* Posts by Lost in Cyberspace

173 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Apr 2012


What's really going on with Chrome's June crackdown on extensions – and why your ad blocker may or may not work

Lost in Cyberspace

Risky products will fill the gaps

As a Pi-Hole & Ublock Origin user, I've settled on these because I can just turn them off if they break something.

I can see people turning to DNS blockers, VPNs, antivirus with built-in adblockers... and some really dodgy alternatives in desperation.

At best, it will break connections. At worst, customers will fall for privacy-reducing products and outright scam products.

Lost in Cyberspace

There will be some risky products filling the gaps

As a Pi-Hole & Ublock Origin user, I've settled on these because I can just turn them off if they break something.

I can see people turning to DNS blockers, VPNs, antivirus with built-in adblockers... and some really dodgy alternatives in desperation.

At best, it will break connections. At worst, customers will fall for privacy-reducing products and outright scam products.

Hey Apple, what good is a status page if you only update it after the outage?

Lost in Cyberspace

Same with FAQ pages

"90% of our customers found what they wanted in the online help pages, and didn't need to call us"

More like 90% of customers failed to find the phone number (or the online chat was closed).

Bank of Ireland outage sees customers queue for 'free' cash – or maybe any cash

Lost in Cyberspace

Poor old Bank of Ireland

The customer(s) will ultimately pay, though.

During the financial crisis they were quick to hike my UK mortgage SVR by 2% relative to the base rate, and blame in on the crisis. It's never gone back down.

Microsoft rethinks death sentence for Windows Mail and Calendar apps

Lost in Cyberspace

Urgh, more rebranding and confusion

My regular clients, home users, often get confused between the apps and their email provider.

I put this down to the names of the apps.

Windows Live Mail/Windows Live Hotmail

Outlook/Outlook Express/Outlook.com

Rebranding the mail client with virtually every new Windows version, Outlook Express/Mail/Windows Live Mail/Mail/Outlook, and going from Hotmail/Live/Outlook online...

No wonder some people get confused with it all!

Malwarebytes may not be allowed to label rival's app as 'potentially unwanted'

Lost in Cyberspace

Where do we draw the line?

It seems like every antivirus app could now be regarded as a PUP for adding extra features without making it completely clear and/or to sell extra features (even though the program was initially touted as complete protection).

Even Malwarebytes does this (despite being one of my preferred cleanup tools). It tries to add browser add-ins and a VPN service.

The Avast/AVG/CCleaner group have a particularly harmful business model. What starts as a free AV ends up selling 5 or 6 services and a browser that pops up on startup. I've even seen clients with several copies of apps doing the same thing, just branded as CCleaner or AVG instead. £200+ a year! That is a PUP I would not install.

TotalAV - £149 a year and difficulty getting refunds.

Even Norton and McAfee hijack your search results and replace your preferred SE with 'Secure Search' - full of junk results, plus a whole page of sponsored spam and scams. Definitely not as safe as Google or DDG.

No more feature updates for Windows 10 – current version is final

Lost in Cyberspace

Windows 10 will continue getting new features

Bing related features.

Adverts, pop-ups and search tools. All using Bing.

Microsoft begs you not to ditch Edge on Google's own Chrome download page

Lost in Cyberspace

It won't be long...

At this rate, Edge will start overlaying ads on other companies' websites. Just like malware has done for years.

Once had a client complain about all the inappropriate adverts all over my site. I don't have adverts - they had adware/malware/dodgy add-ons.

Still bad for the company reputation though.

Up to 18,000 Amazon workers in firing line as it chops cost

Lost in Cyberspace

Redundancies vs natural wastage

I assume the cuts would allow them to get rid of the worst employees, rather than wait for (relatively talented) staff to leave?

Five British companies fined for making half a million nuisance calls

Lost in Cyberspace

No surprises

2 of the companies are being wound up.

Separately, 2 of the others are controlled by the same people so they got caught twice.

