* Posts by Graham 32

140 posts • joined 9 Jun 2011


Ah lovely, here's something you can do with those Raspberry Pis, NUC PCs in the bottom of the drawer: Run Ubuntu Appliances on them

Graham 32

Re: Odd one.

I think it means the NextcloudPi maintainers could use this instead and stop worrying so much about keeping the OS layer up to date. ie it's a platform to make getting into the IoT space easier and more secure. Although it will need to have broader device support to grow beyond the hobbyist market.

If Fairphone can support a 5-year-old handset, the other vendors could too. Right?

Graham 32

"To its credit, Google is trying to simplify the process of delivering Android updates FOR VENDORS." [Emphasis added]

That's the problem right there. As the article points out, the vendors aren't interested.

To test its security mid-pandemic, GitLab tried phishing its own work-from-home staff. 1 in 5 fell for it

Graham 32

Because the marketing droid sees everything as marketing, even the domain name. The IT dept probably said "FFS!" but couldn't get it overturned. And I'm sure if you asked they would say "security is our top priority".

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

Graham 32

For many years it's been popular to wear masks in parts of Asia. So this has already been thought about. I can only find recent references but I'm sure I saw something about facial recognition with masks being possible several months back. Here's a recent story: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-facial-recognition-idUSKBN20W0WL

Prepare to have your shonky password hygiene shamed by Firefox 76

Graham 32

Re: Floating video window

I think that's the website's own feature. The Firefox's PiP is something you have to click on to activate.

Academics demand answers from NHS over potential data timebomb ticking inside new UK contact-tracing app

Graham 32

> So come up with a way of collecting this data which is so important at this moment in time.

Apple and Google have already come up with a way that doesn't required it to be collected.

Honor MagicBook 14: Nice keyboard and ports aplenty – but with a webcam forever fixed on all of your chins

Graham 32

bezel-hugging 1080p FHD display?

Is the display bezel-hugging? The images on Amazon and Argos suggest it suffers from the common problem of a widescreen display in a much squarer lid, so a huge bezel at the bottom of the screen. However, on those sites the logo on the lower bezel says "MagicBook" - did they change it between review samples and launch? - whereas the image in the article shows "HONOR" and looks reasonably thin but it's not clear what angle the screen is at. A few more snaps would have helped.

The popup camera made some sense on the Huawei Matebook X Pro because the screen pretty much filled the lid. When there's so much empty space in the lid, moving the screen down by a few mm to put the camera at the top would be better.

And is the screen gloss or matte? It looks like it's matte, which for me makes it much more desirable.

So how do the coronavirus smartphone tracking apps actually work and should you download one to help?

Graham 32

Re: how do google and apple install these new APIs?

I think Apple's phones get updates for a quite a long time, several years, so if it covers more then 60% of the userbase it will be enough. For Android I assume it'll be an update to the Google Play Services app rather than the core operating system.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now: Brexit tea towel says it'll just be the gigabit broadband

Graham 32

Re: Drying

"blow upwards"... Depends on the model.

There's the Dyson Airblade, possible mk2, which you put your hands in and I guess will force some air upwards. And then there's the Dyson Airblade V which just blows down... it's the one with the permanent puddle on floor beneath.

Microsoft brings the pane: You'll be looking at Xamarin and React Native to design apps for dual-screen gizmos

Graham 32

I don't get it either. Seems like a solution looking for a problem. If they want to push for deeper integration between devices just do a clone of KDE Connect with a full suite of plugins for every MS app. Some of MS's Android apps are really nice and making it easier to switch between the two devices working on the same document/photo/etc would be real boon.

Crypto-upstart subpoenas Glassdoor to unmask ex-staff believed to be behind negative reviews. EFF joins the fray

Graham 32

Re: Business Model

> Kraken does not know if the people that left the reviews are ex-employees who signed a non-disparagement contract taking away their legal right to speech.

From the article:

> In June last year, Payward sent a letter to multiple former employees demanding that whoever was responsible for posting reviews of the company on Glassdoor remove them. The individual represented by the EFF, referred to as J. Doe, deleted the posts at issue after the email was sent.

Assuming this is all about the same post I think Payward have reasonable suspicion the person is one of those emailed. IANAL so I can't say if that suspicion is of any legal value.

If I had made posts like that and then received a request to delete I would do absolutely nothing. How many other people received the request? For all I know the company could be doing a Coleen Rooney on me.

