* Posts by Sirius Lee

475 posts • joined 14 Dec 2009

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European Council agrees to remove geoblocking

Sirius Lee

Re: and what about VAT?

@Nick Kew If you are selling digital goods on-line then VAT must be charged at the rate prevailing in the buyers country of 'permanent residence' (which they tell you and you do not have to verify). These rules were defined in the EU VAT 2005 directive and cam into force across the EU in Jan 2015.

If you are selling physical goods (even a digital good on a DVD you ship by mail) these changed rules do not apply.

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CompSci Prof raises ballot hacking fears over strange pro-Trump voting patterns

Sirius Lee

Seven stages of grief

This is an example of the first of the seven stages: shock and denial.

We've had it in the UK since June 23rd. Sadly nearly half the population are still at stage 1 four months later. Some are so deep they even think bringing Tony Blair back can part of the solution. That is real desperation.

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China gets mad at Donald Trump, threatens to ruin Apple

Sirius Lee

Re: Trade War

My guess is that you are not a negotiator. Or, at least, I hope I get to negotiate with you if you are.

The loser out of a trade war with the US is China. It will be unpleasant for dainty snowflakes in California and New York who might not be able to get the latest shiny, shiny as inexpensively as they do today. But there is a reason there is a trade imbalance. US$ are funding the process of lifting China out of the sorry state it was in by the 1970s.

There are some 300m relatively wealthy people in China, mainly in the large coastal cities, but it is still a dirt poor place with average GDP per person of just $6K vs US at over $50K. If China does not have the money from the US its growth will fail almost overnight. There are just not enough wealthy Chinese to keep the economic engine running well enough to lift the country out of poverty.

Since 2008 China has been on a suicidal investment binge. The investment has delivered infrastructure and new cities to the country but it has piled up humongous debt. Where will the money come from to service this debt if not from the US? Not sure you believe me? Here's a link to a program by a UK journalist called Robert Peston who, at the time, was economics editor for the BBC. His assessment may be overly pessimistic but it illustrates the scale of the potential problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNu4AoHdNTE

Meanwhile, China cannot feed itself and has almost no natural resources. It needs to buy those from other countries. This is why China has been making friendly with much of Africa and South America where it can. But it needs US$ to spend.

Without US$ the human cost in China will be horrific. Even with the one-child policy the Chinese population is 1.3bn. One in every 6 people on the planet is Chinese. Without US$ China will be unable to support itself.

So the Chinese may have a significant stake in the US. But the impact on the US of China wielding its stick is unpleasantness for US citizens. For many Chinese it can be life or not.

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Silicon Valley VCs: We're gonna make California great again – on its own

Sirius Lee

Prisoners of Geography

Do yourself a favour. Go buy (and read) Tim Marshall's excellent book Prisoners of Geography to get just one reason why your analysis is bullshit.

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Tech Trump: Silicon Valley steps into the valley of unhappiness

Sirius Lee

Slashing the corporation tax rate

I suspect they will get over any misgiving when he slashes corporation tax. Companies like Apple will be able to repatriate $billions currently held offshore. Some economists estimate there is as much as $2trillion sloshing around waiting to be able to home. Just a small percent of that will allow a company like Apple to provide a few more jobs in the US and provide the cover needed to avoid Trump's sanctions.

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We're going to have to start making changes or the adults will do it for us

Sirius Lee

A bit hard on yourself

Perhaps its your conditioning but I do think you are being hard on yourself. IT is an unusual environment because it changes so much all the time.

Take a lawyer. Yes, there are new laws passed each year - but not that many and often with years of warning. But there is only one law. In IT there are many equally valid new alternatives all the time.

Or take an a civil engineer. Brick and iron have the same properties now as they did when man first learned the smelting technique and 'stone age man' is a euphemism for backwards.. There's a reason we call them 'concrete' examples - they are definite, unchanging. Sure, some smarty pants will point out that we invented steel. But that was over 100 years ago.

Meanwhile in IT land there are always new ways of doing old things. We cannot embrace them all. It would be great if we could but its just unproductive. And potentially career threatening. Pick the wrong new idea too early and your shiny new product is going nowhere. Not because the new idea you chose was a bad one but because the crowd sourced alternative idea that won has many more adherent and is, for now, correct.

