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* Posts by Tom Welsh

1311 posts • joined 2 Jul 2007

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Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'

Tom Welsh
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Re: Tom Welsh The russian record != the record

Any traces of doubt I might have had about my comments were dispelled when I saw Matt Bryant chip in with his dissenting opinion. Thanks, Matt! As long as you disagree with me, I know I can't be far wrong.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: "Jews need to register in Russian-controlled Ukraine" and other shite.

"Bush has not been prosecuted for his war crimes, ergo Obama is full accomplice in all of his crimes".

As well as continuing most of his worst policies virtually unchanged. For example, stepping up the wars in Asia. As a foreigner, I am astonished that the great majority of US voters have not noticed that, after they elected a president who was supposed to stand for the opposite of Bush, nothing changed. This is supposed to be democracy?

Of course, it's clear enough why Obama has not lifted a finger to prosecute Bush or any of his henchmen. Obama intends to get away with his crimes in just the same way as Bush, so he would be fouling his own nest if he attempted to fulfil his oath of office and uphold the Constitution.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: The russian record != the record

"It makes you wonder if anyone inside Russia ever reads non-Russian media sources".

Presumably, by "non-Russian sources" you mean the "Western media", which seems to agree about everything. Not surprising, since it consists almost exclusively of Western government communiques and glosses on the same. (Where "Western" means "operated by Obama"). To my horror, even "Private Eye" has seen fit to join the chorus, adopting an editorial line indistinguishable from the New York Times, The Times, The Guardian, the BBC, Fox, etc. Namely: the Russians are the new Nazis, Putin is the new Hitler (but wasn't that Saddam and Assad and Qadafi and Khomeini and Bin Laden and Kim Il-Sung/Kim Jong-il/Kim Jong-un...?), and the USA must resist every one of their dastardly threats the way it didn't resist Hitler until Hitler declared war on it? Every day's Five Minute Hate comes to sound awfully similar, after a few years of it - except that it lasts all 24 hours around, something even Orwell couldn't imagine. And all to disguise our politicians' hopeless failure to improve matters in their own countries.

It may be news to you, but all human communities want a strong leader. This obvious and universal trait is sometimes masked by political ideologies that insist we are ruled by kind altruistic politicians, for our own good and by our own will. But ask yourself, if you will, why no-hopers like Bush, Blair, Obama and Cameron see fit to send our armed forces, paid for by our taxes, into the corners of the Earth to kill or maim millions of perfectly harmless people who have done us no harm and pose no threat to us. Isn't it obvious? They think that will make them look like strong leaders. In other words, to be perfectly blunt, they suffer from Stalin-envy.

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Organic food: Pricey, not particularly healthy, won't save you from cancer

Tom Welsh
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Re: missing the point

"The major contributor to all-cause mortality has little to do with organics. It's all about whether you consume animal products or not".

Very true. If you don't, you'll have difficulty living a long healthy life.

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Tom Welsh
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@Aslan

"Good to see the study done..."

No, not really. Especially since, as already mentioned, it would not have been published if it had the wrong results.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Guineapigs can't be wrong

"It seems to me more likely that the guinea pigs simply prefer their food to be fresh, than that they have any innate understanding of nutritional values..."

And why do you think those highly-evolved little mammals prefer their food to be fresh? Because, on the whole, that means it has better nutritional content (and is less likely to make them sick).

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Tom Welsh
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Re: so NOT putting lots of chemicals in your body is NOT ok then?

"Everything is a chemical".

Don't be deliberately obtuse. In common usage, when people talk about chemicals they mean artificial substances - and, in the context of food, they specifically mean substances that are not part of natural foods.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Luxury item

"I've seen morbidly obese people order a double bacon cheeseburger, a large bag of chips and a DIET Coke".

What a strange thing to say. Do you really think they would be better off adding an extra 330 calories (all from sugar) to their intake, when they can get an equivalent drink with no calories? Those 330 calories are of absolutely no nutritional value, in contrast to the rest of the meal.

Actually the main problems with the meal you describe are the burger bun and the potatoes. Subtract those and you have some beef, cheese, and garnish - nourishing and not too calorific (apart from the inevitable sugar which will have found its way into any sauce or relish). Unfortunately, for that very reason, they are also by far the most expensive components of the meal, which is why burger chains minimize them and maximize the bread and potatoes.

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Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'

Tom Welsh
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Re: @Lapun

"Yes, and Russia signed a treaty 20 years ago to honor the independence and territory of Ukraine. Big deal. There's some similarities with a certain Munich Agreement, wouldn't you say?"

