* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1464 posts • joined 22 May 2007

BOFH: We're miracle workers. But you want us to fix THAT in 10 minutes?

Dr. Mouse
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"Yes. This is important! The board have all flown to Edinburgh with the Director so they can see our videoconferencing presentation in action!"

"And you just found out about this 17 minutes ago?!" the PFY gasps.

The Boss ignores him.

"Ah," the PFY adds. "So it IS as usual."

This section would be incredibly funny IF it didn't describe almost every job I had to do...

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UK citizens will have to pay government to spy on them

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Pay for the privilege?

Could someone please explain why I get downvoted for my comment above?

I'm not being arsey, I would just like to know the arguments against.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Pay for the privilege?

people getting charged up to $70 per night to stay in prison.

I agree with the principal of charging people to stay in prison, up to a point. Why should the state pay for their accommodation, meals etc. when they would have to pay for that on the outside? However, the charges need to be reasonable, there needs to be the opportunity for them to earn enough to cover it, and the repayment terms on any debt once they left would need to be fair (as in not so onerous that it pushed them into more crime). Those with savings, investments, property or outside business interests should have to use them to pay towards the costs, too (as long as that doesn't end up leaving kids short).

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: 15TB?

I'm guessing his figure is based on the proportion of data seen in such a link.

Nope:

"on a one-gig connection... there would normally be 15TB of data a year going through it. Even if a small proportion of that is deemed "communications data," it will still amount to enormous quantities of data that need to be stored."

He is saying that a normal 1Gb link would see 15TB/year pass through it. Less than that will need to be stored.

I don't find it that surprising that the quantity of data is so low. People (individuals and companies) want the internet to be fast when they need it. They will spec the pipe so that it is fast enough for what they need when they want it to be fast, but it will be virtually idle much of the time. ISPs count on this, and view those who consistently max out their pipe to be "abusing" the service.

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The Edward Snowden guide to practical privacy

Dr. Mouse
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Re: VPN

If they're "all" (on a technical level) compromise

Although he mentions compromised implementations, the main concern is the legal vulnerability.

It is likely that the majority of VPNs out there have some sort of log of who is connecting to them and when. Only those which are set up specifically with privacy in mind, and whos admins and architects have done a thorough job, will have any chance. Even without this, there will likely be a record somewhere that you have connected to a VPN. While this won't immediately allow joining the dots between an individual and his communications history, it will allow a starting point if someone (e.g. the govt) wants to find out what you are doing.

In addition, it's likely that VPN providers are already watched with a higher priority by the security services. If you use one, so their logic will goes, you must have something to hide.

it doesn't bode well for the security of... TOR... does it?

There is a big difference with TOR. The whole design of onion routing is set up to avoid traceability. Your packets bounce around nodes, with each node only able to see the next and previous hop (if I remember what I read about it years ago correctly). Although there is suspicion that spooks control enough of the nodes to compromise the network...

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: So when

I would agree that it would be nice if it was at least be made available. It's not difficult or expensive to set up.

There is, however, a cost involved. Every request made over HTTPS puts a greater load on the web server. Depending on the traffic, content and method of generation this could be negligible, or it could be expensive.

Is it really that important for a news site to be on HTTPS? Does anyone post sensitive information here?

To go back to the article, it's up to everyone to weigh up their own risks level and take appropriate action.

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Untamed pledge() aims to improve OpenBSD security

Dr. Mouse
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This is OpenBSD

Ooops, sorry, my mistake.

one hopes that developers will start to check carefully what they are doing any why, rather than just asking for the Moon on a stick as Android devs seem to do.

&

The application declares what that it will need access to absolutely everything just in case, and the OS enforces that. rolls over

Server software developers tend to be more... thorough than app developers (in general). And sysadmins tend to be more protective of their systems than users are of phones. It's like the Android permissions system would be if both devs and users were conscientious and knowledgeable.

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Dr. Mouse
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What about program compatibility?

This is for the programme to use to help secure itself.

