* Posts by Chris Miller

3353 posts • joined 6 Apr 2007

Home fibre in the UK sucks so much it doesn't even rank in Euro study

Chris Miller
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And many of those in giant blocks of flats - lay one fibre and you've connected 100 premises. While obstinate Brits insist on living in private houses.

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Yes, Assange, we'll still nick you for skipping bail, rules court

Chris Miller
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Re: "arguably wrong"

Some days it must really suck to be a QC.

You still get paid, though. A barrister's duty is to present the arguments in favour of their client in the best light that can be achieved. Even when those arguments are pathetically weak (as with Assange), they must still be presented. I expect both legal teams were well aware of the true position.

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Insurance companies now telling you what tech to buy with um-missable price signals

Chris Miller
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Re: Definition of an actuary

More properly:

Someone who always wanted to be an accountant, but lacked the personality for it.

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As Facebook pushes yet more fake articles, one news editor tells Mark to get a grip – or Zuck off

Chris Miller
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Re: Just a reminder.

Facebook would appear to be identifying this as "what people are saying". It is what people are saying. Those people may be deluded, or completely insane, but they''re definitely saying it.

Disclaimer: I only visit Facebook to keep up with friends from a former (now defunct) place I worked at. And I definitely don't inhale.

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Bring the people 'beautiful' electric car charging points, calls former transport minister

Chris Miller
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And they will all be powered by a mixture of unicorn tears and rocking-horse poo.

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Squeezing more out of slippery big tech may even take tax reforms

Chris Miller
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Who's got the cluestick?

Businesses pay taxes on profits*, not revenues. So saying "XYZ Corp paid only 0.1% of their revenues in tax" is completely meaningless. Even self-appointed tax scourge Margaret 'Enver' Hodge's own family business paid tiny amounts of tax on £10 billion of worldwide revenue, for the simple and obvious reason that they made a loss.

* And the tax is due where the profit is generated - it's very difficult to argue other than that Apple, Google etc generate most of their profits in the US.

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Court throws out BT's plans to reduce pension rates

Chris Miller
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@Aitor 1

As a result of tax changes Gordon Brown blundering about trying to find some more 'stealth' taxes. FIFY

BT pensioners may like to reflect on the fate of Equitable* customers, who also went to law to try to force their pension provider to pay them what they thought they were entitled to. They (and other Equitable customers) are now getting far less than they would have done had they accepted the deal they were offered.

* I'm not claiming the circumstances are identical or that neither business had done anything wrong. Just that 90% of the time, when you go to law, the only ones who benefit financially are the lawyers.

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Make Apple, er, America Great Again: iGiant to bring home profits, pay $38bn in repatriation tax

Chris Miller
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Re: Not surprized

International agreements on corporate taxation are (a) profits are taxed, not revenues (there's a good reason for this, if you think about it); and (b) they are due where the profits are made. It's difficult to argue other than the vast bulk of Apple's profits are generated in Cupertino. The US anomaly is that taxes are paid only when the monies are repatriated; and having an unusually high (by international standards) rate of corporate tax. Trump has fixed the latter issue, with the predictable results we now see.

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Chris Miller
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American companies with offshore operations previously faced the odd situation of having to pay tax in jurisdictions they make their money, then pay US taxes at 35 per cent on those profits too. Rather than pay twice, plenty left their cash offshore.

Are you sure about that? IANAtaxL, but I understood that, just as for US individuals, foreign taxes paid can be offset against US taxes due. Hence the EU tax grab is actually a raid on the US Treasury, not Apple's or Google's.

What happens if the EU repeats their retrospective tax grabs will be an interesting one for the lawyers.

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France may protect citizens' liberté with ban on foreigners buying local big data firms

Chris Miller
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But, but, but

The EU insists on the famous four "fundamental freedoms" (relating to movement of goods, services, capital and people) that are indivisible and unalterable. Which specifically includes the free movement of capital. Except in France, apparently (quelle surprise).

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Of course Uber allegedly had a tool to remotely destroy evidence

Chris Miller
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"the same xenomorph-ass-kicking Ripley from the Alien movie series"

Sounds more like The Talented Mr. Ripley to me.

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Here come the lawyers! Intel slapped with three Meltdown bug lawsuits

Chris Miller
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Re: @SkippyBing

I suspect Intel's "Tick/Tock" development model with releases being pegged to a particular date in time years before they are even developed contributes to the problem.

You may well be right. But that's just another aspect of the need to get your latest fastest model out into the market asap, otherwise customers will start switching to your competitors. We see the same problem with software being released before it's quite ready. Customers don't really want security (though they will scream about it, but only after the event): they can't see it, they can't measure it; it slows things down - and they're certainly not prepared to pay extra for it.