Commercial repair shops caught snooping on customer data by canny Canadian research crew

Lost in Cyberspace

I always ask...

If I feel like the computer would benefit from a software check, I'll ask if I can log in. Often the systems I see are riddled with malware or very out of date.

If I don't do this, many clients say 'it's still got problems' - unrelated to the original issue reported.

Happy to do this in front of the client though. Builds trust.

Lost in Cyberspace

Re: Chucklefucks like this

Do try to update the BIOS and any SSD/HDD firmware. This has caused more odd issues than anything else. Then use all the manufacturers drivers - even if they are Windows 8.1/2015 editions.

tsoHost pulls plug on Gridhost service with just 45 days' notice

Lost in Cyberspace

Similar story here with TSO

A couple of years ago, lots of my web features suddenly stopped working. I was unable to access FTP nor edit my website. Over Christmas, when I needed to edit our availability and certain other pages.

2 weeks like that. Apparently, it was because we were on a 'legacy' plan that I'd recently renewed 3 years upfront, no longer supported. I should've been told, but clearly wasn't.

I moved my whole site asap.

No, working in IT does not mean you can fix anything with a soldering iron

Lost in Cyberspace

I'm the opposite...

I deal with domestic, self employed and small business. Removing viruses, setting up the correct settings for 100s of different email providers, tuition, fixing laptop hinges/screens/touchpads/HDDs, dealing with the quirks of Windows/Mac/Chromebook/iOS/Android/Linux is more my thing. I get strange looks when I won't look at AD, SQL, and so on. Not all IT is the same.

Yet, a busted HDMI cable would still get replaced with a £10 braided cable from the van. Why anyone would prefer the effort and resources of a re-solder is beyond me.

Mouse hiding in cable tray cheesed off its bemused user

Lost in Cyberspace

Many years ago...

A customer had a really cheap wireless keyboard that would reppeeaatt keys as it typed. Worked fine on another system though.

Turned out, the keyboard had already been replaced with the same but there were 2 receivers plugged in.

Hopefully no offices bought a bunch of these...

Smart thermostat swarms are straining the US grid

Lost in Cyberspace

After looking at all the smart thermostats...

I replaced mine with a dumb on that had 7-day schedules and -finally- separate controls for hot water and heating. Common sense applied to the schedule.

Saved me plenty and no downtime when a service goes offline.

This is the military – you can't just delete your history like you're 15

Lost in Cyberspace

Porn is often the cause

Recently called out to a slow PC, in a old chap's home, with lots and lots of pop-ups. Some porn, some dating, some virus warnings. All Chrome push notifications.

The cause was obvious, loads of porn tabs and granny dating going on. A quick cleanup - removing notifications and clearing the history/cookies/cache - sorted that all out.

That wasn't the most notable part though.

The next time the guy saw me, he 'told me off' for looking at porn on his PC. I was very confused, I'd never use a customer's computer for that. I'm a professional.

His reasoning is that he's now getting pop-ups for teens in his home town wanting to meet up for sex.

Vendors are hiking prices up to 30 percent and claiming 'it's inflation'

Lost in Cyberspace

Yep, there is inflation

Perhaps some of it is just in case prices go higher. Some of it is an excuse, some of it is jumping on the bandwagon.

I'd imagine everyone is affected differently at the moment.

Is inflation really 10%? Personally, I have very few works costs - but those that I do have include electricity, fuel, and phone bills. My work costs have gone up nearly 30% in a year. And lots more personal costs too, due to interest rates and food costs etc, so I've got to build that in too.

EU lawmakers vote to ban sales of combustion engine cars from 2035

Lost in Cyberspace

Queuing is the least of our worries.

Petrol stations won't be the destination for recharging... car parks will. Supermarkets, public car parks, workplaces and so on will be all have chargers on nearly every space (or a lot of spaces, anyway).

Still concerned about battery lifetimes, about how we get the raw materials, how we get so much electricity on to the grid, into homes and so on.

