* Posts by James O'Shea

1563 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

James O'Shea

Re: Fonts

LibreOffice is clunky; it suffers from the "UI designed by a programmer without input from users" syndrome (The GIMP has that problem, too) and its main virtues are that it's free and runs on Inux, Mac, and Windows. LO's word processor is simply not as capable as Pages, or WordPerfect, or MS Word or... well or any other word processor on any platform that I've tried word processors on, going back to DEC All-In-1 on a VAX, though admittedly I was accessing the VAX through a dial-up connection. LO's presentation system isn't as bad, but it's not up to PowerPoint or Keynote. LO's spreadsheet system is better than Numbers (not difficult) but simply is nowhere close to Excel. Sorry, but these are the facts.

Let the downvotes begin.

Grab your Bitcoin while you can because Purse.io is shutting up shop in June and you could lose the lot

James O'Shea

Re: Respect

The rest of us are stuck with the fool.

Remember Tapplock, the 'unbreakable' smart lock that was allergic to screwdrivers? The FTC just slapped it down for 'deceiving' folks

James O'Shea


Q1: how tough is the metal loop on the lock? Related q: how tough is whatever the lock is used to lock? A good bolt-cutter or a heavy hammer would work wonders.

Q2: how good is the fingerprint reader? Fingerprint readers on cell phones can be fooled, with a bit of effort. How does it deal with extreme heat or cold? Some of these locks would be outside, exposed to the elements. They're gonna get hot, they're gonna get cold, how do they react? What happens when your finger touches the fingerprint reader that's been outside when the temp hits 100F, which it has around here in summer? What happens when your finger touches the fingerprint reader that's been outside when the temp hits -30F, which doesn't happen here, thank Christ, but which does happen in the Wilds of Northern Minnesota, where my insane sister lives. (It gets hotter than Florida and temps of lower than -40F(or C, same thing) have been recorded. Why anyone lives there is beyond me. It could be worse. It could be Canukistan. I have an insane cousin in Alberta.)

Q3: in these, Ye Years of Ye Plague, how resistant is it to cleaning agents, ranging from plain water to isopropyl alcohol to bleach? You are, after all, _supposed_ to touch it with your bare hand... A lot of electronics doesn't take kindly to liquids...

Q4: it uses Bluetooth. Apparently at least one BT hack has already been found, and an incredibly stupid one: they used the BT MAC to generate the key. One wonders what other BT vulnerabilities lurk.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, health secretary Matt Hancock both test positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

James O'Shea

Re: Lets hope

In this time of National Crisis, perhaps it's time for HM the Q to dissolve Parliament, which clearly isn't up to the job, and declare a Government of National Emergency, that is, her. While Parliament is quarantined, using the Army if necessary, and quite possibly in the Tower of London just to drive home who is and isn't In Charge, HM the Q can right the Ship of State and Restore Britannia To Glory.

It's not as if she could be _worse_ than BoJo and his three immediate predecessors, after all.

Can I have a hearty chorus of "Rule, Britannia"?

James O'Shea

Re: Lets hope

Ah. The UK has finally caught up with Danforth "Mr. Potatoehead" (yes, spelled that way) Quayle, who was Bush the Elder's life insurance policy. ("Pray that nothing happens to me. If I die, you'll be stuck with _him_ and I'll be too dead to care")

My condolences.

Microsoft Teams usage jumps to 32, no, 44 million as Windows-slinger platform slides onto home workers' PCs

James O'Shea

Re: it's borked again

'Vomits'? I think that you have the wrong end in mind.

Firefox 74 slams Facebook in solitary confinement: Browser add-on stops social network stalking users across the web

James O'Shea

Re: Question: what if you don't have a FB account?

Okay. Facebook has been contained..

Would I be a naughty person if I considered using Zuck and all senior FB execs as the test pool for testing vaccines for, well, for everything from COVID-19 to Ebola?

James O'Shea

Question: what if you don't have a FB account?

Should you still turn on the container? Are FB trackers live even if you don't have an account?

'Optional' is the new 'Full' in Windows 10: Microsoft mucks about with diagnostic slurpage levels for Fast Ring Insiders

James O'Shea

Re: So MS wants full telemetry to be an 'Insider', eh?

