* Posts by Matt Siddall

143 posts • joined 26 Jul 2007

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The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Matt Siddall

Re: Courtesy of Barry White

I don't want clever conversation

I don't want to work that hard...

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Uber wants UK gov intervention over TfL’s '5-minute wait' rule

Matt Siddall

Missing the point

Never mind who the rule is aimed at. Who does it benefit and who does it hurt?

An enforced 5 minute wait would benefit the black cab drivers who can pick people up straight away. It would hurt the punters who have to wait longer for a reasonably priced ride home, and it would hurt the Uber drivers.

Call me old fashioned, but I reckon the needs of the customers should be put first, which is why I think this is a bad idea.

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Google gets all lawyered up for ‘ambiguous’ EU anti-trust case

Matt Siddall

Re: If search is a contestable monopoly

Then so was Windows and so was Standard Oil. After all, you just needed to drill your own wells, build your own refineries and open your own network of service stations to sell the gas.

Windows has some level of lock-in, in terms of software that runs only on Windows and the cost of re-purchasing software for another OS. Where their monopoly becomes a problem is where they actively try to persuade people to not develop for their rivals.

Standard Oil has a massive barrier to competition in the form of capital required to purchase land and drill wells.

In contrast, how much does it cost to host a website?

The investment to compete with Google on search is massive. Economic barriers to entry are still barriers.

I could write a (very crappy) search engine today and put it on the web, thus competing with Google. It may be tough to take market share from them, but that's because they're really good at what they do, and that's what they would risk if they engage in dodgy behaviours. Bing, Yahoo, etc show this. If they had a better offering, people would use them in preference to Google.

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Man hires 'court hacker' on Craigslist ... who turned out to be a cop

Matt Siddall

Ahh yes

The internet. Where the Men are Men, the Women are usually also Men and the Children Hitmen Hackers are Police officers

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El Reg celebrates Back to the Future Day

Matt Siddall

In this alternate TimeLine, Google Glass managed to look even worse, but somehow made the coffee smell better

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Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

Matt Siddall

"Fuck off" is basically what God said when he kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden:

"Go forth and procreate"

I figure someone in the editing department sanitised it a little...

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Minicab-hailing app Uber is lawful – UK High Court

Matt Siddall

Re: What am I missing

I think the main difference is that a Black Cab measures the cost as you go, whereas the Uber/Lyft/whatever app measures the distance and works out a cost before the journey.

In practise, it means that when you book a cab and the route is blocked due to a road closure (as happened to me a week ago), they'll take you around the issue and still get you home for the same fee (as it was agreed before the journey), whereas a Black Cab would charge more.

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Matt Siddall

OK, I admit it. This bird watching lark is better than I thought...

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Dear do-gooders, you can't get rid of child labour just by banning it

Matt Siddall

Re: flawless logic

Could it possibly that:

- before the enactment of child labor protection laws, we did not have a good grasp of the extent of child labor exploitation, simply because, it not being illegal, it was not measured accurately, or at all?

Actually, if anything it would be a lot easier to determine who's doing it and how much there is when it is legal, solely because it is legal and thus not something that you'd want to hide.

Once it's made illegal, people are likely to ask anyone coming round and saying "are you employing child labour" as a risk, and are more likely to hide it.

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Apple's big secret: It's an insurance firm (now with added finance)

Matt Siddall

Re: Long-term value

I have an £89 HP Touchpad that I bought in 2011 that's on at least Android 5.0. Not sure if there's a 5.1.1 update available, I only check every once in a while (although given how the community works, I expect there is, and that it will get 6.0).

Granted, I had to root and am using Cyanogenmod so it's not for the average user, but it's still an option (unlike on an Apple device).

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Matt Siddall

The BOFH decided to make today's "blindfold typing test" a little more challenging

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Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales

Matt Siddall

Re: Bah!

No e-book is worth more than five bucks.

To you, perhaps. I've paid more than this on occasion.

That goes double for any book by an author who has been dead for a quarter century Mr Heinlein.

