* Posts by John 98

92 posts • joined 14 Oct 2009

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Australia cracks tech giants' tax dodge code

John 98

And their small competitors?

Let's hear it for the little guy, who faces unfair competition from multi-nationals paying no tax anywhere. There is an argument for ensuring these companies pay tax, since government is unfortunately a necessary evil and has to be paid for.

One can look at their global profits (a number they have reasons for declaring and maximising) and tax them on a percentage thereof, the percentage of global sales in your country. Seems to me a treaty along such lines would give each government a fair share and the multinational pays taxes like everyone else. The actual rate - and permissible write offs for R & D etc. - on its home share would be a matter for each government, while the company can of course simply stop business in a state which sets a stupid rate.

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Your new car will dob you in to the cops if you crash, decrees EU

John 98

Front brakes are dangerous!

Or so the "experts" used to say in the twenties - they would only encourage reckless driving. Every safety improvement on cars draws a lunatic response. Furthermore, why shouldn't cars have a black box - aren't the rest of us entitled to know whether a potentially lethal piece of kit was being operated safely in a public space?

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RADIOACTIVE WWII aircraft carrier FOUND OFF CALIFORNIA

John 98

Re: In California? Maybe

I think you need to demonstrate that the wreck is far enough from the islands to be outside US territory to get the pedant's prize. And, maybe the Navy wanted it in territorial waters where they could easily deny access should the need arise.

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

John 98

lamposts = 30 unless too tall

The old rule, I believe still in force, was that lampposts generally imply a 30 limit (unless over 7 meters tall). Parliament in its infinite wisdom apprently thought the average driver could easily tell ...

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John 98

Failed test - progress minus in the jargon

The examiner in effect considers whether he would find it frustrating following somebody so slow. Obviously though, there is a problem if a sign is missing - perhaps another argument for having a camera on board so you can appeal the verdict. BTW, on the examiner's own test to get the job, you need to drive as fast as is safely and legally possible. So, on the motorway 65= Fail, 75= Fail, unless the tester agrees the conditions require it.

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Hello? Police? Yes, I'm a car and my idiot driver's crashed me

John 98

US company's Europen subsidiary

IF the US company (GM, Ford) uses a local subsidiary, that company is bound by EU law. The US can order the US owner to deliver, but the local staff and board will have a legal duty to refuse.The end ...

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Euro ministers ditch plan to ban roaming charges

John 98

The minutes, please!

This is what comes of letting a gang of politicians hide in a smoke filled room. About time these meetings were in public and minuted so we can all see who got a brown envelope.

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BOFFINS: Oxygen-free, methane-based ALIENS may EXIST on icy SATURN moon Titan

John 98

Re: So...what?

only a probe? - they may pose all sorts of threats. Obviously there should be lavish funding to hack their networks and monitor potential terrorists seeking to operate from Antartica.

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John 98

But they are yanks!

What did you expect?

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Spotty Ceres baffles boffins with bright patches

John 98

A strangeness scale. Excellent idea, but we dedicated Reg. readers need to know what the official Reg. celestial strangeness unit is going to be. The "weirdo" doesn't seem entirely suitable...

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Free WiFi coming to UK trains ... in two years

John 98

train wifi - good news maybe later

I understand the rail companies have internal uses for high speed data between train and track - maintenance of both, tighter control of trains to save fuel, achieve capacity increases etc.etc. The current gsm-r is to be replaced and a new much faster system is to be installed along all tracks. Some genius has worked out (and got it on the agenda) it should be used for passenger wifi. As ever, there are international standards to be ratified, kit to be tested and so on so it will take a while.

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Magnifico! Galileo satellite nudged back into correct orbit

John 98

Same as the US could save loads of money by using Glasnost. Remember, the US has been known to put pressure on other nations in various ways including denying use (or the threatening to deny use) of GPS.

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Top US privacy bod: EU should STOP appeasing whiny consumers

John 98

What it proves (or at least tells you)

Is that the British government, the chief advocate of an EU run by quango and smoke filled room (the Council of Ministers) has achieved its goal. Other denizens of the smoke filled room and quango have been known to point out the absurdity of the situation - news carefully suppressed in the UK in favour of rants about "remote and unaccountable Brussels" by the architects of said absurdity.

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Boffins: It's EASY to make you GRASS YOURSELF UP for crimes you never did

John 98

Confession as evidence

Confessions are unusable in court in many countries. I am no great fan of the legal profession, but fair dos, some of them got here centuries ago and drew the right conclusion.

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Lloyds supplier payments TITSUP: What, you want MONEY from a BANK?

John 98

The bankrupcy option

I believe any creditor of a plc can, after 28 days, have the company declared bankrupt. I know a guy did it to Rolls Royce in the 70s. The magistrates gave RR a 24 hour stay on condition the MD appeared in person first thing the next morning to grovel (and pay - cash).

