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* Posts by Ledswinger

2412 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012

Review of UK data protection: Should fines go OVER HALF A MIL?

Ledswinger
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Re: Use the fine to help them become compliant

"the ICO should get the power to appoint an auditor/advisor to oversee data breach offenders, helping/forcing reforms until they are compliant. "

They already have powers of compulsory audit:

http://ico.org.uk/what_we_cover/taking_action/dp_pecr

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Ledswinger
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Re: If it can be proved

"If it can be proved ....."

Establishing the guilt of directors, or even the corporation itself requires the prosecution to establish vicarious liability under UK law, which means proving they knew. If you can't show they knew, both corporation and directors aren't guilty, even if their officers are. This might be why News International and its scumbags are busy claiming they didn't know about phone hacking. A cynic might also presume this is why so much of the email evidence mysteriously got deleted to save disk space, and why laptops found their way into ponds and bins.

To change the rules of vicarious liability would be a very far reaching reform of law and won;'t happen in my view. However, the ICO specifically don't levy legal fines, they issue civil monetary penalties, and that's how they avoid having to prove liability in court. There is a quasi judicial appeal route, but that has additional costs and risks, and the business still has to pony up the cash until and if the appeal tribunal determines it should be reduced or repaid.

The interesting thing is that ICO can already levy monetary penalties on "natural persons" (ie individuals) as well as a "legal persons" (ie organisations). In this respect the ICO have the power to "fine" individuals already, they appear generally choose not to use this power. So it seems to me that the ICO need to use their existing powers more precisely to target individuals, as well as having the ability to fine larger organisations more (so that the likes of Google, BT/Phorm et al) would be suitably admonished if caught breaking the rules.

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Hundreds of folks ready to sue Bitcoin exchange MtGox

Ledswinger
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@Pascal M

"These VirtCoins may be unique strings of bits (for a given value of unique), but their value is less than the hard drive platters they are stored on (much less)."

Cobblers. The value of something is what somebody is prepared to pay for it. That's what makes the world go round (Physicists: This was not an invitation to get technical). So the bitcoins were worth whatever the going rate is, which was about $650 a pop a moment ago.

Your argument is like saying that the tenner in my pocket is only worth about 0.01p because that's the value of the paper upon which it is printed.

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Ledswinger
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@ I a Spartacus

"It's not like there's any realistic chance of getting anything back."

Au contraire, mate. With assets of $38m and liabilities of $64m there's potentially the better part of two thirds of creditor's money still there. However, from a vulture-like lawyer's perspective, that isn't creditor's money, it's simply a big, glistening pile of $38m, from which some fat and undeserved fees will be pulled before the creditors get their even more reduced portion back. Assuming there's no preferred creditors, then the unlucky fools who have "lost" bitcoins would be better off waiting for the restructuring process to run its course (which too will cost money coming out of that suddenly shrinking $38m).

The amusing thing in this situation is that by suing MtGOX, the creditors are agreeing to underwrite their own lawyers. MtGOX or its administrators will have to be legally represented, and those costs come out of the MtGOX assets.....so by suing, the creditors agree to pay both sides of a legal dispute they started, regardless of the outcome. Smooth.

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NASA's 2015 budget plea: Jobs, pork, small business – OK, science

Ledswinger
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Re: easy solution

"Yes they are inefficient compared to a private company but they also manage to do things private companies cannot"

The two are not related. My comments about efficiency didn't look at outputs per dollar, they merely considered the administrative overhead that NASA have.

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Ledswinger
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Re: easy solution

"and then give that $26 billion to NASA ...."

US taxpayers might want to see NASA's appalling management overhead brought under control first. Central and cross agency management & support functions accounted for 16% of the budget in 2013. I work for a very large European corporate not renowned for its efficiency, of similar scale to NASA in both employees, revenue and capex budgets, and our corporate support costs are around 4% in total. NASA don't even have the support complications of multiple languages and multiple jurisdictions that we have.

NASA's center management & support costs alone (ie excluding the "cross agency" stuff) were greater than the total spend on both planetary science and astrophysics. Even "commercial space flight" is a cost item at NASA - they might want to leave that work to Ariane and SpaceX, rather than burdening the US taxpayer?

