* Posts by ICam

41 posts • joined 23 Oct 2020

Firefox 105 is here, and it's faster and more memory-frugal


Already released in Linux Mint

The Firefox packagers for Mint are mighty quick!

Salesperson's tech dream delivered by ill-equipped consultant who charged for the inevitable fix


Re: Tsk!

Sadly, it's an increasingly common occurrence at El Reg these days.

It would seem that some of the staff are now so slipshod with their articles they don't even bother to spell check them before publication, never mind grammar checking them.

Xcel smart thermostat users lose their cool after power company locks them out


Re: heater

I had a similar thought. A strategically placed resistor would do the job nicely. If it was 56k and rated for 2W, it would dissipate a fraction over a Watt at 240V, which I imagine would be sufficient to do the job if you mounted it suitably and with some simple ducting if necessary.


Re: Wait, what?

I did the conversion via Google when reading this because I don't do Fahrenheit; I'm not young - getting on for 50 - but I just can't grok Fahrenheit.

They said "approaching 80°F", whatever the figure might actually be, but 80°F is getting on for 27ºC rather than 21ºC, which is pretty much 70°F.

Why bother with warrants when cops can buy location data for under $10k?


What about non-US users of these apps?

I do wonder if non-US users of these apps are also having their data sold without their knowledge.

As an example - just because GDPR exists, it doesn't mean non-EU app developers are paying any attention to it for EU-based users.

Judge approves Twitter's request to hurry along Musk trial to October


From Technoking...

to Technocash?

Five accused of trying to silence China critics in US


I read all of them as a child...

It's nice to hear they're rebooting this series of classic children's adventure novels to update them for modern times.

All-AMD US Frontier supercomputer ousts Japan's Fugaku as No. 1 in Top500


And the UK?

Apparently only in places 25 and 75 within the top 100.

ARCHER2 at EPSRC/University of Edinburgh in 25th place is looking a bit slow now...

How to reprogram Apple AirTags, play custom sounds


Re: Rickrolled

I followed the link just to confirm I'm a veteran Internet user.

Yahoo Japan strives for universal passwordless authentication



Standard Yahoo! 2FA via TOTP is hobbled due to unavailability of backup recovery codes.

The recovery method therefore falls back to SMS, which as we all know, is ultra-secure...

They are not the only site where this is the case, but you'd think they'd do better.

John Deere tractors 'bricked' after Russia steals machinery from Ukraine


Re: Spare parts

Even the non-electrical parts? It's surely the moving heavy-duty mechanical parts that are most likely to need replacement due to wear over time.

If an ECU or other electrical parts mean you can't use a whole engine, it's still likely to have plenty of mechanical components that will be useful.


Spare parts

They may now no longer function as whole units, but I imagine they have good potential to provide plenty of useful brand new spare parts.

So, remotely disabled or not, I reckon it's highly unlikely they'll be seen again.

Problems for the Linux kernel NTFS driver as author goes silent


Re: Nitpick

I think it's also fair to say it's not "unintuitive".

Heresy: Hare programming language an alternative to C


Re: It won't have Bugs

And the bunnies will multiply like, uh...

India inks tech pact with EU – only the US has the same deal


Scam call centres

I wonder if this will have any effect on identifying, closing and prosecuting more of the numerous scam call centres that seem to exist in India?

I think that would be welcomed not only by UK citizens.

AI-powered browser extension to automatically click away cookie pop-ups now promised


I think I prefer the ICO's idea...

This is an interesting solution and could be a reasonable stop-gap measure, but I think in general I prefer the idea the ICO have proposed in the past and covered by El Reg at: https://www.theregister.com/2021/09/07/ico_cookies_g7/

If you can't be bothered to read that; TLDR: develop and implement standards to set your cookie preferences locally and signal them to the site when you visit it, eliminating the need to interact with manual cookie preference dialogues when you visit a site for the first time or have since deleted its cookies.

What do you do when all your source walks out the door?


Re: that ibm document

They do not seem to exist on El Reg!

If the authors ran their article text through a service like Grammarly before submitting it for publication, some of the errors could easily be found and corrected before being seen by readers, but it seems they do not...

UK starts to ponder how Huawei ban would work



Yes, let's ban Chinese equipment based on security concerns, while spreading FUD about CSAM to eliminate E2EE.

It all makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Feeling virtuous with a good old paperback? Well, don't. Switching to traditional media does not improve mood


Re: The absolute overriding benefit of e readers

It's somewhat similar for me. I'm travelling and carry an Android phone (old first generation Moto G), a laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad X201) and a Kindle (an old e-ink version with no back light or touch screen).

All those devices have different uses for me. Because I have the laptop, I don't use the phone as much as other people might; it's mostly just useful as a camera and for navigation, with occasional use of banking apps and Facebook/Twitter or for information while on the move. The laptop is a much better experience for web browsing than the phone and much better for me for typing with. I also find the laptop preferable for watching video content with its larger screen.

