* Posts by Chris Miller

3116 posts • joined 6 Apr 2007

Parliament takes axe to 2nd EU referendum petition

Chris Miller
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I'd accept the argument for a second referendum, but only if it was subject to the rules that are being demanded - a 60% vote on a 75% turnout. I can find few examples of referendums (in democratic countries) that meet these criteria, certainly the original (1975) EC Referendum had less than 65% turnout.

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

Chris Miller
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Re: Expensive Europe

Free advice: don't take up gambling as a career.

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Chris Miller
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@Jason

Have you considered that it might have been about democracy? Just a thought.

Even if the worst (ludicrous) predictions of Project Fear come true and every family ends up £38 a week worse off*, that's around the average Sky sub. A small price to pay for getting my right to vote on who governs me back, but YMMV.

* That's not actually 'worse off', of course, it's less 'more well off' than some hypothetical 5-year future timeline.

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Wales gives anti-vaping Blockleiters a Big Red Panic Button

Chris Miller
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Standing on the steps of Olympia for InfoSec, waiting for the rain to stop and allow a quick dash to the Overground, I noted vapers outnumbered smokers about 4:1. I have no concerns for my health, but some of the 'flavours' are truly noxious, cinnamon being the worst IMHO. But all of them are better than second hand smoke.

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In obesity fight, UK’s heavy-handed soda tax beats US' watered-down warning

Chris Miller
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Re: B'stards

Don't worry, BoldMan, you can cancel out any additional tax on the tonic by increasing the proportion of gin.

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Chris Miller
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Pint

Alcohol is simply refined sugar.

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Chris Miller
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Yawn

Another junk article from The Conversation. Can they have their own special subsection so I don't waste time clicking on them?

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Cork data centre will offer super-speedy US to Europe data times

Chris Miller
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Thanks, rh587

Good point, and this may well be the explanation. I'm still surprised that there's such data where a few ms reduced latency is vitally important, a feature I tend to associate with high-speed trading.

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Chris Miller
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Confused (again)

the Cork site’s proximity to the Hibernia Network subsea cable, which the developers are banking on to deliver the shortest available data latency between Europe and the US East Coast

I understand that it's 600km closer to the East Coast than (e.g.) LINX, which might reduce latency by 2 or 3 ms, less than 10% of a typical transatlantic crossing. But you can only be doing one of two things:

1. Co-location of servers for your US customers, in which case (if latency is that critical) why not co-lo in a US data centre?

2. Or using it for a data hop, in which case you save 2 or 3 ms across the pond but lose 2 or 3 ms by the extra travel time to Cork.

So it seems it would only make a difference for Cork-based enterprises. I must be missing something, but what?

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Don’t let the Barmy Brexiteers wreck #digital #europe

Chris Miller
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I assume all these folks who think Steve ¡Bong! is real are new to ElReg? (or perhaps I'm missing some second level of snark - always a possibility :)

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Wi-Fi hack disables Mitsubishi Outlander's theft alarm – white hats

Chris Miller
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@Lee

The Outlander has an electronic handbrake (a parking brake like most automatics), so you still need a key. To be fair, once you're inside, you can (like most cars) gain access to the various buses that provide computer management of the car, so it's possible you could override it, but I think joyriders would probably look for an easier target.

@David, yes my experience is similar. When buying any EV, it's vital to understand how your driving patterns fit with the car, but if you do a lot of trips <20 miles, you can get >>100 mpg. Even adding the cost of a recharge (about £1, so equivalent to a litre of petrol) I still average over 70 mpg, which is pretty amazing for a 2 ton petrol-engined 4WD SUV. If you spend most of your time cruising motorways, consumption will be a lot worse, of course.

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Chris Miller
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I run an Outlander PHEV

The phone app has the following capabilities:

Shows the state of battery charging - I use this a lot

Turn heating on/off - very useful on cold mornings to warm the car before setting off

Turn on headlights - possibly useful if it's night in a big car park and you've forgotten where it is, but I've never used it

Timers - for automatically charging the car at a set time, don't use this

Change car settings - which includes the alarm function.

