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* Posts by Nasty Nick

57 posts • joined 15 Mar 2011

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Interview: Cisco's security supremo on the Internet of Everything

Nasty Nick
Stop

Re: This Cisco dude...

Agree - as consumers / users of home equipment we will effectively be forced in to joining and using the IoT.

You will find you have to connect your fridge, cooker, lights to get them to work at all - they just won't function without a connection to your "smart" meter. You'll have to agree to get a reasonable deal on your power bills, and the "reasonable" deal will mean your power company can switch off your applainces / heaters etc when they like. Washing, heating or toast on demand will be the preserve of the rich.

The appliance manufacturers will work out they can make money by making their warrantees more restrictive, conditional on them being able to monitor your use of your cooker, washing machine etc.

Just like your iPhone has a water sensor to see if it's been down the WC, the washing machine will have a load sensor to see if you put too many y-fronts in at once, the oven will know if you left the grill on overnight too many times after a session and grass you up, the toaster will record if you were a bit heavy handed - sorry mate, no guarantee any more, no refund when it craps out.

The excuse will be it's for your benefit, saving you money, when really it will be about allowing power companies and appliance manufacturers keep their profits going up at your expense.

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HTC One M8: Reg man takes spin in Alfa Romeo of smartphone world

Nasty Nick

HTC = ...

Looks nice but..."Honestly Too Crap" M8.

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OkCupid falls out of love with 'anti-gay' Firefox, tells people to see other browsers

Nasty Nick

Could this be I Ron E?

Rearing it's ugly head on El Reg? Never!

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Banks lob sueball at Trustwave, Target over breach

Nasty Nick

The underlying problem is,,,

That the day-to-day business operations of these really big retail companies with lots and lots of customers are all about really big IT systems processing big amounts of sensitive data.

Because IT is at the heart of these businesses, you would think they'd have at least one main board director with fundamental IT systems knowledge and expertise.

That problem for the company with a main board IT director is that is that they cannot (or it makes it more difficult for them to) claim ignorance as a defence and lay off responsibility to more junior IT bods or third party service providers / contractors when this kind of event takes place.

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Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Nasty Nick
Pint

Free wish and give site - impossible? No, Freecycle has aready done it..

A "want stuff" and "give away stuff" site, global, simple and successful, at no cost to the UK taxpayer (AFAIK)..nor did it need celeb endorsements (free or otherwise) to work.

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

Nasty Nick

Why should we think...

That this government can make teaching code work better than any other educational endevour which they already manage, badly. UK governments over the last 40 years have all made a complete hash of education policy, sadly it just seems to get worse with each new lot voted in.

Evidence based policy making (EBP) is an interesting development that might help goverments make better policies, which can only (?) be a good thing, regardless of whether they are Labour Tory, Libs etc.

They would have to think through the implications of the policy and how it would work in practice (things like how much money and time it would take to impliment the policy effectively, what kind of person is likely to best suited to managing the implementation of the policy).

In theory, UK governments are already signed up to EBP, we promote it to developing countries. Sadly, but predicatably, our governments are only likely use EBP where the answers produced fit their agendas. Do as we say, not as we do...

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Netflix speed index shows further decline in Verizon quality

Nasty Nick
Thumb Up

Re: "Network ain't gonna resize itself just when you pay."

Yes, the yanks have the same kind of market setup for Internets as we in the UK have for power/water supply. It's crap (unless you are a shareholder of said oligopolies).

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Friends don't do tech support for friends running Windows XP

Nasty Nick

Fellow Commentards, you are missing the point....which for most of us old lags is...

We don't want to do tech support for anyone else at all really.. aged parents excepted - maybe. Friends/siblings (AKA "friblings"), unless seriously broke and/or desperate, should always be pointed elsewhere for anything other than vague mutterings about IT stuff. Play the mug once, and you get the hat for life and will forever be wasting your time (and theirs often) tinkering with and fixing their cerappy old virus ridden kit for free when they just need to hand over the readies and bloody well pay for something, commercially, with money!.

I'm not a great fan of capitalism generally, but professionally, it just makes life a lot more straight forward.

