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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3563 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

10 PRINT "Happy 50th Birthday, BASIC" : GOTO 10

I ain't Spartacus
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My first program

10 PRINT "LUKE SMELLS OF POO!"

20 GOTO 10

Then, as my skills developed, I could do this in larger text size, cycle the screen border through many bright colours and cycle the text colour as well. I'm afraid that's as far as I got with programming, before going back to playing games. Apart from a brief course in C++ 20 years ago.

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Fix capitalism with floating cities on Venus says Charles Stross

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Devil

There is another major advantage. When someone on your space zeppelin upsets you, then you just chuck them out the door. As they fall into the more unfriendly parts of the atmosphere, they can die in many interesting ways, simultaneously.

Much more fun than sharks, to have them crushed, boiled and dissolved.

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Voters pick luminous tech spacesuit as NASA's off-world fashion statement

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Devil

Re: Freaking ugly.

Houston, this is Quasimodo. I'm entering the air-lock now...

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The Reg Quid-a-Day Nosh challenge: What's the point, exactly?

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Friends of mine live in Nigeria. Both are on the el-cheapo old malaria drugs, which have worked for them over the years as they've wandered the globe. Not free, but affordable for at least some of those in the developing world.

But then they had kids. And it turns out that both the kids had side-effects. As in hallucinations and waking up at 3am screaming the place down. OK, no problems. They got bunged on some of the modern shiny-new drugs that don't make you see monsters. Hooray.

Boo. Those drugs cost £70 a month for 2 kids. That definitely ain't affordable to the locals. Not even close.

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Google forges a Silver bullet for Android, aims it at Samsung's heart

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Re: Absolutely

ItsNotMe,

I don't mind the manufacturers not updating the software. I think they should (Apple manage OK), but I can understand that they don't. However:

1. There is absolutely no fucking excuse for not issuing security patches. Particularly as they're written by someone else. And double particularly now they're pushing mobile payments on their phones. And in fact, patches in general. If they can't manage to make that work with the bloatware they shove on the handsets, then they need to get better software teams, or stopping filling their phones with crap.

2. Not updating the software also doesn't wash when they so frequently issue new models on out-of-date versions. Google have been givning them more notice of their software devlopment for at least a couple of years now. If Cyanogen can get their latest version out in a couple of weeks, the manufacturers have no excuse.

Now Samsung have the Galaxy 5 linked to PayPal and pay-by-bonk I hope they get sued to buggery if they fail to issue patches in a timely manner.

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Happy

Although I expect the WP model will probably not look as stylish as the Tizen model. ;-)

Nah. Samsung won't need to do that. You can tell it's Tizen when your eyes are shut...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: If this is not just an Orlowskasm

PS: Why is Android landfill? Nokia/Microsoft sell phones at the bottom end of the market at a substantial loss.

I think this may be a bit unfair now. But it's a nice phrase, and it was definitely true before. Cheap Android phones were almost universally slow, and horrible to use. A few were OK, some were truly un-usable (fit for nout but landfill). Windows Phone was much less of a resource-hog, and could maintain a pretty decent speed on worse hardware. Plus it doesn't multi-taks as much, so craply programed apps couldn't run the phone into the ground, unlike Android.

I think things have changed because Google have worked on efficiency, and there are some really good cheap SOC's now. It looks like the reason Nokia went Android is because MS only approve a limited subset of chips, and so cheap Win Pho can now be outcompteted by cheap Android running on lower-cost silicon.

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Re: The time for Tizen has come, then.

Google has already lost, thanks to Snowden and NSA.

I don't believe you.

It seems to me that most people simply don't care. Plus Apple, MS and Google are all US based - who are the top 3 smartphone OS vendors.

Also there's another problem. Microsoft's mobile phone OS has been pretty good for several years now. And it can't get out of mid-single figures marketshare. And because of that can't get enough apps. And because of the lack of apps, can't grow marketshare easily.

And quite a lot of that marketshare may have been nicked from the free-falling Blackberry as well.

It's hard to break into the smartphone market now. It's much more of an established market than 5, or even 2, years ago. And I don't think it's possible to just wade in and grab a big chunk of sales. Even for Samsung who could try and transition to Tizen and say to customers, 'but you've got the same apps'. That might work at the almost zero-profit low end, but on the high value 100% profit phones? I don't believe it for a second.

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Re: While a lot of this sounds bad from a competition perspective.....

To be fair to Google, I suspect it's both. Obviously they want all that lovely data and control - and they must be alarmed by the number of forks and Samsung trying to replicate all their apps. But also they should be really worried about malware. Maybe it won't happen, but I think there's a huge risk that some headline-grabbing outbreak of nasty will sweep through Android, like a hot knife through XP, before SP1. Microsoft are still reaping the PR damage they gained from things like Melissa and the I Love You bug.

