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* Posts by VinceH

3339 posts • joined 26 Nov 2009

Google Translate spews doomsday messages, Facebook snatches boffins, and more in AI

VinceH
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"I think some of these are easter eggs put in by the developers."

^This. Possibly - and also possibly a buggy lookup related to it.

Also, upon reading this article and the first few comments (16, 17, 18 x dog) I went from one to I don't know how many. The first few just repeated the text to translate. Four dogs became three, and a few beyond that it began appending "reader email". Up in the twenties, it was variously inserting "krist" or "christian" in the translation. Beyond that it became more random, but repeating some of the earlier ones - for example at one point it showed the word dog n times followed by the 16 translation.

So I suspect, as AC said, an Easter egg, whereby the developer(s) responsible have triggered a lookup at certain points, and in some cases it's getting the count wrong, reading a pointer from the wrong place as a result and reading/adding these other words/terms.

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Doctor, doctor, I feel like my IoT-enabled vacuum cleaner is spying on me

VinceH
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Re: IoT

Ah, so you're a waffle man!

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You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

VinceH
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Re: Don't be Facebook

"I definitely don't want (to think that) you are serving up what some algorithm *thinks* I'm interested in..."

^This ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this.

OTOH, I use the RSS feed so the layout of the front page is irrelevant to me. :)

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Scam alert: No, hackers don't have webcam vids of you enjoying p0rno. Don't give them any $$s

VinceH
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Re: Webcam?

"Am I the only one who does this?"

Well, contrary to popular belief, I'm not completely paranoid - I don't do anything to the cameras in my laptops; they're intact, no dismantling, no tape. But that's largely because I almost never use the laptop's screen etc - most of the time I use them plugged into an external monitor/keyboard/mouse, with the lid closed.

The exceptions tend to be in clients' offices or in public - so if there were any questionable videos of me captured on the built-in camera, I would probably have been arrested already.

Note: I have received a scammy "we have a video of you wanking" email, back in May, though it was clearly less targeted and more random (generic address, didn't have the bonus of an old password, etc). I found it very amusing - so here it is for everyone's enjoyment. I particularly liked the euphemism "burp the monkey" and the fact that the scammer(s) apologised for their poor grammar.

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No, seriously, why are you holding your phone like that?

VinceH
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Facepalm

Re: Linky = Come home to a real fire

I think that's linked to one of the supposed benefits of smart meters. Some of the advertising claims they can help you to save money on your gas/electricity bills - I guess they do this by spontaneously helping to keep you extra warm and toasty.

And if you live through that, your house has been burned down, so you now have no more gas/electricity bills: a 100% saving. What could possibly be wrong with that?

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VinceH
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Re: Only yesterday...

I used to work with someone who used his phone like that (Dabbsy's second picture in the article). I didn't realise he was doing it at first; whenever I spoke to him on the phone, the background noise/echo etc made it obvious he was using it in hands free mode (i.e. using the loudspeaker), and he was always very loud himself - often ridiculously so (I had to move the phone away from my ear).

Then I was in the office with him when he was on the phone to someone else and the reason became obvious: He was holding the phone like that, in hands free mode so the person at the other end was on loudspeaker and he could hear them; the mic was very close to his mouth, and he was shouting into the phone.

Pillock.

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PC shipments just rose, thanks to Windows 10

VinceH
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"PC shipments just rose, thanks to in spite of Windows 10"

FTFY!

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Mastercard goes TITSUP in US, UK: There are some things money can't buy – like uptime

VinceH
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Re: Backups and redundancy, FFS

"I did, and then most of the providers dropped MasterCard and converted them into Visa cards"

Why on Earth has someone downvoted that? From my experience, what AC said there is true. I have quite a few cards - they were a mix of different banks and spread between Visa and Mastercard. Now only one is Mastercard. (For example, the one attached to my main personal bank account was originally a Mastercard and was replaced with a Visa when the bank switched.)

