* Posts by Ralph B

1586 posts • joined 12 Apr 2007

Plods waste millions keeping their arses covered and ears open

Ralph B

What's the story?

£4.40 seems a pretty good price for a belt to me. And £1.25 seems a bit too cheap. I hope the quality is good enough. So, well done to the police equipment procurement departments for getting a pretty good deal.

Now, what's this story about again?

Cracktivists pop 11 MEELLION Ashley Madison passwords

Ralph B


I suppose I can kinda see the motivation from a "mental masturbation" point-of-view, but, really, can't they find something more useful and/or creative to do with their time and intelligence?

I mean the "crackivists", the sleazy website operators, and the sleazy website's customers, the lot of them. Go and do something positive for humanity, FFS.

(And I don't mean go and shine laser pointers at self-driving cars either. Jeez, you guys!)

The remote control from HELL: Driverless cars slam on brakes for LASER POINTER

Ralph B

Re: You are being too harsh

> I do not see how the hell can this wonderful gizmo operate if every car will have one

An excellent point, Mr. Hand. What does happen when a Google self-driving car meets another Google self-driving car? Do they both come to a halt in a confusion of LIDAR reflections? Please say it isn't so?

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

Ralph B

Holistic Dinosaurs

But how has the non-ebook revenues of these publishers been affected by their raising of ebook prices? Probably most of them have significant investments in the dead-tree publishing sector and are willing to accept reduced ebook revenues to bolster their non-ebook sales.

Can you tell us the rest of the story Mr Worstall?

US gov to Apple: COUGH UP iMessages or FEEL our FEDERAL FROWN

Ralph B

Apple buy Greenland? Might be better to buy Iceland. They're anti-NSA. They've got lots of cool air to cool the servers. Lots of geothermal energy to power them. And with a bit of clever redirection of lava flows they could probably get the island to resemble a giant Apple logo.

British killer robot takes out two Britons in Syria strike

Ralph B


I'm not too keen on the potential progression I'm seeing here:

1) Extrajudicial killings of foreigners overseas.

2) Extrajudicial killings of Britons overseas.

3) Extrajudicial killings of Britons in Britain.

Although I suppose it could be said that we have reached 3) already, the use of drones to do the job is an unhappy escalation.

You shouldn't be paying for mobile ads (please buy our software)

Ralph B

Commentard Qualification

To qualify to comment on this story you must not be using an adblocker on this website.

(Should be quiet then.)

((And before you ask, yes, I have (temporarily) disabled by adblocker to comment. There's Gartner Business banner and side panel ads currently on this page as I type this.))

Popcorn time at Popcorn Time: More vid slurpers hauled into court

Ralph B

Re: What are they trying to do

> If smells like BS, looks like BS, and tastes like BS, don't step in it.

But more to the point, don't taste it, man! Ewww.

FORKING BitcoinXT: Is it really a coup or just more crypto-FUD?

Ralph B

Re: worth a farthing

For a more recent example, take a look at the Zimbabwe Dollar. Apparently you'll currently need 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars to get you 1 US$.

Another chance to win a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive

Ralph B

The moment she realised people could see her hairy parahybana.

Ralph B

She should have used robots.txt, if she doesn't like webcrawlers.

Google tells iOS 9 app devs: Switch off HTTPS if you want that sweet sweet ad money from us

Ralph B

Re: Use Google's version of encryption instead of Apple's?

> Apple doesn't push ads

Of course they do. It's just not their main source of revenue, unlike Google.

Apple's new content blocking tech is a gun pointed directly at Google. Meanwhile, Google are busy shooting themselves in the foot by doing nothing to prevent malvertising pushed over their infrastructure.

Malware menaces poison ads as Google, Yahoo! look away

Ralph B

Re: Looking at the problem backwards

> No, because like with the ISPs as long as they're not acting in any kind of gatekeeping capacity

And yet they (Apple) are acting as a gatekeeper for the apps, and are reaping the profits from having a more trusted platform. If they did the same for ads they would increase that trust and thereby increase their profits.

Ralph B

Re: Looking at the problem backwards

> But that will take, labor, and most importantly money. Try getting this plan past the accountants...

But the same argument can be made for vetting the apps. Having apps that can be trusted not to contain malware is a good sales argument for the platform. Same for the ads.

Developers pay Apple for vetting for entry to the App Store. Same for the ads. (Or it will be, if content blocking makes iAds the only show in town.)

Ralph B

Re: Looking at the problem backwards

Maybe that's what we'll get from Apple after their content blocking tech comes into play. Maybe the iAds that they (presumably) won't block will be better vetted than the malvertisiing that Google currently let through.

There's hope for this, since the iOS apps are certainly better vetted than Android ones.

Google et al certainly need to get their houses in order on this. They could get away with it while no-one else is doing it better, but that time is running out. Thankfully.

NHS site defaced with screed protesting Syrian conflict

Ralph B

Well, I see their point ...

I mean, why hasn't the UK's National Health Service website ever spoken up against the three years of massacres that occur in Syria?

