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* Posts by SImon Hobson

1621 posts • joined 9 Sep 2006

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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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
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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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UK.gov flings £95m at public sector superfast broadband rollouts

SImon Hobson
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Re: @ SImon Hobson

I was with you up to the point where you started appologising for the gouging of the telecom monoply, outside of cities there is zero choice and the price to the customer is the maximium they can get and still profit from BTinternet as well as openreach.

Where was I apologising for it ?

Also, you do realise that compared to many markets, in the UK we do have a relatively highly competitive market even in the sticks - as in you can go and get an internet connection from many providers who will compete on factors such as speed, actual throughput, reliability, customer service, etc. Yes, they will all be reselling BTOR connections - but you don't seem to realise that these connections are NOT "as much as they can get away with". The wholesale prices are set by the regulator, not BTOR - we can argue as to whether the rates set are the right ones, but they are not set by BT or BTOR, and they have been coming down over the years.

Like I say, while in some places they get better connections for much less - you only have to read the articles about the US market to see the difference. Over there you find users who really do face buying from a monopoly, with no regulated prices, and who really can charge as much as they can get away with. And more importantly, impose whatever restrictions they can get away with (like actively throttling Netflix to benefit their own streaming services) - there's a reason the cable industry was so against neutrality rules !

So I repeat. Yes I'd love to get (symmetric) gigabit over fibre and get it for less than I pay now. But knowing what we used to pay at work for direct fibre connections (some of them NOT involving BT anywhere) I reckon that the "up to" 80/20 (actually about 50/16 IIRC) FTTC connection I do get is not bad value.

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SImon Hobson
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There isn't a natural market for infrastructure competition.

We don't have two sets of water pipes, we don't have two sets of sewer pipes*, we don't have two sets of electricity cables, we don't have two sets of roads**, we don't have two sets of railway lines, and so on. Similarly it does not make sense to have two sets of phone/network cables - to do so would be a massive waste of investment.

The difference is that water, sewerage, gas, lecky, roads are all provided as a "public good" while the phone system is a bit of a bastard hybrid of infrastructure for the public good and a private entity "competing" in a non-existent market. Your comment about BTOR only upgrading areas where there's public cash or competition fits with this.

Of course, the problem here is simple - too many voices with differing opinions of what the minimum service should be, what it should cost, who should pay for it, and so on. A secondary problem is that it's the only one of those mentioned where massive technological changes are being made - roads haven't fundamentally changed in many decades and (apart from maintenance) the road outside out house is the same road that was built about 80 years ago when the houses were built.

But like many simple problems, there isn't a simple answer ! Yeah we'd all like gigabit internet with no caps and no throttling. We'd all like it to cost very little. Getting agreement on what granny (the stereotypical low bandwidth customer) needs to pay, and what we (as the stereotypical bandwidth hogs) need to pay, and what we get for that, it always going to be "somewhat difficult". You only need to see the number of people complaining that they should pay less if their "up to" isn't the max speed - while all the time they can have a guaranteed minimum speed if they buy a more expensive connection - to see how many people fail to understand that what we get now is actually not bad value and "speed costs".

A great many, probably most if what I read is correct, would love to have the choice and value that we have here in the UK. Most of them effectively have a monopoly provider charging what they know they can get away with as a monopoly provider.

* Not counting those areas with a two pipe system (one for foul water, another for surface water) which is a different thing altogether.

** Yes we have toll roads, but they are very limited in scope.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Yeah, right

unrepresentional impression of the services that were later privatised without improving service

You are wrong there. Things might not have improved immediately, but they certainly have improved - a lot. I remember when we were only allowed a party line, when the only phones we could use were those allowed (sold or rented) by the Post Office, when it could take "quite a while" to get a new line installed.

Things might not be perfect now, but when was the last time you heard of a party line being installed ? Who would now accept only being allowed to use a very limited range of BT supplied phones ? And typical install times these days are measured in days, not months.

