* Posts by SloppyJesse

88 posts • joined 27 Apr 2017


Experian says it recovered and deleted data on 24 million South Africans after giving it to random 'marketing' person


Re: purpose of credit reference businesses

You forgot the icon

Single-line software bug causes fledgling YAM cryptocurrency to implode just two days after launch


Re: Investment?

> As a financial system, cryptocurrencies use way less power than all banks, their infrastucture and support structures

My home made cider activities use less energy than the world's agricultural industry.

Conceptually blockchain is interesting, but these public experiments are nuts. Bitcoin itself is a flawed system. As a value trading platform it's kind of working for now, but largely because there are enough vested interests [1]. The overall chain may not have been broken but there's opportunity for corruption within the mining process and the egalitarian ideals of mining has long since gone away as it's way out of reach of individuals. Instead of trusting large corporate banks, you have to trust large anonymous and *completely unaccountable* mining pools.

[1] you could argue that is true for 'real' currencies and other forms of value exchange

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data


Re: Lazy is as Lazy Does

> can't be bothered to take 5 minutes to learn how to format cells during the import process

From the users' perspective there is no import process.

User looks at file in explorer - it's an Excel file because Excel has registered itself to handle .csv files

User opens file - Excel silently corrupts random values

User saves file - Data is now permanently corrupted

PS. I took four goes to write ".csv" without my browser correcting a perceived typo.


Re: Not just genes

> If you bloody enter the bloody phone numbers bloody correctly, then you'll have no problems.

My number is 018118055. That is all the digits in the right order. Why do you think that is not entered correctly?


Re: I must be missing something...

> An option in Excel settings. That's all what is needed.

No one would use that option. If there is no guessing then when opening any text file it would have to assume all columns are text. That would make any genuine numeric and date data unusable without the pain of excels data type conversion functions.

There are 2 problems with the current behaviour

First it guesses on a cell by cell basis, not a column basis. So if you have some values that might be a date they get converted but the rest of the column looks OK.

Second there is no visibility of what's been converted so when the user sees the first screen full and it looks alright they assume it's all good.

Even a notification on opening a non-native file that it is being interpreted/converted would be an improvement - I'm sure I'm not the only person in financial services that's had to break out the luhn algorithm to regenerate the last digit of credit card numbers after a csv file has been opened and saved in Excel.

Q: What’s big, red and pulses UV light into the cosmos three times a night? A: Mars


Re: Big, red and spews UV light?

I do not want to think about Trump flashing three times a night!


Brit unis hit in Blackbaud hack inform students that their data was nicked, which has gone as well as you might expect


Game over: Deposit coin to continue

Blackbaud didn't pay so the hackers deleted the copy, they paid to get their own data accessible again.

Any attempt to spin it another way is just that, spin.

Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'


Re: Cats.

> Do we ban all black cats?

You can try, but they won't listen. They are the masters of us all. We are merely convenient food givers.

Besides, black cat == good luck. Disproving earlier commentards assertion that black == bad

Germany is helping the UK develop its COVID-19 contact-tracing app, says ambassador


So the only development needed is the positive test verification process and Bob's your aunt's live in lover?

Rental electric scooters to clutter UK street scenes after Department of Transport gives year-long trial the thumbs-up


Useful mode of transport to get to the station

Own scooters, electric and conventional, seem popular with my colleagues in the Paris office. Walking around their offices you see plenty folded up under desks. Apparently they're very convenient for short commute along the well maintained, wide cycle/footpaths or getting to/from the metro. Being able to fold them and carry into the office is an advantage over bikes.

Like others I don't see any reasonable reason a hire scooter is legal and a personal one isn't. It's academic for my town of Derby anyway - they canned the ebike scheme after half were nicked and others had their controls smashed so I doubt there will be a clamour from scooter operators to set up here.

After six months of stonewalling by Apple, app dev goes public with macOS privacy protection bypass


Re: What's wrong with standard unix user-group-world and access control lists?

