* Posts by Novex

351 posts • joined 20 Jun 2011


Cyberlaw experts: Take back control. No, we're not talking about Brexit. It's Automated Lane Keeping Systems


Re: How indeed

I have pretty much the same feeling. When, not so long ago, I first drove a vehicle with simple cruise control turned on, I felt my right foot not being on the accelerator pedal meant I wasn't ready to respond to conditions on the road should I need it to. There would be a delay, potentially fatal, in my reactions. It was then I figured there were only two states of vehicle automation - totally manual or totally autonomous. I believe that's 0 and 5 in the levels of autonomy as they are currently understood. The only exception I might make is for emergency braking, but I'm not even sure about that as it still requires accurate identification of what constitutes an emergency.

LibreOffice 7.2 release candidate reveals effort to be Microsoft-compatible



I take it that a decent replication of the shortcut keys in Excel are still missing? If I am to 'convert' to another spreadsheet program, it has to have Excel shortcuts available as I will most probably always have to use that when working for employers, and I can't get my finger memory to do two different shortcut systems.

Go to L: A man of the cloth faces keyboard conundrum


For my sins...

...I have to code in VBA in Office (Access mostly), which defaults to Courier New. '1' and 'l' (lower case L) basically are the same appearance wise. There is a very subtle shift in the pixels on screen between the two but it's practically not noticeable. So I've got used to making sure I try not to use a single 'l' for variables, in case when I come back to code in future I confuse it with a '1'. Fortunately variables in vba can't start with numbers, so anything that looks like a '1' at the beginning should only be an 'l'.

SQL now a dirty word for Oracle, at least in cloudy data warehouses


These high level BI tools are too generic, presuming that all businesses can fit their data to the tool's way of seeing things. Unfortunately most businesses have a good percentage of their activity that simply can't be analysed or visualised using them. So they always reach a point of failure where the manager wanting info says 'but why can't it do xxx...'

The nightmare is real: 'Excel formulas are the world's most widely used programming language,' says Microsoft


As far as I can tell, MS is trying to get people to use JS via add-ins. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, these need to be coded in an environment that isn't part of the default Excel install (say, Visual Studio, as against the built-in VBIDE for VBA). Consequently, all the business-side user-written VBA won't be possible as IT departments won't give anyone business-side a VS installation. So VBA remains the built-in code solution. I can see the attempt to let formulas be functions as part of a strategy to kill VBA, but they'll never be able to replace the complex functionality in most long standing automated Office applications.

Your web browser running remotely in Cloudflare's cloud. That's it. That's the story


Oriental Obfuscation

Is China doing this already? Seems right up their street: don't just monitor people's browser usage, but actually control everything they can do and see.

Hey Reg readers, Happy Spreadsheet day! Because there ain't no party like an Excel party


"Tool on the Stool" - love it :D

Can I ask for a Happy Microsoft Access Day? If we're talking about Excel and the like being used to innappropriately stand in for properly developed applications, then Microsoft Access also has to be nominated as such a culprit. However, in both cases it happens because Business-side people want something developed, but the willingness of I.T. departments to work to the Business-side needs for a price that isn't astronomical and a development time that isn't measured in millennia seems lacking, so Excel and Access get used instead.

Microsoft claims to love open source – this alleged leak of Windows XP code is probably not what it had in mind, tho


It's not just old games. Some other (albeit obscure) software of the same vintage hasn't been updated for later operating systems so requires XP to run, and also old hardware (and not always obscure either) often doesn't get driver updates for later operating systems. I feel the best course of action with these situations is to ensure that the computers (if physical) are air-gapped and have restricted physical access so that who can do what on them is locked down to essential needs only. Obviously then they are no use for network or internet based usage, but unfortunately any old software or hardware that requires that will just have to be junked if the risks are perceived to be too high to take.

If you think Mozilla pushed a broken Firefox Android build, good news: It didn't. Bad news: It's working as intended


Exactly what I did immediately after I manually did the update. This new version, while it might be faster, has lost too much that I require. When mozilla can figure out fixing the new version without trying to be so damn revolutionary with their changes, I'll update. Evolution, not revolution.