Years ago I opted to use a JavaScipt library called MooTools. It was great. Then Microsoft chose jQuery and the rest, as they say, is history. By contrast in 2007 I jumped in to the cloud so I could reduce most of the IT department - I suppose, really, re-skill. Despite dire warnings about the terminal dangers of the cloud, the benefits were so obvious. Fortunately, I chose AWS. I write 'fortunately' not because I believe they have some fantastically unique service but because the crowd made the same choice. I'd like to say it was great foresight but it was a toss up between AWS and some outfit in California I can no longer remember. The Californian's problem was lack of geographical spread and one day I had a problem accessing their service because the infrastructure provider, Level 3, had a bad day - nothing to do with the Californians directly. That was it.

One way of looking at your issues is that your (and my) personal traits make us antagonistic. Another is that we have to make choices, sometimes with long term consequences, between alternatives are that are really identical. We make a choice and then advocate our position. There is no viable alternative. One is to capitulate to everyone else's view but if you are going to capitulate there was no point in making a choice in the first place. Being a thoughtful introspective person,you would not have made a choice in that instance so the scenario does not arise. The only reason we advocate is because we see a reason, probably parochial, that one alternative is better than another. In other circumstances we sit firmly on the fence waiting to see how it pans out.

I'm like this with containers at the moment. I don't really 'get' the need for containers. Of course the evangelists will brow beat me with their reasons but I don't see a business case for learning this technique that other techniques I already know don't work at least as well. But I recognize this is a parochial perspective. I probably do not yet have a use case that fits the container problem (though that doesn't stop the evangelists harassing me).

NoSQL is another. Don't get it. I get the need for denormalization. I just don't get why a 'special' database is required. A few year's back I was willing to listen so attended a MongoDB webinar (it could have been a Crouch webinar - those identical choices again). The webinar was lead by a guy who read English at uni and wrote poetry. No, No, No. I wanted to hear from CS PhDs about why my optimized and distributed relational engine was not up to the task and why my years of experience querying SQL databases for BI apps in global businesses was going to be consigned to history. The use case presented was CraigsList. Not their main database - that continued to be held in MySQL. Apparently CraigsList were looking at NoSQL for their archive databases so they could change the structure of the main database more easily - or something. Seemed to me to be an interesting application but not the world changing use case for NoSQL.

So give yourself a break. The adults can try to tell us to get our house in order but that's because they live in more deterministic houses. We know the adults will not do any better because IT is more like social media and we know how successfully the adults have managed to rein in social media.

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The new FCC privacy rules are here, and nobody is happy

Sirius Lee

ISP Turkeys disappointed Christmas finally arrived.

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Surprise, surprise: AWS is making boatloads of money for Amazon

Sirius Lee

Shaun, Shaun, Shaun

For *year* bloggers like you have bemoaned that Amazon has made no money, *Years*. And yet revenue has grown. If Amazon make money, who gets a chunk. Sure shareholders get some but the IRS gets even more. So why would a company voluntarily choose to give away some of their profits if they believe they are in a position to make even more money by investing that money in the business?

Of course they would not. And they don't. The Amazon finance managers have done a great job in minimizing the profit - sometimes even making a small loss - so the company's tax liability is as small a possible. It is a remarkable feat for a company with $25bn in revenues that their profit is always under 1%. Can you manage your personal finances with such fidelity?

Meanwhile look at the share price over the past 12 months: gone from $600 to over $800. Over 33% in 12 months. Madness and of course the price may need a correction. But only as a result of those who bought into the stock recently in the misguided view the company will start generating dividend income.

I'm in the fortunate position of buying into Amazon in 2007 when the stock price was just $50 (seemed a lot at the time). But it does mean I've read countless posts like yours bemoaning the company's results. My good fortune comes from ignoring them all.

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AWS budget tool update gives suits the control they crave

Sirius Lee

In my view this is a poor article and may provide more illustration of the limitation of the El Reg mind. If a site is coming up on the planned spend, what is a company to do? Continue spending or cut back? It seems the author's view is that a company should just continue spending.

Maybe that's the right course for some. But AWS is pointing out a way to contain costs is to stop using multiple sites behind a load balancer and instead drop back to one server without a load balancer.

If you are already running multiple web sites behind a load balancer - as many are - then you are already running multiple web sites. AWS tools like cloud formation and containers make it straight forward to add and remove servers based on demand. Normally only the internet facing load balancer needs a static IP address.

But the premise behind the sarcasm in the article is misplaced because it is not true to say that it is necessary for two 'versions' of a site to be maintained. I think this demonstrates the author doesn't really have a great understanding of AWS or perhaps, wrote the article with impaired faculties.

