* Posts by John 62

1015 posts • joined 15 Jun 2009

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Facebook Messenger: All your numbers are belong to us

John 62

Re: Errrrrrmmmmmm...

With Android 6 you can chop and change permissions granted, so the permissions issue is moot on that platform. The thing is, any messaging app needs most of the permissions: use the microphone, use the camera, access device storage, access the internet, etc.

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I survived a head-on crash with driverless cars – and dummies

John 62

"Sorry to annoy you , but I slow down early for red lights to force the car behind me to close the gap. It forces him to start braking (ie wakes him up if he's daydreaming) and then, when the gap is closed, act as a shield for the back of my car. Its known as defensive driving."

WHAT? Opening up the gap in front of you is defensive driving. Closing the gap behind you is silly. If someone is tailgating me, I might slow down a little to increase the space in front of me so that if something happens in front of me, I have more time to react and not have to brake hard so there's less chance the tailgater will rearend me.

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Is the world ready for a bare-metal OS/2 rebirth?

John 62

Re: Titlebars, menus, scrollbars, icons!

"WIMP was invented by Xerox PARC and stolen by Apple, Microsoft, IBM and AT&T. IBM made the strategic error of partnering with their competitor on the OS2 project. Microsoft stole all the best parts for Windows, crippled OS2 with late and buggy code and in the cradle of Microsoft evangelism, destroyed its market with fear, uncertainty and doubt."

Oh the old stolen by Apple trope. Apple paid Xerox and then made it's own modifications. Xerox had little interest in becoming a computer company.

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A bubble? No way, we're in a bust, says rich VC living in alternate reality

John 62

same in the UK

In the UK, everyone working for a medium-sized or larger company is auto-enrolled in a (money-purchase aka defined contributions) pension scheme by law. Where will that money be invested? Government bonds, land and the stock market. It's a win-win! What can go wrong?

Well, as long as there are no great shocks it's not a bad way to do retirement planning and keep the cash moving around the economy, but from an ownership point of view, it could tip us further into un-checked Boards of Directors territory. Everyone owns the companies/land/government debt, but because it's all done through pension funds, which of them will realistically exercise any authority at shareholder meetings? I know this has been going on since fund managers have existed, but the scale keeps ramping up and capital is being focused into funds managed by people who don't own them and don't want to pay enough in fees to get someone to act in their interests at shareholder meetings.

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Boffins solve bacon crisis with newly-patented plant

John 62

Re: What a convenient coincidence

> Seaweed has the elusive "umami".

Indeed, wasn't MSG first made from seaweed?

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Whitman's split: The end of Fiorina's HP grand expansion era

John 62

Boards vs CEOs

The Board of Directors must have been complicit. CEOs have a lot of autonomy (pun not intended), but they don't make multi-billion acquisitions without board approval,

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Activision to buy Candy Crush developer King

John 62

Stock or Cash? What now for Derby County?

i) Was the purchase in Activision stock or cash? That makes a difference.

ii) What now for Derby County? Mel Morris, the chairman of the mighty, all-conquering Rams, is an important King backer. Everyone thought UEFA's financial fair play rules were about Manchester City and Chelsea buying success, but I think it was really because everyone else was afraid of Derby County being bank-rolled by Candy Crush profits.

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Joining the illuminati? Just how bright can a smart bulb really be?

John 62

bulb/lamp/pear

In German, light bulbs are Glühbirne, i.e. annealing pears, or just pears.

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We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

John 62

Financial sector > Agriculture

Well, duh, everyone wants financial products for everything, including agriculture.

Say 2% of the population works in agriculture. Well, there are a lot more car owners than farmers and car insurance is mandated by law. And that's just car insurance.

People getting phones on contract depend on the financial instruments the phone companies use behind the scenes. Farmers selling their wares on the futures market (which as Tim pointed out previously is not inherently evil) depend on the financial industry. Farmers getting loans for capital or livestock and seed depend on the financial industry.

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So just what is the third Great Invention of all time?

