* Posts by Pete 2

2389 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Fried-egg sarnies kick off Reg man's quid-a-day nosh challenge

Pete 2
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Calories

A quick tot-up at the calorie counter gives the following:

1kg rice (raw) ~ 4,000

800 gm loaf ~ 2,100

1kg chickpeas (dry) 3,700

12 fried eggs ~ 1,000

Bones - reckon on 200gm of fat @ 8cal/gm = 1,600

semi skimmed milk (iltr) ~ 600 - shoulda gone for full-fat!

and ignoring the teabags & spices as being insignificant.

That gives a total calorie intake of about 13,000 for the week, or 1,850 / day. So you might even lose a bit of weight - though I doubt that was part of the plan. Now, about those greens ...

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UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now

Pete 2
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Free for all!

So let's see if I've got this right.

Once a work has become "orphaned" then this new british law will allow anyone and everyone to copy it, modify it, sell it or give it away. You can "orphan" a work by removing any meta data the image contains and doing a cursory search in a single registry to see if the piccy is listed there.

However, if you <err ... > come by an already orphaned work on a website - maybe a photo-sharing for the sake of argument, then you can do whatever you wish with it. And if it just happens to be similar to, but sufficiently different from, a famous original such that your registry search would come up negative, well, that's too bad.

Now, I can't see how the "britishness" of this law comes about. Will the ability to claim a picture only apply if it was "found" on a UK website, or can it be "found" anywhere so long as the finder was in Britain at the time (in reality, or virtually) - or what? And does it offer any protection at all if someone in another country appears on the scene and claims ownership of the image and sues your ass off in another country, of their choosing?

Finally, what is a movie, if not a series of images (none of which individually contains ownership material) all strung together in a particular order? .... I really can't see this Act doing anything except muddying the waters and giving the BIG GUYS more power, while not treating the little guys in the same way.

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Caldicott: NHS workers should 'have the confidence to share information'

Pete 2
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Instead of asking for patient consent ...

Just ask them for their FB account id. If it's possible to pull personal info from that, assume the individual has no interest in personal security. If they refuse to hand over the account details, don't have one or ask "What's Facebook?" then button 'em up, tight.

At the worst, it might give some people a well-needed lesson in personal security.

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Bill Gates offends Koreans after sticking hand down trousers

Pete 2
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Eric Pode got it right

> He had an itch and needed a scratch.

One of The Burkiss Way's more memorable passages had Mr Croydon being asked:

"Are you feeling up to it?" which brought the reply

"Naaahh, I was only scratching my leg"

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Reddit: So very sorry for naming innocent man as Boston bomber

Pete 2
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Just goes to show: the internet is a GOOD thing

Here we have a bunch of couch-surfers, complete with their biases, assumptions and prejudices fingering the wrong guy for all the wrong reasons. Luckily for him, they were only sitting at home thinking they were getting involved in something real. If this had been a pre-internet lynch-mob there could well have been a hanging. Instead the pitchforks and nooses of Ye Olde West (and East) were not in evidence and the target of this uninformed hysteria is still with us.

However I bet his lawyers are rubbing their hands with glee.

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Verizon: 96 PER CENT of state-backed cyber-spying traced to China

Pete 2
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So does the hosting country get a "pass"?

> New statistics contained in [ the american company ] Verizon’s ...

Or is there actually an espionage gap? One that represents as big a threat as the missile gap, the bomber gap or the mineshaft gap ( 'pollies to Dr. Strangelove for that last one ). If so, what is the United States of Merkins going to do to close the gap. One must assume a rapid deployment of hackers on their part to catch up.

Unless there is no gap and the USA-ian hackers just don't get caught, or have a blind eye turned (or maybe even hacked the survey?).

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Google's teeny UK tax bill 'just not right', thunders senior MP

Pete 2
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Re: Can we check one thing?

> You feel that hypocrisy is the worst of all possible offenses, and to have engaged in it in the past makes someone ineligible from ever pointing out the deficiencies of another?

I don't think hypocrisy is like having the flu. You get it for a week or two and after that you're cured: a "moment of madness" if you will. I believe it is more an intrinsic part of one's personality (or not). Now, I can accept that people can and occasionally do, change - but acts of contrition after being caught don't cut it - they just reinforce the initial impression.

It might not even be a bad attribute for a politician, if used properly. For example in negotiating with other governments it would be nice if our politicians were better liars, frauds and con-artists than the other guy's were. It's just when they do it (and so badly) to the people who pay them, that it annoys me.