Rollback via apkmirror

Rolled back to 68 via apkmirror, all back to normal

Mozilla doubles down on anti-tracking tech: It'll be tougher for wily ad-biz cookie monsters to track Firefox


I just use NoScript to block most javascript code anyway. I also always clear my browser out entirely after a browsing session, using a password manager to login rather than relying on saved cookies. So it appears this anti-tracking work won't be much use to me...

Brilliant Boston boffins blow big borehole in Bluetooth's ballyhooed barricades: MAC addy randomization broken


Isn't the real flaw...

...the idea of having bluetooth on all the time so you can receive advertising as you walk/cycle/drive along a street...? Isn't that just inviting trouble (and high battery usage)?

When 2FA means sweet FA privacy: Facebook admits it slurps mobe numbers for more than just profile security


Re: Wa-ha-ha-ha!!

My first sentence was me being sarcastic... :)



...we didn't expect this to happen, did we?

I deleted my FB account many years ago when they started to try and force connection information to be linked to group pages and preventing it being kept in separate 'silos'. No way should any, any company be telling us they will do whatever they want with our private data. We should have final say, always. If laws need to be made to force this to be so, then so be it.

Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for 'large scale and covert' gathering of people's info via Office


What about Windows 10 that Office is sitting on?

Surely the telemetry of both Office and Windows 10 is of concern here, not just Office?

The easiest way to comply with GDPR is to not collect the data, or at a minimum give us back the ability to say 'no' to data collection of any kind. I'm hoping this will focus some attention on Windows 10 and have Microsoft put back the ability to stop telemetry from the OS, and with all the update screw ups, maybe give us back update control too?

It all 'worked fine' up until Windows 7, so maybe if it wasn't broken, it didn't need fixing.

50 ways to leave your lover, but four to sniff browser history


I combine NoScript with Privacy Badger, AdBlock Plus, clearing my Firefox browser history completely on exit, and using a password manager (KeePass with Kee add-on). This way there is far less chance that I'll be hit by a nasty. Not impossible, I realize, but the 'attack surface' is much smaller.

Intel chip flaw: Math unit may spill crypto secrets from apps to malware


Linux Kernel 4.9?

Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return


I have one of these. I like it :)

My main niggles are that the sim card and sdcard slot are combined, there is only one speaker (as far as I can tell) and there's no notification LED.

Apart from that, it's working fine, battery lasts ages if lightly used as I do, but I would imagine could hold up for a day of medium-heavy use.

Microsoft silently fixes security holes in Windows 10 – dumps Win 7, 8 out in the cold


Or in other words, move to win 10 so we can slurp your data and sell it on and then, when you can't back out, we can charge you a fee to rent the OS.

This. I don't mind the OS itself, but the data slurp and the forced updates means it's a no-no.

Germans force Microsoft to scrap future pushy Windows 10 upgrades


For those of us who didn't fall into the trap... I guess we'll just keep our automatic updates turned off and watch the industry news carefully to see if they try pulling that crap again.

Hear, hear! I have now installed LM on a brand new lappy. Win XP 64 bit and Win 7 32 bit in VMs which can be backed up and easily restored should MS try that trick again.

The Win 10 install that came with the machine is on the HDD but that's been removed and replaced with an SSD for LM. I've made a clone of the HDD just in case I ever need to restore and use the Win 10 install, and eventually the 500GB HDD will get put in a caddy as a useful little* backup source.

God, when did 500GB become 'little'? :lol:

Sorry, but those huge walls of terms and conditions you never read are legally binding


Re: "in America at least"

I was thinking along the same lines. Here in the UK (and EU) there are unfair contract terms acts (1977, 1999, etc?) that include words like 'reasonableness' in relation to terms in contracts between consumers and businesses. It basically means silly terms and terms which try to undermine existing rights basically cannot be enforced in a court of law.

We have a term in some transactions here - "sold as seen" - where sellers try to sell products and not have the responsibility for them actually working. It works with secondhand sales between private non-business transactions, but when it comes to any business-to-consumer sales, it is actually completely meaningless except in the case of property (i.e. buildings such as houses, etc). But funnily enough most buyers think it's legal and have no redress against a business using it when the thing they bought turns out to be faulty.

70% of Windows 10 users are totally happy with our big telemetry slurp, beams Microsoft


Still not going there

Win 10 is currently what I have to use at work, and to be honest, as an OS it works fine despite the schizophrenia that is control panel (two different places, still?)

