* Posts by The Mole

220 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Page:

Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

The Mole
Bronze badge

Harm..

In many ways I have little issue with Google enhancing its search engine to embed info boxes from its own products (e.g. type a postcode it shows a map), nor is it unreasonable that if you use a combination of google products you may get an enhanced experience.

What I do have a problem with is if Google manipulates the 'organic' search results so that competitors are artificially ranked lower so that a normal user isn't likely to find them compared to results for google products. Manipulating the ranking of competitors making them harder to find would be abusing the monopoly on search results.

17
1

Revealed: The AMAZING technology behind Apple's $1299 Retina MacBooks – a lot of glue

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Objection!

I think you missed the point of the post. Apple kit (like any other) does have failures - even (as you say) if just from people being people and dropping stuff or spilling liquids on it. Making the devices next to impossible and uneconomical to repair is irresponsible and bad for the environment as for even minor breakages it is more economic to replace the whole unit regardless of the environmental cost.

There is a balance to be had but I for one don't believe that Apple's margins are so tight that they can't afford to effectively screw/clip the battery in place rather than use glue making it near impossible to replace safely,

14
0

Sony tells hacked gamer to pay for crooks' abuse of PlayStation account

The Mole
Bronze badge

What evidence do you have that he had a weak password, its not like the Sony network has never been compromised. Alternatively he may have been tricked into entering it on a web form, or credentials could have been sniffed off his network (no idea if it is encrypted or not).

30
1

Euro THERMONUCLEAR REACTOR PROJECT is in TROUBLE

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Hypocrites

If I remember right it is the European Commission not the European Parliament who are ones with the reallly dodgy accounts. I've always thought that Peter Mandelson must have really felt at home in the commission..

That said I'm sure the quality of the European Parliament accounts and expenses claims are superb...

6
0

My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Not a problem solved

I agree things do go wrong, many humans have coughing fits, distractions around them meaning they avert their eyes (which have minimal redundancy for depth perception anyway), drive erratically due to moods, fall asleep at the wheel, drive when drunk, drive with the onset of dementia, and keep driving even when warning lights, banging sounds, etc suggest that they should stop.

These are all errosr/sensor faults that already happen. A self driving car will have redundancy for important sensors and (unlike humans) will fail safe - pulling over and waiting for a service vehicle to come along and fix the faulty sensor much to the annoyance of the passenger who would just have ignored it. They will never be 100% safe but the probability of the types of errors you describe happening and causing a catastrophic failure is going to be lower than the 'faults' that a proportion of human drivers repeatedly drive with.

As for servicing my bet is that in the short-medium term then either

a) you don't buy the car you hire with servicing and insurance included (as standard insurance companies will initially not insure it)

b) They will be full of DRM/require software being reset during the servicing meaning the only genuine parts at the genuine service station are capable to do it and we will pay through the roof for the privilege.

2
1

Battle for control of Earth's unconnected souls moves to SPAAAACE

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Did I miss....

To be fair providing access (and sharing) of information on techniques and technology to improve sanitation (e.g. how to make a bio-toilet, how to use malaria nets efficiently or prevent the breading of mosquitos), farming (irrigation methods, accurate weather forecasting, prices in the local (or not so local market), and poverty reduction (solar lights, access to new markets, how to effectively reuse the materials around you) are all things that will contribute to the above. What balance between on the ground and the costs is of course an important question.

20
1

Yahoo! wheels! out! password! on-demand! service! for! simpletons!

The Mole
Bronze badge

Doesn't actually reduce security

If you have access to some ones phone sufficient to request the password then you will almost certainly (for most users) already have access to their email accounts that they have on their phones. All this services is effectively automating is the pressing of the 'forgotten password' link and creating the new password through the reminder email link.

Of course if you come to rely on this service you are stuffed if your phone breaks and you can't log in to setup a new phone number as you can't create a one time password to log in with...

3
0

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Oookk. OOK.

I couldn't have expressed it better myself.

11
0

Look, no handsets: How to do telephony without a phone

The Mole
Bronze badge

Redundancy

Combining everything onto a single network does have serious limitations though particularly if the network every fails and you want to call the IT team to tell them of that fact...

