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* Posts by Pete 2

2260 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Natwest biz banking service goes titsup overnight

Pete 2
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The power of the underpaid call centre worker

> One biz customer was told "an upgrade last night had broken the website"

Lucky for Natwest their staff are so honest. If that caller had got through to an evil agent with a grudge, the message might have been:

OH MY GOD, we've been told to not move from our desks. There are police everywhere - they're taking away boxes of stuff ... I've just seen the CEO being led away in handcuffs. Get your money out any way you can.

... and even if the misinformation was detected and a statement (eventually) put out - and it was believed, the potential damage, do-able by one, lone individual in the right place at the wrong time could have been massive.

Don't try this at home, kids.

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IBM slices UK GTS contractor rates

Pete 2
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Re: 1st rule of contracting

Indeed (having served my time with IBM). However on £425 a day the most expensive part of a cup of IBM coffee is the cost of the time it takes to walk to the machine (or cafeteria) and back again.

I did once suggest to my IBM boss that it would save them money if they employed a "waiter" to serve coffee to the "subbies" at their desks, rather than having the contractors fetch it themselves. Surprisingly, this was not well received!

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Pete 2
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1st rule of contracting

> contractors were getting their pay chopped

Rates go down - coffee consumption goes up.

IBM's bean counters may *think* they're saving money, but the reduction in pay WILL be compensated for in other ways.

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British sheep falling behind Continental sheep in broadbaaaand race

Pete 2
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Re: Sheep already HAVE twitter

> AND they've got their own subdomain

Maybe their bovine counterparts will ask for their own suffix: .cow.uk ?

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Pete 2
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Sheep already HAVE twitter

Just look at most of the comments.

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Nokia puts Symbian out to pasture ... why not release it into the wild?

Pete 2
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But what if it succeeded?

> underneath the crufty UI and bloat, there's still a remarkably reliable, low-power, real-time OS kernel. Nokia could do worse than release it into the wild

That would be a reasonable proposition if the company knew that the code was irredeemably awful and the people who saw it commented along the lines of "Wow, Nokia did a brilliant job of keeping it going as long as they did".

However, if it turned out that a collection of talented fans could turn a pigs ear into a silk purse, then questions would be asked inside Nokia, as to why their multi-billion $$ company couldn't do what a bunch of unpaid fanbois could (though the answer is in the question),

So, there's a huge potential risk to whoever was running the Symbian business, and no tangible benefit to that person. So: better to bury it, whistle innocently and claim "there's nothing to see here" than to open yourself up to embarrassing questions that can never be adequately answered.

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McKinnon case is NOT a precedent – says his own lawyer

Pete 2
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Not a precedent, but at least it's a start

This was always a special case - a cause celebre, even. However it does mark the point where one Home Secetary stopped fiddling while Rome burned, got off its arse and actually did something.

All of the "Homies" since McKinnon was arrested have had the ability to intervene, but they've all callously turned away and if not actively aided in outsourcing the british judicial system, at least been complicit in extending the anxiety and suffering of the guy and his loved ones.

Although the intervention here shows no sign of being a principled stance, just of the H.S. gauging the extent of public opinion and doing what politicians always do in the face of vociferous opposition. We can at least hope that at least some of the future, inevitable extreme extradition demands from our transatlantic overlords will be met with a "No!" even if that's followed by a "if you don't mind, sorrreeee!" sent quietly through the diplomatic channels.

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Canonical flings out Ubuntu 12.10 – now with OPTIONAL Bezos suck

Pete 2
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Naked yoga

> People want to be online and we want to make sure their online and offline works together well

and a big part of that "working well" is having absolute control over who can see what. Just like practising the limber arts in your own home is best done with the curtains drawn, so there's little to be gained (for the user) by conducting one's business "online" or in full view of all and sundry.

Being online, or having internet access is an enabler, not a benefit in itself (the benefit is what the internet allows us to connect to). Just like motorways allow us to get where we want to go, faster and more conveniently. However that doesn't mean we want to use them all the time, or live in the middle of the carriageway.

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Pints all round as Register Special Projects hacks hack off feet

Pete 2
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Squeeze hard

> consigning quarts ... to the dustbin

Or even putting them into a pint pot

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McKinnon will not be extradited to the US, says Home Secretary

Pete 2
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> I hope we see future governments follow in their footsteps.

