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* Posts by James Micallef

1680 posts • joined 12 Jul 2007

A scanner, darkly: Master data-miner Google tweaks terms of service

James Micallef
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Re: Doesn't everybody know that's the deal?

For those that weren't fully aware that that's the deal, it's good that it's a bit clearer.

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SpaceX Falcon tests HOVERCRAFT tech – despite ISS outage

James Micallef
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Re: Soft landing on the ocean

"Then you have to add the cost of getting the rocket back to the launch pad....might as well take the hit up front and fly back."

It's not only monetary cost though, it's also cost of fuel/range of the rocket itself. If you land east of the Atlantic and have to ship the rocket back, the overall cost in both fuel and $$ will be higher, BUT you're spending the extra fuel on the surface and get to have more payload on the rocket

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James Micallef
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Re: Soft landing on the ocean

"The launch vehicle will be many miles out to sea at separation, and has to fly back to land"

Surely having the launch vehicle 'fly back to land' will require more fuel plus some guidance systems, that's lots of exra cost. If taking off west to east from Florida, why not buy up an area in another country to land the rockets in? The first available landmass east of Florida is Sahara desert, plenty of sparsely populated wasteland that could be bought on the cheap.

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EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database

James Micallef
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Re: [A}n organisation that takes mugshots plus fingerprints

"that would be every Federal, state, or local government agency, every bank, every hospital, and a great many others..."

What about THE American Dream? Don't like what's out there, go your own way. Start your own business, no need to send any mugshots... AND you can attract like-minded people as employees by advertising as a plus for working for you that you will never ask for employee fingerprints / photos.

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Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders

James Micallef
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"There's no situation in which you get both."

If party X defrauds party Y of $100, being forced to just giving the $100 back is no disincentive to fraud. From a legal point of view, any judgement against party X has to include not only restitution of $100 but also an additional penalty.

Having said that, Apple's figures are over the top by several orders of magnitude even IF the patents had any value. Which they don't.

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BlackBerry not afraid to throw its mobe biz under a bus, says CEO Chen

James Micallef
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Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

I have an office Q10, the OS is amazingly slick, handset is very well put together, fast, nice and easy to use. I suspect there's 2 things hindering BB:

- on the consumer front it's apps, apps and more apps. Yes the latest BBs are pricey but punters are willing to pay for Samsungs and Apples so why not BB? Lack of apps is the major factor I think

- on the business front, I suspect more businesses are looking to BYOD, and possibly have existing stocks of old BBs. Possibly cost issues as well, no probs issuing expensive phones to execs, but if you're giving them to the rank and file starts becoming steep on cost. Plus more competition form MS.

I think on point 1 they're doomed to be last after iOS, Android and Windows. On point 2 they can gain some ground by banging the security drum and having a more 'entry-level' (cheaper) model

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Ancient Earth asteroid strike that dwarfed dinosaur killer still felt today

James Micallef
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Re: Fascinating

"Once you've found your space rocks, what exactly do you do to stop them?"

I think it was right here on el Reg that I saw a cunning plan to paint any incoming asteroids. Apparently the solar wind would thus exert more force on it and divert it out of it's course, if caught far out enough. Not completely sure how serious / plausible it is.

And if all else fails... how old is Bruce Willis??

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James Micallef
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Re: So, where was the impact site?

Well, it's more than 3 billion years ago so most the impact site would probably have subducted. There are very few surface rocks on the Earth that are 3 bln + years old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_dated_rocks

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James Micallef
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Re: Fascinating

Well, all the cameras we need are up there already, we just need to point them AWAY from Earth

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Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight

James Micallef
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Re: Moody Planes

"what happens if the plane has to ditch in the sea"

Given the huge surface area of the wings + super light weight, they can probably function a a raft for the short time required before the pilot can be picked up.

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Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release

James Micallef
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Re: "Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere because of human activity is a known quantity"

@Pascal Monett

"Because you have measured and recorded every single charcoal fire, log burning and every single emission of coal-burning furnaces all over the world ? Every year ?

Nice to know. So what are the exact figures, down to the kilo ?

Of course not. Nobody can. "

Correct, but "down to the kilo" is a ridiculous standard to set when we are talking Gigatons. We DO know down to a close enough approximation, eg see the link below

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/08/recipe-for-climate-change/

"The issue is that everyone is approximating everything without exact figures because we don't have them ..."

