408 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007
Indeed, but not entirely unique. The open sourcer has an element of that mindset. And even the big faceless corporation may do: look at how Novell stepped in to the SCO case at a time when it was just SCO vs IBM.
Voltaire would approve.
Re: Carbon Tax
Damn, I have a premonition some idiot might feel compelled to take issue with my focussing on petrol and ignoring other burning of fossil fuels. So let me preempt any such correction by pointing out that I know very well I'm addressing just one of many issues when I focus on it. I just happen to think it serves well to demonstrate my point about political problems, given the history.
Jack of Shadows, if you think like that, no nation will ever meet its needs. Think of it as a variant on Parkinson's law: needs expand to exceed the resources available to meet them.
Look at so-called "fuel poverty". There is the expectation in Britain today that everyone should be able to keep their houses warmer in winter than even the Queen could probably have managed when she was half her present age.
Or look at housing. We have more house per capita than we ever have in history, yet we're always short of them. That's rising aspiration, at the bottom where even students want their own room, at the top where owning multiple homes has become far more common, and in the middle where many now turn their noses up at the "first time" homes of yesteryear.
Re: Carbon Tax
Carbon tax is indeed the rational solution. If fossil fuels were held to environmental and safety standards comparable to those we (rightly) impose on the nuclear industry, burning them would become an expensive luxury: a scented candle for special occasions, rather than an everyday thing.
However, we can't hike petrol to £100/litre overnight, we should do it gradually, giving people time and incentives to change behaviour, and industry time and incentives to develop alternatives to today's big polluters. The incentive is of course the knowledge of that rising price.
The politics are another story. John Major introduced just such an escalator for one major polluter. It was accepted at the time, and survived the beginning of Brown’s stewardship of the economy. But in 2000, someone set up a website, and a huge meeja campaign grew up against the escalator, now labelled one of Gordon Brown’s “stealth taxes”.
First there was a campaign, supported with millions worth of free publicity from the likes of the BBC, called “dump the pump”: motorists were exhorted to boycott petrol stations every Monday in protest at “high” prices. Come the first boycott Monday, the petrol stations reported no difference: if anything a slight increase in trade. After the second week, they abandoned the campaign: the silent majority had decisively rejected it.
So, after a couple of months of quiet, they took a different tack. Instead of looking for public support, a few thugs took “direct action”, the kind of thing that would probably be described as terrorist today. But they had support from some prominent public figures: notably the Tory leader of the time: a raving demagogue who shortly afterwards took his party to their worst (but best-deserved) election defeat in … well, certainly in my time. And more importantly – indeed crucially – they again had the support of the meeja: if I might make a cheap jibe, London journalists want their cheap travel to their country cottages (having already priced local people out of the market)!
Having dispensed with the idea that the public (indeed, the motoring public) would support a peaceful campaign, the terrorist campaign was extraordinarily successful. Instead of standing up to the thugs and taking all necessary measures to ensure essential services were maintained (as Mrs Thatcher certainly would have done), the government cravenly capitulated. Green taxes were effectively abolished.
Now, does that mean they're politically dead for the foreseeable future? Very likely: the current government contains some sworn enemies of the planet (Osborne and Pickles spring to mind) in powerful positions, and noone to take a contrary view. I have tried to suggest an alternative approach: basically tie rising green taxes to an equal fall in tax elsewhere, and concentrate on a target for the falling component (my suggestion being complete replacement of both halves of so-called "national insurance", thus returning money both to people and companies).
I want a blackberry!
... because Nokia's phones with proper keyboard have gone from wonderful (the E71) to a bug-ridden pile of s**t (the E6-00). And blackberries are a fair second-best in terms of a comfortable fit in the pocket and the hand without it feeling like moving around in plate-armour!
Will Lenovo make a decent product combining portability, usability, battery life, and a proper keyboard? If so, bring it on!
I've got Debian on this box, and aspects of it are indeed (surprisingly) painful.
I may revert to Slackware next time. See if that's still honest.
It can be done
Many years back I lived for a time in Sheffield. Not one of our wealthier cities by conventional measures, but they're doing something right and - if it hasn't changed beyond recognition - I'd much rather return there than other big cities I've lived in like Bristol, let alone London!
Furthermore, I can point to a completely hard-nosed economic measure of happiness there. When I came to take out household contents insurance, I found the heart-of-student-land premium to be the same as for a small Somerset village where I had lived immediately before. Intrigued by this I investigated further: just one Sheffield postcode (S4 - Attercliffe/Brightside) had a slightly-elevated premium, and even that was many levels below the cheapest postcode in London or Liverpool, and at the cheap end compared even to the more rural postcodes of other big cities such as Manchester, Leeds, or Bristol.
