* Posts by Ray Foulkes

51 posts • joined 26 Mar 2007


Googlers to flood social media with tales of harassment in bid to end forced arbitration

Ray Foulkes

Google, a converged organisation

Don't forget that James Damore demonstrated just how much of an SJW converged organisation is Google. Take all this with a pinch of salt. I am not sure why the SJWs don't like enforced arbitration though. See


Whois? Whowas. So what's next for ICANN and its vast database of domain-name owners?

Ray Foulkes

All that being the case:

I suppose https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ is not compatible with the GDPR - oh, I forgot, governments are free to ignore it whilst simultaneously persecuting the plebs...

What's GDPR? Survey suggests smaller firms living under rocks as EU privacy regs loom

Ray Foulkes

Re: Might be of interest if you're puzzled

Sounds great - Experian and all the other credit scorers must shut up shop (NOT, they will have made sure that there are loopholes where they don't have to ask me about keeping details on me or indirectly on me by using my address).

The Register Lecture: What will drive our cars when the combustion engine dies

Ray Foulkes

Don't forget to discuss..

what fuel will be used. I notice that you use the word "drive" in "drive our cars" and not "fuel our cars" i.e. get the energy to the wheels. Remember that electricity and hydrogen are not "fuels" - there are no hydrogen collectors or electricity mines. Hydrogen is currently mostly obtained from non-renewable sources (hydrocarbons) so it's use in cars is simply moving greenhouse gas emission elsewhere. Someone needs to calculate just how much more electricity the UK will need to eliminate oil consumption. Currently we consume around 70 million metric tonnes of oil per year (2016) for all uses (dunno how much in vehicles). According to www.unitjuggler.com that equates to around 850,000 Gigawatt hours in comparison with about 360,000 Gigawatt hours of electricity generated in 2016 (admittedly around 10% of that from oil). They could be powered by wind turbines i.e. using wind as the fuel. At around 6 gigawatt hour per year each I suppose we will only need around 150,000 more wind turbines added to the 8500 we already have. This is not a highly researched observation, just 15 minutes with Wikipedia and other public sources. ANY conference on replacing oil consumption in favour of carrying some other energy by electricity should have this calculation done with considerably better accuracy.

Memo man Damore is back – with lawyers: Now Google sued for 'punishing' white men

Ray Foulkes

Re: Blind auditions

Just hilarious: It reads "In fact, in the trial we found that overall, APS officers generally discriminated in favour of female and minority candidates. " or to paraphrase "In fact, in the trial we found that overall, APS officers generally discriminated against white, male candidates."

Now German companies are beating the drum over poor patent quality

Ray Foulkes

Suits the big companies

Getting patents approved, whether valid or not, suits larger companies. If challenged by another large company they "swap rights". Invalid patents are not useless, they can be used to keep all the small players out of the game since they cannot afford patent lawyers. Now, I wonder why the push has been on to grant more patents with less scrutiny?? Not that I am suggesting foul play, certainly not.

Thomas the Tank Engine lobotomised by fat (remote) controller

Ray Foulkes

Darwin at work

Another 10,000 years and kangaroos may be driving the trains...

EU court must rule on legality of UK's mass surveillance – tribunal

Ray Foulkes

National security is not what it's about - despite the blether.

The government bangs on about security but fails to mention that the security services are only a tiny fraction of the people who will be allowed to access the collected data. I admit it doesn't go as far as the bin collectors, but not far off - what has the NHS got to do with anti-terrorist activities for example?

If the bill said "MI5 operatives only" then we can forget about mass surveillance, they simply don't have the staff - they will be kept busy by the real life threat. If, as the current proposal permits, tens of thousands of civilt servants could potentially have acccess - we are stuffed.

O Rly? O'Reilly exits direct book sales

Ray Foulkes

Paper books are almost unaffected - lack of pdf chokes me off

I know, I know, who cares about Linux users but my multi-screen pc runs Linux on which I do some development. I have been a paper and PDF customer of O'Reilly for some years, I can open two copies of the same book at different pages for referencing. I can cut and paste example code between the book and editor or indeed download the examples from O'Reilly. Do I want some other "DRM safe" on my desk with a crappy screen? No thanks.

