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* Posts by SImon Hobson

1653 posts • joined 9 Sep 2006

UK.gov fishes for likes as it prepares to go solo on digital sales tax

SImon Hobson
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Re: Tax isn't my strong point...

you use their services for free

As you point out, it's not free - there's a real cost involved. What is missing (and I doubt will ever be provided until GDPR really catches up with them) is an option to pay real cash and not be slurped.

they just show you ads and maybe use your data that (as long as you consent to it) to sell to others

If only that were what they do. If all they did was show you ads then fine, but they don't. Untargetted ads are worth little, the big money is in showing ads carefully matched to the data they've slurped on you. And there's never any element of consent - both Google and Facebook will slurp data on you without you ever having an account or ever consenting to them doing it.

One thing that's "irritating" me at the moment is the number of sites where they say "we use these third party cookies, if you want to stop them then you go to the third party and tell them to stop". Great, so to stop Faecesbook tracking you, you'd have to create an account on Faecesbook (because they'll ignore you otherwise) - but to do that you have to agree to their Ts&Cs which give them permission.

So how can you tax someone that provides a service for free, just because they then make money of you using their service for free?

Note that the money isn't made from people using their services (at least with Google) - Google makes money by showing adverts to you on every f***er elses' websites. So even if you have never ever, not even once, used any "free" Google service - they will still be making money from your data because of the sites you do visit showing ads that they get paid for.

For good measure, Google in particular is very good at using it's clout (particularly it's dominance in search) to take over any market it wants to. There were other mapping tools around, and some of them have managed to survive so far - but when Google started giving mapping away free* by using cross subsidies from it's massive marketing bis, they had an advantage over anyone else. So some other company could have a great idea - but because they don't have the backing of something the size of Google, there's no way they can both develop it and give it away free. Thanks to short sighted sheeple thinking "ooh, free", other offerings have tended to wither away, or limp on with little development, or stick to a niche commercial market - leaving Google to monopolise that market and then use it's dominance to a) push adverts to further it's own business, and b) keep any upstarts from succeeding. The USA has laws specifically to deal with this sort of behaviour - but a poor track record of actually doing too mush of practical use with those laws, c.f. Standard Oil, IBM, Microsoft who all avoided any significant penalty for blatant abuse of a dominant position in one market to give themselves a leg up in another.

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Can your rival fix it as fast? turns out to be ten-million-dollar question for plucky support guy

SImon Hobson
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Re: I'm just going to say...

... trying to explain to the moronic fuckers at my bank why ...

While you are at it, how about reporting them to the FCA for forcing insecurity on their online banking customers ? If you've identified real security issues, and the bank has refused to accept them, then the FCA ought to be interested.

I wonder if the ICO would be interested as well as the sort of issues you've raised would seem to violate GDPR compliance as well.

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If you have inner peace, it's probably 'cos your broadband works: Zen Internet least whinged-about Brit ISP – survey

SImon Hobson
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Re: I'm with Vodafone

Blimy, you must be dealing with a different Vodamoan to the one I had to deal with at work. As part of some business changes, we arranged for several customers to move to Vodamoan provided VDSL (FTTC) lines - and it was a complete and utter shambles, one of the lines never did get installed properly.

Contrast - Vodamoan ordered line from BT OpenRetch, wrong cabinet specified so they should have just ordered a cease and reprovide. After months and months of phone calls they still didn't understand. We also got a line installed from another provider which thanks to BTOR incompetence also had the same problem. However this other provider knew the tricks and got a working line in under 2 weeks. It helps when the provider employs people with a clue rather than script monkeys. Like A&A and Zen, not the cheapest but we always found Gradwell to be good at fixing things when it went wrong.

To be fair to everyone involved, the premises was supplied by two different cabinets - it's just that only a few of the units were off one cabinet - but that cabinet was the one that came up first in the address search. Also, the BTOR chap that came to install the Gradwell provided line tried really hard to find a routing that would connect the line as provisioned - but there was just no route as the cabling from the cabinet the line was provisioned on went no-where near our unit.

As an aside, the BTOR guys can fix a phone line by going into the systems and changing the routing to deliver it via the right cabinet - and changing the jumpering at the exchange. Apparently it's Ofcon rules to curb BT's anti-competitive behaviour that stop them doing the same with the FTTC connections - they have to return the job so it gets flagged to the ISP, who have to order a cease and re-provide on the service to get it delivered via the right cabinet.

Needless to say, we found Clueless and Witless went downhill in service standards after Vodamoan acquired them.

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Unsure why you can't log into Office 365? So is Microsoft

SImon Hobson
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FAIL

Why both sides of the Atlantic ?