If you pay for something you have a right to expect a service, if not you don't.

If fribling gets a new PC, no matter how cheap and rubbish, well it should be covered under warantee/sale of goods act etc, and someone else will be responsible (i.e can be blamed).

If they have the dough, fribling should just be pointed towards a Mac.

They will know / recognise Apple kit, and while expensive, will accept that Macs do look nice, are a feel good buy. Best of all, there are places called "Apple Stores". And while Macs are still much less likely to suffer effects of virus stuff etc than Microsofts, if and when things do go wrong, I can say truthfully I don't really know too much about fixing them and point fribling to the Apple shop - job done! Currys-PC World just doesn't have the same associations with "knowing about IT stuff".

I've done this before over several years (only since OSX mind) and I have yet to get a "fribling" support call (about software / OS issues anyhow) from those who went down the Mac path.

Although used to dealing with Linux & Unix systems as part of the day job, and have them myself, I really,really don't want to be a Linux/BSD or wotnot evangelist and be lumbered with fribling wingeing about things that are different/don't work the same as Windows blah blah blah...

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Reg snaps moment when Facebook turned air Blu: 1PB box for unloved pics

Nasty Nick

50 years life - really?

What is the basis for that claim? Given the variable track record of long term recordable CD storage, isn't that rather hopeful?

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Google helps out utterly underexposed Lego brand with Chrome toy

Nasty Nick

Re: Needs moar bricks!

Which bricks does it have then? the 2x1, 2x2, 2x6's? Those are just the basic ones. And don't forget the flat versions of those either, and then the ones that took wheel axels, oh my, getting all carried away now..

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Faster, more private, easier to read: My 2014 browser wishlist

Nasty Nick

Don't just blame the JS, blame the website owners

Who let those hordes of third party scripts into their website. It used to be that "!trustworthy" websites nearly always only served code from their own domain(s). Now the corporate world and his dog lets almost any old

advertising reseller or wotnot into their web space, and the users are basically expected to trust all of them, no matter how unfamiliar they are.

Even the banks do this now. While you can expect to trust "mybank.co.uk", why should you trust all those third party advertising / cookie tracking scripts that link to yet other third party domains with unknown security/data policies.

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Oi, bank manager. Only you've got my email address - where're these TROJANS coming from?

Nasty Nick

Re: Some addresses are guessable.

Maybe some of the posters here who manage their own domain email would care to run an experiment:

1 create a couple of random email accounts like "mr.noname@somedomain.com" and "fred.thecat@somedomain.com".

2 Do not use these email addresses for anything at all.

3 Redirect these to one of your business as usual catchall accounts.

4 Wait a few weeks and see what comes in.

5 Report back to this thread (assuming Reg mods lets it stay active that long).

I have no idea how this will turn out, but if we have a few hundred addresses between us it might provide some useful info about this.

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

Nasty Nick

Re: Out that whole lot..

Yep, I reckon the Atari was probably the best family present (excluding for the oldsters of the time). I think we got at least three Christmases worth of games out of that console, pretty good considering the punishment it took.

I reckon biplanes was the one that gave those indistructable joysticks most grief - seem to remember having 4 player mode. all really pushing the wretched controllers as hard as we could for hours on end - never did break the things.

It was all still working went consigned by mum to the "cheridy" shop. :(

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Microsoft hires Pawn Stars to shaft Google

Nasty Nick

Re: !Subtle under tones

Deprressing, but I don't think the septics have a monopoly on having a generally ignorant population anymore (assuming that was ever true) . Going on my experience of what seems to be the most popular telly and Brit news Interweb, us Brits are running you yanks a very close second if not leading by a head.

A quick rummage through recent news stories on the most popular sites (Daily Mail, Metro), especially those concerning more "technical" news , will show us up, both in the language used in reporting and that used in the public responses.

I don't think this a class/wealth related issue either, except that if you come from a wealthy back ground there is less excuse for being a dumbass than if you come from a "less wealthy" background.

.

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Brit inventor Dyson challenges EU ruling on his hoover's energy efficiency ratings

Nasty Nick
Joke

Re: @gazthejourno

Then mine should be called "Crap Behind the TV Four Times".

