* Posts by pakman

57 publicly visible posts • joined 23 Feb 2012


If you're serious about browser privacy, you should probably pass on Edge or Yandex, claims Dublin professor

Big Brother


Hm, I think the script goes something like this:

BoJo: User privacy? Harumph... Who gives a toss? PifflePaffleWiffleWaffle....

EU: You still want to exchange data with us? Respect user/consumer privacy then!

BoJo: Drat! Oh, OK then.

Greek Chorus (Rees-Mogg, Francois et al.): Vassal State! Oh woe! Vassal State!

Flat Earther and wannabe astronaut killed in homemade rocket


Why do you flat earthers stop half way?

Take your convictions to their logical conclusion: if you're going to bend the surface of the Earth from convex to flat, keep going and make it concave. As we all should know, the earth is hollow, and we live on the inside[1][2]. Lots of people have believed this, including in the 20th century a Nazi-era Luftwaffe pilot and general all-round nutter called Peter Bender. Bender's theories inspired one Rudolf Nebel (a predecessor of Mike Hughes) to propose a project to to prove this by firing a rocket from Magdeburg in Germany to a point just south of New Zealand[3]. No-one lost their life in the attempts to test the prototypes, but Nebel's attempts came to an end when the Nazis pulled the plug on DIY rocketry.

[1] https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4343

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollow_Earth

[3] http://www.astronautix.com/m/magdeburg.html

C'mon SPARCky, it's just an admin utility update. What could possibly go wrong?


I was told about a variant of this many years back, where an inattentive sysadmin typed 'chmod -R 777' as root while in /. I wasn't there at the time, or involved in sysadmin, but I would have loved to have heard what they did next.....

Beware, Tesla might take away your car's autopilot if you buy its vehicles from third party dealerships – plus more news


Re: Mercedes-Benz has copied the Tesla design

No. Nokia's N-Gage line has the claim to being the first here.

I was actually referring to Samsung's run-in with Apple, perhaps I should have been less oblique....


Re: Mercedes-Benz has copied the Tesla design

The only difference is that the Mercedes dash is vertical instead of horizontal. Otherwise, it would be flagrant lawsuit material.)

So you can avoid lawsuits by rotating the infringing design by 90 degrees? Samsung obviously missed a trick there.

Oh, wait..... OK, mine's the one with the diamond-shaped smartphone in the pocket.

One-time Brexit Secretary David Davis demands Mike Lynch's extradition to US be halted


Re: David Davis

All Conservative MPs are there for the money and power.

The ones that aren't don't seem to last all that long these days. I'm thinking of Heidi Allen, the only Tory MP to visit foodbanks to increase her understanding of what is going on rather than using them as background for idiotic publicity shots. Whatever mis-steps she may have made after she left the Conservatives, it was pretty clear from her very first speech as an MP that her days with them were numbered.

Whirlybird-driving infosec boss fined after ranty Blackpool Airport air traffic control antics


Re: Contrary view

'if it was true that the controller was having semi-social chats with other pilots she knew while telling this pilot to "stand by"'

According to the linked Manchester Evening News article, she "had been helping guide a pilot who was lost when Tobias contacted her on the same radio frequency."


No horrific butterfly keys on this keyboard, just you and your big, dumb fingers


Re: Can musical instruments be far behind?

Something like this had already been done in 1928 (admittedly not using camera technology). A few weeks ago I stopped to listen to a street busker playing one of those (and bought the CD). It was fascinating to watch.

BBC tells Conservative Party to remove edited Facebook ad featuring its reporters


Re: Impartial? Question Time anyone?

I gave up watching QT some time ago - it has turned into a circus of grandstanding politicians and hobby-horse activists whose sloganeering doesn't have much connection with the real world any longer. I find Any Questions on Friday evenings a lot better, even if that does make me an old-school fogey whose bias is towards the wireless.

We are absolutely, definitively, completely and utterly out of IPv4 addresses, warns RIPE

Thumb Up

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love IPv6

Hands up if you remember this Verity Stob classic: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/21/verity_stob_ipv6/

Like a BAT outta hell, Brave browser hits 1.0 with crypto-coin rewards for your fave websites


Re: /Brave/ of you to pitch this to the readers ...

