* Posts by Bendacious

45 posts • joined 13 Sep 2019

Chinese drone-maker DJI denies aiding Russia's Ukraine invasion


The illegal invasion of Ukraine

I am enjoying the partisanship of this article. Mainly because I am not on Putin's side. Does anyone remember Hitler's illegal invasion of Poland? or the UK's illegal invasion of Iraq? I'm not trying to make a political point, I just find the term "illegal invasion" funny, in the context of a war. That soldier illegally shot me. That tank illegally rolled over my pumpkins. Not to say that Putin is not a war criminal, of course he is. I'm not holding my breath to see him in The Hague. I just think the article author is trying too hard. I'm only picking on that phrase though, as I enjoyed the article as a whole.

Kremlin names the internet giants it will kidnap the Russian staff of if they don't play ball in future


Re: Making the world a better place?

It's not a good idea to judge the people of a country by their leaders, even in cases where the leaders were elected by those people. Personally my shambling, immoral, opportunist leader won a landslide election victory in 2019 with 33% of the population voting for him, after a year or two of constant negative press about his main opponent. If we prevent the people of China and Russia from reading Stephen Fry's tweets, how are we any better than their leaders?

Centre for Computing History apologises to customers for 'embarrassing' breach


Re: a unique email address

I do the same thing. Cue odd silences on the phone when I give WaterCompany@mydomain.com, which then receives emails from a boiler maintenance company. ebay@mydomain.com is the busiest, they give that away like GDPR was a promise on the side of a bus.

UK government bows to pressure, agrees to delay NHS Digital grabbing the data of England's GP patients


Accidental naming coincidence

Is this deliberately named GPDPR to make people think it protects their privacy like a similarly named law? I'm thinking it probably is. When there was a very successful campaign named "National Living Wage", which pressured the government to bump up the Minimum Wage to something people can live on, the government responded by renaming the minimum wage to the National Living Wage. Which would presumably kill the campaign's Google ranking and sow confusion.

Protip: If Joe Public reports that your kit is broken, maybe check that it is actually broken


Re: "Either that, or they fib and say "of course I have, I'm not stupid"."

A Gorm is a small amphibian creature native to the UK, which come from a marshy area outside London known as Codswallop. A Brit will place the Gorm in their mouth (known as the gorm's 'gaff'), after which the owner of the mouth can be said to have been gobsmacked. The gorm lives in the mouth (an action known as skiving) and passes sensory information to its host, known as waffle. A bad gorm may pass smarmy waffle. Accidentally swallowing a gorm makes you gutted, often giving you the lurgy and you will be skew-whiff until you can source another gorm through a professional minger or general monger. I hope that makes everything tickety-boo.

Indian government says 5G doesn’t cause COVID-19. Also points out India has no 5G networks


pipe dream

Damaging conspiracies are a lot harder to challenge if you've lost all integrity by silencing critics, or using barefaced lies as a political tool. There's plenty of evidence that my leaders don't act in my best interests but that chap on youtube seems genuinely concerned about my wellbeing. Until we can organise good science and critical thinking education for everyone maybe politicians could hold off on the shady behaviour.

Ransomware crooks who broke into Merseyrail used director's email address to brag about it – report


Just me or does the phrase "leveraged tools such as PowerShell to compromise its victims" sound a bit odd. Bit like saying "they used operating system commands to make the computer do things". I did try to make this not sound snarky but I failed.

UK government gives Automated Lane Keeping Systems the green light for use on motorways



Personally I don't think fully autonomous vehicles will ever cope with crowded city driving in the UK. They might have a chance in a city with a grid layout, or when every road has helpful beacons every few metres but I'm not confident. When a bus breaks down during rush hour and you have to risk poking the nose of your car out into the opposite lane, so you can see oncoming traffic, what would an AI make of that. Do I want an algorithm taking that risk with my life?

