* Posts by David Gosnell

923 posts • joined 19 Jun 2007


FYI Russia is totally hacking the West's labs in search of COVID-19 vaccine files, say UK, US, Canada cyber-spies

David Gosnell


.... we should start treating this global crisis as, well, you know, a global crisis, with a global solution?

As others have commented elsewhere, we (well everyone apart from Boris and his crazy gang) don't give a flying one about having "world-beating" anything, just an end to this damned thing whatever it takes.

Bricks and mortar chemists take down Indian contact-tracing website

David Gosnell

At least they HAD an app

No further text.

'VPs shouldn't go publicly rogue'... XML co-author Tim Bray quits AWS after Amazon fires COVID-19 whistleblowers

David Gosnell

Re: You can buy books online from other sites.

> In case you hadn't noticed, Amazon is not a bookseller and hasn't been for a *long* time.

To some extent, it never has been. I remember years ago when they made a thumping loss on book sales - as I suspect they still do, because they can afford to put dedicated sellers out of business despite their bit of pocket-money support for real bookshops recently. In spite of selling books (and more lately everything under the sun) being their perceived purpose to Joe Public, they never really expected to make a penny selling any physical product, with the real focus on services and technology licensing.

Whoa, someone actually texted you in 2020? Oh, nvm, it's just Boris Johnson, telling you to stay the f**k at home

David Gosnell

Visions of a lackey tapping out 50,000,000 messages on his T9 keypad

Messages arrived over the course of at least 4 or 5 hours. Good thing it was just a deadly virus, not a nuclear missile winging its way - even a pretend one like Hawaii had.

Never thought we'd write this headline: Under Siege Steven Seagal is not Above The Law, must fork out $314,000 after boosting crypto-coin biz

David Gosnell

But he can say his mate Vlad's name like a boss.


Vendor-bender LibreOffice kicks out 6.4: Community project feel, though now with added auto-█████ tool

David Gosnell


Curiously, my 6.2 installation isn't even picking up on there being a 6.3 release...

6.4 in fairness is an early-adopter release and as such not generally pushed at users, but surprised not to be offered 6.3 automatically.

There are already Chinese components in your pocket – so why fret about 5G gear?

David Gosnell

Trade spat

This is not, and never has been, about technology and security. It's just a silly trade spat that the orange buffoon expects all his allies to side with him on.

In tribute to Galaxy Note 7, BBC iPlayer support goes up in flames for some Samsung TVs

David Gosnell

Possible licensing error

As one affected, been keeping close track of this over the last 24 hours. One recurring theme from those chatting with Samsung seems to allude to a possibly expired licensing agreement. Also suggestion of a working patch in 3 to 4 days, in which regard Samsung were rather unhelpful publishing a new support page that (for now) basically echoed the useless advice message on iPlayer itself. But at least Samsung are on the case.

Any finger will do? Samsung Galaxy S10 with a screen protector reportedly easy to fool

David Gosnell

In other words....

Samsung blamed the screen protector until they realised that the same (obviously) happened with their own, not being endowed with magical qualities. What's the betting you could unlock such a phone with a pork chipolata, keeping it clean?

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still

David Gosnell

Two pesos (approx 8p)

I remember a charming story when I was little called "Two pesos for Catalina". Half a century on, who'd have thought the title would be so prescient of the worth of what should be a market-leading operating system?

Take the bus... to get some new cables: Raspberry Pi 4s are a bit picky about USB-Cs

David Gosnell

Re: Let me get this straight

Power may be the real reason for the new connector, but how many USB chargers are actually fully making use of this new capacity? Certainly Samsung are not yet shipping high power chargers with all their USB-C equipped devices, so to the end user it certainly seems like change for change's sake, and justified with hypocritical nonsense about saving polar bears and shizz.

Most of the micro USB connectors I have have some kind of tactile keying for orientation (either an indent or ridges), and those that don't (thankfully all white) I've sharpied. High tech solution huh? As for three attempts to plug in? Absolutely. I considered 2 to be a fair average...

David Gosnell

Let me get this straight

So, the new cable introduced because we needed a new harmonised standard and the one that every single sane device was using already wasn't good enough just because you usually had to try twice to plug it in, isn't actually harmonised at all, and far from reducing cable clutter (which it never did, thanks to the above, even by design) is actually now confusing the waters still further. Have I missed anything?

Firm fat-fingered G Suite and deleted its data, so it escalated its support ticket to a lawsuit

David Gosnell

Fat fingers?

Seems to be a bit of an issue with the typo-ridden company, even down to their chosen name.