As Mitsubishi state, you can disable the car alarm, but if you want to drive it away, you'll need a key. I can't say this is my greatest concern.

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SWIFT threatens to give insecure banks a slap if they don't shape up

Chris Miller
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Re: Why not re-use the PCI standards...

The PCI standards are designed to be satisfiable by corner shops and service stations that handle credit cards (as well as much larger businesses). I'm not sure they'd add much to SWIFT.

I can't get my head round why this is even a problem. I understand why SMEs sometimes struggle to maintain adequate security, when they have limited budgets and It may not be seen as a core part of their business or very high value. But for a banking system specifically designed to handle multi-million (or even billion) dollar transactions many times a day without blinking - what lies behind inadequate protection for such a system? It can't really be simple stupidity and laziness, can it?

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Chris Miller
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"Banks are already among the most heavily regulated organisations, thanks to regulations such as PCI and Sarbanes–Oxley"

PCI is Payment Card Industry, so a security standard set by banks, not something they need to comply with. And S-Ox applies to all companies listed in the US, not just banks. Were you thinking of Basel III, perchance?

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Fact: Huawei now outspends Apple on R&D

Chris Miller
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I'm not sure it's all that meaningful to compare Huawei and Apple R&D spending. Apple have a handful of consumer products and that's it, while Huawei manufacture far more than just mobile phones. But the general thrust of the article sounds spot on.

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Oz PM's department red-faced after database leaks in the cc: field

Chris Miller
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No doubt a stupid blunder from someone. Hands up everyone who has never made a stupid blunder ... no-one? OK then, the really stupid blunder is not having some DLP mechanism to prevent (or at least warn of) outgoing messages with more than a handful of identified recipients.

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Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

Chris Miller
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Re: Skewed results

If you can build a system to garrotte next door's cat, I'd buy that.

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Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world

Chris Miller
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@JHW

Why not try responding to what I wrote, rather than what the voices in your head are telling you I 'implied'? British civil servants are there to follow the instructions of ministers, and civil servants that fail to do so don't remain civil servants very long. They certainly are not "the only institution empowered to initiate legislation", indeed they don't initiate any legislation at all.

And does your local tennis club have 5 different presidents? What an odd institution it must be.

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Chris Miller
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Re: Another remainer...

Juncker wasn't elected as President of the EU Commission (the EU has 5 (I think, I kinda lost count) presidents), he was appointed, in large part because Merkel thought he would make a useful puppet. His greatest democratic achievement was to become PM of Luxembourg, a mandate roughly equivalent to that of the Mayor of Croydon.

EU supporters often like to claim that the Commission is just the EU civil service, and the UK doesn't vote for the head of its civil service. But that's nonsense. From the EU’s own website, an admirably clear phrase, albeit hidden amongst a hell of a lot of obfuscation clearly intended to fool people into thinking that the EU Parliament is a legislature: "the European Commission, the only institution empowered to initiate legislation." Really not analogous to a civil service, then. If anything, more like the UK Cabinet.

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Chris Miller
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Southern Europe has driven itself into the ground

But it's their membership of the euro that ensures they can do nothing to correct their errors. And given that it takes two to make a loan, who lent them all the money? Why, that would be the German and French banks (not the British ones for a change) who saw an opportunity to make much higher interest on euro loans than they could at home, overlooking the fact that interest is (in large part) a payment to cover the risk that the loan you're making may not be repaid.

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Don't panic, says Blue Coat, we're not using CA cert to snoop on you

Chris Miller
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"This is useful for corporations that want to keep tabs on their staff at work."

This is useful for corporations that prefer not to allow any old malware filled crap from the Internet to be downloaded onto their network or sensitive information to be uploaded to Dropbox. FTFY

If you want to do something at work that you don't want your employer to see (which could be something as innocuous as using online banking to pay a bill), don't use your work network. This type of interception is normally handled by tech staff inserting their own root cert into the 'trusted' list of any computers under their control, which can then be used by a proxy server. This is a different issue from granting vendors of such products their own universally trusted certificate, which I agree sounds dodgy.