I'm not a Merkin, so it's none of my business, but it looks to me that NASA is very poorly managed, and uses the smokescreen of cutting edge science and high technology to hide its incompetent management.

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Bitcoin bank Flexcoin pulls plug after cyber-robbers nick $610,000

Ledswinger
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Re: Bitcoin & Crims.

" When that happens, it will be more secure than any bank as they take a very dim view of someone taking their money. "

I very much doubt the crims held their money in an exchange. They of all people would know to expect fraud, added to which they want to run the money through repeat transactions and exchanges to launder it some more, before holding it on a secure computer under their control.

The people who lost money in these cases are most likely the speculators or dopes.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Leading indicator...

"In the end, a currency needs an Army...."

Actually, armies are the leading cause of long term destruction of a currency's value. As soon as you become the world's reserve currency, you find you've got a bottomless bank. Then you build and army because you can, go and have wars in far off places to build an empire. They over-expand, and over time find the cost of the army drains the real productive economy, but the empire doesn't actually add much value. Eventually this huge public expenditure drains the coffers, and the purchasing power of your currency shrinks alarmingly.

Roman, Umayyad Caliphate,Spanish, British, they all broadly speaking went the same way. The US are currently in the spot of having built a global proxy empire with excessive military spending, whilst watching their currency become worth less and less in real terms. Meanwhile, Switzerland get on with being rich and peaceful with no army (by international standards, that is).

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Dell charges £16 TO INSTALL FIREFOX on PCs – Mozilla is miffed

Ledswinger
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Not to worry

...because Dell will be out of the consumer and SME hardware business pretty soon.

That'll be sad, because I still remember the days way back yonder, when Dell were not only good value, but well supported by native English speakers, and (notwithstanding glitches from time to time) they were a safe bet to recommend to friends and family, knowing that nine times out of ten Dell would sort out problems so that the family go-to-guy didn't have to get involved.

Now...well, over priced, not very good, unbelievably poor offshore support for consumers (can't speak for SME). Sixteen quid to instal Firefox is the least of a Dell buyer's concerns, IMHO.

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Crack Euro banker team to probe whether virtual currencies should be regulated

Ledswinger
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Re: Of course BT should be regulated...

"And without some institutions that you can trust, Bitcoin will remain a ridiculous vehicle for speculation and criminality. "

Well of course. And as the article notes, "the risk of money-laundering activity through the trading of virtual currencies may arise because "the anonymous nature of virtual currencies is conducive to this type of activity".

So presumably they'll be proposing to regulate cash transactions, which have for many centuries been the vehicle of choice for crims transferring wealth? Laughably the Europeans printed €500 notes specifically to serve the criminal market, so it would seem that their own rationale for investigating bitcoin regulation is rather flawed.

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Security researchers uncover three-year-old 'RUSSIAN SPYware'

Ledswinger
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Re: Don't be daft!

"This may shock you but Russia is a very responsible nation that takes its military and political and economic strengths very seriously."

Unlike human rights, or the rule of law.

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Ever get the impression a telesales op was being held prisoner?

Ledswinger
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Re: Not a bad idea actually

"You think the mindless tedium and low pay of call centre work is going to encourage drug dealers, burglars, car thieves, etc, to go on the straight and narrow."

I think you misunderstand. The proposed training facility is really only there to offer experience to those who want it, and want to avoid returning to a life of crime. It isn't an advert for honest toil. And much as some people round here look down on call centres, the reality is that for the sort of people in clink, a call centre might be their first experience of regular salaried employment and the world of work.

What is your better solution to the problem of ex-cons leaving prison without useful skills?

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Ledswinger
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Re: But ... but ... but ... jobs

"In this country there are not enough jobs to go round. "

So they say. Strange how hundreds of thousands of economic refugees from southern and eastern Europe make their weary way here to the land of no jobs. Strange how the number of people in employment is close to the highest ever. Strange how round my way bus and truck companies are all advertising for drivers, shops for staff, and agencies for workers. Strange how UK companies, having generally not laid staff off during the recession have now started the strongest permanent hiring drive for four or five years. Strange how Robert Walters profits are up 30% due to the buoyant recruitment market. Strange how the NHS is still reliant on foreign recruitment.

