* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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

Tom 13

Re: any down-voters care to say why the DON'T want that?

Because here at El Reg, we don't expect to find emotional anti-technology idiots like you.

If anything what we need is the reverse, those kinds of investigation whenever meat bags are involved in accidents. But that ain't happening any time soon. Until it does, the rules should be pretty much the same for automated as meat bag.

Tom 13

Re: The robot cars are likely to drive "perfectly",

Doesn't work quite that way, the meat bags make mistakes in programming things. Yes, the Google cars are probably quite a bit better at it, but local experience with automated systems shows it is no panacea. In my case that would be the DC Metro (light rail). In theory, with a protected travel lane, no real cross traffic to speak of, and rails instead of wheels it ought to be easier to automate these things than cars are. And for a long time Metro ran them in automated mode because the meat bags tend to brake harder than the automated systems do. Still the meat bags managed to screw it up by mucking up the sensors, resulting in a crash that killed 8 people and injured hundreds. Immediately after the incident they switched back to having the meat bags drive, and haven't reverted to the automated system since.


Tom 13

Re: manage to do a tour through Paris and actually survive

Not Pairs, Cairo or maybe Singapore. Both places where traffic laws are even more of a suggestion rather than law than in Paris.

$19 billion made from dumped e-waste every year, says UN

Tom 13

Re: Cost of unmaking

That's because it's not being done correctly. Assuming the objective is to ensure the waste is properly recycled the solution is relatively straightforward.

1. Charge the company at three times the estimated cost of recycling at the time the device is manufactured. They may opt to carry this charge as a payment due for the expected life of the product. (For places like the US [I'd guess EU as well] and companies like Apple, HP, and Dell, you'd assess the charge regardless of the point of manufacture.)

2. Certify recycling facilities in country for processing the waste. Monitor the hell out of them to make sure they actually recycle the waste. (Tonnage of waste received = tonnage of out-processed components)

3. Companies that use and pay the certified recyclers are issued coupons for the waste recycled. Each coupon can be used to offset one instance of the same item on the carried charge balance sheet.

Yes, it is incredibly intrusive. I'm pretty sure I'd object to such a process. But it is the sort of process you'd need as anything else is doomed to failure.

Mozilla flings teddy out of pram over France's 'Patriot Act'

Tom 13

Re: in the data slurp of ALL users.

Except they aren't actually slurping data, they are slurping meta-data and that slight of hand with terminology betrays the emotional over rational objections from the anti-Patriot Act people.

Let's look again at El Reg's claims about the act:

Monitor and store user communications, metadata and Web activity about all users in France and abroad

Possibly objectively true, but precisely the sorts of things you'd want to go after for tracking international bad guys of all stripes. With adequate protections, it's actually a rational way to go about things.

Force internet service providers (and potentially other technology companies) to install “black boxes” in their networks to collect data and use algorithms to search for “suspicious patterns”

Objectively true, but actually irrelevant. Everybody, but especially ISPs install black boxes that collect data and use algorithms to search for “suspicious patterns”. We just call them anti-malware software and buy them from commercial companies.

Intercept user communications, including reading emails and tapping phones, without meaningful due process or oversight

Objectively false as there is no commonly agreed upon definition of "meaningful due process". The best objective that can be made against any of these bills is that there is not a publicly disclosed adequate process. After that it is simply assumed that the process is corrupt, which is not an objective analysis.

Compromise internet infrastructure in France and extra-territorially

Objectively false and pure speculation intended to elicit a purely emotional response.

Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

Tom 13

Re: I never voted twice, but presumably could have with pretty minimal chances

Yep. That is why leftists on both sides of the pond oppose anything that will remove duplicated voters in the system. As for myself, I've never checked but could be registered in as many as 5 locations. Like you, I've never cast more than the ballot I'm allotted where I actually reside.

Tom 13

@ Red Bren

Quite the opposite. As you get older you come to recognize and regret the greed and avarice you shamelessly showed in your youth, and seek to protect those who have actually worked and done things that are useful to society.

Tom 13

Re: a likely predisposition among the feckless, disorganised and unreliable

The thing is, we have many decades of polling research and that's something that has been studied and for which they have correction factors.