And no, I don't pass on the PDF copies to anywhere or anyone, buy one yourself if you want it - oh wait, you can't do that any more can you?

It was a great service.Try searching for Linux support for the Safari loanshop (not that I am interested in a subscription service anyhow)

Drugs, vodka, Volvo: The Scandinavian answer to Britain's future new border

Ray Foulkes

Re: Norway is in EFTA and Schengen...

I cross the border between France and England via Eurotunnel frequently. On the way OUT of the UK I have to provide details of each person in ADVANCE in my car. Passports are scrutinised and I suspect logged by British Border control. French border control sometimes glance at them. On the way IN to the UK, once again the French border control might glance, but the British border control spends time scrutinising in detail each passport and person and sometimes asks questions of where you have been.

I guess once Brexit is in place, the French border controls might take a tiny bit more interest, but apart from detaining and searching you for half an hour out of spite, it is harder to see how much more the UK border controls could do. Of course, I am a middle class Lancastrian, heterosexual, old, white, male, car driver (horrors - diesel) and householder so am a prime target for the UK authorities.

Smart Meter rollout delayed again. Cost us £11bn, eh?

Ray Foulkes

You are not alone...

My leccy meter here in France was replaced by the French smart meter "Linky" in April this year. It replaced one which had an external magnetic "antenna" just outside my house. The person reading the old meter just put their receiver against it for seconds and then left.

A month after having the smart meter installed, I received a letter telling me that "an engineer needed access to your house to read the meter" for a time when I would not be present. I wrote back explaining that ERDF (the electricity distributor in France) could easily read it remotely since it was the wonderful Linky. The reply was, of course, that although the entire village had been fitted with smart meters, the infrastructure to read it was not in place. No date has yet been given 6 months after the installation. This of course came with an offer "to optimise my energy consumption blah de blah de blah". You can imagine the scorn in the response I gave, in pidgin French you understand.

So, stupidity is not confined to the UK you will be pleased to learn.

BYE, EVERYBODY! Virtual personal health assistants are coming, says Gartner

Ray Foulkes

NHS 111 - we already have it in the UK

Well, not quite as sophisticated as a bot that speaks and listens - we employ humans to read out the script from a computer screen and select from 1 of X possible answers received from the victim. (sorry potential patient). Given the extensive range of more or less incoherent accents in the UK, a bot would be one step too far; at least for the foreseeable future.

BT will HATE us for this one weird 5G trick

Ray Foulkes

Re: Don't ghettoise cyclists.

carry large steel pole, held horizontally.

UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever'

Ray Foulkes

Smart meters in France - hilarious

In April, ERDF (the electricity distributor) changed my existing meter for a smart meter (after some nagging at me). My original meter was electronic and had an external "antenna" which was read by the passing meter man who placed a device over the antenna. After installation of the "LINKY" smart meter I received a message saying that a technician would call on a certain date "to read my meter". Since I had a LINKY I contacted them and explained that, despite the fact that I wouldn't be home it wasn't a problem since they could read it remotely. The reply was a hoot. Not only can they no longer read my meter from outside the house, there is no set date when "LINKY" will be linked so to speak. Meanwhile I am back to the last century of either trying to coincide with the meter reader or filling in paper slip that he leaves and posting it. Just how dumb can you get?

The Internet of Things edges toward a practical reality

Ray Foulkes


The world is going nuts; every device in your house connected to, and accessible from, the internet is a recipe for disaster. In my house there is going to be ONE controlling device, secured as best I can, which will communicate with all the others. Those can communicate amongst themselves if they like but they are going to be firewalled off from the Internet. If devices won't work like that, then I ain't going to buy them.

Europe's new privacy safeguards are finally approved, must invade EU nations by 2018

Ray Foulkes

Applies to governments as well?

Yeah, right.. I haven't read it but I bet it excludes governments from any consequences of either stealing or losing our personal data.

