* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4160 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Confidential information exposed over 300 times in ICANN security snafu

I ain't Spartacus
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Devil

Re: ICANN setting an example

As the old saying goes, if you can't be an example to your children, you can at least be a horrible warning...

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Heroic Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse tighten their belts

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Re: Kudos indeed

Indeedy! Thank you from the heart of our bottoms...

I found an actual piece of orange peel in my 49p Lidl thick cut marmalade today. Woohoo! That's the first piece I've seen all week. But at about 2p per slice of toast covered, it's surprisingly good.

The 300g of Lidl "cheese" for £1.55 on the other hand...

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Anonymous benefactor to match today's Quid-A-Day donations

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Re: Bugger!

Oh, do they not do so? I thought it was the other way round, and donations didn't show up on the team page - as I've got a few hopefully coming in today. Booo.

Anyway, thank you to our myserious benefactor.

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MONSTROUS iPhone sales are CANNIBALIZING iPads, gabbles Apple CEO

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Happy

Re: Simple

jason 7,

You had a sofa made out of catalogues? That sounds very uncomfortable!

At £1 a week, I'd say you paid way over the odds...

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Re: Simple

If that were true, how come the iPhone sells so well? The only difference is a radio chip, costing a few dollars at the most, and possibly an LED flash for the camera. Oh and the iPad is 4 times the size, so has a much more expensive screen and battery.

Actually I've used the argument of tablet prices to say that all the top-end phones are over-priced. Which I believe they are, so I won't spend more than £200-£300 on a phone (and there's some pretty good ones at £150).

But the 10" iPad isn't significantly more expensive than the premium Android tablets. Until you pay Apple's rip-off price for extra storage of course. Or in fact the £100 extra they charge for the one with a mobile radio chip costing a few dollars...

I'd say it's more likely that tablets often get left at home, and don't take as much of a hammering as phones, in battery or getting dropped terms. Plus lots of people still expect a shiny new phone with every new mobile contract - whereas they're paying the price of the tablet up-front (not as part of a disguised hire purchase and airtime contract).

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Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse taunted with sausage sarnie snap

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Re: 'two eggs/four slices of bread'

Lester,

I think we agree on the round. Mine is a modern lazy round, where I'll often cut along only the long side to make the sandwich a bit more convenient to hold. The poncier the bread, the taller it seems to be, and therefore the more likely to flop over and dump the delicious contents all over the shop.

Whereas in the days of tea at my Nan's, it was sliced white all the way. Ham and cucumber or crab paste in fact. Much squarer bread, so makes nice squares (triangles if you're feeling all posh). A round would be the 2 slices of bread's worth, so either 2 or 4 sub sandwiches (sandwich-ettes, sarnitos perhaps?). This all to be followed by Mr Kipling's finest cherry bakewells and French fancies, plus Jaffa cakes, and/or maybe even fruit cake if she'd made some.

Oh, and dandelion and burdock. Foul, sickly stuff that coats your teeth and makes them go furry - but I did used to love it. Radio 2 on in the kitchen, the sounds of aircraft over South London, drifts away into happy nostalgia...

Anyway, you are correct. This is a vital question. We need to form a Nosh Posse Sandwich Sizing Sub-committee. Stat!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: 'two eggs/four slices of bread'

Isn't it a round of sarnies, which is 2 slices sandwiched, then cut in half to make 2 smaller sarnies? Or some such. Otherwise I've had that confusion with people before.

Myself I'd say a sandwich is what you get with some stuff, and 2 slices of bread.

This is before we've even mentioned the abomination that is the club sandwich, which always seems to use an odd number of slices. At which I always think, should you butter both sides of the slice that's in the middle?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Sauce

Chimay bleu is about 11% alcohol, but just tastes like a nice dark beer. It's very moreish. Sadly it's about £4 a bottle whenever I've seen it in the UK - so would make a bit of a hole in the week's budget.

The strongest I've had was Carlsburg Elephant Beer, which is 13% from memory. Had it once in a Danish bar, and it was truly horrible. The danger with many Belgian beers is how many of them are so nice, and don't taste like they've got more than 7% alcohol. I guess that's why they come in half measures..

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Bill Fresher,

Give people time...

I personally haven't, as I live in a flat, so can't. But also I've tried to go for a balance of my rice, which is bought in huge bags every few months anyway (and people in developing countries are likely to do the same - or store what they grow) - and buying some things in smaller packages just to use this week. On which subject I owe Lester an email, a spreadsheet and a picture of my stash of "goodies".

