* Posts by Mark192

252 posts • joined 22 Aug 2019


Police face-recog tech use in Welsh capital of Cardiff was unlawful – Court of Appeal

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Re: Well now...

With just 0.6%[1] of the population in Wales identifying as black, the correct answer to 'does it discriminate?' is probably 'In the field? We can't tell yet'.

[1] Source: 2011 UK census

Apple to hand out limited-edition iPhones among 1337 h4x0rs because it wants more bug-hunters

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In addition to getting paid significant amounts of money for identifying flaws, they tend to find it interesting.

Ever done a cryptic crossword?

Pay ransomware crooks, or restore the network? Guess which way this city chose after weighing up the costs

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Hmm, they've clearly an urgent need to upgrade/update/patch their systems. It's possible that they've made the decision that paying the ransom allows their IT staff to focus on preventing the next infection.

They better have invested in their systems because they've now got a reputation for paying...

Have I Been Pwned to go open source – 10bn credentials, not so much, says creator Hunt

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What a nice guy <-- massive understatement

Just like when you 'game over' two seconds into a new level... Facebook launches Gaming app without games on iOS

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"After months of submissions and repeated rejections by Apple, we’ve had to remove Instant Games entirely from the standalone app."

Wow, after months of submissions, changing nothing, they still kept rejecting you?

The usual plan of throwing lawyers at it or buying the company up isn't going to work either...

How did you spend your time at university? Pizza, booze, sleeping? This Oxford student is snooping on satellites

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In space...

In space, everyone can hear you stream.

What happens when holes perfect for spyware are found in the engine room of millions of Qualcomm-based phones? Let's find out

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Re: Why do us customers bother?

Chuckufarley said"

"Most people are actually smart"

This is not true :-/

Chrome Web Store slammed again after 295 ad-injecting, spammy extensions downloaded 80 million times

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I looked for an extension on Chrome

Loads of 'me too' extensions, a few extensions with reviews indicating they were malware and many more that just looked... suspicious.

I'm sure there're some lovely extensions on there but it came across as a hive of scum and villainy.

I guess the root cause is a combination of under-resourced and don't give a shit. Really damages the brand.

Oppo Find X2 Neo: We're not getting any slimmer through lockdown, but phones are

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Re: Parting a phool from his money

Seemed to take reasonable indoor shots from the few photos I looked at. I'd not dismiss it from a one sentence comment in the review.

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Ivan5 said "The thing we are never told in these reviews is just how good is it at phone calls"

Do the mainstream manufacturers make phones that aren't good at phonecalls? Genuine question.

NSA warns that mobile device location services constantly compromise snoops and soldiers

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The only way to protect oneself is to ensure that we never have a government that we would need to protect ourselves from.

Careful who you vote for.

Trump bans Feds from contracting H-1B workers and makes telehealth the new normal

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It's like he has no filter and just spews stuff forth as he thinks of it. You're then left wondering if it was just empty musings or if the underlings will then scramble to make it so.

Virgin Galactic pals up with Rolls-Royce to work on Mach 3 Concorde-style private jet that can carry up to 19 people

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"Concorde [carried passengers in] the very best surroundings that commercial aviation had to offer"

That ain't true. Noisy, not much space.

Architect of tech contractor tax fraud scheme jailed for at least five years

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Probably thought the business made its money by showing ads when people checked their pay slips.

Makes me think, as this kind of business can be largely automated, could you make money out of the delay between you deducting the tax and paying it to the government?

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“That’s really soft,” said one.

5 years of prison time... should've added up all the 'time' they'd stolen off the contractors.

"Others ... wondered if they would ever receive funds they are still owed."

Ha! I bet you the shirt off your back that the government takes any money left in the business to pay off tax owed :(

Someone made an AI that predicted gender from email addresses, usernames. It went about as well as expected

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Re: :rollseyes:

Wow, a downvote.

It's designed to inform the serving up of ads that have a greater chance of relevance. It has no special knowledge, it just needs to generate a sufficiently higher click through rate than there would be if left to chance in order for people to use it.

People getting outraged because it got their address ProfessorMcGonagall@... as male shouldn't be pissed at this dumb algorithm but should focus their ire on a society where around 70% of professors are male.

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Not at the "AI" but at the whining people that can't see the inherent limitations and be fine with it.

First rule of Ransomware Club is do not pay the ransom, but it looks like Carlson Wagonlit Travel didn't get the memo

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It's all very well saying saying "don't pay the ransom" but when they've gone after your backups too and the future of your business is in doubt...

Chinese ambassador to UK threatens to withdraw Huawei, £3bn investment if comms giant banned from building 5G

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The Chinese 'rubbish' is better than competing kit.

