* Posts by Timo

310 posts • joined 26 Sep 2007

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Volterman 'super wallet': The worst crowdsource video pitch of all time?

Timo

missing a disclaimer "not to scale"

With all of the electronics and batteries that thing is not going to fit into a pocket and leave any room for the usual wallet items like money and credit cards and ID.

I also got a right laugh out of: "This is Rob. At first glance he's just a regular guy."

No he's not, he's a bearded hipster.

Rob won't buy this. It would need to be steampunked or artisanal, or shiny white to match his earbuds.

Couldn't get past 30 seconds. Do not want, do not need.

11
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Florida Man to be fined $1.25 per robocall... all 96 million of them

Timo

I wanted to get a 900 number

I wanted to get a 900 number for my home phone, that way when any of those robocall companies called me I'd make money. Maybe $10 for the first minute and $5 for every minute after that.

4
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IBM warns itself of possible outages in lab shift screw-up

Timo

extreme short term viewpoint

In many cases it costs money in the short term to save money over the long term. When a company is so focused on the short term finances that they lose track of the bigger picture then they're not going to last very long. Management will formulate the idea that they're very expensive to maintain and will sell off or shut down the whole thing.

This is where private equity can come in and make the correct big picture investments and make money.

2
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IBM: ALL travel must be approved now, and shut up about the copter

Timo

Doesn't solve all the problems

This has a very definite side-affect: now that every travel approval has to go all the way to the top, they're going to take their own sweet time deciding to approve or not. What will happen is that the delays will push the traveler from the cheap early advance purchase ticket into the much more expensive last-minute fares. There might be fewer trips, but each trip will cost much more.

Or maybe management will think they're smart and wait until after it is too late to approve. At which point they'll be issuing credits for service level agreement failures.

12
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Naming computers endangers privacy, say 'Net standards boffins

Timo

Here are your network-specific hostnames

99% of your general public will not understand what the network specific hostnames are for. You'll end up with another layer of facepalming:

Kellyanne_iphone_starbucks

Kellyanne_iphone_library

Kellyanne_iphone_market

Kellyanne_iphone_home

Kellyanne_iphone_linksys

Kellyanne_iphone_netgear

2
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AWS offers $20 bribe to derps who buy old IoT condom-o-matic dunce dobbers

Timo

they probably made some money from the advertising

Amazon maybe isn't getting the advertising revenues they expected - I'm sure Tide and Charmin pitched in to make these a reality.

Supermarkets are strange - the business setup is nearly opposite of what you'd assume. It is more like real estate where the shelf space is what they rent out, and make a very small margin on the actual sales.

1
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How Apple exploded Europe's crony capitalism

Timo

did much the same in the US

Apple came in and broke the grip of the US operators. Before the iPhone we were stuck with lousy choices for phones. Verizon was too arrogant to allow another company to speak to their captive customers. AT&T was starving for an advantage, and put themselves at the mercy of Apple. AT&T had a couple boom years of exclusivity while Verizon got to eat crow.

Same thing happened in Japan. Softbank deployed world spec networks and then the iPhone. Everyone in the telecom world said that it would never work, Japanese required custom products,etc. After only a year or so Softbank had picked up huge market share.

1
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Insecure IoT networks for medical data? Easily fixed, shrugs Arqiva

Timo

small bits

The Sigfox network only burps out a message of 12 octets, so around 100 bits. The data that is there is going to be fairly abstracted or obfuscated. And nothing would preclude them from encrypting/encoding the data, sending it, and then decoding it when they pull it from Sigfox's cloud. So wouldn't it be like sniffing encrypted internet traffic?

0
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Boffins turn phone into tracker by abusing pairing with – that's right – IoT kit

Timo

what is the uptake rate on the patched software?

So Belkin spends the time and money to issue updates to their software, which is promising, but how is that handled? Do the devices automatically update or does it require the user to do it? Publishing a software update is a necessary step but doesn't guarantee that it will be installed. How many people that buy those light switches are going to be mindful of updating, if the thing works (as far as they can tell)?

0
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Want to spy on the boss? Try this phone-mast-in-an-HP printer

Timo

Re: For added awesome

It is getting off topic, but that is part of the reason for Wi-Fi calling. Hard to beat the price of an already installed wireless access point. Put the coverage where you need it.