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Pete 2
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Can we check one thing?

When MPs start criticising others, or companies, for dubious tax affairs - or claiming things they shouldn't ought to it's always worth looking back to inspect their records of honesty, apropos expense claims.

Maybe she's not the best person to cast the first stone

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8 in 10 small UK firms hacked last year - at £65k a pop: Report

Pete 2
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Come clean on funny money

> The average attack caused a Blighty SMB between £35,000 and £65,000 worth of damage

Now, we all know that doesn't mean that the SMBs in question had to get thirty five grand of cash out of their respective wads and spend that money on goods or services outside the company.

No. All it means is they got some of their staff to do a few hours of work at some notional internal cross-charge hourly rate and a whole lot more managers to spend time in meetings, each at a vastly higher notional hourly rate. Now some of those people might, just, have got a bit of overtime or a meal allowance - but in most cases (of personal experience) they were just told to stop what they were working on: projects, facebook updates, chatting to colleagues, long lunches, going home on time - and to sort out whatever breach had been detected.

The reason that large company's breaches cost more was in large part because they had more staff that they could apply to the problem. Work expands to fill the number of departments that can charge for their time.

What would be interesting to know, but will never ever be revealed, is how much actual cash flowed out of a company for each problem that they had to fix. I would suspect that in most cases the real monetary cost was very small indeed.

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Securing the Internet of Things - or how light bulbs can spy on you

Pete 2
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Who let the data out?

> ... data to be secured between just the device and a home hub

So all this stuff will be routed through the home's internet connection. That makes it a trivial task to simply block it going out at all. It does seem that until someone (a vested interest no doubt, but vested in what, precisely?) can answer the question: why should I give away all this information about my household? there's nothing in it for me to let this data go back to where ever it is being sent.

Sure, I can see that there is a possibility, but only a possibility, that I could get a discount on my utilities bill if I allow smart reading of the various meters - or more likely a penalty if I don't. But after that: who cares?

What do I gain if a lightbulb tells someone "Hello, I've just been switched on" or if the kettle squeaks up "this is the third cup of tea this hour!".

Just because something becomes possible, that doesn't mean that it will be adopted. Unless I can see a real, tangible benefit TO ME for all this data that would counterbalance the disadvantage it would put me at , I can't see why I should let it pass.

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Eric Schmidt defends Google's teeny UK tax payouts - again

Pete 2
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It's not a tax ...

... if you don't have to pay it - it's a donation.

Maybe the people who should be most apologetic about this whole sorry state of affairs are the UK's politicians. The thing they should be apologetic about is their inability to draft water-tight tax laws. Why, after all the years that this has been dragging on, haven't they got off their arses and DONE SOMETHING to close the loopholes?

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The politics of the data centre

Pete 2
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Stovepipes kill progress

One place I worked had a team for every possible discipline. All of whom wanted to be involved in approving every decision, as there was inevitably some aspect that would affect their "patch".

So, to do something as simple as extend a database table needed buy-in from the database team: fair enough. However the server guys could veto the decision, as the databases ran on their servers. Similarly the storage peeps had to be persuaded - as they looked after the spinning stuff and would have to allocate space. Same for the network: as all the data traffic flowed through their wires, so an potential increase needed to be assessed, modelled and impact-analysed. Add in the people who did the backups and service / continuity people and even the smallest change needed the approval of half a dozen or more teams. None of whom were looking at the big picture - merely how they could leverage the situation to get more budget, headcount or cross-charge.

As a consequence nothing ever got done. Nobody could ever agree and there was always someone else to point the finger at if a problem arose. Everyone quickly learned that trying to do pre-emptive maintenance was futile and the simplest way to get things done was to wait until some part of the operation failed, then raise an emergency change to get it working again.

Sadly this state of affairs arose because of all the problems that the earlier "free for all" organisation had suffered. Some consultants had come in, seen the opportunity and suggested ISO, or BS, or ITIL or whatever other faddy re-organisation would earn them the highest fees. The basic problem was that they were only shuffling the same people around. The people who neither wanted to do any work, nor were interested in what went on outside their little fiefdom, or had any loyalty to the IT department as a whole.

The truth was that any set of processes (or none at all) could have worked, if only the individuals charged with running the operation were motivated, skilled and truly a team. In the end the problem was solved by outsourcing the whole mess, so everybody lost. But at least no individual was to blame.