I wonder if Google have been quietly trying to get the manufacturers to cooperate on updates for the last while. And this is the response.

One of the major problems the manufacturers have is how crap they are at cooperating. And writing software... I suspect this is why Google are going this route. It also means they'll struggle to tell Google to get stuffed, because they're always more worried about each other. They failed to cooperate on mobile payments, Symbian, keeping MS out in the Pocket PC days.

It does make me wonder though. Why didn't Google keep Motorola? They only sold it a couple of months ago. And now they're making a play to control hardware, software and updating. Maybe they think that the manufacturers will bend over and take it for Silver, but owning Motorola as well would have been just too much?

It's a shame both sides can't lose. Google are an enormous, increasingly worrying, global-data-hoover. But the manufacturers have never really given a crap about their customers. They'd always rather miss off a feature to keep a network happy, or fill their products with un-usable crapware that they then never bother to update. I mean why issue security patches to your customers, when you can just sell them a shiny new handset?

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Marauding quid-a-day nosh hack menaces teepee hippie villages

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Re: Excellent article!

'The Problem of the Poo' would make quite a good title for a short story I think.

All I need now is the address of Amazing Magazine and the ability to write.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: Excellent article!

Either that, or astronauts on a trip to Mars.

The food stores in bags, as part of the radiation shield. Then once you've eaten, you poo in the bag, and back it goes into the outer skin of the spacecraft - to keep blocking the Sun's nasty mobile phone radiations.

As an extra bonus, you can harvest the methane from the capsule's atmosphere, and that gies you the fuel to power your return trip.

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The quid-a-day nosh challenge: Anyone fancy this fungus I found?

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Lester,

Given your diet this week, it wouldn't be bacon in particular I was craving. It would have to be potatoes and fresh veg. There are plenty of things I can go without for quite a while before I start pining for them, even bacon or beer. But eggs, cheese, nice bread and particularly tatties are too nice for that.

I don't think I could survive the Atkins diet...

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A real pot-boiler kicks off Reg man's quid-a-day nosh challenge

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I bought myself a pair of 'aircraft sheet cutters' the other day. They claim to cut 1.5mm thick steel sheets like scissors. No idea if they work, as I never do that sort of thing. But for getting into insane plastic packaging, say the electrical tester I'd actually gone into B&Q for, they're brilliant.

Quite why a 50g electrical socket tester should require a planet-destroying, armoured plastic case capable of surviving WWIII - is totally beyond me.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Fry me a river

I find eggy-bread particularly unhealthily satisfying. I guess it lacks the perfect evil quality when only fried in olive oil, rather than properly artery-clogging butter. But it's great with stale bread - where toast without butter is less fun.

I believe you can do all sorts of poncing around with cinnamon and flour, and I need to experiment with this. But my Mum's way was to genrly mix 3 eggs with a fork plus some salt + pepper - then quarter the bread soak the bits in the egg for a minute, and straight into the pan. Maybe a quarter teaspoon onto the top of the bread in the pan, to soak more in before it's turned over. Eat, as you cook, alone or with ketchup.

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Devil

And someone thought it was a really bright idea to put a really sticky label inside the pan, rather than on the bottom

Sod it! I've gone off world poverty. I no longer care about the need for clean water. These people can look after themselves. I've got a bigger global problem to solve!

Global Over-Adhesive Sticky Label Week is born! March with me ladies and gentleman! March to the sound of the guns! We must make the world aware of this scourge! We must end this tyranny!

I washed a mayonaise jar in the dishwasher on Friday. No effect. I took it out, still warm, and tried to peel the label. Nothing! I put it in again, for the next run. Nada! The buggers appear to have epoxied the damned thing to the glass. I don't want people to mistake my marmalade for mayo. The last casserole dish I bought took ten minutes to get the bloody label off the inside!

I don't think a week of abstention is the answer. We don't need to raise funds. We should just march on the companies responsible, and glue their designers, buyers and board together with the strongest adhesive available - and leave them to learn their lesson. Or starve, I don't really mind which ...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: What's the point?

Steve Button,

It's a fund-raising and awareness thing. I think it's valuable just for thinking about it. If nothing else, it can put some of our problems into a bit of perspective. And there's a lot that money can do for malaria. It was a very under-funded area in terms of vaccine research up until recently, now much improved, but a couple of quid's worth of mozzie nets and some education can save lives on their own.

It's pretty hard to solve world poverty with cash. But you can have a lot of effect on healthcare, for example. Which as well as just being a good thing in itself (people not dying of curable stuff and not being ill) - also helps with poverty reduction. Healthy people earn more, boosting their economies, making everyone better off. And are less of a burden on their families, who have spare capacity to get some education or get better food/water etc.

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Re: Fry me a river

Lester,

For a change, can't you swap to scrambled eggs on toast later in the week? Toasted over your open fire, or done in the toaster, as laziness kicks in.