AWS is pointing out that using a lambda function, possibly triggered by a billing event, a company could call a task that might:

1) Remove the static elastic IP address from the load balancer;

2) Shutdown the load balancer and all but one of the EC2 instances hosting the web site; and

3) Associate static the IP address with the remaining web site EC2 instance.

Job done. The web site is now using one machine and cutting back on costs. Is it difficult? No. Does it require the maintenance of a special version? No.

It's not an elegant approach to cost management but it seems likely the comment seized upon by the author was an attempt to remind users of the options they have available to control costs automatically not a statement of best practice.

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SHA3-256 is quantum-proof, should last BEELLIONS of years, say boffins

Sirius Lee

Turn that one on its head

Since quantum computers capable of beginning to attack hash algorithms like SHA-256 don't exist yet, why limit the potential to attack by quantum computers with today's restrictions?

The real question is: what qubit coherence duration is required to solve the problem? As I understand it, at the moment the coherence duration is of the order of milliseconds. What was assumed by the people offering their opinion in this article? If the coherence duration was increased to 1 second, would that do it? 10 seconds?

It seems to me, and I may be wrong, the claim that SHA-256 is quantum attack proof is based on assumptions that may be irrelevant tomorrow. One group in Australia is working on room temperature qubits based on topological properties of quantum states not physical properties like spin because the topological properties are more stable. If this, or other, research comes to fruition, doesn't that make the limitations asserted in the article irrelevant?

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British jobs for British people: UK tech rejects PM May’s nativist hiring agenda

Sirius Lee

Hopelessly biased article

Students will choose to go where they think they can get a good education. While British universities ride high in the charts Britain will remain an attractive place to receive an education. Despite the [weak] rhetoric, networking effects play a role that is as important in education as it is in any other form of networking. As we can clearly see, when networking effects are in play, it is really difficult for changes to be made or for disturbances to affect them. For this reason alone, this article is nonsense. If network effect were not at play then as a middling economy dwarfed by the US, China and even Germany, our universities should much further down the league table - but they are not, they are at the top.

Britain may be coming less welcoming. But that's from an extraordinarily high bar. Beside the US, which countries take in more workers born outside the EU?

But is it right that Britain is allow to plunder the talent from developing countries. The premise of this article is that it is absolutely right for Britain to welcome, indeed compete for, the brightest foreign minds. If we were talking about physical assets - natural resources, perhaps, or some land - would it be OK for Britain to compete to plunder these assets? Of course not. It would be denounced as imperialism. But plundering the intellectual assets of a country is OK.

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Astronauts on long-haul space flights risk getting 'space brains'

Sirius Lee

Re: Get Real..

Maybe you've already taken a journey in space. Since when has it been a crime to run your own mail server? Of course running a server is a sane hing to do. It's easy as well. I've been running a mail server for years. Much better than letting Google or Microsoft or Facebook pore over your emails.

I'm sure Mrs Clinton wan't sure about the security of emails that run through government servers either. I imagine there are a kinds of miscreants - and with high-level clearance - that would be only too willing to take a look at all her email correspondence.

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Hyperledger chain gang man explains Penguins' blockchain play

Sirius Lee

A little bit too parochial?

It's good that you write about this project. However, it would also be good to stay out of US specific issues.

"the actual money still takes days to actually move between accounts"

That's a US banking problem. For example, when I transfer money from PayPal to my UK bank account the transaction is complete in a couple of hours. A blockchain is not going to solve this problem because the problem is not some intrinsic difficulty but US banks wanting to hang on to your money as long as they think they can get away with it. I'm sure if the banks could get away with it, they would implement in the hyperledger code that would ensure settlement could not happen within two days because... well, why not?

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Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

Sirius Lee

Re: Cabbage

My wife often talks to people when she walks down the high street. Not button holing them or something weird but engaging in conversation as a natural part of other interactions like buying stuff, dodging out of the way, picking up something someone dropped and so on. Could be a friend, could be a stranger. Doesn't matter to her.

However if the kids go with her then to them, every utterance, every syllable out of her mouth is is an extreme embarrassment. So it seems from this anecdotal evidence the aversion to conversation outside the immediate friend/acquaintance group is learned, somehow, by urban kids while very young.

Maybe it's something learned at home because the kids don't seem to like conversation at home much either which is usually limited to mono-syllabic noises.

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Sage advice: Avoid the Windows 10 Anniversary Update – it knackers our accounting app

Sirius Lee

Re: "operating system updates end up disabling the framework"

It is a shame that Microsoft disabled .NET Framework 3.5 by default.