And those that aren't rich enough to charge their cars in a driveway will end up paying a premium to recharge via a third party service...

Start your engines: Windows 11 ready for broad deployment

Lost in Cyberspace

Dealing with novice users...

My novice users don't like change.

I quite like the look of Windows 11 with the rounded corners - it looks nicer than 10.

But hiding File Explorer and right-click options to make things 'look better' is a bit of a disaster, as is removing text labels for things.

And why is that widget button now on the bottom left of the screen, where the start button lived for 27 years?

I install a reg file on every Windows 11 setup, to undo 15+ annoyances and make follow-up support just a little bit easier.

Your software doesn't work when my PC is in 'O' mode

Lost in Cyberspace

On more than one occasion...

My customers have 'been unable to get online'. And it's turned out to be a power supply problem or similar.

PC sales start to ebb as pandemic buying spree ends: IDC

Lost in Cyberspace

Interesting times...

As someone who helps home users. I saw a trend towards phones and tablets before the pandemic, as the desktop PC (and slow HDD-powered laptops) became obsolete.

During lockdown, there was a sudden demand for more laptops. One household computer was no longer enough for everyone to work/learn from home.

I'm now seeing more people invest in a home gaming PC and/or an All-in-one where a laptop doesn't quite cut it.

Meanwhile, I'm also seeing companies selling off desktops - still with the plenty of life left in them and replacing them with laptops (or going BYOD) to accommodate a shift to WFH.

We have redundancy, we have batteries, what could possibly go wrong?

Lost in Cyberspace

Recent power cut - was smug at first

We recently had a power cut. The computers stated on, the router and Wi-Fi stated on... but the Internet still failed.

There was no power to the nearby FTTC cabinet nor the 4G mast.

Uncle Sam has a datacenter waste problem

Lost in Cyberspace

And there's me worrying...

... about my home file server PC being wasteful, with an outlay of £140, and sucking up £5 of electricity a month.

AWS postmortem: Internal ops teams' own monitoring tools went down, had to comb through logs

Lost in Cyberspace

I'm no expert...

But when these big companies keep all their tools on one big platform, is it not putting all the eggs in one basket?

Did this not happen to Facebook / Meta recently?

Flash? Nu-uh. Windows 11 users complain of slow NVMe SSD performance

Lost in Cyberspace

Collecting the fixes

I've been collecting these various registry fixes and putting them in one reg file. Very handy when setting up several PCs a week for home users.

Before I agree to let your app track me everywhere, I want something 'special' in return (winks)…

Lost in Cyberspace

Re: I would like to add...

Yes, my customers frequently allow notifications. Then complain about all the 'viruses' and driver update / warnings / fake news pop-ups that got in. I delete them and switch off the feature completely.

Perl.com theft blamed on social engineering attack: Registrar 'convinced' to alter DNS records by miscreants

Lost in Cyberspace

Inadvertently assisted the theft of a domain

I once found myself inadvertently helping someone steal a domain.

I visited a shop to help the owner/manager recover his domain from an ex-employee that set it up.

The website was definitely for the shop I was actually sat in, everything checked out... shop name, address, phone number was the same as above the door. The manager had access to the sales/admin emails so we were able to reset passwords and transfer domain ownership. The manager was a key holder, the shop was open and staff / customers were milling about.

Couldn't really get much more proof of ownership than that. Did the job, got paid, emailed a receipt.

Turns out that the 'manager' and some of the team were actually staff that were about to leave and set up on their own. He was sabotaging the website and social network accounts on the way out.

My email receipt reached the 'real' boss, who aggressively threatened all sorts of things. I tactfully reminded him that I'd done what the manager in the shop had asked me to do, and that I didn't know this person on the phone. If he could provide proof of business ownership (not a ltd company) I'd gladly switch it back and he could claim the cost from the rogue employees. I didn't hear anything else.

Who do you trust?