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Bitcoins: A GIANT BUBBLE? Maybe, but currency could still be worthwhile

Pete 2
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Is your money where your mouth is?

> Bitcoin is the greatest thing since sliced bread

So, the only question that remains is: how many have you got (and would you take an assignment that paid in BCs)?

A person who extols the virtues of any virtual currency but hasn't got any, themself, has no credibility on that topic.

Bubbles are at best ephemeral, fragile things that disappear as soon as you look at them. Virtual bubbles from virtual trading in virtual goods? Even more so. If the whole mess disappeared tomorrow, at least the BC holders wouldn't have lost anything - since they never had anything to start with.

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Ban drones taking snaps of homes, rages Google boss... That's HIS job, right?

Pete 2
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Celebrity self interest

> cheap camera-toting aircraft can be used by anyone from terrorists to quarrelling neighbours:

I think his major, probably only, reason for getting upset is that the paparazzi will start flying drones over his property and start invading his privacy. He obviously has no interest in anybody else's privacy, but when it comes "home" it's a different matter entirely.

Though to be fair, it's only a short journey from loading a camera onto a drone and flying it over his heavily guarded and impenetrable walls, to loading a gun onto the same ...

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Space elevators, vacuum chutes: What next for big rocket tech?

Pete 2
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That's what happens when you leave development up to governments

So the basic rocket used in the 1940s is little different from the ones in use today - 50+ years later. Quel suprise!

Government agencies have little reason to pursue developments - they're expensive, they don't always work and even if you do make a thingy work better, all you get is a pat on the back and a memo of thanks.

Compare that with the (commercially driven) aircraft industry. Coming out of WW1, in 1918 aircraft were still made from wood, with 1 or 2 piston engines and room for one or two "lucky" drivers (though some of the "latest" bombers could carry 6 people). And they were about as reliable as Windows 3.1 However there were lots of civil aviation companies - all competing for government contracts and commercial uptake. Hence, 50 years and a few more wars later we had Jumbo jets.

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Frightening fondleslabs branded Hannibal Lecter of UK PC market

Pete 2
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Punditry

The great thing is that in a day or two, whatever these guys say will be lost and forgotten, probably for ever. If pure, blind, random chance happens to do them a turn and this prognostication (one of how many?) happens to have a grain of truth in it, they will be blowing their own strumpets and telling the world what masters of forecasting they are. However, if it turns out they are completely and irredeemably wrong the story will get buried and never mentioned again.

The trick is to make as many forecasts as possible and just play the odds.

Now, if they were to have a significant amount of their own, personal, money riding on the outcome of this statement, then I might be persuaded to take it a bit more seriously.

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US Air Force reclassifies 6 cyber tools as weapons

Pete 2
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Air force ... cyber-weapons ... huh?

Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but I'm a little confused about the armed farces.

The army I get: shoot people on land

Navy: same idea - shoot people at sea

Airforce - bomb the crap out of people from a nice, safe distance

So where does the american air force feature in goofin' around on the internet? You'd think that if someone wanted to keep critical assets away from (foreign) baddies, simply unplugging them from the web would be simple, effective and extremely sensible. I can only presume that since the fly-boys haven't got very many targets these days, they've been expanding their sphere of influence in order to preserve their enormous egos budgets.

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The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

Pete 2
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Thinking Machines

Enough of the cheap, plasticky tat. A real computer is too heavy to lift. Although there's a Cray in the list, nothing beats a Thinking Machines Corp. product for sheer cool.

(Except maybe, watching a StorageTek tape robot doing its thing at full whack.)

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Hold on! Degrees for all doesn't mean great jobs for all, say profs

Pete 2
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Where lawyers go to die - or at least smell bad

> n the last 19 years 1,710,000 students studied Law though in the same period there were only ever 66,500 job vacancies ever available.

And the rest are to found polluting the internet with their own personal views of what's legal or illegal (or worse: right and wrong, though the two have no connection whatsoever). Based on no experience at all.

It's probably a good thing, though. This country really doesn't need 90,000 new lawyers every year - though with so many excessively legal-jargon qualified, even if not all of them graduate, is it really any wonder that this country is becoming so litigious?