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UFOs in the '50s skies? CIA admits: 'IT WAS US'

John 98

We of the Flat Earth Society know better

There are no aliens - the limited size of the dome over the earth precludes their existence. The unexplained sightings were either dragons or the KGB.

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NHS quango fatcats spend £2m tax dosh on iPads and iPhones

John 98

A fair few, of course - it's bound to happen (I was the guy who handed them out). The replacement cost is annoying, but peanuts in the great scheme of things. As somebody pointed out, the issue is what data is on them. Hopefully none

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John 98

Re: Better Value

Hmm - a bum on a seat costs a six figure number p.a. nowadays, so - provided the users are achieving anything useful at all (I too have doubts) - the ithingy only needs to add 1% or less to their output to pay for itself. Perhaps the most pertinent question is how many data collators, support staff and other lesser minions have ithings (and sensible uses for them)?

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Russia, China could ban western tech if they want to live in the PAST

John 98

Works all ways

Any country banning any technology (for any reason but typically national security) runs the risk of losing out. If the West chooses to ban good ideas from China or Russia, we may hurt ourselves more than them - and fall behind.

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US escalates Stingray mobe-snooping secrecy battle as judge unseals evidence

John 98

Operation battery death

So presumably anybody on the affected network has their phone battery flattened as the thing shouts away at the top of its voice? That could add up to a lot of inconvenience before we consider the legal aspects ...

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London's King of Clamps shuts down numberplate camera site

John 98

Probably true

If you have access to enough camera feeds, police logs etc., surely you can do everything he claims - E & O E, as someone has pointed out? As Freedom of Information brings various benefits, it also brings this rather dubious one. Short of passing a law (unenforceable) against data mining - ha! ha! - I suspect we have to learn to live with it.

Freedom of information = Death of Privacy - discuss! I feel a Reith Lecture coming on.

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Eurocops want to build remote car-stopper, shared sensor network

John 98

This obviously raises plenty of questions, but then it won't happens for years yet and stopping drunks, bank robbers or little old ladies driving the wrong way down the motorway does have attractions. I don't think the technical problems are insurmountable - and with driverless cars coming, it may work out at telling the car to park at the next lay-by so Mr. Plod can have a word.

On the legal side - the main reason Brussels is undemocratic is because the UK government has tirelessly lobbied for exactly that. The EU is run from a smoke filled room (the Council of Ministers) with no minutes, public scrutiny etc. And guess who has always insisted on that?

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Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying

John 98

Dave obviously wasn't in my local. Power corrupts, and anyone handed the power these people are being given will be corrupted. Once they are corrupted, we'll all be wondering if we weren't better off with Al Quaeda ...

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MPAA spots a Google Glass guy in cinema, calls HOMELAND SECURITY

John 98

I'm not American, but - IF the facts are roughly right - I would be worried about (i) how private corporations are getting to spend my tax dollars and (ii) the stupidity and arrogance of the agents. In my travels, including behind the Iron Curtain (and no, I wasn't a fan) about the rudest officials I ever met were in the US. Not all ,but some

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EE BrightBox routers can be hacked 'by simple copy/paste operation'

John 98

Due diligence?

One is always wary of more regulation, but - since the average punter can't help themselves much on this - maybe ISPs should have a legal obligation to ensure their kit is secure. At the risk of annoying UKIP, this might be a job for Steely Neelly.

Oh - and the shotgun video was a brave move. I don't suppose NSA will get stressed, but will GCHQ report him to about 96 different agencies?

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NSA: It's TRUE, we grab 200 MILLION of your text messages A DAY globally

John 98

Re: Most useless Job ever !

Indeed - what's he for and what are any of them for? Can the spooks tell us costs per life saved, losses to criminals prevented and whether we are getting value for money? One suspects traffic cops, kidney machines etc. might be much better value.

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You... (Sigh). You store our financials in a 'Clowds4U' account?

John 98

Laziness or hindered

It takes a month to get an account set up on the official tool. It doesn't work anyway. Meanwhile the customers are screaming.

You phone IT - their head is the CFO, who only knows what his teenage son has managed to teach him and is only interested in not spending money; they have no budget, are short staffed, haven't anywhere to backup enterprise critical stuff regularly and are trying to cannibalise one ancient server to keep an old one going etc. They will pass your complaint on, but don't hold your breathe.

I have encountered all these, singly or sometimes stirred together in a lovely cocktail of chaos. Lazy IT, or - just maybe - the organisation is taking the customary 40 years (waiting for a generation to retire) that they have needed since the dawn of time to use a new technology sensibly.

