* Posts by Mad Mike

1169 posts • joined 30 May 2007

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Hurrah! Windfarms produce whopping ONE PER CENT of EU energy

Mad Mike
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Re: Battery cars are impractical

@AC

"Really? Is there somewhere I can read about it or is it hush hush?"

It's not hush hush at all and is well known in the industry. The following link talks about one such initiative, which involves working out who should get the available electricity and how to charge as many cars as possible to the greatest extent possible.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/524866/the-coming-problem-with-electric-cars-how-to-charge-them-all/

However, you will also note they don't think it will necessarily work, as it requires people to have predictable journeys. Might be OK for some, but not for many. This also talks mostly about power supply rather than distribution, but the same sorts of ideas are being used for distribution. Accept you can't charge all the cars fully, so you try and determine what each car needs for the next days driving.

You choose you use Economy 7 heating as a comparitive load, but fail to realise that most local loops never allowed for widespread installtion of Economy 7!! If every house on a local loop had Economy 7 installed, you would get the same problem!! Economy 7 was a relative fad for a while and was generally installed across estates, where the local loop was beefed up to allow for it, but this was a very small amount of the housing stock, so doesn't apply to most houses/flats.

I agree that where Economy 7 was allowed for in the original local loop, then provided you don't want to use a fast charger, you should be OK. However, this isn't a typical local loop install.

I suggest you do some searching on google and there are plenty of articles dealing with this sort of problem. This is especially true of some areas of London where there is no ability to get more power into whole areas, let alone streets or individual houses. Big business in London is beginning to feel this.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Why's this a story?

@Alan Brown.

"Yes. For 6-8 hours out of 24."

That's why you build them around the country. Provided you do this, electricity can be produced 24hrs a day.

"The projected environmental impact of tidal schemes is unbelievable AND any tidal schemes in the south+west of the UK will be destroyed away when the next tsunami hits (based on historical data one is due about now, either from the large fault off Portugual or one of the Canary Islands volcanoes slumping.)"

This has largely been disproven now. The BBC 'documentary' on the Canary Island volcano has been dismissed and debunked as scaremongering by many experts in the field. The idea that half the volcano could fall into the sea in one quick and continuous slideis non-existant.

Obviously an earthquake could cause a problem, but the impact would be relatively low and the tsunami relatively small. Also, significant earthquakes are not exactly common in areas that would affect the UK. Portugal would barely be noticed in the UK.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Battery cars are impractical

"Where do you get this idea? I'm interested.

It's not the number of cars that matters, it's their accumulated energy demand from the Grid that matters."

You are correct in that it is the accumulated energy demand. But, it is much greater than you think. The local grid problem is well known within the industry and there have been various companies trying to provide solutions, but nothing that I'm aware of at the moment. One answer is local generation, but at the moment, this isn't really practical and tends to be more available when you're least likely to be charging the car.

What you need to think of is the number of houses (and therefore second cars) on a local loop, which in most cases will comprise of three phases. This loop needs to be sized to take the maximum possible draw from the cars at any point in time. Although it varies from place to place,in many areas, this is way beyond the capacity of the loop. Then, you also need to consider the next stage up. The local substation has to be supplied with enough energy for all its loops. Again,this would in many cases involve substantial upgrades.

Due to the costs involved, cables are normally not that oversized and so the margin from current peak load isn't that great. Bear in mind what the current maximum load from a typical house is. Not a lot compared to the charging requirements of a car.

On top of this you have to consider some other cases, such as flats, where the number of cars is much greater and the current maximum load is much smaller. Everyone in the industry knows that widespread adoption of electric cars at the moment (even as second cars) would cause all sorts of major issues.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Why's this a story?

@Alan Brown.

"Regarding tidal: Even if every single scheme was built tomorrow, there isn't enough of it to supply more than a few percent of current electricity demands, let alone what happens when heating and transportation become more-electric."

Tidal is not the total solution, as nothing is. However, tidal could contribute more than a few percent, but that requires that people allow them to be built where sensible. The biggest of the Severn proposals could produce 15GW!! That's not far short of half our demand (in the 30s). Yes, the Severn is the biggest, but the western islands have huge potential as well. We could generate a really signficant amount, but it would require the greens to allow them to be built and it's them causing a lot of the grief in this area at the moment.

