* Posts by EastFinchleyite

349 posts • joined 30 Jul 2015


If you think Mozilla pushed a broken Firefox Android build, good news: It didn't. Bad news: It's working as intended


Updates vs Upgrades

Thinking about this mess draws me to the conclusion that the problem is a blurring of the line between Updates and Upgrades.

Updates should be limited to the underlying nuts and bolts of the software. Adding compatibility for HTML changes and suchlike. One essential characteristic should be that the UI should not be altered unless it is absolutely essential. Even then there should be warnings that enable a user opt out even if auto-updates have been enabled.

Upgrades are the place for stylistic product changes. Style is almost by definition a subjective matter. I prefer the Classic windows style of page for PCs and eschew any others. That is my choice and I respect others who prefer other paradigms. There should be room for both.

It annoys me that I have to be smart, to be cunning to avoid the traps and pitfalls arranged by people such as the Mozilla design managers. On a PC I use extensions and CSS style sheets to take the Firefox UI back to the old layour circa version 40. On Android I have had to scrub Firefox and reload/sideload version 68 again (see above).

It shouldn't be necessary. I shouldn't have to treat Mozilla with suspicion every time they release a new version. I should be persuaded to make donations to them rather than curse them. You may ask why I don't go elsewhere. It's because the rest are worse.


Sideload to restore old version

For those of you that have had your phone polluted by the new Firefox, I can suggest that you scrub Firefox from the phone then re-install version 68 from an app mirror site such as


There are other sites such as apkpure.

Then make sure auto update is turned off.

This could be Mozilla's try at the longest suicide note in history.

Good news: NASA boffins spot closest near-Earth asteroid ever. Bad news: We never saw it coming. Good news: It's also really small


School run

"A space rock the size of a sports utility vehicle "

How do they KNOW is was a space rock. I reckon it's just as likely to be an SUV on its way to pick up the kids from Moon School because the poor little darlings can't be asked to walk home on their own.

Bloody SUVs get everywhere these days.

First alligators, then dogs, now Basil Fawlty is trying to standardise social distancing measures


Appy Days could be here again

It would be useful if someone in the Politburo of the Register Standards Soviet could include the construction of an an App in the next Five Year Plan.

The app shall carry out all he conversion function of the web based page of information, and a Premium version could include linking to the mobile's onboard sensors to give immediate outputs in unit of choice. (exampe: if linked to your car systems, parking sensor warnings given in Osmans or Linguinie)

I release any profits arising from IP value of this idea to any El Reg fund for the next space project to follow up LOHAN.

My life as a criminal cookie clearer: Register vulture writes Chrome extension, realizes it probably breaks US law


Re: Don't Feel Bad...

Be thankful the DMCA enforcers don't have guns. (surely they don't........)


Legal opinions

This article reminds me of the old joke.

Q. How do you get three different legal opinions on a subject

A. Get two lawyers to discuss it.

UK smacks Huawei with banhammer: Buying firm's 5G gear illegal from year's end, mobile networks ordered to rip out all next-gen kit by 2027


Trade Deal

When we finally "get Brexit done" at the end of the year, we will need a trade deal with China, or end up on basic WTO terms. At that point I expect China to require access to UK markets for technology products bundled together to include 5G. Boris (on behalf of a one term Trump) will try to keep 5G out and as a result we will have no trade deal.

There is an awful lot of stuff that we want and need from China. Not just finished products but components. We may well end up learning a few nasty facts of life. When it comes to fights, size and power matters

Population UK 67 Million. Population China 1,393 million

GDP UK 2.855 trillion USD. GDP China 13.61 trillion USD

LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions, board says: 'LibreOffice will always be free software'


Re: No more donations from me

There is a fine balancing act to be achieved here. TDF must be an expensive operation to run but it also relies on the voluntary contributions of skilled people. I expect those people do it out of personal interest and possibly a sense of community. I can understand how those people could object to their efforts being used for commercial gain.