IMO a similar thing with the railways. They are clearly far from perfect (we're in an area served by Northern Rail - 'nuff said !), but compared to the old British Rail days it's a vast improvement.

Yes, both of these may have been sold off cheaply, can't comment on that as I don't know enough about the economic arguments. But I dispute any suggestion that in both these cases, the overall result hasn't been a significantly better service.

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Strewth! Aussie ISP gets eye-watering IPv4 bill, shifts to IPv6 addresses

SImon Hobson
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Re: Millenium Bug 2?

like there was never “a switch” from IPX/SPX to TCP/IP

And add AppleTalk to that list. For some of us, that was the first networking we encountered, and Apple managed the transition through dual stack (AppleTalk +IP) and eventually dropped AppleTalk altogether from the OS. Most users never noticed - it was just a bit of a PITA for those of us who (at the time) had some expensive but old colour laser printer that didn't do IP without a custom memory upgrade that I couldn't find.

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Trainer regrets giving straight answer to staffer's odd question

SImon Hobson
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Re: Phones too

where all our sales dept kept breaking their phones, and getting new ones on the insurance

Many years ago, I recall a visiting sales person telling me how his company had slashed the company car accident rate - they bought an old (IIRC) Skoda and the rule became :

Anyone having an accident gets the Skoda for a month. Since their street cred was in jeopardy, no salesman wants to be seen in a Skoda, so they took a lot more care with their cars.

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US government upends critical spying case with new denial

SImon Hobson
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Re: Spying on everybody but your own is Okay ?

but what about other people's right to privacy ?

We don't count, and as furriners don't have any rights whatsoever as far as the USA is concerned. Basically, the USA attitude is "our laws apply everywhere when it's in our own interests (eg the right to order the handover of any data held anywhere, c.f the CLOUD act); but not if it's not in our interests (eg the right to privacy)"

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A decade on, Apple and Google's 30% app store cut looks pretty cheesy

SImon Hobson
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Re: Cost does not justifiy Value

The value of a service is what people are ready to pay for

That is true in a competitive marketplace. But this is not.

As already mentioned, for the vast majority of Android users, if it isn't in Google's store then it doesn't exist. For Apple it's virtually all users since Apple don't allow any sideloading and go to great lengths to prevent users breaking the locks so they can use the hardware they bought as they wish. So as a developer (unless you are big enough to run your own store, which is not the case for most devs) it's not a case of whether you think it's a reasonable price to pay, it's a question of "do I want to sell this ?" - if the answer to that is yes, then they have no choice but to pay whatever Google "asks" for.

Ie, it's not a choice between 30% or some other cut a different store will charge - it's a choice between 30% or no business.

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That's the way the cookies crumble: Consent banners up 16% since GDPR

SImon Hobson
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I'm playing my tiny violin right now.

Well OK, you're posting on TheReg and (I assume since they don't have the option) not paying them a penny for the articles you read or the ability to engage in the comments. The reason you can do that for "free" is because they sell advertising space on the site.

This is more or less the same process that allows most print magazines, newspapers, journals, etc to survive. It's certainly the way the "free" papers survive.

Too many people forget this simple fact - the internet is only "free" if someone is paying for it for you. I have a small information site/blog which is free to users and has no adverts or tracking features - it is free to users because I pay for hosting it myself just because it's a topic I have an interest in.

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SImon Hobson
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Big Brother

And yet, no-one has yet mentioned the sites where they offer categories of cookies - those essential for the site to function which you can't turn off, and others that you can turn off. But, when you look at the list of "essential" cookies they are msotly anything but essential - like Google (and other) tracking cookies.

I can understand why so many are doing this - after all, many sites are entirely funded by advertising and to actually comply with GDPR fully would significantly reduce their income (or so it's alleged by the snake oil salesmen who tell the advertisers how much more valuable is a "targeted" advert). Still doesn't make it right or legal - but I can see why they'd be trying their luck.