I have about 50 to 60 books on my Kindle at the moment, some of them paid for, but many from Project Gutenberg. For me it's worthwhile to have the Kindle, not only for its ability to store a lot of books, but for its battery life. The lack of a back light and running it in aircraft mode pretty much all the time means it will last much much longer than a phone. Sometimes I have regretted the lack of a back light - in India I don't think I ever travelled on a night/sleeper bus that had working reading lamps! Other than that, it's a great device for me. I also like its portability - I can squeeze it into a cargo pocket of a pair of shorts if necessary, but it will easily fit into many waist or shoulder mounted little bags that are also useful for chucking other crap into as well.

Unlike other people who have commented here, I do not get any greater satisfaction from reading a traditional book; as far I'm concerned, reading a good book is reading a good book.

Wi-Fi not working? It's time to consult the lovely people on those fine Linux forums


Had a similar experience with a parallel port...

Many moons ago, I could not get a parallel port based device working, but I knew the device itself worked and the parallel port had also worked.

I spent some time trying to debug this, even resorting to inserting extra printk()s into the Linux parallel port driver.

The problem? The BIOS was set for a mode (EPP/ECP, I can't remember which exactly) that wasn't supported by the device.

Ubiquiti dev charged with knocking $4bn off firm's value after insider threat spree


Re: Word to the wise...

That's a good point, although I came here to say that the now ex-Ubiquiti dev can't have been that good at his job if he failed so badly to cover his IP tracks.

If you're going to attempt to extort your employer for ~USD$2m, it pays to be a lot more careful than this person apparently was.

Reviving a classic: ThinkPad modder rattles tin to fund new motherboard for 2008's T60 and T61 series of laptops


I'm reading this on my trusty X201

I got my refurbished X201 from a company on eBay in the UK, back in late 2015 for £110 including delivery. I wanted that company to provide me with one that had the full 8GB of memory that can be installed into one, but unfortunately they supplied one with only 4GB, which is a bit low these days and I did not have time to send the laptop back and get one with 8GB installed, so I was stuck with it.

Other than the memory being low, the X201 has been a great workhorse for me. It has travelled round the world with me on planes, trains and some very bumpy local transport in various countries. I have had no major issues with it other than overheating, which I have solved via installation of the thinkfan utility for the time being. One day I will get around to taking the thing apart and checking the cooling system/applying new thermal paste. I did have to replace the PSU somewhat recently due to the case coming apart and then in an unfortunate circumstance, shorting on a metal bed frame! The battery, of course, does not hold the charge it used to, but that's standard.

Just about everything else on the X201 is good for me, in terms of its size, keyboard and screen. A bit of weight shaved off would be good, although not essential, but my laptop has the extended battery pack which adds more weight (although it's great as something to hold if you're carrying the laptop while open) and currently a spinning rust drive. Replacing the drive with an SSD would be great in terms of the weight and performance, and presumably could also extend battery life a bit.

The idea of having a new motherboard inside the X201 case with at least 16GB of memory and an SSD is really appealing to me. I think I will keep an eye on these replacement motherboard companies and consider what to do when I can get around to giving it some TLC.

Reg reader returns Samsung TV after finding giant ads splattered everywhere


Re: Optimistically....

> A certain gentleman from the Isle Of Man, by any chance?

That's who I was thinking of too. I subscribe to his channel for the electronics stuff rather than the MRE or SodaStream shenanigans though.


Re: Can you opt out of the data collection on smart TVs?

Yes, I fully agree that having a dumb panel and using something else for the smart bits, which ideally can be user upgraded/repaired/replaced for longevity, is the better way forward.


Can you opt out of the data collection on smart TVs?

> information about "your TV viewing history" including "information about the networks, channels, websites visited, and programs viewed on your Samsung Smart TV and the amount of time spent viewing them".

Can you opt out of that stuff? I would have thought you should be able to. If not, are there not implications regarding GDPR?

As for the ads, being able to block them is one thing, but it doesn't mean you'll get the screen real estate back for your own use. :-(

Remember when you thought fax machines were dead-matter teleporters? Ah, just me, then


Fax modems

This has taken me back to the mid-to-late '90s, when a lot of people were using fax modems from the likes of USR.

I set-up HylaFAX on my home Linux server with the aforementioned hardware back then. I never really sent or received faxes, but that's not the point...

I have not thought about HylaFAX for many years, so I just looked it up and surprisingly, it still seems to be a thing, although the last release appears to be Sept 18 2018 and the one before that Jun 05 2012.

We have some sad news about Facebook. It has returned to the internet after six-hour mega outage


Re: caused door keycards to stop working

I don't have a URL for the article, but it was mentioned in an NY Times article that an angle grinder had been used, but that was later corrected to say a misstatement had been made.


Re: Not a failure of testing - a failure of change enablement

By my reckoning, based on FB's 2020 USD$85.9b total, they were losing revenue at a rate of USD$163.4k per second or ~USD$54m for the five and a half hour total duration. Ouch.

