* Posts by Andy Non

923 posts • joined 9 Jul 2014


Google bans stalkerware apps from Android store. Which is cool but... why were they allowed in the first place?

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Problem solved?

The same principle could be used to solve gun crime in the US. All guns sold must have paperwork with them stating the gun can only be used for target practice and never aimed at a human being. Problem solved.

Video encoders using Huawei chips have backdoors and bad bugs – and Chinese giant says it's not to blame

Andy Non Silver badge

"The hardcoded password is a deliberate backdoor."

Not a good look for a company wanting to have its kit accepted as secure and trustworthy with worldwide ambitions for its 5G kit.

Amazon Lex can now speak British English... or simply 'English' if you're British

Andy Non Silver badge

Alexa can speak double Dutch for all I care

I'm never having one of those privacy invading gadgets in my house.

Family wrongly accused of uploading pedo material to Facebook – after US-EU date confusion in IP address log

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Not just dates get confused

My father here in the UK once got a letter with a hospital appointment for 12:15 am. On a hunch, I phoned the hospital and no they didn't expect him to turn up at midnight, it should have read 12:15 pm.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I have to admit

Yes! That's the one. It completely ignored the locale settings (unbeknown to me at the time) and did its own thing. Caused me some grief. The code seemed to be working fine converting date strings as though they were in UK date format when I wrote it until the beginning of the following month when it decided that the date strings were all in US date format.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I have to admit

I can relate to that. In the very early days of visual studio, the inbuilt date conversion functions had a habit of borking dates with data sent from multiple countries in different formats. So I ended up writing my own functions to handle all date conversions - at least their conversions were consistent without the odd rogue US date format appearing and mucking things up. Similar problems with the opposite use of decimal points and commas in numbers formatted as strings between European countries.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: 11Oct16

I once tried to register on a site that was intended for a world-wide audience (with a drop down box for country) but the registration process would not proceed until I entered a valid (US) zip code. Duh.

Typical '80s IT: Good idea leads to additional duties, without extra training or pay, and a nuked payroll system

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Remember floppy disks?

Some batches or brands of disks were decidedly dodgy. Can just take one bad disk to ruin someone's day.

There was also the problem of some people just not looking after them. There were occasions I'd been called to help with a problem floppy disk (3 1/2 or 5 1/4), only to find it covered in score marks like an ice-skater had gone round them in circles, obvious signs of grit or debris on the surface that had been dragged around by the head. Where's your backup disk? ... next to their ash-tray with a coffee cup perched on the top of it. Sigh.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: simple

Been there done that but with a VAX 8250 removable disk platter. That gut wrenching moment when you realise you've forgotten to remove the live data removable disk and put in the backup removable disk before initiating the backup to it from the fixed data disk.

Brit mobile network EE follows O2 by ending trading relations with retailer Dixons Carphone

Andy Non Silver badge

Didn't know carphone warehouse were still a thing

No been in one or seen one for around twenty years. I assume most folk do the same as me - buy a SIM with the number of minutes, data allowance etc you need at the best price and buy a phone separately online. If you are desperate, most suppliers will do next day delivery.

Is that little section inside Currys PC World with mobile phones part of carphone warehouse? I did ask about a phone in one of those a couple of years ago but the bloke did his best to be as unhelpful as possible and get rid of me; I think it was time for his lunch.

Adtech's bogeymen are tracking everything - even your web visits to mental health charities, claim campaigners

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Another reason to have nothing to do with charities...

I can't remember which charity it was, but it was one of the larger ones, only passed on 1% of donations to the people they were supposedly helping. 99% of donations were spent on staff wages, advertising and other overheads. At that level it is basically a legalised scam.

India makes buying a used cow easier than buying a used car

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: As a farmer and IT bod...

La vache!

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Holy Cow!

Sounds like a load of bull; pull the udder one.

I AM ERROR: Tired of chewing up your RAM? Razer tells gamers where to stick its special gum for the RGB crowd

Andy Non Silver badge


"Soylent is a nutritionally complete meal replacement beverage."

It should have everything the body needs as it is erm... made from bodies.

(Soylent Green, if anyone remembers the film)

Indonesia starts taxing Minecraft, Skype, Zoom and Twitter

Andy Non Silver badge

How would the tax be calculated?

Ten percent on what? Are they proposing that these tech companies monitor the number of adverts sold in Indonesia and charging 10% tax on them? Or are they taxing something else?

Zero. Zilch. Nada. That's how many signs of intelligent life astroboffins found in probe of TEN MILLION stars

Andy Non Silver badge

There are too many vested interests in making money in the short term for businesses and politicians to do much to change things. With some issues like climate change, by the time politicians realise they've fallen off their bike it will be too late to get back on it again. There are many who still deny climate change is happening and some of them are in power (Trump).