You could liven up your brekkie by doing different eggs each morning. Fried, scrambled, poached, boiled and french toast / eggy bread on day 5.

Here speaks a man who's very glad that our beloved government health advice is no longer to limit yourself to only 2 delicious eggs a week. Eggs are back to being good for you again. I'm still waiting for the official rehabilitation of the Jaffa Cake though.

Sorry I didn't join you, but I didn't have time to sort any of this out last week - and I'm off for a weekend of drunken licentiousness on Friday. Please give us a week or two more notice next year, and I'll have no excuse not to join the fun. I won't do a scary spreadsheet like Neil Barnes, but will try to be inventive.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: The rotters at work

Neil Barnes,

I don't see the problem. As any good lawyer would tell you, you're within the rules. You're happily living on food you haven't paid for. The fact that it's cake that probably cost more than your entire weekly budget isn't your fault. After all, no-one quibbles about Lester and his free pork bone - this is just the same.

There, I've written your justification for you. Eat up your cake.

Unfortunately you've now failed the challenge. As although the cake is free, my legal opinion is worth at least £200. So you're over budget...

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NASA spots 'new' star just 7.2 light years away

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Happy

with a surface temperature of between -48 and -13°C

So even though it's an X-Factor contestant of an excuse for a star, and it's miles from anywhere - it's still warmer and sunnier than Skegness...

Smiley face, as the sun has got his brown hat on.

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Apple patents Wi-Fi access point location lookup

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Re: Height

That's not my experience, except the reinforced concrete bit of course.

Setting up networks in old houses with thick internal walls, the floors are your friends. WiFi signals do well through wooden floorboards and the spaces between them, then the plasterboard of the ceiling below. So the best place to put the router is often upstairs.

I guess this is more aimed at commercial buildings, which will be more likely to have signal-blocking concrete slabs. They're also more likely to be the places that record what floor their routers are on.

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Vladimir Putin says internet is a 'CIA project'

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Re: I See Most Of You Have Been Nicely

AltesSchlachtross,

Mr Putin could equally point out that the Maidan coup d'etat was financed by U.S. "NGOs" and the new+illegal president of Ukraine has been determined by a Ms Nuland from the U.S. state department.

He could indeed. It would be total bollocks though. It's pretty clear that there are lots of dissatisfied people in Ukraine ready to protest spontaneously. It's also pretty clear that big demos and building occupations have more political effect than anything else. Which is because Ukraine doesn't have a working political system, and is corruptly run by a small bunch of oligarchs. Even more so than Russia.

Also Ukraine's old regime collapsed. There was no coup, although there might have been about to be. They lost support from their own party in Parliament before that could happen, and buggered off. Parliament picked the new government and called elections. Which is as legal and democratic as was possible at the time.

The US interfered to some extent. Who knows how successfully. But did so legally. Diplomats are allowed to talk to parties forming new governments you see. That's called diplomacy!

Oddly enough though, invading and annexing parts of your neighbours is different. It's illegal. Given that Russia had signed a treaty 20 years ago promising it would respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine in exchange for their nuclear disarmament - that makes it even worse.

I've seen plenty of defences of Putin. And they're all bollocks. There is no possible excuse for the invasion of Crimea. None whatsoever. There was no attempt at honest diplomacy beforehand, and so far none afterwards. To compound the sin, the Russian government is now deliberatly destabilising a friendly (well it was friendly anyway) neighbouring country to the extent of either starting a civil war or creating conditions to allow a second invasion to annex even more of it.

The seizure of Crimea sort of made some kind of sense. It gained a strategic port, removed some of Ukraine's negotiating leverage, re-intergrated a population with a majority that may regard itself as Russian. The referendum was rigged, but that doesn't mean that an honest one wouldn't have gone the same way - I seem to recall seeing that Crimea voted to stay with Ukraine in the 90s by 55 - 45%. So pretty close.

Putin could have called it quits, dealt diplomatically and smugly sat back having suffered minimal sanctions for a job-well-done. Of course he's have made an enemy of Ukraine by invading it, and removing a good chunk of the voters that make pro-Russian governments possible. But he's gone on to start a civil conflict that could escalate badly. And will now struggle to back down without serious damage - whereas he's backed the West into a corner where they'll have to impose more meaningful sanctions now. Also NATO will have to seriously consider a much stronger posture in Eastern Europe. And there might be a humanitarian crisis in a next-door country with a porous border, hence millions of refugees. These are all things that Russian policy has sought to avoid.

Which leads one to wonder. Is he the tactical genius he was made out to be? Or is 13 years in power going to his head? Or has he decided that Russia's best interests are served by some kind of return to 19th Century Nationalist conflict - or even 1930s style? It's all very odd.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @Spartacus

There are precisely zero good guys in any if this. Nobody is any better or worse than the next idiot that gets the job. There's zero honesty in any of this.