One way out of this would be for those volunteers to frame their contributions with license restrictions so that TDF can only incorporate the results in the free personal edition of LO. If TDF and their "ecosystem companies" can't accept that then they should employ people to do the work done by the volunteers and become a real commercial enterprise rather than profit on the backs of unpaid labour.

The good news: Vodafone switches on first full-fat, real-life 5G network in the UK. The bad news: it only got sent to Coventry


5G phone

A friend of mine asked me about 5G. I told him that you need both a 5G network locally, and a 5G capable phone.

He asked me how he could tell if his phone was 5G capable. It suggested that if the volume control went up to 11 it was 5G. He seemed happy.

Maybe a job in VF marketing is beckoning.

Microsoft takes tweaking tongs to Windows 10's Start Menu once again


A general moan. It is Friday after all

<start rant>

This is a moan about possibly all desktop updates although Windows 10 is a particularly egregious case . One of the things that really bugs me about desktop updates is this constant need by the developers to tweak the appearance of the desktop. A little bit of background shading here, let's move that menu over there. It is much like the continual rearrangements of groceries in supermarkets. Biscuits have been moved nearly 50 metres from aisle 4 to aisle 32 in my superstore. They are the same bloody biscuits, just made more difficult to find. Same with desktops. If there was new functionality there may be an excuse but layout changes for the sake of it? It is putting different coloured lipstick on a pig.

I can appreciate the value of modernising things when the developers release an entirely new operating system like they did moving from Windows 7 to Windows 8 (ok, change is not always good and you can trust Microsoft to screw things up) but at least the user has the option to refuse. I chose (still choose) to remain on Windows 7 for that reason. But when I update my existing system I don't expect it to look, feel and operate differently afterwards.

When i send my car to the garage for a service it doesn't come back with a changed paint job, no fifth gear and the instruments reading in metric. I want the same for my PC.

<end rant>

NY Attorney General warns Apple, Google to police COVID-19 tracing apps in their souks – or she will herself




Given the international cross border nature of mobile networks, app platforms and the rest, and that the NHS app in the UK will clearly breach the lines drawn by the AG of NY, can we expect a cease and desist letter from the AG's office to be delivered to Matt Hancock in Westminster in the next few weeks.

If not, it will probably be because the UK app will have so little take up that is is regarded as of no significance.

Coronavirus masks are thwarting facial recognition systems. So, of course, people are building training sets from your lockdown-wear selfies


Re: Web scrapers

What is this thing called a social media account? Why would I have one?

(yes, I understand the irony of subscribing to El Reg comments in order to decry subscribing to arsebook etc)

Huge if true... Trump explodes as he learns open source could erode China tech ban


Re: Can it really be called 'satire'

It is satire because it was clearly marked "SATIRE" both as a backcronym and full text.

Other than that it was totally plausible.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you


Purveyors of Windows..

... should be known as The Double Glazing Factory.

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



While we are at it, can we extend this splendid debate to include the value and desirability of using an underscore (e.g _ ) to indicate a space where none is allowed. An example of this is in email addresses.

Should they be double spaced (eg. __) in the same manner.?

We can't let a really futile argument like this die without getting onto page 2 of the comments.


Not enough

Double spacing? Pah!

All words should stay at least 2 metres apart whether they have full stops or not.

Wanted: An exit strategy from the overt surveillance of smartphone contact tracing



The problem illustrated here is that it is very difficult to ensure that you don't have a contact tracker on your phone. Even if you delete an app that had a use during the Covid-19 pandemic the fear is that somehow it will remain, or be built into some other app or OS function. My solution is to swamp it with garbage.

What we need is an app that most of the time when your location tracking is not critical, turns off or isolates the phone's GPS location tracking and instead introduces false data. This could be random or deliberately misleading. For example, once the spooks realise that there probably aren't several thousand people visiting 10 Downing St, Buck House, or the NEC in Birmingham they may just give up. If each phone cycled through several dozen random locations in a short time the whole thing may well collapse.

As Zoom bans spread over privacy concerns, vid-conf biz taps up Stamos as firefighter in totally-not-a-PR-stunt move



If you are using a free service for serious stuff, you should really be asking yourself "why is this free?"