“Most programs can use pledge() with 3-10 lines of code,” he claims in the presentation.

So, it's simple to add. It's actually similar to the permissions model in Android, as an example. The application declares what it will need access to, and the OS enforces that.

I would expect that most applications with FreeBSD compatibility will start to use it fairly quickly, assuming it is as easy as claimed. The administrator will not really need to worry about it. It is just an additional failsafe to stop certain exploits from becoming usable, as well as something to warn about exploits more quickly: Admins will see processes dying due to broken pledges and will get on to the developers sharpish, rather than it being a while before they notice something was amiss.

In the end, it's just another tool for devs to use to help secure their programmes from attack.

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Riding on the memory bus: Micron brings out 8GB flash DIMM

Dr. Mouse
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Re: So this uses an already scarce RAM slot on the MoBo?

My thoughts were along similar but different lines: 8GB?

You can get an 8GB DRAM DIMM for little cost. OK, it's not persistent, but it's faster.

When I envisioned Flash DIMMs, I was expecting much larger capacities than currently available as DRAM.

There will be use cases, but I can't see them unless the cost is significantly lower than DRAM. Even on a server motherboard, the number of DIMM slots is often a restriction. A 32/64GB Flash DIMM, however...

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AMD sued: Number of Bulldozer cores in its chips is a lie, allegedly

Dr. Mouse
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Re: It's hard to see how this can succeed

There is no need, whatsoever, to put the word cores in quotes.

Bulldozer has 2 complete integer cores. If you are doing integer work, they work as advertised (albeit slower than Intel cores due to the lower IPC, not because of the shared bits). As the vast majority of workloads are integer, the shared bits make little difference in the real world. Many others have already stated this, and benchmarks have shown that they operate as complete cores on such workloads.

This contrasts with Hyperthreading, which does not have any extra cores, just an alternative set of registers which the core can flip to if one workload stalls (waiting for data etc.)

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UK's super-cyber-snoop shopping list: Internet data, bulk spying, covert equipment tapping

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Security Theatre and/or Snooping

I didn't think this bill was intended for use against "ordinary criminals". It's meant to be to protect us against terrorists that are so well-organised that they threaten the very fabric of our society, and nothing short of snooping on what we previously thought of as private communication is enough to combat them.

I agree. However, there we hit a stumbling block.

With this regulation in place, "terrorists" will move to using channels of communication which the government cannot intercept.

Let's take, for instance (and I don't know if it's included in this bill), the government's insistence that they should be able to access encrypted communications. The only feasible way of doing this is to make it a legal requirement that all encryption keys are lodged with the government (i.e. escrow).

Most law abiding citizens will abide by this. Most low-end criminals won't do anything about it either, as major encryption programmes will incorporate this functionality behind the scenes. But terrorists, organised crime, paedophiles etc. will keep their keys hidden.

In the end, all it will do is weaken the security of the normal person. The real targets will still encrypt in such a way as to deny the police/security services access.

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Companies need answer to Safe Harbour worries, says minister

Dr. Mouse
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The government urges the European Commission and US authorities to reach a swift conclusion on their negotiation of a revised agreement

There can be no valid agreement without serious changes to the law on one side or the other.

Either the US agrees to respect EU privacy laws for EU citizens data stored on their soil, and changes their law to codify this, or the EU weakens their privacy laws to allow for the US's laws.

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European Parliament votes to grant Snowden protection from US

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Talk is cheap

Because kidnapping high visibility people off the street of an ally with whom you have an extradition treaty is going to cause a huge international crisis.

I am pretty certain that the US (or in fact most nations) could make him disappear, or mysteriously suffer a tragic accident, without leaving enough evidence to cause such an international crisis. There may be strong suspicions, but no evidence.

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Raspberry Pi grows the pie with new deal allowing custom recipes

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

Re: Careful!

Not the first thing that came to mind for "American Pi"... What would one of the ports be for?

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Aussies' distinctive Strine down to drunk forefathers

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Cultural mix

Explaining the joke was supposed to be part of the joke...