Andy Non Silver badge

I'm beginning to think that intelligent life is a temporary phenomenon and self destructs beyond a certain level, either through destruction of the host planet's eco system or through ever advanced weaponry such as an accidentally released bio-weapon or world-wide nuclear war or other more exotic means of total annihilation yet to be discovered.

AI in the enterprise: Prepare to be disappointed – oversold but under appreciated, it can help... just not too much

Andy Non Silver badge

Status of AI now

I think AI is still in the very early stages of development and is of limited use and over-hyped. However, in the longer term I foresee AI becoming much more sophisticated and powerful. As a hardware analogy, I'd say AI as it stands now is the equivalent of the original valve powered computers and of very limited use.

I think the software behind AI and the hardware it runs on needs to vastly improve... which will probably come with time.

Digital pregnancy testing sticks turn out to have very analogue internals when it comes to getting results

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: "It's not yours"

Alien abduction and implant. Or, invitro fertilisation and the lab got the eggs mixed up.

'We're not claiming to replace humans,' says Google, but we want to be 'close enough' that you can't tell it's a bot talking

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Garbage in garbage out

I never had any luck trying to buy a custom spec computer system from Dell. Years ago when I first tried I had a query but they went out of their way to avoid human interaction. Finally found an email address for them and I got a reply back from a bot with a 16 page reply with various possible answers to my question; none of which answered it and some were quite laughable. They didn't get my order. I though to myself "If this is their pre-sales support I wonder what their post-sales support is like?"

A few years later while living in France I wanted a custom built computer with UK Windows, keyboard etc. Went right through all the specification details blah, blah, blah and a couple of hours later "Sorry we can't deliver to France." Went through the process again with Dell France but couldn't have a computer with UK Windows and keyboard. I gave up on Dell in the end. They just aren't customer oriented.

Andy Non Silver badge

Garbage in garbage out

I'm not convinced that talking bots will be much better than text/chat bots are at present, probably just more infuriating to deal with when you ask something that is not in its database. At least human script jockeys pass you on to a supervisor when they don't understand.

I updated several email addresses recently and updated my accounts with most organisations via their websites with the exception of a couple. One being my energy supplier (Shell Energy) who had no facility to update email address. I clicked "contact" expecting a means to contact a human being either by telephone or email but instead got a text based chat bot. It half grasped that I wanted to update something and gave me a link to the page where you can update your phone number but nothing else. I tried to tell it the information it gave me was incorrect but of course that went right over its head. I asked it if I could speak to a real person but apparently not. So it is effectively impossible for me to contact them or to get my email address updated. I added a few four letter words to the chat bots dictionary and gave up.

Every month Shell Energy sends me an email with the link for me to submit that months gas and electricity meter readings. That email will now bounce back to them as undeliverable and consequently I won't be sending them any more meter readings.

Mate, it's the '90s. You don't need to be reachable every minute of every hour. Your operating system can't cope

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Just checking everything takes up the work day

You should have told me you had limited means of contact or I wouldn't have tried to contact you by courier, letter, telegram or pigeon post!

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Deserved a good BOFHing

Too late, they fell through a window on the 8th floor.

(Must get around to having some glass put in that window frame)

Salon told to change ad looking for 'happy' stylist because it 'discriminated against unhappy people'

Andy Non Silver badge

Marvin would be the ideal barber

Marvin: “My capacity for happiness you could fit into a matchbox without taking out the matches first.”

Arthur: “I think that door just sighed.”

Marvin: “Ghastly, isn’t it?”

Marvin: “Sorry, did I say something wrong? Pardon me for breathing which I never do anyway so I don’t know why I bother to say it oh God I’m so depressed.”

Marvin: “I think you ought to know I’m feeling very depressed.”

Trillian: “Well, we have something that may take your mind off it.”

Marvin: “It won’t work, I have an exceptionally large mind.”

Marvin: “Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you to the hair dryer. Call that job satisfaction, ’cause I don’t.”

Marvin: “‘Reverse primary thrust, Marvin.’ That’s what they say to me. ‘Open airlock number 3, Marvin.’ ‘Marvin, can you pick up that piece of paper?’ Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to pick up a piece of paper.”

A Good Education:

Marvin: “It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level.”

Arthur Dent: “You mean you can see into my mind?”

Marvin: “Yes.”

Arthur: “Well?”

Marvin: “It amazes me how you manage to live in anything that small.”

Marvin: “Life? Don’t talk to me about life!”

Marvin: “I ache, therefore I am.”

Marvin: “Life. Loathe it or ignore it. You can’t like it.”