Our government didn't get us reliant on Chinese kit. It being better and cheaper than competing kit got it selected by the companies that run and maintain our mobile phone networks.

Reply-All storm flares as email announcing privacy policy puts 500 addresses in the 'To' field, not 'BCC'

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Pascal Ninety said "Or you can take a few seconds to check what you're doing before clicking the Send button."


You don't have your staff do something where a moments inattention will result in a serious data breach.

Amazon and Google: Trust us, our smart-speaker apps are carefully policed. Boffins: Yes, well, about that...

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Excellent article and research.

So, essentially, the privacy policies that did exist were often cut and pasted from other, unrelated, products.

I doubt there is any protection, even with a legit privacy policy, that protects us from bad actors.

If I can use an analogy, it's like there's no barn door to shut because there's no barn, just an empty plot of land in the Wild West.

The only good thing is that the Google and Amazon's focus on numbers means many users will not bother installing anything because the useful/entertaining stuff has been drowned out by all the crap.

Chinese tat bazaar Xiaomi to light a fire under Amazon's Kindle with new e-book reader

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Re: Is there a point to eReaders that I'm missing?

"Is there a point to eReaders that I'm missing?"

Yes. It's lighter than a tablet, battery will last an entire holiday, readable in bright sunlight, if it has a backlight then that's sufficiently dimmable not to fry your eyes in the dark and 'just works'.

I bought one for the Mrs but it sees little use now and the house is starting to fill up with books again.

Garmin staggers back to its feet: Aviation systems seem to be lagging, though. Here's why

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Re: Hmmm

The intermediary that handled the exchange of money and decryption key probably has the best effort vs reward ratio going here.

Intel's 7nm is busted, chips delayed, may have to use rival foundries to get GPUs out for US govt exascale super

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Patent or people?

Are they having trouble working around patents or did some key managers with backgrounds in engineering retire and get replaced by professional management types?

Amazon's auditing of Alexa Skills is so good, these boffins got all 200+ rule-breaking apps past the reviewers

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Re: You lied

Bish asked:

"If Amazon's best argument is that their post-approval auditing process would've done a better job of removing the rule-breaking skills, that only begs the question of why this process happens after, rather than before, approval."

Post-approval auditing probably happens in response to customer complaints. This means they pick up only the malware that's so poorly coded that it breaks things :-)

Hmm, I was joking there but, on reflection, it might be true.

Mark192 Bronze badge

You lied

They did give examples - Section 4.2 of the linked PDF.

You also implied that, because they were useless skills that wouldn't be installed by actual users, that there was no problem. Policy breaking Skills should be picked up before they reach users.

The following was a problem (from the article):

"inconsistencies where rejected content gets accepted after resubmission, vetting tools that can't recognize cloned code submitted by multiple developer accounts, excessive trust in developers, and negligence in spotting data harvesting even when the violations are made obvious.

Amazon also does not require developers to re-certify their Skills if the backend code – run on developers' servers – changes. It's thus possible for Skills to turn malicious if the developer alters the backend code"

The authors of the study have identified failings in Amazon's auditing that put its users at risk. Amazon can address these failings... or choose to ignore it and carry on. I see you're in the ignore it camp.

Apologies if my comment comes across as blunt - yours came across as deliberate misinformation!

I take it you own a smart speaker. I'd be interested to know what you use it for - I want one but can't work out what, in practice, if end up using it for.

Nvidia may be mulling lopping Arm off Softbank: GPU goliath said to have shown interest in acquiring CPU design house

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This could make sense

In addition to the ideas in the article, with the expected increase in ARM chips, at the expense of x86, in laptop and desktop computers, Nvidia could be in early while also leveraging it's graphics branding in the mobile space.

This could be massive for Nvidia. Question is, will the price Nvidia offers be enough to solve SoftBank's current problems and will investors in SoftBank see a sale at less than the original purchase price as evidence that SoftBank's piss-poor investments have effectively turned it into a giant Ponzi scheme (many of SoftBank's investment choices were made a good few years too early so will be expensive failures).

Nvidia has the option of waiting for SoftBank's demise and picking it up cheap but by then the talent will have left ARM.

Capita's bespoke British Army recruiting IT cost military 25k applicants after switch-on

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Re: The Magic Money Shot Questions

I'd expect any change to the system (other than patching for vulnerabilities and bugs) would incur hefty fees.

We had a similar clusterf- with our outsourced system. Ended up junking it -and 'them'- and taking everything in house, hiring people who really knew their stuff and didn't keep fobbing us off with 'working to design'.