I had a full-on Microsoft account. I used it for, among other things, my copy of Office 365 Education, which cost $80 for 4 years and was a pretty good deal. LibreOffice was, of course, cheaper, but I got O365E because I was 'teaching' (a.k.a. running a babysitting service, but let's not go into that) as an 'adjunct instructor' (a.k.a. a cheap, disposable, 3rd-class sort of instructor) at a local community college. MS has killed O365E and wanted me to sign up for full-on O365 Pro, or whatever it's called, with a '50% discount'. Hmm. $80 for 4 years vs $75 for one. Especially after the way that I was assured, back when I first got O365E, that I'd be able to renew O365E 'at least twice', so that'd be $240 for 12 years, total. It appears that there has been a change in policy. They didn't deny having said that I could renew at $80/four years, just that O365E is no longer available, have the nice discounted for education version of O365P instead. Sayonara, MS. They'd rather get zero than abide by their promises. Or maybe they thought, incorrectly, that I'd have to move to O365P no matter what. I have deactivated the MS account and use the LibreOffice installs I had had around but didn't use because O365, with all its faults, was better. Just not $75/year better. Among the things I 'teach' are MS-based certification courses for server, networks, that kind of thing. The department head has let me know that some of my comments about MS being a bunch of money-grubbing weasels are 'unhelpful'. He declined to comment as to whether or not they were inaccurate; he uses LibreOffice on his personal machines, too. Same reason, he got burned by the O365E/O365P switch, too and is _not_ happy with them.

James O'Shea

So MS wants full telemetry to be an 'Insider', eh?

Just one more reason why I will never run any MS 'Insider' nonsense, except perhaps on a disposable VM.

More than a billion hopelessly vulnerable Android gizmos in the wild that no longer receive security updates – research

James O'Shea

I used to have an Android phone

One of the reasons why I no longer do is precisely that there was a serious bug in its system, one which was addressed by a software update... which did not appear in the just short of a year I had the phone. The iPhone which replaced the Android got OS updates up until iOS 13 arrived, in Sept/Oct of 2019. It still gets security updates. I'll be replacing it, with another iPhone, later this year. Note that the Android did not get _any_ updates despite being less than a year old, while the iPhone has got updates for _five going on six years_. Yes, the iPhone cost appreciably more than the Android... but it's lasted five or six times as long as the Android, making the iPhone _substantially_ cheaper on a usage basis.

Pope tells his followers to log off for Lent

James O'Shea

Re: Dear Francis

Two more (at time of posting) idiots broadcasting their stupidity, I see. Do keep it up.

James O'Shea

Re: Dear Francis

If you need to learn _that_, you're even more stupid than you appear, something hard to be.

James O'Shea

Re: Dear Francis

Frankie is a Jesuit, and I've yet to encounter a stupid Jesuit, they weed the idiots and overly pious (as if there were a difference) out in seminary. He _knows_ that most people aren't going to take this seriously. The ones who will, such as those assholes at Opus Dei, already do this kind of thing, so no gain (and no loss) there.

Wi-Fi of more than a billion PCs, phones, gadgets can be snooped on. But you're using HTTPS, SSH, VPNs... right?

James O'Shea

Re: But...

El Reg's attitude towards Apple has got to be so bad that I automatically discount at least 50% of anything bad they say about Apple, and automatically inflate by at least 50% the (rare) good things they say about Apple. El Reg's Apple-bashing has become quite reliable. They're like a certain movie reviewer I read; anything he likes I know that I won't, and anything he hates I know I'll like. When El Reg says something bad about Apple, there's usually a lot that's good which they don't mention. I go and have a look for myself, having been alerted to the possibilities of new features by El Reg's negative coverage. Thanks so much, Vulture Central!

Hey GitLab, the 1970s called and want their sexism back: Saleswomen told to wear short skirts, heels and 'step it up'

James O'Shea

Re: bah, humbug, and it's the 60s, not the 70s.

I see that there are at least two twats in the Commentariat.

James O'Shea

Re: bah, humbug, and it's the 60s, not the 70s.

