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* Posts by Ledswinger

2133 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Used all your mobile data? Why not buy your mate's excess bits?

Ledswinger
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"Hey Mr. Politburo, no need for laws; look how *fair* we a being!"

Hardly an issue in China. Compliance is binary - you're in with the politicians (and probably bunging them some, or even run by them), or you're not. And if you're not then sticking to the letter of the law won't help you one bit. You will soon find your employees have mysteriously fallen out of windows, or been placed under house arrest, and your commercial partners have vanished like rice in a refugee camp.

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Ledswinger
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Never mind your wife, what's in it for China Mobile?

I would guess that one of the biggest earners for mobile networks around the world is people incurring the punitive data and voice rates when they go outside their bundle. With this "innovation" the mobile operator gets nothing for a net increase in network data use (or gets none of the pure margin extra revenue that it currently would).

Why not simply offer a fair call and data rate to all users outside of the bundles in the first place?

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Ledswinger
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Re: Give some credit where it is deue

"This is a nice example of the EC getting things right"

Only if your view of supra-state government is that its purpose is to dabble in the really important stuff like forcing a profitable and hugle successful company to adopt a rather flimsy connector that for valid commercial or technical reasons they've decided they don't want to.

If it was important to the fanbois, they'd vote with their feet. I don't own any Apple kit, but I think Apple corporation and their customers are the people to decide on how their stuff works, not a bunch of tecnhically illiterate c*nts in Brussels who can't even get their own accounts audited.

However, just as you are delighted with this sterling performance by the EU, leaping into action like a greased panther, I'm sure the 57.4% of Spanish youth who are unemployed will be f***ing delighted to hear that the overpaid @rseholes in Brussels have decided that Apple will have to use micro USB. Or the 41% of Italian young people, or 36% of Portugese youth.

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Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

Ledswinger
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Re: A fascinating place.

Anybody in that neck of the woods shouldn't miss out on visiting Old Warden, a few miles up the road in Bedfordshire.

When I first went I was expecting it would be rather dull, full of stuffed stringbags, but the reality is that it is alive, with many of the exhibits in flying condition and brought out on special occaisions, lots of detail on the engineering and the history. If you're there during the week you can see the guys restoring aircraft, but even at weekends the place reeks of fabric dope and engine oil. Compared to the sterile, odour free RAF museums at Cosford and Hendon, Old Warden shows what an aircraft museum should be,

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Harvard kid, 20, emailed uni bomb threat via Tor to avoid final exam, says FBI

Ledswinger
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Re: Missing the obvious...

"The stupid part was confessing. "

Only stupid if voluntary. Given that the police spend a lot of time interrogating people, they are usually as good at it as you will be at your jobs. Keeping a completely straight face, and telling a coherent and unchanging story when being questioned by the police is not as easy as it seems, and I'd wager that any non-career criminal will struggle to avoid dobbing themselves in it.

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Suffering SPITZER! Boffins discover Milky Way's MISSING ARMS

Ledswinger
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"But (rather like art galleries) my mild shame at not doing more civilised things myself is at least balanced by awe at and gratitude for those who do"

If you're ever in St Ives, visit the Tate Modern. It is a five star attraction that offers a "kill or cure" outcome for undecided visitors. The building's fantastic, in a great location. In my case it confirmed that modern art is mostly shit, with pride of place given (for example) to a single sheet of A4 paper with a single large solid black diamond shape on it. Or weird bronze castings that look like an experimental French urinal (as opposed to Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain", which is a urinal). Boxes of books you rummage around in and then insert cut out text in between the pages to "create art". The obligatory whole room devoted to some woman who you've never heard of, but who produced a lot of rather dull and uninteresting paintings and junk sculptures then "went and lived the rest of her life as a man on the West Bank in Paris".

And the whole experience is rounded off by traditional po-faced babooshkas to shoo you away when you mistakenly sit on an exhibit because it looks like a bench. YMMV, you might find you love it, but I commend the place to anybody: Those who love modern art (and can't see when an "artist" is talentless and simply taking the piss); those who are undecided; and those who are fairly sure they won't like it, but have a good sense of humour.

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IT bods: Windows XP, we WON'T leave you. Migrate? Chuh! As if...

