The Tories winning the election was pretty terrifying...
453 posts • joined 14 May 2008
Has Osborne just watched Spectre?
a new "National Cyber Centre" which is described as "the countries first dedicated ‘cyber force’
This would be fine if it were a case of spend £500k, save £1m, 16,000 times over. If it didn't deliver after the first few such projects you could cut your losses and run. If it did work, it would pay for itself in short order and not need much in the way of actual upfront investment.
But somehow I expect it's not that simple...
It's as if they have never seen Robot Wars
Just imagine all the ways one of these could get (1) stranded through it's own incompetence to deal with the hazards of a typical street (puddles, slippery leaves, dogs and their droppings, fallen branches, parked cars etc), (2) maliciously waylaid (tipped over/put on top of a bus shelter/thrown into the canal/kidnapped by local kids/troublemakers), driven off in a thief’s van, etc.
Re: craft it smaller
In the UK that would be illegal. The smallest quantity for selling draught beer and cider is a third of a pint. You are also allowed to sell two-third pint measures, and any (integer) multiple of half pint measures, but that's it. https://www.gov.uk/weights-measures-and-packaging-the-law/specified-quantities
Re: Watching paint dry
"Any idiot can bash out a foreach loop on automatic"
Based on some of the apparently experienced developers I've given technical interviews to, that statement is sadly false.
Re: too little too late
Google maps is fine for road - offroad it's pretty useless though.
Compare for instance Ilkley Moor:
vs OS map
and that's just based on the 1:50000 OS map data, zoom in and you'll see the extra detail from the 1:25000 version.
Re: The one from a few years ago was much better
Was that "2011 winner Nick Helm" by any chance?
Do you mean Data Protection Act?
The FoI act only applies to public bodies, doesn't it?
A Subject Access Request is a thing where you can get data held on you by a company or organisation under the terms of the Data Protection Act.
A lot of a warehouse isn't storage
It might be a mistake, but a lot of the floor area in a warehouse isn't "storage capacity" - it's taken up with aisles, conveyors, shelf supports, packing benches, etc.
Re: I'd like to know..
Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy... all have state owned railways. Hell, their state owned railway companies even own a good chunk of our supposedly private railway companies. What is it about these countries that means they can run successful state-owned railway companies but we can't?
Re: I'd like to know..
Well the railways is fairly easy. The state still owns most of the infrastructure and rents it out to the privatised operators. You just let their contracts expire and don't renew them, or if you want to get more creative find ways to terminate them early. (As the franchises start falling back into state hands, the state then gets to keep the profit from them, which can be reinvested or used to buy up the remaining contracts).
And, of course he could borrow more. Brown didn't "borrow and spend every pound there was to have", as evidenced by the fact that Osborne has borrowed more than Brown did: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/11/the-tories-have-piled-on-more-debt-than-labour/
Re: It's £3.88 a month
That's for a full membership. You can pay a minimum of £3 to become a "supporter" which means you get a vote in the leadership contest but none of the other perks of membership.
Re: Netatmo's Welcome costs €199, which is presently about £140.
You just need to get a decent credit card that doesn't charge such fees. http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards
Re: I got one at work
Indeed, I run my own mail server and use suffix addressing (sometimes called "plus addressing" as that is what is supported by gmail) for this purpose. In gmail you can use firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be delivered to email@example.com. Use a different "anything" for each account and if it leaks you know who has been passing your address, and can block that variant (or just block it if they don't honour unsubscribe, etc).
Since the plus character is commonly used for this purpose it's actually not that good as a spammer could strip it out and still reach your inbox. If you have your own server you can specify an alternative character to use, I use a dash/minus sign, but you could use a dot, underscore etc. Someone could still guess and remove it and hit your inbox, but in practice I've found that doesn't happen, and if it did I could just dump the inbox and create a new one, and redirect all the existing aliases to it.
