* Posts by LenG

170 posts • joined 19 Feb 2018


For Foxit's sake: Windows and Mac users alike urged to patch PhantomPDF over use-after-free vulns


Foxit reader

I still use Foxit reader. I don't have any of the phantomPDF suite although if I open the reader from the start menu/icon it does remind me that I can have a 14 free trial. In the simpler case of clicking on a .pdf it still just runs as a standalone reader. There is a security update available for this also so I assume it is simply the reader module from PhantomPDF in standalone guise.

So, what exactly are you planning to do with this new PC? Windows Insiders face new questions during OOBE



I am not a windows insider. In fact, I am still running 1909 thanks to the ability of windows Pro to defer upgrades. However, I did take a cumulative patch recently and when I rebooted yesterday a blue screen popped up which sounds suspiciously like the OOBE. Mind, most of the things it was pushing at me would probably have failed anyway because I don't have a microsoft account.

Bill Gates lays out a three-point plan to rid the world of COVID-19 – and anti-vaxxer cranks aren't gonna like it


Not the same thing

Smallpox and polio vaccines confer permanent immunity. So does catching the disease and recovering from it, but that is a somewhat risky way of immunizing people.

Virus's like those for flu and similar infections convey only short term immunity. Currently it is not clear how long the immunity lasts after exposure to Corvid19 but there is anecdotal evidence that some people have had it twice. Given that has only been active for less than a year this is not good news.

What an IDORable Giggle: AI-powered 'female only' app gets in Twitter kerfuffle over breach notification


Re: Twits

I think the main lesson here is that Twitter is a mind numbingly awful communication medium at the best of times and should not be used as the main method of contact.


The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon


Really dating myself

When I replaced the 9" B&W monitor on my Apple IIe with a flash new 12" amber screen it stopped booting, To cut a long story short there was a magnetic field from one side of the monitor which disabled the left hand (boot) drive. I could boot from the RH drive (after swapping the cables) but then I still couldn't use the LH drive. I eventually had to stack the disk drives to the side of the system unit.

In the frame with the Great MS Bakeoff: Microsoft sets out plans for Windows windows


What about what shows on screen?

I no longer write windows code (thank <deity-of-choice>) but I still use windows (unfortunately). So my major gripe is not that there are two different APIs but that each creates a window which is significantly different to the other. The result on screen is simply a mess. The choice of final appearance should be in the hands of the end user. Up until Win 7 there was enough customization possible to maintain a pretty good emulation of Win2000 - which was a simple, clean interface. This was swept away with the catastropy which was Win 8 and initially in Win 10 user customisation and choice was more or less non-existant. You couldn't even change the colour of the title bar and, from memory, the initial release didn't even significantly emphasise the focus window. With add-ons and hacks this is partially resolved but you still can do nothing about the old-style v. new-style (ie control panel v. settings). This gets particularly irksome when one style bounces you into the other (control panel and settings once again being a good example).

Windows really needs to look at the linux concept of a desktop. You can install any one of a number of different desktops with quite different look'n'feel.

It's been five years since Windows 10 hit: So... how's that working out for you all?


A mess

I suspect the internals of Win 10 are superior to Win 7 ... except in the 6 months or so it takes them to settle down after each (6 monthly) update. The UI is a disaster without 3rd party add-ons and even they are limited by the extent to which M$ restricted customisation. UI is very much a matter of personal taste and many people prefer to stick to what they know. Win XP could be made to look like Win2000. Win 7 had a Win XP-lookalike mode where you could get back to the Win2000 look and feel. With a bit of help from Classic Shell I used the same UI from 1997-ish thru to the forced upgrade to Win 10. I now run a heavily customised version of Win 10 pro (which allows me to avoid that 6-month bugfest) but it is basically a gaming system. Almost all my serious computing is done on a small Linux Mint-powered NUC. I don't use any M$ software except the OS itself, I don't have an M$ account and I cannot see that situation changing in the forseeable future.

AMD fans forced to sit out latest Windows 10 Insiders build due to 'bug impacting overall usability of these PCs'


So the main advantage of windows is that it is easy to run linux on? Surely it is even easier to start with linux and cut out the middle man.

I still run windows on my most powerful computer because I do a certain amount of gaming. However, I use the Pro version so that I can defer updates for a year and protect myself from disasters like a friend who updated to the latest build which promptly rendered his system unbootable even into safe mode. The bulk of my non-gaming needs are more than adequately catered for by an aging NUC running Mint.

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


Re: Trials?

