* Posts by OffBeatMammal

578 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jun 2007


How I made a Chrome extension for converting Reg articles to UK spelling


Why not do server-side substitution when rendering the page - default to UK/US spelling based on IP2geo or user preference?

Flutter flits onto Windows, declared fit for production


Remember Silver light?

Both Kevin and Tim were significant folks behind that effort, as well as many of the other .Net and XAML adventures at MS. They know how to play well together, and that if nothing else gives me comfort thinking this might be a success.

Dart as a language, and Flutter as a framework have been growing and continue to get more interesting.

NEC to move its IT into Azure and give staff – all 110,000 of ’em – a cloudy Windows desktop


One thing that may Bork this, depending on what host platform they are using, is Teams via Remote Desktop can't use a local camera, so people are still going to end up needing local installation of client apps... Kinda borks the idea of moving everything to the cloud!

If you're a WhatsApp user, you'll have to share your personal data with Facebook's empire from next month – or stop using the chat app



Time to switch to something less crap.

For the paranoid there is Signal, and for the cautious but still like convenience there is Telegram

WickerMe is also nice, but very focused on, um, weed related uses ;)

Google says Australian pay-for-news code means it can’t quit the country


Who benefits from the code?

Not taking Google's side here, but who benefits from this push by the LNP?it specifically enriches Murdoch and Parker (back scratching for election success) and excludes the ABC and SBS at a time when the Govt is bleating about not being able to afford the services of our public broadcasters.

If it is going to be pay to play then distribution of funds should be spread across all content creators and reflect their value to the ecosystem, not be a politically motivated subsidy

Google’s Fitbit lift strains competition laws says Australian regulator


But Apple are okay?

I am confused. This acquisition is a problem, but Apple and their willfully closed and anti competitive walled garden is fine?

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen


You have to be dumb if you buy smart

So called Smart TV that stop getting updates after a couple of years, SmartPhones that don’t get an update during the life of a contract, set top boxes that stop getting app updates after a couple of years, smarthome systems where the vendor decides to move to a new standard after you completed retiring the house with now unsupported devices, my oh so smart Subaru that doesn’t get firmware updates a year after it rolled out of the factory because the dealer seriously seemed to expect I would want to trade it for a new one!

If anything has the word smart on it, or connects to the internet... you probably want to assume it has a 12 month built in obsolescence switch and do the maths accordingly...

If you could forget the $125 from Equifax and just take the free credit monitoring, that would be great – FTC


and yet... they just paid a $90m bonus to the CEO who 'oversaw' this breach...

toothless fines like this just mean crap like this will continue to happen...

British ISPs throw in the towel, give up sending out toothless copyright infringement warnings


"many legally available sources" is a large part of the problem ... too many services with exclusive rights to content, geoblocking so you can't access content (even when there isn't a local rights-holder), or overpriced DVDs that take weeks to turn up (for something you only want to watch once) mean that even when you want to play nice and pay ... the loopholes make it next to impossible.

Boris Johnson's promise of full fibre in the UK by 2025 is pie in the sky


two thoughts...

1/ just look at how well Australia's NBN roll out went (or didn't)

2/ please never again use the phrase "deep penetration" with regards to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

Oh snap! The road's closed. Never mind, Google Maps has a plan...


after having Google Maps direct me onto unsealed roads here in Australia a couple of times I do now take a look at the satellite view before heading into uncharted territory!

their counterpart Waze does have an option to report unsealed roads, so it's a shame they're not using the data (I really don't understand why they are still two seperate apps - as a motorcyclists both do a pretty average job)

Iran is doing to our networks what it did to our spy drone, claims Uncle Sam: Now they're bombing our hard drives


Re: A certain amount of thrashing around going on here....

per the Washington Post (and others) the Iranians claim that not only did the drone enter their airspace a manned support aircraft briefly infringed but was not targets because it was manned.

of course any 'evidence' their either side releases isn't going to match up with the other sides version of events so here we are at the brink of another war (still, nuclear winter will solve the climate change issue one way on the other)

Help the Macless: Apple’s iPadOS is a huge update that will enable more people to do without a Mac... or a PC


what a tentative mouse...