Approximation within known bounds is a completely valid scientific method and is definitely better than throwing hypotheses about with absolutely nothing to back it up. For example as per link posted, first approximation of fossil fuels burned accounts for at least three quarters of OBSERVED increase in CO2 levels. Yes, it's an approximation that surely can vary a bit either way, but based on these figures it seems very very likely that at the bare minimum, more than half of the rise of observed CO2 is man-made.

If you have what you think is better data or a closer approximation, feel free to share it

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James Micallef
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Re: The fat lady has sung

"You're looking at this with the assumption that human activity is warming the world. "

That's a bit more than an assumption. Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere because of human activity is a known quantity and is basic chemistry. CO2 in the atmosphere trapping more warmth in the earth is known to be true and is quite basic physics. So that's a fact, not an assumption.

The assumptions come in to play when trying to calculate how much - ie, if the average global temperature warmed up be 1 degree, how much of that is human activity, and how much is natural (since, as you say, we are indeed still coming out of an ice age, geologically speaking). Probably there is an argumant to be made that since there are natural mechanisms that speed up warming, then a larger component is natural and a smaller component is human. If these bogs have been (very gradually) thawing for centuries maybe it's possible that a larger portion of CO2 increase in the atmosphere is natural than not.

A back-of-an-envelope calculation of how much carbon fuels humans have burnt in the last century (together with basic chemistry showing how much CO2 would be produced) correlates pretty closely with observed increase of CO2 though.

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Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet

James Micallef
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Happy

Re: sigh

@AC - So, a local shop for local people

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Mt Gox's 'transaction malleability' claim rubbished by researchers

James Micallef
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Leaving the question "So where did the missing Bitcoin go?" open.

Just one question I have from my limited knowledge of how BC works... but as I understand it every BC mined has a history in the blockchain, and in spite of a lot of forks in the blockchain due to how mining/transaction verifying works, the forks are folded back into the original blockchain once a transaction is confirmed... and the blockchains are all public. So bitcoins that weren't 'stolen' by the malleability attacks should be traceable, at least to an id if not to an actual person?

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Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

James Micallef
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I'm pretty sure MS will make more than $8 a pop from every Nokia phone sold

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VAT's all folks: Telecoms and services tax to be set at consumer's homeland rate

James Micallef
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Re: Administration knightmare

It will be an admin nightmare for small businesses. I don't think it's so much knowing the VAT rate of all countries (I mean, all you need is a table with 27 entries!), or knowing where your customer is from (which you still need for delivery / billing).

But the point of VAT is the selling company is collecting it on behalf of the government, and then passes the VAT collected on. So in theory a business with EU-wide customers needs to be sending VAT receipts to 27 different tax authorities.

I hope that as part of the process they also simplify teh rules so businesses only have to deal with tehir 'home' country's tax department (which probably can be enough of a nightmare anyway))

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James Micallef
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Re: What has the EU been smoking?

That depends a bit on how VAT is applied. In theory it could be set up so that basics or special items such as food or schoolbooks are zero-rated or have a lower rate, and luxury items have a higher rate. In practice the extra paperwork and complexity required to determine which items get which rate make it too much overhead / bureaucracy to run, so things are mostly taxed at a flat rate.

Everything taxed at a flat rate is not "regressive". ("Regressive" would be if the tax only applies to items up to £10000 for example, as opposed to "progressive" which means more expensive items taxed at a higher rate). However that's just a technicality. Flat rate does hit poor people more, because much of their expenses are non-discretionary and they work paycheck to paycheck so 100% of their purchases are subject to VAT.

Richer people have a lot more disposable income that can usually be invested, with financial transactions not subject to VAT. I'm not sure of exact national VAT regimes, but I believe real estate is usually not subject to VAT and richer people own much more property.

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Samsung slurps up full charge in 30 seconds with bio-battery

James Micallef
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Re: What about heat?

I think it's just a question of trade-off of charging speed vs capacity. Say they can charge a current battery of approx 2000 mAh in 30 seconds instead of 1 hours (X 120 speedup). They don't necessarily need to get 120X efficiency improvement. Say you tweak the charging capacity so it can charge in 2 minutes, or 5 minutes instead of 30 sec, that's still a huge boost in charging time and gives more time to dissipate heat.

Secondly, if it were possible to charge a battery to full in 2-5 minutes or half a charge in 1-2 min, you don't need such a large battery. 2000+ mAh have evolved to accommodate full-day heavy usage since phone needs to be charged 'overnight'. But if you can top-up quickly (and also because nowadays usb-based chargers are standard, pretty much everywhere there's a socket), many phones won't need such a huge battery, 1000mAh will do.