Isn't that obvious ? As was demonstrated when they had an "isolated" data centre failure, their systems are globally intertwined like a platetruckload of spaghetti. If you ever install a tool like Little Snitch and allow connections from Outlook one at a time then you will find that simply signing in requires the program to follow a long list of DNS redirects (from memory at least half a dozen) that send the connections all round the world.

Given the way things seem to be built, it's a wonder it ever works at all !

Also makes a mockery of any claims to be compliant with GDPR - I hope no-one here is using O365 for anything business related and relying on Microsoft's claims ;-)

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Budget 2018: Landlords could be forced to grant access for full-fibre connections

SImon Hobson
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The problem is that there's a financial incentive for small developers to ignore the problem. If it's a choice between "cough up money" to put in the ducting etc, or just ignore the problem and force BTOR to put overhead washing lines in from the nearest pole - then it's a no brainer for the ignorant developer to go for the cheaper option.

So yes, there needs to be some sort of presumption that developers must install ducting unless they have compelling reasons not to. It needs to get to the point where ducting for comms is considered as essential as gas, lecky, water, and drains - but for many people that doesn't even enter their minds.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Hmmm

... there's no way I would want them imposed on me

It's not about imposing anything on you. It's about allowing a tenant to get a service installed where the landlord simply ignores requests for permission to install it. As the article says, if a tenant wants a service installed - eg high speed FTTP - then typically they need the landlord's permission (the landlord may also need the freeholder's permission). If the landlord just doesn't answer then it's currently a longwinded (and I imagine expensive) process to get an order from the tribunal to allow it.

So this is about making the process for getting an order, where the landlord ignores requests, easier.

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SImon Hobson
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... and the Gas Board or whoever they're called nowadays want to connect my property to the network, I can say no

Yes indeed. However, suppose you rent out the house and the tenant wants gas installed - perhaps it's just been installed into the village. The analogy is where the tenant wants gas installed, the gas company realise they need your permission, try to contact you but you just ignore them.

At the moment they will simply give up and the tenant then can't have the service installed. Under the new rules, if you ignore the request then it'll be easier for the communications company and the tenant to get an order from a magistrate. I would imagine that if you respond and say no, then that would be the end of the matter - but as a landlord I would have no problem with the request subject to agreement on how it was to be done.

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From today, it's OK in the US to thwart DRM to repair your stuff – if you keep the tools a secret

SImon Hobson
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Re: Cars? Trucks?

There already systems that cover the safety aspect.

But, for example, John Deere has been using DMCA to prevent anyone but their authorised dealers repairing equipment. Bear in mind that modern tractors are highly computerised - engine management, gearbox management, etc, etc. Given that a big part of fixing a problem is working out what the problem is, being able to (for example) find out what the various sensors are doing is critical to that. Even if you could fix the problem without this help, often you need the diagnostics software to reset the system (perhaps take the engine out of "safe mode") and clear the fault light. Thus it makes a lot of maintenance impossible for third party mechanics - most of whom are as good as the ones working at the John Deere franchises.

Quite simply, they are using the DMCA to cripple competition - but (falsely) using "safety" as the justification for it.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Mine vs Yours

If, for instance, Ford decided ...

That is a very good thing to mention, because some years ago the EU looked at the situation with cars - where manufacturers did in fact run a closed system, with approved dealerships (which had to be exclusive), it was a condition of the warranty that you had the car services at an approved dealership, and so on. The manufacturers of the cars made all teh same arguments we here these days - for the protection of the users from fake parts, to ensure updates get applied, and so on.

The EU decided firmly that this was a load of male bovine manure and banned the practice. Manufacturers were no longer allowed to have exclusive dealerships, were no longer allowed to control sale of genuine parts, no longer able to make warranties dependent on servicing at approved dealerships, and so on.

I think it was a separate ruling where they said that the manufacturers had to come up with a common and open diagnostics interface - and could no longer have proprietary interfaces and refuse to provide protocol/message details to third parties.

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The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time

SImon Hobson
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Ethernet ran over coax! are you comparing coax to twisted pair perchance ?

Eh ?

Yes, ethernet originally ran ONLY on coax cable (firstly the thick stuff, later the thin stuff), twisted pair only came "quite a few years" later. I realise that some youngsters might find it hard to believe that there was ever anything other than twisted pair, but it really is true !

One of my regrets is not keeping hold of samples of various bits and pieces over the years, partly for "now grandchildren, this os what I used to work with", and partly to use in talks.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: "Ethernet is so much better"

Wasn't it Ethernet 10base2 or whatever

Yes indeed.

A brief history of timeethernet for you wippersnappers who've never seen anything older than twisted pair with switches.