Actually, I'd say it applies more for books now than for those published decades ago. Books published now are likely already available in computerised formats and so can be published as ebooks fairly easily (and thus cheaply). Books that were written decades ago have an initial cost associated in getting it into a digital format, so initially at least may have a higher cost.

As the great man himself said: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

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Matt Siddall

Re: Elasticity of Demmand

<pedant>

Actually, if you drop your price by 10% and get an 11% rise in sales, you're still slightly below where you started:

(1-0.1) * (1 + 0.11) = 0.999

</pedant>

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Hacker chancer looking for $500,000 after offering Clinton emails for auction

Matt Siddall

Re: Political comment (sorry)

Sorry mate, not sure how else to tell you this, but I never got any flavour crystals or anaesthesia...

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Wangling my way into the 4K gaming club with a water-cooled whopper

Matt Siddall

Re: Hurrah for you

Granted, but then it should have been:

"You got a free loan of a computer, it's great. Free stuff is awesome."

</pedant>

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Matt Siddall

Re: Hurrah for you

From the article:

"Thanks to Overclockers UK for the loan of the Infinity Vesuvius 4K gaming rig."

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Spaniard trousers €60,000 bank error, proceeds directly to jail

Matt Siddall

Re: So just to confirm.

From what I remember of working in the pensions world, if we accidentally overpaid someone's pension and didn't notice for 6 years, we couldn't recover it (or at least could only recover the extra paid in the last 6 years) - I believe the same limit would apply here.

tl;dr: statute of limitations is likely to be 6 years for this sort of thing (in the UK at least)

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Anonymous UK 'leader' fined for revealing ID of rape complainant

Matt Siddall

Re: A few facts to base your rants on

The police and CPS seem very reluctant to actually prosecute people for making false allegations. They have their reasons for this, and I can understand where they're coming from but I think that they do err on the side of too cautious. The fact that there were only three prosecutions for false allegations of rape in the period of the review doesn't mean that there were not more cases than this, and cases that were known to be deliberate.

I've seen one site that seems to keep half an eye out for such things in the news: http://thylacosmilus.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/lying%20about%20rape

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Microsoft replaces Windows 10 patch update, isn't saying why

Matt Siddall

Re: Those of us who haven't "upgraded"

The useless "tiles" desktop whatever the hell it is called thing just keeps coming back, no matter how many times I switch away from it to our shipping application. Printer managment is retarded in so many ways.

Install Classic Shell (for free). I haven't seen the tiles since the day after I got my laptop - and other than that it works perfectly.

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And on that bombshell: Top Gear's Clarkson to reappear on Amazon

Matt Siddall

Re: Good news for us all !

As a driver and sometime cyclist I have no problem with people who cycle in general, but driving through London you do see an awful lot of the ones who ignore traffic lights or block the whole road by travelling two abreast - those ones I don't like.

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Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future

Matt Siddall

Re: Licence 'rewording" required?

I actually don't listen to radio, but even if I did, I didn't think you needed a TV license to do so any more.

To be honest, the only things I like that the BBC produces are Doctor Who (of which I usually end up with the DVDs anyway) and Sherlock (which is very much few and far between). I did get a license before the last season of Sherlock started, found absolutely nothing else that was even slightly watchable and cancelled it after 3 months.

I do find catch up a lot more convenient. I don't have a lot of time to watch TV anyway, so it seems odd in this day and age that we still have to wait for a given time to watch a show. I'd rather just watch when and where I want - if I wind up seeing things a day or two later than everyone else, I can live with that.

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Matt Siddall

Re: Licence 'rewording" required?

This is exactly what I do - watch TV on catchup (nothing live) and hence pay no license fee.

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Why is it that women are consistently paid less than men?

Matt Siddall

Re: He's got a point.

IMHO, there should be no difference in pay. Equal pay for the same work.

That raises two issues though:

(i) How do you incentivise people to work harder if everyone doing the job gets the same pay. You'll be surprised how many people will do the bare minimum...

(ii) How do you determine who is doing "the same work"? Where I work there are a bunch of people with the same title who do widely differing work, some having been there for a lot longer than others and knowing a lot more.