Don Jefe,

And yet you call someone out for college level thinking, and accuse me of naivety...

Sorry, that kind of faux-worldy more-cynical-than-thou bullshit doesn't wash. And shouldn't be deployed in any serious political argument. It's demonstrably not true.

To some extent all politicians are the same. They have to engage with compromise, power and competing interests in order to get anything done. That's life. There are rarely any black-and-white easy decisions, where you can 'do the right thing' with no downsides.

I therefore make a point of questioning all the information I see, and the all the politicians I hear from. Even the ones I agree with. I also try, not always successfully, to change my opinions as the facts change, or it turns out I was wrong about what was really happening.

But not all politicans are the same. That's just a lazy, stupid point to make. You try to vote for the better ones. As an electorate we have to do that, or we encourage the most venal, lying fucks to keep at it. If you don't reward the better ones for doing unpopular things, or telling unpopular truths, then they'll all be forced to tell lies and be populists. And it will be our fault, just as much as theirs.

It's like blaming the banks for the recent crash. We, as a society, took on lots of credit we couldn't really afford to pay for. We voted for higher spending, but lower taxes - until our governments were running huge bubble-stoking deficits. Our politicians failed to see that regulation wasn't really working, and failed to act on the obvious imbalances in the global economy that had China racking up $4-5 tr trillion worth of foreign reserves in order to force down their own peoples' wages and their currency to outcompete everyone on manufacturing. And the bankers and financial industry were stupid, greedy and rubbish at their jobs too. The whole finance culture is fundamentally screwed-up and needs fixing. But it ain't all their fault. The answers are always more complicated than mere polemic allows. And we, as voters, need to look at what we can do to sort stuff out, as well as complaining - and making our politicians aware of what we expect from them. If we just call them all evil, and ignore them, then we're ignoring our responsibilities - and amazingly enough ignoring problems doesn't tend to solve them.

As for politicians all being liars, that's also not true. It used to be that lying was a serious political crime in UK politics. That could end careers. Not telling the whole truth is a different thing. It's obviously not honest, but there's a big difference. Both morally and practically.

Trust is important. If you outright deny something, then it ought to be possible to believe you. Because the consequences of lying ought to be fatal to your career, to encourage others. And also becuase it then makes deal making much more likely.

One of the problems Putin has created is to destroy diplomatic trust by continually lying. And seemingly being pleased with his cleverness for doing it. Because at some point, deals have to be done. Starting a war you have no way to end is stupid.

Putin's actions are morally and materially different to the recent actions of the US and UK. Particularly the wholesale slaughter and kidnapping in Chechnenya. Most of this not a result of a post-invasion civil war, or foreign insurgents joining in to make things worse. This a direct result of the Russian army levelling the capital city, with no care for civillian casualties, and the total lack of discipline among the Russian troops, who were making money on the side by kidnapping thousands of locals for ransom - as well as general rape and pillage.

I rate Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as unusual in British politics, in their willingness to outright lie, where evasion of the truth or silence would have served them just as well. And the electorate rewarded them with 3 terms in office, and then chose to distrust all politicians, rather than trying to look at who lied and who didn't. Which is understandable, but a real danger to the health of our politics.

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Re: Macumba

we are every bit as bad, but at least they are a tad more honest about it.

Actually that's precisely my point. We're not just as bad. The West ain't perfect. Not even close. But we have often acted altruistically as well as self-interesdly, sometimes at serious cost of blood and treasure.

As for the honest bit - that's an even more important point. Putin has been anything but. He's broken a serious treaty committment, and even lied about an invasion he launched. Plus breaking an agreement he made only days ago to de-escalate. That's almost as serious as the invasion. By poisoning the diplomatic well he makes it very hard to make peace afterwards. Which everyone really needs to do.

Also, despite much whining about how no-one ever takes poor Russia's interests into account, and it's not fair - he's doing precisely that. While the EU and US are doing everything they can to avoid even diplomatic conflict, he's ratcheting up the tension continuously. Which is just stupid. We have the power to collapse his economy. He has the power to damage ours - it's not clear quite how seriously. Obviously we also have the power to nuke each other.

He's giving Ukraine's government no space to compromise. Yet he's going to have to make some kind of peace with what's left of Ukraine afterwards. If nothing else most of Russia's gas exports to Europe go through it.

By the way, my post didn't justify the invasion of Iraq. Despite all the downvotes. What I pointed out was that even the worst thing the US and UK have been accused of in recent years isn't as bad as annexing Crimea. Something had to be done about Iraq. Invasion might not have been it, but there weren't any good options to choose from. Life is complicated, and can't just be divided into bad/good. You have to look at motives, methods and available options. Also, in the case of Iraq, diplomacy was tried for about a year before the invasion. In the case of Crimea - diplomacy was not attempted. If you don't find this deeply worrying, you're a fool.

Oh and by the way, the invasion of Iraq wasn't against international law. The justification was thin - but there was one. International law is fundamentally broken, in that there's no unbiased court in which to hold the case, and get a definitive ruling. Hence it will only ever work imperfectly. But Iraq was in breach of several of the ceasefire terms from the war in 91 - as well as in breach of a deliberately ambiguously worded Security Council motion - which was designed to threaten military action without quite using the legally correct language. Russia, France and China should have vetoed that one, in order to be clear that they wouldn't allow force to be used. But didn't. Messy, but there you are. There is no possible legal justification for the Russian invasion of Crimea. Or Georgia, come to think of it (but that one's more complicated).

The illegal one in the pack is Kosovo. That was a wholly illegal war, by international rules. It was also wholly justifiable. It's had unfortunate diplomatic consequences, and cost us money and diplomatic capital for no real gain. Other than it was the right thing to do.

As for your list of countries we haven't intervened in - are you complaining about it? You're complaining the invasion of Iraq was bad, but you want more?

Plus what we have done is attempted to use diplomacy, in order to get a more peaceful resolution. With at least some success, in some cases. Again we used diplomacy before force to achieve our aims. Do you notice the difference?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Macumba

Don Jefe,

The US, UK and friends didn't annex Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Libya, Bosnia etc.

They also didn't create the problems there in the first place, in order to give them an excuse to invade. There were already huge problems. In the case of Bosnia, Kosovo and Sierra Leone they weren't even acting out of raw national interest, they were intervening on humanitarian grounds. Were all motives pure and lilly-white? I doubt it. This is diplomacy and international politics we're talking about.

But any comparison to Russia's nakedly aggressive and foolish actions in Ukraine is utterly ridiculous.

Even in the case of Iraq, which was the most fucked-up and least easy to justify of the recent conflicts we've got involved in, something had to be done. Iraq was a proven aggressive state, in a very sensitive area, with lots of lovely oil. Plus chemical weapons and a desire to use them. And a desire to massacre his own population. Which we'd decided not to ignore, and so we had promised protection to the Kurds and Marsh Arabs (after letting lots of them get killed first). Sanctions were breaking down, in large part due to Russia (and France), but also the neighboring countries not wanting to enforce them. Whether Sadam had much in the way of working, deployable, chemical weapons was unknown, but no-one seriously doubted that there were still some stockpiles left, and most of the scientists were still around to rebuild the program extremely quickly.

The US and friends didn't then simply invade. They spent a year saying what they'd do. Agreed to send in relatively neutral inspectors, so Sadam could cooperate if he wanted to avoid war. He didn't. So he didn't. Then they fucked up the rebuilding. But they didn't level the place and then just bugger off. They attempted to rebuild, get the oil industry going to fund the economy and set up a working government. In the middle of the civil war that was probably inevitable in Iraq after Sadam fell. The minority from the Sunni centre of the country still wanted to run the place - and everyone else had good reason to hate them for it.

What didn't happen was a sneaky overnight invasion, with no attempt at negotiation - with no legitimate reason to do so. If you can't see the difference in that, and the danger in that, I suggest you read some history of international relations.

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Happy

Re: Doesn't matter who "invented" it

Oh, I thought he meant Tim Henman...

[Thinks: Berners-Lee sits at his beautiful black NEXT box, he's a bit stuck as to how this particular bit of code goes together, when suddenly from the radio he hears several posh voices shouting in anguish, "Come on Tim!"]

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Re: I always thought he was a bit crazy

Voland's right hand,

I have no doubt that Putin is not in control of what's happening in Eastern Ukraine. No-one is.

But there's pretty good evidence that Russia was more than just a little involved. Firstly I've heard reports on the BBC World Service - where guys occupying the police stations seemed to be clearly all (or mostly) local. They knew each other and seemed to know the local area. But some of them admitted that the guys who'd done the actual storming had been unknown to them, and carrying uniforms without insignia and better weapons. Normally this wouldn't be enough to make me believe a conspiracy theory. Except that it's exactly the same MO as worked in Crimea. Something Putin said he wouldn't do the day before he did it, denied at the time, and then smugly talked about giving the special forces guys medals for 2 weeks later.

Secondly Russia has been noisily carrying out military excercises on the Ukrainian border. This is either the prelude to an invasion, or it's just posturing to totally fuck up the new Ukrainian government. It's now looking more like the prelude to a full-scale invasion, because of the special forces guys already sent in. But it still might be just an attempt to destabilise Ukraine, and create a low-level civil war. Who can tell? However it's also a clear signal to the pro-Russia extremists that they can try and attract Russia to come in, and is a deliberately destabilising gesture.

Thirdly, even after signing a deal with the Ukraine government and Western governments to de-escalate, the Russian government has kept up the rhetoric, and started new military excercises in Rostov. And not called for the protesters to stand-down.

Oh and fourthly, disparate, grass-roots rebel movements don't storm 50-odd buildings virtually simultaneously one morning, with zero reported casualties.

So yes. Russia is definitely involved. In several ways. Some of them even they don't deny. And they've since admitted what they did in Crimea. What their final intention is, that's another matter. I can't believe they'd gain enough from annexing Eastern Ukraine to be worth the costs of occupying it, dealing with the probably huge diplomatic fallout, possible resistance and the mess they'd make of the remnants of Ukraine. NATO would have to invite Ukraine in, which they really don't want to do, probably also Georgia - and those are 2 things the Russians definitely don't want. NATO would also probably have to permanently station troops in the Baltic States. Poland can easily hold out long enough to be re-inforced, they've got 5 armoured divisions.

Also I don't know what the passport position is, but Russia has in certain cases been very eager to hand out Russian passports to Russian minorities in the surrounding countries. After all, it was one of the reasons they gave/manufactured for the war with Georgia. I don't know how much of that has been going on in Ukraine, but there's quite a big chance that whatever happens in Ukraine, a mostly harmonious relationship between people who see themselves as Ukrainian and those who see themselves as Russian is breaking down. This could turn catastrophic, and lead to serious civil conflict. Does he really want a couple of million penniless refugees to deal with? The Russian government isn't made of money. And their economy is taking a serious beating form this crisis as is. Full EU sanctions would be crippling - and he'd suddenly be less popular - after the nationalistic fervour has died down - and people realise how much poorer they are. A gas boycott of the EU bankrupts Russia faster than it freezes Europe, and Qatar's LNG, American shale-gas, and the EU gas inter-connectors make this a pretty poor time to play that game anyway. They can't sell gas to China until they've built a new pipeline and LNG infrastructure is no quicker to create.

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Re: I always thought he was a bit crazy

He used to remind me of Bismarck. Strategically brillant, using nationalism, success and great deftness to maintain a sort of hybrid democracy/dictatorship. Mostly with restraint and subtlety, but with the odd bit of brutality showing through, to keep the more adventurous in check.

But now I'm not so sure. What he's doing in Ukraine, doesn't seem to make any sense. I don't see enough gain from turning Ukraine into even more of a basketcase than it already was, to make up for the downside of all the enemies he's making.

Angela Merkel, mostly an ally, said after a phone call with him last week that he seemed to be detached from reality. That's surprisingly un-diplomatic language…

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Microsoft: The MORE Surfaces it sells, the MORE money it loses

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Re: confused

I'd imagine it's because the financial reports often miss out the last ,000 (and definitely the .00 on the end) when they're dealing with big numbers. So Dr Evil's One Meellion Dollars would show up as a paltry $1,000...

So someone was probably typing in a bit of a hurry. Or C+P went wrong.

To be fair, their loss on the last quarter was proportionally less than the losses in the previous 2, even if it was on lower sales. But with the Christmas period on there, that's to be expected. They might even manage to break even on Surface next year, who knows?

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All men are part of a PURE GENETIC ELITE, says geno-science bloke

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Devil

Re: "Junk" DNA

Or it could just be cryptic and unreadble comments on the code...

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Shut up, Siri, I'm watching telly! iOS 7.1 code reveals new role for Apple's PA

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Re: iWatch?

Why would you want to shout at your watch?

How else will you tell your sarcastic english accented car to come and save you?

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Dell charges £5 to switch on power-saving for new PCs (it takes 5 clicks)

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Devil

Re: Dell

£20? That's not right. It's far too cheap!!

How am I going to get gold contacts and oxygen free cables for that paltry amount? I only use the finest quality cables, as recommended to me by the Comet salesman. And I bet he knows far more about computers than the commentards on here. After all, he's in a big shop with them all day...

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DeSENSORtised: Why the 'Internet of Things' will FAIL without IPv6

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Re: IoT

An 'attachment' you say? I believe I already have the requisite dongle.

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Re: Networking's answer to Windows Vista

Tannin,

If IPv6 is Windows Vista, then when do we get the excellent and popular IPv7?

Where we take all the advances in the architecture of Vista and make most of them now work properly? So that the users are willing to touch them with a 20 foot bargepole...

By the way, thanks for reminding me of Windows ME. Erk! Dad had that, fortunately the only computer I ever used/fixed with it installed on. He had Win 95 and ME - so I had to rebuild his OS a lot, and help him recover from many crashes. Sadly he never go Win98, which would have given me (and him) a much easier life.

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Re: Networking's answer to Windows Vista

Peter Mount,

How come VOIP doesn't work over NAT? I'm sure it increases the technical difficulty, but given that everybody uses NAT, and has done for years, this suggests a problem for VOIP to solve.

The alternative appears to be wishing for a better network, which breaks loads of other stuff.

