* Posts by Joe Gurman

212 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007

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You. Comcast, TWC, Charter, DirecTV, Dish. Get in here and explain yourselves – Congress

Joe Gurman

And Verizon is left off the list because....

....why?

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Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

Joe Gurman

Er, no.... but it's a good idea anyway

Kepler is in a heliocentric orbit, so not much direct help for it, but if a space elevator were feasible, it would be very useful for servicing things in geosync orbit of which there are lots) or "tipping off" payloads with boost motors to head elsewhere.

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Read America's insane draft crypto-borking law that no one's willing to admit they wrote

Joe Gurman

Re: Requirements for US Political Office

Actually, thanks to the Teabaggers =, there are lots of people with business, and not legal, backgrounds in the US House of Representatives, at least. One could argue that having Senators and Representatives with at least a law degree (regardless of whether they have practiced law) is helpful in, you know, writing laws.

This draft legislation was written by Intelligence Committee staff members, also lawyers, not the named Senators nor any other members Congress. I'd be willing to bet a stack of iPhones none of the staff lawyers has a clue as to how encryption works or what you lose if you weaken it.

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Bezos defends Amazon culture in letter to shareholders

Joe Gurman

Not all that different from where I work.... er, not

Hypothetically (because I can't post statements that might be taken to imply that I speak for my employer), I work for a US government agency, that for want of a better way of putting it, launches things into space. Things that observe and measure things we've never measured before, that see things we've never seen before, and that expand our mental horizons about the world we live in, its neighborhood, and the cosmos. And to get those things done, there are certainly times when lots of people on a project put in those killing hours, BUT they are recognized for their work, managers generally try to turn around weaker performers, and we aren't expected to work that long every week of every year. If you see us crying, it's because our own mistakes led to friends and role models getting killed, which seems a much more valid reason for tears than a tinhorn dictator of a manager putting you down.

And if you see us cheering and lifting glasses of champagne (sorry, non-alcoholic; the real thing isn't allowed at work), it's because we think we accomplished something more meaningful than a good quarter.

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Google tries to run from flailing robotics arm

Joe Gurman

And the buyer is....

Cyberdyne systems, of course.

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NASA celebrates 50-year anniversary of first spaceship docking in orbit

Joe Gurman

OK, I'm a pedant

....and proud. "50-year anniversary" is redundant, repetitious, and tautological (see what I did there?).

Anniversary comes from the Latin for "turning of a year," so all the head needed to say was, "50th anniversary."

Mutter, mutter, kids today. Why, in my day.... mutter, mutter.

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Go ahead, build better security: it just makes crims try harder

Joe Gurman

The syntax police

Interesting piece, and I hope the author will not take it amiss if I suggest that reporters need to become grammatical: "He says risk is critical for security executives despite that he admits it is his weakest area." Maybe "despite admitting," or even "even though he admits."

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FBI says NY judge went too far in ruling the FBI went too far in forcing Apple to unlock iPhone

Joe Gurman

Just one point of fact

The iPhone 5c in the San Bernadino case did not belong to Syed Farook. It was issued to him by his employer, San Bernadino County. That fact may or may not be relevant to the court arguments, but certainly it is relevant enough for a reporter to get right.

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Flash – aaah-aarrgh! Patch now as hackers exploit fresh holes

Joe Gurman

Re: Jeesh!

Truly. What is this "Flash" of which you speak? I have a vague memory of some horror by that name, but our tribal elders forbid us to speak of it, so I don't know what terrible things it must have done, in the dim past.

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Stop whining, America: Your LTE makes Europe look slow

Joe Gurman

Re: I visit the US a lot

I live in the DC metro area (Maryland). No problems with Verizon coverage at all. LTE pretty much everywhere.

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Joe Gurman

Re: There are two Americas

I think you're saying that the _average_ population density in the US is much lower than it is in western Europe, which is self-evident. Absent government subsidies (as were given in ages past for rural free mail delivery), there is no economic incentive for the telecoms to build out in the great empty.

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NASA boffin wants FRIKKIN LASERS to propel lightsails

Joe Gurman

California geography

Has there been a major fault zone slip? UCLA = University of California at Los Angeles. Berkeley, aka UC Berkeley = University of California at Berkeley. The two cities are about 370 miles apart, or nearly as far Glasgow is from St. Albans.

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New NASA theory: Moon radiation drops so HULK RIP MOON LIKE SHIRT

Joe Gurman

Charon smash!

That's all, nothing to see here. It's Friday, innit?