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Mad Mike
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@PatientOne

"I'm going to disagree. you can't keep turning to other sources to prop up an unreliable one. Rather, you need to store the power from unreliable sources and use that to support reliable sources. It's not as efficient, but it turns unreliable power geneation into one that is more reliable and available on demand."

I agree that if you can store the energy produced when the wind is blowing and use it to cover the dead times, it would help a lot. But, what is that storage? Nothing really exists at the moment and nothing is likely in the future. Building hydrostorage is a good solution, but suffers from all the planning nightmares of nuclear power. It is pretty costly and the greens complain about the damage it causes to the environment, so get in the way of the planning process.

You can't have your cake and eat it. Maybe if we want to stop CO2, you have to take a hit somewhere else. Nothing is free or perfect. But, the greens don't understand this and get in the way of anything not seen as perfect.

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Mad Mike
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@honkhonk34.

Hydrogen cells aren't batteries. They generate electricity from hydrogen, giving out water. They're pretty advanced now. The bigger issue is storing the hydrogen in big enough quantities, although they're getting there. Either hydrogen cells of direct burning of the hydrogen is possible, as both are equally clean (broadly). However, the hydrogen cell is more efficient and has the advange than any electrically driven car could loose much of the power train and become much more reliable and simpler.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Battery cars are impractical

@AC

"Do some numbers and you'll find that for the 2nd car in an N-car household, which only ever does the school run, the supermarket run and such like they're eminently practical. Not so practical if you're a Yodel/Uber driver or a techy road warrior. Somewhere in between is a dividing line which moves as battery technology improves."

2nd car for a family could be practical, but the maths still eludes. You need to charge all the cars in a street, almost certainly overnight. Local power grids are simply not designed to supply that much power, certainly in the UK anyway. Unless you're ready to rewire every city, town and village in the land, anything more than a token number of electric cars in a street will either result in an overload of the local grid, or severe restrictions on when you can recharge them. Either way, not really practical.

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Mad Mike
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@JamesHughes1.

The most obvious 'other source' is hydrogen, hence why I mentioned it. You can refill a car very quickly (basically the same as petrol or diesel) and then carry on, unlike waiting hours to recharge.

750k is a niche market in terms of automobile. There are always some uses, but you need something that can replace the umpteen tens of millions of cars rather than a handful. Milk deliveries were a great example where battery power was possible as range only had to be small. However, that is not true of the mainstream, where range and refueling is a big issue, hence it being stuck as a niche.

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Mad Mike
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@TheOtherHobbes.

"Elon Musk is betting the farm on electric travel being the future, and if he had to go brain to brain against Lewis Page in an IQ battle, I know who I'd be betting on."

Just because he did something good once, doesn't make him Einstein. Unless you've met both people and spoken with them, the above comment is really silly.

In the end, fossil fuels will run out and cars will have to run on electricity. However, that doesn't mean that batteries are the answer, which is pretty much all the main manufacturers are looking at. Some are looking at hydrogen, but not many. Batteries as a means to store power on a large scale or for things like cars are really stupid. Battery cars will never make it mainstream as they are simply impractical. Electric cars which use another power source, which is converted to electricity; now that's another story.

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Mad Mike
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@TheOtherHobbes.

Spot the man who doesn't work in the 'industry'. Essentially wind farms are allowed to produce as much as possible whenever possible and often other power sources (such as gas power stations) are turned off to allow this. In some cases, wind farms have to be stopped as oversupply is too great. Strangely, they get paid to turn their turbines off!!

However, even if it only happens once a year, you have to have backup capacity for them in the event of a lull. Look at the wind generation over the last few cold snaps in the UK and you'll see this. Doesn't matter if it happens once or a hundred times.....you still need it. And that's the problem. If you look at the stats, you'll also see that the power produced is really quite variable and the band is quite large.