Don't know if it was cheaper in-house but, as a user, I saw more stability improvements to the old system in the first month of taking it in-house than the previous bunch had managed in several years.

For such a large organisation, outsourcing something so core to the business doesn't make any sense unless an off-the-shelf product. They should have taken on a board-level IT person that knew their stuff and gone from there.

Motorola Moto G 5G Plus: It won't blow your mind, but at £300 we're struggling to find much to grumble about

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Can't be bettered?

The Moto G range is excellent compared to almost all the competition.

Good sized screen, good screen resolution, decent cameras, USB-C charging and a headphone jack are all present and areas in which other devices scrimp on.

The 5000mAh battery is the standout feature - significantly more capacity than most rivals and, as the review noted, they don't scrimp in 'invisible' places like storage speed.

The only thing I would fault it on is that the naming schemes are kinda confusing when researching purchases online :)

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"My Sony X Compact is 4,6". I cannot imagine having a larger phone then that"

Shrinking bezels and the taller/skinnier 21:9 screens mean phones with bigger screens are often the same size as their smaller-screened forbears.

If in the market for a new phone I'd recommend popping into a store and comparing the size to your current one.

If you can read this, your Windows 10 2004 PC really is connected to the internet no matter what the OS claims

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Re: Teething problems

Hi Sandtitz,

I'm reaonably confident that Karlkarl's 35 year comment was sarcasm.

I can't be sure because there's a large, smoking hole in the ground where my sarcasm detector used to be.

See you after the commercial breakdown: Cert expiry error message more entertaining than the usual advert tripe

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Re: Sigh

Hi W.S.Gosset, I'm the guy that queried the 49000 Aus flu deaths. Looks like article is from the Australian but it's behind a pay wall. Aus govt stats on excess deaths for 2017/2018 are way lower, flu deaths are way lower.

You said:

"max 0.5% mortality [for COVID-19] (0.1% for flu)"

So it's 5x, or 500%, as dangerous as flu except it's better at spreading, no vaccine for the vulnerable and no herd immunity so it'll rampage through the population.

So for a ballpark figure we could say that, if we did nothing, 60% of the population would get it and 0.5% die... so maybe 200,000 deaths in the UK and 234,000,000 over the world.

234 million seems high. Is my maths wrong?

200,000 seems low compared to where the UK is now... kinda like we've not done well.

My thoughts on the virus is that this isn't the 'big one'. Airborne like measles, deadly like MERS (30%?), lethal for the young like 1918 flu, mutating like the flu so vaccines have to be constantly developed each year. Society got off lightly with COVID-19.

But still, my parents are 70. Maybe a 3% chance of death? I'd really like it if they, and the people around them, would take care until we've got a vaccine.

I hope you & your loved ones stay safe, and stay well.

Mark192 Bronze badge


W.S.Gosset said:"Australia's last bad flu season was 2017/2018, and 49,000 people died over and above the usual routine flu deaths."

I'm half with you but those figures seem high - the UK figures I looked at for deaths attributed to flu over each of the past few years fluctuated between 12000 and 28000 a year, and this in a population of 65m vs the 25m in Australia.

Also, given the extra measures taken to combat this new virus (and that we've not yet had it for a year), complaining that the number of deaths mean it can't be that dangerous seems, well, a little bit like when people say 'nothing bad happened with the hole in the ozone layer so why did we panic and ban CFCs etc'?

(genuinely interested in the Aus stats - do you have a source?)

Twitter hackers busted 2FA to access accounts and then reset user passwords

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Re: nonsensical ?

Could be that they want to look at what the attackers had the potential to do, not just what they did.

Alternatively, maybe a PR person thought putting in 'may' made things sound less bad.

Incredible artifact – or vital component after civilization ends? Rare Nazi Enigma M4 box sells for £350,000

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Re: Unintended consequences

Unsure why you got a downvote - this is true.

Oh sure, we'll just make a tiny little change in every source file without letting anyone know. What could go wrong?

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"spewing email like a teen discovering cider for the first time."


SoftBank: Oi, we paid $32bn for you, when are you going to strong-Arm some more money out of your customers?

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Imagine being so rich...

Imagine being so rich you could make all the mistakes SoftBank has made and still have a share price as high as them.

Every time I see their name mentioned it's about something that would make me want to sell their shares...

Google promises another low-end Android effort as it buys into Indian mega-carrier Jio Platforms

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Re: One reason only

"To try and kill off KaiOS"

My thoughts too. Not many countries are of a scale that can make homegrown ecosystems viable but India is definitely one of them.

TomTom bill bomb: Why am I being charged for infotainment? I sold my car last year, rages Reg reader

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Hi Ben

Hi Ben,

Does TomTom's explanation stack up and what are your thoughts?