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Cultural mix

Early convicts were from all over the British Isles, so had all sorts of accents. Clearly some hodgepodge of accents convicts got blended*.

FTFY

* See what I did there, I misinterpreted "blended" as a euphemism for "drunk".

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UK.gov plans to legislate on smut filters after EU net neutrality ruling

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "I think it's absolutely vitally important that we enable parents...............

"I think it's absolutely vitally important that we enable parents to have that protection for their children from this material on the internet," he told the Palace of Westminster.

We already enable parents to do this. There are a variety of technical solutions available which require little-to-no technical ability to set up. On top of that, the parents could, I don't know, spend time with their children, take an interest in what they are doing, and educate them about sexual matters.

It is not the government's place to do this. The correct way for them to handle it would be to educate parents on how to protect their children. A website, some TV ads, mailshots, access to free tools etc. would do a better and more ethical job than blanket censorship.

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Google lifts app price ceiling to US$400

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Why should there be any limit ?

I think, as AC stated bellow, they are probably covering their arses with the limit. Many people don't protect their store account, and a couple of clicks charge them whatever price for the app.

I think I'd go a different route: Allow the user to set a spending limit (possibly per transaction, maybe on a rolling week/monthly basis). Set the default fairly low. If a transaction will take you over that limit, a password is required. Possibly, for greater security, have a second stage of security for large purchases.

However, for app developers, there is another route: Require the user to buy a license key. For those few apps which need it, particularly business apps, it wouldn't be enough of a hassle to put users off, and they could do volume licensing deals etc. Also, Google wouldn't be taking their cut.

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Pimp your TV: Goggle box gadgets and gizmos

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Nice little roundup

Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of Balkanisation going on, sometimes in the name of consumer choice, which really just seems to mean you do need all those subscriptions, because everything's chopped up into smaller and smaller parcels and before too long "competition" will mean you can't watch a whole season of any sport on a single platform with one subscription.

This really irritates me, too.

Take a look at UK football. A few years ago, "all" you needed was Sky Sports and you could watch everything. Then, "competition" was brought in. You have ended up with several channels across which the games are spread. While techinically it is competition, it does mean that a football fan now needs to pay for Sky Sports, and BT Sports, and any other channels, so it costs them more.

For real competition from a consumer point of view, it needs to be that all the games are available on all the channels, and the consumer has a choice of which subscription to pay for. As it is, all "competition" has done is screwed more money out of the consumer.

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Apple ordered to write a $234m check to uni in A7 chip patent spat

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Very Appealing

Also the question is if universities (UW is not the 1st one to go after another business) should engage in this kind of practices.

The answer to this question is an overwhelming "Yes".

Let's get this straight. The uni developed a new method of doing something. They were awarded a patent on it. Unis generally license those patents to all-and-sundry for reasonable fees, and I'm making the assumption here that WARF would do the same. Universities then use this license money to fund education and R&D.

So, we have a "benevolent" organisation, who has innovated, noticed that someone is using this innovation, let them know that they need to license it, and been dismissed by the organisation. They have no choice but to take it to court, otherwise what is the point in having the patent? They were not asking for a ridiculous amount of money, Apple just did not want to pay.

Sometimes, lawsuits are necessary when all other avenues to reasonably resolve a dispute have been tried. This is not like the ambulance chasers. It is an organisation trying to reclaim what is rightfully theirs after all other avenues have been exhausted. If they didn't do this, they may as well have just released the invention to the public domain. Do you really think Universities would survive making no money from their inventions after pumping significant resources into them? No, they would abandon R&D and probably increase tuition fees to cover it.

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Apple may face $900m bill after A7 CPU in iPhones, iPads ripped off university's patent

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh the irony

they requested I sign a paper saying anything I developed belong to them, including any research I might perform.

This is fairly standard. At a uni, they are providing a lot of facilities for you. When I went, they allowed use for your own projects too.

