* Posts by ItsMeDammit

49 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Aug 2018

How many Brits have deleted life-saving track and trace app from their phones? No idea, junior minister tells MPs


This is what happens when phones are smarter than their owners.

Looking at some of the comments in the Play store it is no wonder people are uninstalling the app. They don't understand how it works at a pretty basic level. I genuinely feel sorry for whoever it is who has to post replies to comments such as these:

"Bluetooth is not needed for anything in the app however if you don't enable the app does not work." - A typical 1 star "review" from someone who seems to think the app runs on fairy dust and moon-beams.

"Sorry I can’t make head nor tail of the NHS COVID-19 app. I don’t understand apps. I’ve tried to download the app and all get is advice on ordering prescriptions." - That's because you've opened a different NHS app which to be fair does look very similar.

"I do not consent to surveillance." - Says someone who's never read a EULA in their life.

"Good but uses battery while on blue tooth" - Waking it up every 5 mins to check the battery level (or your Twitter feed) probably isn't helping.

"Dont install, it's a waste of time. Covid is done and over with." - Tell that to friends and relatives of the 4.06 MILLION people who have died from it so far.

"Annoying as hell that it constantly demands Bluetooth to be turned on, I don't need reminding 5 times a day" - Perhaps a good slapping would work.

And my current favourite:

"I have deleted this since finding out you can fake it to get a isolation alert all you have to do is tick one of the boxes of symptoms I tried it and got the alert straight away twice, I do not have any of the symptoms, so how many people will be saying they have an alert when not true" - Thanks to you, probably everyone you've been in close contact with recently.

If it is your job to respond to people like this then you are one of the unsung NHS heroes. I could not do your job.

Antivirus that mines Ethereum sounds a bit wrong, right? Norton has started selling it


I thought this was a variant on the "Freemium" model.

As soon as I saw the headline I thought Norton were offering this as a way of paying for the product, as in you mine crypto-currency for Norton in exchange for a perpetual licence. Who knows - people might have gone for that.

Rude awakening for O2 customers after network runs surprise test of emergency mobile alert system


Re: Self inflicted

Android 9, 1st April 2020. It may be that your provider (if you obtained your phone through one) or even the manufacturer thought you could not be trusted with the power !!

Incidentally my phone is a Moto G6.


Re: Self inflicted

On my Android phone I go to "Settings" then "Notifications" and "Wireless Emergency Alerts".

Under that I have the following options:

Allow alerts

AMBER alerts (child abduction emergency)

Extreme threats (life and property).

Severe threats (life and property)

Public Safety messages

Required monthly test

Then preferences to vibrate on receipt, speak out the alert and opt out on receipt of a first message.

I doubt that some of these are rarely if ever used in the UK. I didn't get the message mentioned in the article but I can see how I might have done. All of mine are off by default.

I hope this clears up any confusion that the downvoters to ARGON's post may have had.

Fancy a piece of sordid tech history? Fleabayer is flogging the first production Spectrum Vega+ console for £1,500


Re: How many actual Spectrums could you buy for that?

I had a date planned with the Museum of Computing in Swindon to pay them a visit and donate my Vega+ to them just after the pandemic intervened and forced them to close. OK, mine doesn't have such a low serial number as that (mine is 207) but I still don't feel the urge to try selling it on eBay. The museum's website says that they are still closed due to the corona-virus so I hope they are doing alright. I must drop them a line sometime.


OVH data centre destroyed by fire in Strasbourg – all services unavailable


Re: Who knew data centres were tinder boxes?

The problem is of course when the staff decide to turn them off.

This relates to the Ocado fire in Andover:


"A fire that destroyed an Ocado warehouse spread because a detection system failed and staff turned off the sprinklers, a report has found. The distribution centre for the online food retailer in Andover, Hampshire, burned for four days in February. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority's report found there was an hour's delay in dialling 999 and staff initially tried to tackle the blaze themselves."

Voyager 2 receives and executes first command in 11 months as sole antenna that reaches it returns to work


Re: Press any key to continue

Clearly there is a sinister context. No instructions for an extended period of time ? Earth destroyed by aliens. Keep your head down. Don't look back.

Subway email weirdness: Suspicion grows over apparent Trickbot trojan delivery campaign


Re: Subway email weirdness

This is very simple if you have your own domain - if I were to frequent Subway and wanted to receive their promotions I would simply give my address as subway@mypersonaldomain.com. Since very few of these requests for my email are of any interest to me at all they go to a simple catch-all address which I look at occasionally.

