* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

The Walton kids are ABSURDLY wealthy – and you're benefitting

Tom 13

Re: brings about greater unhappiness in the general population,

Contented people tend to be unproductive. Unhappy people tend to be motivated to change things. The problem is, we've got too many sycophants telling the unhappy people they can't be happy so they should riot instead. This tends not to work out well for either the rioters or their targets who both wind up with less than they had before.

Tom 13

Re: The problem is when wealth distorts democracy

The flippant way you post that shows an abysmal appreciation of history. The assertion that we ought to all rise to our own level of competence, and that rulers or those tightly connected to them shouldn't benefit would be laughed at in almost any other age. In fact, I'd wager it still is laughed at in most places outside of the UK and the US. Even in Greece they've been showing a penchant for that belief here of late.

PHYSICS APPLECART UPSET as dark energy disappears, Universe slams on brakes

Tom 13

Re: I don't think I ever read a scientist's words

That is quite the way they've been acting, particularly with respect to dark matter, and estimating the size of the universe. My major started out there before I migrated to the liberal arts. I got the concepts, just couldn't do the math. One thing that was quite clear was that the whole cosmological understanding is quite a house of cards with lots of places for error that are discounted. That isn't to say it isn't our best understanding of the data collected to date, just that everybody acts like certain things are better proven than they are.

Tech troll's podcasting patent blown out of the water by EFF torpedo

Tom 13

Re: Basically no, as he settled out of court.


But I'd say that's a law that needs to change. Part of the problem we now have with trolls is that they can start with small fry who can't afford to defend themselves, which builds a legal portfolio for taking on bigger and bigger fish. One thing that would change that is making all of their settlements related to the patent chargeable back to them if the patent(s) or even parts of it are invalidated.

Blaze it: US drug cops taken to court to ensure all dragnet snooping records are destroyed

Tom 13

Plaintiffs loose hands down.

Just yesterday the courts turned down a Mississippi case on immigration* on the grounds they didn't prove harm when they filed the case. If they aren't sure the records have been deleted they have no proof of harm.

Yes, this bit of law sucks. Doesn't change the fact that we're stuck with it.


Marvell: We don't want to pay this $1.5bn patent bill because, cripes, it's way too much

Tom 13

Re: took so long to file suit.

Not really. Look at the earlier posts. CMU initially approached Marvell 9 years ago. Marvell lied through their teeth and CMU walked away. Later CMU found out they lied through their teeth and came back.

That being said, an essential element of US corporate law for these sorts of things is that civil damages can't cause the dissolution of the defendant. So sacking 20% of the company will be overturned or at least significantly modified.

Tom 13

Re: Without these, students ... would be expected to pay a hell of a lot more

Utter rubbish. I've been out Uni almost 30 years now and even back then it was obvious that even at nominally student friendly institutions the only thing they cared about was how much they could fleece you for. If you were fortunate enough to choose the right career you might pay off the debts you accumulated while there in 10 or maybe 15 years. If not, well the Uni already had their money and the banks loans were guaranteed by some combination of governments, so they were all good.

Instead of public sector non-jobbery, Martha, how about creating real entrepreneurs?

Tom 13

@Chris Miller

Be careful there Chris. If you go quoting actual facts and things you might get them riled up. Then they'll call up some of their football buddies and get them riled up too. Next thing you know you'll have a riot, or worse a civil war on your hands.

Tom 13

Re: Martha Lane-Fox

Why would you want to endanger the North Sea like that?

FCC taps CenturyLink on shoulder, mumbles about a fine for THAT six-hour 911 outage

Tom 13


CenturyLink - $16m

Verizon - $3.4m

Intrado Communications - $1.7m fine

But, having read the actual report on the earlier article, El Reg is still burying the real lead here. The FAULT was at Intrado Communications. Whatever their faults, both Verizon and Century had subcontracted the 911 work to Intrado who sold themselves as the experts in handling 911 call routing. The people most responsible for the entire fuster cluck have paid the least amount in actual damages.

Mobile 4G spectrum investors actually spent $12.4m on walkie-talkie frequencies – US SEC

Tom 13

Re: a dated tech best used for coordinating pizza delivery

Sorry, not even a dive of a pizza delivery shop would use that tech for coordinating delivery. When that pizza has to be there in 30 minutes or less, the call MUST get through. That means a cell phone.

Besides, it's cheaper to log the calls out and pay the delivery guy 15 cents a call to use his personal phone.

You. FTC. Get over here. Google is INVADING our children's MINDS – anti-ad campaigners

Tom 13

Let's face it,

There's something creepy about Google having a channel dedicated to profiling kids even before you get to the deceptive advertising bits.