If you are paying for a service that rips off your private information then you have made a really bad choice.

Honor 9X Pro: Better specs can't save this smartphone from a barren app store


Re: Apps

Sideloading Apps through APK files is a breeze. As each of my older phones has become slow with bloatware and other cruft, I have unlocked the bootloader and added a custom ROM such as LineageOS. Sideloading apps follows on from there. You don't even have to get rid of the Huawei Android if you are happy with that. Just load the apps There is plenty of info though web search.

All this scaremongering about not having access to the Play Store is just that; something to make you scared. In a way it can be seen as an advantage, the Chocolate Factory doesn't get to control your phone. Bejing may but that is a different matter.

The Reg produces exhibit A1: A UK court IT system running Windows XP



It is said that "Justice is blind" and this is embodied in many of the statues of Justitia where the lady is blindfolded (although strangely not on the Old Bailey).

Perhaps someone should hack off one of the statues' legs to show that it is now unsupported.

You can't hold black horse down: Brit bank Lloyds goes full multi-cloud, signs up with Google as well as Microsoft


more personalised customer experiences

I don't suppose that Lloyds are doing this for my benefit, they must see a potential for making more money. If it ties up with Google then there is a fair chance Lloyds/Google want to monetise MY personal information.

As a Lloyds customer since 1973 (briefly a LloydsTSB customer but we shall skirt over that) I don't want a "more personalised customer experience", I just want a bank with a nearish local branch, and internet system that works and doesn't have any security blunders, and treats me with respect.

The trouble is I have accounts with two other banks (one now owned by Lloyds :( ) and they are the same. With interest rates now dropping to virus inspired lows, my mattress becomes a viable alternative to store my cash. It is also as likely to give me a loan as my bank would. At least it gives me a good night's sleep without selling my personal information. Or does it?

Maersk prepares to lay off the Maidenhead staffers who rescued it from NotPetya super-pwnage


Re: Someone needs to notify the Home Office

I wonder where you got that quaint idea. We have always had a xenophobic tendency but since May 1979 that has been merged with a hard nosed capitalism that regards human misery as a feature rather than a bug in the system.


Re: Someone needs to notify the Home Office

I doubt there will be any problem getting work visas from the Home Office. Our Government wants lots of cheap skilled and semi-skilled labour. It keeps the pay rates for all employees down which is good for dividends. What it doesn't want to do is grant residency rights to the visa holders or their dependants to stay in the UK. Once the contract is over its back to India on the next flight. That is true capitalism.

Google begs for US Entity List exemption to let Huawei use its mobile services – report


Re: Oh wouldn't it be funny....

The "other people" probably didn't try hard enough. Huawei seem to be trying a bit more; 3000 people and 1bn spend is a lot of trying.

What's more, it doesn't really matter how many times other people try and fail, once one success is achieved the genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back. Once Google's effective monopoly on Android and the App ecosystem is broken, getting it back will be very likely impossible.

Ever wondered how Google-less Android might look? Step right this Huawei: Mate 30 Pro arrives on British shores



Good question.

It is sometimes said that a well trained dog will bark when you tell it to bark. A REALLY well trained dog will bark when you WANT it to bark.

The Page/Brin/Schmidt triumvirate at Google seems to behave like Trump's really well trained dog

Amazon's owner Jeff Bezos is certainly not Trump's bitch.


Resistance is Unpopular

(... as well as being futile)

I wonder whether the Trump/Google axis realises that in the end they will only weaken the position they are trying to strengthen.

In reaching this conclusion I refer to the Principle of Least Resistance (an example of Zipf's Law)

Android users get access to apps through the Google Play Store because it is currently the easiest way to do so. It would be a mistake to think that banning some smartphones from accessing that Play Store will deter owners. It just makes other means (Amazon apps, side loading etc) easier than Google. The intention of Trump/Google is to dissuade people from buying these phones i.e to stop them being owners. This may not work.

