* Posts by revenant

243 posts • joined 1 Apr 2018

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Embrace and kill? AppGet dev claims Microsoft reeled him in with talk of help and a job – then released remarkably similar package manager

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"...Microsoft's relatively newfound love for open source"

'Love' as in the way a fox feels about chickens, I presume.

The longest card game in the world: Microsoft Solitaire is 30

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Re: "an ill-advised redesign"

I totally agree with your observations. The difference in user experience just when running the thing is dramatically worse with Windows 10.

In addition: before its imposition on the public, I used Solitaire as a comparison between Windows 10 and Vista. On the same machine I found that Solitaire used very little CPU under Vista (and nothing when idle), and 30%-40% CPU under WIndows 10 (even when idle with no input from me).

Call me old-fashioned, but I didn't find the performance hit was a very encouraging feature of Windows 10.

If you don't LARP, you'll cry: Armed fun police swoop to disarm knight-errant spotted patrolling Welsh parkland

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Happy

Re: IT Angle?

Ha ha, well spotted.

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Happy

IT Angle?

I know Bootnotes articles don't need it, but there is one: the incident took place just 1Km south of "Pascal Close", "Fortran Road" and "Cobol Road".

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

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Unhappy

Re: I used it.

"God (s)he's old", I thought. Then I remembered - I used it once as well, and it was also 45 years ago. What happened to the years?

Incredible how you can steal data via Thunderbolt once you've taken the PC apart, attached a flash programmer, rewritten the firmware...

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Happy

Most people wouldn't be surprised by this

If countless films and NCIS-type television dramas are to be believed, all it takes is a usb drive plugged into a port and a few minutes of time, to suck out all of a PC's information.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

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It asks for your location?

I have to admit that the UK's solution does reflect the typical desire of British governments to treat the general population as peasants to be controlled, but to say that the app asks for location is overstating it a bit.

It asks for the first part of your postcode when you install it - so in my case it would know where I normally reside to within around 20 miles (even assuming I gave it the right info) and know nothing about where I actually am or what I am doing.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

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The NSCS Board of Directors are in favour of this ...

... like turkeys being in favour of Christmas : next on the list for them to deal with is the fact that all 8 of them are White (according to the site). They need to practice what they preach, don't they?

Android 11 Developer Preview 3 allows your mobe to become a router via USB Ethernet – if you can get a decent signal

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Meh

Useful, I suppose

Particularly for people who aren't technically aware enough to set up an old wireless router in bridging mode to hang off the phone's WiFi hotspot. Otherwise, the only thing that's possibly novel to me is the ability to hook up to ethernet from the phone's usb port. On that latter point, I could do that with an old shitty tablet that didn't have the power to do much, but it could connect to a usb ethernet adapter, something not all more modern devices can do.

Zoom's end-to-end encryption isn't actually end-to-end at all. Good thing the PM isn't using it for Cabinet calls. Oh, for f...

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To be clear ...

When we use the phrase ‘End to End’ in our other literature, it is in reference to the connection being encrypted from Zoom end point to Zoom end point we're lying,

Yeah, that Zoom app you're trusting with work chatter? It lives with 'vampires feeding on the blood of human data'

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Unhappy

Disappointing

I commented the other day on a Reg article, to say how impressed I was with the client on Linux. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the 'Login with Facebook / Google' options.

It seemed a decent alternative to using Facebook Messenger for family gatherings, but from this article and from my own attempts to find out how to opt out from data selling, I conclude that it is a worse option than using Facebook.

It seems to be another example of the ad industry or their facilitators buying directly into technology (eg system1 and Startpage) in order to suck our data blood.

Tech won't save you from lockdown disaster: How to manage family and free time while working from home

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Happy

"Keeping in touch"

zoom worked quite well for my wife and son last night, so I thought I'd download and install the client, assuming they supported linux, of course.

Normally I'm used to seeing words to the effect of "Linux? Fuck off mate". It was a pleasant surprise to find that the response was more like "Linux? Certainly sir, which flavour would you like?"

Made a nice change.

Netflix starts 30-day video data diet at EU's request to ensure network availability during coronavirus crisis

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Perhaps it's because they foresee more people at home looking after children with schools closed, thus increasing streaming load and getting in the way of teleworking.

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

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Re: I'm just waiting...

My food shopping is usually on a 'just-in-time' basis, which is fine until we have a few mm of snow and the shelves clear of milk and bread.

So weeks ago I decided to increase our current stock of such essentials to give us at least 3 days cover.