If I ever get junk mail of any sort and want to know who has been breached or sold my details I simply look at the address it was sent to then silently delete any further emails sent to that address by the application of a simple filter rule.

GSMA suggests mobile carriers bake contact-tracing into their own apps – if governments ask for it


Don't let the phone operators have a go (somebody think of the children).

"The GSM Association, the body that represents mobile carriers and influences the development of standards, has suggested its members bake virus contact-tracing functionality into their own bundled software."

Another reason to buy SIM free mobile phones that haven't been anywhere near a specific operator. Presumably the manufacturers would comply and add this to their own device specific bloat but my point here is having seen how bad some operator bundled software is, I am quite happy not to have some half-arsed effort forced upon me by amateurs.

COVID-19 sparks new wearables to push the pandemic away



They must be about 2m long, right ?

Someone please bring those into reality.

Doors closed by COVID-19, Brit retro tech museums need your help


The Retro Computer Museum in Leicester...

The RCM in Leicester are also hoping for assistance in keeping their doors open, as it were:


How's your night sky looking? The Reg chats to astroboffin Mark McCaughrean about Starlink and leaving a mark


Re: winking dots

Iridium flares *were* cool:


It would appear that some of the previous generation units remain as spares but the current satellites do not exhibit this characteristic and have not done so since circa 2018. Sadly people are still marking the Android app down in the Play Store for not showing the flares any more, blissfully unaware that the guys at HA probably loved the flares as well. Boo !


It's full of stars...

Like you, several apps and websites all suggested that a train was going overhead for me last night as well (about 21:37) but sadly not. I wonder if someone forgot to carry a 1 somewhere.

Borky shark: A deserted airport and a Raspberry Pi feeling poorly at baggage claim. Welcome to 2020


Re: I blame the military

... resolved satisfactorily by Corporal Punishment.


All together now...

Borky Shark, do do do do do, Borky Shark, do do do do do, Boooorky Shark.

Mummy Shark, do do do do do...

Tinfoil hat brigade switches brand allegiance to bog paper


Re: How to use the phone plate most effectively.

... with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the leopard".


How to use the phone plate most effectively.

The only way that phone plate is likely to help with your health is if you stick it to the front, directly on to the screen so you're not tempted to use the damn thing in the first place.

I bet it doesn't suggest that in the instructions.

Latest bendy phone effort from coke empire spinoff Escobar Inc is a tinfoil-plated Samsung Galaxy Fold 'scam'


Re: Unique Moto G6 for sale.

But that costs money, and I am doing this scam massively on the cheap.


Unique Moto G6 for sale.

I've got a unique Silver Moto G6 up for grabs if anyone wants it. I just need 20 people to give me £300 so I can er... buy a Kit-Kat, then one of those lucky people gets the G6.

Note: I may or may not have already eaten the Kit-Kat.

Motorola bounds out the G8 with a harder, better, faster smartphone for the thrifty


Still with the visible screen defect...

I quite like the Moto phones too, I've got an Amazon exclusive G6 on the go at the moment and I am very pleased with it. Sure, it isn't as fast as the Samsung S8 it replaced (I see a bit of lag updating my huge list of podcasts on it, but that's about it) but it was a fraction of the cost and doesn't have a curved screen that I never really liked despite the reviewers all raving over it at the time.

This brings me on to the hole punch in the screen on this new phone. I can't stand notches or holes in the display - there was a time that if a display had a huge defective area that was always black out of the box you would have sent it back. OK, I've never taken a "selfie" so perhaps I'm not the target audience, but are people really so vain that they will tolerate a bad design for their own narcissism ? It's all to do with bigger screens on the same footprint but in my mind it's a solution to a problem that shouldn't have been engineered in in the first place. I don't buy it - literally.

WannaCry ransomware attack on NHS could have triggered NATO reaction, says German cybergeneral


That and the launch system no longer works until you pay up $300 in Bitcoin.

Sorry to be blunt about this... Open AWS S3 storage bucket just made 30,000 potheads' privacy go up in smoke


"A spokesperson for THSuite could not be reached for immediate comment."

Give him an hour, get a kebab in and in the mean time don't make any sudden movements or loud noises. He'll get back to you.

In tribute to Galaxy Note 7, BBC iPlayer support goes up in flames for some Samsung TVs


My Samsung smart TV has never worked properly...

... but then that's probably because most of the domains it tries to connect to are blocked by my Pi-Hole.