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NSA refuses to deny spying on members of Congress

John 98

Re: It's different when it's happening to you.

It's a politican who noted "power corrupts". Given the almost absolute freedom and power given the NSA the noble lord predicted they will soon end up absolutely corrupted - however nice they were to start with.

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Justice Ministry to spaff £70k finding out how prisoners like to use ILLEGAL mobes

John 98

Re: Calling home is extortionate

Well - common sense says it pays for itself - less prisoners coming straight back in on release. And less citizens being mugged or burgled (assuming the Home Office cares - one wonders).

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John 98

Calling home is extortionate

The per minute rate for prisoners phoning home legally is extortionate - especally when you're earning a tenner a week (if I recall correctly 50p + a minute and a lot more if home is overseas). So many of the mobile calls probably are to home and family.

Obviously prisoners' calls need to be controlled, but the present stupid phone policy (family breakdown is a major factor in reoffending and many prisoners are illiterate, so forgot letters) needs rethinking. Make calls home cheap\free and then you know any mobile call detected is for nefarious reasons and needs investigating.

And a femtocell or a tower should be pretty easy in those prisons (a fair few) which are out in the sticks. But I suspect the civil service has been quoted £100m by Capita to do this ...

I used to work in a prison btw.

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US BACKDOORED our satellites, claim UAE

John 98

I doubt UAE can win. Any bird they buy will have US, Russian, Chinese, whoever's chips in it. And design/build your own using only your own relatives in their spare time (who else can one trust?) is a slightly ambitious project.

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That Google ARM love-in: They want it for their own s*** and they don't want Bing having it

John 98

Spurring Intel on

I imagine Intel will now work a lot harder at cutting power requirements - Google probably think a million or two spent on that well worth it. If, as a bonus, their research suggests they can have custom chips which give them a hardware headstart over rivals, then that puts them in an even more desirable place. A place, which, of course, they don't want anybody else reaching first.

The cost of blue sky thinking for a year or two probably barely registers on their financial radar at present; the interesting (and expensive) decisions will come - but later.

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IT MELTDOWN ruins Cyber Monday for RBS, Natwest customers

John 98

Re: It does make you wonder what sort of hardware our banking network is running on.

And bits of network Rail rely on Victorian cast iron. One bright young man has even proposed computerised signalling, but with the safety interlocking handled by said Victorian iron - cheaper and maybe safer than trying to do it in software.

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Why a plain packaging U-turn from UK.gov could cost £3bn a year

John 98

Could try harder

Strange that the fag firms, with their touching concern for the taxpayer's pocket, don't offer some solution - perhaps the "plain packets" could contain a rifd or security strip like a bank note? And of course a new levy on their profits linked to the increased shortfall might stimulate their ingenuity.

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Huge Antarctic iceberg: 1 Singapore? 8 Manhattans? This is CHAOS

John 98

Confused - how many double deck buses in an IoW?

And the debate appears to lack rigour - cubic buses as per the Pimms standard or square buses as in Singapores (which I understand is almost flat - ignoring sky scrapers, of course)

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Euro Parliament votes to end data sharing with US – the NSA swiped the bytes anyway

John 98

Unelected but why?

We Brits should remember the European Commission is unelected at the insistence - primarily - of the UK government. The same people who have succeeded in getting Europe run from a smoke filled room. Any Tory politico mouthing about the democratic deficit in Brussels is ranting about something he worked very hard for ...

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Divorcing ICANN and the US won't break the 'net nor stop the spooks

John 98

Suspicion

It's hard to avoid the suspicion the US wants to hang on to ICANN for military or spying purposes, and that some of the arguments appealing to Middle America's UNophobia are just a smoke screen for that. Nor can i see technical standrads balkanising - If upper Bongo adopts IP5, who is going to produce the kit?

On the other hand, can we be sure that the ITU/UN Son of Icann will be properly set up? Tricky ...

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Analyst says Brit rail broadband plan is TRAIN CRAZY

John 98

Old or new line

re HS2: longer, more frequent or double deck trains are all difficult on the existing line. Adapting it for any of the above will be hugely expensive and disruptive. So building a new line may be the easiest and cheapest option.

As to the 50 billion ouch, one might suggest adopting the French approach - pay compulsory purchase victims double what their property is worth and offer their local council/MP a few million to shut up. Exeunt nimbies stage left, build railway in three years for 20 billion.

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UK.gov's e-Borders zombie still lurks under the English Channel

John 98

Re: How's it supposed to work anyway?

Absolutely correct. I know a failed asylum seeker who phoned the number on those vans they put out in London asking for his passport so he could go home. Answer "We don't have a department for that". Drop this whole massively expensive farce and join Schengen.