With a million unwanted .uk domains expiring this week, Nominet again sends punters pushy emails to pay up

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I feel left out

Thanks. :-)

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I feel left out

Fair point

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: I feel left out

Thanks for the info. Do you know if removing the privacy flag is global though, i.e. so anyone can have access to my contact info or just Nominet?

Andy Non Silver badge

I feel left out

I won't be getting any emails from Nominet despite letting my .UK domain lapse. I recently updated several of my email addresses and went through my list of people/organisations to update. Discovered that the email address Nominet have for me is 15 years out of date! Apparently I can't update it either as my domains are held by 123-reg and it is up to them to update Nominet - a process that apparently is supposed to be automatic. Seems like someone has dropped the ball. Can't help wondering (.UK domain issue aside) if Nominet ever has any legitimate reason to try to contact me directly?

Everything's falling apart. The Moon is slowly rusting up – and it's probably Earth's fault

Andy Non Silver badge

No wonder the moons orbit is shifting

Quick, NASA send a quadrillion tons of WD40 to the moon.

Critical vuln that lets miscreants hijack computers via Slack? *Sucks in air* We'll give you $1,750 for it

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: A man once saved my life

Well that's just pants.

Sounds like the black helicopters have come for us. Oh, just another swarm of FAA-approved Amazon delivery drones

Andy Non Silver badge

Considering that a number of people

either live in flats or have very little in the way of garden space for delivery of items; I wonder how many parcels will end up being delivered to the pavement (for the convenience of thieves) or onto the roof of your house, garage or shed or even up a tree or into a garden pond?

Also how accurate is the mapping of people's gardens anyway? I've only got to go into my back garden with my android phone and Google maps thinks I'm in the living room of one of the houses in the street behind ours.

Someone's getting a free trip to the US – well, not quite free. Brit bloke extradited to face $2m+ cyber-scam charges

Andy Non Silver badge

I'm sure he'll get bail in the US

He's got a rich uncle who is a Nigerian prince, he'll pay the bail via Western Union.

Death Stranding: Essential worker simulator unites its players amid a lockdown far worse than the real-life one

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: PC ports...

Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a go. Didn't know about the right analog stick click. I spent ages (ten minutes?) throwing rocks all over the place without luck. I've also got some headphones now too, so perhaps there is a better directional indicator to his shouts than the mono output from the TV.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Great summary...

I doubt playing it again would be as good the second time around as you know how the "plot" evolves and how the game ends etc. I might play it again in a year or two when I've had chance to forget some of it. I doubt I'll forget that ungrateful scrote who orders pizza and moans if it's cold while I'm out there risking my life trying to save the world! LOL

I really enjoy these games where there is lots of walking through countryside involved. I find it quite relaxing. Same with the Assassins Creed games; I rarely use the horse/camel preferring to wander and collect stuff on the way. You also encounter more side quests that way too.

I never managed to ride the motorbike in Death Stranding very well, wobbling around all over the place with it and drove it off the road into the river! Ironically I have a full motorbike licence and am used to riding super-bikes. The trucks in the game were much easier to drive. I bet they are a pile of dust now - that timefall rain is pretty caustic.

Andy Non Silver badge

Your main adversary are a type of nebulous ghost, which are surprisingly scary and can be difficult to evade and difficult to fight if you encounter a lot of them and aren't carrying enough amo - the amo being grenades made from your own blood.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Excellent game

There were quite a few cutscenes, especially at the beginning and end but having played the game beginning to end including most of the side quests I'd say they account for less than 1% of the total game time. Most of the time is spent carrying objects from one location to another with some fighting or sneaking past adversaries. I love these games with lots of walking and exploring the landscape or building roads and structures; though I know some hate that and want constant full on action and fighting. This isn't one of those games. As someone else commented, I think you may need to be a little OCD to enjoy this game - I am and it suited me perfectly. It throws you few curve-balls too e.g. like when you suddenly find yourself in full conflict in a world war one trench surrounded by soldiers, tanks and explosions; the end also has some twists within twists.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: PC ports...

It was a hot mess on PS4 in my opinion. I left the game to play something else as I got bored to death with it as I can't get past the bit near the beginning where the father is calling out "throw a rock near to me". Great, but where the f*** is he? I can't see him anywhere, if I move to look I die, if I don't move and throw rocks in every direction I die of old age while he keeps shouting the same annoying instruction over and over again. I keep going back to the game every now and then, but frankly it isn't living up to the hype so far.

