1225 posts • joined 22 May 2007
Re: Using a QR code image...
Yes, the idea (as I understand it) is that a QR code is displayed at the till. This will probably be some kind of UID representing the individual transaction.
The app will scan this QR, connect to the service over the internet, and authorise the retailer to pull money from their account for that transaction.
I have to agree that I would worry about fraud. The bank won't take responsibility, as you have authorised CurrentC to take money from your bank account. Just as with Paypal, you would have to take the matter up with CurrentC and/or the retailer if a fraudulent transaction were to take place.
Re: Add to the list
Just had a look at that. It seems like exactly what I want, except for one thing: You have to provide your online banking login details to it!
Sorry, but whatever they say about security bla bla bla, that's not happening. Nobody gets access to any of my login details for anything. Not only that, but handing my details over to them would give the bank a get-out on any fraud. It's a breach of T&Cs.
To be honest, I have thought for a long time that banks need to get a standardised reporting interface together. I believe they have one in Germany, and it can even be used to make bill payments etc.
Re: Never ever trusted TOR enough to use it
The advantages of TOR come when you only use TOR. As soon as they exit onto the real internet, you are vulnerable.
The "multiple anonymous men-in-the-middle" shouldn't be able to see your traffic, as it is all encrypted until it reaches it's endpoint. If the endpoint is an exit node, you loose that protection as soon as you exit. If the endpoint is a TOR node, your data can only be seen by it's intended recipient.
Very well said!
If successive governments around the world had not systematically destroyed any trust we had in them, this would be a fantastic system. But I do not trust that they will not misuse, abuse, or "loose" this data, and my medical history is one of the most private, intimate datasets I have.
Bad, but could be good
I will say from the off, I think this is a bad move for consumers. Apple will have complete control over which network you can use their device on. You can't just pop in a SIM you picked up from the news agents. You can choose from Apple's list of partner networks, i.e. networks which agree to pay Apple.
On the other hand, I believe soft SIMs could be good, if and only if they are operated in a fair and independent manner. They would reduce wastage and allow quicker switching. To do this, I believe they would need to be administered by either an independent party, or under a regulated world-wide standard.
I doubt it will happen any time soon.
Resistance is futile!
"all personal income be taxed at the same rate whether it is earned income, inheritance, dividend income, capital gains or whatever"
I will clarify: I am not advocating a flat rate income tax. I would suggest our current income tax structure is about right.
I would also, personally, not argue for inheritance to be taxed as income. Anything passed on when you die should already have been taxed when you earned it, and I feel it is quite unfair to tax it again when you die. Passing on property, however, should be counted the same as selling it, so capital gains would apply against the estate, based on a valuation at the time of death, and capital gains would count as income to those receiving the inheritance.
I honestly think that the solution to this is abandoning corporation tax. I know this will be unpopular, but hear me out.
Forget corp tax. Forget calculations of profit. Any money made by a company is untaxed as long as it remains in the company. If it is re-invested, or even held as cash, it is untouched.
As soon as it comes out of the company, the individual is taxed. This would be full income tax on everything: Wages, dividends, interest etc. While we are at it, roll up NI into income tax. It is, in effect, one and the same, a tax on income. It is much simpler to administer, too, and it encourages investment. The money will be taxed, eventually, when it leaves the company.
This would also help clamp down on those who set up a company, take minimum wage and then the rest as deividends. Those dividends get added to their income and taxed at normal rates.
Instead of a high corporate tax (25% or 30%) on profit, have a low (5%?) corporate tax based on income.
What you are suggesting is VAT.
"You must pay X% of your UK business income to the UK government." - seems pretty simple to me. I'm sure there are side-issues and corner cases but quite what's difficult about legislating that with enough clarifications to make what you mean by "UK business income" explicit?
The definition of "UK business income" is the problem.
The company does pay X% on the UK companies profits (business income). The problem is that companies can, through various legal means, shift those profits around. International companies can shop around for the best deals. In fact, it is pretty much a legal requirement for PLCs to do so, as they have a legal obligation to maximise shareholder value.
It is not even as though we can just "close the loopholes". All (or at least almost all) the "loopholes" are actually sane, logical rules. Let's take one of the widely used ones: shifting profits by licensing IP. The companies Irish arm holds a load of patents, trademarks etc. They charge the UK arm a license fee for using them. This "loophole" can't be closed (easily). If company A licenses IP from company B, that is a valid business cost and company A can't be expected to pay tax on it. Seeing as a multinational's UK & IE arms would be separate legal entities, the rules can't easily distinguish between this case and the case of two entirely separate companies.