Thirdly, many phones now have a super-low power use setting so some phones might work with an even smaller-capacity battery.

Wouldn't work for all phones especially high-end. But for phones that are only used as smartphones a minority of the time and in an urban environment where charging points are everywhere (which let's face it, covers probably a majority of smartphone users) , they don't need that much of a charging efficiency improvement.

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Rumour: Next Apple iThing to feature 65-inch screen. Four-limb multitouch, anyone?

James Micallef
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"...touch based. It's just not a remotely sensible way to interact with a large screen ..."

not to mention the fingerprints

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Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

James Micallef
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Re: coding @AC

no, AC was simply practising what he/she preaches.

and dare I say you have proved him/her correct?

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James Micallef
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Re: coding

I thought the article mentioned Torvalds is Finnish, in which case that would be his first language?

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

James Micallef
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Re: Luxury item

"Given the relatively large sample size I guess we can allow for smoking, exercise, and other very relevant factors to average out across the groups"

On the contrary, I would expect people who care enough to buy organic would smoke less than average, excercise more than average etc and that this meta-difference would show up in the results... but even this seems not to be the case.

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Where the HELL is my ROBOT BUTLER?

James Micallef
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Re: It's already here (and has been for years)

The trivia we need help with can always be automated a bit more... preparing food, loaidng / starting / unloading the dishwasher, seperating clothes before washing and folding / putting away after, shopping for and preparing food... all of this can be automated much further than it is today.

Yes the argument could be made that we will just use this extra time to watch TV, play Angry Birds and browse / comment on el Reg!

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James Micallef
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Re: It's already here (and has been for years)

@Pete - you haven't considered that you have to put the bread in the toaster, you have to put the laundry in the washer, you have to drive your car to the car wash et etc.

How more convenient would it be if the toast and coffee start getting prepared the moment you wake so by the time you get to the kitchen they're fresly ready? Or if your car could drive itself to the car wash while you're at the mall and then come pick you up? Why do you even need to go to the supermarket when an automated order can have your food delivered? And so on and so forth.

Yes, our lives are unquestionably easier and we have more free time than at any time before, but it's still possible to have more. And yes I want my goddam' robot butler!*

*or monkey butler with cybernetic brain

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Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine

James Micallef
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Re: @Mike Smith - Try seeing it from the Kremlin's point of view

"Well, the Kremlin doesn't see it that way. To understand why, ask yourself this - how would Britain react if Ireland decided it was in its best interests to align itself with a country that hates our guts? How would America react if Mexico and North Korea signed a mutual co-operation and defence treaty? Would that be none of London or Washington's fuckin' business?"

Yes, if Ireland / Mexico decide to sign a defence treaty with N Korea, it is none of the UK's or the USA's fuckin' business. I can see why they would THINK it was their business, just as I can see why Russia might THINK whatever it was thinking that led to the Crimea annexation. But just because I can understand why Russia are doing what they are doing doesn't make it right.

Interestingly, if Russia had no intention to ever 'harm' the Ukraine, (or USA/UK to Mexico/Ireland) why would they object to Ukraine (Mexico/Ireland) signing a defense treaty with someone else? It's like my neighorhood gang leader being offended if I install new locks and an alarm.

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James Micallef
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Facepalm

@Mike Smith - Try seeing it from the Kremlin's point of view

Most of what you're saying boils down to 2 things -

1. Russia has a legitimate interest in Crimea so was justified in taking it over

2. The west can't complain because it's done it's fair share of imperialism/invasion etc.

First off, I'm going to ignore anything falling under (2). Two wrongs don't make a right. If the US or anyone else was wrong in the past and are arguing differently now it makes them hypocrites, it doesn't mean their arguments are invalid. So let's concentrate on the main point of Russian interest in Ukraine/Crimea.

Firstly yes, they have a major naval base in Sevastopol, and an ongoing contract with Ukraine to keep that base. However there was no threat to that base except in Russian imagination and propaganda. There was no real need to intervene to protect the base.

Secondly, yes, Crimea is majority Russian ethnicity and was part of Russia 50-ish years ago. However, again, there was no threat to the Russian population of Crimea (or indeed anywhere in the Ukraine) except, again, in Russian imagination and propaganda.