Perhaps because Unix user/group or ACLs are based on WHO, not WHAT?

The example exploit says the browsers history could be accessed by A.N.Other application. Nothing about one user accessing another's files.

That said, there's probably ways of partitioning processes in *nix even when running as the same user. It sounds like a reasonable security requirement that has probably already been addressed elsewhere.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets


Re: What did students do to me?

If you had housing benefit, grants and subsidised beer then I'm the 'next generation' as I didn't have access to any of those - but I definitely remember drinking large quantities.

My 3 offspring all went through a phase of drinking but all pretty much stopped by 20. They seemed mainly put off by the choice between trendy bars with music blaring or smelly pubs full of oldies.

After huffing and puffing for years, US senators unveil law to blow the encryption house down with police backdoors


International hacking?

... 'to help authorities "access information stored on an electronic device or to access remotely stored electronic information." '

Remotely stored? You're the law enforcement, go to the remote location and get _them_ to help you. Unless you're definition of 'remote' means "stored outside our geographical borders". In which case your law requires companies to undertake international espionage on your behalf. I think other countries might take exception to that.

Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez


Re: Microsoft still at it

> Can Microsoft explain that one?

For average Joe to install one of them on iOS or Android, it needs to be in the Apple / Play store.

For Windows they can go to the software vendor's website and download the setup program.

Windows store is an irrelevance.

No surprise: Britain ditches central database model for virus contact-tracing apps in favour of Apple-Google API


Payment on delivery

"Both Dell's VMware GO Pivotal and Swiss consultancy Zühlke Engineering won contracts dating from March onwards for work on the NHSX app"

Presumably having failed to deliver a key element of the app to the required timescales they will not be paid in full.

Wow, Microsoft's Windows 10 always runs Edge on startup? What could cause that? So strange, tut-tuts Microsoft


I don't use Edge. Well, not intentionally

Title says it all.

I only saw Edge when some (normally MS) tool decided to open html in it rather than using the default browser.

Until recently when Edge decided it should handle PDFs and refuses to give them up. Have yet to successfully change it back to FoxIt. Either Windows or Edge refuses to change the association

Scottish cops dangle £6m for help understanding 160TB treasure trove of structured and unstructured data


Re: Most probably junk

All with high res images of their logo embedded.

US Air Force wants to pit AI-powered drone against its dogfighting hotshots in battle of the skies next year


Re: Which aircraft will the meat pilot use?

"the humans have the ability to think outside the box and may surprise us"

Like inverting and taking Polaroids of the enemy?

Legal complaint lodged with UK data watchdog over claims coronavirus Test and Trace programme flouts GDPR


Re: "PHE and the NHS confirmed that a DPIA has not been conducted..."

The DPIA would essentially force them to 'show their working'. They would need to justify things like the 20 year data retention period.

Most of the DPIAs I've seen have been very specific and rigorous, but that's probably because companies are very aware they would be a key document in any GDPR investigation. This is unlikely to be a consideration for ministers or civil servants so you're right, it probably won't make any difference.


Re: How is this better than leaving it up to individuals?

The DIY approach relies on the infected individual

* Having time and energy to contact others (they're ill, after all)

* Being able to judge what is a 'contact'

* Knowing all contacts

* Having available contact methods for them

The organised program is meant to address these.

* A medical professional interviews the infected and makes clinical judgements as to what contacts need to be traced

* The program does the legwork leaving the individual to get on with being ill/recovering

* They have more power than an individual to identify people (Virgin trains are not going to give you the names of everyone in carriage D on the 7:53 from New Street, but they should to the program) and get in contact.

Having a centralised program also creates epidemiological data for monitoring.

That's the theory. Whether England's world-beating program delivers is TBD.

Brit MP demands answers from Fujitsu about Horizon IT system after Post Office staff jailed over accounting errors


"Computers seldom make mistakes"

At a very low level you might be correct (certain pentiums excepted), but computer systems make mistakes all the time.

