* Posts by Dwarf

1194 posts • joined 11 Dec 2014


Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

Dwarf Silver badge

Easy to fix..

Don't install the app, then you know with 100% confidence that its a scammer.

I know that the app won't be going onto any of our family devices, reasons include

1. Battery life will suffer - blasting out bluetooth all day long like a canary

2. The government has said that they will keep the data for unspecified reasons.. Err, GDPR logic should also apply.

3. Bluetooth only says a big circle from here, not that the person was within 2 metres of me. If social distancing needs 2M, then why use a 100M technology to do that.

4. It doesn't understand vertical spacing, so if I'm 30 metres up or down compared to someone, it won't be able to tell the difference.

5. IT doesn't see everyone,so those with no mobile / those that don't want to use it, the person that wiped their hands with CV on the same hand rail / door etc 20 minutes ago, etc.

6. Not all problems require a technology solution.

7. This is really about making people feel better about things rather than actually fixing the problem.

Now, given that Bluetooth is 2.4GHZ and that's the same frequency (ish) as a microwave oven, then if they could find a way of boosting the power and providing me with an star trek style anti-bacterial surface wiper device, then I might be prepared to use it as that would be useful.

Some that I've mentioned this idea to suggested that Samsung have already started to do this with their Galaxy Note 7 range, bit its a one-time capability..

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: None of this is a new problem

I've never really thought about "why 132 columns" before, but as its not multiples of 40 or 80, then I'm guessing that its related to the size of paper available (probably in the US?) and how many fixed width character blobs would fit in the space.

Although when you think a little more about this and the need for customisation of the ordinary roles of dead tree to add sprocket holes, tear lines for a page and alternative green and white stripy bars, then it makes it you wonder why they didn't go for 120 or 160 column as the page shape could presumably also be changed during the preparation of the fanfold paper pack.

Or is it actually 120 columns with 12 extra columns for some line number prefix type arrangement ??

Interested in this topic suddenly invoked after several decades not worrying about it.

I found an answer ..


Dwarf Silver badge

None of this is a new problem

Massive screens compared to those 40+ years ago gives a lot more options for people to work in a manner that works for them. I remember working on 40 column displays then getting a better display that could do 80 columns - it was enlightening..

Given that nobody prints out on hardcopy any more and 80 column printers had their limitations in the day - hence 132 column devices and as Unix and Linux have always had termcap (terminal capabilities) to cope with terminal differences "stty columns 132" or "stty columns 1000" all work as intended

All editors since the year dot have had line wrap capabilities that allow you to fold longer lines within the editor to make them readable without scrolling if you want to work like that and no changes to line lengths are made to the saved file either..

On the back of that, virtually all programming languages have a way to cope with longer lines either with a line wrap (\ in c) so a lot of this will come down to personal preference based on what the person is doing / what hardware they have available to work on.

I'm just a bit bemused as to why this has suddenly become an issue in 2020 when its had long established solutions for many decades.

Are we re-learning things we already know the answers to as people refuse to look at history and standards as they always assume they can do it better with zero knowledge and background. This seems to be the norm these days.

Did nobody tell them about the lockdown? Logitech releases new 'luggable' mechanical keyboard for LAN parties

Dwarf Silver badge

"with its ultra-slender mechanical keyswitches"

What could possibly go wrong ...

I just hope they are more tolerant of dust and debris than some other brands have proven to be.

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

Dwarf Silver badge

How Gullible are you ?

Please send £50 for our questionnaire.

Photostopped: Adobe Cloud evaporates in mass outage. Hope none of you are on a deadline, eh?

Dwarf Silver badge

If only

If only there was a way to run things locally without the need to depend on things outside of my machine, then perhaps these sort of issues could be avoided..

Surf's up: Microsoft emits new security baseline for Edge 83 with way to shut off access to built-in browser game

Dwarf Silver badge

Whats an Edge Browser ?

Is that the thing that we download Chrome with ?

If someone could stop hackers pwning medical systems right now, that would be cool, say Red Cross and friends

Dwarf Silver badge

Whilst their logic may be good, I wonder if anyone has explained to them that the attacker doesn't know what the endpoint is, nor do they generally care.

Its easy to see why the compromised will happen since people click links with interesting titles and pandemics definitely tick the box for that.