Is Chrome really secretly stalking you across Google sites using per-install ID numbers? We reveal the truth

Graham 32

Re: 3/4 OT, or my brief encounter with chrome

Why do you need an offline installer for software that needs a network connection? I get it for software that need never contact the internet. For something that contacts the internet, whatever nasty you think might be in the installer could be in the main app also.

Tip for the future: use VirtualBox to test out untrusted software. Reset VM back to previous state after the test.

Very little helps: Tesco flashes ancient Windows desktop on Scan-As-You-Shop device

Graham 32

Re: The many failure modes of Tesco

And the Auto Checkout* in the larger stores is designed so I have put my basket and packed shopping at a height somewhere around my kneecaps. Forcing the back-ache inducing repetition of bend down, pick item, straighten up, beep, bend down, pack, straighten up. In the smaller stores the shelf height is much higher so I doubt it's a design for those in wheelchairs. I'm not freakishly tall either.

The very best self service is in some Waitrose stores where it's just a bench in front of the machine and... no weight measurement, no "unexpected item". It's so fast to use. But at their prices I don't make it a regular experience.

* is "Auto Checkout" an industry name? I've always known it as Self Service. Although I can't think of ever having seen it on a sign - could well be there but I blank it out.

Not call, dude: UK govt says guaranteed surcharge-free EU roaming will end after Brexit transition period. Brits left at the mercy of networks

Graham 32

Re: Transition Period?

Well, Boris is supposed to be dead in a ditch, but that didn't happen either. Being a bit late on another self-imposed deadline will be forgotten by the next election. A "unmanaged no deal" comes with all sorts of risks that won't be forgotten, even if it's just a national shortage of avocados... and if it's toilet paper it'll be remembered a loooong time.

Boris has, rather annoyingly, proven that he is very good at (his personal) long-term strategy. Getting a second term is probably in that strategy.

Graham 32

Re: Transition Period?

Yup. In calm times when Article 50 was written it was thought a country would need 2 years to plan leaving, presumably with no deal. In calm(-ish) times we said we'd use those 2 years to negotiate a deal instead, but as the deal won't be known until the end we'll take another 2 years to plan a transition to that deal.

So as we head towards any deadline on a negotiation we should expect, whatever the outcome, that we will get more time for government and businesses to plan for implementing it.

Virtual reality is a bonkers fad that no one takes seriously but anyway, here's someone to tell us to worry about hackers

Graham 32

Re: A fad?

It depends on your definition of mainstream but I'll play devil's advocate and argue it's still a long way off.

When there's a console that comes with the headset and lots of content at launch then it might get there. Until then VR will remain more of a niche because of the Catch 22 where there needs to be plenty of games to sell the hardware and people need the hardware for the games to sell.

It needs a company to go all in, make enough content that demands a VR headset and be sure enough users have one. I'm thinking of how the Wii popularised the wand controller. Without that sort of commitment VR will be another 3DTV. Even the wand controllers seem niche these days but at least they're cheap so it's not a killer expense

Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons

Graham 32

Re: A fool and his money are soon... unhooked.

Very true. IOT is really a service purchased as a product. ie all the money up front for an unspecified period of service, so there's no incentive for the provider to keep the service going. If Sonos kit was £30 and a monthly subscription I'd be more inclined to believe it will keep working (although I bet TCO would be too high for a stingy git like me).

I spy, with my little satellite AI, something beginning with 'North American image-analysis code embargo'

Graham 32

Re: Ridiculous

If privately funded it would be dumb to develop this stuff in the US. The article says the US government has been funding a lot of this research and for those contracts I assume it's a requirement to be in the US.

Samsung’s aspirational Galaxy Chromebook: Shell out $1k for a fast beaut (and remember to try Linux if you're into that)

Graham 32

Re: "which is designed to reduce eye-strain"

... and a glossy screen.

EA boots Linux gamers out of multiplayer Battlefield V, Penguinistas respond by demanding crippling boycott

Graham 32

Re: Few things jump out

Yes. And there's support for a LOT of games these days. It's really improved in recent years. I guess it's because many games are written using cross-platform engines like Unity that it's now a lot easier to make a Linux version.

The so-called AAA games tend to lack Linux support probably because those games are competing with their bespoke graphic engines that take a lot of optimization. So if that's your thing you won't be using Linux anytime soon. I prefer strategy games and I reckon 75% of what I'd like to play has native Linux support. I don't have enough free time to play everything I'd like, so it just removes a few options.