However, version 3.5 is now nearly 10 years old. Almost anything that will run against version 3.5 will run against the current version 4.6.1 - because it's backwards compatible - and for the developer it's a minor config file change to make that happen.

That a commercial software company with the reach of Sage is relying on an ancient (by software standards) version of the .NET Framework is asking for trouble and they - or more specifically their clients - seem to have got it in spades.

By all mean, berate Microsoft. But don't hold back your ire for the software company either.

I imagine the argument Sage will advance is that .NET 3.5 is installed on more machines. This may be true but its not difficult include with your software's installer a module to update the version of the framework. That may leave people still running Windows XP - unsupported now for half a decade - but is that really Microsoft's problem?

Not in my opinion. In my opinion the blame for this issue lies with Sage.

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US Labor Dept accuses CIA-backed Palantir of discriminating against Asian engineers

Sirius Lee

Re: I can understand a little bit of bias

Surely there is a statistic here that is revealing: 85% of the 1,160 applicants were Asian. Why so few non-Asian applicants?

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British unis mull offshore EU campuses in post-Brexit vote panic

Sirius Lee

Re: works both ways but certainly works.

With respect, your wife's situation does not compare that of kids today. My middle son is in his third year at uni and is in the second year of those taking on the debt required to fund their studies. Unless your wife did all of this studying and travelling in the last three years (a truly remarkable achievement) then your comments don't amount to much.

Today, the undergraduate period is where the costs arise. If your wife went on to study for a PhD then today, just as in previous years, there are grants to help. But universities offer only limited bursaries to mitigate some of the undergraduate study costs even for the most able students who are also from a less advantaged background.

By contrast, my eldest son who has now completed his degree course and is now working has almost no debt.

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United States Air Force grounds F-35As after cooling kit cracks up

Sirius Lee

Testing

Surely this would have been apparent as a result of testing. Would it not be normal to perform extensive tests on items coming from the sub-contractor to make sure they performed to specification?

Arranging for a pipe to carry one fluid at a given temperature while immersed in a tank of kerosene at the appropriate temperature for an extended duration doesn't seem like a very difficult test to perform yet clearly was not performed.

Maybe some of the problems of this aircraft are the result of the failure of the various parties to demand (on the part of the US Air Force) and perform (on the part of the supplier) adequate tests. In this regard to me the story is reminiscent of the problem uncovered by Richard Feynman with 'O' ring seal on the Space Shuttle. In that case it turned out those involved knew about the risk but failed to disclose the issue for political reasons.

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Skype shuts down London office, hangs up on hundreds of devs

Sirius Lee

Re: So, any suggestions for alternatives?

Look at 3CX. Though the headline product is all servery it can be installed on any Windows machine and gives you all the things you want. As long as there are fewer than 8 simultaneous connections its free to install and use. Requires .NET 4.6.1.

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US Congress blew the whistle on tax-dodging Apple, claims Europe

Sirius Lee

Re: Start taxing money whenever it moves across a border

Sure, but the devil is in the detail. Suppose your suggestion were implemented and one of your family members who is living abroad - at uni in France maybe - and needs to be sent some Euros. But now there's a law in place that taxes that transfer. Of course you didn't mean to affect people in that situation - just the douche-bags, right? So you put in an exception for sending to family members.

However, you can't afford to send the money so you ask a friend to do you a favour and send some money - it's urgent!. Now the person is not sending to a family member so the money is taxed. Of course you didn't mean to affect people in that situation - just the douche-bags, right? So you put in an exception for sending to family members by friends.

These and a thousand other reasons would require exceptions. The result would be a law that would be exploited by those douche-bags with money because they have the motivation and resources to find a way. Which is what Apple was able to do.

No one likes what Apple has done, but hopefully there will be no knee-jerk reactions by politicians that make a bad situation worse.

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Robot cars probably won't happen, sniffs US transport chief

Sirius Lee

Re: I'm not so pessimistic

As long as they are better than my wife I'd be up for it. I risk my life with my wife at the wheel every day. I don't if she is good, bad or indifferent driver but that's not the point. Whether any one individual is a good driver or not, we put our lives in the hands of others who may be less than ideal drivers every day.

The potential to do something useful while in a car will be welcome. Some like driving, a good for them. I drive to get some place, not to enjoy the journey. Being able to use that journey time more productively is something to rejoice for me.

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Your wget is broken and should DIE, dev tells Microsoft

Sirius Lee

This seems like just an anti-Microsoft gripe from the Linux fundamentalists.

