* Posts by John Robson

1841 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Pastor la vista, baby! FCC enforcers shut down church pirate radio

John Robson
Silver badge

"AFAIK it's not actually very expensive or difficult in the UK to get a transmission licence for a local, low power FM station. One suspects that part of what makes them "better" is the whole living dangerously on the edge thing."

As it's something I try to do each year... (legally I might add)

The cost is about £5-6k/month

That includes the FM license and the music licensing, as well as a pittance to buy in national news for 2 minutes an hour.

Recent loss of grants for youth work has left us in a position where we are now online only. The music licensing is far cheaper than for FM, and of course there are no FM licenses.

Buying the right mobile phone contract, at the right time, to allow for 24/7 streaming is the new challenge...

6
0

Man facing $17.5m HPE fraud case has contempt sentence cut by Court of Appeal

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: This used to be how commerce worked isn't it?

"According this previous El Reg article, "

Ok, that makes more sense. But that is presumably a simple case of contract law (simple case being an oxymoron).

And concealing an item that is being searched for is presumably why it's being searched for. If it wasn't being concealed there would be no need to search. That's where I've been going wrong with hide-and-seek all these years?!

Seems a bit harsh to call that contempt of court, particularly if the court managed to stuff up the warrant...

2
0
John Robson
Silver badge

This used to be how commerce worked isn't it?

Man buys large quantity of <item>, negotiating good deal for certainty/volume.

Man sells <item> to lots of other people, making a profit on each one.

Primary supplier gets the benefit of early/certain payment

Middle man takes the risk of being left with stock, and the pain of dealing with lots of different customers.

Middle man takes some profit if they do it right, gets stuck with debt + with a big pile of <item> otherwise

17
0

Electric driverless cars could make petrol and diesel motors 'socially unacceptable'

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: "Having a level 5 autonomous vehicle would be very nice indeed."

"Pity THEY DO NOT EXIST"

Shame that no research is being done then..

Oh wait a moment, there is shed loads of research being done, to the point where we have vehicles on the road that are capable of a very significant proportion of the required driving.

Pretty sure that even just getting a car to drive the motorway segments (which are by definition relatively easy) would be a vast improvement to the safety of driving at either end (certainly would improve my driving as I left the motorway if I had just had a few hours rest instead of constant observation).

2
3
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Bollocks...

I'd love to be able to relax on a long drive, but paying constant attention to the road is not optional currently.

Having a level 5 autonomous vehicle would be very nice indeed.

Given that the vast proportion of journeys are pretty short then I still see the 'short range electric car' as a potential solution to many people's needs with a couple of (neither exclusive, nor complete) alternatives for longer distances:

- Trailer (with either batteries or a generator)

- Hire car

- Trains for the short range cars (drive to station, onto train, off train carry on)

7
4

Guess who doesn't have to pay $1.3bn in back taxes? Of course it's fscking Google

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Basic accountancy problem

"But the actual ad serving happens in a Google-owned data centre in Ireland and the reason the company is profitable is technology and a brand developed in the USA"

Absolutely - there is some value generated elsewhere, but I suspect it's not the proportion implied by their tax arrangements.

Of course you could reasonably suggest that the cost of running a search engine/mail system/... that people want to use (i.e. providing the market for the ad) should be included in that cost...

And that's fine - but the distribution does look rather extremely skewed away from the actual revenue and usage.

0
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Basic accountancy problem

Revenue generated in France?

Let's see...

Sold by a French Ad salesman to a French company, marketing a French product, in French, at a French audience in France.

No - clearly that revenue was generated in <low tax region of choice>...

14
2

AI vans are real – but they'll make us suck at driving, warn boffins

John Robson
Silver badge

They can't make us suck at driving...

We already do...

16
2

Microsoft's new Surface laptop defeats teardown – with glue

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Nonsense

"I've never swooned over a device of any type for being smaller or lighter. If people want that, it's their prerogative to seek out such things in the marketplace."

There are some breakpoints...

The original Nexus7 fitted well in trouser pockets, the iPad mini doesn't.

That's a critical dimension, and a fairly small change in the iPad mini packaging could be a significant improvement.

But I agree that the 'this device is 0.7mm thinner than the previous, otherwise identical, device' swooning is rather pointless...

