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* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1110 posts • joined 22 May 2007

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Computing student jailed after failing to hand over crypto keys

Dr. Mouse
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Or just send the politicians to Mars? Oh, and ensure the operating instructions are encrypted, and we have forgotten the password :)

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Is there too much sex and violence on TV?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: @Khaptain - Flower Power + Darwin

http://xkcd.com/603/

and

http://xkcd.com/1227/

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Lords try shoehorning law against REVENGE SMUT into justice bill

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Happy Snapper

Not necessarily.

I'm only playing devils advocate here, but what about a situation where two people meet on a drunken night out and decide filming themselves and posting it on the interwebz is a good idea. The next day, the one who did the posting is cuffed because the other one regrets (or is informed by friends because they couldn't remember doing it).

Now we may be getting into the realms of consent and alcohol here, but in this case there is no contract, they both did a stupid thing, but the one who's account was used to post the material becomes guilty of a criminal offence. There was no contract, no money changed hands, but there was consent.

All I'm saying is it could be a lot harder to decide whether a party expected it to remain private or not.

Now, in most cases, I would say that if the video was made between two consenting adults in a relationship, in a private place, and the video was then posted after the pair split up, it is likely that there was an expectation of privacy. But there will be situations where it is harder to prove.

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Google starts selling Glass to Brits – for £1,000 a pop

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Apple's Irish tax lair to be probed by European Commission

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Really simple way of dealing with this....

You change the law so that Royalties paid to a company outside of the country , cost 40% of what's paid.

So what about the company B which is legitimately paying royalties to company X for use of their IP?

The problem with tax "loopholes" is that most of them aren't actually loopholes. They are legitimate financial arrangements made for a good reason, which are then exploited in unintended ways.

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Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Taxin incomes is both immoral and ineffective.

If you don't know what the phrase means, perhaps you could try a search engine to look it up? Particularly as you seem to think computer access is essential, you ought to know what the term means. In this context, it is essential.

I did have a look, the first page of Google results shows it in terms of a business (very close to, if not identical to, gross profit). This helps me not one bit in this discussion.

I like the way you assume that I consider computer access to be essential. In terms of what I was talking about (essential for survival) it is not. For me, in my line of work, it is, but that's a different kettle of fish.

You seem to be working under the false assumption that I am on benefits, or on a low wage, or generally in the bracket which benefits from progressive taxation. I would actually benefit from a flat tax rate, but I am not a selfish asshat looking only at my own bottom line. I see people working hard on low paid jobs and realise that they should not be expected to fork over as much as me, even though they use more government services than I do. They should not even be expected to pay as large a proportion of their income as I do.

Of course it irks me how much of my pay is going to the government. Someone on a higher income than me would likely be even more irritated. But that doesn't make it unfair.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Taxin incomes is both immoral and ineffective.

So you deny the meaning of "marginal income"

I cannot deny the meaning of a term I have never heard before, let alone know the meaning of. I am no expert in economics.

But if a person earns just enough to afford the essentials of survival, 20% of his income will taken away will result in him not being able to survive. This is much more important to him than 20% of someone earning £1m/year loosing £200k of that. The rich man can still survive without that £200k.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Taxin incomes is both immoral and ineffective.

The fairest system is everyone pays £X where X is the same number for everyone. Its simple and fair. The more you earn, the more you keep.

FYI, based on 2008/9 data, replacing govt income from income tax and national insurance with a per-person flat tax for working age people only, this figure would be around £6500/year. It would be a great system for the rich, but a minimum wage earner would come away with less than £600/month.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Taxin incomes is both immoral and ineffective.

The only way to keep the politicians from doing that is to ensure that everyone is equally at risk for the politicians bad decisions. That means a flat tax on income.

A true flat rate of income tax does not equate to an equal risk. 20% of a bottom-end earner's salary is much more important to him than 20% of a high earner's salary. It is likely that 20% of someone at the bottom end of societies income would tip him over the edge into (real) poverty, forcing him to sacrifice essentials. 20% of a high earner's salary may force him to take no holiday (or a less expensive holiday) this year, buy a cheaper car, or have less meals out. This is inconvenient, but not important in the grand scheme of things.

Progressive taxation of income is the fairest means of taxation we have come up with. Flat rate hits the low earners hardest. Taxation of consumption hits the lowest earners hardest. Taxation of wealth may not, but it can unfairly hit those unable to pay (take someone on a low income who owns a house whose value has increased, they may be forced out of their home just to pay a tax bill, as that home is wealth).