Re: Probably these work the same as bank scams
Indeed, looking at my mailserver logs, I received two attempted mails this morning to an address that is no longer used, allegedly from firstname.lastname@example.org:
Aug 5 08:52:58 mail postfix/smtpd: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from unknown[220.127.116.11]: 550 5.1.6 <email@example.com>: Recipient address rejected: Address no longer in use; from=<Spectrum.firstname.lastname@example.org> to=<email@example.com> proto=ESMTP helo=<static.vdc.vn>
Aug 5 09:06:21 mail postfix/smtpd: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from unknown[18.104.22.168]: 550 5.1.6 <firstname.lastname@example.org>: Recipient address rejected: Address no longer in use; from=<Spectrum.email@example.com> to=<firstname.lastname@example.org> proto=ESMTP helo=<[22.214.171.124]>
I have never used this address (or any address for that matter) for anything to do with Ofcom.
So there is no data leak, this is just general non-targeted spamming.
Probably these work the same as bank scams
They send them to millions of addresses. Some people who have a genuine reason to have contact with Ofcom (or Barclays, HSBC, etc) see the email and think it must be targeted directly at them.
Admittedly radio hams are towards the more niche end of the spectrum, which reduces the number of targets for the spammer, but also probably increases the likelihood that those in the target audience do fall for the scam.
Mostly these things are sent by botnets and will be caught by the usual anti-spam DNS blacklists.
Re: Too polite
Maybe not. I like this explanation from here: http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-18852,00.html
"Why are there no pork or other pigmeat cat food varieties? "
"I've always understood the reason to be that the pigmeat industry has a long-established method of disposing of its waste products. They call the result "sausages" - or, if you're lucky, "economy sausages". "
"associated security/privacy benefits that brings about"
But Apple gets to know everything about your shopping habits...
Contactless cards work well and seem to be accepted in most places these days... even if I had an iPhone I can't see what the advantage to the customer is over using a contactless card. (Yes the retailers may like the lower charges, but do you really think they will pass them on?). If you really find it too much trouble to carry a card around (in reality most people will have a physical wallet with them anyway) then just out your card in your phone case, glue your card to your phone, or get one of those low-tech Barclaycard stickers.
I must be the only software guy here
because I think it's a ridiculous project :-)
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. This is the opposite of progress - deliberately doing thousands of small repetitive tasks that a machine can do much better (for almost every definition of better - smaller, faster, cheaper, more reliably, using less resources)...
EE are charging more - 44p
But, NHS England says doctor's surgeries shouldn't use 084 numbers. Many banks and customer service lines are changing to use 0345 or 0370 instead of the 08 versions (03 numbers come out of inclusive minutes).
Re: A cow is actually quite dangerous
Indeed. NZ has about 10 million cattle (beef + dairy) and 38 million sheep, but just 4.5 million people.
Though I'm not sure if you should calculate injury rates per animal or per farmer...
Re: It would have been better
Indeed, and that's how a good Computer Science degree course works. The actual language doesn't matter nearly as much as the concepts behind it.
Re: What study?
Aldi now take contactless credit and debit cards.
I've found using contactless cards (with the exception of an American Express card which doesn't seem to work everywhere) really easy and thankfully more places are taking them now. The only annoyance is the few badly-trained cashiers in some shops who insist on having you "insert your card" before they will activate the card terminal meaning by then it's too late to bonk.
Considering how easy a contactless credit card payment is, I can't see why I'd want to use a phone to do the same thing. The card payments are quick, easy and just work. No batteries required.
Re: Turning the company's soiled reputation around 360 degrees!
He meant XOR the plaintext input with the key, twice, which gives you back the plaintext (x) no matter what the key (y) is:
((x XOR y) XOR y) = x XOR (y XOR y) = x XOR 0 = x
Read the linked analysis. The mask used is not random. By some means it converts the password into a single 8-bit "key" (barely deserves to be called a key), and XORs each of the first 128 bytes with that key, a byte at a time. (Basically ECB mode (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_cipher_mode_of_operation#Electronic_Codebook_.28ECB.29) which would be crap even with a proper big, random key).
The rest of the file is left in the clear.
This isn't encryption, it's about as good as those invisible ink pens you can buy from the Early Learning Centre.
Re: "while no one would go to prison for false VAT claims"
It's hardly the same. Whether VAT is or isn't paid by a government department isn't costing the taxpayer anything.
Re: Good or Bad?
It's worth noting that ARM don't make the chips themselves; they design cores and license the designs. The likes of Qualcomm, Samsung and TI include the ARM core as part of their SOC designs and produce the actual chips.
