* Posts by John H Woods

2408 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Forget Game of Thrones as Android ransomware infects TVs

John H Woods
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Re: Killing TVs, a step too far

"In my case, sell me a TV that is a dumb output device. The lack of one available is why I don't currently own a 4K TV." -- h4rmony

Mine too, but we're in the minority. But surely a discrete toggle switch to bypass all the smart components might be possible? Or one special HDMI socket that, when used, puts the machine in "monitor mode" with no functionality but picture controls?

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In obesity fight, UK’s heavy-handed soda tax beats US' watered-down warning

John H Woods
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Re: 'Other people are doing things I don't like'

oops missed a 0 - the NHS budget is 130bn, of course. 65bn/year on the over 65s. (I'm not saying they don't deserve it) just we need to get things in perspective. The acute alcohol cost to the NHS (before you count the savings in shorter lifespans and the extra income in duty) is under 5bn a year. The elderly cost that falling over.

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John H Woods
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Re: subside veggies = subsidize your grocer

"If the average customer is prepared to pay $3 and no more for a cauliflower, then $3 it will cost, no matter what the price/tax split." --- Maty

Yes, yes, yes. Adam Smith stomped all over this silliness 200 years ago. Now we have a resurrection of mercantilism (what else is all this Brexit nonsense?); swathes of people who profess to be small-government capitalists wanting to interfere constantly in the markets to modify behaviour (which is merely using money to achieve control over the population in the way the communists tried with mind control); and people who claim to be caring socialists wanting to restrict free healthcare to people who only behave in the current state approved manner.

With a nod to Churchill, minimally regulated free market capitalism is the worst system of economic management --- except for all the rest.

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John H Woods
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Re: 'Other people are doing things I don't like'

Obese people have a lower TCO to their society. Not an opinion, just a fact --- check any current set of mortality tables. And remember that the over 65s consume 150bn in pensions, and half of the 13bn of the NHS budget which alone comes to over 20% of total government spending.

There is one epidemic threatening both the NHS in particular and the UK economy in general. It is not immigration, poor lifestyle choices or antibiotic resistance. It is longevity.

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Brexit threatens Cornish pasty's racial purity

John H Woods
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Re: Sarcasm

"... still undecided, six of one and half a dozen of the other)

Until decided, perhaps the less irreversible decision might be best? I've always thought it was up to the proposers of change to make the case.

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John H Woods
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"We can stay independent and remain close to Europe just as Norway and Switzerland do." -- AC

Perhaps, but it's not guaranteed... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/10/three-reasons-a-post-brexit-uk-cant-copy-norway-or-switzerland/ (which, despite the URL, lists 4 reasons).

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John H Woods
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Re: Champagne Cider - what about Babycham?

"There must be other old-fart commentards who remember it." -- Scroticus Canis

HEY! I'll have a Babycham!

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Government regulation will clip coders' wings, says Bruce Schneier

John H Woods
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Don't we already have the legislation?

Negligence? Corporate manslaughter? I'm sure some more resources put into investigation, detection and enforcement might achieve better results than yet more qualifications and rules.

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Boffins send encrypted quantum messages to spaaaace – and back

John H Woods
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Re: @King Jack Curious question...

"Well if that's the case, then you've found a way to communicate faster than the speed of light."

IANAQP but I think ... No because although the entanglement can occur at infinite distance, you can't use it to send information. You can query the particle, and be sure that your distant correspondent will see the same state that you do: the state, if you like, "has been communicated FTL" (in fact, it is the same state). But what you can't do is any meaningful information encoding.

Alice can't say: "I'll measure this and get a 1, and therefore send a 1 to Bob" but she can say "I measured this and got a 1, therefore Bob got a 1"

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Surveillance forestalls more 'draconian' police powers – William Hague

John H Woods
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"Theresa ...

... there's a new technology that can actually see what people are thinking. But, that would be too far, wouldn't it?"

"Hell no! Some criminals might get away if we couldn't bulk read everybody's mind"

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So. Why don't people talk to invisible robots in public?

John H Woods
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I find it more useful than a dinky phone kb to enter longer comments on social media...