Highly unlikely.

To quote Churchill:

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.

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This supercomputing board can be yours for $99. Here's how

Pete 2
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How screwups happen

> the Transputer themselves were not focussed on making something that could be economically used in making competitive products

Which is exactly WHY the transputer team needed some intervention. It's all very well being a hairy-arsed techy, but for every HAT you need someone to turn the technical solution into a marketable product - and then someone else to actually make and sell the gubbins at a reasonable price.

It's not realistic to expect people who wave soldering irons around to be able to commercialise the fruits of their labours, nor for them to know what the "market" will be looking for in the next year or two. Those are the areas that needs helping - not the scientific innovation. Fortunately, a lot of universities have woken up to this and a lot of them are getting good at turning academic developments into commercial products. Sadly, they do seem to be hampered by lack of funding, archaic interactions with government and an inability to find and cultivate people who know how to make items by the million.

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Last month ties for WARMEST September on RECORD

Pete 2
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Science denier

> "I don't think we can control what God controls."

It sounds like the best way to convince this guy is to dump all the evidence-based research, the climate modelling and most developments in physics. Instead we just need a deity to whisper in his ear and his opinions will duly follow.

I have no doubt that some sufficiently advanced technology that follows Clarke's third law could therefore have him voting billions for pretty much any cause the tech-owners wished for.

Isn't theology technology wonderful?

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Jam today: Raspberry Pi Ram doubled

Pete 2
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Re: Incremental upgrades

Don't know about incremental upgrades, but you'd kinda hope that someone was working on the Mk2 by now. The RPi foundation has had a load of beta testers for the original board for 6 months or so. The crocs in that design are well known by now and given all the hype the produce is capable of generating a newer version would be a great way to keep it all bubbling.

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Regulator spanks quiz line with record £800k fine

Pete 2
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A nice little earner

> all of which mounts up to a £800,000 fine and refunds to anyone who asks for one.

Just call our premium rate number to apply

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Facebook says it's LOSING money in the UK ... pays hardly any tax

Pete 2
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Why would you expect more?

> Facebook's European headquarters are in Dublin

So presumably all its billings are done from there. That would mean that the company had little or no earnings in the UK for it to be taxed on. However we still get a (tax) benefit from FB having an office in the UK, as it would have to pay N.I. employers contributions and its UK employees would pay UK income taxes - as well as VAT on all the stuff they bought with their wages.

This falls into the same category as people complaining that UK banks make "huge" profits - and therefore assuming that because the bank is based in the UK, all the vast profits come from UK customers. The joy of global businesses is that if you can attract them into your country's liberal, tax-friendly environment you can make many, many times more by taxing them on the income they make from foreign trading than a "fare share" policy would get, if they all buggered off to somewhere more sympathetic..

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Why will UK web supersnoop plan cost £1.8bn? That's a secret

Pete 2
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Re: Are they stupid or something?

Actually, there's a very strong deterrent effect from telling people that every aspect of their lives is being monitored, scrutinised, reviewed and judged. It makes them think twice about stepping out of line and invokes a feeling of fear that keeps them under your thumb, but without the inconvenience of actually having to do anything.

Plus, if you do want to arrest some "troublesome" people, it's dead easy to make an example of them and cite "security" as the reason why you can't reveal the why's and wherefore's of their activities.

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Pete 2
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Same reason defence spending costs so much ...

... and produces so little.

Because the estimates don't deal with the expected cost, but with how much the proposers think they can credibly ask for. Of course once they get that, then the "in for a penny, in for a pound" mentality takes over and the real cost will be 3, 4, 5 ... 50 times the original ask. The more secrecy the project can be held under, the greater the costs can escalate to without anyone poking their noses in.

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That horrendous iPhone empurplement - you're holding it wrong

Pete 2
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Wise advice from my gran

"Well dear, if it turns purple, you're holding it too tight"

Though she was talking about babies - since iPhones hadn't been invented then.

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Register SPB hacks mull chopping off feet

Pete 2
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Re: Converting to old fashioned units

> How do you feel about PI?

Many answers depending on circumstances.

3 is generally good enough

sqrt(10) is often handy. Pi**2 comes up a lot in physics.