However, apparently the $1.50 a day figure is consumption at purchasing power parity. So this is supposedly a monetary value assigned to everything that people comsume each day - at a notional global standardised dollar's purchasing power. It's all very hard to work out - for example that figure includes housing - and I simply don't believe that you could get any kind of housing in the UK at rates of a couple of hundred a year, even a small concrete/brick single roomed one.

Also my bank won't take a couple of quid for the week as my mortgage payment - and Thames Water are probably getting £2-£3 a week off me. Not to mention electricity.

In the end this is a charity event, a bit of fun, and hopefully an excercise in thinking about what we have and what we use. It should be taken in a spirit of enquiry, with a sense of proportion, and with a sense of humour.

Yesterday I spent about 30p on frozen veg (not available to people below the poverty line, but their fresh veg is probably cheaper than ours), 39p on 6 eggs, maybe 10p on half an onion and half a potato, a little butter and made a nice omelette. Which is big enough for a dinner and a lunch, for 80p. But that doesn't include electricity to cook it.

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SpaceX in MONEY RING shot, no spare juice for tail backdown this time

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Happy

And to think that I was only telling a friend on Saturday, as we left the cinema for the pub, that I'd just ticked something off my bucket list. Which was walking down the up escalator (while moving of course), because the other was out of order and my excuse was I didn't want to wait for the lift.

I'm obviously a bit more easily pleased than you...

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So how should we tax these BASTARD COMPANIES, then?

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Re: Fair Tax?

phil dude,

The difference between a VAT and a sales tax is that a VAT is harder to avoid. To take the example of a retailer in the two systems:

VAT - They buy a bunch of goods from their suppliers and have to pay net price + 25% VAT. But this is OK, as they're going to claim that money back. They add their mark-up for their own profit, then the government's 25% VAT - and sell on to customers. Then pay the government their pound of flesh, less what they can claim back from their suppliers.

To cheat the system, they'd sell to the customers at say 10% cheaper than everyone else, pocketing the rest that they were claiming was VAT, but this is barely going to cover them for the fact that they now can't claim back the VAT on their suppliers. Ooops. You still get the issue that very small suppliers can undercut everyone else by not charging VAT, but then they also can't claim it back - so there's a limit to how much they can do.

Assuming our shop operates properly, they're paying no VAT themselves - it's just some extra admin, and a varying effect on their cash-flow.

Sales Tax - In this example of a sales tax, there is only one side to the transaction. Being business-to-business, then our shop goes out and buys their supplies, no sales tax will be payable. Thus they have the ablity to sell to the customers at a discount, and pocket some portion of the sales tax. Obviously big firms can't get away with this, but smaller ones can, and if they can undercut the big boys (who do pay) then that's going to be a route to avoidance there.

Now you might say the answer here is to have the retailer fill out loads of forms for the lovely tax man, so he can track what's going on and catch them at their dirty game. At which point, the simplicity and lack of bureaucracy that is the advantage of a sales tax has just collapsed. Now you've got the same level of paperwork going on, the same admin losses to businesses, the same level of paperwork for the government to tax - but still the easier possibility to avoid tax, as you've not got the incentive of claiming your own VAT back - that keeps (most of) the VAT people more honest.

Also, you've had a big old moan about how bloated European governments are. And sure, governments can always find ways to spend money. But even though people may resent being taxed, they also resent it if you stop spending government money on stuff. That tension is the major issue of politics. But what would you cut? Health? Defence? Unemployment benefits? Pensions? Education? The UK government has averaged just under 40% of GDP in spending in the last 35 years, which means it's going to need to average taxes of about 40% of GDP. I suspect it will be very hard to move it very far from that, and keep the voters onside.

Actually the US is a lot closer to that level of spending/taxing itself now, as federal spending has increased so much since the 50s.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Fair Tax?

phil dude,

Their FAQ is not right. They are correct to say that VAT is a consumption tax. But it does not tax every stage of production. Every business with a turnover greater than about £50k-£100k must charge VAT on everything it sells (there are some exceptions of course). But, it gets to offset the VAT on everything it buys against that.

So the company will only pay VAT on goods/services bought from companies too small to feature in the system. Hopefully sales are higher than costs, so this can even have a positive effect on cash flow.

