* Posts by Kubla Cant

1699 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Ad networks promise to do something about the awful adverts you're all blocking, like, real soon

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Ads HAVE TO track you in order for the operator of the Ad network to get credit for generating sales.

No they don't. The only thing they NEED to track is which advertising campaign led to which sales.

At the risk of sounding like a justly-reviled marketing wanker, I suspect it's a bit more complicated. Originally print advertising was sold on the basis of circulation - the more copies sold, the higher the rate. Then someone invented readership surveys, and it turned out that some publications had many more readers per copy than others, so rates started to be based on cost per thousand readers. Next thing was demographic profiling, so companies selling golf clubs could see the cost per thousand AB males. Then more detailed surveys like TGI allowed advertisers to home in on, say, C1C2 married women who like trying new things (fnaar fnaar).

The shortcoming of all this was that it depended on surveys, so the information was unreliable and the confidence interval for exotic cross-analyses tended to be unacceptably large. Online advertisers aspire to build a corpus of real information (sites visited, things purchased etc) about identifiable users, or at least their computers, so they can target their ads.

There's a sense in which this could be a slightly good thing. I hate the ads on TV, but what I particularly hate is the fact that 75% of them seem to be for women's hair and skin products. If somebody found a way to show me only ads for things I'm interested in buying I might be more tolerant.

1
0

Wheels come off parents' plan to dub sprog 'Mini Cooper'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: What about...

I'm amazed nobody's yet mentioned Paris Hilton.

Do the Hiltons have a child called Shepherds Bush, who likes to be known as Kensington?

1
0

You can hack a PC just by looking at it, say 3M and HP

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Would be useful if they integrated this into screens, allowed sections of it to be turned on and off by software and then turned it on over password fields only.

Useful, but only when you're logging in to a system that displays the password characters. If you're still using something like that then people spying on your screen is probably the least of your problems. I'd guess that the last such system became obsolete in 1980.

1
0

Internet daddy Vint Cerf blasts FCC's plan to ban Wi-Fi router code mods

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: How do you police this?

And does the FCC plan to procure a ban on soldering irons, because you can use them to build a device that broadcasts on illegal frequencies?

11
0

WIPO punts Cambridge University over attempt to grab Cambridge.com

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

it's not like the city is named after the Uni

True. But the university is what the city's famous for. Without it, Cambridge might be just as famous as, say, St Neots.

0
0

PHONE me if you feel DIRTY: Yanks and 'Nadians wave bye-bye to magstripe

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Vive La Difference

What kind of moronic toll road system allows motorists to stop and pay at toll points?

The sort of moronic toll road system that is used by people who don't have a tag, because they only travel on the road infrequently? I drive on French autoroutes about once every two years, so I'm not going to acquire a tag.

1
0

How much do UK cops pay for Microsoft licences? £30 a head or £137? Both

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Why pay fees at all?

a government standardised version of Linux

Much though I love Linux, the idea of a distro originated by the government sounds like sheer hell.

11
2

Windows 10 mobile upgrade coming in December

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Great picture.

Windows 3.1 came on 7 floppies

Funny, it seems like more in my recollection. Maybe I used to install NT from floppies?

I loved the picture, though.

0
0

Online VAT fraud: Calls for government crackdown grow louder

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Ugh

Why not just ditch VAT?

Because it's a very cheap tax to collect. This is obviously attractive from the government's point of view, but it's also a benefit to us as tax-payers. If the government needs £20k of my income to spend every year, I'd far rather pay an extra £100 for collection costs than an extra £1000.

This factor is generally overlooked by people devising complicated "fair" taxation schemes. They may be more equitable, but we're all worse off because of the money wasted on collection.

3
0

To save mobile web, we must destroy JavaScript, HTML and CSS

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Dumb, dumb, DUMB.

1999 called - they want their web pages back.

A major use of JavaScript these days is to build single-page applications (SPAs), where the markup remains substantially unchanged while data is sent back and forth using AJAX. Removing JavaScript will presumably mean reverting to the slow round-trips and page refreshes of yesteryear.

6
3

Sanbolic smoke ball was no mere puff: Citrix preps new Melio release

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Did Citrix insult your mother?

The reference to the Carbolic Smoke Ball also seems to be some kind of dig, since the case involved a company that refused to deliver on its promises. Though I have to say that Sanbolic is a name that sounds more like bog cleaner than storage virtualisation.

