phone of a relative trigger repeatedly during normal conversation that sounded nothing like "OK Google"

Cocaine Poodle will do it

The Wristwatch of the Long Now: When your MTBF is two centuries

Joe Harrison

Jeff is a doofus

Well maybe he's not (I never met him) but he certainly strikes me that way. I am sure all the ooh-shiny titanium cogwheel tick-tock nerds will slam me for this but Jeff's has always been typical behaviour of ludicrously rich individuals, which is to say "let's find something to spend it on - we'll build a folly."

Basically this is an utter waste of money disguised as some sort of deeply mindful alternative thinking. Whatever he's spent on his daft mountain clock I can guarantee would have been enough instead to wipe out starvation in some little corner of our planet.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a flying solar panel: BAE Systems' satellite alternative makes maiden flight in Oz

Joe Harrison

Lightning is more likely to be of serious concern

Not at all - KAZZAPP! instant battery charge?

Mines the one draped over the Zamboni pile...

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey

Joe Harrison

A bloke called Norman

He worked in our team for over 18 years. It was only at his leaving do we found out he was a contractor.

You want a Y2K crash? FINE! Here's a poorly computer

Joe Harrison


It just so happened that in something like September 1999 our organisation was finalising the sale of a subsidiary to another company. The acquiring company insisted on solid gold platinum palladium assurances of no Y2K issues in the stuff they were buying. As I had the best understanding of the subsidiary's business I was assigned as Y2K tester/auditor for the project.

It was important that the divestment went through smoothly and any expenses I incurred were nothing in the scheme of things so for once I didn't have to grovel; all the flights, overtime, anything I wanted was automatically signed off. The deal went through successfully in November-ish and that was that. So I had a fun lucrative few months and didn't even have to be on call for the actual date rollover. Good times...

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?

Joe Harrison

Re: The Future

UK home ownership consistently falling for 25-40 age group. This isn't because people have stopped wanting their own home.

There is an annoying example of anti-automation at all my local supermarkets with petrol stations. The automatic car washes are all permanently not working, to avoid taking work from an army of blokes with buckets in the car park.

You know the President is able to shut down all US comms, yeah? An FCC commish wants to stop him from doing that

Joe Harrison

Very poor story

I don't read The Register for political comment. The author managed to take a valid and important issue and turn it into a rant against a political party he clearly opposes. This is a longstanding issue in US legislation and the (currently) Republican ownership of the presidency has no relevance. Must do better.

The Six Million Dollar Scam: London cops probe Travelex cyber-ransacking amid reports of £m ransomware demand, wide-open VPN server holes

Joe Harrison

What's the future anyway

Not looking at Travelex in particular but the business model of all high-street bureaux de change is to live in the margin generated by offering retail customers about 6% worse buy/sell exchange rate in comparison to the actual market rate. Now that consumers can pretty much get the real rate anyway (via Revolut et al) then what's the future for the bureaux?

Elon Musk gets thumbs up from jury for use of 'pedo guy' in cave diver defamation lawsuit

Joe Harrison

Re: Sigh

On a totally unrelated note, I wonder what the jury members recent bank transaction look like?

And isn't it weird they all drive the same type of brand new car?

Uncle Sam challenged in court for slurping social media info on 'millions' of visa applicants

Joe Harrison

What actually is "social media"?

Is The Register social media? How would anyone even remember all the internet forums they had logins for.

Judge to interview Assange over claims Spanish security firm snooped on him during Ecuador embassy stint

Joe Harrison

Re: That was then .... but what about now? Are they still renegade rogue patent black hatted?

Hmm I'm not sure I agree... You can sometimes never say quite often always.

We're almost into the third decade of the 21st century and we're still grading security bugs out of 10 like kids. Why?

Joe Harrison

We're almost into the third decade of the 21st century

Suddenly made me feel very old when I read that :(

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

Joe Harrison


Although a customer I never really bother with Three's website or billing system but thought I would login to see if I'm affected by this latest bug.

It does seem to show my own details rather than someone else's but still not a lot of use. "Your next bill will be ready on 13 Aug 2019 (83 days ago)" ???

