* Posts by Intractable Potsherd

2401 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

CONFIRMED: Driverless cars to hit actual British roads by end of year

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: @ Goldmember

I spend quite a lot of time in some countries with the jay-walking rule, and, whilst they seem completely objectionable to the British mindset*, they do seem to work. It is very funny seeing British tourists getting fined for just wandering into the road without due care and attention.

Which brings me to the next point - there most certainly should be an element of "due care and attention" on pedestrians, just the same as on any other other user of the roads. The loon with the headphones/mobile phone/book/newspaper/group of friends who is utterly oblivious to what s going on around her/him should be liable if an accident occurs and their behaviour contributed to it. The idiot parent sticking the pushchair into the road into the path of oncoming traffic should be prosecuted and have the child removed from them. Actions should have consequences.

You write "OK, so I'm walking through town at four in the morning; it's deserted, quiet enough for me to hear a car coming from a quarter-mile away, and I come to some traffic lights. According to you, unless I stand and wait for two or three minutes, waiting for the green man to grant me permission to cross the safely deserted street, I'm so idiotically reckless that I should be punished as a criminal. But, if I cross the same road a few hundred yards away, where there are no lights, I'm perfectly sensible and safe." Yes, it sounds silly, but it is what is required of a driver. Many times I've been stopped at red lights in the middle of the night, when there is no good reason (on roundabouts, for instance). We can argue the toss about what could be done about that, but the rule is "wait for the green to appear" - no excuses.

* The same British mindset that tends to come into play when "interpreting" all rules of the road, regardless of mode of use. Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers all tend to think "this is mine, and bugger everyone else".

1
1
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

@Rob Moss

"Human beings should not be trusted with a two-ton lethal weapon." And you presumably also think that we shouldn't be trusted with fire, pointy sticks, or stones.

FFS - people like you should be made to live on a nice safe island somewhere, where there is nothing that can hurt you. The rest of us could take bets on how long you would survive (it would last about the same time as a series of a reality show, so it could be televised).

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

I am a bit more concerned about "A groundbreaking trial of these vehicles on the road is expected to start later this year. " If they are breaking ground, haven't they done something wrong?

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: "most likely be configured,,," @ Cambridge AC

No, but you will find it easier to park your car because those who would find this useful won't be filling up all the spaces at the end of their 20 minute drive (that could have been done on the excellent London Transport system).

It seems a bit odd you are using a car into London from Cambridge - the train service is very good, isn't it?

0
0

Ex-prez Carter: 'America has no functioning democracy' with PRISM

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: no surprise here

And we can't have educated idealists running things, can we? Who knows what might happen!

The world needs some idealistic statesmen who have a view of the world that doesn't revolve around cynicism and selfishness. People with the strange (to you) notion that things can be better. The USA had the moral authority and the resources to make the world a better place, but it spaffed it up the wall with the first Iraq, and consolidated it with the second excursion.

8
0

UK investigators finger emergency beacon for 787 Heathrow fire

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Plastic Vs Aluminium

"Whereas the characteristics of composite fuselages, in the unseasonal London sun for 8 hours with no electricity to power the aircon, therefore getting hotter by the hour in the higher parts of the fuselage (heat rises, etc)"

And according to a poster at PPRuNE (Professional Pilots' Rumour Network) who seems to know his stuff, there is inadequate (read "no") fire-retardant material in the top half of the fuselage on the 787 (see postings by amicus at http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/518971-ethiopean-787-fire-heathrow-20.html). He also writes that the resin used will ignite at about 550 degrees F (288deg C), and that it is the same stuff that got banned for use on oil-rigs after Piper Alpha. Just to add to the fun, he reckons that a fire that burns through the skin whilst in flight will tend to propagate in the air-flow rather than extinguish (like a blown-on cigarette end, as I imagine it). Now, I don't have the technical expertise in composites to evaluate all this, but it makes me rather worried about this particular aircraft if even part of it is true! Now add a new type of wiring that is brittle, and I think I'll be avoiding it for a considerable time.

3
0

Ground control? My space helmet is FILLING WITH WATER!

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Oscar, what are you doing?

For some reason, it is still one of my favourite books. It is one of the few I have in dead-tree and ebook formats just in case I fancy reading it where-ever I am.

0
0

PRISM scandal: Brit spooks operated within the law, say politicos

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Johnnie Thicko Let's not forget @ Matt

Why the ad hominems, Matt? I know you are capable of putting forward reasoned arguments, but you seem to have given up on this one, preferring to use bullshit and bluster instead.