Everything is stacked towards making wind farms look good, but the important thing is ability to reliabily produce electricity when it is required and due to the variability of the wind, wind farms will always have a problem there. One solution to the issue, which national grid are looking it and implementing, is to pay large users to shutdown during periods of low wind and therefore low generaiton. However, they normally want a pretty big 'bonus' for doing this, so economically, it's really stupid. It is done in gas mind, to cover for periods of low gas reserves and high consumption.

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Mad Mike
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Re: And what does the past tell you?

We're an island with some very good areas for tidal power. Might not work for other countries, but for the UK, tidal power is a real possibility for a lot of electricity. Unless someone thinks the moon is about to disappear or something.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Why's this a story?

"this wind farm will produce enough power for 10,000 homes" with the key word electrical power 'accidentally' omitted.

It should also say 'assuming the wind is blowing'. On a good day, it might power 10,000 homes electrical requirements, but good days are not that common and the rest of the the time, they rely on good old fashioned power generation.

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Mad Mike
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The problem is, wind energy is not reliable. Neither is solar, although there's always some unlike wind. Any source that cannot produce electricity on demand and reliably needs another source of generation to back it up. This is the major problem with these technologies. Gas power stations are the normal source of backup, but that effectively means you have to install generation twice. And one, the backup, is only used very occasionally making them uneconomic.

In the UK, when we get a period of really cold weather, it is normally associated with a lull in the wind. Think back to the last few times and think how much wind was blowing. Just when the weather is coldest and we need power the most, wind power is generating close to nothing. When we need it less, it's generating like a good 'un. But, that's no good. It's really lucky that in the UK we still predominantly use gas for heating, as otherwise the number of people dying through cold would be much larger.

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Happy NukeDay to you! 70 years in the shadow of the bomb post-Trinity

Mad Mike
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Re: Bombing Japan

@Ac

'never before human beings had used such destruction force against their own kind'

Not sure this is really true. Dresden resulted in 25,000 deaths, mostly non-combatants. Once you get above a certain number, it doesn't really matter. 25k, 50k, 75k.........does it really make a difference to the rights and wrongs?

I think the particular issue with the Japanese, which made them an 'easier' target, was their behaviour during the war. The brutal treatment of POWs and civilians alike. Experimentation on them etc.etc. I'm sure the allies had difficulty thinking of the Japanese as people when this was known, hence making it easier to conceive of this sort of attack.

Blockading the islands would have been a lot easier said that done, especially with all the forces scattered around the area outside of Japan. They would probably have come to Japans aid as much as possible and with people willing to commit suicide during the actions, losses to the allies in imposing a blockage would have been very high. Not as bad as invading, but very high all the same.

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Microsoft to Windows 10 consumers: You'll get updates LIKE IT or NOT

Mad Mike
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Re: THE SKY IS FALLING!

@Captain Underpants.

"(Mad Mike, are you going to claim that letting ill-informed users who have no idea of what an update is run their Typhoid Mary boxes with unfettered internet access is a good idea? Or are you at least sane enough to accept that anything which makes it less likely a given machine will get co-opted into a botnet is a good idea? Can't have it both ways no matter how hard you try)"

This will not suddenly stop the botnets etc. out there on the internet. It may reduce the numbers some, but they will still exist. Anybody who connects to the internet should assume it is hostile and protect themselves appropriately. Forcing OTHERS to accept every update all the time should not change YOUR position on this, so the former makes no real difference to you. If MS manage to put out one c**p update, they could do more damage than all the botnets in history have ever done!!

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Mad Mike
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@x7

<Sarcasm>

Oh no. I'm sure Microsoft are really gutted at the thought:-)

They seem to be having a good go at polishing a turd. Even if it is a turd, if you can pull in extra revenue with it, so much the better and that gives a little shine to it. Unfortunately, the fact it's a turd will eventually push people onto other things.

<End-sarcasm>

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Mad Mike
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Re: Here we go

I've dealt with quite a lot of companies that are very specific on the exact updates you can and cannot install on systems which house their software. Otherwise, you're out of support. Not being able to prevent the installation of updates is quite simply, a non-starter for any serious company. Hence, allowing choice in Enterprise Edition (although companies could be running other versions as well).

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Mad Mike
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Re: THE SKY IS FALLING!

@Dogged @Captain Underpants.