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Lonely Pirate cheers on Big Copyright-bashing EU commissars

Matt Siddall

DVDs

They could start with outlawing region locking on DVDs.

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Doom, Mario, Pac-Man level up to video gaming's Hall of Fame

Matt Siddall

WoW?

I don't really get why World of Warcraft is listed here. It was the biggest (in terms of subscribers) but did absolutely nothing new, other than make a ton of money for the producers.

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Meet the man who inspired Elon Musk’s fear of the robot uprising

Matt Siddall

Re: "By definition we couldn't"

Actually, there have been a few papers which claim to have found evidence for quantum activity within the brain (see for example http://www.kurzweilai.net/discovery-of-quantum-vibrations-in-microtubules-inside-brain-neurons-corroborates-controversial-20-year-old-theory-of-consciousness)

The brain is likely not a straightforward "machine" - of course that's not to say that we can't create the same thing with quantum computing etc...

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Money-for-mods-gate: Valve gives masterclass in how to lose gamers and alienate people

Matt Siddall

I may be in the minority here, but I think allowing for paid-for mods could be a good thing.

I do think that anything previously offered for free should remain so, but giving developers an incentive to produce good quality mods (or up-to-date iterations on older mods) can only be good for the playerbase. That said, the developer would have to get a reasonable amount of the money for this to work - say 70% to the developer, and then Valve and Bethesda split the remaining 30? Or 50% to developer, 20% to Bethesda and 30% to Valve, if Valve and Bethesda will police the paid-for apps.

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The Apple Watch: THROBBING STRAP-ON with a knurled knob

Matt Siddall

Re: Obvious reasons

I don't disagree with you - I'm sure there are definite advantages to having no browser or on screen keyboard, but the point is that it would have been nice for the article to at least mention the Android watches available, and let us know how the Apple watch differs - and possibly even which is better (or which the writer prefers)

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Matt Siddall

I’ll say this for the Watch, though: I’d rather have it round my wrist than Google Glass on my head.

But would you not rather still have an Android Wear watch that has a browser and on-screen keyboard? Why no comparison?

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Hungry Apple fanbois can now buy a lunch date with Tim Cook

Matt Siddall

Re: Rich People

I dunno. According to Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2014/03/03/forbes-billionaires-full-list-of-the-worlds-500-richest-people/), the 500 richest people in the world are collectively worth $4.4 trillion. There are just over 7 billion people in the world, so even if the 500 richest gave every penny, each person in the world would get $617. I'd be impressed if that's enough to see off debt, homelessness, hunger, etc.

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

Matt Siddall

Re: Am I missing something here?

I can see some benefit coming in the next couple of years. All we need is the expiry date encoded into the (or an extra?) barcode or an NFC tag and the fridge could let you know when things are going out of date, and you could check your phone at work to see what you have in the fridge for dinner to decide whether or not you need to make a trip to the shops on the way home.

Sure, it's not life-changing but could be very convenient.

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Last Pirate in Brussels: Put ME in charge of yer IP treasure chest. Yarr!

Matt Siddall

2) The CJEU also made clear that restricted content, accessed by a hyperlink - e.g. where the hyperlink circumvents some restriction (paywall or whatever) - would, without the permission of the copyright holder, mean the publisher of the link is committing copyright infringement pursuant to Article 3(1) of the EU Copyright Directive.

Whilst I may not like paywalls or similar, I see the above as perfectly reasonable. i.e. not copyright infringement where made freely available by a rights holder, but in other circumstances may well constitute infringement. Reda is a little vague here. Specifics will follow I am sure.

If it's possible to circumvent your paywall or login system with a hyperlink, you're doing it wrong...

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Tax Systems: The good, the bad and the completely toot toot ding-dong loopy

Matt Siddall

Re: Land Value Tax

In that case corporations pay Corporation Tax, not ordinary people. And VAT. You cannot say that it's the consumer that pays VAT and the landlord that pays LVT: they are the same thing.

The thing is that corporations are not people, and for tax incidence we are looking at which people have less money in their pockets as a result of the tax. The incidence of Corporation tax is split between three groups of people - customer, workers and shareholders. There have been numerous papers, studies, etc that show the customers wind up basically unaffected, and the incidence of the tax is split fairly evenly between the workers and the shareholders (the exact ratio depending on things like the rules around investment within the country).