The tax system is complex, but it is complex for a reason.
Actually, while there were PDAs around then, that did seem innovative to me (at the time). I don't have the time (or inclinations) to check if there was anything similar around then, but I had never seen anything like it: Touch screen, with "handwriting recognition". It looked awesome!
So I will change my opinion, they have produced one innovation.
All this might be true, but once upon a time Apple was famous for designing and building innovative stuff which created whole new industries and redefined and reinvigorated old ones.
This is no dig at Apple*, but they have never designed and built entirely new and innovative stuff. They have made a success out of better versions of things which already exist, making them easier to use and/or marketing them better. They did so incredibly well, and used this talent to bring new technology to the masses, but it has always existed before they got in on the act. A non-tech person probably sees them as innovative, because they never saw the tech before Apple released it, but it still existed, in a form not too dissimilar from what Apple released.
* I don't like Apple or Apple's products, but I cannot deny their skills in making things easier to use and "cooler". As a tech junkie I have been using "smartphones" since long before Apple came on the scene, but I was always ridiculed for the choice before the iPhone came along. Their impact has been to package and market new technology in such a way that everyone wants it, even if they don't want Apple's version.
If they are in critical embedded systems, they
won't shouldn't have Windows Updates automatically installed (at least not directly from MS). They should be thoroughly tested before being applied. If not, they have noone to blame but themselves.
Although IMHO a critical embedded system should not have Windows installed full stop.
Re: So Wrong
This is changing a setting in the device. It's not making the device blow up or wiping your hard drive. Stop being babies.
As so many have pointed out, to the average user it amounts to the same thing. All they are going to see is that their device suddenly stops working.
I can see why FTDI are clamping down. The drivers they supply are supposed to be for development use only. If their chips are to be distributed in a product, they should be getting their own IDs, assigning them to the chip, and paying for a licensed copy of the drivers with the correct IDs. This is even for original FTDI chips.
However, I feel they have gone the wrong way on this. They could have implemented this using a softer approach. For example, they could allocate one of their IDs as "Fake FTDI-compatible device", allowed the device to be used, but made it irritating (e.g. adding unreliable long term operation, frequent windows error log events, etc). This would not brick a consumer device, but would ensure the user knows they are using a fake. Possibly make the driver go into a "time limitted demo" mode. They could also ask the user to report the device, with possible discounts on equivalent originals if they do.
They way they have gone about this is, essentially, destruction of property (from the average user's point of view).
Re: Are you a slave?
harder and longer
Re: Peak Processor?
You can add to that gold and many other metals.
Although you could always just use the universal label: http://xkcd.com/1123/
Re: Intel threat?
It is a crack between the tables
Depends. Between tables and their existing market could be between the desktop machine and tables, which is quite a small space.
It could be between the under-desk tower unit and tables, which would often leave enough room for another computer entirely.
Or it could be between server and table. In our server room, we could fit 6-7 machines just on the floor between the rack and our table, so that would be a good market to target.
There are many possible approaches to the system init process. SysV init is certainly not the best solution. It has many advantages, including how simple it is (I have written many init scripts for my own use), but it is quite messy, and pretty slow.
I have used upstart a bit. This seems just as messy, not as simple, but the parallelisation does speed things up a fair whack. This is very welcome on a desktop machine.
I haven't used systemd yet, so I won't comment.
However, when it comes to a server, I want tried and tested solutions which are simple to administer. I don't care if it takes longer to boot up, because it will rarely be shut down. My home Debian server, running on desktop-class hardware, has been running continuously for nearly a year, and was only shut down then for a hardware upgrade. Business servers get shut down only when absolutely necessary. A change from 1min to 30s to boot up makes no difference in most server environments.
What Debian need to do is preserve the choice. Allow people to use systemd if they want, but leave SysV init available too. I know this is a more complicated way to do it, but systemd is not suitable for everyone, especially a lot of their core users.
Re: Good budget tablet
My wife and I have the Tegra Note 7.
Brilliant bit of kit. OK, not much is "the best", but it does everything I need well. The stylus is really useful, the front speakers do a much better job than most for music, and it cost ITRO £130.