Operation Redstone: Microsoft preps double Windows update in 2016

Tom 13

Re: OS revisions start coming every 18 months

Corporates don't WANT revisions every 18 months. They have enough trouble executing that every 3/4/5 years depending on the company. The Windows money isn't in retail, it's in corporate, which is why it's so stupid to compare Windows and Apple numbers the way they do. Apple is all about the retail. They forced us into using iPhones at work, and centralized management of them is non-existent. Now, that doesn't mean the marketing droids and fanbois won't claim there are no solutions, but working with one of those alleged solutions on a regular basis I can tell you it isn't. If a user forgets a password, or messed up a registration three years back, you're screwed.

THOUSANDS of alleged pirates' addresses to be handed to Dallas Buyers Club

Tom 13

Re: doesn't mean you shouldn't try to.

especially when so many of them have shown themselves as utter dunces with the use of LOIC.

To defend offshore finance bods looting developing countries of their tax cash

Tom 13

Re: These are basics you must purchase but cannot pass the costs on

Nope. Meet clients for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Write them all off as a business expense. It's been done all over the place. In fact, back in the 70s there was a millionaire in NYC who not only ate entirely on his company's dime, he lived in a hotel on their dime, and the company provided him with a limo to get around town. Obviously airflights whether commercial or charter were also on the company account.

Tom 13

Re: nice one tim....

No, the natural state of capitalism if the agricultural market and the grocery store. If you want oligopoly or monopoly you MUST involve the government a la Apple's iPhone, or Ma Bell before it was broken up into the oligopoly it is today.

The ISPs issue is precisely governments granting monopoly access based on some perceived social good (usually the "we don't want wires willy-nilly all over the neighborhood").

Again, Microsoft has a government granted monopoly: copyright. Again, perceived to be a social good and therefore protected by government.

The government granted monopolies always precede the "so big they can buy governments" phase.

Tom 13

Re: That's not really a valid example

I did. You're a liar.

Tom 13

Re: That's not really a valid example

It's absolutely valid. You're calling it tax deferred only because you like it. I maximize the hell out of this one and I'm NOT a six figure earner. As a random example, let's say that except for the retirement contribution, a family of 4 in the US makes 55K. Their taxes on that is 2014 would be 7346. But with their retirement tax dodge they only pay 6596. That's 750 not paid to the government. When they finally retire chance are they'll try to work their income at about 80% of what they were making when they were working. So that puts them in the 44K bracket and the taxes of that are 5546. But it took 8.8x that 5K per year contribution to make it to 44K, so the effective tax paid is 630.23, leaving the government short 119.77 from what they would have gotten if the retirement was taxed at the 55K bracket at the time it was earned.

*Note: for purposes of this argument I've used the loaded phrases you use to describe "greedy" corporations to describe the working citizens because from a tax standpoint, there is no difference between the two. But mostly because you deserve a dose of your own medicine.

E-commerce enterprises gently told to update those protocols ... or else

Tom 13

Re: you may alienate some

Tough. Quite frankly, governments ought to issue edicts that all of their webpages and web apps meet these standards too. I'm tired of having to skip MS Critical Updates and having both SSL v2 and v3 enabled because some web application doesn't support the appropriate protocols. It's as bad as having the default admin password on an internet facing server set to 12345 or password.

SPY FRY: Smart meters EXPLODE in Californian power surge

Tom 13

Re: @no-one in particular

In fact, if you look down a few posts you'll see EXACTLY the same sort of dimwitted post here on El Reg. I just didn't get to it before my edit time expired or I would have included it in my post.

Tom 13

@no-one in particular

That's because many of us trawl the interwebs on a regular basis. Go look at the comments on the CBS link. Too many jackalopes were faulting the electric company for not putting in just such fuses.

Energy utilities targeted by Office-spawned recon attack tool

Tom 13

Re: Security

Thumbs up for this alone:

In one company some idiot thought he could get direct access to manufacturing by using the printer network cable. All he got was fired

In too many places that behavior would be excused. Glad you had both the alarms and the backing to do the right thing.

UCLA trumpets supercapacitor for wearables or implants

Tom 13


I expect Marvin will beat them to it. And with a bottle of powdered Martians in his hip pocket he should be able to hold them off indefinitely.

Power, internet access knackered in London after exploding kit burps fire into capital's streets

Tom 13

Re: It took days to put out the similar underground

On the bright side, that's much better than the Centralia, PA fire. That one started in 1962 and they think it might last another 250 years.

