* Posts by Simon Booth

27 posts • joined 24 Aug 2007

Apple to halve commission for developers turning over up to $1m in sales via App Store

Simon Booth

What about Google?

They still charge 30% Same goes for Steam

Yes, your old iPhone is slowing down: iOS hits brakes on CPUs as batteries wear out

Simon Booth

A flawed concept

If your iPhone is plugged in to USB then there's no drain on the battery but the throttling still occurs

I've got an iPad Pro and that updates probably twice as fast as my iPhone 6

Lloyds Bank customers still flogging the online dead horse

Simon Booth

Halifax still screwed

Their DNS has no SOA


This explains why things are so bad

They've fixed Lloyds (tried a bit ago) but Halifax is still down

This is what it looks like when your website is hit by nasty ransomware

Simon Booth

How about a fake homepage hack?

We hear about homepage hacks all the time.

Has anyone @ BACP actually verified they've been hit, I wonder?

With the number of high-profile homepage hacks some simple social engineering would make the appearance of a bit-locker claim make the target convinced it was true.

Have they actually tried restoring the website, I wonder? That may well be all that's wrong (plus bloody awlful security in the first place)

Coding with dad on the Dragon 32

Simon Booth

The Dragon 32 was also my first owned computer. The Apple ][ and Commodore Pet 2000s I had access to were way beyond any home pocket at the time.

I learnt Machine Code on the Dragon which drove much of my career as I matured

Eventually I moved to PCs but the skills I learnt on 6809 paid off hugely as my workplace responsibilities expanded resulting in the legal hacking (I was very careful to get release from the license) of a program that ended up on the cover of 75k copies of PC Format. I'd never have gained those skills without my trusty old Dragon.

For those of you aching to experience the original on modern kit check out http://www.6809.org.uk/xroar/ - it brings back fond memories on new kit

Adulterers antsy as 'entire' Ashley Madison databases leak online

Simon Booth

"If they don't store credit card information, *how* do they manage to collect those fees? Telepathy?"

They'll use a PSP (Payment Service Provider) - PayPal, Stripe, WorldPay (there are loads) to collect the cash.

X-wings, pirates and a generic Lara: Gamescom 2015

Simon Booth

Re: Isn't Lara a bit young?

Last month I took a day off work simply to play Grim Fandango Remastered (second time with director commentary made me smile a lot)

Its not that some of us are getting older, some games are simply becoming younger

As we mature we enter that "Dad's music is rubbish" stage (our kids can't stand our tastes now we're 'Dad'). I guess that these days it goes for games as well :(

Win10 Firewall

Simon Booth

Win10 Firewall

That was odd - just got a warning from Win10 that I had no firewall (I did before the upgrade)

Essentially I appear to have been completely open for 2 days


Time to stick ipCop back in the chain I guess

Doom, Mario, Pac-Man level up to video gaming's Hall of Fame

Simon Booth


Secret of Monkey Island etc?

Ultima series

Roku 3: Probably the best streaming player on the market ... for now, at least

Simon Booth

The ideal Roku experience

We've got a Roku 3, a Roku LTE and a Now TV. My nephew has several NowTv

The trick with a Roku is to set up an offline store for DVD-Rips and / or downloaded content via Plex

Personally ~ I use a networked cheap old laptop as the store - just transfer the content to the cheap box and serve it over Plex locally

Yeah, if you're in a poorly served Internet are this is harder and NetFlix will be less than ideal

We live in a City so Internet is good. My housemate, an elderly man, describes his Roku as the best purchase he's ever made as it lets him have all the catchups, NetFlix and the shared Plex all on the one device.

The NowTV can be sideloaded with Plex but NetFlix, as mentioned above, is excluded from that one.

Good value boxes that do exactly what's needed especially if you set up a Plex Server

Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

Simon Booth

A superb stocking filler

OK - I got it to fill my own Xmas stocking and gave it myself before Christmas but for anyone wanting a Droid on a budget this can't be argued with

Yes, there are limitations but they are easy to live with

You can have a large game on it without issues - you just cant have lots of them at once. Performance is extremely good as is battery life.

I got this to supplement my little pile of BlackBerry devices (which admittedly were zero cost) and the obligatory iOS stuff

Extremely happy - zero complaints

Free postcoders bang on Ordnance Survey door

Simon Booth

Census is a nominal fee, why not postcodes?

I got the entire 2001 UK census on a pile of DVDs/CDs (15 or so of them) for 125 quid about four years ago

There's a huge quantity of data in that lot (including quite a bit of 2001 postcode data)

Once purchased I'm free to give (most of) it to whoever I want - guess which bit I can't give away :)

Why, therefore, are the postcode data sets such as PAF and GridLink treated differently seems a very valid question for UK PLC to me.