I could use one of these for shopping, going to the doctor/dentist and local visiting of friends ... if I owned it. All of which would replace car usage. No chance of that with the rental model.

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


Re: Upgrading?

There is actually an edition of Mint directly based on Debian.

Microsoft emits a colourful Windows Terminal preview


Re: Open Cmd Here?

I can open a folder in powershell but not cmd. I'd like to set a right-click menu option to open in Cygwin Terminal but there doesn't seem to be a way to do that and there is no "Open With" on folders as opposed to files.

NASA scientists mull sending a spacecraft on a 13-year mission to visit Neptune's 'bizarre' moon, Triton



I wish there was some way of speeding these things up. At 67, and a space nut since the launch of sputnik 1 (which I remember) I am now getting concerned that I won't be around to see the outcome of some of these missions.

They've only gone and bloody done it! NASA, SpaceX send two fellas off to the International Space Station


A Sense of Wonder

Still gives me a thrill to see this sort of thing ... and the quality of the pictures was wonderful, but it didn't stop some brain dead conspiracy nut on the twitter feed saying he felt the loss of video as Stage 1 touched down on the barge was "very suspicious".

Remember when Republicans said Dems hacked voting systems to rig Georgia's election? There were no hacks


Re: A dry run for trumps loss in 2020

There are few countries where voting is technically compulsory, and even fewer where the requirement is enforced.

Classic. though, is North Korea. Everyone over 17 has to vote ... and there is only one candidate on the ballot.

Western Digital shingled out in lawsuit for sneaking RAID-unfriendly tech into drives for RAID arrays


Storm in a teacup?

I would like to see some proper data on how this affects the performance of the drives in their intended use The only drives in the Red range affected are between 2 and 6 TB. WD have done themselves no favours PR wise but provided the actual RL performance is up to par I really don't care what is under the hood. As an aside I see the WD website now specifies the recording technology used in their drives.

I would also like to see what "harm and damage" clients have experienced. I have a feeling this is mainly driven by lawyers looking to make a buck.

Campaign groups warn GCHQ can re-identify UK's phones from COVID-19 contact-tracing app data


Nothing unexpected here then.

All these concerns were raised before the excuse for a prototype was more than a gleam in Boris' eye. Just reinforces my decision to have nothing to do with the app in anything like its current or currently intended form.

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?


Just say no

Google/Apple (a scary partnership) got together and produced a working framework for a distributed app which would be much more satisfactory than the cludge put together by the NHS programmers. They can do this because they can do things a normal app can't. I believe there are several countries using this framework. Its major advantages are no central database of identifiable information and clean iOS/android interaction.

So the question is who do you trust most?

There is also the minor point that you have some (small) chance of recourse through the courts if G/A cheat on their promises. You have no such recourse against the NHS app as they have admitted up front that they will do what they want with the data (assuming the app works well enough to collect any).

Personally I will not download this app in its present form, even if it means I have to stay in lockdown longer than I might otherwise.

Third time lucky for Windows 10 2004? Microsoft yet again fiddles with code and adds a go-live SDK licence


Never do ...

"After all, it would never do to unleash the Windows 10 May 2020 Update in June now, would it?"

Nope, July sounds much more inviting. Or possibly October.

Not that I care too much as I have updates deferred by 12 months. Mind, I may change my mind if they announce a fix to the issue which keeps causing it to change the sound output device.

Microsoft's Family Safety app drills into kids' screen time, browsing habits to help 'facilitate a dialogue'



And how many parents will be locked out of their normal online entertainment when tech-savvy kids steal the keys to the cage?

We lost another good one: Mathematician John Conway loses Game of Life, taken by coronavirus at 82



I had the luck and privilege to attend lectures by Conway while an undergraduate at Cambridge. He had the ability to make even a mundane first-year analysis course an inspirational adventure, to the extent that the lecture room was always overfilled with people sitting on windowsills and floors. A great man and a great loss.

Apollo 13 set off into space 50 years ago today. An ignored change order ensured it did not make it to the Moon...


Why O-rings

I'm working from memory here, so please correct me if I am wrong, but the original idea for the solid fuel boosters (themselves spec'd as they were cheaper than more controllable liquid fuel devices) envisaged a one piece construction with the boosters delivered by barge. Unfortunately the contract was awarded to Morton Thiokol and you can't barge something from Utah so the design was changed to allow air freight. How far back do you really want to trace this accident?