The only way to really fix this issue is to ensure that the tools that you need to do your job are properly protected, a bit like how you lock the the other things in the hospitals and vehicles. Its time for organisations world-wide to realise that IT security budgets are really important and that its not wasted money. On the other hand, paying a scammer is.

Man responsible for least popular iteration of Windows UI uses iPad Pro as a desktop*

Dwarf Silver badge

So it doesn't even do what its creator needs ??

What irony.

Now, about all this pain you tried to force on all the rest of us then. How about those in Microsoft realise that visions rarely come to fruition and there is nothing wrong with saying "we screwed up". Windows 7 was your best OS and Office without the stupid Ribbon was the best. How about giving users what they actually want.

I for one can't even get calculator to launch reliably on a Windows 10 machine, sometimes it comes up, sometimes it opens but forgets to open a window, other times it comes up in a different size (far too big to use, / full screen). That must be one of the simplest applications, and its one of your own, so how hard can this really be ?

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: Funny that


That’s how I used to manage to install and fix NT3.51 /NT4 in both Japanese and German on customer sites whilst speaking neither of those languages. It all goes well until you get an error message ...

Linux desktop org GNOME Foundation settles lawsuit with patent troll

Dwarf Silver badge


Dear patent trolls, I hope you catch something nasty. The world will be a better place without you. Go and find a proper job - stack the shelves and do something productive for society rather than trying to suck the life out of it.

I'm left wondering what do patent trolls tell their kids / grand kids that they do for the their day job and what do their kids think about that ???

Openreach tells El Reg it'll kill off copper sales in 118 UK locations next year

Dwarf Silver badge

I wonder if this is in any way related to where they suffer the highest costs due to copper theft ?

Microsoft's Family Safety app drills into kids' screen time, browsing habits to help 'facilitate a dialogue'

Dwarf Silver badge

Of course all the telemetry they get on what people do will not be harvested an processed to see what they need to try and invade into next.

Papa don't breach: Contracts, personal info on Madonna, Lady Gaga, Elton John, others swiped in celeb law firm 'hack'

Dwarf Silver badge

Sounds like they need some good legal advice.

Also sounds like they needed some technology advice, but you have to wonder if they were already given such advice and declined it, probably on cost grounds. I wonder what the data dump will say about matters such as IT investment and security.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

Dwarf Silver badge


What will these be called - the not-sure lists ?

How much time and effort will be taken to implement such a change and how can this be a higher priority than any of the other things they should be worrying about right now ?

I don't get why people calling things by their normal name is a problem. None of it has anything to do with race except for the people who want to make an issue out of it for whatever reason - and that is generally in no way related to the original topic.

I wear black shoes, why are these any more of an issue than the tan ones I also wear.or the muddy brown but originally green wellies in the garden. None of this has anything to do with anything other than the colour the object is.

Things used to be very simple, or binary, this was termed black and white as in it is or it isn't. Its no more complicated than that but for some reason people want to do that - we even have some trying to coin the term non-binary. Sorry, no, binary is base 2, it is or it is not. There is no other state ...


ICANN finally halts $1.1bn sale of .org registry, says it's 'the right thing to do' after months of controversy

Dwarf Silver badge

Time for a change

At last some common sense. Unfortunately it was not from within their own team on the first couple of days when this came up, so it seems appropriate to change some of that team to make future thinking clearer, quicker and far more transparent for their customers as trust right now does not exist between the rest of the world and them

Resistance is futile: Some Cisco security appliances are ticking time bombs of fail thanks to faulty resistors

Dwarf Silver badge

Resistance is not futile

It is simply voltage divided by current.

Guess which cloud giant Zoom picked to handle millions more video calls? Bzzt, wrong answer: It's Oracle

Dwarf Silver badge

Well, I suppose with virtually nobody else using their cloud facilities, there would be plenty of spare capacity.

Wakey-wakey! A quarter of IT pros only get 3-4 hours' kip – and you won't believe what's being touted as the 'solution'

Dwarf Silver badge

Conversely ...

What about all those people skilling up on the endless money making machine of endless courses about cloud, that takes time and that means less sleep.