0
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Coming soon to smart home devices? Best Before labels – with patch cut-off dates

Timo

this may be a step in the right direction

Once the hardware has shipped and the manufacturer has pocketed the money the ongoing support just looks like cost. And as the device is supported it also means people aren't as motivated to replace them so the vendor loses out on those replacement sales too. This all works against the consumer.

So maybe educating the consuming public, and embarrassing vendors into declaring their support plans, may be the way to get this translated into business results and business terms that the beancounters can understand.

6
1

Four reasons Pixel turns flagship Android mobe makers into roadkill

Timo

Re: It's the age old problem...

This is where I thought Microsoft would be around to catch the OEMs running away from Google. At the time of Winphone 7 and 8.1 they *were* slightly less evil than Google.

Now is pretty bad timing and Microsoft is going to miss this window of opportunity. Their phone OS is having a lie-down, and they're shooting themselves in the foot with W10.

1
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BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym

Timo
Thumb Up

Re: huh ?

No - getting involved is the best way to make sure that you don't get tasked with anything. I've just done this with a few "initiatives". Offering to RUN the committee (into the ground) is even better! You tell your daily taskmasters that you're too busy with the "task force", meanwhile you're in charge of said task force and get to use the whip on everyone there, making sure that you don't have any actual work to do besides taking credit for everything that is being done. As they say on fireworks: "light fuse and point away from body".

The boss has the attention span of a housefly so in a month's time there will be another long-term plan to torpedo.

Keep your friend close, and your enemies even closer! Or embrace, extend, extinguish!!! You have to beat them at their own game.

1
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My Nest smoke alarm was great … right up to the point it went nuts

Timo

Re: I had a first gen go wacko

Hammer, or garden hose, would fix the beeping

0
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Is Apple's software getting worse or what?

Timo

Re: What is going on?

I have been waiting for the day when people start to realize this.

"In the old days" we didn't have to keep keeping up with the constant changes to "apps" and software, the functional and interface changes. Back then you got a piece of software and maybe you'd get some downloadable updates, and you had control over your corner of reality.

Now it is a continuous revision cycle where apps get updated and things generally move around just because the developers changed their mind. Things get added and taken away, and you have no control over it! Get on the bus, sit down, and get ready to go where the driver wants.

4
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NIST: People have given up on cybersecurity – it's too much hassle

Timo

Re: Don't blame the users

This is where social engineering plays. It is really easy for the crooks to impersonate the companies, hoping to confuse you long enough to hand over some money or information. And like viruses and spam, when the companies improve their information it is an escalating war that will need to be solved some other way.

It happens in real life (hucksters misrepresenting themselves), on the phone (Microsoft calling), and online. It has always been lucrative.

Or maybe you're implying that the legit companies and the crooks are all acting the same way, which is also true. Many "legit" companies are finding that they can get pretty far with the sin of omission (not telling you everything that is going on.) This has also been going on and has almost always been lucrative *in the immediate term*. So who are the real crooks?

1
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Apple iMessage URLs ship OS, device, and IP data to sites, dev says

Timo

iMessage was a way around expensive SMS

At the time that iMessage came out sending messages over the data connection was much cheaper than sending them by SMS for 10 cents apiece, and was a way for Apple to gain control over the wireless operators. Now that SMS is dirt cheap and data is capped the equation may be different.

1
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Invasion of the Brandsnatchers: How Nokia and BlackBerry inhabit the afterlife

Timo

I expected things to turn out differently

I estimated that Google would continue to screw over their hardware "partners" by turning the hardware into a bottom level commodity product, which would send hardware vendors running into the arms of Microsoft. Back then Microsoft was a more competent company than they are now, and less evil than Google. This was probably 6-8 years ago.

Now Android and its apps have become a security and bug problem on all fronts, but Microsoft has decided to opt out of mobile for a while so they they figure out what they are doing.

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FCC death vote looms for the Golden Age of American TV

Timo

EPG subscription

I never understood why the Electronic Program Guide is a separate piece of information aggregated and provided by a third party. With the whole move to digital TV it seems there would be enough spare bits in the datastream to transmit the EPG, and it *could* be updated in near real-time.