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Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash

Pete 2
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Investing is gambling is risk

> Quite simply, they made loans to people who said they had a great plan

So they were unable (or unwilling, given the "cooooore! look how much those other guys are raking in!" factor) to correctly assess the risk associated with their loans. That's hardly different from a punter consistently reckoning horses have odds of 4 - 1 of winning and therefore betting his/her entire pension on them if the bookie is offering 5 -1.

Now, the basic problem was that unless the bank made those bets, and won, they couldn't support a share price that was comparable to the financial sector - so the people at the top would get the chop. It turned out that HBOS was just plain unlucky with who they gambled on - though given their actions: it wasn't really luck, at all. The whole process will repeat, sooner or later, unless the quest for short-term payback is limited and possibly regulated. Without someone telling the bankers (as a whole) that their gambling is reckless and has to be brought under control, it's inevitable that someone will succumb to the "bargain" odds on offer and get it wrong.

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Gartner: RIP PCs - tablets will CRUSH you this year

Pete 2
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Crush? or a light fondling.

Some numbers from the article:

> PCs sold in 2013 ... 315 million units

> Tablet shipments ...197 million units

So even if all those tablet shipments turn into sales - and they include the $50 cheap crap devices, the market for PCs still looks pretty dam' good - though obviously in decline, as you'd expect for a saturated product where most sales are replacements, rather than new users.

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Monkey poo probe reveals secrets of middle-management brains

Pete 2
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If only someone would invent a "search engine"

> human middle managers have a harder time than their bosses and their underlings.

The researcher would have found dozens of studies, on actual people, that have been done over the past 50 years that all reached the same conclusion. And she wouldn't have had to watch 600 hours of monkey poo - just a couple of minutes in front of what might (in the future, if anyone ever develops it) be called "Google" could have saved her from wasting her life away.

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Brits, Germans, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italians ALL to probe Google

Pete 2
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Tax revenue for free

The americans have been doing this sort of thing (imposing enormous fines on foreign companies) for some time. It seems only fair that "we" get in on the act, too.

These fines are actually a nice little earner and since they don't hurt any nationals from the countries doing the regulating they provide some free money to the various exchequers. Whether or not this amounts to (illegal) trade sanctions is debatable, but if they can do it to us, why shouldn't we regulate back? It sure beats the hell out of taxing your own voters.

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I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

Pete 2
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Don't do house calls

My response to these annoyances is to tell the individual in question to "bring it over and I'll have a look". You are then at liberty to leave any computer that does actually turn up (the prospect of having to do something, themselves, seems to deter most people) in a dark corner for several weeks. If the owner does summon up the courage to enquire, just mumble something about "cross wiring the Southend bus" or somesuch and tell them you'll be in touch.

The problem with going round to their house to fix a problem is

(a) it puts you under pressure to do something immediately

(b) you're away from your tools, favourite debugger, reference sources and possibly even a viable internet connection

(c) unless you do manage to randomly fix it, it's difficult to get away when you've had enough

(d) it takes no effort on the part of the ask-er - always a bad position to be in.

The other advantage of leaving someone-else's kit to fester while you're "fixing" it, is that you could build up a stockpile. So when yet another freeloader cheefully asks for hundreds of pounds of your time (at professional rates) for nowt (or worse, in exchange for a bottle of undrinkable wine, that they were probably given on the cheap), just point to the pile and remind them that you've already got Fred from No. 6's to do first and then you promised the kids from across the street that you'd sort out their video drivers ...

Alternatively, you could just hand them your lawnmower and suggest that while you're fixing their PC, they could make themselves useful with the jobs you were about to do, before they interrupted you.

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You know how your energy bills are SO much worse than they were?

Pete 2
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On the bright side ...

If the government hadn't "forced up" the price of energy, then we'd have more money in our pockets. But then we'd probably go and spend it all on things like .... well, you know: food, and beer and fags. So a competent liar politician could argue that by forcing people to shell out to keep warm, they've actually helped to IMPROVE our health, lower our weight and keep our livers in good order.

Gawd bless 'em

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After Leveson: The UK gets an Orwellian Ministry of Truth for real

Pete 2
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Boo hoo

> MPs had ended three centuries of freedom from political interference of the published word

Alternatively: newspaper owners gave up 300 years of responsible reporting and professionalism.

Saying that something is "in the public interest" is an easy and lazy defence that can be applied to pretty much any newspaper article. It's also completely unprovable - and attributing increased sales is the worst possible rationalisation for "public interest".