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Former Microsoftie in AUTOMATIC BEER MAKER funding plea

Nasty Nick
Pint

Drink and wait for the...

Beer Scream of Death!

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Chrome, Firefox blab your passwords in a just few clicks: Shrug, wary or kill?

Nasty Nick
Alert

So what? Users are just too lazy - make them pass a test!

Most users just can't be bothered to use the simple security they already have - ahem there are a few above even amongts the hallowed realms of the El Reg community.

Basically, security =work. It doesn't come free, even if you don't have to pay cash up front, you'll need to pay in time spent "doing" the security.

A good rule of thumb is that the more effective the security measures the harder it is to use the things you're securing. The "easiest" security is often overlooked / ignored by the user because your average 'puter punter just isn't bothered / educated enough even to use the basic security features their OS and software already offers.

Going from the most basic:

PW protecting OS access / hardware access</li>

Once the OS is running, have a different user account for each user and enforce use of these with a decent PW policy (and remember any password is better than none).

Logout / lock the OS whenever you leave the machine - it takes 2 secs max. There is no excuse for not doing this - especially for the more techie amongst us. Leaving your desk? Lockit. At least use an automated screenlock.

Use a browser that has usable secuirty options including a Master password for saved pw lists.

I also think it is an issue that Chrome doesn't offer a Master pw feature, but every user has a responsibility to educate themselves enough to safely use the common web tools, even though this is not very straightforward for most people.

Whose job is it to educate computer users about using sensible security measures for all their PC activities?

Given how much of our lives are dependant on and conducted via the Internet, and the fact that Government is now forcing us to use it to interact with it's various departments, we're probably at the stage where some kind of compulsory education is in order

Maybe the long forgotten computer driving licence should be brought back, to lfe, and only those who have "passed" should be let loose with a "proper" PC which you set up and configure yourself.

All those unable to pass the test should be only allowed to use a special, "authorised" pre-configured device designed especially for Internet "Learners".

Maybe that device will have a real, proper physical key they have to insert in order to use the machine, and maybe they have to turn the key if they want to do anything at all risky. And it should come with a lockable paper notebook to write all the passwords in.

Er, that's it.

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Articles with no comments

Nasty Nick

Why are no comments allowed on Rhino Incest...?

You know nearly all the articles getting loaded up allow comments, even the recent ones (look at today's main El Reg home for example).

Is it just a totally random decision and you fellas make it up as you go along? Mind you, why shouldn't El Reg staffers do just that, it's your site. Anyhow, you don't have to be Sherlock to notice that the "No Comment" articles are mostly by Lewis, so I've done my own survey of his recent articles and the comment/no comment pattern looks like this:

Last 10 articles for each category:

Non-Global Warming

Articles which really don't have any obvious connection with global warming,tree huggers, nuclear power or any of that kind of shite.

Comments - 9 No comments - 1 (any idea as to why comments aren't allowed on rhino incest?)

Global Warming

Articles which really do have an obvious connection with global warming,tree huggers, nuclear power or any of that kind of shite.

Comments - 0 No Comments - 10.

Is this a rule? Can someone code for this please? Something like:

IF Article contains "global*" OR "warm*" OR "CO2" OR "glacier*" OR "sea level" OR "Rhino Incest" THEN Article.Thread=True

Else

Article.Comment=True

END IF

OR something.

Lewis is quite able to handle the shitty comments (the freedom to make / read shitty comments is half the reason for coming to El Reg after all), and it must make for great stats. Or is it that there is too much traffic generated by the pro & anti-global warming comment trolls?

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Boffins, Tunnel Tigers and Scotland's world-first power mountain

Nasty Nick
Mushroom

Tell us more about the food then..

If it's an attraction selling nosh, then, as befits a genuine El Reg article, you should taste everything on the menu and give nosh ratings. Nosh is a key compenent of any trip, especially a techhie-type trip, and essential if you have to trek miles in the wilds, so it's likely far from alternative perveyors of haggis n' neeps, tatties and other Scots type grub.