You have failed to show that we have nothing to fear - since we do fear, surely it is up to you to put the other side, of which you clearly feel you have privileged information.

3
1
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Let's not forget @John Smith 19

'AFAIK most of them don't think of those time as "The good old days."'

That may not be quite as true as you would hope. I have quite a lot to do with ex-Iron Curtain countries, and there are quite a number of people (often those who were adult during the regime, rather than adolescent when the change came) who privately think that the change from then to now was not a good a thing, and that they might have made a mistake in supporting the downfall of the communist regime. There have been some quite startling gains made by far-left parties in some areas.

1
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: "Operated within the law"

I thought the cake is a lie ...

1
0

Spotify strikes back at Radiohead - but artists are still angry

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Well, to a point, Lord Copper.@ Geoff Campbell

This has been an opinion I've held for some time (and occasionally put forward here). There is no reason whatsoever that any band these days needs to be in thrall to the record companies. No longer do the vampires in silly suits hold the keys (recording equipment and distribution channels) to getting music out there where people can enjoy it, and possibly pay for it. There is absolutely no reason in the 21st Century to hand over lots of money to tits who can't do anything but ride on the coat-tails of the musicians.

2
0

1953: How Quatermass switched Britons from TV royalty to TV sci-fi

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: How much the Doctor owes to the Professor...@M7S

I was just going to mention the late '70s version with Sir John Mills. So sad, and a really horrifying picture of societal breakdown. I have the book, and still read it every now and again when I feel sufficiently brave.

2
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge
Thumb Up

I can only upvote you once, but I would do more if I could!

0
0

Ad man: Mozilla 'radicals' and 'extremists' want to wreck internet economy

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

It is possible that he is afraid that all those people that don't know about ad-blocking will get "on by default" blocking and suddenly realise how nice the internet is without it!

1
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: No Cookies Please, We're British, aka hundreds of 1000s of jobs

I did!

1
0

From Russia with no love: Prez Putin dubs Ed Snowden 'unwanted gift'

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Got that the wrong way round ..... @ Titus

Titus, hiding behind a contract which requires you to do something illegal or immoral is a version of the Nuremberg Defence - which we know doesn't work.

Let's put it this way: say that for some reason the local chief police officer takes out a contract, legal in form, on your life. Should the person who takes the contract just fulfil it and be able to say "Well, I was just doing what the contract said" without sanction, or would you prefer that the person perhaps notifies someone else who can do something about it, and, given the power the local police chief wields, decides the best way is to go public? Snowden is in the latter position: it wasn't clear who the best person to report it to, so he has gone public with the information that [possibly] illegal and [certainly] immoral actions have taken place.

4
1

El Reg Playmonaut soars to 113,000ft

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: What is this CHARM?

Look again at Parax's name, and see what acronym is produced. It is certainly more in keeping with El Reg standard nomenclature!

0
0

UK.gov fines itself harshly for hurling NHS records to the winds

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Consequencies?

NHS Trusts have boards of governors, who have quite strong powers if they choose to use them. Why don't they demand a full accounting, and put forward motions for real action?

0
0

Security bods boycott DEF CON over closed door for feds

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Hmmm, how empty does he want the event to be?

Matt, do you seriously think that the majority of white-hats work for government agencies?

I think you are wrong, since a lot of white-hats think the government agencies are the black-hats.

1
1

Chinese police probe iPhone user's death by electrocution

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

That has been one of my thoughts since I first saw the iPhone stainless-steel edging, but I thought it was just me being odd again! Thanks for the reassurance I'm not alone!

0
1
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Skimpy article

My wife and her family, from an ex-Iron Curtain country, believe that it is dangerous to touch a washing machine whilst it is on, because there were a lot* of incidents at some point in the past of people being electrocuted.

Pointing out that:

- a lot of people have their washing-machines in the bathroom in that country**

- the building wiring there. It is entirely possible that it was not entirely safe,

- it is not entirely inconceivable that a number of washing machines had an electrical path to the casing,

- therefore, it is the combination of wet people and dodgy electrics that led to the deaths,

falls on deaf ears. Washing machines are dangerous!!. They then go in and use the hair dryer over a sink full of water ... or, worse yet, go to the cottage and use the two-ring electric cooker set lower than the sink next to it, and cannot understand why I think it is not a good idea ...

* for whatever value of "a lot" strikes them as significant.

** Most live in apartments in which, for some unfathomable reason, the bathroom is big enough to hold a party in, and the kitchen isn't big enough to swing an amoeba. The number of 240V electrical sockets in a bathroom terrifies me!