Another useful advantage is that the government knows sales and total purchases of every company in the VAT scheme, mostly quarterly, so along with info from payroll taxes, can make better statistics on the economy.

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Quid-A-Day Nosh Challenge kicks off early for starvation veteran

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Re: Welcome back, Toby

To think that all I scoffed last night was the last of the salad and quiche - I can almost feel virtuous. There's still lager in the fridge, but a friend cleaned me out of beer last week. I did manage to polish off a couple of left-over jammy dodgers though.

Current plan is to celebrate the finish with either a bacon or a fish finger sandwich. Unfortunately there's a packet of bacon left in there, calling out to me.

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Debian ships new 'Jessie' release with systemd AND sysvinit

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Happy

Re: "needrestart"??

My Antikythera machine ran the far superior Solaris, the operating system designed by Apollo Himself. In order to start the system you were forced to make a libation of wine, and a sacrifice of ambrosia - and since Devon's finest rice pudding was a bugger to get hold of, and no-one wants to waste good wine (or even retsina), we endeavoured never to have to do so.

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China tackles vital strippers-at-funeral problem

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Devil

Re: Dan Paul Seriously speaking, why is this any different...

I've even heard of gift bags being given out at really "highbrow" Saudi funerals.

Hmmm. Interesting idea. Going to a funeral, and coming back with a doggy-bag.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Coat

Well, if they've been interred for a few hundred years, then all I can say is "don't fancy yours".

No. She's a right minger...

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Happy

OK, OK, very funny!

You do realise that April Fool's is over now. So there's no excuse for paying Chris Morris for old rejected scripts from Brass Eye...

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Apple Watch RIPPED APART, its GUTS EXPOSED to hungry Vultures

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It's pretty shocking that it's something like a £100 "upgrade" to get an identical watch, but with a steel strap. And I believe their straps are non-standard, in order to make sure they get their full pound of flesh.

Suddenly their £30 USB cables are starting to look quite reasonably priced...

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On the other hand, what's the harm in having your ego massaged for £300?

Myself, it doesn't float my boat, and I won't be buying one. But unless you only wear brown sacking, you must have spent at least some money on such flummery. At which point, it's merely a matter of degree.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: so what if you can't upgrade it?

why would anyone expect to upgrade/replace parts in their watch??

When it's just cost them $10,000 and it needs to integrate with their phone which gets software upgrades every year - one of which will eventually make them incompatible perhaps?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

james 68,

Which leads me to the question m'lud. How did the accused know about the existence of this literature? Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case...

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Apple Watch: Exactly how many vids does it take to teach a fanboi to tell the time?

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How the UI behaves also depends on what the watch or your iPhone is doing. Swiping up will do different things if the phone is playing music or the phone is running maps.

Erm, what happens if you're doing both? If I'm walking somewhere, I often listen to music, and take quick glances at the map to work out how I'm getting on.

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Amazon lifts lid on AWS money factory, says it's a $5 BEEEELLION biz

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Re: It's a tax con

It's not a tax con, because Amazon don't make profits. By definition. They're not hiding the profits in another company, they're spending their profits on growing the company. Some combination of buying lots of servers for Cloud, stupidly low pricing to buy market share and weird stuff like drones and Fire tablets/phones.

So no, the taxpayer is not being ripped off. The system is working as designed. You don't pay tax on retained profits used for investment.

You might argue that the shareholders are being ripped off though. Is the company now growing for growth's sake? Moving into more areas, and doing odd stuff, because it interests Bezos - and he's getting to play with the world's greatest train set at their expense? That's a legitimate concern, but not the government's problem, that's down to the shareholders. They can try to unseat him, and get someone who's willing to start making profits and paying dividends (or doing share buy-backs as it's a US company) - or they can sell. Or they can decide they're happy and stay there. Normally a company's shareprice is supposed to represent the potential future profits - so Facebook were massively over-valued on the assumption that they could keep increasing profits for a decade - while costs would be relatively static. Amazon have now been going nearly 20 years, and stopped even trying to make profits ages ago.

I remember them using some bizarre home-grown finance bollocks to claim they were profitable during the dot.com crash. They don't seem to have even pretended to care since.