If autonomous vehicles reduced deaths on the road by 90%, that remaining 10% have families who know that a computer killed their loved ones. Can they jail the algorithm for dangerous driving? I don't trust this government but they might be right that 'smart' motorways are safer but it doesn't matter. Each accident, due to the lack of a hard shoulder, is heavily publicised in the media and the court of public opinion have ruled them dangerous and unwanted. Every minor incident with a self-driving car will be front page news.

I love technology but I don't want a self-driving car. I like driving and I can't put the lives of me and my passengers in the hands of a computer (even Notepad crashes sometimes). I don't even want an automatic gearbox, like the majority of people in the UK (UK 60% manual, US 3% stick). I will be upset when there is no longer any manual gearbox cars for sale but I'll probably suck it up. I'll never buy, or ride in, a car without a steering wheel. I do see that a driverless car would be life-changing for disabled or infirm people though

They say it won't be long until a hacker actually kills someone. That seems a lot more likely if we sit in computers moving at 70.

Microsoft rolls out mask detection to Azure Cognitive Services. And yes, there is a noseAndMouthCovered attribute


Great massdebate

"Handy to know regardless of which side of the great mask debate the operator sits on." Tiny bit confused what this 'great mask debate' that you refer to is. Unless it's the one that goes on in my head about whether to verbally abuse the people I see wearing them below their noses in supermarkets. Wearing a mask protects other people from what you choose to expel from your nose and mouth. I don't suppose my mask protects me much, especially with my beard pushing it away from my face but the point is to protect others and if we all protect other people we all win. No debate to be had. Although there might be a debate about what to call the weird circular shapes my beard ends up with after wearing a mask for a while. Hat-hair on my face would be mask-beard I suppose but mask-face sounds better.

testing masks the Uncle Rob way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6cTDGqcUpA

Get off my lawn: UK.Gov looks to reform land access laws for network operators weeks after PAC savages full-fibre gigabit targets for 2025


Not in my back yard unless youtube is buffering

So the UK government is right at this moment pushing for trespass to become a criminal offence, rather than a civil one and positing the idea that telecoms providers can march onto your land if the mood takes them. I love the way a public school education can erase the negative effects of cognitive dissonance.


For every disastrous rebrand, there is an IT person trying to steer away from the precipice


Working for a mainframe software company I am often confronted by the word Dump, used without even a smirk. It's perfect sensible, that's what happens when a mainframe program gets too full of crap, it produces a dump. Sadly no one managed to convince the owner not to choose a product name featuring that word. It's Marketing I feel sorry for (which is something I have never said before) when they always lose first place on Google to the urban dictionary.

Post Office burned £100m in UK taxpayer cash on Horizon IT scandal legal fees, MPs told


Hopefully by the end of the many court cases against sub-postmasters the PO management and Fujitsu expert witnesses were committing provable perjury because they must have realised by then that Horizon was not reliable yet continued testifying that it was. No doubt the bottomless pit of legal defence fund will ensure no PO manager or Fujitsu employee is punished but we can always hope. There's certainly plenty of public interest in seeing them brought to justice. Maybe a 'rogue' Fujitsu engineer will be found responsible. Like those rogue Volkswagen engineers who cheated the emission tests.

Don't use natwest.co.uk for online banking, Natwest bank tells baffled customer


"mortgage brokers are another bunch of parasites who's entire industry should have been replaced by a database by now."

Sort of. Many 10's of companies existed in the UK in 2008 employing rooms full of Mortgage Advisors whose job was to extract maximum profit from the client by pretending to have access to secret deals with the actual mortgage providers. They could swiftly get you a 125% mortgage no questions asked that would sit like a yoke around your neck for the rest of your life. Those companies don't exist any more.

Every mortgage I've started (2) and every mortgage transfer I have done after the fixed period (3) has been done online off the back of my own research (quick look on a couple of comparison sites). That method has saved me a lot of money over speaking to an advisor. That said my mother, my sister, my 25yo niece for flips sake would feel extremely vulnerable making that decision without the Lloyds or HSBC advisor walking them though it in branch. They will accept the 3% interest rather than the 2% I pay for 'peace of mind'.

