* Posts by David Roberts

223 posts • joined 25 Jan 2007

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BT hit by data centre fire: Some ISPs just love watching the net BURN

David Roberts
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No casualties reported, which is good.

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Hey, Sand Hill Exchange. Shouting 'blockchain!' won't stop the Feds

David Roberts
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Not comparable?

Shares are just that - loads of people have a small share in an enterprise.

For housing I can see this being workable for a commercial company owning rental property, and thus sharing in the risk and profit from capital gain/loss and rise/fall in rental income.

You could then bet on rents and property prices going up or down (plus the efficiency of the company in managing housing stocks) just like any other corporate enterprise.

However much of the UK domestic property is held privately by individuals so is not comparable in any way that I can see to short term betting on stock price movements. This may well be the thrust of the argument but to me it does not seem a practical comparison.

I think that the argument is also flawed where it says that an individual cannot go short. It isn't short term in a comparable way to current market trading, but over a longer cycle selling your house, banking the money, and going into rented property is a method of going short. Look at discussions predicting a market crash in house prices. One option is always to sell up and wait for the crash then buy at a lower price, which is surely betting on a price fall.

However I suppose this is more akin to taking your money out of the stock market into cash (or at one time bonds) and buying stocks again after the fall. So, yes, the modern method of simplifying this by allowing you to bet with money you don't have instead of buying and selling stocks doesn't have a comparable mechanism for domestic housing.

The other issue I have with the whole concept is the difference between commiting to buy or sell100 shares in a company (all identical, tradeable in seconds and available from a vast pool) which you don't currently own and commiting to buy or sell a house (each one unique and tradeable in a matter of months if you are lucky) which you don't currently own.

So you can't short the housing market.

Should you be able to (and if so, how) or is the housing market being used as an example of something where there is no short term financial mechanism (apart from interest rate control) to force prices down?

Still can't see how this is comparable with betting on stock valuations.

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Post-pub nosh neckfillers: Reader suggestions invited

David Roberts
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Breville????

Why all this advanced technology?

The proper way to prepare a hot cheese sandwich is to make the sandwich then fry on both sides in a frying pan, until the outside is crisp and the cheese is runny. Best in Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Additional ingredients (such as salami or onions) can be added to the cheese sandwich before frying.

Very tasty if served covered in baked beans and allowed to stand long enough for the juice to soak in.

The beans should be liberally sprinkled with L&P sauce.

Fried bacon, as always, is a fine accompaniment.

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Microsoft picks up shotgun, walks 'Modern apps' behind the shed

David Roberts
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Are there W8 Skype users out there who DIDN'T immediately install Skype for the Desktop?

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Online identity woes can only be solved through the medium of GIF

David Roberts
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What ever happened to Digital Certificates, X.509 and all that stuff?

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Mainframe staffing dilemma bedevils CIO dependents

David Roberts
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Pint

ICL 1900?

I could possibly comb my beard and brush off my second best sandals for enough money.

Then again it would have to be a LOT of money to get me back to work in any capacity.

Nah.

Think I'll just sit in the sun and have another one.

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Config file wipe blunder caused deadly Airbus A400M crash – claim

David Roberts
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Re: on error

Motor vehicles have a "limp mode" for problems where it is safe to run the engine in a reduced power mode.

There are some sensors which are judged to be critical to safe operation, and loss of data can result in an immediate engine shut down.

Having had an engine shut down because of a wiring fault between sensors and ECU I am painfully aware of this.

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Chips can kill: Official

David Roberts
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Boffin

Re: What about that 'High Fructose Corn Syrup' then?

Agree with you on the starchy carbs.

Carbs turn to glucose and there is a limit to the amount your body can store.

Any more, and insulin is used to flush it out of your blood into your tissues where it is stored as fat.

Keep abusing insulin production in this way then if you have a genetic tendency you can end up diabetic.

Remember that 80% of obese people do NOT develop diabetes, but 80% of T2 diabetics are overweight or obese on diagnosis.

Sugar is now being recognised as a risk.

Other carbohydrates are just one small metabolic step from sugar.

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David Roberts
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WTF?

Coffee?

Nobody so far has explained how coffee is a high carbohydrate baked or fried item.

See icon --->

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Engaged to be worried – Verify borks married tax allowance applications

David Roberts
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FAIL

Verify?