So, arguable if they got rid of cloud, then there would be no need to stay up late and learn about it hence people would get more sleep. so, less cloud = more sleep.

My invoice is in the post ..

Nine million logs of Brits' road journeys spill onto the internet from password-less number-plate camera dashboard

Dwarf Silver badge


Looks like a candidate for a fine for incorrectly managing personally identifiable information (PII)

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

Dwarf Silver badge


Curly brackets should be used to define paragraphs (blocks) and a semicolon at the end of each sentence (statement)

White space should never be used to define structure and he reader must assume that multiple white space is syntactically identical as a single white space. i.e. [\w] is identical to [\w+]. White space can be used to aid readability,

Or am I thinking about something else :-)

Seriously though, this is why I refuse to learn python and stick to proper language structures.

Happy birthday, ARM1. It is 35 years since Britain's Acorn RISC Machine chip sipped power for the first time

Dwarf Silver badge


I recall playing this many times on an borrowed Archimedes, very impressive graphics and game performance for its day.

'Non-commercial use only'? Oopsie. You can't get much more commercial than a huge digital billboard over Piccadilly

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: Free for non-commercial use?

This is perhaps one area where pay-per-use would be appropriate.

I use TeamViewer to support some friends and yep, it kicks in every so often boldly claiming corporate use when its not and its a right pain in the arse when you are trying to fix something and it bins the connection half way through something like an install or fighting a stability issue.

I wouldn't mind if there was a pay-per-use, ideally paid for by the party being called (i.e. the person being supported) on say a per hour or per day basis. Assuming the £30/month rate then it should be around 4p per full hour. They could even do it with a PayPal type topup on your own account that gives "remote control credits" where remote control time is added up across a month, so there is no impact for being disconnected and reconnecting during all those remote reboots and forced TeamViewer client upgrades etc.

One thing is clear, I'm not going to be paying to help someone for free nor would I pay £30 a month for something that I'll barely use for 95% of the time, but I would like a way to get rid of the stupid commercial use false positives and lack of SLA for how long it takes them to fix those.

Royal Navy nuclear submarine captain rapped for letting crew throw shoreside BBQ party

Dwarf Silver badge

If they are saying that they are not "all at the same address", then how will the do the social distancing thing when they get back onboard the sub - the corridors are narrow and space is very limited.

They protect the country, let them have a bit of relaxation when they are above the surface and perhaps those that want to try and criminalise everything should just go and get a life.

Move fast and break stuff, Windows Terminal style: Final update before release will nix your carefully crafted settings

Dwarf Silver badge

If not exist

Because testing if a file exists before doing things to it must be very difficult for Microsoft developers

If this is a yard stick for their developer capabilities then it shows why the OS and apps are a bag of nails

It also shows why they need a test team. I wonder when they will learn that lesson again.

Python 2 bows out after epic transition. And there was much applause because you've all moved to version 3, right? Uh, right?

Dwarf Silver badge


The challenge there is that the bean counters can't see beyond the end of the current quarter, so they never see common sense.

Its a bit like having a pilot that only looks beyond the end of the nose cone of their plane or the driver that can't see beyond the next 10 metres. Its all common sense when applies to real worlds, but for bean counters, nope, no way, put it off till next quarter and hide under a rock and hope it doesn't happen and try to get a good personal bonus next quarter.

Police drone fliers' wings clipped to prevent them bumping into real aircraft

Dwarf Silver badge

I wish they would stop droning on and on about all this..

Presumably they could solve the problem like they do on other police vehicles - put on the flashing blues lights and two-tone horns. Why are these vehicles stealth compared to every other vehicle ?

Baby, I swear it's déjà vu: TalkTalk customers unable to opt out of ISP's ad-jacking DNS – just like six years ago

Dwarf Silver badge

ISP -> Internet Service Provider

Where in that definition does it say that you should fiddle with the content on the way through ?

Your job is to route packets from A to B and back again in a reliable manner, that is all.

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels

Dwarf Silver badge

Revised instructions

1. Go to eBay, search for "Heavy duty folding trolley cart" or "Furniture mover dolly" you can get either for less than £30

2. Buy one.

3. Put Mac onto trolley / cart

4. Profit !

Pentagon watchdog sets phasers to none, clears $10bn JEDI contract process but leaves door open for lawsuits

Dwarf Silver badge

Presumably the defence department is good at defending their position.