Also 78.5% is far more useful if you're working out areas (the percentage of the largest circle that fits in a given square)

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Pete 2
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Converting to old fashioned units

If you do decide to keep the old, imperial units, could you at least stop converting to (or even bothering with) multiple decimal places. For example in the article, does it matter that the dude in question reached a speed of 586.92 km/hr or that 1,315kg is 2,899 pounds.

Although I appreciate a bit more than "in a pressurised rather heavy capsule", I doubt it matters to anyone reading whether the capsule's weight is given to 4 digits of accuracy when 1.3 tonnes (or tons, the difference is slight and immaterial - just please god: not metric tonnes) would tell us all we need to know. Though informing us what that is in olympic swimming pools-full of linguini is obviously a definite requirement.

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Skydiver Baumgartner's 120,000ft spacesuit leap delayed by bad wind

Pete 2
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Re: helium

It would be even more of a waste if he jumped from that height and then missed the earth

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Pete 2
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First rule of spaceflight

> spacesuit leap delayed by bad wind

Don't fart in your spacesuit

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Amazon to buy its Seattle HQ from Paul Allen for over $1bn

Pete 2
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Just the start

Wait until the Amazonians see the "customers who bought office blocks also bought ... " list and start getting spammed daily with emails telling them about all the other office blocks they could buy, too.

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Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

Pete 2
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Diligently obeying the law

> legislation forcing the early closure of coal and oil-fired power stations

Somehow I can envisage the rest of the EU, while being subjected to the same laws and restrictions will somehow just give a good old gallic shrug and carry on as before. It does appear that, unique amongst the EU signatories, the UK politicians and civil servants have a view that these "laws" are absolute and immediate - and must be obeyed to the letter, irrespective of the consequences to the proles who ultimately get stiffed with the consequences.

While it's probably a good idea to reduce emissions where we can, it makes no sense to do so when we're plainly not in a position to fill the gap with alternate energy sources.

It may give some UK politicians an extra bit of swagger, when dealing with their european counterparts (who would still have their lights on), but rather than praising them for obeying the rules, we should be holding them to account for not seeing this coming and getting their arses into gear and do the jobs they are paid to do.

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The tips stop here: Starbucks to take Square Wallet payments

Pete 2
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Original uses for the accelerometer

> no tipping until 2013

Shame, I'd really like to see the Fivebucks shop assistant be slaved to the phone app. The further I tilt the phone, the greater the degree of tipping they are subject to. I wonder if it's possible to get one past 45° and still stay on their feet? I'd pay extra to see that

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Experts troll 'biggest security mag in the world' with DICKish submission

Pete 2
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How to tell a security specialist

> these security specialists are regularly spammed with requests to submit articles

Surely any self-respecting (or even slightly competent) security "specialist" would never do anything as naive as giving out a real email address to an online publication?

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BYOD cheers up staff, boosts productivity - and IT bosses hate it

Pete 2
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Re: Please Speak English

I claim no originality for it. Check out the Dilbert cartoons and books.

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Pete 2
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Re: I call shenanigans

Maybe she's not being productive per se. But at least she's not stopping other, actually useful, employees from working. It may be that the best you can hope for with some co-irkers is that the less they do, the less they screw up for others to fix.

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Google Wallet: Rub our button, cough 15p for quick read

Pete 2
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Re: Well, it worked for songs on iTunes

The big difference is that you listen to songs more than once.

There may, just, be a few websites that hosted material which was relevant enough and refreshed frequently enough that I'd be willing to pay 15p once as a subscription to access that content for a long time, across a whole raft of devices. But so far as stumping that much to access a single article on only one occasion? It would have to be a dam' good article: interesting, relevant, insightful - all the things that most web pages (El Reg excepted, 'natch!) couldn't even dream of being.

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'It is absolute b*ll*cks that contractors aren't committed'

Pete 2
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Alternate headline

Paid for study produces expected results

> The study ... was conducted by Monash University ... at the behest of Entity Solutions, a company that puts freelancers on its payroll ... for employers to hire them.

So a freelancer agency pays for a study and remarkably, it shows that freelancers are at least as good as permies. Who'd have thought it?

