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* Posts by John 98

73 posts • joined 14 Oct 2009

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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 axes 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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Snowden dodges US agents in Moscow, skips out on flight

John 98

Assyrian Archimedes screw

I think Bush launched the US down this disastrous path. Whatever, US officials now seem very hazy about the rule of law etc. Consider the demand to Hong Kong that they deny Snowden his right to an extradition hearing "to uphold the rule of law" - law presumably meaning White House diktat.

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Home Office boffins slip out passport-scanning Android app

John 98

Great - if only the scanner at Gatwick worked

I have used the scanners at Schiphol with no problem - but the UK version, which looks hugely more complicated and expensive, can't read my passport (or a lot of others). Perhaps the guy who came up with the android app should be given the contract for the airport scanners?

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Oi, butterfingers! Drop your mobe in a pint? Hope it's not an iPhone

John 98

EXPLODING PHONE?

These things have LITHIUM batteries - LITHIUM explodes on contact with water. Elf and Safeti - we paranoids demand to see the risk assessment before we even watch this ....

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Irish deputy PM: You want more tax from Apple? Your problem, not ours

John 98

Re: EU minimum tax rates - or world-wide?

Apple and the others all tell every government they really live somewhere else and meanwhile construct themselves a network of tax loopholes round the world. The governments (and just maybe that means us) need to get together and agree a collective approach to stop this game and get these guys to pay their fair share..

There is a place called the United Nations invented for this kind of thing Oh, dear! What have I said? Am i turning into a pinko, liberal, socialist, commie dupe?

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US boffin builds 32-way Raspberry Pi cluster

John 98

Ermm - wot's this got do with Apertures (tm)?

I haven't had much coffee yet, but i do not see the W word anywhere in this article. And isn't the writer aiming to draw our attention to a noteworthy project? Confused ...

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UK superfast broadband crew: EC competition bods are holding us up

John 98

look decades ahead

This is merely British gov. trying to ignore sensible rules it signed up to yonks ago. All the governments do this trying to avoid open competiton, keep murky deals with national champions - aka directorships for politicans and bureaucrats - etc.

The Brussels strategy is long term - knowing relevant minister (British, French, Polish) is frightened of losing votes from Nimbies, numpties, Neofascists, they propose he very quietly sign up to reforms in ten or more years time. This dumps the vote problem neatly on his successor while he later claims the glory in his memoirs for a wise, statesmanlike decision. Eventually after about twenty years the reform starts to arrive - as with catalytic convertors, railway signals, passports ...

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Move over, Mythbusters: Was Archimedes an ancient STEVE JOBS?

John 98

Assyrian Archimedes screw

The British Museum displays evidence for an Archimedes screw around 700 BC - to pump water for palace gardens.

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Capita bosses defend £30m migrant-poking IT deal with Border Agency

John 98

Waste of time

As a former prison chaplaincy volunteer, I can confirm that the Border Agency ignore any queries about possible deportation of foreign nationals being released, regularly supply duff info. to courts (to the extent that judges ask custody officers to comment before believing anything) and concentrate on deporting working families because that's the easiest way to make the stats look good. Oh, and their database isn't worth the rust it's written on. I don't think Capita will make much unless they've drafted the contract VERY carefully

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Ministry of Fun builds crack team to juice up bumpkin broadband

John 98

Wot about townies?

My home is inside the M25 connected to fttc exchange, but I ain't got it. Nothing much is going to happen till somebody works out how to break up the BT monopoly. This even though one cynic told me they make a pile out of fttc from flogging the surplus copper - anybody know the figures?

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BT in ad slapdown after 'misleading' punters on fibre deployment dates

John 98

Exchange only updated

Same gripe - inside M25 under a mile from the enabled exhange and can't get infinity. Just wonder whether it's because no virgins slinking down our street...

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UK bungs £250m to factories stung by climate-change policy

John 98
Unhappy

Back to the 70's?

Hope this doesn't turn into a rerun of the disastrous Labour policies of propping up moribund industries which needed culling. What pressure will these firms have to adapt to a world where energy is becoming ever more expensive? Are we funding research on this? Worried ...

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Verizon CFO: 'Unlimited' data is just a word

John 98
FAIL

Which bit doesn't he understand?

Most of us don't need a dictionary to know what "unlimited" means. The telcos only misuse the word to hide how much they really charge. The word should be banned forthwith in adverts unless they want to REALLY offer UNLIMITED usage.

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Hunt vows: 'UK will have fastest broadband in Europe by 2015'

John 98

Hmm - I do wonder

I live inside the M25 on a recently fttc'ed exchange - except my cabinet ain't been done. Looks like BT will need a hefty boot up the fundament to get the whole country done by 2015. Even when, so a cynic tells me, they make so much flogging the surplus copper it more than pays for the work

As for remote rural areas, we have cross subsidies for postage stamps - arguably justifiable - and other things. There are times when the cost and risks of distorting the free market are worth considering.

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Arctic ICE PANIC sparked by half-baked sat data

John 98

Naive and prejudiced - who?

Didn't hear the interview but popuar website I read quoted him as saying "ice could (NOT would) go in a decade". Site also made mention of significant natural variation including complete melt every couple of centuries.

Given the economic and political fallout, methinks it seems reasonable to warn of such an event being possible and unreasonable to dismiss the prediction out of hand a la Texan Tea Party

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El Reg official units of measurement: Linguine, Jubs, Hiltons and all

John 98

Units of Time

These are notoriously complicated involving factors of 7, 28 or 29, or 30 or 31 depending, 60, 365 etc. and appear to have escaped your researcher's attention.

We need some uniformity, perhaps based on panda breeding cycles. I look forward to reading this unfortunate omission has been addressed.

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European Parliament prepares for crucial ACTA vote

John 98

Not due process

Regardless of any merits it may possess (not many, it would seem at an admittedly casual glance), this thing should be booted straight out of the window because of the way it was negotiated - in smoke filled rooms with only politicans and lobbyists present. Next time, can we see who voted for what and why - and have a mechanism for EVERYONE to have input?

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TPPA so deep a secret not even the minister knows what’s in it

John 98

An international treaty drafted and negotiated by lobbyists without any democratic control at all ...

Aux armes, citoyens (The Frogs are right for once)

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Britain prepares for government by iPad

John 98
Happy

Effiency gain?

If we assume each MP costs us 250 grand (probably more), these things pay for themselves with a 0.1% effiency gain. And it might be much higher when Sir Humphrey gets told to "squirt it through to my pad" and has to learn how

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MPs: Border Agency's own staff don't trust airport-scanner tech

John 98

Garbage

Money could have been spent on 60 more staff? This is twaddle! Nine million is not much to spend on learning to automate this task, which should ultimately be far cheaper (and more accurate) than human checking. BTW I knew a guy who stuck a picture of King Kong on his MOD pass and was never once challenged whilst successfully entering various "high security" areas for over a year

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