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Feds look left and right for support – and see everyone backing Apple

Joe Gurman

Rem, no

No, Apple can't brick "innocent" users' phones whose owners got dicey repairs performed by uncertified techs if those phones are running the version of the OS released yesterday.

You are, as they say, misinformed.

And Apple will never hand those data over absent a ruling by the US Supreme Court, which you might have known is currently short one judicial wingnut.

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Joe Gurman

Maybe greater weight

....than press releases from politicians who represent the Congressional district in which Apple is located, or tweets by other Silicon Valley outfits' CEOs are the editorials in today's New York Times and Washington Post — and, I expect, in news media across the US — siding with Apple.

The FBI has to be recognized for what it is: a usually bumbling, old boy network that has been spying on US citizens since its inception, contrary to all existing statutes and Constitutional limits. They have been repeatedly guilty of, but never prosecuted for, criminal conspiracy against individuals and organizations who didn't meet the Director's or the then current Administration's political litmus tests. Kowtowing to them on the basis of an ill-informed order issued by the lowest level of federal court (most likely because the FBI knew it could never get such an order from, say, a Federal District Court) would are absurd.

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Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Joe Gurman

Re: I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but...

I'm certain the butt ugliness will help sales.

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LISA Pathfinder drops its gravity-wave-finding golden boxes

Joe Gurman

Major omission in the article

LISA Pathfinder is designed to detect gravitational waves in a different frequency range to the ones detected by LIGO. See, for instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_wave#/media/File:The_Gravitational_wave_spectrum_Sources_and_Detectors.jpg .

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Why Tim Cook is wrong: A privacy advocate's view

Joe Gurman

Amen

I believe Mr. Potts is attempting to make a distinction without a difference.

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Thirty Meter Telescope needs to revisit earthly fine print

Joe Gurman

Re: Won't be a "sacred site" in 2 million years or so anymore

What is sacred to whom is always a matter of conjecture as to sincerity, depth of feeling, and authenticity, but Polynesian peoples had similar beliefs going back well before any astronomical observatories, and native people in the Hawai'ian islands have been dumped on for a couple centuries by haoles, so ill feeling at getting dumped on once again is a given.

That said, there are also opportunists out for a payoff, and the odds are about fifty-fifty whether the TMT will simply be canceled or there will be a holy person there for the dedication.

One thing I can tell you: if the telescope does get built, this kind of delay means the police tag will go well beyond $1.4B. Ask the folks who are building the DKIST (a solar telescope) on the Haleakala on Maui.

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The Mad Men's monster is losing the botnet fight: Fewer humans are seeing web ads

Joe Gurman

Well

I use an adblocker than can whitelist individual sites, but I never have. The most useful industry site (a one-man operation) I read is supported by an Amazon percentage link and direct contributions. I believe I can say I've never seen an ad on The Reg site, but, assuming they have them, I'd be willing to subscribe a reasonable amount to keep the site going without them.

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Joe Gurman

Re: No sympathy.....

Nonsense: Less describes a continuous quantity and fewer, something denumerable. It has as long as it's been in the language, and there's no good reason to change what's significant difference. The only possible excuse is laziness, which produces bad speech or writing as surely as it does bad code.

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Submarine cable cut lops Terabits off Australia's data bridge

Joe Gurman

Oh those pesky Russkies

....and all the attention they've been paying to submarine optical fiber cables lately. Bet someone tried attaching a faulty tap.

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Most of the world still dependent on cash

Joe Gurman

Just a couple of questions

If 2 billion out of a word population of over 7 billion are "unbanked" (what a miserable turn of phrase), how is that "most?"

How do bank transactions benefit anyone but banks? If we all paid cash instead of using credit and debit cards, there would be no bank fees. Admittedly, plastic is much more convenient than case, even in countries other than the US, where ATMs (cash points) distribute only one denomination of currency.

Could I be justified in assuming that any report by a large, global banking firm (Citi) and a uni economics department might be ever so slightly biased favo[u]r of the banks' way of doing things?

The only advantage in gaining bank services in the US to people currently without bank accounts (the poor and.or undocumented, generally) would be the ability to avoid the tens of thousands of loathsome "pay day" loan and check cashing storefronts, in fact owned by large banking chains. They charge astonishingly usurious interest rates, and are the only resort for some millions of people. Need repairs to your auto to get to work, but no car to do so? They'll lend it to you at 30% and take the car as collateral, which means in almost all cases repossessing the car in a month or two. Dickensian.

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I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

Joe Gurman

And also in 1994....