Lloyds stopped paying sales commission to their mortgage advisors a few years ago and offer no other incentive to sell, beyond not getting shouted at by managers. So Lloyds mortgage advisors aren't parasites, they are just marginally costly human Valium for technophobes.

Astroboffins agog after spotting the first repeating fast radio burst that pings every 16 days from another galaxy


Not silent, deadliness yet to be determined

Fascinating stuff but I can't be the only one saddened that the science world settled on FRB, rather than the much more evocative FRT (Fast Radio Transient). A few years ago there was a lot of talk of noisy Frts being detected out there but I suppose the same people who carefully pronounce ur-an-us put a stop to that. How are we going to get young people (and immature adults, such as myself) interesting in astrophysics if we strip all toilet humour from the subject?

Ring of fired: Amazon axes multiple workers who secretly snooped on netizens' surveillance camera footage


Re: Why did they do it?

El Reg previously explained partly why they need a feed of your video to the mothership. They provide access to the video feeds to the police and the police act as sales staff encouraging everyone to buy one. The evil brilliance is quite impressive, if you forget about ethics.

Dixons fined £500,000 by ICO for crap security that exposed 5.6 million customers' payment cards


I asked them last year to delete any personal data they held on me, after hearing about the breach of their customer data. They have decided that to perform a GDPR deletion request I have to write a letter to their head office including ID. I have to give them more personal data to get my data deleted. They were happy for me to prove my identity with an email address when buying from them. It's legal for them to make me jump through these hoops but it's clearly done to make the process as painful as possible.

'No BS' web host Gandi lives up to half of its motto... Some customer data wiped out in storage server meltdown


It could happen to any other web host, who have also never tested their Disaster Recovery plan. I've worked for companies who never test their backups because no one wants that job and it's time consuming but for a web host to do that I'd consider a serious failure of duty. Personally the SQL servers I'm responsible for tell me that their daily backups are verified but I don't trust them and do test restores at least a couple of times a year. The current company I work (just a typical technology SME) does a full cut-over to a mirrored DR site for essential services twice a year. Except for Exchange, which is apparently too complicated, or the Exchange team are lazy, so we are trusting the untested DR plan for email when the meteor hits the server room but at least we don't provide email services to customers.

What a boar! Wild pigs snort and snuffle €20k worth of marching powder stashed in Tuscan forest


Re: This Land is Your Land

Outside any topic being discussed here but I just wanted to say that I absolutely love that URL. "industries/farms-fishing-forestry/agriculture/land-management/health-pests-weeds-diseases/pests/invasive-animals/restricted/feral-pig" I so wish any of my websites was that well organised. It is a thing of beauty. Well done business.qld.gov.au


Re: This Land is Your Land

An unbroken series of random events between the big bang and now led to the genesis of life on Earth and the evolution of boars and humans. Humans should try to tolerate animals living alongside them, including large disruptive mammals because the loss of animal diversity could have serious consequences for us. Even if it doesn't, it seems morally right that wild animals should be allowed to exist.

If tsoHost is lecturing us on sleep hygiene, Brit outfit really does have hosting back to front


SJW partypooper

As an IT guy I was always happy to use terms like Blacklist and Whitelist and my hard drives run in a Master / Slave configuration. What a straightforward and clear way of describing things. A few years ago my desk neighbour was a mixed-race lady who used to visibly wince every time I used the term 'blacklist' within range of her hearing. That puzzled me for a while because I was describing bad things as being black and good things as being white but not in terms of people, that would be wrong and illogical. I live in a world of logic where words do not have connotations beyond unfeeling bits and bytes and hardware configuration. Sadly my wildly emotionally colleague (technical authors live out loud) used to be visibly upset by my language, reading things into words that I never intended. I never got up the courage to actually talk to her about it. What I did do though was to stop using those terms and instead said stupid things like "blocklist" and "allowlist", much to the amusement of the head of operations who used to repeat back to me "awowist, what's an awowist? Is that a buddhist that is very happy?" But Stuart is an idiot (all Stuarts are idiots, sue me). I don't have a desk next to that lady any more but I'm happy to report that I didn't make her wince for a little over 18 months, if we ignore fast-food-Friday, which is a weekly moratorium on food smells and highly recommended for the morale of any office. I know I am on thin ice here and 'blacklist' is not in any way a reference to black people but if there are people who's lives make them sensitive to such a use of the word 'black', then surely 'blocklist' or something better is not that much effort. Although, some of my favourite people are 'block'ed from facebook, so I'd suggest "Stuartlist".