I believe the 'new' Ukrainian parliament did, misguidedly pass a law removing Russian as an official language (oh boo fuckin' hoo, cry me a river), which is the full extent of the 'persecution'. There was no real need to intervene to protect the people. And if this excuse sounds familiar, (Godwin's law alert!) it's the one Hitler used to annex Austria and Czechoslovakia, and has the same non-validity as Ireland wanting to annex Boston because there's a majority of ethnic Irish. Russia is utterly uninterested in the citizens, they are just an excuse.

Thirdly, the whole thing kicked off because Russia intervened to scupper a deal to align Ukraine more closely to the EU. Russia doesn't like this for, to put it bluntly, dick-waving geo-political reasons, and possibly a few other economic reasons, but let's be clear about this: it's none of Russia's fuckin' business who Ukraine decides to align itself with.

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James Micallef
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Re: El Reg toeing the line?

" If autonomous regions actually should have the freedom to secede or declare whatever they like"

The point really is that none of this was 'free'. The Crimea was occupied by Russion troops without insignia on their uniform pretending to be a newly-formed local militia. That Russian ethnicities in Crimea were being persecuted / targeted is a fanrasy invented by Russia to justify intervention. The referendum was against Crimean / Ukrainean law, and in any case cannot be said to have happend freely when the place was chock-full of Russian troops. Even teh annexation of Crimea to Russia was illegal under *Russian* law until an emergency bil went through the Russian parliament after the Crimean referendum.

On the other hand of course, it has to be said that the current Ukrainian 'government' is actually a cabal who carried out a coup d'etat against the legally elected president, and until new elections are held cannot be said to be legitimate (and even then, will elections truly be 'free' if anyone from Yanukovich's old party is not allowed to contest and/or is intimidated/harrassed?).

Considering that Crimea was part of Russia since quite recently anyway, and that it wa a net drain on Ukrainian resources anyway, teh status quo is probably for the best anyway. Ukraine can continue making a fuss for a while and then they'll agree to accept losing Crimea in exchange for some concessions from Russia and everyone will go on their merry way.

As to the EU, WTF were they thinking to offer Ukraine an association agreement? In what world was that ever a good idea? Same order of idiocy of thinking that Turkey could join. You really want the EU with freedom of movement across it all to have a common border with Syria / Iran / Iraq??

No side is coming out of this looking good

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Back off, Siri! Microsoft debuts Halo beauty Cortana

James Micallef
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Devil

"You can even give Cortana commands, such as, "Set a doctor's appointment for 8am on Tuesday," and the software will update your calendar accordingly."

Yes, but will it call the doctor to make an appointment for you?

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Puking! protester! forces! Yahoo! 'techie! scum!' to! ride! vile! bile! barf! bus! to! work!

James Micallef
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Re: Free market? If only

Not to mention that general government / municiplities etc want house prices to rise continuously as that keeps inflation going and will keep people feeling rich, both of which mean more spending and more taxes. The 'problem' here is that the benefits of inflation accrue to the better-off, hence increasing inequality

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Greenpeace reveals WORLD'S FILTHIEST CLOUDS – and the cleanest may shock you

James Micallef
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Boffin

Re: Green electrons

No you can't decide which particular electrons are generated from green or not.

Can't say for anyone else, but my utilities supplier offers varying degrees of sourcing, ranging from 'normal' that includes a chunk of renewables all the way to 100% renewables. The higher %age of renewables the more costly (difference is surprisingly little). Subscribers have the option of paying more for specifically green energy.

Of course as you say, if I opt for 100% renewables I can't know whether 100% of the actual electrons that pass through my system came from renewables, but what the utility does is to vary it's aggregate sourcing depending on the aggregate desires of all it's customers.

If for example Apple are claiming 100% renewable that's probably true in the sense that (a) they will be paying a premium for that and (b) their supplier will have needed to build or buy enough renewable to supply to match Apple's demand, irrespective of where the actual electrons go

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James Micallef
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Re: Malthusian catastrophe

@The Axe

"The emperical evidence is showing that the rate of growth in the population is flattening out"

UN 'middle estimate' of global population is that it wil level out at around 9-10 bln people

"Compared to modern times, 1800s agricultural production was very inefficient. A diary cow now produces many times more milk than an 1800s cow. Crops now produce many more tons per acre than in the 1800s."