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Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

SImon Hobson
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Re: re: slurped illegally

No, it was illegal prior to GDPR - it's just that the UK ICO couldn't touch them as it came under the jurisdiction of the Irish equivalent, the Irish outfit didn't have the balls or resources to tackle them, and in any case the penalties were just not enough to matter.

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SImon Hobson
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Am I to assume from all this that Facebook stores data on those who do not have an account with them?

Correct. It is safest to assume that they do have a highly detailed profile of you, all slurped illegally. Lets look at the ways they will have obtained that :

Firstly, there is the nagging to users to "just upload your contact list and we'll automatically invite them all to link up with you". Most users will have no clue that to upload such a list would be illegal itself, and it's just "so easy" to let FarceBork do all the work for them. So now they have (some subset) of name, phone number(s), email address(es), home address, work address(es), date of birth, date of marriage, spouse's name, and possibly more.

By powerful analytics, it's not hard to link multiple such entries - so if one person gives them you name, mobile number, home address & email, but another gives them name, mobile & work details, they can put them together.

Then there's all those websites that include FarceBork tracking stuff. They can, and do, follow you around the web - linking all (well a significant proportion of) those sites and pages you visit to some identifier. At some point you are bound to do something that will let them link this identifier to your profile - and bingo, they know who you are, who you interact with, what sites/pages you visit (and from that, what your interests are and what medical complaints you might have).

And then you have )so called) friends and family posting photos and comments that reference (and name) you. So now FarceBork have your photo and can (using face recognition) start picking you out in other photos even if you aren't named.

And yes, all this is done without any consent whatsoever. To see an example (from a few years ago), look up the details of Max Schrems case. He posts examples of the details they admitted to holding on him even without an account - and it was quite detailed.

Furthermore, there are sites where I've read the supposedly GDPR compliant page on cookies where I find advice that to opt out of such tracking I can follow a link and opt out. This falls over for two reasons: firstly it is not allowed to have an opt-out, secondly it just doesn't work if to opt out you have to create a FarceBork account - and hence both agree to the slurping and give them your details !

Light at the end of the tunnel, but basically FarceBork's business model (and a lot of Google's) is toast provided the regulators keep their nerve. In the long run, expect to see subscription options that will allow you to have "slurp free" access to services. Anything else could kill them as it's not allowed to make use of a service conditional on being slurped.

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Keep yer plastic, says analyst: eSIMs aren't all they're cracked up to be

SImon Hobson
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Re: Why does Apple want eSIMs?

If Apple wanted to lock people in to an Apple MVNO they'd just build a SIM inside the phone, with no way to remove it except by disassembly, if that.

If they were to do that then there would be pointing fingers and people calling out "look at that, see how they're screwing the system" because it would be very blatant.

By going to an eSIM then they'd have a system where you go into iTunes on your MAC and select the carrier you want your phone to be on and your Mac will then load the eSIM with the right information. Or it might be done via your online account. The crucial thing there is that it allows Apple to sell it as a convenience feature for users - while behind the scenes it means they get to control which carriers you can select (basically the ones that pay them enough of a cut).

The biggest problem with swapping physical SIMs is simply the way that some manufacturers seem to have gone out of their way to make it difficult. Some make it as easy as popping out the tray and swapping the bit of plastic. With others you have to get the back off (that is made to be hard to get off, remove the battery, then find something sharp enough to jab into the SIM and drag it out - with reassembly being the reverse of the above.

TL;DR No, you will not persuade me that if Apple goes eSIM it's for the benefit of the users and not for the benefit of Apple.

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Apple web design violates law, claims blind person

SImon Hobson
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Re: To put it mildly.

So much of the Apple site is useless to a screen reader

There, fixed that for you ;-)

Apple's site epitomises the modern disease of form over function - the designer really doesn't care about function as long as it looks pretty. As said, small light grey text on white background might "look pretty" but is a lot harder to read than block on white in a sensible font and size.