I wanted a bold, adventurous mouse support... dare I say "brave" in Apple parlance. What I got was a timid fieldmouse that hides behind menu settings and isn't fully developed. When I am using my iPad to write a document I use a keyboard, and having to 'gorilla arm' to the screen (something Mac users laugh at Windows for) to move the cursor (with much blind stabbing around to position it accurately) is really frustrating ... having properly implemented mouse support not just 'fake finger emulation' would be a really useful feature (and those complaining about it ... if you don't want to use the damn feature no-one is forcing you, you can still tap away all you like) and would also make apps like Remote Desktop or AnyDesk even more useful because I'd actually be able to use a real mouse on the remote system...

ood new, fanbys. Apple spds up n-str McBook latop kyboad rpairs, ccrding t hs leakd mmo


Re: Change for the Red Dot

I'd loved my old Thinkpad, but some years ago moved to a Mac. Still have to use Windows for some things (remote desktop, Fusion VM, and a physical desktop machine) but despite how much better Win10 has got, I still find it incredibly frustrating compared to macOS.

First couple of Mac laptops have been great - amazing build quality and reliability, but ... I'd expect it at the price tag. I'm finding myself torn now... performance on my old Mac is finally starting to suffer (it's a mid-2012 Air, so compared to how PCs seem to slow down that's pretty impressive) so it's time to upgrade and while a MacBook Pro should be a no-brainer (perfect fit for what I want it for, and an OS I am comfortable/familiar with) the keyboard and other build issues are giving me cause to hold off. If there was a current ThinkPad that ran macOS (hackintosh) reliably... I'd switch in a heartbeat.

Apple's obsession with thin at the expense of everything else is doing more harm than good ... but unless these recalls/replacements start to hurt the bottom line there's no reason for them to change


Re: 2014 Macbook Air

Mid-2012 Macbook Air 13" here, keyboard is still flawless (though trackpad occasionally doesn't register a click). I've been wanting a new MacBook Pro but unless I know I can get 5+ years out of it given the price point it's not going to happen (and looking more like a Dell XPS 13 will be my replacement)

We've read the Mueller report. Here's what you need to know: ██ ██ ███ ███████ █████ ███ ██ █████ ████████ █████


No way to disable █████████

I was hoping for an easter egg (appropriate at this time of year) to bypass the redaction :)

iOS 13 leaks suggest Apple is finally about to unleash the iPad as a computer for grownups


I've had the same rant about weaknesses in iOS that stop me using my iPad as a 'real' computer for quite a while - https://medium.com/@offbeatmammal/apple-are-a-design-company-so-why-is-ios-so-annoying-d40530dce8d9 - and there's not much in these rumours which makes me think iOS 13 is going to be the salvation we hope it'll be.

Of course, that doesn't stop me hoping... (because I don't want to buy a Macbook Pro until they've fixed the keyboard and 'no user serviceable parts' issues)

A quick cup of coffee leaves production manager in fits and a cleaner in tears


I spent some time working for a bank in a former part of the Eastern Block where you had to shut down all the computers at 4pm because that's when the cleaners arrived and because of the terrifying power distribution in the building (which also wasn't finished, there was a tarpaulin at the end of our corridor to stop us going into the (never completed) other half of the building) doing something silly like using a photocopier while they were hoovering was enough to trip the building. I asked why the cleaners didn't come in after business hours and was told I was insane, no-one wanted to tell these little old ladies to come later! I kinda miss that gig ;)

Australian prime minister blames 'state level' baddies for Oz parliament breach


"State Level Actors" ... ie the clowns currently running the show ... and they're all pretty bad at mouthing the lines their puppet masters feed them :(

'Occult' text from Buffy The Vampire Slayer ep actually just story about new bus lane in Dublin


Re: pro-Buffy flame war.

Once more. With Feeeling.

Best episode ever :)

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


Black ads, pay with BAT?

I'm curious if folks think that the Basic Attention Token idea (from the folks behind the Brave browser) will take off? - https://basicattentiontoken.org (or if you want to reward me with 'BAT' a referral link - https://brave.com/obm729)

I'm happy paying what the ad would have generated in most cases rather than actually seeing it...

Dozens of .gov HTTPS certs expire, webpages offline, FBI on ice, IT security slows... Yup, it's day 20 of Trump's govt shutdown


Re: Comparison

Back pay is not guaranteed for employees or contractors unless authorized by Congress after the shutdown ends. There was a bill introduced in the run-up to this manufactured crisis to attempt to formalize this - https://www.fedsmith.com/2018/01/18/legislation-introduced-provide-back-pay-federal-employees-furloughed-shutdown/ - thought, predictably, several Republicans voted against it (no Democrats).