If you have a good idea, it is often possible for you to talk to them and negotiate an exception, although they may expect something in return. You are paying them to teach you, not to help you found a new company, provide R&D equipment and resources etc.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Oh the irony

Universities often hold many patents. They do not often build products themselves from them. So by this narrow definition, you may see some relevance in calling them a patent troll.

However, Universities will normally license out those patents, even offering help in their implementation (for a fee). They will advertise them, not horde them looking for a payout later, and (AFAIK, I have never had to negotiate with them) their fees are generally much more reasonable. They do not just buy up patents from other people, but develop them in house.

In addition, the universities use the money from licensing to support their core businesses of teaching and R&D. The money is basically poured back in to developing ideas and minds.

Universities are (generally) not patent trolls. They are, in this area, R&D facilities pushing forward human knowledge.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Apple thieves - what a surprise

There is some theory that one among the thousands of people who independently came up with the idea should be able get a monopoly on its implementation. If something is so obvious that no-one writes it in a technical journal, it is proof (to a patent lawyer) that the idea is unique and valuable.

Many things seem obvious after the fact. In 1996, nobody had thought of it.

I think you may misunderstand the way engineering works. It is normally small steps, but the fact that it is a small step does not mean it is obvious.

Your example of the Thermos flask actually proves my point. If it was so obvious, why had nobody done it before? Just because you can look at it now and say, "Oh, that's easy, just take this piece of equipment, add this to it, and you've got something much more useful outside the lab" does not mean it should not be patentable. As long as there wasn't another lab tech out there who independently did the same before him, it's a perfectly valid patent.

Also, the theory is not that one among those who independently has an idea gets a monopoly. It is that the first person to come up with the idea gets a monopoly in exchange for publishing his idea.

EDIT: Forgot to add, as the idea was patented, it was also published. It probably can't be proven, but how do we know that an Apple engineer had not read the patent, or about it in some tech publication, or heard about it in discussions at University?

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Shocker: Net anarchist builds sneaky 220v USB stick that fries laptops

Dr. Mouse
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Re: WTF?

that's like picking up a floppy disc (remember them?) and putting it in the PC to "see what's on it". Ok.. maybe I'm paranoid, but I've seen viruses get passed around this way in the distant (a: b: drive era) past.

I remember the old floppy bombs... Lost a drive when a "friend" gave me a floppy and told me it had, erm, content I would have been interested on it. I wasn't happy, and nor was my dad (whose computer it was). Luckily, my "friend" offered to pay for a new one.

This seems like an updated version of that.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Net anarchist?

It would be interesting if you were a criminal. Leave one in the house, labelled as Accounts or similar. Cops raid your place, find the stick, plug it in and: ZAP!

All joking aside, this would mainly be useful for mischief. It's unlikely to do much more than kill a PC, and I could see a miscreant leaving a load lying around. I'm pretty sure there are some people who would pick it up and plug it in to see what was on it, and I'm sure more than one would try a second machine after it fried the first ("I wonder why my laptop isn't working, let'd try it in my desktop").

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Bungling Bonn burglar locks himself into house

Dr. Mouse
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Self-imprisonment

I have to say that, in modern society, I would not be surprised if he tried to sue for this.

However, it calls to mind a story my housemate told me. He was working at a fairly secure warehouse.

One evening, the manager received a call from the security company informing him that someone had broken in to the warehouse. He fired up the remote surveilance cameras, noted the burglars had come in through a sky light, and recognised where they were. He told the security company not to bother attending the scene, and he would be there at 7 in the morning to resolve the issue.

For the next half an hour, hilarity ensued in the warehouse, as the "burglars" discovered they were locked in a security cage. They tried to break through it, break the locks, and climb back up the rope, all to no avail. After this, they were seen yelling at each other for their stupidity. Once they had tired themselves out, all three sat on the floor.

In the morning, the manager arranged for the police to meet him there. He opened up and went to the cage they were held in. As he unlocked the door, the three lads filed out, not saying a word or looking anyone in the eye, straight into the waiting police van, in front of the onlooking crowd (many of them laughing because they knew what had happened) just turning up to start work for the day.

