* Posts by gerryg

528 posts • joined 19 Aug 2009

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What do we do about a problem like Uber? Tom Slee speaks his brains

gerryg

more to the argument than this...

I don't know enough about the rest of the world, so I'll stick to London.

Uber seems to meet a need, AirBnB similarly. I have used neither of them. A few years ago Taxi Drivers were up in arms about those bicycle rickshaw things claiming they would bring the end the world as we know it. Doesn't seem to have happened. No incumbent welcomes competition.

The argument here seems to hinge on the "community" theme, we are all in this together, etc. So what will Uber/Air do to undermine that? Well, if we all agree with one definition of community: nothing at all. Personally I don't care about the schools I don't need, the public libraries I don't use and so forth. Of course I live in a Local Authority that seems to be efficient in both collecting and administering local taxes, so they are low and I am quite happy. YMMV

Those that argue for mechanisms other than competition highlight the accompanying evils but underplay the resulting choice and diversity. Don't like the wages? Do something about it. Don't like the prices? Don't buy it then. But what are the options in the absence of competiton?

Remind me again, why the tube drivers are taking strike action and what alternatives I have?

The Grauniad says it's about working patterns - OK but is that every tube driver*? (in the same way some shops are happy to open on Christmas day) and what about the user demand for a 24 hour service?

The world was going to end, according to some, when buses went cashless - doesn't seem to have happened.

Sure society needs some oversight, but always beware of special pleading and always ask "qui bono?"

* I'm grateful as ever for the Daily Mash view no thanks, we're paid enough

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We're all really excited about new smartphones, laptops, tablets – said no one ever

gerryg

Re: I could be excited

...and I didn't pay for it when I didn't use it

Isn't that called "a taxi"?

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Coffee fixes the damage booze did to your liver, study finds

gerryg

Re: Fatty livers getting more prevelant?

Drinking "Waterloo Sunset" cocktails?

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Oh dear, Microsoft: UK.gov signs deal with LibreOffice

gerryg

Re: The economics just don't stack up

It wasn't five years ago that the London School of Economics published an extensive study on the TCO comparison and the Open Source Consortium published an extensive study on everything else.

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Google watchers react furiously to ad flinger’s competition case defence

gerryg

no, they're not

If they were, they'd be out there competing

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Camera-carrying DOLPHIN SPY caught off Gaza

gerryg

Obligatory

"Flipper" reference

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Boffins nail 2FA with 'ambient sound' login for the lazy

gerryg

what people say and what people do

"The boffins also asked 32 folks, none security experts, how they feel about this form of 2FA: most said they would prefer it over no 2FA being used"

Whatever the merits of the proposed system, I was deeply underwhelmed that they prayed-in-aid the preferences of general users. General users generally know what is the right to say when asked however, the researchers would do well to research the dangers associated with relying on Revealed Preferences

In general, general users are underwhelmed by security measures, nobody cares

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SEC: Ukrainian hackers' investment fraud ring raked in millions in 'unprecedented' hack

gerryg
Boffin

Re: ??? I really don`t understand..

There's a code of conduct in order to co-ordinate the release of financially advantageous information. The press releases are sent out early and embargoed until x o'clock on y day. It's so everyone get the information at the same time in order to prevent the arbitrage of privileged information (a mild version of insider trading but as we see, with similar opportunities)

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Phone scamming up 30 percent last year: Report

gerryg

Somehow

I was briefly on a list used by sub-continent scammers. The first few were wanting to discuss my recent car accident which stopped after a few pre-emptions of the Boris Johnson gambit but my deepest regret was never to have received the Microsoft support call (worse, a non-technical friend for whom I have provided LOTD, has) but my most recent (and hopefully last) call gave me (Linux user since 1999) that satisfaction

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Sharing Economy latest: Women's BREAST MILK is the new 'liquid GOLD' of the internet

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Entertaining prospect: Amazon Fire TV Stick

gerryg

one feature omitted and a user comparison

I got a Chromecast on special offer (£15 with about that on credit with Google play) I was offered a Fire Stick for £18 so I thought I'd give it a go.

Both have their plus points

The Firestick has 8 (5 free?) GB of memory which enables buffering and makes HD watchable on my 19Mb/s broadband - it's more like a DVD experience

Using your phone or table with Chromecast is OK but still gives a clunky UI, I prefer the Firestick remote control, clunky UI, but easier to use.