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In-flight movies via BYOD? Just what I always wan... argh no we’re all going to die!

Chris Miller
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On some high-speed trains the on-board WiFi includes a live streaming video feed from a front-mounted camera, which is quite cool (if a bit hypnotic after a while).

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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

Chris Miller
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Re: Grey area

Both my RBS and Nationwide accounts have provided me with card readers - they appear to be identical :)

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Sweden decides Julian Assange™ 'remains detained in absentia'

Chris Miller
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Headmaster

Re: Julian Who?

Snowdoen

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Want a better password? Pretend you eat kale. We won't tell anyone

Chris Miller
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Thumb Up

+10

For the Dean Martin reference in the subhead.

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Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

Chris Miller
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@Bruce

It's mainly Emirates that try to squeeze 3-4-3 into a 777, most carriers stick with 3-3-3. ANZ have a great facility whereby you can book a block of 3 economy seats and turn them into a Skycouch. Cheaper and better than Premium Economy on most airlines.

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Would we want to regenerate brains of patients who are clinically dead?

Chris Miller
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H2G2 has all this covered

“I thought you said you could just read his brain electronically,” protested Ford.

“Oh yes,” said Frankie, “but we’d have to get it out first. It’s got to be prepared.”

“Treated,” said Benjy.

“Diced.”

“Thank you,” shouted Arthur, tipping up his chair and backing away from the table in horror.

“It could always be replaced,” said Benjy reasonably, “if you think it’s important.”

“Yes, an electronic brain,” said Frankie, “a simple one would suffice.”

“A simple one!” wailed Arthur.

“Yeah,” said Zaphod with a sudden evil grin, “you’d just have to program it to say What? and I don’t understand and Where’s the tea? Who’d know the difference?”

“What?” cried Arthur, backing away still farther.

“See what I mean?” said Zaphod, and howled with pain because of something that Trillian did at that moment.

“I’d notice the difference,” said Arthur.

“No, you wouldn’t,” said Frankie mouse, “you’d be programmed not to.”

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Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise salute EU flag, blast Brexiteers

Chris Miller
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Re: The resources the government

It's true that we will not be compelled to join the euro if we remain, but unless we do we will have almost no influence. An ever increasing number of decisions are taken by qualified majority voting and the euro-bloc controls an absolute majority (and all new entrants are required to join, so that majority can only increase). As a result, most decisions (and all financial decisions) will be taken with a view to increasing the power to the bilge pumps on RMS Titanic, a situation that will continue until the bow finally disappears under the water.

It's also quite wrong to use net figures to define our contribution to the EU. If someone stole £900 from you and used it to buy you a new sofa, would you say "well, that's OK then, I haven't really lost anything", or would you feel that you might have spent the money better on something you actually wanted (and anyway you could have bought the same sofa for half the price)? And £900 is the amount every household in the UK spends on EU membership every year.

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Chris Miller
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@Ledswinger

The only advantage for Westminster is that every 5 years we get an opportunity to throw the rascals out. If you think David Cameron is a useless toff, you don't have to vote for him. If you think Jean-Claude Juncker* is a useless drunk, you have no choice but to grin and bear it.

* No doubt some euro-spinner will be along in a moment to claim that the President of the Commission is only the equivalent of the head of the civil service, and we don't get to vote for them, either. This is (to put it politely) bollocks. To quote from the EU's own web site: "Only the EU Commission is empowered to initiate legislation". So, if anything, more like the British Cabinet.

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Sysadmin paid a month's salary for one day of nothing

Chris Miller
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Back in early 1999, we agreed an on-call payment of £750 for being available 31/12/99-01/01/00. In mid-99, the business decided to close the European HQ where I worked and manage all the countries direct from the US (guess how well that worked?), so we were all made redundant. But we still got the £750 added to our (generous) settlement.