Of course contractors are just as committed. They're people, just like (most) permies are, too. Human nature doesn't change just because you switch employers every few months and get paid extra as a result. In fact it's often observed that the most enthusiastic staff are the new, fresh ones - keen to make an impression (esp. when they can be canned with zero notice) and please their new boss. Before the realisation sets in of just how big a numpty that new boss is, and how lacking in leadership, skill, talent and personality they are.

Though it's unclear whether the study tried or was even capable of distinguishing between "commitment" and motivation. It seems entirely reasonable that (lifestyle choices being equal) contractors who have decided to take their future in their own hands are more highly motivated than individuals who are happy to plow the same furrow for 5, 10 or 30 years - day in, day out.

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Thank Freeview for UK 4G by mid-2013 - NOT the iPhone 5 nor EE

Pete 2
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So: broadcasting == bad, streaming == good?

The bandwidth that was previously used to broadcast TV content to millions is now being sold for 4G use ... so that it can be used to stream TV (amongst other uses - minor uses?) to ... who, exactly?

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Ubuntu 12.10: More to Um Bongo Linux than Amazon ads

Pete 2
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Man in the muddle

> if you click the link and buy the item Ubuntu-maker Canonical gets a small percentage of the income,

That's all very well and I have no problem with someone making a bit of money for their efforts, but ...

How can this prevent someone downloading the "proper" Ubuntu <obligatory cutesy name omitted for reasons of professionalism> 12.10 and fixing it so that instead of using Canonical's referrals to Amazon it uses their own, instead?

Obviously the simply answer is to never download from anywhere except the approved repository and to always check the checksum matches the validated version. But I can see there is a lot of scope here for scammers to stick their oar into what has always been positioned as a Linux for the non-technical users who wouldn't be au fait with the reasons for taking these extra steps.

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'Replace crypto-couple Alice and Bob with Sita and Rama'

Pete 2
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Longer is better

We're told that long passwords are easier to forget better than short ones. And that longer crypto keys are better than short ones.

So it follows that Alice and Bob should be replaced with better, or at least longer, name. to promote this philosophy. I would suggest that in the spirit of pointless changes the following are adopted henceforth:

Anglithorpianositachinquate and Hatmaguptafratarinagarosterlous

and possibly Opfogjrbskfeepnepnkaseyoinnbretn for the interloper

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New I-hate-my-neighbour stickers to protect Brits' packages

Pete 2
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Re: Blocks of flats?

I foresee the ground floor flat getting an awful lot of post

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Pete 2
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PO's been doing this for years

> other delivery companies, with whom it is required to compete these days, already have the right to leave stuff with the house next door, while it has been bound to wait for the householder or keep the parcel at the post office for collection

I must say, round here this has been normal practice since the post orifice was invented. Posties always seem to leave anything larger than a letter either with a random neighbour (with or without a card through the door, depending on how hard it's raining) or at an undisclosed location around the property - including inside the wheelie-bin/recycling container of their choice. In that respect, they're no different from any of the couriers - except they tend not to toss it at the house from yards out, or from parcelfarce who play the same games of hide-and-seek.

Personally, I'm very pleased they do this, as the local PO office is only open from 9 - 1pm, which makes it impossible for Mon-Fri workers to pick up anything, until Saturday.

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Blazing new comet may OUTSHINE THE MOON in 2013

Pete 2
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Just another streetlight

Predicting the "spectacular-lessness" of comets, meteor showers, eclipses, transits (of the non-Ford variety) and planetary conjunctions is prone to hype. Not so much because of what the astronomers, in their enthusiasm, say but in the way the inexperienced media go completely doolally when they have something extra-terrestrial to report.

So yes, hopefully this comet will be bright. Hopefully if won't be obscured by clouds for months on end. Hopefully it won't be washed out by the full moon or by being too close to the sun in the sky. However, for the vast majority of people even the moon at its brightest has to compete with thousands of streetlights - all pouring wasted light into our skies and turning what should be a spectacular night-time view into a dull orange glow.

Luckily the Normans, in their conquest, didn't have to worry about such things or their tapestry wouldn't have featured a comet at all.

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Tech budgets in schools heading north again

Pete 2
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All the gear

... but no career.

