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* Posts by alain williams

561 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers

alain williams
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Re: America

What makes you think that other governments are really any different ?

BTW: I assume that you are talking about the USA, America is a continent.

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You use Office 365, SQL Server or Azure, right? Great, you're invited to Microsoft's data insights

alain williams
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Will they cover their NSA links ?

Ie how long it takes them to forward a copy of all your documents and spreadsheets to the NSA for analysis ? This is not just about personal data but also loss of commercial secrets to the USA.

If someone goes: please ask the questions and let us know what they say.

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It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer

alain williams
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What is the purpose of checking another site ?

The recommendations appear to be to change passwords but not bother until the site(s) have patched the problem. As a result I have changed many passwords in the last few days, I have often used one of these vulnerability checkers to see if the site was no longer vulnerable (or maybe never was).

The intention is to protect my security, not to try to break in somewhere. Also scanning implies testing many machines, usually at random - I have done targetted testing of sites where I have accounts.

So, PC Plod: if I have done wrong email me via el-Reg and come to arrest me. My conscience is clear.

Disclaimer: I did not read the relevant acts before writing this.

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Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit

alain williams
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Banks sue for *their* loss ...

But how many banks have been sued for the devastation that they caused to the rest of us ?

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Homeopathic remedies contaminated with REAL medicine get recalled

alain williams
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Homeopathy works ...

simply because your body will cure itself of many illnesses given a bit of time anyway. The other thing that a homeopathic practitioner will do is to spend much more than the NHS 10 minute GP appointment with the patient, a bit of sympathy goes a long way to making people feel better.

OK: not really homeopathy working, but probably explains why some people think that it does.

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

alain williams
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Read the T&Cs of the web site

Most people do not bother, partly because they are often long/hard-to-understand and partly because unlike a normal contract they are non negotiable - and most often because they are lazy/will-not-take-the-time.

Maybe people will slowly start to understand that they are agreeing to things, even if they can't be bothered to find out what.

What is needed are a set of standard agreements that have been approved by trading standards or similar ... they could have attached schedules to deal with thing like delivery times.

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You TWITS! Facebook exec erects billboards shaming texting drivers

alain williams
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He is just annoyed that they are texting ...

and not updating their facebook page.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

alain williams
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Re: This is why I don't have a sunroof in my car!

Why are you afraid that the spooks will see that your head is bald ?

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Show more CANADIAN-MADE PORN, insists Canadian government

alain williams
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Radio as well ?

Maybe they ought to schedule a reading of ''Eskimo Nell''

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Bill Gates is BACK... as CHIEF RICH human of PLANET EARTH

alain williams
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Toilets

Well, as long as Bill keeps pushing some of his loot down 3rd world toilets & similar - it is better spent than on what some of the other rich boys do with theirs.

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UK.gov back-office battle may see British Justice offshored

alain williams
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Can't we do it ourselves ?

Some time ago David Cameron made a good analogy of us having overspent on the country's credit card and having to live within our means. Since the UK does have the skills and companies to provide the services that are talked of being off-shored; a good analogy would be of a plumber getting in another plumber to fix his bathroom tap as the other plumber has a B&Q discount card & so can buy the washer more cheaply - the job still ends up costing the householder plumber more.

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Two in five Brits cough up for CryptoLocker ransomware's demands

alain williams
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Backups

Is it really that hard ?

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Q&A: Schneier on trust, NSA spying and the end of US internet hegemony

alain williams
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Re: "Encrypted them in a way he could not decrypt them"

If he encrypted them using someone else's public key, then that someone else could decrypt them but he could not.

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What's up with that WhatsApp $19bn price tag? Answer: Voice calls

alain williams
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Who really bought WhatsApp

So what you are really saying is that Facebook bought WhatsApp because the NSA could not be seen to be buying it themselves ? Ie Facebook is acting as a NSA proxy/agent ?

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Nokia launches Euro ANDROID invasion, quips: 'Microsoft knew what they were buying'

alain williams
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Nokia by itself maybe ...

but with the smell of Microsoft (including an NSA fragrance), the answer has to be 'no'. A shame, since I liked the Nokias that I had.

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London calling: Date set for launch of capital's very own domain name

alain williams
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domain name explosion

We have a nice tree type heirarchical domain name system with only a few roots: .com, .org, .uk, ... this is now going to be turned into a bramble bush with roots all over the place. The only people who win out are the domain registrars as companies run to grab their name in multiple places. Everyone else gets confused.

Fail.