What's happened to newspapers is what happens every day in thousands of households across the land: where exasperated parents say to their misbehaving toddlers "if you won't play nicely, we're taking your toys away". The press brought this sorry state of affairs on themselves. Maybe they thought they were "too big to fail regulate" - it looks like their arrogance was called.

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Roomba dust-bust bot bods one step closer to ROBOBUTLERS

Pete 2
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Re: (Still) fixing the wrong problem

> iRobot also makes military robots.

But at least there'll be a nice clean battlefield after their robots have killed / bombed / strafed the crap out of every living thing on or near it. (So long as there aren't any stairs).

Hopefully their revision control software won't get the robo-butler and military versions mixed up.

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Pete 2
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(Still) fixing the wrong problem

If you want to differentiate a packet of bog rolls from a packet of crisps why not just read the bar code (that's what it's there for, after all)? If you're a vacuum cleaner I'd far prefer your developers spent time on getting you to climb stairs, and to be able to get the cobwebs off the ceiling, than teaching you to identify 57 varieties of chair.

The only thing a vacuum cleaner needs to know about objects in its path is not WHAT they are, but their properties: movable/immovable, fragile or prone to injury - and then to take a limited set of actions depending on those properties (and erring on the side of caution, natch).

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LOHAN fans drawn to magnetic coupling

Pete 2
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Look out for ice

Just make sure that your magnets don't get dewed up during the ascent. The dew could freeze the magnets together, so that the pull-apart force is no longer defined by the strength / size of the magnets, but by the amount of ice holding them together.

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Is UK web speech regulated? No.10: Er. We’ll get back to you

Pete 2
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Not much new

> has Parliament just voted to regulate internet speech?

No, it's always been regulated. You have NEVER been able to say anything you please, online (just like in real life). You can't tell lies about people, you can't make false claims for things you sell, or have bought and reviewed. You can't make hateful statements and you can't incite naughtyness. In short - anything that you can't say in print (already) has always been restricted on the internet - even if enforcement has been on the non-existent side of inconsistent and spotty.

However if this new set of rules actually gets ENFORCED, in the way the old set never was then I really, really hope it will finally put an end to most of the innuendo, bitchiness, snide comments and general nastiness that passes for tabloid journalism: either in print or online.

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Paying a TV tax makes you happy - BBC

Pete 2
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Re: Oh FFS.

> it's quite hard to avoid buying stuff that's advertised on TV

Au contraire.

I've never had the slightest inclination to buy any of the crap that's advertised on TV. Although I imagine that for women the situation is different - as most of the adverts are for their sort of "stuff".

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Drilling into 3D printing: Gimmick, revolution or spooks' nightmare?

Pete 2
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The new injection moulding

In the 50's and 60's there was a large increase in the availabilty of cheap tat from the far east. This came about from cheap injection moulding technology, that became affordable and allowed manu's to fill the world with little plasticky things, often with rough edges that would break after a short time.

Obviously the technology improved - as did the ability of people who designed stuff for IM manufacture. So today there is less tat and more high-quality IM produced stuff around. To the point where nobody cares, or knows, what the process was that created all the stuff they surround themselves with.

3D printing is similar. As it's still in the novelty stage, the attribute "3D printed" is often promoted more than the actual thing that was produced. Whether or not you consider the stuff to be cheap (or expensive) plasticky tat is up to the reader. However the technology still has a way to go before it matures to the point where nobody, except the maker, cares how their new "thing" was produced.

The one thing I can see that stands in the way of 3D printing is the speed of production. It still seems to be a slow, rasterised, process. Adding one thin layer after another. While the low speed of the "printer" lends itself to making high-precision parts, it's pretty hopeless at making them by the million. Until the process can match the speed of other manufacturing processes, it will always be a high-cost, niche technique. Great for one-offs, but useless for making a billion keyboard key-caps a year.

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Copper load of that: Ofcom claims HUGE jump in 'average' broadband speed

Pete 2
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In other news ...

... workers commute durations have been found to average less than 10 minutes - providing they live within 5km of their work and don't travel in peak times.

Apart from OFCOM coming up with meaningless, unrealistic drivel (as usual), what exactly is their point?

Are they trying to imply that somehow their "regulation" powers have had something to do with this? Are they really saying that internet speeds are something they simply don't understand - or know how to measure properly? Maybe the subtext is that even with them not doing a single dam' thing to (ever) make anything better, that it's still possible to fudge the figures to make it appear that they've done some good?

