* Posts by Charles 9

3877 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

UK slaps 25 per cent 'Google Tax' on tech multinationals

Charles 9
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Re: I'm confused...

"Yes. Well said. So they cannot create jobs they can only take them away. To pay for the public sector workers (from the workers to the parasites and their expenses) the gov must take money out of the hands of those who earned it. The gov makes no money, they dont earn anything, they take it from the population to provide public services. This is something we accept as we want public health, education, etc but the money for it comes out of the pockets of people earning money. When you take money away from people they cannot spend it. So a business can be taxed out of existence, a business can be taxed out of hiring workers, a person can be taxed out of hiring childcare or cleaning services etc. All of the money the gov throws your way was taken from your pocket and a large amount skimmed to pay the admin costs before being presented back to you."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that in essence true of ANY enterprise? After all, businesses don't create wealth and money from nothing most of the time. They need to provide good and services just like the public sector does. Now, the return may not be in money, but ease of use and quality of life are just as important as money. Otherwise, why isn't the private sector providing what the public sector is doing now? Because some things are more important than money.

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Charles 9
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Re: VAT for Dummies

But they get around THOSE by (a) not allowing the taxable revenues to ever enter the country in question and (b) cook their books such that the company has NO local turnover. Either way, they basically trade in the country but have ZERO revenues to show for it, and any percentage of zero is still zero.

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Google kills CAPTCHAs: Are we human or are we spammer?

Charles 9
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Re: Numbers.

"Google can give me a house number if they want but they *never* get a right answer from me. I will *always* sabotage the answer, either by leaving out or, conversely, inserting a digit, or interchanging 1's and 7's, 0's and 8's, 9's and 4's, etc. The important thing is that the number they get is as different as possible from the actual number in the image. For example, changing 7038 to 7036 is not really worthwhile, but changing it to 138 is very satisfying indeed."

Two problems. First, they'll use statistics to remove you as an outlier. Second, you run the risk of sabotaging the wrong number (the known one) and getting rejected.

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Charles 9
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It does pique my curiosity. I note this as a difference merely in degree and not in kind. Image processing is a known-to-be-developed tech because that's the tech behind facial recognition. Sounds to me like the only thing image recognizers need is some time and metadata to train on, then they'll probably be able to defeat image-based CAPTCHAs at about the same level as text-reading ones. And not even the best CAPTCHA in the world is a match for a cyberslave farm, being as they're literally indistinguishable from honest users.

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Hawking: RISE of the MACHINES could DESTROY HUMANITY

Charles 9
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That's precisely Hawking's point. An emergent AI may figure these out on its own, much as a kid figures out things like language.

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Charles 9
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Re: A happy AI

"There are machines that are bigger than us, stronger than us, faster than us, can lift heavier objects than us and can spill better than us. We don't feel threatened by them, so why should a machine that can think better than us be different (unless it, itself, comes up with a really good reason: but we probably wouldn't understand it)."

Think about it this way: a smart fighter can defeat a strong fighter because he compensates for general weakness by being able to maximize the impact of his strikes. But now, imagine if the strong fighter was smart as well. Now you have a deadly combination.

Furthermore, intelligence can be leveraged to create a virtuous cycle. A super-intelligent AI able to perceive the world in some way would be able to digest these perceptions and grow even smarter, which would then allow it to better learn and so on. Being strong doesn't necessarily lead to increasing strength because you need to KNOW how to get stronger, but with intelligence, the knowledge comes with the territory.

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Charles 9
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Re: A happy AI

"Alternatively, we could free ourselves from the very concept of work, and with machines to cater for our actual needs, we could use our time to pursue a more educated, artistic, hopeful future. I'd certainly like more time to spend with family and time to pursue a whole range of study I'll probably not have time for due to work and commuting taking up most of my time."

This utopian ideal always hits a snag: these robots will have owners, and these owners will be wondering about their production, maintenance, and upkeep. Eventually, they'll start thinking, "Why do we need these many people in the first place?"

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Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs

Charles 9
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Re: bad != stupid

"In reality many will be of above average intellect."

If that were true, then we would run out of material for "Dumbest Criminals" shows. Yet they keep on coming. Remember, criminals are still human, meaning they're subject to the Law of Averages.