Malware and Trojans, but there's only one horse the boss man wants to hear about


Clearly it should have been...

"neigh bother" for Ruud.

The black screen of BIOS borkage haunts Space Shuttle Discovery's new home


Re: Strike the F1

Why does the F1 key require striking when F5 only requires a press?

It's unclear what F2 deserves. Perhaps it's left an exercise for the viewer. Batter? Smack? Smash? Pound? Mash? Hit? Destroy? Attack?

Hungover Brits declare full English breakfast the solution to all their ills


Re: Hairy Dog...

I'm glad I'm not the only one wondering why hair of the dog hasn't made it to the list.

A visit to a pub the following day is usually the best answer, because you can enjoy:

1) hair of the dog to settle things down

2) a full English breakfast

3) the company of friends to discuss the carnage of the night before or continue talking crap

Previously, I would have said a Wetherspoon outlet would have been a good choice for the next day (they still are mostly), but I'm kind of put off saying that now because Tim Martin is such an utter bellend.

Google to revive RSS support in Chrome for Android


Re: The problem with really useful free stuff

Another TinyTinyRSS user here. I've been self-hosting it on my VPS for quite a while now. I don't log in to it that much, as I prefer to get everything sent via the daily email digest instead.

If the site doesn't have an RSS feed, I just use some Perl with XML::RSS::SimpleGen launched via cron to generate a local RSS feed and subscribe TinyTinyRSS to that. I follow the usual feeds from blogs and sites like The Register; the Perl scripts create feeds for certain tags on The Register and create feeds for my MythTV system such as new programmes, recorded programmes and upcoming recordings.

RSS never disappeared for some of us...

Ticker tape and a binary message: Bank of England's new Alan Turing £50 must be the nerdiest banknote ever


Coming out in public...

Given that most cash machines don't dispense £50 notes, it seems likely many folks will never see one. :-/

Google, Facebook, Amazon et al look on nervously as Biden bumps anti-Big Tech warriors into key posts


To break 'em up, or not?

Previously, I think I would have agreed that breaking up the big-tech companies sounds like a good idea.

Steve Yegge has just recently released one of his epic but infrequent blog posts mostly about the rise of China, and in that he argues that breaking up the big-tech companies is not a good idea. It's an interesting read. https://steve-yegge.medium.com/hurricane-china-how-to-prepare-8f15ed3d5cde

Malware attack that crippled Mumbai's power system came from China, claims infosec intel outfit Recorded Future


Re: Critical infrastructure

It would certainly make it harder to attack, although applying strict controls would still be necessary to stop physical deployments of attacks on that offline infrastructure as well.

Indian Railways suffers unspecified security 'breaches in various IT applications'


Re: Indian Railways

If you can find any remnants of British Rail food today, I'd definitely recommend you don't eat it.

You want me to do WHAT in that prepaid envelope?


Meccano mouse traps

Not only unergonomic, but also ineffective. For whatever reason, as a child, I built one in the early '80s using my dad's classic Mecanno. The only thing it caught was rust.

Linux Mint sticks by Snap decision – meaning store is still disabled by default in 20.1


Re: Painless!

Another "me too" post. I was running Ubuntu 16.04 for a very long time on my trusty old Lenovo X201, which has been travelling round the world with me for more than 4 years now. Sadly it only has 4GB of RAM in it - it should have had 8GB, but a screw-up with the refurb company I got it from meant it was delivered with 4GB :-( The ThinkPads are well known for being solid workhorses and this one has been good to me. The only issue I have with it is occasional overheating. It probably just needs a good clean and a new application of heat transfer compound, but for now I've solved it with the thinkfan app. I can't complain too much about the X201, I've had it for over 5 years now and as a refurb device, paid only £140 for it.

I was looking around for a lightweight distro to replace Ubuntu and settled on Mint. I only installed 20 a little over a month ago and updated to 20.1 yesterday. It all seems pretty good to me and obviously hardware support issues on a device this old aren't a problem. Most of the time I'm only running terminal windows, a file manager window and Firefox, along with VLC when catching up with UK TV.

Linux Mint seems like a pretty good balance to me between LTS and up-to-date software for desktop usage. I imagine I'll be using it for quite a while now.

Also great that turning off unnecessary animations/effects was mentioned above. That's something I had not remembered to do until today. I like the snappier feel you get when you turn these things off...


Ho hum: If you're so artificially intelligent, name this song while my videos go viral


Re: Welcome back!

Thank you both for the suggestions. Looking at the options, I might be better off getting the atom feed for the author in this case.

My current solution relies on tags, making a daily web query for each tag I'm interested in and then parsing the results to create local RSS files for each tag with XML::RSS::SimpleGen, which is then consumed by a Tiny Tiny RSS installation on my VPS.

I think I'll drop the SftWS tag and go with the author feed in this case.



Re: Welcome back!

I've just realised you came back a few weeks ago and this is the third column since you returned. Please make sure you tag your columns appropriately! :-)


Welcome back!

I've missed this column. It's great to see its return on El Reg.



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