* Posts by Britt Johnston

550 posts • joined 11 Apr 2006

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Visa: One million bonks a month for Europeans from next year

Britt Johnston

Re: Data to US companies is suspect and in the wrong hands

1- <this separation from 5 eyes is exactly why the Swiss run their own national clearing centre.>

I agree, it is Europe and especially the Eurozone that has risks and problems.

2 - <the ECB is not going to give the impression of competing with national banks in how to get hold of our money quickest. Politically far too dangerous.>

Good point. I don't think the ECB has to run it, more that it could make sense to facilitate such a program. Maybe they could channel the job to a competent outsider, which might even be Visa. But there is a question in the background, whether a few top banks are essential for clearing transactions, and should be well rewarded for the drudgery, or whether a shared secure automated system is sufficient, or better, e.g. for the chosen topic of shared electronic micropayments.

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Britt Johnston
Headmaster

Eurobanque

Eurobonk is spelled Eurobanque, sorry...

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Britt Johnston
Windows

Data to US companies is suspect and in the wrong hands

Wikipedia says: Visa Inc. (/ˈviːzə/ or /ˈviːsə/) is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Foster City, California, United States.[citation needed]. Visa Europe is a separate membership entity that is an exclusive licensee of Visa Inc.'s trademarks and technology in the European region, issuing cards such as Visa Debit and Visa Credit.

Perhaps we could persuade the EU to insist on splitting-off the Euro business domain from fiveeyes supporter nations.

Such a Eurobonk might even become a replacement for clearing banks, e.g. as a public service run by the ECB.

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Microsoft man: Internet Explorer had to go because it's garbage

Britt Johnston
Go

Re: So, Webkit is new new IE

<We are getting rid of Trident (hopefully Spartan will be decent)>

This strategy doesn't look as if all your risks have been minimised yet.

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WANTED: A plan to DESTROY metadata, not just retain it

Britt Johnston
Go

This needs extending to all applications (and includes security)

I recently went to a bookstore, where the cashier asked if I was eligible for a loyalty discount. I had no idea, so we delved into the company database together. Of the four family members under our current address, my address was correct. They had not registered my wife (she didn't ask, presumably) one daughter has been abroad for 5 years, the other died 5 years ago: so 50% success. But the example indicates some practicable solutions.

- regularly mark metadata with no transaction activity as "for deletion"

- automate this process, and use only consolidated data in evaluations

- allow record holders and those affected web access to propose corrections for wrong and near-duplicate data (including credit ratings)

- add a functional data complaints procedure

I don't know how many big databases could meet these criteria with a web add-on. I know that most of my employer's ones wouldn't, as I've been working on a data consolidation programme for the last 4 years.

We also found that I had never been offered any loyalty programme, perhaps a missed opportunity. Not updating the mistakes certainly was.

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EU ministers hold Big Meeting on Big Data. But how will they get you to hand it over?

Britt Johnston
Coat

"data-intensive research"

My data is intense too, but only on bad days.

The lion-tamer's tails and whip, please...

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BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

Britt Johnston

And: Star would have to be a HUGE dwarf to wobble the planets

And if you can't see it, the gravity change will be small too, as both effects are inverse square.

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It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Britt Johnston

Green Economics - What about trust, etc

Another thing is that an accountant can't tell the difference on his books between an beef steak and a horse in Rumania.

If you grow your own, you understand more.

Okay, so Tim, your standard model doesn't value time, can't capture trust, doesn't allow for improvement in goods or services over time. That is like the phlogiston theory of chemistry, which I don't use any more.

Please talk to a green economist and get a decent model, for all of our sakes.

This comment took 15 minutes, at my standard internal rate of €8.50 (minimum wage in DE). Please enter an upvote as an €1 token recognition of any value to you (virtual egofunding). Or a downvote, if you feel I wasted more than €1 of your time.

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Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

Britt Johnston

Re: Empty shops are not a usable measure of economic activity.