I've not looked at VAT before, but a quick google shows us items like https://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/conference/download.cgi?db_name=IIPF63&paper_id=31 which state that VAT falls largely upon the customer. Not entirely sure why, but I suspect that this is due to it's being a form of transaction tax, rather than a yearly tax like LVT or Corporation tax.

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Matt Siddall

Re: Land Value Tax

LVT would not make any difference to development of land. Amending the planning system would do that. LVT is a stupid tax as will tax people who have no income but lots of value in their home, e.g. pensioners. So will they have to sell their home and move to a cheaper land value property?

Hypothetically speaking, why not? Suppose you have a house in London that someone bought for naff all 20 years ago and is now worth £1m+. They have a couple of options - sell up and move to whatever house they want outside of London plus have enough money to live on for the rest of their lives and free up the valuable housing for someone who needs to be in London for work, or stay there and either get relatives to pay the tax (if they are hoping to inherit at least) or let it accumulate against the value of the property until the owner dies or the property is sold.

We seem to make a religion of "your house is your home" here, and anything that might possibly cause someone to have to move is forbidden - even if it would be better for everyone.

Or will there have to be lots of exceptions - which complicates the tax system and downgrades its efficacy and efficiency.

Not lots - you just have to allow payment to be taken as equity in the property, with a proviso that the state can't do anything with it (such as charge rent or try to sell) until the house is sold or the owner dies.

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Arrr: The only Pirate in European Parliament to weigh in on copyright

Matt Siddall

Whether or not it is harming them, theft is a specific term which has a meaning incorporating the intent to permanently deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use. It is not accurate to use it in the case of copyright infringement.

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Matt Siddall

Re: @Fluffy Bunny

1998 called. It wants its argument back.

So your counter-argument, which you've had 16 years to prepare is...?

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Matt Siddall

Re: Copyright contract with the public is broken.

The Public Domain Day backfired badly, because no matter how you slice it, it means privileged white college kids want to stop paying black people. Living black artists.

Straw Man much?

Given how wealth allocation was skewed 50 years ago (and now, for that matter) I would think that actually having copyright come to an end in a reasonable time would impact white artists a lot more than black artists.

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Firms will have to report OWN diverted profits under 'Google Tax' law

Matt Siddall

Re: The right way to tax Google in the UK

Except that doing so would place us in violation of EU law. Not that I normally give a crap about EU law, but the people in power probably should pay some attention to it...

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Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?

Matt Siddall
Stop

Re: Sorta - Stalinist?

Private rail isn't a great comparison, as they didn't actually allow for any competition (if I want to go to London, I have to use a Southern train), plus they are required to run the trains throughout the day, even mostly empty.

A proper capitalist "privatised" solution would allow for different train lines to run trains on the same routes, thus allowing for price competition. It would also allow them to only run the trains when there are enough people to make it economical to do so, and to allow much greater changes in pricing.

I can see why they do it the way that they do, but it's really not privatised in any meaningful sense of the word.

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Pay a tax on every gigabyte you download? Haha, that's too funny. But not to Hungarians

Matt Siddall

Re: Not such a bad idea

"That's fine in a mostly agrarian economy where economic value is derived from the land"

Not really - land used for agriculture tends to be ridiculously cheap compared to land zoned for residential or commercial properties. LVT would be a fairly minor charge on farmers, and a massive charge on London housing.

To give an idea of the scales (although the figures may be slightly out of date), farm and forestry land makes up about 80% of the UK by area, and has a total rental value of approximately £1.7bn. Residential on the other hand makes up 3.5% of the UK by area and has a total rental value of ~£200bn (commercial is 0.4% and ~£30bn).

LVT would not charge a flat fee per acre, it would instead charge a proportion of the rental value of the land - meaning that farmers pay next to nothing.

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You are here => Earth is in 'the suburbs' of an IMMENSE HEAVEN

Matt Siddall

Re: Yeah...