Huawei's P40 and P40 Pro handsets will not ship with Google Mobile Services, Richard Yu confirms

Graham 32

Dreaded hole-punch

"Both phones are rumoured to use hole-punch displays, rather than the dreaded notch"

Hole-punch cameras are dreaded too. They're both pretty much the same, it's just the hole-punch has a tiny sliver of screen round the other side of the camera that is completely unusable.

Newly born Firefox 71 emerges from its den – with its own VPN and some privacy tricks

Graham 32

Re: please read the actual post

Wow! I thought I ran with a lot of tabs open (often 50 or more). You're in the hundreds and maybe topping a 1000 at times. That's definitely in the league where that's so rare the developers aren't going to spend time supporting it.

I doubt you look at every tab every day, there isn't enough time. I guess you're using them more as bookmarks or task recording (ie an open tab is a reminder to do something). Of course you *could* switch to using bookmarks instead but I know what a pain it can be to change your workflow when you already have a way of working.

I'd recommend trying a tab unloader addon such Auto Tab Discard.


I've been using it for a while on a laptop to help battery saving and hasn't impeded me at all. It unloads tabs that haven't been looked at in a while (user-definable timeframe), and so killing background scripts which you probably don't care about and freeing up memory. You can whitelist pages for things you want to keep running, eg webmail. Going to the tab will (re)load the page, so a little slower than if it was already loaded, that's the trade-off.

Nokia 2.3: HMD flings out €109 budget 'droid with a 2-day battery

Graham 32

I see the website says "AI-assisted 2-day battery life". It's as if they want to regain the top spot on https://dontkillmyapp.com/

(If it wasn't for the info on that website I would have ditched my Nokia 6.1 work properly. When I set an alarm to wake me up in the morning I expect it to bloody work! Stupid app-killing aside, it's a good phone.)

Mozilla locks nosy Avast, AVG extensions out of Firefox store amid row over web privacy

Graham 32

URL history?

"It is necessary for this service to collect the URL history to deliver its expected functionality."

Why the history? I would have thought the current page would be enough. (Although if used for long enough they effectively have the history anyway.)

Bad news: 'Unblockable' web trackers emerge. Good news: Firefox with uBlock Origin can stop it. Chrome, not so much

Graham 32

Re: I'm forced to wonder

If you're logged into a site like a bank, then yes they will keep your session short. It is far from rare. Cookies for tracking will be much longer lived.

For example, going The Register's homepage sets a cookie called __cfduid with an expiry one month in the future. So without taking some other action to remove the cookie you'd need to avoid the site for a month to break the tracking.

Graham 32

Re: I'm forced to wonder

I think this is tied to the browser session. My session lasts for days, weeks sometimes. It only gets interrupted by browser updates and OS updates demanding a reboot.

As mentioned further down, use the Cookie AutoDelete addon in Firefox. With this addon the session ends, and cookies deleted, a few seconds after you close the last tab on that site or navigate away.

I wouldn't be too surprised if Firefox add something like this as a native feature soon.

Chrome OS: Yo dawg, I heard you like desktops so we put a workspace in your workspace

Graham 32

Re: More slurping

KDE Connect can already do this for "tel:" links. Click the number in the browser and it offers to send it to your phone. There's a Gnome equivalent for those such inclined.

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

Graham 32

Also note from the article that you didn't have to log in to see someone else's details. So there could be non-customers who could see customer details. And some of those non-customers could have reported it too.

Of course they find the smallest number they can and carefully word the press release to say only that number.

First Python feature release under new governance model is here, complete with walrus operator (:=)

Graham 32

Re: What was wrong with C's implementation?

> it _usually_ indicates that the bit of code in question should be rewritten and made clearer

Very strongly agree. Good code is written once and read many times. Making code quicker to write* is often not a time-saver in the long term.

* as in less keystrokes. Constructs/libraries/etc that let you reduce the complexity of code is good.

UK.gov's smart meter cost-benefit analysis for 2019 goes big on cost, easy on the benefits

Graham 32

Re: 1/2 OT, bbc lies

You may well be right, I'm sure lots of bullshit promises were made at the time. My own recollection was it being about always having accurate bills. I knew this was bullshit too because utilities love to estimate usage and over-estimate by 50-100% so they can take lots of money through direct debits on sit on it. They also like to even out the bills throughout the year so, especially for anyone with electric heating, they can charge for more than is used.

