* Posts by pleb

114 publicly visible posts • joined 24 May 2017


Wannacry-slayer Marcus Hutchins pleads guilty to two counts of banking malware creation



They call it the "Department of Corrections". It's for correction and rehabilitation apparently. Maybe they need to open a separate agency to mete out retribution and punishment to those who have already corrected and rehabilitated themselves.

Europe's home PC buyers reach for their collective smartphone, sigh: We don't need a new desktop. This is a computer, right?


trouble is, it still works just fine.

Just noticed that my desktop is 10yrs old this month. I'm one who needs little enough excuse to buy some tech - but it still runs just fine. More memory, SSD, and a new graphics card have had to sate my tech lust instead.

Crowdfunded lawyer suing Uber told he can't swerve taxi app giant's £1m legal bill


If he thinks the £1M legal bill is too high, perhaps he should start campaigning for lawyers to charge less. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Google to yoink apps with an unauthorized Call Log or SMS habit from Android Play Store


For example: Glympse Express

Glympse Express has just updated. Glympse lets you text a link to enable the recipient to track your location on a map, for a preset period. So up til now it has asked for Contacts and SMS permission, as well as location obviously. From the app you can click on one from a list of imported contacts and the app will send them a brief sms message together with a URL to track you.

Now however, the update says:

"Changes to how Glympse interacts with Android in order to comply with updated User Data and Permissions policies set forth by Google. When you send a Glympse, your default SMS app is opened and you must manually send the message as opposed to Glympse sending on your behalf."

I have not updated, because I prefer the convenience of fewer click to send the link, and I trust the app.


Et tu, Google?

So two apps which ask for these permissions but have operated with them denied on my phone for ages;

Google Play Store

Google Play Services

Am I missing why they *need* the permissions, because everything seems to work fine without them enabled

Poland may consider Huawei ban amid 'spy' arrests – reports


"Huawei has insisted that it "complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates..."

That's the inescapable problem - they operate in China (obviously), and I believe Chinese law obliges companies to say "yes" when asked act in the Chinese national interest. More may be asked of a company in a position to do more, and building a foreign power's comms network puts them in such a position.

'Year-long' delay to UK 5G if we spike Huawei deals, say telcos


My family are career criminals. Let me install your door locks; I'm good!

I don't know which is harder to comprehend; that allowing a state ideologically committed to spying against you to build your comms network is a very bad idea, or that 9 months is a trivially cheap price to step back from such an unmitigated disaster.

Mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world


They called it bloat

My Galaxy Note 4 has a setting to "automatically switch between wifi and mobile networks ... to maintain a stable internet connection".

Anyway, once things are 'good enough' then price becomes the decider. Wifi is most definitely more than good enough, so as long as it's cheaper then I'll stick to wifi, no matter how fast the more expensive alternative is.

Revealed: British Airways was in talks with IBM on outsourcing security just before hack


Re: Aren't Vendors Supposed To NOT Store The CVV?

You are correct. Hence the idea that the hack exfiltrated live information (like a key-logger). Also ties in with BA giving exact to-the-minute timings for the start and end of the vulnerability.

'World's favorite airline' favorite among hackers: British Airways site, app hacked for two weeks


Value for money

Unless the fine is bigger than the savings made by outsourcing IT to India then it will be seen as money well spent.

Canny Brits are nuking the phone bundle


Re: OnePlus

"OnePlus are not registered in the UK which is why you aren't paying any UK VAT to claim back. If you buy direct you are buying from Europe somewhere."

How does that work? Surely you (should) pay VAT at UK customs if you import privately goods bought overseas (even if via mailorder/internet).


It ain't always so

On mobiles.co.uk you can get a Galaxy S9 with 4GB data over 24 months for total cost of £667. That is £115 up front and 24 months at £23. Or SIM-free for £699.

Or SIM-free on Amazon for £739 (pukka UK version, not the various other versions via Hong Kong).

So bundled with 4GB data is cheaper than the sim free handset. Or am I missing something?

HTTPS crypto-shame: TV Licensing website pulled offline



And the uk.gov gateway (access to details about your pension, tax, national insurance, driving licence, car tax, everything - your whole government ID) has a password requirement of 8-12 alphanumerics, no special characters allowed.

Unpicking the Pixel puzzle: Why Google is struggling to impress


Slurp slurp

You put your finger on it when you recounted the experience setting up a virgin Google account. All defaults are max-slurp. The devil is in the detail - no local phone account to save contacts under, no local gallery app to view photos etc, all the better to funnel all that data to Google the moment you forget to disable whichever sync default.

So I figure it's bad enough having to do business with the devil, but I'm sure not going to sit down to dinner as well. If I must use Android, no way ever is it going to be on Google's own phone. Never.