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Charles 9
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Re: Zounds! I envisage a threat to public order!!

(Dear Feds--how about you get a warrant, sworn out by a judge, requiring that a subject of an investigation/prosecution is required to provide his password for any devices, and throw him in jail for contempt of court if he refuses to give it? Oh wait, that takes some effort and means you have to let people know that you are accessing data on a device, and prevents you from accessing whole classes of devices in secret. Forgive my insistence that you actually act to preserve public freedoms rather than undermine them.)

You forget that, unlike in England, one is protected from self-incrimination by simply pleading the Fifth Amendment (which explicitly protects against that). If a defendant refuses to answer that's one thing, but not even Congress has been able to get around someone answering, "I plea the Fifth."

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AT&T to FTC: I'd like to see YOU install 1Gbps fiber across the US. Which we're still doing

Charles 9
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Except that it's not so clear which side has the most money to spend. Sure you have big boys like AT&T and Verizon on one side, but then you have the likes of Google, Netflix, and Amazon on the other side. It's easy to SAY how to win it, but it's much harder to identify WHO is the bigger fish in this debate, and since both sides have lots of skin in the game, both sides are taking the fight seriously.

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Charles 9
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But there is big business interest on both sides of the argument, so it's not so cut and dry.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sod on

It's worse than that. The politicians in Gilded Age 2.0 were hand-picked by the big businesses themselves. They're less pansies and more peons. It's like crooked sportsmen having made sure their own officials are running the show. What's worse, the common public is not in a position to know or even care.

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Charles 9
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Re: Sod on

And the worst part is that, in a capitalist economy, monopolies and oligopolies are inevitable. Play the game long enough (like a poker tournament) and eventually someone comes out the winner and gobbles up everyone else. Eventually, it reaches a point that, barring some out-of-nowhere disruption, no one else can stand up to the giant in the playground.

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Singapore rides to rescue of local cabs by out-Ubering Uber

Charles 9
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Well, as if we didn't see this coming: a taxi company savvy enough to realize you need to beat Uber at its own game and come out with a "matchmaking" system of your own. What surprises me is that cab companies haven't thought of this sooner.

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FTC: Sony told big fat WHOPPERS in its PlayStation Vita ads – and now it has to pay

Charles 9
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Now if the FTC would just crack down harder on ads that are anything less than completely factual or at least conservative in claims. I'm getting sick of all these "results are atypical" claims and such. I want ads with typical results instead and lowballed claims.

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Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report

Charles 9
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Re: I was looking ...

Well, the cans work as the radio antenna, and the only other way to get good FM reception is to use a telescoping antenna like back in the days of the transistor radio.

PS. I personally use TouchWiz though reluctantly. There may be bloat in the software I use, but it's useful bloat (WiFi Calling and Visual Voicemail).

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Hackers seize Detroit's database, demand $800k. Motor City shrugs: OK, take it

Charles 9
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Re: Bitcoins?

"I thought the US government declared Bitcoin an un-currency (or immoral or fattening or something)."

I think the only thing they've declared is that they're keeping an eye on Bitcoin-related activities for potential money laundering and consider money exchange between Bitcoin and dollars a taxable capital event (IOW, changing large amounts of Dollars to/from Bitcoins means you owe Uncle Sam).

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Charles 9
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Re: How do you seize a database?

Unless it had nothing of value.

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Google Contributor: Ad-block killer – or proof NO ONE will pay for news?

Charles 9
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Re: Not playing, had enough several years ago

Films may not have ads, but they bombard you with ads before the feature, plus there's the matter of product placement, which is itself a form of advertisement.

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Charles 9
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Re: Ok

But what do you do with a captive market, where the ONLY way to get the much-desired-and-exclusive content is to jump through their hoops? Will you jump the hoops or go without?

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Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

Charles 9
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"Regarding the cost, it's a simple supply and demand argument. When plasma TVs first launched, they were around £4000 each. Driven by market demand, this fell to £400 pretty quickly."