EC cooking up rules change for aggressive tax avoiders

Ray Foulkes

Tax on profits proportioned to turnover.

It seems easy enough to resolve the problem. The proportion of turnover (money received, not profit) in a country compared to the overall turnover of the company should be used to determine the proportion of profits that are taxed in that country irrespective of whether the company claims to make no profit in that country.

To save the small business major problems, a clearing system should be set up to determine tax due and re-distribute to governments appropriately. It doesn't matter where they declare their results, insist that turnover is split by country in the annual accounts. There are already reciprocal agreements against dual taxation.

This would involve some worldwide agreements - tricky at best and I feel sure that some tax havens will object...

Good eye, Hubble! Space 'scope spots furthest-ever object

Ray Foulkes


"hubble detects even further galaxy created 400million years BEFORE the big bang"

Linus Torvalds targeted by honeytraps, claims Eric S. Raymond

Ray Foulkes

ESR bashing.

ESR is an easy target for Internet commentards because of, how shall we say, his propensity to be a little more paranoid than the majority of Internauts and his consequential focus on weaponry and martial arts. That being said, his strong leadership of GPSD over the years has led to this important package to be a high quality, stable development, especially in the face of the chaos that exists in the gps receiver market. His position as technical architect on http://www.ntpsec.org means he has had to reduce his involvement in GPSD somewhat. It seems to me he is neither idle nor retired from producing code. He might not be working on the Linux kernel but there are other subjects which are important - time being one of them.

Before accusing ESR of not coding and not contributing, do a little research into what he is doing now - it is not too hard.

PS I have never met the guy...

Get ready to register your drones in the US – or else

Ray Foulkes

Just one little, innocuous step...

First registration, then regulation "each drone must pass its safety test annually" - $100, then taxation - each drone must have a "flight licence" - $500 per annum (to repair broken air and to pay the bureaucrats who impose the tax), then training - "each drone operator must have his/her pilots licence" - mandatory $5000 training course, then insurance "each drone must carry its insurance certificate" - $300 per year, then RIPA rules (or USA equiv) - "every video recorded must be deposited with (insert snooping authority)" - can anyone think of any more bureaucracy that can be crammed in?

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

Ray Foulkes

A little problem as an example...

I just so happen to be doing battle with a PCB drawing package at the moment. It is the defunct Winboard from disappeared IVEX. To give credit to Wine Winboard certainly runs better on Wine than it does on later versions of Windows where it won't even load. It loads and apparently runs with no reported errors, missing dlls or anything, but using it is like trying to work through a thick brown fog. Where the background of the PCB used to be black with white grid dots, it is now mustard brown. Only the top and first layers are visible, the others are lost in the pollution. Don't even think about me unpicking the code of Wine and fixing the problem myself; I am not competent.

Codeweavers product produces the same result but they have at least been kind enough to look at the problem. Meanwhile I am considering the somewhat more complex solution of running Windows 2000 under VMPlayer on Linux to get a working piece of software before the hardware running W2000 gives up the ghost. VMPlayer because I am a VMware user running Windows 8.1 on Centos host because of Turbocad. I don't even want to try installing Turbocad under Wine.

There are legion examples of technical software that is in thrall to Windows. Another package from RS requires excel.exe as well! Don't get too optimistic about Wine on non-mainstream software.

Cisco hands license-busting troll-hammer to THOR

Ray Foulkes

See, software patents DO help innovation

You have to be innovative to work around all the other patents! Somewhere, sometime, somebody might actually IMPROVE something whilst struggling to work around what already works.... simple innit?

Today's smart home devices are too dumb to succeed

Ray Foulkes

Wake up app number 487 please...

It's going to get worse, much worse as every manufacturer battles to be "the one controlling everything" (and thereby calling all the shots and creaming off the maximum $$). The consequence is that everybody will have dozens of "apps" because they didn't all choose the fruit factory to automate their home. Every time you leave the house for a few hours you will spend your time with the lighting app, the security app, the central heating app, the dog food dispenser app, the cooker app, the doorbell app instead of going to YOUR app and clicking "I'm going out for the day" - previously having decided just what should happen in those circumstances. This article is just skating across the very top of a big problem (unless everyone chooses i-house of course).