Oh ... Fudge This Pandemic! Google walks back on decision to switch off FTP in Chrome 81

Dwarf Silver badge

@Dan 55

I agree that it doesn't have to be removed, but conversely, a browser should just browse (at least in my mind). I'm not looking for a single Swiss-army penknife that has the potential for more and more security bugs.

I wonder if they will remove other protocols from Chrome that are a security risk - examples could include their PDF viewer, since PDF's have security issues too. Oh and JavaScript - that can be used for bad things too.

I wonder what their real aim is ? Removal of insecure transfer protocols, even though much of what is FTP'ed is using the anonymous user anyhow and if people want to do secure FTP, then there is always SFTP and FTPS.

Personally, I'd prefer if they left the choice to users who can determine whats right for them, rather than someone doing a nanny knows best approach.

You can wipe those smiley faces off: Unicode technical website is going to be out for 'a couple of weeks'

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: Hieroglyphics

OK, it was early on Monday morning and perhaps my meaning wasn't fully apparent or got stuck somewhere between my brain and the keyboard.

What I was trying to say is that cavemen (and presumably cavewomen) used to draw pictures, but we all moved on from that. I find it ironic that thousands of years later we are going back to drawing pictures again.

This makes me wonder if the archaeologists of the future looking at our digital records will be able to figure out what that specific Unicode character was trying to explain to the other party. Personally, I think we are going backwards with pictures.

The only good thing about this compared to the Egyptian wall carvings is that at least bits of the wall won't have crumbled, so we would hope to have an accurate record, or possibly no record when someone takes down that specific web site, but that is a very different thing about historical records.

Dwarf Silver badge


Can’t we just forget the whole pile of mostly meaningless hieroglyphics and go back to using words - just like cave men have before us ?

Ofcom waves DAB radio licences under local broadcasters' noses as FM switchoff debate smoulders again

Dwarf Silver badge


DAB is audio only - Digital Audio Broadcasting.

Whats this got to do with old films ?

Dwarf Silver badge

Greed killed DAB

In an attempt to squeeze more channels into the available spectrum so that they could sell more licences, they managed to make it unusable for the vast majority due to how it degrades through the bubbling mud sound into silence.

The net effects is that :

1. They failed to move everyone over to DAB and enable the removal of AM and FM

2. Its too expensive for local radio stations, so less coverage on local topics - which people tend to care about more than national stations that don't have local info

3. People stopped buying them as the didn't do as they wanted

4. The issues never got fixed.

The ultimate effect - the companies failed to make any profits due to lower volumes and customers wasted a lot of time and money on useless kit.

Given that a lot of these radios are at their heart digital, I've always wondered why they couldn't do a strategy change to permanently fix the problem - make the channels further apart, add in additional error correction data, then do a firmware change to all the radios to allow it to work as expected.

OK, some of the cheaper units might have to be replaced at their costs and there is a technical impact in doing firmware updates in place.

It does make you wonder why they can't do over the air firmware updates - unless its because that its not reliable enough due to the poor quality signal issue again.

Conversely, other parts of the same planet can get message all around the world reliably and across millions of miles of space to other planets (probes and spaceships etc), so its not exactly leading edge tech to get a digital signal a couple of hundred miles in an error free manner.

A self inflicted wound killed DAB.

Asleep at the wheel: Why did it take 5 HOURS for Microsoft to acknowledge an Azure DevOps TITSUP*?

Dwarf Silver badge

Follow the sun support

Hardly a new idea ... Why can't Microsoft do the same ?

Things that go crump in the night: Watch Musk's mighty missile go foom

Dwarf Silver badge



Absolutely everyone loves video conferencing these days. Some perhaps a bit too much

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: It's behind you ...

Whilst working on an outsourced IT delivery, the external provider used to talk in their native tongue, even in meetings in the UK. A colleague had a real-time translation app on their phone and used to let it listen during meetings. Its amazing how many things were said that were covering up for larger problems.

After a bit, he used to ask direct questions about things and they looked puzzled by where the questions had come from, he covered well and said he was learning their language in his spare time - even throwing in a couple of words here and their in their native tongue.