Ledswinger
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Re: I believe it

"there are many applications that only work with the specific quirks of IE 6, and are too expensive or impossible to reasonably upgrade. "

Nothing is impossible. All IT comes down to binary at the end of the day. Too expensive is a matter of choice.

In most of these enterprise cases idiot CIOs allowed business critical dependencies to develop, when exercise of their professional responsibility should have recognised that third party code isn't supported for ever, and that nailing stuff to IE6 (which was shit at the time, please remember) was a really bad and short sighted idea.

It may now be expensive to undo a badly done job, and redo it all properly, but RBS shows what happens when your IT is one vast pile of sticking plasters. From my dealings with the company I believe Vodafone's IT is equally unreliable, so I'm guessing that their IT strategy is a similar "elastoplast + outsource to cheap and crap foreigners", and there's plenty of other companies who've made the same mistake.

Choices are tougher in the SME sector, but for any big corporation running XP after next April, I hope they get trashed, and then clobbered by the regulators for their incompetence and stupidity.

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Samsung poaches Apple store guru for US retail push

Ledswinger
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"I'd imagine they are going to pee off a lot of their retailers (John Lewis, Tesco etc.) which could be very dangerous"

Hardly. By definition, dedicated retailers rarely have exclusivity on a brand product, so another few stores opening is neither here nor there. I'd guess Samsung stores won't be offering discounted products, nor will they be shifting any volume - their purpose is simply to be a better and more wide ranging showroom for Samsung's over-arching brand than can be achieved through Argos, JL, Tesco, Carphone Warehouse, PC World etc.

I doubt it will be a success, and they'll close within a year of opening, but even if it is a success, that will probably help other retailers shift Samsung kit rather than undermine them. Having said that, I'm with another commentard above: This shows Samsung's marketing department is out of control, and there's such a big budget that they don't have a clue (even by marketing standards) what to do with the money. Evidently the marketing department see this excess as a solution to the problem that the S4 is too f***ing expensive and not selling fast enough, and they've never heard of the Nexus 5 or Moto G. Peak Samsung, IMHO.

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James Bond's 'shaken not stirred': Down to trembling boozer's hands, claim boffins

Ledswinger
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Which makes the Lancet equivalent to the Daily Star.

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Apple CEO Cook breaks YEARS OF SILENCE, finally speaks to El Reg hack

Ledswinger
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Re: "Best" is not just a word

"Pedant. Or is that not sufficiently sentencey for you?"

You realise that "pedant" is one of the highest accolades a commentard can receive?

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Santa brings Dixons £31m profits as ghost of Comet is laid to rest

Ledswinger
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" sales were up thanks to steady cutting of less profitable subsidiaries"

So the Reg reckons the subsidiaries had negative sales?

Notwithstanding my contempt for Dixons and PC World, I think even they would struggle to deliver a negative top line.

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Excise Xmas prezzie indecision MISERY with El Reg’s gift guide²

Ledswinger
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Re: Jingle bells, batman smells...

"Birmingham 1978 (ish)."

Still current in the Midlands even today!

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Ledswinger
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Re: washable keyboard?

"Put my normal keyboard in the dishwasher (not including the internal circuit board). "

The caveat is important. I had a rather greasy and dirty keyboard, and followed the advice to dishwash it, knowingly accepting that this was "kill or cure". And it was "kill" - dead as the dodo despite partial disassembly and drying in the airing cupboard for a week. I didn't mind too much, but anybody who values their keyboard should either fully dismantle and only wash the mechanical bits, or forgo the siren call of the dishwasher and stick to cotton buds, kitchen roll and a big bottle of ispropyl alcohol.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Parent present

"I like the idea of a hudl but its been out of stock for ages now."

Carphone Warehouse are selling 2012 model Nexus 7's for £119. The store I was in on Saturday had 'em in stock, and the website is offering free delivery or delivery to store and claiming availability.

I think I'd rather have last year's Nexus than Tesco's when the price is the same.