Andy Non Silver badge

Excellent game

If you like open world games with lots of exploring then this game is for you. The plot is a bit weird but easy to get into. You never quite know who to trust in this game so best to keep an open mind about everyone you come into contact with. To quote from the article "Initially, sneaking past BTs is the only option, and your first encounter is mildly terrifying" -- This a hundredfold. For such a nebulous adversary, they are quite chilling somehow. Those in the destroyed city are more so, especially when you have to try to navigate it looking for various items. The mules are a pain too as you aren't allowed to kill them or they become another death stranding, so you can only punch them unconscious. This is all fine and good at the beginning when they only punch back, but gradually during the game they acquire weapons making things more difficult.

There was one serious bug in the game - one of the settlements in the mountains showed up in the map in the wrong place. I only stumbled upon it by accident when it should have been much further away. Same bug occurred when I had to go there again later, so you could easily waste a lot of time looking for the settlement based upon the error in the map. I think it glitches if you resize the map - it doesn't resize back down again properly.

There are some funny moments too. Try giving the character too many cans of that fizzy drink when he's resting in his room. ;-)

Really enjoyed the game. Worth the money IMHO.

Google wants to listen in to whatever you get up to in hotel rooms

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Concierge

OK, this device will self destruct into a flaming inferno inside your room in 5 seconds... As a courtesy to other hotel guests your room door has been automatically locked.

'My wife tried to order some clothes tonight. When she logged in, she was in someone else's account ... Now someone's charged her card'

Andy Non Silver badge

British Gas

When I used to pay my bill online by card it always gave me the amount paid by a random stranger paying their bill and their name on the final screen. They were obviously losing track of customers online sessions at the final page. Tried contacting BG about the issue but they weren't interested and this problem carried on for a year or more! Wouldn't surprise me if it was still doing the same thing, but I'm no longer with BG anyway. The issue wasn't too serious in terms of what was leaked but their site shouldn't be leaking or mixing up different users sessions at all.

US election 2020: The disinfo operations have evolved, but so have state governments

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Let's back up a lot

Lots of ancient Greek politicians were crooked and self serving. I should know, I had to assassinate loads of them in "Assassin's Creed Odyssey"

The truth is, honest people need willpower to cheat, while cheaters need it to be honest

Andy Non Silver badge

Going back a few years, It was "piracy" that introduced me to some bands that led to me buying their music CDs. Same with the original DOS based Doom games, went on to buy the later versions.

Start Me Up: 25 years ago this week, Windows 95 launched and, for a brief moment, Microsoft was almost cool

Andy Non Silver badge

I buy my PCs from the Chinese manufacturer (Eggsnow) via Amazon. It's the best way to buy a good quality high spec computer for around £500 that is ready for me to install Linux on. Haven't bought a computer from PC world since buying a Windows ME laptop - and that is going back a bit. I used to buy most Windows desktop computers from a local company that built them to my spec but they eventually went to the wall undercut by the likes of PC world. Very little choice on the high street nowadays for high spec desktop computers - take your pick Windows or Apple or nothing.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Happy memories

Ah yes, I remember it now.

Andy Non Silver badge

Happy memories

Having been a software developer for DOS for a number of years, Windows 95 was a breath of fresh air, a new age, things only got better with Windows 98, then ahem MS and Vista (cough). NT was pretty good and Windows 7 rocked. All downhill from there. I used to look forward to the latest MS operating system or major update. Now I don't use Windows at all - exclusively a Linux Mint user.

This PDP-11/70 was due to predict an election outcome – but no one could predict it falling over

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: The elevator did it

I remember listening to the radio while my Sinclair ZX81 executed code; distinct patterns of noise depending on what the computer was doing.

Thanks for the memories... now pay up or else: Maze ransomware crew claims to have hacked SK hynix, leaks '5% of stolen files'

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Recovery

"IMHO, we make the criminals pay so heavily, make these actions state-level crimes"

In practice it would need to be a fully internationally recognised and punishable crime assuming the miscreants can even be identified. However I can't see European countries or the US etc getting any cooperation from China, Russia and North Korea to mention a few. From what I understand, North Korea actually has state sponsored units to steal international currency this way.

I agree with you about the wetware. A family member sent his staff on a security / anti-phishing course and a week later one of them fell for the telephone scam call from "Microsoft". The excuse being the Microsoft is one of their clients, but they basically allowed the scammers full access to their servers! Considering this was a firm of financial advisors handling many millions of pounds in investments for their clients it was very much an oh-shit moment.

Andy Non Silver badge

Re: Tossers.

The problem is often the weakest link - unpatched software, poor passwords, insecure / badly configured servers, staff not trained against phishing emails or calls. Combine this with a poor backup regime and the hackers have got you by the balls.

SQLite maximum database size increased to 281TB – but will anyone need one that big?

Andy Non Silver badge

Looks like I need to

upgrade the memory inside my Android phone to 281 TB.



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