One of the most important parts of keeping your computer operative and working well is to control the application of updates (whether to Windows itself or other apps as well). This is for several reasons. Firstly, updates being applied at the wrong time can reduce the performance of your computer substantially. Secondly, they often start popping up windows or 'encouraging' you to reboot at inopprtune moments. Thirdly, one of the greatest causes of instability is known to be updates, especially when the updates work on some computers, but not others, based on hardware etc., which they often get wrong. Lastly, for the retail market, they are largely dealing with a relatively ill informed user base, which means any mistakes can be very difficult to deal with and fix without paying for expert help (I'm sure Microsoft will offer paid support etc. ;-))

The fact they are offering businesses (effectively due to the version) the opportunity to turn it off, clearly shows they know it's going to be a nightmare. Also, because businesses like to test updates before allowing them onto their estate. Why should home users not be able to do the same?

It is patently obvious this will lead to a complete disaster within a relatively small period of time, where an update will go out that knackers a signficant portion of the user base and the impact will be greater as it is installed without the user even knowing (their computer may get problems without them even being aware an update has been applied!!).

To anyone intelligent, this is a stupid move and will without doubt lead to all sorts of problems in the future. Microsoft are continuing with their drive of recent years to commit slow suicide by making stupid decisions.

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Smart Meter biz case still there, insists tragically optimistic UK govt

Mad Mike
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Re: No mention of the Health risks!

"A bit like good old Economy 7 does now?"

Very true. The only difference is the granularity. Smart meters could 'offer' 30 minutes segments, although why you'd want to do that, I don't know. There are essentially three primary usage periods during any 24hour period, although smaller fluctuations do happen within them.

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Mad Mike
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@AC.

I think you're missing the point. They're only worried about costs they need to concern themselves with. You earning a living is your problem, not theirs. Anyway. According to all the blurb, you don't have to have one, so refuse.

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Mad Mike
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Re: No mention of the Health risks!

"Theres many a webpage and video dedicated to the possible radiation health risks assosiated with the devices fitted in the likes of the US so Im staying well away from them."

To be fair, a lot of these websites are by crackpots. If you look at the radiation out by a smart meter, you certainly wouldn't have a wireless router/access point in your house or a mobile phone.

"Oh and if specuation is true these devices will eventually enable muli tarrif prices i.e. high rates during peak times."

They COULD do this. In theory, you could change the price every half-hour of the day, but it would have to be known in advance. This could be used to steer usage and achieve a flatter demand profile. However, this requires rather a lot of social engineering as most loads are not movable.

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Mad Mike
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Re: I had a smart meter fitted last week

But you don't need a smart meter to do this. Fit a clamp and display and you can get all this for a few quid. Nothing like the money required for smart metering. Lots of them can even work out the pounds as well as giving an energy figure.

Without being rude to your wife, how difficult is it to realise that energy costs money, therefore if you want to save money use less? Don't turn heating on, wear more clothes. Don't leave lights on when not required. etc.etc. It's hardly rocket science and a meter/display is hardly required.

The government could massively reduce the cost by simply sending every customer two pieces of equipment. The first would be a clamp and display. The second would be a plug through energy meter so you can measure individual appliances (you could turn them on and off and watch the clamp meter mind). Total cost maybe £50 max for each household. A hell of a lot cheaper than the £13-19b they're predicting for smart metering.

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Smart meters set to cost Blighty as much as replacing Trident

Mad Mike
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By all accounts, Tony Blair is making a pretty penny these days, so we should take all his earnings into the future. Add people like Ed Daveys to the mix as well......

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Mad Mike
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Re: The one possible benefit for energy companies...

@AC.

Ah, but you've missed the point. Even with only one car per house, used for commuting (generally at least one is), you simply couldn't charge them all. Now, any 2nd cars would simply be additional load. True, you could possibly charge them during the day to spread the load, but this puts the charging into peak generation times. Part of the supposed reasoning for electric cars is that they charge overnight on essentially (they claim) spare electricity....oversupply. So, start charging during the day and you break the economic model very badly.