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Ad man: Mozilla 'radicals' and 'extremists' want to wreck internet economy

Nasty Nick
Coat

"And now, the end is near, and so I face, the final curtain..dah..dahh" etc

It's just the attitude you expect from the dodgier advertisers, but the serious points are about how and why people / businesses turn a buck on-line. For some it's the only way to make their bread, for others it's a useful extra revenue stream.

The real issue is about the contract the Randal Rothenbergs (isn't that the name of slimy reptile off Monsters Inc?) of this world think we should all be forced to agree to, regardless of what we, the users prefer to do with our online activity information.

If you run an information website that is mostly supported by advertising, I reckon it's fair enough for those websites to say

"hey, if you want to read our site, you have to let us set cookies, and then mine and sell on your viewing habits while you're here - that's how we make the dough to provide our information you like so much.".

Now if you like the website info a lot, and could trust the website / their advertising "partners" to use your cookie information responsibly maybe you wouldn't mind.

But what with the humungous numbers of third party domains trying to set cookies and run scripts, even on supposedly trustworthy sites like the banks and big online retailers, most of us don't have time to work out who all these different outfits are and whether they can be trusted - even tech savvy El Reg readers. My mum still struggles to fire up her PC, so asking her and teh hordes of other non-techies that make up 90% of the users to make that kind of judgement is unfair and unreasonable.

If the advertisers / website owners could be trusted to do the right thing, maybe we could have a independant, workable advert/cookie preference service like the UK's Telephone and Mail Preference . services.

But they can't so we can't. Switch them all off by default and nuke'em all from space - it's the only safe thing to do!

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"No comment" on Alex Salmond Seaside Shenanigans Ravings?

Nasty Nick

I'm ambivalent about the benefits or otherwise to the Scots of independance, though gut instinct tells me in the short term there won't be much very bad fallout, mostly stupid inconveniences, but in the longer term it will cause big problems for both populations that they really won't need (and the majorities both sides of the border won't have asked for).

My guess is that Lewis really doesn't give a toss about Scotland, Alex Salmon, independance or anything to do with them unless it impinges on his the Holy Turf of Climate Change, and maybe defence - what about prospects for "The Sovereign British Territory of Faslane" - Lewis?

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Nasty Nick

Re: "No comment" on Alex Salmond Seaside Shenanigans Ravings?

I get your point that it's the same system / functions on Forum / threads as are offered for the main articles, but it's not the same in that comments are not presented with the article - you have to find your way to the forums and topic(s) you guess will be associated with the article and then find the thread.

Most won't be bothered (granted most probably don't look at the comments anyhow).

The point about the comparison with the Beeb is my main worry. BBC News used to offer comment functions on nearly all of their articles. Now comments are only permitted on a small number of carefully selected news items, which is in my book a subtle form of censorship.

Let El Reg continue to proudly offer ubiquitous comments - no back door censorship here please.

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Nasty Nick

"No comment" on Alex Salmond Seaside Shenanigans Ravings?

The ubiquitous comment facility is one of the things that makes El Reg special - unlike the Beeb which is too scared to let us plebs make remarks about it's news site output.

I notice that the comment options are not available for Lewis Page's piece about Scottish Salmond's daft tidal power plans, and instead we're directed toward the forums.

Please tell me this isn't a new trend for El Reg..?

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Samsung Galaxy S3 explodes, turns young woman into 'burnt pig'

Nasty Nick
Happy

One down vote as requested - but I don't see the front or back pocket question as a big deal.

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Nokia, Microsoft put on brave face as Lumia 925s parachute into Blighty

Nasty Nick

Re: Nice hardware - how about a choice of OS?

I'll fess up to not having a recent Windows phone, but have had a little play around with a couple, and do believe the consensus which seems to say the latest versions work pretty / very well on most of the new Nokias, which are nice hardware designs with decent specs.

But my gut feeling is, that going on Windows track record on security and transparency, if you run a Windows operation, adding Windows mobiles into the mix is too much like putting all your eggs in one rather holey basket.. Having said, that I really don't believe Android is any more secure in practice in day to day use, and in fact is seriously underated as a security risk for consumers and in the loosely managed business IT environments encountered in most SME's.

