* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Driverless cars deal death to Detroit, says Barclays

Tom 13

Re: fitted with 360 degree cameras

Yeah, they said that about speeding and red light cameras too. Hasn't stopped the lawyers. Only thing changed are the fees.

Tom 13

Re: Driverless cars are possibly a bus/taxi replacement

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Ladies, gentlemen, and geeks of all stripes: We have a WINNER!!!!

To the extent automated cars replace Detroit it will be the bus, taxi, and train services that suffer. Frankly, I don't see them replacing Detroit either (well assuming you call what's happening in Detroit now functioning). They'll just manufacture the self-driving cars in addition to the other ones.

Tom 13

Re: age threshold for driving raised to 25

I know the statisticians all fixate on that number, but I think they are wrong. I don't think there's anything magical that happens at 25. I think at 25 you've finally built up enough learning experience driving that the numbers change. Moving the driving age up won't change the mechanic, just the numbers where the changes happen.

Tom 13

Re: so you complain, you get another car,

Except that's not how the real world works. In the real world, you're already late for your appointment so you can't reschedule and you have to take the puke filled car, hopefully not puking yourself because of the stench. Maybe you complain and you get a full refund after the trip, but the trip itself is hell so you decide to buy a car for yourself as a permanent fix to the problem.

Tom 13

Re: Not really

Both you and Barclays are smoking stuff that ain't even legal in Holland. Cars that clock over 100K miles are a rarity and notable because of it. Higher usage doesn't change that. Yes, most cars in the US get scrapped between 75K and 150K, pretty much because at that point it costs more to fix broken systems on the car than buying a new one.

The again, since we know you smoke the Warmist crack pipe, your lies are no surprise.

Private cloud has a serious image problem

Tom 13

Re: a few numbers one needs to consider before sky diving!

Only two actually, and only one of those is variable:

1) The amount of time you will be in the air

2) 9.8 meters per second per second.

That's all you need to know how much of a splat you'll make when you hit.

Tom 13

Re: Talking Toasters

I'll give you an A for effort on trying to come up with good ideas.

The problem of course is that for the most part, all of the device manufacturers have come up with cheaper ways to do that already or the idea is too dangerous to get approval. The dishwasher has a timer. Turning on the stove remotely is a huge, huge hazard even bigger than the oven and not nearly as practical on close examination as you might think (kettle still has to filled and on the correct burner). The only one that they don't have down cold is checking the washer to see if it's finished, and these days you can get some damn loud buzzers on the washer.

Tom 13

Re: spam, of the type that you don't eat with toast

Fried spam on toast?

Yum-yum. Now I'm hungry.

Tom 13

Re: maybe they can talk to you as well!

I read the language the toaster would have used to talk to the fridge (in fact the document on that language was actually what landed me my next job). It's really messed up. Think Frank Zappa lyrics digitally remumbled by Ozzie Osborn except read in the Ben Stein monotone from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. <shudder>

Tom 13

Re: I have no idea what this has to do with Amazon Web Services

Don't blame me.

El Reg and Gartner were the ones who connected IoT to the continued growth of AWS.

And why would the fridge know about the bread anyway? Keeping bread in the fridge makes it go bad faster than either freezing it or keeping it on a shelf in the cupboard.

Right, never mind. That's the sort of logic the IoT avoids.

Tom 13

Re: According to recent Gartner data,

Thanks for admitting up front that your entire article is vaporware because it's based on data from a vaporware company.

About 30 years ago I worked for an outfit that was trying to develop the IoT on a much smaller scale. The innocent child asked "but why would the toaster need to talk to the 'fridge?" The marketing gurus had no answer and a few years later the outfit went bankrupt. In all the time since, no one has been able to answer that question.

Verizon: fibre is MUCH cheaper than copper, we're going all-FTTP

Tom 13

Re: they're already set and the upgrade cost for them is $0.

Again, that sounds good on paper, but observed behavior doesn't reflect that. My parents have FIOS available to them for phone and internet, but not tv. They'd have no cable infrastructure costs associated with adding tv to the service. Initially my dad was told the service was coming 6 months down the road. We're going on 6 years now, every 6 months or so he calls and the answer is the same - they've bundled with Direct TV (which is what he has separately) and won't be putting it on the fiber cable. While granting the upgrade cost is not exactly zero over all infrastructure, it's not really in your case either. You're tearing something out and replacing it.

Tom 13

Re: POTS infrastructure tends to be old

That's all well and good from an accounting standpoint, except the law requires telcoms to provide POTS service. And while they might try to avoid FCC common carrier rules for internet, they are still common carriers for purposes of that law.

UK.gov confirms it's binned extended Windows XP support

Tom 13

...are still to finish XP migration projects.