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: During my time in front line IT support I've seen things


Ive been there too. .. as they say, that which has been seen cannot be unseen.

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent 'misleading data' being shown to pilots

Dwarf Silver badge

Designers needed

Sounds like a number of designers are needed that come from this century and can resolve the endless looking list of shortcuts and issues that seem to be have been designed into this steaming pile of poo.

Why they are not thinking a bit more long-term in either handling the rollover issue better (more bits to make it a far longer duration), or better still design in the fact that things will roll and expecting that in the platform design and software so that it does work properly. .

Alternately, work around with a rolling reboots until better software and firmware can be deployed. The whole idea of "turn it off and on again" is so dated now.

Talk about ill-gotten gains: Coronavirus KOs Xerox's $30bn months-long hostile takeover bid of HP Inc

Dwarf Silver badge


It was a stupid idea in the first place.

Borky shark: A deserted airport and a Raspberry Pi feeling poorly at baggage claim. Welcome to 2020

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: But...but...but...Linux!


I kind'a agree, but in general terms, a power issue is still a hardware issue - along the lines of it works better when its turned on..

Dwarf Silver badge

I blame the military

They are all there

Kernel Panic

Major Problem

General Failure

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: But...but...but...Linux!

Linux may not, but hardware generally will and you cannot code around that particularly easily !

Captain Caveman rides to the rescue, solves a prickly PowerPoint problem with a magical solution

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: Called by the head of the dealing floor

I’m English but still know what letter paper is. Never seen a sheet of it in my life but they didn’t stop me reading the manual that came with the printer to understand what it was trying to convey.

The OP posting was about what it meant, rather than if it was a good idea, so down voting me because you didn’t like the answer is just shows how fickle the el reg forums can be.

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: Called by the head of the dealing floor

PC Load Letter = Paper Cassette (PC) Load Letter Paper

So, in the paper tray (paper cassette), put in Letter sized paper as thats what the print job called for.

Like everything in the world, its trivially clear when you know what the terms mean

Forget toilet roll, bandwidth is the new ration: Amazon, YouTube also degrade video in Europe to keep 'net running amid coronavirus crunch

Dwarf Silver badge


So what about the customers that are paying more than £2 a month for a decent internet provider, why should we have to endure lower quality video because of the cheap end of the ISP market ?

As to the internet providers that asked for this, stop being a cheapskate and upgrade your networks to cope with 2020-2030 workloads.

Commercial pressures apply to all markets, so if people move away from cheap ISP's that don't invest in their infrastructure, then they have nobody to blame but themselves. The same providers should not have the ability to pull down other services to that of the lowest common denominator.

European electric vehicle sales surged in Q4 2019 but only accounted for wafer-thin slice of total car purchases

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: Range & Time for a FULL charge

I recall seeing in this weeks budget a claim that there will always be a charging station within 30 miles of you. So, I drew a circle on a map and realised how many people that will be queuing for that single charging point. I then drew a couple of points on London, we can do the whole M25 with just four charging stations based on that metric, which is a complete bargain.

Then I realised that a trip there and back to this magical point will remove 60 miles from your electric car's range, so, I thought - that's a heck of a lot of wasted trips with the resulting waste in generated power, hence not very green, it will also make it very busy on the streets in those areas with all the miles of queues.

Yet more impressive sounding politics but without the meat to back it up.

What I want to know though, where is all this new electricity going to be generated given that they are shutting power stations and not building new ones. Even if they started now, then there is no realistic likelihood of the infrastructure being there in the next 30 years.

Butterfly defect stripped from MacBook Pros, Airs by Q2 2020, reckons Apple analyst

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: I liked the butterfly keyboard..

The VT100 was nice, but personally I preferred the keyboard on the VT220 clone that I still have in my roof (Think its an Olivetti), its a little softer and equally nice to type on - and it did smooth scroll :-)

Macbook keyboards - yep, noisy and not nice to use, no tactile feedback, its like trying to type on a wet fish, but at least I can cart it around, unlike the aforementioned VT100 :-).

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!

Dwarf Silver badge

Re: Dwarfs or dwarves?

Er, um.

I’m just going to have a bit of an identity crisis. I’ll be back after a long lie down.

My question though is how do I explain this to the rest of the clan ?



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