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Salary versus Equity

His tax free allowance is £10k

Then it's not a flat rate of tax. There would be no tax free allowance on a flat rate tax syystem, which is what we are talking about.

Don't you see how unfair it is? The poor guy gets nearly 75% of his income free of tax whereas the middle income guy on £30k gets 33% of it tax free and the rich guy only gets 3% tax free.

The point of the tax free allowance is that it is supposed to be a floor level of what you need to survive. The government don't tax the bit that everybody needs, just like they don't apply corporation tax until after the businesses expenses are taken out.

So it is fair that the guy who is barely making enough to live pays tax on very little of his salary.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: TheOrherHobbes Rustident Spaceniak Theoretically speaking, the article....

There is plenty of social mobility in the UK, as proven by the example of Sir Alan Sugar

I believe you are falling into the gambler's fallacy here. This is like saying "Everyone can get millions without working, just look at this lottery winner as proof".

Sir Sugar is evidence that it is possible to rise from poor to rich. His rise does not mean that everyone can, nor that everyone who is capable can. I do not know his full story, but it is likely he had "lucky breaks" at one time or another. He gambled and won.

Many will not be so lucky. They have skill and ambition, but they get an unlucky hand and go bankrupt. Others will make it part way up the ladder and get stuck. We know of Alan Sugar because he is an exception.

In the same way, we know of those who fall from the "upper classes" because they are the exception. Someone born at the top doesn't have to work as hard to stay there as someone born at the bottom does to get to the top.

I am not arguing that we need to work hard to eliminate this. It is an aspect of society which has always existed. But you belittle Sir Alan's achievements and many other people's struggles in this statement. It is possible to work your way to the top, but it is also possible to win the lottery.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Salary versus Equity

Progressive taxation is envy/greed dressed up in hypocritical sanctimony. Tax everybody at the same flat rate so everybody has equal marginal risk in the game when bad decisions are made.

Rubbish!

A flat rate of tax is a ridiculous notion to anyone with any shred of compassion.

There are fixed costs associated with living. Let's make a completely out-of-thin-air made-up assumption that it costs £6,000/year (£500/month) just to survive in this country, with no leisure expenses. I can't be bothered to do the research to get the correct figure, but the principals I describe apply whether this is lower or higher.

Now let'd take three people: Poor, middle and rich (in terms of income).

The poor man earns minimum wage. This equates, on a 40hr week, to approximately £13,500 p.a. salary. As we are using a flat rate of tax, I will assume (again plucked out of my arse) it will be around the same as our basic rate is now, which is approx 30% including NI. He will, therefore, take home less than £9,500. After taking into account living costs, he takes has £3500 remaining, or less than 26% of what he was paid.

A middle income guy earns £30k/year. After tax he takes home £21,000 of which £15,000 is "disposable". So he has 50% of his income to play with.

A rich guy earns £300k. He takes home £210,000 of which £204k is disposable. 68% is left.

Can you not see that this is grossly unfair on the poor guy? Although the rich guy is paying the most tax, he can afford to. He has plenty to pay for it.

A flat rate of tax hits the lowest paid the hardest. In a society which makes any claim to fairness, this cannot be allowed. Those who can afford to pay more should pay more.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Hmm

Also:

The welfare state does not take money from anybody (that's the job of the inland revenue)

The welfare state does not just create money. It must, therefore, take money from somewhere. It takes it from government finances, which are raised through taxation. Therefore the welfare state takes money from us all.

I am not saying this as an argument against the welfare state. On the contrary, I support it. It is disingenuous, however, to imply that there is no cost to it.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Hmm

But the poor - which pretty much means anyone who works - have perpetual financial insecurity

I do not know how it fits with official definitions, but this is what I view as wealth: Financial security. The ability to absorb unforeseen financial circumstances. You may have a good income, but if you have no savings and, say, the car you rely on for work dies, you will be in trouble.

By this definition, the NHS should be factored in to wealth calculations, as should insurance policies and some welfare benefits. Without the NHS (or some form of health insurance) an illness or injury would impact on your wealth. Similarly, without buildings insurance, your house burning down would seriously impact your wealth, and without out-of-work benefits a period of joblessness would (even more) seriously affect your wealth.

However, I do not believe education should be included as wealth. This would be a planned-for expense, affecting your income, not your wealth. The same could be said for some other forms of benefit, particularly long-term benefits. These affect income, not wealth (although of course the two are linked).

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Google: OK world, make our 'End-to-End' crypto tool SPOOK PROOF

Dr. Mouse
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Re: While THE PATRIOT Act is in force so what?