UK unemployment is currently around 7.2%. Even in Germany's booming economy unemployment is over 5%, which is about what economists would consider near transactional levels, and looking at work-or-starve regions like Hong Kong the numbers are in the 3.5-4% range. Realistically we could get unemployment down to around 4%, but only if we stop immigration and EU migrants, and we REQUIRE the unemployed to move or commute where the work is. What do you think the chances of any of those are?

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Ledswinger
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Re: Really bad idea actually...

"But call centre work? It sounds ideal for con men who are by their very nature excellent salesmen - but not really for anyone else."

The nature of the work sounds like outbound sales calls. That has two sides - first the cons won't be handling personal data because they will not need to verify an identity (which initially seems positive), but the downside is that this is just outbound calls. How do you respond to (often unsolicited, or possibly solicited but at the wrong time) sales calls? If they are overseas I play around to waste their time and amuse myself, but if they sound UK based I just put the phone down. I would suggest that random phone calls to strangers who are rude or just put the phone down is not exactly a recipe for showing the world of employment in a good light to people who you want to rejoin the straight and narrow.

But the real problem this scheme has is that the released inmates still have the unspent conviction hanging round their neck like an albatross. If you go down for a sentence of more than two and a half years your conviction is NEVER spent, and even for less than six months the conviction is unspent for seven years. Whilst there may be a slight matter of a gap on the CV anyway, to have to reveal that they have unspent criminal convictions to prospective employers is a near certain means of ensuring they will not get any form of white collar employment, unless NACRO are the people recruiting.

The principle of spent/unspent convictions could have some relevance, but the vast scope and the punitive "rehabilitation period" (when the sentence is unspent) are modern day forms of branding. The curious thing is that the criminal injustice system seems immune to this - they won't lock up the various "one punch" killers for more than a couple of years, yet for those who go to prison for a few weeks for a *relatively* inocuous offence the system works to ensure they have very little chance of a decent mainstream job, ever (because after seven years of being unemployable or doing no-questions-asked manual labour you'd never get a mainstream salaried job).

This scheme intends to furnish released prisoners with potentially useful skills. But until it is far easier to re-integrate ex offenders into paid employment then they will continue to be kicked out of prison with no job, no prospects, possibly nowhere to live, and stand every chance of sliding back to the behaviours that got them into clink in the first place, despite a few months of telesales training.

Re-reading this it's all very bleeding heart and liberal. Personally I'd like the death penalty to be available for certain criminals, and I'd like inmates to have to break rocks for eighteen hour days (with their teeth), the unfortunate thing is that neither approach has been shown to be effective or cheap, and we need solutions that actually work.

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Massive new AIRSHIP to enter commercial service at British dirigible base

Ledswinger
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Re: There's a market

"A cruise "liner" that can take you inland for a safari, as well as the usual stops, will be very popular."

I think you'll find the maths doesn't work except for the incredibly rich. Capital cost per passenger looks to be about twice that of a fully equipped cruise ship (with none of the facilities), operating costs will be higher, and the relatively modest number of passengers means that crew to passenger ratios will be unfavourable. If you look at the sort of passengers who used the old airships you'll get a feel for the fact that this was transport for the 0.1%, and I suspect that if it ever returns it will be the same segment of society who use it.

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Ledswinger
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Re: "there're plenty of people who'd prefer to take the "cruise" approach" @h4rm0ny

"Transporting a firm's entire board from London to New York in a fully Net-connected mobile boardroom is surely a pretty easy sell."

If they are valuable enough to justify freighting these people a quarter of the way round the world, why will it be cost effective to put them on an airship that will take about forty hours for this trip? And if physical presence is essential, what's the point in worrying about a net connected boardroom? The rationale for boardroom net connections is usually so that you can link your meeting rooms via video conferencing without travelling in the first place.

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Ledswinger
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Re: That's a lot of kerosene

"I mean, sure it'll add to the cost, but in for a penny..."

On the contrary, although the power sums for using solar power look good due to the large surface area, the last thing you want to do is pioneer new power trains and control gear when you're already on the cutting edge of airship design. As a commercial venture you can't afford delays caused by building in too much unproven tech, and I'd guess that's why they are using diesel engines. When the airframe design is proven, you've found a market and sold a few (and there's more money), that's when you look at PV coatings, high efficiency electric motors, hybrid power control systems.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Ukraine

"Putin's actions in Ukraine could well see a sharp reversal in US military spending. It's just the thing the hawks have been waiting for."

