* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

2873 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

New British flying robot killer death machines renamed 'Protector'

Phil O'Sophical
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Why only buy 20? You could buy 15 for the cost of an F35, they don't need catapult launchers, and we have a couple of carriers with lots of spare space...

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If your smart home gear hasn't updated recently, throw it in the trash

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: I have a smart lightswitch...

I've got an even better one. It knows the state of the switch at the top of the stairs, and can automatically reverse its functionality depending on the state of the other switch. It doesn't even need a bluetooth connection to do it.

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US election pollsters weren't (very) wrong – statistically speaking

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Mandatory Voting

but turnout should be at or near 100%.

It should, but the fault that it isn't lies mostly with the people standing for election.

People will only vote if they think the outcome will matter to them in a way that makes a difference. If they feel that "they're all the same" or "I lose whatever happens" they won't bother to vote. It's probably why Trump got a higher score than expected, at least amomg some people, because what he said (true or not, bullshit or not) clicked with them.

The same thing happened in the Scottish independence and Brexit referendums. The issues actually mattered to people, so they turned out to vote.

Too many politicians today have no genuine passion for their cause, they are like CEOs running a business. They read the "market", run their focus groups, and try and work out what they have to say to get (re)elected. That makes them followers, not leaders, and no-one votes to chose their followers.

Don't blame the voters or the system for low turnouts, the blame lies squarely with the people we're being asked to vote for.

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Brexit means Brexit: What the heck does that mean...

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

ISTM that she is asserting the sovereignty of Parliament which has been established, sometimes with a great deal of bloodshed, over the course of the last 1/3rd of a millennium. Some of us think that's worth keeping.

So do I, but in a representative democracy Parliament exists to represent the will of the people. When the first public statement of a newly-elected MP is to propose using Parliament to override the demonstrated will of the people it's not democracy, it's tyranny.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

Yes it does: British citizens can, and do, currently move around to EU to look for work, start a business, or enjoy retirement or generally hang out.

They could do that before the EU was created, even before the EEC was created.

Losing that right is going to have a major impact on most of my friends and, especially, their children.

This is a common piece of propganda. Losing the right does not mean losing the power. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans, Canadians, Australians, Indians, Chinese, etc. who live happily in the EU, and vice-versa. None of them had the right to simply walk in and plonk themselves down, but all had the power to request residence, do the paperwork, and settle. It isn't even very difficult. Why should anyone have the right to settle anywhere they choose, without making some effort first to demonstrate a commitment, and a willingness to contribute, to their new home?

Freedom of movement is not some theoretical concept only relevant to wealthy metropolitan liberals. Many Brits, from all walks of life, have benefitted from that right and lived in other European countries for shorter or longer periods, or are still living there.

Indeed so, about 1.2 million (or 2% of the UK population) and there's no reason we could not continue to do so, although we may have to put a little more effort into it.

A right that might well evaporate in the near future.

Unfortunately people who bang the "I know my rights" drum often overlook the other ride of the coin, which is the duty and responsibility to give something in return. Just insisting on "rights" makes it all take, and no give. It's highly unlikely that either EU counties or the UK will start expelling one another's citizens post-Brexit, that would be lose-lose. At worst people wanting to move may have to do a bit of paperwork, and some may be refused, but I daresay it will still be much easier then moving to the USA, or Australia, etc.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

Phil, I'm not sure where you're based,

I'm a Brit, but living elsewhere in the EU.

please note that the UK has a parliamentary system based on constituencies.

I know, and please note that if the EU referendum had been run on consititiuency lines it would have been 70:30 to leave in England.

Olney made it clear during her campaign that she was against Brexit (and the third runway) and was elected on that basis, by a constituency which in the referendum also voted against Brexit. So the democratic vote with respect to her work as a constituency MP is indeed anti-Brexit.

I don't dispute that the people who voted for her are anti-Brexit, but I think her choice of words about using Parliament to override the referendum are disgraceful. She epitomises the Mummy-knows-best attitude of EU politicians that led to the leave vote winning.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Goldsmith lost in Richmond because of it. Apparently.

In case you didn't notice that was an election of an MP

And caused by an MP who resigned on principle (far too uncommon these days) over the Heathrow expansion, so nothing to do with Brexit.