"The ad networks have irretrievably crossed the line."

Pity I can't upvote you more than once.....


Re: * Cough Cough *

Yes - there are two approaches, you can do either or both:

* Enable auto-contribute, but exclude sites that you visit that you don't want to receive BAT. This takes some extra work to catch every site that you want to exclude, but the ones that you rarely visit would hardly get anything anyway, since the sizes of the contributions relate to the number of visits. Unclaimed contributions will be returned to your wallet after 90 days, or you can recover them earlier by hand. Auto-contribute is good for spreading your contributions around according to your browsing habits.

* Tip explicitly every site that you want to support. You can make those tips recurring. This is a good solution if your aim is to support specific sites (maybe as an anonymous alternative to subscribing).


Re: * Cough Cough *

I've mentioned this before in a comment to a previous El Reg article about Brave, and the response was a bit meh... Maybe it's time to reconsider. You would be in good company, for example:

* https://arstechnica.com/

* https://www.wikipedia.org/

* https://www.xda-developers.com/

* https://www.qwant.com/

* https://www.theguardian.com

Facebook iOS app silently turns on your phone camera. Ah, relax – it's just a bug, lol!?

Big Brother

Re: Which is it

I'm more concerned that Facebook have a VP of Integrity. I mean, seriously?

If they have a VP of Integrity, they must also have a President of Integrity. Now that is scary!

First they came for 'face' and I did not speak out because I... have no face? Then they came for 'book'


The opportunities are endless

I spotted this near the beginning of their submission:

" Software for creating, editing, uploading, downloading, accessing, viewing, posting, displaying, tagging, blogging, streaming, linking, annotating, indicating sentiment about, commenting on, embedding, transmitting, and sharing or otherwise providing electronic media or information via computer the internet and communication networks;"

It seems to me that Amazon's look-inside facility might fall foul of this. There is a bit of me that hopes that their application succeeds. Think of the number of products and services that could sport a "Original name annoyed Zuck" logo as a badge of honour. I would cheerfully trademark such a logo myself, in order to put it restriction-free into the public domain.

Brave claims its mobe browser batt use bests whatever you're using. Why? Hint: It begins with A then D then V...


Re: sigh

For users, they need a wallet inside the browser, but it is pretty easy to set up and manage, and doesn't need any other tools other than the Brave browser itself. At least for now, Brave grants tokens to active users of the browser from time to time, which are easy to claim and add to the wallet. I am sure that most El Reg readers would be able to manage it. Topping up the wallet using £/$/€ etc. gets more complicated, but I don't think that most users will need to do that, at least for the time being.

I have no experience of claiming the tokens as a content provider, but IIUC you transfer them to an account at uphold.com, convert them to £/$/€, and you can then withdraw them to a bank.

Sites that have verified include theguardian.com and xda-developers.com.

I should also correct my earlier comment about unclaimed tokens going back to Brave's User Growth Pool. I have realised that this has changed in recent versions of the browser. They go back to the user's wallet if the tokens came from a token grant, or stay waiting to be claimed for ever, if the user had bought the tokens.


Re: sigh

"And yet no browser has a built-in point-and-drool tip jar"

The desktop version of Brave has exactly this.

Note to The Register: are you going to become a Brave verified publisher? There is real money to be claimed to compensate for the ads that have been blocked by Brave. If you don't claim it, it will eventually return to the User Growth Pool.

Amazon Prime Air flight crashes in Texas after 6,000ft nosedive


Re: I'm going to speculate...

"Indeed the "Miracle on the Hudson" was in part because Capt "Sully" was an experienced glider pilot in his spare time, his passenger craft was just a big glider."

Same for the Air Canada "Gimli Glider". That was quite a story.

Users fail to squeak through basic computer skills test. Well, it was the '90s


Re: Not sure...

I saw some Malbec rosé a few weeks back and couldn't resist trying it: lovely. I'll be buying it again.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

Big Brother

Re: A good fit ..

".. for Clegg then."