What I like most about the touted benefits of BB10 is the feature that supposedly allows effective separation of business and personal data on a single device, plus the secure)ish) messaging .

Plus, with the Q10, the fact you get a physical keyboard option - my fat fingers really struggle with vitual keyboards.

I know it's a stale arguement, but with Maemo, Nokia really looked like they were finally making headway delivering a good smartphone OS, so it was a shame they junked it, especially when the only alternative was to assume the only game in town is now Win mobile OS.

I don't see Sony, Samsung HTC playing that one out in the same way - they're happy to play the field taking each OS on it's merits to their business model.

As a phone manufacturer, the key issue I can see is that MS like to grab a big chunk of your profit up front in the form of the OS license fee, and then a whole lot more for the life of the phone by snaffling a wodge of any app sale revenues.

For Apple and Blackberry, this approach makes sense, as even though they outsource production, they take on much of the commercial risk with the design and manufacture of the hardware, the quid-pro-quo being they pay the price when the phone doesn't sell.

For Nokia, by using the MS mobile OS, they have all the risks of a branded mobile manufacturer, with none of the upside from continuing sales of apps. What gives?

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Nasty Nick
Trollface

Nice hardware - how about a choice of OS?

Come on Nokians, give us a choice of OS on your nice looking top-end smarty fones. I'd buy one with the latest Blackberry OS. But not with Windows on it (even if it looks nice), horses for courses and all that...

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Ex-CIA techie Edward Snowden: I am the NSA PRISM deepthroat

Nasty Nick
Meh

Re: Land of the Free?

Doh Hoh Ho Ho ho - not. Tea Party Troll, but as usual they come without even bearing the obligatory crumpets.

The same MO as Eden on MS, but not as amusing.

Anyhow, this snooping has being going on forever under various guises (and Presidents both red and blue), and news of this capability has been public domain for many years (e.g: James Bamford's "Body of Secrets..) for anyone who could be bothered to look.

It comes with the territory really. Go back as far as you like, and you'll find with easy to use centralized comms of any technology comes centralized snooping. Simples.

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Life on Mars means subsisting on grim diet of turd-garden spinach

Nasty Nick

Re: Disease

All they need to do is crap it straight out of the back door and let the nasty UV, high energy solar wind particles and similar stuff zap all the turd-bugs to death. It'll likely dry up pretty quickly, too and then be easy to crumble up all over the martian dust and voila - martian mulch all ready for your plants .

Should be be just fine for growing turnips and such. How much water would you have to mix in with the pee to make it ok for watering the veg?

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Ray Harryhausen, king of stop motion, takes final voyage

Nasty Nick
Pint

He was THE monster man

The flash new tech gives us super-realism, but will never take away from the magic Harryhousen generated in those movies. Boys n' gals everywhere mourn the monster master.

Beers all round :(

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Are biofuels Europe's sh*ttiest idea ever?

Nasty Nick

Re: Who voted these buffoons in?

Our politicos in UK and EU countries may often be very bad, but there is plenty of competition from the rest of the world for the title of "Worst".

Anyone care to start the list? Preferably nominations from nominee country nationals - residents can be excused, as if found out, in the worst places they'll get executed/jailed/tortured for dissing the homeland!.

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Vinyl sales reach 15 year high, Blighty becomes No. 3 music buyer

Nasty Nick
Trollface

Re: So

Not that Amanda Palmer who is so cheap she likes her musicians to "play for beer" by any chance:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/14/amanda_palmer_play_for_beer/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/21/afp_pays/

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The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

Nasty Nick
Meh

No SGI machines

Shame

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Microsoft Xbox gaffe reveals cloudy arrogance

Nasty Nick

Re: @censored

Adapt for the few means "gennys" and batterys and business as usual. For the rest of "us" it means "nothing".

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The gaming habits of Reg readers revealed

Nasty Nick
Happy

Minesweeper madness?

Nothing about this scurge of society?

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NASA chief: Earth is DOOMED if we spot a big asteroid at short notice

Nasty Nick
Go

Re: Nothing new under the sun

Good idea in principle, but the usual stumbling block will be where in the world all this high tech investment goes. I don't see France, Germany, China never mind Venezuala coughing up without getting some of the action back into their own economies.