Bungie introduced Marathon, the forerunner of all the Halo business. It featured not one but three AIs, all with starkly different personalities, and one of them psychotic. Unfortunately, such was the site of the art of actual game AI that the random human NPCs displayed an almost unerring tendency to get in the way of every shot or sight line. So they became known as "Bobs."

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Would you like fraud with that? Burger chain giant Wendy's 'hacked'

Joe Gurman

It's time

For Wendy's to follow McDonald's and Subway and adopt Apple Pay.

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Safari iOS crashing: Suggestions snafu KOs the Apple masses

Joe Gurman

Except....

....it was resolved at around 05:45 GMT today, so if you woke up after that, you probably wouldn't have seen it. Server issue, not Safari.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Another mark on the list

Except that it was pretty obviously an Apple server-side issue, and nothing to do with Safari.

You can have valid issues with Safari and/or OS X, but this wasn't one.

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Boffins celebrate 30th anniversary of first deep examination of Uranus

Joe Gurman

The awful English language

"When the probe flew by, it beamed back proof that the planet had a magnetic field somewhat similar to our own, although the magnetic and physical north-south poles didn't match."

This could be read to imply that the geographic and magnetic poles are the same on the earth, which they're not.Last year, earth's north geomagnetic pole was located at 80.31°N 72.62°W, and eppur si muove. Of course, we don't care any more, 'cause we have GPS and Glonass, which will never *cough* fail. And soon we'll have Galileo.

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How El Reg predicted Google's sweetheart tax deal ... in 2013

Joe Gurman

Slight error in arithmetic

Wasn't May of 2013 a but under three years ago?

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Joe Gurman

Greece should be so lucky.

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Adblock Plus blocked from attending ad industry talkfest

Joe Gurman

Um....

I know it's ridiculous to complain about El Reg sub-heads, but referring to online adverts as "content" has to be one of the more tongue-in-cheek inversions even Carrion Central has ever come up with.

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What do we do about a problem like Uber? Tom Slee speaks his brains

Joe Gurman

From the other side of the world

In the US, most cities have terrible taxi service, with no more than a tiny (if not in fact zero) percentage of vehicles with disabled access, and in most places insisting on cash payments – assuming they show up at all. In New York, there are many fewer cabs than the customers would like, but the street grid simply cannot support more --- which is what led to the absurdly high auction prices for taxi medallions just before the arrival of Uber. And while you can often (if the weather's not too bad or its not rush hour – that is, when you most want a cab) hail a cab on the street in busy parts of Manhattan, it's impossible to do so in the outlying parts of the city. And heaven help you if you, like I do, live in the suburbs around a major city. Then there's at most one taxi company "servicing" your area, and they act with the customer serve orientation of all monopolies — and their vehicles are run-down, poorly maintained, and usually driven by foreign nationals with whom it's sometimes difficult to communicate.

The answer to the complaints about Uber management's practices (which begin at odious and sink from there) is for the regulated taxi companies to band together and offer an app-based taxi call service. If Lyft can do it to, they wouldn't be violating any patents. Yet they are resistant to such changes, because they're used to decades of regulatory protection in a shared monopoly.

Well, tough for them if a more agile and imaginative capitalist or two eats their lunch.

And yes, it was innovative for a firm with capital behind it to use a smartphone app to enable people to find out if there was a car near enough to them to wait for, whether Uber invented that technology or not.I find Mr. Slee rather a pompous fool, and his arguments somewhat less than fact-based.

One final note: each time I've used Uber in the US, I've asked the driver if he or she was happy with the deal. Only one of a dozen or 15 answered in the negative; he was a recent immigrant who had had to have Uber finance a new car purchase to enable him to drive for them, and found the terms oppressive (see "business practices, odious" above). All of the others, new or with a few years' experience with the company, driving several hours a day or only occasionally on weekends or work holidays, were positive. If the drivers in Seattle had grievances, they were right to organize, which gives their negotiations with the company some balance. The drivers around the US I've talked to haven't, with that one egregious exception, seen the need for that kind of leverage.

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Outfit throws fit, hits FitBit's hit kit with writ (Apple also involved)

Joe Gurman

Nice job on the headline

You can audition for a job with Variety now.

