635 posts • joined 1 Jun 2011
Re: The American press strikes again
"I am not sure what the public interest in this story is..."
And yet here we are, the public, commenting on the story. And El Reg, which has ads to shift, printing, nay, regurgitating it.
When is an upskirt not an upskirt
This is a tricky one, how would you create a law to prevent upskirting in a place that holds and annual no-pants subway ride?
What about photographing a beach which in general, has lots of women waking around naked but for the parts that are normally covered by underwear... and in summer, when they travel on the subway dressed as such?
No answers from me, but I do find it all quite ironic. It seems to me that it's not the actual photographing of an upskirt that causes offence (since a woman may be wearing a bikini in public at other times), but the fetish itself of having a photograph of a situationally 'private' area exposed.
I've always found that quite a conundrum.
I keep my own wallet
I was going to open a Mt Gox account, I even got my account verified a month or two ago. However I felt slight unease that comes with putting money into an overseas account, and even more unease just looking at the website, something just didn't sit right with me.
Then I looked for alternatives, Coinfloor looks promising, but not open yet. So I thought what the heck - I should really own my own wallet, and used Bitcoin Wallet on Android app store, that allows to to back up your keys in an encrypted file. I have it shared between my mobile and my tablet.
As for all the media stating Bitcoin itself is at risk from the Mt Gox crash, well it's a bit like saying fiat currency was at risk when the banking crisis happened.
Re: Where the line lies
All good points but what should actually be happening is that .gov.uk actually revamp their web services to make it easier to navigate, find, apply and pay for things online.
Seriously the only one I think has got better in recent years is the DVLA, but - for example - having to deal with HMRC portal is a true nightmare experience, and has changed very little in at least 6 years.
There's no reason they couldn't structure their web portals to make it not only more Google friendly, but make it more like Google, Wikipedia and other modern content providers in providing relevant information, in a simple, understandable easy to navigate manor.
You're onto something here, what about an encryption method that splits the data up into a large chunk and a smaller chunk - like a keyfile for ssh? Is there any program that already does something like that?
You can stick the small chunk on usb and simply store the larger chunk in any cloud.
Don't even follow their own OOXML standard
Last year I had to author a technical document and the templates that I had to use all came in *ugh* docx format.
Since I use Linux as my work OS and LibreOffice as my go to docs application, I attempted to use the templates and struggled with the formatting. Also, I found that upon saving the docs, several formatting elements were lost.
I had an old copy of MS Office 2010 lying around and so decided to try installing it with Wine. Surprisingly enough the install worked and Word fired up. Opened the documents with all the formatting displayed correctly, allowed me to save changes and then I was done... trouble was, upon saving, Word also lost the formatting of the original templates, just like Libre! I couldn't believe it.
The templates, it turns out, were pretty shit, but what's more shitter is that Libre had obviously met the requirements of the OOXML spec, but somehow MS couldn't even do a better job than the Open Source guys at implementing their own standards.
I also noticed another document in Office 2010 saved paragraphs with default double spacing (when single had been selected), whereas Libre saved the same document with single as chosen. It's quite frustrating and unfortunately I'm forced to use Word sometimes, just to prove that the problem is with the document itself (the XML), not with my use of Open Source.
Great way to create a thin veneer of some kind of established and credible* ratings agency by copying the rating system used by actual established ratings agencies that have been around for over 100 years.
Never mind the fact that these multiple A's and +/-'s exist purely to maintain a veneer itself that certain governments and conglomerates are still in the 'A' club and not create panic.
Just where do they get their $ values from anyway? If a company is graded by the stock and valued by the value of the stock, where does this other $ value fit in that they've come up with?
I suppose it could represent the marginal value of the premium Apple or Samsung get to charge on top of what their underlying product is actually worth, based on brand - but how does that calculate to company value, and not unit value instead? Since I assume they don't have access to current gross profit for sales of products from Apple et al.
I think it's bullshit, that's what. I think it's a bunch of marketing and finance execs looking to get in on the speculation game and coming up with another metric to judge companies by.