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Steelie Neelie calls for TOTAL BAN on EU mobe roaming charges

John 98

All 28 governments?

I wouldn't be worried except the UK will be probably be the only one to block it (UK = Ukipia BTW). I take the point about a few people paying for what they don't use, but it still beats far more being ripped off - by the country mile - every time they go on a trip.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

John 98

High cruising speed?

If COSH offers the chance to choose your own height then you maybe have an airship that can cruise at 30,000 ft like a modern jet. Then you're above the weather and drag will be a fraction of what the Zeppelins experienced down at 3000 ft or less - so with good aerodynamics 250 kt cruising? And I guess loitering up there for a few days is no problem

Some of the technology already exists. German diesels from WW2 gave full power at 40000ft and had fuel comsumption still impressive today. And all this talk about tyres bursting - 19th century train brakes operated at 5 bar, truck tyres come in around 8 bar and don't even ask about aircraft hydraulics.

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NAO: UK border bods not up to scratch, despite billion-pound facial recog tech

John 98

e gate - what is the spec?

These are quick and simple to use - except in the UK, where the huge, complicated contraption seems virtually incapable of reading UK passports (at leat not mine, nor a lot of other peoples' to judge from my recent experience at Luton). Interestingly, though, it had no problem with my wife's Dutch passport.

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Snowden journo's boyfriend 'had crypto key for thumb-drive files written down' - cops

John 98

I'm not a legal eagle BUT

What does the UK charge him with? These files were not taken from any UK system, or within the UK, may not even be UK material, so I'm not sure how they can prosecute. They can try some vague thing about making terrorism easier but a jury (not abolished yet despite the obvious danger to NATIONAL SECURITY) might have the cheek to boot the case out the courtroom window. Which might be why they didn't arrest him after their nine hours of intimidation. After all the defence can claim, that since the alledgedly dangerous material was never a state secret, the prosecution can't refuse to disclose it

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Botched court doc outs Google as respondent in national security flap

John 98

The utmost care

You are forgetting the need to vet all sotware and subject the developers to intrusive body searches. The whole process only takes twenty years (the contractors are paid by the hour and are in no hurry). And then some bureaucrat has to sign it off (and he's only interested in covering his backside, not in getting results, which means he won't). Explains why the FBI was till recently (still is?) on MSDOS

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Upgraded 3D printed rifle shoots 14 times before breaking

John 98

My dear chap - it's perfectly adequate for a mass shooting. Carrying three of them, one can potentially kill 42 people and maybe even set a new record (as the NRA hope, so they can lobby for cars to be fitted with aircraft cannon as standard).

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Snowden: US and Israel did create Stuxnet attack code

John 98

Re: @ribosome and the Good Sadam

it's worth remembering that back in the 80s Mr. Sadam H was our noble ally fighting the evil Iranians (the lot who dared complain when we blew one of their airliners out of the sky). Maybe we, the West supplied him with nasty weapons at that time, and somebody realised the WMD propanganda thing might turn into a blue on blue incident if we found them. But then maybe not? Who knows? I could start on those other wonderful ex allies - the Taliban.

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EU chucks €18m at research for stupidly fast networks

John 98

Re: Japan?

Steely Neely has done more for my mobile bill when travelling than any British politico or civil servant. She may be unelected but either she or the MEPs are doing a good job. Incidentally if she is unelected, read some history and you find the Brussels democratic deficit is a cause most dear to Whitehall's heart (proposed, seconded, vetoed for).

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Americans attempt to throw off oppressive, unresponsive rulers on 4th of July

John 98

Re: WTF...

Stupid - no, just a fact. As to distracting - maybe not if it reminds Americans the Feds also breach the planet's privacy (yes, i know other governments, including mine, are just as bad) and claim the right to kidnap, torture or incarcerate without trial 95% of humanity - which, just maybe, they have a moral duty to stop by exercising their democra\tic rights.

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How City IT is under attack from politicians, diesel bugs, HR

John 98

We could ban Excel for a start

Top of my list for when i become dictator - it does have a few legitimate uses but it sits at the heart of not a few hopeless muddles. Perhaps the banks should be required to seek regulatory approval for any and every spreadsheet?

On thestate of the UK grid - a decade of craven surrender to Nimbies and Luddites has left us staring disaster in the face. i suggest ordering a billion petrol generators from China and stacking them round parliament to keep things going - costs to be deducted from MP's pay until they sort things.

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First quartet of low-latency broadband satellites now in space

John 98

Low orbit

I guess more poor per acre near the Equator (several billion compared with a few million punters in remote areas of Russia and USA - or none in the Southern Ocean). And I suppose - not an engineer - an inclined orbit may make the base stations a bit more complex. I guess cost of base stations is a key hurdle for telco's operating in the poorest nations.

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