Funnily enough, Clegg's predecessor as MP for Sheffield Hallam (now a Lib Dem life peer) also works for Facebook.

Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity


Re: Noted scientists

"Britain, typically, put Isaac Newton on the lowest denomination banknote -- £1."

Not only that, they messed up by putting the sun in the wrong place on the diagram of the Earth's orbit (the sun should have been at one of the focal points of the ellipse, not at the centre). Ironic, considering that Newton was also in charge of the Royal Mint at one point in his career.

Farewell then, Slack: The grown-ups have arrived


You'll have to pry IRC and XMPP from my cold dead fingers!!!

IMHO Matrix (http://matrix.org/) ticks all the boxes, but it doesn't look to me like it is quite ready for mass adoption yet. It is quite usable by early adopters though.

Android users: Are you ready for the great unbundling?


Re: Google & Contacts

"If you really want to downgrade your phone, don't sign in during setup, and sideload install fdroid app store. Be very careful what you install however. When you live outside Google's relatively safe store, things aren't so nice. Fdroid is of course a safe haven, bit enabling sideload for that enables sideload for anything else too..."

Once you have installed F-Droid, you can use it to install Yalp. If from that point on you only install apps from F-Droid or using Yalp I don't think that you are in any danger from rogue apps (at least, you are in no more danger than from using the Google Play Store directly).

You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened


Re: And that....

Remember this gadget? https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/10/android_rice_cooker/

Where will it end? "Alexa, please burn my ex's house down...."

Meet Asteroid, a drop-in Linux upgrade for your unloved smartwatch


Re: And why aren't there Linux distros for phone hardware?

It is really hard to get open systems to work properly on phone hardware for all sorts of reasons, partly to do with the closed nature of a lot of the hardware subsystems and their drivers. I'm not an expert, but I sometimes follow discussions by people who know a lot about this and the number of bumps in the road makes my eyes water. x86-based systems are easy in comparison. There are a couple of Linux challengers, check out Sailfish OS and the upcoming Librem 5 from Purism. There is also the Gemini from Planet Computers: it ships with Android at the moment but Debian and Sailfish OS have been demo-ed on it and promised to ship in the near future. I use Sailfish OS as my daily phone OS, and it certainly isn't problem free, but I put up with its quirks.

As a daily Linux user, I do get a warm feeling from logging in to my phone with ssh now and again and using commands like 'systemctl' ;-)

Fed up with Facebook data slurping? Firefox has a cunning plan


Re: While Facebook Container may help a bit, it has limitations.

If it successfully blocks anything that FB want, the Zuck will already have a team working (quietly) on how to get around it.

Slack cuts ties to IRC and XMPP, cos they don't speak Emoji


If its bridging you want....

.... try https://matrix.org/ It may not be completely ready for prime time yet, but seems to be moving in the right direction.

Mailsploit: It's 2017, and you can spoof the 'from' in email to fool filters


Re: There are spam filters that pay attention to the contents of "From"?

"The "From" line is user settable. Always has been. As a result, it's not a reliable indicator of anything, EXCEPT in the mind of the sender. Trying to change this simple fact would break all kinds of things."

I explain it to non-techies as being like the sender address that you write on a parcel that you are posting. You could write any address there, and the Post Office is not going to check it in any way. I then follow it up by sending them an e-mail that has "From: Father Christmas <SantaClaus@northpole.net>". This has always been sufficient to make the point, even to the least IT-savvy people that I know, and they tend not to ask me again about why a friend of theirs has sent them something peculiar or offensive, seem less likely to take a suspicious e-mail at face value.

The question about whether this kind of thing should be prevented is a different one of course.

KRACK whacked, media playback holes packed, other bugs go splat in Android patch pact


Re: Close to driving me back to iOS.

Just for the record, I contacted Wileyfox and they were very helpful in getting me sorted out. My Wileyfox Swift now has November's update applied, which includes the patch for KRACK


Re: Close to driving me back to iOS.

Hm, I have an original Wileyfox Swift, and although things looked promising after they switched from CyanogenOS to Nougat, it is now stuck on the 1 May 2017 security patch level. I'll be contacting them in a few days if there is no sign of the KRACK-related security updates from them.