Re: None have expandable memory
So true! That really bugs me too!
Especially when non-tech publications will say it has 16GB memory in one section (meaning storage), then 1GB memory in another (meaning RAM).
Re: @AC I suspect Google will fail
I remember a game we played in business studies:
We divided into teams. Every team made widgets, costing £x to build. We could sell for anywhere up to £y, and could build up to a maximum number.
The teacher had a set number she had to buy, and would buy the cheapest first. The way the numbers worked, she would have to buy at least one from every team. The objective was to make the most profit.
When we started, we all tried lots of different tactics, trying to judge what everyone else was doing to get the price and quantity right. It turned out the best thing to do was to charge the maximum and make very few. The customer would normally have to buy them all, and would always buy at least one, which was enough to cover production costs.
The idea of the game was to teach about profit. It doesn't matter how many you sell, what your top line was, profit was what you needed.
Re: Jaguars are astonishingly awful in the snow
Jaguars are essentially undrivable when it snows
I have a friend who drives a Mazda MX5. He now refers to it as the MazdaSledge(tm), after one particularly snowy period. He said more than once that he needed to start driving it in reverse, because that was the direction it always wanted to be facing.
Re: This isn't the Droid(tm) you're looking for
IIRC trademarks apply in a particular area. The Lucas trademark on Droid will be unlikely to cover this app.
Also, as there are many apps already out there using droid, he's obviously not actively defending it in this area.
So I reckon devs can just tell Lucas "These are not the droids you are looking for".
Re: So the FBI's position is that it is legal for governments to hack US servers?
IANAL, but as I understand it the logic is:
The constitutional protections don't extend to the foreign nation. The protections are from the US govt. So, for example, a US agency would be violating the constitution if they forced someone to incriminate themselves, even if that person was in a country with no such protection.
While the synapse-like behaviour is an exciting prospect, I just want to see Memristors in storage/memory products.
They promise so much, but look like fairy dust. They have been promised as the answer to all our problems for so long.
Why would anyone want to spend time on something like this?
To quote George Mallory, "Because it's there".
Sometimes, the challenge is the most important reason.
It also minds me of my bosses attitude: "No time spent coding is wasted time". Of course he will be pissed off if we delay a project because something we did hasn't worked out, but we will have learned something in doing so.
Re: Live tiles on the desktop?
So why not place them where users actually reside and do their work, instead of on one or more special menus that have to be specially invoked and opened or switched to?
I, personally, see the Start Menu far more often than I see the desktop. The desktop is covered by all my applications (the things where I, and most users, actually "do my work"). The start menu comes out when I need to launch something new. The desktop, on the other hand, is visible for a few moments when I first turn my PC on.
However, I do agree that having the option is a good idea. I just don't see how that is good in the enterprise, where people are actually doing work.
Great stuff, thanks all who posted the Win-L/R, that works great! :-D
I find half-screen docks incredibly useful
I have to say that I do too. I used to do the same by minimising all but 2 windows and doing "tile windows".
The only annoying thing in Windows 7 comes with multiple monitors. You can't seem* to dock a windows to the edge of a monitor which has another monitor next to it.
* At least I haven't found a way.
Re: Do the quotes have limits?
Can you, for example, quote a whole book?
According to the article:
the extent of the quotation is no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used
I guess you could say "I am using the quotation to get around copyright law, so I need to quote the entire work", but I doubt that would stand up in court...
Re: Can The Register get a comment from Bono about all this?
To quote Bono('s character on South Park):
"Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!"
The European Parliament proposals would therefore have rendered the UK Internet Watch Foundation's voluntary scheme unworkable.
I have to say... Good!
While I obviously don't agree with child porn being freely available on the internet, the IWF volutary system is a bad system. It relies on a bunch of unaccountable people effectively breaking the law (by downloading/possessing/viewing CP) to build a list which ISPs must "voluntarily" block in full. They cannot correct mistakes themselves. These busy bodies also are not legal authorities, so can (and have) banned legal images, which then affect legitimate sites who have very little recourse.
So, if the IWF is stopped, we should get an accountable, legal framework to do this properly.
Of course, this could end up being even worse, but at least it would be accountable.
Re: Tim's hopes for solar and wind are doomed
Hard to get the virgins these days, Squire.
I beg to differ. Just go to a comic book convention.
Oh, you meant female virgins.