No, I wouldn't. Recall that on Feb. 9, 1990 US Secretary of State James Baker publicly promised, "no extension of NATO's jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east," provided the Soviets agreed to the NATO membership of a unified Germany. (So far, NATO has expanded over 400 miles east of the German border; if Ukraine were to join, that would extend to over 1,250 miles. Some "inch").

Many commentators have asked why Gorbachev didn't ask that commitment to be put in writing, or perhaps enshrined as a solemn treaty. The answer is obvious: if you can't trust someone's promise, you can't trust it whether it's verbal or in writing. Actually, the closest resemblance that I can see to Munich is that Baker and Bush conned Gorbachev in much the same cynical way as Hitler conned Chamberlain.

Back in Germany, Hitler recounted the Munich meeting to his cronies with some amusement. He was introduced to a nice old gentleman, he said, who asked for his autograph - so he gave him it. Sounds to me exactly like what the clever people in Washington would have said to one another after fooling the gullible Russians.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Makes sense

"Maned moon missions are a great way to boost your engineering for decades to come".

That's a natural lion to take.

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Tom Welsh
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@Arnaut the less

"There is no purpose".

As far as *you* know.

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Tom Welsh
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@ Lapun Mankimasta

"FWLIW, I ser[i]ously doubt the Russians can annex the Moon".

If you look closely, I think you will find that there is no mention of annexing anything in TFA. That was just an irresponsible little flourish added in the subhead. (Seriously, guys, consider the possible unwisdom of misrepresenting the Russian government this way).

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Tom Welsh
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Re: No need to ask permission

@Gray:

"First take Crimea, then eastern Ukraine; then shoot for the moon".

To extend your analogy, I suppose that after first taking Iran and Afghanistan, the USA can be expected to bomb the hell out of Titan and Enceladus. (For their own good, of course). The Moon is far too close.

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Beef up your Office 365, SQL, Azure skills with Microsoft and The Reg

Tom Welsh
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Devil

Regrettable

Has The Reg at last fallen under the sway of The Evil Empire??? One by one, the lights are going out...

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Innovation creates instability, you say? BLASPHEMY, you SCUM

Tom Welsh
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Italian trains

Actually, the last Italian train I was on (the Roma-Firenze express, since you ask) was beautifully furnished, squeaky clean, and extremely comfortable - as well as moving very fast indeed. Far from dirt, breakages, etc., the main problem might be reading more than one page before arriving at (or shooting past, if the material is absorbing) your destination. British trains, of course, are quite a different matter.

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It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer

Tom Welsh
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Re: re: Amazon

@Stretch:

"We are a huge US-base corporation which probably makes large donations to both US political parties, so no laws of nations outside the US apply to us (and we probably won't be prosecuted if we break any US laws, and if we are we certainly won't be punished)".

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Ancient Earth asteroid strike that dwarfed dinosaur killer still felt today

Tom Welsh
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Re: @Tom 7

"Panspermia has its origins in intellectual laziness..."

Hmmm. Fred Hoyle... intellectual laziness... not so much.

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Why won't you DIE? IBM's S/360 and its legacy at 50

Tom Welsh
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"...plan to throw one away, because you will."

Unless you're Microsoft. In which case you just merrily ship it. After all, your hundreds of millions of unpaid beta-testers are just longing to start finding all the bugs for you. And you can be sucking in revenue at the same time!

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Tom Welsh
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Programming systems product

The main reason for what appears, at first sight, low productivity is spelled out in "The Mythical Man-Month". Brooks freely concedes that anyone who has just learned to program would expect to be many times more productive than his huge crew of seasoned professionals. Then he explains, with the aid of a diagram divided into four quadrants. Top left, we have the simple program. When a program gets big and complex enough, it becomes a programming system, which takes a team to write it rather than a single individual. And that introduces many extra time-consuming aspects and much overhead. Going the other way, writing a simple program is far easier than creating a product with software at its core. Something that will be sold as a commercial product must be tested seven ways from Sunday, made as maintainable and extensible as possible, be supplemented with manuals, training courses, and technical support services, etc. Finally, put the two together and you get the programming systems product, which can be 100 times more expensive and time-consuming to create than an equivalent simple program.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: "Why won't you DIE?"

I could have added antibiotics to the list, but unfortunately they ARE showing signs of approaching death. And I don't see any crowds of merry-makers dancing in the street for that reason.