I suppose you could argue it's a problem, as they take profits from other companies - who therefore also can't pay corporation tax. And if every company operated this way, then there'd be no corporation tax at all. But on the other hand, they don't disappear their money, or hoard it. They spend it on salaries, and stuff from other companies, who do make profits and (hopefully) pay tax. :So the government should still be getting the same pound of flesh, theoretically, just from different people.

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El Reg assembles mighty Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse

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Happy

Re: Why oh why oh why?

Lester,

Doesn't this suggest that El Reg should start doing charity auctions? Andrew Orlowski could offer to have "I love Google" tattooed somewhere on his person for say £10k.

An El Reg journo could attempt to sneak into Apple's next press event through the toilet window for £100.

Maybe £1,000 for calling Apple pretending to be The Guardian, so they actually phone you back and give you a quote for a story...

There are many options for merriment.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Baking bread

Nope. As I understand it, the global poverty line is measured at $1.50 of purchasing power parity consumption. So that's not just food, but everything.

But more crucially it's an estimate of the value of goods consumed, not what was paid for - so includes grub grown by people and stuff bartered for.

My bank won't be accepting my mortgage payment going down to 20p for next week, so I'd fail the challenge before I even started. And I guess my charge from Thames Water alone is about £4-£5 a week too.

On the other hand I struggle to buy the purchasing power parity bit at that point. Even a one roomed wooden house in the middle of nowhere in the UK is going to cost more than £100 a year. Although obviously there are lots of things that the poorest in the world just don't pay for, because they don't get. Such as the clean water and sewerage that's so cheap here.

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Re: Free meat!

My Nan bought some rabbits to breed, and cages for the garden. This was in London, and so welcome off-ration meat. The only problem was letting Mum play with them first.

When came the first Sunday dinner where they decided to eat the fruits of their labour, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And no rabbit eaten by the children.

Nan told me that she sold the rabbits to the dustman, as his kids could eat them having not been introduced first.

She also told me that she'd despatched Grandad to do the deed, but that his attempts to finish the poor buggers off failed and they resorted to her brother's bayonet. I'm assuming this would be in knife mode, but I've always had the mental image of the Bosch bunny at the wrong end of a Lee Enfield 303, fix bayonets and charge...

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Re: Damn...

More of a darjeeling man myself. But for the purposes of the challenge I'm probably going to go for Sainsbury's Red Label, which is still very nice, and save a few pennies. I think I'd rather go without something than go for value teabags. I'm assuming bags are cheaper than the loose leaf I normally use, but haven't checked yet.

It was a travesty when Lester ran that poll on how to make the perfect cuppa and came up with something with milk and sugar in it, made from a bag. But I'm not sure I know anyone of my age (or younger) who uses leaves.

I guess the diabetic thing complicates this a lot for you. And means you have to think a lot more about food in general.

I might calculate how much my muesli costs, now you've said yours is 8p. I'd always assumed it was much more than that, but as I make it myself, I've never counted.

I'm planning to price next week up tonight - and see exactly what I can afford. So I'll have to go round the kitchen with scales and a calculator. I always think of things like muesli as expensive, as a bag of oats is £2-£4 - and the seeds and dried fruit are a fiver a big bag. But you don't use all of them each time, and once mixed it lasts for ages.

You have been a source of many ideas for this, so thank you.

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Facepalm

Re: Free meat!

Hmm. There's some poor spelling in there. That is the raisin d'etre for spellcheckers...

I've not even done the week of near-starvation yet, so I can only put it down to the fact that I've started eating salad now the sun's come out. Perhaps I should go back to bacon, to get my strength up?

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Re: Free meat!

What was the trick from 'Danny Champion of the World'? It was something about soaking raisons and then putting a thread through them or something I think. It's a very long time since I read it.

However, I'd have to be very hungry indeed to fancy tackling the London pigeon. Much better to cut out the middle-man, and run in cirlces in Trafalgar Square and try to catch the bread that the tourists throw to them.

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Re: Damn...

This is where I'm glad that I have my tea black. So no faffing with milk required. I was considering muesli for breakfast, but I put quite a bit of expensive (for the challenge) dried fruit into mine - so I decided to go with toast instead. I don't normally eat brekkie, but maybe this challenge will make me hungrier, so I'm budgeting for it.

It's a good point about the farm shop, perhaps I'll go there in search of spuds. As they're just a bit too expensive otherwise. My brother got some squirrel from them a while back, so I guess I could even score some cheap meat. His wife deemed it too cute to eat, so he wasn't allowed it again...