Logic on that doesn't quite work... Try this:

“It is known that there are an infinte number of numbers, simply because you can add 1 to any number to make another one. However, not every one of them is odd. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near nothing as makes no odds, so the average number of odd numbers that exist can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the all numbers are even, and that odd numbers you run across are merely products of a deranged imagination.”

But then, I've never really been a Douglas Adams fan.

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Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

Matt Siddall

Re: No files ?

Given the likelihood of false positives, I'm not sure I like the idea of AV solutions checking the registry as well. If they screw that up (and they will) the machine could easily be bricked.

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Mr Almunia, how many more times can Google rewrite Euro search 'dominance' settlement?

Matt Siddall

Google has been given three separate chances to revise its concessions on search, in part, because Almunia has stuck so firmly to favouring such an outcome that, he argues, will restore competition more swiftly than forcing the multinational down a so-called Statement of Objections route.

Do we really need to restore competition? Why is that the business of the EU? If we all prefer Google, are they going to force some people to use Bing, or Yahoo?

Search is contestable, and economics tells us that we don't have to worry about a contestable monopoly. If Google start to really misbehave or if someone else comes up with a better product, then Google's days are numbered. In the meantime, can we not just let them get on with what they're doing (providing a search service that 90% of Europeans think is better than any of the alternatives)?

(I still remember using AllTheWeb back in the good old days of university - wonder what happened to them...)

1
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Chromecast hack Rickrolls Google's TV stick

Matt Siddall

One of the dependencies is aircrack - so there's a good chance it can get onto the Chromecast's wifi network using that

1
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NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'

Matt Siddall

Dropbox

If I want to store things securely, I won't be using a cloud service at all. For storing pics and files for easy sharing and access, Dropbox works. Just don't put anything there that you wouldn't want to get out

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EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers

Matt Siddall

Re: Long shot, I guess, but any chance

They're getting better - the LG G3 for example lets you uninstall the bloatware that comes with it (I too have no use for Twitter or Facebook).

2
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OnePlus One equals 'killer' new mobe running CyanogenMod

Matt Siddall

Re: 3G frequency support

The 3G bands that it uses have been released already:

1/2/4/5/8 (850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz) so there shouldn't be any issues.

The 4G banding is limited to 1/3/4/7/17/38/39/40/41 , so you may have issues with 4G with some suppliers in the UK (from memory, EE is fine but most others not so much).

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EU gives Google JUST WEEKS to submit stronger search biz concessions

Matt Siddall

Erm

From what I can see here, Google hasn't actually done anything illegal. The EU commission is having a go for supposed "Monopoly" behaviour, but they've got a near-monopoly because they're the best at what they do. If someone came up with a better search engine, there's nothing stopping us all from moving to it (and I'm sure there are some people who do use Bing and the like).

So Google have done nothing wrong, but the EU is threatening them with fines because their competitors are unhappy about them doing so well. What's wrong with this picture?

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HUMANITY STUNNED - Apple Retina iPad Mini arrives. A solemn moment

Matt Siddall

Re: Retina?

"Good luck with your HTC One X, that little beauty has a nice GPU overheating defect.... blank display not happening yet? Be patient it will..."

Oh, it gets plenty hot enough if it's plugged in and I'm playing games, but I can live with that. Generally if it's plugged in, I'm at home - so can just use my pc instead. If it's not plugged in, it gets warm but not excessively so. The only other thing that makes it excessively hot is the camera. I accidentally turned it on in my pocket once and a few minutes later it was starting to really heat up (at which point I noticed it and turned it off).

I'm starting to get occasional glitches with the touchscreen. All fixed by turning the screen off and on again though. It is nearly time for a replacement, so I'm not overly concerned about fairly minor issues that I can deal with without too much effort.

All told, I'm very happy with it. The Nexus 5 does have me quite interested in upgrading though - just have to see what's around next April :-)

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Matt Siddall

Re: Retina?

To be fair, the original retina display was just meant to be as good as a human eyeball (iball?) can see at 12 inches. I dunno about you but that's where my tablet tends to be. My phone is a good deal closer though, so higher numbers could have value for phones.

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