Use case: I don't have TV and find it neither shiny nor pointless

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Open source? HP Enterprise will be all-in, post split, says CTO

gerryg

Grommet? Was that a good name?

Are HP making cracking contraptions these days, Gwendoline?

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Second-hand IT alliance forms to combat 'bully' vendors

gerryg

Way back in 1972 when the EEC was being created

It was to be formed by countries accepting 100 directives. This was amended to 99 by the UK's refusal to sign up to a directive banning pattern parts (not just any radiator hose but now it's a reassuringly expensive BMW radiator hose)

I've sometimes mused whether this and similar gave rise to the IP wars we've seen over the year ("rounded corners" anyone)

Perhaps the return to trying to eliminate third parties reflects the turning tide in IP wars, but it would be interesting to see how this one pans out as the topic is well worked over

see also

Microsoft claims victory over second-hand software broker

iFixit boss: Apple has 'done everything it can to put repair guys out of business'

Hacker catches Apple's Lightning in a jailbroken bottle

among others...

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Apple: Relax, fanbois! We never meant to read your heart rate during wild wrist action

gerryg

er, wrist rate

They might be wankers, but the last time I checked (see what I did there) right-handers wear their watch on their left wrist and left-handers on their right wrist.

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Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

gerryg

Re: Shut it you tedious old windbag

Remind me of your contribution to all of this?

Whether or not you use (GNU)Linux, you have benefited from FSF holding critical account.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

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gerryg

Stallman isn't my cup of tea

but he deserves a bit more respect than this

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Russia will fork Sailfish OS to shut out pesky Western spooks

gerryg
Pirate

Re: Same old hokey-cokey

Yup, history repeating itself

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Cop in gay porn film advised to put his helmet away

gerryg

Re: There go the plans for the sequel.

or "The Boys in Blue"

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Good luck displacing Windows 7, Microsoft, it's still growing

gerryg

Re: Just thinking out loud

Stop thinking out loud and start Googling quietly... ? exFAT

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gerryg

Re: You listening Microsoft? Epson Drivers

Never seems popular to say this, however on the Epson website: Image Scan For Linux or search

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Grandmaster FLUSH: Chess champ booted for allegedly cheating with iPod app in the loo

gerryg

Re: why I play Go

A little complacent, methinks, 6 dan, £3 on google play.

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Torvalds' temptress comes of age: Xfce 4.12 hits the streets

gerryg

openSUSE

Along with almost every desktop environment under the sun, find it here

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IS 'hackers' urge US-based jihadis: 'Wipe yourselves out trying to kill 0.00005 of US forces'

gerryg

Re: Hmmm....

I think that's called a Pyrrhic victory

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Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShambles

gerryg

Before "digital transformation" I suspected incompetence; after, I knew

I have lived where I live for over 16 years. Every year I used the two part no-change on-line process to update the electoral roll

With the new process involving gov.uk my local authority couldn't use that information but instead had to match my address details to those held by DWP. Despite me having contacted DWP a few years earlier from the same address by post because I couldn't use their on-line service for my NI record as my address details didn't match their records, they still couldn't match me, so I had to do the passport and inside leg measurement fandango.

It does actually leave me wondering if they are deliberately this bad.

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Another GDS cockup: Rural Payments Agency cans £154m IT system

gerryg

...update

A history of RPA "successes".

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gerryg

It's difficult to decide....

...whether it's GDS or the Rural Payments Agency here, after all we've been here before with deja vu all over again

in response to the NAO criticisms the then head of the RPA procuded one of the best non-statements I've seen:

"We will be considering the content of the report carefully. The problems we have faced over the last year have been widely documented. We are striving to make payments as quickly as possible and apologise to those farmers still awaiting money."

I can't track it down at the moment but at a Select Committee hearing, the then recently appointed head of DEFRA said (my phrasing) "the thing is, it started before I arrived" and the then recently left head of DEFRA said "the thing is, it happened after I left"

The naked RPA staff seem to be in there, somewhere, too

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Ark of the Government deal confirmed, joint venture established

gerryg

where to start...

"I don't think there is risk, because in the worst case scenario the government could take it over," he said

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Zombie SCO shuffles back into court seeking IBM Linux cash

gerryg

no longer about Linux

"It might have a point, given that the work IBM and Novell did on Linux is thought to have have helped the operating system reach its current status as a data centre darling."