They can only reveal information they have access to. If the data is encrypted before if reaches Google, and decrypted only after it has left Google, they have no data to reveal.

Not that I have the largest amount of faith in Google's morals in this area. A false impression of security, or weak or compromised security, is worse than no security.

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Samsung, with this new 3D NAND SSD, you're really spoiling us ... or perhaps a rival?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: As a 1TB flash drive ....

OMG, Trevor, meltdown or what?

That's one of the funniest rants I have ever read!

bigphil9009: You got pwned!

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E-cigarettes help you quit – but may not keep you alive

Dr. Mouse
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Re: There is a problem with these in the USA.

from the government's point of view, is that they lead to a reduction in tax revenue; from the wealthy and influential tobacco companies' point of view it's a reduction in profits

I agree that these are two of the three most affected industries, but you forget the third: Pharmaceutical companies. They are loosing out big-time on NRT products.

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IBM accidentally invents new class of polymers

Dr. Mouse
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Accidental discoveries

Gotta love 'em!

Oh damn! I forgot to add this. I'll have to throw it away and start aga... Hang on, how the hell is it doing that? Wow, this stuff is awesome!

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Trolls and victims watch Supremes for definition of meaningless patents

Dr. Mouse
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Re: x+delta

de minimis non curat lex

Apparently, "The law does not concern itself with trifles".

Good. Everyone should be allowed to make trifles the way they want, and not have the plod sticking their noses in!

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FTC: State laws blocking Tesla's direct sales are 'protectionist'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: There is always two sides

This is pretty much the same argument which was used to stop breweries in the UK from owning pubs. It was a great idea in principal. In practice...

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Snowden lawyer PGP email 'crack' flap: What REALLY happened?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: what to expect....

Rumor has it, the government has people who know how to write malware not noticed by the AV vendors.

Or intentionally ignore?

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Soz, BT: All EE's 4G goodies still won't give you 'seamless voice'

Dr. Mouse
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Quite a funny response

El Reg spoke to SKT... which said the best way to deal with the problems of handing over voice from LTE to 3G is to build out your LTE network to a level where you don't have to do it.

Summary: It's too difficult, so don't even bother trying.

On a more serious note, why the hell weren't details for this specified before rollout? It would seem a natural, necessary feature for a mobile network.

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Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Still hate the tiles and the window decorations

>I am not sure that the guts of Windows 8 are all that bad.

It's the main thing that irks me about Windows 8.

Underneath, the OS seems to be one of the best MS have built. It runs fast and behaves well, even on lower-spec hardware. Even the low-end x86 tablets we have at work run pretty damn well.

I cannot stomach the interface though. Whereas Vista was rubbish underneath and I was happy to give it a miss, I feel cheated that I can't use 8 purely because of MS's appalling UI descisions.

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HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

Dr. Mouse
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Re: @Dr. Mouse

'The Greek letter is "Alpha"'

Ooops. Sorry, my mistake.

Misspelling aside, my point stands.

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Dr. Mouse
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HTC == Alfa Romeo - idiosyncratic, often stylish, powerful, but doesn't support you when you really need it.

...

All the phones make and receive calls, all the cars will get you up and down the A1

Except the Alpha, which will be stuck at the garage with yet another electrical or electronic problem. However, as you own an Alpha, you expect this, so will be happy to drive your spare old banger until it is fixed.

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Intel's DIY MinnowBoard goes Max: More oomph for half the price

Dr. Mouse
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Missing a trick

While I love these developments, from Intel, RPi, and others (just looked at the ODROID, looks fantastic), I think Intel are missing a trick here.

If they supplied this with the ability to run Windows, there would be a lot more potential buyers. I would be one: Unfortunately, my employer's EPOS software is written for Windows. If I could run it on an SBC of RPi-ish size, the computing hardware could actually be integrated into a till drawer, massively reducing the bulk of our setup.

AFAIK, the closest I can get at the moment is a VIA Pico-ITX board, which are both expensive and rare. If Intel released this with Windows, I would snap up one for testing immediately.

Just FYI, I am looking into porting our EPOS software to run on Linux, but it is most definitely non-trivial. If I got that done, there would be nothing stopping me running it on a Pi: The front end is so simple that the Pi would actually be overkill.

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GNOME 3.12: Pixel perfect ... but homeless

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Nope

But how long before someone comes along with a little application to add these easily?

Also, as mentioned in the article, it allows developers (or "packagers") to define these in advance, or bundle the editing into the programme.

Generally, such a feature needs to be implemented before it is exploited. When Firefox, for example, adds an "Add this bookmark to the quicklaunch menu" option, it starts becoming really useful.