But I can't see airships being the way to project your military force. Even allowing that before a war breaks out there's no problem with anti-aircraft weaponry, the speed and payload balance is still too limited. A C17 can carry an M1 tank or equivalent at five times the cruising speed of the Airlander and has rough field capabilities. Even at 50 tonnes payload the Airlander wouldn't be able to carry an M1 tank, and it would take around ten hours from (say) Germany to Ukraine, or fifteen from the UK.

You'd need a vast fleet of AIrlanders and plenty of notice to move stuff any worthwhile volume of men or materials, and to be confident that the prospective enemy wouldn't attack your rather vulnerable airships pre-emptively.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Some points about using balloons

"THis is where the sweet spot is IMHO i.e. getting equipment to third world minerals."

I think there's a fundamental problem that serious mining equipment is much heavier than even prospective payloads.

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Ledswinger
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Re: @ TRT They almost laughed him out of the boardroom...

"They should paint the airship green and stick a big yellow "2" on it."

No, that's the Aeroscraft one that looks like T2. This one, well, it looks from the front end like it should be for sale in Ann Summers judging by the photos. I reckon they should paint it pink, with the front end purple.

Not withstanding the "interesting" design I'd still like a go. The article mentions that the inagural passengers will include a couple of competition winners - commentards might want to mosey over the Airlander web site, because it is a straightforward prize draw.

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MtGox to customers: Your call is important to us … NOT!

Ledswinger
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" the difference is, a bank that badly run would be shut down by regulators. Is lack of regulation the problem?"

What, like regulators stopped Lehman going to the wall? Or how they stopped RBS and HBOS from taking dodgy lending bets that might otherwise have cost British taxpayers tens of millions of quid? Or how they stopped Northern Rock gambling the bank by lending long term and borrowing short term?

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UK.gov back-office battle may see British Justice offshored

Ledswinger
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Re: Can't we do it ourselves ?

"just get rid of all the civil servants coming up with this garbage"

I think you'll find the "civil servants coming up with this garbage" are actually the spotty twats who infest the Cabinet Office under the guise of being "special advisors". In reality the cabinet office under present and former governments is always coming up with stupid ideas, from people with little or no experience, and this continues the trend.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Can't we do it ourselves ?

"the job still ends up costing the householder plumber more."

That's how most back office outsourcing ends up. But the driver is not really about saving money, it is about "being seen to do something". If you wanted to save money you'd simply bring all your public sector employees on to a universal pay scale, simplify down all the different T&Cs to a minimum set covering all roles (arguably about fifteen), you'd have all HR and payroll administered by a single operation, and you'd do it yourself. The disaster of the Queeensland health payroll disaster shows what happens when you let the outsourcers in.

That the UK government don't their behind from their elbow is illustrated by the complexity that is apparent within a single department, never mind across government.

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It's a BLOCKBUSTER: Minecraft heads to the silver screen

Ledswinger
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Re: Well that will be worth anticipating

"Punch trees, fall in lava, kill stuff. How is that not a traditional holy wood plot?"

You're missing the true plot: Minecraft founders, back in the mists of time awakened a great evil by opening the Pandora's box of Java. Evil plague of Java related malware threatens to overwhelm both cyber realm and real world. Hero defeats Java, world gets new Java free version of Minecraft on the back of the movie, world + dog celebrate the opportunity to finally eradicate the dark curse of Java.

What's not to like? And the sequels are already in planning: Evil plague (Flash) threatens to overwhelm world etc. When Flash has been defeated by HTML5, they can do another movie featuring Adobe Acrobat Reader. Hollywood could really save the world if each time they release new software free from the insecure garbageware.

By the time we get to Minecraft 4 then the plague will be Windows itself.

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Chicago man lobs class-action sueball at MtGox

Ledswinger
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Re: Eh?

"How can a US court compel a (now-defunct) Japanese firm to do anything...?"

He's not necessarily expecting to get anything from MtGOX, he's hoping that a judgement in his favour will allow him to collect from some other party - maybe MtGOX auditors (if there were any), the banks who indirectly facilitated his cash being transferred to MtGOX before being converted to bitcoins, Japanese regulators, in fact anybody at all.