2
0

Legalising London's bed-hopping economy is POINTLESS

The Mole
Bronze badge

Interesting logic

The logic in the article seems to be that because this law isn't currently being enforced then there is no reason to repeal the law. This seems backwards, if the law isn't currently being enforced then councils should either be encouraged to actually enforce it, or the law should be repealed. Having unenforced laws hanging around the statute books are among the worst types of laws, they allow for malicious prosecutions and penalise the people who try to actually be law abiding - if it isn't being enforced and you are ignorant of it then you are (probably) fine, if you aren't ignorant of it and law abiding you loose out.

14
0

Top Euro court ends mega ebook VAT slash in France, Luxembourg

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: VAT Fraud!

The flaw in your argument is that Bob is *generally* more likely to use his increased income to but a newer more fuel efficient car, whilst Joe is *generally* forced to by an old banger and therefore pays more VAT on the petrol he is using.

That said I agree with you it is one of the better taxes, the biggest problem with it are the oddities in some of the rules that make it inconsistent and illogical (books vs ebooks being a prime example).

5
1

Adobe launches cashless bug bounty

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: The problem is cost.

They could at the very least give free subscriptions to their online services - that has a real cost of zero and would encourage people to continue looking for further issues.

4
0

$533 MEEELLION – the cost of Apple’s iTunes patent infringement

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Gotta love Apple.

What do you mean by a model? Is a computer model/mathematic proof sufficient? After-all why should Mr Smith loose out because he can't afford to manufacture his new jet engine? Without a patent he can't safely go and ask someone else with the skills and equipment to manufacture it as they could just steal the idea and will have the resources to make it quicker.

I totally agree though that the system is broken, mathematical techniques and processes shouldn't be patentable (covering most of software - that can be copyrighted), the tests for innovative, technical effect and non-obvious to someone skilled in the art should actually be enforced. Taking X and shoving it on the internet or on a mobile phone is not generally innovative or non-obvious. Thinks like bouncing menus don't have technical effects and are just processes/mathematical techniques anyway.

14
0

Be your own Big Brother: Covert home spy gadgetry

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: re. 'Casio' and 'Pure' items

My guess is they are genuine Sony/Pure/Casio products.. . just with some 'after-market' modifications done to them and being sold second hand. It's legal with cars, but whether a judge would take the same view of these type of modifications is another matter.

5
0

Evil CSS injection bug warning: Don't let hackers cross paths with your website

The Mole
Bronze badge

Its a webserver serving a dynamic page there's no need for the url to bare any relation to files on a file system at all. The website may be configued to pass anything after showthreads.php into the php script - which the script may then just ignore.

The route of the problem would seem to be the browser is way too lenient with parsing css and will pull definitions out of any old junk.

0
0

Win! Classic El Reg tees, plus something special for the weekend

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Your hard drives were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Wait

What makes you think they haven't developed linux versions of the attack? The basic mechanisms wouldn't be that different.

6
0

Amazon's delivery drones SHOT DOWN by new FAA rules

The Mole
Bronze badge

Total autonomy is still allowed - as long as its possible to interrupt that autonomy in an emergency. The purpose of a robot is to perform tasks more efficiently, more reliably, and (particularly for flying drones) from a position that a human can not get into easily. None of these purposes are defeated by requiring a human to be present in the field to ensure that drone doesn't malfunction or crash into another person. I'm sure farmers would much prefer to do the job sat in a chair/on a quad bike supervising then actually having to do the manual labour themselves.

Long term when we get more experience with the technology then the rules will undoubtedly get watered down and change, until that happens these seem a pretty good compromise.

3
0
The Mole
Bronze badge

As long as the fully automated drone has the capability for the user to override and take emergency control then it still fine - I very much doubt there are any drones which don't full into this category.

Emergency control probably boils down to dynamic route replanning (ie telling it to stop and hover, or giving it a new destination/manually defined route to fly).

0
0

Lashed Saudi blogger Raif: Prince Charles has word with new king

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Judiciary vs the Executive

"but all that the current King can do is to offer a pardon."

Yes, but I'm not sure why you say 'all' when that outcome is exactly what everybody would like. All that needs to happen is for the king to give him the pardon. (And ideally the laws get changed/no longer abused).