*'credible' in this context is a fluid term that just so happens to mean whatever a credit ratings agency wants to define it as. Such as ratings agencies who might have significant interests in rating junk mortgage-backed securities as triple A.
Re: Why are we paying for this?
It's not about how long your OS can be supported, whether the NHS was using Windows or Linux or even BSD... it's the cost of upgrading and support for legacy applications.
OS and applications built on free and open source means that, in the long term, costs are minimised due to the ability to migrate to alternative solutions or even fork your own (e.g. your data belongs to you and not locked in some proprietary closed-source solution).
A great example of this is the applications that rely on IE6. If the applications had been coded to proper web standards back when they were designed and developed, then they would be portable to any OS and any browser, IE6 could have been ditched a long time ago.
So, choosing to migrate to an open source solution now would not necessariy mean a short term cost saving, but a long term cost saving 5 or 10 years from now, when the open nature of the software makes it easier to migrate or fix.
I wonder how much it will cost next time round when the NHS is stuck on an old Windows 7/Server 2012, with platform specific Sharepoint, Outlook and Office applications coming to EOL?
Re: Upgrade o Linux
Or just run XP in virtualisation, on an internal LAN firewalled off from the outside world entirely. Have users remotely connect from Linux based desktops for the applications that need XP - then plan a migration route for those remaining apps, somewhat at leisure.
Re: If you don't like a topic or activity, then don't go to that site.
On internet, Ad sees you!
Re: "FAST is yet to come across..."
This is true from other types of legal advice I've recieved not related to software.
Once you realise this premise, everything in life is about calculated risks and gambles.
Consequently, if a big player wants to sue you - regardless of your innocence or guilt - they can sue you and make it as expensive as possible in order to tip the scales in the direction of the outcome they desire; ergo, if their case has no merit, they can pressure you to settle anyway because you can't afford to fight back.
Re: Sad but true....
Yep... reading through that article I immediately thought of iTards/fanbois.
Re: There is one thing positive...
Fantastic opportunity isn't it though?
Now rival search engines and *shudder* vertical search sites can advertise on Google Search for... Search! ("Yo Dawg...")
So it's pretty much like if I went to Tesco to buy some banana's, and on the fruit isle in front of the banana's there's a banner that says - would you like to go to Asda and Sainsbury's for Banana's? Well, no, or I would have gone to Asda or Sainsbury's.*
The Department of Redundancy Department would like a word...
*Yes - I think the browser selection screen is like this (I switched to Firefox years before this came into being - the market spoke). OTOH I would like to see real competition between pre-installed OS - this does need to be enforced.
Re: Signs of failure
YoY growth is good for personal milestone measuring... but not a useful statistic against competition.
No disrespect intended towards the deceased or his family but a Vice President is the equivalent of a middle manager in investment banks like JPM. Given the way job promotion works VPs and Associate VPs switch LOB all the time - consequently you will get VPs in IT whose IT skills extend no further than sorting columns on a spreadsheet.
I've seen it and it is frustrating for techies and contractors. It's like working with Jen in the IT crowd, except there are no punchlines and a lot more pressure to be seen to be doing stuff.
Re: Trade Marks @Squander Two
> Trademark law is actually quite reasonable most of the time. I for one would like to see its use-it-or-lose-it aspects extended to copyright law.
I understand in the US that if a trademark becomes a verb in the common vernacular that it's no longer enforceable. In Europe, this is not the case - so they are much like copyrights.
Re: Trade Marks
OK let's try again, I'm not abolishing trademarks - I'm saying restrict it to company names only!
> A better example would be, say, me and a couple of friends making utterly shit phones and selling them on Ebay under the name "iPhone".
I'm not saying make it legal to create fakes. I'm saying you would have to market your product as "Me and My Mates(TM) iPhone" and Apple would have their "Apple(TM) iPhone" therefore a customer would still be informed and offered consumer protections against you selling an "Apple iPhone" which was your own knock-off.
> You're insane.
Well that escalated quickly... so imagining a different world or proposing changes to law is insanity is it?
What's the term for someone such as yourself, who blindly purchases products based solely on the product name without any investigation into their function or cost?