I'm not certain of the exact lay of the land on your side of the pond, but on our side of the pond there is a general consensus that on those occasions where the polls were greatly wrong about the election it has been because the polling companies generated the wrong target sample population. Essentially you want your sample to match the actual voting population. But the voting population varies from the general population. So based on the previous election outcomes the pollsters say something like "20% of the voting population is hard Rep, 22% leans Rep; 25% leans Demt, 20% is hard Dem and the rest are undecided." Then they try to match their sample to those numbers. If the sample for some reason shows say 25% hard Rep, they adjust their prediction by weighting that element less. This works so long as you have the right numbers for the next election. But if it turns out that the voting population has actually shifted to 25% hard Rep, you're predictions are screwed.

In other words, any time there is a real, fundamental change in the electorate, even a small one, the polls are actually useless.

Tom 13

Re: Shy Tories

All the literati agree with each other that only the sort of simpletons* who read The Daily Mail would ever vote Tory. That's the sort of societal pressure even campaign donations on my side to the pond can't buy.

*Frauds who are in it only for personal gain excepted of course.

Tom 13

Re: it will almost always result in coalition governments

It might be bad for those in the party, but an examination of actual coalition governments shows it almost always works out even worse for those who aren't: Italy, Greece, even your own country for the last few years.

Tom 13

Re: Optional

Nastiness is the issue. Problem is you're framing the question wrong:

"How nasty do I think my neighbors who profess to be Labour are?" is the correct formulation.

- Not nasty at all and willing to respect my opinons.

- Nasty enough to call me names every chance they get.

- The really nasty sort who will vandalize my property and beat the crap out of me when they can.

- The extremely nasty sort who will kill me in my sleep then blame it on my party.

Given about 40% of El Reg posters seem to fall in the name calling category, it does seem reasonable to expect most conservatives to not be open about it.

Tom 13

Re: Let's see more loose coalitions!

So you want to turn Britain into Italy or worse Greece? Sounds like a very, very bad plan to me, and as noted above, I'm not even a Brit.

Tom 13

Re: Err, not so fast ther Mr Miller.

You can dance around it all you want, but an outlier that more closely matches the actual results is not an outlier. It may have been an outlier from their targeted distribution amongst the voters, but that only corrects a systemic problem.

The claim that people haven't made up their minds/are changing their minds quickly is blowing smoke up your arse. They don't. It may be polite to accept that fiction in most social situations, but polling isn't one of them.

Tom 13

Re: The poll might have been accurate to the stated degree

Not a Brit so I can't confirm your observation about the poll differentials, but assuming what you said is true, that means they should have been aware of a systemic problem. The truth is, most people's opinions won't vary that wildly that quickly. While there are multiple possible reasons, the bottom line is that you should already know you have at least one systemic problem.

Tom 13

Re: there is a uniform national swing

The outcome of the election DOES show a uniform national swing: away from Labour and toward Tory. There's no way around that fact.

If there were a bunch of swings as you describe, they would have been offsetting with no noticeable change in the national election. At the very least you would have had a situation where the nominal majority needed to form a coalition with another party. That didn't happen.

Tech disties: What the HELL happened to our sales growth in Q1?

Tom 13

It's time for the tech sector and its analysts to start dealing with reality:

The growth era of PC type consumer electronics is over. From here on out it is going to be a mostly replacement industry like refrigerators or cars.

Cyber-scum deface Nazi concentration camp memorial website

Tom 13


Stop carrying water for the Islamonazis. The truth is the only difference between Saudi Arabia and Iran is that Saudi Arabia doesn't use government money to fund Islamonazis. While that isn't much of a difference in absolute standards, in the Middle East it is enough to earn Saudi Arabia a pass on their internal treatment of citizens. And like it or not, a policy of "we won't interfere in your internal politics no matter how many people you are killing so long as you aren't killing any of ours" is a reasonable realpolitic position.

Tom 13

Re: The Holocaust was not only Jews

You were doing so well until you got to the last sentence. The loonies were Socialists walking the path to Communism. That makes the extreme Lefties, not extreme right. This lie continues to do more damage to society than Hitler inflicted on it with his war.

