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Submission + - GPS failure on 26th January led to unexpected effects

mcloaked writes: Removal of one of the satellites in the GPS array caused a time error of 13 microseconds and led to loss of DAB radio in the UK. it is possible that whilst the GPS time error was not corrected that navigation systems around the world may have had errors up to several kilometres!

Comment Mozilla and replacement mail clients (Score 2) 300

Firefox was once really innovative, and alongside the browser the Thunderbird mail client was a rising star - and it is still the case that Thunderbird is well utilised as probably the most comprehensive mail client that has more extensive functionality than any other existing MUA. What other mail client can deal with html mail, calendar sync, imap and have a pretty clean gui, and run on all the main computer operating systems, even if there are perhaps still too many unfixed bugs? Chrome is the preferred browser for both Windows and Linux users for many users, even though there remains a core of Windows users who for various reasons never moved away from I.E.! If Mozilla continues to wither, and Thunderbird then withers with the decline in the browser, it would be so nice if Google would build a Chrome-related email client that had as much functionality as Thunderbird but based on modern build tools, with efficient libraries! Anyone else have similar thoughts?

Submission + - T-Mobile to pay $90M for unauthorized charges on customers' bills (

mpicpp writes: T-Mobile US will pay at least $90 million to settle a Federal Communications Commission suit that alleged it looked the other way while third parties charged T-Mobile subscribers for services they didn't want.

The settlement is the second largest for so-called "cramming," following one that the FCC reached with AT&T in October. It came just two days after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Sprint for the same practice.

Cramming involves sneaking third-party service charges onto phone bills without getting valid authorization from the subscriber. The most notorious type of unwanted service involved in cramming is PSMS (premium Short Message Service), in which consumers get recurring text messages on topics like jokes of the day and celebrity gossip. The settlements with AT&T and T-Mobile ban those carriers from putting any third-party PSMS charges on their bills. But there are other third-party charges that may appear on phone bills without authorization, including some types of purchases made within mobile apps.

T-Mobile let third parties continue billing its subscribers for services they never approved, even when as many as half the people getting billed for a service had complained to T-Mobile, said Travis LeBlanc, the FCC's enforcement chief. The carrier had a policy of investigating any service with a complaint rate higher than 15 percent, yet it let many of those companies keep putting their charges on T-Mobile bills, he said. T-Mobile got a 35 percent cut of the third-party charges, according to the FCC.

"We learned during this case that T-Mobile was in bed with the crammers," LeBlanc said on a conference call about the settlement on Friday. Under the settlement, T-Mobile did not admit or deny the allegations. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The carrier must pay at least $67.5 million to fund a program to pay its customers back, plus $18 million to state governments participating in the settlement and a $4.5 million penalty paid to the U.S. Treasury. If consumers' claims go higher, T-Mobile will have to pay them, with no upper limit. Consumers who believe they were wrongly charged will be able to apply for refunds at a website set up for the purpose. That site was not immediately available.

Submission + - USBdriveby: The $20 Device That Installs a Backdoor in a Second

Trailrunner7 writes: Samy Kamkar has a special talent for turning seemingly innocuous things into rather terrifying attack tools. First it was an inexpensive drone that Kamkar turned into a flying hacking platform with his Skyjack research, and now it’s a $20 USB microcontroller that Kamkar has loaded with code that can install a backdoor on a target machine in a few seconds and hand control of it to the attacker.

Kamkar has been working on the new project for some time, looking for a way to install the backdoor without needing to use the mouse and keyboard. The solution he came up with is elegant, fast and effective. By using code that can emulate the keyboard and the mouse and evade the security protections such as local firewalls, Kamkar found a method to install his backdoor in just a couple of seconds and keep it hidden on the machine. He loaded the code onto an inexpensive Teensy USB microcontroller.

Kamkar’s USBdriveby attack can be executed in a matter of seconds and would be quite difficult for a typical user to detect once it’s executed. In a demo video, Kamkar runs the attack on OS X, but he said the code, which he’s released on GitHub, can be modified easily to run on Windows or Linux machine. The attack inserts a backdoor on the target machine and also overwrites the DNS settings so that the attacker can then spoof various destinations, such as Facebook or an online banking site, and collect usernames and passwords. The backdoor also goes into the cron queue, so that it runs at specified intervals.

Submission + - UK EE phone network major data outage 29th August 2014 (

mcloaked writes: This morning mobile phone and 3G tablet users in the UK who are connected to the EE network found that they had no data connection. There was no news announcement on the EE website, and many users became increasingly frustrated and vented their anger on the EE forum website at

It is surprising in the current digital age that EE has no fallback to the situation that appears to have developed when a fibre backbone connecting two key data centres was severed. The national news media even 10 hour after this happened has still not published this story!

Comment Re:god, the distros are LAZY, not him (Score 1) 259

Yes it takes a little bit of reading and understanding and some manual command line work to get arch installed and running - and occasional manual intervention (well documented) to keep it up to date - but it is a lovely distro - I have moved to it this year from others - and being both rolling as well as cutting edge and largely pretty stable I am very happy with it. Zero effort distros are fine for cutting teeth on - which works for many - but some percentage of the linux users will want to get their computer doing things the way they like it and not the way someone else thinks they should like it! So it is horses for courses - and each user can make the system do what they want it to do.... I will be interested to see the reviews about E17 and how it works for users who install it - in a number of different distros!

Comment Re:This is an old idea ... (Score 1) 135

You posted what I was about to say in much the same way - an old idea from decades ago when all manner of weird and quirky ideas was bandied about from solar panels in orbit many miles square beaming microwave energy back to a receiver on earth (except any living thing in its path would be fried!), to shipping Antarctic icebergs to the desserts for water, to the captured vortex idea driven by a huge bonfire in the middle of the circular building with angled entrance ducts as in the reference for this article. Great fun on the same day that the world didn't end after all!

Comment Re:Thunderbird (Score 1, Insightful) 464

HTML email has a function for passing data tables and not just to change the appearance of the email. In a corporate environment replying to html mail and altering a table you have received to pass on an edited table is a standard requirement. If you are sending mail to a person who has vision problems then changing fonts and colours can be very valuable too - so there can be very good reasons to compose html mail.

Comment Re:Kontact/KMail (Score 1) 464

I am looking forward to using kmail again - currently I can't import my s/mime certificate because of a bug in gpgsm but that has a fix that will be available to me in a few days and then I can check it out for signed/encrypted email. Yes the combination kontact/kmail I used to use in KDE when it was version 3 but since the initial move to KDE4 I abandoned KDE until about a year ago when KDE4 became usable again - with KDE 4.8 and later it is my favourite Desktop Environment and with the latest KDE 4.9 stability release it is generally working very well - hopefully with the release of KDE 4.10 Kontact/Kmail will be workable and your comments above are encouraging.

Comment Re:Thunderbird (Score 1) 464

One other thing that Thunderbird is bad at is handling large numbers of emails in a folder - it uses mbox for internal storage which is inefficient in the extreme when very large amounts of mail have to be handled - there has been some token effort to find a thunderbird-specific form of maildir that was being coded but it never got to the mainstream and is not in any current version as far as I know - maybe the casual user doesn't know or doesn't care about this - but if you have used Thunderbird to handle large volumes of mail in a folder you will have seen the problems that arise.

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