> The boxes would be identical in your world, since the distinctive features of packaging design that enable companies to differentiate their products are trademarks.
No they're not, they're designs and protected by design patents. I actually mentioned design patents above if you had taken the time to slow down and read my comment rather than rage.
So back to my example above - you are selling a box with "Me and My Mates iPhone" and apple are selling a box with "Apple iPhone". The shitness speaks for itself and the market will dictate which is better in the long run.
> No, a few people gravitate to quality, which establishes reputation, then everyone else gravitates to reputation. This is precisely why trademarks are valuable and useful.
So, in "my world", people will gravitate to Apple(TM) and avoid "Me and My Mates(TM)" - your shitty company that makes inferior iPhones.
> If your surname is McDonald, you can start a burger bar called "McDonald's" but you can't use the golden arches or make adverts with Hamburglar in them -- which is of course precisely why companies have more than one trademark. Like I said, trademark law is pretty reasonable.
Finally, a valid rebuke to my argument - however this doesn't actually seem to stop companies like Apple, The Olympics Committee and Hollywood (to name a few examples) from suing smaller established companies using the same names or symbols for valid purposes you mention - and not even in the same industries or markets.
Of course you may agree with the actions of Apple, The Olympics, Hollywood and similar actions taken by others, which means we will never see eye to eye. However I think allowing this abundance of trademarking only causes more confusion and lawsuits than solves it.
So my response is as follows; that in a world where McDonald's were limited solely to the trademark of their own name, either they would have to come up with a more unique name, or simply tie it to the location of their head office (should sort out the offshore tax loophole issues at the same time).
Let's face you've almost made my point for me. McDonald IS a name. Many people ARE named McDonald. We don't need to enforce unique names on people and we seem to manage fine in differentiating them based on other factors which can still be considered generic amongst the populace.
If you respond to this, before you vent (and hurl more insults) please consider I AM FOR TRADEMARKS, just arguing against trademarks on product lines.
Re: Trade Marks
We already live in a world where manufacturers produce similar products sharing the same pseudonyms - "x cloud", "smart x", "sonic x". The product name is simply a differentiator to separate versions (e.g. Gutsy Gibbon, Masterbating Monkey) or sell you something slightly different yet sounding similar in order entice different market segments (e.g. Galaxy S3, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy S2 Mini etc...).
The market already works to identity fakes and God knows that despite all the patent battles, an Apple fanboi has more chance of mistaking an iPhone 5 for an iPhone 5S than an iPhone and a Samsung. If patents protect design, why should trademarks protect individual instances of products?
Therefore, if Samsung were allowed to use "iPhone" for a new smartphone (that didn't look like an Apple iPhone) then would that stop people from buying Apples iPhones? Perhaps some people, but guaranteed, most of the people and the press would rip on Samsung for doing it. It would be seen as not original, and probably cause more damage to Samsung in the long run (cheapening their brand to a rip off). Better for Samsung if they create their own brand (e.g. Galaxy).
People will gravitate to manufacture and quality. If someone came up with a better smartphone then Apple and decided to call it an "iPhone", then perhaps it deserves the moniker. However, if it turned out to be rubbish, then people would call it a cheap ripoff and avoid it, regardless of whether it's legal or not.
This is already how the world works! I mean look at the terms "cloud", "smart tv", "flash drive/dongle" and "big data" - they're marketing terms, not functional, they may as well be trademarked and belong to one company as well.
If a company can claim trademark on "Sky" what's to stop anyone forming a company called BCloudB and claiming trademark on "Cloud"?
> I know my first experience of SkyDrive was when a Sky Broadband customer used it to send some files to me (natural assumption was sky email address + file storage system with sky in the name = probably the same company)
The question is, given the real intent of trademarks, did this harm you in anyway, or did this make you purchase Microsofts SkyDrive solution over the SkyDrive solution offered by BSkyB?
If you were looking into what this "SkyDrive" was in order to purchase, would you not immediately realise that this was a Microsoft offering, and that BSkyB itself didn't have a "SkyDrive" offering?