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Tom Welsh
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"Why won't you DIE?"

I suppose that witty, but utterly inappropriate, heading was added by an editor; Gavin knows better. If anyone is in doubt, the answer would be the same as for other elderly technology such as houses, roads, clothing, cars, aeroplanes, radio, TV, etc. Namely, it works - and after 50 years of widespread practical use, it has been refined so that it now works *bloody well*. In extreme contrast to many more recent examples of computing innovation, I may add.

Whoever added that ill-advised attempt at humour should be forced to write out 1,000 times:

"The definition of a legacy system: ONE THAT WORKS".

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Technology is murdering customer service - legally

Tom Welsh
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Sales don't deal with problems unless there's (big) money involved

Calling Sales in an attempt to get help with a Service problem will inevitably result in a contemptuous brush-off.

"Excuse me, I wonder if you can help me... <explains problem>..."

"There must be some mistake here, we've already got your money. Sorry, I must just pop out to lunch".

<click, dial-tone>

The idea is understandable, though, and is supported by Brownridge's Law:

"The quicker a phone's answered in sales, the slower it's answered in customer services".

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Avere SPEC benchmark shows cloud's just as fast as on-premise

Tom Welsh
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Re: Fine but whathappens when...

'Avere states that cloud storage "provides infinitely scalable capacity with [the] lowest cost, simplest management and highest reliability."'

I stopped reading right there. It seems unwise to be guided by technical advice from someone who seriously believes that anything can be "infinitely scaleable".

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'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

Tom Welsh
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Re: NATO

"Obama on the other hand said that "people should be free to choose who governs them" or something like that, unless they live in Crimea apparently".

Or the Confederate States of America.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: I blame it on George W,. Bush.

"Is Vlad the Putin a bad man?"

All national leaders are bad people, otherwise they wouldn't have risen to the positions of power they hold. Anyone who doesn't realize this is going to have some very strange ideas about international politics.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: As long as it doesn't matter to YOU...

Check out the map here to see how far NATO has expanded to the East since 1991, when President George H W Bush promised Gorbachev, in the full glare of global publicity, that NATO would not expand "a single inch" to the East of Germany.

http://rt.com/news/nato-anniversary-expansion-europe-129/

Since then NATO has added 12 - count them 12 - nations to the East, including Turkey, bringing it right to the frontiers of Russia.

How would the USA have felt if the Warsaw Pact had recruited Canada, Mexico, and all of Central and South America and loaded them up with the kind of missiles whose attempted delivery triggered the Cuban missile crisis?

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Tom Welsh
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Top priorities ain't what they used to be...

"This [creating American space vehicles] has been a top priority of the Obama Administration’s for the past five years..."

Funny how relative "top priorities" can be. Eight years after President Kennedy declared it a top priority to put men on the Moon, Project Apollo had put men on the Moon. Do you think NASA will have a launch vehicle or two by 2017?

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Hey, Michael Lewis: Stop DEMONISING Wall Street’s SUPERHUMAN high-speed trading

Tom Welsh
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Re: Bah!

"So explain to me the difference between "front running" - which is apparently only "a bit naughty" - and Insider Trading - which people go to jail for".

This isn't a technical question, but a political one. Insider trading, as you could tell from the fact that people go to jail for it, is something done by outsiders - little people - the kind of people who DO go to jail. The kind of inside knowledge that finance professionals and rich people's advisers use every day to make lots of money is obviously not criminal, otherwise important influential people would have to go to jail. And that can't happen.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Think it through

Whoever downvoted: please post your evidence.

http://www.theconnectivist.com/2013/10/moores-law-is-dead-the-future-of-computing/

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Think it through

Not to mention that Moore's Law, is er, over, done with, an ex-law.

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Tom Welsh
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Think it through

"There are still a couple of centuries of Moore's Law necessary before we can actually do it in full".

Have you actually thought through the implications for the amount of *energy* that would also be needed? It won't do us much good to be able to predict everything anyone ever does before they do it, if we are N billion hunks of well-done steak, quietly smoking in the hellish hyperbaric acid atmosphere.

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How much data must you have before you need Cleversafe? If you have to ask ...

Tom Welsh
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Confusing terminology

"The data persists and has state".

Erm, isn't that a tautology? (With respect to stored data, at any rate). To say data "persists" means that it is stored reliably, and can be retrieved whenever needed. "State" is a term often used to describe data or information, especially when contrasted with "behaviour". Thus, in an object-oriented language or system, methods implement behaviour while attributes and internal data comprise state.