Whilst there are undoubtedly some niche cases for electric cars, there simply won't be enough market and trying to charge them in the general community will cause all sorts of structural issues. It simply isn't a starter. We need to accept that cars with batteries (which is different to electric cars) are non-starters and start looking at things like hydrogen cars, which can be refilled quickly.

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Mad Mike
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Re: The one possible benefit for energy companies...

@AC.

The biggest issue with the electric car (other than the usual range etc.etc.), is that it isn't really a discretionary load, as people need it to get to work etc. Also, imagine your wife is pregnant and waiting to give birth. Do you really want to use the car, reduce its charge and potentially not have it ready at the pertinent point? The whole notion of a car you can't recharge/refill in 5 minutes is a nonsense, unless you go to communal pools, which doesn't see likely.

Also, if you look at the average street and assume everyone has at least one electric car. Plug them all in overnight to charge (most likely pattern) and the local infrastructure will melt. It simply isn't built to carry that much load. What works as a one-off, doesn't always work when scaled to societies needs and that's what matters. Local generation could help, but nothing currently available is either available at the right time (solar doesn't work too well overnight), or generates so little it doesn't really matter.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Cost Benefit Analysis?

@kmac499.

And how much cost is saved by heating your tank in this manner and how many times a year does it happen? Then, divide your couple of hundred quid by that and see what the ROI is. It'll be in years and then some. Storing power (effectively what you're doing) in houses is simply not viable at the moment and getting a few free tanks of hot water will takes years (probably decades) to pay back an outlay of several hundred quid.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Cost Benefit Analysis?

@Tom 7.

You've bought all the hype from the Labour government. In reality, whilst this may be feasible, it isn't going to happen. And heating a few tanks of water in some houses is a really poor way to store energy. Much better to do so on an industrial scale in the grid, such as pumped hydro etc.

In any event, the government has already thought of this eventuality and sorted it out by paying generators to turn off wind turbines when there is an excess.

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Crowdfunded beg-a-thon to bail out Greece raises 0.003% of target

Mad Mike
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Re: Ignorance of the issue

I don't think he's saying Greece doesn't have something to do with it. He's simply highlighting what happens when you try and join economies that are vastly different, belonging to cultures that are vastly different with very different outlooks on life.

The Med culture is vastly different to the culture of more northern Europe, something that France suffers from a little as well. The Greeks always thought it was a great idea as it gave them access to almost unlimited loans at very low rates (compared to previous years), which they took up with abandon. Allowed them to keep completely unsustainable practices in place, such as retiring at a stupid age. Britain did this to some extent and that is also coming back to bite us now.

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Downing Street secretly deletes emails to avoid exposure to FOIeurs

Mad Mike
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Against the law

Companies and other organisations are legally required to keep everything (correspondence, emails, contracts etc.etc.) for as long as they could be used in a court case. If they fail to provide the information (documents, whatever) on demand, the judge or jury is allowed to take whatever view of their failure they wish to. So, if the judge/jury decides it is deliberate evasion, they are allowed to assume the document would be prejudicial to the failing parties case and find accordingly. So, if they do delete something, they need to have a very plausible and good case for having done so. Simply saying 'not enough space' or 'too hard' is not good enough.

This is what often causes the 7 year retention issue, although court cases can be brought beyond 7 years under some circumstances.

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'Oracle, why are your sales f-' CLOUD CLOUD CLOUD, blasts Larry

Mad Mike
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Happy days.

This article put a big smile on my face and that highlights Oracles problems. Customers hate them!! Nobody is too big to fail as has been shown many times over the years. Look at what's happened (happening) to IBM who abused a position of almost total domination for years. Oracle are following a well trodden path for those too big for their boots.

I'd really like to think of Larry Ellison, Mark Hurd and others in cardboard boxes at the end of the street. Unfortunately, it won't happen, but the idea of tossing them a copper or two whilst they sell the Big Issue with their dogs always brings a smile to my face.

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Don't panic. Stupid smart meters are still 50 YEARS away

Mad Mike
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Re: ??

"A smart meter data describes in detail your usage pattern so it is a perfect tool to deduce are you at home, are you doing what you usually do and report it to anyone who can get a RIPA request for it."