Once upon a time, at the Xerox Palo Alto research centre (from where many things we take for granted came - including the mouse, the graphical desktop), they came up with this idea for networking devices. The very first version ran at (IIRC) 4Mbps, but by the time it made it out of the labs it became 10Mbps - and used a thick (1/2" dia) cable that looked a lot like hosepipe. This "thick ethernet" typically had few connections - possibly only one at each end for the terminator - with devices connected via "vampire taps" which were clamped round the cable and had prongs that pierced the insulation to make contact. This cable could be up to 500m long, and the system was known as 10base5 - 10 because it's 10Mbps, base because signalling is baseband, and 5 because it can go to 500m.

Anyone who's worked with it will tell you that 10base5 wasn't the easiest to work with - the cable being thick and not very flexible, and a restriction on where you could put the taps (the cable was marked where they could be put - it's something to do with the wavelength of the signal), and you needed these thick and inconvenient AUI cables (15 pin D connectors) between the tranceiver clamped on the cable and the device. So the cunning engineers came up with a variant using thinner cable - smaller, cheaper, more flexible, using easier to use BNC connectors - which could be taken directly to the device. So now we got the easier to work with but more fault prone "thin ethernet" (or "thinnet", officially 10base2) which cane be up to 185m long (round that up, and you get the 2 in 10base2).

If you needed more than what was doable with a single cable - or wanted a bit more reliability - then you could link multiple segments together with a repeater, or if really deep pockets, a multi-port bridge. Hands up who still remembers the 5-4-3 rule :D

Then the clever bods came up with the idea of using twisted pair cabling and star wiring from a central multi-port repeater (which came to be called a hub) to each device - the 10baseT (T for twisted pair). 10baseT still had many of the issues of the coax networks - still only one collision domain, still swampable by a single faulty node, still the 5-4-3 rule.

As an aside, there was a 10baseVG which used four pairs of Cat3 (voice grade, phone cable, hence the VG) which never caught on.

And over time, we got faster networks (100baseT) and switches (aka multi-port bridges). The latter provided collision domain isolation - allowing A to talk to B while C was talking to D.

And of course, things got faster again, and again, ...

Kids of today, don't know they're born. Cue obligatory Monty Python sketch :D

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Openreach hacks full-fibre broadband prices for developers... Property developers, that is

SImon Hobson
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Their policy was definitely (well still might be, don't know what the prices are) self defeating in the medium term.

Mother looked at a new build on a development of 6 houses. I queried why no underground ducting for phone service - "too expensive" came the reply. So instead the 6 houses get overhead washing lines, and cables clipped down the front to the single phone socket the developer could be ar*ed to install.

Now, had BTOR been more sensible, they'd have got some ducting installed by the developer and it would be much easier to put in something less 19th century like fibre - thus saving on costs later, and saving on maintenance as ducted underground cabling is far less failure prone that overhead cables flapping in the wind.

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UK data watchdog fines Facebook 17 minutes of net profit for Cambridge Analytica brouhaha

SImon Hobson
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I no longer have a Facebook account,... So therefore their is clearly some tracking going on based on my device profile, IP address or some other data they are able to slurp without my knowledge to track what I have been looking at on the internet.

Having no FB account doesn't stop them ILLEGALLY profiling them. To start with, they won't have deleted anything when you deleted your account - your data is too valuable to them for them ever delete anything !

It is clear (look up some of the details in the Max Schrems case) that they keep a very detailed profile on people - and if you think about it, some of it isn't hard to do. One of the things they do is to nag users to "just upload your contacts so we can invite them" - and people are daft enough to do it (also illegal). Say one person uploads you home phone/email and another uploads your work details - FB can now tie your personal and work details together.

But the online tracking is also intrusive, pervasive, and sneaky. Ever noticed all those sites with a little "f" logo on them ? When those icons, as well as doing something related to FB, hide tracking code that allows FB to harvest a lot of information about your browsing habits. Very similar approach to the tracking Google does via it's tracking code disguised as statistics gathering for the site owner.

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Euro eggheads call it: Facebook political ads do change voters' minds – and they worked rather well for Trump in 2016

SImon Hobson
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Re: Idiocracy

Seems very much like the "target the Sun and Daily Wail reader" demographic approach - but updated for the online age.

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'The inmates have taken over the asylum': DNS godfather blasts DNS over HTTPS adoption

SImon Hobson
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Re: @LDS - no there will be no hints and statistical techniques

The big downside to this proposal is it'll steer traffic towards the usual suspects, ie Google, MS etc who'll still be able to monetise the requests.

Indeed, it only improves privacy if you trust the single entity you use for your DNS to not treat this new goldmine of information as something valuable to be sold to the highest bidder.

As I read the RFC, you (or your provider) configures one or more DoH servers and use only those one or two servers for all your requests. In practical terms, that means one server has a complete record of all your DNS activity - so they better be trustworthy. Particularly if you run your own resolver, that information can only be obtained from sniffing the wire (which in practical terms means within your ISP for it to be complete) since your DNS requests get distributed across many authoritative servers.