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ISPs CAN be ordered to police pirates by blocking sites, says ECJ

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Next up.....

While I am not supportive of the blocking of such websites, this is not like authorising the post office to open parcels to check for pirated DVDs. This is like informing a courier that they may no longer deliver parcels from a particular company because they are known to distribute pirated materials. (And just like that approach, the company involved could just change their address/name to get around the block)

For it to be like opening the parcels, they would have to be running DPI and blocking content in a dynamic way. Not to say they wont do that (or even that it isn't already being done) but that's not what is being discussed here.

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ISPs' pirate-choking blocking measures ARE effective – music body

Dr. Mouse
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TBH I used to pirate a lot of music. This was because I didn't want it myself, but people wanted it at parties. I wasn't going to pay for it (in my youth I would have copied their CDs, or tapes, to get it).

Now I pay £8/month to google and get it all on there. I hardly notice £8/mo, and I don't have to choose what to buy or download, I can just add it to the playlist when someone asks.

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'Arrogant' Snowden putting lives at risk, says NSA's deputy spyboss

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Right...

My list of people who can Fuck Right Off grows daily.

So does mine.

I think that has more to do with me being a grumpy, cynical bastard, though.

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PAF! MPs go postal over postal location data sell-off by Coalition.gov

Dr. Mouse
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Re: PAF 18 years out-of-date

Exactly. Postcodes may now be used for all sorts of things, but their primary use is delivery of mail*.

We actually could do with a different system for other things, which is not controlled by the Post Office. Everyone just hijacked the postcode because it was easier than putting a purpose-made system in place.

* Actually, for sorting mail for delivery, but it comes down to the same thing.

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Google's Drive SLASH, secret 'big upgrade': Coincidence? HARDLY

Dr. Mouse
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Re: De-Dupe on a gloibal scale

I'm betting on uploading, scanning and track recognition

Yes, that's what they do a lot of the time. They are quite open about it, and tout it as a feature: The GMusic client uploads song recognition data, which is then checked angainst their DB. If it is recognised, it doesn't bother uploading the file and just uses their copy, saving upload time, unless you specifically tell it otherwise (e.g. when they've got it wrong).

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Web inventor Berners-Lee: I so did NOT see this cat vid thing coming

Dr. Mouse
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Re: And it's funny because

Not if you pronounce them as lower case (wuh)

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Projector on a smartphone? There's a chip for that

Dr. Mouse
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Re: This one *is* different

I'd say "We can put this in your phone" is mostly a way to grab the attention of mainstream media, hopefully attracting more investment.

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'Mommy got me an UltraVibe Pleasure 2000 for Xmas!' South Park: Stick of Truth

Dr. Mouse
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For me The Book of Mormon set the bar for anything related to Trey Parker and Matt Stone

This is definitely on my shortlist, too. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb!

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CIA snoops snooped on Senate to spy spy torture report – report

Dr. Mouse
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LOL!

That is all...

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Cable thieves hang up on BT, cause MAJOR outage

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Put a high voltage on these

1 wire a high voltage, fry them!

Reminds me of a joke security sign I once saw.

"These premises are protected by shotgun security 1 day per week: You guess which day!"

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Muslim clerics issue fatwa banning the devout from Mars One 'suicide' mission

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Spirts in the sky nut jobs and such

Much like Rob Hubbard turned a Science Fiction story into a religion, Mohammed copied much of early Christianity, spicing it up a bit to invent a new religion. It's quite amazing how gullible some people must be to believe this stuff....

You could quite easily say the same about Jesus.

That said, I don't think it's right to make fun of someone's religious beliefs. People can believe whatever they want, IMHO, unless they try to force those beliefs on me.

Or unless they are trying to scam people out of their hard earned money through a ridiculous cult (*cough* Scientology *cough*)

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EU warns United States: SHAPE UP on data protection OR ELSE

Dr. Mouse
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It seems to me that it should be part of a legal framework that the NSA cannot access data in safe harbour without first gaining whatever approvals would be necessary in the EU, from the EU country in question.

So, as an example, if a UK company ships data to the US under safe harbour, the NSA should need approval from the UK courts to collect that data. This should be included in any future safe harbour agreement, or safe harbour should be terminated.

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NatWest 'spam' email cockup got me slapped with late payment fee, says angry Reg reader

Dr. Mouse
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WTF?!?

Am I the only one who thinks this is odd?

On January 10 he received an email response from NatWest’s GIS Technology Services saying they could not act on the DNS problem because he’s an outsider.