Cue years of horse trading a la LHC, reasearch Fusion reactor labs, and the rest. Chances are they'll still be squabbling about who gets what & how much the wonga when the "Big One" hits.

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US lawmaker blames bicycle breath for global warming gas

Nasty Nick
Pint

Re: Cyclists are not 'required' to wear anything

Yep, we have different rules in the UK to those in the US (like for motorcycle clothing/helmets), and I guess individual states might have some of their own special regulations. El Reg needs to remind commenters that we are a diverse bunch and apart from often talking complete bollox because we can, also may confuse because our laws and customs differ quite alot.

How about having a country flag option for commenters?

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Twenty classic arcade games

Nasty Nick
Pint

Brits had slightly different most popular games I think...

I reckon this top ten list is warped toward yank favourites, eg for us Brits, Paper Boy?!! Dodgy or wot.

IFRC, over here most coin ops appeared and were played at first in pubs rather than arcades (which I think only got commonplace much later when planning regs were relaxed & tended to only be at the seaside or in a few of the dodgier parts of cities), so naturally memories are a bit hazy but here goes.

The first coin op game I played was Pong, then came Space Invaders, then I'm not so sure of the order but I think it was, Asteroids, Battlezone, Defender, Frogger, Missile Command, Donkey Kong, Pacman, Galaxian. Lunar Lander was a bit of a niche one as it was more difficult to play when pi**ed. Dig-Dug I only played as a bootleg on an early IMB PC at work (copied off a 5 1/4 floppy!) . Forget those after mid eghties as by then the beer drinking had completely taken over.

Never heard of Q'bert, Spyhunter and the rest apart from Streetfighter, but anything decent would have been available over here on the Spectrum/Commodore/BBC.

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Pub o' clock comes early for C&W biz customers silenced by titsup phones

Nasty Nick

Don't worry it was "only" a limited number...

"only a limited number of customers were affected by the outage" - so that's alright then! So it's "only" a problem when an unlimited number of customers are affected?

Still, nice to know that they have real customers as opposed to the ubiquitous "clients".

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BBC: What YOU spent on our lawyers in Secret Climate 28 debacle

Nasty Nick

Wot about the banks

My bad - most of them are public since we bailed them out.. But there are plenty of private sector companies who have had no problem spending the spondulaks solely for the benefit of the management. Remember Rover Group and the pensions fiasco?

Also there have been lots of private investment vehicle buyouts of publicly listed companies, where the buyers extract mega bucksfrom the target, extract cash to their vehicle (this also funds the purchase) and then they sell on whats left or leave it to fester. Once they've gutted the target so it has no cash left to invest in it's own development, the targets usually fail at the first sign of business stress.

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Nasty Nick

Re: Elementary?

But which Blofeld? My favourite was the Charles Gray.

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Nasty Nick

Re: Has anything changed....?

Glad to note that I can upvote my own article - just like on the Beebs News comments. Can you also downvote your own comment (not so usfeul of course, except for the self-flagellants amongst us) ?

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Nasty Nick

Re: Ed's comments and State Secrets

The World Service was until very recently funded by the Foreign Office. I listen to it a fair bit, and you know what, in recent years it felt like there was much LESS government influence than on the mainstream BBC output, despite the their money coming directly from a Government department.

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Nasty Nick

Has anything changed....?

It seems to me that the BBC has really changed in the way that it' s senior management influences output and journalistic acitivties. Now the impression is that since the thumbscrews were applied WRT Gilligan / Dyke, the most senior managers have now agreed to imbue program makers with the nouse to routinely self-censor any controversial journalistic content - ie any journalism that goes against the "accepted" order of service or consensus as viewed by the regime that now effectively runs the show.

BBC news and current affairs used to be quite campaigning, often to the chagrin of whatever goverment happened to be in power when the shit hit the fan. My feeling is that the shit hit the fan far more often in the old days - the fact that it so rarely happens now tells you a whole lot about how the BBC has limited what it will/can cover in any meaningful way, and how it now works out it's reporting strategy based on murkey nod & wink cues from their handlers about what is "good" and "bad".