John 62

Re: Darkness is bestowed posthumously

A downvote! I know it's Wikipedia, but it's an informative read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages_(historiography)#Modern_academic_use

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John 62

Re: Trade Unions...

So basically you mean the invention of the club as a way of organising ourselves.

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John 62

Darkness is bestowed posthumously

Dark ages, smark ages. The Western Roman empire's fall just left much of Europe to be fought over by smaller states. Much of the so-called dark ages weren't all that dark.

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Ireland moves to scrap 1 and 2 cent coins

John 62

Re: But think of the indignation

In the UK, small coins are only legal tender* in small amounts. £1 coins are legal tender in any amount, though!

http://www.royalmint.com/aboutus/policies-and-guidelines/legal-tender-guidelines

* Legal tender in the UK actually only has a narrow meaning and in the vast majority of cases it is up to the parties in a transaction to negotiate how payment will be made. But it does apply to most monetary fine situations, so I suspect Legal Tender law was established to prevent people making a nuisance of themselves by paying fines in silly denominations.

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Accidental homicide: how VoLTE kills old style call accounting

John 62

Re: POTS still works quite nicely here.

The story is told that Alexander Graham Bell actually wanted to use the telephone to broadcast opera and one to one communication was an afterthought.

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Terror in the Chernobyl dead zone: Life - of a wild kind - burgeons

John 62

Re: Hmmm

As Mark Steyn says, the future belongs to those who show up for it.

Could the human race be more efficient? Quite likely, but when you see the Burj Khalifa glistening from the more run down parts of Karama you realise that the Burj couldn't be there without all the people in Karama. It's a bit like the Games Workshop game Necromunda set in the hive worlds of the Imperium. In Necromunda, the hive worlds have huge towers where people live their lives without seeing the mythical 'ground'. The rich live at the top of the tower and the poor are the metaphorical foundations on the bottom: fodder for the Imperial Army and all the other ancillary activities of the empire. The Imperium doesn't need all those people, but without the hives it wouldn't have enough.

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SPACED OUT: NASA's manned Orion podule pushed back to 2023

John 62

Re: Downvote bait.

The problem with getting humans off earth is keeping in contact. The vast cost to get a minimally viable colony somewhere means that the colony will be culturally and genetically isolated. Not a problem if humanity on earth is obliterated, but if humanity on earth is not obliterated, well they'll be reduced to sending the equivalent of postcards or more likely, no communication at all. And that makes me think of the back-story of Warhammer 40000, with the Emperor's crusade to unite the fractured remnants of humanity scattered across the galaxy (and exterminate the colonies that resist or that are too genetically deviant from Terran stock).

On the other hand, bring back Outcasts! It had its problems, but I really miss it.

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China launches 'pollution-free' rocket

John 62

Re: Mini-satellites

Forget micro-meteorites the size of a pea blasting an hole in a satellite's side, what about a micro-satellite about the size of a backpack colliding with your mil-comm-sat?!

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You want the poor to have more money? Well, doh! Splash the cash

John 62

"The problem with being poor, is that your buying power is poor. It means you are in no position to argue favourable rates or get the best value.

Paying retail prices for individual tins of baked beans when a case of 24 would work out far cheaper per tin is just one of a billion examples of why poverty stinks."

And you have to buy from the cornershop you can walk to because you can't afford the bus to get to Aldi. And you can't buy in bulk even if you wanted to because you have no space in your appartment.

It's a nasty circle.

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John 62

Re: THIS IS PORN.

I thought the etymology of left vs right was to do with the French revolutionary parliament. One party wanted more state control and sat towards the left of the room, while another party wanted more individual freedom and sat towards the right.

Progressivism is extremely poorly defined, but in my view the self-identifiers are merely hiding their Marxist dialecticalism.