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Supernova bubble clocked at 19,000,000 km/h

Chris Miller
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I think you mean 1.76...% (unless your sheep have access to warp drive).

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Chris Miller
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Re: "Supersonic"?

Space isn't a perfect vacuum, so you can still sensibly talk about the speed of sound. It depends on the local density (which varies considerably), but order of magnitude should be ~100 km/sec or 360,000 km/h.

Incidentally 19,000,000 km/h is getting on for 0.02c.

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Big Pharma wrote EU anti-vaping diktat, claims Tory ex-MEP

Chris Miller
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Re: Snus

Snus (or local equivalents) are big in Norway too. Norwegian friends tell me it's the result of compulsory military service - smoking is forbidden in uniform, but no-one minds if you stick some powdered tobacco under your lip.

Incidentally, BAT are a big manufacturer, so it isn't big tobacco that's promoting the EU ban.

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Chris Miller
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Snus

A recent episode of 'Blue Eyes' had the Swedish cops popping into a tobacconist in search of some CCTV footage. It was noticeable that behind the counter were arrayed rows of round tins, various brands of Snus.

This is another EU idiocy - if you're addicted to nicotine, it's much healthier to get your fix via chewing tobacco than by smoking it. Yes, there's an increased risk of mouth cancer, but that's far better than the alternatives caused by smoking.

I used to argue that, if you're addicted to nicotine (not all smokers are - many do it as a social habit), you're better off in health terms smoking Piccadilly or Capstan Full Strength rather than the mildest B&H concoction available, because you'll breathe in less of the nasties for a given quantity of nicotine.

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A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

Chris Miller
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Re: it amazes me..

"Try to live on 10Mbps with a pair of children that are aware of what YouTube and Netflix are"

And I should pay for your kids' YouTube usage because? You want >10Mb, you pay for it (I do).

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Chris Miller
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@TheOtherHobbes

I'm not sure what percentage can't get 10Mb over copper, but I'd be happy to see (say) 10Mb being made a 'universal' requirement and those that can't reach that speed should get fibre (there might need to be exceptions for those who choose to live 10 miles down a goat track in Sutherland). I really can't see what benefits would accrue from universal FTTH, although I entirely agree that UK governments (of all persuasions) find it all too easy to piss away billions on pointless vanity projects like HS2 (the 'benefits' for which would be even more severely undermined by universal high-speed broadband).

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Chris Miller
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Re: it amazes me..

Quite so, Dan. The UK's problem is that (a) most people prefer to live in single household accommodation rather than giant blocks of apartments; and (b) dwellings typically last for many decades, if not centuries. New build (and new connections in general) should be fibre, of course, but that still means it takes a very long time to reach any significant proportion of the population with FTTP.

Installing a new physical connection in 30 million or so homes is a non-trivial cost, and no-one can identify any significant benefit for a typical household. I get 75Mb down and 20Mb up with the last mile over copper, and I pay a small premium for the extra speed (I was previously getting 16+1). If someone wants to pay to install FTTP and give me 1Gb, I won't complain, but I can't think of a single reason why I'd pay an extra few quid a month for the ability to download a Linux distro in 30 seconds rather than 5 minutes (assuming I can find a public download service actually able to deliver effective gigabit speeds).

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Did Spotify hire Alan Partridge to run its Netflix-style video push?

Chris Miller
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Headmaster

swap rolls

I've got a Swiss that I'm willing to swap for an Arctic, if that helps.

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Valley VC Peter Thiel becomes an official Trump delegate

Chris Miller
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There appears to be some sort of hair theme going on here, but I can't quite put my finger on it ...

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Spaniard live streams 195km/h burn-up

Chris Miller
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Re: Up Periscope!

Lester, do they still have 'suicidos' betting each other how far/fast they can drive down the wrong side of the autopista (with a pace car following on the correct side)? Usually at some ludicrously early hour when the bars close. This used to be a 'thing' when I was working in Madrid about 25 years ago.