Secret teen hacker army ridiculed

Simon Booth
Thumb Up


A very interesting (dated) story for those of you so inclined is to be found in The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll (Reg offer pls?)

Its a fascinating story that reads like popular spy novels (if you're computer-minded at least) dealing with tracking down the trail of clues to the hackers

OK - it's fact from the 80s but the same ideas are the basis of most Computer crime today

History has a tendancy to repeat itself...

Hence the economy at the moment

Simon Booth
IT Angle

When I were a lad...

I have a lovely fix-all at the end of this...

I did "The Real Thing(TM)" in many various ways back in the 1990s (nothing deliberately harmful)

A small example would be by-passing the piracy protection schemes used at the time so I could play [insert name of a game].

Oddly enough I had cause to use the skills, perfectly legally, later in my career

One of several examples...

I once worked for a very populat printed computer magazine who wanted to give away a certain piece of software on the cover of their next issue. I was prsented with a floppy disk and asked if I could 'nobble' it so they could put it on the 125,000 magazines.

Naturally, no longer being an irresponsible kid, checked out the legallity and got written permission to do, what was essentially, illegal.

They put it on the magazine and it did very well...

Later in life I know far more than I did then, I am far more 'dangerous' now than I was 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago.

It took me 30 years to aquire the knowledge I have today - that's what makes me 'dangerous'

I play with the Internet these days, not games (OK, MSC is annoyingly addictive) and my skills in this area are just as honed.

I'm far from a kid anymore and, as such, I'm more than aware of the effects that any actions I perform may have on a third party - i.e. maturity and responsibiity - I use my skills beneficially for others these days.

The average Western PS3 / X360 / Wii junkie wouldn't have the inclination to even bother learning the skills I learned all those years ago as they're too busy playing this week's hot game (todays kid mentality superbly demonstrated by certain South Park episodes)


Deluge Asia, and Russia etc with free games consoles and games and the problem vanishes rather quickly

Whos left to kill the Internet after you do that?

Brown apologises for 'appalling' treatment of Turing

Simon Booth

Knighthood petition?

I, like many of you, signed the petition

They make peers of the realm out of War-mongers, Politicians and Bureaucrats

Can we have another petition for someone who actually deserves it for a change?

Windows XP customers positive but split on Windows 7

Simon Booth

Never buy a dot zero

I remember the launch of IE4 - a bunch of us (ISPs) were flown over to Seattle for the official M$ deployment to partners

We spent five days trying to break it in one way or another

On the Thursday M$ took everyone on the team to the ball game

Oddly, none of the M$ coders were available that night

A bunch of us managed to discover SO many holes in the browser that the entire coding team were drafted for last minute fixes nd missed the Baseball

They released on time and had to patch it within weeks

At least I still have the glow in the dark T-Shirt :)

Is there any reason I can't expect the same of Win7?

Virgin hijacks empty pages

Simon Booth

Does this constitute a CLOUD virus I wonder?

As Virgin can control where I go unless I run my own DNS (can't be bothered - hosts does it nicely for me) it makes me think...

As Virgin (and others) are deliberately sending me somewhere I don't want to go they have 'infected' my computers with unwanted advertizing (aka Spam)

I wanted to go [nowhere], they sent me to [a spam page]

Whilst they have not downloaded anything onto my PCs they have changed the operation of my equipment without my prior consent or approval

A friend was, a few months ago, infected by one of those pretend virus removal packages (idiot). The thing wouldn't let me change DNS back to the proper setting as it wanted to hijack the real DNS to divert any attempt to get rid of it to more demands for money.

Is this not, in essence, a similar act, albeit on a more benign scale?

Simon Booth

Opt out is broken

I have a little script on my "linux server in the hall cupboard" that I use to check the current server some domains are on (we just moved server and a few are still on the wrong box)

The script uses the PHP gethostbyname function to get info on a domain

I've switched off Virgin's DNS hijacker

Anyway, I just added the non-existant qweasdzxc.co.uk to the script and got this back

www.qweasdzxc.co.uk is owned by Virgin - I should be getting an error, not an IP!

Simon Booth

Virgin also direct you to porn sites...

I love new toys :)

Find any domain that contains the letters sex as part of the domain and give it a go - what a laugh!