BTW, plasma TV prices didn't really fall because of demand but because they fell out of fashion. Plasma TVs were hot for a time, but they had a couple issues: burn-in problems and issues with service life. LCD TVs caught up with plasma due to economies of scale (helped by their use in multiple industries) and basically out-perked plasma (LCD TVs weren't as prone to burn-in and had comparable if not better service lives). So plasma didn't drop due to demand but due to lack of it. Lack of demand and/or a supply surplus can both drag the equilibrium price lower.

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Charles 9
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Don't think in terms of operating costs. Think in terms of manufacturing costs, and by that I mean the entire manufacturing process: from mining the rare earths and other difficult-to-extract minerals needed for the devices to function to all the complicated and energy-intensive processes needed to actually extract them from the ores to the costs needed to operate the delicate machinery to apply these materials into your panels and such.

Remember, with infrastructure like this, there are always two costs: upfront costs and upkeep costs. A low upkeep cost doesn't always justify a monstrous upfront cost.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bah!

Maybe that's because the elephant's really a frozen mammoth?

Let me put it like this. How would the world be able to produce over 1 yottawatt of sustainable power per year without any more significant energy outlay to build and transport it in the process? Even if you put the server farms in blankin' Antarctica it probably wouldn't be enough. And the alternative too all this information flow is to go back to using dead trees...

As for using Iceland, I think it's already tapped out by aluminium plants and other things that have no other way to run except electricity (electricity is the only practical way to extract aluminium, so they're always built near power plants).

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Intel offers ingenious piece of 10TB 3D NAND chippery

Charles 9
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Re: Long range weather forecast

"Mobile networks could massively increase capacity within a year if they wanted to without additional spectrum. Increasing cell tower density, MIMO, simultaneous transmission and reception on the same frequencies (assuming neighboring frequencies wouldn't be affected), increase the number of sectors per site. It's in their interest to ensure they keep supply and demand finely balanced so as to ensure they can offer tiered products and also to keep their capex as low as possible which keeps the shareholders happy."

Trouble is, just about all those things you describe will require infrastructure investments: costly infrastructure investments (particularly more towers, which require permits, land/space acquisition, maybe regulatory clearances, etc.). Others have to wait for new phones to come onto the market capable of using the new tech, which means a lag time of at least a year. As for metered data, customers are already touchy about those since the "unlimited" genie left the bottle years ago. It won't be long before they hold the mobile companies to the promise. And any attempt to rescind the unlimited promise will be met with resistance: likely from competitors eager to cut in. So it's an even more delicate balancing act between keeping customers sated and raising enough capital to plunk down for those soon to be needed infrastructure investments.

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Charles 9
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Re: So, can Kryder's Law in fact carry on?

Kryder's Law is still on the way out due to the molecular limit, but if this tech pans out, a transition tech will soon be in place that will allow storage to continue growing; at worst, we'll experience a brief hiccup as there is a brief gap between spinning rust running out of steam and 3D NAND hitting the mainstream.

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Bittorrent wants to sink Dropbox with Sync 2.0

Charles 9
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Re: So damn expensive

The article notes it's $39.99 a year, which at least to me is a rate that makes me consider it for low-priority bulk storage (IOW, stuff I wouldn't mind too much losing if it blows up). As for security concerns, those could be addressed prior to storage (yes, people can peep into cloud contents, but what good is that if you encrypt the stuff prior to uploading).

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You know where Apple Pay is getting used a LOT? Yes - McDonalds

Charles 9
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7-Eleven (at least in the US) dropped support a year ago. So did Wawa. Wendy's last I checked did not feature PIN pads.

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Charles 9
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That's funny. From my end, pay by bonk has become considerably EASIER since KitKat becaue Host Card Emulation means a phone doesn't need a Secure Element to be usable: just the NFC part. Good thing since my own phone's Secure Element's hosed.

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Charles 9
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Might this have to do with the fact that McDonalds is one of the few national chains that still takes contactless payments? Burger King dropped their support and many other chains don't even have PIN Pads. And we've heard the stories of CVS and such dropping NFC support. With so few retailers accepting NFC, McDonald's is simply sticking out. And with the big boys like Walmart staunchly against it, I doubt NFC will get much more traction barring a big development (I will note that while Walmart's betting on NFC failing--their new C&P-ready pads completely lack the capacity IINM--other retailers are hedging their bets with pads that COULD do it but have the feature turned OFF).