On the other hand, I also have a Sony Xperia running SailfishOS. That one was patched for KRACK (and BlueBorne) over a week ago.

In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day


Thank you for this....

.... well-written, short, to the point, and non-technical article: I have been looking around for something like it to direct people to when they ask why I don't sign up to Facebook. A lot of people I know wouldn't make it to the end of the first paragraph of much of what has been written about this issue.

Whether anyone is convinced is another question, but at least it shows that it isn't just me having a paranoid rant

The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer



This makes me nostalgic for my old Zaurus C760 (still sitting in a drawer somewhere: I'll dig it out and fire it up for old times' sake when I get back home).

Hardware-wise it was ahead of its time, and it ran Linux too. Let down by poor quality software though: I remember finding a five-line Bourne shell script on it that had three errors, and the e-mail client used IMAP to do download all the messages from the server just as if it was using POP.

Vinyl, filofaxes – why not us too, pleads Nokia


A really useful feature would be.....

.... for a retro-style phone like this to be quad band (the ones that Nokia makes now are dual band only). Phones like this are great for going to places where a smartphone is too delicate, or too attractive to thieves, but not if the one you buy doesn't work in the country that you are going to visit.

A bonus for the manufacturer would be that since these phones may only sell in small numbers, with quad band they would only need one hardware variant to cover the whole world.

KCL staff offered emotional support, clergy chat to help get over data loss


Re: Jesus Saves!

Maybe the chaplain will be handing these out: http://shipoffools.com/gadgets/personal/176_1.html

Oh wait, that would be against KCL's rules about making personal backups, wouldn't it.....?

Microsoft ends OEM sales of Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1


Re: And it still makes you wonder...

"I know my CIO would be happy if our purchases would be ~£200 cheaper per unit..."

There are plenty of medium-sized system builder outfits around that will happily supply you a system with no OS. We bought a mid-range desktop just a few weeks ago. The particular one that we used charges £90/£130 for Windows Home/Pro, so that is what we saved by buying the PC with no OS. You just need to look beyond the big players.

Sony wins case over pre-installed Windows software


"However most people doing that would more likely have just built the PC themselves anyway. "

Not true: we use two organisations to source built PC's without an OS (we are a Linux shop, and install the OS ourselves). What you get by doing it this way that you don't get from a self-build is:

* hardware testing of the assembled system as a whole prior to shipping

* some kind of warranty/support if there are problems after purchase

* advice from people who are more knowledgeable than us about potential hardware issues/conflicts.

Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died


Re: Stop whining...

"It simply means people who reserve a seat guarantee that they get to sit down,"

Er, no it doesn't. When trains get very full, the reservation system sometimes breaks down and people start to ignore it and sit wherever they want. What do you do if you find someone else sitting in the seat that you have booked? Some passengers will move if asked (maybe with some grumbling), others get bolshie and confrontational. "Oh, is this seat reserved, there isn't a ticket in the back of the seat, maybe it fell out and that's it on the floor over there, but it wasn't here when I got here so its not my problem and I'm sat down now so I'm not moving and what are you going to do about it?" Good luck with getting any help from the staff with sorting the situation out when this happens.

They do it better in Europe, with electronic signage over the seats that the more selfish passengers can't tamper with.

Your 'intimate personal massager' – cough – is spying on you


Re: @Big John - " may I laugh my arse off at "You stupid Brits"? "

Also, there were the tea breaks and fighting only on weekdays 9 to 5.

... not forgetting half day early closing on Wednesdays (showing my age there)

Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments


BSD got it right

This is my type of comment:


.\" Take this out and a Unix Daemon will dog your steps from now until

.\" the time_t's wrap around.


You can tune a file system, but you cannot tune a fish.


Source at https://svnweb.freebsd.org/base/stable/11/sbin/tunefs/tunefs.8?revision=302408&view=markup#l211

I wonder what Linus thinks about that one. Mine's the one with the tone-deaf tuna in the pocket....