Hopefully the coursts will point out that anybody who puts money into an unregulated, overseas institution (in the hope of either hiding their money, or of earning huge speculative returns) should expect the risks to be matched to returns.

I have enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of fools like him. I hope those who lost money never see it again, and that way they may learn a valuable lesson about investment.

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Two in five Brits cough up for CryptoLocker ransomware's demands

Ledswinger
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Re: But was the ransom payment 'succesful' ?

"Did they actually get access to their data again ?"

According to web reports, as a general rule yes. This might be criminal damage from your point of view, from the point of view of those behind Cryptolocker, this is a business looking to recoup its investment, maximise those returns, and to find new routes to market and growth opportunities. Consider: if they encrypted your data, you paid, and they didn't cough the key for you, you'd spread the word, and people would know not to pay. Suddenly the business hasn't got any revenues despite the spread of the malware - that's no good for the people behind this, is it?

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Tesla wants $1.6bn to help fund $5bn TOP SECRET Gigafactory

Ledswinger
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"A "better" investment might be pursuing R&D in tandem (and perhaps ole Musky is already doing so)."

I don't think "better" comes into it. You need a production plant to sell something soon, otherwise investors can't see the point in continuing to bankroll R&D. Looking at the Teslamobiles, there's a lot of sense in churning them out with relatively inferior batteries now, because the vehicle will outlast the first fit battery and there's the chance to put in whatever is state of the art in five to seven years time at the midlife battery change. The alternative is to wait for however long before you think that battery tech has achieved some arbitrary level of suitability, which is always a few months away.

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Government-built malware running out of control, F-Secure claims

Ledswinger
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Re: Symantec and McAfee (among others) have not responded

I wouldn't worry about particular companies, as they need to sell their products in all markets, so they aren't going to flag up (say) US malware, because they'd find themselves squeezed out of the US market. They won't piss the Russkies off, because the penalty is a bullet in the head. They won't piss GCHQ off, because in addition to being the NSA's poodle GCHQ probably already have their home browsing habits, banks details and choice in ladies undergarments....and so forth.

It's notable that the Flame malware was reckoned to be in the wild for two years before being spotted, so in addition to the question of whether commercial AV vendors dare identify obviously state sponsored malware, there's a question of whether their product can routinely spot "state grade" malware.

Even professional criminal malware writers have a tight budget, a limited attention span, and a need to look over their shoulder - but they don't need to be too stealthy, because they are playing a numbers game of hit X million machines, infect Y thousand, release payload and chalk up benefits. State sponsored hackers have all the time, money and resource they want, access to inside info on the OS and applications, and an obvious need to evade much more professional levels of protection.

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Energy firms' security so POOR, insurers REFUSE to take their cash

Ledswinger
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Re: Typically ignorant management response

"Well you say that, but not that long ago none of this was connected to the internet at all; the internet didn't exist! Yet we were able to generate quite a lot of electricity back then no problems at all."

Re-read the article. Air gapping is used, but as has been comprehensively demonstrated in Iran, that's no defence. We're not talking about script kiddies bringing down power plants, or Romanian thieves after your on-line banking details, we're in the realm of state sponsored expert hackers, who possibly have access to stolen (or simply bought) SCADA source code, and if they don't have that they probably have the resources to reverse engineer it if the so wished. If they've got the will, then circumventing an air gap is going to be easy.

You seem to assume that Olde Worlde SCADA was not connected. What the f** is the point of systems control and data acquisition if you still need all your experts on each site to pull the levers and twiddle the knobs? In fact, SCADA systems were running over PSTN before the semiconductor era, and the main defence was security through obscurity (plus an even stronger firewall of ignorance to the idea that somebody might want to maliciously interfere). We know better than that now.

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Ledswinger
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Re: Typically ignorant management response

"My take is that the energy company IT dept finally gets the question of security up to board level whereupon it is immediatly thrown back with the instruction to just get some insurance cover."

I doubt it. We look to manage all risks to the business, and that means taking precautions and insuring against worst case scenarios.

However, there's an important reason why operational systems may be out of date - because of the policy disaster that afflicts energy (courtesy of politicians), most thermal plant is now out of the money, and that situation is getting worse. In Europe, relatively recent CCGT plant is achieving load factors of 25%, with a drop to 20% expected next year. The UK's not quite that bad, but it's getting worse.