You lucky, lucky bastards.

When my wife tried to transfer some tax allowance a few weeks back all she got was a request to submit an email address so she could be contacted later.

Still waiting.........

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HP: you know we said we were done with cost cutting...

David Roberts
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Loads of fancy speak about pyramids and stuff.

All it really says is we are going to fire the experienced but expensive staff and hire inexperienced but cheap staff.

This must fill the remaining customers with pride and a deep abiding joy.

How long before all of EDS have been let go?

Along with all their contracts?

Take overs rarely increase profits and reduce overheads.

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Blocking mobile adverts just became that little bit easier

David Roberts
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Coat

Re: Asia’s richest person Li Ka-shing....

No.

He invented the Ka-shing server.

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Driverless cars deal DEATH to Detroit, says Barclays

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Re: John Deere's the real threat to car sales

Sorry about the down vote.

Bloody tablet switched from portrait to landscape in mid type, lost my post but recorded a keyboard finger tap as a vote.

I would also like to plead guilty to a further 20 offences of random voting when incompetent scrolling has resulted in my finger touching a vote button.

I realise this may have caused upset and offence to innocent posters and deeply regret my actions.

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David Roberts
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Parking?

We live near a primary school.

Twice daily there is the scrum from the school run.

This can involve some quite innovative parking.

So how will these driverless cars handle parking for 15 minutes in a congested residential area?

Will all urban streets have to be upgraded to designated parking bays with machine readable markings?

Will a herd of driverless cars just circle the block for 15 minutes?

Will you have to book two trips with a flock of cars leaving and meeting a second flock of cars arriving?

Can you mess with the system by parking in two bays with your old style car, or putting minor obstructions there?

Programming conflict resolution where cars are trying to use the single lane between two rows of parked cars in opposite directions should also be fun.

As others have said, sharing may be a theoretical aim but it is already possible with driven vehicles.

First get people to share short journeys in electrical vehicles (such as local mini school shuttle buses) and then worry about replacing the driver to save money.

Who was it who said "You will prise my steering wheel from my cold dead hands!"?

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Airplane HACK PANIC! Hold on, it's surely a STORM in a TEACUP

David Roberts
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Re: @Simon Watson

Yes I did(am?)........

.........and don't call me Shirley.

/Pedant

(with a dodgy memory)

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Stripped to the core and full of Xfce: Xubuntu Linux loses it

David Roberts
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CPM?

How about Concurrent CPM?

Multi-tasking and multiple screen support when DOS was still learning to crawl.

MSDOS set PC computing back abot 5 years IIRC.

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David Roberts
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Joke

Re: Get with the times

Ah, Lotus.

Lots of Trouble Usually Serious.

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Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers

David Roberts
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FAIL

Essence of fail

Hey, IOT looks a good market.

Lightbulbs are everywhere and easy to fit. Go, product team!

There you go. Does exactly what you asked for. Lots of way cool technology!

They are a bit big.....can't you make them a little smaller?

Smaller??? Show me where it says that in the requirements!!!

Oh, shit, all that research and development and it's fugly. Nobody will buy this stuff. We can't afford to redo all the development, and think of the time it would take!

Hey, it just needs bigger light fittings.

They can't be that difficult to make.

Problem solved!

Which is how a wireless technology manufacturer suddenly finds itself in the business of manufacturing over size light fittings with no prior experience and no market research or business case.

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Hey! Want a FREE TOASTER that makes BITCOIN? What? You DO?

David Roberts
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Joke

Alternative?

We have all these wind farms which are throwing away power because the grid cannot cope.

How about bitcoin rigs to use all the spare electricity?

All they need is an Internet connection.

In fact, I am surprised the generators are not already doing ths as the get the power at cost.

Could also soak up the spare power from gas generation instead of spinning it up and down all the time.

Recipe for cheap cloud storage?

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EC probe into murky cross border e-commerce kicks off

David Roberts
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Coincidence?

This topic pops up just when I have ordered a pair of camp chairs from UK Amazon and the tracking information shows them at a hub in Belgium.

So I do appear to be shopping cross border.

I wonder if this shows up in the statistics?

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Tesla Powerwall: not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

David Roberts
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UK regulations?