For those of you who haven't been following this since the start it is worth reading the history on Groklaw.

This no longer about Linux, Novell settled that. So now they are going after IBM on contractual matters.

It was a failing business then (remember we are talking pre-2003, when the suit was launched (oh, how I remember) and it has failed ever since. IIRC IBM have been waiting for them to bring this on.

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Curiosity rover's broken arm heals, exploration-as-normal resumes

gerryg

If NASA made beer...

...it would probably taste better than this

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Attack of the Digital People: The BBC goes fully Bong

gerryg

Too big, too safe

It's a strange thing, there's a lot of concern out there that [insert your least favourite private sector leviathan] is getting too big and that this cause problems for you, me, world peace and global warming

However similar behaviour in the public sector tends to be treated differently and I've never understood why.

If bad outcomes are caused by size then it seems irrelevant what those bad outcomes turn out to be (profits, too many bureaucrats, overpaid "talent", whatever)

Anti-competitive practice in the public sector is loosely described as illegal state aid

it's not as if the BBC hasn't been here before with its digital curriculum.

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Acer enters Windows Phone fray with cheap Liquid M220 mobe

gerryg
Facepalm

Just as well...

...no-one at Google reads El Reg, then

"Razali said that Windows Phone runs better on the same hardware than Android. “It’s not something I can say in front of Google. The truth is that the system is less demanding in terms of hardware,” he told the Reg."

Is this really the best anyone can do?

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

gerryg

Their margins are different to most others

As in "at the margin"

What else are they going to do with their money, put in a post office savings account and borrow it back? Invest in each others' shares and profit from each others' growth. If anyone can see how this works they've probably got a patent on a perpetual motion machine too.

Speculative R&D is an essential part of a portfolio investment strategy. They've got to stop it all becoming a zero sum game by finding new areas of economic activity from which they find new sources of return on capital.

It's not difficult.

Yes, no doubt they could give it all to developing countries and no doubt all of it would be usefully and efficiently deployed on schools hospitals, clean water and sewage systems (and none of it would end up Swiss bank accounts and other syphoning activties)

However in the real world, villages in Africa are getting all this stuff through earlier examples of speculative R&D, e.g., mobile phones, solar power and, earlier, bicycles

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Microsoft: You want on-prem wares, UK.gov? We'll make you pay

gerryg

Remember 2011...

...and the LSE TCO of OSS study for Cabinet Office

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gerryg

Don't forget 2012

[Microsoft] confirmed last week [...] is raising the cost of its software to UK channel partners by 29 per cent on average.

Is the definition of a monopoly someone that can raise prices 29% during a recession?

2015: "Government departments will pay up to 47 per cent more for the pleasure of using Microsoft desktop software"

Well at least the recession must be over.

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Google strongly opposes plans to let ANY US COURT authorise digi-snoops

gerryg

Re: I don't understand...

It's not new, here's an analysis of the extra-territorial effects of the PATRIOT Act.

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Inside GOV.UK: 'CHAOS' and 'NIGHTMARE' as trendy Cabinet Office wrecked govt websites

gerryg

Something the government got right, a history lesson

gov.uk is yet another example of wishful thinking leading to vanity publishing disguised as transformation and thought leadership.

Branding remains firmly in the mind of the beholder, whatever lipstick you put on a pig.

However government did get something spectacularly right, but they couldn't cope with the branding they saw so they scrapped it.

Back in the days of Inland Revenue, (a brand so strong that even today, some 12 years after it disappeared, you can still hear HMRC being called that) they developed (in-house for about 50p, according to someone) Hector the Tax Inspector - homage to everyone's image of a civil servant, complete with little briefcase.

The "brand" was scrapped for internal vanity reasons despite it being an effective communication tool. (example)

Although Hector "died" in 2001 he survived in articles about taxation long after - last seen by me in about 2012. (example)

And therein lies the counterfactual with all this online glitz and glam - it you want to produce fluff bathed in incense while listening to whalesong - the El Reg Consulting Boutique might have vacancies but that's not what effective delivery of public services is all about.

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Boffins now one step closer to male birth control pill

gerryg

Re: And the IT angle

Agreed, it's all about the quantum of entanglement.