I tried going to http://www.myessexstore.com - presumably a store that sells gifts from the county of Essex

Virgin will happily direct me to all kinds of pornography but not to anything related to Essex

Even more worryingly if I go to www.essex-babies.co.uk or www.essex-schools.co.uk I get a few meaningful(ish) results plus all the porn links at the bottom

TechCrunch dubs Linux a 'big ol’ bag of drivers'

Simon Booth


Please let Chrome OS fail miserably.

Sadly I'm sure it'll gain significant market share - that's a BAD thing...

I use both Windows (desktops) and Linux (servers - one with a desktop)

I'm paranoid about Windows owing to the multitude of security vulnerabilities that unethical people are only too happy to exploit to line their own pockets. I've never been infected as a result.

Taking my favourite 'bag of drivers' and giving it a wider audience will mean that eventually the miscreants will start seeing Linux as a viable 'market' to enter.

I'd far prefer Linux be _perceived_ as a niche market so that the criminals pay us little interest as we're "not really worth the time / investment to make any serious profit".

There are Linux viruses etc out there, but they're few and far between.

If Chrome OS takes off and gains enough market penetration then the InterMafia will want to hussle in on my nice little 'bag of drivers'

I don't want my Linux servers being targeted as a by-product of Google's plans for world domination

While, I know, this is a rather selfish outlook I hope it prevails

W3C launches appeal to scupper Apple patent

Simon Booth

Morris, the first worm

The world's first Internet worm, Morris, sort of auto updated by mistake owing to a bug in the code in November 1988

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_worm

Mobile broadband: What's it for?

Simon Booth

The games player

I also purchased 3's USB gizmo but only plan to use it extremely rarely as I have 'proper broadband' at home.

A good friend is slightly outside WiFi range (we've tried) so a perfect solution presented itself.

As I'll very rarely use the thing lent the device to a neighbour so she and her kids can play WarCraft on the PC and XBox games - via network sharing and a PC handling comms in the case of the XBox of course.

For the last three months my friend been more than happy to spend 15 quid a month for 3Gb of which she uses under 2Gb - all for the sake of playing games.

The thing is that while my friend loves the Intenet and games there's no way she's going to commit to a contract with a broadband supplier.

The USB modem is treated exactly the way their mobile phones are treated - top it up and forget about it

If the mobile companies start selling this kind of kit that kids can simply plug into their games consoles via a network cable then such devices would be as ubiquitous as mobile phones are with teenegers these days

Remembering the IBM PC

Simon Booth
Jobs Horns

The C:\ prompt still has it's uses!

In fact I'm doing it tomorrow morning...

If you're stuck with a non-bootable CD of WinXP one of the few ways to get a system working is to boot off of a DOS disk, install Win98 and then upgrade it to WinXP.

An even more fraught exercise is doing the same stuff with a cd and floppy devoid machine but it's still possible using a PXE boot environment (did that last week on my Tablet PC)

There's life, and a real - albeit limited - need for the old dog still

ISP bosses told to get real on broadband speeds

Simon Booth

Virgin tested

A few weeks ago I decided to check what Virgin do with my connection for eight hours a day and sure enough it went exactly as suspected.

I've got an IPCop firewall that draws me nice little throughput graphs so you get to see exactly what happens when.

I tested this all by downloading (then throwing away) a load of Visual Studio Express installs simultaneously, basically saturating my line for eight hours between 4PM and midnight.

After 750Mb had come through the speed dropped to half (from about 400k/s to about 200k/s)

Jailed worm author offered job by victim

Simon Booth

Doing the wrong thing the right way

On several occasions I've been asked by an employer to - err - 'circumvent' is I suppose the nicest way to say it - protection on software.

I did so legally as the original copyright holder gave permission for such a - err 'modification' to their original

Simply put, a crack can very well be benign as the original source may well be lost so there is no alternate other than to break the product in order to fix it.

Whilst I agree with the consensus it should be pointed out that such skills are not always a bad thing - as long as they are used responsibly, not destructively

Fancy an invisible dog that dances on stilts?

Simon Booth

Invisidility is easy...

Dress up as a weapon of mass destruction - you'll never be found...

Movie pirate forced to ditch Linux

Simon Booth

The FSF should have fun with this

I'd think that that champions of free software, the Foundation for Software Freedom should get involved with this.

Although what skOt did was illegal it's surely similarly illegal to force someone to use a piece of software (windows) against their will?

A very good analogy is to be found on torrentfreak - you got caught speeding so we're gonna force you to have a speed monitoring system installed. Thing is that it won't work in your cheap car, our system is only compatible with a chevvy so you have to buy a chevvy or not drive.

Looks like that insanity rules in 'the land of the free'


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