Escobar Fold 1 snort all it's cracked up to be: Readers finger similarity to slated Chinese mobe


But how is it $1,000 cheaper?

Probably, because unlike say Samsung, they are not paying a team of software developers to write a load of bloatware for the damn thing that duplicates existing tools, cannot be removed from the phone and are out of date before it even got into the store let alone your own home.

Dead or alive, you're camming with me, says RoboPup: Bomb squad hires Boston Dynamics Spot to snoop on suspects, packages


Ravage wannabe.

Will someone please think of the (not particularly) grown up children and stick a black and grey body kit on it so that it looks like Ravage from the Transformers cartoon ?

BBC said it'll pull radio streams from TuneIn to slurp more of your data but nobody noticed till Amazon put its foot in it


It will be their podcasts next...

Their podcasts are already being littered with "adverts" for their BBC Sounds app, and I for one will be damned if I go over to that instead of my favourite podcast app that collects all my feeds into one place, downloads and then plays them all perfectly well thank you.

I would rather go without than be saddled with Sounds.

Raspberry Pi head honcho Eben Upton talks thermals, stores and who's buying the kit

Black Helicopters

Limited availability of the Pi Zero (W)

Any news on when the man in the street can buy more than one Pi Zero at a time without either placing multiple orders for single parts or commit to buying in the hundreds ?

I recently had to place 3 separate orders with one supplier just to get 3 Pi Zero W's and the combined carriage cost more than another unit. The original argument of making sure that everyone who wants one gets one must be outdated by now so I assume it's an economics thing. I would happily pay a fair price for each one on those rare occasions where I suddenly wanted a few more if they're being shifted at such a low mark-up that the suppliers don't want to be fiddling with them otherwise.

Note: In case anyone is interested, 1 went into an existing domestic Pi-Hole application to provide some cheap and absolutely silent redundancy and the other 2 went into Retroflag GPi Gameboy style cases so my partner and I can re-live our gaming youth on the go. I have used zeros on more demanding applications than that before now but they were nowhere near as much fun or as immediately rewarding, but just as hard to get hold of in twos and threes.

Eight-hour comms lags and shock discoveries: 30 years after Voyager 2 visited gas giant Neptune


Re: Return

... coming in from the opposite direction to that which it left proving the universe to be toroidal in nature and all those games of Asteroids as a kid finally pay off.

Hack-age delivery! Wardialing, wardriving... Now warshipping: Wi-Fi-spying gizmos may lurk in future parcels


This is never likely to be a large scale issue...

... when the Raspberry Pi Foundation are still insisting that their suppliers limit Pi Zero W sales to 1 per customer and have done since it's launch in February 2017. Come on. Really ? Still ?

If at first you don't succeed, Fold? Nope. Samsung redesigns bendy screen for fresh launch in September


Awfully bad joke alert.

Is that a Galaxy Fold in your pocket...

1. Of course not, no-one makes trousers with pockets that big


2. No, it's a brick - I get 50% of the user experience of the Galaxy Fold and it cost me less than £1 from the local builder's merchant.

Apple stock hits bottom ... as AirPod exits man's backside and still works after colonic travels


Photo or it didn't happen...

Er, no - actually you're alright.

Apple, Samsung feel the pain as smartphone market slumps to lowest shipments in 5 YEARS


Re: Phones are like cars now...

And if you pull the sun visors down you can have TWO fashionable notches in your windscreen, which according to the phone manufacturers is what all the sheeple want these days.

PS - I recently "downgraded" my Samsung S8 to a Moto G6 (the Amazon exclusive edition) and I am much happier with it - I guess I'm a flat screen, not getting screwed for another ££££ phone kind of guy.

Silent Merc, holy e-car... Mflllwhmmmp! What is that terrible sound?


Oh, wait - how about...

The (bird) guide from The HitchHiker's Guide To The Galaxy - And Another Thing.

"Battery. Battery..."


"TIE fighter sounds – you'd get the fuck out of the way if you heard that..."

From the survey:

"TIE fighter sounds – you'd get the fuck out of the way if you heard that..."

One of the coolest FX sounds ever. No further comment necessary. Just saying.

Brave claims its mobe browser batt use bests whatever you're using. Why? Hint: It begins with A then D then V...


Re: sigh

I agree, but with one major caveat. Here is the typical lets-blame-it-on-GDPR cookie control:

1 click to accept all their crap, or

40 clicks to block their so called "functional" (read "tracking"), performance (read "tracking") and advertising cookies with one for each damn ad agency they have employed with more added each time you visit, with a default of "On", of course..