#1 PowerShell aliases are not commands on the command line except in the PowerShell command environment, so don't use it.

#2 PowerShell command aliases can be changed.

Don't want wget to do what it currently does? Then change the alias which is a reference to .NET assembly entry point.

There is an opportunity here for an enterprising developer to provide a PowerShell module to change the aliases so they more closely meet the expectations of Linux users.

Or on the other hand, we can be subjected to the usual whining expected from Linux users when confronted by anything from Microsoft.

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Australia Post says use blockchain for voting. Expert: you're kidding

Sirius Lee

Why is a trusted central authority required?

The way voting works today relies on a central authority to control the process. It is the weak point. The purpose of e-voting is to eliminate the vulnerability of the centre without losing its role in administration can coordination. Maybe Australia Post's vision is not good enough - it's hard to tell from the limited information in the article - but the idea seems promising.

The blockchain technology allows an event to be recorded in a manner that is difficult for any one actor subvert. But there is no need for there to be just one blockchain. Why not have a blockchain per ward, each updated by more than 2 independently controlled miners? For the blockchain to be compromised, those seeking to compromise it have to be able to mine more than half the coins. This risk can be greatly reduced by, for example, giving political party representatives plus an independent observer control over the mining of coins. As there will be little incentive to collude, there will be little risk the blockchain will be compromised.

The events (vote tallies) added to ward blockchains can be aggregated as events first into constituency, then region, state and national blockchains where coins for each blockchain is, again, mined by machines controlled by political parties and an independent observer who have no incentive to collude.

The outcome is a continually updated aggregate tally that can be audited back to the original vote event.

Now, I'm not saying there are no flaws in this scenario, but the article definitely is flawed. It makes the assertion that a central authority is required without justifying that assertion. If then uses that flawed reasoning to assert that a specific technical approach is invalid.

The bitcoin blockchain does not work for voting

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Oracle Java copyright war latest: Why Google's luck is about to run out

Sirius Lee

Re: Mr. Orlowski seems to misunderstand fair use

I agree. This was a jury trial about fair use. As Alsup commented during the hearing to hear Oracle's motion, is there anything better than a jury to decide something as subjective?

He gave Oracle some hope agreeing that if it were him he would have disclosed ChomeOS. But its not him. It's the case argued by the Oracle legal team in front of a jury. It will be a brave appellate court panel that will overturn a jury verdict on fair use because it will generate a whole slate of problems.that will rival the problems facing anyone who would choose to open the jar given to Pandora.

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New UK trade deals would not compensate for loss of single market membership

Sirius Lee

These are the same people who sided with Cameron to predict disaster if the UK votes to leave. However the UK seems to disagree and risk again making monkeys out of 'expert' economists. These are the same economists who declared it would be a disaster to leave the ERM, that the UK would flounder in 2008.

In July unemployment was down (after Brexit), retail sales were 1.5% higher in July over June and 5.5% higher year on year. Yesterday Moody's revised their UK rating from negative back to stable - but not much was heard about this, eh? Why is that?

Of course these are only early figures. But economists and journalists were happy enough to report negative confidence reports in the days after June 23rd because it suited the bubble's narrative. Confidence is such a fickle thing and is not the real economy. It's the emotional response of a few individuals. It's becoming increasingly clear these were the opinions of people vested in the status quo.

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Email proves UK boffins axed from EU research in Brexit aftermath

Sirius Lee

Re: Is anyone surprised?

Breath taking arrogance. A majority of people in Britain voted to leave the EU and they 'fundamentally misunderstand the consequence of their actions'. You mean they fundamentally disagree with you. There is a difference.

This notion that Britain put in 5.5Bn and get 8.5Bn back is not relevant on its own. If British researchers are justifying the extra cash then they will continue to receive it. If it was just incentive money then its not a good use of capital and is unjustified. But does it seem likely that EU institutions are providing British researchers so much extra money for no good reason or is it because those researchers are able to provide an excellence and expertise needed by European research bodies? I like to think its because they are able to offer excellence and that, as with every other walk of life, excellence will continue to be required.

As a software vendor selling the majority of our software to European buyers we've seen a 20% increase in revenue since the vote. 15% of that is because of currency movement. But the other 5%? Certainly not because buyers discriminate against Britain or British companies.

Will there be losers as a result of Brexit? Yes, we hear lots of noise from those who stand to lose from the change in the status quo. But we don't hear from those taking advantage of the changes that are happening.