There is a core of truth in your postulate, but it does indicate economic efficiency, especially the changes over time.

As an example where I live, in Basel, in that area of Switzerland every old home is renovated or rebuilt, whereas a few miles away, in France, they use older houses to store hay in, while they crumble into disrepair.

While this is clearly related to housing policy, lack of land, bubbles, the good old days, etc, it also a measure of how well potential is being turned into reality.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Britt Johnston
Flame

Fahrenheit 451

We should be able to get away with suggesting that the best approach is to burn down the internet.

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Microsoft patch batch pre-alerts now for paying customers ONLY

Britt Johnston
Windows

Change of policy

If OEMs were to provide private users with a cloudburst that's robust enough to not need changing or rebooting every few weeks, this policy would be fine with me. Leave it to the professionals to get their hands oily.

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Microsoft BEATS Apple, Google ... to accepting limited Bitcoin payments

Britt Johnston

MS is being well-behaved

They could have introduced their own currency, the MS-Talent or something similar. That would have shaken up Wall St on a Friday.

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Prez Obama slaps sanctions on Norks in payback for Sony hack

Britt Johnston
Paris Hilton

Re: Meanwhile in North Korea

well, hasn't someone just started a turnaround dash by marrying Kim's sister?

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EU VAT law could kill THOUSANDS of online businesses

Britt Johnston
Holmes

managing customer country

I'm seeing an increasing number of sites which ask you to identify your country when you first register - that seems efficient way to capture without holding personal data. They sometimes offer specificity of language etc as an encouragement.

If you want, you could add a check for country consistency when you ship, still no need to keep the address beyond the shipping process.

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UK.gov biz dept: Yoof APPRENTICE? Get a degree while YOU'RE HIRED

Britt Johnston
Megaphone

Freedom to move and grow?....

As comments mention, the idea has been around for decades, but is becoming extinct. Yet, the recent EU report on uni education found that, particularly in German-speaking areas, this approach has been very successful (especially for practically-minded kids who have had enough of school) and encouraged other countries to try it.

I would suggest something else - if UK industry can't get its head around building and paying for practical skills, why not consider doing such a course in a European institute, and affiliate to a European firm - many of the institutes offer courses in English, or maybe your language skills are already good enough. My bosses son is signed on to one in Baden (CH) with ABB, for instance.

Plan and apply about 12-14 months in advance.

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'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described

Britt Johnston

tin-hat correlations

The world economy suddenly took a dive in 2008, as REGIN started up, It is slowly improving now, but hasn't really recovered fully yet, which is consistent with this malware being discovered in 2011, but with modern versions probably still being extant.

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Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

Britt Johnston

confession

This is perhaps as near as we will ever get to a confession:

- Mr Bristow's department would like to work legally

- they would also like to help with serious crime

neither of which is happening to any extent today.

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Google purchases petite pollster Polar, purloined ppl punted Plus-wards

Britt Johnston
Alien

Re: youtube?

There is a second poll on the next page for antisocial network sites...you didn't find it?

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Britt Johnston

Pegging (3)

Pegging is also something the Scottish Central Bank can do to its currency, in contrast to the non-central banks, who will be speculating on the robustness of the peg.

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Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes

Britt Johnston
Headmaster

not like condoms, like beer

Data is not-countable, and in this lingustic sense more like beer (data is, not data are).

If you insist on counting the stuff, you can put it in packets, as in gigabytes of data or pints of beer.

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Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?

Britt Johnston
Black Helicopters

the randomised controlled trial is still the gold standard in medicine?

The logical idea is to disentangle the effects of each of one or more interesting parameters.

Medics, on the one hand, are less scientific and more use-oriented. Doctors will switch regimes if the first one is unsatisfactory or, on occasion, try unproven drugs on an anecdotal report.

The trials are more scientific, more costly, and leave many parameters uninvestigated. That is why, for instance, cancer studies don't want to test for multiple co-medication, or relevant patient populations like children, women or over 65s.