2 of the errors highlighted in these cases were the till not communicating correctly with lottery machines and horizon magically duplicating transactions.

There should be a full enquiry to not only see who deceived the courts and Parliament ( Post Office executives consistently towed the 'Horizon is perfect' line with select committees and in courts) but also how the courts allowed themselves to be manipulated for so long by the P. O. At the heart of most cases was an accounting system which never seemed to be openly audited. The P. O. behaviour suggested they knew the system would not stand scrutiny and found ways to achieve prosecutions without the accounts coming under the microscope.

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


Re: This is not how security works

Brave says:

This server could not prove that it is www.phe.gov.uk; its security certificate is from *.phe.org.uk.

That site is not getting any of my details...

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


"the most comfortable colour combination was actually yellow on blue"

Word for DOS? Or WordPerfect? Seem to recall one of them had a blue background.

Switzerland 'first' country to roll out contact-tracing app using Apple-Google APIs to track coronavirus spread


Re: Why do they keep repeating that ?

As others have said, having location and other details is necessary to trace/contact those that do not have the app, and it's useful to look at probable infection locations to improve behavioural guidance and policy.

But... Neither needs to be mandatory for the automated contact notifications to work. In fact, making these additional features mandatory damages the basic tracing goal by reducing uptake.

EU General Court tears up ban on Three slurping O2. Good thing the latter's not set to merge with Virgin Media, eh?


Re: doesn't matter anymore

UK might be out of the EU, but the EU still exists. It's not about the merger that was blocked, it's about the precedent it set, which has now been overturned. The reason was signposted very clearly in the last paragraph.

... "CK Hutchison will inevitably be emboldened when it comes to future mergers in mainland Europe, where it owns networks in Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, and Italy."

Easyjet hacked: 9 million people's data accessed plus 2,200 folks' credit card details grabbed


Re: Never store CC details

Or those that only accept *some* symbols.

Plenty don't accept £, presumably because it isn't easily typeable on a US keyboard.

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?


"for the app to work, information that identifies a phone/person needs to be retained and exchanged with other identifiable phones/persons. All solutions require the information to be shared via a 'trusted' broker..."

Trusted broker, yes

Identifiable information exchanged, no

If I've understood the google/apple solution correctly, my phone comes into contact with your phone. It gives your phone a one time code. If you get the virus your phone uploads all the onetime codes it has received in the last 14 days to a server. Every phone downloads the list of all codes. When my phone sees one of its codes it looks at it's own data to identify what the contact was (how close, how long etc).

The server only ever has a bunch of random codes. The server is just message passing.

Watch out, everyone, here come the Coronavirus Cops, enjoying their little slice of power way too much


Re: Reality check

"Nothing has changed the burden of proof. "

No, but the act is written in the negative. You cannot go out, unless for one of the specified reasons. So if a copper asks it's on you to provide a reason. If you say "none of your business, do one", they may well reply " here's a nice fine for you to pay".

It's similar to the "going equipped" offence. If you're spotted wandering through an industrial estate at night with a crowbar the onus is on you to demonstrate you're not about to force your way into that factory.

Alternatively you could say you're homeless. Then the rule does not apply.

Borklays soz for the ailing ATMs but won't say if fix involved a Microsoft invoice

Big Brother

They're not alone

It's not just banks, or even UK that suffer these issues.

Travelling through Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris recently a number of the automated passport control gates were displaying a windows error dialog over the top of their normal UI.

I would have taken a photo but didn't fancy extending my stay. Big brother icon because, well, passport control.

In case you want to flee this wretched Earth, 139 minor planets were spotted at the outer reaches of our Solar System. Just an FYI...


"bidding their time"

That could explain some of the entries on ebay...

Larry Tesler cut and pasted from this mortal coil: That thing you just did? He probably invented it


action should have a consistent effect

"Tesler's vision was that a user's action should have a consistent effect"

Now wouldn't that be nice?


Re: The AI Effect

"... the only thing that relies on quantum processing in the biological world..."