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

John 62

Re: Nimbyism

UK similar population of Germany? Well it's in the same ball-park. UK: 60ish million. Germany: 80ish million. Though there are predictions that the populations will equalise in the next 10 years or so. Germany is worried about its low birth rate (slightly higher than Greece, but still below replacement - which is why people don't want to bail out Greece: even without tax evasion there won't be anyone to pay back in the future). Though the UK's birth rate is only booming in comparison: it's barely above replacement. If you're worried about space, apart from Germany's lack of understanding of tea and the need for milk in it, I can think of worse places to move to than the beautiful Extertal.

The UK's population is very unevenly spread. On a macro level, Scotland has areas that have the lowest population density in western Europe. On a micro level, Northern Ireland has most of its population in the greater Belfast area. There's plenty of space.

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Unholy Hong Kong hackers hit evangelicals with IE 0day

John 62

Plain criminals vs State actors

Criminals are likely going for money, since the church members will be funding the church through some means so they're likely seen as affluent targets.

State actors may be looking for links to non-state-approved underground churches on the mainland. It's not the cultural revolution any more, but the communist party still doesn't like most of the churches.

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All aboard the Skylake: How Intel stopped worrying and learned to love overclocking

John 62

Overclocking

I'm of the opinion that the work Intel is doing to promote power saving simply has the side-effect of allowing more overclocking. That and the fact that fewer customers than before will spend more money on a chip purely for a clock speed increase, which means there's less financial incentive for Intel to control the clock post-sale.

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The Q7: Audi’s big SUV goes from tosspot to tip-top

John 62

Re: "...electrically operated tow hook..."

At least the hitches are hidden from nearby number plates, walls, car doors, etc.

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PLUTO FLYBY: Here's your IT angle, all you stargazing pedants

John 62

Everything went almost too fast for me, but this was one of the best articles I've read on the Register for a while

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Let me PLUG that up there, love. It’s perfectly standaAAARGH!

John 62

Re: The Rise of IT Consultants...

I'm in my 30s and I've never heard of bulls going for meat. Beef cattle are either bullocks (castrated bulls) or heifers (females not in calf).

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'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'

John 62

Re: graeme@the-leggetts.org.uk

Last I heard about paracetamol and pain relief (last year, radio 4) is that paracetamol on its own is crap at pain relief, but it can increase the effectiveness of other analgesics.

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Vauxhall VXR8: You know when you've been tangoed

John 62

fuel consumption by the hour

I drove a wee Fiesta* across northern Germany recently and thought that litres per hour for autobahn driving might be a useful fuel consumption guide as I was sort of estimating in my head how long the tank would last, not so much how far.

* Fiesta did well: nice to drive, hit 95 mph on the Autobahn and cruised nicely at 80+

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Renault Kadjar: La Regie's new full-sized, inexplicably named SUV

John 62

You know, I never even noticed the death of the Laguna.

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Like a Dell factory but what comes out is a LOT more fun: We visit Aston Martin

John 62

The photos! :(

Great write-up, but the photos look terrible (bad downsampling is the term, I think).

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Spooks: Big-screen upgrade for MI5 agents fails to be a hit job

John 62

Give me Bugs, any day

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111904/

Spooks just turned into a 24 rip off

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So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

John 62

How things change

Let us not forget that Tony Blair gained his UK parliamentary seat on a platform of exiting the Treaty of Rome, aka, the nascent EU

http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/man/lab83.htm#Common

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John 62

Re: Avoiding war

We have avoided war simply because the last big one was so bad. Germany, France, the UK and most of europe were, if not physically devastated, at least mentally devastated. There was no appetite for war on a grand scale after a certain point in WWII (or the Great Patriotic War). Churchill proposed war against the USSR, but the UK was exhausted. The division of Germany (don't forget French administered Saarland!) was a punitive measure to keep it in check*, but it I believe it was unnecessary for ensuring peace.

True there have been many skirmishes since then involving the European powers, their empires and colonies (Algeria, Vietnam, Malaya, Dutch East Indies, Kenya, etc) and Korea, but rarely anything on European soil until Yugoslavia erupted. And even then it was kept pretty contained.