I am merely a humble dabbler in, and user of IT. But IPv6 is going to cost my company time and money to implement. As well as me for my home stuff. The methods that keep the current system working appear to break less than the things the new system does - hence I'm sticking my head in the sand and hoping it'll all go away. Or the IPv6 people could maybe notice nobody's moved over and look at IPv6.1?

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Re: Bridging IPv4 to IPv6

Stuart Longland,

I don't propose anything. Designing international networking standards is well beyond my abilities. It's not my field.

However, I suspect it's not impossible. A workaround could have been sorted out. I presume what you do at the moment is have the local network do IPv4, and then have the network box handling all the NAT and IPv6 stuff for it.

IPv6 has been hanging around for a very, very long time. Perhaps it needs a re-design to reflect reality?

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Happy

Re: the lightbulb moment...

How many network technicians does it take to change a lightbulb?

192,168,001,001?

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Devil

Re: IoT

I'll have you know that I've got great hopes for my line of internet-connected boxer shorts!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Bridging IPv4 to IPv6

Why didn't they just directly assign all IPv4 numbers to an equivalent IPv6 one, with extra digits at the beginning of course? It's not like IPv6 is short of numbers to miss the waste a mere few billion.

The other thing I don't get about IPv6 is the allergy to NAT. Lots of addresses are good, obviously. Nice and future-proof. Some stuff wants to live online all the time - and who knows how much of this there'll be in future. But some kit never needs to talk to anything outside the building. And there are local networks for that. I'm no technical expert, and I know little enough about networking - but I sometimes get the feeling I've dropped into a religious dispute when I read about IPv6.

Oh,and what did they do with IPv5? I suggest creating IPv12, and getting it completed before IPv6...

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Look behind you, 'declining' sub-$5bn iPod. The iWatch has come... to EAT YOU

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Re: You can have my ipod when you get it from my cold dead fingers

The headphone socket on my now rather elderly 80GB iPod Classic is dying. I've also never liked their scrollwheel/clickwheel thingy. And I've got an iPod dock that I picked up cheap that doesn't connect to their new stuff.

I won't be replacing it with a watch. I have about 25GB of music now plus untold GB of podcasts. So 60-80GB is a minimum requirement (so I don't have to synch and move stuff around too often). Yes I have a data allowance on my phone, no I won't be streaming from the cloud. Just exactly how well does that work on underground trains anyway?

I don't know what I'm going to go for next. Maybe Neil Young's Pono player will work out? Or a phone that takes SD cards?

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Re: Watch for music - headphones?

John Brown,

No. He's not a sick bastard for using radiation. Everyone loves radiation.

He's a sick bastard because he microwaves mice! Poor little things...

My friend had a snake, and he bought six-packs of frozen mice from the local pet shop. He was defrosting one, and forgot to press the right button. After 15 minutes on full power, the mouse exploded, with the tail stuck to one wall of the microwave. He had to buy his Mum a new one after that.

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Spartacus' 1st Law of Apple Rumours:

If a rumour or analyst statement (like there's a difference!) states that Apple will be releasing a new product with 2 or more different sized models - it can be safely assumed to be untrue.

I'm pretty sure none of the rumours I've read have come out right. The ones that said the new iPhones / iPads would be like this, and then gave a range of new sizes - all turned out to be bollocks. I assume they're founded on Apple ordering parts for prototyping - or possibly just causing trouble. Or the rumour-mongers just making stuff up...

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So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?

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Re: But why are we translating it literally?

At least bees actually have knees. And dogs have bollocks. Cat's don't have pyjamas.

And I pity the person who tried to get one to wear them... Although I suppose the phrase could be re-purposed, to give an expression of success through suffering.

So you could say something like, your new super-firework is the cat's pyjamas. However I can see that you've suffered similar facial and hand injuries to the man who dressed the cat.

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Re: But why are we translating it literally?

In that vein, I've used an extension of the dog's bollocks since (I think) I heard it on 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue'. Which is the badger's nadgers. It sound's pleasing, rather like the mutt's nuts.

I'm assuming that the reason the dog's bollocks are considered so good, is because the dog seems to think they are. Given how much time they spend licking them.

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95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift

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Happy

Re: Modern elevators are strange and complex entities

Share and enjoy!

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Tooled-up Ryobi girl takes nine-inch grinder to Asus beach babe

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Re: Getting as bad as motorcycle and car shows

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir,

so that every mouth can be fed.

Poor me, cellulite. Aah.

[with apologies to Desmond Dekker and the Aces]

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Whaddaya mean, NO REFUND? But I paid in Bitcoins! Oh I see...

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Re: Bitcoin - the new Second Life

d3rrial,

Thanks for that explanation. I knew there was a way to prioritise, so you could get high-value trades confirmed more quickly - so people couldn't run off with your stuff before the transaction was confirmed. I just hadn't got round to reading about how.

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EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

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Re: Here is an idea

PS: I am fed up with the "free market" religion.