If this statement is meaningful, a brief explanation would be helpful.

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Don't tase me Pro: WD brings out Thunderbolt external drive

Tom Welsh
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Re: Still no faster than USB3.0

Looks to me as if you didn't read TFA. The specified setup uses RAID to double the throughput, reaching 233-250 MB/sec. That's worth having... if it works. Most desktop backup drives top out at about 25-30 MB/sec throughput on average when doing real backups, whether using USB2, USB 3, Thunderbolt, or Ethernet.

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Returning a laptop to PC World ruined this bloke's credit score. Today the Supreme Court ended his 15-year nightmare

Tom Welsh
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Re: Interest free options

"...put it on their credit card thing, left it for the 12-18 months of the interest-free period, made sure there was enough kept on one side and cleared it just before the 0% expired".

Good man. But do you know what credit card company managers call people like you (and me), who religiously pay off the full amount every month and never pay interest?

"Deadbeats". Honest to God. Funny the way a word's meaning can change 180 degrees like that... 8-)

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Tom Welsh
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"I find it completely extraordinary that HFC thought it prudent to let this matter go all the way to the supreme court for such a simple mistake".

It was a perfectly understandable mistake. They were simply acting on the principles that "the customer is always wrong" and "never give a sucker an even break". In other words, the fundamental principles of business.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Greedy

It's not purely (or even mainly) a question of money or reputation. Mr Durkin deserved substantial compensation for the contemptuous and unfair way he was treated by PC World, HSBC, and HFC. The court should have assessed damages based on the need to teach those arrogant corporations a sharp and memorable lesson.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: A bit missing from this article that sheds a different light..

"He didn't mean mean open -> check -> buy, he meant buy -> open -> check -> refund, all within the store. Had he done that the credit agreement would never have been submitted, it would have simply been torn up".

Ah, I see. So why the hell didn't the salesman suggest that at the time? He was in a position to know what the store's rules were, and the customer wasn't.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: A bit missing from this article that sheds a different light..

I'm not so sure about Mr Durkin's "greed". Consider the possibility that the way he was treated made him so angry that he wanted to punish the culprits as heavily as possible. Fining a large corporations a few thousand pounds is no punishment at all - that's what the executives spend on wine at lunch. A few million might get their attention for a day or two, at least.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: 15 years

"How the hell did it take fifteen years to settle a principle that is already so clearly set out in law?"

You're not confusing law with justice or fairness, are you? The answer is perfectly obvious: big corporations can afford more and better lawyers.

"A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer".

- Robert Frost

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Tom Welsh
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Not necessarily

"Always take an interest-free loan when offered. It's effectively a discount".

Aren't you making an assumption there? Indeed, several assumptions. As far as I can make out, it's only a discount if you can get some interest on the money you delay paying. Today, however, interest is practically unavailable. If available, it's usually enough to keep the average person in coffee and Danish for a couple of days.

On the other hand, people being what they are - and not the perfectly logical Spock-like imaginary constructs of economic theory - if you don't pay that £1000 or whatever today, you will probably have spent at least some of it on other things by the time you are due to pay it in six months, or a year, or whatever.

The safest rule, as previous comments imply, is always to pay cash on the nail. "Neither a borrower or a lender be". Old Will was half right, at least. Being a lender is the best way to riches beyond the dreams of avarice nowadays, especially since it was established that if you lose any money through carelessness the government will pay you back out of taxes. But being a borrower (if you're an ordinary person) is an express route to the modern equivalent of slavery.

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Research bods told: Try to ID anonymised data subjects? No more CASH for you

Tom Welsh
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Re: La La La La

As usual in such cases (there are many parallels) the authorities seem to think that if they can prevent legitimate, well-intentioned researchers from doing something that will somehow stop criminals from doing it.

CLUE: Criminals are defined as people who don't give a flying fuck about the law, regulations, guidelines, or anything except PROFIT. (Yes, I know that also describes a large class of business executives: all I can say is that, if it walks like a duck...). So stopping law-abiding people from showing that such things can be done merely gives criminals (and crooked business executives) a free run. This is exactly the same mentality as the belief that forbidding white hat researchers to look for ways of breaking security will do anyone any good (other than criminals).

"La La La La" sums it up perfectly.

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MPs blast HMRC for using anti-terrorism laws against whistleblower

Tom Welsh
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But surely...