That leaves quite a lot of room for interpretation. Does that mean

1) We've migrated 99.9% of systems but still have some key systems running ancient software with OS dependencies that we need to pay contractors to fix. But we've moved them to internal only and put up our best firewalls to protect them.

2) We've haven't gotten off our butts and started yet because the waste hasn't hit the oscillating air mover yet.

3) Something in between.

EU parliament pushes for Dodd-Frank style conflict mineral laws

Tom 13

Here's a free clue from a Merkin:

If any proposed legislation is ever modeled on something called Dodd-Frank in the US, shoot the people who proposed it. It's doomed to end up in a failure costing more than the sin it is alleged to fix.

Tom 13


You're the one spouting DNC Kool-Aid.

It was known at the time that the bill would force banks to make loans that couldn't be repaid. They didn't need to mandate it in Dodd-Frank. It was already in the banking law, but the geographic areas put a limit on how much damage it could do to the system as a whole. Since it was provable that the banking officers should have known the loans could not be repaid (the risk analysis software said so, they were made to meet race quotas*), the only logical thing to do was slice and dice it into MBSs. Which might have worked if the MBSs hadn't then been overvalued.

*specifically, if you use the software to evaluate the risk of the loan and didn't include race data, the loan came up bad. But since the end result was a high number of inner city blacks couldn't get loans it was labeled "racist" to not take the race of the loan recipient into account. And yes, the banking regulators had plenty of ways to inhibit non-compliant banks operations without ever setting foot in a courtroom.

Phablet for the biz fleet with easy typing: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL

Tom 13

Re: Well, untill Windows can have Flappy Birds

And here I thought the problem was that Windows didn't have a sufficient variety of farting apps.

Get off the phone!! Seven out of ten US drivers put theirs and your lives at risk

Tom 13

@Big-nosed Pengie

As a mollycoddled European, you are obviously unaware of one of the finer points of Americana: The country doesn't set road laws - each State does. So it's actually impossible to pass a national law banning the use of cell phones. Even the so called national 55 law didn't actually create a national law. Instead it cut off highway funding if States didn't adopt a max 55 law. And once the idiocy of the law was fully revealed, even that was modified.

Tom 13

Re: Texting while driving and talking on the phone while driving are...............

All absolutely true. But...

How dangerous is it to do that while stuck in a traffic jam and not moving?

How dangerous is it to do while stuck in a traffic slug slow down (5-10 mph, 4 cars wide, 4 to 8 cars ahead of you)?

How dangerous is it to do when you are the first car stopped at a 1 minute traffic light?

All of the above count as texting while driving. One of them actually has zero danger associated with it. While the others have some element of risk, it's not the same risk as moving at speed in moderate traffic which is probably the most dangerous situation (it's where you're most likely to encounter higher delta Vs between vehicles and have unexpected changes).

Tom 13

Re: A closed course != the road, with random hazards.

The closed course with cones is sufficient for testing reaction times. That's one of the fundamentals about these sorts of things which are routinely done all the time to prove to people how alcohol affects their driving.

Tom 13

Re: You drive with your eyes closed?

Hey, in some part of the country, it's the only way to drive. If you open them, you'll die of a heart attack.

Tom 13

I don't care what margins of accuracy the polling firms are claiming

One way or another these numbers are completely bolluxed.

There's no way that you can possibly have 70% of drivers on the road every minute of every day 4 beers drunk and have accident rates as low as we do. Which is not to say our accident rates are especially low, or that fiddling with your smart phone while driving is safe, only that they are too low to support the claimed results of the survey.

Open source power-up on the way for arcade game emulator MAME

Tom 13

Re: Doorway drug.

As soon as the vendors start selling the ROMs again I'll be happy to get all legal. Until such time, I can't see a jury actually convicting for having copied ROMs. Distributing them maybe, but not "owning" one.

Heck at that point I might even download and install MAME.

So why the hell do we bail banks out?

Tom 13

Re: so, what to do if you think a crash is around the corner?

Productive land is always a solid investment. Especially if its also got a decent water source. Also, invest in precious metals (gold, silver, lead) and non-hybrid seeds. Sheep and chickens would probably also be in order. Not so sure on cows unless you've got a big family. Maybe a couple of goats and a few pigs.

Well, that's a start at least.

Tom 13

Re: distinction between a bank and an investment bank

No, the banks in the US failed because they made to many bad home loans. That's why the focus on Freddie, Fannie, and what's their name who no longer exist out west and whose "assetts" are now polluting all the remaining banks.

Tom 13

Re: I don't think that would have been pretty.