'Gold' is the price of being scientific about evaluating new medicines. It has done well this last half century in checking for effiacy or reducing expected side-effects, and less well on quick access for serious diseases, cost reduction or finding underlying mechanisms.

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Australia's metadata debate is an utter shambles

Britt Johnston

Aussie awakening

The loss of privacy has arisen through a coming-together of commercial data collection and multiple government agencies looking to evaluate data for different security purposes.

Politicians were looking the other way, I don't worry that they look inexpert, they have catching up to do. I don't even mind that a leader has a potshot at journalists, or civil libertarians, as target practice. These agencies' PRs are telling their polititians that they are under threat, need the whitewash job, and that they deserve support.

But the sticks need sharpening for any security agencies - maybe there are none in Australia - who were using readily available techniques to help themselves beyond any reasonable scope, and now intend to stay unaccountable; the intellectual successors of F.Walsingham or the STASI, among others.

And then what's left of both parties should be going after any entity (any company with such a business model, but also botnets, hackers, pedophiles or journalists) who collects unsuitable data, in an unsuitable way, to the detriment of others. If they get that far in Australia, I'd count that as a success worth following in other lands.

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Report: UK.gov wants to legislate on comms data BEFORE next election

Britt Johnston
Big Brother

Think before you jump

It would be better if there was a clear accepted concept of what is to be achieved, before proceeding to legislation. Otherwise the EU judges will take them apart again.

Current concept:

We accept that GCHQ has full coverage, because they are above the law.

So we syphon everything to GCHQ (US Branch) within the first few days.

They provide to police as needed, as long as it suits GCHQ and friends (filter out plants, etc).

No duplication, no data loss, no ISP inconvenience, but not admissible as evidence.

Amended concept

We make data available to police as needed.

They make it available to GCHQ and friends above the law (warn plants, etc) within the frozen period.

After, they can still make it available to police as requested.

No duplication, no data loss, no ISP inconvenience, frozen records admissible as evidence.

Both concepts assume that the police and the secret services work well together, to avoid data gaps and save money.

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Titan sprouts 'Magic Island', say astroboffins

Britt Johnston
Alien

how can an island just appear?

The black sea is receding - an oil spill, washed off by methane rain??

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Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

Britt Johnston

deja vu

80% tax for the rich is so France 2012, I think Hollande's aides must have read the book.

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Tesla's TOP SECRET gigafactories: Lithium to power world's vehicles? Let's do the sums

Britt Johnston
Trollface

Re: you have to heat it quite a lot before it starts to work?

If there is enough global warming, this problem will diminish.

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HP reveals Apple-powered Android 'SlateBook'

Britt Johnston

Re: 2 options please

<<One with Beats, and one without...>>

I have a 2012 non-beats HP, which also has bad laptop speakers. However,when porting the sound through a sound card to decent speakers, it was poorer than the comparison Acer. Somewhere between CPU and USB output, the signal is being degraded.

But it is fine as a backup PC, which is what I bought it for.

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From production to development databases (and back again)

Britt Johnston

other reasons to replicate a database include...

We requested a duplicate of a production database as a read-only version for interfacing (this was 1996, pre-virtual servers). It worked fine, was easy to replicate daily and reduced performance problems for input.

More commonly, a lot of applications request a training version.They get wiped occasionally, can be used for integration testing, or can restore an input scenario before each course.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Britt Johnston

pipe dreams (most likely first)

- An app that melds a TV zapper and a mobile phone

- A luxury mobile with a built-in scalable LED beamer

- A phone with a usb or thunderbolt cable that does fast charging from PC and bidirectional data load

- An electric car with a built-in phone - I won't drive it anywhere, but might get 2 weeks of battery life

- More of the same cars for the family, to plug into our wind generator and act as a storage buffer for the household

- A small solar-driven desalination plant for that uninhabited rock in the mediterranean

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Achtung! Use maths to smash the German tank problem – and your rival

Britt Johnston

Each domain is relevant

This used to be a big question in the mainframe age.