App developers that place their product only on the Google Play Store do that knowing that almost all their customers can gain access that way. Why bother doing the extra work of providing alternative access for such little return?. Once it becomes clear that there is a significant number of customers outside the Google ecosystem, these apps will become more widely available. Likewise, once it becomes clear to such phone owners that getting apps through notGoogle is not difficult the barrier to ownership of banned phones is brought down.

Google currently has a de-facto monopoly on Android apps because it is free and relatively easy. That monopoly gives it the base from which to gather the data that is its lifeblood. In putting up barriers that will only deflect demand rather that deter it, they are "cutting off their nose to spite their face".

In the end, it will comes down to whether phones like the Huawei Mate 30 Pro are any good and justify their price. My own feeling is that anyone pays £899 for a phone is bonkers.

There are already Chinese components in your pocket – so why fret about 5G gear?


Trade War

This isn't about security; that is a figleaf. If it was then we would not allow any imported technology into areas that we deem a security risk unless full disclosure of all technical, hardware, and software were included. US technology would be banned entirely as it is on the record that the NSA is trying to get their national system providers to put backdoors in their kit. No more Cisco et al.

It is about a trade war. We are going to look damn silly as and when Uncle Sam does a deal with China and the trade war is off. Maybe not under Trump but he isn't going to last long; 5 years max and probably less. Then Chinese kit will be considered safe once again. How will our politicians explain that?. I suppose they will dust of the WMD excuses and move on to their next G&T.

Not call, dude: UK govt says guaranteed surcharge-free EU roaming will end after Brexit transition period. Brits left at the mercy of networks



I am not sure why anyone is worrying.

There will be plenty left from the £350m per week that they promised we would get back from the EU. I know they said we would spend it on the NHS but there should be enough to cover the cost of these roaming charges.

It was on the side of the bus and Boris, Gove, Rees-Mogg are all honorable men aren't they.?

<sarcasm filter off>

<wistfulness filter on>

<breaks into refrain of "there'll be blue skies over the white cliffs of Dover". >

It is a bit early to go down the pub but I am sorely tempted.

Free Software Foundation suggests Microsoft 'upcycles' Windows 7... as open source


Re: Do they know an open source Windows would be the death of Linux?


Come on, don't you realise that the FSF is just taking the piss out of Microsoft? There isn't a snowball's chance that MS will do anything about this. Any response other than "thanks but no thanks" would achieve the FSF objective which is to get a rise out of the Redmond mammoth.

Top Trolling by the FSF.

From WordPad to WordAds: Microsoft caught sneaking nagging Office promos into venerable text editor beta


Re: Where did it all go wrong?

"The moment that flip occurs in any business........"

Boeing Boeing gone!

El Reg presents: Your one-step guide on where not to store electronic mail



The problem with the "deleted items" folder is that it exists. It is a fundamental design flaw.

The designers of Outlook (and all other email clients that share this problem) should never have created such a folder because they should have known that people are stupid. Not all people and not all of the time but a good slice of us will do stupid things. If you created a folder named "gone forever" there would be someone who thinks it a good idea to store their most valuable files there. Much like putting a post-it note with ID and password stuck to your monitor.

If a deleted email disappeared immediately after that "are you sure" button was clicked then the hapless user would learn PDQ not to do it again. As it is, the system encourages stupidity because it doesn't actively punish it.

London cops seeking £600m mega IT contract to knock 'towers' sprawl into 'one throat to choke'


Re: Muiscal chairs

I stand suitably admonished. I am also learning how to spell but its taking a while.


Muiscal chairs

Original Plan A (single throat choking) doesn't work so Management move to Plan B (Towers Model).

After a few years of change management, consultants, bonuses and salary increase to motivate them, Management decide Plan B doesn't work so lets go back to Plan A. More throat choking.

How many years before we move to new Plan B with more and better Towers? I hope those Towers aren't clad with dodgy materials.

Perhaps better management should be considered.

Microsoft joins Google and Mozilla in adopting DNS over HTTPS data security protocol


Re: Windows Server

"DNS over TLS (DoT) that ISPs prefer because it gives them continued access to unencrypted DNS traffic." I am not sure that statement makes sense but perhaps....

