* Posts by Gio Ciampa

453 posts • joined 26 Jul 2008


Fermi famously asked: 'Where is everybody?' Probably dead, says renewed Drake equation

Gio Ciampa

"the equation theoretically spits out a number"


It does spit out a number - that's the point of an equation - no "theoretical" about it!

It's the the interpretation of the result that's in question here...

NHS Digital heads accused of being 'suppliers', not 'custodians' of UK patient data

Gio Ciampa

Re: Patient data is a national asset


They have form after all... the DVLA comes to mind


The Ataribox lives, as a prototype, supposedly

Gio Ciampa

"The Atari ST was a total non-entity"

You obviously didn't know any musicians...

TVEyes blindsided: Fox News defeats search engine in copyright spat

Gio Ciampa

Re: Ten minutes??

Last time I was over there I couldn't help but marvel at the epics that were the drug adverts...

10 seconds of "do you have these symptoms? Our new drug might be able to help"

30 seconds of "oh... by the way... it might cause this, that, the other ... or even kill you"

10 seconds of "ask your doctor about it" (presuming that the previous 30 seconds hasn't put you off)

10 seconds of "oh... if you can't afford it we might be able to help with that too..."

That was pretty much the template for every single one...

Use ad blockers? Mine some Monero to get access to news, says US site

Gio Ciampa

Re: So-

Yes, bandwidth etc do cost money...

...but are you putting in the effort to host the adverts yourself...?

... or are you just plugging a script into a page somewhere, and letting A.N.Other host the adverts for you (and whatever other junk that happens to come with them)?

If the former - then fine, I'll unblock your site... if the latter, then forget it!

UK.gov's Brexiteers warned not to push for divergence on data protection laws

Gio Ciampa

"greater freedoms"

Meaning: "greater bungs from our mates who'll sell on the pleb's data to anyone"

Case in point - the DVLA - they'll sell your reg number to pretty much anyone as it is (especially those lovely sharks claiming to be car park enforcement agencies) ... I dread to think what they'd do with more freedom.

BOFH: Turn your server rack hotspot to a server rack notspot

Gio Ciampa

Stair Oil

Where can I get some...?

Apple's top-secret iBoot firmware source code spills onto GitHub for some insane reason

Gio Ciampa

Re: "These iBoots Are Made for Walking" by Dolly Parton

I prefer the Megadeth version...

TalkTalk to splash £1.5bn laying full fibre on 3 million doorsteps

Gio Ciampa

Re: Please take your socialism away...

"In all seriousness, rolling out fibre across the countryside will cost buckets of cash. "

Fine... if you're happy to pay your own way - get your wallet out and pay us taxpayers back for everything we have paid for that you have used over the years...

Rubrik swallows Datos IO, shuffles in distributed DB backup

Gio Ciampa

Re: FYI: you're thinking of Rubik, not Rubrik

I (mis)read the headline as "Rubik swallows Davros"...

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

Gio Ciampa

"There are EV "evangelists" who get quite animated"

In which case we'll just hook them up to a giant hamster wheel and generate the power that way...

Well done, UK.gov. You hit superfast broadband target (by handing almost the entire project to BT)

Gio Ciampa

Re: Moving house

Some things don't change it seems (I had the same thing almost 10 years back)

Do they still charge £125 for the privilege of this "service"?

Proposed Brit law to ban b**tards brandishing bots to bulk-buy tickets

Gio Ciampa

Legalised Touting

TicketMaster and GetMeIn being one example (of many, I presume)

First thing they could do is stop this "Pre Sale" nonsense, so tickets go on sale when they are supposed to, not several days earlier (if you happen to be in the know...)

How's this for a stocking filler next year? El Reg catches up with Gemini

Gio Ciampa

Re: "the first new computer form-factor since the iPad"

re: "Microsoft's Tablet PC in 2002"

I think I can go back further even than that - my first "proper" job was at a research lab at the QE/University of Birmingham, where (by the time I left in 1996) we were looking into using kit like this to hook into the Renal Unit pathology system we had developed - the medics would then have access to blood test results and proposed tests to be performed (automatically generated, via a rulebase).

As you'd imagine back then - battery life and connectivity were as issue as I recall, but as a proof-of-concept it worked rather well...

UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

Gio Ciampa

Re: Silly Idea...

It's only not cost effective if each local install is costed individually.

Economies of scale apply - cover the whole country, and the high cost of some (rural) areas is more than compensated for by those for city centres and the like.

Putting my idealistic hat on - this should have been done from day one, but (at the risk of doing my broken record impression yet again) governments don't think beyond what will get them reelected.

Gio Ciampa

Re: Other than 'grudgingly',

I'll wager the last one...

Gio Ciampa

"not economically feasible"

And spending £100+ billion (and counting) saving a few minutes on a train journey from London to Birmingham is...?