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Unlocking CryptoLocker: How infosec bods hunt the fiends behind it

Ledswinger
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Re: Offer a reward

" Instead, deal with the Russion authorities and have them take care of matters"

Dream on, mate! A big part of the problem is that the Russian state and Russian criminals exist on a continuum, not a binary scale. And not in the manner of the ongoing till-dipping and employ-your-mates graft prevalent in the US or UK, but on a much larger, more open and more brutal scale. We all know what happens to investigative journalists in Russia for example - murdered, and the authorities never seem to find the cuplrits.

So the chances are that the Cryptolocker gang are already part of criminal/political gang run by a mid level oligarch in some sh1tty oblast in southern Russia. And if they aren't they'll be looking to use their new found wealth to buy friends and influence. The only prospect of the authorities turning on them is if those same authorities think they aren't getting their cut, and have the back up of even more powerful thugs.

Progessively isolating increasingly large amounts of the internet is the only answer, because that would force the Russian government's hand when the tap is about to be turned off. But I simply don't think that US or European politicians are clever enough or brave enough to start such a move. Funny, isn't it. All this NSA and GCHQ data and phone scraping and storing "to keep us safe" and the useless f*ckers can't protect us from spam or business-grade malware?

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Resellers, distributors - your countdown to oblivion starts NOW

Ledswinger
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Re: "Value-add is why people will pay you"

"Any similar IT-specific examples?"

The whole BPO and enterprise services market is lock in. HP, IBM, et al generally can't do things cheaper than the customer when you include their margin, customer acquisition and account management costs. But by promising half wit CIO and CFOs the earth, justified by the illusory magic of labour arbitrage, they persuade big companies to hand over control of IT infrastructure and business critical functions like accounts payable and receivable. AP, AR, the IT helpdesk what are they if not transactional, low value services fit only to be performed by Indians?

And when after eighteen months it becomes clear that like for like costs are going up and up, service is sh1te and getting worse, the same CIO and CFO types find they've been had. They don't have control of their own staff to bring the service back in house, because after these staff were TUPEd to the outsourcer, said outsourcer then sacked them all and employed idiots on a pittance (HP, I'm glaring at you in particular, but the other vermin in the outsource sector are little better).

So that is the IT and BPO lock in: The vendors make sure that the customer is locked in for a good long while by a contract they don't understand. Said customers usually find they can't enforce the SLA on the vendor. And having TUPEd their own staff down the river, the only option is renew with the devil you know, or renew with the devil you don't know.

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Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies

Ledswinger
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" Paranoia pays off again."

Only if you've very paranoid. I suspect a typical browser even in private mode with "do not track" flags will be vulnerable to the more persistent forms of cookie. Do a search on evercookies, and you'll see one example of what you're up against. Ghostery and the like can help, but ultimately it is a straightforward arms race.

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Got a one-of-a-kind N9? Get ready to adopt Meego's baby Sailfish

Ledswinger
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Re: Great news.

" Fret not as the company will allow you to sideload its OS to any Android device that you might already have"

Love the idea. But what's the business plan? This matters because there's always a price.

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Los Angeles' weather is just like MORDOR, says Brit climate prof

Ledswinger
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Re: As with all Climate models

"Middle Earth has always struck me as just a set of scenes spatchcocked together as background for the plot rather than as anything that resembles a possible world."

I always find that a "Mr Logic" approach to literature is best restricted to technical manuals, since it may otherwise spoilt the enjoyment.

But if you do want to do that, Discworld may offer rather more holes to poke?

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Teary-eyed snappers recall the golden age of film

Ledswinger
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"To me, that's one of the decidedly mixed blessings of digital - it can encourage the mentality of "shoot lots and some will be good, by the law of averages."

But it has always been the case that subtle differences of the scene, the angle, lighting, timing, subject expression etc mean that even for the professional the best logic is often banging away like an armed policeman with Cressida Dick as your commanding officer. Hoping for one perfect shot, or even expecting a few carefully planned frames to come out is (in my view) reckless optimism. Back in the day of real fim the pros had motor drives for exactly that reason, along with high capacity backs because 36 shots wasn't enough, and even landscape photographers with expensive 6x6 film would always take a few reels before coming home.

Even in the environment of a studio, what's the ratio between shots taken, and published or exhibited work? My guess is something in the order of 200:1 for a shot that gets published, and more than double that overall because many professional studio sessions don't lead to anything getting published. Admittedly the professionals stand a better chance than Joe Soap, but judging by the number of carefully thought out shots I take that don't come out, there's no way I'm rationing the shutter button.