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Facebook's UK wing paid just £4k in corporation tax last year

Dr. Mouse
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Re: £4k?!

Facebook paid the tax due

I know they did. And it doesn't really "grind my gears", so much as it seems unfair.

Now, in the end, they will be paying a lot more than that worldwide. However, I still feel that corporation tax is a waste of time.

My own take on it would be (simplified version):

* Scrap corporation tax.

* Change the rules such that all individuals (including foreign) to pay tax on all UK income at standard income tax rates.

* Tax the money as it leaves the company and is paid to individuals, in the form of dividends, wages, or anything else.

Individuals are less likely* to be able to use fancy accounting to get out of paying tax, and have more to loose (no limited liability etc).

* Yes, I know that there are rich individuals who find a way, and are able to move money outside the country etc, but they have less options available to them than large corporate structures.

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Dr. Mouse
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£4k?!

I pay more tax than that!

Corporation tax is not fit for purpose. I firmly believe it should be scrapped, and all the profit should be taxed (at normal PAYE rates) as it is taken out of the company. Tax individuals, not companies: The companies just avoid it anyway*.

* OK, so do many high-income individuals, but that's a separate matter.

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A thousand mile Atom merci mission: Driving from Monaco to London in an open-topped motor

Dr. Mouse
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Re: lack of self cancelling indicators?

they use a combination of distance and time

Interesting, thank you. That's a really simple method I hadn't thought of.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: lack of self cancelling indicators?

It's actually difficult to set up self cancelling indicators on a motorbike.

In a car, they rely purely on the steering wheel position. On a bike, the handlebars can be in all sorts of positions, and the bike at all sorts of lean angles. One aftermarket system I saw just kept the indicator on for 5s, unless you were holding the brake (e.g. sat at a junction). Other than that, I suspect they will have to judge based on speed, lean angle, steering angle, and probably more parameters in a non-trivial algorithm to determine when you have finished going round a corner.

The other option is to let the rider decide.

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Top VW exec blames car pollution cheatware scandal on 'a couple of software engineers'

Dr. Mouse
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Re: I say we take him at face value...

That should terrify anyone running anything built by VW. If popular press was sharp on ISO 26262 and common software development and project management techniques, this would become the bigger and more damaging story. The half-hearted attempt to throw employees under the bus is as good as saying they have no idea what is going on in their safety critical systems. All of them. Globally. Hopefully someone will think to pull on this thread and see how far it can go.

Exactly!

I used to work for a company which build semiconductors, some of which were automotive grade. Even for such minor components (think in the range from diodes and transistors to switching regulators, but nothing more complex) the complexities of meeting the ISO requirements were high. Everything, from design to testing code to test result storage, needed to be controlled and audited.

If VW are saying any part of their ECU software could have arbitrary code injected by a rogue employee, they are admitting they have no idea what code is in the ECU. How do we know that terrorists haven't infiltrated the company and programmed all the cars' throttles to open wide at a particular time? This would be a very effective terrorist plot, causing vast destruction world wide (think of how many VW diesels are on the motorway at any time!)...

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Dr. Mouse
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I can readily believe that it was the actions of a few rogue employees. I've seen it happen.

Really?! A significant innovation comes through, and no managers whatsoever know either who came up with the idea, nor sought details in order to patent it?!

Yes, rogue engineers of all kinds sometimes slip something under the radar. But this wasn't slipping a back door in or a fudge to work around or hide an issue they couldn't fix, this was a blatant cheat which produced a clear competitive advantage over their rivals. If it had happened and noone in management had known, the engineers (or their dept, or their manager, or his manager etc.) would have had praise heaped on them for saving the company so much money and/or giving them such an edge over their competitors. They would also have immediately asked for the details so that they could patent it before their competitors could copy it.

There is simply no way that knowledge of this could not extend at least a fair way up the management hierarchy. At the very least, there would have been a point where a manager asked about it and was told "it's better that you don't know...".