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NZ bloke gets eel stuck up jacksie

Pete 2
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Hug an eel

Maybe the eel just wanted to be friends - that's a-moray

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Google, Microsoft butt heads in browser benchmark battle

Pete 2
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Re: Say goodbye to those advertising accounts

No kidding? there's no pulling the wool over your wotsit, is there?

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Pete 2
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Say goodbye to those advertising accounts

Note to El reg. Calling Google and Microsoft "butt heads" won't win you any favours, adverts, or help with your search rankings.

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Guardian's Robin Hood plan: Steal from everyone to give to us

Pete 2
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A radical new idea

I doubt it will catch on, but maybe - just maybe, if The Guardian and all its other "worthy" bedfellows started printing stuff that was interesting, popular, relevant, unbiased and informative then they'd be able to actually pay their way.

They possibly do produce one or two stories a year (between the lot of them: WMDs, expenses, etc.) that make their existence worthwhile. But not to the extent that they ALL deserve to be propped and subsidised by the whole country. Who do they think they are? the BBC?

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NYPD: iPhone thefts rising ten times rate of other crimes

Pete 2
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Acceptable losses?

> "thefts of Apple products increased this year as the theft of electronics by other manufacturers declined."

So does the number of "thefts" bear any relationship to the release of new models? Given that a phone is so easy to brick once nicked, as the reduction in thefts of "other manufacturers" goods indicates, you've got to wonder what's really going on.

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Brave copper single-handedly chases 'suspicious' Moon

Pete 2
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The real question is

... did the Moon call him a pleb?

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Made for each other: liquid nitrogen and 1,500 ping-pong balls

Pete 2
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Good training opportunity

... after all, someone has to clear up those PP balls

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Verizon CFO: 'Unlimited' data is just a word

Pete 2
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Malice in Blunderland

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

So Humpty Dumpty runs a mobile phone company now.

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Climate sceptic? You're probably a 'Birther', don't vaccinate your kids

Pete 2
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There's misinformation, lack of information and false information

> misinformation is particularly damaging if it concerns complex real-world issues ...

There's also the possibility that sometimes the general public is deliberately misled (WMDs, dodgy dossiers etc.) to gain acceptance for a policy. There's a wide range of circumstances where the information is considered "too hard" for ordinary people to understand - especially if they are victims of the british educational system - and has to be "simplified" for their poor little brains to comprehend, On top of that there's situations where information is conflicting and incomplete - that leads to religious and factional side-taking, based more on what people want to believe, rather than on actual information.

And finally there's "we simply don't know", which would be the mature response to conflicting/incomplete information, if only there wasn't so much benefit to be had from "proving" your side was right.

Climate change has far too much invested by both sides for any truth to ever come out. Simple observation tells me that the weather I experience in my little corner of the world is hotter/colder/wetter/drier than it used to be (depending when and over what period you care to form an opinion). However, the causes are far from clear and therefore any remediation that may, or may not, be necessary is impossible to propose as we don't have any hard information regarding the cause.

Our trick-cycling hack definitely falls into the "there's money & fame to be made here" and is positioning himself to exploit that. As such he's just adding to the overall noise without contributing anything useful: ignore.

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Sky ruled OK to hold broadcast licence without Murdoch at helm

Pete 2
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Watchdog - watches

> However Murdoch's son James ... was savaged was briefly sniffed by the watchdog ...

who lazily opened one eye, had a quick snuffle, farted and then went back to its slumbers.

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'People will give you their data if you don't do nobbish things with it!'

Pete 2
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Personal data is like naked photos

You might give some to people you trust, but really, you should know that sooner or later someone will leak them.

Companies may well start off with high ideals, principles and promises, but there's nothing enforcable to back these up and once given, personal information can't be withdrawn. So as soon as that naive, idealistic company that you once trusted goes bust and its assets are sold, or it gets taken over by a more successful, predatory outfit, all the assurances and guarantees become void. Just like your ex. going to the tabloids with those photos.

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'Stuff must be FREE, except when it's MINE! Yarr!' - top German pirate

Pete 2
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Re: Genuinely confused

Yes, that's where I cam across the concept. One sandwich shop I used to frequent sliced their ham so thin you could see through it. I presume the place was run by the sorts who believe in homeopathy - so the thinner the ham, the tastier it would be. Though the question then has to be asked: why didn't my ham sandwich have an overwhelming taste of tuna?

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