* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Highway from HELL: Volcano tears through 35km of crust in WEEKS

Tom 13

Re: Diamonds ...

Actually, there's a lot of work on low pressure diamond formation. Yes it has been assumed it has to be high pressure, high temperature for natural diamonds. I'm not sure that's not going to be revised in the future.

You're doing WHAT with friends? Zynga sues Bang With Friends maker

Tom 13

Re: What I don't understand is the motive.

Think of it as being the same as FB, only more honest about what they are after and using the same casual definition of "friend".

And the new ISP for US Starbucks stores is ... Google?

Tom 13

Re: Google = c-@-n-c-e-r

Do you also have your gold, silver, non-hybrid seeds and a lifetime supply of Spam (in the can) and Twinkies?

Dell committee says 'no way' on takeover vote change

Tom 13

Re: most likely the share price has fallen more.

This is an interesting point/question. A couple days ago a poster posited that Dell's price was putting a cap on the share price that is Keeping Carl's bid from looking possible. I'm inclined to agree with you, that Mike's offer has put a floor under the price because people think they can make a few percent when he buys at his price.

When both bids fail, we will perform the experiment. If you own Dell stock: hang on to your hat kids because it's going to be a heck of an amusement park ride.

New NSA tool exposed: XKeyscore sees 'nearly EVERYTHING you do online'

Tom 13

Re: "I'm going to kill President Reagan"

Except that history shows there were three such attempts that the alphabet soup agencies didn't prevent, one of which was partially successful. So your Socratic proof has been refuted by the scientific method.

Tom 13

Re: emails are not the same as personal papers and effects in their time.

Unencrypted email messages are the same as sending a postcard in the mail. That can be read and copied by any government agent without a warrant. And that's what the NSA is collecting. Similarly, the routing information for the letter can legally be copied without requiring a warrant. And it was that way even when Ben was alive and advocating for the federal Postal delivery service.

Tom 13

Re: And who chooses them?

We do, at least those of us who bother to vote in primaries.

If you want a bit more influence, get off your ass and volunteer as a precinct organizer for your preferred party. I know people who have made a difference on that front. There just aren't enough of us doing it. And no, there likely won't be any obstacles because typically 2/3 of the positions are empty.

Tom 13

Re: We are still a democracy

No we're not and never were. We are and have been a Republic which is something a bit different.

The point about electing the right people might hold. But we've been doing a shitty job on that front since at least 1932 and possible a good 40 or so years before that. Hell, there are a bunch of people out there who will tell you we stopped being a Republic around the time Lincoln freed the slaves.

How did Microsoft get to be a $1.2bn phone player? Hint: NOT Windows Phone

Tom 13

Re: Maybe they couldn't sell a phone to a sixteen year old

In all fairness, these days I expect it is a bit more difficult to sell a cell phone to a 16 year old than a 60 year old.

You're 30 years old and your PIN is '1983'. DAMMIT, biz mobe user

Tom 13

Dear Security Boffins, please buy a frelling clue!

If you want a complex password, ask us to set a password. If you ask me to set a Personal Identification Number I'm not likely to use alphabetic characters or symbols in it.

Also, let us know how many characters it can be. I've been trained to expect 4. Not that I think that's secure, but it has too frequently been the limit so it is now my default.

MIT clears itself of responsibility for Aaron Swartz's prosecution

Tom 13

Re: Kids aged 13-30 do stupid things.

You stop being a kid at 12. Somewhere between 18 and 21 you become a full fledged adult. Schwartz was an adult under either standard. Given that, I have to say that his parents are more responsible for his suicide than MIT. They are the ones who were supposed to teach him right from wrong and to take responsibility for his actions. Given their response we see Schwartz modeled their behavior perfectly - shifting blame to someone else and admitting no fault of their own.

Wall St 'Likes' Facebook again: Shares edge up to pre-IPOcalypse price

Tom 13

Not surprising.

The market is desperate for winners. Everybody knows the increases in prices are just the result of The Fed pumping inflation into the stock market. They just don't want to admit it. And Facebook finally showed some promise that they might actually be able to generate positive cash flow from their mobile apps.

But I'd still wait another quarter of results before risking retirement money on it.

Bank of Thailand bans Bitcoin

Tom 13

Re: akin to trading in pure cash

Worse than pure cash actually. Pure cash has to be safely stored and transported. In either location it's prone to being stolen. Hence most people are willing to put it in a bank which offers protection for the cash. At which point it is monitored by the government. Bitcoin on the other hand would theoretically be easily transportable if it were accepted like real currencies. And they claim it is relatively secure.

Full disclosure: I have no personal involvement in mining, trading, or speculating in bit coin. To me it stinks of conspiracy theorists or worse the sort of thing likely to bring law enforcement down on my head.