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Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age

Charles 9
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Re: Mooltipass

Isn't KeePass GPL2+?

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Charles 9
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Re: "Remember: UBIKRAND's entropy is smooth and easy. Avoid prolonged use."

Perhaps not that paranoid, but perhaps the signature checks can be set up so the memory can be read by another chip and a signature checked from that while the chip that does the checking can be a simple mask ROM whose internal can be verified in, say, an x-ray. The diodes can perhaps be replaceable by the user, among other things that would make subverting the device and keeping it subverted too difficult under all practical circumstances.

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Charles 9
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Re: N00b question...

The philosophy behind it is that /dev/random is meant to output high-quality random data that would be used for high-security applications like key generation (places where you really really need the output to be unpredictable). It was thought that only high-security applications would need high-quality random data. For most other purposes, Linux also provides /dev/urandom, which isn't as high-qualty because it uses an alternative algorithm to ensure it doesn't block (/dev/random blocks when it runs out of entropy). The reasoning is that an agent with vast resources, such as a state, might be able to predict a pseudorandom patten just long enough to pick up key bits of information that can be used to further subvert the encryption.

I think the problem right now is that we're seeing an increasing need for high-security random data (take a secure server, for example, that needs to generate tons of crypto keys on the spot) to the point that /dev/urandom is not considered good enough. And that's where these hardware RNGs come in. The thought behind an open design is that any copy of the device you have can be checked against the plans for possible subversion by a resourceful adversary such as a state.

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Charles 9
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I haven't seen the actual design yet, but I'd be curious to see if they've account for every paranoid scenario, including discretely switched out parts or a device reprogrammed (via the dedicated port) to subvert the system yet return all the right signals during checking stages.

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Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority

Charles 9
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Re: Sideload the certs already...

"Single point of trust (DNS root, and those guys have proved themselves worthy of trust in the past) allows anyone to provide their own certs, no problem."

And if this trust gets betrayed? What if we really go into "Trust No-One" mode?

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EVERYTHING needs crypto says Internet Architecture Board

Charles 9
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There's also the problem of guilt by association. The very nature of the Internet requires the routers and so on to know the endpoints, sort of like how the post needs addresses. These are basically essential for the protocols to work yet they alone can be incriminating. So you're stuck with potentially incriminating evidence that can't be encrypted. And obfuscating this with extra hops and such, by definition, reduces the protocol's efficiency by adding garbage data (and the associated costs) to your overhead., leaving you with a hard choice to make.

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DEATH fails to end mobile contract: Widow forced to take HUBBY's ASHES into shop

Charles 9
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You would think that, once legal channels were invoked, the records would reveal the intended recipient was dead...unless the claim was being made the death was faked?

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Charles 9
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Even if someone counters the death was faked?

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Charles 9
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Re: You are just a number, to be bled for corporate profit.

Ever thought perhaps the shop owner's been stung once before with someone weaseling their way out of a contract without penalty by faking his/her own death, thus making him "once bitten, twice shy"? It may sound ridiculous, but modern society tells us not everything is taboo to everyone.

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Mastercard and Visa to ERADICATE password authentication

Charles 9
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Re: There are no legal protections on bio data.

"We really need to get back to cash on the barrel for all purchases and payments."

I thought we were trying to go AWAY from cash on the barrel because it offered no guarantee in the case of mugging. At least a stolen card can be invalidated and the transactions usually traced and refunded. With cash, you're screwed. Plus the plods are developing ways to track cash by their serial numbers (that's how "Where's George?" works).

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Charles 9
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Re: Stop with the mobile requirement already

"AIUI, SMS are free to receive, even overseas, on most/all UK/EU networks, so cost is not a real objection."

Even in the US, it's pretty easy to pick a plan that has generous texting allowances if not unlimited texting, meaning even if they charge for receiving, it becomes just a drop in the ocean.

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Charles 9
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Re: Just...use...CASH

Hacker-proof, but extremely vulnerable to muggers with absolutely no theft protection. Plus the difficult to track bit is being addressed. Query "Where's George?"

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Charles 9
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Re: Stop with the mobile requirement already

Chicken and egg question. Why do you need an authenticator that doesn't require a Web connection for a service that basically requires you to connect to the Web?