I can see the ad supported sites making us do the same for advertising in general, ie:

1 click to accept all adds, or:

1 click to disable full screen flashing ads that aren't a scam

1 click to disable full screen flashing ads that are a scam

1 click to disable malicious XSS ads

1 click to disable auto-run video based ads with loud noises that sounds a lot like p0rn

Another click to disable auto-run videos that have audio and start with "OK Google", "Hey Siri" or "Alexa" and then proceed to try and order things on your behalf

Another click to disable ads for products or services that are not even available or illegal in your country...

You get the idea. Defaults typically favour the seller and the habitually lazy. I wouldn't mind an opt-in approach so long as the choice to opt out was as easy to make.

Behold… a WinRAR security bug that's older than your child's favorite YouTuber. And yes, you should patch this hole


Re: 2 people who paid?

Now there are 3 - I registered my copy in 2007 and still use it today (not the same copy, obviously - it's been upgraded once or twice since then).

Samsung Galaxy's flagship leaks ... don't matter much. Here's why


And another thing...

... if the notch is such a good idea, why haven't we seen TV's with it ? The infra-red receiver, power LED and the like in the surrounding frame / bezel is so 2018...


Re: No jack, Jack.

I agree about the "notch" or "hole-punch". I don't use the following words lightly, but I absolutely hate this design and absolutely will not buy such a phone because it is incredibly distracting. I am not a fan of the rounded corners and edges on Samsung phones (I have already complained about my S8 elsewhere on El Reg) as it is but cutouts in the screen are just ridiculous. As far as I can tell it's just a bodge to get a "bigger" screen in the same size footprint and BLX to display quality and user experience and sadly people go and buy the damn things so the manufacturers think it's a success.

Some may say that I am biased because I have never taken a "selfie" (I don't know if the camera on the front of my current phone even works), but I've had phones with cameras, proximity detectors and so on embedded in the front near the earpiece just fine before now that didn't come with a massive screen defect fobbed off as a "feature" forced upon me out of the box.

Please, any manufacturers reading this, not everyone in your user demographic is a teen selfie addict who takes thousands of photos of themselves every day. Innovate, sure - but gaping holes in the display ? I'm not buying it - literally. Make a phone with a flat screen, replaceable battery, microSD card slot and an earphone socket and we'll talk. Damn, I miss my old S4. Still one of Samsung's best selling phones, I believe. I wonder why that was.

Cloudflare speaks out amid allegations it safeguards banned terror gangs' websites


Not just me then...

I am pleased to see that I am not the only one who generates spam complaints to Cloudlfare only to have them be ignored. I went through a spell where I was reporting the same half dozen sites over and over as a perverse hobby but gave up in favour of using those same sites as an extraordinarily easy and reliable spam filter rule. I had more luck getting the host of the actual spam email to do something about the problem, but that doesn't even scratch the surface if the target site is still up.

My issue with an overwhelming percentage of said spam it was that it was clearly fraudulent - pyramid schemes and bogus health plans aimed at the elderly, war verterans and so on. After that, almost every single spamvertised site had a malicious payload attached. I appreciate the sort of spam I get is trivial (thankfully I have never been spammed by a terrorist group), there is no way any decent person can claim such scams as being "free speech" yet taking down such sites should be chicken feed for a support guy somewhere. It is my opinion that Cloudflare simply don't care.

Why millions of Brits' mobile phones were knackered on Thursday: An expired Ericsson software certificate


Not for me, it wasn't. About 15:00 my phone briefly dropped off the network entirely and into emergency calls only. It remained like this during my drive home (so many cell site hand-overs) and finally got back up onto it's home network about 18:30.

As of 06:10 on 07/12 and statements to the contrary, I still problems sending text messages and have no data connection in Andover. The usual forced re-registering advice of airplane mode or turning the phone off and on again makes no difference. For me, O2 is still stuffed.

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits


Outages get blamed for everything.

My favourite Twitter post (courtesy of Google News, funnily enough - I don't use Twitter) blamed the outage for them going to be late getting to a meeting this morning.

So - did the outage locally stop time as well, or were you just too busy messing about on your phone to get up and go to work ?

Personally, my issue with the outage this morning was that my phone decided to generate a notification telling me that there was no data at my location at 05:38 which woke me up. So I for one got to my first meeting early...