I don't either. But it would have been prettier than what will happen when if finally all comes falling down. Because it will eventually all come falling down. Bailing them out last time with very little impact on anyone including 95% of the people who caused the mess pretty much guarantees they'll do it all over again. Indeed, we seem to be well on our way with a US stock market bubble that already exceeds the housing bubble.

Tom 13

Re: Why not nationalise all the banks?

Natural monopolies live in peace with their unicorn neighbors right next door to the Yeti.

Tom 13

Re: most of the public utilities are in fact in private hands?

No they're not. They're mostly in that limbo between government run and private. This limbo tends to combine the worst elements of both with the benefits of neither. But sloppy thinking people who are out to help the poor tend to like this arrangement. It makes them feel good.

Tom 13

Re: Wrong question

1) It's not gambling, it's a risk. There's an important difference between the two, and why my earlier Barney Frank quote is so damning. Anybody who doesn't know the difference should never be allowed near the regulatory mechanisms for banking.

2) Because the cost associated with the deposit account probably equal the interest earned on the float, whereas the other is a loan and your failure to pay indicates an increased risk of default. If you are going to actually default, the bank needs to know sooner rather than later. The quicker they can either take you to court to recover their money or write off the loss if that is the case the sooner they can return to profitability.

3) Because the 1950s were a magic time in America. Pretty much everybody else had been bombed to hell and back and we were the only ones with any sort of industrial capacity. That has changed, as it should have.

4) Because the socialists have all decided it's too important to have a banking system that won't fail, so the banks aren't actually a capitalist construct, their a socialist one masquerading as a capitalist one. For the socialists this is a win-win. Their policies always fail so they always get to rail against the capitalists when it is actually their policies which are at fault. You can think of it as a boot stomping on your face - forever.

Tom 13

Re: Make directors bear losses

Meh. If the bank failed I think that's sufficient proof of such complete incompetency that the protection of the corporate veil should be pierced. Make them liable to the full extent of any assets they own whether or not connected to their stint at the bank. I'm assuming you're including corporate officers in "directors"; if not, them too.

Tom 13

Re: Fractional reserve

I wouldn't go 50%, but I would go 10%. It's the minimum you should be able to pay on any item for which you want to take a loan.

There is a caveat, which is that the reserve requirement is the ultra-big, ultra-crude lever the Fed (or its EU equivalent on your side of the pond) uses to manage the money flow.

Tom 13

Re: Your math's off.

His math's good. You didn't take into account statistics. No way in hell I'd collect on the $100K for a bank failure. Hell, I'm barely a blip on that market even now when I've actually built up a small amount of buffer. Maybe 10K tops. Statistics tell me I'm above median for my salary (US, not region), and again above median for my savings. Even my roommate/landlord who probably falls into top 5% by salary and again for savings might collect about half that $100K. His money is all in the house and retirement plans.

Tom 13

Re: In fact at today's interest rates bank deposits are losing value.

Regardless of the interest rate paid to savers, deposits never kept pace with interest rates. I do recall back in the Carter days my mother signing up for the outrageously high interest rate of 13%. Of course at the time inflation was running around 17%. When it matured we were barely able to roll it over into one at 8%, with inflation running around 10%.

Tom 13

Re: sure we know WHO was to blame for the changes

Not quite. Part of the problem here, and part of the reason why the pols were all so eager to bail out the banks is that almost all parties had their hands dirty. The retraction of the laws started under Daddy Bush. Granted, I don't think his changes alone would have broken the system, but they opened the door for Clinton to claim he was just extending what had already been done. I would certainly agree that Clinton's minions at Fannie and Freddie greased the skids for the downfall.

Tom 13

Re: Nothing, but the mob don't like to hear that

Maybe in Ole Blighty, but not on this side of the pond. The banks were making mortgages they knew couldn't be repaid. They knew this because their analysis software told them so. They did it, because if they didn't the bank regulator were going to hit them with totally bogus redlining charges and inhibit their ability to operate.

Knowing they had bad loans on the books and that they COULD lose their shirts if the shareholders found out, they went looking for a way to get rid of it. The solution they came up with was MBSs. Slice up the bad loans, mix them with good loans, and they're no longer bad loans, they're mostly good loans. Which would have been okay except they overvalued the mostly good loans. Also, as the first adopters were making money hand over fist, there were subsequent waves of businesses who took it up. The end result was MBSs that weren't even mostly good loans.

So criminality all the way around.

Tom 13

Re: In the US, despite all the evidence of fraud

In the US, it was the politicians who mandated the fraud. And a long time before it became manifest to the point that even W was begging Barney Frank to tighten the regs. Never forget Barney's reply: "I think I want to roll the dice on this a little longer."

