* Posts by Twanky

268 posts • joined 17 May 2017


Linux Mint 20 isn't exactly bursting with freshness but, hey, there's kernel 5.4 and it's a long-term support release

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Re: Upgrade ? No..

I've always created a new partition and installed the new version

Same here but always run multi-boot on my main laptop. By starting with a multi-boot system there's no need to 'create' any new partitions when you want to upgrade. Pick the OS partition you've decided to upgrade, delete it, install new OS, paste in (large) apt command to reinstall required packages - go for coffee. If you don't like the result boot one of your other partitions that you have maintained.

Obvious disadvantage is maintaining patch levels on multiple OS partitions.

In the unlikely event that the new OS damages your /home partition, restore from backup/snapshot/Nextcloud whatever.

The only time this has failed me was when the very rarely booted Windows OS self-updated (thanks) and stamped all over my partition table - took nearly half a day of fiddling before I gave up and swapped the disk to start again.

Macs, iPhones, iPads to get encrypted DNS – how'd you like them Apples?

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Re: Better late than bleeding edge?

The problem is it can bypass private DNS servers.

For example, I use a pfsense firewall with DNS which then points to a pihole. This gives me split horizon DNS at the same time as keeping Facebook and the like off my inner networks. If a browser is configured to use DoH then this functionality is compromised.

Obviously what I'm describing is a small home rig but big boys' and girls' networks can be similarly compromised by a software upgrade of a browser.

Cloudflare may have promised to be virtuous and not prat-about with the DNS lookups - but I *want* to block or redirect lookups of certain malicious domains.

NASA mulls going all steam-punk with a fleet of jumping robots to explore Saturn and Jupiter's mysterious moons

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...steam-powered robots capable of hopping large distances to Europa, Enceladus, or Titan...

Helluva hop.

CompSci student bitten by fox after feeding it McNuggets

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University authorities will attempt to reduce debris in the hope that trims campus rodent populations and causes foxes to move elsewhere of their own accord.

They're looking at the problem wrongly. The campus is littered with McD and other fast food outlets' rubbish and the rubbish attracts rodents and they attract foxes which bite the students. Seems to me that they'd do better to purge the campus of slovenly students.

In other news: Research finds Comp-Sci students tastier than McDonald's chicken nuggets.

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occasional rabbits

Shirley everyone knows that there's no such thing as an 'occasional rabbit'. Whatever the occasion, they're always late.

'Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!'

Looking for a home off-world? Take your pick: Astroboffins estimate there are nearly 6bn Earth-likes in the Milky Way

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G-type stars are more likely than other types to host planets capable of supporting life. They are pretty small and have a similar mass close to our Sun.

What new science is this? When they're further away from our sun their mass becomes dissimilar?

Paging technology providers: £3m is on the table to replace archaic NHS comms network

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Re: Pager the next generation...


Mandatory functionality includes secure messaging, image sharing, staff directory (links to the global NHS.net address book), and calls. While meeting a long compliance list, including patient safety regulations, suppliers are also requested to look at options in connecting the communication system to patient lists, task management systems, video calls, and ERP systems.

So instead of a belt clipped pager telling the doc to call in they get to carry an ipad-sized slab? Who the hell thought it was a good idea to replace a pager with something like this?

Also: £3m? Across how many sites?

Don't panic: An asteroid larger than the Empire State Building is flying past Earth this weekend but we're just fine

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Re: Total destruction..

...would totally flatten it!

You're looking at it wrong: It would destroy NYC 100 times over.

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

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donate a Max for use as Airforce One

...with a special version of the software?

Mulled Chrome API shines light on long-neglected privacy gap: Sites can snoop on your find-in-page searches

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Re: Expectations

The book analogy doesn't quite work for me. As you point out, a major feature of a book is that it's on convenient sized pages so it can easily be handled and one page leads to the next. The only place I've seen hidden-until-you-reveal-it text in a book is when reading to my grandchildren when they were under five years old. A web page being analogous to a book page perhaps these are aimed at the under-five mentality too?

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For example, if a portion of a webpage has been collapsed so the text is not visible, a find-in-page request would not work as expected.

Yes it would - the search wouldn't find the text, exactly as expected because it isn't there.

Where's the logic in hiding text on a web page and waiting for the user to expand it later - apart from slurping, obvs.

Twitter ticks off Trump with new 'Get the facts' alert on pair of fact-challenged tweets

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I, as President, will not allow it to happen!