...you do understand that "terrorism" MEANS "embarrassing the authorities", don't you?

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Tom Welsh
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@dogged

"trans: They no longer ask Goldman Sachs to pay any tax at all".

Hi! Always glad to meet a fellow Private Eye reader. 8-)

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Tom Welsh
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Re: We want action @Mad Mike

"So my point about the keyboard warriors stands then. I expected as little".

And what are YOU doing about it, then? The rest of us are just letting off steam, because we understand that's all we can do. And because this is a relatively free country, we can do so without being tortured, shot in the back of the head, or shoved out of a helicopter over the sea. (I hope).

On the other hand, that's about as far as our freedom extends. The political system in this country cannot be changed - not by violence, nor by sweet reason. That's partly because most of our compatriots have been brainwashed with the belief that we have the best political system possible (give or take) so only a maniac would want to change it. It's also because the people who really run the country know exactly what they are doing, and why, and they are perfectly happy with the system of defence in depth that they have set up to keep things they way they want them.

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Lawmakers and the law

"The most worrying aspect is that someone who plays a key role in creating laws, is so clueless about how they get used".

Quite agree. But I very much doubt whether Enver Hodgea has ever "played a key role" in creating a law. People like her - perhaps the radicals and socialists even more than conservatives*** - have a weird idea that all they need do is state a vague requirement and leave others to draft a law that will nail it down and make it happen (or not happen, as the case may be).

Exactly as so many sponsors of software projects think all they have to do is give a brief description of their "concept" (about 2 percent of the necessary requirements, usually) and then leave it to "the techies" to make it happen. Then they get upset when the result is wildly different from their own private vision.

*** If there were any conservatives left in politics, which there haven't been for many years.

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It's 2014 and you can pwn a PC by opening a .RTF in Word, Outlook

Tom Welsh
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Re: Testing or Polishing?

"We, the customers, are Microsoft's largest debug team. And we don't' even get a discount!"

I couldn't agree more. The thing of it is, Microsoft has just followed the rules of the legal and economic system with which it has to comply. Precisely because its products have such large user bases, the great majority have no idea of security or decent quality. Rather, they are swayed by shiny UI features.

If we want better behaviour from vendors, we need to adjust the legal and economic system. While we're at it, we could perhaps do something to prevent banksters from making fortunes with no downside and at no risk to themselves, by exploiting laws that they paid for (and in most cases, actually wrote themselves because the politicians don't begin to understand such a difficult subject).

Or, if you want to live in a blue sky ivory castle and dream dreams, we could improve our educational system so that, as today's young people become adults, they will no longer be susceptible to such trickery. But now I'm raving - it could never happen.

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Tom Welsh
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Confusing

What is this "WTF" of which you speak? Is it yet another confusing Microsoft text format? Maybe "Whizz-Bang Text Format" or "Wacky Text Format".

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Tom Welsh
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"Bit rot"

"The term "bit rot" was debunked a long time ago".

I think you'll find that "bit rot" was humorous shorthand for the well-known problems that arise when an originally crisp, efficient system is gradually patched and "enhanced" year after year. It's the programmer's version of what Verity Stob calls "cruft" from the end-user POV.

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Michelle Obama speaks out against censorship ... in China

Tom Welsh
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All the same, really

Anyone who gets to be POTUS (or, to a lesser extent, the leader of any nation) has to pass through so many filtering mechanisms that only a particular type of person is eligible. As far as I can see it makes hardly any difference whether (s)he is a Republican or a Democrat, white, black, brown, or candy-striped. One thing you can be quite sure of is (s)he won't be poor. Another is that (s)he has very little freedom of action.

"The Peter Principle was a book that came out in the 60s, maybe the 70s, which said that in a corporation or in some institution, an employee rises to the level of his incompetence and I suggested that in a foreign policy establishment committed to world domination at any price a person employed by that establishment reaches the highest level of cruelty that they can live with. To put it in simple terms, US foreign policy is cruel, it causes great hardship all over the world. The people who carry out those policies rise in the institutions to the point where they reach a level of cruelty beyond which they can't go, where it's too much for their conscience. The cruelest ones claw their way to the top!"

- William Blum (interview with Counterpunch, March 2006) http://www.counterpunch.com/corseri04042006.html

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. had a more charitable explanation:

"There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nutcases want to be president".

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Tom Welsh
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Re: Fuck you all.

Is "harrashment" harrassment that's especially harsh? Whatever, it deserves a place in the next generation of dictionaries.

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