* Posts by SloppyJesse

113 posts • joined 27 Apr 2017


ICO survey on data flouters: 50% say they receive more unwanted calls than before pandemic


Re: Someone's personal data is being misused

"I am the only occupant at this address. I have lived here for 5 years. I therefore did not look at the addressee before opening the item."

Reasonable enough ?

Say helloSystem: Mac-like FreeBSD project emits 0.5 release


among the most usable desktops

"among the most usable desktops in the free software world, despite because of limited features"


Most desktops are way too complex for the average person to get a handle on and just use. Lets face it, half the Linux distros are the same software configured slightly differently.

UK's Labour Party calls for delay to NHS Digital's GP data slurp until patients can be properly informed


Opt out links

To opt out completely you need a Type-1 opt out form which you have to present to your GP before 23 June. Explained here:


(direct link to form - https://nhs-prod.global.ssl.fastly.net/binaries/content/assets/website-assets/data-and-information/data-collections/general-practice-data-for-planning-and-research/type-1-opt-out-form.docx)

The same form is also available on _some_ GPs websites which is how I found it originally - because it wasn't obviously available on the NHS site - almost as if they didn't want people to use it.

Type 1 opt-out prevents all sharing of your data from the GP into NHS Digital. The National Data Opt out is a secondary opt out which limits some of the sharing. I presume that if you have opted out at the GP level this is not strictly necessary as the NHS Digital system will not have your data in the first place. But better safe than sorry...

Facebook: Nice iOS app of ours you have there, would be a shame if you had to pay for it


Re: Why Is Advertising So Crap

Because there are more adverts for X than there are people who want to buy X. Consequently many people who do not want X will see an ad for it.

Also, marketing departments are insane/stupid/drank the ad industry kool-aid.

Where I've worked with marketing there has always been a constant battle between data driven analysts targeting better and sales/marketing execs wanting 'more volume' in their campaigns. The move from direct mail has massively reduced the cost per contact and changed that dynamic in favour of higher volumes.


Re: Finding a mobile

If only there was some system that allowed devices to use other devices known name to lookup their network address.


Gone in 60 electrons: Digital art swaggers down the cul-de-sac of obsolescence


Re: Music industry all over again

Assuming chivo243's using his cars built-in usbstick/mp3 capability it'll probably have all sorts of software limitations because of the manufacturer's half-arsed implementation.

Mine is limited in number of directories, number of files per directory and doesn't read sub-directories.

The manufacture will never provide software updates - even though the underlying mp3 software is open source and the bugs were fixed in the source before the car was even manufactured.

Icon - have a frosty one for the Good Omens reference :-)

WTH are NFTs? Here is the token, there is the Beeple....


> what if somebody stores something abhorrent in them.

Already been done with bitcoin. Didn't stop it.

A Quantitative Analysis of the Impact of

Arbitrary Blockchain Content on Bitcoin

NYPD puts down $94k robot canine contract after outcry


Re: Irrational, as usual

"This robot might look the part but its lacking agility, speed and teeth attached to very powerful jaws."...

After being cornered by Digidog, martinusher reportedly shouted "you're not even a real dog" before shoving past it and escaping.

A police spokesman said if only Digidog was equipped with some form of grappling apparatus the megalomaniac intent on world domination would have been apprehended.

Boston Dynamics has announced Digidog V2.0...

And 94K? Are the sales team at Boston Dynamics readers of Private Eye?

UK government gives Automated Lane Keeping Systems the green light for use on motorways


Re: 37 MPH...

"I may be wrong, but I perceive the automated driving being for congested situations, and wetware has to do the job when it clears."

But what if I haven't finished watching the film on my phone [1] when it clears?

[1] watching a film was an example given on BBC yesterday.


Re: Naysayer

"I don't trust this government but they might be right that 'smart' motorways are safer"

PrivateEye have been following smart motorways recently - Your mistrust is well placed.

IIRC the DoT are still defending smart motorway by quoting safety statistics based on the original trials, ignoring more recent accident stats. Also ignoring that those trials used the hard shoulder at busy periods only (so always at reduced speeds) and the refuge areas were significantly closer together.

Something went wrong but we won't tell you what it is. Now, would you like to take out a premium subscription?


Re: Sadly so accurate

> i can't tell the API how big the buffer is so it will it admits happily trample outside of the buffer if it wants to causing as it admits unknown effects


> the char pointer reference (what the fuck is that.. char*&) actually contains the size of the contents

At least you can say "an error has occurred" if it returns a size bigger than the buffer you gave it ;-)

Add a twitter API so it tweets a message to their CEO every time. Seems twitter shaming is the only way to get support these days....


Re: And you are surprised?