You don't get more hard-nosed than the insurance industry. I *think* the major reason for Sheffield's success was the amount of open green space, and that this wasn't just ugly urban parkland (the Hampstead Heath phenomenon) but felt like a real spur of the Peak District on one's doorstep.
Re: lies , damn lies, and who are all the pies?
Why does exercise incur a cost? Noone charges me for a swim in our local rivers or the sea. Cycling isn't free, but it's cheaper than other ways of getting from A to B.
The main barrier to exercise is highly-polluted and car-infested roads making it thoroughly unpleasant to go anywhere!
It's not just moving goals. Different measures can tell very different stories, and we're all different.
When I had a health check a few years back, they found me obese measured by BMI. But they also measured my body fat at 17%, bang in the middle of healthy range, or in what Wikipedia calls "fitness". Make of that what you will!
 Nuffield health. The check was a perk of my then-job.
Re: Buy a 3G/4G dongle.
Got a 4G hybrid device: provides a choice of wifi or USB connection. Great for travel within the UK, including time spent on the train.
But worldwide roaming charges? No thanks! Just never book accommodation without free wifi. At least, unless travelling on business and spending all day somewhere with it!
Is your money where your mouth is?
OK, Worstall, how much have YOU, as an avowed capitalist, invested in clean energy, energy efficiency, fuel cells&storage, and related areas that advance the cause of a future in which our kids can enjoy a developed-world lifestyle in a less-polluted world?
I agree with your thesis in principle: it's just a shame politicians are so two-faced about it (in the current government we have Osborne and Pickles prominently supporting much more pollution). Capitalists work best when we put our money where our mouths are, which is why in the past year and a bit I'm pleased to have added Blighty's biggest and best energy source to my portfolio, with investments in two tidal power projects to add to those in lesser (for our geography) sources like solar.
Not just CGI
People running Apache: if you think you may be at risk, watch Planet Apache for a solution built into the server!
I'd take issue with the assertion that CGI+bash is likely to be the most usual vector. Applications (CGI or otherwise) that invoke bash through system() or equivalent may very well be more widespread.
Some of those could be running under a standard server. For example, SSI "<!--#exec cmd ...", or a filter running under apache's mod_ext_filter. The latter is recommended as a security measure in at least one well-reputed security book, albeit not actually running bash!
Also worth noting, Linux is particularly vulnerable. Most scripts use #!/bin/sh, which is normally old Bourne shell. Linux doesn't have Bourne shell, but uses an emulator for #!/bin/sh, and that emulator is usually bash.
What was the point of phones4u?
Our high streets have been saturated with mobile phone shops for a long time. You'd've thought there should've been a shakeout at least a decade ago.
As for phones4u .... was it not a case of neither fish nor fowl? If it's neither a network's own outlet nor an independent vendor for all the networks, then what niche does it occupy? I'd've thought that as soon as it lost one major network, it would lose its value to the others.
Re: Replacement cycle....
I bought a new monitor just a couple of months ago. Not to replace anything, but because I got a treadmill desk, and wanted a big monitor for it without changing the monitor at the old sit-down desk.
It never even occurred to me to consider a touchscreen beast.
On the other hand, when I bought my ultrabook, the touchscreens were so common I had to make a conscious effort to avoid them. I expect that's where the market really is.
Re: Another 'could be' law?
Sorry to ... erm ... piss on your protest, but for the police to say "could be" may be entirely reasonable.
Technically even if they were shooting GCHQ employees with guns rather than cameras, police could only say it "could be" against the law. It would be for police to prosecute, but the decision would be one for a court.
It would be ironic if it were indeed deemed illegal because it violated someone's right to privacy!
There is no market
Housing in the UK is not a market by any normal definition. But that's nothing new: every government initiative since 1945 (and probably before) has done damage in one way or another.
There's just too much public money in it. Housing benefits push rents upwards, which in turn raises yields for landlords, which in turn pushes "market" prices up. Whereupon politicians see it's unaffordable and throw yet more money in, both directly and by proxy such as loose lending, not to mention a succession of initiatives in the name of "low cost" or "affordable" housing. Wave upon wave of ill-conceived and poorly-built houses since 1945 that just serve to put massive pressure on any half-decent stock. And finally, paying builders incentives to build more (like today's "help to buy") just serves to push the price of land up another notch.