Except it didn't work that way. I guess what may have happened is that TV Guide and other companies (think newspapers and yellow page printing companies, not media companies) started something as a service to the TV companies, and that model hasn't been disrupted for some reason.

Well that and the TV stations proved that they were not capable of handling subcarrier data - for a few years in the 90's many VCR's were sold with the capability to automatically set their time from the TV signal so they weren't blinking "12:00" forever. I heard that many people had problems with it because the time sync server at the TV station was not maintained, so many VCR's were showing the wrong time, and could not be manually overridden.

4
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Pull the plug! PowerPoint may kill my conference audience

Timo

Re: Ho Hum

I proctored a science fair type event last year at the middle school, and one youngster was in a complete panic about getting his computer to recognize the screen and transmit said information to the projector. He had shown up a little early to test things out, and it just didn't work at all. He had no other fallback method to get the job done.

Only after another fellow spent 30+ minutes trying to figure it out did the boy mention that he had just upgraded to windows 10 the night before, and in the process wiped out all of the specialized drivers for his gaming laptop. Most importantly was the video driver with the soft control to switch between laptop panel and projector modes was not loaded.

An important lesson learned for him: If the sodding thing is working, DON'T F**K WITH IT RIGHT BEFORE YOU HAVE AN IMPORTANT MEETING, unless you have a few days to test it and work the kinks out.

6
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HP Inc's rinky-dink ink stink: Unofficial cartridges, official refills spurned by printer DRM

Timo

Re: The odd thing is

Planned Obsolescence is the cause. If a company builds a product that is so good you only need one of them, then their volumes go way down and the cost goes up (paying for the quality.) So if that company designs the product to crap out after a few years they might be able to sell you the replacements too. True for both hardware and software businesses. There is some opportunity to provide more functionality as technology improves, but that value need to be compelling.

The other scenario is that company B comes along with a substitute product at a lower cost (but with much lower lifetime.) Which one will you go for? If you buy on price you'll buy B. If you buy for "lifecycle cost" you'll choose A.

Don't shoot me for this - I'm only the messenger!

1
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You're guilty but broke, judge tells Wash.io – the 'Uber of laundry'

Timo

Where is the "Uber" of washing machines?

Washing machine sharing? I post online with some whizzy app the availability of my washer, someone can come by my house and use my washer and dryer to do their clothes. I suppose if I really was bored I could post that they could drop off their stuff and I'll wash, dry, and fold, for a price that may or may not compete with the local laundromat.

After all I'm not using it 24x7, so it makes use of the idle time.

Or what if I post that I have a half a load of bright colored clothes and willing to take on anyone's other half of a load for a price. That's really pushing the envelope on efficiency. Green even.

The line forms here - first 5 people willing to put up a million can get in on the ground floor.

10
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My Dell merger wish list

Timo

Dell got where it is by being a fast follower

The thing that made Dell the powerhouse (in the 1990's this is) was that they followed the major PC companies and then applied their supply chain optimization to produce clones of clones at much lower cost.

Dell may have had R&D spending, but it was focused on manufacturing and supply chain, not on computer tech and moving the industry forward. So they saved on a lot of R&D and risk, letting the majors invest in tech and take risks with products out in the open for all to see. Dell would come along and take the safest path with their products now that the market had been sorted and/or the trail had been blazed by someone else.

When IBM veered off into services Dell lost one of their main sources of tech innovation and places to monitor product data. HP eventually caught up with them on cost and so Dell's major advantage was minimized.

Don't get me wrong - Dell did do some really good things in the market but I posit that it was mainly around the supply chain more than the tech itself.

5
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FCC goes over the top again to battle America's cable-box rip-off

Timo

This is going to solve itself eventually

People will dump their cable subscriptions altogether. Too bad there aren't many good internet access alternatives (cable modem or DSL, both brought by the same companies we hate.)

The thing that would accelerate their switching would be if the cable industry gets more anti-customer than they already are. If they doubled the price of cable people would dump it immediately and figure out something else. It would also open the door for a bunch of better internet access providers.