Why would you bother to spend money on system updates when the plant stands a good chance of being decommissioned and sold to China in the next few years, assuming it isn't already facing a finite short term life under the EU Industrial Emissions directive?

Having decided that you're not going to spend money, seeing if you can insure is a logical next step, and if you can't do that then you factor that into your plans for managing the plant down, and try and hedge your imbalance risks through the trading arm.

So you see, another unintended consequence of the Greenpeace energy policy that has been foisted on the happy bill payers of Europe. Who would have thought that some fool mistaking correlation for causation on a chart would eventually lead to a chance of you and I being plunged into darkness by state sponsored hackers from the other side of the world?

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Official FACT: Gadgets are giving YOU a wrinkly 'Tech Neck'

Ledswinger
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Re: They all laughed at me for wearing an ascot.

"Well, who's laughing now?"

Well, out of the turtle's neck there must poke a turtle's head. At a guess the same applies to Ascot wearers. Look at Freddie out of Scooby Doo - definitely a turtle's head.

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Microsoft hardens EMET security tool: OK, it's not invulnerable, but it's free

Ledswinger
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Re: More security is a good thing

" it isn't perfect "

No, it isn't. At this stage of the security game to be offering add on tools like this rather than having an OS that is suitably hardened against attacks seems extremely poor to me. And to be releasing such a tool and declaring it unready for enterprise-wide deployment compounds the crime.

MS have two decades of form here. They have NEVER taken security seriously in the past, they are NOT doing so now, and I'll wager that the WILL CONTINUE to regard security as somebody else's problem in future.

Was that enough rabid spittle for you? I'm afraid I don't do beards.

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China in the grip of a 'NUCLEAR WINTER': Smog threat to crops

Ledswinger
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Re: They advantage of an autocratic country

"The moment Chinese put real enviromental controls in place all of that manufacturing is coming to a town near you, like it or not."

Chinese regulations require all existing power plants in the major industrial belts to comply with standards comparable to EU or US by the middle of this year. Of course that is separate from the more likely causes of urban smog (transport and non-energy industries).

But that manufacturing isn't coming back to the US or Europe any time soon. China still has cheaper and more compliant labour, a state willingness to build what industry needs, lower taxes, and less capricous and meddlesome government. Even as China puts in FGD, NOx, particulate and mercury controls, the EU continues to push its climate change agenda that will keep local energy prices rising until 2030 based on markets broken by regulatory intervention, daft subsidies and taxes, all being thrown at immature technologies like wind power and solar.

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MtGox boss vows to keep going despite $429 MILLION Bitcoin 'theft'

Ledswinger
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Re: dum di-di dum dum

" Do you know how hard it is to hide the loss of 750,000 of anything in a budget report in such a way that nobody notices?"

Just get it marked by the accountants as an "exceptional item", and everybody in the world pretends it is invisible. Which probably explains that "exceptional expenditures/losses" probably outnumber "exceptional gains" by about 900 to 1.

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LOHAN chap brews up 18% ABV 'V2' rocket fuel

Ledswinger
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Re: Never seen that airlock before

" If you check the article you will realize the correct search is for "SHAX BUBBLER" not "shax airlock"."

You'll also read that it's a homebrew airlock. Being that Lord Shax is the originator of the recipe, it seems pretty obvious we're talking about a homemade airlock, and no amount of googling is going to help you.

On the subject of airlocks blocking, I've yet to see this, despite many years of messy "froth overs". I have since realised that froth overs are invariably caused by an excess of yeast, and simply using qood hygiene and a quarter of the recommended amount of yeast give you a slower start and the same outcome, but without the excess foam and mess in the first forty eight hours.

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NHS England tells MPs: 'The state isn't doing dastardly things with GP medical records'

Ledswinger
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Re: Fine then.

"But I believe that deliberate circumvention of the intent to keep the data anonymised should get you jailtime "

Not enough. Look at Murdoch and his vermin all bleating that they didn't know or they didn't do it deliberately. Proving otherwise is difficult, and could be enough to get the despicable liars (or incompetents) off the hook.