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Brit privacy watchdog reports on political data harvests: We've read the lot so you don't have to

VinceH
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Re: interesting

Wuh woh!

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UK privacy watchdog to fine Facebook 18 mins of profit (£500,000) for Cambridge Analytica

VinceH
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Re: Review of the impact of ICO Civil Monetary Penalties - 20140723

"Well, it's a report by the ICO on how effective ICO fines are, so it sounds like it should be relevant. As it turns out... not so much. The impact of penalties was assessed by interviewing a few organisations who had been fined. Amazingly, they all say that they've totally become more proactive in addressing their information rights obligations."

They probably received a discount against the fine for taking part in the survey and giving suitable answers.

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VinceH
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Re: Conclusions?

"Just because you've never opened a Facebook account, doesn't mean they don't know anything about you."

Is that the new "Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you" ?

"I have never signed up to Facebook, but I'm sure they know something about me"

Quite. And as I've mentioned before, since signing up to Facebook again (long after "deleting" the old account) - and this time with a different address etc - it's interesting to see what shows up in my profile that hasn't been (directly) provided to them by me.

In particular, I'm looking at the 'advertising settings' which shows something from my phone, even though the Facebook application has never been anywhere near it - and here we see something very wrong. (I suspect Facebook may have randomly added these because of a lack of real data - but their wording says otherwise!)

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You're indestructible, always believe in 'cause you are Go! Microsoft reinvents netbook with US$399 ‘Surface Go’

VinceH
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Re: The Microsoft Slurpage has to STOP!

"By the logic of 'genie already out, give it up' - we might as well not try to fix any of societies woes and just retreat to our castles if we have them and let civilisation burn - people have looted raped and pillaged for centuries, why fight it? People have pick-pocketed and corps have ripped off consumers and abused their positions of power - we just let them continue?"

Very much this^ - have an upvote.

But also, going back to the post that mentions the genie being already out:

"Do you not think that the reassuringly tasty cookies this very Website serves up, doesn't also invade your pivacy again when you leave it? And, where there such an aurgument that this Site would never pertake in something so loathsome, then what about the next Website your get off to?"

Your browser, perhaps with the help of third party applications, almost certainly offers you controls that can curtail this - mine does. Learn to use those controls, and limit the potential invasion of privacy. The more people who do this, the less data those cookies provide, and the more worthless they become.

But if you take the "the genie is already out" attitude, you may as well drop your trousers and adopt the position ready for the next round.

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Fitness app Polar even better at revealing secrets than Strava

VinceH
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Big Brother

"Or are App developers, by making privacy so difficult, are taking advantage of peep's laziness so they (the developers) can profit from the data?"

Something along those lines, I think.

"Sharing is Caring!!!*"™

Don't forget that"Privacy is theft!" and "Secrets are Lies!"

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Spidey sense is literally tingling! Arachnids detect Earth's electric field, use it to fly away

VinceH
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Happy

"Given the similarities in the information from the clip and this article, seems to me that they likely were based on the same reference material. "

Well, the article says "...researchers at the University of Bristol, in England..."

And the guy in the video says "... a study published in Current Biology this week by researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK..."

So, yeah. :)

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A fine vintage: Wine has run Microsoft Solitaire on Linux for 25 years

VinceH
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FTA: "However, for the occasions when only that particular Windows application will do ... Wine does the job nicely"

Except where that particular Windows application is one that doesn't work under Wine.

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Call your MEP! Wikipedia blacks out for European YouTube vote

VinceH
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Re: The people who run Wikipedia

This is news to you?

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Budget hotel chain, UK political party, Monzo Bank, Patreon caught in Typeform database hack

VinceH
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Re: Dates of birth

"Why some companies think they need your date of birth to sell you mince pies remains a mystery."

Quite - which is why whenever a site/form/whatever asks for my DoB, if I don't think they really need it I give them a false one and add it to the data in my password database in case they ever try to use it as some kind of security bollocks.