So, a well meaning techie spots a problem with their network, and they can't do anything about it because it hasn't gone through the proper channels? I know there are procedures to follow (if only to protect ones own posterior), but he tried to help and you are telling him to do more work to fix your system?!

No, he reports it to you through whatever channel, and it is up to you to ensure the problem is fixed!

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Judge shoots down Oracle's Solaris support 'trafficking' claim

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh the irony

This is about a company producing "washing machines", claiming nobody else has the right to service them.

Not quite.

This particular type of case is a little different in a few ways. Taking the washing machine example, you have a washing machine and they find a fault. The company make a fix for it, spending time and money to redesign a circuit board, say.

Now we have to make the assumption that this machine is out of any warranty period, so the customer has the choice of paying for extended warranty, either with them or one of their approved service agents. If they do this and the fault appears, the service agent will swap out the board for the fixed version.

Now, another company comes along and starts offering extended warranty. They cannot buy the fixed board to fit, so they get hold of the design and make their own copies to fit to their customers' washing machines. They also say that they are approved service agent.

I will say that I don't like the way Oracle work, but I think this example is closer to this case (from Oracle's point of view).

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Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "it needed to be sufficiently innocuous for in-flight use"

http://xkcd.com/651/

"It's OK, dear. In a moment he'll realize I have a good point and return my water... Hey! You can't arrest me if I prove your rules inconsistent!"

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Apple fails to shake antitrust watchdog loose, receives judge slapdown

Dr. Mouse
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Off topic, I know, but I am loving having the Dictionary of Numbers plugin on Chrome. It gives some insight into the figures...

She pointed out that Apple's own law firm had a partner on the books with the highest billing rate in the country of $1,800 [≈ One Starbucks latte per day for a year] an hour.

So for an hours work, they can afford a coffee from Starbucks every day for a year.

Imagine if they worked for a whole day!

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AT&T's sponsored data plan: Who, us, violating net neutrality?

Dr. Mouse
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Not sure

I'm not sure about this. As always, the devil is in the details, but it seems to me to be similar to 0800 (freephone/toll free) phone numbers. Companies are allowed to do that, effectively paying for a customer to call them. So why should they not be allowed to pay for a customer to access their website?

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

Dr. Mouse
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Bluestacks is not really an emulator, if I remember correctly. It is more like WINE: It implements the Android architecture in Windows.

I've used it before, and it is very good. Pretty quick, although it is resource hungry.

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BT 118 phone number fee howler lands telco giant with £225k fine

Dr. Mouse
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It was free from a phone box. I may be a tightarse for doing so, but I remember popping down the road (only 4 doors down) to the phone box to call directory enquiries more than once.

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No sign of Half-Life 3 but how about FOURTEEN Steam Machine makers?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Interesting concept. For many reasons.

While I agree with the sentiments behind your post, splatt, but I must make one point:

The alternative is relying 100% on sales to other device manufacturers, and do you really think they'd be that willing to relinquish control to that extent?

Nvidia already rely "100% on sales to other device manufacturers". They don't make their own graphics cards, they make the chipsets for them (plus reference designs) and sell them to "other device manufacturers", who make the cards and sell them.

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Snowden docs: NSA building encryption-cracking quantum computer

Dr. Mouse
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So the real problem is - and has always been - whether you trust the (democratically elected) government which controls these organisations to act in the best public interest.

No, the real problem is whether any government, democratically elected or no, can control these organisations. Spy organisations operate in secret, out of necessity. They don't explain everything they do to the government. They operate on a need to know basis with everything. How can you control something when you do not know what they are doing?

Where would YOU go given the choice between north korea (which doesn't have quantum computers and says clearly where it stands) and the "big bad undemocratic" USofA ... I'm ready to bet you would still chose the latter....

Where would you rather live: A slum in India or in captivity in Guantanamo? I'm pretty sure you'd choose the former. It may be a slightly better choice, but that does not mean you would want to live there.

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Pervy TOILET CAMERA disguised as 'flash drive' sparks BOMB SCARE on Boeing 767

Dr. Mouse
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Re: NSA

Or maybe the TSA? (Obligatory South Park reference, plus we're all sitting on it the wrong way)

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Andrew Fentem: Why I went to an arts quango to fund pre-iPhone multitouch

Dr. Mouse
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Re: So, Why did he go to an arts quango to fund his pre-iPhone multitouch?

"Why did he go to an arts quango"?

He went to NESTA: "National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts".

By the title (and probably the spiel put out by the govt at the time) it should have been a suitable place to go for support and money.

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