Hate Windows 10? Microsoft's given you 'Insider' powers anyway


They may hear but will they listen?

It put me in mind of "In space, no-one can hear you scream" :-)

Google Play infested with cash-stealing web apps


Re: download banking apps from official sources.

Downloading it from an in-branch network may be the worst option, if crims install their own kit in the branch. They have tried this before: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/25/kvm_crooks_jailed/. OK, so wifi wasn't the target in that case, and they were caught, but you get the idea....

Hacker reveals $40 attack that steals police drones from 2km away


An alternative interpretation: the cock-up might be real, but the suggestion that a hardware manufacturer cares enough about software security to be working on a fix could be the April fool joke :-)

Patch Java now, says Oracle. Leave the Easter chocolate until later


Re: The Java flaw labelled CVE-2016-0636

The link to the CVE at MITRE is https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2016-0636, but at the moment the details have been embargoed. Presumably more details will be available when Oracle OK's their release. Hopefully not too long now that 8u77 is out: it would also be good to know whether this problem is specific to Oracle, or if other implementations are affected.

How Microsoft copied malware techniques to make Get Windows 10 the world's PC pest


Re: Helpful comment

That might have been me (I have certainly mentioned it, although I am probably not the only one). GWX Control Panel has certainly been helpful, although I am slightly uneasy about the source code not being available. By and large I have managed to avoid being press-ganged into Microsoft's conscript army of unpaid support staff by pleading ignorance (I haven't used Windows seriously since Win2000). I have to make a couple of exceptions though, and not having to do things like muck about with the registry is a big deal.

'Microsoft Office has been the bane of my life, while simultaneously keeping me employed'


That's bound to hurt!

"sobbing with your hands in your head"

That image that is going to stay with me for a while.....

Electrician cuts wrong wire and downs 25,000 square foot data centre


Re: 1 in 100

"Assume that in a theoretical process there may be 100 actions taking place, if there is a 1% risk across the process the risk of one going wrong becomes 1/100 x 100 ."

No, the actual answer is as follows:

For each action, a 0.01 probability (i.e. 1%) of something going wrong means a probability of 0.99 of it turning out OK. For 100 actions, the probability of them all turning out OK is 0.99 ** 100 = 0.366. The probability of at least one action failing is 1 - 0.366 = 0.634, i.e. a 63.4% chance of something going wrong.

The basic point is correct though: even someone who is fairly clueless about percentages will probably be scared by a percentage risk that is in double digits.

Microsoft Windows: The Next 30 Years


Re: @ Chairo (was:Thailand is the only Asian country never to be colonised)

Maybe Chairo was referring to the Unequal treaties imposed on Japan by Western powers in the 1850's and 1860's. This started with Commodore Matthew Perry's arrival in Japan in 1853. Not full-on colonisation maybe, but certainly "sphere of influence" stuff that was very much in the spirit of 19th century imperialism. Like other imperialist manoeuvres, it fuelled a nationalist reaction against the imperialist powers. Japan then developed imperialist aspirations of its own of course....

Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista


Anyone with any experience of GWX control panel?

I've had a quick search through the comments here, and AFAICS no-one has mentioned GWX control panel:


I'm not really a windows person, but I'm planning on trying this out for the couple of non-technical W7 users who occasionally ask me for help. If anyone has any experience with it, please comment! It seems to go at least part of the way to helping out with the worst fall-out for non-techies. It is closed-source unfortunately, although the author explains why and seems well-intentioned.

Pimp your TV: Goggle box gadgets and gizmos


"...you could save up £229 and treat yourself to Sennheiser's wireless RS–175 headphone set"

I took a chance on the Telme2 bluetooth transmitter and headphones. They work well for me, and are cheaper than the Sennheiser

Junk your IT. Now. Before it drags you under


Re: You've got it backwards

"As a NoScript/Adblock user, ..."

I agree with your sentiments here. Try blocking the javascript on a well-known mapping site. This is the message that you get:

"When you have eliminated the JavaScript, whatever remains must be an empty page."

I tend not to use this particular site much any more. I find the cod-Zen tone a bit offputting, but perhaps that's just me.