So it's gone so far that simply saying that you don't give a damn is now offensive, has it? Laddie/Lassie/whatever, I don't give a damn. I really don't. If you're 2 metres tall, weigh 150 kilos, and have a beard 30 centimetres long but say that you're a girl, more power to you. I DO NOT CARE. If you look like Dolly Parton only with a bigger bust but say that you're a guy, again I DO NOT CARE. It does not affect me in the least. If you insist on using some thing not him/her to describe yourself I may insist on being addressed as Your Lordship the God Emperor Of Barsoom; should the two-metre bearded lady insist on being called 'her' I will, of course oblige her. I'm not using variants on 'they' for just one person. Even if the one person is bigger than I am, which the two-metre bearded lady would be. I'm definitely not using anything more exotic. If anyone doesn't like it, he/she/whatever can try to avoid letting the door hit his/her/whatever's ass on the way out. If this be dismissive and offensive, well, I did state up front that I'm reactionary.

Now get off my lawn, whippersnapper.

James O'Shea

bah, humbug, and it's the 60s, not the 70s.

I couldn't give a damn about 'non-binary' whatevers, but even little old reactionary me thinks that having the girls dress like Uhura on the bridge of that old lecher Kirk's Enterprise is going a bit far. Especially if it's Mirror Universe Enterprise, that knife looked sharp.

So you locked your backups away for years, huh? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Brute, Force and Ignorance

James O'Shea

One up all of y'all

I haven't seen anyone mention the all-time classic Tale Of The Stuck Drive.

The A-6 Intruder was an interdiction/strike attack aircraft used by the United States Navy and Marine Corps starting in the early 1960s. It was an all-weather (that means it could fly at night, night was a weather condition to aviation types at the time) two-seat twin-engine medium bomber with state of the art electronics, including the most advanced bomb-aiming computer in the world, complete with that magical new invention a drum drive. (Those of you who have encountered drum drives may alrfeady knopw where this is going...) The A-6 was heavily used in the Vietnam War, inspiring among other things the book and movie Flight of the Intruder. The crews of early versions discovered that the drum drives didn't like being subject to high gee forces, such as violent evasive action to avoid anti-aircraft fire and SAMs, and would stick, and the bombs couldn't be dropped without the advanced bomb-aiming computer, so all that trouble getting to the target went for nought. One frustrated Marine kicked the drum... and it unstuck. So standard operating procedure was to kick the drum whenever it stuck. Yes, folks, you're sitting in the most advanced attack aircraft in the world, flying over Hanoi with lots of 100mm guns and SAMs and MiGs all after your blood, and you're kicking the computer to make it work so you can drop the bombs and get the hell outta there. Gotta love military tech, you really do. The drum was replaced in later versions, and a simple bomb release which didn't depend on the computer added, just in case. The A-6 kept flying for the USN and USMC until the early 1990s; a specialised electronics warfare version, the Prowler, showed up in the early 1970s and only retired last year.

WindiLeaks: 250 million Microsoft customer support records dating back to 2005 exposed to open internet

James O'Shea

Re: Microsoft support calls

'Bobby' is _my_ 'Microsoft' support guy. And his grandma doesn't cost $10, only five.

James O'Shea

Re: Telemetry

Where would you store it? Azure? AWS? A really big local array?

Bank IT bod pocketed nearly $1m in kickbacks from tech contractor bosses for sending deals their way, Feds claim

James O'Shea

Re: What's the number then?


Happy now?

IT exec sets up fake biz, uses it to bill his bosses $6m for phantom gear, gets caught by Microsoft Word metadata

James O'Shea


MS Office has tools specifically designed to delete metadata. http://washburnlaw.edu/library/technology/tutorials/metadata-win.html is but one of many places, including official MS sites, which shows the procedure. It's been around in one form or another since at least Office 2003.

Using LibreOffice or similar would also clense the metadata. Hell, WordPad might do the trick, I've never tried it but it should clean the Word metadata.

And there's always the good old use a different computer.

If _I_ were running this scheme, I'd write the invoices up using LibreOffice in a encrypted VM. Do the work in ODT format, export to DOCX, or, better, to PDF. Store the VM's VHD on a external drive. Run the VM only on someone else's machine.