Re: Conspiracy theory.

I can't help noticing that much of what some people fashionably deride as 'bloat' in manufacturer skins is what informs and inspires the next round of new features in Android. Without the constant innovation and differentiation of the manufacturer skins Android would have settled to a far more sedate and self-satisfied pace of change.

Facebook flat-out 'lies' about how many people can see its ads – lawsuit


Re: Percentages

This is why I hate the use of percentages in contexts where the increase is above a two figure percentage. And yet, the lure of 'big number' is almost always too great for journalists to resist.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9: A steep price to pay


Re: Choices, choices...

My other half just got the Moto G6 Plus. In many ways a nice phone. One thing I noticed, being stock Android, it really pushes you to give all your data to Google. For example there is no local account, you have to store all your contacts against your google account, so unless you are aware and disable google contacts sync then they slurp them automagically. Similar for photos, no local 'gallery' app, only google photos, so if you are not careful then your photos are suddenly corporate property too. Basically all the defaults point your personal data to google.


Re: "Pricey? I would say so..."

In the UK Samsung offer a £200 trade in for the Note 4. Even so, I will keep mine. Having just spent a fortnight camping the swappable battery was invaluable. And I actually do make regular use of the IR blaster.The flat screen is a bonus too. All in, I actually prefer my Note 4, despite my gadget lust.

People hate hot-desking. Google thinks they’ll love hot-Chromebooking



Is this sort of a return to the mainframe and dumb terminals setup of old, except that now the terminals pack their own horsepower?

Not API: Third parties scrape your Gmail for marketing insights


Re: Selectivity, again...

Well, if I give "Sample APPLICATION" permission to read my emails, I expect the reading to be done by Sample Application. So that would be an algorithm, artificial intelligence, a machine - not a person. There is a difference.


Misuse would imply the reading of your email was not covered by a 'permission'. So on a technical level this is not misuse. But by any common understanding, well, did the users properly understand the permissions? Did anybody really suppose they had understood, or rather is this enterprise predicated on their expected ignorance?

To me they read like you are giving permission for the application itself to read your emails, artificial intelligence, not flesh and blood.

Samsung escapes obligation to keep old phones patched


One major difference I see is that, in the main, flaws that have come to light over the years in cars have been defects in the design and build which were present from the start, whereas with phones they are generally vulnerabilities to new exploits which did not pertain when the phone was launched.


Two things

1) All this scary noise about security updates for phones; OK, I get the basic idea (my phone *could* be vulnerable to exploit xyz), but I've simply never heard of anyone having it happen to them. Loads of headlines about the possibility, none about the fact.

2) My front door lock *could* be picked - is Yale obligated to upgrade it so it is hardened against the latest developments in lockpicking techniques?

Google Pixel 2 XL: Like paying Apple-tier prices then saying, hey, please help yourself to my data


Re: Just Pixel?

Actually, I could use a primer here. Google apps? What are they, for example? I don't use Chrome or Gmail etc, I actually prefer the Samsung 'crapware' alternatives. Does using the Play app store fall into the category of 'Google apps'? What exactly am I saying goodbye to if I " press cancel on the sign-up"?

Which makes me curious - the author implicitly prefers the slurpy Google apps when he characterises the alternatives as 'crapware', even whilst writing this anti-slurp manifesto. Contradictory?


Re: Still with the removable storage thing?

Unlike a Lambo, bragging rights is not the only factor at stake with storage. I've known two phones die with loads of photos locked inside. One reason why mine are all on the SD card. How much faster than fast enough they get there, I don't care. And yes, it's backed up to a NAS as well, before you jump on that one.

'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service


Re: Own domain

"so long as you keep paying the registration fees every year it won't be taken away."

Unless it is a .EU domain.

The new, new Psion is getting near production. Here's what it looks like


yup, the hinge! SO many years later, STILL in thrall to the same demon.

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin


So if they are taking their ball home...

EU? Ironic that they continue to use the English name for the organisation. Surely after we leave they should be denied that privilege and be forced to change the TLD to .UE, or whatever language they can agree upon from within their own pot. Or, erm, does the common concept of Grandfather rights seem relevant here?

Tsk-tsk, fat cat Softcat: Milk-slurping reseller taken to court


Re: History repeating itself...

That's the RISC you take.

Europe slaps €997m antitrust fine on Qualcomm


Re: Look Who Wants to Wet Their Beaks

A properly functioning market is if no value?

HMRC dev support team cc blurtfest: Over 1,400 email addresses blabbed


Re: Let's get some perspective here

No, not like when some HIV clinic CCs a newsletter to all their patients!