I don't recall seeing anything on the Marks and Spencers website about it either.

Or on the Chessington World of Adventures website.

They're obviously all complicit in the World's conspiracy of silence.

Hack 'em all, I say!


What Ashley Madison did and did NOT delete if you paid $19 – and why it may cost it $5m+

Ralph B

Re: Greasy

Is it not unreasonable for somebody to expect a "full delete" to be exactly that? Including from whatever contact list your telesales uses?

Maybe the telesales are using the telephone directory. Should they delete you from that too?

More likely they are buying a leads database from some other 3rd party. Practically speaking, if they are to avoid pestering you in the future, they are going to need to keep a record of you to remember to do so.

3D-printed robot hand grabs Dyson award for UK

Ralph B

"affordable prosthetics for all”?

Hmm. Why does he think we will all need prosthetics? What's he planning?

Should all Europeans be able to watch Estonian football? Consultation launched

Ralph B

I'd Vote

I'd vote for anyone promising to keep all football off TV.

YouTube bloggers told to slap 'advert' stickers on their vid posts

Ralph B

Re: Bah!

> Which idiot came up with "vlogger"?

I suppose it might have been Vlad's equipment supplier.

Ralph B

Re: Probably only enforceable in the UK

> Look up Zoela

You'll have more luck with "Zoella". But otherwise you're right. She's a UK-based vlogger with a big influence in the buying (or nagging) decisions of many teenies. We in the UK can only hope to keep UK-based vloggers honest. The Rest of the World must try and tame their own vloggers.

I suppose if Ms Sugg doesn't like being required to be honest and open about who she's shilling for, she can always relocate to somewhere where they care less. I'm sure she has enough dosh to allow her to do so.

Ralph B

Re: Numpties

> He identified eight "compelling needs" that advertisers promise products will fulfill

You've just exploited one of those eight "compelling needs" to get me to buy the book, haven't you?

I feel so used.

Ashley Madison wide open to UK privacy lawsuits, claim lawyers

Ralph B


> "With all the extra publicity, Ashley Madison is only going to be getting more users," Mikko Hypponen, CRO of F-Secure commented.

Sorry, but I must question Mr Hypponen's thinking skills.

The "publicity" includes revelations that:

1) 95% of their userbase are men;

2) They don't permanently delete user information that users have paid them $19 on the promise so to do;

3) They can't keep their user database private.

How could he possibly think that such publicity would encourage more users to enrole?

Testing times as NASA rattles Mississippi with mighty motor burn

Ralph B

Not A Rocket

That's not a rocket. That's Hotblack Desiato testing a smoke machine for the next Disaster Area concert.

Choke on it! Brit police squeeze pirate site advertising money trail

Ralph B

Not Fair

How are Lexus supposed to reach their core demographic if they can't advertise on dodgy websites?

Apple's AirDrop abused by 'cyber-flashing' London train perv

Ralph B

Better Off Off

Keeping the Bluetooth running for AirDrop is a horrible battery hog. Just keep it turned off. Turn it on only when needed.

Drone racing sells robot soul to Mammon with launch of racing league

Ralph B


I'm surprised they didn't go with World Drone Racing League. Maybe it's because this is a sport that the rest of the world might actually want to play too.

Tobacco field bacteria offers hope for buzz-kill smoking therapy

Ralph B

Re: higher doe

Yup. Came here to say the same. Doubtless this is the "unexpected consequence" that Big Tobacco is hoping for.

Power Bar: EE was warned of safety risk BEFORE user was burned in explosion

Ralph B

Re: interesting comment from spokesbod

And, as if to prove Muphry's Law, the link I should have provided is actually this one.

(The EE spokesman was not refuting any suggestion that safety concerns were ignored (since the suggestions were not proved false), neither was he rebutting the suggestions (since, as far as I am aware, no counter evidence was offered). He was merely denying the suggestions.)

Ralph B

Re: interesting comment from spokesbod

The spoketard's incompetent use of English gives me no confidence that their handling of safety issues is done any better.

Lights out for Ada Initiative – women's group closing shop

Ralph B

Re: Schadenfreude

To quote Chris Rock, "Women would rule the world – if only they’d stop bitchin’ about each other."

7/7 memories: I was on a helpdesk that day and one of my users died

Ralph B

@Number6 Re: No more terrorism.

> The irony is that the Franklin quote is used out of context

I now see what you mean. Thanks. I shall mentally move that quote from the "obligatory" list to the "deprecated" one.

Ralph B

Re: No more terrorism.

> Terrorism of all sorts must be stopped.

Any ideas on how to achieve this, beyond more of those tried already, which haven't worked, and are slowly tipping us towards being a police state?

Obligatory Ben Franklin quote. “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Obsolescence of food is complete: Soylent now comes in bottles

Ralph B

Re: "Unlike crispy bacon, Soylent 2.0 is available on a subscription basis"

Of course there are already bacon subscription services. Try this one or google others.

Sometimes I wonder if The Reg are losing it.