Re: Hydrogen is bad
[Hydrogen] has very low in energy density (MJ/kg)
Actually, not true. Hydrogen has a pretty damn high energy density, approx 140MJ/kg. To compare, petrol is 46MJ/kg, so H2 is over 3 times as energy dense.
Where H2 is less impressive is in volumetric energy density. At best, it rates as approx 8.5MJ/l (in liquid form). Again, compare this to petrol, which is around 34MJ/l.
Re: Clean energy NOW
I'm not saying H2 is not dangerous, just that all combustible fuels are dangerous yet we use them anyway.
I met someone from South Africa a decade or so ago. He was absolutely astounded (when he first arrived) that we pipe natural gas into our homes.
A lot of it comes down to what we are used to. If we were given a container full of H2, we would treat it very gingerly. However, we are happy to have simple plastic containers full of petrol chucked in the boot of our cars. I even ride a motorcycle at motorway speeds with 4+ gallons of the stuff nestled against my nads. We have large quantities of natural gas pumped into our houses constantly, without batting an eyelid.
If cars had never been invented, and someone came along now with the idea of a metal box weighing over a tonne, powered by a highly flamable liquid, capable of 100mph+, spewing noxious gasses out of the back, it would not be allowed.
Why? Surelyit is easier to have your website open a window direct to your payment processor?
It also looks rather horrible.
This is not for a garden shed business, but a reasonably large beauty products distributor. We need to look professional.
A payment tokenisation system looks, to the average punter, as if they are sending all details straight to us. Instead, the form sends the details up to the payment processor and retrieves a token for us to charge.
Granted it is more complicated, but it looks a hell of a lot better than "OK, we have your order, now someone needs to take your money on our behalf because we can't be trusted with it".
WRT PCI DSS, tokenisation doesn't exclude you from it, it just reduces your scope, as you aren't storing any card data.
We are currently implementing this on our new website. It's a great way to handle card payments: Sensitive info never touches our servers, it all goes straight to the card processor who gives us a token to use.
Personally, I could see this being moved even further away, right to the customer. Rather than them providing their card details, they generate a one-time code. This is then given to the online merchant, and they can process that one payment (and/or store it for future use, depending on the data used to generate the code). Unfortunately, this would require a standardisation on the tech involved in multifactor authentication, which banks seem unable or unwilling to do.
What's the worst that could happen, someone can't make a call for 10mins
That depends entirely on what the phone call is.
If it's some ****head taking loudly to his mates, fine.
If there is an emergency (e.g. the bus has crashed on a remote road), that 10 mins could be the difference between injury and death for someone.
Personally, I would say you are being just as much of a **** as those using their phone. You are imposing your own wishes on everyone else. What about those who want to have a text conversation with someone with their phone on silent? That would have no impact on you, but you are stopping them from doing so.
Some people just think their own wishes are more important than anyone else's. What society needs is more understanding and consideration from everyone. Your attitude is that 2 wrongs make a right.
Re: Most people realise
"That accounts for 100% of the cases of dropping a phone in a toilet that I'm aware of"
I've heard of a few where it dropped out of a front pocket, but the funniest was a friend who had one of the Nokia phones with a waterproof case (can't remember the model, but the case split in half between screen and keypad). He found it easier to text with the case removed. You can see where this is going: texting while sat on the loo, case removed, slip, plop.
As for the iPhone issue, many people do keep their phone in their back pocket. If that's what they are used to, and it has never damaged their phone before, they are going to be peeved if they find their brand new,
overpriced expensive device has bent under what they take to be normal use.
Re: "keyboard doubles as a capacitive multitouch trackpad"
"getting good at swype, not sure I really want to go back to double-thumb-punching"
With the touchpad layer, I could see swype-style functionality being added. This would have the advantage that you could feel the keys as you swipe over them, and could be incredible.
Re: Niche Market
Database servers and large data analysis systems, too.
Oh, and I'd shove one in my desktop if I could.
Come to think of it, if I could get lower capacity (and cheaper) ones, they'd be great for embedded machines. A single DIMM instead of a HDD/SSD (with all the additional cabling etc) would be great.
The more I think of them, the more uses I can see. I'm pretty sure they will be the future (storage on DIMMS, not necessarily using flash).
Now I may be wrong here, but everything I have read on this contradicts what you have said.