As for rent controls, they do tend to be counterproductive, though data is short on what is actually to blame. The 1977 rent act may have been the biggest disaster of all, but it did a lot more than just impose rent controls to kill the market off.
Anyway, rent controls would be quite superfluous if we didn't do so much to push rents upwards!
In summary, the housing market is a mechanism for transferring wealth from the productive (taxpayers - bearing in mind hard-earned income is the only thing we really tax seriously) to the rich (property owners).
Someone just assassinated the Prime Minister!
Oh no. Don't tell me someone believed that?
China has the skills base - in spades
China is far from short of highly-skilled developers. The language barrier means we interact with them less than with American, European or other English-speaking communities, but they're there and developing some great stuff.
And as for Snowden, he's done no more than to confirm longstanding suspicions. Example: suspicions of an NSA backdoor in Windows goes back to the last century! Stuxnet demonstrates that vulnerabilities of some kind can indeed be exploited in a real-life act of war. China is right to be wary of what equipment they use anywhere genuinely sensitive, and we should be too.
Highest in Europe?
Could this be the natural consequence of an expectation that the bank will always compensate you for your stupidity? Take a gamble ... heads I win, tails the bank loses.
Whether they will actually compensate you is immaterial (and looks like a grey area). It's the expectation that counts.
Move along, nothing to see ...
It's OK gramps. Speaking as a fellow-veteran, I remember we were re-inventing the wheel back in the 1980s and 90s, too. Though there was IMO more excuse for it in an era when you couldn't just google it before re-inventing.
Though I do deplore the Enclosure of the Commons. Particularly when the new is inferior to the old, which I guess is the scenario that really provokes generational grumpiness.
Some of my relatively-recent thoughts on King Canute at http://bahumbug.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/moglen-vs-history/
Exactly. MS has been predominantly a cash cow for a long time. Cash cows decline over time, and that can upset those who had overlooked their bovine attributes. No wonder they look for scapegoats.
Which is not to say it's total ****. One element in a mix.
Downbeat story about Oracle today too. In the same boat?
On the other hand, contrast today's Reg story about another US tech company: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/19/red_hat_q1_2015_earnings/
Deja vu again
Dammit, I recollect writing about this before. Aha, here it is, from February 2007. That'll be around the era when I was also writing a column in El Reg.
I think the points made there still stand. If anything's changed it'll be that nginx users might've started to join apache users in following security checklists that tell them to lie about themselves. The most popular Apache security recipes still suggest (as an example) that the server identify itself as IIS.
That kind of sandbox would deprive lawyers of a slice of gravy-train. It's got to be kept flexible, so m'learned friends can find in favour of the Right Sort of Chap according to the circumstances of each case.
Please get your basic history right! The original Hitchhikers guide was certainly earlier than 1979. Wikipedia says 1978, which is at least credible. Has to be beginning of '78, as it was in winter that we first heard of the Vogons.
Oh, and Nick Webb's official biography of Adams is well worth a read!
Re: Depends on the country
From a not-entirely-dissimilar perspective, I've seen UK industry has no use for techies older than a twentysomething grad. If you don't want to don a Suit and/or relegate your IT work to a hobby, look elsewhere. Either abroad (US being the obvious #1 market), or self-employed/contractor if you've got the salesmanship and negotiating skills to make that work for you.
I telecommute across the atlantic. Pay is still modest, but I get to live somewhere I can afford on it.
Re: I still need to investigate how I can get some protein on the cheap.
The cheapest source of protein is probably milk,
Far from it. Pulses are a whole lot cheaper: a 90p bag of lentils will expand to sufficient protein for a week.
Re: Article sounds like a rant
Your pension fund will definitely lose from a decrease in high frequency trading.
Yes, it improves liquidity, so on a simple buy-then-sell your pension fund may do better. But assuming your pension fund is investing rather than speculating, that's lost in the noise (indeed, 0.5% stamp duty will hurt an order of magnitude more than loss of HFT).
Meanwhile, the money that's not being siphoned off in unproductive trading can instead accrue to shareholders such as pension funds over the years they hold a share.
Where was this clown in the 1990s?
... when the web deezyners first started going out of their way to make things difficult, and really screwed everything up in "dot com" frenzy?
And what has he got against Google and Tesco, both of whom were among the few to buck the idiot-deezyner trend of the early days, and offer functional and accessible websites? In Google's case, that's exactly what distinguished them from a bunch of long-forgotten wannabes and also-rans.