1
0

Icahn offers to sweeten his Dell deal with warrants

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: I hope Icahn wins and LOSES

Absolutely fair comments, Ledswinger. I should have phrased it differently, but I know that I can sometimes come across as a complete big-business-hating loon, so I responded to the original post as written.

It is a poor situation when the least-bad option is someone I wouldn't piss on if he was on fire. I suppose it is quite amazing how bloody awful Icahn is when he makes Dell look like the more humane option ...

What a mess.

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: I hope Icahn wins and LOSES

I like the sentiment, and would upvote you if the result of Icahn winning would not be lots of people losing jobs. If you can come up with a plan that avoids the huge amount of misery the objectionable bastard always inflicts on the companies he rapes and yet has the same effect of reducing the shithead to poverty and ridicule that we both want to see, I'm ready with the upvote button!

1
0

Sysadmin Day free give away

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Obligatory StarWars reference

That's no moon ...

1
0

Forget Snowden: What have we learned about the NSA?

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: What we've learned...

No. What we've learned is that there are some in the population who have bought the whole "the world is a REEEEEEAAAALLLYY dangerous place" story, and will excuse the State anything in the pursuit of perpetrators.

I'd rather have the small risk of something bad happening. Let's face it, the sort of crime most of us* will ever come across is not the sort that this kind of intelligence will ever pick up - petty vandalism, picked pockets, burglary, minor offences against the person. By all means, if the police have a suspicion that there is a conspiracy to commit a major crime, then they should do their jobs as they always have - work out who is likely to be involved, persuade a judge to give a warrant for proportionate intelligence gathering, and then, in the event of an arrest, gather sufficient evidence to persuade a jury that the suspects actually did it. That is the rule of law. Treating everyone as a suspect simply for being alive is wrong.

* and the overwhelming majority of us will never experience any of these anyway

3
1
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

@AC

If what you say is true, how about giving us silly folk that haven't spotted this some real information?

I bet you can/will not.

2
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Old News ...... @Titus

Thanks for the reasoned reply, Titus. I wish the Reg comments allowed a bit more real exchange of ideas.

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit and will always try to widen their remit.

I *do* understand the world we live in. There aren't enough "terrorists" to make any difference to the majority of us.

You cite the London incident - there is absolutely no evidence that random data-gathering made any difference whatsoever. There are so few potential bombers that, without specific intelligence, the wholesale hoovering of data will make no difference (or only if extremely lucky) at all.

Placing the whole population under scrutiny is a crime against the people. The state is acting in a way that says "we do not trust you", and, despite what you say, it is not lawful to spy without due cause. The alternative is to accept that everyone is a suspect merely for being alive. That is wrong, and someone needs to be held to account for it.

11
1
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Old News ...... @Titus

What else would you consider it prudent to stop doing in order to avoid over-reaching security? Don't write anything? Don't read anything? Don't buy fertilizer? Don't drive? .... The trouble with your argument is that, no matter what the "security"* services do, you will say "Well, what do you expect? Just stop doing <whatever it is the snooping bastards have been caught doing>!"

We agree on one thing - the world is as it is, and this is what is happening. We differ in that I don't just shrug my shoulders and say "Well, what do you expect?". I want to change things so that there is strong protection (even to the point that the occasional bad thing happens) of individual privacy, and a respect for the population. I also expect that the rules of diplomacy are followed, and that foreign leaders, especially those who are supposed to be "friends", are not spied upon (unless they are at risk from an existing target).

There *is* such a thing as the moral high-ground - it is time we got back to it.

* I don't actually feel secure by the existence of overreaching spies. It is time we engaged in a national debate about exactly who the security services should be protecting.

14
1

LG's curvy telly and Samsung's Galaxy camera seen in the wild

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

I have the compact Galaxy camera, and it is a great piece of kit. If I were in the market for an SLR (which I'm not - too big to carry around easily) I'd certainly consider one of these.

0
0

Gadgets are NOT the perfect gift for REAL men

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Pasta-maker

Ah, yes - the only "tech" I've ever bought for a woman that was appreciated (she had asked for it specifically, and went with me to make sure I got the right one).

Completely wasted on me - pasta is pasta is pasta. It is a flour and water paste in different shapes. There is (in my opinion) no difference between the cheapest dried stuff from the bottom shelf in Morrison's and the stuff my wife spends hours making (and then giving to people as presents ...)

1
2
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Don't buy me tech; please!