He almost got re-elected as an independent, 52:48 on only 54% turnout, despite that constituency voting 70:30 to Remain with 82% turnout, so either the remain vote has dropped hugely, or this wasn't about Brexit. I think it's obvious which is the case.

The truly apalling thing was for the new MP to say "“It does look now as if we can have a vote in Parliament that might override the referendum.". She hasn't even taken the oath yet and she's talking about using Parliament to override a democratic vote. Shameful.

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Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Considering it's such a tiny amount

"Tiny" doesn't mean "insignificant". 100ppm tallow might be enough to make a significant change to the material's properties. After all, 100ppm Hydrogen Cyanide will probably kill you...

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Is there a petition to insist that we DON'T change the new £5 note?

Because I would sign it in a flash.

So start it. I'll sign.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Pandora's box?

Think e.g. dipping in chemicals, confined environments, slaughtered at an early age, stress at any one of those stages.

Why bring economy-class air travel into it?

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Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

Phil O'Sophical
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With the characters not being echoed back to you you can't see whether the caps lock is on or off.

Isn't that what the Caps Lock LED is for??

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Hackers waste Xbox One, PS4, MacBook, Pixel, with USB zapper

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: In other news....

It's not missing, and will be renewed eventually. You'll just have to wait a few aeons.

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Phil O'Sophical
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I wonder how long one of these USBKill devices would survive being essentially shorted out?

If they use some sort of capacitor/diode multiplier they'll probably survive it indefinitely, but they still won't be able to damage the connected device.

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Soon only Ticketmaster will rip you off: Concert scalper bots face US ban

Phil O'Sophical
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No need to be as specific as a driving license

Just print a name on the ticket, and require any photo ID that matches the name on entry. Works for airlines.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Touts

The question is: if I am prepared to pay someone to do this for me, and prevent me having to use binoculars to see the stage, then why shouldn't I?

No reason at all, but wouldn't you prefer to get those tickets at the normal on-sale price, instead of having to pay a tout an 80% tip for being a middle-man?

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Sky: Stuff your quad play – customers want separate bills

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Ah

That was my thought. Their MVNO service is supplied by some third party, and all the bills will be electronic, so it's easier to send separate emails then to integrate the systems. Might as well put a positive spin on it.

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European Council agrees to remove geoblocking

Phil O'Sophical
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It also encourages a weird cross border trade in fireworks; one is more liberal than the other, there are at least four huge shops dedicated to fireworks"

Like pubs that found themselves straddling the Irish border, and could only serve alcohol from one end of the bar on Sundays.

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systemd free Linux distro Devuan releases second beta

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: A pox on systemd and all things poettering

I don't really give a flying shit if my server boots in 20 seconds or 45 seconds

I'll happily eat the extra boot time for a more stable system overall

Yep. On Monday I rebooted my Debian server, for the first time in 9 months. I then had to fire up a laptop & log in to the server to restart NFS, which systemd still can't start correctly, so that I could boot my desktop system successfully. If I want to try and fix this I need to set aside a day when I can reboot the server every 30 minutes until I figure out the problem and (hopefully) the fix. For a system that gets restarted maybe once a year that isn't worth it, so I end up with a Post-It on the box saying "after reboot, manually restart NFS". The previous releases of Debian got me to a working multi-user server faster, and more reliably.

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UK's new Snoopers' Charter just passed an encryption backdoor law by the backdoor

Phil O'Sophical
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Yes, it's pointless

And if you encrypt your message using your personal cipher software before even passing it to the provider, no number of legal backdoors at the ISP will allow the government to read your message, even if they have the whole contents served to them on a plate. Of course, possessing such software could be made illegal, but if you're planning a terrorist atrocity you're unlikely to be deterred by that.

It's like DRM, it will make no difference whatsoever to the criminals, and will just inconvenience and criminalise ordinary people.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: This is the last backdoor

As soon as an ISP or a call or messaging service or forum is served a notice that the government wants to start messing about, they are unable to make it public.

So, what if ISPs issue a statement every Monday morning saying that they have not been served with such a notice, would that be legal? Then if, one Monday, they didn't issue the statement...

A bit like the old AA patrolmen who used to salute members to warn them of speed traps. When that was outlawed they decided to salute all members. Of course, sometimes they forgot...