But on my own PCs (personal or business) I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. The data collection policies of Microsoft are just too much like malware. Give me the option to completely turn it off, and proveably so, and to be able to permanently reject unwanted updates, and I'd happily reconsider.

Until then it's Linux Mint, and VMs with older MS OSes (if only I could get the updates to install properly on them without 100% svchost.exe usage for days on end).

As for the 70% accepting full telemetry, I doubt many of them even know that they're sending data to MS. Of those that do and keep the setting at maximum, they've probably bought into the Cortana thing, which requires way too much personal data to be shared with MS in order for it to work. Most people would probably be very uncomfortable with it if they really knew just where the data had to go in order for Cortana to work.

How can you kill that which will not die? Windows XP is back (sorta... OK, not really)


I just did a fresh install of XP...

...albeit in a VM on LM. What was great was that a device that I can't get a Linux driver for worked with the pass through in VB such that XP sees it and can install the Windows driver for it! :D

OnePlus cash equals 5: Rebel flagship joins upmarket Android crew


Re: No microSD port?

At the price, I stopped reading after I read that it had no expansion option. For me, even if the microsd slot is inside the phone, it's an essential. If I want to move data between devices then I'd use USB-OTG anyway these days. The internal card means I can have my entire music library on MP3 in the phone on a 128GB card with headroom, and don't have to keep plugging in a USB card to either move files onto the phone for listening, or listen via the USB card directly (which uses more power).

Microsoft: Get in, IT nerds, you're now using Insider builds and twice-annual Windows rollouts


Still not 'buying' it

I have a new laptop coming with Windows 10 on the HDD. The HDD will be cloned to a 'backup' file (using Acronis) and that file buried deep within my file store. Then the HDD will be wiped for other use.

Then I will fit a replacement SSD which will have Linux Mint installed on it. From there, I'll install Win 7 in a VM so I can do the few software things I need to that Linux can't handle.

Win 10 won't even figure, because I cannot trust Microsoft won't grab data from me they simply shouldn't (confidential documents, passwords, etc), even on their 'basic' privacy setting. Also, with the forced updates there is too much risk of destabilizing the PC and leaving me without an essential work tool. OK, those updates don't have to be installed straight away, but even after 18 months there remains the possibility that components of the OS could be removed that I use (Paint, anyone?)

So even with all my reservations about the Linux having too much reliance on CLI, I'd rather tackle that fight than the whack-a-mole with Win 10's lack of privacy and unpredictable results of the updating.

1Password won't axe private vaults. It'll choke 'em to death instead


Re: KeePass

+1 for KeePass.

I switched to KeePass from Roboform when Siber System's Android app for Roboform turned out to be cloud only.

While the move to KeePass wasn't entirely straightforward (as Roboform's export to HTML is crap) once done it's been fine. I do only use it for passwords and safe notes though. I don't use it for filling in credit card details on websites as I prefer to do that manually anyhoo.

Also, I think most businesses are thinking that all their users can be forced to cloud if they're presented with that as the only option. It's similar to the way Microsoft forced Windows 10 on users, by effectively killing the older systems by not supporting updates on newer processors running older OSes.

Heaps of Windows 10 internal builds, private source code leak online


Re: Ooooh, goody...

Few people in the world want a stripped down OS that doesn't update drivers, software and security.

Duh. it's not about NOT updating stuff, it's about having control of the updating instead of it being MS who just forces out updates as if PCs were XBoxes (which I have no problem with getting 'auto' updated due to the limited uses such gaming consoles are used for). PCs are tools of the trade and need to remain functionally capable of what the user needs them to do and without loads of adverts getting in the way. Had MS created a suitable, stable, secure version of Win 10 for small business and professional users (who all have confidential stuff to deal with in the shape of their business accounts) then this problem would simply go away.


Ooooh, goody...

...can we get at the bits of code that do the telemetry and forced updates and REMOVE THE F*****G THINGS so we get the OS we users actually want!?


Just like knotted-up headphones: Entangled photons stay entwined over record distance



...why not put the receiving stations in space as well as the 'transmitter'? Then surely day/night and other interference won't be an issue...?