The wall is a pointless exercise that does not stand up to any sort of critical thinking, Trump just wants to leave a "legacy" (beyond the pee tapes) and despite campaign promises that Mexico would pay (they won't, American taxpayers will be left paying for this for a long time) and control of all three branches of Govt he was unable to get it funded so now in a tantrum he refused to sign an appropriations bill that both parties had agreed to (just didn't include money for his unnecessary and pointless erection)

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free


Re: the fact that it's not a real Hubble photos and proof is just one Google search away.

Even space aliens are well aware of the failings of Trump

Happy new year, readers. Yes, we have threaded comments, an image-lite mode, and more...


love the responsive features - makes it a lot more usable on my phone (thanks!)

for the 'image lite' option though ... any chance of making it device/class specific ... I am happy to have images on my Mac, but like the ability to turn it off on my phone/ipad ...?

Corel – yeah, as in CorelDraw – looks in its Xmas stocking and discovers... Parallels


well, looks like it's days are numbered. I was wondering if I should migration from Fusion to Parallels recently as they seem to have a couple of features VMWare have not got around to copying yet but ... while I'm not a huge fan of Fusion it does the job well enough that I don't want to end up in the Corel bloatware world

Peak tech! Bacon vending machine signals apex of human invention


having living in the US for a decade, I can safely say that not only is the British style better, discovering a local farmer who sells it to the ex-pat community in the Seattle area was a delight!

Australia to build a pirate-proof fence: Brace yourselves, Google



the consequence of this is that they'll just drive people to use VPNs (purchased from companies outside Australia) to bypass these restrictions ... leading to an increase in the other thing they fear which is evil-doers hiding behind encryption so they cant read their emails. I guess it depends on which lobbyist is shovelling cash into their pocket that wins out.

while the rights holders make the rules about what you can watch complicated, convoluted, and feel like they're exploitative (having moved countries, and DVD regions, three times I've given up buying physical media that I can't digitise)

Reverse Ferret! Forget what we told you – the iPad isn't really for work


I love the form factor of my iPad Mini. Well, almost... as I'm getting older I find reading on the screen sometimes challenging so I keep thinking I want to get a newer, bigger screen device (and I love the idea of the Pencil as I prefer to scribble notes in a meeting vs type) but ... the new hardware fragility is a huge concern (I spend several days a week on-set for TV productions, and I commute on a motorbike... the iPad Mini fits perfectly in an inside pocket on my jacket!) and the software is incredibly, and deliberately restrictive...


Tim Cook is obsessed with the quarterly stock price, and Jony Ive needs adult supervision ... while I've had bad experiences with the Surface line of devices, maybe the "Go" is that middle point I need (I used a Toshiba Encore2 for a while, and that was one of the best Windows pen/touch devices I've used, but the Windows app ecosystem was a letdown)

As losses narrow, nbn™ says business will drive growth in ARPU (that'll be how much it extracts from each punter)


the ARPU has to come from somewhere...

so if consumers aren't going to be hit with price rises that means it's either going to come from efficiency gains (looking at these clowns, that's not likely) or reduction in speed/quality (which in turn will have them paying refunds or see users switch to lower tiers if that's all they can reliably get)

Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality


Wht two email clients anyway?

One thing I don't understand is why they maintain two email clients?

As an Outlook user it annoys me no end when I click on a mail link and sometimes it tries to open Mail (which I don't have set up) when it should have opened Outlook

A much smarter (and easier for the users) approach would be to have a single mail client that based on license key turns on/off features and UX, so my base Win10 comes with Outlook (promoting the Office brand through name recognition) and when I apply my Office key all the other goodness lights up ... no redundant client and a better user experience.

(while making Outlook the default on macOS is more reliable than on Windows - I never see Mail.App unless I explicitly launch it - on iOS, Apple annoy the hell out of me by not letting me set the default mail client to something other than theirs)

As to advertising in the Mail client on Windows ... Microsoft obviously want to have their cake and eat it too ... charging for the OS and then plastering it with adverts to make the experience even worse

Assange catgate hearing halted as Ecuador hunts around for someone who speaks Australian


Re: Downvoted ..

we don't want the feckless git back thanks very much

What do Zuck, Sergey, @Jack and Bezos have in common? They don't want encryption broken


Re: Go Dark

rather than go whole hog, use the platform they have to educate voters about the potential fallout of *their* governments actions so whoever is trying to ram this through, and for whatever reasons, at least get a dose of sunlight.

sure, the media will do their best to downplay it... but making politicians up for election aware that this is something people will care about helps them chart a more carefully thought out course (you'd hope!)