... or more detailed text massages. but nosier people in my vicinity always ask me who I'm talking to exclamation mark also comma I find that Google voice in particular sometimes spells out punctuation instead of insert a git exclamation mark does anybody else find this question mark finally i find that it is all 2 easy for it to keep listening after you think it has stopped and comma as a result comma send people messages such as sit sit for f*** sake sit and stay out of the pond full stop

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Universe's shock rapidly expanding waistline may squash Einstein flat

John H Woods
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Re: Not wrong, just not completely right

"At some stage we have to have a theory which will unite quantum mechanics and relativity." -- Len Goddard

This is my thinking but a tiny voice asks me "do we?" Is there any sense in which we could end up with incompatible but accurate theories and an undecidability problem? Sort of like choosing between ZF and ZFC? (The large set of people who know more maths than me may laugh and/or downvote according to their personal preference, but I'd be glad of some expert input!)

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Winston Churchill glowers from Blighty's plastic fiver

John H Woods
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Re: Legal tender?

"Legal tender simply defines what a creditor must accept as payment for an outstanding debt."

Does that include restaurant bills?

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UK.gov's promise to pour cash into SMEs was just hot air

John H Woods
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Re: "£1bn, is a drop in the ocean"

"One billion of anything is quite a number. " --- Pascal Monett

well, if you believe that, I've got just over 3¼ picograms of gold to sell you ...

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Brexit? Cutting the old-school ties would do more for Brit tech world

John H Woods
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Re: Another remainer...

Sorry, but that is silly. It *was* an election. It would have been perfectly possible for other candidates will to have been nominated. ,Cameron half* acknowledged this when he said there were other, perhaps more suitable, people.

* Only half because his "other suggestions" were names he alluded to but (as the records show) failed to put forward.

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John H Woods
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Re: Another remainer...

"Juncker wasn't elected as President of the EU Commission" --- Chris Miller.

He was elected in 2014 by MEPs with a majority of 442 out of 729 votes cast. (e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-28299335)

"the EU has 5 (I think, I kinda lost count) presidents" --- Chris Miller

This is self defeating argument: after implying that The President of the European Commission is a Very Special Position so that you can say (incorrectly) that the person appointed to it wields a large amount of executive power (many people seem to think it's the European equivalent of POTUS), many Brexiters go on to say that there's loads of presidents. Well, you're right, there are. And there's probably a president of your local lawn tennis club as well. Juncker's job would be more accurately described as Prime Commissioner, as he is head of the European Commission. Which doesn't actually make any laws, they just create proposals. Much like many of our laws start out as the creations of *unelected* civil servants.

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John H Woods
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Divide

"That's more a north EU vs to south EU argument than a GB vs EU argument." --AC

Yes, I've often wondered if the real divide is beer vs wine

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Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

John H Woods
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(de-)Training ...

(as Steve Foster said above)

... Banks and other institutions have spent nearly two decades phoning people up and asking them to 'go through security' --- so much so that if you answer the phone and say "err, only if you can prove who you are" they are usually gobsmacked.

One guy said, ok, let me give you a number and you can call it back. Err, hello? Was it or was it not your institution that told me not to click on links in emails purporting to be from you? So I shall not be ringing any number you give me.

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Sweden decides Julian Assange™ 'remains detained in absentia'

John H Woods
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Re: Is Julian even news-worthy anymore?

" ... under EU law ..." -- decayofsouls

Don't want to be pedantic, but with an EU referendum coming up in the UK perhaps we should note that it is actually the sixth protocol of the ECHR (I think) that covers this and that this is under the remit of the Council of Europe*, which has nothing** to do with the EU.

I don't think it prevents extradition where the death penalty does not apply (which could be because of the nature of the offence or, I think, a prior agreement that it will not be sought).

*same flag, same anthem, different members, different purpose. Although I don't think any country would be allowed to join the EU without being a member of the CofE.

**NTBCW the Council of the European Union, which is one of the two chambers in the EU legislature (the other being the European Parliament). Also not to be confused with the European Council :-)

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John H Woods
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Re: Time locked up

"the Swedish national sport is suicide" --- AC

They may need to up their game then.

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BBC post-Savile culture change means staff can 'speak truth to power'

John H Woods
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Re: staff won't be punished for "speaking truth to power"

Yes, again the onus is on the wrong people. Ensure the managers canvass, listen to and think about opinions from the sharp end, rather than exhorting those same people to risk it all to take a possibly unwelcome viewpoint to management.