(I've tried to make myself ludicrously old a couple of times, but the sites I tried that on wouldn't accept that I could possibly be over five hundred years old.)

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Dear Samsung mobe owners: It may leak your private pics to randoms

VinceH
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Holmes

It is indeed - it's designed to discourage people, particularly teens, from taking dodgy selfies, on the basis that they'll never know who will end up seeing them.

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Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops

VinceH
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Re: I thought of the child(ren)

"A .22 doesn't really have enough stopping power to deal with an intruder."

It appears to have stopped the one this story was about.

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GDPR forgive us, it's been one month since you were enforced…

VinceH
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Re: disappointed...

"If so they can still email you under the corporate exemption from PECR."

PECR was always stupidly flawed in that respect. I said as much when it came in, and I've continued to say it since.

"GDPR consent doesn't come into play because it's legitimate interests, not consent."

They themselves have made it quite clear that for marketing, they are operating a consent based approach.

Firstly, their Privacy Policy states:

"We may also process your personal data for one or more of the following:

[...]

• You have consented to us using your personal data (e.g. for marketing related uses);"

Secondly, they made that clear in the pre-GDPR emails where they said [digs around in the spam folder]...

"Very soon, changes to personal data laws mean you'll have to give us permission to stay in touch with you via email to make sure you don't miss out on our special offers.

As you might know, the law is changing and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will become active on 25th May 2018. We have to make sure that you consent to continue to receive future email special offers and deals.

Register your interest today so we can send you:

Special Offers - weekly special offers

Discounts - notification of Sales

Prize Draws - chance to WIN various prizes

Give-Aways - special offers with FREE gifts

Future offers will only be open to those who opt in to our emails. It's quick & easy to make sure we can stay in touch, simply click the button below to register your interest now.

Click Here to Opt In"

I mentioned this in my original post, though I summarised it slightly. They asked for consent using an opt-in button, I chose not to opt in, therefore I have not given consent.

"So if it bothers you, click on the unsubscribe link."

I shouldn't have to. I didn't click on the subscribe ("Opt In") link.

"Until you do that you haven't got a legal leg to stand on."

As I also pointed out in my original post, my legal legs are irrelevant, because I have to be careful not to annoy a source of some of my income, who use this supplier very regularly.

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VinceH
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Re: disappointed...

"*I'm talking about orgs that I have actually had some relationship with at some point, not pure spammers"

Thankfully, I only have one that's doing that. They are a client's supplier, and I have an email address at that client's domain.

Having never received any spam from them previously, in the run up to GDPR-day, a sales bod at the company started sending emails along the lines of "GDPR is coming - please tell us we can continue to send you crap, because soon we won't be able to... by the way, we have an offer on x, y, z..."

i.e. Begging to be able to spam after GDPR day, with spam added to the request.

I received six emails like that in May, the last being the 24th - then it seemed to stop. Which I thought was because I ignored them; they were asking for consent, and I didn't give it.

Until 19th June - when I received a marketing missive from them; like the GDPR emails, but without the "GDPR is coming - please tell us we can continue to send you crap, because soon we won't be able to..." bit.

It puts me in a dilemma. If it was one of my own email addresses, I would make sure they know just how annoyed I am, and make official complaints - but it's an email address at a client (though I host the client's email) and upsetting a regular supplier (and thence my client) is probably not a good plan.

I think if it happens again, I might go for a gentler approach than I normally would: Add a forward to the server so that any email this person sends to me is sent straight back - without it affecting any other mailbox.

(There is of course an unsubscribe link - but I've always had a policy of not using them if I shouldn't be receiving the emails in the first place.)

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VinceH
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Re: I don't think many of the opt-in/out menus are legal

"My current favourite is www.cycleworld.com (a motorcycle website)."

Good grief!

27 cookies they claim are necessary.

10 labelled as preferences.

34 labelled as 'statistics'

84 maked 'unclassified'

And 251 for marketing!