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Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

Chris Miller
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Re: Nutters

I'm not sure that a redesign of a Pitot tube is either called for or possible. It's basically a tube open at the forward end and sealed at the rear which measures the pressure generated by forward movement. If the front end is blocked (ice and small creatures are potential problems in this area), it won't work, which is why there are always at least three of them. But flying with 'unreliable air speed indication' is standard training for every pilot and shouldn't be too problematic, as long as you can recognise what's happening. It's the fact that two fully trained Air France pilots couldn't manage to do it that's worrying.

It's interesting that pilots learn to fly on 'indicated air speed', which is not directly related to true speed, either through the air or on the ground. A Concorde pilot once told me that indicated air speed at Mach 2 (and 60,000 feet) was between 500-600 mph.

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I am Craig Wright, inventor of Craig Wright

Chris Miller
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Glad we've got that sorted out

Now, who is Keyser Söze?

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Panama Papers graph database cracked open for world+dog

Chris Miller
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Re: re: ICJ

Since 370 journos have spent 5 months searching the records and have failed to identify any illegal behaviour, I think it's unlikely it will be (that and the fact that the ICJ has no jurisdiction in civil matters). The most astounding revelation to date is that dodgy dictators like to hide funds offshore. Wow! Who knew?

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Remain in the EU and help me snoop on the world, says Theresa May

Chris Miller
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@Voland

I fear your medication in in need of adjustment. Continual swearing just makes you sound very childish, as does RANDOM capitalisation - which is perhaps your intent.

Do you still think that submitting to the ECHR is just like signing an international treaty? You may want your laws decided by failed lawyers and third rate academics appointed on some Buggins' turn system from who knows where, but I prefer to have elected representatives, who I can vote to remove if I'm not satisfied with them. Is that too difficult to understand?

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Chris Miller
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Re: ECHR is also part of the N.Ireland Peace agreement

There's a world of difference between entering into a treaty, which like any legal contract (hopefully) clearly states what your obligations will be and the conditions under which they can be demanded of you, and binding your courts to a third party entity whose word is absolute and can demand anything they like whenever they like.

I've no problem with implementing the wording of some set of human rights conventions into English law and letting our judges interpret them, I'm very concerned about transferring such powers to an unrepresentative body over whom we have no democratic control.

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Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

Chris Miller
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Clarification please

The Fire Phone had a lot to be said for it. It had some real innovations, it was a perfectly promising device. However, without access to the Google Play Store, you couldn't install Facebook, or Uber, and many other apps.

Does that mean Facebook, Uber etc chose only to use Google Play and not to go to the expense of developing for an alternative, or does Google enforce this in some way? I've installed apps on my (bog standard, Nexus) phone without going through Google Play. It's a bit more fiddly, but not much. For me, the advantage of using Google Play is that the software is less likely to contain malware (whether deliberate or intentional). (Although I realise that, in the eyes of some users, anything emanating from Google is malware :)

As I understand it, this is different from the Apple ecosystem, where installing an app from any source other than Apple is (effectively, for most users) impossible.

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Are bearded blokes more sexist?

Chris Miller
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Re: wrong

There is nothing in the Koran requiring men to have beards, but it is in the sayings of the prophet Mohammed. Some Muslims argue that the sayings of the Prophet may be reinterpreted to reflect changes in society over the last 1,400 years. Other Muslims say that people who argue this way should be beheaded. You pays your money ...

It's undoubtedly true that in Britain, Muslims are over-represented amongst men with beards, but there is no 1-1 correlation between the two sets.

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Obama to admit Moon landing was faked?

Chris Miller
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I thought it was well known that bookies love it when an outsider wins. They pay out heavily when favourites win, an outsider winning usually means a big profit. On top of which, there's lots of free publicity, like this article.

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URL shorteners reveal your trip to strip club, dash to disease clinic – research

Chris Miller
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Microsoft, whose OneDrive also has an embedded shortener

Not any more - it seems to have disappeared.

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