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A Year of Code timeline: History of a HYPEGASM

alain williams
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Message to Rory Cellan-Jones

I think that the Year of code is a good idea in principle, but:

* why only one year ? It is a skill that will be needed by all kids from now on, forever.

* 'exclusive' ? Eh ? I see the main value of the year of code as giving people a clue as to how computers work; lift them up from the level of icon button pushers. This should make them more effective users since they will have some clue as to the limitations and strengths of computers. I don't expect many of them will want to become programmers. This insight is similar to the reason why history and geography are taught in school - education on matters that are important so that we understand our place in the world.

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Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

alain williams
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Re: WTF!

I was told that one large UK Gov't department has several values for gender: male, female, male was female, female was male & I think 'unknown' & a couple more where people had decided to revert to their original gender.

None of this is about preference of sexual partner - and is (or should be) of no interest in a corporate database.

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GPs slam NHS England for poor publicity of data grab plan

alain williams
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I did not get a leaflet

I always look through the rubbish that comes through the letter box - just in case.

I had heard about this (here or on slashdot & friends emailed me) so I wrote to my GP, to be asked to fill in a form that contained the same information that I had given them in my letter. I had previously written to my GP to opt out of a similar scheme in 2010.

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'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

alain williams
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Lottie Dexter should be sacked

Would they appoint as head of the English Tourist Board someone who had never been to the country or even seen a map ? Of course not. However: the numpties who appointed her are so clueless that they could not understand that having some understanding and insight is necessary.

Pathetic!

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CERN outlines plan for new 100km circumference supercollider

alain williams
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Re: How much?

Well, just slice something off government departments that do not really benefit mankind:

World wide military spending $1.7tn

NSA estimated $10.8 billion

USA armed forces 2011 $664.84 billion

GCHQ, MI5 & MI6 £1.9bn

Note that the above are annual budgets, a new collider would only be paid for once.

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Hands up if you have one good reason to port enterprise apps to ARM

alain williams
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Re: Hand is up

If your application only works on machines of a particular endian - it is broken, full stop, no excuses.

It is not hard to make applications work on machines of different: endian or word lengths.

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Vodafone's Euro revenues slump by nearly TEN PER CENT

alain williams
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So - no tax payment then ?

Their accountants can probably use this to magic away any profit at all.

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IBM nearly HALVES its effective tax rate in 2013 - report

alain williams
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If the big companies need to do it ...

to be able to turn a profit, what hope us small, non multinational, businesses that don't have the ability (or desire) to evade tax by shuffling money around the world?

Politicians from different countries need to get together and agree ways of stopping this sort of thing, even if it does hurt donations^Wbribes for research^Wfavours.

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Apple and Samsung STILL in bitchfight over banning ancient mobes

alain williams
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I wish ...

these companies would compete by producing the best products rather than hitting each other with lawyers over trivia.

The real message is to small competitors: don't mess with us, we can afford more legal firepower than you can.

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Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'

alain williams
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Re: Says it all really

Yesterday Iain Standen phoned me back after I called to complain about the fracas. He told me that the tours had been standardised and that 90 minutes was too long for visitors.

I said that visitors should be given the choice.

He seemed to know of the discussion on El Reg; I said that he should contact them to give his side of the story.

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Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

alain williams
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Phone them, tell them what you think

I just did (01908 640404), I had been asked to organise an outing there - but it will prob not happen, there now seems to be little point.

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The internet is 'a gift from God' says Pope Francis

alain williams
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Re: Pope in believing in God shocker

and I always thought that it was Al Gore who invented the Internet!

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alain williams
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Manipulating others

He must be referring to the church itself, after all it is an expert organisation at convincing people that its mythology is true -- in the fact of facts and lack of evidence.

The violent agression is what they threaten will happen to you in a supposed after life if you don't do what they say.

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And the winner of the most reliable disk drive award is ...

alain williams
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Buy from different batches

All disk fail sooner or later. I always mirror disks in machines, so my main concern is if the 2 disks fail close together in time. That is why I try to install disks that are likely to not have the same lifetimes, so preferably made by different manufacturers or at least different batch numbers.

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IBM's Watson-as-a-cloud: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's another mainframe

alain williams
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IBM should ask Watson itself

If it is as good as it is cracked up to be it will be able to tell its keepers how best to use it to earn $10bn per year :-)

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Campaign to kick NSA man from crypto standards group fails

alain williams
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Better to have him where you can see him

Remove him and the NSA will just put someone else into the standards group, but this time it won't be known who he is. Keep Kevin Igoe and at least we know to treat all his suggestions with a shovelfull of salt.

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Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

alain williams
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Spend the money on script writers

rather than on shoving more pixels at me.