0
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Apple did finance on their laptops for a while - bought one for the wife on twelve months zero interest.

Pretty close to a no brainer in terms of financing a computer - And I reckon it will carry on lasting for a good long while yet. It was reasonably carefully specced to be a practical machine...

0
0

Virgin Trains dodges smack from ICO: CCTV pics of Corbyn were OK

John Robson
Silver badge

Carriage looks pretty full to me...

At least the vast majority of the seats look as if they are booked for at least some of the journey.

At which point I'd do the same, walk past them and find the most comfortable place I could stay for the whole journey.

If getting off before the end of the journey then it might be worth checking them all as you pass, otherwise it's probably pointless...

20
2

BlackBerry taking action to fix 'pop-out' screen – namely more glue

John Robson
Silver badge

Glue

Too much and get lambasted for being unrepairable

Use less and get lambasted for being able to remove the screen

8
1

His Muskiness wheels out the Tesla Model 3

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Mass market?

Mass market doesn't mean infinite production capacity on day one.

Ford Focus is pretty much mass market - and they sold 15k in the US in June.

So Tesla are getting to 10% of a *very* well established production line in the first couple of months. That's not too shabby...

20
1

OMG, dad, you're so embarrassing! Are you P2P file sharing again?

John Robson
Silver badge

Stream ripping video is kinda useful...

But audio - it's so easy to push it through decent grade digital audio interfaces, such that you can end up with a bitwise copy by using what might have been called an analog loophole if we didn't all have such a collection of all digital hardware available makes the job very easy.

0
0

Trump backs off idea for joint US/Russian 'impenetrable Cyber Security unit'

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Orangutans are offended

Oook

18
0

Zero accidents, all of your data – what The Reg learnt at Bosch's autonomous car bash

John Robson
Silver badge

Why would not *sharing* geolocation prevent the car knowing what the speed limit is?

It would only affect the traffic congestion information if everyone turned it off... How many people do you need to be in a place to detect a traffic jam? If even 5-10% of people are willing to share the information then you'll still get 90% of the benefit.

21
0

Constant work makes the kilo walk the Planck

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Confused

"Though rather a side issue here, that does come very close to explaining why in the UK we still use mixed measures. Litres of petrol but miles per hour and pints of beer"...

Stick with petrol, because we use litres to buy it, and mpg to use it...

3
0

Toyota not shybot about whybot it will trybot the iBot

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: 5 Stars

And that's when they look at you at all, rather than just looking over you

0
0

'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

John Robson
Silver badge

When was the last update for...

ping, or cat?

I'm sure there are a great many unix utilities that are 'done'

They were designed to fulfil a function, they do that, and so they are 'done'.

Of course someone will work out how to engineer a pong response that will overflow a buffer and feed you grandmother to the cat. But in real terms.... 'ping' is done.

4
0

DIY self-driving cars are closer than they appear (and we're not talking about in the mirror)

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Edge Cases

Like all the teslas in Norway, it never snows there...

Of course you test both where you are and where the challenge is least great initially...

3
1

Infosec guru Schneier: Govts will intervene to regulate Internet of Sh!t

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Others problems first

"So when granny buys that new gadget that lets her video talk to the grandkids, or lets a service monitor that she hasn't fallen - all she needs is a CCNA to enable the features in the router?"

Actually it doesn't need to be that bad.

UPnP with a physical button on the router might be an option... It's still ugly, but it's less so.

0
0

ESA astronaut decelerates from 28,800kph to zero in first bumpy landing

John Robson
Silver badge

Standard KSP clean skies practice. Dump bits only when suborbital flight.

The reduced mass is useful because it reduces the heat shield requirement on the capsule, which reduces that mass, and therefore launch cost etc.

None of those bits dumped had heat shields, so they will tend to burn up very quickly.

6
0

Nest leaves competition in the dust with new smart camera

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: The automatic deletion of "unfamiliar" faces

Its just daft - those are the ones I'd *want* to keep.

Local face scanning and recognition - if I walk into my garage, or my wife does, then that's fine. If someone else arrives then notify me... It might be a friend that I've walked in with, or it might be a thieving scumbag - then I need those photos saved...

5
0

No laptop ban on Euro flights to US... yet

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: implemented in software

Doesn't need his minions - just WannaCry with a more subtle payload.