Who cares if satellite radio is a monopoly, you could always listen to commercial radio (that is mostly adverts with a few songs scattered inbetween). At this point nobody listens to radio and uses internet streaming or music stored on their player. Go ahead with your monopoly, we'll just substitute it with something different.

1
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Got to dash out for some rubber johnnies? Amazon has a button for that

Timo

Can be hacked to do more useful things

There are instructions out there on the internets on how to turn these into more useful gadgets than just ordering another roll of toilet paper (GIUF = Google is Ur Friend). Something like not registering them with Amazon, instead getting them to hit a server on your internal network.

Are these just launching in the UK now? They've been available in the US for some time, maybe a year. I do not think they automatically order things, they push them into a queue of some sort on the site, and you have an opportunity to kill the order before it goes through.

I do think the people that use these will be in for a general fleecing, as Amazon will start ratcheting up prices once it determines that you're a captured customer that doesn't shop around or price compare. Like boiling a frog.

And Amazon surely is selling the button as advertising space - I bet each of the brands listed have paid a nice sum to get their logo placed on a button. So this is a nice scheme by Amazon to separate fools/tools from their money.

5
0

FCC airwaves auction opens bidding

Timo

these are really just transfer payments

While these look really great (make the operators pay for the spectrum), we all know that it will come around to the general public as higher service prices. These enormous companies don't have billions of dollars stuffed in the mattress somewhere.

Other countries dole out spectrum by way of other methods but those also have problems. The law of unintended consequences is one of those things that is hard to get around.

1
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The developer died 14 years ago, here's a print out of his source code

Timo

Re: Alarm bells were ringing from the start of the article...

I'd add that another red flag would be in the Craigslist posting.

Aren't the people that use it some of the tightest around? Willing to slog through endless postings to find the few that are useful?

Or it could just be me - we attempted to sell a few furniture pieces via Craigslist, and everyone wanted to turn it into an opportunity to haggle and nitpick and chisel down on the price. Finding stuff was an exercise in frustration for me.

6
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Windows 10 pain: Reg man has 75 per cent upgrade failure rate

Timo

they did - scratch upgrade

AJ@: I did just that - I did a clean install on a new SSD in an old machine, downloaded the W10 install disc, and when it asked for a key to activate I used the W7 key. Worked. As if it didn't even notice, or care that it was an old key.

That process has been known and publicized for most of 2016. Sorry you didn't know that!!!

0
0

Gaming apps, mugging and bad case of bruised Pokéballs

Timo
Windows

P-Go is like a cheap tour of the homeless camps

I started playing P-Go yesterday, just to see what the hype is all about. I will tell you that in my area the Pokestops are mostly at places where the homeless and vagrant types like to hang out. They're generally harmless but unstable psychologically and will get twitchy if they think people are watching them or moving in on their reserved bench.

So when a bunch of bored people with expensive tastes in phones start milling around the homeless camps this could go either way - it could push the vagrants to loiter somewhere else in effect cleaning up the park benches, or there is going to be mugging and violence against the naive who are baited into marching right into the situation in search of Pokemon.

3
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If we can't find a working SCSI cable, the company will close tomorrow

Timo

Re: Not IT, but a similar experience

I just re-seated two RAM modules in an old desktop that I have been using. Random crashes ever since I dusted it off and loaded W10. For 6 months it suffered from random lockups only under stress, and it even passed memtest a few times. I thought it was a bad driver for the MB raid chip.

Before that, the guy that gave it to me had tons of problems, and when I initially plugged it in sparks came out of the back of it. Replaced the power supply. When I tore apart the original power supply I found that the socket for the cord was connected using only cold solder joints. Too bad I had torn it apart to the point where it was not repairable.

1
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Thermostat biz Nest warms to home security, touts cam with cloud storage subscription

Timo

Can't tell if the subscription is good or bad for vendor motivation

At some point a subscription for Nest seems like it could be a powerful carrot - if they stop the service then they're also going to give up that revenue stream. If they sell product with "lifetime service" then they're on the hook to provide the service but with not much future revenue from that initial sale (cue the upgrade offers, etc.)

On the other hand, this "XaaS" model will be very closely watched by the beancounters and by the top manglement as they probably made some commitment that this is where their growth is going to come from. If the number of subscriptions don't ramp up fast enough to cover the costs then there is going to be a lot of pressure to make adjustments - raise prices, reduce service/capacity, or drop it completely.