50 years ago, someone decided it would be OK to fire Apollo 12 through a rain cloud. Awks, or just 'SCE to Aux'?



"A leak... meant [NASA had to] retank the cryogenics".

As we all know cryogenics are just chemicals that are liquid at very low temperatures. They have unremarkable uses aboard a space vehicle. It's a coincidence that this was three years after Walt Disney died.

I've had it with these motherflipping eggs on this motherflipping train


It's not funny in this situation because it's just a wrong use of the phrase. As a Gen Xer myself I have no problem with it being applied to people of my age or even younger, if it is used correctly. If someone is trivialising the genuine concerns of millennials or Gen Z, then it's fine to say "OK Boomer". Baby boomers are now famous for being blasé about messing up the world for future generations, sucking up all the money because of macro-economic trends, rather than any efforts they put in and ruining the environment. If someone calls a younger person a snowflake because they are complaining that they belong to the first generation to be worse off than their parents since forever, then that young person is within their rights to respond "OK Boomer". If a forty year old tells a thirty year old to stop whinging about paying 70% of their income out as rent, then "OK Boomer" is a fair response. Here it has been used as a synonym for "OK Granddad", insinuating that a person is older than their years because of a tendency to complain excessively, which is just wrong.

Don't trust the Trusted Platform Module – it may leak your VPN server's private key (depending on your configuration)



"Boffins from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and University of California, San Diego, in the US, and the University of Lübeck in Germany". These men and women are doing valuable, difficult, extremely boring work and they deserve respect. This must be weeks and months of grinding away at work that is difficult in terms of the maths and physics and mind-boggling in terms of the amount of trial and error that must be involved. I'm glad that these people exist and that someone pays their tiny academic salary.

Facebook iOS app silently turns on your phone camera. Ah, relax – it's just a bug, lol!?



The saddening, maddening, thing is that none of this matters. The number of active Facebook users and the share price will carry on climbing. This is probably a bug but if it turns out to be a deliberate choice for Facebook to watch and listen to everything happening around a user's phone, even to people nearby who do not use Facebook then it will be business as usual. Only doomsday preppers or the odd one in the unlit corner of the IT department will notice or care. 2.45 billion monthly active users as of September 2019. An 8 percent increase year-on-year. We can quibble over the word 'free' but they offer a quite amazing free service to people who don't realise all those services are available elsewhere with minimal effort. Minimal effort being an insurmountable hurdle for most people. Why bother, it's right there? Since the WWW came along I've seen a few companies attempt to capture it and brand it as their own. Anyone remember the AOL browser that gave you everything you'd ever need, sanitised and monetised? It was fun watching MSN fail to be The Internet. For billions of people Facebook is The Internet. They provide the messaging, the news, the games, the recipes, the porn. Wikipedia comes to them through Facebook. I've seen recently a few people say that what happened to Myspace can happen to Facebook but I've lost faith in that. I think it's here to stay and here to be The Internet for most Internet users. I suspect our only hope is legislators forgetting who their biggest donor is and who offers them exec-director positions after their political careers and them writing some legislation to make Facebook do the right thing. I for one will be holding my breath until that happens. n.b. charitable donations instead of flowers for the funeral.