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Blighty could put a (WO)MAN on MARS by 2040, says sci minister

Ledswinger
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Tragic

"Willetts said that the UK could help to broker a deal between international powers to get the cooperation necessary for a manned mission to the Red Planet"

Well, we wouldn't want to get our hands dirty with science, manufacturing or even design, would we?

I nominate Willetts (and all the rest of the human refuse at Westminster) to be flushed down a giant toilet. Charge the public money to operate the lever, with auctioning of the rights to flush our more crooked and/or less competent politicians. That should get enough to make a dent in the national debt.

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It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources

Ledswinger
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Re: Had enough of Microsoft.. @ Wanda Lust

"I'm disappointed that posters resort to personal insults while describing their point of view against others. I don't think that's necessary but a little profanity (in an adjective form) or terseness should be excused...."

So telling people they are "whingers", and because you don't share their opinion they should "STFU" should be excused because you don't like the vitriolic response that it got?

Idiot.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Somewhat good news, but far from enough

" When you really need to use a boot disk because the OS has crashed, you can't, because it won't let you! The OS has to be working in order to change boot options, so these are visible during bootup, but if the OS has crashed, you are out of luck, "

The whole advanced reboot and recovery thing is an absolute tragedy with W8 (and 8.1). The system allows you to make a small bootable USB recovery drive that will get you into the recovery options (and you only need to get into the BIOS, not the HDD W8 install). That's really rather good. But by the time most people find this it's too late because they didn't know, or chose not to sacrifice a USB stick for this purpose. A bootable 8.1 reinstall disk burned by the user would have been even better, but there's no option to do that. Another example of Microsoft seeing the world only from their own perspective.

Likewise, even when you can get into W8, and you need to do an advanced restart, it's soooo easy to get to, just hold down the shift key when you select restart from shut down screen. Except too many people simply don't know that. How much did it cost to have a proper advanced options menu link on that screen?

Bringing these together with the built in system imaging capability, W8 should be a work of genius in terms of recoverability. Instead it's all too obscure, or defaults to the wrong thing. Likewise file versioning is turned off by default. The built in backup saves files as VHD and XML, which is pointless and unhelpful if you want to access backups without having access to Windows restore. The WIndows firewall can, but is not easily configurable to block outbound connections, so you need TinyWall or a paid product to enable capabilities that W8 has but aren't properly configured by default. Etc, etc.

So much that is good, yet the obsession with the TIFKAM UI and lack of attention to the defaults and useability negate them all.

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Ledswinger
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"Having listened to almost the entire world Microsoft realise they should ....."

You lost me there, I'm afraid.

Microsoft don't listen, they never have, they never will. This is simply a further financial knee jerk reaction to the slow motion commercial car crash that is Windows 8.

If Microsoft had listened to the W8 beta testers they wouldn't be in this mess. If they reacted quickly to the disastrous launch and negative publicity they wouldn't be here. If they'd listened in the meanwhile, looked at the various shell extensions the market is offering to fix W8, and then done 8.1 properly they wouldn't be in this place. So what are the chances of Microsoft listening and 8.2 doing the necessary job?

Give me any occaision when Microsoft have showed real contrition, recognised a past mistake, listened to users, and made appropriate amends? Take Vista - they did fix it in the end - but you had to pay for the fixed version that they called Windows 7. Leaving customers to put up with the dogs breakfast of Vista for eighteen months, and then expecting them to stump up twice for a working, stable OS, is that the same as contrition and listening to users?

I would point out I'm using W8.1 on the small fleet of home and family machines I support, and with Classic Shell it is probably even better than W7. But Microsoft's failed attempt to mollify the peasants with a 3.5 Gb reinstall, that failed to being back the functionality that people wanted shows the bad place they are in.

How can it require a near full OS reinstall and 3.5 gig of code to add a sodding start button that has virtually no functionality, when third party add ons bring vastly more capability in less than 1% of the same volume of code? And given all this, what is the chance that Microsoft will manage to get it right third time. Worse still, all these repeat attempts to fix W8 distract management from critical things like security. There is no reason in 2013 why Windows should not be as secure for the average user as OS X. Instead it remains a rats nest of critical vulnerabilities, or weeping security sores, with zero day flaws cropping up with monotonous regularity. Meanwhile all the executive effort over the past three years has goine into forcing an unsuitable and unwanted new UI onto customers, and then repeat efforts to fix the resulting problems.