And don't get me started on things like the *.gov.uk site where the pretifiers have taken over the asylum. Sites where the content used to fit easily on the screen now have huge graphics and acres of empty space so you have to scroll and scroll and scroll to read them.

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Mozilla accuses FCC of abdicating its role, ignoring comments in net neutrality lawsuit

SImon Hobson
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Re: "controversial decision to tear up existing net neutrality rules"

'Teh Intarwebs' worked fine without these 'existing' (read: added) rules prior to 2009, so why appear to lose all sanity over their removal?

Because actually it was shown that the interwebs did NOT work fine. As already said, there are documented cases of ISPs being caught out abusing their position of power - knowing full well that the customer (in the majority of cases) had the choice of like it or lump it.

it was VERY clear that there was no working market and so these rules were needed. Had there been a properly functioning market then the rules would not be needed as the ISPs screwing over customers would lose customers until the fixed their ways or went bust - but there wasn't.

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Prenda lawyer pleads guilty to moneyshot honeypot scheme

SImon Hobson
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Re: The Prisoner of Prenda?

What's the reaction of Solicitors' Regulation Authority?

What else can they do - they are effectively a trade body, not the courts. It would be for someone (either the CPS or an individual) to start legal proceedings in court - and then the court would be able to judge what they are or aren't guilty of, and what the penalty for those crimes should be.

All the SRA can do is toss him out - which prevents him practicing as a solicitor any more.

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Google responds to location-stalking outcry by… tweaking words on its BS support page

SImon Hobson
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Re: 'Why does it do that? Because it is worth a lot of money to Google'

or at least eat a one-time fine

Which is why the GDPR allows for ongoing fines, as in "here's your fine for what you'e done so far, and you also get to pay extra on top for every day you carry on doing it". At up to 4% of global turnover, that is highly unlikely to be something that even Google could ignore.

It's going to take time, and needs EU bods to stand their ground, but I finally see a hint of light at the end of the tunnel.

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Distro inferno: Debian's still rocking at 25

SImon Hobson
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Re: Stable for servers

Me too, had servers running Debian where the only limit on uptime has been external factors - like power cuts while the UPS was dead (manglement wold pay for maintenance.) But as you say, after Wheezy - then what ? "things break" if you don't allow any of the malware (systemd). I was looking at migrating to Devuan, but my employer nixed that by making my whole department redundant and then flicking the power switch on "anything he didn't understand" - meaning anything other than a Windows server. I felt sorry for the customers who suffered from his completely predictable outages.

When I have time, I'll be migrating my home servers to Devuan - it's the future :-)

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EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.

SImon Hobson
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Re: EU Standard plug

it's a 30A circuit created by using cheaper 15A

Actually, 2.5mm2 T&E cable is rated up to 27A depending on installation method - it's highest when clipped direct to a wall, lowest when buried in thermal insulation. And of course, one of the tests done by periodic inspections is to check continuity of the rings - everyone has their installations tested periodically don't they ?

SO in practical terms, if you do have a broken ring, you have two radial circuits sharing a (these days) 32A MCB and wired in 27A cable. Since apart from the kitchen it's typically hard to get that sort of load on the sockets anyway, especially for a sustained time, it's not likely to be an issue anyway. Even in the kitchen, one of the devices making up the ">27A but less than 32A"* load is going to be the kettle and that's only one for a few minutes at a time.

Actually it's not that simple. A curve B 32A MCB should pass 64A (ie twice it's rated capacity) indefinitely. It should trip within a short time (0.4s) at 160A (ie 5x it's rated capacity). Thus it could pass (say) 100A for an indeterminate time which depends on the variances between devices. The rules on cable and protective device sizing takes these factors into account. No, in practical terms, a ring final circuit (to give it it's proper name) is highly unlikely to cause a conflagration just by being split into two radials.