I maintained material numbers between 100000 - 153000, of which those below 125000 were migrated from two 20th C. systems.

Then a new application split the materials by type and gave each a domain - from 700000 for sales products, 800000 for raw materials, 600000 for manufactured parts, etc., keeping the old "mixed" ones as legacy.

An external customer sees numbers from 100000 to 730000 on his shipping papers, and has less overview of what is going on.

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IBM accidentally invents new class of polymers

Britt Johnston
Thumb Up

reversable thermosetting

Thermosetting polymers are cheap and strong, but one of their disadvantages is that they cannot be reused. You have to throw them away or grind them up.

So one which can be separated to its original components in strong acid could be really handy.

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EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

Britt Johnston
Mushroom

good old leadership

In the good old days, leaders said "don't do that or I have it cut off".

Now they have to do their own programming?

No wonder nobody wants to be emperor of Europe.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

The truth might be that all this investment in security could be put to better use

The security aspects could be improved - don't sell aircraft to foreigners, have everyone carry a gps beacon, ban air travel and donkeys, twitter, whatever,....

But the main topic has been the unfortunate accident, and the security hardware isn't giving answers, because it is not set up to answer this useful set of questions, even when it has a security aspect.

I saw a depressing interview today where some parochial Washinton correspondent was discussing with top experts how to make all radar track to American standards and ensure that transponder switches be locked away from pilot's fingers. It made me feel not just that US security is an expensive irrelevance, but that if their view prevails, security may be incompatible with safety, or humanity.

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PAF! MPs go postal over postal location data sell-off by Coalition.gov

Britt Johnston
Angel

Re: Ownership matters, in both England and Switzerland

I should have mentioned that the codes come from the Swiss post office, since I live in Switzerland. But the response shows that ownership confusion exists internationally.

I'm afraid it is the same confusion as that entangled with the political mantra of taxation, the German proverb "what is mine, is mine, and what is yours is also mine". And also to the comments referring to the sale of BT.

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Britt Johnston
Facepalm

Ownership matters

I live in a district where the postcodes don't exactly match the district council boundaries, which became a problem when our housing estate was built, thirty years ago. The post delivers in our corner from a different, nearer, post office than to the rest of the district.

Unfortunately, the district council believes they own the postcodes, and wish to assign the main post code to the whole district. To enforce this, they always deliver all their mail with their assigned post code.

The post office, knowing it to be incorrect, changes it manually, and puts it on a slow delivery pile, to encourage mail senders to use the correct code. So an official mail from the district council takes a week to deliver from 3 miles away.

My data management skills have given me insight into the cause of the delays, but are not sufficient to persuade the two institutions to stop deliberately misunderstanding each other. I am reduced to calling them names. After 30 years, I am running out of names, and would welcome suggestions.

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That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

Britt Johnston
Angel

A quick fix for non-US firms

Hire americans to beef up your security.

Surely the NSA wouldn't hack their mails?

US Immigration has a list of US citizens living abroad.

Should NSA want it, GCHQ has access.

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Blurred lines: Android e-ink mobe claims TWO-WEEK battery life

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

Re: older generation, scaled fonts and e-ink

Trouble is, if you scale up a font, each letter takes up more of the screen - so even a 7inch Kindle is too small, and a 4 inch phone induces logoclaustrophobia, in people of all ages. I'd be interested in a 10inch netbook version, though.

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UK man Lauri Love accused of hacking US Federal Reserve

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

wild west web

So the laws are draconian and internationally incompatible, the nominated control agencies toothless: the ones with teeth are outside the law, antisocial and ransacking the world's data to collect porn or anything else from everyone, rather than addressing any pressing issues. The active citizens are at best asocial nosies, others are ripping off all and sundry, businesses and private persons alike.

This is not what is I had in mind with the terms net neutrality, or balance of powers.