Far better to make people cupable for circumvention of privacy controls, without having to prove knowledge or intent. It then becomes the organisation's responsibility to have controls to ensure that they do not circumvent privacy requirements. Ignorance of the law is no defence - why should ignorance of the organisation breaching the law be a defence for those rewarded for responsible for running it?

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HTC One grabs BEST SMARTPHONE gong

Ledswinger
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Re: BEST SMARTPHONE

Yes. But there's no shame in that. All industry events see the prizes awarded to the organisers themselves, or to whoever bought the expensive tables at the front of the award ceremony, or a year's worth of advertising with the organiser and the like.

I have yet to see any "award" in commerce,media, tech or elsewhere that is awarded on actual merit or objective analysis.

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The Sun ERUCTATES huge ball of GAS at 4 MILLION MPH

Ledswinger
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Re: What does X mean?

" It starts at A1, which is 10^-8 W/m^2, and increases linearly up to A9 (9x10^-8)."

Given that sound pressure is measured in W/m^2, we can presumably use a similar method for measuring human belches (audible volume, obviously not quality), and the X scale looks remarkably well placed for this, as 10^-4 W/m^2 is about the same as a noisy radio or raised voices.

Mrs Ledswinger (who is naturally blessed in the belching department) can let rip with noise levels akin to shouting, so I'm guessing that she's achieving X5, possibly pushing to an X6 when suitably fuelled. Can other commentards (or their spouses) better that?

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DARPA wants help to counter counterfeits

Ledswinger
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Re: xenophobia maybe?

"Right now they're using the FUD of these parts being inferior "

From a defence point of view I'd suggest that there's rather more to it than simply inferior quality, although as others have pointed out that is in fact an issue. We're mindful of the idea of backdoors in hardware, so taking this concept and applying it to commodity IC's is nothing remarkable. All the effort that goes into secure software or encryption, for example, could be negated if a foreign power can get rogue IC's in to the hardware, and those ICs do more than it says on the tin. Indeed, beyond pure espionage, it is possible to posit "hardware hacks" that could on command eliminate the stealth of a stealth fighter, interfere with GPS on a cruise missile, disrupt secure communications, or even compromise flight control systems (or similar for ship/sub).

Given the return of big bloc geopolitics, there's the obvious Chinese interest as they manufacture so much, but there's nothing to say that other powers might not try to interfere in parts manufactured anywhere - as with state sponsored hacking, the physical origin and target of an attack says nothing about who is behind it.

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What's up with that WhatsApp $19bn price tag? Answer: Voice calls

Ledswinger
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Re: Free, free, free...

"Look at this great guy who brings us FOOD for FREE, no rooting and digging required"

Never mind FB, there's The Company That Must Not Be Named busy owning search and mobile through the same strategy.

Curiously, that most successful of pig swill providers has no worthwhile offering in the VOIP space (no, I don't count Google Voice), which means that Facebook have made a $19bn bet on making money from VOIP, even after Microsoft wasted $8.5bn on Skype, for a product that simply makes no money, and has no real appeal to their corporate users.

VOIP: An event horizon for investor's cash.

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Curiosity now going BACKWARDS

Ledswinger
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Re: hollow legs

"Why didn't they route that cable bundle through the (presumably) hollow leg? It could be damaged by stones kicking up"

I can't see there being much shrapnel with Curiosity moving at a rather leisurely 100 metres a day.

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Volvo tries to KILL SHOPPING with to-your-car Roam Delivery

Ledswinger
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Re: Good idea for low-value items

"but for sub-£100 dry goods it's a neat idea."

Translation: This is a solution casting hopefully around for a matching problem.

I can't see this sort of capability coming cheap, but for those who don't want to shop but do want to have their goods in their car when they get home, what's wrong with (eg) Tesco's click and collect service?

We've narrowed the suitable goods down to exclude valuables, style items and compact (stealable) technology, clothing (unless you buy off the peg without trying it on), booze (stealable), frozen and refridgerated. As you say, pet food fits the bill. Volvo driving zoo owners will find this innovation a boon.

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NHS England DIDN'T tell households about GP medical data grab plan

Ledswinger
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Re: Funny that..

Follow the money.

In the case of Virgin, it's in their interests to spam people, hoping a proportion will sign up. As a volume game, it doesn't matter that you haven't signed up yet.

In the case of health data, the money is to be made by selling the data (or more likely handing it over for free to a company run by a minister's friend), and that money is therefore maximised by NOT delivering opt out leaflets.