Also, you left out his targeting of homosexuals who were hunted as viciously as the Jews.

Tom 13

Re: So enlighten me

Objectively speaking there are probably more than just two on body counts. Off the top of my head:

Stalin's reign of terror

Mao's Cultural Leap Forward

Pol Pot

are all power mad dictators who have killed more people out of hate.

BUT, that is a broad usage of "hate" and doesn't quite the same focus as Hitler had on the Jews. So in the end an invalid criticism and one which earned him a down vote.

Sprint and Verizon to pay $158 MILLION over bogus 'cramming' fees

Tom 13

Consumers rightfully expect their monthly phone bills will reflect only those services that they've purchased,

If that were really true the FCC would do a thorough audit of the billing practices at these companies. Granted I haven't worked there for at least 5 years now, but one of my former employers with only 300 employees was so frequently overcharged on their phone bills that it was cost effective for them to hire a full time employee to review the monthly bills and challenge improper charges.

Facebook echo chamber: Or, the British media and the election

Tom 13

Both pieces of research are fundamentally and fatally flawed.

So much so that they are useless for real world predictions, no matter what their academic award pedigrees. The methodology of both studies is flawed in that they assume the published content establishes the universe of content. The problem is that the universe of content is so much larger than the published content.

Facebook 'fesses up to running an ideological echo chamber

Tom 13

This study is flat out wrong.

I haven't FBed for about three years. There was plenty of "cross-cutting content". Sounds to me like another academic article that selected data to prove their predetermined conclusion.

Citizens denied chance to vote in local-government IT cockup

Tom 13

Re: is actually greater usage than 10 or 20 people on one bus

Libtards are 10 times worse than Daily Mail readers are alleged to be. It's time for them to either buy a clue or get use to the abuse.

Tom 13

Re: Missing votes

For all the problems we have with voting on my side of the pond, this isn't one of them. If you show up at the polling place and you aren't registered you can still vote. All you need are two utility bills for your address with your or your spouses name on them. They hand you a provisional ballot and you vote. Granted the provisional ballots only get counted after their verified and IF the margin of victory is close to the number of absentee and provisional ballots cast, but you do still get to vote. Not that this doesn't potentially cause other problems, but you can vote even if you aren't on the roles.

Tom 13

Re: is actually greater usage than 10 or 20 people on one bus

Typical libtard statement. The 10 or 20 people on the bus aren't paying near what the 10 or 20 people in the cars are toward road maintenance. Most of that comes from the petrol tax so the "efficiency" of the bus mitigates against road maintenance.

Tom 13

@James 51

There is nothing undesirable about removing the names of people who don't live in the voting district from the voter rolls. You seem to have no concept of how corrupt the registration rules and maintenance of those rolls are here in the States. In fact, I would bet my name is still on the rolls back where I went to college even though I have not lived there in 30 years and it is in another state.

Tom 13

Re: Solid Labour seats

Whether or not the missed votes affect the OUTCOME of the election has nothing to do with whether or not being unable to vote effects the LEGITIMACY of an election. I'm on the other side of the pond. I live in a state where my vote is never going to effect the outcome of the election because the opposition out numbers me 2 to 1. Still, if 5,000 legitimate voters on their side were unable to cast ballots in the election, it's legitimacy would be suspect.

Keurig to drop coffee DRM after boss admits 'we were wrong'

Tom 13

Re: it will be gone before you get a second cup.

As a non-coffee drinker* (I know, that's just not American even though I'm not a Brit) I must object to this statement. All too often the smell of burnt coffee has permeated my office because someone left a pot on the warmer too long.

*Oddly enough I love the smell of the beans when you open the can, just can't stand to drink it.

Rip up your AMD obits: Gaming, VR, embedded chips to lift biz out of the red by 2016, allegedly

Tom 13

It seems to me AMD is sort of the Amazon of the CPU world

Year after year after year they lose money, yet somehow they're still in business. I fondly recall them briefly flirting with challenging Intel and making CISC processors a duopoly, but it's been ages since they made a serious run at it. It would be nice to see some competition again.