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


Re: A question

I still have to code in VBA (don't ask) and that creaky, old system uses tabs to insert spaces, and iirc it does so anywhere in the line (though I don't have an example to hand right this minute to check for sure).

I use it at four spaces, though I've seen two, and even three used by other developers.

Do I get paid even £43K? Like hell I do :(

Microsoft totters from time machine clutching Windows 10 Workstation



...I bet it still comes with phone home telemetry that can't be fully switched off, and forced updates that override privacy settings and replace useful features with useless ones.

Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report


Re: Price per page view ...

I'll be willing to consider a subscription to a site I know I can trust and that has plenty of useful content for me. Beyond that, any site that requires a charge, I simply don't bother with. Put that in your 'adblockers get charged' pipe and smoke it.

Retirement age must move as life expectancy grows, says WEF


Re: This is all very well, but........

People can make their own choices, but when they decide to spend money and not save for retirement should stop complaining about what they have to do later in life. Problem today is people want it all. To spend all their money now on living life, whilst still expecting others to fund their later life/retirement. Either live life a little less and save more, or accept some compromises later in life.


While I have some sympathy for the views expressed, people working in minimum / living / low wage jobs are supposed to save for retirement how exactly?


This is what I was thinking - if wages are staying down, and for quite a lot of people that's far below the median*, then how are they (we) supposed to save for anything, let alone a pension? Minimum wage, even the Living Wage Foundation's living wage, isn't enough to be paying for pensions out of it while there's massive rent or mortgage to pay (that's if you can even find a place to rent these days).

*The median, which, by the way, at around £26K hasn't changed much in 15+ years, or so it seems, while top level wages have gone stratospheric, meaning there are far more low paid jobs in this economy than there were 15 years ago.

Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped


Re: MP3

MP3, I'll be back in fashion when the hipsters ironically adopt it.

I'm fine with it as long as the compression is kept to a minimum. Hell, I still use Winamp Pro (on a Win7 partition as it won't see the CD drive on WINE in Linux Mint for some reason) with LAME set to VBR quality 0 and the bit rate from 32kbps to 320kbps and it works. Far smaller file sizes than FLAC and when listening on the move or with other noise around it sounds fine to my uneducated ears.

The thing we should really remember is CD is a 'compressed' format too - with arty farty facts as well. It's 'only' 16 bit and 44.1KHz, so a fair bit of the original sound of a performance has been lost. But that gets us onto the merits (or otherwise) of HD formats like 24bit 96KHz, etc, which will probably just end up with us all flaming each other...

What augmented reality was created for: An ugly drink with a balloon


Re: Is that Leisure Suit Larry in the header pic?

I knew I recognized that picture from somewhere...


Microsoft cracks open patch mega-bundles for biz admins, will separate security, stability fixes



Businesses using Enterprise versions of Win 10 seem to be allowed to stop an update completely if they don't want it, and can stop all (or nearly all) of the telemetry, but consumers are considered to be fodder for advertising and constant destabilizing updates.

I'll stick to Linux Mint and Win 7.

Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips


If only...

...Microsoft offered a paid for version of Win 10 that could have all the telemetry home calling switched off, and allowed proper user control of updates, then Win 10 would get more installs (and if you don't like the interface, use something like Classic Shell?).

Instead MS seem hell bent on this demented trajectory of 'We want your data! All of your data! Now!'

Happy Motherboards day: Here's some (Optane) memory


Two Lanes

If it's supposed to be a flash beater, why limit it to two lanes when there are M.2 flash drives that already use four lanes...?

Security slip-ups in 1Password and other password managers 'extremely worrying'


Re: Once again, the open-source Keepass is being ignored

I noticed that too. The factor that might have put them off is that Keepass itself isn't an Android app or even arguably a Linux one being that it needs mono to work. There are Android apps that can connect to a Keepass database such as Keepass2Android (the offline version of which I use) but I suppose they could be said not to be popular enough to feature compared to the online vaults that seem to get more mentions when password managers are covered in news reports.

Chrome dev explains how modern browsers make secure UI just about impossible


"Security UI is hard" - not. It's all this mucking around trying to take over our devices and make things full screen all the effing time and trying not to have any 'chrome' that's causing the problem. Leave users to decide whether they want full screen or not, and never force them to accept popups or full screen views. Oh, and let them have at least some 'chrome' around a window to keep things a bit more sane.