But seriously, I hope everyone is okay. I know these are the kinds of fires where despite the best training and efforts some of the front line guys always seem to get injured.

Tom 13

Re: work through magic

But, but, but, but

[loud waily type voice] IBM said HAVE pixie dust in their commercials! [/end waily type voice]

<<sob>> <<sob>> <<sob>>

Tom 13

Re: There goes the cloud, in the shape of belching smoke

Upvoted for the title alone.

Yes, AT&T, you do have to go to court with the FTC

Tom 13

Re: looking in a dictionary

It is worse than that. The FTC's position is actually that it is fine for AT&T to redefine those terms in the contract, but it must also then explicitly include them in the advertising and explain them to the customer.

Hacked uni's admins hand ID theft prevention reward to data burglars

Tom 13

Re: With a password of...

You forgot the dictionary word check, and minimum of 16 characters:


Netflix teams with AWS to launch VHS-as-a-service

Tom 13

Re: What gave it away for me

If it took you that long, you really need to have your BS detector fixed.

My sensors started going off at the quote from the devs at the end of the third paragraph. The claxons were at maximum with the very next sentence.

Think server vulns are the IT department's problem? Think again

Tom 13

Re: Attack surface


Obviously that should have been:

should NOT keep instead of should keep.

Tom 13

Re: Attack surface

4) Training staff not to do dumb things and, more importantly, if they do make a mistake or suspect something odd is happening to get it dealt with immediately and not pretend it never happened.

This is possibly the most important and most difficult thing to accomplish. It's been a while now, but I still recall one receptionist we had. No matter how much we emphasized that she should keep her password on a piece of paper under her keyboard, that was always where you'd find it. "But there's nothing valuable that I have access to" was always her response. She was a nice lady, otherwise very competent at her job, set in her ways, and nearing retirement.

Of course for the rest of us, the insanity of the interactions of security policies forces us to do similar things. Having 15 passwords of varying lengths, different rule sets, and different intervals for changing them pretty much guarantees one of your users will have a sheet of paper with all their passwords written down.

Tom 13

The security team within your IT department cannot standalone...

In all of the places I've worked, the reason the security team stands alone is because they choose to. I understand the reason: they're like sort of like internal investigators for the police, they have to suspect everybody. Still, that doesn't build the teamwork you need for the emergency response. This assumes of course that your security team is actually competent and not merely looking at 6 month old logs then issuing demands like the threat is current.

CSC tells execs to stay quiet on Australian bribery scandal

Tom 13

That CSC feels the need to create such a memo suggests the company knows this incident has the potential to damage its reputation, starting today as the case returns to Australian courts in a few hours, as of the time of writing.

Ignoring for the moment that they are CSC and taking into account only the size of the company and the nature of the accusations, I don't get that feeling at all. Reading the statements carefully, I get the feeling that these are the sorts of statements you get when lawyers are running the world. Even in a much, much smaller company where we were the plainant, the lawyers repeatedly made these sorts of statements. To the point that since we were an all volunteer organization, we told people if it made them more comfortable to answer: "We have been instructed to tell you that all statements regarding this issue must come from our communications staff." If you don't engage in this sort of behavior, a bad statement from someone who knows none of the actual details could:

- provide the actual perpetrators with a get out of jail free card

- result in massive stock price losses which in turn result in shareholder lawsuits

- drag people with no knowledge of actual events into the middle of the lawsuits and counter-suits that will inevitably be filed.

Microsoft update mayhem delays German basketball game, costs team dear

Tom 13

Re: HA

Typical FailBoy

Tom 13

Re: the non-techies who supplied and installed an electronic scoreboard?

That was contracted out to some outfit located in India, who in turn subcontracted to some Arabs in Germany for the actual installation.

Tom 13

Re: So it's got to the stage....


You take the white one with no dust protection for the hand. I want the gray one with the dust protection jacket. You can have the rounded corners, I want the hexagon shape. Oh, and I want the spiffy yellow paint too.

Tom 13

Re: But for any mission critical machine

No, for any mission critical machine, you test it the morning of, and probably even the hour before the critical event.

Besides which, there's more to this story. At home I run what is now an ancient quad core PC with Windows 7. It NEVER takes 17 minutes to install updates. Even when there are 12 of them pending. And that's on the shutdown side, not the Configuring after the Shutdown side. I've never seen that take more than 7 minutes, including a reboot in the middle of the Configuring process.

Pre-Snowden NSA grunts wanted to nix phone spying: report

Tom 13

Re: Anybody sniff


Haven't you ever watched The Mentalist? There's an episode where he fakes being a horse whisperer by claiming Win, Place, and Show at a track race. He did it by buying a ticket for each horse in each position, for the entire race.