F*cking DLL! Avast false positive trashes Windows code libraries

Tom 13

So bad, but not as bad as when McAfee

nuked the windows system file that allowed network log on. That one borked about half the 1200 machines at the office where I worked. I think we spend about three days working out a solution then going around to all the PCs to manually fix all of them. I do remember skipping lunches by drinking Coke and three days later heading to the doctor for a kidney stone.

NASA spies weird glow from Pluto's FRIGID pole

Tom 13

Re: Amazing

ASCII art? Luxury I tell you. Why when I was a lad we had to crush fruits and berries and use walnut shells to make paints so we could draw our own pron on cave walls.

Tom 13

Re: To the naked eye, the dwarf planet appears reddish

Since when?

Pluto has a magnitude that ranges between 16.5 and 13.65. Most people can see down to a magnitude 5 while some can see a 6 or maybe a 7. Which means at it's brightest, Pluto is still 6 factors dimmer that the best naked eye can see.

Macroviruses are BACK and are the future of malware, says Microsoft

Tom 13

Re: People are gullible - and stupid

Never link a "DO NOT CLICK ON ME" button to an annoying noise. That only encourages people to click on the button. Don't you know ANYTHING about human nature.

If you want a real test, that button has to automatically send an email to the IT Security team requesting the user take an enhanced IT Security Awareness training course, and cc their spouse.

Tom 13

Re: People need to learn to be far more paranoid on-line

As the earlier posters noted, it would be helpful if it weren't an ALL or NOTHING choice.

Tom 13

Re: "Nearly"?

If they didn't learn from requiring people to hit Y if you used a wild card in the delete command in DOS, they never will. I can't think of a single instance in which that "safety" mechanism stopped somebody from deleting the wrong directory/disk.

US Congress promises death to patent trolls in bipartisan law scribbling

Tom 13

Re: So if Google's defense team

Except that's not how these things actually get billed. Each lawyer who is billing has to demonstrate they performed actual work for the case. At trial, at most three lawyers sit to present their side. Granted, those three lawyers are probably billing $500 to $1,000 an hour, but that's still far less than $10,000 an hour at trial. Discovery is done by flunkies and even outsourced to $25/hour companies.

Not that the bill isn't an obstacle for the little guy. When I was on the board with a group who HAD to sue to protect a trademark, we thought long and hard before ponying up the $20,000 our lawyer recommended be set aside to cover potential costs of the suit. And yes, the bastages we had to sue played the clock to the fullest, only surrendering hours before the case was to go before a judge. It was a complicated mess and one I hope I never have to partake of again.

Tom 13

Re: Great day for crony capitalism !

You WANTED language to make patent troll liable for the legal bills of legitimate manufacturers. This is EXACTLY what the language needs to look like.

I warned against this and was repeatedly told I needed to remove my head from my nether region. Guess we'll all have to live with it now.

Windows 10 bombshell: Microsoft to KILL OFF Patch Tuesday

Tom 13

Re: not exactly comparing like for like

At least once a week we get a story here on El Reg about desktops losing market share to tablets, phones, and phablets. I'd say it is grapes to grapes, not Apples to PCs.

High school students' record-setting pulsar STUMPS BOFFINS

Tom 13


I prefer my housemates favorite: SWAG (Scientific Wild-Arsed Guess) which is preferable to just a WAG.

Australia cracks tech giants' tax dodge code

Tom 13

Re: Seems simple

Not possible. Aside from the obvious options of both legal and illegal bribes to assessors the process is far more complex than you can possibly imagine.

For twelve years I was employed by a closely held corporation that was becoming 100% Employee-Owned. Our calendar year finished in December. We were a relatively small company (under 300 people) located almost entirely in the US. At the end of the year the accountants closed the books. Then came the auditors who certified the books met GAAP guidelines. Once that was certified our numbers went to an independent agency who assessed the value of our company, compared us to other businesses in our industry, and issued a valuation that was used to set our stock price for the previous year. We got that number and our dispersements in August. We were almost exclusively a government contracting operation, so the bulk of our income was pure labor rate billing, no manufacturing, no international trading. In other words, we were a simple case with FULL access to the company financials and it still took 6-8 months. It simply isn't possible in the international manufacturing context.