They may or may not have a cache attached, like any SSD, but AFAIK the storage is flash. I do not believe it is physically possible for them to fit 200+GB of DRAM on a DIMM, or we would have seen them before. Also, the speeds quoted (for a single module) are in the region of SSDs (SATA SSDs around 550MB/s, these modules 1GB/s), which is WAY lower than RAM.
What makes them so fast is a mixture of fast flash (as is used on PCIe flash cards) and lack of interface bandwidth bottleneck. They also have a much lower latency due to inherent properties of the memory bus.
Re: Copyright and reformatting: not an easy thing to "rule" on.
Buy a 'cheap' A4 sized print of a local artist's work; then scan and up-sample to A1 rather than paying for the large print in the first place. Is this fair?
I would say yes. You do not get the same detail in the smaller piece, and no up-scaling will bring back that detail. You may get a reasonable copy by doing so, but you will never have an A1 print, you will have an A4 print enlarged to A1.
While I understand that certain measures need to be respected, personally I believe that if I own something in one format, I am morally (not legally in the UK, I believe) entitled to convert it to another format for my own use. So, if I buy a DVD, I will not think twice about ripping it, or downloading a copy "illegally". Books are no different in pure terms, although I have never sat there and scanned an entire book (as it is not worth the time and effort, to me). I have, however, downloaded electronic copies of books I already own from less reputable sites. Morally, I see nothing wrong with this: I bought it, I just want it in a different format.
I, personally, don't believe they should allow licensing terms which prohibit this, and I think it should be legal. If I bought a VHS copy of a film many years ago, why should I be forced to pay again for exactly the same content as an electronic copy? Same with eBooks: I have a large number of books, but now want to store them on my tablet or ereader. Why should I have to pay again (normally a higher price, even though there is no physical media)?
At the very least, I believe that you should be able to send a book back to the publisher and be granted an electronic copy (if not free of charge, at least for a very low fee). At least then they know you don't have a second copy, you have just format shifted the first.
The law needs to catch up with technology.
Re: 129 per cent
Pebble - technical people only.
You get the Pebble, install the app on your phone, pair them, and then use your phone to install apps on it. I really don't see how that is for "technical people only".
Re: 129 per cent
A tradesman who doesn't have to reach into his pocket to see who is calling or texting has already improved his productivity.
I actually agree with this, but have one thing to say in rebuttal: Pebble.
My brother bought a Pebble, and liked it so much he bought the Steel straight after. He likes watches, and has a large collection, but the Pebble is now his daily use watch. It does everything he needs it to, costs a lot less than most smart watches, and the battery lasts days. Alerts pop up for calls, texts, emails etc.
I borrowed his standard Pebble with a view to buying it. I had been thinking about buying one ever since it came out. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of watches. They irritate me. I thought the extra functionality of the Pebble would sway me, but it doesn't. I got fed up with it after 3 days.
I love the idea of getting my notifications through without fishing my phone out of my pocket, but a watch isn't the way to go, for me. A pocket watch, though...
To be hones, I, too, was shocked at the price, considering it includes the
Idiot Apple Tax.
That said, I would guess* you need an iPhone for it to be any use, so you are already paying over the odds for that. That makes it a marketing tool to sell more iPhones than an actual product itself.
* That is a guess, I haven't seen anything to the contrary so it's a valid assumption, but correct me if I'm wrong.
Well done that man! I'd happily buy him a pint in thanks!
I wish more of this was done. A true white vs black cyber war would be awesome!
I could see low-cost, write-rarely flash taking over from disk as an archive medium if it was developed.
Currently, flash is being developed to give high access speeds, high density etc. If a mfr decided to, I could see "slow flash" being produced at much lower costs. Possibly more bits per cell, much slower reads with error correction, and probably a full wipe to modify data. The controller wouldn't necessarily need as many channels, it could access a string of flash ICs over a single channel, addressing one at a time.
It would take a manufacturer who wanted to do this, though.
While I, personally, like the "Correct Horse Battery Staple" method from xkcd (with my own modifications), I have had my own, similar, method for a while, which works around some limitations (like stupid sites which insist your password can be no longer than 10 characters, alpha-numeric only).
Firstly, come up with a phrase with 8-10 words (easy to remember), then use the initials of those words, along with some easy-to-remember substitutions.
"The Register is good for amusing IT news" becomes (without revealing some of my unique rules): "TRig4aITn". I haven't analysed it, but I believe it makes reasonably strong passwords, which are very easy to remember.
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