Things have improved a lot since then. Which is just as well for those of us who are by now old farts with sharply-declining physical abilities. That didn't happen because someone whinged over a dinner, it happened because people did something positive. Oh, and because there was a shakeout when most of the worst offenders "dot com" crashed. And because the law gave us accessibility and took action against offenders - even someone as big as IBM and the Sydney Olympics weren't immune. And because pressure groups have been pointing out the importance of accessibility, and bringing it to the attention of decision-makers.
Re: I don't get what all of the fuss is about £1 per day
Per day? Well, if you're working full-time away from home then that's not a big budget.
On the other hand, if you're working from home, or not working, £1/day is plenty for not merely a basic survival diet, but a tasty and varied one. My baseline is what I lived on when in genuine poverty in 2002/3: a diet you could get for under £2 per week at today's prices. One meal per day of pulses (85p for a bag that'll give a week's protein), plus value-line pasta to bulk it out. Any more is a bit of luxury: an onion, a mushroom, a chilli, a tomato ... whatever is going cheap. Plus what you can pick wild: in this season there's wild garlic and nettles.
Evidence points to ...
Ukrainians? Perhaps, but too easy. Where's the intrigue in that?
Russian-speaking Ukrainians? Ditto.
Russian-speaking Ukrainians who support their twice-elected president and would prefer Moscow-rule to Kiev-rebels-backed-by-***-knows-who rule? Ummm ... ditto.
Actual Russians? Well, er, ditto once again. Why would they leave such an obvious trail?
The true expert agents provocateurs are here in the West, and have demonstrated readiness to joe-job anyone who opposes them. Even when they get caught they retain almost-plausible deniability (the "Gay Girl in Damascus" was a lone maverick, he had nothing to do with us, Guv).
Hmmm ... Where's Snowden?
There's usually more than one explanation.
I too have an address unique to Santander, and it's NOT attracting crap (unlike, for instance, my address for amazon or for nectar, both of which got deleted after a week or two - the latter due to Sainsburys spamming it).
My suspicion would be that some folks might have failed to tick the "don't spam me" box when signing up for online service. Santander's website is painful, but not too painful to put up with for 3% on £20k ready cash in today's market.
When I first encountered the "magic cube" in 1979 the construction was so primitive you'd often take more than 3.whatever seconds just to un-jam it and make a single move. It neither acquired the "Rubik" name nor appeared in the shops until 1980.
Is there a Bah Humbug icon for old farts?
 I remember the occasion well. It was a two week summer pre-course for those of us who had just left school and were about to go up to Cambridge. John Conway, the brilliant mathematician and showman, teased us with it in an extremely entertaining lecture.
They come over here, they take our chefs' jobs .... it's a disgrace! Has anyone told the Daily Mail?
Re: Well done El Reg
You can send mine over IRC: the Virtual Bar.
Some of us use the 'net to liberate us from the shackles of geography (not to mention London, with its slumlords and packed commutes). If you can't have a pint over irc or email I'll have to assume you have yet to catch up with the 1990s.
How do you nominate someone?
It's a shame Brian Haw died: he'd've been a worthy recipient.
OK, among the living, can I nominate Mark Thomas, for all his fantastic work ridiculing despots, tyrants, and the advance of our own police state?
Re: It's already happening you just don't know it.
Up to a point, Lord Copper.
All your saying is that people can, and sometimes do, put a server cert in a gateway (reverse proxy). That often makes perfect sense, to take some of the load off an origin that might be concerned with something higher-level, like your shopping basket or portfolio. Indeed, it's the same picture as a HTTPS server using an unencrypted connection to an SQL backend: there the server is itself MiTM. From there, it's arguably a small step to outsource the proxy function to a third-party who specialises in implementing it securely and efficiently.
Now as to whether trusting your expert third-party and all is any worse than trusting your own non-specialist staff, that's a question above my pay grade. In principle it could be better: your own sysadmin perhaps doesn't have the time and expertise to stay on top of every technical and security issue your specialist contractor deals with.
From an end-user PoV, the question is simply whether you trust the organisation behind the cert. And that's two questions: their intentions, and their competence.
Your chance to own entanet with tax breaks ...
If anyone should happen to want a share in Entanet, Mobeus currently has an offer for subscription open, with some useful tax breaks including 30% up-front, followed by tax-free dividends. This deal looks fairly typical of what Mobeus does.
You only need to read the headline to infer another manifestation of the age-old human preference for the perfectly round and symmetric. The ancient Greeks told us first.
 Or should that be headsphere?
Re: an example....
The BBC programme included some misleading and heavy spin from that OU guy, which should have been challenged. Also some valid points, most notably the fact that corporation tax presents a perverse incentive to take on lots of debt, so companies tend to take on the most debt they can get away with.