Remember the Nominet £100m dot-uk windfall it claims doesn't exist? Well, it's already begun

David Gosnell

Re: Unsurprisingly, as a partner company, 1&1 have just followed suit

They've done some, but not all, of mine.

My primary domain is done, dated 4th June 2019 on whois. So they've been up to this for a few weeks.

David Gosnell

Unsurprisingly, as a partner company, 1&1 have just followed suit

Email just in:

"In order to extend the protection period for you, 1&1 IONOS has registered all of the .uk domain names, which you have not already secured yourself. This will ensure that your .uk domain name will not be registered by anyone except you until 2020."

Curioser and curioser: Little Mars rover sniffs out highest ever levels of methane

David Gosnell

Error error!

"Musk posted an image of the Moon during a solar eclipse confusingly tagged with the slogan Occupy Mars"

If you're going to point out a glaring error, don't make another one in so doing. Lunar eclipse, that should be.

*checks this post carefully* ;-)

It's alive! Hands on with Microsoft's Chromium Edge browser

David Gosnell

As I noted previously...

It'll all be tied in with their Windows 10S locked down browser model. They want people to love 10S and walled gardens, but know that Edge has been the kicker up until now, prompting many users to opt out if they ever bought the product at all. With Chromium behind it, they can push this angle much more confidently, and therefore lucratively - and probably even remove the opt-out option in the process.

It's coooming: Windows 10 October 2018 Update adoption slows ahead of the next release

David Gosnell


I must have mine configured wrong...

Brit Parliament online orifice overwhelmed by Brexit bashers

David Gosnell

Re: Counter stalled?!

Ah, I see someone above reckoned there was a 15 minute update; seems quite possible. The site operators probably should say as much though, to prevent reckless re-loading... Now turned 3 million anyway.

David Gosnell

Counter stalled?!

I see the counter on the petition has now stopped altogether, just shy of 3 million. Apparently a large part of the problem yesterday was people sitting on the site watching the figure mushrooming. But now it's been jammed at 2,971,394 for quite a while, across multiple browsers. Assuming the signatures haven't stopped, and the site doesn't appear to be otherwise broken, goodness only knows what the real total is now.

Why does that website take forever to load? Clues: Three syllables, starts with a J, rhymes with crock of sh...

David Gosnell

Crock of shipt?!

Not really JavaScript's fault though. Just another length of rope for lazy devs. Can just as easily blame bad application of any of the core web technologies.

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP

David Gosnell

Gosh, can still just about remember the dial-up and negotiation tones, especially distinctive with all their numbers inevitably ending '666'.

It's official. Microsoft pushes Google over the Edge, shifts browser to Chromium engine

David Gosnell

Windows 10S

They'll no doubt be hoping this will help promote locked-down desktop ecosystems like Windows 10S, with monetisation being a spin-off (if not primary) benefit. With the shift towards so much being browser-based these days, that will suit most non-power users, but relying on their buggy and inconsistent (speaking as a suffering developer) proprietary engine was a major hindrance for take-up and demanded the one-off convert-to-Pro backstop offered to customers unwitting enough to fall for 10S thus far. They'll be able to push it much more confidently now, for better or worse.

Yet another mega-leak: 100 million Quora accounts compromised by system invaders

David Gosnell

Re: I tried to cancel my membership a while back...

Nah, not me I'm afraid.

David Gosnell

I tried to cancel my membership a while back...

...due to their underhand pushing of mobile users to their app, and today got emailed about this. I'm sure the risk is theoretical, but, y'know.

Microsoft polishes up Chromium as EdgeHTML peers into the abyss

David Gosnell

Forced Edge

This will help with the PR side of Microsoft's push towards forcing Edge on to users, as seen with links from their email client and of course the entire locked-down ecosystem of Windows 10S. At least now they can be perceived as pushing a desirable engine that is compatible with the de facto standard. As a developer, I've certainly been pleased to see Edge resolve many of IE's woes, but there are still some lurking horrors that I will not be at all sad to see the back of.

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

David Gosnell

SMETS1 lock-in

Can I reasonably assume the lock-in was designed into the standard for SMETS1, in order to appease the major "suppliers"? It seems more than coincidental that the roll-out came at the same time as the explosive growth of smaller leaner suppliers, and the market leaders will have been sh*t scared of the investment they would waste (or ultimately be spending on behalf of competitors with no capital to invest in infrastructure) if their efforts proved to be too easily portable. Now the market's settled down a bit, bingo, time for SMETS2. Might even think about it now, certainly wasn't going to touch with a bargepole thus far.