Tough. Free markets have made you, and billions of people all over the world considerably richer. All other systems so far tried have sucked more than free markets do. Of course not too free. Free markets don't work without property rights for example - which need government and independent judiciaries. So in fact there's no such thing as a free market really.

What we need is a balance between making markets as free as posible, with governments to hold the ring and stop abuse. Plus the same governments to take some of the profits away from everyone in the form of taxation to do stuff that markets are crap at, like social welfare and defence.

As for "pathetic speculative tricks", a lot of HFT isn't speculative at all. It's replacing arbitrage desks run by humans. So the idea is to find small price differences and make tiny profits from closing them in high volumes. Theoretically there should be no risk at all, if this is done correctly. This is a good thing, as it makes markets work better.

There's then a second big use of HFT, which is speculative. That's the idea that the article talks about, sugar has gone up, so sell (or short) shares in Coca Cola, Mars, Cadbury's etc. This is trying to get the jump on human traders who are doing exactly the same thing. It's less good for society - although it's not bad for society so long as it doesn't go horribly wrong. Even when it does go horribly wrong though, there's not as yet any evidence that society has suffered. Knight Capital lost some money due to crapness, but it's unlikely to have had much permanent effect on the prices of the stocks they bid down, so they just moved some money from their accounts to those of other people they bought from. And then got taken over. Hopefully lesson learned.

HFT will have effects. Some bad some good. Not all understood yet, I'm sure. But so will legislation. Therefore legislation ought to be done carefully. Also at national level. The European Parliament doesn't have skin in the game, if it all goes tits up. They know they can pontificate and go for popular gestures on this, because most of the consequences are likely to fall on the UK. With the biggest financial sector in the EU. Yet this legislation isn't accountable to UK voters. So it's doubly bad, from an organisation with a reputation for being rubbish already.

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Re: Investors != Traders

I'm not sure there's anything inherently more 'moral' in investing than there is in trading.

For a start, most investors aren't actually helping companies. If you buy a Vodafone share, you're not giving money to Vodafone to put into R&D, or new infrastructure. That ship sailed when Vodafone floated and got its money off the markets. You are of course indirectly helping, because if no-one was willing to buy shares, then no-one else would be willing to invest in new IPOs (with no-one to sell to) and therefore there'd be much less venture capital hoping to cash out at IPO time. But there's often very little direct relationship between your investment and a good to society. You're investing to make you a profit.

In the same way HFT is about profit to the trading companies that use it. Although also their shareholders, who might be the 'good' investors. But HFT does some good for society in allowing trading to be cheaper. So for example, an increasing amount of cash is saved in tracker funds. As these don't outperform the market, but also aren't as crap as many human-directed funds can be. No chance of being above average, but average is better than around half of the human traders...

This lowers the barriers to stock market investment for ordinary folks. Who can get a shares ISA in a tracker fund with very low fees.

Of course there's an unplanned downside to this. More shares in big companies owned by robot-controlled tracker funds means fewer shareholders who understand the company. Therefore fewer people who just might vote sensibly on CEO pay - or exercise any oversight over the board.

Basically it's all terribly complicated. Of all the bodies that could be in charge of controlling it, the European Parliament has got to be the worst. It's just as unaccountable as the City doing its own self-regulation. But has far less understanding of the issues. So the chances of unintended consequaences zoom upwards. It's also prone to childish political grandstanding. It also sufffers from one of the biggest weaknesses of the EU - which is that there's no reverse gear. There seems to be a phobia in EU circles for revisiting regulation that's gone wrong. This is because the international negotiation process is so long and painful, and subject to vetoes and horse-trading. Sometimes a country with no real interest in the outcome will do a deal to get what it wants in another area, or threaten to block what it doesn't care about in this one. So if the EP or Commission buggers something up, like the recent central banking regulation (in which case they've even admitted it was a mistake) they won't re-open it. This is also fundamentally undemocratic, but then the EP is a bit of a retirement home for failed national-level politicians.

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Re: Utter crap

What have the markets ever done for us. Other than roads, railways, hospitals, the industrial revolution, pensions...

Where do you think all the money comes from to invest in stuff? It comes from savers - who are willing to accept some risk, in return for reward. People who take the smaller risk of government-guaranteed bank savings accounts get less reward. People willing to accept more risk go to the markets. Much of that capital gets mis-allocated of course.

One of the major reasons that the industrial revolution happened in Britain, was because we had well-developed markets to allocate capital to innovation. One of the reasons it spread round the world was that Britain invested much of the profits abroad in doing the same thing. Which reduced the industrial lead, but led to a massive increase in global trade and the growth of the City of London as a global trading hub.

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Japanese boffin EYES up big bucks with strap-on digi-glasses

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Devil

Re: Good thing we've..

monkeyfish,

Of course he does. If he worked harder at making robot bodies, then we could be brains in a jar, strapped to giant killer robots already! What's he waiting for!

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