A second issue is that if it's just a connection come undone (the most likely cause, it's easy for a wire to come out of the back of a socket when disturbing it) then it'll only affect one of the three wires. If it's L or N then only one of the two rings is broken - so in principle you could overload the L but the N is still a ring. So the overloaded cable only has one of the two current carrying cores overloaded and it's quite likely that you wouldn't exceed a damaging combination of currents anyway.

Eg, you are pulling a full 32 amps from one leg. The L may be carrying 32A, but the neutral could be carrying only (say) 20A. The total current carried is 52A, while the cable is rated to carry 54A (27A in both cores).

If you are still bothered, then it's fairly easy to convert a ring to two radials. It's normally just a matter of splitting the ring at one point, and separating the tails in the distribution board to separate breakers which could normally be 20A or 25A (if available) - giving you the option of putting 40A or 50A of load across the now separate circuits. This would (in England) be notifiable work BTW.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: EU Standard plug

almost all electrical outlet are now protects by RCD breakers so fuses are not vital any more

RCDs do not provide over-current protection - and for good measure do NOT prevent electric shocks*.

"Almost all" is not good enough - if you have any unfused sockets then the cable you plug in needs it's own protection. However, I suspect that they have radial wiring like most of the European continent and the USA - so each socket (or small number of sockets) has it's own MCB in the distribution board.

On radial circuits and unfused plugs, in theory every cable has to be rated according to the capacity of the socket it's going into - which typically means 16A in Europe. If you have a thin cable then it's not really protected against overload as it's only going to be protected by the 16A breaker in the panel.

And of course, we can have (in principle) as many sockets as we like on our rings - with one ring per breaker in the panel. Want sockets everywhere on separately protected radials ? Well that going to be a heck of a lot of cable and a heck of a lot of breakers = big panel and huge bundles of cables.

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Google keeps tracking you even when you specifically tell it not to: Maps, Search won't take no for an answer

SImon Hobson
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I stand corrected - it's a long time since I last set one up, and I don't recall seeing any way to avoid signing into a google account.

But you raise an important point - all those systems (Google isn't alone) where the only way to opt out of something is to sign into an online account (that you have to create, and agree to their ToS in doing so). So in order to opt out of something undesirable or even illegal, you have to enter into a contract allowing them to do it - and thus making it legal.

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SImon Hobson
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What happens if you don't put a Google account on the phone?

AFAIK, if it's an Android phone then you can't use it - it just won't let you configure the phone and use it without signing into a Google account.

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Ad watchdog: Amazon 'misleading' over Prime next-day delivery ads

SImon Hobson
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Re: Snowflakes

280 snowflakes were a bit upset that ...

No, 280 people were upset that they had been lied to.If the vendor is up-front about when it will be delivered, then as AC notes earlier on, most of the time it doesn't matter when it's actually delivered. But if you really do want it next day, and the vendor promises delivery next day, then it really should arrive the next day.

As the article points out, some people will have based their buying decision on delivery times - if you want it urgently, one vendor has next day, another has 3-4 days, then you'll be biased to using the vendor that promises next day. So lying about delivery timescales isn't harmless - it harms consumers and it harms competitors who are honest.

It really is that simple - if you promise next day delivery then things should arrived the day after ordering. If you can't deliver on that, then don't promise it.

It's just a pity that the ASA is a toothless foe, it's gummings (it doesn't have the teeth to bite) only ever amount to "don't do that again or we'll tell you not to do it again" - and usually (in the case of ad campaigns) delivered well after teh ad run had finished anyway. About time TPTB gave it some real teeth so telling porkies like Amazon was caught doing actually costs the criminal something that would discourage it.

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Phased out: IT architect plugs hole in clean-freak admin's wiring design

SImon Hobson
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Re: get out quick

3 electricians stood around a lifted floor tile arguing about which wire was the blue phase. When they finally agreed it was the black wire

The old saying is red to red, yellow to yellow, and blue to bits ...