My understanding of this issue comes largely from El Reg in its previous articles. From 23rd October 2018 comes


"Network admins, he argued on Twitter, need to be able to see and analyse DNS activity, and DoH prevents that. "DoH is an over the top bypass of enterprise and other private networks. But DNS is part of the control plane, and network operators must be able to monitor and filter it. Use DoT, never DoH."

DoT is DNS over TLS, RFC 7858, a separate standard from DoH that works towards the same integrity and privacy aims. Which matters more, network or user?

While DoT achieves those aims, it's still subject to a level of interference that DoH resists: DoT has port 853 to itself, and can therefore be blocked, and a user's DoT request (but not the content of, or response to, that request) is visible from the network.

DoH, on the other hand, shares port 443 with other HTTPS traffic."


I think this means that both DoT and DoH traffic is encrypted but because the DoH traffic is merged in with all other HTTPS traffic on port 443, the DoH traffic cannot easily be identified as DNS traffic. It can under DoT although you can't see what is actually in it.

The real issue here is who runs the DNS servers. It seems that Google and Microsoft through their browsers are defaulting all DNS over HTTPS traffic to their own servers where it is decrypted and they can see everything. Do you trust them.

At the moment in the UK, my Plusnet router defaults to DNS servers chosen by them. I can (and have) easily chosen the OpenDNS alternative. I think this may become much more difficult in future as the DoH choice will be done by the browser. Trust Microsoft and Google to improve matters to their own advantage.

Use the courts, Jeff: Amazon to contest Microsoft scooping $10bn JEDI contract


In keeping

This is the military we are talking about. Isn't it supposed to be a complete SNAFU. ?

ZTE Nubia Z20: It's £499. It's a great phone. Buy it. Or don't. We don't care


The Case against.

Two screens. Its going to be tricky working with it in a case. All my phones have lived in S-Line silicone bumper cases. (OK I know I'm clumsy). They have all survived my attempts at percusive destruction.

How would you put this beast in a case while keeping both screens usable in daily life.?

Also, £499 is more than I have paid for all three of my smartphones combined. (two Motos and a Galaxy)

Blood, snot and fear: Why the travelling lone tech reporter should always knock twice


Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

GP surgery Hahahahahahahahah!

Receptionists are the untrained spawn of the Devil. There to put a barrier between patients and over worked doctors.

Couple of years ago I ground my finger close to the bone with a belt sander (my own fault). Took the nail completely off. Mushy stuff underneath. As my London GP surgery was both open and just around the corner I wrapped the dripping mess in a paper kitchen towel and walked round the corner. The receptionist flatly refused to even call one of the on-site doctors saying that "we don't do injuries here, you need to go to the drop-in minor injuries centre, or hospital A&E". Luckily I have an automatic car and could drive with one hand for about a mile to the DI centre.

The drop in centre triaged me and I got to see a nurse in 20 minutes. She offered to X-ray the finger but as it was clearly not broken, only mangled I suggested that perhaps someone could check it for underlying damage and dress it. There was a two hour wait for sticking plasters etc. I decided to go home and dress it myself.

It was at this point that the only rapid movement I had seen all day occurred. The nurse stopped me from going back out through the other waiting victims with a, by now, very bloody kitchen towel. She gave me a new sheet of sterile cloth and waved me on my way.

Its a good thing the valiant journo was on his way TO the USA rather than coming home to the UK. US medical care may be hideously expensive but if you have travel insurance it is quite effective. In the UK, at least in North London, you are stuffed.

Socket to the energy bill: 5-bed home with stupid number of power outlets leaves us asking... why?


Re: Maybe the owner doesn't like to look for a socket?

Previous owner was J R R Tolkien.

Lord of the Rings.

<I'll get me coat........>


Re: You can never have too many sockets.

Yes, you can.

Antarctic researchers send an SOS to the world: Who wrote this message in a bottle?


Re: Brute force solution

Sadly the excellent efforts of Squid Emperor have made this approach redundant. Have an "Up" as a reward.


Brute force solution

A quick search shows that there are 1,085,533 .pl domains


It is likely that the ????? part of the email ID judbas@?????.pl is one of those domains

Just send out 1,085,533 emails and see how many replies you get.