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so


Rotten Apple

I had an Apple IIe which stopped reading the left-hand floppy (I had two, sitting side by side on the top of the case) after I bought a new monitor. To cut a long story short it turned out that the monitor generated a magnetic lobe from the LH corner sufficient to screw up the less-than-robust Apple disk drive. Stacking the drives away from the monitor fixed the problem but was a pain with my less than ample desk space.

RAND report finds that, like fusion power and Half Life 3, quantum computing is still 15 years away



I have 50 year old books in my library claiming that fusion power would be available within 25 years. I believe that is still the estimate.

I do not anticipate general availability of quantum computing within my lifetime, no matter how long I live.

Microsoft prevents Domain of Danger from falling into miscreants' paws by forking out cash for corp.com


Do you trust MS?

So, after all this time with no actual evidence of malfeasance on the part of the corp.com owner we allow the sale of the domain to the corporation which made Windoze snoop central for all users?


I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Black hole quasar tsunamis moving at 46 million miles per hour


Good old Hubble

Still churning out amazing results despite age and (corrected) astigmatism.

Windows Dressing: Psst... Fast Ring folks, whispers Microsoft. You're in this for the cool icons, right?


New Icons

Maybe I'm the odd one out, but I hate the phone-style icons. They are not actually even icons (by definition an icon is supposed to represent something which reminds you of the underlying functions) but actually glyphs - intrinsically meaningless squiggles which you have to learn to associate with the underlying function - and they tend to appear in different places with different applications. At least the old menus generally had the same function with the same label in much the same place.

I liked the winXP interface. Or at least I did after I used the classic view option to make it look like Win2000. With the aid of add ons I could make Win 7 behave enough like XP so that I could still get back to Win2000. M$ screwed up years of familiar usage with the mess that was win 8 and then carried much of it over into Win 10 while removing most of the configuration options which would allow people like me make the thing look and feel familiar. I would like to meet some of the UI designers of that time ... preferrably in a dark alley while equipped with a chain saw.

It's official: In May, Microsoft will close the door, lock the vault, brick over the entrance of dreaded Windows 10 1809



My (Pro) is on 1803 and still seems to be receiving updates despite the settings update page telling me that I am end of life/out of service for that release. I admit to being very reluctant to attempt to change this situation.

Bada Bing, bada bork: Windows 10 is not happy, and Microsoft's search engine has something to do with it



I am so happy with the bug which has stopped my Win10 system from upgrading since 1803 but still gives me the security patches it says I won't get.

What are those Windows 10 PCs running? Several flavours from 2019, by the looks of things



I'm running windows 10 pro (1803) and have updates defered for 365 days to allow other people to find the bugs for me. I actually moved up to this level on 10/7/19.

The Windows Update page declares

"Your version of Windows has reached end of service. We recommend you update to the most recent version of Windows 10 to get the latest features and security improvements."

and but also tells me that I recently got the latest Win 10 Update with new features and important security updates. To my surprise I am still getting security updates (last on 28/1/20).

I'm not sure why it is not upgrading now I am past the 365 day period for the next upgrade unless it is counting from 10/7/19.

All I can say is that in this case the crap M$ upgrade system seems to be working in my favour as I have no desire to actually upgrade from where I am as long as I get the security fixes!

Pentagon's $10bn JEDI decision 'risky for the country and democracy,' says AWS CEO Jassy


Re: Respect Babylon 5

Errr, Patrick Stewart was in Star Trek, not B5.

Mind, we also have a Star Trek image. Maybe pictures from the Star Wars franchise is too expensive for El Reg?

Oracle and Google will fight in court over Java AGAIN and this time it's going to the Supremes


Oracle's Innovations??

"reject Google’s continuing efforts to avoid responsibility for copying Oracle’s innovations,"

Oracle may own the copyright (if such exists) but it is a bit steep for them claiming that this was Oracle Innovation when they simply purchased it from Sun.

Socket to the energy bill: 5-bed home with stupid number of power outlets leaves us asking... why?


You can never have too many sockets.

I got fed up with having about 8 power bars daisychained under my desk, so I mounted 15 double sockets on a chipboard shelf and mounted it on the wall above the desk with the sockets facing forward. The board hides the wiring and means I don't have to make holes in the walls. I have a switch at one end which cuts power to 10 doubles while the other five stay live, so I can leave routers and ethernet switches powered on while turning all the chargers etc off at once. A spur from the 30amp ring main goes to a 20amp RCD protectng the whole setup. Despite running 2 computers, several NAS devices and assorted USB accessories and chargers I've never had the 20amp breaker drop. And nowadays I no longer have to untangle the cats from the nest of power leads.

US Air Force inks deal with Raytheon on Windows 10 (and other) support for ARSE


Win 10 on missiles?