UK.gov needs help getting folk to splurge on full fibre and 5G

Gio Ciampa

Re: New Shiny Sparkley

Don't get me started on HS2 - I totally agree with you on that score...

(and this isn't an anti-Birmingham thing either - I spent 15 years there in one form or another, and would go back if the chance arose)

Gio Ciampa

Re: "The market will provide"


I'd say that the investment rules are as such because successive governments have stuck to the "market" mantra and so have neglected the opportunity to get some decent management in who'll get the job done at a sensible price (from the taxpayer's perspective), instead appointing the same old nonentities whose turn it is for a nudge up the ladder (Sir Humphrey would be so proud...)

An example (admittedly from a different arena) - when they took the East Coast Mainline back into public hands, because National Express (or whoever it was) chose to walk away, they managed to get a decent team in place and it made money for the taxpayer. Fast forward to today... and Virgin/Stagecoach have been given the heave-ho after yet another bailout (and their shareholders are laughing all the way as the stock price rises as a result)

It can, therefore, be done - it just take a government with some balls to actually do it.

Gio Ciampa

"The market will provide"

The sooner that HMG sees through this fiction - the better...

It's very simple - and I've lost count of the number of times I've said this... they should invest in the infrastructure at a National level, and not leave it to the beancounters at BT et al to decide who gets decent connectivity on the result of a "how profitable is it" calculation.

BT, Sky bury hatchet with deal to sell each other's telly channels

Gio Ciampa

" I won't be paying extra form BT Sport and extra on top of that for BT Sport HD"

...of course you will...

We need to talk about mathematical backdoors in encryption algorithms

Gio Ciampa

Re: Backdoors

A leak is a leak is a leak - who cares what level it originates from?

A certain millennial turned 30 recently: Welcome to middle age, Microsoft Excel v2

Gio Ciampa

"I have to say Excel is one thing Microsoft got right."

Improvements are still due

This may be a case of my misusing it...

...but have you ever tried applied a formula to tens (or hundreds) of thousands of rows...

...then waited an age for it to figure out what it's doing? (Even on a modern 8 core "business" laptop)?

That bit I can live with... just about...

...but what boils my piss is the fact that if you then try to interact at all with it... it starts the whole bloody calculation again (or so it appears)!

This has happened in versions I've used over the last decade or more ... sort it out MS!

Vodafone signs deal with CityFibre to connect 5 million homes with full fibre

Gio Ciampa

Re: Low-hanging fruit again

For: "Users are not prepared to pay for it"

Read: "Can't afford to be extorted by the likes of BT, VM, et al due to factors such as local geography"

What I'm taking about getting the WHOLE country up to a base level that's worth the name - once that's done, then let those who want more pay for it.

Gio Ciampa

Re: Low-hanging fruit again

"This appears to be mostly a commercial project"

...and while that mindset remains - we'll never get the "100% coverage by 2020" (or whatever the Government's pledge is this week...)

About time someone high up realised that this should be a National Infrastructure project - and paid for accordingly... instead of certain vanity projects

Seldom used 'i' mangled by baffling autocorrect bug in Apple's iOS 11

Gio Ciampa

For "i"...

...read "i™" surely?

Europe's one-patent-court-to-rule-them-all rocked by 'Brexit, EPO reforms, German laws'

Gio Ciampa

Re: Breach of contract?

Works the other way too - given (some of) our MPs proclivity for second/third/fourth jobs...

You may not have noticed, but 'superfast' broadband is available to 94% of Blighty

Gio Ciampa

I assume Thinkbroadband are using the "can pay extra for fibre" definition of ("has access to"?

Not that I can check, as there seems to be no link to the report.

Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?

Gio Ciampa

Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

"From experience, luggage does get checked by the TSA."

Seconded from here - the last time I was out that way they left a leaflet in my luggage on the way home... right next to the one that they'd left on the way in (that I'd deliberately placed so that it was they first thing they'd see on opening it...)

Essentially invisible: Android big-daddy Andy Rubin's hypetastic mobe 'flops in first month'

Gio Ciampa

re: I am one of the seemingly small population

I must be the other one then...

...excuse me while I dither over what (mid-range) handset to get next...

The power JavaScript: 'Gandalf of JS' Wirfs-Brock on ECMAscript 2017

Gio Ciampa

ES2017 lets these workers share binary memory buffers

Hmmm... like that won't be looked at as a possible attack vector...

Hi Facebook, Google, we think we might tax your ads instead – lots of love, Europe x

Gio Ciampa

Re: Both places

"As for taxes on turnover, that's simply a catastrophically stupid idea"

Works at a personal level (mostly) - so why not the corporate...?

