* Posts by John Smith 19

15316 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

IBM to kill off Watson... Workspace from end of February

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"systematically crushed to death between IBM's sweaty corporate buttocks."

I'm not sure there is enough mind bleach anywhere to wash that image from my head.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

I didn't use this service

And now I never will.

One day senior management will come up with a strategy for the whole business that makes sense.

I have no idea what that is or when that day will come.

Army had 'naive' approach to Capita's £1.3bn recruiting IT contract, MPs told

John Smith 19 Gold badge

This just means Crapita 'internal' accountants are very good at their job of hiding the loot.

Given that most of what they do is

a) Hold meetings

b) Make Powerpoints

c) Email Powerpoints

IOW they move nothing physical, apart from a consultants backside (unlike a supermarket, where pretty much everything is a physical object), who if they are any good might well be actually a sub contractor (although they will be under strict orders not to say so).

The whiff of the farmyard was very strong in the original statement.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"..the inside story..epic level of failure to deliver for a future Who Me? special edition."

That sounds like a whole series in itself.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

£26m ""That's close to 100 per cent of the margin on the contract."

Are you f**king kidding me? That's a 2% profit margin.

Tesco's manages 6-8%

I smell saturation levels of bu***hit.

Yes, you can remotely hack factory, building site cranes. Wait, what?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

So "Eagle Eye" was a documentary

That does not inspire confidence.


Yes it does need to be for everything.

Yes it does need to be baked in from the start

No it's difficult to retro fit it later.

Facebooker swatted, Kaspersky snares an NSA thief, NASA server exposed, and more

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Remember it's always "You're hysterical scare mongering"

Until it happens.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Xterm re-implemented in Javascript.

What could possibly go wrong with this plan?

We're talking a binary parsing task. That suggests get a tool to do the heavy lifting and most of the core code generation first.

We're two weeks into 2019, and an email can potentially knacker your Cisco message box – plus other bugs to fix

John Smith 19 Gold badge

It's 2018 and people still can't right protocol handlers properly.*

Under what circumstances should a mal formed message ever attempt to be processed rather than discarded?

Another classic failure of a SW development pattern.

*Hint. If the protocol can be expressed in a state diagram design the core of the handler in an FSA design tool and have it write the actual code.

Just how many message protocols are so complex they need a Turing complete language to handle all the possibilities?

If you've been dying to run some math on a dinky toy quantum computer, IBM may have something for you

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Money is not the issue.

No one knows how to build a quantum computer that's actually a computer in the sense people hear understand the term, IE whose functionality can be changed by changing its programming.

I'm starting to think finite automata may be the way forward. MIT were leading this in the early 00's with their CAM 8 machine, then someone trashed all the data after 1998 (which seems rather strange to put it mildly).

FSA can make very small tiles on an ASIC and have very high density. Their function is governed by a look up table (LUT) much like a single cell in an FPGA but with the proviso it's an SIMD. Like a RISC, it's all down to how good a compiler can compile the task into the LUT, and how often it has to trigger a LUT reload.

More nodding dogs green-light terrible UK.gov pr0n age verification plans

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"But you want to know the scary thing.... they'll then use this as an excuse to ban VPNs"

Once again TOTC becomes the thin end of the wedge.

Data fetishists know you just have to shout "But children must be protected from this filth" loud enough, and often enough, for them to get their way.

What they really fear is not the corruption of kiddies.

It's people saying things they don't know about subjects they don't know.

The glorious Brexit uncertainty: The only dead cert on data rules for tech biz in 2019

John Smith 19 Gold badge

As for services..customs officers, border guards, rationing staff, security guards for food

and medicine, undertakers, social welfare clerks, special constables, immigration and custody officers, citizenship police, prison warders, the list goes on."

Quite true.

Now, who's paying for them? Because "Taking back control" is expensive.

Given the taxbase has suddenly shrunk recently.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Perhaps we should describe them as little wessexers"

I rather like that*

The term, not the people, who'd I'd cheerfully despise, starting with Johnson.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

So what businesses are coming *to* the UK following Brexit, in preference to the EU?

"Streaky" claimed this another thread but never actually named one. Any one.

Purveyors of offshore tax havens? Estate agents to Russian oligarchs and gangsters?

I'm curious what the UK has to offer now its being unplugged from the rest of the EU single market (especially in services, which the City of London deals quite a lot in).

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"So we should cancel A50 and negotiate from this better position. "

Half of that sentence is quite sensible, although it would be political suicide for T. May

The other half are the thoughts of a delusional f**kwit.

I'll leave people to work out which side of the sentence I think is which.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"that the initial impact of no deal Brexit will be as devastating as...."