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Chris Miller
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@SkippyBing

Airbus software is not flawless, nor is Boeing or any other large, complex, safety-critical software. Humans can't write millions of lines of perfect code, and I suspect that doing so will always be infeasible.

But (of course) safety-critical systems are (or, at least, are capable of being) developed to higher standards than 'normal' software. It would be possible for Intel or any chip manufacturer to adopt similar development processes, but the effects would be to significantly slow development, while simultaneously increasing costs. It may be that there are loads of customers out there looking to pay a lot more for a chip that's two generations behind - but I somehow doubt it.

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Elon Musk lowers his mighty erection for test firing: Falcon Heavy preps for maiden voyage

Chris Miller
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Happy

Kiss goodbye to that roadster

Even if the launch goes perfectly.

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GIMPS crack whip on plucky processor to find largest prime number

Chris Miller
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Perfect

We also have the world's largest known perfect number:

277,232,916(277,232,917-1)

It's an open question whether there exist any odd perfect numbers, but any that do exist must be greater than 101500.

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'Twas the night before Y2K and a grinch stole the IT department's overtime payout

Chris Miller
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Re: Well

The company where I was working offered a one-off payment of £750 for anyone willing to sacrifice their 'new millennium' celebrations in order to be on call over the midnight of Y2k. This was all agreed early in 1999, even though we'd clearly demonstrated that there was no issue with our PCs or servers, by the simple process of setting the clocks forward to 31st Dec on a range of test systems and watching them rollover.

Then in mid-99 they decided to eliminate the European head office and manage all European ops direct from the New Jersey head office (try to imagine how well that worked out). But those who left still got their £750 on top of a quite generous severance package. Which made for a very happy new year.

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PHWOAR, those noughty inks: '0.1%' named Stat of The Year

Chris Miller
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Re: 80% artificial...

You appear to have missed the phrase "of its size" - and Paris is more populous than London? ROFLMAO mon vieux ami! But perhaps basing your figures on the old GLC boundaries, which no longer have any relevance, is what's confusing you. 'City' figures are almost always misleading, because where you draw the boundary is either historic or arbitrary.

But here's the answer to your conundrum. Select one of your 'city' areas, but make sure it's large enough to match London's commuter area - say 8,000 square km (because that 'inadequate' mass transport system carries twice as many passengers as RATP/RER). There will be 1.5x or 2x as many people living in that area around London.

Of course there are more densely populated small areas in the world - if you take 50 sq km of Manhattan and fill it with skyscrapers you can house a lot of people. But that's precisely the point - the UK accommodates most of its population in individual housing, not massive apartment blocks. Of its size, central and southern England is more densely populated than 99% of the world - the only exceptions being a dozen or so sprawling megacities (which doesn't include Paris, let alone Madrid) and countries such as Bangladesh, which no-one is keen to emulate.

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Chris Miller
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Re: 80% artificial...

Population statistics based on the UK as a unit are heavily skewed by the fact that there are substantial areas of northern Scotland (and chunks of England too, for that matter) where very few people live. But no-one is proposing heavy new development in Caithness and Sutherland and very few new migrants seem to want to take up crofting as a career,

The fact is that London and the home counties (or, if that's too London-centric for your tastes, an area bounded by Liverpool, York, Bristol and Dover) is easily the most populous and built-up area of its size in Europe and is rivalled on the world lists only by a few fly-speck states and places like Bangladesh. Anyone trying to produce statistics to contradict this is almost certainly a property developer (or being paid by one).

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HTC U11 Life: Google tries to tame the midmarket

Chris Miller
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Re: Mid Range

One where a high-end phone costs a grand.

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Pickaxe chops cable, KOs UKFast data centre

Chris Miller
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Re: DR Testing Failure

Such testing is what I (as a conscientious consultant) recommend to my clients. But I also tell them: "If you ever have a real disaster (fire, flood etc) and 80% of services carry on working, you'll be a hero. If you do a disaster test and 98% of services carry on working, start looking for a new job."

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Tired of despairing of Trump and Brexit? Why not despair about YouTube stars instead?

Chris Miller
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'Twas ever thus

No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

'Notes On Journalism' in the Chicago Tribune (1926), Henry Louis Mencken

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Scotland, now is your time… to launch Brexit Britain into SPAAAACE!

Chris Miller
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Re: They're going to move it.

Hence why it's a part of Scottish history.

Dating back all the way to Queen Victoria. Highlanders wore plaids not kilts.

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Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project

Chris Miller
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Diesel-electric locomotives and petrol-electric cars have some efficiency advantages (mainly that the engine speed is decoupled from the wheel speed, so the engine can run in its most efficient range more of the time), but require significant extra weight compared with a mechanical transmission. Extra weight isn't a huge problem for ground transport, but is a massive (sorry) issue in the air.