0
0

White House 'deeply disappointed' by Europe outlawing Silicon Valley

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Democratize with a zed

I think you're mistaken in thinking that the z-spelling is distinctively American, although it may be more popular there. It used to be the norm (and maybe still is at OUP) that "-ise" is used for Latin roots and "-ize" for Greek roots, of which "democracy" is unquestionably one.

4
0

Testing CarPlay with Apple’s most expensive ever accessory

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Walled garden strikes again

Voland's right hand wrote "One I know of is 7 layers", but I mis-read it as "One I know of is 7 lawyers". Appropriate, maybe.

0
0

Is the world ready for a Raspberry Pi-powered Lego Babbage Engine?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Working model ?

The Raspberry Pi angle and the references to Victorian appearance and steampunk strongly suggest that it won't be a working model. Also, look how much time and trouble the Science Museum expended on the construction of the Difference Engine No 2.

8
0

Woman makes app that lets people rate and review you, Yelp-style. Now SHE'S upset people are 'reviewing' her

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Joke

Re: The Indictment

A lot of nasty, back stabbing ignorant keyboard warriors hell bent on spewing shite and yet contributing nothing to the world as a whole.

That's no way to talk about El Reg commentards!

9
0

Weird garbled Windows 7 update baffles world – now Microsoft reveals the truth

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

The OP wrote "already effected public systems". If he's using effect as a transitive verb then that would mean that Microsoft, or their patch, had created or brought about public systems. Notwithstanding its etymology, effect is rarely used with a concrete object; in fact its use as a verb seems to be confined to objects that have a sense of "change" or "result". This suggests to me that the word intended was affect.

6
0

It's the white heat of the tech revolution, again!

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Paraphrase

"The white heat of the technological revolution" is actually a slight paraphrasing of the contents of Howard Wilson's 1 October, 1963 speech

And "Howard Wilson" is actually a slight paraphrasing of Harold Wilson's name.

4
0

Tesla X unfolds its Falcon wings, stumbles belatedly into the light

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

because they're very cheap to run.

Until they become reasonably numerous, at which time governments will start to notice the amount of fuel duty they're losing. Thereafter electric power will be subject to a two-tier taxation regime similar to the one currently applied to diesel.

5
0

Is Windows 10 slurping too much data? No, says Microsoft. Nuh-uh. Nope

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Where does this lead?

At present, as I understand it, there are really only two kinds of Windows 10 installation: corporate, for which you need to pay for some kind of multiple license, and personal, which you pay for by letting Microsoft spy on you in all the horrible ways described here.

It's fairly obvious that the large corporates are never going to allow any of the spying and unconditional updating that personal users are subject to. Most of them have spent the past 20 years discovering the support nightmare that comes with free-form Windows desktops and working hard to get a lid on it.

But what about the numerous SMEs? Most of them aren't large enough for site licenses and corporate desktop builds, but that doesn't mean they'll roll over and accept unscheduled updates and phone-home spying. Unless MS is prepared to write off this community of users, there has to be a paid, non-volume, version of W10 with no spying and no forced updating.

2
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Bypassing host file

http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ At the bottom is #Windows 10... have fun as it's a long list.

The author of this hosts file evidently thinks you can use it to confound the Windows 10 reporting. The post that started this thread believes Windows is bypassing the hosts file. Does anyone know which it is?

Either way, I suppose a proxy server would be another way to prevent Windows phoning home.

2
0

Sky 'fesses up to broken fibre cables as cause of outage woes

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

One of the main features of the original Arpanet project was to create a network that would be resilient to damage. At the time they were thinking in terms of nuclear war. Now it seems that Arpanet's successor gets stuffed by a bit of broken fibre. Good to see evidence of progress.

8
0

The pachyderm punch: El Reg takes just-over-a-ton Elephone P8000 to tusk

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Pocket Computers

You might solve that with a PAYG SIM that never gets topped-up.

3
0

Spirit of the Ghost: Taking a Rolls-Royce Wraith around France

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: A small detail.

buttons to electrically slide the front seats

When the chauffeur is driving, you're allowed to slide him back and forward.

3
0

Gold bugs, concrete bog roll holders and frolic-friendly furniture: What IS it with designers?

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Steam flames

these babies can be plumbed into your regular water supply to save having to top them up

Unfortunately I'm so far behind the curve that none of my fireplaces has a water supply. I suppose I could have a fake wood fire in the bath, but that would mean taking the coal out.

13
0

We saw the future: Apart from the bath apps it looks like the past

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: LED filament bulbs

But being filament bulbs, they don't last long.