So the cause
was a hard-coded limit on the number of "things" in the system. But instead of being hard-coded in one place it was hard-coded to different values in two places. Recent changes meant the lower of the two limits was exceeded for the first time ever, and the higher limit wasn't.
Sounds like a fairly basic software test should have caught this issue. If your requirement is "the system shall support up to X things connected" then a decent test would check what happens if the system is tested with X-1, X and X+1 things to make sure the limit had been programmed correctly (and with the correct use of <, <=, == etc).
But, you know, it had worked OK since the 90's, so why would anyone need to test it?
Re: Passenger count
Many will be cargo flights, or light aircraft.
We're a SME (about 60 staff) based in Yorkshire. We recently moved buildings into our own office and had our own fibre installed (100 Mbit symmetric). No doubt this cost a fair chunk of money, but if you want a business class service you can get one if you pay for it.
This might not be affordable for smaller businesses but if decent connectivity is important to you then I'm sure you'd make sure it was available (e.g. in a shared office facility) before signing a lease?
What will happen to EE TV?
I'm getting to like my EE TV box... from what I can tell it's a lot nicer to use and more fully-featured than BT's TV offering.
But... Google is a monopoly
If you want to search the internet, you have to use Google (more or less).
If you want to use Google, you have to hand them some amount of personal data.
That's the problem. It's like you are effectively the only apple supplier in the market (OK, there are a few other tiny suppliers, but their apples are very small and not very tasty and they have limited varieties) and you insist that if I want to get some apples, I'm not only going to have to hand over my pears but also information about how many pears I grow, what variety of pears, the secret recipe for my pear crumble and so on.
If the market were functioning correctly there would be multiple apple suppliers. One might exchange 3 apples for 2 pears plus all that data, and another might exchange 2 apples for 2 pears plus no data, and I'd have a meaningful choice.
Re: Whole country?
I was listening to the live BBC radio stream over 4G EE on my commute between Leeds and Shipley between 9:00 and 9:30 this morning with no problems.
Re: oh no
I'd love it if my login screen looked like that. Especially if it made that "computery" noise while I typed my password.
As it is I have to put up with the default Ubuntu thing, ho hum.
Yes the HMRC site is painfully out of date. Once you have completed your tax return you can download it as a PDF, the site tells you how long it will take to download on both a 28k modem and a 56k modem.
It looks like you're writing a program...
Would you like help?
Re: Same old arrogance
Indeed, here's some anonymised data, there is no way you could possibly work out who these people are:
Male, age 40-49, lives in SW1A area, occupation: prime minister
Female, age 80-89, lives in SW1A area, occupation: head of state
You have obviously never worked behind the refund desk in a bricks and mortar store.
When I was studying my A-levels I worked in Argos and people will try and get away with returning anything - artificial Christmas trees or lights that have obviously been used the week after Christmas being a particularly good one.
People occasionally used to even bring back empty packaging full of bricks or rubbish or whatever in the hope that we wouldn't check that the product was inside the box...
No, the contract for an online order is normally formed when the goods are dispatched, not when they are delivered.
From Amazon's terms of sale (which I'm sure you read if you've ever shopped with them, right?):
Your order is an offer to Amazon to buy the product(s) in your order. When you place an order to purchase a product from Amazon, we will send you an e-mail confirming receipt of your order and containing the details of your order (the "Order Confirmation E-mail"). The Order Confirmation E-mail is acknowledgement that we have received your order, and does not confirm acceptance of your offer to buy the product(s) ordered. We only accept your offer, and conclude the contract of sale for a product ordered by you, when we dispatch the product to you and send e-mail confirmation to you that we've dispatched the product to you (the "Dispatch Confirmation E-mail").
Re: Am I alone
In the case of big chains like Marriott, especially in "business" locations like Preston (when was the last time you went on holiday to Preston?) the dynamic is different. They use different pricing to segment their target market.
They know that the many of the people booking direct with them are using corporate rates and corporate credit cards and by booking direct they can collect reward points. They're not paying the bill so don't have to worry about getting the absolute cheapest price.