Nice qualification of "initial," Mr AC. A nice little verbal get out clause.

My prediction of Brexit was that within 2 years the number of people who would admit in public they voted Leave would be less than the number who admitted voting for British Fascism in the 1930s on VE night.

But it seems people are starting to go anonymous already.

One things for sure. The UK (and it's citizens) will find out which side was the bigger bu***hiters in the referendum. The only thing I'll guarantee is that Somerset Asset Management will do rather well.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Brexit relatives' main reason for voting Leave..reduce immigration - from..Indian subcontinent. "

Funny, many of the British Asians I've talkted to voted Leave to increase it.

Isn't it handy how Facebook lets you tell two different groups two completely different messages to support exactly the same course.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"so many of those that voted leave -- are retired and so won't..be doing any entrepreneur-ing."


And quite a few of them died over the last 2 years (something over plus people died in the UK since 2016).

Of course repeated Conservative governments have put a "Triple lock" on cutting pensions, mainly because they know pensioners actually vote, unlike the yoof, who've become convinced that "It's all a con, doesn't change anything blah blah."

Naturally it never occurred to them to wonder who pays those pensions, and how the number of people who pay the taxes that fund them will change (or shrink) post Brexit.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"We got the Brexit we deserved, not the brexit we wanted"

And you were never going to get it, because the brexit you voted for was a blank sheet of paper.

That's all it was. A blank sheet of paper that has now been filled in.

That way Dominic Cummings (the "Career psychopath" as David Cameron called him) could tell each group of (potential) Leave voters whatever story they wanted to hear (once Cambridge Analytica had provided the necessary data to create those stories).

Because he knew that actually offering a plan would be so divisive to all the different Conservative sub tribes that it would tear the Leave campaign apart. Which it now seems to be doing.

New Horizons probe reveals Ultima Thule is huge, spinning... chicken drumstick?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

If the name means "Furthest object"

Will it have to be renamed when NH has an encounter with something further away, because it no longer will be.

I'm thinking of the two competitive laboratories where one gave a lecture on "High Vacuum" and the Director of the other asked "Can be give a lecture on 'Higher Vacuums'? "

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"(and a bigger booster)."

I'm pretty sure it wasn't

The launch film shows an Atlas V with a bunch of smallish SRB's on the base but the Voyagers were sent on 2 Titan's with monster SRB's

Looking up the on orbit masses NH was about 65% of either Voyager (I'd guessed it was smaller)

So it looks like the big thing was the trajectory plan (especially Jupiter)

John Smith 19 Gold badge

10 years to get to Pluto? Seems much faster than the Voyagers

Which may just be the fact you can pack a lot more science in a lot smaller weight.

I note also the shift in technology. From 4bit parallel/18 bit serial processors with custom instruction sets to rad hard but OTS processors.

Let us hope it keeps going for a long while yet.

Staff sacked after security sees 'suspect surfer' script of shame

John Smith 19 Gold badge

The ladies started surfing porn around 15 years ago, and are now (roughly) equal to the men.


It's not just for the good things of human nature, like pay.

Bored IT manager automates Millennium Eve checks to ditch snoozing for boozing

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"if you haven't automated ALL THE THINGS as much as possible. That's what a computer's for,.. ."

I'd agree, but I'm not sure how many supposed SysAdmins (especially in SME's) are up to the job.

They are either unfamiliar with what's available or think the stuff they have to process too variable in structure, so any automation would be too fragile to cope with variations.

You're right though. Boring, repetitious s**t is exactly what computers were built for.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Handy stuff this automation.

One day much routine IT will automated*

*About the time most offices go paperless for good.

Brexit-dodging SCISYS Brits find Galileo joy in Dublin

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"There's far more businesses moving to the UK rather than away from it because of brexit"

You have actual evidence of this?

I mean real statistics gathered by impartial observers?

Because there is actual evidence of JLR relocating to Slovakia and BUPA relocating part of its operation to Dublin and Somerset Asset Management (Prop. J Rees-Mogg) setting up a branch in Dublin rather than growing in London

Do tell whose coming to the UK.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Given Dublin property prices, they'll be paying full wack for the plaque."

Boom times for Somerset Asset Management then.


John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Maybe we should start calling them smurfs."

In 5 years time I think the term for people who voted Remain will be "Realists."

While the term for those who voted Leave will remain "Banjos" (Played like one at an Ozark hoedown) or "Delusional f**kwits," for those who played themselves.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"I doubt..civil unrest would be greater than..when people find out whatthey've had dumped on them"


Let's be honest, when Brexit starts to bite some of those Banjoes are going to start looking for someone to blame when they realize how well they were played.