Even if BSkyB did have a competing "SkyDrive", surely you would have also come to this realisation after 5 minutes of googling to discover where to buy?
Now, I enjoy seeing Microsoft taking a bruising as much as the next man, but world governments are increasingly getting away from the real purpose behind trademarks and someone has to call stop on this shenanigans.
Trademarks were not intended as "intellectual property", but as protections for the consumer. So that the consumer does not become confused as to which company is offering the genuine product, and which may be offering an inferior rip-off.
Why are words such as "Word", "Sky" and "One" allowed to be trademarked at all? The trademark should mean exactly what it says: "trade mark".
Microsoft trades under "Microsoft", BSkyB trades under "BSkyB". These "trade marks" should be sufficient and allow Microsoft to offer a "Microsoft SkyDrive" and BSkyB to offer a "BSkyB SkyDrive".
It should be sufficient for customers to distinguish between trading Companies (e.g. Microsoft, BSkyB, Marks & Spencers, Tesco, Hoover, Dyson, etc...) and determine that a product offered by one differs from a product offered by another (after all many people are brand aware and many tend to gravitate towards brands - that's where we get 'brand loyalty' from).
Restrict "trade marks" to the trading name, not derivative products, and there'll be a lot less of this nonsense.
Just the browser?
None of these users will be particularly web savvy or be using their PC for extended amounts of time, or to it's full capability - why not distribute Chromebooks instead?
Chromebooks would be cheaper, they don't have to worry about the user needing to setup anything or keep IE up to date. If it's just for accessing their website - they would still score a marketing win by giving these away for free.
Sure some people might reject the unfamiliarity of Chrome, but with later versions of IE taking design pointers from Chrome and Firefox, those kinds of users will probably reject the unfamiliarity of new IE too.
Quick, someone trademark this phrase and we can watch the fireworks show...
"The key to mass surveillance is that you don't know upfront who is ordinary and who is going to be the next person to use a skyscraper as an aircraft hangar."
And therein lies the crux of the problem. Everyone thinks they're ordinary, it's the other guy who is the terrorist. Thus they're comforted by Obama's words because, "Well shucks, at least he won't be monitoring us ordinary folks anymore"!
Funnily enough terrorists comes across as ordinary people until they do something extreme. So if you're looking for terrorists, you're going to be looking for ordinary people, in order to protect the ordinary people. So Western governments rightly or wrongly take the view that everyone is the terrorist, until proven ordinary.
Thus, it becomes the prime objective of any government, not to protect the people, but to protect the idea of the people, from the people.
It's already here...
Part of the problem in huge monolithic organisations that I have observed, is often down to the fact that IT security takes precedence over any other function.
When IT locks down the company so much that USB ports are disabled, email attachments stripped and access to cloud servers blocked - then users assume if they can access a cloud service, it's not blocked and therefore it's permissible (after all they block anything not permissible).
Security is important, but in some organisations, they're spending so much money making the door to the cell safe, and ignoring the fact that the inmates are climbing out of the windows.
Couple this with the fact that managers want projects done by certain deadlines - that do not take into account the time spent that would be waiting for account propagation, software justification and sign off. To use another analogy - they're trying to operate a steam-liner like a yacht.
I've known of contractors being paid a typical day rate who've spent the first 3 days reading a newspaper waiting for an account and access. On the other hand most of the time people just swap login details so they can get working... How much time and money is being wasted on security procedures that are simply not followed (and by logical extension probably not necessary for certain IT tasks and systems)?
It's not IT though, it's management as a whole needing to get their collective heads out of their asses and realise that life finds a way - their employees are not only using shadow IT, but without it, their company would flop under the weight of their own IT constraints.
Yep, as someone currently studying for ITIL Foundation I find it quite ironic that ITIL and Prince2 are brought to us by the same government that brought us NPfIT.
Re: Title is too long.
And there you have in a nutshell - the problem with collecting data on everyone and everything does not mean the ability to detect more threats, it means the inability to determine what a threat actually is.
They need to scale back this bullshit and join the schengen area at least. The world is getting increasingly smaller and many more of us have to travel to Europe to do business. To me, border agencies increasingly look like my gran struggling with her Virgin Media remote.