Currently pro- man made climate change views are treated as "good" - but more worryingly, anti- man made climate change views are treated as "bad" and shunned, even where there is some good evidence based science to back these views up (I happen to side with the "pro" group - for now ).

It is the shunning process - almost McCathyist in nature, that is the worst manifestation of new style BBC management.

"Safety first" seems to be the mantra, so that "news reporting" is now in fact moslty just "reporting news" - regurgetating news releases from Government departments / corporate media outlets or, as is becoming more common, just using third party news agency content.

The big mistakes now happen when those at the sharp end (program makers and journalists) fail to correctly second guess ther masters/mistresses wishes - especially when these wishes have to change dramatically , at short notice. As most meaningful decisions are made in the Blair style of unoffcial, pre-formal meeting "sofa government" (in practice this is often dinner / lunch / phone call goverment) most of the reasoning behind decisions on contentious BBC issues is hidden from potential public gaze - if nothing is recorded it didn't happen. "Plausible deniability" is the name of the game.

There is now no BBC in-house science expertise (there used to be). With a very few exceptions, the current science reporters/program makers have no professional science education to fall back on, so they are less qualified to make good judgements about the worth of the statements made by "advisory bodies", in news releases or spokesperson soundbites. This is why they are encouraged to fall back on the use of "approved" services proferred by campaign funded think tanks and the like.

The fact that a senior BBC manager, with no science education is making ad-hoc decisions on the science content of programms based on informal presentations by persons with unknown (to the BBC manager) affiliations says alot about the current Beeb senior management style.

Any ex BBC staffers care to comment?

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How can the BBC be saved from itself without destroying it?

Nasty Nick
Megaphone

Re: The BBC is ... the vampire. Literally. It sucks peoples' money away

"Real independent TV channels" - how independent might that be? They are all driven by some imperative. If small, purely to make a buck for their owner/investors often by making sure their output pleases advertisers . If rich, probably there is also an additional element of in some way supporting the political influence/agenda of their owners/shareholders.

Once the BBC could have been said to be in theory at least, free of a need to provide a financial return, and very independent of government interference.

Since Birt was parachuted in, successive governments have tinkered with the organisation, the way it is (mis-)managed, regulated, funded and it's output produced and edited.

We now have the end result - a broadcasting company which no longer has an identity of it's own, whose employees (those who are left anyhow) have to ask themselves daily if what they are thinking is "correct" - never mind common sense, to ask what the latest PC agenda they should be slavishly pushing is, and whose senior management seem to only be interested in making up theirs and their croneys huge salaries and pensions.

The Gilligan affair myth was the nail in the coffin for the old independent BBC. A DG was effectively sacked over a report that was in all it's essential elements an accurate reflection of what might generously be called very dodgy slight of hand - certainly Gilligan was far more accurate in his report than the "sexy" dossier he was sacked for reporting on.

Until the 90's the BBC was feared (and often secretly respected) by governments at home and abroad largely because it was PARTIAL. It took sides. It was campaigning. Yes, it was a bit too lefty at times, with the whole Rethian thing rather snobbish and patronising, it had a well meaning idealistic, educational if pseudo-socialist agenda, but it was not afraid to kick political masters of any persuasion in the pills. Over the years it has, with a few honourable exceptions, been reduced to a self serving money go-round for the bigwigs and luvvie independent production companies.

Science journalism at the BBC has taken the biggest hit, with any journalists with a decent science education / background being pushed out in favour of generalists who (with few exceptions) mostly have no idea if the press releases they read and regurgitate to us are based on decent science or not or even understand in any meaningful way what the pro's/cons are. Hence this misguided mess over "climategate".

The old style BBC would have at least one senior journalist / editor who thouroughly understands science methodologies and shinanigans, and could have provided a well informed and intelligent overall of what the overall science output really means, which is worth considering and which is not.

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Nasty Nick
Stop

Quite sensible mumbo jumbo...

Companies don't HAVE to advertise. Most chose to do so because their product is much the same as that produced by other companies and they don't/can't want to rely on just the excellence/value etc or otherwise of their product to pursuade buyers to select it over other companies wares.