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Ofcom to force a legal separation of Openreach

Phil O'Sophical
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Thatcher & Co sold it for a number of reasons one being to reduce the power of the Unions another to line their friends in the Citys' pockets

BT, and the GPO before it, was never a particularly militant union stronghold.

You can still only get a land-line from basically two providers, BT and Virgin

And you know why? Because it's almost impossible make any money out of doing it.

By the way who underwrites BT's huge pension liabilities ?

The shareholders. The Crown guarantee, which is the only part that affects taxpayers, would only step in if BT went bust.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Err.....

The cable companies laid brand new networks in a very short space of time.

Only by cherry-pciking the places where they could lay it cheaply for large returns. How many small villages with three farms and a pub have Virgin cable? How many streets in 1000-year-old cities have they dug up to lay new fibre?

BT also had the advantage of all their ducting and poles already in place.

Ducting which, in may of those old cities, is already crammed full.

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Phil O'Sophical
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We live 11 km from the exchange and BT will not lay the infrastructure to provide broadband to my community as we're a small hamlet and are clearly not economically viable for them to do so.

Presumably you live there from choice, so you've made the tradeoff. I also live in a rural area with slow broadband, but I'm not willing to put up with the inconvenience of living in a town just to get something faster, not do I expect the townies to pay for it for me. We don't have a regular bus service, or mains drainage either, but I still consider the tradeoff worthwhile.

If enough people in your hamlet want broadband aren't there self-help schemes that you could try?

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Confirmation of who constitutes average whisky consumer helps resolve dispute

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Raise a toast

"Clan" just means "family", so I would read this as meaning companies can register names containing the word Clan, just as you might trademark "Smith & Son Marmalade". What they can't do is have exclusive rights to "Clan" on it's own, which seems eminently reasonable.

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Adblock again beats publishers' Adblock-blocking attempts

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: An idea

So, non-intrusive ads are ignored because they aren't noticed, and intrusive ads are ignored because they're so bloody annoying I refuse to pay attention and/or block them.

Looks like a lose-lose model for the advertisers. Oh dear, how sad.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Why is this even a discussion?

What will you do when you need new drivers, but the manufacturer's website throws up an ad wall?

Never buy a device from that manufacturer again.

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Google's Chromecast Audio busted BT home routers – now it has a fix

Phil O'Sophical
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This reminds me of old modems that used to have a problem with Fortran...

It made no obvious sense, why should transferring files written in one programming language be an issue, but eventually it was root-caused. The standard way to write a comment in Fortran source is to put a 'C' character in column one of the file, and some people used to mark out block comments by holding down the C key, creating things like

CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

C This is a big comment

C over several lines

CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC

It turned out that the modem error-correcting protocol didn't expect a long sequence of 01000011010000110100001101000011010000110100001101000011 from 60-odd consecutive 'C' characters, and would lose sync on some less-than-perfect lines...

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Integrator fired chap for hiding drugs conviction, told to pay compo for violating his rights

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Yet another example

Stats on this side of the pond are thin on Ex in specific, but, at least for what there is, *legally prescribed* Oxycodone kills more people than Ex. That may have more to do with lazy doctors than anything else tho.

What has that to do with anything? If a legal drug causes deaths because it is abused or misprescribed, that's a medical problem that needs to be solved. It's a completely different situation to an unlicensed seller trading in a drug which is banned because it is known to cause fatal reactions, and has no known medical uses.

If a criminal record is an issue in a field of employment, one cannot offer someone a position until such time as it has been determined that there is no criminal record.

I repeat my original question. Is there a concept of a conviction being "spent" under Australian law, and if so was it the case here? If not then there are two issues:

- Should the employer have done the check first, especially since the guy in question asked the interviewers if there was a check, which should have rung alarm bells?

- Was the guy obliged to own up?

As the article says, he wasn't fired for having a drugs conviction, he was released from a trial contract because he didn't admit to having the record. If he was required to admit to the conviction, then he was effectively let go for lying, which may not be unreasonable if his employer expects honesty.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Yet another example

far more harm than recreational use of drugs.

He wasn't in trouble for using drugs recreationally, he was convicted of selling Ecstasy, which kills many people each year.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: When you've done the penalty, that should be it.

They didn't fire him, and they didn't fire him for having a criminal record.