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Hey, IT department! Sick of vendor shaftings? Why not DO IT, yourself

Britt Johnston
Meh

Re: Not sure where you work...

In our large pharmaceutical company, the home-grown applications have been systematically replaced over the last 25 years by configuable standards, the residual home-grown applications will have disappeared in the next few years. When they go, the get replaced with some standard with reduced functionality, some were even sold to external IT specialists to turn them into "standards".

The driving force is the need for full, up-to-date documentation and control of changes.

The creative programmers who stayed either moved to the internet side, or became business analysts joining extracts (mostly in excel).

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Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem

Britt Johnston

The answer isn't 42?

This is the sort of corollary that comes out of the full proof.

For every infinite string it is possible to define a finite substring with a discrepancy of any size.

If the discrepancy is 42, you know you have found a substring which fits the problems of the Adams universe.

I'd suggest, if it isn't, and you still have a problem, that you try a substring of different size if the discrepancy is positive, and use a different pattern if it goes in the wrong direction or is near-zero.

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Coffee a memory enhancing drug, say boffins

Britt Johnston
Thumb Up

Re: Short term or long term?

It is about more reliable transfer of information from short-term memory into long-term memory.

So if you had a tough meeting, and you want to write it all up while it's fresh, a coffee after the meeting should help with the recall.

Interestingly, the study write-up appears in Google under Healthcare, not under Science.

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Pinterest who? EU rules social network CAN'T trademark its own name

Britt Johnston
Unhappy

TRADEMARKING YOUR OWN NAME IS A BAD IDEA

If your firm goes bankrupt, your reputation suffers. Worse, if you are successful, you get bought out and lose control of your own name.

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Coming in 2014: Scary super-soldier exoskeleton suits from the US military

Britt Johnston
Trollface

Re: all that money on doing nice things for people

Finally, the military get some payback for all the effort they have put into prosthetics.

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New inkjet printer spits out cheap OLED monitors better than your inkjet prints letters

Britt Johnston
Happy

Driver worries ?

<<Imagine reinstalling the drivers for THAT>>

I thought this type of heavy engineering usually has a c64 as a controller, and home grown code.

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You can't have that many! China scuppers US, EU tech tariff talks

Britt Johnston
Headmaster

how high is high enough??

<<In a high-level meeting..., Beijing’s negotiators said they have zero mandate ...>>

That would be a low-level meeting, then.

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WHO ate all the PIs? Sales of Brit mini-puter pass 2 MEELLION

Britt Johnston
Go

where are all the Pies?

Sales in Germany, Holland and environs are going well.

As proof, 1278 results today on searching for Raspberry Pi in ebay.de.

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XBOX One SHOT DEAD by Redmond following delivery blunder

Britt Johnston
Flame

customer or sucker?

Like I could buy a 2014 Ferarri, but leave it in the garage until new year, for fear the car-maker enables the anti-thief lock-down system?

As a non-console owner, the only decent way I see to deal with an out-of-control supply-chain is to welcome your customer early, and explain that he may have to wait a few weeks for full enjoyment of the product.

What is twisted is that commenters expect this kind of user welcome to be the norm in the console area.

Maybe the Steam people will be a bit better?

Maybe this points to the end-game with DRM products. You just sell a sexy-looking empty box, because that is the cheapest way to achieve zero functionality.

Or maybe Microsoft would like to treat all its users like this?

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The importance of complexity

Britt Johnston
Boffin

Algorithms are well-behaved

In our company, most of the complexity comes from the organisation and the users.

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Obama to Merkel: No Americans are listening to you on this call

Britt Johnston

The Core of the Special Relationship

is that neither British Statesmen nor USA ones are accusing each other of phone-tapping.

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UK's tech capital named: Read it and weep, Tech City startup hipsters

Britt Johnston
Pint

Pub culture

From the comments, you could raise the efficiency of this scheme by leaving out the hi-tech support, and just subsidising the pubs.

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