* Posts by alannorthhants

157 posts • joined 23 Dec 2009

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Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Re: Google will quit Europe

It will be dire. All of a sudden the EU (and all of its members of course) will have absolutely no way of extorting money from Google. One big fat revenue stream gone for ever.

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Égalité, Fraternité - Oui, peut-etre. Liberté? NON, French speedcam Facebookers told

alannorthhants

Besides a French court cannot impose a driving ban on a UK license (or vice versa). The most they can do is fine you.

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SCIENCE LAB TERROR: MYSTERY of the MISSING BRAINS

alannorthhants
Devil

Getting stuffed ...

... the 18th century utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham had his body stuffed...

I'd like to do that to most of the House of Commons.

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Euro spacemen clear Ariane 6 for liftoff

alannorthhants

Re: How is Ariane 6 cheaper?

Astrium does not exist; it's was officially renamed as "Airbus" this year.

'nuff said.

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alannorthhants

Re: Great stuff.

UK is a major member of ESA - goes a long way to paying my salery! However Arianespace is not a part of ESA - it is an independent company (albeit spun off after ESA developed the Ariane 3 and Ariane 4), however ESA still has a vested interest in Ariane launches and hence helps fund the development of each Ariane generation.

Arianespace launch control is located on Devil's Island. Darmstadt is the location of ESOC (European Space Operations Centre) that manages ESA satellites and deep-space missions.

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Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

alannorthhants

Prehaps we need to understand the core problem

Some thoughts ...

The core problem we have here is that we are in the middle of a pretty fundamental shift in the nature of information and how it can be controlled. 30 or 40 years ago national or multi-national organisations could easily control what information is available to people under their jurisdiction; this was enabled by a simple process of censorship and banning unwanted publications. The process worked because the information distribution mechanisms were largely paper-based, and hence easy to identify, amend and block. There was no central index of all of the information available to people, hence it was not easy to determine whether someone had published something that (while true) you did not like; even if they had your ability to delete the offending item was pretty limited - how do you recall & pulp every copy of a newspaper when some of those copies may well be overseas?

In the 1980s however the Internet appeared and started to grow at an enormous pace. Information distribution rapidly adapted to this new media and the Internet started to take the form of a huge database of information. It rapidly became very difficult to find what you wanted unless you already knew were it was, so companies like Google came along and started to catalogue and index the contents of the Internet.

Roll on to today and people have suddenly realised that these indexes are a weak spot in the Internet's information database - remove any reference to something you don't like from the index and hay-presto no-one can find it unless they already know where it is. Censorship by the citizen, although whether this is good or bad thing is a something that I am in two minds about. More to the point is that national and international organisations now have the chance to share in this process and censor/cover-up any unfortunate facts that are in the public domain. Oh joy!

The one fly in the ointment is that companies like Google are multi-national. No national or international organisation has a jurisdiction that covers all of their operations. So what we are seeing now is an attempt by the EU to expand its legal authority to cover the entire world (much like the US keeps on trying to do). However doing so could run into a few show stoppers: for example what can the EU do if Google Inc. (in the US and the controller of google.com) refuses to play ball - any attempt by the EU to punish Google EU for this could run into all sorts of legal problems. Or what happens if the EU orders Google EU to remove something from all of its search engines across the world, by the US government tells Google Inc. tells it not to do any such thing.

This could get very interesting ...

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Sacre vache! Netflix ne parle pas le Frenchy ... zat is against ze LAW

alannorthhants

Re: For once, I'm with the French...

Have you ever tried to read the T&Cs? Most of the time they might as well have been written in Navajo for all the sense that I can make out of them.

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Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned

alannorthhants

Re: Tough choice...

Just to add to Assange's (self inflicted) woes, when he does step (or get thrown) out of the embassy, the first thing that will happen is that he is going to be hauled in front of some very unamused UK judges who will want a *very* good answer as to why he skipped bail. It is entirely likely that he could spend a month or two in a UK slammer before having his backside kicked over to Sweden.

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Italian appeal court clears seismologists of manslaughter

alannorthhants

At last, a sane ruling from an Italian court.

The original convictions should never have be made in the first place. in fact the charges where obviously some chair-warming bureaucrat’s attempt at pre-emptive blame management. Earthquake prediction is not a precise science; in fact it is closer to guess work sometimes as any seismologist will tell you.

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Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins

alannorthhants

Re: It's not just about Skype

The core problem is that the standards MS claim they are using are not designed for desktop systems, so the scope for things breaking (because you are trying to force it to do something it was not designed to do) has just gone *way* up.

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alannorthhants

Re: sensible, usable alternative.

MS Outlook, using Zarafa and Postfix as the back-end.