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Tesla reveals a less-long-legged truck, but a bigger reservation price

Chris Miller
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"Just what you get for the extra $20,000, other than being one of the first 1,000 to get behind the wheel, has not been revealed."

Is it a sign pinned to your back reading 'kick me'?

Fanbois (and girrlz) may be happy to spend 24 hours in a queue to be the 'first' to have a new and untested piece of technology. Fleet managers, not so much.

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The Social Network™ releases its data networking code

Chris Miller
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Re: It's Monday morning, let's hope BT are already analysing the code on Git-Hub.

FTTP doesn't need some magic new protocol, it needs lots of horny-handed installation engineers, up ladders and digging trenches. That's why it's expensive.

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Tesla launches electric truck it guarantees won't break for a million miles

Chris Miller
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@Zog

I drive a plug-in hybrid with a claimed electric only range of 30 miles. On a sunny summer's day on pan-flat terrain, given a light foot and driven at a constant 56 mph, that could well be achievable. But I live in the Chiltern hills, with lots of 15% inclines, and I've never seen better than 24 miles. In winter, when batteries are less efficient and there's extra demand for lighting, heating, wipers etc, I often see less than 20 miles. Manufacturers' range figures should be treated like mpg claims for internal combustion vehicles: a good standard comparator, but not likely to be achieved in real-world use.

As an aside, my car gets around 3 miles/kWh. Tesla claims for its Semi "< 2 kWh/mile" and a range of 300 miles (or 500 with a bigger battery option). So there must be at least 600 kWh of battery, and recharging that to 80% full in 30 minutes is going to need a 1MW supply. Connecting that safely and dealing with the waste heat is a non-trivial engineering challenge in itself. Dealing with 10 or 20 electric trucks simultaneously ...

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'It's back to the drawing board...' Innocent axions found not guilty of dark matter crimes

Chris Miller
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27 per cent of the universe is dark matter

That's on the assumption that 2/3 of the universe is constituted by the even more mysterious 'dark energy'. If dark matter exists (i.e. if our current understanding of gravity is correct) there must be about four times as much of it as ordinary matter.

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How can airlines stop hackers pwning planes over the air? And don't say 'regular patches'

Chris Miller
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Re: Satcom remote monitoring

A physical airgap would require duplicating a lot of equipment and cabling, which means significant extra weight - a huge issue for an aircraft manufacturer.

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Windows on ARM: It's nearly here (again)

Chris Miller
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If you can remember the '90s, you weren't really there, man.

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Apple succeeds in failing wearables

Chris Miller
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ARTHUR DENT: My left arm’s come off too. How am I going to operate my digital watch now?

(H2G2 - 1978)

Nothing changes ...

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The day I almost pinned my tushie as a Google Maps landmark

Chris Miller
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Re: This is why I keep reading Something for the Weekend, Sir?

"What has a hazelnut in every bite?"

Squirrelshit!

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Irish priests told to stop bashing bishops

Chris Miller
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Chapeau for whichever sub wrote that headline!

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How do you like them Apples? Farewell sensible sized phones, forever

Chris Miller
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Re: Dom Joly - the thinking mans futurist

Naah, it's rubbish!

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NASA tells The Reg: For crying out loud. We're not building flying taxi software for Uber

Chris Miller
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It's on that well-known fake news site, The Giradanu. I'm only surprised they didn't manage to weave in a reference to the Paradise Papers.

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Where hackers haven't directly influenced polls, they've undermined our faith in democracy

Chris Miller
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Hillary's campaign spent $1.4 billion on the presidential election (Trump about $750 million). Coca-Cola spends $4 billion every year to persuade people to buy their fizzy water. The notion that the Russians could swing an election with a few hundred tweets is a risible conspiracy theory (unless you're desperately seeking someone to blame for your own incompetence).

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American upstart seeks hotshot guinea pig for Concorde-a-like airliner

Chris Miller
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Re: The British Airways LCY to JFK route is just silly.

But clearing US immigration in Shannon means you arrive into JFK as a domestic flight, and avoid the hellhole that is JFK immigration. Some flights from the Gulf pull the same trick.

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Subsidy-guzzling Tesla's Model 3 volumes a huge problem – Wall St man

Chris Miller
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Re: No change

Every time I start an ICE I create external costs for everyone, that are way way worse than those that come from an electric car.

In the UK roughly 2/3 of the price of fuel goes in taxes. I think that ought to cover any externalities.

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Health quango: Booze 'evidence' not Puritan enough, do us another

Chris Miller
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Pint

Re: In before the smartarses going "what's new?", "we all knew this already", etc....

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

H L Mencken

I'm off to get my five a day. Cheers!