Having read through, it looks as though you can't (without a lot of expensive safety kit to prevent you frying a power worker who is trying to fix a fault) use this as a whole house UPS. There are similar constraints on powering your normal house wiring from a backup generator. You have to be safely disconnected from the grid before you power it up.

So it seems to be a potential method of buffering the grid by storing off peak electricity and then feeding back into the grid during peak load. Presumably the circuitry would be much like that for solar panels, which disconnect during a power failure. Which can be frustrating if the power is out and the sun is shining.

There has been talk of using the batteries in electric cars to do much the same, although not much has come of it so far. So this could be an option if you don't have or want an electric car, especially if you live in an appartment in a high rise block without a dedicated (electric powered) parking slot. In this case solar power isn't an option either, of course.

So in the UK this is looking (as with solar power in the home) like yet another opportunity for the affluent investor who owns property and can afford to tie up capital over ten years or more to be subsidised by the less fortunate to meet Government green targets.

What is needed in the UK is massive buffering capacity for renewables such as offshore wind farms which currently seem to waste a lot of power (where the grid can even accept their power) and also screw up the economics of running conventional gas generation to cover for when the wind isn't blowing.

Any advance in storage technology is good.

However at the momemt the major benefit seems to be for the developing world where the is no grid or an unreliable one.

This may all change, of course, if supply in the UK exceeds demand due to loss of generating capacity, and we have to restructure our domestic power to cope with rolling brown outs. Again the affluent are likely to cope better than students in bed sits and tenants (especially those on housing benefit) who will suck up the pain and subsidise the rest.

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Major London rail station reveals system passwords during TV documentary

David Roberts
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Coat

With a user account ID like that.........

........who needs a complicated password?

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TomTom MyDrive brings satnav syncing to PCs and mobiles

David Roberts
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All GO devices?

Well, I am looking forward to the update for my GO 930 which doesn't have any data connection apart from a USB cradle which is used to update maps from my PC.

I would welcome the ability to plan routes on the PC or tablet, including setting way points, then loading it onto the GO prior to the journey.

It would be nice to be able to route round known incidents before I set off.

However I suspect that support for legacy devices will be notable by its absence.

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So how should we tax these BASTARD COMPANIES, then?

David Roberts
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Re: If every comment could end up like this

Tax cash deposits and withdrawals?

Collect all taxes electronically?

So you propse to inentivise me to keep cash under the mattress and pay for and receive goods on a cash in hand basis?

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Microsoft to offer special Surface 3 for schools

David Roberts
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Chromebook?

People keep trotting this out as a budget alternative.

The only time I really looked I found two apparently identical bits of kit with same processor, memory, screen size and resolution. Only apparent difference was the lack of HDD in one.

Virtually no difference in price either.

So where the big saving?

Or is MS now making Windows so cheap on that form factor that the expected saving from ChromeOS no longer makes a difference?

Storage (non SSD) is cheap as chips these days.

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LenovOUCH expands bits-blistering bodgy battery boomerang

David Roberts
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Low risk?

Too little information in the article but I get the impression that they list more model numbers than there have been incidents.

Given that the recall goes back to 2010 if you still have a working battery you are doing pretty well.

Unless of course they did something dumb like issuing defective replacement batteries.

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Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

David Roberts
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Google shopping?

Well, learn a little something every day.

I didn't even know it existed. I use Google search.

So no problem with Google as a search engine, then?

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Mt Gox LEAKED Bitcoin for years before heist, says WizSec

David Roberts
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So a bit like finding a dodgy ATM which pays twice and debits your account once.

You just keep withdrawing money then paying it back in.

The bank thinks it is increasing its deposits when the opposite is happening.

Although paying it back into MtGox seems a bit dumb when you hit the point where it is virtually empty.

One thing - at some point they must have counted their BC and found the discrepancy.

Wonder when?

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Windows Phone 10: Less stuff that does more – plus IE-killer Project Spartan

David Roberts
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Thumb Down

50+ = OLD

Hence the down vote

Patronising little git.

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LA schools want multi-million Apple refund after kids hack iPads

David Roberts
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Re: Why not something reasonable like a Kindle?

You seem to have missed the point that it doesn't cost 150 to 200 dollars to print a text book.

The electronic version of each textbook would retail for a similar price.

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Backdoor bot brains snatched after cops, white hats raid servers

David Roberts
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FAIL

Re: Those responsible...