Clone wars: Wrestler sues Microsoft over Gears of War character


Re: The only black avatar in the series

He's not actually the only black character in the series. In Gears 3 there's also Jason Stratton, a COG soldier, and Aaron Griffin, a 'civilian'. Both available as 'skins' to use in multiplayer as well as being story characters.

Also, Gears has a history of having a number of ethnic characters around so it's not like they don't pay attention to what are increasingly inaccurately called 'minority' ethnic types.

New Windows 10 privacy controls: Just a little snooping – or the max


Still not going with Win 10. What parts of 'no telemetry' and 'no forced updates' does MS not understand?

Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables


Re: Sorry for your loss Alistair.

Sympathies from me too. This year a close friend of mine lost his wife after a two year battle with cancer, so it's not just celebrities who have kicked the bouquet.

Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover


When I do need to use Windows I still use Windows 7, so Aero and the like is something I've not moved away from. It just goes to show that if you stay with a style long enough, it always comes back into fashion ;-)

Routine jobs vanishing and it's all technology's fault? Hold it there, sport


While I think that automation of various kinds (mechanisation, robotisation, artificial intelligence) will have an increasing impact on our routine jobs, right now I agree with the bit in the article that stated:

The researchers caution that other factors not evaluated in the study, such as outsourcing, trade, and changes in policies, may play a role in affecting labor market participation.

These are more likely to be affecting us now than the automation of jobs. But the automation will come even if it takes a decade or two more. And the world's population is still increasing...

Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'


Well, this kind of 'apology' seems about as much as we can expect from MS these days. An actual proper apology would have included recognizing the truly crappy way they have treated their customers, and then changed their attitude and approach to the way they do business to correct that treatment. Personally, the only apology I will accept is to fix Windows 10 to make it possible for me to have control of my PC again with regards to updates and data privacy.

A British phone you're not embarrassed to carry? You heard that right


64GB Micro SD only?

I'm slightly surprised they're saying the memory is only expandable to 64GB. Surely the SDXC spec allows far more than that, and should certainly cover the currently available 256GB micro SD cards?

I don't seem to be able to download a spec sheet for the Swift 2 + from the wileyfox website. The link just ends up at the checkout page with a Swift 2 + already added to the cart.

Edit: to ask if CyanogenMod 13 allows for xprivacy to be installed?

Windows 10 market share stalls after free upgrade offer ends


As others have said, I'm not surprised at this news. Microsoft knew there were going to be problems after the XP to 7 resistance, which was why it became a malware pusher in order to force users on to Win 10.

What they actually needed to do was make a product that users wanted. One that doesn't spy on them (or at least allows the user to choose to block ALL spying), and doesn't try to change itself without the user's consent (NO forced updates AT ALL). If the rest of the OS was then designed and coded to actually be a joy to use and control, then users would flock to it. Instead they've sought out alternatives: some like me to Linux Mint; others to Apple; still others ditching PCs altogether and just using their oversized smart phone or tablet.

With Win 10 as it stands (as a designed-to-use-cloud-and-force-users-to-do-so OS, instead of cloud being a choice for the user), Microsoft are the designers of their own demise.

Uber drivers entitled to UK minimum wage, London tribunal rules


Re: When UBER loses the Appeal

A bit of six of one, half a dozen of the other.

If they lose the appeal, and if they pull out, I would anticipate that apps like Hailo for proper licensed hire drivers will fill the gap. Any driver with Uber who seriously wants to keep doing the job could just apply to become a private hire driver and work within that set of regulations, which should (though I could be wrong) comply with employment law already.

What will be more interesting is how, as per the article, this affects the overall 'gig' economy here in the U.K. bearing in mind we'll come out of the E.U. soon and be in a position to make an independent decision on how such businesses operate here. Will we choose to become a 'gig' economy country, trying to be innovative and 'ahead of the game' but at the same time denying reasonable stability to our workers; or will we be overly protectionist and end up with too much power in the hands of the workforce, leaving businesses unable to operate effectively? Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Getting your tongue around foreign tech-talk is easier than you think


Is it..

'sac-de-tea', or 'cul-de-tea'?



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