Oh go on - close down Twitter in support of free speech, please!

BoJo buckles: UK govt to cut Huawei 5G kit use 'to zero by 2023' after pressure from Tory MPs, Uncle Sam

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Re: sources comparing the welfare system

I think I understand - and thank you.

I am sure I could never work in an UBO as I find people difficult to interact with. I'm not 'on the spectrum' unless the spectrum is very wide but I'm not good with people.

I understand that the definition of 'welfare' has been changed over the years and that can make it difficult to compare numbers before and after the changes. Some of the changes are/were purported to achieve consistency of reporting across Europe - though it would not surprise me to find countries interpreting the rules to their best advantage.

The Attlee government started to bring in the findings of the Beveridge report and effectively codify what had been local government responsibilities before. On searching for numbers I found the https://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk website which says it draws from Government data. It suggests that in terms of % of GDP or inflation adjusted pounds the only administrations which did not increase welfare spending were Tony Blair's and Cameron/May. There certainly does not seem to be a consistent Labour vs Conservative tug-o-war over welfare... however that is defined.

I seem to have got us sidetracked - the article is about banning a particular company from being a key supplier... but I got triggered by a throwaway comment about 'destruction of the welfare state'.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Build it here

OK. Oblivious here. Numbers?

Suggested examples - I don't know if any of these are true or not:

1) More people in need and spending the same amount or less - or not proportionately more?

2) Spending on the wrong sorts of welfare?

3) Wrong definition of welfare?

4) Can't trust the published numbers because <...>?

5) Spending on rich pensioners not poor workers (OK that's a refinement of 2)?

Also, noted: We've only had conservative governments since Jim Callaghan took over from Harold Wilson.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Build it here

the destruction of the welfare system

Genuine request: Can you point us (me) to any sources comparing the welfare system from inception to date? UK numbers rather than text would be preferred - though I'm not completely sure what the measure would be.

Cyber attack against UK power grid middleman Elexon sparks in-house IT recovery efforts

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National Grid: We have robust cybersecurity measures across our IT and operational infrastructure...

Elexon: We would have said that about ourselves last week.

Spyware slinger NSO to Facebook: Pretty funny you're suing us in California when we have no US presence and use no American IT services...

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Re: Implications...

I didn't express myself very well. FB want the world to know that NSO are state level espionage criminals and therefore are not to be worried about by FBs main target groups. By throwing out accusations they distract from the fact that their system (and the platform it runs on) is vulnerable. Painting NSO as 'state level' (by getting them to use that as a defence) gives fake reassurance that nobody else - who maybe just wants to gather enough information to phish or intercept your bank or credit card account details or even just know when you'll be away on holiday - is doing anything similar.

FB don't want to hush this up. By making a noise in the couirts they want everyone to 'realise' that they've done everything they could to make their system safe but that the opposition was out of their league. Which is bollocks, of course.

NSO's technology exists. I have seen no evidence to suggest it is unique.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Class action suit?

Class action suit? These greasy f*cks just admitted, in court, that they sent mal-formatted WhatsApp messages to numerous devices, at which point they DID gain unauthorized access to those devices, violating CFAA each and every time.

From the article: 'NSO's spokesperson reiterated the claim that the biz does not operate its Pegasus software for its clients. And its legal filing says as much: "If Pegasus messages did pass through QuadraNet servers, they would have been sent by NSO’s customers, not NSO."'

Of course, there's a possibility they're fibbing, but no, they did not admit it in court.

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- Pegassus spyware exists. It can be put on a smartphone to compromise the supposed privacy of Whatsapp messages.

- NSO have Pegassus so it is possible or even probable that other groups have something similar.

- Smartphones are therefore not suitable for highly private communications.

- FB are concerned that (more) people will keep private stuff off their smartphones which will damage their business model.

- If FB can show that NSO are criminals then they hope that most FB (and subsidiary) users will go back to trusting their systems.

Dell to unleash hybrid server/storage boxen that can run virtual machines

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Dell will next week announce...

A server platform to support the detection of future crime.

Ransomware scumbags leak Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX documents after contractor refuses to pay

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Look on the bright side

From the article: When the company failed to pay the ransom by their March deadline, the gang – which tends to demand hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to restore encrypted files – uploaded a selection of the documents to a website that remains online and publicly accessible.

At least Visser got some of the information back - and they didn't have to pay.