He was let go during a trial period when they could, as the article says, end his contract with a week's notice for any reason. The reason they gave was that he didn't reveal that he had a past conviction.

The article is lacking some detail. Under UK law a conviction becomes spent after a number of years, and after that time any criminal record becomes legally invisible, does a similar situation apply in Australia? If so, was he outside that period? If so then I would agree that it wasn't acceptable to take it into account, but if the conviction was still on his visible record and he didn't reveal that, then the company was quite within its rights to end his contract.

Perhaps the only lesson Australian companies will take from this is that when you let someone go during their trial period, it's better not to be explicit about the reason.

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Airbus flies new plane for the first time

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Go A350 !

a bit better than old 68000s

Heresy! old 68000s were one of the nicest processors to program ever :)

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'Data saturation' helped to crash the Schiaparelli Mars probe

Phil O'Sophical
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In this case the British had been there, done that, 12 years ago. Possibly even less dramatically, see: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2112484-beagle-mars-probe-probably-didnt-crash-new-analysis-shows/

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You want SaaS? Don't bother, darling, your kind can't afford it

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Wrong way round

Or possibly not notice that their US-supplied system still had the factory default locale...

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Debian putting everything on the /usr

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: I don't like change

I've always understood usr to mean Unix System Resources and home to be for user home directories.

I have a Bell Labs paper on "Setting up Unix" which is undated, but hardware references to PDP and VAX, with a VAX disk assumed to be an RP06, would suggest mid- to late- 70s. It says

"The /usr file system contains commands and files that must be available (mounted) when the system is in multi-user mode."

There's a list of subdirectories, with comments like

bin: "Public commands, an overflow for /bin

There's no reference to a /home, but one of the examples of a passwd entry shows "login directories" of /usr/ghh and /usr/grk

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Not new

This was also why /bin and /sbin were kept around, since they contained statically-linked versions of binaries that would run without /usr being mounted, since in that case the shared libraries in /usr/lib would be inaccessible. This was useful if a network or boot problem meant that the NFS server where /usr was could not be reached.

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Missile tech helps boffins land drone on car moving at 50 km/h

Phil O'Sophical
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Instead of flying home, the authors envisage drones hitching a ride on buses, delivery trucks or boats,

The RAF tried that years ago:

https://66.media.tumblr.com/1231151a77bed9e3792a7493f88ca9f2/tumblr_nl82xyoP121r94kvzo2_1280.jpg

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Surprise, surprise. BT the only Universal Service Obligation provider in town

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Calling our bluff, are you?

and the chancellor needs to pay for it.

By which you mean, of course, the taxpayer needs to pay for it.

Why? How many of those taxpayers actually want superfast broadband, and why should those of us who would quite like it expect everyone else to pay?

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Samsung fires $70m at quantum televisions

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Quantum TV

What happens if you watch cat videos on a quantum "box"? Millions of observed kittens spontaneously popping their clogs?

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Office Depot halts PC Health Checks amid bogus infection claims

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Shocked I tell you!

> There's such a thing as "American trading standards laws"???

More commonly known as "The law of the jungle" I believe.

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MP Kees Verhoeven wants EU to regulate the Internet of S**t

Phil O'Sophical
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Good idea, but will it make it past the beancounters?

At the end of the day, though, this will only work if there's a regulator with the power to enforce the rules, and the money to fund a testing lab to verify self-certified devices. Since there's no sign of this for any of the other things covered by a CE or Kite mark I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for any EU authority to sign off on that budget item. Perhaps national agencies along the lines of the German TUVs would have more success, if national parliaments can be persuaded to fund them.

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Barnet Council: Outsourcing deal with Capita has 'performance issues'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: It's Barnet council that has "performnace issues"

if it was done properly the overall outcome would be cheaper, or at least generate less bad publicity.

Well, that is exactly what I meant by "if it was properly let and managed.". If Crapita accepted a contract full of holes, and then allowed the council to fill them in later, the faults are on both sides. The problem is that neither side cares about the consequences, unlike a bridge or building falling down, so there's no incentive to ensure the contract is properly written and managed. If people ended up in court over this, as they would if a plane crashed or a building collapsed, then they might pay more attention up front. But since nothing gets hurt except taxpayer wallets, no worries.