Europe's digital identity system needs patching after can_we_trust_this function call ignored

Joe Harrison

UK people can buy them

If you feel the need for one of these then sign up with the Estonian government https://e-resident.gov.ee/

UK ads watchdog slaps Amazon for UX dark arts after folk bought Prime subs they didn't want

Joe Harrison

They've done it for years

It's not just the dodgy coloured boxes; I remember when it would go something like "Do you want Prime?" NO. Are you sure you don't want Prime?" YES.

"Are you definitely sure you don't want not to avoid opting out of not having the benefits of Prime?" WTF.

As sales crash, Gartner wonders who can rescue the smartphone market ... Aha, it is I! 5G Man!

Joe Harrison

5G is not for you

5G is not for people. People are already well enough served with 4G (if you have coverage) as many have already said.

5G is for things. Self-driving cars for example cannot manage without a constant mothership connection. Cleaning robots. Auto-delivery drones. And other things we won't think of until the infrastructure being in place makes someone go "Hey you know what we could do..."

US immigration uses Google Translate to scan people's social media for bad posts – Er, don't do that, says everyone else

Joe Harrison

In other news...

The reason AmanfromMars doesn't post here so much is that he's on secondment helping the US Govt translate things. If he can't do it, nobody can.

As halfwit, would-be dictator buried by UK judges, Spain would like to dig up a very real one

Joe Harrison

TZ Nazis

Spain is pretty much due south of UK and should be on same time zone as us. The reason for Spanish time being one hour ahead of UK is because in 1934 Franco wanted to be on CET the same as Nazi Germany. So on the next occasion that you have to get up stupidly early for your flight to Benidorm it will be because literally Hitler.

Tesco parking app hauled offline after exposing 10s of millions of Automatic Number Plate Recognition images

Joe Harrison


My local Tesco fined me 20 quid for overstaying the 2-hour parking after I spent too long in their coffee shop one Sunday while doing my shopping. This Tesco is in the middle of nowhere-ish I mean not next to the station or anything at all where people might want to leech off their parking. They were within their rights as there were hitherto-unnoticed signs all over saying 2 hours, so I paid it, but really it's not a good thing to do to your customers. Or ex-customers, to which merry band I now belong.

UK children's charity: Social media firms rubbish at stopping grooming. Time for a mandatory... AI

Joe Harrison

NSPCC are obsessed with regulating and monitoring the internet

This is not their first go at it. Of course their status as GCHQ official charity is mere coincidence.

Mainstream auto makers stuff in more self-driving tech: 8% of new Euro cars have Level 2 smarts

Joe Harrison

Grumpy Gits

People on this thread being all meh about computerised bits in the car and demanding good old fashioned mechanical switches...

Reminds me of when the first satnavs came along and the same GG's were saying real men have a dog-eared AA Road Atlas and a sextant.

Personally I am looking forward to a fully self-driving, or even self-flying, whatsis that can take me home by itself when I stumble out of the pub.

Ah, this should totally reassure Euro workers: They'll get Brexit EU settled status app on iPhones from October

Joe Harrison

Re: My experience with using it...

My experience of signing up with AirBNB was great; their app NFC reads the jpg and certificate data from your passport and matches it to a selfie. Worked great in about 5 minutes. With such experience under my belt I was able to guide an EU friend to follow very similar procedure with the Home Office app. Did actually work, much to my surprise it being gubmint and all.

As browser rivals block third-party tracking, Google pitches 'Privacy Sandbox' peace plan

Joe Harrison

Re: Paying for free stuff

If Facebook charged three pounds a month I think a very large proportion of the userbase would abruptly stop using it. Or to put it another way if Facebook thought they could get away with charging a monthly subscription fee then they already would have done it. There's your answer as to why it is unlikely to happen.

Here's a top tip: Don't trust the new person – block web domains less than a month old. They are bound to be dodgy

Joe Harrison

Re: This should escalate the price...

I have a master plan to defeat the two-monther scams - I will wait three months.