Wouldn't that mean there are bits of Earth laying around the cosmos, possibly even to be found on Mars? At least, before our atmosphere was formed?
Wouldn't that just count against you in court? i.e. the "You do not have to say anything..." part?
On the other hand, the police do have to provide an interpreter if the subject doesn't speak English - how about insisting on answering in an alternative language such as Klingon, Elvish, Dothraki, Esperanto, Europanto or Transpiranto to name a few?
Perhaps the authorities need to understand that the reason that resources are stretched, so many cases are fragile, subject to falling apart and the odds are against convictions for refusing to give encryption keys - is that they are already dangerously stepping over the line from investigating tangible crime into thought crime and pre-crime.
Think about it, before 2001, for every 1 actual terrorist who carried out his act of terror;
- How many terrorist backed out at the last minute and went back to a normal life?
- How many potential terrorists went through planning/training but never carried it out and went on to live a normal life?
- How many potential terrorists wanted to do something but never really made connections or got to planning, got over it and carried on with a normal life?
- How many potential terrorists never plan to do anything, but secretly celebrate acts of terror?
- How many "potential terrorists" are simply interested in chemicals/history/terrorism/politics and spend their personal time researching the subjects?
- How many "potential terrorists" are critical of Western governments, socially and politically active and potentially brush shoulders unaware with other [potential] terrorists?
All of the above are likely to have interesting internet search histories, maybe even documents and plans (at university I knew someone who downloaded the code for Melissa because he was interested in studying the code). However, out of all those people, up until the act of terror - it's simply thoughts and thoughts laid out in print.
The more you investigate crimes of thought or intent, the more and more people you're going to find guilty, the more and more people you're going to have to lock up - or at least waste vast amounts of time and resources on, when the courts find that you're case is built on thoughts alone.
How much life has the youngest patent that Nokia got on it's books? 10, 15 years? That's how long before Nokia's name becomes all but history... if the
company troll even lasts that long.
He's got no clothes on!
"Our King is determined to clarify and is now doing a thorough review in order that nobody will have a sense of nakedness."
Re: Hands up anyone that didn't see this coming
I'd be very interested in seeing if Sony were willing participants in this sueball.
I remember reading mention somewhere that Sony has a bit of a multiple personality disorder (my paraphrasing)... essentially their technology arm are so far removed and at odds with their entertainment arm ideologically as well as goals; it's a wonder the company hasn't split already and started suing each other.
Still it would be interesting to see if Sony lose the right to use the Android trademark and Google Apps after this.
At current US electronics exchange rates $349 = £349.
Maybe instead of working on a tech standard that only works based on the whims of the advertiser, they should be working on an advertising standard in and of itself.
Specifying when, how and in what format advertising should appear. I have no problem with unobtrusive ads, it's the one's that popup in front of the text I'm trying to read, with loud noises or graphics.
Advertisers: Big splashy graphics, noise and popup windows make me NOT want to buy anything you produce.
Youtube: rather than a stupid minute long ad I don't want to watch, letting me skip after 5 seconds - which I almost always do; just have a 2 second splash that states "Video brought to you by..." (Google used to know how to do subtle advertising. Why does it seem like they've gone out and hired all the obnoxious marketers from other failed web-enterprises?)
Here's my application the NASA space program...
I am an Astronaut.
Intellectual property distribution is a
n serious civil infringement that is costing the UK economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year.
Re: Fundamental flaws
I hope for your sakes you're using a laptop and dongle - not your bank workstation - since El Reg forums are not encrypted and anyone can sniff your login details via a packet inspector, anonymous or not.
I guess I'm the only one...
Who would prefer to swear to God, but not to Queen?
“Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not take oaths at all – not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no.’ More than this is from the evil one."
Re: @Callam McMillan - "the ..goal of putting a PC into every home came to fruition"
How could you forget Atari ST???
...puts Balmy in the corner.
I work in banking. If what you suggest were true, we could use that as a convenient excuse for money laundering. Guess what? We don't.