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Oracle ZFS appliance sales hit $1 billion

Dr. Mouse
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“the world’s fastest-growing cloud"

Obligatory XKCD

https://xkcd.com/1102/

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Tiny Robot Smartphone: Invasion Earth 2016 – prepare to be facially recognised humans

Dr. Mouse
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Impractical as a phone...

but I want one!

It looks like a great toy, especially if it's programmable (as a robot).

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Join Uber in a tale of rent seeking and employment law

Dr. Mouse
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Re: One network?

Uber is effectively the employment agent, arranging contact between a contractor and their customer in return for a commission, says I. In that regard then, no different to any other middleman situation.

This is how I read it, too.

Many who do contracting in the UK work through employment agencies. The agent finds you a contract, and often provides several other services (collecting the money on your behalf, negotiating contracts etc.). They take a commission for doing so.

This is exactly what Uber do. They advertise your services, find you a customer, pass that customer on to you, and collect the money for you. They are providing a set of services to you, in return for payment.

I guess it depends on exactly how the contracts are formed. If the contract is legally between the customer and driver, with the driver having a separate contract for services with Uber, then Uber are effectively an agency. If the contract is between the customer and Uber (which I expect most customers would assume), then they could easily be classed as employees. This will be the point which will likely be played out in the courts.

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Silicon Valley now 'illegal' in Europe: Why Schrems vs Facebook is such a biggie

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Perhaps anything, but probably not

Anyone who thinks the average punter in the EU either knows or cares about this issue is insane.

You are right. But it is not the average punter who will hurt big American corporations in general.

Take our company. We use a US-based hosted ERP/CRM system, and a US based Email service. We are now, overnight, technically breaching DPA. Unless something happens quickly, we may have to change the services we use. We are a small/mid sized business, and our custom will loose these 2 several hundred grand a year. Multiply that up through the number of similar businesses in the UK alone, it will start to hit the bottom line. Add in the rest of Europe, and larger businesses, government departments, etc and it will hurt.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Let me count the ways...

First up, of course emails are not private - that's laid down in the spec.

This much is true. However, emails will likely have personal information in them: Email address, of course, but name, phone number, address, company name, job title etc.

It has been established that the email is to be read by the intended recipient only. If you forward that email on to someone else, especially if the person has put in the email that it is confidential (remember not many users realise that it's trivial to intercept), you could be breaking data protection laws.

What's more, it would be absurd to argue that the recipient is the one sending data to Google - that is, obviously, what the sender has done. Again, that's by definition.

On a completely technical level, yes. However, on a human level they sent that information to you. You then contracted Google (or whoever) to receive and store that data on your behalf. They probably won't even know it's Google: a business would be using their own domain etc. The email is addressed to you, not to Google, so the sender is sending it to you.

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Rise of der Maschinen: Daimler trials ROBOT LORRY in Germany

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Wrong!

@moiety

I will agree on the fact that there are many "unofficial" signals used on the road. My point was merely that relying on a driver, especially in another country, using those signals is dangerous. If I see someone flashing me out of a junction, or flashing to let me out/in on a motorway, I make sure there is some other cue that I have correctly understood: Changes of speed or direction, looking (if possible) at the driver's face, road positioning etc.

I have seen the lorry "flash to let you know that you are clear" signal for pulling in or out. I can see it's benefits. But if a car was flying up the lane next to you and flashed at you, without slowing down or giving any other information, it would be rather silly to assume they were letting you in/out.

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Dr. Mouse
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Re: Wrong!

The bulb is working at least half of the time

Love it!

My motorcycle instructor, however, at one point threatened to hook the indicators up to electrodes attached to my nether region to remind me to cancel them... I don't have that issue any more, but it took a long time for me to get used to them not auto-cancelling like in a car.

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Dr. Mouse
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Wrong!