Android fans get fat November security patch bundle – if the networks or mobe makers are kind enough to let 'em have it

David Gosnell

GDPR update

My old S5 Mini got a mysterious and unspecified "GDPR update" earlier this year. I rather doubt that was anything other than a legal requirement (not that any other of our devices got anything) but it seemingly buggered up a few other things on the way, so can always hope there might be another surprise one to come if Samsung have a conscience.

FYI: Drone maker DJI's 'Get it on Google Play' website button definitely does not get the app from Google Play...

David Gosnell

"Users will forget to turn security back on after loading a non-play store app."

As far as I know, default behaviour is to allow sideloading to be authorised as a one-off action. Quite a neat way of doing it, so you can consciously install a specific APK from an alternative source but not, in fact, leave the facility enabled for less intentional or malicious subsequent downloading.

Samsung Galaxy A9: Mid-range bruiser that takes the fight to Huawei

David Gosnell

"threat of SIM-only subscribers"

That'll be the baked in battery then. Forced obsolescence – and don't go arguing about waterproofing etc. My phone manages a user-replaceable battery and IP67 rating.

Punkt: A minimalist Android for the paranoid

David Gosnell

Consumers probably have "four or five devices" that do WhatsApp already

Not officially. WhatsApp officially works only on one's primary phone, the account being tied to its phone number. You can synchronise a web app view from a desktop/laptop, but they've made it intentionally awkward to do the same from a tablet. There are of course workarounds for all this, involving number fakers and whatnot, but not for the faint-hearted.

Sub-Prime: Amazon's big day marred by server crashes, staff strikes

David Gosnell

Fools and their money evidently not quite so easily parted

Prime Day is all about getting new Prime subscriptions, very little about unrepeatable bargains. Don't hear so much about Prime Plus One Month Day, when all those forgotten subscriptions start charging, and end up costing considerably more than the amount "saved" on the original purchase.

Timehop admits to more data leakage, details GDPR danger

David Gosnell

How many others?

How many other services, websites and apps like this are there, long-forgotten and barely-maintained flashes in the pan running on last-decade technology and security/privacy principles? Surely a massive powderkeg / can-of-worms / [insert metaphor of choice] with all this abandonware holding so much personal information. Thankfully TimeHop is one I never saw the point in so never participated in, but I know many who did.

Dear Samsung mobe owners: It may leak your private pics to randoms

David Gosnell

Assuming this is using MMS...

... who still uses MMS anyway? Forget blocking permissions, just delete the MMS settings from the APN and never risk any other app doing the same, or a plain-text SMS being misidentified and overcharged. The only justification for MMS is if you're roaming, when (bizarrely) they can be cheaper than an SMS, but data (via pretty much any messaging app of choice) is likely to be cheaper and superior image quality anyway.

A volt out of the blue: Phone batteries reveal what you typed and read

David Gosnell

At least as much to do with them realising that the buying public has woken up to the scam of contracts, and (given batteries' limited lifetime with current technology; saw some interesting reporting at the weekend in this regard) so happily implementing an engineering solution to the end of the previously complacently presumed two-year upgrade cycle. Mine's the S5 Mini with (claimed) IP67 and a user-replaceable battery – that being the other myth the manufacturers like to perpetuate to justify baking in the batteries.

User spent 20 minutes trying to move mouse cursor, without success

David Gosnell

Rubber bands

Going back 25-odd years, I remember overhearing a conversation in a computer shop, where the customer explained that they had cleaned the mouse-ball mechanism. Well all apart from the little rubber bands round the rollers.

June 2018, and Windows Server can be pwned with a DNS request

David Gosnell

Interesting choice of headline image

Alt-texted as "window patch", but almost certainly hails from the days of the window tax. If only it were now as easy as getting some bricks and mortar, at least to make more than an individual stand against it.

It's true – it really is grim up north, thanks to Virgin Media. ISP fined for Carlisle cable chaos

David Gosnell

Re: a year and a half on, the service is still not available to sign up to

Well yes, there is that! All the more reason to be more than happy with our 55/10 Plusnet, though choice is generally a good thing. But having first hand experience of some of Virgin's other business interests, quite glad not to have to have anything to do with them.

David Gosnell

No doubt to be followed here, or one can hope

They (or, rather, their contractor) made an utter mess of cabling our Surrey street a year and a half ago, having to rip up loads they'd bodged, and cutting through an elderly neighbour's phone line and trashing at least three water meters in the process. They gave less than 24 hours notice before starting. Yellow tabarded inspectors with clipboards and cameras have been a common sight since. And to add insult to injury, a year and a half on, the service is still not available to sign up to.