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Buttonless and port-free: Expect the next iPhone to be as smooth as a baby's bum

VinceH
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Coat

Re: using microwaves to charge your phone

I didn't know tissue paper had power levels.

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VinceH
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Re: Acolytes

As someone further up said, less is more.

In this case the less that is more is cash: Less for the Applytes, more for Apple.

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How a tax form kludge gifted the world 25 joyous years of PDF

VinceH
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Re: Ahem

I thought that was XXX

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Developer’s code worked, but not in the right century

VinceH
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Trollface

Being a bit on the evil side, if I was involved in/posting to wherever you do that and knew you were doing it, I'd be inclined to come up with ever more creative ways to write dates.

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Cops fined £80,000 for revealing childhood abuse victims' names

VinceH
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Re: Pedantry

"Seems pretty explicit?"

On first reading 3.6.3 I thought the same - however, now read section 5, then go back to 3.6.3, and you'll pick up on something you may have missed the first time.

Specifically. it describes three ways a BCC field can be used, and you need to look at the second.

In the second case, recipients specified in the "To:" and "Cc:" lines each are sent a copy of the message with the "Bcc:" line removed as above, but the recipients on the "Bcc:" line get a separate copy of the message containing a "Bcc:" line.

I initially interpreted 'a "BCC:" line' to mean one containing just that recipient's address, and didn't register what the next sentence said:

(When there are multiple recipient addresses in the "Bcc:" field, some implementations actually send a separate copy of the message to each recipient with a "Bcc:" containing only the address of that particular recipient.)

Some implementations do what I automatically interpreted the preceding part as meaning - but if it's mentioning that as something that some implementations do, it follows that some systems may allow some BCC'd recipients to see other BCC'd recipients' addresses.

And then the key bit from section 5:

When the second method from section 3.6.3 is used, the blind recipient's address appears in the "Bcc:" field of a separate copy of the message. If the "Bcc:" field sent contains all of the blind addressees, all of the "Bcc:" recipients will be seen by each "Bcc:" recipient.

It's effectively saying this is a bad way to do it - but it prompted me to go back and read the 'second method' again, and pick up what I missed.

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Microsoft tries cutting the Ribbon in Office UI upgrade

VinceH
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Re: Come back Clippy

"Ahem"

There is a very strong temptation to add clippy.js to my own website - if only to make the point: This is why it's a good idea not to have JS enabled by default.

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Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

VinceH
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Coat

FTA: "Retailer Dixons Carphone has gone public about a hack attack involving 5.9 million payment cards and 1.2 million personal data records."

Oh, do try harder, Dixons Carphone - if you want to compete with the big boys, you need to have much bigger breaches than that.

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Woman sues NASA for ownership of vial of space dust

VinceH
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Coat

Re: Three Monoliths just down the hall,

Have you seen how many craters there are on the moon?

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Worst. Birthday. Ever. IPv6's party falls flat

VinceH
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Re: Optional

FTA: "The “IPv6 Launch Day” that happened on June 6, 2012, was a cross between official switch-on by a bunch of US service providers, and promotional exercise.

The fifth anniversary brought Vint Cerf out to grouch that the v6 rollout is still too slow, but others wanted to Look on the Bright Side of Life™."

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VinceH
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Coat

Optional

FTA: " The “IPv6 Launch Day” that happened on June 6, 2012, was a cross between official switch-on by a bunch of US service providers, and promotional exercise.

The fifth anniversary brought Vint Cerf out to grouch that the v6 rollout is still too slow, but others wanted to Look on the Bright Side of Life™."

I've done it! I've somehow invented time travel - and in my sleep! I went to bed in 2018, and woke up in 2017!

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NASA finds more stuff suggesting Mars could have hosted life, maybe

VinceH
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Alien

Re: And the remnants had fled to Earth.

"hmm, that's the plot of something... a Quatermass...?"

Missions... possibly. I'm not 100% sure that's where they're going with it because my VirginMedia box decided to perform an update when I was part way through an episode, just at the point I was wondering if that's where the programme was heading.