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Phil O'Sophical
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It's Barnet council that has "performnace issues"

The very fact that they think an attitude of "Not surprisingly with a contract of this scale and complexity, there have been performance challenges in all services" is acceptable shows how incompetent this council is. There is no good reason why an important contract, of any size, should have significant performance challenges in any area, if it was properly let and managed.

If the first few examples of a new Airbus or Boeing fell out of the sky occasionally, would the airlines just issue press releases saying "well, every new machine has teething troubles", and expect everyone to be happy? If a new range of telephones started catching fire, would we expect the supplier to dismiss it as "just an expected performance challenge", and would their share price remain unchanged?

Why is it only government customers of Crapita who see to think this is normal? Have Crapita ever successfully completed a project on time and to budget?

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UK PM Theresa May's £2bn in R&D still a drop in the ocean

Phil O'Sophical
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There's no direct connection. Most European R&D spending is with organizations that are much larger than the EU, and whether the UK is in or out of the EU need not change any of its contributions to such projects.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: It is a matter of priorities, after all

Exactly. Headlines like "a drop in the ocean" don't exactly reflect the true situation, that 2bn moving us from 0.48% to around 0.6% doesn't actually compare too unfavourably to the EU average of 0.67%, or the G8 average of 0.77%.

It would be good to do better, of course, but it's a start, and one that we will hopefully build on.

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Facebook Fake News won it for Trump? That's a Zombie theory

Phil O'Sophical
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You are mixed up with the far left and the left. The "left" we have in Europe is "very much in favour of free enterprise and individual liberty".

No, I don't think I'm mixed up, not least because the definitions of left and far-left vary across Europe. What the UK considers as "left", i.e. the Labour party, is much closer to what the French consider to be centre-right, for example. Corbyn & co are heading for "far left" by UK standards, but much of Europe would not consider them to be so.

The European "left" may think it's in favour of "free enterprise and individual liberty", but in UK terms it is still a bastion of intolerable state intervention and paternalistic control, and is the cause of the economic problems in so much of the Euro zone.. Without wanting to start another Brexit flamewar, I do think this is one of the fundamental problems. Much of the EU political class that considers itself centrist and moderate simply doesn't understand why the British consider them unacceptably left-wing, and want nothing to do with them.

People who live in a "two party" system are more mixed up and fooled by this left and right and have problems looking straight and use common sense.

Please don't assume that people who don't think like you have "problems looking straight and use common sense", it's exactly that arrogant and condescending attitude that, to a Briton, typifies the "Daddy knows best" attitude that is so repellent about European politicians, especially those on the left.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: The Ugly Truth

America is doomed, I need to pack up and leave.

That's a self-sustaining attitude, unfortunately, and is why we have such a bunch of career wankers in charge. The people who could make a difference all look at it and decide "I'm not getting involved in that crap" and either run away, or hunker down & cross their fingers that they won't be in front of the fan when the shit hits.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Identify the author of the following quote, then go and hide back under your post-truth rock...

Churchill was a liberal in his early life, but by no means a lefty. He was very much in favour of free enterpise and individual liberty.

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Phil O'Sophical
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post-vote realisation of the terrible mistake that has been made.

Funny thing is, just like Brexit, the only people who think that "a mistake has been made" are the ones who didn't pick the winning side. Pitching it as "oh noes, now we all realise our mistake" is just Propaganda 101.

I'm not saying that I'm happy with the result, I think the Democrats screwed up big time by choosing such an unappealing candidate, but I'm pretty sure that if you reran the election tomorrow you would get much the same outcome.

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Amazon's Netflix-gnasher to hit top gear In December

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: The question is...

followed by ..

"Like all bundles, it depends upon how many of the individual bits you use"

And let's not get into streaming services...

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NASA trying to rein in next-generation super-heavy lifter costs

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: James Hansen will be furious

In the great race to cut CO₂ emissions, we've been encouraged to switch from petrol to diesel-engined cars.

Well, no, actually. The push for diesel started long before AGW was seen as an issue, and was primarily due to production issues. The massive demand for light fuels like gasoline mean that heavy crude oil had to be cracked, at great expense, so many european governments played games with taxes to encourage the use of diesel, which they had more of.

CO₂ emissions are a newcomer to the game, and NOx even more so.

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