There is a lot of truth to that. In the past, I have tried to be as specific as possible about what I want (having been hedged into a corner by the "but you can't buy your own present" non-argument). It was then my fault because the sales-monkey had, for whatever reason, not just handed one over (pre-internet shopping, of course), and the standard birthday argument ensued because I *had* got what I wanted :-(

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Best. gift. ever.

I've asked for that several times. It is about as popular as telling people that I don't care about birthdays (see comments above from other posters).

1
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: I am not making this up @ Ben Tasker

"The worst thing you can buy, is an Iron ..."

As my dad found out many years ago. Mum had been saying that the old one was not working properly, and so he really thought this would make a good present for her birthday ...

Trouble is, he didn't learn - I remember the (apparently) seven-day frosty atmosphere after he got her a new chip-pan after complaints about the old one!

Did it sink in with me, you might ask? Well, probably not, given the receptions to a satnav, an MP3/4 player, and a pair of hiking boots over the years (not for my mum, though). I now insist on either a) a very clear statement of what she wants or b) it is going to be something soooooooooo useless and expensive that the argument is going to be as big as getting something useful (and probably cheaper) anyway. I refuse to buy silly fluffy monkeys just to "show I care".

0
0

Universities teach us a thing or two about BYOD

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Security deserves more attention. @ukaudiophile

I didn't downvote you, but you are are half-right, and half-wrong. Distance learning works for *some* people. Having the option is important.

I can never agree with you that "humanities, arts and others ... have no tangible return or use). Learning is valuable in and of itself. You seem to be one of those that think history (for example) is a pointless subject, whereas, say, engineering isn't. I'd say that you let your prejudice get in the way of clear thinking. That doesn't mean to say that I think the current policy of channelling thousands of people into university courses is necessarily good, but I think that people should have access to education (broadly defined) throughout their lives.

However, remember that universities do not only teach - there is a vast amount of research going on, and so premises must be available.

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Eduroam, and similar @Matthew 3

"... most academics respect the skills and experience of their IT staff ..."

Well, true in many cases. Personally, the IT folk are high on my list of people (departmental and central) to make acquaintance with within the first week in a new place - partly because I enjoy the company of techies, but because I want to show my respect for them by talking to them before I have anything to ask of them. The same isn't the same of all my academic colleagues, some of whom still regard IT as an unnecessary evil ...

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Security deserves more attention. @Phil W

"In most UK Universities the academic staff get any devices they need for their work provided to them, so BYOD isn't necessary."

I don't know where you get this idea from. Of the many jobs I've had in universities (lecturing and research), only one supplied me with a laptop for the work (which I was more than happy to use, even though it was a bottom-of-the-range Toshiba laptop). All the rest required (and still require) my own IT provision.

I'm intrigued what those who advocate a supplied-IT approach in universities would like to see? The only other option is to supply thousands of staff and students every year with standard equipment, creating a huge inventory and attendant stock-taking and replacement cycles. Alternatively, are you advocating that all students/staff must only use local desktops, (which shows you don't have a grasp on how learning works these days - distance-learning is a fact, guys and gals)? My current university is some 400 miles from where I live, and I need to be able to work when I'm not actually at my (non-existent) desk. So, seriously - what is your answer?

2
0

Dead STEVE JOBS was a CROOK - Judge

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Use the fines to prop up physical book publishers/sellers @Dan Paul

Whilst I have some sympathy with your post (I love book shops, and I miss "real" libraries), I cannot entirely agree with you. Literature is literature is literature, regardless of the medium. No doubt there were people that claimed the only "real" way to read a book was on parchment that umpteen monks had slaved away on for years, and that this printing lark was devaluing the experience. However, it doesn't matter whether it is produced with ink-particles or electrons. The ideas are what matter.

Yes, there are issues surrounding the resilience of ebooks compared to dead-tree books. If there is an apocalypse, hopefully some of the dead-tree books will still be around to help the survivors at some point - it is interesting how many post-apocalypse stories have the wise man guarding the old library - whereas we cannot sensibly expect anyone two generations after whatever disaster to have any clue what the strange devices that do nothing were for. However, I'm not sure that is any reason to shore up the modern equivalent of buggy-whip manufacturers (also more likely to be useful, post-apocalypse, than cars).

Your argument that ebooks can be recalled by the publisher flies in the face of reality. Any book you think might be banned is available through less-offical channels somewhere, and if it isn't, it would be five minutes after news of a recall was published. I keep several local copies of every single ebook I have, and I an far from the only one. The other advantage of ebooks is that there are a lot of potential sources of samizdat print copies in the event that they are required.