237 UK police force staff punished for misusing IT systems in last 2 years


Human nature (we are scum)

A few years ago a colleague of mine was looking to have some building work done on his house. He got quotes from three builders, as is advised. Then my colleague's wife went to work at her job in the local courts and looked up each of the builders on the court computer. Two of them had County Court Judgements pending against them so they went with the third one. My colleague told me this as though it was just a clever use of the resources available. This is why nothing should be in a database accessible to civil servants unless absolutely necessary and access is fully audited and access to data not required for your job is an instant criminal conviction.

I hear they share ISP browsing history records with council employees these days.


Nope - that's available publicly. I can see every crime that's happened on my street or any street on https://www.police.uk/ and that's been the case for many years. No need to access a secure database for that.

Surveillance kit slinger accused of slapping 'Made in America' on Chinese gear, selling it to the US government


Re: Value added!

I find that baking show quite dynamic and exciting.

All bets are Hoff: DXC exec is standing for Brexit Party in UK General Election


Re: [Rant alert]

Nice way to ignore the facts Cederic. The second strongest indicator that someone would vote leave was being concerned about immigration.

73% of those who are worried about immigration voted Leave, compared with 36% of those who did not identify this as a concern. https://www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/media/39149/bsa34_brexit_final.pdf

The first indicator is of course education. Unsurprisingly the well educated realise that leaving a mutually beneficial trade agreement that has consistently improved workers rights and defended minorities, not to mention making another war in Europe seem unlikely, is not ideal. Also, putting more power in the hands of people who went to Eton is a really bad idea for 99% of us. Ages 35-54 81% of people with a degree voted remain.

DoHn't believe the hype! You are being lied to by data-hungry ISPs, Mozilla warns lawmakers


Mozilla has chosen Cloudflare as its default DoH provider but makes it really easy to set your own. According to Wikipedia: "The Do Not Track header was originally proposed in 2009, Mozilla Firefox became the first browser to implement the feature". I do remember Google stating that they would not honour the "do not track" flag (even after they added it to Chrome) because "users don't really know what they are asking for". I also seem to recall that the Tor project chose Firefox as it's go-to browser. Also, lest we forget, Mozilla is a not-for-profit organisation. I'm not saying that they have never taken a misstep. I know they take money to make Google their default search provider but that is what most people want and they make it as easy as they can to change that. Personally I think the world is a better place for Mozilla existing.


GitLab mulls ban on hiring Chinese and Russian support staff because 'security'


Re: "wary of creating two classes of GitLab employee with different levels of access to systems."

I've never worked for a company where everyone has equal access to customer data. The way I read this article everyone working for Gitlab can read every line of code stored in its systems. Might need to increase my usage of git-crypt.

Tinfoil-hat search engine DuckDuckGo gifts more options, dark theme and other toys for the 0.43%


Thing that impressed me was about three weeks ago I discovered Dark Mode in Windows 10. After I switched it on, the home page of DuckDuckGo put itself into Dark Mode. The only website I have seen that did that. Nice touch I thought, although I use Startpage.com as my primary search and DuckDuckGo as secondary (it's better for Image searches).

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


I wrote an internal help-desk system once that manglement decided to name Problem Management System, which was fine in the UK head office but whenever I mentioned it to the US office they would just start sniggering. Then one day they explained that it was the same as naming something PMT in the UK. Although to be honest the system performance made the name quite apt.

Same company went through a lengthy process of renaming a product we sell to PET, which was an acronym. After months of discussions and marketing material being produced it was finally release to the European sales offices. At that point the French office pointed out that 'pet' in French means 'fart', so all the marketing material had to be scrapped.

In 21st-century tech dystopia, smart TV watches you, warns Princeton privacy prof


Re: Roku now makes more from "platform", which is mostly advertising, than player revenue

Normally I agree with everything A Man from Mars says (that I understand) but not this time. A laptop plugged into a dumb TV gives so many more options for audiovisual vibrancy and televisual wakefulness than any of those devices that Mage is isolating himself from.