The longest-lasting light bulb in the world* is a filament bulb. This one's in California, but I'm sure I've read of another ancient bulb in Scotland.

* apologies for the Daily Fail link - it was just what came up on Google.

2
0

PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: re: animals are animals, not people

You are aware that people are animals, yeah?

If you think that means animals are people, you need to spend some time studying predicate logic.

3
0

POLAR DINOSAURS prowled ARCTIC NIGHT, cast doubt on COLD BLOOD theory

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Vegetarian?

Vegetarianism is a lifestyle choice/ethical position. Herbivorous is the word you're looking for.

"herbivorous" is only the word you're looking for if they ate leaves or grasses. If they ate fruit, it's "fructivorous". It's odd that there doesn't seem to be a word for anything-except-meat-eaters.

0
0

Robber loses heist case after 'evil twin' defence, gets 60 years

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Get over yourselves, rape isn't funny, racism isn't funny, knocking minorities isn't funny.

True. None of the above is intrinsically funny, but they may all be the subject of funny jokes (see clown shoes, above).

If the El Reg forums are going to become infested by lip-pursing, "we are not amused", PC bores, then I'll be looking elsewhere for entertainment.

7
1

Mobile phones are the greatest poverty-reducing tech EVER

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Poverty is caused by...

"I.Q-wise, sub Saharan Africans have the lowest i.q in the world"

*citation needed*

Even if a citation is produced (which I think highly unlikely), it's almost certain to be a result of cultural bias in the IQ test.

2
1
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: How to end poverty in 15 years

The Greeks and Romans lived, I suppose, very comfortably, though they had no linen. - Adam Smith

It's a bit late in the day to correct Adam Smith, but is that true? The Egyptians were famed for linen that was fine enough to be translucent. It's visible on some ancient paintings. I'd be surprised if the Romans didn't import either the textile or the technology.

5
1

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

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: What were they thinking?

It often looks as if the motor manufacturers, having arrived late on the computer scene, decided that they didn't need to learn from the decades of experience accumulated within that industry. I suspect this may have led them to believe they could get away with anything if it was done in software.

1
0

Michigan sues HP after 'botched' $49m upgrade leaves US state in 1960s mainframe hell

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

I should have thought that Michigan's requirements are pretty much the same as the other 49 states, and have a lot in common with most big municipalities throughout the world. Hasn't this problem been solved already?

0
1

It's alive! Farmer hides neglected, dust-clogged server between walls

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

VT100

the green screen was just a screen, for a VT100 terminal

AFAIK, the VT100 only ever had a black-and-white screen. If the screen was green it was either a VT100-compatible or possibly a VT220.

0
1

RFID wants to TRACK my TODGER, so I am going to CUT it OFF

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: @x 7 Pairing socks?

The grim truth is that most modern socks are everlasting. They start life as cotton or wool "rich", but after a few dozen sessions in the tumble drier you're left with thin but indestructible polyester socks.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Pairing socks?

Ever notice that socks disappear, but clothes hangers multiply?

Wire and plastic hangers multiply. Wooden clothes hangers seem to time-travel. One day you take a jacket out and find that the hanger seems to have originated from a tailor in pre-war Budapest (an era and location with which I have no known connection).

0
0

Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

Magna Carta ... a pain to read (it’s in Latin)

I used to have a Bodleian reader's ticket, sadly lost during the decades since I was an undergraduate. That was in Latin, too.

The description of the stack in Swindon and the protocol for delivering books to Oxford sounds delightfully like the operation of an old-fashioned disk drive This is especially true of the part where they're considering moving popular books to the nearer shelves. I wonder if they'll start running a near cache in Broad Street.

4
0

SPOOKY new Pluto snaps will make the HAIR RISE on the back of your neck

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Not to get too gushy...

While agreeing entirely with your sentiment, I have to say that you can probably clean a lot of moats for the cost of an interplanetary mission. Besides, we wouldn't want to be caught with our moats dirty when the aliens pay us a return visit.

3
0

'To read this page, please turn off your ad blocker...'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Why not ask for payment?

Early in my working life I had a job in publishing calculating cost-per-thousand for display ads using readership statistics*. To judge from a quick Google, this is still how advertising space is evaluated. That being the case, it should be simple enough to calculate the ad revenue per reader and offer to remove the ads on payment of this amount.

The payment for content model has always worked for books and learned journals. Both have successfully transferred it from print to digital media.