Attention adults working in the real world: Do not upgrade to iOS 11 if you use Outlook, Exchange

Gio Ciampa

"We voted out - deal with it"

Same pointless repetition...

Gio Ciampa

Re: Works fine here

"And once again. 'Cupertino idiot-tax corporation' is just fucking stupid and insulting - not to Apple, but to Apple customers. Like somebody calling El Reg a 'Brainless cretin-attracting News Outlet'."

If it weren't for the Silver Badge, I'd ask if you were new around here...

HMRC scoops up Microsoft veep for CIO role

Gio Ciampa

No prizes for guessing...

...which company's UK tax bill will plummet next year...

Monkey selfie case settles for a quarter of future royalties

Gio Ciampa

Re: I fscking loathe PETA

So should the "ET" part stand for "Eventual Termination"?

Google's Android 8.0 Oreo has been served

Gio Ciampa

"surely Samsung/Google can upgrade my flagship GS6 from 2015"

2015? Samsung? Pull the other one - I'll be surprised if they're still providing updates for devices from Q1 2017, let alone the "prehistory" that is 2015...

I say, BING DONG! Microsoft's search engine literally cocks up on front page for hours

Gio Ciampa

...and take longer to finish...?

US cops point at cell towers and say: Give us every phone number that's touched that mast

Gio Ciampa

Re: Data for Sale

Nothing the DVLA isn't already doing here...

What code is running on Apple's Secure Enclave security chip? Now we have a decryption key...

Gio Ciampa

Re: reall_adf

"...the principle of a user being able to audit code ... starts to appear a tad dogmatic."

Maybe so - but just because it isn't necessarily easy to do doesn't make the effort pointless.

"pay an internal team or two to review their code"

"Security by Obscurity" - backed up by "Audit by Obscurity"

"That is not to say they are infallible, of course."

Or open to "persuasion" to come up with the "right" result...

Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers

Gio Ciampa

Now why do you think the advertising industry doesn't try to sell that solution instead?


Because they rely on the inability (or sheer laziness) of some people to provide reasonable ad content on their sites, without simply plugging in some pre-written code over which they have no control...


New Amiga to go on sale in late 2017

Gio Ciampa

"got all the girls" (was: Re: The ST was supreme)

I was an ST owner when I got married - and a PC owner when I got divorced...

That explains everything!

Google drops poker face, allows gambling apps on Play Store

Gio Ciampa

Re: How will that work?

I presume that Google are happy for others to do the work required to police their own small part of the 'net (given they won't allow usage of their payment system)

For example - I imagine that the National Lottery app will be cleared in due course, given that they already (presumably) already do the age checking required to allow players to buy tickets using a credit/debit card from it (they also have a ticket checker app that has no payment processing at all - which I believe has always been available as a result)

Particle boffins show off 'cheap', cute little CosI, world's smallest neutrino detector

Gio Ciampa

"You can't observe them directly"

By that logic, you can't observe anything directly - all observations are records of something interacting with something else...

Even light - that's the interaction between a photon and the cells in your eye.

In the early days of particle physics - the interaction between a particle and the (supersaturated) gas in a cloud chamber, forming (essentially) a vapour trail... which is observed by... light.

The first observations for neutrinos - the interaction between the neutrino and by the (very occasional) atoms that happened to be hit by one, gaining the energy required to, at a later point, emit a photon of light.

(...but, before people start thinking there's a theme here...)

The experiments Ray Davis performed down in a mine involved the transmutation of Chlorine into (a radioactive isotope of) Argon, which could be collected and counted.

(Mine's the one with the Physics Degree in the pocket...)

Capita's smart meter monopoly is owed £42m by industry

Gio Ciampa

"BEIS is content with this setup"

Of course it is ... no doubt there's a cushy job in it for someone down the line...

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

Gio Ciampa

"2) You are allowed to use a reserved seat for the non-reserved part of the journey."

Until you get a Daily Mail reader screaming "Corbyn stole my seat" to all and sundry

Juno beams back first closeups of Jupiter's unsightly red acne

Gio Ciampa

Re: Mistaken?

When you say 'disliked' - was that because Newton was effectively untouchable at the time (just ask Leibniz) and society chose sides accordingly?

The life and times of Surface, Microsoft's odds-defying fondleslab

Gio Ciampa

"Microsoft's decision to branch into hardware"

Um... the hardware division dates from 1982...

...or does the author not want to acknowledge the MS Mouse et al...? (we'll skip over the Zune, eh...?)

MH370 researchers refine their prediction of the place nobody looked

Gio Ciampa

..."suggested the original search was in the wrong area"

One for the "No shit, Sherlock" filing cabinet?

Britain's warhead-watcher to simulate Trident nukes with Atos supercomputer

Gio Ciampa

As long as the final screen says...

..."the only winning move is not to play."


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