Completely true, but I would add the caveat that I'm not too happy about some of the "modern technology and practises." Increased production of meat / milk is partly due to overstuffing animals with unneeded antibiotics, animals reared in terrible and unsanitary conditions etc. Same with farm practice, yields are partly increased through indiscriminate use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers etc.

I think it's perfectly possible to have increased yields compared to 1800s or to places like sub-Saharan Africa, but lower than current 'mega factory-farming' yields, and still have enough to feed everyone in a way that is healthy for both us, farm anilmals and the environment. It won't be 'cheap' in the sense of a £2-3 steak, but rising standards of living could cope with that. (And too much meat is unhealthy anyway!!)

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James Micallef
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Re: Greenpeace

Typical of clueless Greenpeace to lump nuclear with the 'disapproved' energy sources. Overall globally there are 4 things that can happen in teh next few years:

1. continue as 'normal' with fossil fuels the main energy source with what it implies for (lack of ) security of supply, increased energy expenditure to even get the stuff out of the ground, severe particulate pollution and eventually falling off a supply cliff... and I'm not even mentioning global warming

2. GP's way which is dump nuclear and fossil ASAP, get to 100% renewable ASAP, also involving energy prices skyrocketing, quality of life diminished in richer countries and hope of it improving destroyed in poorer countries, vast swathes of countryside eaten up by wind and solar farms, security of supply down the drain.

3. Serious investment in modern nuclear now, and worldwide, to take up baseload power over from fossil fuels over the next 50 or so years, allowing renewables to grow organically and steadily while carbon energy is phased out. Energy prices will still increase* but not as much as in (2). There are still risks but hey this is the real world, nothing is risk-free. Forget Fukushima that was a 50-year old reactor based on 60-year old design, new reactors are both safer AND can burn off the nasty radioactive stuff produced by older reactors as fuel.

4. Discover fission

*We're long past the point where oil is cheaply and easily dug from the ground in such vastly abundant quantities that we can afford to waste. Dirt-cheap energy is gone forever**

**until point (4) not only can be done but has matured and scaled... and possibly not even then

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ICANN boss: 'Russia and China will NOT take over interwebs'

James Micallef
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Facepalm

Re: Never Happen

What does 'take over the interwebs' really mean anyway? And what does "control of ICANN" mean? Put in that vague way both statements are meaningless - not that I would expect anything else from a House of Reps committee.

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Boffins make noise about D-Wave chip: it seems quantum

James Micallef
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Re: I don't get it.

As per D-Wave's Wikipedia article (usual Wiki caveats), the D-wave shows remarkabel speedup in some applications and none (or even much slower than desktop) in others. I guess it's related to what a poster above referred as difference between 'quantum computer' and 'universal quantum computer', ie it probably does act as a quantum computer on the problems that show high speedup, but the performance gain is still not niversally applicable.

This is not surprising... even a quantum computer that can only solve a limited set of problems in a quantum way is a HUGE achievement.

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Money? What money? Lawyer for accused Silk Road boss claims you can't launder Bitcoin

James Micallef
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Re: That would be a pretty big hole in the law

Not sure I get what you mean, Doug. The point of money laundering is that it starts with cash, is cycled through a bunch of businesses but possibly also assets including as you mention gold, diamonds, cars etc and then bck into 'clean' money. This is already prosecutable as money-laundering.

I think the point the defense attorney is making is that the defendent was paid directly in bitcoins (not cash) and never converted teh bitcoins into anything else, so it can't have been laundered. In the same way that if a drug dealer exchanges a tonne of drugs for a Gold-plated Ferrari with diamond-encrusted steering wheel, and keeps the Ferrari, then you can accuse them of drug-dealing but not of money-laundering.

It's a sound argument and (caveat of not knowing full details of the case), I would agree with the defence on this point. Of course as other posters have pointed out, there's plenty else he's indicted for and quite possibly guilty of.

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CERN team uses GPUs to discover if antimatter falls up, not down

James Micallef
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Re: Einstein's answer:

If anti-matter had 'negative' gravity that implies anti-matter and matter repel each other but also (I guess) that anti-matter attracts other anti-matter. If that were the case I would expect the universe would be full of anti-matter stars, planets, even galaxies that are repelling from other galaxies.

(Of course, all the galaxies are moving away form each other anyway, and how could we tell if a galaxy half way across the universe is made of anti-matter?)

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James Micallef
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Re: Errr, please describe the experimental setup...