1
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Is my laptop going to get stuck out there then? Flying out for the week on Monday (only a week, so hand luggage only).

If 45 carries on like this then is there a chance that I'll get in with my laptop but not be able to get back?

0
0

We're heading back… to the future! Net neutrality rules on chopping block

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: "Bad corporate culture"

"So if compromising means allowing a part of the population to quite literally crush another because of its skin colour, I'm not looking forward to it."

The problem is that not compromising means that the very few people who have wealth crush everyone else to keep it that way.

There might not be 'poor' seats on the bus or in the cafe, but that's only because the oppressors have no intention of ever sharing space even that close to the rest of us.

0
0

IoT needs security, says Microsoft without even a small trace of irony

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: No direct net access

"Awesome idea, but don't we need to do something about that "I" in "IoT" then...? I propose "LoT" after "LAN"... If it pans out as expected and turns out to be inherently more secure, we could even call it "LoST" for "safe" or "secure"..."

The hub can easily be remotely accessible. But it should be it's own VPN endpoint (I don't need to access the lightbulbs in *that* many households) by default...

I might not need it to be a VPN endpoint, but that's only because I can already VPN into home...

2
0
John Robson
Silver badge

No direct net access

These things should all be useable on a lan, without internet access.

Control may need to be from a container running on a generic 'hub', but there should be no need to rely on a specific company still being there in a few months.

9
0

Do we need Windows patch legislation?

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: All products have a support life

"You wouldn't claim that a car maker is at fault if a car explodes when somebody maliciously shoots it with a gun."

Ford Pinto.

I think we would. systems should be built with some level of resliance.

I don't know how many Win98 systems are still around, but MS probably have a reasonable idea of how many there are...

WinXP is still widely deployed - and security fixes (NOT increased functionality, new drivers etc) should be maintained for a *very* long time.

OTOH should we also be looking at the suppliers of MRI scanners etc which are often blamed for being the cause of 'staying on a known OS'. They ought to be obliged to release software for newer versions of their chosen OS (whether that's MS/OSx/*nix/*BSD/....) for the expected lifetime of the machine (probably more than the expected life actually)

7
2

NASA nixes Trump's moonshot plan

John Robson
Silver badge

"the rocket that takes the United States to Mars"

Now there's a plan...

23
0

Sweaty fitness bands fall behind as Apple Watch outpaces sales

John Robson
Silver badge

I know a fair few people who have them...

But not as fitness devices.

The Pebble I was borrowing died eventually, and I'm not replacing it.

It was quite fun, but it just made any phone notification a full scale distraction.

3
0

UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight

John Robson
Silver badge

Yes,

And people try to encourage apathy by suggesting to those voting the way they don't want them to that it's a done deal, so there is no need to go and vote.

Compulsory voting would be good.

As would AVS, or at least an option to either say 'vote for this person' or 'vote against this person'

13
0

Realistic Brits want at least 3 security steps on bank accounts

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Two glaring omissions

Particularly if doing from an online interface - you can get to the airport and while away the time telling your bank that you'll be out of the country for a few days...

At least Barclaycard had the grace, when I was doing lots of small trips abroad, to allow me to not cancel the card, but phone them every time I used it after someone started trying CNP fraud on it (which they caught and cancelled anyway)... I couldn't give them a long enough window for them to cancel my card, and issue a new one before my next trip. For some reason they couldn't just issue a new one and cancel the old one once I said I had it...

0
0

systemd-free Devuan Linux hits RC2

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Easy answer.

"The main problem, however, was manure. "

Whereas now the main problems are:

- Death through impact (several thousand a year in the UK, many more globally)

- Death through obesity/diabetes (and other symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle)

- Death through air pollution

- Disease through air pollution

- Disease from sedentary lifesytle

- Injuries from collisions.

- Communities isolated from each other

- Kids never seeing the sky

The old problem was too much free fertiliser?

That's not actually that bad a problem - it might take some collection, but that's not too difficult - a manure bag whilst out and about and semi regular 'deposition' points for emptying them.

0
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Easy answer.

"I seem to recall reading that motor cars would never replace horses."

And look at the mess they have caused.

Clearly we just don't know what's good for us...