To a degree, but not as much as you think. It supplies half-hourly meter readings (not a continuous graph etc.) once a day. Now, you can deduce some things from this, but not as much as a continuous graph. Indeed, this is one of the major shortcomings of the project. A continuous graph sent in near realtime would actually be very useful for the networks companies, but this is absolutely not what is being implemented.

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Mad Mike
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Re: ??

@Ledswinger.

"This is very well understood by the energy companies."

I beg to differ. The energy companies want to use this to supply more 'products' and 'offerings' to everyone. Look at all the extra products now available via your energy company... More products equals more profits.....hopefully.

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Mad Mike
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Re: ??

@adnim.

"but, due to the redundancy of meter readers/data input staff and their support infrastructure, the energy suppliers will make tremendous savings and even larger profits."

Let's see what really happens. Wouldn't surprise me if we see no drop (or significant drop) in staff numbers. In the meantime, during deployment, staff numbers will increase dramatically. Did you know the comms hubs (bit that does the communications and talks to DCC and meters) is actually battery powered? They're trying to make the batteries last longer, but aren't doing very well at the moment to my knowledge. So, there'll be jobs there running around replacing batteries all the time!!

Also, a lot of the technology is really a bit dubious (IHDs for instance) and I suspect an awful lot of technical support jobs will be created to fix all the faults.

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Mad Mike
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Re: ??

"Energy companies don't get any subsidy for this."

I sort of agree and sort of don't. I agree in as much as it isn't a direct subsidy per se. However, agreeing to allow them to add it to the bill (and the regulator looks the other way) is effectively the government giving a subsidy. It just goes direct from the customer to the supplier, rather than from customer to government (in some form of tax) and then to the supply company.

The whole justification for this is complete nonsense. The benefits will never be realised and it will dramatically increase the amount of sales bumf coming through our doors. Additionally, the supply companies are busy creating new websites etc. to try and make some use of the new information, costing even more!!

When will the government and supply companies realise the average consumer simply wants to pay the minimum possible for each unit of power (whether electricity or gas) and preferably never speak to their supply company, let alone have a 'conversation' with them. If you want to reduce your power usage, all the required information can be provided for a few pounds from your local DIY store. Insulate as much as possible, buy efficient appliances (they're all labelled now), switch things off when not in use and buy yourself a plug through meter (for appliances) or a whole house monitor (such as Owl) for a few quid if you want to know what's using what.

It certainly isn't rocket science, but £11billion (yeah right!! much higher now) would certainly pay for a lot of rocket science..................

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Has marketing grabbed the IT reins at your company?

Mad Mike
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Management quality

With the quality, self-obsessed ego and rampant 'the only thing that matter is me' of the average middle to senior management team, the people setting the company agenda are normally the salesmen from suppliers. They offer to fix all the woes (which the managers then buy and blame everyone else when it doesn't) and you often see a lot of the managers end up working for them!! The Bribery Act needs a massive update as buying lots of stuff from a supplier and then going to work for them is just as much bribery (probably) as accepting a steak for lunch etc. which seems to be the focus at the moment. It really amazes me that I'm banned from accepting so much as a free lunch from a supplier, yet the senior management regularly go out and have slap up meals at very expensive restaurants with exactly the same companies.

Guess only us mere plebs at the bottom are open to bribery....................the managers are far more honest...........yeah right.

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Paper driving licence death day: DVLA website is still TITSUP

Mad Mike
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Re: Gross stupidity and idiocy

@Anonymous Blowhard.

Hindsight is always 20:20. True. But, you hardly needed hindsight to see this one coming. Yes, the heavy load earlier on was probably just people trying it etc., but that was entirely predictable and therefore more resources should have been made available for this entirely predictable spike. It's called basic project management and common sense. Something that is entirely missing from anything connected to the government and many other IT shops.

The limited life code is entirely stupid. People need to be able to hire cars whenever and wherever they like. Assuming universal internet access is silly, as this simply isn't true. People do need to hire cars in the back of beyond as well as at their villa in Tuscany (probably the only place senior people at the DVLA ever hire cars). The information needed by the hire car company isn't onerous and isn't really that private either. As I said before, a lot of it is available in court records and newspapers and is therefore already public knowledge. So, the whole 'security' basis for this is somewhat misleading anyway.