Can a leopard change its spots? Probably not, but Microsoft aren't even trying.

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China, Brazil mourn loss of their $250m CBERS-3 satellite after fiery death

Ledswinger
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Re: China really wants to the world to see how bad they are screwing up the enviornment

"China really wants to the world to see how bad they are screwing up the enviornment "

Rubbish. Sounds like the same quality of tat that they often export. Good to see they aren't keeping the best stuff for themselves.

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Our Vulture strokes Dell's ROBUST 15 INCHER: Inspiron 15 Core i7

Ledswinger
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Re: XPS 15

"Illustrates the very cavalier attitude to support by Dell. They buy in some bargain hardware, don't sign up the supplier to provide driver support so down the line leave the customer with non-working functions."

I recall something similar with Dell, Creative sound cards, and Vista back in 2007. It wasn't that Creative hadn't updated the drivers in that case, it was that (for whatever reason) Dell weren't going to update their website with the new drivers, and the whole thing revolved around the fact that the sound card supplied by Dell pretended to be an OEM card. I suspect that because the drivers were specific to this supposedly OEM part (probably just the graphics on the driver control panel and installers), Creative had a techncially compatible update, but Dell wouldn't pay for the additional work to add the Dell logos.

With some messing about on the Creative web site it was possible to get properly working drivers, but you needed to take the cover off the Dell machine to see what Creative model number the sound card had - nowhere did Dell help you out with this. Incidentally the same sound card is now doing service in an otherwise new i5 gaming machine runnning Win 8.1, without a hiccup.

Might be worth persevering, and seeing if you can establish who the camera was made by, because they may have a working 8.1 driver that Dell simply aren't providing on the support web site.

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Facebook offshores HUGE WAD OF CASH to Caymans - via Ireland

Ledswinger
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Re: Fixed it for you

" I think there could quite easily be good cause to suspect that this is evasion, not avoidance. Allegedly."

That's the real pity. In most countries the existing legislation permits this sort of abuse to be stamped on, hard, as abusive transfer pricing. Funny thing is that they never apply it.

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Submerged Navy submarine successfully launches drone from missile tubes

Ledswinger
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Re: Recovery?

" one hopes there is some means to recover and refurbish the drone on the sub for re-use."

Of course there won't be. Why would you stealthily launch this whilst submerged, and then surface in full view to recover it? Like much military kit, this (in field use as opposed to trials) is on a one way journey.

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Big Brother's software firm Palantir valued at $9 BEEELION

Ledswinger
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@Don Jefe

"No, I do not approve of being spied upon by my government. I see no value in their 'protective services'. At the same time I believe that if you're going to do something do it as well as possible. That is even more important if you have to spend the publics money to do it. "

You aren't familiar with Monty Python, are you?

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Ledswinger
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"This sort of thing should be a core competency and if you aren't doing it in house then you've got no business doing it"

That rather reads like you want your government to spy on you, and think they should do more of it with closer control. Each to their own.

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Mexican Cobalt-60 robbers are DEAD MEN, say authorities

Ledswinger
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"I humbly submit this for the Darwin awards. On the other hand, as other have pointed out, it doesn't really seem that funny :("

To the hard hearted it is indeed funny. Fucking thieving bastards, serve 'em right. Just like the c*nts who steal live power cables.

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Lantern lights the way to web freedom for Great Firewall prisoners

Ledswinger
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Re: US state department funding?

"Err and you think this is not being used as a means to spy on them by the US?"

Don't be daft, of course we're all aware that the NSA would be slurping this lot as well - it's the only reason for doing it. But I think your comment shows that you fall into the category noted earlier of those who think irony pertains to things made of Fe.

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Ledswinger
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US state department funding?

"His new project has been given US$2.2 million (£1.3m) in seed funding by the US State Department, according to the paper."

US taxpayers must be pleased: They pay for the biggest, most pervasive spying programme in history, AND they now pay for somebody trying to shield other people from their own government's surveillance.