* I'm a reformed character now. You can tell how long ago it was from the fact that I had to use a slide rule.

0
0

Jeremy Corbyn: My part in his glorious socialist triumph

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

A rasping West Country accent

I'm reasonably sure Pam Ayres' accent is Oxfordshire. Viewed from Shoreditch, I suppose that's West Country.

1
0

Human Rights Watch demands to know who's been snooping on it

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

However the IPT has rejected the possibility of a class-action-type lawsuit and says that anyone concerned that they may have been spied on must submit their complaint individually.

So the IPT would be happy to receive, process and reply to an individual complaint from everybody? Seems like they're setting themselves up for a paper DDOS.

3
0

Layabout, sun-blushed techies have pick of IT job market, says survey

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: I took the summer off

The ludicrous shopping list of requirements is nothing new. I suspect it's partly due to the fact that recruiters are understandably ignorant of the scope of the skills they're listing. I keep seeing jobs advertised as "Server-side developer - must know HTML and CSS" or "Web UI specialist, HTML, Javascript, Oracle, SQL, Hadoop, Coherence, Perl, BASH...".

Then there's the mythical skills. I explain that I've used Java for 15 years, and I've developed software in just about every part of an application, but I still hear "Yes, but do you know Core Java?"

4
0

Jeep Cherokee 2.2: Capable, comfortable ... but just not very Jeep

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Limited on US vehicles

"Limited" or "LTD" seems to have originated with trains, though I've never been able to work out what it was meant to signify. I suppose it's a bit like calling a European car "Express" or "Inter City".

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: BEEEEEEEP

So what alarm does it raise when you turn off the pavement onto the logging road?

As this is an urban SUV, I think you mean "what alarm does it raise when you turn off the road and mount the kerb to drop off schoolchildren or unload shopping?"

0
0

BACS Bank Holiday BALLS UP borks 275,000 payments

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: THAT MOMENT

Everyone should send HSBC a letter informing them that they are in arrears and that they will be charged £25 for the letter.

12
0

What time is it Oxford Dictionaries? How about almost ‘beer o’clock’

Kubla Cant
Silver badge
Headmaster

I've always regarded the use of "awesome" to mean "really quite good" as indicative of a two-digit IQ. Now along comes the twee neologism "awesomesauce" as a marker for single-digit IQs.

4
0

Legal eagles accuse Labour of data law breach over party purge

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Nice to see you back Mr Gerry

1. Milibore declares that the electorate for the Labour leadership will in future include anyone who signs up as a supporter.

2. People sign up as supporters.

3. Harperson decides she doesn't like some of the people who've signed up so she disenfranchises them.

It seems all supporters are equal, but some supporters are more equal than others. In what way is this not gerrymandering?

11
0

French woman gets €800 a month for electromagnetic-field 'disability'

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: KU the pedants

I don't want to seem ignorant, but what does KU stand for?

Google suggests: Kansas University; London's award winning gay bar; KU Software; KU Bookstore, the source for Kansas Jayhawks; or Ku band, a band of microwave radio frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum. The last looks the most relevant, but I can't see what the role of the pedants is.

0
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Poor choice of words?

Thinking about it, it all depends whether the €800 a month is supposed to fund treatments that will enable the sufferer to live a normal lifestyle, or whether it's a subsidy for her off-grid lifestyle in the Pyrenees. In the first case, it's a provision of treatment; in the second, it's participating in a neurotic fantasy.

There's a tricky ethical issue here. Supposing that subsidising the off-grid lifestyle is cheaper than treating the neurosis, and given that it's the course of action the patient would prefer, is it acceptable to withhold treatment from somebody who is ill?

5
0
Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Re: Poor choice of words?

Something being intangible or irrational really isn't grounds to deny study or treatment.

But it might be grounds to deny a handout of €800 a month.

6
0

Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is

Kubla Cant
Silver badge

Natural Language Processing is a hard problem and translating from one to another gives compound difficulty

I have read that the basis of Google Translate isn't the traditional Natural Language Processing algorithms that get confused by arrows and bananas. They realised that despite decades of work parsing algorithms that translate by extracting meaning are still inadequate. So it basically translates by searching for existing translations of words and phrases. I assume that there must be a lot of algorithmic processing to assign appropriate weight to selected translations, too.

The compound difficulty aspect is interesting. Because of the way it works, Google Translate can translate between language pairs where there is no history of human translation.

There's a non-techical article here.

4
0

Forums