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Mad Mike
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Good planning

If the work is planned correctly, you should be able to avoid 'big bangs' and therefore mitigate a lot of the risk. Having to do huge changes all in one go, is a sign of a badly planned project.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Are they supposed to get a new code every few days?

"Do you want a non-expiring code that can be kept by (or leaked from) the car hire company or its employees, and be (mis)used to check up on your driver record at some undetermined later date?"

Do, what I want is some sanity. What information does the hire car company want? Basically, endorsements. So, why do we even need codes? Many endorsements are a matter of public record anyway, as looking in any local paper will tell you.......court reports etc. Speeding fines etc. might be fixed penalty.

The only information the hire car company needs to obtain is your endorsements (not DOB or anything like that), so why not simply let them look this information up from driver numbers? OK, anybody else who obtains my driver number might be able to look up my couple of speeding offences or whatever, but so what? If they're really that interested, I'm sure the DVLA call centre would happily discuss my entire driving record with a little social engineering...........

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Mad Mike
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Gross stupidity and idiocy

You really couldn't make it. Been reading and listening (radio etc.) about how this new 'service' will work and once again, it appears to be for the benefit of the government pseudo-department (DVLA) rather than their customers. The process itself appears to have been designed by a half-wit. The idea that the code (for the rental company) only lasts for 72hours and then you have to logon and apply for another is so patently stupid, it defies belief. Even an idiot wouldn't have implemented this.

On top of the stupid process, we now know that DVLA can't even keep the website up!! They cite heavy load......well, there's a surprise. First day heavy load.....who would have thought. Is it really necessary for all managers at these places to be half-wits? All of this was entirely predictable and could easily have been catered for.

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Dutch efforts to decapitate Pirate Bay could end up before ECJ

Mad Mike
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Re: Devils Advocate...

I think this probably depends on which country your in. In the UK, it is still civil, but I suspect it's become criminal in some countries as they keep trying to make it criminal. But, yes, aiding and abetting is only for criminal acts.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Devils Advocate...

As a followup, eBay should really be shutdown as if you're looking for either cheap knockoff goods or stolen goods, people know that's a pretty good place to go!! Its got a bit of a name for itself!!

It's simply a marketplace and as such, a lot of criminal activity takes place across it. Therefore, by the same rules, shouldn't it be shut?

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Mad Mike
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Re: Interesting Whichever Way the Verdict Goes

@Velv.

So, all TPB needed to do was create a load of links to non-infringing stuff (who cares what, not the point) and suddenly they become like Google or YouTube.

Flying close to the law is not an offence.

I also suspect (with as much certainty as you) that more than 1% (by a mile) of YouTube content is infringing. Do a search on various titles to do with StarWars. There's normally background music playing from the franchise. Do you reckon they've all got in touch with Lucas and got the right to add that music to their films? Have they paid the royalties etc.? I doubt it very much.

Perform the above on every film of the last 30 years and I'm sure you'll find a large proportion of YouTube content is infringing in some way or another.

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Mad Mike
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Re: THE PIRATE BAY I LIKE SEX

@Trigonoceps occipitalis

Indeed so. As I said in an earlier post, politicians and business people need to sit down, think about it and come up with a sensible answer that actually acknowledges the reality of enforcement. They also need to consider all the crimes carried out by those complaining (e.g. Sony) and prosecute them and stop the cartels, profiteering, anti-competitive and sharp practice carried out by these companies. Then, maybe people would feel a bit better towards them, would pay a reasonable amount for the goods and be able to have reasonable enjoyment of them.

All these companies want to have their cake and eat it and have the money to effectively (in some cases literally) buy politicians.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Easy Peasy...

@John.

Are the vast majority of torrents infringing copyright? Certainly, people seem to believe so, but I've never seen any evidence to the effect. Linux distros (for instance) use torrents widely, as does distribution of anything large. Yes, without doubt, infringing content is a fair bit, but so what? Are you say indexing anything which is used for a significant amount of unlawful use should be stopped? If so, we'd better stop Google in its tracks as the internet is widely used for criminal activity and more to the point, they know it. Indeed, Google indexes this criminal activity very widely, including torrents!!