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Hulk Hogan's sex tape, a Silicon Valley billionaire, and a $10m revenge plot to destroy Gawker

John H Woods
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"In the UK they shut down News of the World because they engaged in criminal activity ... Not all free speech is welcome, some of it is just shit, and can be safely ignored, yet when the line is crossed there can be clear punishment handed out. It has in these two instances. So far, so good. YMMV." -- dadmin

So detected and prosecuted criminal activity punished by the courts is on the same level as a private individual trying to shut down a media outlet with a vast personal fortune just because you like both results? To my mind, only one of these processes has legitimacy, even though I hate Gawker.

In principle I have no problem with Thiel funding the lawsuit if it makes no difference to the outcome. But it makes me somewhat uneasy.

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John H Woods
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Quick question before you go ...

... how do you suggest we differentiate between those media outlets which should enjoy press freedom and those which shouldn't?

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Seattle Suehawks: Smart meter hush-up launched because, er ... terrorism

John H Woods
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Sounds like some people need to be whacked over the head with one of Kerckhoff's weighty tomes

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Queen's Speech: Ministers, release the spaceplanes!*

John H Woods
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GREAT NEWS

Good Morning Britain finished their toadying summary with this: "And, in a futuristic move, new laws will make Britain a world leader in driverless cars, unmanned drones and even space travel"

So, medium to long term investment in education, science, technology and manufacturing then? That would be GREAT NEWS. But I suspect they just mean creating a few more ill-thought out and unnecessary laws.

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

John H Woods
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"For reasons unknown American instant coffee tastes like soap." --- Fibbles

They like that taste, that's why they eat Hershey bars.

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Daft draft anti-car-hack law could put innocent drivers away for life

John H Woods
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"They seldom understand any of it-- and they don't know (or care) that they don't understand it, which is what makes them even more dangerous." -- Updraft102 [my emph]

This is the key point. Nobody expects legislators to be experts in everything. The truly worrying this is that they have so many resources at their disposal to learn the things they need to know, and so much facility to consult, and so many of them still behave like this.

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Apple man found dead at Cupertino HQ, gun discovered nearby

John H Woods
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Re: It's Love

... but tastefulness just a distant memory

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IBM says no, non, nein to Brexit

John H Woods
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Re: Personal Choice

" it seems to me that the "remain" supporters really ought to be warned off by the political and corporate elite who want them to vote "remain"." --- AC

Even if one were to accept the idiocy of basing one's assessment of an argument on the characteristics of its proponents, you've still got to ask "Farage or Corbyn?" "Boris or Dave?" and "May or Gove?"

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Colander-wearing Irishman denied driver's licence in Pastafarian slapdown

John H Woods
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There's always ...

... a few silly comments

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'Impossible' EmDrive flying saucer thruster may herald new theory of inertia

John H Woods
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Re: I think _I_ can explain it (and it's not that hard)

"of course their effective mass in an 'mv' momentum equation. This is well known." --- bombastic bob

Almost as well known as that m=0 for a photon: photon momentum is not mv. So you are not really chucking any "stuff" out of the back in the conventional sense.

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FBI boss: We paid at least $1.2m to crack the San Bernardino iPhone

John H Woods
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This is all good, but ...

... " That's why we have to continue to talk about this [the encryption debate]."

No. This has resolved the whole thing --- you can't stop people using strong encryption; you can't legislate to ensure that vendors compromise cryptosystems on your behalf; but governments can use serious tech and clever people to break into *specific* devices of interest. This is exactly as it should be: just a shame that his statement hints at wanting to change this ...

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How innocent people 'of no security interest' are mere keystrokes away in UK's spy databases

John H Woods
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Re: I know I'm suppose to be outraged by this BUT...

"I genuinely do not have a problem with the spooks having data on me. I do have a problem with some jobsworth from the council having access" --- isJustabloke

Whilst I understand to some extent, you are basically saying you have more trust in people who are paid to be dishonest (if about nothing more than who they work for).

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GDS wants £100k director

John H Woods
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Probably not enough money to get the skills they need.

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Idiot millennials are saving credit card PINs on their mobile phones

John H Woods
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Re: Stats

"Don't you need a sample of 1500 to get a +-3% standard deviation of accuracy?"

Do you mean confidence interval? And it would depend on confidence level. For instance, with a population of 10,000,000, you would need a sample of (from memory) just over 1,000 to get a 95% confidence level of a 3 point confidence interval. But I think you need nearly twice that to get a 99% confidence level on the same interval.