@Scroticus - April 1st is what I though from seeing the title, but it's clearly marked (even on the main page) as being published 31/3

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US Supreme Court Justices hear arguments in game-changing software IP case

James Micallef
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Re: How's this?

"You should not be able to re-release Agatha Christie's Marple stories with the name changed to Mabel."

I agree with this basic sentiment but NOT with this particular example. Agatha Christie's novels were mostly written in the 30s and 40s. I think it's a big mistake to have 75-year copyrights especially when copyrights were a LOT less at the time of publishing and then retroactively extended backwards.

Really Agatha Christie's novels should be in the public domain and freely accessible as an e-book and as a physical book at no more than the cost of printing/distribution.

Of course anyone trying to re-release the novels as their own work with Marple changed to Mabel would be both a fool and a prat, but NOT a criminal.

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Homeopathic remedies contaminated with REAL medicine get recalled

James Micallef
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Facepalm

Re: What do we do for those for whom it works?

It might work for some people, but since it's not consistently replicable it means it's not known WHY it works, and clearly it doesn't work for the reasons stated by the practitioner.

It's quite possible that homeopathic and other alternatives have a strong placebo effect (which should not be discounted, it's a real and strong effect) that work where 'real' medicine does not. (Got to keep in mind that 'real' medicine is nowhere near 100% effective either, AND can have some pretty nasty side effects)

But for heaven's sake, if you can see that whatever your homeopathic practitioner is giving you is not working, you got to call them out on it and move to something that does.

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Judge rules Baidu political censorship was an editorial right

James Micallef
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I agree 100%

with the judge

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Sick of walking into things while gawping at your iPhone? Apple has a patent app. for that

James Micallef
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Re: Uhm,,,

"stream of the pavement."

No, the way I read the patent there is a third camera (marked 300 on the diagram) that points up out of the top of the camera, so if you're holding the phone flat it would face forwards.

Except, of course, if, like me, you hold the phone at a bit of an angle and all you would see is the tops of trees, signposts, tops of high-rises, sky etc. Or if, like many people I know, you hold the phone in landscape mode while texting to make use of a bigger kaypad, in which case you'll get a real close-up view of the car you stepped out in front of just before it clobbers you.

What they need is a fish-eye lens!!

EDIT: on checking teh link to teh actual patent it seems that the '300' label is referring to the whole phone itself, so no additional camera - therefore, as many posters have pointed out, it's both useless AND prior-arted.

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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

James Micallef
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Re: HFC

This: "they should add that simple lesson to the national curriculum".

If the national curriculum replaced one of the many useless courses foisted on kids with a financial education programme, in a few years you'd have much less people in abject poverty and on the dole, more people creating and holding down jobs, a lot less people deep in unsustainable consumer debt.

Of course no government would ever introduce such courses because it would also destroy the lottery/gambling business, decimate financial services income and depress tax revenue

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Bruce Schneier sneers at IBM's NSA denials

James Micallef
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Re: Of course

Typically I find that the more detail in any text, the more caveats, exceptions and loopholes it can contain. If IBM do not give customer data to the US government, or any of their agencies or agents they just needed to say:

"we do not give customer data to the US government, or any of their agencies or agents"

Of course this is clearly not the case as we know that if subpoenaed, they have to turn that information over. And one other thing that Schneier does not pouint out is that although IBM claims that they will legally challenge certain requests for data, there is no guarantee that they will win such challenges, nor that tehy will be allowed to talk about it. So at best IBM could say:

"we do not give customer data to the US government, or any of their agencies or agents, except as required by law"

But because S law now contains banana-republic style codicils that include gagging orders, everyone knows that "except as required by law" could mean anything. Hence the long-winded weaselly worded statement.

Completely in agreement with Schneier here - why not just be honest with your customers and say

"Hello, IBM here. We're being bent over a barrel and shafted by current US gov laws requiring us to turn over customer data based on just the say-so of a secret and unaccountable court, and by the way we can't even say whether we have ever even been subject to such requests, but you know they just *might* have happened".

Of course that's no different to any other company operating in the US

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EE...K: Why can't I uninstall carrier's sticky 'Free Games' app?

James Micallef
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Re: Real-time buying behaviour

In my experience "Aisle Linger Time" is more commonly related to 3 main causes:

"So, what did I came in here for again??"*

"damn! where have those idiots moved that product that has always, previously been on this exact shelf??"

"unbelievable! I've been staring right at the item I wanted for the last 5 minutes, how is it possible I'm only seeing it now??"