The only possible difference is that Google could argue it's accidental, whereas with TPB, it could be argued to be the point for their existence. But, as I said, this is easy to fix. Just get TPB to index ALL torrents, illegal and legal, and then their profile is the same as Google......

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Mad Mike
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Re: Devils Advocate...

Afraid you'll never get anywhere with this. British and American security services already have their own internal list to obtain these services.

This all comes under aiding and abetting. However, it's much harder than people think to even define this in the digital world.

The above would be a fairly simple and obvious case if that's all the website did. However, make the website somewhere where people can advertise 'services', which might include legal as well as illegal and the situation becomes somewhat more difficult. You might get a name for being a good place to go for these sorts of things, but it's no longer ALL you do, so quite easy to get around the law.

If the above weren't true, Google would be in severe trouble. After all, they index and advertise (through search) all manner of illegal activities, including the above, drugs, copyright infringement etc.etc. They are also just as aware that its going on. So, what's the difference. Why should a service advertising portal (even if its known for this sort of thing) be shutdown or prosecuted, but Google not? They're both fully aware that their services are being used for illegal acts.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Interesting Whichever Way the Verdict Goes

Ah, but you've missed that YouTube is a big American company and therefore immune to all laws.

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Mad Mike
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Re: bear in mind not all torrents are copyright infringements

@JimmyPage.

Don't take my comment as support for piracy.

I think there are lots of reasons why people pirate, some better than others and the content providers are themselves the cause of a lot of it by their restrictive anti-competitive practices, clear monopolies and unfair business practices.

My post was about the ability to implement a law that would clearly allow those pirating to be prosecuted, whilst protecting the innocent. I was highlighting that it is pretty much impossible, which has been found out and is why decisions go on who the defendant is rather than their acts and the law. Hence, big American companies generally get away with things that individuals or smaller, non-American companies get prosecuted for. A good example would be Sony DRM and putting a virus (I'll call it that) onto peoples computers without their permission. That breached many laws (quite clearly), but nobody at Sony got prosecuted for such a widespread and wholesale hack.

Piracy is like drug enforcement. We've been trying to implement drug controls for years and have completely failed. Drug use is easily as rife now as before and probably worse. So, at some point, you have to look again, realise you're trying to enforce the impossible and change tack. Politicians and company owners/executives are, however, not good at this. It involves a leap they are simply not capable of making. This is the issue.

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Mad Mike
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Re: Easy Peasy...

This is where the fun starts.

If you interpret laws absolutely, it tends to be more black and white, but it makes drafting them very difficult. A law that is interpreted absolutely tends to be easier to get round.

If you interpret laws by intent, you get into all sorts of issues as well. Who knows what the intent was? After all, only those who drafted the laws and each person involved might have had different intents. Also, you have the courts now having to try and determine the intent of the person in the dock, which is, of course, impossible. Only the person being tried actually 'knows' their intent.

So, both absolute and intent based are open to all sorts of issues.

The problem that also comes into play is different rulings for different entities.

Googles INTENT is to index web content. This is the same intent as Pirate Bay. Google does index torrents, as well as other stuff. Does that mean that if Pirate Bay also indexed non-torrent (and bear in mind not all torrents are copyright infringements) content, they would actually be doing the same? You could argue Google is worse as it probably does a better job of indexing more copyright infringing material than Pirate Bay does!! On the other hand, it also indexes a lot more non-infringing.

Doesn't matter how you look at it, it's one rule for some and another rule for others!!

If you're a company (especially American), big and rich, you can basically do anything you like!!

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NSA dragnet domestic phone records slurp halted after key spying powers lapse

Mad Mike
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Re: But the bit they didn't mention

How does it take 12-18 months? You simply pull the cable and stop the data flow!!

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Mad Mike
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Really? I doubt it.

Given the complete contempt the NSA has shown for the law in the past, does anybody really believe it will be shut down?

It'll just carry on, but they'll deny it and threaten anybody who tries to expose it.

This is probably not worth worrying about now anyway. The horse has bolted. People should really be asking what more they're doing, rather than going over old ground.

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