Tom 13

Re: Use the initial pricing

That you have never worked in the accounting department of even a small manufacturer is obvious from your stick figure drawing of how manufacturing pricing for retail works. And, in order to get the level of detail you'd need to implement your plan in the real world, you'd necessarily have to reveal company trade secrets. You're doomed to failure before you even get out of bed.

Tom 13

Re: Two points to make here:

1) I'm pretty sure Apple et al have far more clever accountants than you. If the effective tax rate in Oz is as low as you claim it is, they'd be headquartered there, not elsewhere.

2) Unless Singapore has some secret ninja army controlling other governments and sending tax money to them, they're not parasites to anyone. They're just more efficient. That might be because they are more geographically compact, but if their tax rates support their governments only your own greed and avarice causes you to accuse them of your own sin.

Tom 13

Re: The real villains of the piece are

Those places aren't taking taxes from anybody. That's EXACTLY why businesses locate their headquarters there: they are taxing less than elsewhere. Switch to sane tax policies and the problem will go away. The tighter you grasp productive people in your greed to get tax dollars, the more you kill the golden goose.

Tom 13

Re: in exchange for "properly" taxing *real* profits, not taxing *expenses*.

Except you can't. First off, you can't provide a legal definition of "*real* profits" that also works in the world of reality. Next up, business don't pay taxes anyway. They may collect them (and probably need to make a profit from collecting them), but they certainly don't pay them in the way a real person does. Finally, sales taxes are the only actual moral taxes out there. They tax consumption, not production. All this crap about taxing income progressively because some people make too much money or taxing greedy corporations is nothing but your own greed and avarice masquerading as a moral good. Even a highway man is more honest about what he's doing than people making the arguments you are.

Tom 13

Re: we don't pay tax on some portion of our income deemed to be "profit"

Sure we do, we've just changed the words. You've got your standard deduction, the child care credits you are so eager to exclude, mortgages, health expenses, IRA/retirement fund contributions, non-profit contributions, solar/wind energy tax credits, capital loss offsets and probably more that I can't think of because I mostly file the short form. Many of these are justified on what is effectively the same basis as excluding business costs from what they are taxed on. And your example provides the proof of the folly: the $10 tax on the $990 item means that business made no profit at all. You've got no way of knowing what the "real cost" of the goods being sold is. You're picking on Apple because given their financial disclosures, you THINK you know what their real cost is. If it's something like gems or precious metals, you have the same disparate impact on business.

Tom 13

Re: It's not rocket science

Except that's not actually fair either. Simple yes, but so is strong arm robbery and there's no real difference between it and what you propose. Because what it comes down to in the end is your guy with guns (and worse) is demanding money from somebody who isn't your guy. Tribalism at its worst.

Tom 13

Re: those large companies siphon off a large amount of money

I see the problem here. The problem is that you regard someone else's money as your money. Until you fix YOUR problem with immorality, you'll never understand the correct way to collect taxes. By definition, when someone in Oz buys a iPhone at price X, they have gotten exactly what they exchanged.

Tom 13

Re: why should the coumtry in which the item is sold enjoy the biggest tax 'take'?

Who paid is irrelevant. What is relevant is who did the work. That really wasn't the sales guy in Oz. And to the extent he did any work, you're getting those tax dollars directly from HIS salary.

Stop trying to tax Americans and Chinese from Oz.

Tom 13

Re: pays more tax than a corporation (per dollar earned).

Corporations NEVER pay taxes. At best they act as for profit tax collectors for the government. The ONLY people who ever pay taxes are citizens. Until you get this concept you can't create a tax system that works.

What does sometimes happen is a wealthy or well-placed citizen manages to arrange his affairs in such a way that he does not draw a salary and lives on the corporation dime. While this is truly improper, it cannot be addressed via tax law.

Tom 13

Re: thus there is no "moral" in our tax code.

I haven't heard a tax hiker argument yet where the fundamental argument wasn't that it is immoral for companies to pay so little in taxes.

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