Yeah yeah yeah.

And those who jump traffic light, cycle on the pavements, play loud music....

.......perhaps we should sort out the death penalty for trivial things like rape and murder first, making sure that all convictions are safe of course.

Retard.

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Wi-Fi hotspots can put iPhones into ETERNAL super slow-mo

David Roberts
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Darwin at work

You can have some sympathy, but people are always attracted to something for nothing.

At one time the papers were full of people who lost money to 419 scams.

My SPAM folder was also full of these phishing emails.

I see few, if any, now in email or the news.

So I assume that the loss of the few has educated the many.

Microsoft support calls have been publicised.

Fake calls from banks claiming to be sending messengers to pick up your compromised credit cards.

Again now attracting publicity.

Presumably as one scam dies another appears.

So some sympathy for the weak who fall to the wolves but their suffering helps to strengthen and protect the rest of us. Perhaps it also educates the victim against gullibility.

Perhaps there should be more effort to target the predators (which is hard) instead of just patching the holes and sometimea compensating the victims (which is generally a lot easier).

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Operation Redstone: Microsoft preps double Windows update in 2016

David Roberts
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Subscription model?

There has (understandably) been a lot of push back against a subscription model but this made me think about what the problem is.

When W8 was first launched there was an offer for early adopters.

I obtained a couple of W8 Pro 64 bit keys for around £25 UKP a pop (using a 64 bit W7 system).

This (along with help from online fora) enabled me to upgrade a couple of 32 bit Vista systems to a better 64 bit OS and get another few productive years out of the hardware.

I didn't feel that I had been robbed.

It seemed (and still seems) a good deal.

So a subscription of £10 UKP per year per system (I have 4 Windows systems on the go at the

moment) is not going to make a dent in the grocery bill. In the great scheme of things it is a trivial amount.

People must pay more for Pro versions of software and I think a lot of people hapilly pay more for anti-virus which gets bundled with new systems.

People also pay for new peripherals with a short shelf life - for example Wifi dongles - without too much angst.

For me the issue is trust - once in the model what happens if the price starts to climb? Can I get off the escalator without losing my systems?

IMHO Microsoft could defuse a lot of hostility if they published and guaranteed reasonable Ts&Cs.

They might even get a lot of people to migrate from XP with the right deal.

The subscription model works well for a lot of industries, not least by stabilising cash flow.

All you need is to be able to trust Microsoft.

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Crack security team finishes TrueCrypt audit – and the results are in

David Roberts
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Re: ..what the hell am I doing here???

".........I don't belong here!"

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The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

David Roberts
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Re: broadcasts?

With respect, anyone who buys dedicated kit with built in software to deal with Internet based material is unlikely to see long term support.

This is particularly obvious for "smart" TVs but also apples to set top boxes which used to support iPlayer.

For this kind of thing get something where you can update the software via third parties.

For example a raspberry pi and a DAC.

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David Roberts
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Re: DAB killed the radio star - portable radio

Our one and only DAB radio has only one speaker - but the headphone socket outputs in stereo.

So we can feed it through an amp to listen in stereo.

[Or even use headphones!]

Possibly many others do as well.

Not used much, though, since streaming radio stations over the Internet became so easy.

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Nuclear waste spill: How a pro-organic push sparked $240m blunder

David Roberts
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Coat

Word creep?

A lot of people seem to be treating the term "organic" as a food marketing term instead of meaning "(derived from) something living".

Which seems to be one of the significant differences between rare earths (umm...apart from anything diatomaceous...) and stuff derived from recently dead trees.

Still, you are all having such a gay time of it it is probably churlish to point this out.

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Why Feed.Me.Pizza will never exist: Inside the world of government vetoes and the internet

David Roberts
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s.uk.me

FTFY

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Ding Dong, ALIENS CALLING

David Roberts
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Two words

Bussard Ramjet

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Cross-dressing blokes storm NSA HQ: One shot dead, one hurt

David Roberts
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Mushroom

Re: @Matt Bryasnt: JustWiz If only the NSA protected MY information with such zeal.

"That sort of response makes me furious."

Me too.

I see the US (government, corporate and individual citizens) as a bunch of irresponsible, unruly children with no real understanding of how their actions affect other people. Standing on top of a high rise building with a pile of rocks, throwing them off and watching them hit the ants and Dinky Toys far below and cheering each other on. Safe in the knowledge that they are too far away for any retribution.