I can see authoritarian countries simply blocking all access to an IP that hosts such a DNS server. It'll be easy to check - just analyse https traffic and if anything looks like it might be DoH then test that address with a DoH client. If it responds, then just block the IP - and if that breaks other stuff sharing the IP then tough, the provider shouldn't have shared an IP between DoH and other https traffic.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: "AND the header-level clues that DNS resolution is being requested."

There will be several hints and statistical techniques revealing that's a DNS request

Lets start with the SNI header !

But I agree with others - it's going to be one real cluster-duck when it comes to debugging the problems that DO occur on a routine basis.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: The first thing that struck me

Is it the customer's router that does DNS, or does the router DHCP DNS information point at a server run by the ISP in order to make caching more coherent?

IME many SOHO routers give the router address when there is WAN link (and it hasn't got DNS information from the ISP yet) - then when they get the information from the ISP the DHCP is updated and it gives the ISP provided DNS server list.

This makes some sense, since some of them also redirect all DNS lookups to themselves so that when offline the user(s) get the router status page regardless of what they try to bring up in the browser. Telling the clueless home user that there is no internet connection is probably OK, but it's a complete flippin PITA in so many situations - particularly screwing up https connections with a barrage of certificate error warnings to the user (and don't get me started on the interaction with browser caching !)

But as is often the case - "it depends".

And for good measure, many SOHO routers lack the resources to do timely DNS lookups. I've seen situations where users were complaining about "slow internet", and simply switching the DNS away from the router was enough to fix it. ISP provided routers are built to very tight budgets.

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Facebook, Google sued for 'secretly' slurping people's whereabouts – while Feds lap it up

SImon Hobson
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Big Brother

Hmm, still no popcorn icon ! This could run for a while - both Google and Facebook are defending the core of their business model here, don't expect them to do anything other than drag it out and lie about what they are doing. It's vital for them that users and non-users* don't realise or care about what's going on.

Facebook in particular treat you as a commodity to be tracked, profiled, and sold even if you don't have an account - c.f. Max Schrems case. What's more, for some of the online privacy options, you have to sign up for an account, in the process waiving your rights to privacy, in order to set the options for them to ignore.

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41% of Brit biz: Setting up a price-rigging cartel is all good... isn't it?

SImon Hobson
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Depends on where the alternative supply is from. If it's from outside the EU then there are plenty of cases where the manufacturer has used trademark law to block what they consider "illegal" imports. When I first came across that, it was a real WFT moment.

How on earth can it be valid to say that a pair of (eg) Levi jeans, made by a factory under a contract from Levi, be a "counterfeit" product for no reason other than Levi didn't intend for that specific pair of jeans to be sold in the EU ? Yet, that's exactly what's happened on more than one occasion - allowing the manufacturer to apply differential pricing, screwing customers in countries where it thinks it can get away with it, and using bogus trademark infringerment claims to block imports from countries where it can't gouge the customers.

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Haunted disk-drive? This story will give you the chills...

SImon Hobson
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Re: Sticky disc

I vaguely recall a batch of Rodime 40M disks with the same problem.

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SImon Hobson
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Happy

Re: Apple ][ drives (Was: Put a heater in the safe then ?)

Woz had the genius idea of saving 5c on the cost of each drive by deleting the track zero sensor. ... the computer would smash the heads against the track 0 stop 39 times.

Actually, no it didn't. I think you'll find it was only 10 times (only one of four steps on the stepper would be pushing against the stop), and it could have been less because (from memory) they ran the heads out first - so you'd hear the swish and potentially clicking as the needle skipped in the groove - before it ran back and made a few taps.

And it wasn't the heads against the stop, it was a part of the carriage specifically arranged to engage with the head positioner scroll disk.

This feature / abuse provided Apple service centres with a regular income stream; customers had to present their drives to have radial alignments performed at regular intervals.

Really ? I never once had to have mine done, and I don't know anyone else who did.

But that was really just a minor cost saving. What really saved a lot of money, and showed what a genious Woz was, was how he replaced a couple of VME boards full of chips with just 1/2 dozen chips and a state machine ROM - plus some software. I recall the size and complexity of the two VME boards that formed the controller for the external drives on our Intel MDS at work (not to mention the racket the 8" drives made with their head load solenoid) - and the simplicity of the Apple controller I had at home.

And the creative way he found a better coding and was able to upgrade from (IIRC) 13 sectors/track to (IIRC) 16 s/t with nothing more than updated ROMs (replace P5 and P6 with P5a and P6a) with fresh code and a new state machine.

Ah, this takes me back a bit. Oh those days when 48k (or if a showoff like me, 64k) was considered a lot of RAM and was enough to do useful work. Not to mention the hardware being simple, and slow, enough to easily build your own stuff from a few TTL chips.