Re: Irregular verbs

Surely HMxx should be using HM Queen's English. "Shuttered"?

UK's Just Eat faces probe after woman tweets chat-up texts from 'delivery guy'


Re: I'm failing to see how this is Just Eat's fault

"This is surely an impossibility unless JE literally handles all the SMS stuff themselves and bans the restaurant from direct contact with the customer except the delivery itself. "

Far from impossible, but clearly JE want the money but not the work involved.

They just need to look at how Amazon let traders communicate with you by email, but without giving up your email address. A proxy system. No reason why JE could not do the same with your phone number, so that it was never revealed to the restaurant, and JE could audit texts etc.

Butcher breaks out of own freezer using black pudding


Re: This is a serious problem.

So you are saying there could be contributory negligence? Maybe not an open and shut case then?

Nest's slick IoT burglar alarm catches crooks... while it eyes your wallet


Yes, the cost of these 'solutions'. Reminds me of the old stand-up gag about the husband who did not report his wife's stolen credit card. The thief was spending less than his wife.

Thou shalt use our drone app, UK.gov to tell quadcopter pilots


Re: OK, so which part do I register?

Reminds me of Trigger's broom (Only Fools and Horses).

Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped


Scrap car tax, simples.

Just get rid of car tax, save every penny spent on its administration. Put the tax on fuel.

The argument used to be that the tax disc was a useful check that a car was insured. That no longer applies. Scrap the tax.

BT hikes prices for third time in 18 months


That's a favourite with Virgin too. Trumpet their "totally free" speed increases one month, then push through an "inflation" price rise the following month.

Pixel-style display woes on your shiny new X? Perfectly normal, says Apple


Re: Problem for OLED

Can't see any burn in on my Note 4. Even though I am now paranoid, and have changed the browser settings to display full screen, so as to remove the clock etc from permanent display - but no actual sign of burn in from the time display which has been up there for over two years until now.

Maybe if websites could all offer a choice of a black background (as dpreview.com) we would suffer less screen (and retina) burn.

The green shift, yes. But did wonder why I should be looking at my device sideways however... face on seems more natural.

Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless


Shirley, all that the nag screen proves is that the manufacturer had culpable knowledge that the sat nav was a distraction to safe driving, yet failed to remedy it.

Vodafone, EE and Three overcharging customers after contracts expire


% APR?

I don't understand how they get away with selling phones on what amounts to Hire Purchase without having to comply with the requirements of the Consumer Credit Act, such as quoting the APR and total cost of borrowing.

How DeepMind's AlphaGo Zero learned all by itself to trash world champ AI AlphaGo


And that is the sad truth. We humans beat machines/AI hands down when it comes to menial 'unskilled' tasks like doing the ironing, folding and putting away clothes, dusting the mantlepiece, etc. Are those the jobs we will be left with once the machines take over all the skilled jobs? Who serves who?

Huge power imbalance between firms and users whose info they grab


An offer I can't refuse

The power imbalance is what annoys me. So Microsoft (or whichever) can include T&Cs that basically state, "we can slurp your data and do what we like with it, you forego any rights to class actions, etc. By continuing to use the software you confirm your consent".

So my choice is to prostitute my legitimate expectations of privacy, or opt out of the norms of participation in modern economy.

Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It's now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLION


So I don't have an "account" with Equifax, nothing I can log in to, so there is no password or mother's maiden name to steal. But obviously Equifux still have loads of data about me to lose/leave on the bus/park bench. But the way they tell it, it is account details etc that were stolen. How does that play for peeps like me with no account?

MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why


Flat earth, obviously

The earth is flat. It flew off the edge.Did nobody think of that?

Driverless cars will make more traffic, say transport boffins


Re: Am I stupid (be kind)?

@Dr Syntax. Thank you. I was not explicit enough, but you expressed it much better. Indeed I was referring to the sharing of cars rather than sharing of journeys. As others point out, we already can share journeys if we wish, driverless changes nothing there. Driverless means we can share the car (sequentially, as another has helpfully clarified) instead of owning it. And as you point out with the Uber example, why would that not add to conjestion?


Am I stupid (be kind)?

Ok, I'm maybe being thick, but I don't get how car sharing reduces congestion. Just because everybody has their own personal car parked somewhere (i.e. static), how does that increase traffic congestion? If anything, lots of shared cars transiting to their next assignment can only add to the number of vehicle movements.

The award for worst ISP goes to... it starts with Talk and ends with Talk


Re: Someome needs to tell

Whose aggressive chuggers?

New HMRC IT boss to 'recuse' herself over Microsoft decisions


Re: What could possibly go wrong?

Is that a reference to Elop?