Those who book the Marriott through Booking.com will be the few leisure travellers who are visiting friends nearby or something who are after a good rate. If the Marriott have rooms free, they can afford to cut their margins and pay the 15% and still sell to these people through channels like Booking.com. (Besides which, they will probably make money back selling breakfast and drinks and so on, on which Booking.com won't take a cut).
It's a different game with smaller independent hotels, who don't have corporate accounts and rely on leisure travellers for most of their business.
Re: Am I alone
The point though is that you (as customer) don't pay 15% to Booking.com for the "service", the hotel does, and the contract with Booking.com prevents the hotel from recouping that cost by charging more through Booking.com than they do direct.
Booking.com then do things like buy Google search ads with the hotel's name so that when you search for the hotel's name, the first thing you see is a Booking.com link promising the same rates as if you booked direct with the hotel, above the link to the hotel's own website in the search results.
So, the hotel loses direct bookings (which could otherwise have been cheaper for the customer), and Booking.com makes a comparative killing, for doing very little.
Re: Focus on HTTP/Web breaks everything else
Yes - the TLD that should never resolve is .invalid
This is known as DNS hijacking. While it's merely annoying for users using Web browsers, it's a real pain for developers of other Internet-connected software, Web browsers etc. They rely on the NXDOMAIN response to help ydiagnose Internet connection issues etc. I develop software for set top boxes and we had to change our internet fault diagnosis tools significantly to cope with DNS servers that mess around with the DNS results in ways such as this. Basically, any DNS server that does this is broken and not compliant with Internet standards.
Re: BT to buy EE
Well it's a better box (from a hardware perspective) than BT's YouView box. Presumably BT's software could be ported to it, or some hybrid of the two. Possibly this could become the hybrid box you hinted at above?
But, I hope the sale to BT doesn't go through. I've been a long-standing T-mobile (and now EE) mobile customer, and only moved to EE broadband when O2 sold their broadband business to Sky. There is a reason I haven't signed contracts with Sky or BT and I'd rather not be forced into it...
Re: Generous Space?
It's a 2.5 inch (laptop sized) hard disk, not a 3.5" one.
The £460 covers broadband and landline costs too...it's a pretty good deal.
Re: Doesn't work with any broadband
The replay feature is slightly better than described in the article.
It basically works by recording the entire multiplex for the PSB1 and PSB2 multiplexes. Any channel on that multiplex has a "start over" button, meaning if you tune in late you can restart the current programme from the beginning. From those multiplexes you can select up to six channels and it will keep those recordings for 24 hours (or so, it seems to be a little longer on our box), whereas the other channels on those two muxes will only be kept until the end of the current programme.
This is actually surprisingly useful and gives a good selection of content ready to watch straight from the guide.
The downside is not being able to record (well, save the recording) for one of the replay shows. If the show is still running, you can select record and it will save the whole thing, but once it has run its course the recording will be lost after the 24 hour period.
Doesn't work with any broadband
I took my EE TV box into work to show to some colleagues (I work in the digital TV sector). At work, the EE box complained that it wasn't connected to my home broadband, and deactivated all the on-demand and networking features (live TV and recordings worked OK, but streaming to the mobile app did not). It also popped up some error message which hinted it would only work for a limited time without connection to EE's network.
(I worked around this for demonstration purposes by connecting it to a router at work which was connected by a layer 2 VPN to a raspberry pi at home, making it look to the box as if it was connected to my home broadband. )
Re: Hang on
Technically the price on the shelf in Tesco is an "invitation to treat". By placing the items on the checkout belt you are making an offer to Tesco to purchase the items at the advertised price. Only once they process your transaction through the till are they accepting your offer and at that point a contract is formed.
Online, the website is the invitation to treat, your order is the offer and generally speaking the dispatch confirmation is the acceptance (point at which the contract is formed).
The problem here comes from taking humans out of the loop. In Tesco, if everything scanned through the till at 1p, the checkout assistant would probably figure out something was wrong and you wouldn't get as far as forming a contract. But if there is an automated system (self checkout maybe, or Amazon's automated dispatch system) performing the acceptance step and forming the contract, there is a risk that that system could go awry and lead to the company forming contracts that they would rather not have done.
Re: Does one assume
Of course the networks make a profit from all these charges, which explains why they are dragging their heels.