(I was watching my recordings in the early hours. And instead of doing something sensible like checking if the box is not on standby and not recording anything before updating, delaying if either were true, it just went ahead and did it.)

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Nadella tells worried GitHub devs: Judge us by our actions

VinceH
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Holmes

Re: What's up with that picture?

I think your last question is the easiest to answer - it's what the article is about!

But on the subject of the article... Since Windows 8, Microsoft has tried to force trick encourage users to sign up with a Microsoft account. So which version of Visual Studio will try to force trick encourage users to sign up to GitHub and give Microsoft access to all their development code? Next? Next again?

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NASA spots asteroid on crash course with Earth – with just hours to go

VinceH
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Mushroom

Re: Asteroid Ahhhhhhhhh......

"what, who it is likely to hit this time, decimate some trade competitor, make a big splash and sink the small islands, "

Weaponise approaching asteroids. Brilliant idea - if they're big enough to cause damage (but not big enough to cause extinction) we don't have to fully deflect them, only deflect them enough to ensure they hit our enemies.

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UK Foreign Sec BoJo asks tech firms to save endangered species

VinceH
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Re: Dennis the Menace and Lord Snooty.

"I'm not sure that Lord Snooty gets many outings these days..."

Isn't he currently the MP for NE Somerset?

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Visa Europe fscks up Friday night with other GDPR: 'God Dammit, Payment Refused'

VinceH
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Facepalm

Re: Well, we went out last night...

Ah, of course - should have thought of that!

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VinceH
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Re: Well, we went out last night...

"The only problem I noticed was a rather long response time - minutes - on verified by visa."

Wait, what?

Verified by visa... on over-the-counter payments? Am I missing something? Do I not use my card enough in over the counter transactions1 to have noticed this happening?

1. Which is very rarely. Cash is king.

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Kill the blockchain! It'll make you fitter in the long run, honest

VinceH
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Thumb Up

Re: At Vince H, re: FlockChain...

Ah, but the thing is... it's true.

I can even identify the exact date by glancing back through my pictures (none of the sheep - just by finding the the right set of photos, including those from where it happened): 9th April, 2007 - Fice's Well on Dartmoor.

I'm just glad I hadn't watched the documentary Black Sheep (2006), the night before.

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VinceH
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Optional

I encountered a flock chain while out walking once, when all the sheep in a field I was crossing decided to follow me.

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Businesses brace themselves for a kicking as GDPR blows in

VinceH
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Re: Hopefully they will start at the top

"Investigate and fine the big companies first, rather than pick the low hanging fruit of smaller organisations that may not have had the money or even the knowledge to get things sorted in time. The operation of HMRC gives no confidence that this is the way that things will be done."

Your lack of confidence is shared.

Worse, I suspect what we'll see is pretty much more of the same when it comes to the size of fines issued to those who truly deserve it - don't forget the magic words in the amount they can be fined: "Up to".

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Mobile app devs have, oh, about 9 hours left to decide whether to stay on Google's ad platform

VinceH
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"It's that simple. The biggest reason for finding compliance a nightmare is because you weren't compliant with data protection but previously knew it wasn't going to cost you anything."

Well, to be fair, there's also just plain old not being fully aware or realising it applies to them. You may or may not wish to label that under the term "ignorance".

Case in point, where I was working today. They've been running around like headless chickens to make sure they're compliant - a bit of a last minute thing because they didn't know. (Technically, they did: I pointed out to them when discussing this today that I told them a very long time ago - problem is, it was me that told them, so it almost certainly went in one ear and out the other.)

Their argument is that there has been no attempt to officially notify anyone that this law is coming - no significant campaign. I couldn't really argue the point; it seems to have been well publicised to me, but that could very easily be down to the channels I read etc, so I don't know if they're right or not.

That aside, they believe it to be nonsense because if there was a breach, they think the only thing that would be stolen is email addresses. (!)

Um.