Tom 13

Re: Dear Tim, please, stop it.

I'd upvote your post except I KNOW the NYTimes is as much culpable as the bankers they want to hang. While I'm not familiar with the scotsman, given your lead was the NYT, I expect they are too.

Tom 13

Re: What was there being done that was actually criminal?

Underwriting loans they KNEW couldn't be repaid.

Granted, they were doing so under threat of law from crooks in Congress. While Pen was focused on banking management, that doesn't mean politicians shouldn't have been amongst them.

Moreover, this does point out the biggest flaw in your liberal take on Adam Smith, which both Friedman and Hayek have pointed out: nobody (including groups regardless of certs and/or size) is smart enough to foresee all of the outcomes of any given decision, therefore governments shouldn't mandate charity, no matter how allegedly noble the intentions. Charity must by its very nature be ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY.

Pandora ordered to pay up extra royalties in BMI row

Tom 13

Re: Pick your own court!

That was probably a badly worded comment. To appeal, you have to move to a higher court, but you don't get your choice of courts, that depends on where you fall in the brackets. Sounds like the higher court handed down a decree last week and this decree is not in accordance with it. So Pandora will appeal and BMI will argue there is no basis for appeal.

In this instance I'd expect to appellate court to vacate the lower court decision, send the case back and instruct the judge to take into account its most recent ruling. If Pandora and BMI reach an agreement before the lower court re-issues its decree the whole thing is moot.

But yeah, especially with reference to music and movies, it's impossible for the average guy to believe that the courts are being fair.

Tom 13

Percentage of revenues part 2

While 2.5% doesn't sound like much on the surface, if you've got to pay that out to 50 different parties because not everybody is registered with BMI it can be downright onerous.

Feds: Bloke 'HACKED PLANE controls' – from his PASSENGER seat

Tom 13

Re: linking these systems like thislinking these systems like this

Depends on exactly what the system is carrying and how they are linked.

If the IFE is carrying internet traffic (which seems to be an up-selling point these days) and sending other data about the flight via the internet, you probably can't afford the weight for two independent receiving systems. Frequently a logical separation is deemed sufficient. Of course that needs to be properly implemented and is subject to attack.

Tom 13


Allegedly hacked it while in flight. That seems to be one of the points in contention.

Normally I give the benefit of the doubt to the gmen because they've got a tough job and these days cops are everybody's second favorite bogey man. But the bit about flying the airplane sideways makes me dubious about the warrant.

Penn State University network sacked by China malware blitz

Tom 13

Of course no reasearch data was taken.

When I was there, the College of Engineering had it's main offices in Hammond Building. In a brilliant move, the College had students design it's new HQ. They did a fine job except for one small detail. They forgot to to test bores for the foundation. Turned out the ground where they planned to build the 8 story structure wouldn't support it, and rejiggering the foundation so it would cost too much. So they sliced the building into pieces and laid them side by side. One interesting side effect was that you can't actually get to the middle rooms on the second floor from the first floor. You have to go to the third floor walk t the middle and go down to the second.

Tom 13

Re: Using them for things they are not mean to be used for

Except it is the government who has essentially required they be used for everything. Want to take out a loan? Yep, you need an SSN. What a student grant? Yep, you need an SSN.

Tom 13

Re: Call me cynical

Well, what the article doesn't say is whether or not SSN = School Badge ID, which is what was the case many years ago when I attended. You know, it was easier to just use something students already had that was unique rather than putting together some whole new system.

Splitters! CSC to break itself into pieces following job cull

Tom 13

Not sure how much the changes in law since 2008 affect things

but one of my former employers was acquired by a company that was primarily a government contractor. His business was profitable, but after the acquisition the accounting was impossible to make compliant with government rules so the acquiring company essentially did away with the acquired business.

BUZZKILL. Honeybees are dying in DROVES - and here's a reason why

Tom 13

@T. F. M. Reader

YOU might only have just picked up on El Reg covering this, but El Reg has been covering this for for at least three years.

SHOCK! Robot cars do CRASH. Because other cars have human drivers

Tom 13

Re: I would take a local taxi every time (and tranquilizers).

Not me. I'd watch it on Top Gear with a gin and tonic in hand.

Tom 13

Re: if it's a rock IN a packet of crisps

Somewhere there's a government regulation that specifies how frequently you can find a rock in a bag of crisps. I know. I once had to do the typesetting work on an official method that was used to determine the amount of rat feces in grain. Yes, the method was used to determine compliance with Dept of Agriculture regulations.

Tom 13

Re: some fleshy who doesn't want to hand the steering wheel over to the robot.

You've got that wrong. Paul's the fleshy who doesn't want to hand the steering wheel over to the robot.

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