Why do they keep wasting our time ...

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eBay: Our paid Google advertising was a total waste of money

Pete 2
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Online advertising's greatest flaw

... is that advertisers can actually MEASURE it's efficacy.

With good, old-fashioned advertising there was little, if any, way of telling how well a particular advertisement was working. Sure, occasionally one advertisement would go stratospheric and everyone would win an award (even if sales didn't twitch) - but the main reason for mainstream advertising was that YOU had to do it because everybody else was, too.

With the 'net that's all changed. The old saying that: "half of all advertising money is wasted - but nobody knows which half" is no longer true - either in degree or analysis. We now know that most advertising money is wasted, either by targeting the wrong (or none) audience, preaching to the converted or being too expensive for the returns it produces.

So, given that anyone with their finger on the pulse of their advertising budget can see where it's gurgling down the plug 'ole (to mix a few metaphors), it's a wonder that anyone still bothers with it. Until you look back at the alternatives.

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Starlight-sifting boffins can now spot ALIEN LIFE LIGHT YEARS AWAY

Pete 2
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Re: Anything we can do

> I don't think you can draw any statistical inference from one data point.

Maybe not, but you can build a whole internet full of conjecture on it.

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Pete 2
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Anything we can do

(on average) half the aliens can do better. It's reasonable to assume that humanity is nothing special so far as speed of development goes. So it's a reasonable guess, based on zero evidence, that half the aliens out there are more advanced than we are.

So if we can detect alien light, there must be lots of sentient races that can do the same, and have developed the tech. to tell them more about all the other alien races their SETI programmes have marked out.

On that basis, where the hell are they? Sure some will have a prime-directive sort of philosophy and not want to "pollute" us. Some will have seen our TV and decided we're (a) doomed, (b) best left well alone (c) in fear of their sanity. Yet some must have some inking of curiosity and at least started to say "Hi There!" - or "Don't you know there are laws against squirting radio waves everywhere".

However, if humanity really is the most advanced, or only, technological race in this part of the galaxy, then it doesn't say much for evolution.

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Ten serious sci-fi films for the sentient fan

Pete 2
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2001 still does it for me

By far the best of the bunch. Though when someone (so long as it isn't Spielberg) gets round to filming Neuromancer or possibly The Shockwave Rider they could give it a run for its money.

Good call leaving out The Matrix IMHO. Far too many self-indulgent SFX getting in the way of the story.

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UK's £500m web dole queue project director replaced after JUST 4 months

Pete 2
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Looks like they've found their beta tester

Let's see if the system really doesn't have any problems. Who'd bet their benefits on it?

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

Pete 2
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Fixing the wrong problem

> will not work with a severed hand

If a baddie is in a position to hack a hand off someone who's bank account they wanted to raid, they would also be able to say to the victim "either we hack off both your hands (to be sure we have the correct one) or you come with us."

Given that choice I can see the victim ALWAYS choosing to do the deed with hands still intact. So the possibility, cheesy films notwithstanding, of the machine ever being offered a dead 'un is just not a real-life situation.

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Banged-up Brit hacker hacks into his OWN PRISON'S 'MAINFRAME'

Pete 2
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Slow learner

> A UK hacker behind bars for computer fraud

So the guy wasn't smart enough to not get caught, which is how he ended up prison in the first place. Yet he thought (somehow) that a computer with the sole purpose of maintaining a secure environment would be a good target to hack. Even though once (inevitably) the intrusion attempt was flagged, the number of suspects who had the opportunity, the intent and the skills history of failure would land him in the spotlight before he could hit <RETURN>

Loser.

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WHY would survey-slingers give YOU a free $1,500 Google Glass?

Pete 2
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Shrug: the offer's as good as the survey results

Surveys are notoriously unreliable. People either try to guess the "right" answers, respond according to what they think the surveyor wants, don't understand the questions or have a "none of the above" reply.

So if people are getting suckered in to filling out surveys with implausibly generous bait being offered, then it appears that both sides of the understanding (what the punter says and what rewards they are offered) are equally bogus. At last the world of customer surveys are found an equilibrium point!

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Entire Reg readership would fill 205 Olympic-sized swimming pools

Pete 2
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Re: Play hard to get

> Deal?

Maybe - please send photo of the fish

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Pete 2
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Play hard to get

> Laid head-to-toe

If there's any "laying" to be done, I'd want someone to buy me dinner first.