It is sort of a solution but not a very good one.

Tech and mobile companies want to monetise your data ... but are scared of GDPR


Re: And there you have it...

The problem is that it would seem "My Data" has some value and that these companies want it without paying for it. I see two solutions

- Somehow make them pay for it although I have no idea how to do this and I doubt it is feasible

- Remove the value from my data.

The second option sounds promising. What I want is for some clever bugger to design and write a script that uses my PC (when I'm not using it) to generate vast amounts of garbage data and make sure that it gets to the data slurpers. It would swamp anything useful they collected and steer them in wrong directions. A simple version would be to make large numbers of Google and Amazon searches for tea strainers and scented candles. I am sure with a bit more thought it could be made far more sophisticated. Hand warmers and electric toothbrushes anyone?

THEN I offer to turn it off on receipt of payment from the slurpers. They can have all the garbage data they want for free. The useful stuff will cost.

It's back: The mercifully normal-looking Moto 360 smartwatch


A great specification....

...... but what does it do?

No extra bank holiday for 75th VE Day, but the pub will be open longer


Re: Bastille Day

Other things to do in France on VE day?. Commemorate the Sétif massacre perhaps.

We can go our own Huawei! Arm says it can flog chip blueprints to Chinese giant despite US trade embargo


Re: In the meantime ...

Intel chips should perhaps be referred to as "Intel fries" in deference to our US masters. That is probably why they need to have belting great cooling fans and heatsinks attached.

Pentagon beams down $10bn JEDI contract to Microsoft: Windows giant beats off Bezos


Missile Abort Code

Alt-Ctrl-Del ?

Mobile operators say they'll go halfsies with UK.gov on £1bn network to bring 4G to rural folk


4G Old Hat

From what we have been reading in this and every other publication that comments on mobile technology, 4G is just SO yesterday!. Surely our rural friends should be focusing on jumping direct to 5G. It is the future without which society will not be able to fully evolve at least until someone mentions 6G.

OK, sarcasm aside, I have friends who live near Gatwick airport who can hardly get a 2G signal. The mobile operators are only interested in services that will turn a profit. and they have been quite successful at it. Rather than giving subsidies to profitable private companies, the Government should make new frequency allocation dependent on filling these legacy network holes.

Sod 3G, that can go, but don't rush to turn off 2G, UK still needs it – report


Here's an idea

2G services were/are run by Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile; the last two having merged and taken over by BT. Three used Orange's network for 2G so they don't have a presence.

Using the old tried and tested technique of the Government persuading (bullying) BT to maintain a public service commitment paid for by private customers, Boris should get BT/EE to maintain basic 2G network coverage and allow O2 and Vodafone to turn theirs off to save money or use the frequencies for 5G Tweak the 2G roaming settings so that any remaining 2G phone/SIMs can roam onto BT/EE.

Job done; Vodafone and O2 get a freebie, BT carries the can again and the political problem goes away.

Three UK goes TITSUP*: Down and out for 10 hours and counting


Re: Huawei introduced to network...

Huge Upset Arrives With Every Installation.

Conspiracy loons claim victory in Brighton and Hove as council rejects plans to build 5G masts



One thing that hasn't been factored in is that the people of Brighton are basically stupid, in the same way as all of us in the UK are basically stupid. We believe any old crap that is thrown at us; TV adverts, political promises et al. The problem with Brighton (I grew up there) is that they are marginally more stupid than most and have a bit more money to indulge their stupidity.

The great thing about mobile phones are that they are local. Bad coverage in Brighton has little if no effect in North London so go for it!

The people I feel really sorry for are those that live near a TV transmitter. 02 uses 800Mhz for 4g. Base station power between 10 and 100 watts. Crystal Palace HD Freeview Muxes are 746Mhz at 43,100 watts and 743Mhz at 39,800 watts. (Don't tell them about the other MUXes all over 200,000 watts). They must be fried by now. Don't they realise that tin hats just focus the power on the brain centre? Oh the horror!



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