1
0

Crap mobile coverage costs UK biz £30m a week, reckons survey

The Mole
Bronze badge

Three take the alternative approach of providing an app for the phone which seamlessly hands phone and sms off over a wifi connection instead. So if the office (or house) already have wifi that the phone can use you are sorted, ditto for hotels offering free wifi (and who wants to stay in one that still try to charge through the nose for wifi?).

0
0

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

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Good luck Dave

I almost crashed when I listened to that and realised Clegg actually understood the concept much better than the interviewer.

4
0

Peers warn against rushing 'enhanced' DATA SLURP powers through Parliament

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Not getting my vote...

I'm sure you are right there about the Greens. And the problem is, as the Lib Dems have found, it is very easy to have good policies in opposition but when in government for some reason the civil service and vested interests (and plain reality) make implementation of them turn into something quite different.

0
0
The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Not getting my vote...

I agree, Labour and Conservatives are as bad and totalitarian as each other. Lib Dems (unfortunately) have got themselves into a bad position even when you give them the benefit of the doubt over what they have done behind the scenes to curb the conservatives agenda. UKIP are now seen as the place to go for a protest vote and it scares me what a government with them in would look like. I'd actually for the first time seriously considering voting for the Greens as a valid alternative party except their profile is so minimal I don't really know what they actually believe. With the right PR behind them they could come out as the alternative people who don't like UKIP go for... but I doubt they are going to get their acts together. Shame there's little to no chance of a new sensible moderate party suddenly being formed..

9
0

Ladies and trolls: Should we make cyberbullying a crime? – Ireland

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Canadian Perspective

Whilst that is a tragic occurrence you have to be careful, there's a well known legal maxim that hard cases make bad law. Even with this particular case why should the fact it was done online be special, afterall what if they hadn't emailed it and just shown it round the classroom instead or whatever? Most of these cases should be covered by existing harrasment laws - and if they don't then that's the law that probably needs improving

8
0

No wind-up: Second New Year's honour for Baylis music box

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: What is all this about?

To recognise people who have made a worthwhile contribution to the United Kingdom and so deserve recognition. A good proportion of those are normal people like lollipop ladies for their contributions (perhaps the Queen has a soft spot for lollipop ladies,but every year there always seems to be one that has spent the last 40 years helping children cross the road). .

A bad proportion also seem to be for civil servants as a for of mutal back patting which hasn't really changed since the days of "Yes, Minister"

"James Hacker: I'm not going to approve any honour to any civil servant in this department who hasn't earned it.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: What do you mean "earned it"?

James Hacker: I mean "earned it". "Done something to deserve it".

Sir Humphrey Appleby: [indignantly] But that's unheard of!"

7
0

Robox: How good could a sub-£1k 3D printer be?

The Mole
Bronze badge

Came across the iBox printer today (http://www.iboxprinters.com/ibox-nano-1/) which also looks very interesting at only $300. UV resin based rather than extrusion which seems to give build results on their product page, I don't know how the strength of plastics compare and the ibox has limitted build area.

0
0

Shock! Nork-grating flick The Interview WILL be in cinemas – Sony

The Mole
Bronze badge

Christmas Day

The thing that most surprises me is that cinema's are open on Christmas Day, and apparently have enough demand to pay the wages of the poor people who are desperate enough to take the overtime (I assume) working there.

3
1

UK air traffic bods deny they 'skimped' on IT investment after server mega-fail

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Bad Data Input/High System Utilisation.

Its relatively simple to validate each individual field in isolation, however it quickly gets to be very difficult (and impossible in many schema languages) to validate inter-relationships between fields such as X must be less than Y unless Z is set to A.

0
0

Welsh council rapped for covert spying on sick leave worker

The Mole
Bronze badge

I'd expect my private company to expect a sick note (or nowadays a fitness for work note) detailing from a doctor that in the doctors expert medical opinion the employee needs to be signed off for whatever reason. Once they have that note I'd expect them to either trust that doctors note, or if they have doubts (and as most contracts explicitly allow) request a second opinion paid for by the company. That is the correct process to investigating suspect sickness leave. Jumping to intrusive (and presumably expensive) surveillance within 4 weeks certainly isn't the correct appoach. More advanced employees may would instead spend that money on looking at what it is in their processes and workplace that is causing the stress and/or providing counselling/stress management resources to the employee to help them cope.