Samsung Galaxy A9: Mid-range bruiser that takes the fight to Huawei


Re: Four cameras?

"The first blade shaves close, the second even closer. The third will have a ball off..."

Absolute 80's, a few years back - IIRC.

Samsung: Swanky hardware alone won't save a phone maker


The old business model is the best...

1. User replaceable battery.

2. microSD card slot.

3. Let the user install their own apps.

Seriously, it's not hard. Samsung even have their own app store now so there is no excuse for forcing bloatware on people, especially when apps exist from other sources (eg Google...) that do the same thing. I absolutely detest their "cool screens and fun stickers" on their damn dialler, for example. I am not 7 years old any more.

And possibly a rank outsider, because I might be in the minority here:

4. Stop rounding the corners and physical edges on your screens. They distort the display and I liked the flat one on my old S4 just fine. I can't say I'm a fan of my current S8 and unless my mood drastically changes it's going to be the last Samsung I ever buy.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator



Indeed - I thought its use on the Vega+ was common knowledge as well. It came up in the comments section of the Indiegogo page some time past and I mentioned it here myself only a couple of days ago in another Vega+ thread.

To be fair, if they are reporting on it then El Reg probably has to confirm it for themselves. Other bugs not mentioned include the games on microSD card keymapping issue and the TV out not working. I am not sure what The Register's thoughts are on me cross-linking to the bug list that is widely available so I will just say that it's out there and makes for a worrying read if you find it. Many of the bugs have been known about for so long that sending out units like this should be an embarrassment for RCL.


Mine has all of those undocumented features and was also delivered with a damn great scratch at no extra cost.

I think you were generous with the "solid 4" rating.

For all the excitement, Pie may be Android's most minimal makeover yet – thankfully


Re: Who's at fault?

Here's an idea that will probably get me nailed to a tree, but here goes anyway.

If you're a phone manufacturer and you decide to stop issuing updates (I'll be generous and limit that to security updates), then the last one you push should unlock the boot-loader (or make it available to download and apply to the phone via a cable connection if you're worried about the non-techie general public messing up their phones or complaining about some USP that you came up with no longer works).

I would quite happily live without all the bloat that some manufacturers insist on installing in favour of being able to easily apply stock Android or a custom ROM. Lets be honest, if your phone is older than 18 months then it's probably not going to be replaced "free" under contract or there's another reason why you haven't rushed out and bought the latest model, perhaps due to being burnt by built in obsolescence or not being prepared to spend a grand on a phone. Likewise you're probably not worried about that must have vendor specific hardware not working any more considering that many "features" that the manufacturers push are either duplicated by existing apps elsewhere or being handled perfectly well by the developer community.

Surely one way to beat the Android fragmentation issue is to encourage the manufacturers to allow their phones to become a vanilla Android phone if required once they determine it as having reached EOL. The consumer still enjoys the hardware they paid for without the guff that the manufacturer massaged into the cost at the point of sale and forced upon them for the life of the product. If the user wasn't going to buy a new phone anyway, what has the manufacturer lost by doing the right thing ?

Oh look, I managed to get all through that without banging on about Google moving the damn clo... oh.

ZX Spectrum reboot latest: Some Vega+s arrive, Sky pulls plug, Clive drops ball


"...there are open source emulators already available."

Indeed - the Vega+ uses one (FUSE).


I was "lucky" enough to receive one...

... although I was expecting two. For those not in the know, RCL emailed the backers offering a "Blankety-blank" unit with just a handful of games (instead of the 1000 promised) as a means of getting their hands on a unit "early". Bearing in mind I figured this was probably the only chance I would ever have of seeing one I elected to receive my units "blank" and install my own choice of games via the microSD card route.

The unit I have received arrived scratched, has appalling controls that are unresponsive and hard to use and is further tarnished by buggy software. Turning the screen brightness down introduces flicker and an odd interlacing anomaly. Sometimes it doesn't want to turn on at all unless I plug it in to recharge, then you can't turn the unit off and if the brightness is all the way up the battery takes forever to recharge (if at all - I haven't left it on to see if it ever charges completely).

No cables, manuals or adequate packaging for that matter were supplied. Not even a photocopied A4 sheet describing how to load games onto it were included. I consider it to be a real slap in the face to the backers who actually receive one now since it was only ever going to be the love and nostalgia of the retro community that made something so niche work in the first place. It is no wonder so many are already appearing on ebay and no doubt selling for their rarity and novelty value.