But thanks to harmonisation, what you describe isn't so far fetched - now our cabling is supposed to be brown, black, and grey for the three phase lines. It means that a blue wire in the trunking could be an old line wire (blue phase) or a new neutral; while a black wire could be an old neutral or a new phase line. And of course, when it's all aged a bit and everything looks a bit grey, and it;s covered in dirt, and your working in the darkest corner of the factory - they all look the same anyway, but the old colours were generally more discernible.

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SImon Hobson
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Smaller scale, at the local church the boiler has failed (or rather, been condemned). So while the weather was cold we were using fan heaters to take the chill off - about all they could do, we all came prepared and kept our coats on.

One day I get there and [name/position redacted to protect the guilty] told me that some of the sockets weren't working. WHGile I had limited the two fan heaters to 3kW total - he'd brought in a couple more and was surprised when they all went off. "But I was careful and plugged them into different sockets" he told me, meaning that there was only one socket in each double used. He just couldn't understand the idea of these all being fed through one bit of 15A fuse wire.

He was also even more amazed that I could find the blown fuse and rewire it - he couldn't do more than look and see that none of the MCBs (retrofitted into the lighting board) had tripped. Yes, the place is long overdue for a bit of upgrading !

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SImon Hobson
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I requested a minium of 4 access points, one in each corner of the room

And you admit to that in here ?

Unless you disable 2.4GHz on all but 3 of them then you are artificially causing congestion - and that's assuming no other APs nearby. On 5.8G you'd be alright provided they all pick/have configured different channels.

It's a myth perpetuated by people who don't understand the basics of wireless comms that adding more APs (especially in a small space) will "improve" the WiFi.

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Second-hand connected car data drama could be a GDPR minefield

SImon Hobson
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Re: Too Complicated to Ever Work

Have you noticed how bad the UI / UX is in cars?

Oh yes, all the above and I'll add ... a UI designed i such a manner that you cannot do much at allwithout taking your eyes off the road, re-adjusting to the touchscreen off to one side of the driver, stab at the various on-screen controls till you get the right page and right control, and hope you didn't hit anything or anyone while you weren't looking where you were going.

We used to have a couple of Citroen C4 pool cars at work - and they'd taken this to the extreme with (IIRC) not a single "real" control for the heating leading to some lengthy eyes off road sessions to setup the heating.

And yes, the stupid DRLs that IMO are a road safety nighmare. OK, so pedestrians will be able to see you (but naff all else). But all road users will only be able to see the DRLs, unlit hazards like ... err pedestrians, animals, something that fell off a lorry, ... all become invisible while drivers are busy seeing the distracting DRLs.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Software not designed for a secondary market

Indeed, there's already a long line of case history to show the risks of that - ask Zune or Revolv hub owners !

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Sitting pretty in IPv4 land? Look, you're gonna have to talk to IPv6 at some stage

SImon Hobson
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Re: Overly Gloom and Doom 90's Predictions

and I'm nowhere near confident that I know enough to be able to secure such a network adequately

Ah, that fallacy.

When you were at the same level of knowledge with IPv4 as you are with IPv6 now - did you have the knowledge to secure it ? No ? Well neither did I Presumably if you reckon to have that knowledge now then you learned it - so go off and learn the differences (which actually aren't that great, the principles are much the same).

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Overly Gloom and Doom 90's Predictions

<emthe "experts" were predicting we were going to run out of IPs at some time in the near future</em>

Which we did - except that some b***ard invented NAT and lots of people went "oooh shiney, that fixes things" while completely ignoring everything that it broke. If all the manhours spend dealing with the fallout of that had been spent on going to IPv6 then we'd now be asking "what's an IPv4 address ?" in the same way that some youngsters now ask "what's tape ?".

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SImon Hobson
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Re: Never!

I was under the impression that NAT was regarded as a "bad thing" on IPv6

It's a "bad thing" on IPv4 as well. The problem is that so many people have never seen the efforts that have gone into working around the breakage it causes, haven't seen the countless piles of cash that (for example) VoIP providers have had to invest in proxy machines to work around how NAT breaks SIP. Not even good old FTP works without help from an ALG in the NAT gateway.