Also -as it's Germany- here's some advice from the rest of Europe: In most of Europe; when a lorry is indicating to come out and overtake; a driver behind flashing their lights means "It's safe mate, come on out"; whereas a German driver flashing means (apparently) "Fuck off peasant, I'm coming through".

While it is common practice to "flash someone out" of a junction, it should NEVER be relied upon by ANYONE. Do you remember your highway code?

Rule 110

Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.

[https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/general-rules-techniques-and-advice-for-all-drivers-and-riders-103-to-158]

You should always make sure that other indications are there (road positioning, change of speed, etc.) before deciding that the flash is inviting you to pull out. They could be flashing at another road user, or have caught the control by mistake, or be flashing to warn you that you have just edged forward but they are coming through. In the same way, you should never assume that an indicator being on is saying "I will be turning here". They could be intending to take the next and be indicating too soon, or intending to pull over just after the junction. Again, it could be a mistake, too, leaving it on and it not auto-cancelling, or just caught by accident.

It is up to you to judge what is happening, and signals cannot be relied upon. If that car had hit you, it would be 100% your fault.

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Safe Harbour ruled INVALID: Facebook 'n' pals' data slurp at risk

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Monolithic global companies

Monolithic global companies ... Simply can't deal with multiple sets of legislation

Actually, I think you'll find it comes down to the American government can't respect the rules and laws of foreign countries.

Facebook has probably* been complying as much as it is able to, but if the US govt says "hand over this data", they have no choice but to comply. This makes it incompatible with EU data protection laws.

* OK, prbably to the minimum extent allowable, pushing the boundaries as far as they think they can get away with, but still probably technically in compliance except for demands from the US govt.

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Search engine can find the VPN that NUCLEAR PLANT boss DIDN'T KNOW was there - report

Dr. Mouse
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"lack of executive-level awareness"

Is this not a fundamental global law? Executives are unaware of anything but the bottom line.

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So, what's happening with LOHAN? Sweet FAA, that's what

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Denmark?

What about moving the launch from New Mexico to (Old) Mexico?

Everything's legal in Mehico. It's the American way!

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OnePlus 2: Disappointing Second Album syndrome strikes again

Dr. Mouse
Silver badge

I agree that there are issues, but I'm happy with mine.

I don't find the battery life bad (I get about a day and a half to two days on a charge). I would have liked fast charge but it's not a deal breaker for me (I've never had it). And, right now, NFC has little use in the UK. I have only every used it to mess around (reading my passport and using a few stick-on tags).

However, once Android Pay launches in the UK, I may regret it. I hadn't heard about the lack of NFC before I bought it, and it may have affected my decision. I don't quite understand why they omitted it just as the tech is about to become useful...

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NOxious Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal: Chief falls on sword

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Not all need to be recalled.

and the price would be set JUST before the scandal broke

Unfortunately I doubt this would happen.

I have a friend who bought a house in a little area surrounded by farmers fields. Planning permission went in, and was granted, for a warehouse to be built, basically around the house. The company building the warehouse have now offered to buy the house, but at the current market rate. This is over £100k less than it was before they got planning permission, and will leave them significantly out of pocket.

If they do offer to buy back the cars, it will likely be at the current market value, significantly reduced from the value pre-scandal.

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11 MILLION VW cars used Dieselgate cheatware – what the clutch, Volkswagen?

Dr. Mouse
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Re: "Wide Open Throttle"

One other thing: diesel fuel is taxed less than it should be in comparison to petrol. If the tax reflected the energy content of the fuels, then modern petrol-engined cars would look better value even to long-distance motorists.

I think you'll find the tax per MJ is not too different.

ULS diesel & petrol are both taxed at 58p/l. For petrol, this gives about 1.7p/MJ, and diesel approx 1.5p/MJ. To increase diesel to petrol levels would be approx 7.5p/l increase to diesel tax.

While this is a fair increase (12% in tax, or about 7% in the total current cost of fuel), for long distance running most would get a much larger increase in fuel efficiency over a petrol engine. They would still be paying much less per mile than the equivalent petrol car.