Increased gov spy powers are NOT the way to stay safe against terrorism

Ray Foulkes

Add Telephones, fax, and paper mail as well.

Somebody should propose an amendment to expand the surveillance to include all telephone calls and fax as well as all paper mail (not permitting any exceptions for anybody including police and politicians). Why stop at electronic communications? Surely the goverment and populace would be happy with that? We really have to get this minor terrorist risk eliminated - surely there is nobody in the government who would steal, leak or misuse any of this data? Surely?

Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?

Ray Foulkes

Re: opportunity for a product.

Well, I lashed out five dollars for Start8 which more or less does what you ask. What it doesn't do is stop the useless "apps" from being bound to file extensions. For that you must install the appropriate handler and then manually change from the app (e.g. Acrobat for pdf files).

Admittedly I don't use Win8 very much (just for Turbocad and reading pdf help files) since I am 99% a linux desktop user (both on the same computer using Vmware on top of Centos).

Start8 certainly makes Win8 feel very much like Win7 and I am very happy with it. 5$ is not a very high tax to circumvent MS retrograde gui so I don't know what all the fuss is about regarding Win8 gui. The underlying Win8 OS seems to me to behave better than all the previous versions of Windows.

US skywatchers get Earth's first peek at new meteor shower

Ray Foulkes

Triffids - your time has come

Make sure all your triffids are well locked up...

BT and Neul ink gov-funded deal: Milton Keynes to be test bed for Internet of Stuff

Ray Foulkes

IPv6 anyone?

Notice that this does not include provision for the sheeple. One day BT might start to think about providing IPv6 for other than big brother projects and let the rest of us in on the Internet of things.

Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

Ray Foulkes

Not much to do with Windows 8 (or 8.1)

I mostly use Linux. However I have Windows 8.1 for my CAD machine. I also look after Windows XP which runs Windows games and graphics software, mostly for my Grandson. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong with Windows 8.1 as long as you configure out the MS GUI and put on Start8, Firefox, Thunderbird, GIMP etc. So why am I so reluctant to either ditch the £1000 computer running XP or update it to Windows 8.1?

Because of course there is no upgrade from XP, it is erase everything and start again. I have been putting off the hassle of re-installing dozens and dozens of games and other software (e.g. Paint shop pro) for months (years?). I suspect I will need 3 or 4 weeks of solid work to get back to the same state where most software runs smoothly on Windows 8.1 and some software not at all. I think I will put it off until June, (August?).... I know I cannot escape for ever as games manufacturers abandon XP totally. Apart from the security issue I see absolutely NO advantage to me or my grandson from doing all that work - it is just a Microsoft tax. Maybe I will put it off until Windows 9 is on offer to put off having to do it all again by a year or two.

Had MS made an upgrade path, maintaining installed software, I would have done that in a flash.

Nokia's phone division burned us so badly we HAD to flog it, says CEO

Ray Foulkes

A common failing.

The problems at Nokia are common for companies in a dominant market position. Read "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail" by Clayton M Christensen for an analysis of the problem. The position of Nokia a few years ago was classic. They had lots of R&D activities focused on the future with several competing directions, a management unsure which way to turn and an existing cash cow delivering an ever-decreasing cash flow. I would expect that the sales team, under pressure to sell what they had at the time, were less than helpful in deciding which way the development should go. With a lot of experience of the old technology they probably found it hard to focus on what to build in the swamp when up to their..... Anyway, you get the drift.

#ALERT! There'll be emergencies on Twitter for UK, Ireland

Ray Foulkes

Usual useless inane ....

It'll be ignorable. Probably "Incident ahead" or "watch your speed" or "only use your own bin for your rubbish".