Most impressive fail recently was Northumberland Council's car parking website. Aside from the terrible UI given most people will be using a teeny phone screen, at the very last stage it has a big 'Pay Now' button, perfectly hidden by the 'install our app' popup. Given at that point you've confirmed multiple times I wonder how many people think they've completed the process and end up getting fined.

Screwfix's web checkout is almost as bad. It's almost as if they make the website deliberately bad to force you to install their trackerapp

Third time's a harm? Microsoft tries to get twice-rejected compression patent past skeptical examiners


Re: 1000 patents is still 1000 too many

... "20 years of monopoly, even for the best of ideas, it patently absurd."

Oh, I see what you did there.

Palantir and UK policy: Public health, public IT, and – say it with me – open public contracts


Re: Home Office's dream of a State ID Card would be a reality

I like your confidence in the system, but it might be a little misplaced.

This fraud [1] happened in my city. Followed the case at the time and the biggest issue seemed to be finding the evidence to get a conviction because of the lack of traceability of votes cast. I think it would be a lot easier now with postal voting (and not just me [2]) and may have happened in the last election [3] in my area.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-23461729

[2] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11560017/Postal-voting-fraud-is-easy-electoral-commissioner-says.html

[3] https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/former-derby-city-councillor-charged-4996796


Re: Home Office's dream of a State ID Card would be a reality

There may be little evidence of voter fraud because its quite hard to identify as there's no verification.

We were in a trial area for ID at the polling station. Personally I see no problem with it, but I understand the concern that it may exclude people. I see no reason not to go for a simpler low tech solution like indelible ink to prevent multiple votes.

Of course, nothing you change at a polling station will do anything to close the holes in the postal ballots.

UK government may force online retailers to pick up e-waste from consumers


Re: Dreamer...

> Sure, sure. That, and unicorn-drawn carriages.

I don't think Jeeves would be too pleased if I gave his carriage driving responsibilities to a unicorn. And how would it operate the HiFi with its clumsy hooves?

helloSystem: Pre-alpha FreeBSD project chases simplicity and elegance by taking cues from macOS


Well, there are 10 types of people in the world

Dratted 'housekeeping', eh? 150k+ records deleted off UK’s Police National Computer database


Re: Backups

There's a hazard that nobody seems to have everyone doing it properly has allowed for.


Backups always get raised in GDPR discussions. I've always been given the same guidance - If you hold non-compliant data because it's not technically feasible to remove it, you MUST have processes in place to prevent it being utilised. In the case of data backups that means ensuring if the data is ever restored the non-compliant elements are removed as part of the restoration.

I would hope the ICO would take a very dim view of anyone using data restoration as an excuse for non compliance. Technical explanation of what happened, yes, but not an excuse. Either the restoration process was non compliant, or was not followed (I.e. You failed to look after the customers information properly)

You only live twice: Once to start the installation, and the other time to finish it off


Re: Sadly, no international jet-settng for me

In the olden days of humans checking passports I flew to France with one 6 months out of date. The return check-in noticed.

"Your passport expired 6 months ago. How long have you been on holiday?" she asked.

"2 weeks"...

She said I could fly since the destination was in the issuing country. No idea if that's a real rule.

Did I or did I not ask you to double-check that the socket was on? Now I've driven 15 miles, what have we found?


Re: Sadly...

"Another power supply one at the time involved an IBM PS/2 Model 50. They had a known fault that the PSUs would fail if they were switched* off and on again too quickly or if there was a brief interruption in power."

My first part time job I got roped into helping admin the till system, including performing the weekly failover test. Now I know why the instruction to wait 5 minutes before powering back on was in bold and underlined!

Much like the British on holiday, NHS COVID-19 app refuses to work with phones using unsupported languages


Re: Very poor by design.

> More probably something more like this :

> Select page_text where language_id = device_language_id

The developer saw the potential problem but was told the world beating localisation would have all possible languages.

Is Google fudging search rankings to benefit pages that embed YouTube vids? Or is this just another ‘bug’?



TL;DR Google speed test developers assume everyone uses blockers for ads and videos

UK govt advert encouraging re-skilling for cyber jobs implodes spectacularly


Re: You mean "faux outrage"?

The picture has been identified on unsplash, a royalty free stock imagery site, thus saving the tax payer agency some money.

What a Hancock-up: Excel spreadsheet blunder blamed after England under-reports 16,000 COVID-19 cases


Re: CSV?

> That's not a CSV, that's a PSV..


> (pipe separated values)

Character separated values? Choose your own character.

Salesforce, Deloitte try to flog contact-tracing wares to a UK public sector that's already got a £12bn test-and-trace system


Re: We've learnt from our mistakes....

We've earnt from our mistakes....


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."



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