Can somebody please recommend a reliable installer of bomb shelters??

It's back: The mercifully normal-looking Moto 360 smartwatch



Can I use it to unlock my car when I forget my phone?

Huawei with you! FCC's American Pai proposes rip-and-replace of scary Chinese comms kit


Follow the money

Why do I feel it likely that most if not all of any available rip-and-replace subsidies will end up the the pocket of the largest teleco's?

Like the Death Star on Endor, JEDI created a ton of fallout and stormy weather in cloud market


Re: Jump!

Lorien, if I remember correctly.

I see your blue passport and raise you a green number plate: UK mulls rewards scheme for zero-emission vehicles



I drive a petrol car. It has a small engine and I only do about 3000 miles a year. Much greener than an SUV lugging around a ton of lithium ion batteries but guess who will get the subsidized parking, despite taking up twice as much parking space.

Her Majesty opens UK Parliament with fantastic tales of gigabit-capable broadband for everyone


Re: It's no problem...

Pity you can't spell grammar ... it sort of spoils the effect

Remember, remember, it's now called November: Windows 10 19H2 update has a name



Personally I can understand a sysadmin having a test machine running the latest pre-release but I am at a complete loss as to why any normal user would be on the "fast road to hell" or whatever the preview release system is called this month. Are there really desirable functional upgrades rolling out at 6 month intervals? I can't say I have noticed anything new that I actually wanted since I moved to Win 10, a decision made only because of driver availability fears.

The system more or less forced me to upgrade to 1803 in July. Can't say it had anything I wanted nor is there anything new in the November refresh that I can't do without. I shall happily remain 18 months or so behind the crowd and let the poor saps with Windoze Home find the bugs.

We, Wall, we, Wall, Raku: Perl creator blesses new name for version 6 of text-wrangling lingo


Next release

So, if there is ever a new Perl-5 compatible major release of Perl will it be Perl 6 (major confusion), Perl 7 (minor confusion over absense of Perl 6) or some other new and equally obscure name?

Just askin'

Edge, Internet Explorer users Czech their settings after MSN 'forgot' their language


Number of users?

"Heck, at time of writing one topic had clocked up 143 views and 19 replies. Who knew?"

So, 19 users and 124 people who browse the forum to laugh at them?

IBM cuts ribbon on quantum computing centre wherein a 53-qubit monster lurks


Re: Crypto

And of course encryption by one-time pad is inherently uncrackable. The problem then becomes security and distribution of the pads.


Re: Forgive my ignorance

It depends on your definition of useful. The IBM machines are extremely useful for researchers and the like but for practical day-to-day purposes, no.

Au my bog: Bloke, 66, on bail after 'solid-gold' crapper called 'America' stolen from stately home


Is it really art?

Not sure why copying an everyday object in gold is classified as art. Would it still be art if it were made of dried poop?

Tut – you wait a lifetime for an interstellar object then two come at once


Re: Yeah, they saw this one coming

Surely the more expert you are, the less likely to encounter something unexpected (in your own field) and thus the more surprised you are likely to be if you do.

Mainstream auto makers stuff in more self-driving tech: 8% of new Euro cars have Level 2 smarts


Re: Lexical noise

There are many ways of implementing AI. Often a neural network is used which generates its own rules from sample data. The point is that at no time does anyone sit down and attempt to enumerate the rules by hand.


Level 3 is a disaster waiting to happen

The chances of a driver being alert enough or quick enough to take over if the automatic system gets into trouble are remote. This is already a problem on aircraft where the autopilot does most of the flying and the readiness/experience levels of the human pilots is deteriorating over time.


Re: Lexical noise

There are no "structured texts" associated with AI. What you are describing is a rules-based system where the programmer attempts to envisage every possible situation/outcome.

For real this time, get your butt off Python 2: No updates, no nothing after 1 January 2020


Re: see if it still works

The Win98 machine may work but you may find that the bits have fallen off the floppies.

As for Win 7, you do know that neither Intel not AMD support it on their more recent CPUs? From what I have read, installing in on a new AMD Ryzen system is a real pain due to the USB support.

Allowlist, not whitelist. Blocklist, not blacklist. Goodbye, wtf. Microsoft scans Chromium code, lops off offensive words


The solution is simple

Remove all comments.

All variables to be 6 character randomly generated strings. (No vowels to avoid unintentional word formation).

All error messages to be replaced by "Something went wrong" in 10 languages randomly selected from all the languages into which the phrase can be meaningfully translated.



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020