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Sure, Europe. Here's our Android suite without Search, Chrome apps. Now pay the Google tax

SImon Hobson
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Re: Ignore and continue as usual

they'll just find a way to hide the amount that calculates the percentage

Which is why GDPR, and I think fines for things like the subject of this story, can be based on global turnover - not profits, not profits in a specific subsidiary, but global turnover of the group.

While it's easy to move money around (the typical trick being to pay "brand licence fees" to a parent so that you make no profits) - it's impossible to hide turnover.

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Cabinet Office: Forget about Verify – look at our 3,000 designers (and 56 meetups)

SImon Hobson
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WTF?

With all those designers ...

Isn't it a pity that between them they can't come up with a decent UI. One that doesn't waste acres (or hectares for the youngsters) of screen for "pretty" white space. One that doesn't have huge text, which combined with the aforementioned white space means that SFA fits on the screen. One that doesn't do in eight screens/forms what a sensible site could do in one or two.

Yup, you can spot the sites that GDS has "improved" !

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Powerful forces, bodily fluids – it's all in a day's work

SImon Hobson
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Facepalm

Re: CRTs and Backups

Ah, reminds me of <cough> decades ago when we had a customer that made fastenings for metal drum lids - and the factory had a lot of spot welding machines. They had an Apple II system on the shop floor and problems with floppy disks regularly getting corrupted.

Had the system in and absolutely nothing wrong with it, went back to site and corrupted disks. We, and the customer, both thought it might be the welders causing it - but it turned out to be a bit more basic.

Those who remember marketing material from the time will also remember pictures of Apple II systems with two floppy drives sat side by side on top of the computer, and the monitor on top of that. What most people didn't know was that Apple designed their monitor so as not to magnetically zap the floppy disks underneath it - third party monitors weren't designed like that. Moved the drives to the side and the problem went away.

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SImon Hobson
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I did a business continuity course many years ago, and it was pointed out then how many computer systems were put in cellars (basements) as being the least desirable places to have an office for people to work. And also pointed out that when pipes leak, the fluids generally leak downhill.

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SImon Hobson
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Trollface

Re: Just the Usual...

the good old continuous green-and-white lineflo paper.

Which reminds me of the old trick we'd play on the gullible ones tasked with tearing off the tractor strips from the sides of documents to be posted - ie when (say) invoices were printed on fanfold paper, the side strips torn off, and the pages separated by hand. Of course, these tasks were usually imposed on the lowest level of office junior - and one or two actually believed me (for a while) when I told them they had to keep the strips off the side so they could be attached to the next lot of forms.

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In the two years since Dyn went dark, what have we learned? Not much, it appears

SImon Hobson
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Re: Easy option

Was that the same Azure that's recently had a huge outage - where it was found that a failure in one datacentre had knock on effects across many services that shouldn't have been affected.

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Which? That smart home camera? The one with the vulns? Really?

SImon Hobson
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Re: common place

I gave up on Which? a long time ago ... I felt, if I couldn't trust them for products that I know something about, how can I trust them on subjects I know nothing about?

Ditto. I recall a review of either ISPs or email providers and stated that spam wasn't a problem - when the only reason they didn't get spam was starting with a fresh address and making conclusions after just a week !

But yeah, in several areas where I had some knowledge, I couldn't help but call "bulls*t" to some of their statements.

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UK.gov looks to data to free people from contract lock-in doom

SImon Hobson
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In which case the lock is not binding, regardless of any attempt to claim to the contrary.

I wasn't party to the conversation, but they probably have a carefully prepared script, read out quickly, so that they will have complied with the requirements - but in a way that the typical non-savvy user will not realise the significance (SWMBO doesn't read contracts and turns off when read anything sounding like one - so she would be unaware and it wouldn't be the company's fault).

Anyway, I got away from them, and apart from them trying to claim for the 18months charges for early cancellation (the bit about them being "difficult to deal with") haven't looked back.

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SImon Hobson
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I wonder if they'll also look at the tactic TalkTalk (and I imagine others) use - shortly before a fixed term contract rolls over, they have a habit of phoning up the customer and offering a "free" something. This might be a free router upgrade, or an upgrade to include a TV box, or ...

But what they don't make clear to the non-savvy user is that the user is inadvertently signing up to a new 12/18/24/whatever contract so they're locked in for a further term.

Did that to my (now) Mrs. I'd been waiting for the previous lock-in to expire so we could switch - then I got home to be told that "TalkTalk are giving us a free TV box". Aaaaaaaah. To say they were "difficult" to deal with (I invoked our legal right to cancel during the cooling off period) would be an understatement.

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Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?