Give me plot over special effects every time.

This seems like just an excuse to pursuade people to buy a new TV that they don't really need.

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Google and Apple in DRAG RACE: It's fanboi Mercs VS fandroid Audis

alain williams
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Tie in ?

As long as I don't need a particular sort of phone depending on what sort of car I have. That would be a nightmare!

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ICO to focus only on 'serious, repeat' data-protection offenders

alain williams
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Should we send them an Xmas prezzie ?

A truck load of nice, soft pillows - since they are now trying to do even less than they do now.

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Speaking in Tech: The Snowden Effect... Why 2014 will be the year of PRIVATE cloud

alain williams
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Re: It's sad

Try shooting those who he exposed as doing wrong -- not the messenger.

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NSA spies should clean up their act, says Prez Obama-picked panel

alain williams
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The real report ...

starts with 2 recommendations:

1) Don't get caught again

2) Make sure that we catch whistle blowers in time

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How the UK's national memory lives in a ROBOT in Kew

alain williams
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Backup copies ?

I hope that all of those many TB of data are mirrored in a couple of protected data centers a looong way away from London. Then nightly rsync to keep them up to date. Probably not very expensive considering what these copies are protecting.

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alain williams
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Re: Lots of dead trees

given how hardware and software changes over the years, it seems to me the only real way to make sure all this stuff is archived for future generations is to print it.

That is why the UK government should madate the use of a properly specified document format such as .odt (Open Document Format). The use of proprietary or poorly documented formats such as that various changing Microsoft .doc/.docx should be outlawed (they are not properly documented in spite of Microsoft committing fraud by buying enough ISO voting countries to be awarded is ISO number).

The same should be applied to other storage mechanisms, eg: CAD & GIS - proprietary formats abound and the major vendors frequently change them so that users constantly need to buy new versions to be able to read what people send them.

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EU legal eagle Legal: Data protection reforms 'very bad outcome' for citizens

alain williams
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A one-stop-shop will be a bad thing ...

for lawyers, there will be less demand for their over-priced and under-delivered services if people can do it themselves.

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'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

alain williams
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If they allow copyright on APIs ...

then they should also make the following sorts of things proprietary and charge people a fee for building compatible parts: anything that uses a nut/bolt type thread; anything that uses an AAA battery; anything that uses a 3 pin plug; readers of books published in a new font; ...

The EU courts wisely say that APIs cannot be copyrighted. Hopefully the USA judges will take note.

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Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year

alain williams
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Brilliant appropriate technology

I hope that they do well.

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Australian political games could see full TPPA treaty revealed

alain williams
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How far in advance ?

2 minutes ? Or something equally slim to avoid changes before it becomes law.

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US Supreme Court says 'no sale' to Amazon's New York sales tax appeal

alain williams
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Back taxes ?

So will Amazon have to pay back taxes ? They might claim that they should not because they did not collect them from the consumer in the first place - but the tax man could deem that 10% (or whatever) of what was paid WAS sales tax so please hand it over (correction: they would not use the word 'please').

That might be an interesting tussle.

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Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

alain williams
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Re: Charger

Good: I have too many old chargers from all sorts of things. The lack of a charger will save the environment and a few pounds. This is exactly why the EU mandated that all 'phones have the same USB connection.

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REVEALED: How YOU PAY extra for iPHONES - even if you DON'T HAVE ONE

alain williams
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Message to mobile operators

Just don't sign the Apple contracts. Apple need you more than you need them.

When a new iphone comes out put a message on your web site saying: we cannot sell you an iphone as we refuse to agree to Apple's outrageous demands.

If the meme catches on with several mobile carriers, they will not lose out to their competition and Apple will have some incensive to behave properly.

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Boffins baffled after Sun fails to fry satellites

alain williams
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The sun growing up ?

Maybe the sun has finally stopped being a teenager and all these disfiguring spots will be a thing of the past.

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HP redundancies all about getting 'cheaper, lower skilled' bods

alain williams
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Oh no - more monkeys!

Good for sorting out problems where they can be given a simple procedure to follow. Hopeless when there is something unusual.

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Whovians, your Doctor needs you: Take back the Day from One Direction

alain williams
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How much is El Reg being paid to push Who ?

OK: I do like the show but it is just a bit of fun ... will readers of this site make a significant change to viewing figures ?

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PUNISHMENT gluttons: The Dr Who monsters that come back for more

alain williams
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Ood as foes ?

The Ood are more victims of other various baddies. If they have acted against the Dr it is because they were compelled to.

The title is wrong, rather than 'foes' put 'species' or 'characters' or something.

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