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Hey, you know why it's called the iPhone X? When you see Apple's repair bill, your response will be X-rated

Chris Miller
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If God did not want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.

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UK.gov joins Microsoft in fingering North Korea for WannaCry

Chris Miller
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Re: Wait!

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

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Capgemini: We love our 'flexible, flowing' spade

Chris Miller
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I can see there may be some point to marketing bullcrap if you produce consumer goods, such as fish fingers or cars. But has anyone ever selected an IT service provider because they had a pretty logo?

IBM have their faults, but at least they kept the same logo for decades at a time.

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Grant Shapps of coup shame fame stands by 'broadbad' research

Chris Miller
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"So my village, probably to get me off their back, they came in and put FTTP in of 300Mbps. It's amazing, but then there is a gap between people taking it up and availability. Actually, largely that's because operators don't tell people it's available."

There will probably (and correctly, in my view) be a higher charge for the higher speed. If the alternative is 2Mbps, most people will pay, but if they can already get 20Mbps, why would they* pay extra for 300Mbps?

* Yes, I'm sure there are some exceptional use cases, and that many of them read elReg. I pay a few extra quid a month for 100Mbps VDSL rather than 17Mbps ADSL+ - but I'm fortunate that I don't have to choose between higher speeds and food/housing.

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Drone smacks commercial passenger plane in Canada

Chris Miller
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With apologies for uber-pedantry

Efficient modern engines use 2 or 3 fan stages

True, but only the first stage is used for bypass thrust, and hence can be considered analogous to a traditional propeller. The other stages compress the air prior to ignition.

if the [turboprop] blades are rotating, pedestrians need to avoid walking into them

And if turbofan blades are rotating, pedestrians need to avoid walking within several metres of them.

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Beardy Branson chucks cash at His Muskiness' Hyperloop idea

Chris Miller
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Re: Main benefit of HS2?

Chiltern trains are limited by the length of the platforms. They've been busy extending many stations, just to get from 6-car to 7-car trains.

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Chris Miller
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The West Coast Main Line, which HS2 will mostly duplicate, is at near full capacity during morning peak hours on its southern stretches

I call bollocks. The WCML is far from the most crowded of the lines into London. What 'independent' consultants showed was that if you cherry pick your data and forecast it forward for a decade and a half, you can show that there will be capacity issues. But if the purpose of HS2 is to relieve (potential, future) bottlenecks, there are far, far cheaper ways of doing this. They don't generate cushy non-executive directorships for retired politicians and civil servants, though.

When the history of the 21st century comes to be written, HS2 will feature in similar terms to the East Africa Groundnut Scheme.

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Equifax: About those 400,000 UK records we lost? It's now 15.2M. Yes, M for MEELLLION

Chris Miller
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That EU 'protection' was in place when all this happened. It did a whole lot of nothing. Quelle surprise.

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Google: This may shock you, but we also banked thousands of dollars to run Russian propaganda

Chris Miller
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Re: More bullshit

Hillary's campaign alone spent $1.4 billion (Trump a bit less than a billion). Even if these numbers for an alleged Russian spend are real, and represent only 1% of the true amount ... that's still just a rounding error.

In 2004, the Guardian urged its readers to write to constituents in marginal Ohio, in an effort to swing the presidential election against Bush. I don't recall any howls that the evil Brits were trying to steal that campaign. And it worked so well, too.

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MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

Chris Miller
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@Ledswinger

I suspect in future we'll see near-continuous tracking via the satcomms, whether that will be fault resilient and tamper proof who knows.

Whatever systems we build (or retrofit) into aircraft, there will always need to be a simple means of switching them off - you need circuit breakers that can swiftly be pulled in case a fault develops that could turn into a fire and threaten the aircraft. So someone who knows what they're doing will always be able to disable them.

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30 strong fingers but still no happy ending for robotic back rub

Chris Miller
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"The Shiva physiotherapist massages with her own hands" – it says here, proving that workplace gender neutrality has yet to reach The Netherlands

Dutch (like many languages) has gendered nouns, so it's easy for an unsophisticated (or automated) translation to carry across the gender of pronouns, resulting in something that isn't quite fluent English.

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EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

Chris Miller
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Re: @Steve Evans

The whole concept is bonkers (unless they're in possession of some technology beyond the currently understood laws of physics). Electric cars work well (up to a point), but they're massively heavy because they're full of batteries. On a surface vehicle this isn't an insuperable obstacle, but aircraft designers grapple constantly with how to shed every excess pound. An aircraft (even a personal one*) with sufficient battery power for an hour's duration flight would be far too massive to get off the ground.

* Unless you're looking at something like the Gossamer Albatross or the Solar Impulse - but they're no-ones idea of a prototype airliner. A top speed of 75 kts would be a bit of a drawback, for a start.

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