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Three times as bad as malware: Google shines light on pay-per-install

Sirius Lee

Another extended whine

Why is this reported? If users want free software, someone has to pay. Software doesn't write itself, some person has invest the time to create the software and, as the saying has it, time is money. The argument seems to be that software developers should not seek to earn anything from their efforts because so potential users don't like the inconvenience. Then put your hand in your pocket but stop whining.

As others have pointed out the irony is that Google is publishing the research on which this article is based. Google which earns so much of its money flogging adverts. But that's fair IMO. Google has invested in providing a service we all use at no charge and they recover their investment by selling product.

Finally, there seems to an allusion that software downloaded with free software is equivalent to malware. So the implication is that legitimate downloaded software like Skype is the same as software which has the one aim of hacking PC. Really? I get that you don't like Microsoft but, really, get over it.

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How the HTTPS-snooping, email addy and SSN-raiding HEIST JavaScript code works

Sirius Lee

Detection is not a one-way street

Sites can also perform detection. If a site is receiving an abnormal number of requests from an IP address for the same resource within a small amount of time something is not right. An IP address will typically request many resources in a short period of time but usually for the different resources a browser needs to present a page. It's unusual for an IP address to access the same resource more the a few times in a short window of time. A user might refresh a page quickly once or twice but it's not likely they will be be refreshing the page several times even in a few seconds..

Even our noddy site site performs these tests and blocks the offending IP address at the firewall so they are unable to proceed. We see attacks like this all the time, especially to registration pages, and are usually blocking one or two IP addresses per hour. I like to think that more sophisticated sites perform similar real-time checks if only out of self-interest because such attacks consume resources and capacity.

3
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F-35 targeting system laser will be 'almost impossible' to use in UK

Sirius Lee

MS has hardly been able to give away 10

What planet are you on? Is it really necessary to broadcast your bias in comment thread about the F-35? In a year there have been over 300 million installs which an article in El Reg today states is over 21% of the install base. Is that failure? The upgrade offer was not extended to Windows 7 users so I continue to use Windows 7 along with 68% of the rest of the install base. If I'd been offered the free route I would have taken it because Windows 10 is working just fine on 3 other laptops in the house but I take the view that if its not broke I'm not going to pay to fix it.

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Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update tweaked to stop you disabling app promos

Sirius Lee

Can someone explain...

...how it's possible for someone with admin rights to a machine to be able to disable a feature while sitting in front of the machine but not be able to do it remotely through a GPO? I get that there a specific option may have been removed from a specific version of Windows but what prevents an administrator creating their own GPO to, for example, run a remote login script? What am I missing?

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My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

Sirius Lee

Stop whining...

...about doing your day job. Give it a rest - or go use a Linux client and see how your users get along with that.

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Three owner Hutch lobs sueball at EU over failed O2 buy

Sirius Lee

You can come to my place for a cup of tea as well. I live in a London suburb not some distant location and I regularly have no signal at home.

1
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Cryptography vs. bigotry: The debate Australia needs to have

Sirius Lee

What evidence do you have?

"Once Hanson realises that stopping immigration won't of itself reduce the likelihood of terror attacks"

I get that you find Hanson's line repugnant. But surely your goal is recruit people to your way of thinking. In my view, making a statement like this. which I believe is difficult to justify, just puts you in the bigoted camp. What evidence do you have the stopping immigration will not stop the likelihood of terror attacks? Can you point to a country that has successfully stopped immigration and then to one of those that also experiences terror attacks?

My guess is not because there precious few that are able to stop immigration. North Korea maybe.

Ideally, immigrants will mix with the native population or, at least, get along. But sometimes that just does not happen.

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WordPress admin? Thinking of spending time with the family? Think again

Sirius Lee

Balance?

There are tens of thousands of plugins available of variable quality, plugins used in millions of sites based on WordPress You have chosen to single out two. Did the providers piss you off or something.

If the Dutch group has found only two issues, either that's a significant triumph for WordPress and the majority of plugin authors or a sad indictment of the competence and effort shown by the Dutch group.

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EU eyes flaw in Google’s cash machine

Sirius Lee

Don't really get the complaint

This, like all the other complaints will fail. Maybe the EU will extort some cash but not much. If ad free advertising is such a valued tool - a human right perhaps - why are there no effective search engines from other vendors? Why does the EU not sponsor an EU search engine?

The answer is that we value be able to search but putting the resources in to create an effective search tool takes real cash and lots of it. However, we don't want to pay for searching and Google finances it's free search tool through advertising. Does advertising distort searches? Probably. Would you have somewhat distorted searches or ineffective searches? The answer is clear.