DoH! Mozilla assures UK minister that DNS-over-HTTPS won't be default in Firefox for Britons


trr.mode 2 is the default and also does not enable DoH in Firefox at the moment. At least that is my experience. If I leave it set it to 2 (by just clicking to enable DoH in the normal settings) and then browse a bit and then check about:networking, all of the trr results are false. When set to 3 the results are all true and I can browse the pirate bay at home or at work. I'm not sure what trr.mode 2 is supposed to do but it doesn't do it for me.


This doesn't just affect government snoops, it's also employers. My company uses Cisco Umbrella to protect me from gambling and porn and streaming video. When I enabled this in Firefox that 'protection' instantly disappeared. On the downside though, for obvious reasons, this kills internal DNS. Anyone working in support might want to prepare for a few tickets regarding intranet addresses being unreachable.

Chef melts under heat, will 86 future deals with family-separating US immigration agencies


All's well that ends well?

The charitable donation seems like a nice touch. I'm not sure if it completely makes up for the whole mess but it does seem contrite. For some reason it is the fact they took authorship of Vargo's code, however briefly, that really bothers me. Seems to speak to the character of Chef and not in a good way.

If Syria pioneered grain processing by watermill in 350BC, the UK in 2019 can do better... right?


Open University

Free life-long education for everyone. Let's kill the notion that education ends when you get your first job. Barry is losing his driving job because of self-driving trucks but he can't fulfil his burning ambition to become a social-media marketing executive. He just can't risk putting his family tens of thousands of pounds in debt at such an uncertain time. Barry ends up in a McJob and the world is deprived of his idea for getting 'influencers' to take vows of silence to advertise Abbot Ale.

700km on a single charge: Mercedes says it's in it for the long run


Re: to project graphics onto the road surface ahead

I have many times wanted to message other drivers on the road (beyond sign language). Every time I think about it I quickly realise what a terrible idea it would be. The message I want to display most is the question "who are you overtaking?" to cars sat in the middle lane. If a car has the ability to project images onto the road how long will it be until it is 'upgraded' by a driver to display custom messages. I would say 'this won't end well' but I can't see it ever being legal, at least in the UK.

Consumer ransomware insurance? You could be painting a target on us all for avaricious crims


I think you're exactly right. I thought one of the 'due diligence' clauses might be that the client must take regular backups - that way the insurance company can just tell their customer to restore their backup and they will pay the $500 costs the customer incurs doing that (minus the $500 deductible/excess). If the customer hasn't got a recent backup then the claim is rejected.

Might not be such a terrible thing - the insurance company gets paid and the customer is highly motivated to take regular backups.

Captain's coffee calamity causes transatlantic flight diversion


Re: Drying?

If that doesn't work at cruising altitude the outside temperature can be around -45°, so they could just open the cockpit window. The coffee will immediately freeze and can then be chipped off. I can't see a downside.

Charmin'. Garmin admits customers' full credit card data nicked from South African web store

Thumb Down

They've taken the website down so I can't check but it seems to be the norm these days to have bucket loads of third-party scripts loaded on payment pages. All those popular JavaScript libraries must be so tempting for card-skimmers to try and inject their code. I use the uMatrix add-on so I get a handy number pop-up in Firefox's toolbar that tells me how many external resources are being loaded on a page. In my experience websites that use eCommerce content management systems like Magento are often the worse. The web designer adds 15 JavaScript libraries to help the product pages look great and to track visitors and never thinks to remove them from the payment page. Every page uses the same template. Of course the libraries are loaded from a CDN (Credible? Don't Know) as well, not from the local server. I'm not offering any solutions, just complaining about a problem. It will be tough to fix although I suppose the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard should have more to say about this practice.

I agree with Trollslayer - I have my issues with Paypal but not having to type in my credit card details into a site that doesn't follow best practice is a winner every time. Also, in the past websites have saved my card details without asking and I only find out next time I visit - they can't do that with Paypal.


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