My point is that, apart from the strange compulsion to panic over bog-rolls, a significant increase in food buying might just be many people realising the same as me - JIT assumes an unaffected supply chain.

Google product boss cuffed on suspicion of murder after his Microsoft manager wife goes missing, woman's body found, during Hawaii trip

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Re: Sad yes, but is this really pat of El Reg's core mission?

I think El Reg has done good job of sticking to the facts as they are presented without descending to the depths of true Red-Top journalism.

For my part, I found it informative about how Microsoft and Google have similar cloudy roles but are not so paranoid about eachother that a couple couldn't each be working for the other's 'enemy'.

Tens of millions of biz Dell PCs smacked by privilege-escalation bug in bundled troubleshooting tool

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Re: Remind me again:

Spot on.

I help out at a charity for a couple of hours of week. They have no tech support staff, and if they happen to need a new PC, I'm the one who has to set it up for them. I daren't risk fiddling too much with what has been delivered because I wouldn't be able to do a reliable enough job of tailoring the build in the short time available.

So, I settle for making sure that Windows 10 violates their privacy as little as possible and leave the Dell bloatware as is.

My ideal would be to save them money and dual-boot their old Windows boxes with Mint - so that they can keep their Word and Excel on the original OS and use Mint for anything else (including internet use) - but the culture shock would be too great.

Google's second stab at preserving both privacy and ad revenue draws fire

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It's different, I suppose

I guess it is an improvement on being watched everywhere you go by those around you, but instead you replace that public exposure by inviting your very own stalker to document your habits.

Nope, I'm not falling for that one.

Oh ****... Sudo has a 'make anyone root' bug that needs to be patched – if you're unlucky enough to enable pwfeedback

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Mint 18.3

Mine has the dodgy 'sudo' version, but "pwfeedback" isn't enabled by default. So that's alright then, I presume.

German scientists, Black Knights and the birthplace of British rocketry

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Great article.

I walked up to the High Downs site on a visit to the Isle of Wight a few years ago. It's quite impressive but I came away feeling very angry that so much potential was scrapped on an apparent government whim.

Next time I'll make sure to go off-season and do a bit of exploring.

Whirlybird-driving infosec boss fined after ranty Blackpool Airport air traffic control antics

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Unhappy

Re: Just a fine?

Ah. I'll just leave my comment there as a reminder to myself that I really should read articles more thoroughly.

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WTF?

Just a fine?

The fine just about covers his rudeness. The dangerous way he behaved surely should have merited grounding for a couple of months at least?

Step away from that Windows 7 machine, order UK cyber-cops: It's not safe for managing your cash digitally

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"...almost-universally panned Windows Vista"

I hated it when it came out and stuck with XP until 7 appeared. I do have cause to use it now, in a place where I volunteer and, strangely, find it reasonably OK for my purposes.

Vista did provide a positive benefit in that its demands caused a jump in PC capability, particularly to dual-core processors. So now there are a lot of PCs out which will provide a cheap home for Linux Mint.

A sprinkling of Star Wars and a dash of Jedi equals a slightly underbaked Rise Of Skywalker

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I'm happy enough with it

I wasn't too happy with [1..3], though I am perhaps unusual in that I thought Jar Jar Binks was OK.

7 and 8 didn't do much for me, they seemed to be a bit disconnected from the original saga and I've pretty much forgotten what happened in them apart from the characters they introduced.

I was impressed with Rogue 1 which I belatedly watched on telly yesterday.

Today I was dragged along by my son to watch the final film in the saga and was pleasantly surprised.

For me it had a lot of what I found good in Rogue 1 and it did a good job of wrapping up the overall saga.

I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow and think of a few plot holes that flew by me, but at the moment I'm happy with the finale.

Another free web course to gain machine-learning skills (thanks, Finland), NIST probes 'racist' face-recog – and more

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"AL still racist and sexist"

Not really, I think. What these results seem to show is that the algorithms are at a very draft stage of development in that they only work well with a subset of the population, and are therefore useless for any meaningful work.

Of course, if they are actively used in ways that directly affect the population then their use is indeed racist or sexist, as appropriate.

I wonder if they are equally bad at recognizing faces across the range of ages that exist - are they also ageist?

Hate speech row: Fine or jail anyone who calls people boffins, geeks or eggheads, psychology nerd demands

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You can pry my honorifics from my cold, dead brain cells

In my working life I've at different times been seen as a brainbox, a nerd and in some people's eyes, a guru. But I would really have liked to be a boffin.

These words can be used in a disparaging way, but they are a pretty feeble weapon for the bully - especially as their use just emphasises the bully's own sense of inadequacy.