SImon Hobson
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Re: Cui bono

I really wonder what's to gain from industrial espionage on companies like Amazon or Apple

It's hinted at in the article - its not Apple or AWS they are targeting, but the end users of those systems. Compromising the manufacturing of their systems means you can get compromised machines into places that would otherwise be hard to get compromises into - and thus give you another attack vector into some "quite well defended" territory.

Also, as to the "why not just adapt another chip". Well if the manufacturer sticks a JTAG clip onto the flash ROM to put new firmware into it, your separate chip can sit there all safe and sound - and un-noticed. And don't forget that if true, this was done by people with access to the skills and technology to make it happen - it's not like you or me "hacking" a built board, it's the people who make the boards using a slightly modified design. A chip buried in the layers would be invisible, and if buried underneath an existing chip would even be (more or less) invisible to x-rays.

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Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin

SImon Hobson
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Re: And then billed 3 extra hours?

Why not just offer the 100MHz version only?

That's marketing for you. If they ony sold the 100MHz version then they'd probably have to sell it for about the cost of the 50MHz version. But doing it like that, they might have to sell the 50MHz version for alittle less, they can price the 100MHz version significantly higher - thus increasing profit margins.

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UKIP flogs latex love gloves: Because Brexit means Brexit

SImon Hobson
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51.89% vs 48.11% is not a resounding victory

Actually, it's not really 48%, in actual fact only 34.7% of eligible voters voted to remain, with about 27.8% not voting and who have to be assumed to be happy with "whatever the outcome is". So there's an argument that around 65% were happy to leave - 65-35 is a somewhat higher margin !

But, the remoaners say, "that's not valid". When you can argue that, but if someone really did want to stay, they should have cast their vote - if they didn't then they should be assumed to be happy with the outcome of the vote by those that did actually vote. I think we can be sure that had the vote been similarly tight the other way, remoaners would be quick to point out that less than 35% of voters actually voted to leave.

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Oi, you. Equifax. Cough up half a million quid for fumbling 15 million Brits' personal info to hackers

SImon Hobson
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That won't change until there is a credible deterrent

Which is why GDPR allows fines of up to 4% of GLOBAL turnover (of the group where it's a subsiduary and so on) - so no fudging things to make profits appear negative, or putting turnover through the books of a partner company, or other tricks.

So Equifax UK could be fined up to 4% of turnover of the whole group, not just of the UK company. What's more, it can continue (daily fines) indefinitely if the company refuses to fix the problem.

If that's not a deterrent, I don't know what is.

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Garbage collection – in SPAAACE: Net snaffles junk in first step to clean up Earth's orbiting litter

SImon Hobson
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Coat

For the small stuff, surely what we need is a humungous fly paper

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Microsoft pulls plug on IPv6-only Wi-Fi network over borked VPN fears

SImon Hobson
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Re: "the standard is for devices to generate (multiple) random addresses"

If you have, for example, a NAS, it can't really generate random addresses and change them over time, because how would you be able to access it?

mDNS ? Also, a device can have many addresses - indeed it is set out in the specs that devices MUST support multiple addresses. So it's quite easy for a device to have static addresses on which it serves up services, and multiple dynamic addresses it uses for outbound connections.

does Android support DHCPv6 now?

No, and it probably never will. Politics (as well as technical issues) has resulted in overlap between protocols. DHCP cannot (by design) provide router/routing info to hosts - they have to get that from routers via RAs. The official line is to separate addressing/host management from routing/network management because these are often managed by different groups in large organisation. My feeling is that even where that is the case, the two teams CANNOT work in isolation.

But the technical reason why Google won't support DHCPv6 in Android is that it doesn't provide a fast method for revoking leases when the network changes. For a mobile device, the network can change rapidly as a device moves around (handoff between cells, switching between mobile and WiFi. With RAs, the network can be quickly reconfigured by sending RAs for the disconnected addresses with a lifetime of zero - with DHCPv6 there's no such easy mechanism. There is a DHCP6 client for Android - but not from Google.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Broken

if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it

But it is broken, has been for a long time and it needs fixing.

Until the price of operating in an IPv4 world becomes more expensive than an IPv6

Which is already happening. There are hosting providers that include IPv6 with the package, but IPv4 is extra. When ISPs deploy CG-NAT which most are going to have to do sooner or later, that costs a lot of money which goes onto your bills.

ISPs with any sense ARE pushing users to IPv6 because they know that it reduces the amount of IPv4 traffic - and that means less load on the CG-NAT gateways they are going to have to use, and that means less expense installing and running them.