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Flare-well, 2015 – solar storm to light up skies on New Year's Eve

Joe Gurman

Re: No problemo . . . me t'inks

You're no doubt right about electromagnetic pulse-like events, but CMEs with strong magnetic field oriented opposite to the earth's can lead to induced currents in the earth and oceans ("geomagnetically induced currents"), and without sufficient warning, MWatt transformers can't have their ground phase adjusted in time. Sufficient warning being the 1 - 3 days provided by coronagraphs; without them, something as fast as the Carrington event would allow only 10 - 15 minutes of warning when it passed by our sentinels near L1.... or seconds when it passed by geosynchronous orbit. You can't change the ground phase of that size transformers that fast, so you need to yank them off the grid or watch the oil baths they spin in burst into flames.

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Joe Gurman

Re: Naming

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center maintains a numbered list of flares, but as yet there's no standard numbering scheme for CMEs, probably because different people and algorithms come up with different determinations what is and isn't a CME. It was easiest from 2007 through 2014, when the twin STEREO spacecraft added viewpoints to the old, traditional one along the Sun-Earth line (the SOHO spacecraft, now 20 years old). One of the STEREO spacecraft is now "lost," at least temporarily, so the determination of CME origin location and direction of propagation is somewhat degraded.

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Death Stars are a waste of time – here's the best way to take over the galaxy

Joe Gurman

Aren't you missing the point?

....which is the shock and awe thing. Habitable planets being relatively rare, we don't want to go around vaporizing them except as an example pour les autres, and a self-replicating robot army would at least start out their planetary destruction is excruciating slo-mo. Plant of time to catch the space taxi and head to Jakku, or wherever. A major pain, but definitely not bowel-loosening.

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Brit 'naut Tim Peake preps for Space Station launch

Joe Gurman

Re: "Permission to relieve bladder."

A custom since Gagarin did it, cosmonauts (and guests) about to launch in a Soyuz pee on the tire of the bus that brings them to the launch pad, presumably for good luck.... and to prevent damp on launch.

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Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act

Joe Gurman

I don't even play a lawyer on TV

....and Mr. Oduntan c;early knows far more about law than I ever will, but even Wikipedia considers the Moon Treaty as "a failed treaty because it has not been ratified by any state that engages in self-launched manned space exploration or has plans to do so." India is a signatory, and it might change its collective mind if it decides to start a manned programme, but right now, excepting India, it is only nations that feel they will be left out of the economic exploitation of bodies in space that have signed on. I urge readers to consult Wikipedia on this, if only for the sake of the large red (non-parties) part of the globe on the "ratification and signatories" map.

Instead of complaining and pointing to a failed international law, perhaps the best route for countries concerned about the behavior of the few and the wealthy in mining space objects, other governments could encourage public investment in those efforts, so as to have a shareholder's say in how it was done, and with what safeguards to the earth. ("Oops, missed our re-entry target. Sorry, Copenhagen.")

I'm not an economist either, so I have no idea if any such scheme is likely to be profitable this century, but even as a wettish leftie, I like the idea of capitalists rather than governments leading us farther into space. No waste of tax revenues if the whole things goes pear-shaped.

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Hold on, France and Russia. Anonymous is here to kick ISIS butt

Joe Gurman

Speech

""A website is speech. It is not a bomb." Pretty clearly, Mr. Prince is unfamiliar with Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Schenk v. United States (1920), in which Justice Holmes wrote in the unanimous decision of the US Supreme Court that, "[T]he First Amendment could not be understood to provide an absolute right, and would not protect a person 'falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.'"

I guess it's in the eye of the beholder, but people with assault rifles and explosives, and an announced intention to murder innocent citizens of a democracy, would appear to present a somewhat greater threat than the fellow falsely shouting fire in a theater (or the antiwar and anti-defat activists in Schenk). It follows that providing them with a soapbox is not an exercise of a right, but a commercial decision trading monetary gain for spreading terror.

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Crash this beauty? James Bond's concept DB10 Aston debuts in Spectre

Joe Gurman

Just wondering

When Bond, J. is going to get a car with real performance, that is to say, a 'leccy, like the Tesla Model S with superinasanemadcrazy acceleration mode. 0 to 60 in much less time it will take you to recover consciousness from blacking out from the additional g's.

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TRANSISTOR-GATE-GATE: Apple admits some iPhone 6Ses crappier than others

Joe Gurman

One of these things is kind of different

"Reminder to conspiracy theorists: Samsung's electronics wing makes Android smartphones and tablets that rival Apple's iThings, while its semiconductor arm makes the chips in Apple gear. One to think about."

Exactly. I bet Samsung's semiconductor biz is profitable, while its smartphone operation....

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TELLY INNN SPAAACE: Nothing to watch on your 4K TV? NASA to the RESCUE

Joe Gurman

Erm

NASA TV has been around since the '80s, available on many US cable providers. This is only an announcement of their 4K transmission plans.