Do the Feds want to establish a new amendment, that "The people uphold their right to be spied upon by the government of the United States, but uphold the rights on non-Americans to freedom from similar surveillance".

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Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware survives hacktivists' takedown

Ledswinger
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"Successfully knocking out Cryptolocker will stop new infections."

New infections of Cryptolocker v1. The real threat of CL is that it has been perhaps the most effective piece of ransomware of all time (I speculate so). Which means that other envious cyber crooks are looking at how they can get a piece of the action, either by buying the software and modifying it, or writing their own to copy the business model. That's why I went for the measures noted above, because at the moment I can see which are (probably) the CL emails as they arrive either from ADP Payroll, Fedex, or "I am Natasha from Russia. Look my picture in attachment". But that only protects me when I can see and delte the threat. The Holy Grail for the crims is to be able to infect machines in (for example) a drive by download (or maybe the Grail is getting this to work on the machines of supposedly rich and security unaware Mac users).

Imagine you are a computer crook. If your malware recruits a machine to a botnet for sending spam, or participating in DDoS attacks, how much do you earn? $200 for 10,000 machines per day, say 60c per machine per month max, assuming there's sufficient rental demand to rent them out continuously. If you can install something like CL, you get perhaps 5% of infected users paying up say an average of $20 per machine infected, with no onging need to maintain the bots. So working ransomware gets you double the income of maintaining a botnet for eighteen months, and you get the money up front.

I think the security advisory firms haven't made enough of the aspects of CL that are not individually novel, but collectively are game changing: Effective delivery, stealthy and effective encryption, delivering on the unencryption when users pay up, untraceable payment.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Looking on the bright side....

"Make sure those backups are offline"

Don't worry, that was a number one consideration. Hitherto it has just been cloud synced, protecting me against sudden hardware failure or loss, but the stealth encryption of CL made me realise the error of my ways.

"Also, make sure you can recover, including recovery of the catalogue database (if there is one)".

No database as this is home machines, without any clever stuff on them, but good advice anyway.

"An untested backup may as well be just random data."

I must 'fess up, checked, but not fully tested. For things like the system image and ripped music there's other recovery paths if they don't restore, it's just more time. The document recovery has been tested variously in full or in part (still susceptible to bit rot I suppose). I might enable checksum comparison on the backup or something like that to provide some verification on backup writes, so thank you for the prompt.

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FTC torches Android flashlight app for spying on users

Ledswinger
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Re: Not too bright ?

"Why would you download a flashlight app in the first place -- hell of an expensive torch when you consider the wear on the battery and the replacement cost ?"

Easy. Because on any decent smartphone the LED gives much better illumination than an incandescent torch bulb, is more compact, rechargeable, and is with you most of the time. I've got an LED Maglite 2D which can put a spotlight on something a third of a mile away, but it's hardly pocketable, so I don't have it with me very often. Likewise, I've got a proper camera, but that doesn't invalidate the benefit of the one on my phone. Given the occaisional use the impact on battery life or durability is negligible. Obviously those who choose to buy a phone with a non user-replaceable battery might wish to be a bit more paranoid, but even for them I don't think it would be harmful - day to day use as a phone and communicator will knock 40% off your capacity in two years.

I struggle to understand why you wouldn't have a torch app. Been using Tiny Flashlight by Nikolay Ananiev for the past two years and it works for me.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Glad they are getting shut down

"Glad they are getting shut down "

But they aren't - the company are still in business, there's no fine mentioned. All this amounts to is a legally enforceable "cease and desist", with no real punishment. So the message from the FTC is "do what you want so long as you aren't caught, if you are caught there will be no penalty other than to require you to do what you should have been doing in the first place".

Google are no better - they need to ban this company from the Play store and automatically delete the app from user devices if they want to make Play a trusted resource, and make a big song and a dance about the fact to encourage other developers. I don't mind apps wanting to harvest data in return for use of the app, so long as I know up front, and can make an informed choice (which in this case would be a firm "no").

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Blighty's winter storms are PUNY compared to Saturn's 200mph, 15,000 mile wide HEXACANE

Ledswinger
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Re: Security fixing...