New generations are growing up now in Europe who have not known war and its horrific destruction, but who may feel disenfranchised and burdened by the economic policies of the euro-elite. It's unlikely, but a peripheral nation like Greece or Portugal (or even Spain), suffering hardships could decide that a war may be preferable to mass unemployment. Perhaps a new great bulwark against future war in Europe may be from refugees of African and Middle eastern conflicts who have settled here and do not want to see more war.

* Not sure who's idea partioning Germany into east and west was, but the Russians arguably had more reason to be punitive than the US/UK (though Thatcher still wasn't hot for re-unification after the Berlin Wall fell)

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BILLION YEAR SECRETS of baking hellworld Mercury UNLOCKED by NASA probe crash

John 62

Re: Yet another stunning achievement...

"They regularly seem to be able to make these probes last far longer than envisaged. That's real value for money, especially when everywhere we send one of these things turns out to be far more interesting than anyone ever envisaged."

What happens is that they design to a certain specification, e.g. all systems fully functional for 18 months. That helps with budget planning because someone has to stay in contact with the craft for that length of time to ensure everything is working and that the observation data are coming back OK. Basically, it's like saying, "if we spend $100 million dollars on this probe, how long do we think would be a good length of time for it to be operational?" This 'time budget' also helps when engineering the probe to work out what sort of tolerances are required for the components or the necessary amount of propellant for the planned mission length. It's not all that much different from designing a car. The manufacturer plans its useful life to be about 5 years, but it will generally keep going far longer than that.

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The Apple Watch: THROBBING STRAP-ON with a knurled knob

John 62

Font

No mention of the font? OS X finally gets Helvetica Neue to be in line with iOS, then the Watch comes along with something like DIN, which is nice and it is far far better then the ugliness that is Google's Roboto, but it's still not as good as the masterful Helvetica Neue.

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Volvo V60 Polestar: Speak softly, carry a big stick, dress like a Smurf

John 62

meh. After a few years the Top Gear formula got tired.

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C'mon! Greece isn't really bust and it can pay its debts

John 62

Re: There was never a need for a combined currency all over Europe

"We can also reduce the monetary problems by having integrated fiscal policy (ie, taxes raised in one area are shifted to pay for problems in another area). But the EU doesn't have that."

True, but there is a boat-load of money being pumped into the EU periphery via various funds. The Hilton Hotel in Belfast has a 'Part-funded by the EU... fund' plaque beside the front door (the Euro-crats need somewhere to stay, when they visit, after all*) as well as the trains**, some of the recent motorways, etc.). Along with infrastructure, there's also the Peace and Reconciliation funding for a lot of pretty soft projects and the EU Social fund that props up many charities and social services.

* Though I'm sure they'd all probably book into the Fitzwilliam instead because the Hilton was built beside a busy railway.

** built in Spain instead of Derby, probably so that the profits don't go to Canada

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In assault on American values, Lockheed BLASTS PICKUP with RAYGUN

John 62

Re: input vs. output

Electricity is a wonderfully adaptable thing, e.g. if all your weapons were lasers, you could divide your power budget more flexibly, like providing more speed if you don't need to fire. However, the batteries and fuel required to store the energy needed to create the electricity would probably not be much safer to transport than explosive munitions.

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Chewier than a slice of Pi: MIPS Creator CI20 development board

John 62

I'm not the creative type of geek who has to tinker with home automation and constructing computer controlled reversible sedgewicks in my spare time, so I shouldn't judge, but I'm a little saddened that most of the comments here are about using the Raspberry Pi as a media server instead of controlling an automated fish tank feeder that automatically orders more fish food from Amazon and remotely controls your washing machine.

As for the MIPS board, I can see it finding a home in universities where there's more need to teach fundamentals than secondary schools that are teaching the basics. i.e. if you're learning about architectures and assembler, you might as well have hardware to demonstrate things on, say MIPS, ARM, 68k, etc.