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VW: Just the tip of the pollution iceberg. Who's to blame? Hippies

Joe Gurman

Not so fast, and not all hippies, neither

There are serious environmental groups in the US, at least, that however regretfully, have also concluded that nuclear is the best form of electric power generation in the short term --- as long as research and development of better renewables is also pursued.

And I don't know where you got the idea that "also these days in the USA" diesel is a major part of the transportation industry. In the personal transport area, diesels have never done well here; in the public transport, most major cities (perhaps thanks to our glut of fracked natural gas) are using condensed natural gas-powered buses instead of diesels (e.g. Washington DC). The CNG buses emit less than half the NOx of their diesel equivalents. And the California emission standards, which have been adopted by several other states, make non-urea-scrubbed diesels unlikely at best.

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FOUR STUNNING NEW FEATURES Cook should put in the iPHONE 7

Joe Gurman

Re: @ 45RPM

"Actually most people who doesn't want to bin their phones after only two years of use replace their phone's batteries (if the phone allows it) when said batteries performance falls." Er, citation needed?

I don't know where to find those stats, and can only provide personal stats for one (1) Jesus phone. I had an iPhone 4 for just shy of four (4) years. Never needed a battery replacement, and was only beginning to display shorter charge lifetime at that point.

Obviously, your (or anyone else's) kilometrage could vary. You could be forced to used your phone in an area with fewer or less powerful cells, or use your phone differently, or have a phone with a short which you earth with your body for all I know.

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Joe Gurman

Wait a second, there

"A replacement battery is smaller and less fiddly to carry around than charger + cable." Well, batteries have certainly changed since the days of the Motorola flip phones but I carried one around then and it was not a pleasant experience. In fact, the net volume of tiny charger cube plus USB cable is about the same as the extra-duration battery's was.

Worse, batteries are rarely if ever standardized (this argument could home some weight if they were). Try finding a battery for your €30, Indian-made mobile in East Buttflap, Iowa.... and them try finding an Apple AC cube and USB-to-Lightning cable.

Apple's made, as Steve Jobs intended years ago, to make buying a stodgy, capable, middle-of-the-road family sedan at sports car prices the norm. (He used the analogy of Mercedes, though he drove a BMW himself, if memory serves.) And his company did so by convincing so many buyers that places to buy accessories are as common in the US landscape, at least, as McDonalds.

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Nice try, Apple. The Maxi Pad is no laptop killer – and won’t scratch the Surface

Joe Gurman

*Cough*

"[T]he device may not allow enterprise people get a full Windows experience." I believe that's the point, mate. Some people just don't want that. They want, even in a corporate environment, a mobile device with a big enough screen to do what they consider serious work (read: Office) and also support mobile apps. The RT fell down on the latter. Believe it or not, the Windows "experience" is not the selling point it used to be.

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You want the poor to have more money? Well, doh! Splash the cash

Joe Gurman

The laughable Laffer curve

Can you actually cite any widespread, quantitative evidence for the Laffer curve's validity? Or is it just what it started out as, a sketch on a cocktail napkin?

The wealthy did quite well in the US when their marginal federal income tax rate was 90%. One can argue whether that limited economic activity, but the government was spending that money, not hoarding it up in Fort Knox. Saying taxes reduce the money available for economic activity is hogwash at least in the US, where nearly all of it is spent on procurement with (ta da) the private sector, rather than a a large (for the size of the population, or even historically within the US) bureaucracy.... and bureaucrats buy cars and washing machines, too, for that matter.

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Volkswagen used software to CHEAT on AIR POLLUTION tests, alleges US gov

Joe Gurman

Please

Don't try to argue facts, particularly scientific ones, with the climate change-denying monkeys. They will only throw scat.

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Why the 'Dancing Baby' copyright case is just hi-tech victim shaming

Joe Gurman

A thoughtful and thought-provoking piece

....but off the point, I believe, in Lenz. The woman who posted the video is the potential victim here, of the overly broad and lopsided DMCA legislation. The music was muffled and distorted, and in no way could approach equivalence with the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan selling out to commercial interests with high-fidelity remasterings of their backlist for adverts.

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3D printer blueprints for TSA luggage-unlocking master keys leak online

Joe Gurman

Luggage keys? Please.

If I had just one US dollar for every time a traveler had their TSA friendly lock removed and tossed by (presumably) the TSA while traveling, I could afford at least a private jet timeshare. The only solution is not to check anything you'd really mind losing. I've been traveling that way for years now and it gives a certain peace of mind.

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