Besides, with "home" routers coming with uPNP turned on by default, your security from NAT is (while not completely useless) severely compromised since ANY device on your network can ask the router "please open wide these inbound ports for me" and get them.

So in response to the printer comment, all it takes is for ANY internal device to fake a uPNP request from the printer to the router and the printer can be accessible from the outside.

There may be things that make IPv6 "difficult" - not using NAT isn't one of them.

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IPv6: It's only NAT-ural that network nerds are dragging their feet...

SImon Hobson
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Re: Second class netizen

It appears that the engineers were not consulted and the IPv6 protocol was designed to be incompatible with IPv4 - not a good idea

And pray tell, how would you propose to create something with more address space that IS compatible with IPv4 equipment ?

Not a single piece of IPv4 kit would be capable or sending or receiving packets with (say) a 64 bit address, or a 48 bit address, or indeed any packet with other than a 32 bit address in the 32 bit field where the existing code expects to put/find 32 bits. So no, it's not going to work to say "lets fix this problem but maintain compatibility".

Once you accept that bit of reality - that whatever you do will require new code along with everything that goes with it - then most of the arguments against IPv6 really start looking rather lame. Frankly, if we're going to have to have a bunch of new code, then lets at least make a big jump so that by the time we've adopted it we aren't already having to plan the next jump !

And then a lot fo the perceived difficulty with IPv6 is actually fixing some significant problems that existed with IPv4 - but which most people, even the majority of network savvy people, don't realise are there.

And don't get me started on NAT - the millions, or even billions of man hours wasted on working around that breakage (not to mention the hardware investment in things like proxy servers) doesn't bear thinking about. Most people don't see NAT as a problem because of all those man hours spent making things work - the reason they (most of the time) don't see problems isn't because there aren't problems to be seen.

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SImon Hobson
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Re: If past ipv6 articles are anything to go by...

Or less efficient. v4 has a nice, fixed packet structure. So a 32bit address field. v6 uses 128bits, so 4x larger.

Nice try there - cite one feature to support an erroneous statement about another.

The thing is, there are efficiencies in IPv6 by fixing the header format as it does. For example, the hop counter is included in the CRC in IPv4 meaning that it needs to be recalculated on every hop - while in IPv6 it's excluded for efficiency. The extension headers shouldn't need to be checked for routing unless you are doing something quite esoteric and probably won't be present in the majority of traffic anyway - so they are unlikely to have any impact on routing tables.

And considering that I was using 32 bit addresses back in the days of dial up modems, adding an extra 192 bits to a packet isn't a major issue for most* users. I don't recall too many complaints that the 64 bits of source-address per packet was a problem back then, any more than the 256 bits in IPv6 is today (for most* users).

* Yes, there will always be some site somewhere stuck with a 1200/75 dial up modem**. But they are unlikely to be connecting directly to the internet and there are various proxy techniques that would allow them to carry on as they are.

** OK, suitably antique spec chosen for dramatic effect - but you know exactly what I mean.

And memory usage is not an issue either. Memory capacities have increase many orders of magnitude, and quite frankly, it's hard to find small memory chips these days that were "cutting edge" only a few years ago.

And accessing 128 bit addresses need not take longer either - as well as memory getting bigger, we've had a many-fold increase in memory widths. So a 32 bit address meant 4 accesses on an 8 bit system, 2 on a 32 bit system, and you had to be up to a 32 bit system before it because a single access. 64 bit systems are quite common these days, so still only 2 accesses. And don't forget that a lot of what you pay for in "proper" router gear (vs doing it in software) is custom hardware to do the routing table lookup and packet forwarding. So yes, new hardware required, but that's going to have hardware to handle 128 bits address in the same time (well faster now with newer silicon) as older hardware handled 32 bit addresses.

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