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Google guru: Android doesn't have malware, it has Potentially Harmful Applications™ instead

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Re: Delusional

I think Google really are Microsoft, circa late 1990s. They've got the same lax attitudes to security, although much less excuse given how the last 20 years of computer history. And they've got the same arrogance, as the money rolls in and it looks like there's endless growth over the horizon still to do. Plus they've got the same attitude to leveraging their monopolies into growth in other areas - and seemingly (from their dealings with the EU) the same contempt for government regulation.

There's also the new factor of the vast quantities of data they hoover up, and how public and regulatory attitudes are evolving towards it.

But the big question that's yet to be answered is this. Do they have the same attitude to writing everything down that MS had? IBM fought off the anti-trust charges for years/decades. I guess you're less likely to put things in witing in paper memos, than to dash off an email. Whereas MS's email archives were a smoking gun, that meant they went down in the matter of a few years. The lawyers couldn't save them. I wonder if Google have learned from that? Or if they don't see themselvesa as doing anything wrong, so write stuff down anyway?

It'll be interesting to see their future. MS are a mostly reformed company now (or their monopoly gives them less power anyway). But their reputation is nowhere near recovering from the twin damage of the PC security nightmare of early XP and looking rapacious and evil. Vista didn't exactly help...

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Nork hackers no pantomime villains, but a hugely unpredictable menace

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Devil

So, that leads to the next important question to which enquiring minds need to know the answer:

How many porn videos are there which feature cats?

I'm assuming that most viewers of cat videos are human, rather than cat, so we can classify purely cat porn in the category of 'cat videos' - given that there will only be a very small number of either humans (or cats) online who'll be interested in that as porn...

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I ain't Spartacus
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I'm not sure companies should really care about rogue states using cyberwarfare teams. At least not specifically. Because I doubt that North Korea poses that much more a of a threat to any company that any other random group of cyber criminals out for profit. I suppose there's more risk of horrible publicity, making you look really stupid, which is something criminals may not bother to do.

But the problem is that companies seem to be spending far too little time on securing their networks and information, given how quickly the threat is evolving. And how smart some of the "ordinary" cyber criminals have shown themelves to be.

So a random company just needs to worry about being as secure as it can be, and multi-layered security, so that access to some things doesn't automatically mean getting hold of everything. Only people at specific threat would need to worry about the state-sponsored attacks, and should hopefully be able to call on resources from their governments.

The problem is that cyber attack is so much easier than cyber defence. I do worry that our intelligence agencies may have been too excited by the shinies on offer, and so committed too much of their resources to attack tools. And not enough has gone into protection of our own networks and economies. But then, maybe that should be a different arm of government? Perhaps we should look at regulation in this area. Systemically important banks now have to undergo annual stress-tests, to see how they'd respond to another 2008-style crisis. Perhaps we should be making our large corporations, relevant government departments and particularly national infrastructure companies do something similar? So GCHQ could penetration test them - and see what bits of their networks and information are easily accessible and easily disruptable. And they should be tested on how they could respond to this, along with how they could recover from attacks that were designed to cause harm, rather than just steal stuff.

I know a lot of this already goes on. But not enough, I'm sure. And I bet it's mostly the companies like BT, who've already got strong connections with government. I wonder how much banking has been tested, given the creaking state some of their IT is in?

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Nokia will be the mobile comeback kid in 2016 – wishful-thinking sources

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The only problem is that they were getting slaughtered in developing markets too weren't they? Having surprised everyone by how long they could keep their production costs as low as the Chinese competition, they were finally losing that battle. Having already lost at the top end. Given how cheaply reasonable Android phones can now be produced, I can't believe there's much market space for feature phones.

Also, having sold the farm to MS, they've presumably lost all their distribution networks and expertise. Which was another thing they were great at for ages. That seems like an awful lot to try and build back from scratch.

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Don't shoot the Messenger: NASA's suicide probe to punch hole in Mercury

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Happy

Re: Not too sure about the crater.

I think "landing" is a rather optimistic choice of word.

I know there's the saying "any landing you walk away from is a good landing, if they can use the plane again it's a bonus" - but this is ridiculous...

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Happy

You racist bastard. They're called Mercurians. Just because their skins are green, that should in no way define them as people.

Actually I guess it's speciesist isn't it? I wonder what Dan Dare would say...