Certainly I strongly doubt public and private companies differ greatly in how they handle stress and other long term sickness - though from personal experiences I know the stress placed on public employees is often much higher and there seems to be (on average, etc etc) less capable managers.

20
1

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Is the story photo selection automated?

In that case they need better training to pick ones that are an appropriate size and quality not stretched and distorted like the eu flag.

Better still make their lives slightly less busy and don't force pictures in for the sake of it. Its an old journalism adage that the picture should add to the story, just because you are digital doesn't make it any less true.

All a massive picture of the EU flag (or other stock photo) does at the top of an article is waste space and forces immediate scrolling to read more than a line of the story - meaning you now only have 1 line to get my interest not the whole paragraph. It also pushes adverts off the screen reducing views and potential clicks.

Currently I've not installed any ad-blocking and even occasionally click the adverts to support el reg. These images are annoying me so much that I'm seriously tempted to block out all images to make the site usable again.

8
0

EU VAT law could kill THOUSANDS of online businesses

The Mole
Bronze badge

Agreed, what the original poster was forgetting is that delivery is part of the service you are buying (it may be 'free' but it is still part of the contract you have formed with them. So by shipping it they have accepted the delivery part of the contract and thereby the whole of it.

Of course they could still call the delivery driver and get him to return and just breach the contract - if they refund you the money you're generally going to struggle to get anything else out of them beyond 'good will' gestures for their breach of it.

0
0

Firms will have to report OWN diverted profits under 'Google Tax' law

The Mole
Bronze badge
FAIL

Roy-Chowdhury said: "It's a bit like reporting yourself to the police and then having to defend yourself."

He added: "It seems strange that multinationals would have to report themselves and the the onus is on them to defend their [tax activities.]"

My understanding is this is exactly what self employed/small business owners/contractors have to do whenever they fill in self assessment/tax forms and are trying to claim a reduction on their taxable income (ie expenses).It must be so hard for this struggling multinationals that only employee a few hundred accountants and lawyers to do the same.

16
0

BORGED! Expat moves from New Zealand to Norway to be acquired by Cisco

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: The second thing...

Speaking from experience that may not be a bad conclusion to draw...

2
0

As-a-service upstarts will KILL OFF THE CORPORATES?

The Mole
Bronze badge

From the workers perspective

Of course there are also benefits of firms from a workers perspective. Being a lone trader is risky with an uncertain and unpredictable cashflow, a firm provide continuity of income spreading the risk across multiple workers. Firms can also much more efficiently get professional indemnity and other types of insurance and delegate tasks so the worker can do the work they enjoy and not the admin. Hence why lots of people prefer to work for a company rather than have higher but riskier income contracting.

13
0

Amazon: DROP DATABASE Oracle; INSERT our new fast cheap MySQL clone

The Mole
Bronze badge

Latency

I'm sure that AWS may be faster for queries that requiring a lot of composition and processing time. However for many queries/applications (particularly ones using libraries like spring) it will be latency and round trip time which will dominate the operation and there is no way AWS will be able to compete with that.

2
0

Yes, Samaritans, the law DOES apply to you. Even if you mean well

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: stop their Radar app from processing your tweets

If they were able to predict suicide with an incredibly high accuracy, and if they were then passing the information to somebody in authority then perhaps they could argue it. But they aren't. They are passing incredibly sensitive and probably inaccurate personal data to random strangers with a strong potential to harm the interests of the data subject.

14
0
The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: stop their Radar app from processing your tweets

The twitter comments may be public which means Samaritans may legitimately collect them.

However the processing of these public comments is another issue. By processing them, the Samaritans are generating new information - an assessment of the individuals mental health, they are then storing and publishing this new information to third parties. The new information under the DPA would be classed as sensitive personal data ((e) his physical or mental health or condition,) which requires explicit and informed consent of the subject being processed. The fact that the information is likely to be inaccurate makes the processing and distribution of it even worse.

A case of good intentions but a failure to understand the implications of what is being performed. It shouldn't detract from the dedicated work the Samaritans do do though.

39
2

Warning to those who covet the data of Internet of Precious Things

The Mole
Bronze badge

"Assuming that all data generated by IoT devices is personal data is too simplistic and unhelpful insofar as it transfers the burden of proof onto data controllers to demonstrate otherwise,” data protection law specialist Marc Dautlich of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said. “A better approach for all would be to undertake a considered analysis of the data generated by IoT devices, including analytics derived from their output, and use that as the basis for the organisation’s privacy strategy."