But then again, Google makes loads of money and this is really just a side project. They could get bored and bin the whole thing on a whim. That seems like the real risk here.

4
0

Sociology student gets a First for dissertation on Kardashians

Timo

Re: ?

On many shows the Kardashians are referred to as "famous for being famous". That's it. They're attention and "like-whores", who have the money in this day and age to create continuous publicity events for themselves. To some extent pop culture has always done this, it is just that the K's are taking it to the end state where it becomes blatantly obvious.

The media is also such a wasteland that they are lining up for this reality TV "content". It gives them something to play on the channel between advertisements.

3
0

Bacon is not my vodka friend

Timo
IT Angle

The law is probably on the books to prevent someone from watering down the booze (or putting bottom shelf liquor into a top-shelf bottle and selling it as such.) I would think that many municipalities around the world have similar rules in place.

The problem this bar created was in putting the infused/doctored booze back into a bottle that may have had the original label on it. So they got nailed on a technicality. I would think that if they would use a large jar to hold their infusions they'd likely be fine.

11
0

Huawei taps ex-Nokia devs for 'secret phone OS project'

Timo

I thought that Microsoft would have been the answer for this

When Apple was running the show and Google/Android was buying Motorola's handset division, I thought that Microsoft was going to be in a good place to position their mobile OS on a base of being less evil (and less arbitrary with creating and then killing products) than Google. People should have been nervous that their supplier (Google/Android) was also competing directly against them. Google would drive manufacturers right into Microsoft's arms. But vendors they really didn't have a choice but to stay with Android, and the defection didn't happen.

And now that Microsoft seems to be abandoning phones and making a general mess of them they will just be missing their opportunity here.

0
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Winston Churchill glowers from Blighty's plastic fiver

Timo
Flame

It is safe in the washing machine - how about the dryer?

OK so it can make it through the washer, but what happens in the dryer? Will it shrink up like heat-shrink tubing, or like shrinky-dinks?

And - "will it blend?"

3
0

What's holding up Canada's internet?

Timo

Wireless is also locked up

Given the poor state of competitoon, this is where an alternative access method would have a very good business case, like LTE or wireless Internet provider. But since the companies are the same, they're not willing to screw up their cozy business deals or disrupt their defined place in the chain.

2
0

Windows 10 build 14342: No more friendly Wi-Fi sharing

Timo

Re: Good

I wish they were actually doing something with the telemetry data - my aged desktop with Win10 crashes all the time apparently due to a bad storage driver. Lots of comments on the internets about similar problems. If they noticed that some machines with X configuration are crashing all_the_time I'd expect some kind of fix...

4
0
Timo

Re: Good

WiFi Sense seemed interesting, but I couldn't figure out how it would improve things, especially on desktops. You'd need a connection to download the info... and if you already had a connection then the "Sense" part of it became redundant.

That and it came out first on Windows phones and there were never enough people using them to get some kind of "network effect" to kick in and make it something. On a phone with a cellular data connection it was almost understandable - you could download the login credentials over the network to get a connection to WiFi for data offload. But even that was of questionable value.

Guess I can turn it off on my Winphone8.

4
0

That went well – NOT - Nokia's first post-Alcatel numbers dip

Timo

Customers usually hit Pause during a big takeover

I bet all of Nokia's and ALU's customers held off buying (and more importantly, committing to new contracts). It gives the customers a really easy and justified excuse to hold off until there is some clarity and commitment on what products the combined company will produce and support going forward.

1
1

'Apple ate my music!' Streaming jukebox wipes 122GB – including muso's original tracks

Timo

A: he is not a real musician

I propose to the audience and jury that no real musician would use iTunes.

The other data point is that he didn't have any backups, also proving that he's not a real musician.

He's probably a hipster with a room full of shiny iDevices and garageband doing dance music chop-up remixes.

5
45

Windows 10 handcuffs Cortana web search to Bing and Edge browser

Timo

Win10 upgrade - those bastards

My mother got caught out by this, she called in a frenzy that her computer had just shut itself down in the middle of her using it.