One MEEELLION users download Facebook-pwning droid game

Ralph B

Re: Annoying...

From the article: Fang says the scam spread to users in a victim's contact list, and likely used automated scripts to spread over social media.

Maybe you should try adding this functionality to your lousy game. Unless you're a decent person.

FLYING PIG crash-lands in Utah: Rider survives, bacon saved

Ralph B

So ...

So, a high cowboy poked a pig, causing severe depression in the pig, and the pig's owner blew off a load of hot air.

Sounds like everyday life in Utah.

Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

Ralph B

Re: I'm starting to lose track of this

> 4. Nadella is replaced by Cortana.

Now that actually would be a great idea. Imagine all company management replaced by AI. It's as wonderful a prospect as self-driving cars.

Imagine management making rational, fact-based decisions, rather than the mad, drunken, macho posteuring, self-interested, insider-trading, and random brain-fart-based management performed by our current meatsack masters-of-disasters.

Just give the AI management rules to find a sane balance between share-holder and public benefit: a fixed percentage of profit to R&D; no raiding of pension-funds; maybe efficient co-ordination with other companies rather than effort-duplicating competition; with clear goals to improve tech based on open-standards.

Sounds good to me.

I for one welcome our silicon-based managebot masters.

Ford's 400,000-car recall could be the tip of an auto security iceberg

Ralph B

Just You Wait

It'll be just a matter of time before we have a Patch Tuesday for Cars. Or Recall Tuesday, perhaps.

When the self-driving cars have taken over, we'll just notice that the roads are rather empty, because all the vehicles have taken themselves off to the workshops. And your car-ordering app will just sit there showing a spinning wheel for a few hours.

#FishermenNeedTwitter: Vodafone extends 4G to the edge of Iceland

Ralph B

It'll All End In Tears

I just hope they limit their 4G signal to be within their internationally-recognised territorial waters, otherwise there might be problems. (Although I'm not sure if Vodafone UK have the wherewithall to put a basestation on a battleship.)

‘Clandestines' prompt British border blockade in France

Ralph B

That remark was quite beyond the pale.

Script-blocker NoScript lets in ANYTHING from googleapis.com

Ralph B

Re: Chrome and uMatrix

Use wget and less. Can't be too paranoid.

WikiLeaks docs show NSA's 10-year economic espionage campaign against France

Ralph B


This sort of thing has been going on for the last 1000 years.

I think Assange's barrel of leaks must be nearly empty.

MAC address privacy inches towards standardisation

Ralph B

Re: Randomising MAC address

@Ben Tasker: Thanks for the info. That would certainly break filtering clients by MAC address. Sigh.

Ralph B

Re: Randomising MAC address

It's only the MAC address used when probing for known networks that is being randomised. As soon as you connect (or try to connect) then you're using your real MAC address. More details here.

Amazon enrages authors as it switches to 'pay-per-page' model

Ralph B

> If I pay for the whole book

In this case you are not paying for the book. As the article states: 'It will affect self-published authors on the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library." So, only books you are lending or renting from Amazon, not those that you buy. Remember, Kindle Unlimited users are free to download as many books (on the list) as they want, for a fixed monthly fee.

> To me, this just looks like another money grab by Amazon on the backs of the authors.

Amazon are not reducing the size of the royalties pie, they are just changing the way it is distributed. Authors who write books that users read will receive more, whilst authors who write books that users don't read will receive less. Personally I can't see this as anything other than a Good Thing.

Of course, if you think Amazon is using some (other) trick of false accounting to screw the authors, then this is quite another (unrelated) matter.

Ralph B

Re: re: Price-per-page is a lot fairer for everybody.

Thanks for the explanation, Swarthy. In either case, I see some opportunities to game the system, but much more easily in the former case.

Previously, the "author" would need to hire a sweat-shop to repeatedly download his "book" to ensure an unfair slice of the Amazon pie. Now he (or she) will also need to get the sweat-shop to pretend-read the "book" too. Which will hopefully be enough to make such trickery economically unviable.

So, well done Amazon!

Google creates cloud code cache

Ralph B


It was only 3 months ago that they announced the shutdown of their Google Code project hosting service and now they are opening another one. WTF?

What is this river nonsense? Give .amazon to Bezos, says US Congress

Ralph B

Re: Pedantic Grammar Nazi Compromise?

> I have to continue this chain, not as good as amazon.amazon.amazon then.

My research suggests that we could keep this exchange going for another 289 to 294 iterations before we get to the very best possible amazon domain name.

Or we could stop here. :-)

Ralph B

Re: Pedantic Grammar Nazi Compromise?

> Well, obviously, if amazon.com is good, amazon.amazon is twice as good...

But would it really be any better than amazon.amazon.com ... ?

Ralph B

Pedantic Grammar Nazi Compromise?

Since the Amazon River is actually called "Amazonas" in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries of South America where the river flows, maybe they could have the .amazonas TLD, leaving .amazon for the so-named Seattle-based ecommerce company. (Although, why .amazon.com shouldn't suffice, I do not understand.)

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