1
1

Amazon tweaks so-called 'assisted suicide' publishing contracts to ink EU deal

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: As a Consumer...

TO be fair to Amazon here...

OK, I might struggle, because you write in dollars, not pounds. But over here the eBook is subject to VAT and the paper book is not.

The used book is obviously going to be cheaper, but may be somewhat damaged and may not have the availability you want.

You could have got it even cheaper if you had gone to a library of course...

2
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: A Monopsonist is...

And when you are the middle man you do both. The dominance is in their retail arm, but that means that they buy more books than pretty much anyone else.

So the description is reasonable (when talking about the relationship amazon have with the publishers).

Of course you could argue (as does the linked article) that the description is unreasonable for other reasons.

1
0

Capita's huge role in UK government should go under the spotlight

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: "three million [licence] enforcement visits were carried out in 2015–16"

Hassled me for years when I didn't have a license.

Never visited - I was so looking forward to telling them to get off my drive and never darken my doorway again..

5
0

US Navy developers test aircraft carrier drone control software

John Robson
Silver badge

Really??

"The drone is specifically being developed to be resistant to hackers, according to the USN"

As opposed to every other computer system in the world where resistance to hacking is optional?

(I discount IoT devices for good reasons)

6
0

SpaceX spin-out plans to put virtual machines in orbit

John Robson
Silver badge

Aren't most satellites designed around specific sensor packages?

5
0

M6 crowned crappiest motorway for 4G signal

John Robson
Silver badge

My Sat-Nav doesn't need 4G...

3G is fine...

2
1

Homebrew crypto SNAFU on electrical grid sees GE rush patches

John Robson
Silver badge

"what about Windows service accounts who's passwords never change or passwords of last resort that never change (only useable once central authentication system is unreachable) there are some use cases where hard coded password is the only option, but admin process should change that password on regular basis."

Passwords of last resort don't need regular rotation - the account wants monitoring for login attempts, but the password of last resort is presumably a) horrific and b) printed on two pieces of paper, each held in a safe in separate locations...

Why rotate an unused password - no-one can be getting it by key logger... And the login rate (failed and successful) can easily be monitored

3
1

IT error at Great Western Railway charging £10k for 63-mile journey ticket

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: small city

This does not make it a University, in my opinion, so Taunton does not qualify as a city.

A city needs a royal designation saying it's a city - nothing more, nothing less...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_status_in_the_United_Kingdom

3
0

Tesla hit by class action sueball over autopilot software updates

John Robson
Silver badge

Because even the initial versions we are working with now are better at driving than you are...

The most dangerous thing on the road is the nut behind the wheel - that's what we need to get rid of...

4
2

Worry not, Python devs – you can program a quantum computer

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Schrodinger's bank account

Or maybe they just want to able to do encryption once the quantum cat is out of the proverbial bag/box

4
0

Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Zombie hard disk

Slow doesn't help people who can touch type, and so are reading a document off to one side, typing away merrily only to find that some shitty app has decided to tonoffer a reboot, with the yes button as default

2
0

SpaceX wows world with a ho-hum launch of a reused rocket, landing it on a tiny boring barge

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Question: How many engines does....

Camera at top of first stage, grid fins below, then legs (neatly folded until seconds before hitting the deck) then fire breathing equipment.

First stage returns with the business end still pointing down

0
0
John Robson
Silver badge

Re: Kerbal Space Program

I still want them to produce an 'alternative' stream with the KSP interface to show the numbers...

NAV ball, and Kerbal Engineer stats etc...

0
0

Cheap, flimsy, breakable and replaceable – yup, Ikea, you'll be right at home in the IoT world

John Robson
Silver badge

Re: If the lights can dim properly....

"Thats an issue with both the dimmer and the bulb."

And when the LED claims to be dimmable, and the dimmer module claims to be LED compatible it's a problem with the manufacturers.

And I'm wondering whether letting lamps do their own dimming isn't that bad an idea.

The issue will always be the comms... I still think that with LEDs we should be doing lighting over Cat5...

PoE and control signals from the same place, all cabled, all simple.

Only works in new builds or major refurbs though...

0
0

One in five mobile phones shipped abroad are phoney – report

John Robson
Silver badge

Define abroad...

Abroad from where exactly?

5
0

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017