IPv4 will be around for a looooooooong time yet, but IPv6 is here to stay. The things is, people are saying that "most users" don't need IPv6 as IPv4 (even with NAT or CG-NAT) works for them. But those same users can be shifted to IPv6 (or dual stack) when they ISP upgrades the supplied router and things "just work" for them - just faster and at lower cost.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Say goodbye to online gaming and VOIP if your connection uses CG-NAT

I have not heard of CG-NAT before but I suppose if people will be prevented from using those types of online services they will have to be told in advance or there will be chaos

In reality the services will carry on working, as they do now with regular NAT - BUT the reason they work now with regular NAT is because huge amounts of time and money are spent working around the problem. Take VoIP for example ...

If you have a public IP on your phone then SIP works great - yes I;ve been in that situation. Put it behind NAT and it doesn't work AT ALL without workaroounds of which there are many. I have spent quite a few manhours with my work hat on dealing with just these problems. In the end, it usually ends up with each VoIP service provider spending a shedload of cash on proxy servers - so your phone talks to the procy server and it does the mangling/translation needed to make SIP work. Most users don't see this, but they are paying for it in their bills.

FTP does NOT work through NAT - so every NAT gateway has to have a helper function that sniffs the FTP traffic and edits the packets en-route to make it work. So more development time to implement that function to work around a broken network.

Gaming, ditto - so you end up having to use external proxies or servers as peer-peer isn't going to work behind CG-NAT.

And torrenting typically requires you to set up some port forwarding in your router (NAT gateway) and your torrent software has to have a means of figuring out what it's external connection looks like (more development time wasted). With CG-NAT you don't have that ability to do port forwarding, so that's screwed.

And CG-NAT kit costs your ISP a lot of money, so you are paying extra for your broken network connection !

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Two questions if I may

A users ip6 address is much more likely to be static that their ip4 address

The 20th century called and asked for it's Old Wives Tale back.

"Fixed" IPv6 addresses (aka EUI-64, IIRC) were deprecated years ago for exactly that reason. Now the standard is for devices to generate (multiple) random addresses within the 2^64 address space available to it and to change them over time. Tracking by IPv6 address is impractical.

You can track by /64 netblock, but then you get no more information than by tracking a network of devices behind a NAT gateway. My IPv4 address is as static as my /64 IPv6 block.

The staticness of both the IPv4 address and IPv6 allocation is not inherent in either protocol - it's entirely down to the allocation mechanism done by the ISP - in some cases you can request a static IPv4, in some you can only have a dynamic one, in some cases you can only have a static one.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: It’s not going to happen

everything is available on IPv4

But it isn't. Most things are on IPv4, but there are some IPv6 only things out there, and over time they will get to be more numerous. At some point you will find that you want to access something that can only be accessed over IPv6, and if you are in the "why bother with IPv6 at all" camp then you'll be disappointed.

At the moment that is a small risk. But there are already hosting outfits that will by default give you a shedload of IPv6 addresses - but charge extra (per address) if you want IPv4. Some ISPs are now waking up to the fact that it's getting more expensive to keep IPv4 going - many will no longer give you a public IP of your own because they don't have enough and they either can't get more or they are too expensive.

And once you are behind CG-NAT then you no longer have the freedom to forward ports as you want. Good luck torrenting or doing anything else that's peer-peer then.

TL;DR version. We're not there yet, but eventually there WILL be something you need IPv6 to access - and it'll be a lot easier and less hassle using real IPv6 than some bastardised workaround to fudge access from your IPv4 address.

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The Reg chats with Voyager Imaging Team member Dr Garry E Hunt

SImon Hobson
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Joke

And not one reference to that documentary about one of them coming back in a few centuries - and threatening havoc on the planet.

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FCC boss slams new Californian net neutrality law, brands it illegal

SImon Hobson
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Re: States' rights! States' rights!

The end result is that everyone ends up having the same mediocre level of service, despite what you can afford to get.

I think you have the wrong end of the stick.

Under Pai's view of things, your ISP is free to throttle traffic from a competing service - for example, they might throttle Netflix to make it rubbish compared to their own video streaming service. So effectively, the "internet" you get starts looking more like the walled gardens epitomised by the AOL of the olden days - where what you get to see is only what the provider wants you to see, and that is driven by what the providers are prepared to pay. An obvious danger there is that if some small startup comes up with a great new idea, the ISPs are in a position to kill it by simply throttling it's traffic so users will find that it's crap.

Under the Californian rules, your ISP cannot screw around with what you get to use - if you want to use (for example) Neflix rather than the ISP's service, then you can. And the startup with the great idea is free to get it going without being nobbled by vested interests.

None of this is about limiting what YOU can pay for. If you want a little pipe for little money then that's your choice, if you want a bigger pipe for more money then you can. But if the ISP simply doesn't deploy enough bandwidth within it's own networks, then that's a different issue - in a healthy market* you'd simply choose a different (better) ISP.

* Which it seems doesn't exist for many users in the US.