Apple's dark-horse macOS Mojave is out (and it's already pwned)


I'm torn!

I want the shiny new (because feedback from beta testers pointer to perf improvements on the Air, and anything that stops the fan sounding like a demented F-15 these days will be welcome), but the sub-pixel rendering changes will be annoying if they make the screen any less usable.

Sure, Apple think I should upgrade my out-dated mid-2012 Air for something new and shiny, but the Macbook Pro that I'd like (because of the jump in specs) is still an unknown when it comes to the keyboard and other reliability and, compared to a lot of the Windows machines on offer, horribly over-priced. But I hate the idea of going back to Windows.

GG n00b lol! Amazon frags support for its own games controllers



I'm not a big gamer (bejewelled is still my go-to!) but I do enjoy kicking back at the weekend and playing a bit of Asphalt8 on my FireTV with the gaming controller.... if it's stopped working with this latest update I'll be a bit disgruntled (it's not quite the same playing it with the FireTV remote!)

Plex plucks media cloud service, sends users scurrying to exit


I didn't use the Cloud option so not too worried ... hopefully it means they can continue to develop a great solid product that my family can use (it replaced our old Windows Media Center which was much loved!)

Guys, you need to sit down and have a chat: Skype rolls out SMS a week after Microsoft


the Skype capability (for me) is much more useful than Windows as I use Skype on Android (phone), iPad, and macOS ... so the ability to read/reply to a text on my phone from Skype on my iPad or Mac would be great (because I'm cross platform I won't use iMessage)

Unpicking the Pixel puzzle: Why Google is struggling to impress


I've had a pretty good experience with return/replacement process both for my Nexus devices (my 4 was rock solid, my 5 needed replacing twice, my first Pixel2 lasted a week but had a battery fault and was also painless to replace) but at the time I was in the US. Now I'm back further from their logistics center I'm a bit more worried how things will be handled in the future... that, and the awful leak photos of the be-notched Pixel3 makes me suspect I'll need to look elsewhere.

As the price tag has gone up every generation the incentive to actually upgrade has gone down, especially with things like headphone jacks and SD cards disappearing (the first annoys me several times a week because I've already lost two USB-C to 3.5mm adapters!)

For me, the big selling points of the Pixel have been the camera, the minimalist skin (though I do still prefer and tend to revert back to, Evie) and the regular as clockwork updates. If Nokia live up to their promise to deliver the same then I may switch back (less about the nostalgia the name evokes, but based on their ability to deliver on their promise to rekindle customer loyalty by building and supporting good hardware).

I keep thinking a switch to the iPhone would solve my complaints with the Android ecosystem, but ... https://medium.com/@offbeatmammal/apple-are-a-design-company-so-why-is-ios-so-annoying-d40530dce8d9

Microsoft bids adieu to inky fingers with whiteboard app


I wonder some of these smarts - shape recognition etc - will make their way to OneNote? I have pretty terrible drawing skills so having something that can automagically improve the quality of my scribbles would be very handy (though an iPad would still be my preferred device!)

iPhone 8 now outsells X, and every other phone


While I like the iPhone/iPad hardware, I stick with Android (currently a Pixel2) because the limitations of the OS are enough to make me resent paying the Apple tax. If Apple were to address some of the issues then I might become an 8 customer, but the X seems like a crazy price to pay for not much extra


Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android

Big Brother

Amazon anyone?

while their Fire Phone was pretty much DOA, people forget that Amazon have a pretty solid, Google free fork of Android already. The Fire Phone, tablets and FireTV platforms are all ASOP based but largely replaced the GMS pieces with their own store and services (with APIs that over the years have got a lot closer to their Google equivalents).

the challenge will be getting OEMs and chipmakers to work on delivering/integrating with their BSP so the OS layer can be dropped onto devices (perhaps the work Google is doing with "P" to decouple the OS from the firmware where possible might help speed this up...)

now, not saying Amazon are a better path to tread than working with Google, but it would be interesting to see if these projects could play nice and get further together than bifurcating all over the place.