This is one more reason - if avoidance by complex trans-national schemes isn't enough - why corporation tax is unfit for purpose and should be replaced.
You mean ...
The SFO is tied up in this nonsense so it's not looking at anything that matters?
Even the Press is running pretty scared of investigating serious fraud since Leveson.
Opera has had all of this since at least 2004, though not necessarily under the same label as today. Opera browsers would send a custom capabilities string that would determine the level of downsampling for visual elements like images, including not just resizing but even conversion to greyscale for monochrome devices. It would also "optimise" and compress HTML, and pipeline connections.
On the proxy it involved some sophisticated content filtering. Apache's mod_filter evolved out of that work: a module to configure the exact sequence of filters required by a particular client for particular contents.
Because we can
We spy because we need to? Or - like the surveillence states of yesteryear's most terrible regimes - because we can?
Snowden has accomplished more than one mission. For society, he's launched a serious debate. And for the powers of the state, he's sown/nurtured seeds of doubt about their online security, that may cause those with most to hide to deny themselves the power of modern communications.
And one more ... he's taken the media spotlight firmly away from a certain aussie now leading a non-life in limbo. A blessed relief there!
Re: Not another smart phone?
Thanks for the rant - enjoyed reading someone else's well-considered requirements. I too am frustrated that the whole b***** industry spend all their time&effort competing to produce the wrong b***** identikit product for users whose requirement is no more than to follow fashion. Doubly so that they have in the past produced a product (the Nokia E71) that came so much closer to my ideal phone than anything available today.
You and I may be minority interests (clearly the Industry think so, or they wouldn't be ignoring us)! But what's the use of technological advance if it can't make us a more custom product? Other industries will customise and even individualise: I bet when you pay £100k for a machine to automate your bigger tasks, your vendors are falling over themselves to listen to your needs. Even among cheap consumer things I can buy components and assemble my own PC, for a cost comparable to an off-the-shelf model!
Anyone @ El Reg have the ear of the Industry? The Long Tail of users who DON'T just want an all-screen entertainment device in this market must be huge!
 Its nearest supposed successor, the E6, is a sick joke in so many ways it's not funny at all. If I'd had any idea it could be half that bad I'd've switched to a second-best from Blackberry when the E71 drowned.
Re: Didn't we just have a story 2 days ago...
Coincidence, or ... ?
Did someone know something was in the wind, and that a bunch of techies with in-depth knowledge of ARM in the server were on the point of hitting the jobs market?
I can't wear a wristwatch because the extra tension on the wrist causes shoulder/neck pain. First found myself always taking it off, then realised why I was doing that, thought about it, and got myself a pocket watch. By the time the second pocket watch died, the era of the 'phone was upon us, so I haven't had a watch since.
When I were a lad ...
Back in the 1970s, I had a wristwatch that wound itself up using energy from the motion of my wrist. Altogether more convenient: I never had to think about it. IIRC it was my inheritance from my grandfather.
That was back in the days when watches were beautifully luminous. Before that fell victim to hysteria about radiation (and someone noticed that luminous watches emitted far higher levels than were permitted to the nuclear power industry, so only the atomic weapons folks could dispose of them).
Re: I have said for..
Agreed. That's why I bought ARM shares back when they were less than £1. So far, so good.
The story is that Google might develop its own server architecture, based on ARM. That doesn't mean buying anything off the shelf, it means licensing technology from ARM and doing a whole load of custom development on top of that.
Somewhere in that custom development they might very well want to adopt IP from other architectures such as MIPS, Sparc, PowerPC, or even x86. There's no either/or between the architectures, but the prospect of a base that's neither x86 nor ARM seems remote, and of those ARM is the one whose business model welcomes licensees doing their own custom development.
Oz or US?
But I followed your links, first to the model, then the "Lifespan" one. That's one aussie company and one US. Both are clear that the don't deliver outside their respective countries.
Since this is a .uk website, how about including a clue about availability here?
Re: Does Not Compute.
I recently acquired a close relation of that HP. Usability is so poor, I'm on the lookout for a replacement.
Like other commentards, I'm disappointed to see no mention of that crucial question of whether I can expect to run *X without pain.
- Review This is why we CAN have nice things: Samsung Galaxy Alpha
- MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
- Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
- Vid BONFIRE of the MEGA-BUCKS: $200m+ BURNED in SECONDS in Antares launch blast
- Hate the BlackBerry Z10 and Passport? How about this dusty old flashback instead?