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Steelie Neelie orders Germany to sort out its mobe charges – or EU will go FULL LEGAL

alannorthhants

Re: 5th time warning or else

I think they noticed the warnings - for about 5 seconds before they were dropped in the bin.

The EU will not do anything about Germany breaking the rules regardless how many warnings they issue - after all Germany controls the EU!

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Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so

alannorthhants

Re: Applies where?

Having tasted the stuff, I suspect it is - pretty rusty ones as well.

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SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn

alannorthhants

This announcement worries me

My company (I'm the IT Manager) use SLES as our primary server infrastructure due to it's high reliability (the last reboot occurred when we physically relocated the servers to a new site; since then we've had 100% up-time). I was concerned when Attachmate took over SUSE, but decided to wait and see. Now I am *really* worried - does Micro Focus actually have any commitment to Linux (AFAIK the answer to that is a responding No). Might be time to work up some contingency plans switching our infrastructure to Redhat/Centos.

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spɹɐʍʞɔɐB writing is spammers' new mail filter avoidance trick

alannorthhants

Re: And of course...

Spammers are simply applying the Wizard's First Rule (as stated by Terry Goodkind):

"People will believe anything, either because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid that it is true"

Politicians use this all of the time!

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Shareholders throw the book at Apple for ebook price-fix drama

alannorthhants
WTF?

The problem is investor expectations

In the US (and probably to a much lesser extent in the UK) investors have the view that they are totally entitles to make money with no risk; if they make an investment that fails big-time they automatically blame someone (anyone) else and reach for the lawyers instead of admitting to themselves that they screwed up. A much better solution in this case is to simply cut their losses and pull their money out; Apple will come to heal *much* faster when their share price starts to skydive.

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TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P

alannorthhants
Coat

Re: 24th September - Night Excursion

There are bars there but they are not very good - they just have no atmosphere.

I'll just get my coat ...

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Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM

alannorthhants

Re: Can you turn it off?

You can disable your ability to send an SMS; just delete the number of the SMSC.You cannot stop your mobile from receiving SMS since that is built into the standard.

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alannorthhants

Not quite, although you are close.

SMS messages get sent through the GSM control channel that normally handles the control plane traffic (e.g. call sent-up/tear-down, base station hand-over, et al). This implementation came about due to a historical oddity; basically when the GSM standards were first defined they discovered that they had some spare capacity left on the control channel so someone had the bright idea of defining a messaging service although "no-one would ever want to use it" (famous last words IMO); this is way SMS messages have such an odd maximum size - it reflects the message size of the GSM control channel.

You are right in that SMS transmission is more-or-less "free" to the network operators, their only costs is in maintaining the SMSC and the inter-operator links.

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Speed of light slower than we thought? Probably not

alannorthhants
Mushroom

A basic misunderstanding of supernovae

Franson has based his work on a conundrum raised by an old supernova explosion: that when supernova SN 1987A was observed in 1987, neutrinos were spotted 7.7 hours before the event became visible when photons arrived.

While we do not completely understand the physics underlying a supernova (the simulations show the shock wave stalling a few milliseconds after it rebounds from the collapsed core), scientists do pretty much agree that:

1. The neutrinos are generated during the initial core collapse;

2. The photons are generated when the shock wave reaches the surface of the star; and

3. The two preceding events are separated by several hours.

I guess Franson must have assumed that everything happens instantly. Just shows what an idiot he is.

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Drone's drug airdrop mission ends in failure for Irish prisoners

alannorthhants

Re: Define "drone"

Another one for you:

RPAS - Remotely Piloted Aeronautical System

The trem UAV is mostly used for the big military systems (e.g. REAPER); smaller systems prefer the term RPAS since it has not had much bad press (yet).

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Zombie patents raid TI's wallet for $US3 million

alannorthhants

Re: No IBM?

Given what the Nazgul did to SCO (have a look at the Groklaw archives if you need really your memory refreshed) is it any wonder that they have decided to keep a long way away from Big Blue?

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IPv4 addresses now EXHAUSTED in Latin America and the Caribbean

alannorthhants

Re: Wasted IP ranges

The companies paid a pretty penny for those IP addresses

The organisations paid nothing for them - they asked for them when IPv4 was still young and no-one had thought about the concept of address exhaustion. IANA asked the companies to return them several years ago in exchange for smaller blocks (e.g. /16 - still plenty for most people) but only one university complied with the request - all of the others either flatly refused or (in some cases) ignored the request and did not bother to reply.

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EU privacy A-Team tells Google: Get a grip and obey OUR laws

alannorthhants

Re: I don't get it

Different issue - you are thinking of the "right to be forgotten", the article is referring to broader EU data protection and privacy legislation.

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

alannorthhants

Re: "US Marshals raiding Florida police"

Given that the documents were apparently a part of a current court case and that the judge was just in the process of unsealing them, I'd have thought that the actions of the US Marshals might be considered by the judge as a clear case of Contempt of Court.