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MP resigns as security committee chair amid 'cash-for-access' claims

John 62

Re: resignation

Gerard Adams (SF, Belfast West) had to be given one of those offices when he resigned to stand for election to Dail Eireann (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Adams#Election_to_D.C3.A1il_.C3.89ireann), which was a beautiful constitutional irony.

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Bloody TECH GIANTS... all they do is WASTE investors' MONEY

John 62

Re: Actually Buffet went further

I don't really know the specifics of RR's finances at the minute, but it has had a really rough ride and the people making money are more likely the bosses and the contractors, not RR's investors

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Euro broadcast industry still in a fug over that 4K-ing UHD telly

John 62

We've an ultracheap 22" 1080p capable TV (but too old for FreeView HD built in) so we got TalkTalk's cheapest YouView option*. The HD channels are much better than SD, especially for sports. However, I chanced upon the Graham Norton show the other night while channel hopping and it looked AWFUL in HD: the set design and lighting were utterly crap.

* yeah, it's a bit crap if you don't pay for extra channels, but hey, 50p extra per month for a year, then another couple of quid for 6 months, seemed cheaper than a Freeview HD box; and the YouView at least lets you watch iPlayer without using your laptop.

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Vodafone didn't have a £6bn tax bill. Sort yourselves out, Lefties

John 62

Re: TAX shouldn't be taxing

The people with Swiss Bank accounts couldn't bear the shame of sending their kids to state schools or using the NHS.

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

John 62

Re: Speed of electrons

The electromagnetic wave travels about a foot in a nanosecond, but the electrons themselves don't go nearly so fast.

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Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

John 62

Re: We already have this

Fractional reserve banking is obviously not necessary for an economy, but it's one of those things that we all accept because it gives us interest on our savings and free current accounts, like Google gives us free web services because of all the data it aggregates and then sells.

If we didn't have fractional reserve banking, I'm sure the politicians would have plans for all that capital lying around doing nothing.

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At the third beep, the Atomic Clock will be 60 ... imprecisely

John 62

Re: Another DAB "put-down" !!

I'm going with the analogy of DAB is to digital radio what NTSC was to colour TV. NTSC was a great idea and an improvement over black and white, but then PAL came along and had more accurate colours, but the US was stuck with NTSC because it had too much capital invested in it to change. DAB was a great idea and has the potential to be better than FM, but then improved digital radio technologies came along and left the UK behind because it was too invested in DAB.

(off topic 1: can you get a DAB receiver that can be switched on from the mains socket switch (without having to turn on at the unit as well)? You could do that with a cheap FM receiver! Meant you could keep the radio out of the way (e.g. top of a cupboard) and switch on and off at the mains without having to switch on at the unit, which can be fiddly for smaller units, often requiring two (clean) hands)

(off topic 2: yeah, yeah, some of DAB's problem is over-compression, much like Freeview/YouView, where SD broadcasts look awful, where they used to be nice and now HD barely looks better than analog)

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Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

John 62

Re: Regulation

Exactly, it's fear of liability in case of an accident that prevents things, not the HSE. Police prevent cheese rollers from rolling cheese because they fear being held liable for any injuries incurred.

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Chipotle insider trading: Disproving the efficient markets hypothesis

John 62

Markets are socialism!

When people are allowed to act in markets (unlike being shut out because prices are set by the force majeure), then markets are by definition the will of the people.

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John 62

Robert Picardo

Did anyone else keep mentally picturing Roberto Picardo, the Emergency Medical Hologram in Star Trek's Voyager era?

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John 62

low wages and the unions

The unions also fund Labour and Gordon Brown's great idea for being pro-business, pro-employment and pro-worker was to give tax credits to people on low incomes. The unions are mostly in favour of those tax credits because they raise incomes and are seen as redistributive, but as stated above, it is those tax credits which can act to depress wage growth.

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Why Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2? Upton: 'I drank the Kool-Aid'

John 62

Re: LOL

I know I'm citing Wikipedia, but Jeffrey Archer sold 250 million novels. Very few authors have had that kind of success. I'm struggling to find a comparable figure in IT. Maybe someone like John McAfee?

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