In my book, "only" email addresses is bad enough - but in this case, depending on exactly what was compromised, those email addresses could come with names, phone numbers, addresses... hell, it could include specific information about the services the customers have received, which in turn could include addresses of third parties again! Why they think it would only be email addresses, I don't know, but I couldn't be bothered to argue: by this point in the conversation I just wanted to do some work. (And I'm a lazy bastard - so that's how exasperated I was!)

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VinceH
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Facepalm

"Have got loads of email about GDPR asking me to sign up for continued junk email."

How about a company using GDPR as an excuse to send marketing crap?

Since the start of May, a supplier to one of my clients has been sending emails to my address for that client (at their domain). So far, five emails.

The first two were ostensibly requests for me to opt in to receive future emails because GDPR - but they were really marketing emails using that as an excuse. The last three reverses that: They were quite openly marketing emails, with a section asking me to opt in because GDPR.

Prior to May, I wasn't receiving any such emails from that supplier.

And thankfully, I should receive no more.

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Hold on. Here's an idea. Let's force AI bots to identify themselves as automatons, says Cali

VinceH
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Re: I can imagine this happening

While watching that I kept thinking "At the end of the day, that's just an over-elaborate plotter" - and yet I carried on watching it to the end. It's strangely fascinating to watch.

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VinceH
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Happy

Re: I can imagine this happening

https://twitter.com/MarciRobin/status/998030243981033472"

(Probably a case of their online version of whatever paperwork that was has a CAPTCHA, and they simply printed it off. But still made me laugh.)

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You've got to be kitten: Vet recruiter told to pay £1k after pinching info from ex-employer

VinceH
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I expect it was just an off the hoof remark.

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'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'

VinceH
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Re: 3 more days people

I'd forgotten all about Yandex Zen - I found out how to disable (or at least hide) it soon after it appeared. Looking now, I can't see any trace of it anywhere; I note the phone is on Android 7.1.2 so I wonder if WileyFox removed it in that update? If they did, it rules out Yandex Zen because I triggered a very brief change in the apps that show up in my ad preferences on Facebook a couple of weeks ago when experimenting.

But if not - if it's still there and I'm just not seeing it - then that could easily be the real answer.

My actual suspicion was TrueCaller - another piece of absolute crap that appeared in the same update as Yandex Zen, can't be disabled, and replaced a perfectly good contact manager/dialler.

Its privacy policy contains this gem:

"By accepting the TrueCaller Privacy Policy and/or using the Services you consent to the collection, use, sharing and processing of personal information as described herein."

However, since it was foisted on WileyFox owners with no real choice (short of rooting phones and dealing with it that way), there is no option but to consent. Further down, it says:

"When you install and use the Services, TrueCaller will collect personal information from you and any devices you may use in your interaction with our services. This information may include e.g." followed by a list that includes "applications installed on your device".

There is a new privacy policy coming into force on (you guessed it) 25th May - and in the installation and use section, it still says the same.

Under the circumstances, I can only read it as "Since you use a phone on which TrueCaller has been forced on you, TrueCaller will collect..."

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VinceH
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If Facebook is glued into your Android phone, it will stay there, pinging Facebook, and you don't even have to use it. In fact, you don't even have to create a profile.

...because Facebook will do that for you.

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VinceH
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See also my comment further up. They know about some apps on my phone without any of their crap being installed.

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VinceH
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Re: 3 more days people

^ This.

I've mentioned before that in my new (mostly unused) Facebook account, there are things (apps) listed in my advertising prefs that they really shouldn't know about - sourced from my phone. I do not have the Facebook app, nor Whatsapp, or any other Facebook crud on it, so something *else* has got that info to them. If I do the 'download your data' thing, there is no mention of those apps (it doesn't include your account settings, so no advertising prefs are included) - so I'm hoping a Subject Access Request might yield the mystery source.

(I do have a suspicion as to that source - and if I'm right, the ultimate blame lies with WileyFox and an update).

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