The popup windows for the 10 upgrade only give you two choices "upgrade now", or "upgrade later". They don't give you the choice of not to upgrade, you have to hit the "X" to get out of it this time around.

I think there have been other choice combinations of "upgrade now" vs. "do not upgrade right now" (with the fine print of "do it later today"). No choice for "FO".

2
0
Timo

Re: Cue the hackers in 3, 2, 1...

Legend has it that the keypad arrangements were chosen to use a different layout specifically to slow down people as they mash in the number. Desktop calculators, or "adding machines" with cranks on the side had been around for a while, and the usual office worker could overload or confuse the phone system with their speed if they used the adding machine format.

Bell Labs did TONS of really long-haired research in the planning of the phone network.

Of course that same logic doesn't need to apply to your smartphone, does it...

2
0

FBI ends second iPhone fight after someone, um, 'remembers' the PIN

Timo
Big Brother

this whole unlocking thing kills their bluffs

The cops seem to use a lot of bluffing to get people to cooperate. If crims know that their phone is encrypted and Apple won't assist in unlocking it, then that takes away a big bluff that the cops surely have had in their pocket.

Or at least that is how it works on TV...

0
0

Big Cable threatens to sue FCC: You can't stop us ripping off customers

Timo

C'mon cable, just finish the job

I would really like to see cable price themselves out of existence. They're so close already.

Then we could all just focus on some innovating and move forward. Cable TV and their business model is frozen in time.

1
0

USB-C adds authentication protocol

Timo

Cue expensive overpriced cables

Also - if these cables need to do sophisticated encryption and handshaking so that the device will accept them, does it also mean that the cable itself needs to have expensive active components? One more excuse to crank up the price, argh.

@horridbloke - there is a device that is available that "neuters" a USB connection so that only power gets through. It was reported on El Reg some time ago, in fact a little googling finds the USB Condom http://int3.cc/products/usbcondoms, or there are many instructions online on how to create your own. Granted that is for traditional USB but aren't the cables interchangeable on the host end?

0
0
Timo

I can't wait

I can see this working both ways - how long will it take an OS vendor to blacklist every cable except for the ones that carry their brand?

20
0

Web servers should give browsers a leg-up, say MIT boffins

Timo

I'd let the market sort this out

I abandoned the Weather Channel website long ago, after all of the ads and clickbaiting and the glacially slow loading times. Nearly the same reason that I dumped the Weather Channel TV channel - remember they used to show weather? But now show shark week and "when tornadoes attack" stuff to fill the time between the barrage of ads. (Same thing with MTV; Damn kids, get off my lawn.)

I posit that rather than fixing the weather channel, let any other company come in and deliver a better experience and get the traffic. I'm not sure that this is something that really needs a technical solution. OR - just load adblockers and take care of those pesky slow ad loading times.

BTW El Reg sometimes seems to stall when its cut-rate adslinging servers take a break.

And - is this something that can easily be twisted into a web server denial of service method? Or does it mean that the Weather Channel will need to buy a lot more computing capacity to pre-optimize their crap site? I'm fine with that - it might drive them to do an economic analysis of whether it is better to sling more ads and buy more server capacity.

8
0

BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans

Timo

For us on the left side of the pond - how much?

How much is this TV license for the BBC? Is it tens of pounds, or hundreds, or thousands per TV per year?

Found it online:

It costs £145.50 for a colour and £49.00 for a black and white TV Licence. In some cases, you may be entitled to a reduced fee TV Licence (see table below).

That is a non-trivial amount, but probably cheaper than any other alternative?

2
0

Austinites outraged as Google Fiber tears up Texas capital

Timo

You can't make a cake without cracking a few eggs

That's all. People want the services but don't want the last mile to disrupt their local version of paradise.

1
0

Wi-Fi operators must notify device users of potential data processing

Timo

Re: Several of the mobile operators already do this!

Unless I missed something, all that it will likely require is that the operator insert a disclaimer somewhere in the initial screens, with wording similar to "we might process your data". That would satisfy the lawyers and the company is covered. They might look at your data, or they might not.

United States did something similar with allergy warnings on food. People got legislation in place that a company must notify if there is a possibility of the product having allergens in it. Answer? Nearly every product has a warning "this product may contain ingredients that people are allergic to."

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