So now we've reached a stage of enlightenment where even 'Nerd' is seen as a positive descriptor, and what happens? Some academic comes up with a paper to tell us that it is all so very very wrong and we should stop using the terms.

I beg to differ. I think we should formalise the use of these terms as proper roles. Every successful development at some time needs nerds, brainboxes, gurus and boffins, so why not celebrate the marvellous diversity of human brains and give us the designations and remuneration to go with it?

FUSE for macOS: Why a popular open source library became closed source and commercially licensed

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Seems fair

He seems to have been careful to do only what is necessary to ensure that commercial entities contribute something to fund his work.

Nice to see a statement that he will open it up again should he decide to step aside.

Bandwidth weirdness at TalkTalk has customers fuming at being denied on-demand I'm A Celeb

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Re: Talk Talk?

Hello, my name is revenant, and I'm a Nildram customer...

... traded on from one Co. to another, like a used car, until now I get my 'service' from TalkTalk.

Actually, I haven't bought into any of their streaming services, so I haven't been suffering of late.

Lucky me.

As pressure builds over .org sell-off, internet governance bodies fall back into familiar pattern: Silence

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Oh really?

"Cerf surprised many when he responded: “Hard to imagine that $60/year would be a deal breaker for even small non-profits.”"

I suggest you engage a few more brain cells, Mr Cerf. In the non-corrupt world, "non-profit' often means an organisation with very little income and a lot of unpaid volunteer effort.

For such organisations, any increase in running costs could be quite harmful.

Bad news: 'Unblockable' web trackers emerge. Good news: Firefox with uBlock Origin can stop it. Chrome, not so much

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Who to block?

I prefer a simple approach: given that the sites themselves are providing subdomains expressly for this nefarious purpose (and are therefore complicit in any GDPR breach that results), all it needs is a list of such sites. I would rather just block them and take my interest elsewhere.

Security giants line up behind push to stop stalkerware being used on smartphones

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"intimate partner surveillance"

That part of the definition seems curiously specific, given that they also refer to government-orchestrated abuse. Almost as if they're a bit shy about giving the real reason for getting together to provide this facility.

Whatever, it seems to be a good move so I welcome it.

HP to Xerox: Nope, your $33.5bn bid falls short of our valuation

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"No brainer" (Icahn)

I really hate that term. It implies that a decision is so obvious that the details don't need to be thought about.

The trouble is, it's the possibilities that you didn't think about that later pop up and bite you on the bum.

It's not a good decision-making method when large amounts of money are at stake.

What do you get when you allegedly mix Wireshark, a gumshoe child molester, and a court PC? A judge facing hacking charges

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Re: 'times are gone'

I agree with your observation, assuming times have indeed gone in the courthouse.

If the network was ancient enough to still be using hubs instead of switches, though, promiscuous mode would have exposed everything.

I miss network hubs.

Sure, we made your Wi-Fi routers phone home with telemetry, says Ubiquiti. What of it?

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A lot of pissed-off people

Though I have no interest in Ubiquiti products, I've been following the complaints for a couple of days, just to see if Ubiquiti reverses course.

No sign of that yet, and the story has now hit Hacker News, Reddit and El Reg. I suspect Ubiquiti won't reveal the existence of the Rogue Engineer until they've suffered a serious dose of Twitter Outrage.

Remember the Uber self-driving car that killed a woman crossing the street? The AI had no clue about jaywalkers

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"...ignorant cyber-Judge Dredds"

The use of ignorant in the sub-head is very apt. Human learner-drivers would be similarly homicidal but for the fact that have usually already experienced as passengers (and pedestrians) that you can't trust that a person (particularly a child) near a road will stay off the road.

"Expect the unexpected" is good advice for a driver. "Run over the unexpected" is not.

WhatsApp slaps app hacker chaps on the rack for booby-trapped chat: NSO Group accused of illegal hacking by Facebook

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"This technology is rooted in the protection of human rights"

'Rooted' as in 'root-kit', I presume.

Microsoft explains self-serve Power platform's bypassing of Office 365 admins to cries of 'are you completely insane?'

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"we're being responsive to our customers who have requested this capability"

Maybe users have requested it, but Microsoft are forgetting that their customers are the businesses/organisations that employ those users. Attempting to bypass their controls on what is purchased and installed is a trifle arrogant and might backfire big time if businesses defend themselves by blocking all such purchases as a matter of principle.