Anybody still not in the tinfoil-hatter camp on this matter may wish to look at this article on today's Telegraph website:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10656893/Hospital-records-of-all-NHS-patients-sold-to-insurers.html

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Fine, you can mock us: NSA spies back down in T-shirt ridicule brouhaha

Ledswinger
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"So, where's the GCHQ version?"

http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/gchq-always-listening-to-our-clients/

Not really very amusing, and based on the now very tired KC&CO graphics, not the current "the state is embracing all your data" GCHQ logo:

http://www.gchq.gov.uk/pages/homepage.aspx

Of course, you could breach crown copyright and lift the logo from the GCHQ web page (and the MI5 and SIS logos on links at the bottom) and make your own image and have a unique mug printed? Maybe the logos and your own legend - some starters for you:

"If you're reading this you're a subversive, and we're watching you".

"Imagine a boot tripping over itself forever"

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"

Or perhaps:

War is peace

Freedom is slavery

Ignorance is strength

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Brit boffins brew up blight-resistant FRANKENSPUD

Ledswinger
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Coat

Re: So, Doktor Frankenspud, we meet again!

And if it gives you silent-but-deadly wind it will be a frankenspod.

In fact, there's a growth market. GM the spuds to be wind-giving, with specific strengths and aromas you can choose. A-E for strength, 1-10 from parfum through to devil's breath.

Mine's an E10 please, and that's you getting your coat.

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SPACE VID: Watch JUMBO ASTEROID 2000 EM26 buzzing Earth

Ledswinger
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Re: As big as three football fields??

" Please ensure future Earth menacing asteroid sizes are given in El-Reg units"

And compatible units. The blighters are quoting me an area when I'd foolishly assumed the object might have a volume.

Maths boffins! Assuming a finite area and infintiely thin object, the minimum volume is presumably nil. Is there a maximum volume you could associate with a given surface area?

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Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM'

Ledswinger
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Re: If they were serious about punishment

"BTW, I did give you an up-vote because even though I completely disagree with your conclusion, your observations are interesting and add to the debate"

Well said, sir, amongst the peurile humour (guilty, yer honour), the dogmatic moralising grandstanding, the factually wrong, and the purely opinionated, that is the best contribution in this thread.

And for all those complaining about supposed trolls, do you not think the whole article has really, really weak tech angle, and is PURELY and simply posted to generate some interest?

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Samsung flings sueball at Dyson for 'intolerable' IP copycat claim

Ledswinger
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Re: The picture ..

" I think your sample size might be somewhat lacking."

Well, I can raise you a Panasonic bagged cleaner, so we're two vacuum's apeice. But you'd still be right about sample size.

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Ledswinger
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Re: hearing loss isnt funny!

"downvoted for the troll against those people of the world with hearing issues/problems"

Bugger off. I'm not trolling against anybody here.

"Its not funny & it has a huge effect on social ability & confidence"

Tell me about it. I have close relatives with near profound deafness. But chip on the shoulder gits jumping to conclusions about what I think won't be getting my sympathy vote. So when I say that you're an anonymous knob, you'll understand now that I'm most certainly not disparaging or discriminating - I'd same the same to any other knob.

Now, go back to my post, consider what I was actually saying (a) that I have an issue with the extreme noise of one of Samsung's vacuum models (the ear defenders are for real, it's not a joke). And the bit about the Samsung engineers is what many people would call a "joke", and is a ridiculous attempt to explain the otherwise inexplicable "whisper quiet" legend on the box.

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Ledswinger
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Re: What did vacuum cleaners look like before Dyson ?

"What did vacuum cleaners look like before Dyson ? Answer is they looked nothing like a Dyson"

Depends how closely you look. Stop at the bright colours and Fisher Price shapes, and Dyson's did look different. But step back, and compare an original Dyson to a comparable Hoover upright, and you've still got a beater brush bar stuck on a suction head that rolls along the floor, attached to an upright handle with a dust canister attached.

I doubt many people looked at a Dyson and wondered what it was. And the colours and shapes were simply dsign choices, mostly with limited relevance to the bagless operation. Arguably Dyson cleaners would have been every bit as successful if they'd been bagged models but with the same emphasis on colours and design.

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