Not stealing $6 million would also work, but obviously wasn't an option.

Want to live long and prosper? Avoid pirated, malware-laden Star Wars free vid streams – and pay to watch instead

James O'Shea

Re: I'm safe

Rogue One was pretty good. It's probably second best, after Empire. For one thing, it revealed that Annie Skywalker was, at best, the third most evil bastard in the Empire after the Emperor himself and Grand Moff Tarkin.

Android tablets

James O'Shea

Android tablets

Are there any _good_ Android tablets, with 128 GB or more storage, which are _not_ Amazon Fire or Google Pixel devices?

Customers in 'standoff' with SAP over 2025 end of support for Business Suite: Who'll blink first?

James O'Shea

Which is worse?

SAP or Oracle? And is there a realistic alternative, price-wise, performance-wise, usability-wise?

Gospel according to HPE: And lo, on the 32,768th hour did thy SSD give up the ghost

James O'Shea

Yes, it was Rickman. Bloody stupid autocorrect struck, and I didn't notice in time. Whoever invented autocorrect also needs the spoon treatment.

James O'Shea

You beat me to it but were more restrained. I had to cool off a little before posting, the original version of my post would almost certainly have been moderated. Something about stakes and large quantities of gasoline. Or, alternatively, the use of a spoon the way Alan Rickard would have used it in the best line in _Robin Hood: Prince of California_.

James O'Shea

fucking incredible

The idiots put a _signed, short integer_ into a counter. If it were unsigned it'd be bad enough. Why couldn't they have picked a _long_ integer? Can someone please identify the morons in question who sold those pieces of shit to HP so that we can be sure to avoid any of their other products?

And, HP... get a firmware update out, yesterday.

Cisco blasts sueball at 3 ex-employees it claims handed trade secrets over to same rival

James O'Shea

Re: Eat your own dogfood...

Offhand I can think of at least three ways to get data out without doing something silly like emailing it to yourself or slipping a thumb drive into a USB port.

1 take a picture with your cell phone.. If you have an office this can't be stopped. One of the alleged bad guys had a company laptop; take it home, take pix, take it back.

2 print it out as part of normal business. You need 20 copies of Document X? Make 21. Easily done: make a printout, then feed it to the copier and make 20 copies. You still have the original...

3 write it down. See item one above. More tedious, less likely to be detected, and you can write down just what you need. And if someone sees you... you're making notes for the Important Meeting next week. Be sure to show up for the Important Meeting, with notepaper, and make sure that everyone sees that you used the notes.

Labour: Free British broadband for country if we win general election

James O'Shea

Re: @steelpillow and ImAlrightJack

He's got some way to go before he can beat Michael Foote or (shudder) Neil Kinnock. Exactly how in God's name Kinnock managed to lose in 1992 is quite beyond me.

Microsoft's first build of Armium Edge now lurks in Canary channel – go have a play if you dare

James O'Shea

Re: Just updated a laptop to 1909....

I just updated two desktops, a laptop, and a VM sitting on a Mac. Under 20 minutes, total, to do them all, including rebooting. I've had Patch Tuesday updates which took two or three times as long. Where's the real Microsoft hiding, and who is this imposter?

And, oh, the latest beta for macOS Godhelpus has arrived, and it was almost as quick as 1909. And actually didn't break anything. Whatever's happening, it's contagious, and Apple's caught it too.

Flak overflow: Barrage of criticism prompts very public Stack Overflow apology

James O'Shea

Re: This is all very fine, except for one thing.

All voluntary work.

The mod firing squad: Stack Exchange embroiled in 'he said, she said, they said' row

James O'Shea

Re: Sorry guys, there are only two genders..

Harry Turtledove once perpetuated a novel, which, among other things, had a major character who was Jewish and who spent a lot of time in Northern Ireland. NI was, according to the novel, the safest place to be a Jew, the Christians were too busy killing each other to be anti-Semitic.

James O'Shea

Re: Is this just an English thing ?

Bloody hell. I agree with Bombastic Bob on something! Be still my heart!