What we find inside when we get the top off worries me. And I'll bet we put the screw somewhere safe and can't find it when we try and put it back together.

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Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year

Ledswinger
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Re: Nice try

"13c a day is a lot of money when you live on $1-2 a day."

Yes, but it's a two year cash pay back, and when money's short the discount rate rises disproportionately. That won't be how the target market express it, but it's the same principle that sees poor people paying 1,000% APR on payday loans in this country, or higher rates to loan sharks around the world.

That's why the inventors discuss lease type schemes, but the harsh reality is that this is too expensive for what will be a pitifully low light output. Many of the prospective users will also be buying kersoene for cooking, so why buy a one candle power device that you have to fart around with every twenty minutes when you've still got to buy kersene, you've already invested in a kersoene lamp that gives better light for longer, and the time value of the money means more like a three to four year pay-back?

If you look at energy efficiency schemes in the UK, people are hugely reluctant to invest in things that save them money, even when they do pay back. Take GU10 halogen bulbs - in a well used room replacing these with LEDs will give you a payback of about one to two years. Despite the fact that nobody is offering savers a 50-100% interest rate, most people are still buying and using halogens. Or look at the humungous flop that Green Deal has been. Even the health and safety benefits are of little appeal. In the developed countries the benefits seem logical and obvious. But in countries with high infant mortality, non-existent health care, roads like something out of Death Race 2000, and subsistence living subject to famine (ignoring unrest and civil wars), the H&S benefits of an LED lamp over a kersosene lamp count for nothing.

The problem here, is that the device offers inferior performance to that which it is supposed to replace, and requires a significant investment. Innovation has to do things better or cheaper, or both, and I'm afraid I don't think the inventors set their sights high enough. Everybody would like this to be cheap and effective, in reality it is neither, and the sum that gives a net benefit only works when you aren't seeing things from the perspective of the intended users.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Nice idea

"The prospect of a (relatively) expensive alternative that is inferior to the original in all aspects other than running cost is a bit like marketing 20 grand push bikes as a great alternative to driving a car."

Easy. Market it like all inferior solutions: Let Greenpeace start harking on about global warming, and the need to save the planet. The locals won't be impressed, but DECC and DFID will start throwing money at it, and the cost will come down to only $12 a piece.......oh.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Charging phones/radios

"what is a very efficient .1W buld equivalent to in old-fashioned bulbage?"

For a good LED the bulb is about 4-5x more efficient than a halogen bulb (eg for a GU10 you're talking about a 5W bulb being equivalent to a 35W halogen). Then a halogen bulb rated for 1,000 hours will be about thirty per cent better than a simple incandescent filament, so say 6x all in. So from that comparison we're talking about 0.1W LED being equivalent to say 0.6W in old money.

Another way of looking at it is to consider that you'd get about 10-15 lumens from a DC 0.1W LED light. A traditional 60W bulb gives 800 lumens, which (on a linear basis) implies a similar half to one watt.

Put in more obvious terms, we're talking about one candle power of illumination.

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Ledswinger
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Nice try

Although I'm sceptical about the balance of cost, input and output. Even with LED's, 0.1W doesn't go far, and I can see people deciding that 13c a day is an acceptable price for light rather than have the lights keep going out every twenty minutes.

We already have LED torches that already claim to deliver 1W for 20 minutes from one minute winding a tiny crank, and in some cases integrating a small PV panel. Admittedly that's sixy seconds effort, not the three seconds to lift the weight, on the other hand it's ten times the light output. I can't help thinking that a better solution would be something the size of a gas lantern, using the wind up torch tech scaled up with a larger crank and capacitors, so giving perhaps an hours light at 1W from one to two minutes of winding. Smaller, more portable, closer in form and function to the lights they are intended to replace.

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UK.gov dangles £10m sweetener over bumpkin broadband hopefuls

Ledswinger
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New industries?

"Elsewhere in his budget statement, Osborne said that the Treasury would inject £270m into Quantum Technology Centres over the next five years to fund the development of new industries in the likes of ........secure communication."

Secure against whom?