TL:DR - you are over-reacting, I think.

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Loss leaders - @DougS

I'm not sure that it can be established that Amazon is doing anything illegal,* otherwise Apple and/or others would have started there, rather than do something that any sensible lawyer would have told them sailed very close to the wind. Amazon are, unfortunately,** sailing far enough from the wind to be unassailable from any legal point of view.

Had Apple and the book companies not had the "most favoured nation" clause, than this would not have come to court. That decision is what showed intent to distort the market unfairly, and this seems to be an inevitable decision on the part of the court.

* I assume by "illegal" you are suggesting that Amazon has been "dumping"? There is no evidence of that available, at least at the moment.

** I say "unfortunately" because it is never good in the long term for one company to have a massive share of the market in anything.*** Amazon has, so far, not used its weight to act contrary to the interests of the consumer, or, really, the producers (at least, no more than any other outlet would). Nonetheless, I'd prefer to see an effective competitor from somewhere, even though I do use Amazon for about half of my media (all types) purchases.

*** The logic of capitalism requires that monopolies are the end product in any market. It amuses me when people who claim to be "free-market" advocates talk about invoking anti-trust law, thus requiring state intervention!

0
0

Apple surrenders in 'app store' trademark suit against Amazon

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Bad week for Apple.

They've just lost the ebook price-fixing case too. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23259935)

2
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: contempt-of-court type sanction where the judge can just fine @ Tom 13

"... the judges also make money when the litigants bring these cases."

No, they don't. Judges are salaried employees who would be paid regardless (it isn't as if there is competition for cases). There isn't any extra for hearing certain types of case.*

* As far as I know, but California is a funny place ...

2
0

Radar gremlins GROUND FLIGHTS across southern Blighty

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Good

I'm appalled at the Luddism shown by supposedly techy types. Air travel is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, and you complain about a bit of noise (I grew up on the flight path of Vulcans, and recently lived on the path from Birmingham), and would happily move back to live near a proper airport (Dundee doesn't count ...)

NIMBYs are the lowest form of social life.

0
0

Android sig vuln exploit SEEN IN THE WILD

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: So effectively...

"..you're saying that Apple's walled garden approach is the only way to be secure?"

No, sabroni - the only way to be secure is not to use any mobile phone at all. Slightly less secure is not to use smartphones at all. A bit further down the list is to use a smartphone but don't download any apps from anywhere. Just a little way down is to use a reliable store, regardless of supplier. Perhaps twice that last distance is to use an unauthorised app store. Even then, you are barely 5mm down a 10cm scale of "risk".

0
0

UK Post Office admits false accusations after computer system cockup

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: just wishing @Disco Dance Donkey

"What's the punishment for providing false evidence?"

Providing false evidence, if found to be culpable, is known as "perverting the course of justice". It is a common law offence, and carries up to life imprisonment ... I don't know of any cases where the maximum has been applied, but the clear fabrication of lies by Huhne and Pryce only got them eight months with two months served inside.

0
0
Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: No systemic problem?

Quashing of any criminal proceedings is high on the list as well. There are people with undeserved criminal records - arguably as bad as the financial implications.

1
0

Hack biz rivals or hire cyber-warriors and we'll shut you down, warns EU

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: "fail to prevent staff" ?

Yep - it does look like we are all now extensions of our employers, who must now monitor every IT activity we do. The concept of "private time", or time when we are not the responsibility of our employers just went out of the window.

This is going to lead to some popcorn sessions, I think. Better get the armchair ready.

0
0

France's 'three strikes' anti-piracy law shot down

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: I'll bet this shitze don't fly

Ahhhh, ignore it, ratfox - it is just one of the usual IP trolls that come here every time to post from the same script. I'm don't know exactly who employs them, but at least one will show up every time.

1
0

Barnes & Noble chief walks as Nook ereader stumbles

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

@h3

At what price *do* you expect customer service to be included? I'm old-fashioned enough to consider that any customer deserves service, regardless of what is being bought - a 50p tap washer customer is the same as a £100 tap customer.

Your attitude makes you part of the increasingly poor delivery of service, since you think that price is directly proportional to deserving of service.

0
0

Your own £19 Pocket Spacecraft could be FOUND ON THE MOON

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: message direct from their favourite social media...

Lunar environmentalists must be the silliest form of life anywhere ...

0
0

Snowden: US and Israel did create Stuxnet attack code

Intractable Potsherd
Silver badge

Re: Err

I suppose it would be wrong of me to suggest the same fate for you, for exactly the same reasons?

4
1

Forums