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Euro bureaucrats tie up .eu in red tape to stop Brexit Brits snatching back their web domains

SImon Hobson
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Re: Official language(s)

Scotland will be back in asap

That would need such a fudge and bending of the rules that even the most staunch pro-EU people would find it unpalatable - especially after having seen the effects of doing it for other countries that have joined (relatively) recently. There is absolutely no way that Scotland would qualify for membership.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: C'mon Kieren

The EU has been straight forward and consistent from the very beginning

Actually they haven't - there have been mixed messages. However, the underlying message has been clear - "as you have chosen the wrong option, you are going to be punished". Junker was very clear from the outset - he considers it quite proper to damage the EU as long as in doing so he can cause hurt to the UK. Partly as punishment for not following the "EU is great, more integration is great, Heil Junker" mantra, and partly pour discouragement les autres - knowing that if the UK leaves and "it turns out nicely" then there are other countries watching who might get the "wrong" idea.

It IS true that our side have been a bunch of incompetent [expletive censured], but the EU have most definitely been as described. Having watched things develop, it looks much to me that the EU side have (or at least some of those involved have) figured out that it'll hurt them a lot if we don't all sort things out properly rather than just crash out. But when describing our demands as pie in the sky, you have to remember what negotiation is - both sides come along with their lists of what they would like, and hopefully by reasoned discussion they can give and take until they reach a compromise that's acceptable to both.

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SImon Hobson
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Joke

Re: Very petty indead.

spitting its dummy out and blairing its eyes out

Ha ha, that's a wonderful spelling mistake - sure it isn't a Freudian slip ?

Blaring it's eyes out is one thing, but invoking the memory of that traitor Tony Blair and his ambitions goes a whole new level.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Double standards?..

It doesn't matter anyway ...

From my work at last job*, I can tell you that there are a few counties that require a legal presence in them to register a domain name with their CC TLD. And there are agents who's specialty is having an office there and registering domain names for you. They'll just add .eu as one of those supported domains.

* We had a customer with a LOT of international domains, they were registering <co-name>.TLD in as many countries as possible as part of a global expansion. We also did some international phone numbers for them via VoIP so they could have "local" offices who would answer with the correct language for the country.

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Don't put the 'd' and second 'i' in IoT: How to secure devices in your biz – belt and braces

SImon Hobson
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Re: It's simple, really

And what about those items that are expensive bricks without internet access ? Or where a significant part of their function requires external communication ?

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Probably for the best: Apple makes sure eSIMs won't nuke the operators

SImon Hobson
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FAIL

Re: I agree

By finally putting the eSIM in a phone it will encourage carriers to support it, and if enough do then other phones will adopt eSIM as well.

Indeed, and it's a terrible future to consider. Because once eSIM is widely adopted, manufacturers like Apple can start dropping the real SIM and produce eSIM only devices. That then gives them complete control over which networks you can use - should they so wish.

They COULD make it so that any carrier can remotely provision the eSIM, or they COULD make it so that you have to use their cloud portal or similar to do it. The latter gives them 100% control over which networks you can choose - probably based on how much the network is prepared to give Apple.

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PPI pushers now need consent to cold-call you

SImon Hobson
Silver badge

Invoking "personal privacy" is complete nonsense. They're an organisation, not an individual.

It's not for their protection, it's for ours. While most of us live on homes where we don't really have any embarrassing secrets, I'm sure there will be many where that isn't the case - and especially where the call is to a mobile where it could be a colleague that sees the call from a number the phone labels as (to pick an embarrassing example) the STD clinic.

Our local NHS trust no uses a presentation number from a local town for all the appointment related calls - so someone could infer that you had some interaction with the NHS, but have no idea what part (or at least, no idea which part of the local trust which is most things except the GPs' surgeries).

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A flash of inspiration sees techie get dirty to fix hospital's woes

SImon Hobson
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Re: Noisy phone lines in building

One of our worker bees came to me with 60Hz interference on his CRT monitor

Had a couple of those (albeit 50Hz in the UK).

First was most of the CRT terminals (Wyse 60) in the accounts dept with shimmering screens that all came/went at random times. I guessed magnetic field and asked the sparkies if they'd been doing anything recently. Turns out they'd been working on the sockets ring in the shop downstairs and a wire has slipped out of one of the terminals. Result was that when the electric heater came on, the live current went two ways round the ring, but the neutral current went one way - creating enough field to affect the CRTs. Finding the loose wire and fixing it banished the problem.

More entertaining was when they were extending the offices - steel frame that was bolted and welded together, and I bet some of you are ahead of me already. They'd just stuck the welding earth clamp where it was handy and were roaming around welding the joints - thus creating a rather large and complicated network of steelwork carrying heavy duty welding currents and thus creating magnetic fields. The effect on the CRTs (still Wyse 60s mostly) was "quite interesting" to say the least - enough "shimmer" to take the image completely off the side of the screen !

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