More seriously: They also got a clue as to how long the bad guys had been in their system; long enough to steal the data before encrypting it in place. At least, I hope they reacted and didn't allow the encrypted data to leave their system after the ransom demand. If I was running a ransomware racket, I'd want to take a close look at any data that the target was prepared to pay to get back.

Minister slams 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories as 'dangerous nonsense' after phone towers torched in UK

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Re: The good thing about Michael Gove is ..

Well, toilet paper is hard to get these days.

Twanky Bronze badge

'mobiles off at night'

hmm, not as daft as it sounds. I know people who can't change the sound settings on their phones - no matter how often they're shown how. They are the sort of people who turn their phones off so that they don't get woken up when the latest insincere 'we're here for you at these difficult times' e-mail from their bank or supermarket arrives in the wee small hours.

Edit: dammit. this was supposed to be a 'reply' to anthonyhegedus' post

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: The good thing about Michael Gove is ..

Wow! You like him that much?

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: The whole story smells of being a False Flag effort

Is that you AMFM?

Brit housing association blabs 3,500 folks' sexual orientation, ethnicity in email blunder

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WCH is far from the only organisation to fall victim to such blunders

Erm. I think you've failed to grasp who the victims are here.

Cops charge prankster who 'corona-coughed' on aged officer and had it filmed

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the relevant government minister falsely claimed it had been the victim of a distributed denial-of-service attack before reversing that stance within two hours.

It can be difficult to distinguish between a sudden surge of genuine users and a DDOS - they can both knock the service offline. I don't expect a government minister to be able to tell the difference. However, a minister making any definitive statement before the facts are in is being a prat and asking for worse trouble.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Idiot

I agree he and his accomplice are idiots. Trouble is the world does not have capacity to treat every idiot as they deserve. For that matter it's probably just as well; knee-jerk reactions can be over-reactions.

I quite like that they charged this prat with 'stalking with intent to cause fear or physical harm' - good use of existing laws. It could have gone a lot worse for him if the cops had simply identified him on 'social' media (accidental, honest, we were short of staff at the time) and released him into the 'care' of the other idiots.

Crack police squad seeks help to flush out Australian toilet paper thieves

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...brazen toilet paper...

'kin 'ell these guys are hard.

It's time to track people's smartphones to ensure they self-isolate during this global pandemic, says WHO boffin

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Sounds good to me.

Leave the phone at home... social media distancing.

The show Musk go on: Tesla defies Silicon Valley coronavirus lockdown order, keeps Fremont factory open

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Re: Simple question

Old people, ask yourself, would I call an ambulance and take up a bed if I was dieing from it? If yes, then self isolate and take it seriously.

I know a couple of 'old people' (relatives of relatives) who are self-isolating. They're having stuff delivered and left outside their front door. They go out to get the boxes of stuff wearing rubber gloves and dust masks and wipe it down with disinfectant before bringing it inside. I don't know if they then wipe down the contents of their delivery boxes.

The poor sods are clearly terrified.

I can't imagine them surviving stress like this for 12 weeks as some have suggested might be necessary - let alone a year as some other politicos have been touting. This is no way to live a life.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Yes, it can kill people, it's true.

If by Coordinated isolation you mean staying at home if you think you or your spouse/kids have got the bug and/or not visiting vulnerable people/elderly parents if Fred from the office has called in sick because of it then I'm with you. But then that's what happens among sensible folk pretty much every 'flu season.

Closing businesses, restaurants, theatres, and going out panic buying stuff is complete lunacy.

Looking on the bright side - at least there will be fewer deaths attributed to 'flu this year.

Just for clarity: Yes, it can kill people, it's true. If I catch it it might kill me - or my spouse. Life is precious - live it.

Surge in home working highlights Microsoft licensing issue: If you are not on subscription, working remotely is a premium feature

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It's too late to be doing your BCP scenarios now.

Firefox to burn FTP out of its browser, starting slowly in version 77 due in April

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Re: Use a real FTP client

Yep - Use the right tool for the job.

Also, if you object strongly to FF binning FTP use a different browser. Now get off my lawn.

Dell publishes data centre cleaning guidance, suggests hiring pros to disinfect enterprise kit

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Re: Alternatively .......

Beat me to it...

But perhaps The Management are concerned that the servers might get a virus - which they've been told would be a Bad Thing.

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

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Re: Is this as ususal software related?

erm... remind me what that safe word was again?

Fire hose?

Fire station?

Fire engine?



Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Is this as ususal software related?

"Sure, that's another £250k for a replacement instrument."