What companies pay for their advertising is known as a "cost" which is part and parcel of a competitive market. There are lots of other costs associated with market competition, both financial and ethical. Unfortunately experience tells us that a having market based competition does not always mean better value for consumers. That is one of the reasons why in most markets there are many laws and regulations to limit the actions of companies - basically they can't be trusted to do "the right thing" (rather like governments really) and left to their own devices will screw us poor consumers.

And just because a cost is ethereal doesn't mean it is not just as real as an "above the board" cost, only that it may be hidden amongst all those other costs like profit, materials, transport etc.

And as you yourself ackowledge, your third and final argument is even more inane than the OP's - "..make the BBC commercial, since that means advertisers have more of an audience, and they can cut advertising costs accordingly. Hence products become cheaper."

Yes, just like gas, water and electricity have all become cheaper because of competition - not.

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Vote now for the ULTIMATE BACON SARNIE

Nasty Nick

There is only one qualifier - the Bi-Bacon - all the rest are interlopers

The "Bi-Bacon" is the only real pukka bacon sandwich - all the rest are artifically enhanced interlopers. Toasties, egg / tomato, bacon on french/baps/bagel, banjos etc don't count as bacon sarny in my book.. Adding cheese and the rest also disqualifies. Guacamole& peanut butter? Totally against the bacon butty ethos.

The only permitted additives should be the sauces, such as braan sauce and red sauce (AKA ketchup). Chillie sauce or the mustards are borderline but anything more solid (apart from butter/marge) makes it something more than a bacon sarny. I'd make an exception for Black Pudding mind.

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Neil Gaiman’s saucy pop wife agrees to pay her musicians in money

Nasty Nick

See Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

Would that be referring to her ripping off of these free musicos or is "The Grand Theft Orchestra" a paid for support act?

Re the freeby support, it's a free(-ish) country, & there's nothing illegal about telling people in advance that you're not going to pay them any money for working for you (though the HMRC/IRS don't take kindly to undeclared barter even if it is beer & tees), but like others have said, to do stuff for free you need money from somewhere to pay the bills, get you to/from venues etc.

If AP wasn't making cash off the back of this and was in the same financial boat as the free musicos, then fair do's, but when this is her very carefully orchestrated personal money making venture (and apparantly she is the one t/making the money) , well it seems like it's an unequal relationship and she's taking advantage. My opinion is it's really a bit shameful to operate like that - but plenty of others will say it's just the free market working (loss leaders etc).

AP is just another wannabee personality, a canny self promotor and money maker, trying to promote a blousey cheery faux-underground following, and doing all that as cheaply as possible. Like Madonna used to be. She is no worse than the city firms taking advantage by churning interns, or Michael O'Leary, who at least tells his customers up front that basically they (don't) get what they (don't) pay for so not to whinge when the service falls apart.

Not nice, but not nice rarely = illegal.

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New monkey species with massive blue arse found in Africa

Nasty Nick
Happy

It's ........

Look at those little faces in the RH pic - surely it's Dobby and his mate! He didn't peg out after all! Now to find the long lost Emma Watson monkey - mmm tasty!

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'GNOME people are in total denial about what their problem is'

Nasty Nick
Stop

Re: *REAL* maple syrup

Hey! I resent that unwarranted knocking of Angel Delight. I was very fond of butterscotch flavour. Even as a ten year old I wasn't dim enough to think there were any strawberries in the strawberry flavour. Well, not once I'd tasted it anyhow..

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The world's first Windows Phone 8 hands on – what's it like?

Nasty Nick

Re: SD card

Equivalent to about an album a week for 30 years - I reckon there are quite a few bods out there who collect like that. I have a brother who has even more, most of it on vinyl he's been picking up since his teens, though the newer stuff is largely CD (he won't touch downloads).

He listens to each album on the day he buys it.

Keeps the collection upstairs in a spare bedroom in dirty great metal filing cabinets. He's still adding to it despite warnings about overdoing the floor loadings, so no doubt much of it will soon be making it's way through the floor boards.

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