What about birds navigation? https://www.wired.com/2011/01/quantum-birds/

Don't Xiaomi pics of other people's places! Chinese kitmaker fingers dodgy Boxing Day cache update after Google banishes it from Home


Re: My apologies for stating the obvious:

Sounds like an app bug that revealed an architectural flaw feature.

I'm still not that Gary, says US email mixup bloke who hasn't even seen Dartford Crossing


Re: Can I get you to do Morrisons as well?

A GP near London has registered my mobile for a patient, so I get helpful reminders of their physio appointments.

Cannot reply to the number, no details of the GP and the 3rd party system provider doesn't respond to emails.

Amazing that an NHS provider doesn't do basic verification.

I'm waiting for a message to include PII so I can report to the ICO - maybe they will care.

IT contractor has £240k bill torn up after IR35 win against UK taxman


"Listen there are so many of us contractors/locums/agency workers. Why aren't we forming some body to tackle these HMRC morons!??"

Ever heard of IPSE?

The mod firing squad: Stack Exchange embroiled in 'he said, she said, they said' row


Re: Surely it's just a bit of civility

"You work at that bench. The person who works at that bench always gets called Alec. That kid works at that bench, so he gets called Brian"...

Let me guess, you worked at the first bench? After Brian came Carl , Dave, Eric, Frank...

UK.gov's smart meter cost-benefit analysis for 2019 goes big on cost, easy on the benefits


What's a meter reader?

"I mean, it would have enabled them to get rid of huge swathes of staffing costs, like meter readers"

Really? Do they still employ meter readers?

Haven't heard them mentioned since I was with British Gas (for my electric, obviously). And even they haven't actually read the meter since being outsourced. Every 12 months or so, BG would insist the outsourced reader needed to come round despite me providing regular readings (to guard against fraud apparently). The outsourced reader would leave a card, I'd write the reading I'd previously provided online and leave it stuck to the porch window.

I don't think anyone other than me has actually read the meter in 12 years.

Tesla Autopilot crash driver may have been eating a bagel at the time, was lucky not to get schmeared on road


Re: Did he get a ticket?

Emergency lights on the back of police and traffic officers in the UK are highly directional. If you're behind them they're really bright but move off the centre line and they fade quickly.

Presumably this is by design to limit distraction to other lanes - unfortunately are highway wombles seem to like skewing their cars at an angle behind broken down vehicles. On a couple of occasions I've come round a slow left bend and it's like there are no lights on the back, move over to the next lane and it's like Blackpool illuminations.


Re: Did he get a ticket?

Human memory of events is highly flexible.

I had an accident on a roundabout where the vehicle to my left decided they wanted to turn right and drove straight into the side of me. Dashcam showed they'd joined alongside me, gone very wide and then turned in so when they hit me their car was almost 90 degrees to me. I'd have sworn blind they had come from the second entry not from the same one as me without video proof.

SpaceX didn't move sat out of impending smash doom because it 'didn't see ESA's messages'


"Languages let you do stupid shit like this, " ... "This is the main problem with formal verification."

Isn't that the point of having languages like Ada that is strict about what you can write, allowing formal verification to take place? In other words, if you need formal verification, don't use a language that allows you to do stupid shit.

Bus pass or bus ass? Hackers peeved about public transport claim to have reverse engineered ticket app for free rides


Re: Still too expensive

"The two fecking buses could coordinate to switch passengers and stabilise the timetable,"

I used to travel out of Swindon (unfortunately I had to go back the next day) on a service which always got bunched up by the time it got to the edge of town. The drivers would regularly swap passengers while queuing a cross the motorway junction to allow the first bus to 'go direct'. But that was in the days before CCTV and GPS monitoring - I bet they'd not be allowed to do it now.

In my current city they tried an intelligent bus stop system that shows time to the next bus. They bought it cheap second hand from another council. The bus companies refused to use it saying it was too expensive to integrate with their vehicles. Even on then trial routes it never gave accurate information anyway. One wonders why the original council never used it... Council. Booze up. Brewery.