James O'Shea

Let me see if I have this right

1 The CoC is still a _proposed_ CoC?

2 The mod in question was booted over the weekend, without warning, without a chance to defend herself, without appeal?

3 The mod in question in an observant Jew, and not available after sundown on Friday, ensuring that she did not even know of the action until the next week... and the next Monday was a Jewish holy day so she wasn't around until Tuesday?

4 This whole mess was because she didn't like to use 'they' as singular?

5 The mod in question was NOT paid for her services?

Am I correct? Is there something that I'm missing? Because as it is, it looks to me as though the mod in question was subjected to a drumhead courtmartial in her absence and presumed guilty even though the alleged offense isn't yet an actual offense. It's one thing if the CoC had actually been implemented, and if the accused had had the chance to offer a defense. If I understand correctly, that's not even close to what happened. Personally, if I have it correctly, at this point I'd close my Stack Exchange account, if I had one. Which I don't and am extremely unlikely to ever get one, not after this. If I read this correctly.

James O'Shea

Re: Is this just an English thing ?


FBI called in to investigate 2018 Mountain State mobile voting system hacking

James O'Shea

Re: Gospodin Putin has always cast Longing Dark Eyes on West Virginia's Coal Stocks

The only thing that Putin casts longing eyes on is Big Macintosh. https://mlpfanart.fandom.com/wiki/Big_Macintosh

Pro tip: Plug in your Tesla S when clocking off, lest you run out of juice mid hot pursuit

James O'Shea

Re: This story reminds me

That wouldn't have happened in Jamaica. Regular patrol cops would be two to a vehicle, each with a 9-mm semi-auto pistol of some type (there are a variety in service, ranging from Browning Hi-Powers to SIGs and S&Ws) and there'd be a rifle in the cop car, usually a variety of AR-15. Specialised cops, such as flying squad, crime eradication squad, and the like usually travel four to a car, each with two semi-auto pistols and either a submachine gun (Uzi or Colt Commando, the SMG version of the AR-15, usually; some unlucky blokes are still stuck with Sterlings) or a rifle, again usually an AR-15, each. Standard operational procedure for the special cops has been since the early 1970s to empty one weapons' mag at the target, get out another weapon, empty that mag, repeat until out of weapons, reload, start again. Claudius Massop, for example, was shot 42 times 'resisting arrest'. If the Mobile Reserve rolls on the incident, then there'll be cops with Barret 0.50 rifles and GPMGs. If necessary they'll call for support from the army, and one or more armoured car with a 0.50 MG or a 40-mm grenade launcher will show up. On one spectacular case an Army helicopter showed, was shot at by the bad guys, went back to base and got a few machine guns and came back and did some close air support. (No, I'm not making that up. It happened about 15 years ago in Rose Hall, just outside of Montego Bay. A joint police-army force in company strength ran into problems and solved them with an air strike...) Police in Jamaica get away with things that American cops can only dream of.

See https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/11/jamaica-police-military-sweeping-powers-zones-of-special-operations for more. The pic at the top is of Mobile Reserve policemen carrying AR-15s.

Hot patches for ColdFusion: Adobe drops trio of fixes for three serious flaws

James O'Shea

Re: Blast from the past

Not without your getting me dinner and a movie first, laddie.

Those furious gun-toting Aussies were just a glitch. Let's try US drone deliveries, says Wing

James O'Shea

This should be good

The locals around there have a healthy, a very healthy, respect for Ye Seconde Amendment. I do hope that Google has armored their drones, 'cause I foresee lots and lots of double-aught and maybe some 0.30-06 and 9mm in their future.

Congratulations! You finally have the 10Mbps you're legally entitled to. Too bad that's obsolete

James O'Shea

Which is why you should replace the SIM in your device with a local SIM. Well, that and using a local SIM will both avoid roaming charges, which are usually highly exorbitant, while at the same time ensuring that the office can't call you because they don't have the number on the local SIM.

I have local SIMs, on a pay-as-you-go basis, for several Caribbean countries. I turn my phone off in the airport when I'm leaving, take out the main SIM, insert the appropriate SIM for the country I'm going to, and turn the phone back on when I'm on the ground there. When leaving, I reverse the process. I keep a small amount of credit on the SIMs from aboard, topping them up if necessary so that I can make calls. Just without roaming charges. And only those _I_ want to tell have the number for the Caribbean SIMs.