Smartphones are becoming like white goods, says analyst, with users only upgrading when their handsets break

Lost in Cyberspace

Ill upgrade when there's a new killer feature

I upgraded early from iPhone 7 to XSMax because of dual sim... genuinely useful for me for work/personal.

But this XSMax will keep going until the battery dies.

Slightly better cameras, MagSafe and 5G isn't enough to warrant another £1300 yet.

Subway email weirdness: Suspicion grows over apparent Trickbot trojan delivery campaign

Lost in Cyberspace

Re: Subway email weirdness

I gave a unique email address when I signed up for an account with Subway... the loyalty scheme is fairly generous. If I'm buying for the family, I may as well rack up enough points for 'free' subs, cookies and coffee.

The online account / app usually beats carrying a Subcard around just in case we stop at Subway on the services.

Congratulations Peebles. Felicitations Queenzieburn. Openreach is bringing you FTTP (yes, they're real places)

Lost in Cyberspace

Some places get everything...

... most seem to get nothing.

The nearest places to me getting full fibre seem to be the ones that already have Virgin, got 4G early and are getting 5G this year.

Perhaps it's the infrastructure or population density, but the sceptic in me suggests that Openreach are going for market share.

Meanwhile, many places will be stuck on ADSL / VDSL and poorer mobile coverage for a lot longer.

Hats off to the brave 7%ers who dived into the Windows 10 May 2020 Update within a month of release

Lost in Cyberspace

My USBs are nearly all 2004

All my fresh installs are v2004 and all good so far.

I don't want to be going back to customers after a few days/weeks to babysit an update from 1909.

No more installing Microsoft's Chromium-centered Edge by hand: Windows 10 will do it for you automatically

Lost in Cyberspace

I like it... but

I can imagine getting lots of support calls from my novice users.

Some will dislike change, some will be alarmed by the icon looking different.

My biggest concerns, though, are the way it will force a change to the default browser, search engine and one little click of the Sync button can 'upgrade' your local account to a Microsoft account without even prompting for a password (if it already has some details saved for you). Great way to get locked out, next time the computer starts up.

Surge in Zoom support requests was 'unexpected', says tool team as it turns taps down

Lost in Cyberspace

Not surprised

I've been bombarded with lots of calls about microphone issues.

Most are sorted by changing the mic source in the settings (which only seem accessible during a meeting).

The other few have been sorted by installing the latest audio drivers from the manufacturer's support page / searching for an update in Device Manager.

What are those Windows 10 PCs running? Several flavours from 2019, by the looks of things

Lost in Cyberspace


Not sure why any device is still on 1903 though, when 1903 > 1909 is such a quick and pain-free update. Is there a reason it's not an auto-update?

UK! watchdog! slaps! Yahoo! with! £250k! fine! for! 2014! data! breach!

Lost in Cyberspace

How do I claim?

I lost a few novice-user customers over this... as someone who deals with consumer PC repairs, no amount of password / security resets could keep the Yahoo / BT accounts secure. BT kept saying it must be a virus on the computer, and 'the technician' (me) needed to take yet another look at the PC as it must be infected. (Nope, completely clear).

Guess who the consumer tends to believe.

And there's only so many times that you can charge a customer, or do it for 'free' before someone says enough is enough.

Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 7, 8.1 support forums

Lost in Cyberspace

Never has an answer anyway.

We've always called it Microsoft Questions rather than Microsoft Answers.

I just scroll to the final page, where the user says 'Don't worry guys... I sorted it myself. I put the DVD in and reloaded Windows'

[Marked as Solved]

You'll never find out the real reason something doesn't work, or a 'proper' way to fix it.

Busted Windows 8, 10 update blamed for breaking Brits' DHCP

Lost in Cyberspace

Not just BT

I deal exclusively with home users. It's been a tough week explaining where the restart button is. So far this week:

20 on BT. 5 on TalkTalk. 2 on Sky.

(EE have also put a notice on their help pages).

19 had McAfee installed. 2 had Avast installed.