Finally someone made the long and painful effort to climb all that way up and spank one of the kids.

Cue floods of tears, recriminations, and blaming the nasty person who smacked one of them.

Perhaps followed by the understanding that if you stand there chucking rocks off your high rise building it is actually affecting real people down below.

For perspective, why not Google "US funding IRA post 9/11" and see what turns up.

Be very clear; I do not support violence and terrorism.

Be equally clear; I despise those who fund violence and terrorism.

Final touch of clarification - I believe that the vast majority of US citizens are decent, caring and very polite people who do not and did not support or fund violence and terrorism. Shame about the rest, though.

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Virgin Media takes its time on website crypto upgrade

David Roberts
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Re: Dozens of experts?

Probably because VM is cobbled together from loads of small, failed cable companies all with their own bits of infrastructure.

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Vodafone: So what exactly is 'ludicrous' about the Frontier report?

David Roberts
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Poles!

Just put poles in the pavement then let anyone string wire/fibres between them!

Solves all the problems about digging up roads, trenches, ducting, crossing roads etc.

I'm amazed nobody has thought of this.

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ROBOT INVASION has already STARTED in HIPSTERLAND

David Roberts
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Re: Cheap flexible version

On a more serious note - the application which I described above is already in use globally in consumer land.

That is, doting parents all over the world fire up Skype (or other similar program) on their fondleslab and point it at their adorable kids and shout things like "Look - here's Granny and Granddad. Wave to Granny and Granddad, kids! Shout HI!"

Now it is *cough* years since I worked in a cubicle farm so I have no recent experience of that environment, but these days do people walk around with tablets and point them at staff saying "The boss would like a word with you."?

If so, mechanisation of this function might have a place in the office.

If not, then I submit that this use of technology, which is already possible without the mobile coat rack, will probably not catch on just because you can have a brainless bit of mechanisation wheel it around.

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David Roberts
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Re: Cheap flexible version

I may well patent the unique command and control interface.

It is based on the original concept of the spoken word, via an innovative delivery channel combining a "mobile phone" and a "bluetooth headset".

The advanced command set, such as "Go to Harry's desk, I want to talk to him." is generations ahead of less sophisticated AI programming.

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David Roberts
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Cheap flexible version

I just have an unpaid intern carry around a tablet running Skype.

More flexible, infinitely replaceable cheap hardware, same visual interface, easily repurposed when I don't need it.

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Australian online voting system may have FREAK bug

David Roberts
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WTF?

Man in the middle?

By definition the man has to be between you and the target system.

If you think of the online voting world as a massive star network centred on the Australian servers then to have any noticeable effect your man would have to be very near the middle of the star.

The assumption is that you have to connect via a compromised network server, probably an Internet cafe or coffee shop, I would guess.

That would be an intersting challenge - compromise enough network architecture globally (or even in rural Australia) to be able to specifically target Oz voters.

If this has been achieved then I would guess the problems are far more seriousn than subverting a small percentage of the vote.

However I now wonder how many PCs owned by Oz voters are also owned by malware.

This might be a more effective attack - does it still count as MITM if you own the browser?

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‘Digital by default’ agricultural payments halted: Farmers start smirking

David Roberts
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Agile?

Is this the same as showing a proof of concept weekend hack to marketing and finding it launched as a "product" two weeks later?

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Osbo: Choose a f*cking IoT fridge. Choose spirit-crushing driverless cars

David Roberts
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Coat

100 Mb/sec?

Hope this isn't mandatory - I get 150 Mb/sec at the moment.

[Or I would if the bloody power didn't keep going off and on like a dodgy CFL]

Mine's the one with "smug bastard" written on the back.

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Watching porn makes men BETTER in bed, say trick-cyclists

David Roberts
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WTF?

Chicken/egg?

It says (I think) that men who report watching more porn also report feeling more horny.

So - does watching more porn make you more horny?

Or - does being more horny make you watch more porn?

Only one of these seems to fit with the claimed study result.

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BT fined £800k over lax emergency text relay delay blunder

David Roberts
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Paris Hilton

Re: Public floggings

Can we have a list of potential floggers as well as flogees?

Paris because....

...well.......

......I have been a VERY naughty boy!

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