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Drive for Lyft or Uber in SF? Your wallet is about to get lighter

John H Woods
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Re: What does the licence do?

Hi there, I've read up about this and changed my mind about Bristol Park Run, because the money is actually *for* something, i.e. grounds upkeep - I should have thought of that. But I'm still not sure what the $91/year for uber/lyft drivers is for ... just that the park run isn't a good analogy

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Canny Canadian PM schools snarky hack on quantum computing

John H Woods
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Re: hummmmm

"How would they legislate that one?" --- Sgt Oddball

In exactly the same way ... by ignoring the science/maths and legislating anyway.

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NZ hotel bans cyclists' Lycra-clad loins

John H Woods
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Re: Personally

"When I am sitting down to a tasty breakfast of a sausage and a couple of scotch eggs, I don't want to see anything that reminds me of male genitalia" --- BurnT'offering

So you eat it blindfold? Or in the dark?

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FOUR Avatar sequels

John H Woods
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Re: "so you go to the multiplex"

The only problem with that is that you miss the opportunity to be part of the 'conversation' when a movie is in the public consciousness. But that really is the only problem, and it's probably not a big one. I wonder if there was a simultaneous release to disc / network whether cinemas could even survive?

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Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

John H Woods
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Re: Business opportunity

"On Mars, maybe?"

Don't fancy your latency ...

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Half of people plug in USB drives they find in the parking lot

John H Woods
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Probabilities

I'm a bit shocked by all this. I wonder if there's a risk/reward thing going on here --- some USB drives can be large, useful and valuable. Most USB drives, I presume, are dropped by accident. Depending on the statistics, that could still make it worth plugging one in, though I doubt I would.

But how safe are ones you buy? Or are given by exhibition vendors? If the payload just quietly installed itself and didn't do anything / wasn't discovered till some time later would you even remember the potential infection source? Unless you had an airgapped machine you'd probably suspect compromise via the network, surely? Maybe not if you still had a guilty conscience about finding one in the car park.

TBH, I'm inclined to look at the stats the other way round --- isn't it good news that 50% of people don't risk it? (like the 50% divorce stats --- isn't it really rather amazing that 50% of people stick with the partner they married for life?)

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Bibliotheca Alexandrina buys a Huawei superdupercomputer

John H Woods
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"this is country with a fairly large portion of the population holding the same beliefs as a certain group" -- Mark 85

You might want to go to your local library and read about affirming the consequent; it's even sillier than believing in sky fairies.

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'Panama papers' came from email server hack at Mossack Fonseca

John H Woods
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"I've done some back of the envelope calcs (I'm pre-coffee, so please check this yourself :) ) - if you sucked data out at 5MB/s, 2,6TB would take you pretty close to a year"

No need for envelope backs, just type 2.6TB / 5MB into Google and get an answer of 520,000. Less than a week (Google can do that for you as well). Also Images of documents compress nicely --- 2.6TB of uncompressed data could easily be <0.5 TB of compressed files - which would fit on a USB stick or memory card in under an hour (and which could be sucked out of a >10Mb/s connection in a few days).

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Which keys should I press to enable the CockUp feature?

John H Woods
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Re: Johnny Foreigner

I use the Dvorak keyboard layout. For some reason known only two MS, RDPing to a server from a workstation with that layout sometimes caused the server to change to that layout, making me extremely unpopular.

But on the plus side, it was pretty hard for people to use my workstation if I walked away without locking it ...

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US govt says it has cracked killer's iPhone, legs it from Apple fight

John H Woods
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"Eventually there will exist an ACTUALLY uncrackable device" --- JeffyPooh

I think there are some quantum principles which could feasibly be exploited to yield a device that you couldn't crack even with prolonged unfettered physical access, so I think you're right. Not sure it will ever be possible with non-quantum methods.

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John H Woods
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Re: Where are all the Noobies now?

Depends if you're counting me :-) you did have a go at me for presenting the maths implied by the key length -- my defence was that I was only responding to people who suggested AES256 could be brute-forced. Neither of us think this has been cracked (if it has) by brute forcing a 256bit key, do we?

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William Hague: Brussels attacks mean we must destroy crypto ASAP

John H Woods
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Dear William Hague

It's worrying that you are either ignorant and/or lying.

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