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RADIOACTIVE WWII aircraft carrier FOUND OFF CALIFORNIA

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Mushroom

Re: As Lady Bracknell never quite said...

I remember reading about a Japanese railway engineer. He was working at Hiroshima when it got nuked. As he wasn't feeling too well (for some reason), and as he was already at the railway, he was evacuated to hospital, to be treated for his burns. Unfortunately he was evacuated to a nice safe hospital in Nagasaki, where a few days later...

Turns out there were a handful of people who ended up in the same situation for various reasons, and managed to be unlucky enough to get nuked twice and survive both.

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I imagine they left a few planes tied down on deck to see what effect the nuclear blast had on a carrier with planes on deck. So they weren't flyable after that. Would you want to test them? So it's possible they just left them there the whole time.

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Google drives a tenth of news traffic? That's bull-doodie, to use the technical term

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It's interesting that you talk about Germany. Because it's arguable that Google's fight with news organisations in Germany is what lead to this whole Commission reappraisal of the case in the first place.

Juncker was looking unlikely to be EU Commission President. No-one has ever been given the job before, if one of the large countries has objected. Actually I think every country has had a de facto veto on the Commission President. And it was only because of a power grab by the European Parliament, with their Spitzenkandidaten wheeze, that Juncker even got seriously into the running.

Even then, because Cameron didn't want him, and Merkel didn't really either, he wouldn't have got the job. Then the German press suddenly got on the case, and campaigned for him, that it was a disgrace that Merkel was over-ruling the EP's agreed scheme - that the candidate picked by the biggest party in the Euro elections should get the top job. Merkel I guess wasn't that committed eitherh way, and decided not to waste political capital on the issue, so broke her deal with Cameron and he got the job.

What's interesting is that his campaign manager had just had a meeting with Axel Springer after the elections, and then their papers ran the big campaign in Germany that got Merkel to change her mind. And Axel Springer have been fighting Google in the courts for years over news aggregation, and other things.

Plus privacy and control of personal information have been a top political issue in Germany for years. It was a big thing when I worked for a US multi-national, and we wanted to hold our employee data on our central servers in the US, but weren't legally allowed to with the German stuff. Although I have a feeling they eventually decided to just do it anyway, and pay the fine if they ever got caught... But I suspect the German staff would have ratted them out if they were ever so foolish.

So the new commission may well have been going to go after Google anyway. And that may have persuaded Axel Springer to support them. Or this may be a pay-off for a large political favour. Or just co-incidence, as the last Commission had failed to get a satisfactory resolution with Google, and so further action was inevitable.

In my opinion this has been coming for a long time. Google are way too big for their boots. They've been getting more-and-more arrogant for the last decade, and they've been obviously heading for a Microsoft monent for ages. They don't seem to have learn from MS. The damage done to their reputation by poor security and monopoly abuse is still ongoing and huge. Despite them having actually been quite good for the last nearly 10 years (in that they're now way better on security, and also much better on standards compliance). Obviously many people still regard Metro as evil, but that's not illegal-evil...

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Re: Lack of feasible competition

Google aren't being threatened with a wrist-slapping (or worse) for their search monopoly. They're allowed to operate a monopoly, which they won fair-and-square.

What they're being accused of (in various markets) is leveraging that search monopoly to win there as well. As Microsoft were allowed their Windows monopoly, but weren't supposed to use it to win the search engine wars. Or the office wars. In both cases they used un-documented hooks in the operating system, and with IE they installed it for free on new systems.

So Google are being accused of using their top-notch general search engine to push for dominance in specialist search, by downgrading the results of other companies. Hence pushing their own shopping search results (admitted by their own testers to be inferior apparently), above other companies'. The same accusation is made with maps and whatever Google call their user reviews service nowadays (over Yelp and TripAdviser).

Now in some cases you may say that Google's is better, so why worry. But then that's because you might not have seen the alternative, as Google weren't linking to them, and those alternative companies never got a chance to access the market, because Google have a monopoly on search, and blocked them.

Europe also seem to be looking at Android now. Where they may be arguing that Google has abused its monopoly in online advertising/search to offer Android for free, and destroy competition from other players. That looks a lot less cut and dried.