Naturally these kwitters won't blame themselves for being too ignorant or too gullible to fall for this BS, even though many are.

Sadly I fear the best option (them turning on their leaders and stringing a few up from various lamp posts around Westminster) is unlikely to happen. I'll leave others to nominate preferred candidates.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: Re-Moaners ... You lost

by 13/25s of the 72% of possible voters

Many of the rest of whom (I suspect) would have voted Remain but thought the vote was a colossal waste of their time since only a small group of nutters would think leaving the EU was a good idea.

And in which the Leave campaigners told each different group of potential voters exactly what they wanted to hear, wheather it was true or not.

Obviously they stay at homes were wrong. OTOH with a million UK people having died in the meantime and everyone (that is everyone who's not a delusional idiot) having a much clearer idea of the impending s**tstorm (starting with the delays to the 110000 trucks a day going through Calais/dover) Brexit will cause I wonder how many will still be thinking "Brexit Uber alles" ?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Can you imagine..allowing Huawei to build..IT infrastructure..as they got a PO box in Bogner?"

Yes actually I can.

Well the MoD let BAe have damm near every major contract and their HO is in the US.

But they are a "National Champion."

Of which country?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"The Brexiteers swore that this kind of thing wouldn't happen..."

They lied?

Surely not.

An upset tummy and a sphincter-loosening blackout: Lunar spaceflight is all glamour

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Borman was jettisoning his lunch from both ends"

That certainly evokes a certain image. Not a fun experience inside multiple layers of pressure suit.

Whose feeling in zero g I cannot imagine.

Silicon Valley CEO thrown in the cooler for three years, ordered to pay back $1.5m for bullsh*tting investors

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: Bigger Fraud is Safer

Tell that to Bernie Madoff*

*What a great name for a fraudster. I had real trouble not pronouncing it as Bernie Made Off.

It's a Christmas miracle: Logitech backs down from Harmony home hub API armageddon

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Harmony" ? Are you f**king kidding me?

It's 2018 and mfg are still fitting "hidden" API's to their hardware.

Either the system needs these calls to run properly (so why are they hidden?) or they don't, so why was any effort spent in writing them in the first place?

Or was it they didn't mind writing them, but they did mind doing the security testing for them (and then the re-writes if they failed)?

Possibly a late entrant for the worst named consumer product of 2018.

IBM: Co-Op Insurance talking direct to coding subcontractor helped collapse of £55m IT revamp project

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"the insurer appeared to be attempting to include "costs incurred in reliance upon a counter-party"

Sounds like the bean counters are trying to include potential profits to be generated by the (expected) increase in performance of the system.

Rather like when a certain gambling den investment bank had it's whole currency dealing operation taken off line when someone had dropped a spanner across two phases of the buildings 3ph supply. They were moved in first (to a small office block) that was being refurbished because the poor darlings didn't like to have their routines disrupted. Sueballs flew through the air that day.

It'll also be interesting to know if this would have fixed the (alleged) bug in the car insurance quote generation system that let salesman magically move prospects from some crime ridden inner city hell hole to rural Perthshire (or some equally safe place to park your vehicle) and which (allegedly) lead to the phasing out of many (all?) of their direct sales staff. No doubt this alleged bug was unknown to senior sales staff of the time.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

John Smith 19 Gold badge

If you want to know what the term "Data fetishist" means....

See article.

It really is a personality disorder.

And it's one the C-suite of most large tech companies are prone to.

Is Google purposefully breaking Microsoft, Apple browsers on its websites? Some insiders are confident it is

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Google shouldn't have to wait for the dinosaurs,"

Grown ups talking.

Go back to your Chocolate Factory cubicle

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Chrome could skip this particular empty div tag since it "knows" what it is for."


Which suggests there would some kind of "skip list" mechanism in Chrome. Examples would include

a) Hard coded list

b) Download from site as part of the download/render process

c) Skip tags in a specific part of a page through some kind of "relative addressing" mechanism.

If Chrome is "open source" then this would be in the source code and if not (but included in pre-built versions) it should show up rendering the same site using pre-built and source code versions of the same release.

Which suggests this is a statement that could be proved, or disproved.

German cybersecurity chief: Anyone have any evidence of Huawei naughtiness?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Sooner or later people will have to choose. Systems no one can hack

Or systems your government can hack. The dream of every data fetishist.

And (once that is known) world + dog will be looking through their code for those deliberate holes to hack as well.

The TLA's (and the political sock puppets de jour) will whine the usual 4 horsemen of the infocalypse BS.

Rights. Everyone should have them and everyone's should be protected, even if you don't like them.

The eulogising of The Mother Of All Demos at 50 is Silicon Valley going goo-goo for gurus again

John Smith 19 Gold badge

The thing you'll almost never see (unless MS "discovers" it again)

Is making anything (and I mean nearly anything) clickable.

I've only see that on the OS's built to support the later languages of Wirth (Oberon for example).

Privacy, security fears about ID cards? UK.gov's digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

John Smith 19 Gold badge
Big Brother

"Read Wilfred Greatorex's 1999. Or watch the series."

Highly ironic.

"1990" is actually about a Left Wing police state Britain. Greatorex seemed pretty Right Wing

But the real truth is that there would be little practical difference between a Left Wing authoritarian police state and a Right Wing authoritarian police state.

The politics is just window dressing for the Authoritarian state of mind.

The real "enemy" is the democratic process and the people who practice it. IOW Everyone. not them.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"It should certainly NOT be assumed that any scheme proposed now should be like that

"Should be" like. No

"Probably will be like" is rather more likely.

Who could possibly see that coming?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"The problem lies in both its usage by government and the protection against any abuse, "

And the f**king huge back end database the data fetishists (who crave this) want to log every single aspect of your existence 24/7/365

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"do you think the Leave voters would have been expected to 'like it or lump it'?"

We already know Farage was going to press for yet another go around.

All because an arrogant, over privledged PR type (one of those "power brokers" you seem to dislike) reckoned the referendum was the perfect way to a)Stop defections from the PCP and b) Kill off UKkip.

Which it's done. Superbly.

Of course the UK economy will probably end up economic road kill but that's a small price to pay for the key goal. Keeping the Parliamentary Conservative Party united.


John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: "Naive, I know, but without trying we would never know."

"That's one way of looking at it, although I certainly took it a tad more seriously than you are implying - I'm not treating this as a game. "


Most of the voters I'm familiar with seemed to view it as little more than some sort of petulant gesture against "something" ("Europe, innit" to coin a phrase) that they couldn't manage to articulate beyond "I don'ts like it."

"Any more than you need to guess that I was hopelessly idealistic in my faith that, when it comes to the crunch, people would pull together and show some solidarity."

No.Your mistake is not seeing the actual situation as it is. A stand up fight with odds of 27 to 1 against. In a Steven Segal movie he wins. IRL the 1 gets the s**t kicked out of him and if he's lucky an ambulance picks him up before he bleeds out. The accuracy of that metaphor you could have discovered for yourself with about 5 minutes work on Google.

"I won't apologise "

No one's asking you to.

If you're right and Brexit really is the precursor to going to getting to those "Sunlit uplands" people were spouting about during the referendum there will be nothing to apologize for.

OTOH (assuming you haven't fled to some offshore bolthole, as various Conservative MP's and former MP's seem to be planning to do. Why would they sacrifice their standard of living when they can sacrifice yours instead ) you'll be living with the consequences of your handiwork for some time to come.

Provided you don't have any conditions that needs some of the 45 million units of medicine the UK ships in from Europe whose supply might get delayed at one border check or another. In which case you might not be around so long.

"but for me it's about the ability to stand up to the power brokers who see the little people as nothing more than cash cows to be milked and discarded, "

And it never occurred to you to notice most of those "power brokers" you're talking about are actually British? and you actually expect them to be more restrained with less external influence?

You really are gullible.

"Lest we forget, the people of this country might have voted to join the EEC (an economic agreement) "

Since we're not forgetting let's not (also) forget that Margaret Thatcher and John Major both had absolute majorities. If they'd wanted you to have a referendum in 1992 you would have had one. when kwitters whine about "Remonaers" asking for a 2nd vote they discreetly forget they've been whinning on about a 2nd vote for 26 years.

John Smith 19 Gold badge
Big Brother

It is incredibly convenient and at the same time incredibly oppressive

Funny how that works.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"defence against oppression and invasion of privacy comes from oversight and transparency. "

And given how p**s poor the UK is at that then not having an ID card seems about the only other way to stop data fetishists (of which this is one of their wet dreams) from gaining complete satisfaction.

Small American town rejects Comcast – while ISP reps take issue with your El Reg vultures

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"and the town would be able to switch vendors in the event of poor service or lower cost"

Which is admirable.

Until you try to do it.

People of Charlemont.

You'd better make sure that the operators document everything they have and change.

Architecture, settings, box locations, all current and default passwords etc.

Otherwise when you try to exercise choice it'll be "Sorry, we don't have to tell you that, and we won't."

Equifax how-it-was-mega-hacked damning dossier lands, in all of its infuriating glory

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Except it would had cost money to do so. Money not spent = profit."

The root cause?

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