That Bing and Yahoo! and Alibaba and others have shown they ar unable to provide an economic and competitive service illustrates how hard it really is. It also illustrates the first mover advantage Google continues to enjoy. Google is being rewarded for innovating, for showing how searching can enhance our lives and the economy.

And it's not just searching. Google has used it's wealth and computer science abilities to revolutionise and commoditise maps and translation both of which are welcomed by me.

3
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Brit Science Minister to probe Brexit bias against UK-based scientists

Sirius Lee

"..which said that the University of Glasgow was having a hard time attracting a “top physicist” because.."

Or it was an excuse not to have to live in Glasgow. A "top physicist" might have a range of options and other options may make Glasgow an unappealing place to spend the next few years. It certainly would not appeal to me. But, yes, of course, it must be because of Brexit. What else could it be?

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A bad day for DBAs: MIT boffins are replacing you with a mere spreadsheet

Sirius Lee

Limited use cases

It's hard to tell from the article or video how functional the tool is (maybe the answers to my questions are in articles at the end of the links provided). Most queries I create have to transform some of the values into columns - for example period based data. It's not clear that it's possible to do this using the tool.

It's easy to assert A is better/faster/cheaper/easier than B if the measurement criteria favour what A does well. Spreadsheets allow users to create presentations that are much more than just query engines.

How does this tool allow a user to create a 'lag' function since SQL-92 does not include this concept but is essential in any financial reporting. OLAP query engines were created to address these requirements.

How does this tool compare with PowerBI? Access is nearly 3 decades old and Microsoft has many other query tools that do a better job of allowing a user to query a data source.

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Facebook deleted my post and made me confirm pics of my kids weren't sexually explicit

Sirius Lee

Re: Enough

Your points may all be valid, correct even, But the solution is not to tacitly accept the shooting of innocent people of any stripe.

A better approach is to ask why the police are put in a situation that is believed by the police to be life threatening. Surely a better approach is for police to travel in pairs and make sure that citizens who are pulled over know there is a second officer lurking. A better approach will be to change the stop procedure, for example to have the occupants get out of the car while the officers are less in harms way.

Of course this costs money so would not be popular and maybe this is the real reason innocent people are being shot and killed: the richest nation on earth is unwilling to spend enough to protect its citizens at home.

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Teen faces trial for telling suicidal boyfriend to kill himself via text

Sirius Lee

Re: If nothing else

"She certainly didn't do anything to prevent his suicide"

How can you assert that? In the article we're given only the texts highlighting the justification for the case. The other communications are completely missing. The article itself points out that she encouraged the boy to seek psychiatric help. And we know nothing of the verbal communication between the two of which there appears to be a lot.

It's staggering that you feel able to make such a bold statement on such one-sided and limited evidence. Even more staggering is that you get 7 upvotes. In the event I ever have to face a trial, I hope beyond all measure that you are not a juror.

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UK.gov rolls out 10 years' chokey for industrial scale copyright pirates

Sirius Lee

I get that you are against freetards

Andrew, I get that you are against 'copyfighters' but what in your experience has lead you to the point that you can see no problem in the clauses you identify in the article. As someone else pointed out, the IPO may claim in a separate document that targeting teens is not the intention but it will be the effect, The copyright holder support groups will make sure of that. It doesn't matter that it costs a lot of money to mount a prosecution, whatever the amount it will be tiny compared to the cost of producing all the content.

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'Digital influencers' must disclose paid-for content, says new guidance

Sirius Lee

Re: Interesting

Why post anonymously? I think the idea of disclosure is good in principle but you point out some of the many valid problems with the suggestion. I'd love to know how many posts are really paid for by Apple/Google/Microsoft/etc.

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Australian Information Industries Association*: you're not the future of democracy, so please shut up

Sirius Lee

Picking and choosing

Fair point about the human element in the counting and verification steps of the process. But I recommend you avoid the price comparisons. The e-voting costs will be high because no one does it yet so the marginal cost is high. If/when e-voting become common place then the price per vote will tumble and is likely to be much cheaper. By including the price comparison argument you risk losing credibility on your solid argument in the noise created disputing your prices.

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Embiggening AWS doubles its UK sales to £254m

Sirius Lee

Re: "tax evading"

When I read the first line I went straight to comments but you'd already made the point. It's a doubly incompetent comment because AWS is a division of Amazon Inc. so cannot evade tax because it's not a separate legal entity with a duty to provide a corporation tax return.