UK consumer help bloke Martin Lewis is suing Facebook over fake ads

David Gosnell

"... he should report any adverts ..."

Because their track record of doing diddly squat with anything users succeed in fighting through their byzantine "wizard" to actually report is so glowing, right?

UK pub chain Wetherspoons' last call: ♫ Just a spoonful of Twitter – let's pull social media down ♫

David Gosnell

I might have broken their Facebook

The announcement came within moments of my posting on their Facebook page, regarding a combination of problems with their mobile ordering app and non-responsive customer services. Coincidence? Oh, probably. Hoping this might mean they actually have some staff to reassign to aforementioned non-responsive customer services. Oh, probably not.

Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage

David Gosnell

Re: 618MB later...

Update: needless to say, it didn't actually remove all imported contacts at all. Still naive.

Further update: it took a while, but eventually I was notified the process was complete, and the displayed list duly empty. I shall attempt another data dump to see if the offending information is removed. Odds of success? Well, it still seems to have remembered the last data dump rather than creating a new one, so maybe, maybe not. But that does mean that even though it might have purged its database, the information is still in the dump file it's trying to serve me, so they are in fact continuing to store it (albeit in static form) even though I have asked for it to be deleted and they say they have. Big oops.

David Gosnell

Re: 618MB later...

I'm hoping for a change in social norms such that sharing address books with third party services begins to be widely recognized and condemned as the antisocial act that it really is.

With the benefit of hindsight, no arguments there. They seem to have changed the mechanisms around this, so I cannot see the specific boilerplate around the upload. I clearly wouldn't have used it had there been any suggestion the data would be retained beyond the immediate operation, but I still make no excuses for my naivete.

Out of interest, I note there is a Facebook function Remove all imported contacts which I would hope does as it says on the tin rather than spam the poor buggers with fake news. No idea if that's been around a while or only since this scandal blew up. Update: needless to say, it didn't actually remove all imported contacts at all. Still naive.

David Gosnell

Re: 618MB later...

Oversimplification, and without seeing the specific data involved, impossible for you to say for certain. My experience with the API is that it returns user/group/whatever objects, and although the information seen in the dump obviously is derived from those in some way, whether they are certain to be returned, in full, to any app granted contact information, is uncertain. A sample app might prove it, not a Wikipedia page.

David Gosnell

618MB later...

OK, I downloaded my data and tried to find the juiciness. Yes, there is much contact information in there that goes above and beyond anything expressly shared - though not to the detail of call logs. However I do remember occasionally doing a "upload my Thunderbird address book to find friends" a few times historically, although I'm pretty sure that clearly said it would be used for nothing else, but not necessarily that it wouldn't be kept on file "just in case". However the key thing for me (if not data protection lawyers) is that just because Facebook are keeping this data doesn't necessarily mean they are sharing it with anyone. Of course not guaranteed, and it's "in there" if they chose to or were hacked. I'm not sufficiently familiar with the API to know quite what is passed when users agree certain permissions for apps etc, but I rather doubt the detail of information seen here would be part of the deal. So probably a bit of an over-reaction, but still cause for concern given the risk of data breach or past/future malevolence.

Five things you need to know about Microsoft's looming Windows 10 Spring Creators Update

David Gosnell

Yet another "Creators" update?!

The third, is it? Is this deliberate confusion on their part to lull users into the mindset of "Oh just another 4GB to fail to download a few times" and just accept that caned broadband and uncertainty of forward compatibility is the price to pay for being assured even of security updates - according to recent reports?

Space, the final blunt-tier: Binary system ejected huge 'spliff' asteroid, boffins reckon

David Gosnell

Binary system unsurprising

Last I heard, consensus was that most star systems are binary, so statistically it's pretty likely, even before taking into account the increased likelihood of such systems spitting out projectile asteroids.

Windows 10 to force you to use Edge, even if it isn't default browser

David Gosnell

Probably a storm in a teacup

Really not entirely sure this is quite as big a deal as portrayed, odious as it may be.

Does anyone actually use Mail outside the kind of tablet-based environment that is locked down to Microsoft Store apps anyway? In that context, Edge (and wrappers thereof) is the mandated browser in any case. I suspect that the number of people who this adversely affects on a proper desktop environment with a choice of superior alternatives in the first place, is practically irrelevant.

Voice assistants are always listening. So why won't they call police if they hear a crime?

David Gosnell

Somehow this conjures reverse images of Kevin in Home Alone, scaring the burglars with the video film

BT backs down from charging millions in phone book listing fees

David Gosnell

Typical BT

To make up for delayed death, screw over the blindly loyal or inertia-bound even more for the privilege, as with their phone lines.



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