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MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

Ledswinger
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Re: I have some problems with this article

"Gold's problem is that has little use, mostly we dig it up so we can bury it in the ground again in a safe"

That's not a use, that's simply utilising it as a store of value, money, if you like. But if we had more of it, it could and would be used for other applications, eg in the etreme situation, replacing copper as a common conductor and reducing losses. If platinum, palladium etc were hugely cheaper they would have alternative uses in creating new alloys to improve the performance of everyday products, instead of being used where there's no alternative (eg catalysts) or where money is no object (eg aerospace).

It's true of most rare elements, that there's little industrial or commercial use because there's no supply, and what uses there are reflect the high price.

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Two million TERRIBLE PASSWORDS stolen by malware attackers

Ledswinger
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Re: Crack this...

" I'm only 4 votes off a silver badge so hands off the reg account"

It's posts, I thought, not votes (it's certainly not word count, otherwise I'd have a platinum badge with diamond adornments).

So on that basis, open your Reg account to the hackers, let them spill their bile, advertise their tawdry tat etc, and those posts will push you over the limit. But you can have a free upvote on me, if that's any help.

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FCC greenlights Verizon buyout of Vodafone

Ledswinger
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"Currently the NSA cannot get all of the information they would like from Verizon Wireless with the foreign ownership in place. "

Rubbish, it will be no different. As an "above the law" operation the NSA could demand anything it wanted from the US operation with impunity, and in the very unlikely event that data was inaccessible overseas, or obstructed by the UK based management of Vodafone, then NSA's European poodle (GCHQ) would have done the deed for them and handed it over. This assumes of course that any "request" was needed. The more than comes out of Snowden's revelations shows that NSA & GCHQ just scrape everything anywhere, anytime, simply because they can, and because there is no oversight.

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Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support

Ledswinger
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Re: They can pay like anyone else

" If you don't acquiesce to their demands there's a very real risk that they won't buy from you in the future"

So they leave and go where? Red Flag Linux clearly has been less popular than XP. Can't see Apple cutting them a cheap deal. Android isn't a proper productivity desktop. If they choose to pirate W7 then they'll be excluded from security updates, leaving them in the same position as they will be with XP.

Unless IBM are still selling OS/2, then thereis only one option for both parties: we can expect some face saving compromise about limited duration of critical vulnerabilities fixed for Chinese language pack installations (ie they get extended support but don't pay for it), accompanied by a commitment by the Chinese government to move all official machines to licenced W7 by date X.

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Hear that? It's the sound of BadBIOS wannabe chatting over air gaps

Ledswinger
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Re: Missing the point of the article

"There is a lot of potential there."

No there is some very small potential. if you're a paranoid Iranian IT tech, then you've perhaps got cause to worry, but for the rest of the world I doubt it. For starters the physical security of the air-gapped systems needs to be breached to get the devices in proximity. If air gap security is done properly then external electronic devices don't get carried on site. So that's mobiles (which could be used in lieu of an infected laptop), laptops, MP3 players, tablets, smart watches, Googoggles, arguably even stuff like portable satnavs.

I would have expected that sensitive sites already ban their staff from bringing portable electronic equipment on site - not purely because they don't trust the staff (that being a separate issue), but simply to avoid mistakes and unknown-to-the-vector attacks.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Meh...

"Then I guess you carefully drive pins into it until it seems to have stopped making useful noises and hope you don't knacker anything fragile behind it)"

If you've gone to the trouble of air gapping your systems, then getting a tech to desolder a PCB mount speaker is not going to be a big hairy deal, IMHO.

And most PCB mount speakers are in small cans with an opening at the top, and simply sticking a bit of electrical tape across the aperture would get you 10-20 dB of attenuation at a guess, and something like a foam sticky probably around 30 dB or more. I'd like to see them demonstrate a PC to PC audio link with 20 dB silencing on the target system.

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RBS MELTDOWN LATEST: 'We'll be the bank we should be ... next YEAR maybe'

Ledswinger
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Re: American geography

"Er, Citizens Financial seems to be located only in the Chicago area"

Oops. North East US was what I meant, not North West. It being West of me by some few thousand miles causing some cognitive problems. There is quite a lot outside of Chicago, with a reasonably large footprint:

http://www.citizensbank.com/pdf/AtAGlanceFactSheet.pdf

But to return to the topic, Citizens is still part of the Rancid Bank of Scotland group, albeit with a big "for sale" sign above it.

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