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Mobes, web filth 'PORNIFYING' our kids, warns top Labour MP

Pete 2
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It's bad ... because it's bad.

> The MP ain't talking about what's on tv. She's talking about the kind of material available on the internet which noone in their right mind would suggest is suitable for young teens.

Completely agree. However the basic problem is that the whole topic is marginalised or taboo. Until it's possible to debate the subject unemotionally and with no sniggering at the back, it will not be possible to address the root cause, which is the taboo nature of the topic.

In that respect, it shares the same properties as discussions about drugs. Because hard drugs are illegal, society cannot (or will not) address the problems that drugs cause. All that happens is the discussion always comes back to " ... because they're illegal". At which point no progress can be made in helping the victims or destigmatising those at the unfortunate end of the problem.

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Pete 2
Silver badge

Get it all out in the open

The basic problem with sex, skin, sexual content, sexting etc. is that it IS considered "nasty" or "dirty" or "shameful" and it's impossible to have a mature discussion about it. Just look at the way the media deals with smut: on TV it must be post-watershed so the little darlings can't be "perverted" by the sight of something half the population has or worse: the sight of two people using their bodies in ways that might lead to embarrassing questions of their parents.

The tabloid press is even worse in their hypocrisy. On the one hand going to great lengths to seek out unintended photos and on the other lambasting those who don't fall into a narrow category of what's considered "normal" behaviour by the prudish readers and the professionally angry journalists.

We are brought up (for better or worse) in an environment where violent death is on the screen nightly (and even during the day) and few ever complain: probably because they've given up complaining. Yet the wrong piece of skin on the wrong channel at the wrong time causes ructions amongst the regulators and those who's hobby seems to be getting aroused apoplectic about nudity.

What's the answer? short of banning clothes during the summer when it's warm enough, I can't think of a way to get past the entrenched opinions.

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UK taxmen turn heat on tax-swerving big biz, hope to smoke out £1bn

Pete 2
Silver badge

Evade the benefits

> you should be eligible for things like Working Tax Credits

There's an online calculator at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/start/who-qualifies/quick-questionnaire.htm

For people who have no kids/partners living with them and with a half-decent income you quickly arrive at the answer

Sorry, because your total income is more than £13,000 a year, you probably don't qualify for tax credits.

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Pete 2
Silver badge

Set your targets low enough ...

... and it doesn't look too bad when you miss them.

> investigating tax worth £1 billion

The government collects over half a TREEELLION pounds in tax every year. So the odd "bil" will neither make much difference, nor be difficult to squeeze out of the system without to much complaint. However, for the populace it makes a nice headline. A billion pounds sounds like a lot, and indeed it is to an individual. But in terms of what it would buy: given how good the finance people are at jacking up the cost of public projects, it's a drop in the ocean.

Fortunately that oceanic drop also means it won't be missed when the bean counters discover that the tax accountants hired by corporations are cleverer and more motivated to save their bosses dosh, than some under-motivated government clerk is at collecting it.

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Engineers are cold and dead inside, research shows

Pete 2
Silver badge

Humanity can thank us later

And a jolly good thing too, that engineers are cold (or should that be rational) and unemotional. Otherwise we'd still be sitting round log fires debating what colour this new-fangled "wheel" thing should be.

tip 'o the hat to DA

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Google sinks millions into plush new £1bn London HQ

Pete 2
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The going rate

> worth a cool £1bn

and they'll still only pay a couple of quid in business rates on the building

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PR people 'put duty to the public ahead of employers' interests'

Pete 2
Silver badge

File under: Laughable

> your typical PR type is in fact a selfless crusader for truth and justice

Old joke alert: What's the difference between a car salesperson and a computer salesperson? The car salesperson knows when they're lying

The moral being that it's possible to believe you're telling the truth - especially when you don't have the foggiest idea about the technology, the principles or the theory of what you're trying to flog. Alternatively if you're easily convinced (or want to believe) that a certain thing is true you can then become a fanatical proponent of that - even if everyone around you think it's complete bollocks.

So, a good PR person will believe whatever story it is they're trying to foist on the rest of us. They cannot therefore be blamed for thinking they're doing the right thing, or that their evangelical energy is misplaced. We should feel sorry for them (while patting them on the head and saying "yes, of cooooourse it does") rather than lambasting them. Just don't be taken in by their patter, no matter how convincing it may sound.

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