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Charles 9
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Re: Key fob?

It defeated the purpose of the fob: it's meant to be kept separate from the card so the thief/mugger steals the card but doesn't realize it has a fob until it's too late to go back for a second mugging. Sure, if the perp knows about it, they'll go for the fob, too, but at that point you're already up Crap Creek.

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Charles 9
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Re: Old school ?

"Why does it seem to me the goal is 0% fraud ? When did that suddenly become the aim ?"

Because it's being demanded by the customers due to all the hype about card detail theft, and they won't settle for anything less.

"Back in the pre-internet days (yes, there really was such a time), it was more credit than debit card fraud (since we used to use cheques*) banks tolerated a certain amount of fraud, for a certain amount of money spent on security. I suspect it's still the same.

So rather than thrashing around for the "perfect" security (i.e.0% fraud), people should be thinking what can give me 1% fraud, for a reasonable (i.e. no damaging my profits too much) amount ?"

I suspect their margins are shrinking, lowering their tolerance levels. That and the investors are likely complaining about bleeding money.

"Does it really matter if the odd £10 dodgy transaction gets passed, as long as you catch the unusual £5000 a stolen/cloned card would be used for ?"

That was before fraudsters learned how to get around this by simply using quantity over quality. One £10 scam is tolerable but try a million of them. Savvy scammers have learned how to "smurf," or suck a card just enough to prevent it being flagged and then letting it sit. They're also tying geographic information to cards so thieves can perform transactions in the boob's hometown, making it harder to detect. In such an environment, the inch becomes the mile, drawing the fight into an all or nothing conflict.

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Charles 9
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Re: Stop with the mobile requirement already

Well, for many, their mobile is the only second factor available to them, so if you want 2FA, it's mobile or bust. If you declare 2FA bust, then you now have to figure out how to build a security system that's tamper-proof, turnkey simple, and doesn't require a second factor? Last time I checked, that means the general public is not accepting anything less than the impossible.

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Charles 9
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Re: W00h00

"Can't remember your password?

Re-set immediately just by using the details on the card and the date of birth.

Its not like my DOB is very secret."

So how do you tell the difference between a real customer with a bad memory and an intruder who did the research?

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Charles 9
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Re: So how secure are 'biometrics'?

"The "password problem" is also very solvable: by a password manager. I remember exactly 2 passwords, both are quite secure; all the others are randomly generated passwords. While this isn't perfect, and a second ("2 factor") authorization is indeed desirable for financial systems, but that's nothing new; every bank already does that, as do some services like Dropbox."

Then someone breaks your master password. Or your memory's so bad you can't even remember that password. And the moment someone says, "Tough!", that someone loses at least one customer. So what are you going to do? Customers are demanding turnkey solutions that don't rely on memory and won't take no for an answer.

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Google Glass: Even the people who stand to MAKE MONEY from it hate the techno-specs

Charles 9
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Need we mention how UGLY those specs were. There was serious doubt they could shrink everything at this point such that you couldn't tell them from ordinary glasses. At least smart watches look like watches at first glance.

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US Marshals commit DIRTBOX INTRUSION on Americans, says report

Charles 9
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Re: PKI

No, as the NSA has said, they've been let in through the front door, in this case by the equipment manufacturers. Sort of like gaining access to a gated area by hiring someone with the keys. Furthermore, I may be wrong, but authentication may not take place until the network connection has been established. Otherwise, you end up with what I call the Spike Milligan problem (he is quoted in a joke of, "Open the crate using the crowbar you will find inside.").

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'Net Neut' activists: Are you just POSEURS, or do you want to Get Something Done?

Charles 9
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FAIL

Re: Charles 9, Aedile and chums.

That would be funny...if I got the joke (meaning you failed at failing).

The point being if 10-30% of the general American population suddenly vanished, I doubt the ones in power would care for more than 24 hours. They would still have their riches and there would still be people to fight over. Barring some populist revolution (and given the average attention span, the bread, and the circuses, by the time they finally noticed...) we're probably already too late to change anything before it all crumbles. It's the latter days of Rome all over again. So pick your descent: slow in the handbasket or quick in the bullet train.

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