Um, presumably it is the data controller who is doing this considered analysis? Therefore starting from a position of assuming it is personal data until the considered analysis shows otherwise is a far better strategy than assuming that it isn't and then (eventually) doing the considered analysis which then shows you are breaking the law.

6
0

Computer misuse: Brits could face LIFE IN PRISON for serious hacking offences

The Mole
Bronze badge

"It also does not enable UK law enforcement agencies to take action against UK citizens committing cyber crime offences whilst physically outside the UK on the basis of their nationality alone."

Good, and that is the way it should stay. Whilst I quite agree that some really really serious crimes should allow extra-territorial jurisdiction (crimes against humanity for instance), hacking certainly isn't one - let the country where you perform the act in prosecute the act.

2
0

NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code

The Mole
Bronze badge

"It also does not enable UK law enforcement agencies to take action against UK citizens committing cyber crime offences whilst physically outside the UK on the basis of their nationality alone."

Good, and that is the way it should stay. Whilst I quite agree that some really really serious crimes should allow extra-territorial jurisdiction (crimes against humanity for instance), hacking certainly isn't one - let the country where you perform the act in prosecute the act.

1
0

LTE's backers vow to KILL OFF WI-FI and BLUETOOTH

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: O/T: Mountain Rescue

I'll add in and point out there are also Lowland Search and Rescue teams who provide very similar coverage in areas lacking mountains.

4
0

Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

The Mole
Bronze badge

DPA vs EULA

That EULA certainly wouldn't stand up in the UK courts against the data protection act. They admit they are transmitting a user id which is connected to billing information. They therefore need explicit and informed concent given they are collecting and processing *sensitive* personal data for at least some users. Sensitive because page and chapter reading statistics give very precise details of what part of a medical text book, guide to obscure religious rituals, sexual handbook someone is interested in, and therefore what medical conditions, religious views or sexual life they may have.

7
0

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

The Mole
Bronze badge

No your honour we can't tell you why it was necessary to kill that person all we can say it was in the interest of national security, contempt of court? no your honour us refusing to tell you is in the interests of national security, no your honour there's a risk to national security if we told anybody our secrets, (we may be sent to prison and then who would stop the terrorists and protect national security...)

11
0

Apple, Google mobe encryption good news... for TERRORISTS – EU top cop

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: It ought to be banned!

You missed a few things:

* Writing in abbreviations or code on pieces of paper

* Hiding things and not telling the police where they are

* Making plans as a group face to face in locations where there is no-one to listen

* Making plans in your head and not telling the police

41
0

Congratulations the register for your TV appearance...

The Mole
Bronze badge

I was thinking exactly the same

1
0

Windows 10: One for the suits, right Microsoft? Or so one THOUGHT

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Can't wait

What lack of clipboard support? Enable click edit mode by default and then left mouse button copies, right pastes. Not particularly complex, although having keyboard shortcuts is a useful improvement.

5
6

As bankruptcy looms for RadioShack, we ask its chief financial officer... oh. He's quit

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Maplin is likely next.

RS Components in the uk (Radio Spares, no relation to Radio Shack) have branches still - screwfix/argos style rather wall cabinets.

1
0

Drones CAN'T deliver goods ... oh. Air traffic control system backed by NASA, you say?

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Worrying

Given that there will be birds flying in the area I'd imagine that certified drones will have to have sufficient autonomous collision avoidance sensors on them to cope sufficient with most negative scenarios. Pretty much like autonomous cars will have to cope with kids stepping out in front of them.

7
0

Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International

The Mole
Bronze badge

Re: Sauce for the goose

Well given Privacy International is a None Government Organization by definition the FOI doesn't apply. If you want to know who they are or what they are trying to achieve have you thought of looking on their website?

They do plenty of campaigning about privacy issues in totalitarian regimes, but just because there are places that are worse doesn't mean you should ignore significant problems closer to home. Particularly given that a democracy where its own governments isn't following the rule of law, or being open and honest can't actually be classed as a fully functioning democracy. The wisdom of the democractic crowd can only happen if the crowd has accurate information to base their votes upon.

2
0

Page:

Forums