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CHEAT! Volkswagen chief 'deeply sorry' over diesel emission test dodge

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Hmm...

If I drive making 'effective progress' I get a pretty reasonable (for the performance) high 40s / low 50s mpg. However, if I really back off on the throttle (keeping the same sort of top speeds, but really accelerating slowly and coasting to decelerate) it jumps straight to low or even mid 60s.

I experienced very different behaviour in my Bora 1.9TDi (130PS). If I drove how I normally had on my standard route to work, I got around 55mpg (it was mostly motorway). I tried the method you suggest, and got a tiny improvement, pretty much negligible.

I then really got down to it. The end result was using full throttle acceleration, up to 2.5-3k RPM, except on my main acceleration up to motorway speeds where I pushed the revs further (better for the turbo, as long as the engine was hot by then). As soon as I got to my cruising speed, I went into pulse & glide in 6th (where safe to do so).

My results were: at 80mph cruise, I maintained the 55mpg I had been getting at 70 before. At 70mph, I got ITRO 60mpg. At 60mph, I never got less than 65mpg, often reaching 70.

I clocked the time difference, too: Less than 5mins for my journey, next to nothing. I was also much more relaxed when I reached my destination. As soon as I realised, my journeys stuck to 60mph, with occasional overtaking blasts up to 70 (so as not to be inconsiderate), with P&G where safe to do so in a range of approx +/-3mph.

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You want the poor to have more money? Well, doh! Splash the cash

Dr. Mouse
Silver badge

Re: Need to tax fun

Let the time of each be valued equally - sufficient for life, and let all contribute.

Interesting. However, if you value everyone's time equally, there is little incentive for a person to better themselves.

Let us take 2 people. A is highly intelligent, B is near the bottom end of the intelligence scale. A could be a scientists, or a mathematician, or an engineer. B can only do "menial" work, labouring or stacking shelves. In our system, A would go to university and get a good, well paid job. B would work for a supermarket. They would both do their best, to achieve the best wages and/or quality of life they possibly can.

Now, move to a world where all time is valued equally. While going to university, getting a good education and getting a good job can be their own rewards, they often come with a great deal of stress. As all jobs are valued equally, what is to stop A from taking a job which does not tax him? He could work as a low-end office worker, pushing papers. Boring, yes, but easy and stress free. He can coast through life, getting paid exactly the same as someone of the same intelligence who chooses to work hard. He is also depriving the world of his contribution. Meanwhile, B is in the same position as before, albeit with possibly a little more pay.

So, to make this fair, we would need to grade people on their abilities, and pay them in relation to the "effort" they put in, and how close to their maximum potential they are working. But how would one objectively measure this?

So, as you can see, this is not a simple system to administer fairly. It would be easier to administer it fairly than the current system, but is more likely to create an unfair system where effort is not rewarded.

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BOFH: Press 1. Press 2. Press whatever you damn well LIKE

Dr. Mouse
Silver badge

Brilliant, as per usual!

Instead of the most effective solution – jumping off the balcony...

Amen to that! As for the rest in that block, be glad you don't work here. Every time I suggest to the boss that we get standardised, supported kit, I get told it's too expensive. We now support 4 different OS's on around 10 makes of machine across several sites, all with different specs, drivers etc. We have no installation media, no idea which machine is which, and to top it all off he wants to get rid of the one AD DC we have (serving only one site, the rest using local accounts because having servers there is "a waste of money").

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Burn ALL the COAL, OIL – NO danger of SEA LEVEL rise this century from Antarctic ice melt

Dr. Mouse
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Re: Someone tell the government then

You might want to think about that when you see hauliers agitating for higher road masses.

BUT, if we increase the taxes on haulage, the cost of all our goods increases.

Of course, this neglects the simple fact that more freight should be carried by train, which is a much more efficient and effective method of transportation. This would require huge investment, though, both in the infrastructure and in new warehouses closer to railways, as the rail infrastructure has been run into the ground already, and warehouses are currently located for easy road access, not rail.

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