The only way our bus services will get better and be comprehensive is if they can be run properly on an area basis, rather than this crazy route by route basis where private companies can take profit from busy routes but expect subsidy to run others. Even our dear leader(*) has said public transport would be better if everyone followed TfL's approach - unfortunately he failed to point out that would be illegal under the current transport acts.

* or "Babbling fatberg of dishonesty" as Ratbiter in Private Eye has decided to refer to him

Stalking cheap Chinese GPS child trackers is as easy as 123... 456 – because that's the default password on 600k+ of these gizmos


White hat botnet

Unfortunately the people buying these are unlikely to be reading articles like this. And if they are they may well justify that it's all too technical for Pete the Paedo to use to target little Jimmy.

The only way this is likely to be taken seriously is a very visual demonstration of how much data is available - anyone got a bot net to hijack and track them all for 7 days and publish it all on a map? That's the kinda thing that might get some attention. Of course we'd also have to contend with the big data slurpers and usual TLAs that actively play down any data privacy issues in case it results in rules that impact their own activities.

Oops, wait, yeah, we did hand over photos for King's Cross facial-recog CCTV, cops admit


Re: Your face, your ass

Have a pint while I wipe the breakfast off my screen...

In Hemel Hempstead, cycling is as bad as taking a leak in the middle of the street


Re: Banning Cyclists

Dismounting is sensible on a busy pedestrian zone, but this ruling makes it illegal at all times. There's unlikely to be a safety issue in an average town center at 7am.

Seems to me these kinds of blanket ban are brought in because councils have no confidence staff on the ground can exercise good judgement between a sensible cyclist pootling along a half empty street and an a#$*h@le pulling wheelies on a Saturday afternoon.

Mozilla says Firefox won't defang ad blockers – unlike a certain ad-giant browser


Re: Ads

"There's no specific ad in the film, but you see the Product, you become aware of it, and maybe then next time you think, oh I could use a new product, maybe i should get the Product that was in that film. Job done."

That's why I've never bought an Apple laptop - I'm not a spy, drug dealer, criminal mastermind...

Heathrow Airport drops £50m on CT scanners to help smooth passage through security checks


Re: Interpretation?

"I wonder what sort of training the staff will get to interpret the scans"

They're training the AI already.

What? You thought there would be actual staff?!


Re: if the tech will mean an end to the daft liquids rule – only 100ml per container

"It's not 100ml of liquid, it's a container with liquid that has a capacity over 100ml."

The with is important. I can take an empty 1l bottle and a separate 100ml bottle of Kia-ora and then mix airside at the water fountain.

And inflation is slowly making the "travel" products pointless. many toothpastes are only 100ml now.

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


Re: In the real world

I used to get them regularly when I was with Zen. The details on what was being downloaded were never remotely accurate - normally some recently released movie. They seemed to just send them to anyone accessing torrents.

BT staffers fear new mums could be hit disproportionately by car allowance change


Equalities Act

Not really.

Before this change everyone receiving a car allowance is getting a better deal when statutory maternity pay kicks in than those that only get basic pay.

After this change it is exactly the same situation, except some people that were in group A are now in group B.

They're not changing how they treat people, just which ones are in which situation.

Seems to me the underlying unfairness is that those on basic pay move to a statutory amount whilst those on pay+perks get statutory+perks.

Metropolitan Police's facial recognition tech not only crap, but also of dubious legality – report


Re: Help with "Innovative Solutions"

" If the system scanned 10,000 face at Notting Hill and made 42 suggestions of which 8 were correct thats pretty fucking good going I dont think a copper stood watching the crowd on his own would get 8 results."

And there is the exact reason this is not the way to test the effectiveness of this technology.

We do not know how many valid targets there were in the population checked.

What they should be doing is recruiting a bunch of volunteers, putting them (and only them) into the system and then sending them into a crowd. Then we'd be getting sensible information to judge effectiveness.



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