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Hacker catches Apple's Lightning in a jailbroken bottle

gerryg

Through the looking glass

If I recall correctly, the lightning connector was designed to lock out third party otherwise honest, gadgets.

As with all these measures, it turns out that it only punishes the honest.

Including the honest purchaser of Apple products.

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Violin-fiddling boffins learn that 'F-HOLES' are secret to Stradivarius' SUPERIOR sound

gerryg

Original research?

The Strad Magazine April 2001, Page 408, to 415 "The hole Story" by James Beament and Dennis Unwin discussed this, explored by New South Wales U (pdf).

Then from 2004 The Cremonese System for Positioning the F-Holes (pdf)

Then there's this from 2013.

What happened to literature searches?

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It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

gerryg

Toaster Project tells it best

In which Thomas Thwaites attempts to build from scratch a toaster he could buy in Argos for £3.99 (economics of scale, durr)

However, it is not so simple to discuss whether a 40p home made loaf is only worth it if you value your time at zero.

The first issue is whether you have an alternative, more valuable to you, use for your surplus time. If not then making a loaf for 40p is equivalent to paying yourself the difference between its cost and a commercial price. Value has been created.

It might be below the minimum wage, but you get your loaf of bread, in circumstances in which you otherwise might not be able to afford to eat. (in extremis or "at the margin" if you prefer).

This article reminds me of a discussion here in 2013 in which it was attempted to argue that giving stuff away was bad for the economy. My extended reply to that FWIW

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Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

gerryg

Re: Not really much of a problem

If YouTube were replaced then I agree with you, however loss without replacement would negatively me, albeit a bit niche, old videos of Jimi Hendrix concerts, interviews with him, Mitch Mitchell etc., on the one hand, Go turorials on the other, then there are all those "how to replace that widget on your gadget".

Boring to most I'm sure, but they might have their own examples,

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Gullible Apple users targeted by bogus order cancellation scam

gerryg

Re: The Oracle of technology

A thought provoking read. Thank you.

While it's difficult to imagine a scammer using this level of analysis to craft an email, I found that the body of the mesaage is crafted to filter out those with more than half a brain so enticing only the stupid and therefore more vulnerable to be compelling.

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Now not even muggers want your iPhone

gerryg

agreed

I understand it is a DWP commonplace that if you want to know how the benefits system really works don't ask a civil servant, ask a scrote.

(Thoough, is there anyone who doesn't know how to "operate" when it's relevant to them? tax, TV licence, expenses claims, etc?

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Bitcoin trade biz MyCoin goes dark, investors fear $387 MEEELLION lost

gerryg
Coat

read like a haiku

but three syllables short, inspired me

virtual currency

how on earth does that work then?

ah, virtually

I'll get my kimino

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

gerryg

obligatory

xkcd reference

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gerryg

Casting the first stone n'all

Yeah, yeah, we can all do the science and engineering because we're all so clever. And some of us might just be a little bit jealous that others have got so much spare wonga.

I think it was a chap called Douglas Self writing in Wireless World, goodness knows how many years ago, that the only occasion he managed to detect a difference in sound quality was when he inserted a rusty nail into the signal path

But is there anyone here who hasn't used a gold plated connector "just in case"?

Or not engaged in cargo culture "just in case" Or not bought a more expensive product (paint? after-shave? a car?) "just in case"?

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Robot vacuum cleaner EATS WOMAN

gerryg

If only...

...this had been translated into Korean.

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Linux 3.19 released for your computing pleasure

gerryg

Re: device drivers

Good to get some retro trolling every now and again, reminds me of the old days. Is your analogue Wintel modem still giving you problems?

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OH HAPPY DAY! Lawyers replaced by AI

gerryg

history repeating itself

Most lawyering is conventional analyis honed by probabilities based on experience.

All professionals think they have some secret sauce that makes them different and for some professionals, some of the time, that's true but mostly not.

So MYCIN gave medical doctors a shock; and

ELIZA (try it) is cheaper than your average psychotherapist.

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The firm that swallowed the Sun: Is Oracle happy as Larry with hardware and systems?

gerryg

acquisition drives 1000x growth or merely poor sub-editing?

"The acquisition bumped Oracle’s annual revenues up from the $22-23m area to $27bn and then $37bn. Its challenge now is to grow that past $40bn"

Just wondering

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