That sounds familiar. So to save the £250k, stick a small, dedicated firewall/proxy between the instrument and the rest of the network (even if it's a 'private' network not exposed to the Internet) and limit traffic to and from the instrument to the bare essentials. £1k tops and you never have to change the firewall rules because the instrument's requirements never change - because you never upgrade it. You will need to change/maintain the list of machines permitted to access it.

icon: is this isolated enough?

Have you ever seen one of these, son? Ricoh spins off 360° camera boffins to debut neuralyzer-shaped snapper

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slim, pen-sized package

Damned big pen. Reminds me of a freebie laser pointer/USB stick/pen I got years ago from the CheckPoint stand at a tech show - back in the day when handing out free USB sticks wasn't seen as so much of a security nightmare. Must dig that out again; I kept it because it was so... useful.

Check Point chap: Small firms don't invest in infosec then hope they won't get hacked. Spoiler alert: They get hacked

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Insurance Risk Management?

Why should we look for a different insurance company? This one is willing to pay out even if we've made mistakes...

I recognise this attitude. Thing is: what's the betting that the apparently more lax and expensive insurer will baulk at paying out if the company has neglected basic security? Has your financials person read and understood the small print?

icon: staff might as well go home now...

Morrisons puts non-essential tech changes on ice as panic-stricken shoppers strip stores

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Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

Jaffa cakes of course

You monster!

They've got chocolate on them - you can't put them in a teacup saucer!

Sadly, the web has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'nothing is true; everything is permitted'

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Re: Paypal? What's that?

I don't have to act... Oh.

As Australia is gripped by bog roll shortage, tabloid says: Here, fill your dunny with us

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Re: Observation 101

"you're all gonna die!"

At last something we can all agree on - except maybe AMFM.

AI-predicted protein structures could unlock vaccine for COVID-19 coronavirus... if correct... after clinical trials

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Re: The cynical among us will see this as a marketing stunt.

Ah. Retrophrenology.

icon: practitioner.

No joy for all you Rover McRoverface fans: NASA's next Mars bot is christened Perseverance

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Re: Officially

Da, da, da, daaah...





icon: Closest to DNA.

Alleged Vault 7 leaker trial finale: Want to know the CIA's password for its top-secret hacking tools? 123ABCdef

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Re: more scary than coronavirus

Seasonal flu and Covid-19 infections are not diagnosed in comparable ways. Most seasonal flu is self-diagnosed/reported and the figures are collected from employers accounting for sickness absences among other sources. Covid-19 is diagnosed by an RNA test which is only performed on people who are showing signs of being very unwell. It is classic sample selection bias and it is unreasonable to compare the two sets of figures.

If everyone who took sick leave from work/study was rigorously tested for flu and Covid-19 I would expect the kill-rate for Covid-19 to fall to similar levels to flu. I would also expect many to be found to have a common cold as well as some found to be malingerers. I have no evidence for this and recognise that it is not something that most states could test or admit to testing.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: That's Amazing!

Yes that is amazing:

1) You have a nine character, case sensitive, alphanumeric combination on your luggage

2) Having bothered to set it to something other than '000000000' you chose that out of more than 2.93*10^34 possibilities.

3) Is it TSA approved?

Amazon staffer based just a stone's throw away from Seattle HQ tests positive for COVID-19 coronavirus

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Re: Respirators

hospital-like hygiene

Have you had the misfortune to attend A&E (ER) on a Friday night recently? Not a good place to hang out if you have a weak/compromised immune system.

icon: What? They told me to self-isolate.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Respirators

cocktails of the HIV drugs to see if they can get some response

Hmm, HIV is a retrovirus - meaning it permanently inserts modifications into the host cells' DNA. If Covid-19 does that then it's going to be really interesting* getting rid of it.

* Where interesting means effing difficult.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Doesn't check out

Strep is a bacteria and lives between the cells of the host body - not within them. Totally different type of infection to Covid-19. To combat viral infections you have to stop the hosts' cells transporting the virus inside or disrupt the manufacture of new virus once it's in. There are many broad-spectrum anti-bacterials but I'm not aware of any broad-spectrum anti-virals. Please do correct me if I'm wrong.

Twanky Bronze badge

Re: Respirators

None of the usual antivirals seem to do much.

What usual antivirals? That's an absolutely genuine question. As far as I am aware there are no effective antivirals for respiratory infections.

Are you thinking of Tamiflu? I understood that to be useless.



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