And you thought the cops were bad... Civil rights group warns of facial recog 'epidemic' across UK private sites

Graham 32

Re: Covered by GDPR?

Covered by Data Protection Act already. Has been this way for a long time, even for home security cameras.


If doing facial recognition such that individuals have a personal identifier (some encoded ID based on the shape of their face) then I would think GDPR applies too.

(edit for afterthought:) Is there different legislation for dashcams? If not then how do they meet the requirement about "owner’s details are usually written on a sign attached to the camera"? Or are we all allowed to get car owner's details from DVLA by saying "they had a dashcam, give contact details"?

We've, um, changed our password policy, says CafePress amid reports of 23m pwned accounts

Graham 32

Re: own domain and use a unique LHS

There are problems to just using a password. Some that come to mind...

- How to reset forgotten password.

- You phone a company because something can't be done online. How do you identify which account you use without also telling the cell centre staff your password?

- When signing up for an account if, by pure chance, you pick a password that someone else is using the site needs to say you can't use it, but you now know it's a valid account and you have access to it.

People of Britain: You know that you're not locked into using the same ISP forever, right?

Graham 32

Re: I too, switched recently

You will probably be locked in for that 12 months though. If you're happy with the service and don't plan moving home then that's ok.

Being in-contract can be expensive if you rent your home as you can be kicked out with only a few weeks notice and have to pay off many months of unused broadband. And it can be expensive being out of contract too because they put the prices up! Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Citizen Advice's "super complaint" is most welcome.

As the world secures itself, so do crims: Encrypted malware on the rise, warns Sonicwall

Graham 32

Re: The Fix

> If everything is interpretated, and therefore all code is human-readable, there is nowhere for malware to hide.

If everyone reads the code before they run it, and they understand it, and they can spot obfuscated malware then this might just work. I doubt it though.

(Are you trolling? I'm not sure. Maybe the jokes on me.)

British ISPs throw in the towel, give up sending out toothless copyright infringement warnings

Graham 32

Re: fully agree

It's not just the piracy notices and the studio logo crap. There's also the stupid video intro the menu. And not just the duration of it...

I have The Shawshank Redemption on DVD. What bit of video did they choose to put in the menu? Him climbing out the drainage pipe when escaping from prison - about 2/3 of the way through the film. FFS. OK I knew the film well before I bought it but if I want to lend it to someone do I tell them to close their eyes as the menu loads? Or say nothing to not draw their attention to it?

Oh look. Vodafone has extended its ultrafast 5G network to deliver... Wi-Fi?

Graham 32

Looks like the article is showing prices excluding VAT. Vodafone's prices incl VAT are here https://www.vodafone.co.uk/gigacube/

And it's an 18 month contract not 12. There is a 30 day contract (good) but with £325 upfront. No way is the device worth that. When there's a SIM-only option I might consider it and grab a device off ebay.

$30/month email upstart Superhuman brought low with a blast of privacy Kryptonite

Graham 32

Re: I would object to any mail service that messes with my message contents without my consent.

I assume it's the point of the service. They do extra tracking of emails you send and then you get to see the data of when it was opened, how many times, etc.

People who send marketing spam love this stuff. For example, there's a lot of analysis about when to send emails so they are read. Apparently getting an email into someone's inbox at 9am is best so it's at the top as they start work. The top emails are read in detail. The user loses patience as they get lower down the list and is more likely to delete it without reading.

July is here – and so are the latest Android security fixes. Plenty of critical updates for all

Graham 32

Re: If only

I have a Nokia 6.1, which is an AndroidOne model, and the latest update is "patch level: 1 Feb 2019" which was delivered IIRC in April.

When I first got it there was a patch every month, but that soon stopped. The value of AndroidOne seems to be zero.

Frustrated Brits can dump mobile providers by text as of today

Graham 32

Out of curiosity, what's the plan with "full unlimited 4G connection" that's cheaper than a line rental?

So-called "mobile broadband" is much more expensive. I'm guessing you might be on a phone contract where the Ts&Cs say you should only use it for the phone and not do tethering etc. But I suppose a VPN to stop them snooping on content and you might get away with it. Was going to say you should avoid iPlayer/Netflix too but given what teenagers are like that probably is normal 4G usage these days.

Edit: I'll answer my own question. Smarty currently offering £18.75/month. And allows tethering!!! I'm gobsmacked.