Australia, Solomon Islands to ink Huawei-free cable contract today


it's only cheaper because we're paying for it!

so a $100m subsidy, no doubt taxpayer funded, somehow makes this a great deal?

nbn™ CEO didn't mean to offend gamers, just brand them unwelcome bandwidth-hogs


so, first they tell us they don't need to deliver 100Mbps to the home because there's no demand, but not they tell us they're going to have to throttle and traffic shape users because they're too demanding.

for a future-proof network, they've don't a pretty crap job of even making it capable of replacing what we currently have

You know what your problem is, Apple? Complacency



I used to look forward to Apple events to see them pushing innovation and keeping the race - both PC and phone - moving forward.

In recent years... I kinda don't care. Improvements are incremental and the hype-vs-value meter has swung so far it's not really going to make any change to my user experience.

macOS still works fine on my mid-2012 Macbook Air (which I switched back to after 3 attempts to get a Surface Pro3 that worked) and while I'd like a faster CPU/GPU, more RAM, a larger SSD and a better battery I'm not going to do that at the expense of a keyboard that dies if it gets any dust on it

iOS is an incredibly frustrating walled garden, and while I did get briefly excited to see CarPlay will now allow Google Maps/Waze to be used it looks like they're still not "brave" enough to open up the default handlers for mail://, maps://, etc to allow developers to actually compete on the experiences that make Android my go-to for a phone [ https://medium.com/@offbeatmammal/apple-are-a-design-company-so-why-is-ios-so-annoying-d40530dce8d9 ] ... and I'm not sure a red-headed emoji is enough to make me want to switch...

Waiting for 100 Mbps NBN on wireless? Errr, umm, sorry about that


Re: 4G hotspot ???

@Denarius, I'm with you on the cynical.

While I hated their customer service, since I've moved back to Melbourne I really miss Comcast (consistent 100/25 for less than I'm currently paying for 12/1 and lucky if I get reliable 5/1)


I'd settle for an unlimited 4G hotspot ... my Pixel2 on Telstra does a good job of consistently delivering my 35Mbps at home, where otherwise I can only get 12Mbps ADSL2+ (and no NBN until this time next year apparently). Sadly the cost for that right now is prohibitive (and while Optus do offer an unlimited wireless hotspot solution it's unclear if we'd be able to get the 3Mbps or 12Mbps coverage - you'd think they'd be able to tell given the address - so it's not much better than ADSL2+, and more expensive).

'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'


in countries where you pay by the byte for data (@Telstra here in Australia, I'm looking at you) especially if the crap is pre-installed on a phone bought from the carrier who pays for that data? The user (was there disclosure?) or the carrier (have they zero-rated the IP/URLs this shit talks to)?

Pixel2 user (after a couple of Nexus devices) so not suffered from too many pre-installed apps (apart from the Google spyware and multitude of messaging apps) but it looks like Google may be in the spotlight for this already - https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/14/oracle_tells_tales_about_google_data_slurps_to_australian_regulator/

Facebook Android app caught seeking 'superuser' clearance


removing the FB app from my phone (a few years ago now - https://offbeatmammal.com/2014/01/14/why-i-uninstalled-facebook-and-your-app-might-be-next/) feels like a very smart decision now. Their permission (and data grab) has always been pretty egregious but coupled with their track record of bad behaviour means they (and Whatsapp etc) have no place on any of my devices unless I can block pretty much every permission request.

Last night's net neutrality episode had some good one-liners but a repetitive plot


American... the finest politicians money can buy... and plots with less integrity than a South American soap opera

Telstra said its 7-incher was really an 11-incher, left customers frustrated, unsatisfied


Re: BS restrictions from the content owners in the first place !!!

the AFL probably sold digital rights with a bunch of restrictions in place to avoid cannibalising the TV deals they'd already sold (presumably with that restriction already defined) so can't really blame Telstra for once

nbn™ scoreboard: miracle needed to hit FY 18 construction targets


I won't be connected this year!

they finally updated the NBN page for our street last week ... I only have to wait to March 2019 for "commencement" of the HFC rollout availability.

The big question I have is if, when it arrives, it'll actually deliver anything better than the ADSL2+ we currently have... and of course if it'll be any better than the 4G/LTE wireless service currently in our area (Vivid) or if some magical 5G service will be rolled out...