As does news. Google have an uncomfortable amount of power in the news market, but don't actually compete in it, at least in some ways. On the other hand, if they can hoover up the lion's share (or even a big chunk) of the advertising revenue using their search dominance, it could be argued they're also abusing their monopoly. Even if not, it's a concern. As Google produce no news content themselves, and the content providers are already cash-strapped. The less money gets paid to news gathering organisations, the less quality news we'll get, and the less well our democracies will work. So this is a politically significant issue, as well as a legal/business one.

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DRONE ALONE: US Navy secretary gives up on manned fighters

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Re: All will be well then...

John Brown (with or without body),

To be fair to the Navy, automating large ships is a rather different proposition. With an aircraft, dropping the pilot might well save you a significant cost of the actual aircraft (as it doesn't require all the survival systems to keep him alive). It can also become better at its job, by being a different shape for stealth, pulling much more g force, or replacing the weight of pilot and cockpit with more fuel or weapons. Even then we're talking capital cost of the aircraft in the tens of millions.

Ships come in the hundreds of millions to billions. Their shape is decided by hydrodynamics, the speeds they wish to achieve, and how much crap they need to carry. They could certainly do without quite a lot of their crews (I would imagine weapons systems will become more and more automated as systems like AEGIS are), but they require damage conrol crews. Seeing as you need a decent number of people to still fight the ship while others are repairing it, you then end up with larger crew sizes. Whereas damage control in aircraft is something we'll have to wait for R2D2 for.

Things like missiles take up a lot of space, as does fuel. And to get a high speed and carry all that crap, you end up having to build a long thin ship anyway, to hold the engines and get the speed. So the crew are less of a burden to a system that already needs to be a decent size.

I guess there'll be a balance of increasing automation and maintaining spare crew for emergencies. For example the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers use smaller crews than the old Invincible class, which were under half the size. The new American Ford class ones are going to operate on hundreds fewer crew as well.

Also ships will often need things like landing parties, and boarding parties. They go on diplomatic visits and do disaster rescue work. What ships do is too varied. And I suspect a lot of stuff isn't automated because you need some crew around to fix it when it breaks (or gets shot), so you may as well keep the buggers busy. Finally a drone plane is only going flying for a day or two. Ships deploy for months.

It ought to make sense to have smaller drone-ships, in the few hundred tonne class of missile corvettes though, that could operate to support a larger fleet, and be maintained by them (as well as acting as their protective pickets).

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Happy

Re: "The US Navy has already used 3D printers on board ships to create working aircraft."

Does the USS Essex have a green strip painted on it somewhere, that says "Wayne 4 Sharon"? And possibly a giant set of fluffy dice?

The crew mess would be called Ritzies, and the officers mess (being posh) would be China Whites...

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Re: All will be well then...

What was that old game? Clickety-clickety-searchey... Oh yes, Carrier Command. Had great fun with that. They built 2 autonomous self-repairing, island colonising carriers, and then one was taken over by terrorists. The better one of course.

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El Reg Summer Lectures Span Dark Net, Rare Earths, and Vintage Tech

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Re: Give us streaming video

I don't think they'll live stream it, but if you look around on the site, they've got videos up for the 3 they did before Christmas. So I suspect they'll do a bit of judicious editing and then put them online a week or two later.

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I ain't Spartacus
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But, but, but!

No pork pies? NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

The positive piles of porky perfection at the pre-Christmas performances were preposterously preponderent, yet piquant and pre-eminently palatable.

Admittedly it would be better for my waistline though. They were far too tempting.

I think I'll manage to pop along to one of them. Now it's just a question of deciding which. Or maybe more than one?

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Boost your attachment size with this one weird trick

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Coat

Re: This article's title triggered...

Well I stuck my (extra large naturally) attachment into our Exchange server, as you suggested. And now I have lacerations, major burns and pustulating blisters.

Where's my compensation?

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What's Meg Whitman fussing over: The fate of HP ... or the font on a DISRUPTIVE new logo?

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Re: "That connection is symbolic of the partnership we will forge..."

Crazy Operations Guy,

We'll know all about how they got foisted with the logo in a couple of years time, when they go the FBI and Serious Fraud Office, plus sue the people who sold it to them, and their auditors for allowing them to sign up for it...

Either that or it is a cousin with 17 fingers and no teeth or job prospects that's done it. And that person has now taken the paycheck home, and given a single downvote to every comment on this thread that's rude about the design or HP...

P.S. Dear El Reg,

Booooooo! Where's the Strategy Boutique or the mention of whalesong and joss sticks on this article?