Cali court backs ex-Apple engineer who says he invented Find My iPhone and Passbook

Joe Harrison

If it's Apple patented then how come Google/Android also has a find-my-phone?

Disgruntled bug-hunter drops Steam zero-day to get back at Valve for refusing him a bounty

Joe Harrison

Re: From my understanding...

No you cannot play offline without an internet connection. I moved to a block of flats which was supposed to have communal wi-fi, but didn't. I had to use the internet from my laptop wherever I could find public wi-fi. A couple of weeks later things on my gaming PC stopped working and told me to get online.

I raised a ticket with Steam and they told me to get lost. They are annoying and useless and I much prefer the days when I used to buy a game on a CD and run it with no further interference. Oh and did I mention all the tedious emails about the security of your steam account and please type in this code. I didn't want a Steam account in the first place, I wanted to play a game.

Huawei goes all Art of War on us: Switches on 'battle mode' and vows to 'dominate the world'

Joe Harrison

Game of Tanks

Sorry to interrupt but back on the subject of Huawei, why such a downer on them? Where did it come from? My guess is that they got caught backdooring their stuff, which is fine as everyone does it, but crucially failing to share the backdoors with the USA.

It will never be safe to turn off your computer: Prankster harnesses the power of Windows 95 to torment fellow students

Joe Harrison

Re: BOFH potential for sure

I think I kind of agree. Having fun is one thing, tormenting people with less expertise than yourself, isn't.

How would you like it if your doctor hilariously edited your test results with a few Theme Hospital style diseases?

Hack-age delivery! Wardialing, wardriving... Now warshipping: Wi-Fi-spying gizmos may lurk in future parcels

Joe Harrison

Actually happened to me

I buy a lot of small items from China and the deliveries do get a bit weird sometimes. One day a wireless mains adaptor turned up with correct name and address but which I had not ordered. I did realise of course that it would have been an ideal hacking thing so I didn't plug it in. Surely much more likely though that it was somehow just wrongly delivered.

The idea is still good though; if you send someone an unsolicited toaster containing hidden battery-powered hacking kit then my bet is that it will just sit there until they get round to sending it back or whatever they decide to do with it.

Take two cornerstones of British life, booze and queues, then squirt them with face scans: AI Bar

Joe Harrison

I need an AI haircut

I get my hair cut at a smallish barbers just far enough away from the office to be a non-trivial drive. It's pot luck how many people will already be sitting there waiting their turn and if you turn up to find too many in front of you then it's an irritating wasted trip so give up and try again a few days later. I have spent ages trying to think of a solution which would let me see queue length online but really can't find one. A simple webcam would do except endless privacy issues. Sofas with bum-detecting weight sensors possibly. This AI thing could be perfect though.

Experts: No need to worry about Europe's navigation sats going dark for days. Also: What the hell is going on with those satellites?!

Joe Harrison

Re: Definitely Russian or Chinese hacking

Has anyone checked to see if it's only giving accurate position for UK locations?

I am in UK, I just checked and can't see any Galileo satellites at all. Not even with binoculars. Then again at my age, the old peepers not what they were. But srsly no there are no Galileos.

Industry reps told the UK taxman everything wrong with extending IR35. What happened next will astound you

Joe Harrison

Re: Perhaps you should advise your children

A good solution would be to increase your number of children. Your mortgage will then be a lot cheaper per head.

In Rust we trust: Brave smashes speed limit after rewriting ad-block engine in super-lang

Joe Harrison

Lost cause

Trying to kill ad-blocking is surely a lost cause, ultimately. You can't force people to look at something they don't want to look at. Can you?

Want a good Android smartphone without the $1,000+ price tag? Then buy Google's Pixel 3a

Joe Harrison

Re: As an iPhone user @Andy

Xiaomi seem to have put a lot of effort into making their "MIUI" user interface as close to the Apple interface as they can. I don't like it myself but for someone moving from Apple to Android it could be a thing. Xiaomi hardware is generally good.

Get in line, USA: Sweden reopens Assange rape allegations probe

Joe Harrison

Han filed first