Ed Miliband brands Google's UK tax avoidance 'WRONG'

Ray Foulkes

Buying at inflated prices

What gets me is the inequality between businesses and individuals. What do you suppose would happen if an employer in the UK said to a member of staff "I will buy your old television for £8300 - nudge nudge, wink wink" i.e transfering money to the employee by purchasing something from them at heavily inflated and unreasonable prices? The IR would be on them like a ton of bricks. So how can a company charge a subsidiary over the odds for "corporate products" and get away with it when individuals cannot?

I am all for the "reasonable price of coffee beans" test and not accept company accounts where the IR determines that inflated transfer prices have been used.

After 50 years, Europe gets one patent to rule them all

Ray Foulkes

Here come the flood of trivial software patents

Oh dear, the European Patent office got it's green light to force countries to accept software patents in contravention of article 52 of the European convention on patents.

I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now

Ray Foulkes

Thanks for the warning..

I haven't tried Windows 8 but, being an old f**t with a disinclination to drop all previous experience for a "new paradigm", I think I will wait a while before experimenting to see just how many people are like the author. If there are a lot, MS is pretty good at high speed U turns. Truthfully though I have mostly dropped Windows 7 (which runs virtual on Centos) for Linux (Kubuntu), just doing CAD and one or two other tasks on Windows 7 so (for example) I never use Windows to access the Internet.

What bothers me most though is that there are indications that the Linux GUI teams are dashing down the same route as MS and making simple things trivial to do and trickier things radically more difficult.

NASA releases stunning image of our universe's distant past

Ray Foulkes

Wake me up...

when Nasa deploys a telescope 10 times more powerful than the previous generation, but sees nothing more than the previous generation. Every few years the universe gets billions of years older.

Cameron 'to change his mind' on the one thing he got right in Defence

Ray Foulkes


IronTed - no steam produced by gas turbines? Do no naval types read this? Try looking up county class destroyers and their propulsion. Had V short sea time on HMS Devonshire many years ago. Propulsion type is COSAG. Checked only with Wikipedia to ensure it is not senility leading me astray.

NOT, a may add, that I am proposing returning to the 70's - hot and steamy were those machinery spaces....

Mobile scaremongers want warning stickers on EVERYTHING

Ray Foulkes

Just a minute - bracken is dangerous

Some species give off hydrogen cyanide in growing tips. Spores are carcinogenic.

Good job we have lots of unemployed get to work - stickers on every piece of bracken clearly needed.

Australia launches digital blueprint

Ray Foulkes

"since pensioners have no interest in the internet whatsoever"

Cheeky devil, I am a uk pensioner and have been doing computing before you were thought of. I have Windows, Linux(es) 100Mb/second network, firewall, run dns, provide high speed backup for neighbours etc. etc. here at home. Either you euthanize all your techie pensioners down under or you move in the wrong circles.

Microsoft purges Windows of serious SSL vuln

Ray Foulkes
Thumb Down

Argh, more effort removing Adobe crapware

Only just finished removing Adobe crapware (getplus something) installed when I update flash - another update and more registry cleaning....

Bulk of Companies Act finally rolled out

Ray Foulkes

Another step along the way

to red-tape reduction for small businesses?

New attacks on IE7 go wild

Ray Foulkes

ActiveX in a Word document?

Surely if an ActiveX (aka .dll) can be buried in a Word document and executed, the attacker has at least got control of the account being used. It could attack any vulnerability, not just IE and more or less install what it likes. AFAIK Word executable has full user rights so any ActiveX running in its address space can do ANYTHING that the user can do. Am I missing something. Surely the major hole is in Word???

Microsoft marks Windows' anniversary with Windows 7

Ray Foulkes

Delayed Christmas?

I hope nobody is proposing to delay Christmas 2009 for a few months - I like Christmas in December...

Boffin brews up 'Jurassic Park' beer

Ray Foulkes
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Worried about LHC black holes?

Better to worry about about resurrecting fungi, bacteria etc from the distant past. Maybe WE are only here because THEY died out. One thing is for certain, they once were viable in the wild unlike black holes on earth. I'll skip the beer.