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Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

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Re: I don't get it

Well that's a bloody waste! And the only differentiation they had over the rest of the market, given you can get Office for all platforms.

I assume they're going for cheap business phones now, which fits with their big share of the business software market. But it seems a shame not to use that camera tech to get somewhere with consumers as well. They've obviously done well in the low end "first smartphone" market, but when some of those customers decide they want their next phone to have extra bells and whistles, there's not much up the range at say £300 for them to look at.

i don't believe that I'm alone in thinking the iPhones and Galaxy 6's of this world are way over-priced. I'm willing to give someone £250 for someothing really nice - and may go for that on the previous generation of Galaxy Note. Otherwise I'm having something competent for £100, which is not that much worse than the £500 jobs, let alone the mid-priced ones. I admit I'm after a phone with decent email and only light web use, with only travel and utility apps. The tablet is for fun, the phone is a tool. But I would pay for something almost as good as a compact camera.

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Easy ... easy ... Aw CRAP! SpaceX rocket ALMOST lands on ocean hoverbase

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Re: Meh

Camilla Smyth,

I'm not a rocket scientist, but is the rocket even strong enough to land upside down? Remember that these things are made strong enough to surive what they do, and any extra gubbins that's fitted to make landing possible is going to compromise their ability to do their primary job.

Now everything is a compromise in engineering. That's why SpaceX use kerosene, because it's so much cheaper than mucking around with liquid hydrogen, or all those horribly corrosive chemicals. Even though it loses them power.

However there's no point in trying to hang your rocket from a wire, if that means making the thing significantly heavier.

So they'll try the landing thing first. If they can get 100% accuracy at hitting (or nearly hitting) the barge, then I'm sure they will then be allowed to attempt desert landings - which don't suffer the marine problems of bad weather and bouncing up and down.

I would imagine, though I haven't run the numbers, that it's cheaper to make the rockets worse at landing and have them regularly fall over and explode. Whereas making them better at landing costs more payload capacity - and therefore makes them worse at their primary job.

As no-one else can yet re-use their rockets, there's much less pressure on SpaceX to get this right. Whereas other people can do manned launches, and put up satellites, so that's where SpaceX should be concentrating their R&D.

After all, once they've beaten the problem of landing the things, assuming they can, they've then got to deal with actually re-using them. They've got to work out the safety margins for wear-and-tear, re-engineer stuff that isn't lasting, or decide to just replace some components after every launch. I don't believe that NASA saved much money on the Shuttle engines, as they had to be pretty much re-built after each use. At which point, SpaceX would probably be better spending R&D cash on cutting the cost of engine manufacturing (and throwing them away) - as you'll struggle to cut the labour costs much on a total rocket engine rebuild.

What they're doing now has potential, and probably shouldn't be dimissed as a failure until they've got a couple of years experience at it.

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In some ways, dating apps are the anti-internet

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Re: My experience

I've not done the online dating thing, but I had a long nose around one of the sites a few weeks ago. And what I noticed was how short people's profiles were. How little information there was to them. Even the ones who'd bothered to write about themselves, didn't seem to have given any indication of the kind of partner they were after. So they can't really complain if they get bombarded with requests from everyone, given they haven't indicated what they don't want (along with what they do).

In those cases they may as well just put up a photo, and people can do like they do on that phone app whose name I can't remember, where you swipe away the pictures you don't fancy, and keep the ones you do.

I did notice quite a few of the women had put effectively "no timewasters please" on their profiles. But most of them didn't seem to have said much about themselves, or what they were after, so I don't know where they were expecting Mr Right to get the inspiration for his perfect message to them from...

They were effectively saying, "Dance monkey boy! Dance!" Along with, "P.S. - don't show me your penis pictures."

That was a site that didn't make you log in, or post your own profile, so maybe the others are a bit better at forcing information out of people.

From what I've read about it, online dating doesn't seem to be that nice a process to go through. Even the people who've had success from it often complain about how awful some aspects were. So the industry probably need to make a serious effort to improve their services, or someone will come along and steal their revenue. Or social change will happen, and people will abandon them as a bad idea, and try something else.

Perhaps the Supermarkets could try and take over? They're desperate for new revenue sources? Or the banks? They've got these networks of unused branches to find a use for. How's "Find Love with Lloyds" grab you? Or "get a bonk with Barclays"? The mis-selling scandal and compensation 5 years down the line would certainly be interesting...

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