Tom 13

Re: Tax mechanism?

Bitcoin requires self-reporting of taxes. Hence no government control, which is sort of the point of Bitcoin. And it's historically well established that tax rates in excess of 12% lead to serious problems with under-reporting taxes. Right now I doubt there's a government on the planet that could survive on that rate of revenue collection. Hell, in the US states can't collect sales taxes on online purchases because people won't self-report it, and those are as low as 4%. Whether this is good or bad may depend on your point of view. But I don't see any way that a government could consider this good.

Microsoft to Google: Please remove us from internet

Tom 13

Re: And hopefully Microsoft would fire a lawsuit

I'd imagine they sent it because MS employs them to do so. I suppose they could do that, but I'd expect other mechanisms to be in place.

Texas students hijack superyacht with GPS-spoofing luggage

Tom 13

Re: ever look out of the window?

Sure. Water, water everywhere. One bit looks pretty much the same as the rest. Hence the need for navigational tools in the first place.

Tom 13

Re: This is an issue for incompetent crew only IMO.

You're working from the MS mindset. You need to be working from the black hat mindset.

I've got you slightly off course. Maybe I've put you on a reef. Maybe it's only a couple hundred nautical miles off. Maybe I've put you in the middle of my raiding parties. Maybe that's all I need to take you down before your forces can adjust to the fact that you sent them to the wrong location for the rescue call.

Dell takeover latest: Icahn tells Big Mike where to stick his rule rewrite

Tom 13

I've posted earlier that I don't like changing the rules

at the end of the final quarter.

But since Carl has challenged me, here's a way to do it that I think keeps it fair to all parties:

1. The board votes to change the rule so that for any takeover bid, only the votes which are cast are counted.

2. The board postpones the vote for another month (or longer mutually agreed time period).

3. At the end of that time the shareholders vote on each offer starting with the highest offered price and going to the lowest. In order for a lower bid to win, it has to have more votes than a higher bid if a higher bid had enough votes to be accepted.

So Carl's bid would be voted on first, and if accepted, Mike's would have to garner more support than Carl's did. If exactly the same, the higher bid wins.

Samsung wins not-so-final 'final' pinch-to-zoom patent decision

Tom 13

Re: Bloody hell

I think the judge probably would like to, but knowing the law and the number of reliable witnesses at hand preferred to remain outside the general population of the local prison.

Bugs in beta weather model used to trash climate science

Tom 13

Re: trivial differences in initial conditions

One of the fundamental assumptions in science is that if the change occurs beyond the precision of your measurements, it is trivial at least in the sense that you can't measure it. Perhaps moot would have been a better word, but ages ago they settled on trivial.

It has long been known that changes in rounding at digits three orders of magnitude below the limits of measurements have a profound impact on the output results on extended range forecasts. This is the root idea behind chaotic theory and the butterfly effect. It's also why we are constantly measuring and updating the weather prediction systems with real data.

Tom 13

Paul Crawford point 1 simplified.

Set Price = numeric, float

Set Tendered = numeric, float

Set Change = numeric, float

#Input Sale

Input Price, [input =4.95]

Input Tender [input =5.00]

If Price > Tender Print "You can't afford that": Go to #Input Sale

Change = Tender -Price

Print Change [Your change = $0.04999999999]

It's been ages since my high school math teacher introduced us to that problem on a Radio Shack TRS Model 80-III.

It's one I will never, ever, ever forget.

Tom 13

@AC Monday 29th July 2013 09:13 GMT

I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out exactly why all of this is worth note either way. The best I can come up with is that Wattsupwiththat is taking this opportunity to point out a fundamental underlying flaw in the methodology of Climatology.

About 20 years ago (maybe 40, I'm recalling a book I read about 20 years ago and it might have been referencing even older events) there was renewed interest in the area of chaotic theory. The reason why is that the weather forecasters all assumed their mathematical models were exactly reproducing results when they ran them. But somebody had a system crash and all they could recover was the printed output, not the registers values at the time of the crash. The printout was at about half the precision of the registers. So as a base check they figured roll back a couple dozen lines and make sure the output matched before finishing the rest of the calculation. What they found was that no matter how many lines back they went, they couldn't reproduce the calculation from a midpoint value. The farther away you get from the initial inputs, the more variance you get in the numbers. This accepted for weather prediction.

What climatologists attempt to claim without proof is that these variances in the weather are eliminated by Einstein's solution to the random walk electron problem: the variances on average cancel out. But the whole no-attractor chaotic math basis of weather ought to call that assumption into question.

Apple crushes all competition in US Brand of the Year survey

Tom 13

Re: Makes me doubt the rest of your post.

I disagree. There's absolutely no doubt about it: he's clueless.

Western spooks banned Lenovo PCs after finding back doors

Tom 13

Re: Hrm

You know that FISA court you've been bitching about for the last couple of weeks? If the NSA found it, they probably did tell all the commercial security vendors. Along with an NDA issued under the auspices of that same court. So they'd know. You and me? Not so much.

Do you really want tech companies to pay more tax?

Tom 13

Re: ...complain when said company doesn't pay as much tax...

or when they put the local bricks and mortar store that they use to window shop in goes out of business.

Tom 13

Re: what we are prepared to pay for

If you were REALLY prepared to pay for it, you'd either:

1) Set a flat amount that every person in the country has to pay and bugger off about income inequality or,

2) Set a flat rate at which every person who works pays from their income and then bugger off about income inequality and fairness.

Either way everyone would be paying their fair share because they are all sharing it equally. Corporations would then compete internally on natural advantages and disadvantages, not accounting trickery. Anything else is naked greed, aka love of money, aka the root of all evil no matter how much you try to gussy it up as fairness or good for the children.

Tom 13

Re: Dividends?

There are two ways to return profits to shareholders:

1) Pay dividends.

2) Retain earnings in the company and expand sales to drive up the share price.

In the US, if you do #1 the corporation pays income tax, then the investor pays additional income tax. If the opt for #2 there is no corporate tax and the shareholder can opt to time his sale of stock to minimize its tax impact on him.

So most US based corps (therefore especially tech corps) tend to opt for #2 as the best ROI for their shareholders. There's just no way around these economic facts. If you want to see offshoring stopped cold it's simple: Kill the corporate tax on profits paid as dividends. At that point, shareholders will rally to force companies to pay dividends because its lower risk to them.

Tom 13


Convert those numbers to US dollars and you have a floor on the equivalent situation here in the US. OK, the names and exact coverages change a bit (medicare = NHI for retirees, medicaid =NIH for unemployed, employed = stuck on company's insurance vendor) but the facts on the ground are similar enough.

Tom 13

Re: "How ready are you to give up cheap books and cloud"

You were doing so well until you got to the last two paragraphs. All that good work flushed down the toilet.

Now the one bit the rest of your otherwise spot on rant missed is that neither gen x nor gen y, nor even the tail end of the baby boom generation can do much about it until a good chunk of the lazy f**** die off. Because until they do, they'll still control enough votes to keep the firehose of benefits turned on.

Tom 13

Re: Not sure why the downvotes.

It has nothing to do with how rational your arguments are. It's a UK site with a lot of bleed-over from US low information voters. They're all socialists so you are attacking them personally with facts. They hate that even more than they hate the thought that somewhere someone might actually be making a profit.

Tom 13

Re: In the UK at least

Same in the US, hence the double taxation argument against corporate taxes.

Tom 13

Re: but do not make any effective changes to taxation.

Oh, I think that on the strict definition of the word "effective" they will. It's just that you and I don't regard increasing the lining of their pockets as good.

British boffin muzzled after cracking car codes

Tom 13

Re: therefore any liability for breaches must be the customer's fault.

I've weighed both sides of the full disclosure debate. On the basis of only the arguments surrounding the disclosure proper, time to fix, and time to implement, I'd be inclined to give the vendors the argument.

HOWEVER, the truth of your statement about liability shifting means I can't just consider it on that basis. And given that additional truism, I have to come down on the side of the full disclosure advocates.

Tom 13

Re: Presentation

IIRC the paper was to be published in parallel with the conference presentation. Last I checked both were prevented by the temporary restraining order.

Tom 13

re: haven't a bloody clue how to fix

You're probably right. But since it's observationally no different than "head in the sand" and "head in the sand" is quicker to type, I think we should stick with that for ease of use purposes.

Tom 13

Re: How to stop this happening again

Actually I'd opt for making the reimburse the owners of stolen vehicles for losses from their own pockets. That'll get their attention real fast. Doesn't need the reasonable response time loophole either.

NASA gets red-hot shots of Sun in action as IRIS goes online

Tom 13

Re: There's a difference.

Sure there is. The freaks who fear fission will be ten times as scared on fusion.

'Cause that's 10 times more dangerous ya know. /end sarc

Microsoft offers IE 11 preview for Windows 7 ... but not Windows 8

Tom 13

I doubt this statement is actually true:

breaking a pattern of dragging its feet when it comes to supporting the latest version of IE on the older OS.

I take it as more of an implicit admission of the Windows 8 failure. Windows 7 is the most recent version of the software you'll typically find in the field.

Zynga ABANDONS ALL HOPE of opening US gambling operation

Tom 13

Re: The gold standard for free to play games is Team Fortress 2

The other option would to be to implement some sort of in game advertising along the lines of the side ads FB itself runs. Or maybe a combination of the two.

But the critical element would be to make the games playable again. Between the server issues and the number of "friends" you needed to be able to play the games they were completely unworkable. I sort of enjoyed a couple of the 'ville games, but gave up simply because it became impossible to play in intermittent bursts. The scamming got in the way of the playing, which is always a recipe for disaster.

'Wandering Dago' tuck truck ejected from NY race track

Tom 13


You can call them by what they want to be called. The rest of us call them by their real name: The Mafia. Because only real mafiosos come down as hard on movies as they do.

What I've found over time is that the best dago/wop jokes come from Italians, the best Pollock jokes come from Poles, and the best mick jokes come from the Irish. They frequently keep lists of them. And the ones who keep the lists are some of the most fun people to be around because they are comfortable and secure in their own skins. The people who keep trying to purge the language are the ones I don't want to be around.

Tom 13

Re: Deemed offensive to Italian Americans, oddly, not Hispanics

All slurs depend somewhat on locality down to the city level. Where I came from your epithet was more specifically someone from Peurto Rico. (Ever since I saw the Dirty Harry movies I've tried to keep a mental checklist of slurs to riff on one of the lines.)

The problem with your counter example, is that if two blacks did try to license such a truck and set it up in downtown NYC, it would be featured on every MSM news report as a great place to eat. And everyone would be happily repeating the name.

How do I know? I made the mistake of accepting a recommendation to see Pulp Fiction.

Bill Gates' nuclear firm plans hot, salty push into power

Tom 13

Re: Three Mile Island plant has not been de-commissioned

I was in high school when TMI had its problems and lived nearby in US terms (less than 60 miles away).

As I recall the problem isn't so much that they don't have a plan to clean it up, as it is that every time they advance a plan the greenies come out to scare the PHBs who have to approve the plan. With the predictable result that the engineers don't get approval for political reasons instead of actual issues with the plan. It's a relatively easy thing to do. My aunt actually scared my mother to the point she was almost ready to put my brother and I in the car and drive away. Fortunately I had the good sense to look at her and ask "Which way will the wind be blowing in 30 minutes?" She looked at me quizzically so I continued, "Well don't you need to know that to know which way to drive to get away from the cloud if it does?" She thought about that for a moment and then considered the possibility of getting stuck in a traffic jam with all the other Chicken Littles and we stayed put. To this day she still comments on my common sense as a result of that exchange.

Tom 13

Re: our anonymous "scientist" doesn't know the difference

More like he/she doesn't care. His screeds read like they were lifted right off the web page for the Union of Concerned Scientists. I wonder if they pay astroturfers?

Tom 13

Re: And good luck with exporting nuclear technology

Depends on the nature of the nuclear technology. If it is something that actually reduces the chances of nuclear proliferation I think you've got a decent chance of getting it passed. But it has to be truly reductive and not just a rationalization of exporting otherwise potentially dangerous technology.

Tom 13

Re: America actually has a policy of not reprocessing its spent fuel rods

I don't see that as a major obstacle.

A few campaign donations here and there, some sweet investment opportunities for family members but not the actual congresscritters and it should all go away.

What concerns me is that this process ought to outrage me, but I seem to be running out of outrage.

Dell buy-out latest: Big Mike makes shareholders an offer they can't refuse

Tom 13

Re: I Ca(h)n't believe it...

I see the point Mike was making with the request. Were I writing the rules from the outset I think they are the way I would write them.

But the flip side is that Mike got to write the rules at the time they went public and he chose to write them the way he did, probably to protect the company from hostile takeovers. And it does bother me to change them in the middle of the game. It bothers me even more to change them in the last 10 minutes of the final quarter. So I think Mike should have to win the vote under the existing rules.

Tom 13

Re: Does anyone else

Nah, the person doing the slapping might catch something, even if he/she was wearing surgical gloves.

I'd prefer something longer range and possibly a bit more painful.

Back up all you like - but can you resuscitate your data after a flood?

Tom 13
Thumb Up

Thanks Trevor!

Lines like these are why I read El Reg:

...not so helpful if your cow is in fact a 12th dimensional meatcube extruded through a hole in space-time.

Man who pulled gun during chess game surrenders to robot cop

Tom 13

Re: Did they program the robot cop to say

No, but I think they managed:

"Come quietly or there will be ... trouble."

Texas man charged in multimillion-dollar Bitcoin Ponzi scheme

Tom 13

Snakeoil purchasers have been scammed!

Who'd a thunk it?!

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