Spook agencies do the same thing. They got at least two teams writing contradicting reports/recommendations. Then they just pull the needed report when asked.

Tom 13

Re: just flat out of their minds.

Only from your perspective. They need the land line information to gather data on those dangerous TEA Party people now that they can't deny them tax exempt status. Haven't you heard? Those people are more dangerous than any sword wielding jihadist!

How much did T-Mobile US make from that failed AT&T buyout? How about $7.7bn

Tom 13

Re: Well, they still have the spectrum

Yeah, that's the problem with a windfall of raw resources. You may still need more cash than you've got to fully exploit it. (Which was kind of his point about the way the auction went.) Hopefully it all works out for them. We need more competition in this field.

Day FOUR of the GitHub web assault: Activists point fingers at 'China's global censorship'

Tom 13

Re: Baidu hasn't been hacked.

Sure they have. The hack might not be happening on their servers, but it is their data stream. I'd expect any agency NOT controlled by a government assisting the hackers to take actions to mitigate it even the problem is happening on someone else's routers. With dog + world switching to https, that seems like the logical first step for them to take.

Motorola Mobility loses another patent suit to über-troll Intellectual Ventures

Tom 13

Re: I blame the jury.

Oh it's worse than that. If you actually KNOW anything about the subject being litigated, you pretty much can't get on the jury. So MEs and EEs wouldn't be able to sit on the jury. A bunch of actors? No problem. But even their tech crews would be suspect.


Tom 13

@Loyal Commenter

I much prefer the EE Doc Smith solution in Skylark*:

"We're going faster than the speed of light!" says the scientist superhero.

"Doesn't that violate Einstein's Law of Relativity?" asks the plucky sidekick who is there just to ask such questions.

"Yes, but it's happening so Einstein was wrong. I'll figure it out later." answers the scientist.

*Some liberties may have been taken in transcribing the dialogue of this interaction.

Facebook sued: Data center designs 'nicked' for Open Compute

Tom 13

Re: This one's not about patents though is it?

Well, it's difficult to tell really.

_---- things --- difficult -------- you ---- heavy redacting -- --- documents -- ----- your ----- reporter -- trying -- write - story. _--------- when ------- the ----- might ---- interfere ---- his ---- at --- Pub.

Appeal court bombshell: Google must face British justice for 'Safari spying'

Tom 13

Re: the method of which Microsoft lost

I'm pretty sure that while the lawsuit was ineffective from the standpoint of helping Netscape's survival, it was effective in setting them up for more scrutiny and yet more lawsuits, which eventually led to some services and software being kind a sort a competitive. Linux may rule server land, and Apple may rule phone and tablet land, but MS still rules the desktop, and that still includes Office even if it is a version no longer supported by MS.

Yeah, I'd like some of that to change. I think LibreOffice is a decent product and could replace most of the MS suite (except Outlook). But the fact remains that it hasn't.

Tim Cook: I'll give just a THIRD of what Gates gave to charity last year

Tom 13

Re: Shame on you, Reg.


I'd rather they stick with their motto than some of that sickening fawning I've seen lately.

Then again, I'm of the opinion that it's Cook's money and it nobody should give a damn what he does with it (so long as it isn't illegal).

Microsoft and Oracle are 'not your trusted friends', public sector bods

Tom 13

Bollocks. If you're a government agency there are all kinds of requirements for all kinds of updates and tracking. They KNOW the number of licenses you're running on these agreements. They just don't want to pay for it. I've been in organizations using some form of MS licensing for ages. They make it easy to install whatever you need at the time you need it. BUT at the end of the year you have to true up and pay the piper. One private company I worked for went to the trouble of getting an Adobe Enterprise license (no easy task). At which point the number 2 guy in the org started treating it the same way we did MS Enterprise licenses, which is actually a big no-no. Not sure if they ever got caught.

Tom 13

Re: So, give them the boot - use open source.

Go ahead and show me an OSS mail platform that can do everything Exchange does and as well

Yep, even Google, who in theory ought to be able to afford to pay better and more programmers than MS don't have a product that works nearly as well. Not that that stopped our big cheese from moving our agency to GMail. While there are small problems everywhere, the most glaring weakness is in calendar visibility and the free/busy scheduling tools.

How a hack on Prince Philip's Prestel account led to UK computer law

Tom 13

Re: Oh, well played.

Missed that bit. Probably because I decided she was one before I read that far. And I'm not even British.

A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

Tom 13

With that moniker, I'd expect you'd want him to loose the dogs.

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