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How I poured a client's emails straight into the spam bin – with one Friday evening change

alannorthhants

Every sysadmin must make one really big screw-up in their career

Mine was the command "rm -rf / tmp/*" (note the significant space). The subsequent panic-stricken CONTROl-C was not quite fast enough.

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Interstellar FIGHT CLUB: Watch neutron star TEAR Goliath a new hole

alannorthhants

Does anyone know what the music is ....

... I think I might try to get a recoding. Lovely stuff.

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alannorthhants

Re: Just wondering...

The gamma ray burst propogates along the spin axis of the brand new bouncing bady black hole; the accretion disk is in orbit around its equator.

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Silicon Valley bod in no-hire pact lawsuit urges court to REJECT his OWN lawyers' settlement

alannorthhants
Mushroom

"Presumably the plaintiffs lawyers get a percentage of the settlement..."

Yeah, about 95% I think

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Sat comms kit riddled with backdoors for hackers – researcher

alannorthhants
Thumb Down

Not a good example of a security document

Having read this I can say that this is less than a shining example of how to publish this type of research. It is long on claims (which anyone can make) but pretty short on proof, and as has been pointed it it contains some pretty significant errors regarding Thuraya - the sort of errors that anyone with any real knowledge of the industry would simply never make. Saying that however, some of the allegations are pretty believable; having worked on early development models of the Cobham (ex Thrane & Thrane) BGAN terminals when testing the system as a whole, I actually knew the hidden passwords that are hardcoded in the systems, although they are not that easy to guess. The fact that other manufacturers have also used hardcoded passwords is no real surprise since they typically use these for development and maintenance purposes.

I do wonder whether this is such an important issue as the author makes out, or whether he is just trying to make a name for himself. The fact is this is the sort of equipment that you do not find in everyday use; the vast majority of people will live their lives without ever seeing a satellite terminal. Many of the terminals models cited in the report are either not directly connected to the Internet as a whole, or only connected at random intervals. In both cases they would be very difficult targets for hackers to attack, and even if attacked and compromised it would be difficult for someone to do more than just disrupt the satellite link (easy to reset if necessary). You certainly could not insert malware into these devices simply because they do not use "standard" PC-type hardware platforms.

IMHO, a storm in a teacup.

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European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive

alannorthhants

Re: Good!

But European law allows individual countries to say what constitutes "personal use". Customs & Excise simply put a threshold figure on what you can import based on what a person is reasonably likely to smoke in a year; try to import significantly more than that and they (reasonably) get suspicious that you are planning to sell them. They are flexible however; prove that you are a heavy smoker and then adjust the threshold accordingly.

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alannorthhants
Pint

Re: Good!

Well the court clearly said that the directive violates Euro Human Rights law, so anything put in place under the directive would also be presumed to be a violation of that law unless the Euro courts say otherwise (not likely in my opinion.

Of course someone is still going to have to take UK Gov to court to force them to obey.

Glass raising as well.

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Boss at 'Microsoft' scam support biz told to cough £000s in comp

alannorthhants

Re: "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

I lived there for about 8 years - it's not as bad as they say, it's worse! Getting married and moving away was probably the best thing I ever did, even if it did cost me £30K from the drop in house/flat prices in the area,

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Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads

alannorthhants

An odd case to bring against Facebook

I have to admit to feeing pretty bemused about this whole case. Facebook has <u>always</u> stated that they are allowed to use any information, photos, or whatever you put on Facebook in whichever way that Facebook wants. Basically they can sell everything about you to whoever they want, whenever they want; if they want to use your picture in an ad then they can do so. On the face of it then the judges ruling (parking to one side issues relating to minors) is completely correct.

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Inmarsat: Doppler effect helped 'locate' MH370

alannorthhants

Re: Truly astonishing amount of information stored

I know the people who did this work, and also know a lot about the Inmarsat systems. Basically when Inmarsat receives a message over their satellites, the radio management system forwards it with an additional header that includes (among other things) the frequency that the message was received at. Inmarsat know the nominal frequency that is used for the messages, so they are able to work out the Doppler shift. The final step is to construct a flight-path model that reproduces the observed Doppler shift - this took a lot of number crunching but was relatively straight-forward.

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Bitcoin bust litigants fling sueballs at Japanese bank

alannorthhants

Re: Justified?

This is going to turn out very bad for many other Bitcoin businesses, as potential banks will now look more than twice if they should accept a Bitcoin business as their client, as "these people" seem to be quite sue-happy.

The person launching the sueball is an American - they always seem to prefer to sue first and spit on your corpse later.

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That NSA denial in full: As of right now, we're not pretending to be Facebook or Twitter

alannorthhants
Headmaster

Re: Denial or something more bizarre

"The NSA is doing a poor job at denial given the tenses used and numbers."