Obviously you don't work for HSBC, BOA, JPMC, Citi, Goldman Sachs or Barclays then? Or the majority of other global investment banks for that matter... always remember the Golden Rule, those with the Gold, make the Rules.
Re: Are they splitting hairs?
Good point - if this was a middle-eastern regime that was threatening Google for not handing over data most would be saying exactly the same - if there's no servers hosted there and no business being done - there is no case to answer.
If they do have offices and bank accounts however....
an opportunity for a competitor who better meets French and EU privacy standards...
Technically you are correct, but when you consider the competition (mostly US based companies) - do any of them really meet our privacy standards? The focus is only on Google because of the monopoly position - I don't think the likes of Microsoft are doing anything differently - and they're all handing over masses of data on Euro-citizens to the NSA.
Re: What's the big deal?
Yes it all makes perfect sense...
Just like bank employees should be expected to snoop into friends, families and potential lovers bank accounts just to check, y'know, there's no fraud going on. Because they could risk their job having a relationship with someone who is a fraudster. Against the rules, sure, but it's likely within the scope of this bank employees work.
There's HR, Compliance and other procedures for this soft of thing - whether it's the director, an agent, or the janitor who happens to be working at their offices.
Re: Regardless of the merits of the Apple patent
I don't support software patents in any form, but I agree, it's a bit strange that an inventor demonstrating their invention can actually be cited for prior art against their own invention.
It's almost as if an actual physical working product doesn't even factor into the equation. Why, someone could just come up with an idea and as long as they had a stamped and dated bit of paperwork - then all the rewards of hard work that goes into actually inventing something physical and tangible - belongs to them.
internally it's known as the "Spring 2014 GDR"
1) They're calling it a "distribution" now?
2) They still can't seem to get a consistent naming convention for their OS from one release to the next!
Sadly I see a lot of this in my sector... working for a client of a client in such a capacity now - but hey, can't afford to turn down the money.
Re: @Philip Lewis NOKIA
Just like how KODAK leveraged it's intellectual property to stay head of the competition and on top of the digital camera market (being the inventors and patent holders of the digital camera as such).... oh, wait...
Relying on patents is not a business strategy, it's a troll strategy which is becoming more and more precarious in light of the US governments recent interest.
I wonder if we'll see a shift...
Towards Europeans using proxies, vpns or other spoofing measures to get through to a non-bolloxed version of the US Google once the EU regulators are done with it?
They've already managed to make EU websites slightly more annoying with the cookies warnings appearing here there and everywhere - forcing us to do an extra few mouse-clicks! I fear Google EU becoming unusable.
And when we look back on the action against Microsoft, didn't Firefox and Chrome manage to beat IE even before the final ruling and forcing MS to put a choice dialogue box in their OS?
What good are EU regulations when they frequently target not only yesterdays problems, but problems no-one is complaining about. At this rate, might as well not expect any action on UEFI bootloader locking until at least 2023 - when it's been surpassed by another technology altogether...
No mystery there. Where do you think the governments, regulatory bodies, and so on get their money from? Who do you think they're answerable to?
With regards to regulatory bodies it's the opposite problem - not enough money and not enough experts. Regulatory bodies suffer from a particular type of brain-drain.
In that they hire fairly inexperienced or average types to investigate bankers books; then after they've gotten some experience, banks will swoop in with offer of a salary the government can't compete with, and hire these experienced regulators to help them find ways around new regulations.
It's a lovely parasitic relationship. Anyone looking for a high paying job in banking should get a job in a regulatory organisation.
Re: Genuine question...
I would like to see the results of this little thought experiment.
I'd also like to see the result if someone programmed a bot to tweet random sentences and one so happened to be a bomb threat. How would the thought-police deal with that one?
BTW I find myself feeling threatened by this picture of a bomb exploding -->
- Vid Hubble 'scope snaps 200,000-ton chunky crumble conundrum
- Bugger the jetpack, where's my 21st-century Psion?
- Google offers up its own Googlers in cloud channel chumship trawl
- Windows 8.1 Update 1 spewed online a MONTH early – by Microsoft
- Interview Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON