* Posts by Tom 13

7611 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

US Senate vote to add internet sales tax this week

Tom 13

Re: vast majority of online retailers do far less

blah, blah, blah

The Income Tax was setup as a temporary tax on only the top 1% of income earners to pay for the Civil War/War Between the States. Seems to me it has been neither temporary nor limited since then. Even a Supreme Court ruling was only a temporary obstacle when there was money to be grabbed from the working people.

EC sends antitrust complaint to smart chip cartel suspects

Tom 13

Re: fix prices across Europe

Sounds more like a shakedown to me.

How do you tell the difference between a cartel and the market finding it's own proper pricing level? Yes, yes, you have all the theoretical economic academic stuff, but how in the real world do you tell if it is a cartel?

Answer: If you can prove meetings between vendors took place at which price points were discussed. If there aren't any such meetings, it's market, if there are, it's cartel. The problem there of course is nobody has perfect knowledge of whether such meeting occurred or if there were meetings, were they meetings to discuss interoperability standards or price setting. Which means if you are proving a cartel you basically have to have recordings of the discussions.

If you actually had the evidence of a cartel, why would you not immediately move to prosecute? You're insane if you think a negotiated settlement with no admission of wrong-doing would lead to anything other than a slightly smarter group of cartel conspirators. Hell even a conviction with hard evidence will be hard pressed to do anything other than make them smarter for next time.

Securing the Internet of Things - or how light bulbs can spy on you

Tom 13

Re: Perhaps nothing

Nah. I worked for an outfit that was trying to hawk something like this only under the home-owner's control instead of industry. Some of it was kind of cool, but none of it was the killer-app/I-gotta-have-this-for functionality thing that actually moves techies. Especially after you saw the price tag our company would have put on it. They are of course long bankrupt.

Tom 13

@Dodgy Geezer

Not entirely true. Electric companies had differential rates for power way at least as far back as the 1970s. My dad was no tree hugger, but we switched to it because it saved money. Off peak costs were about 1/3 of on peak, and we could do things like laundry in the off hours. He even put the electric water heater on a timer and insulated it, then timed it so it would be on during the off peak time and it would hold long enough to get us to the next off peak. On the rate occasion we needed to, we just went in the basement and flipped the heater back on.

These days, yes, it is mostly tree-huggers shaking down people.

Tom 13

Re: Don't fear the cowbell

If you're the opposing team in Beaver Stadium, ALWAYS fear the cowbell.

Tom 13

Re: existential fear?

No, but then I'm one of those bat-sh*t crazy 'Merkins you lot are always complaining about. I find myself repressing my natural instinct to use a high speed lead injection to remove the demon from the gene pool.

Tom 13

Re: a convincing reason for such connectivity then most people aren't going to be interested.


I first heard someone proposing connecting a fridge to a communications channel way back in 1992. Of course the same person thought it would also be peachy keen to connect your washer, dryer, oven and vcr to the same communications channel. Now to some very, very, limited extent I could see the point of allowing these things to talk to an energy management console on the same internal network, but I never really saw the point of it being able to talk to much beyond that. Someone tried to claim it would be cool for the VCR to be able to talk to your phone because that way if you forgot to schedule recording for your favorite tv show you could call it in. Bloke never considered if you forgot to set the time, you probably also forgot to put in a tape. Granted a DVR changes the last one, but I still don't see the general need for appliances to talk to the internet.

Java still vulnerable despite recent patches

Tom 13

Re: If you can't create tech, criticize it

Nice rant, one problem.

I think the only app I ever installed that required Java was Open Office, and LibreOffice has mostly removed the requirement for that. Most of the time I (or more likely a client) need Java, it's for some web based application. Sometimes a vpn, mostly a POS accounting system. Which means on the user side of things, you're more likely to need Java FOR the browser than the safe install you developers keep talking about.

So at this point, it's not MY intelligence failure, or even my USER's intelligence failure that keeps Java on our machines.

Blackstone gives up on $25bn bid to snatch Dell from Mr Dell

Tom 13

Re: Put a stake in it

The shareholders who invested knew (or should have known) the risks inherent in investing in the stock. If they lose money, no tears here. If they make money I'll smile with them.

But if Michael Dell is trying to take it private, that means he thinks there is money to be made in it (possibly even lots of long term money), but not on the kind of quarterly (or monthly or even weekly) basis that public trading demands.

Google shakes up US utility with green power tariff

Tom 13

Re: Seems to have only gone up by 10%

10% for a 0.1% increase in production? Sounds damned expensive to me.

How much will Google pay to bring fiber to Provo, Utah? Try $1

Tom 13

Re: A bit erroneous...

Given that the loss was increasing not decreasing, the city needed to bail. They've gone from -$1.4M/year to -$2M/year with no signs of stopping let alone reversing the decline. Harrisburg, PA pulled that kind of crap year after year for 18 years on a trash incinerator plus other even more ridiculous costs trying to become a "museum tourist destination.*" Only a million or two here and a million or two there, but last year they were suing to try to declare bankruptcy (PA commonwealth law prohibits the specific path they wanted to take). So I'll at least credit Provo with having the wherewithal to stop the losses.

*yes if you are British have a good belly laugh about that one. I can't and for pretty much the same reason you can. The thought of a berg on this side of the pond that wouldn't even measure up to say Liverpool hoping to become an international museum tourist attraction... There really is nothing to say beyond that.

Dark matter researchers think they've got a signal

Tom 13

Re: Talking through a hole in my spacetime...

Please, don't try to channel amanfrommars. When he posts something we are forewarned and there is sometimes amusement to go along with the headache. Your attempt only gives me a headache.

Tom 13

Re: luminiferous ether (or is it aether?)

Ether (English, US)

Aether (English, UK)

Eather (English, AU)

[incomprehensible] (French)

Harassed Oracle employee wins case, cops huge legal bill

Tom 13

Re: should all be taken to somewhere where real abuse happens

I've often had the same thought.

Followed almost immediately by a small voice saying "Except they'd probably fit right in with the rest of the abusers, and might even surpass some of them with their vileness."

Tom 13

Re: Good!

Yes those kinds of women are out there. Based on what's been reported in this article, she doesn't seem to be one of them.

Tom 13

Re: Damages

Having dealt with "knowledgeable lawyers", no you won't. The one thing even the bad ones seem to have learned in law school is to add the disclaimer "but you never know what's going to happen when you take it to a jury" as well as the importance of making sure they can collect their fees.

I expect the earlier posters are correct: she was looking for the 'defendant is guilty as charged' part, which wasn't part of the offer. Without that, even with a substantially better payoff, there is a certain sense of 'because the defendant was filthy rich, he got away with it.' Also, once the company has made an offer, whatever small obligation they may have originally felt to contain costs is now completely gone. All they have to do is make sure they run up their end of the legal bill, and the plaintiff loses anyway.

I'm sympathetic to the "loser pays" argument I've seen floated so many times in discussions about legal reforms. And the reason given for it is that it would make parties think more carefully about their suites. I see the motivation behind the Australia rules as being the same one. The reason I haven't been able to support that argument is I foresee it having the same perverse outcome as we have in this case. The evil perps already have the best paid lawyers on speed dial, and after they're freed, the victim has to pay their legal costs too.

Ready for the car 2.0? Nvidia preps UPGRADABLE car system

Tom 13

@Neil Barnes

While I concur about the trend information, just because it's digital doesn't mean it can't present trend information. You might make it a digital dial on the dash board or display numeric information in a constantly changing stream. You might even graph something like engine temp from the time the car started. To me the major cause of concern would be the complexity of the sensor/relay/presentation interface. But, that horse fled the barn some years (possibly decades) back.

US House of Representatives passes CISPA by 288-127

Tom 13

Re: Sooner or later the People will make a line in the sand and say "this is as far as it goes".

No they won't.

What we've had in the US and Britain for the last 200 years is a rare exception to the natural state of man. The two previous instances in which men were somewhat free lasted for similar time periods. Looking through history the natural state of man is to be ruled by despots wondering if you are ever going to be safe or have enough to eat.

Most any of what happened, when it happened, or how to fix it. Because most ignore a key factor in that quote: that the rights are granted by God, whose name is now verbotten in government and in many public squares. Until that is reversed the path will be ever downward.

Microsoft betting on smaller Windows 8 devices and subscriptions

Tom 13

Re: Build it and they will come?

When MS originally release DOS, it was like a license for them to print money. It was a decent product that did what people needed it to do. And since it was a new market, over the next decades they were able to innovate and build new stuff that like DOS continued to be a license for them to print money. The problem now is that they have become confused and think they own a license to print money instead of the right to go out and compete for customers. Until that is fixed all else is futile.

Tom 13

@MattEvansC3: So what you're saying is he's holding it wrong?

How very ....

Jobsian of you.

Bad Microsoft patch trapped you in a boot loop? Here's your fix

Tom 13

Re: fail**fail

Testing those sorts of things is far more difficult than most people think about. I recall someone once asking an Intel guy (around the P4 timeframe) whether or not he stayed up nights worry about how to test those billions of connections on the CPU. His reply was something along the lines of, 'the billions of connections no, the exponentially larger possible configuration and cycles on the other hand do raise interesting issues.' If the failure affected every system it would have been caught. It's only hitting thousands of systems out of millions so it wasn't bad. Problem is it wasn't perfect, or at least far enough out on the nines to be handled as expected troubleshooting.

Tom 13

Re: the ping of death

There was another odd one out there about some lockup at a fixed number of minutes. Most companies didn't hit it because if nothing else they'd normally reboot their servers to install patches before the time at which the lockup occurred (46.67 days I think it was but not with any level of confidence). My roomie became aware of it because they had a test that needed to gather data for 100 days and this was less than half way through the test. It was a major problem for them as the test involved pressure cycling an industrial container and the test was controlling the pressure in the container.

The fast-growing energy source set to replace oil: Yes, it's coal

Tom 13


Finally, a greenie who admits his real prejudices: he hates human beings and wants to kill off more than 50% of them.

Tom 13

@Graham Dawson: I think the why

isn't 'why assume the technology exists?' it is 'why assume the Chinese have built it?'

Usually the increased efficiency comes at the cost of higher price. So China gets to ramp up more quickly if they build dirtier plants. Given what we've heard about their air quality, I would bet they are opting for the faster ramp up. Whether that's because they figure they can re-invest in cleaner plants later using their increased industrial capacity, or they just don't care if the kill of a few hundred thousand people from their couple billion population is left as an exercise for the reader.

Tom 13


Don't worry, all they have to do to correct the model is add another epicycle right over there...

Tom 13

@Ledswinger: Look on the bright side

At least you have an Energy policy to joke about. I'm told all the time that our problem here in the US is we don't have an Energy policy.

Tom 13


Yep. It's always amusing when the tree huggers confuse weather with climate after accusing "denialists" of making the same mistake.

Tom 13

Re: only about 40 years of proven reserves left at the current rate of use

We've had "only about 40 years of proven reserves left at the current rate of use" since 1970. It isn't a function of how much is out there that can be harvested, it's a function of companies barely plan beyond 10 years so 40 years proven reserves = infinite for their purposes.

Tom 13

Re: America's problems with brownouts

America didn't have problems with brownouts from private electric companies until after the greens but the kabosh on building coal fired electric plants and stopped all nuclear plant construction.

Vint Cerf endorses software-defined networks

Tom 13

Re: Old Age

Italian Fascism was also left week, drawing most of its tenants from socialism, which is by definition, hard left wing. Fascism was regarded as right wing by International Socialists because Fascism was a nationalist socialism. Essentially, the national socialist just weren't pure enough for the international socialists.

There are totalitarian examples on the right wing, but they are monarchists. And Monarchists (as opposed to constitutional monarchists) have mostly disappeared from the world with the exception of a few regimes in the middle east.

Move over, Mythbusters: Was Archimedes an ancient STEVE JOBS?

Tom 13

Re: 2299th birthday, surely?

Worse than that, how many days are in the year you are calculating? We've been through a number of major changes, some of them more recently than most of us think. For instance was George Washington born on February 11 or February 22?


Oracle slaps critical patch on insecure Java

Tom 13

Re: high-risk apps will be indicated by either an exclamation mark within a yellow triangle

Great! One more opportunity to train my users to ignore software warning because I'm sure that damned piece of corporate crapware accounting uses won't be signed.

Smart metering will disrupt weather forecasts, warns Met Office

Tom 13

While most of the discussion here has focused on the downside of the smart meters

there is a real problem if they release the spectrum for use. I don't work with the actual doppler radar or other remote sensing equipment, but I do have friends who do. The reason they use that bandwidth for the monitoring is that's where you can see the moisture in the radio spectrum (I think they are looking specifically for the resonance you get between the two H atoms in the water molecule). Since it is a natural resonance, it's not like you can ask the weather service to shift their appliance to a different band.

Even if you could, satellites and ground stations are expensive to update. Most have long maintenance cycles and are expected to work for a decade or more with minimal change. If you like smart meters, sure go for it. Just not in that band.

Tom 13

Re: How about 10,000 PER DAY, which is far from unheard of in North America.

Citation required as I was unaware that Apple is in the SMART meter market.

Why hacking and platforms are the future of NHS IT

Tom 13

Re: Hands up, who's not heard of HL7 (another set of standards from the 1980s)

Not a Brit and not in that end of IT Support, so I haven't heard of it specifically, but on a generic basis have to concur. The other bit which would greatly concern me, especially since we are talking about health information, is what would security look like without a central certification regime. Not that it seems to be all that great with one mind you, but I'd expect worse without it.

Most brain science papers are neurotrash: Official

Tom 13

Re:difference in an already super expensive experiment

You might not like it, but statistics don't give a crap how expensive your experiment is, only whether or not it is statistically significant.

Windows 7 'security' patch knocks out PCs, knackers antivirus tools

Tom 13

Re: Linux desktop share has never so far exceeded 1%.

Desktop share may be below 4%, definitely above 1%, but that number is largely irrelevant to discussions about security issues. For a long time they have been a major player in the server market, especially internet facing servers. Those are much more valuable targets than desktop systems and therefore more valuable. That we haven't seen penetration of Linux at that level speaks well to its ability to be secured. That MS had serious problems on that from early on spoke to its abject failure at the time. MS has improved significantly since then, but it still suffers from noticeable problems. Linux goes years without a major incident, MS goes months (which is an improvement from when they at most went weeks and sometimes mere days).

Tom 13

Re: isn't linux.

Yes, I will continue to pick up the 'you said IE was part of the OS now deal with' cudgel and beat them soundly with it every time an IE ActiveX exploit compromises their system.

But, I am getting tired of hearing it from the Linux fanatics. Without all the rest of the stuff that gets rolled into a standard distribution, the Linux kernel would be worse than useless. Yes Linux was coded so it can be more resilient than Windows without a lot of work. But I still think if it were truly released to the masses, the same compromises would be made and it would be just as infected as Windows. Linux right now, with its very wide server distribution is benefiting mostly from the fact that the people installing it take care installing it.

Tom 13

Re: Because their PCs

If you had left it at just that first line, you would have been in line for lots of up votes.

Tom 13

Re: stop working on his basketball-theme cookbook and fix

No, leave him where he is. There's a better chance of things getting fixed if he's there instead of in the shop.

Netbooks projected to become EXTINCT by 2015

Tom 13

Re: li'l fellows, we hardly knew ye


I've wasted at least a month of man hour rebuilding those cheap pieces of excrement whenever they came back from travel. Hours to install the image, longer to update, not compatible with a modern OS. While they lasted they were the bane of my support life. Even more so that Local USERS who used CD trays a cup holders or constantly forgot their passwords. Whenever one came back from travel, I knew what I'd be working on for the next three days.

Tom 13

Re: it just got bigger and better


Which is why the netbook was always doomed to fail.

Judge scolds Apple, Motorola for using court as 'business strategy'

Tom 13

Re: Not a proper use of this court...

I wouldn't say the penny has dropped. This is a warning from the judge, not a hammer dropping. If he was really uber convinced they were intractably linked in a corporate strategy he would dismiss their suite with prejudice. Then NONE of the issues could be litigated in his or any other court. THAT would be dropping the penny.

OK, it would be dropping a howitzer on them, but it would get corporations attention.

Tom 13

Re: w/ enough rain and brimstone fire you get a nice cloud

But is it an "always on" cloud?

Microsoft Xbox exec quits after ENRAGING the INTERWEBS

Tom 13

Re: Christ on a bike...

When you are an identifiable decision maker for a corporation and you are commenting on areas that are within the realm where you exert control and/or influence, you are expected to be aware of the implication and effects your statements will have on the sale of your product. The reaction was predictable and managers are expected to avoid that sort of bad PR when possible. Frankly I'm surprised he lasted past the FIRST tweet. And no I haven't looked at the tweet thread.

Tom 13

Re:2mps (down) is fast in the USA.

Depends on your location. I have affordable 10mps down where I live. My parents in a suburban-rural transition area are probably running around 2mps. But if you want to pay for it, you can get 2mps anywhere in the US.

Tom 13

Re: Smart meters are coming RSN.

Even Smart meters aren't Always On. They may be always monitoring, but they only check in periodically.

Tom 13

Re: Oh they would so love to do it ...

Even then I'm not sure it would work.

I'm fortunate to live in an area with at least 3 competing high speed providers. So from home devices can be constantly connected. But when I ride the train, I don't have that kind of connectivity. And that's when I like to pop out the laptop and play a game. So for me, being required to hook up to register isn't a problem, and to some extent I'm willing to do that. But I don't expect to need to be constantly connected to play the game, and I'd be pissed if after activating it properly they yanked my license to play the it because of some alleged security breach related to the key used to activate my game.

Windows 8 has put the world's PC market to sleep - IDC

Tom 13

Re: I read, some apps MUST be run in Metro mode,

therein is the nub of the problem, and which I broached in my post above. Yes the idea of forcing a mouse and keyboard machine into a touchscreen metaphor is abysmally stupid even for Balmer. But what is truly worrisome is the future road map. Management at MS have clearly indicated they aren't happy with their current revenue model and want to move to subscription, which is effectively what the Apple Store is. So while Win 8 MIGHT support the old stuff, they clearly intend for it to be a legacy bridge and not the operational model.

Tom 13

Re: so for the time being 'Metro' is not a problem

any defense of an OS that starts with 'so for the time being' failed well before your fingers touched the keyboard.

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