Fairphone 3 stripped to the modular essentials: Glue? What glue?

James O'Shea

Re: A commendable effort

It seems that at least five people think that the Fairphone people can't go bust, but decline to state why Fairphone should be immune to the laws of economics. Based on past performance, there are very few people who want the product. This is simply a fact. Are there enough users to keep the company afloat? And why is it that merely asking the question is a bad thing?

Microsoft Chrom... Edge hits beta as new browser prepped for biz testing

James O'Shea

Re: Statcounter

Statcounter and other similar sites hate me. I usually use Safari on a Mac. But I have the dev tools turned on, so prior to going to certain sites I do things like change the user agent so that it looks like Edge. Or Chrome (Mac). Or Chrome (Windows). Or Firefox (Mac). Or Firefox (Windows). Or Safari (iPad). It's really just plain Safari (Mac), though, so I have Firefox and Opera for real, and certain sites bookmarked there. And I have a nice Ubuntu 18.04 VM with Firefox set up for secure connections to specific sites. Statcounter will have hell classifying my connections.

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

James O'Shea

Re: Too much overkill.

Sgt. Schlock lives! Maxim 37 is my favorite.

An Army Watchkeeper drone tried to land. Then meatbags took over from the computers

James O'Shea


The next flight, tie one of the 'operators' to the airframe. Give him a little box which gives him a shock when someone on the ground tries to override the aircraft AI. There should also be a little button which will override the override. If, in the opinion of the laddie tied to the airframe, the AI was doing things correctly, he can killswitch any interference from the ground.

After the first two or three crash I'm sure that all surviving 'operators' will get the hang of things.

Alternatively, have the runway line up with the officer commanding's quarters, so that if the aircraft lands long the OC gets a present. This should improve the OC's attitude towards 'operator' training.

Icon is what happens when the OC is unpopular.

Googlers hate it! This one weird trick lets websites dodge Chrome 76's defenses, detect you're in Incognito mode

James O'Shea

Re: Matthew42

There is no evidence to support this thesis IRL along the US-Mexico border.

Fix LibreOffice now to thwart silent macro viruses – and here's how to pwn those who haven't

James O'Shea

"And if I email you an EXE file called "innocent.docx" you'd click on it?"

No. And if I did... on the Windows systems around here an .exe with a .docx extension would not run. I mostly use Mac and Linux systems anyway; Windows .exes don't run on either unless something like WINE is installed, which is not the case. (I do have Windows in virtual machines on many Mac and Linux boxes, but normally the VM is off. In the event that the system somehow recognized that a .docx was really an .exe and launched Windows in the VM to load it, I'm pretty sure that people would notice.)

It's a vulnerability in LibbreOffice, and no amount of whataboutism is going to make it less of a vulnerability. If this was a problem in Office, many commentards would be screaming for Microsoft's head. Oh Wait. It _was_ a problem in Office, _20 years ago_, and has been patched. Why in Christ's name has a 20-year-old vuln been brought back to life?

For pity's sake, groans Mimecast, teach your workforce not to open obviously dodgy emails

James O'Shea

You missed quite a few. Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo (both of them), Tahiti, New Caledonia, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guiana (not Guyana, they speak English there), Vietnam, Cambodia, and possibly more. Note that the level of Frenchiness may vary from Côte d'Ivoire which has insane levels of Frenchiness even for French Puppet Africa (look at the name!) to Vietnam and Cambodia where Frenchiness is not loved.

Exits, to Le Boudin.

Bonkers British MPs rant: 5G signals cause cancer

James O'Shea

Re: Maybe they're right to an extent

"unless we move Parliament to a nice offshore island"

Hmm, he says, innocently... aren't they already on a nice offshore island from (the rest of) Europe?

Although if an island offshore from Britain is desired, may I suggest https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruinard_Island

there's no network service of any kind, including basic PSTN, there, so they would be able to rant away and no-one would know. Seems ideal. And it's goode for thieves and outlaws, again making it ideal. The only problem is that the Scots might object.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020