The article left me a little confused. Hopefully not as confused as Werdsmith.

I've blathered on below so you can see where I'm coming from/laugh at my ignorance:

The article quoted TomTom as stating:

“Last week an email was mistakenly sent to a small number of customers registered with us as owners of a Mazda with our in-car entertainment suite installed. This included Mr Rose. The email informed recipients that their TomTom LIVE Services subscription was being renewed and would be billed for a month at GBP 9.99"

This strongly implies that the issue was entirely at Tomtom's end and unrelated to anything the new owner of the car had done or whether the unit in the car was being used (or even still existed).

The article does not evaluate TomTom's response so reads like it was written before TomTom's response/explanation came through - the article was on data retained in the unit but explanation appears to be human error at TomTom.

An alternate theory could be that they regularly send out emails like this to "small numbers of customers" and that these are the result of issues in their software that bill a previous user of a unit when a new user signs up to a service (ie the new owner renews their service, previous owner sometimes gets billed instead/too)

China’s preferred Linux distro trumpets Arm benchmark results

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Remember when China just made the cheap crap?

For our tech manufacturers to survive, large-scale strategic government investment needed to start years ago.

Instead we blew our money on Iraq, Afghanistan and a "we'll wait until it becomes a big problem" approach to COVID-19.

Keep it Together, Microsoft: New mode for vid-chat app Teams reminds everyone why Zoom rules the roost

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Re: Annoys me

Stevie UK exclaimed"

"misleading [...] pointless [...] bullshit."

Say what you mean, Steve!

Another anti-immigrant rant goes viral in America – and this time it's by a British, er, immigrant tech CEO

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Yeah, as we move away from a binary definition of genders we're apparently meant to move further towards a binary definition for race.

High-flying Microsoft exec jumps to Magic Leap as CEO. No, we haven't got that the wrong way round

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Even if they had a product that worked...

Even if they had a product that worked they'd still fail to return their investment. AR/VR has inherent problems that will force it to remain niche.

The company has so much debt that it can only sink.

University ordered to stop running women-only job ads

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Quotas won't work

Pfff, until they sort out pregnancy and childbirth, extremely painful periods that many women experience and debilitating menopausal symptoms that many women experience, plus give men paternity pay & leave to match the equivalent given to women (so that finances don't mean women become the main carer by default) plus flexible working, genuine opportunity to switch to part time, subsidised childcare close to the office etc etc then it's still an institutionally sexist organisation in an institutionally sexist world.

Oh, their target is only 30%? Easily achievable by quotas and no change.

When Facebook says you're not a good 'culture fit', it means you're not White or Asian enough – complaint

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"Facebook failed to consider their complaints, passed them off as the result of inexperienced managers, and then spent time trying to find out who had written the post."

Says it all.

Detroit cops employed facial recognition algos that only misidentifies suspects 96 per cent of the time

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Re: What's the false negative rate?

Yes, you get it.

We need clearer reporting on this.

We also need sensible legislation to prevent the collection, storing and sharing of data that would enable automated identifying and tracking of people using CCTV.

We're not there yet but it would be great to have the discussion and legislation done early rather than late.

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Re: Dumb question

"How accurate is this technology compared to the Mk1 eyeball?"

My comments are based on similar tech used elsewhere:

It's rubbish but it is likely designed to reduce the load on the eyeball.

Rather than have the human ask "do any of the thousands of faces that'll walk down this street match any of the several hundred people we've got with warrants out for their arrest" it'll have a stab at it and flag close-ish matches for a human to compare.

The human then compares the two faces.

Essentially, it should be viewed as a "this face is not similar to the ones on your list" machine.

Analogue radio given 10-year stay of execution as the UK U-turns on DAB digital future

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Re: Bluurrrb blaarrrp kkiciccikkk bbrrfzzzpaa

Yep, looked at pocketable DAB radios and the battery life is a few short hours so plumped for an FM one and get 3 or 4 times the listening time.

I've moved over to mainly podcasts, rather than live radio, now. Can't sleep? Queue up a few Moneybox Live episodes.

'Google cannot stop it, control it or curtail it...' Inside the murky world of fake addiction treatment center search spam

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Re: Why the gripes about the SAMHSA link?

From the article, it appears the SAMHSA link made people even less likely to see the paid adverts.

That they're not getting enough (free) self-referrals from people diverted to the SAMHSA site perhaps suggests they need to have a word with SAMHSA or perhaps that low quality providers who do a lot of referrals to others are the ones moaning.

Frankly though, if the legit providers are being outcompeted they need to up their marketing efforts.



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