Most of my customers were blaming their ISPs, some have had other technically-minded users waste hours tinkering with settings - until I explained it was more likely to be Windows 10... something is crashing and due to the 'fast boot' feature, a shut down won't clear it, whereas a restart will. It's been a long week.

Yahoo! halts! email! forwarding! to! outside! email! addresses!

Lost in Cyberspace

IMAP / POP also under attack

Several clients have informed me that access via 'Less secure apps' has suddenly been disabled too.

Yahoo is giving me so many headaches from novice users right now.

Lost in Cyberspace

IMAP / POP also under attack

Several clients have informed me that access via 'Less secure apps' has suddenly been disabled too.

Yahoo is giving me so many headaches from novice users right now.

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

Lost in Cyberspace

Only one big request

Stop changing everything when users upgrade. The defaults, start menu shortcuts and other preferences were set that way for a reason.

Hey, Apple! 1999 just called and it wants its voicemail avatar back

Lost in Cyberspace


I enjoy diverting my phone to HulloMail on my day off for individualised messages.

Out of hours, it tells my customers I will ring them back when I'm next working, and it tells my mum / wife / kids / school receptionist the best number to reach me on.

And I get a text equivalent of the voicemail right in the app, so I can continue enjoying my day off without listening to someone describe the error message on their screen - for four bloody minutes (until the VM cuts them off).

I would love this functionality in the Apple VM app though. If it supports out-of-hours voicemail greetings.

It's FREE WINDOWS 10 time: 29 July is D-Day, yells Microsoft

Lost in Cyberspace

Only 12 months to upgrade for free...

Yep, that will be fun when I need to re-install an upgraded PC, and my client has no record whatsoever of the upgrade to 10...

Manchester car park lock hack leads to horn-blare hoo-ha

Lost in Cyberspace

Re: The future is bright

I've noticed that my van fob activates certain doorbells, useful if I'm visiting that particular customer but annoying if all the neighbours open their door as I walk away from the van.

My daughter thinks it would be funny to play 'remote knock-down-ginger' as we drive down the streets, but I'm not convinced that's good for my professional reputation!

Google drives a tenth of news traffic? That's bull-doodie, to use the technical term

Lost in Cyberspace

Lack of feasible competition

Google don't force me to use them because of any underhand bully-boy anti-competition tactics, it's just that I'm yet to find a better alternative. One that doesn't involve scrolling all the way down the page and squinting to see where the organic results start, after the ads.

There's TOO MANY data-leaking healthcare firms, growls Symantec

Lost in Cyberspace
Thumb Down


Symantec need to get their own security in order. Every unique address email address I ever gave Norton (for NIS, 360, Ghost, Utilities etc) suddenly started getting loads of spam a few months ago. These were quite unique, obscure email addresses - some from 2005-2006. But of course, they deny any breach or theft and don't even seem to understand the problem (because 'they didn't send it').

Pre-order consumergasm will leave Apple Watches out of stock for months

Lost in Cyberspace

Good on them

Let first gen buyers saturate the market, then wait for the improved / cheaper next gen models, with acceptable features and battery life.

I'm sure I can cope without a smart watch for another year or two. After all, my current watch battery has at least 2 more years life left in it before I have to consider a new battery or a new watch.

BT thinks EE customers will FLEE from enlarged four-play mobe biz

Lost in Cyberspace

Best of a bad bunch

Really it will come down to who's better out of BT/EE and Three/O2. IMO neither of the buying companies are known for excellent Customer Service... I don't know how many will jump from BT to Three.

Microsoft dumps ARM for Atom with cut-price Surface 3 fondleslab

Lost in Cyberspace

Ideas that sounded good at the time

like the naming for almost every Microsoft product ever released?

Aged 18-24? Don't care about voting? Got a phone? Oh dear...

Lost in Cyberspace


I wish I'd been able to vote at 16. I would have voted against the introduction of tuition fees, which came in just as I was applying to uni. It affected me, but I was slightly too young (in the eyes of the law) to actually have an opinion.