Stop using that MacBook Pro RIGHT NOW, says Uncle Sam: Loyalists suffer burns, smoke inhalation and worse – those crappy keyboards

Graham 32

Re: People are people

> No one, IMO, dispels the myth about Apple making decent hardware better than Louis Rossmann, an individual who makes a living repairing Macbooks

Quality is relative. He does Macbook repairs so is unlikely to know if other laptops have better or worse designs. A repair shop that repairs multiple brands would give much better and balanced advice. Rossmann will know what the biggest problems are with Macbooks which could help Apple be better but it doesn't mean Apple are bad.

Example: Backblaze releasing data about multiple hard drive manufacturers and models so you can really compare. If they only used Seagate drives you wouldn't know if Seagate were good or bad.


Firefox Preview for Android: Mozilla has another go at a mobile browser

Graham 32

But then how do you click (press) a link that's at the top of a page, often where menus go?

I just meant it's an issue in having it in an unconventional place. Seems like being different for the sake of being different. If you have trouble reaching a part of the screen I think you'll have that problem with every app, not just the browser.

Graham 32

The address bar is at the bottom. That's enough to put me off. Stop trying to be "cool", just be functional and boring. The cool stuff should be the web pages. Hope they fix that before it becomes the main Firefox.

Observation: Slow-burn space HAL 'em up fires adventure game genre into the exosphere

Graham 32

Re: No Steam? No Thanks.

I agree with the anti-Epic sentiment but not so sure about the Steam-only attitude here. I hope that's a Steam-is-the-only-launcher-I'll-tolerate thing.

I'm perfectly happy with a download-and-run-it option as you get on some GOG games. In fact that's preferred because I can keep it forever and install it in the future for a nostalgia trip, just like I can with old CD-ROMs. I don't have to rely on Steam existing in the future, the publisher existing in the future, and the publisher not having an argument with Steam and pulling all their games.

Please stop regulating the dumb tubes, says Internet Society boss

Graham 32

Corporate dominance

> Sullivan proposes making all content hosts sign up to what would effectively be a public blacklist

Who are the content hosts? On the internet that can be anyone and everyone. It can only work if there's just a few major platforms hosting everything. It means forcing all the "little people" to become clients of a few big firms for it to be effective.

When it comes to DNS over HTTPS, it's privacy in excess, frets UK child exploitation watchdog

Graham 32

> Some ISPs, by the way, intercept UDP packets destined for port 53 (and others) and redirect them to their own DNS servers, so simply configuring to use another DNS server isn't sufficient.

Sneaky! IIRC you can't change the DNS server used on Android phones, unless using a VPN, so I should have guessed they'd do that already.

Backup your files with CrashPlan! Except this file type. No, not that one either. Try again...

Graham 32

Re: Just change the filenames ?

Fair point. It'll probably happen eventually.

IIRC it's Windows file search, the most hopeless search tool ever, that refuses to touch files it doesn't recognise. I guess it's so it can speed up searching of things like an mp3 file where it'll just search the artist/title/album/etc tags rather than doing text search within the music. A file with no extension it just skips over. So there is precedent for this sort of thing.

Graham 32

Re: Just change the filenames ?

Agree. I've encountered the file type exclusion problem with too many backup tools. I now encrypt first then upload, not just for security, but to prevent the backup provider applying some stupid rules to they think is should or should not be backing up.

I had a similar thing at work where the IT team decided apply a new rule excluding everything outside of My Documents. What a move! They didn't tell anyone. I fortunately noticed before a restore was needed.

What bugs me the most? World+dog just accepts crap software resilience

Graham 32

Ever heard the phrase "perfect is the enemy of good"?

Is your kid looking at GCSE in computer science? It's exam-only from 2022 – Ofqual

Graham 32

That's all the students want. It's just a stepping stone to the next level of education.

Reminds me of my A levels during the time when most teachers were handing out exam papers from previous years to help us learn the sorts of things the exam board liked to test. This wasn't happening in the Computing course so we asked one of our teachers and he wouldn't give us any old papers. Then we asked what we needed to know for the exam, he pointed at the 400-page text book and said "learn everything in that, you'll get an A." So we just asked the other teacher at the next lesson and got what we wanted.

I didn't realise at the time, but even then we were showing a very smart problem solving skill: understand the scope of the problem.

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?

Graham 32

"Are you sure" dialogs are known not to work for common tasks. The user knows the question is coming so answers it automatically. For this case users know to type the number, press enter, press Y.



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