Windows Terminal 1910 preview is quite literally a more rounded affair

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"...impressed...keep in mind this is still very much a preview at present"

Yep - plenty of time for them to remove the new good bits and break it before release.

So, what's fashion going to look like on the Moon in 2024? NASA's ready to show you the goods

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Eh?

The helmet keeps out noise. What noise would that be in the airless environment the suit is designed to operate in?

Or is it so that the wearer can concentrate on running for the airlock without being distracted by the blood-curdling screams of the other crew members being hunted down one-by-one by the alien lifeform that they really, really, shouldn't have brought aboard?

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

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"November 2019 Update ... due to land any day now"

Any day but one in November, I bet (allowing for Microsoft pulling the first attempt and multiple re-issues to get it right).

From Libra to leave-ya: eBay, Visa, Stripe, PayPal, others flee Facebook's crypto-coin

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"... system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people."

I must admit I'm finding it hard to see how this initiative would break down financial barriers.

The greatest barrier most people face is having the money to use in the first place - are Facebook proposing to return some of their ill-gotten gains to the masses?

Oh dear... AI models used to flag hate speech online are, er, racist against black people

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“I saw his ass yesterday”

It's only mildly crude, and then only if you presume that the object of the sentence isn't a donkey.

If "Perspective API" thinks that sort of thing is toxic, I'm inclined to think not of racism, but rather of a pathetically under-trained AI, and of people who are ignorant of the true state of the AI art.

China and Russia join to battle 'illegal internet content,' which means what you fear it does

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Damned Authoritarian Governements

Next thing you know they'll be demanding that their LEOs be given the ability to decrypt their citizens' private conversations.

Hey, I wrote this neat little program for you guys called the IMAC User Notification Tool

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Similar in Windows?

Didn't Windows have a "Critical Update Notification Tool" (subsequently renamed)?

Google causes more facial-recog pain, machine learning goes quantum ­– and how to lose a job if an AI doesn't like your face

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Disastrous?

You can imagine that employing such a model to screen candidates could discriminate against people that don’t necessarily act in the same manner as those in the training data which could end up being potentially disastrous.

Not as disastrous, perhaps, as actually getting the job with a company that talks a lot about 'empathy', yet interviews people by shoving a camera in their face and letting an AI judge them?

Oracle demands $12K from network biz that doesn't use its software

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"Palmer believes Oracle is billing the wrong entity"

That seems to be quite clear - Oracle really need to improve their methods if they want to finger the right people.

I had a look at the linked Reddit threads and, apart from people ranting about how awful Oracle Db is (not that I disagree), the main anger seemed to be at Oracle daring to decide to charge people for Business use of the VirtualBox Extension Pack.

Why the anger?

The OS is 'no longer' important to Microsoft, and yet new Surface kit has 3 Windows flavours

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"The OS is 'no longer' important to Microsoft"

I sort of came to that conclusion a few years ago when it became apparent that Microsoft didn't really care what people thought of Windows 10. All they cared about was getting it on as many machines as possible, by subterfuge if necessary. What we have now is a telemetry-laden data-gathering platform, and that's all they seem to have wanted.

In truth, I think Windows 7 was their last OS.

Microsoft has made an Android phone. Repeat, Microsoft has made an Android phone. A dual-screen foldable mobe not due until late 2020

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Nice phone

I quite like the look of it (but I imagine it's too pricy for me). Shame it's an android phone, though.

I'll scrub and disinfect my hands after typing this, but I would have preferred to see Windows 10 on it.

This won't end well. Microsoft's AI boffins unleash a bot that can generate fake comments for news articles

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Re: "One day, when an AI is sophisticated enough to be classifiable as a 'Person'"

I think 'Never' is a bit strong, but on the whole I agree with your sentiments. I don't believe AIs are anywhere near being 'people', and they may never be (but if they can achieve that state then they should be allowed to join in).

Of course, that isn't the issue here as Microsoft and others who would misuse the AIs will be satisfied with something that merely passes for human in the narrow context of a comments section.

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"The paper didn’t mention any potential malicious applications of the technology"

No need. The number of worthwhile uses is so low that it is safe to assume that it would be used mostly for malicious purposes.

There is no pressing need for this sort of technology in spaces where the primary purpose is for people to communicate with eachother.

One day, when an AI is sophisticated enough to be classifiable as a 'Person', then of course he/she should be allowed to comment. Otherwise, best keep them out of spaces that are already minefields of piss-poor human interaction.

macOS? More like mac-woe-ess: Google Chrome slip-up trips up SIP-less Apple Macs

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I'm more interested in why a program would delete such an apparently obviously critical file.

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