*double damn if it was something the wife asked for

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EXPOSED: bizarre quantum sibling LOVE TRIANGLE

James Micallef
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: No, this doesn't undermine Einstein

Confused!!

I always thought that after entanglement, 2 particles could be seperated (at < c ), and then any change in one particle is instantaneusly happening also in the other particle. But information isn't being transmitted between the 2 (at least not at any speed > c ).

I saw it the same way as synchronising 2 clocks and taking them to different places. The hands on both clocks are instantaneously mirroring one another but no information is being transferred between the 2.

I'm not sure exactly what I'm not understanding here but it seems like I've got some fundamentals wrong

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Michelle Obama speaks out against censorship ... in China

James Micallef
Silver badge

Re: Standard US policy continues

@Vociferous - I agree completely that China and many other countries do not have free speech in the way the west does. But that isn't the point the original poster was making.

Free Speech = you can say (almost) whatever you want without fear of arrest and/or civil lawsuits

What Mrs. Obama said = "you can say whatever you want and we (ie leaders of the country) listen to what you (ie 'common' people) have to say"

Reality in US and many other western countries = you are perfectly free to say (almost) anything you want, but unless you have a very big and very rich lobbying / voter base, absolutely nothing of what you say will be taken into account by politicians when making laws / decisions.

The OP was merely pointing out that only part of what Mrs Obama asid was true and tehother part was complete bollocks

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'Arrogant' Snowden putting lives at risk, says NSA's deputy spyboss

James Micallef
Silver badge

Re: Right...

@AC - hmmm, for some reason you seem to be thinking that I'm an Obama fanboi. Truth is I'm not US citizen, I don't think Obama is some sort of saviour, just that for all his faults he's the best of a pretty nasty bunch.

For what it's worth, yes, Obama did promise to clear up Bush's mess when elected but gave his predecessors free pass. However I'm not convinced he could have done more. He tried to close Guantanamo but was blocked by (Republican) Congress who refused funding for an alternative. And he found enough meltdown and all-out obstruction from political opponents even for just continuing some of Bush's policies (like the bailout, part 1 of which started under Bush). If he had indicted Cheney, Rumsfeld and all points down to the mid tiers of CIA for war crimes and torture, the US would have exploded into civil war. I guess vs CIA, he chose not to fight a battle that would have been very costly to both the US and himself personally whetherhe won or lost.

With respect to NSA intercepts, yes, Obama totally chickened out and allowed Patriot act abominations to continue unchecked. One point though, Obama is NOT the boss of NSA and CIA, these respond to Congress and the respective oversight committees. Obama can nominate the heads but these need to be approved by Congress.

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NSA 'hunted sysadmins' to find CAT PHOTOS, high-level passwords

James Micallef
Silver badge

Re: Simple, logical and exactly what any computer criminal would do.

@BAG - I think you'd better specify to the NSA that you mean a "redhead". You definitely will not like it if the NSA give you a "red head".

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James Micallef
Silver badge

Re: A sysadmin death by "suicide?"

Similair thing in Italy with the Telecom Italia phonetapping scandal. The 'security' team of Telecom Italia was caught spying on thousands of personalities in politics, show business and sport, using the infrastructure in place for lawful wiretaps. They used this to build dossiers on thousands of people for potential future blackmail. In typically incestous Italian style, they were current or former security operatives of Pirelli, who had common shareholders and directors with, among others, Telecom Italia and the football club FC Inter Milan. All the companies apparently exchanged favours between them, at the behest of some directors, for example it's well known that Inter president Moratti asked the security team at Telecom Itaia / Pirelli to investigate a referee that he thought had disadvantaged his team.

Adamo Bove, who was head of security at Telecom Italia, was found dead after jumping off a bridge, and there are plenty of theories that he had been "suicided". His deputy Giuliano Tavaroli was the main defendent in a mega-trial. Tavaroli claimed that all the interceptions were done on request of the business directors, but none of the 'higher-up' people were ever even indicted. Bove was the one person who could have linked the directors to the illegal wiretapping.

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MtGox finds 200,000 Bitcoin in old wallets

James Micallef
Silver badge
Joke

Re: ::shakes head:: @Jake

"be it either 'Tulip Mania', 'South Sea Bubble', a FIAT currency for criminals or just a Ponzi get rich quick scheme"

I doubt that compact Italian cars with a reputation for unreliability would be a good choice as a means of exchange.

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