It is disappointing to me that people feel compelled to make such statements and that The Register's editor's let the comment through. But if such statements are to be made, it would be good that the comments are at least feasible.

What's that saying? It's better to be silent and appear foolish than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

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EU Investment Bank will honour pre-Brexit deals – but don't gamble on new ones happening

Sirius Lee

It's not the EU Investment Bank

My guess is the author is a remainer who just can't help but look for every clue that leaving is a disaster. The name of the entity is the European Investment Bank. There's a difference and the relevant part is that the real name does not contain the word Union. From their 'Projects' page:

"European Union Member States receive about 90% of our financing, but we also work with more than 150 other partner countries in support of EU external assistance policy."

There 'Structure' page has more relevant information:

"The EIB funds its operations by borrowing on the capital markets rather than drawing on the EU budget. The Bank enjoys decision-making independence within the EU’s institutional system.

"The EIB’s management and control structures reflect this independence and allow it to take lending decisions solely on the basis of a project’s merits, and tailor borrowing in line with the best opportunities available on the financial markets."

So they borrow money from capital markets. Therefore they must make a return. If lenders have confidence in the shareholders, they will lend at rates that are competitive. So the board of directors has to decide whether having the European country of Great Britain as a member allows them to secure funds at a better rate or not.

My guess is that Britain is still an asset to the bank and as a result there will be no motivation or appetite for a change in shareholders. Plus, do any of the other countries really want to put up funds that could be spent on domestic priorities in order to buy Britain's share? Would Britain?

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Parliament takes axe to 2nd EU referendum petition

Sirius Lee

Stop whining

If the petition cannot stand on it own based on support by people who are demonstrably in the country (using a UK ISP) then the petition doesn't really have the support claimed, does it? If taking out 77,000 possibly dubious votes is a problem then no one should take it seriously. But since that is not the case, stop whining.

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Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd

Sirius Lee

Thank you

Andrew, I rarely agree with your point of view but as someone looking around to find a positive reason to vote one way or another before 10pm today, I thank you for your exposition. My wife (a leave campaigner) was at our local Surrey station this morning handing out leaflets alongside a clutch of middle-class women who called her and the mixed race man she was with racist. These are presumably acolytes of the Clerisy you reference. I assume they, or their kids or their partners have the most to lose from any change.

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Dr Craig Wright lodges 51 blockchain patents with Blighty IP office

Sirius Lee

Irrelevant

#1 You can't patent software or algorithms in Europe

#2 The prior art is open source

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Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies

Sirius Lee

You're not shedding any light

My summary of your argument is that because politics is a nasty, horrible, ugly business we should vote for the status quo. Not good enough. I'm typing this wondering which way to vote before 10pm today and have read your comments hoping they may have offered a persuasive perspective but, alas, from my point of view, it just another status quo argument.

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Snoopers' Charter 'goes too far' says retired Met assistant commish

Sirius Lee

That's paranoia

As dumb as the security services may be, I think even the wooden tops could use the pattern of embedded links to determine when a site was hacked. If the records of a lot people suddenly started showing content from nefarious sites after people had visited an otherwise innocuous site, it wouldn't take a genius to work out what had happened. They even be able to work out when the hack occurred and even, in your scenario, when the site was un-hacked.

Come on, think of some more plausible scenarios that can't shot down with just a nano second of thinking.

The the thinking part is important. If you put up nonsense objections like the scenario you've advanced, ones which can knocked back so easily, they will be used to demonstrate the objections to the proposed legislation is baseless.

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Model's horrific rape case may limit crucial online free speech law

Sirius Lee

Re: law enforcement?

This is not a new problem - difficult, yes, but not new. Social workers faces a similar dilemma daily. A young mum or dad is thought to be abusing their child but there is no direct evidence. If social services intervene and separate a family with good intentions but unjustly that is damaging to the family and especially the child that is the target of the protection. If they do not and a child is left to be brutalized the consequences may not be known until that child is hospitalized or killed. Sadly there have been a number of case in the UK - one that concluded just last week - of parents/guardians beating and killing their children.

Web sites are actors in our communities and we all deserve to be made aware of concerns about the behaviours of their members if the site provides a service if those concerns might lead to bodily harm. Of course there's a SWATTING problem. The answer is a process. Is it too difficult for a site to be able to present their concerns to a judge and obtain legal consent to alert other members to their concerns? May be not this exact process but it's not beyond the wit of man to devise a process that is able to increase our safety in this area.

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