Probably because the NSA is trying to make sure that it's denial is plausibly deniable. Remember President Clinton arguing that the meaning of a sentence depending on the meaning of the word "the"?

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It's 2014 and Microsoft Windows PCs can still be owned by a JPEG

alannorthhants

Re: Microshaft whould just give up

Small point but important: Apple used a BSD Unix kernel. Linux was banned because Apple's lawyers could not find any way around the GPL.

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X marks the... They SAID there was a mystery planet there – NASA

alannorthhants

Re: Don't see how this helps any

But a star that close to the Sun, even if it is class Y brown dwarf it would have showed up like a bright beacon to the IRAS and/or ISO missions, let alone any of the terrestrial IR-sensitive telescopes. Also the theoretical orbital parameters for Nemesis (consistent with the extinction pattern) has been worked out a long time ago, and we know in what part of the sky we should be looking, but nothing is there!

BTW, the extinction pattern data is based on a very small sample set that is statistically not significant. Basically the uncertainties outweigh the conclusions.

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Google facing $5 BEEELLION antitrust fine in India

alannorthhants

Breaking Google Up!

"The CCI also has the power to order a company found to be too dominant to be broken down into smaller businesses."

If this means that the CCI could order Google's world-wide operations to be broken up, then I foresee some interesting times ahead (i.e. when the US gov launches some serious trade sanctions against India on behalf of Google).

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US judge Koh won't ban old Samsung gear, tells Apple: Your patents aren't that amazing

alannorthhants

Re: "Your patents aren't that amazing"

But to the US Patent Office, concepts such as round corners are obviously so innovative that whoever invented them should be allowed to exploit the idea until the end of the world.

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Winklevoss twins say their Bitcoins will take them to SPAAAAACE

alannorthhants
Pint

Re: Bye, chaps

A one-way ticket would be better.

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Dropbox erects sueball shield with new T&C and privacy legalese

alannorthhants

Re: question

"Either make your service such that is is unavailable in the EU or to any EU citizens, or comply with our rules about jurisdictions: if you make the data available in the UK and I want to sue you in the UK, I can. Doesn't matter what your T&Cs say, especially if they are manifestly unfair (or US centric)."

I think it goes even further than that. According to UK contract law (the EU has nothing to do with it in this case) a contract that contains unfair T&Cs cannot be enforced. Saying that you can only bring legal action in the US courts (which are prohibitively expensive even for 'Merkins) can only be deemed to be unfair, so cannot be enforced.

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Bosses to be banned from forcing new hires to pull personal records

alannorthhants

Re: I'd pass that test

Sorry but on one part of your statement you are very wrong.

My company is just getting List-X status which means we can hold classified documents on site. Anyone who has access to the secure area has to have security clearance, however everyone else who works for the company must have at least a Basic Disclosure that proves who they are. No basic Disclosure, no job! We have not made up those rule, HMG has imposed them on us.

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Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

alannorthhants

I certainly don't qualify as an idiot - I don't have a Facebook account (and have never had one, so Facebook have absolutely nothing on me) and have disabled the Facebook app on my phone so that we don't have any "accidental" data slurps.

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Snowden journo boyf grill under anti-terror law was legal, says UK court

alannorthhants
Mushroom

France

EU ....

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Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM'

alannorthhants

Re: If they were serious about punishment

Even better - Windows ME

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Plan 9 moves out from Lucent licence space

alannorthhants

Re: Synchronicity

Many years ago (some many I can't remember when) I went to a lecture given by Ken Thompson (Unix & Plan 9 guru) about the (then fairly new) Plan 9 OS. He interspersed the lecture with clips from Plan 9 from Outer Space much to everyone's amusement. One of the things he mentioned was that they adopted the Plan 9 name because management could take the project seriously (it got funded simply because people like Ken & Denis Ritchie through their weight behind it).

Saying that it was a seriously good lecture - Ken could really keep the audience entertained while discussing a pretty complicated topic.

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US Appeal Court slaps Apple for trying to shake antitrust monitor

alannorthhants

Re: And the merry go round...

More like Prenda Law.

I suspect that Apple will start to complain to the court about every request, claiming that none of them are necessary for the antitrust monitor to do his job. Eventually the courts will get fed up with all of this nonsense, and will punish Apple by saying that they have to comply with all of his requests, regardless of what they think. Apple will appeal, the Appeal Court will turn them down (probably with an additional bitch-slap just to make the point to Apple's legal department) and at that point the antitrust monitor will probably start finding some really interesting things.

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Think British weather is bad? It's nothing to this WOBBLY ALIEN planet

alannorthhants
Mushroom

Re: Whereas our weather...

... its the only way to be sure

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