Dixons Group still suffering

Ray Foulkes
Thumb Up

Latest experience

I had a great experience at PCWorld (East Kilbride) two weeks ago. Young, enthusiastic sales guy was very helpful. All I was buying was a memory card interface. He asked me what cabinet slots were vacant, explained that mounting kits came with my cabinet (he knew the model!) and spent a few minutes chatting about cabinet, processors latest games etc. Very helpful, not pushy but pleasant and enthusiastic. I left the store feeling great. That being said, I didn't buy my pc from them.

PS, hope they don't fire the guy for being too helpful....

Running queries on the HMRC database fiasco

Ray Foulkes

HMRC IT is outsourced, the outsourcer has to be profitable!

There is no point in thinking that you could offer do the work for £500 unless you offer to do it for CapGemeni ; see: http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/capgemini_job_cuts/

I think that there might be a markup put on your work as well as some overhead of writing the requirements, formulating the demand for extra IT work when costs are being reduced, 5 layers of management to get the request approved after choosing the appropriate budget line, possibly a committee or two to pass through, then the costed proposal from the outsourcer, the quality plan for the work, fully detailed PERT chart, test specifications, approval process, proposed modifications to service level agreements, approval of tea breaks (oops, only kidding) etc. etc. etc.

Techies like you make things sound EASY. ;-))

Inventor of revoked payment patent says UK system is a joke

Ray Foulkes

EPO being cited to coerce UK patentability of software

The European Patent Office is issuing patents in contravention of article 52 of the European Patent convention. See paragraph 2(c) of http://www.european-patent-office.org/legal/epc/e/ar52.html where it is very clear what the position should be.

Companies are using these EPO granted "software patents" to try to weaken the UK patent office position regarding "software and business processes are not patentable". The current UK patent office policy needs to be supported vigorously. See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/16/patent_wrangling/ for an example of citing EPO as virtuous in its wanton dis-regard of the patent convention.

Apple pays $10m to end iTunes patent clash

Ray Foulkes


It is despicable that US law permits patents which are simply an application of computers to a well-known principle i.e.

Faster than playback time download - high speed compressed text transmission (used during 39-45 war).

Compressed file reader - any mechanised decoder such as paper tape reader (text transmission is much more compressed than voice).

Compressed information download (to reduce bandwidth) - any number of compression schemes dating from Roman times.

The fact that these have now been applied to video is somewhat obvious. I guess the next patent will be the same principle applied to maps, surround sound, 3d viewers, virtual worlds etc etc. The application of a technique can cover quite a wide range of applications. Some innovation!

Bugs targets Linux devices

Ray Foulkes

"Microsoft last year singed a deal with Lego"

Freudian slip. Only deals with the devil end up singed.

CompuServe France headed for the knacker's yard

Ray Foulkes

You kept a compuserve account in the UK?

I was a (happy?) compuserve user in the uk until one day the log-on failed. I phoned support who said "Tough, now it's aol, download the aol crud and convert - compuserve accounts are no more". Er, no thanks, and that was it. That was many years ago now.

Happy days, well, not quite so happy as with broadband of course.

No data protection exemption for YouTube baby battle video

Ray Foulkes

Tell them up front

In the event of an important interview, everybody should get into the habit of saying "This conversation may be recorded for the purpose of protecting the innocent"- whether being recorded or not.

The great Passenger Name Record sell out

Ray Foulkes

Turn up the heat a bit...

I always thought that the French government were very good at retaliation when the US imposes crappy conditions. I presume that the "passenger record" agreement is fully reciprocal i.e. European governments get all the info regarding flights from the USA. Surely all it will take is a little innovative use of the data from the USA to persuade them to accept less info about passengers. I have not read the treaty so don't know what the constraints actually are, but maybe publishing some details about passengers would assist.

Pity they don't have things like persons weight in the data, then "the fattest American travelling each month" could be published in Canard Enchaine. Perhaps getting all non-EU citizens to sign their recent itineries under some massive penalty if it is wrong. What is needed is something to REALLY upset the US travelling public to get the message across that our travelling public is less than pleased with this sort of accord. Any thoughts commenters?

Of course US coat-tail UK could not do anything like that, but Belgium or France might give it a shot.


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