* Posts by Adam 52

1041 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

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Give 'bots a chance: Driverless cars to be trialled between London and Oxford

Adam 52
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Re: how exactly are they different to the other offerings?

"so what exactly is new here that hasn't been attempted"

The speed, according to the BBC.

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Stanford Uni's intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

Adam 52
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Re: I thought we needed to encourage new developers ...

"I couldn't think of a worse language to switch to"

Perl.

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(You can't) buy one now! The flying car makes its perennial return

Adam 52
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Re: "The first commercial flying car in the world is now a fact,"

"annual pilot license fees in the thousands of euros"

The CAA charge about £150 for a licence and renewal is, I think, about £90. Not exactly thousands. You may also need £100 or so for a medical.

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Shooting org demands answers from Met Police over gun owner blab

Adam 52
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"If there is an "event" the bench is likely to take the view that use of a firearm is not reasonable self defence."

In theory a private citizen has exactly the same rights as CO19 with respect to use (Police have possession exemptions, but nothing else) in self defense or defense of others. So if CO19 are allowed to shoot someone they suspect to be armed then so is anyone else.

In practice you are absolutely correct.

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'We should have done better' – the feeble words of a CEO caught using real hospital IT in infosec product demos

Adam 52
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Re: Deleted comments

That's what the article says now... It's not what it said when all those comments were made. The article being wrong and libellous was what lots of us were pointing out.

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Adam 52
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The scenario I've got in mind goes:

Techie: Can we have access to your test system?

Hospital BOFH: We don't have a test, but you can use live.

...Sometime later...

Sales Support Engineer: Can we demo your test system?

Hospital PHB: Don't see why not.

...Sometime much later...

Disgruntled, sacked employee: Have a look at this hospital data on YouTube

Journalist: there might be a story in it

Lawyer: Did you get paperwork to use that demo system?

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AWS v Oracle: Mark Hurd schooled on how to run a public cloud that people actually use

Adam 52
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What?

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Adam 52
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Re: "I’m proud to say that AWS hasn’t had a regional failure in recent history"

"AWS aims to provide 2+1 DC's per region"

Not looking good for London, Frankfurt, Mumbai, Canada and Seoul then. Although AZ != DC it is for any deployable architecture.

Only having 2 AZ makes a properly consistent database unable to recover from a partition caused by a single AD failure (something I discovered by experience, unfortunately)

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Adam 52
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Re: "I’m proud to say that AWS hasn’t had a regional failure in recent history"

Reg commentards usually comment that their DC has been up for years when AWS have a single service outage (but the DC is fine) so he's not alone in that alternative reality.

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Adam 52
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Re: Roll your own instead

"Want exadata? Of course nobody else has that, they are just generic white box machines"

Microsoft have Azure Analysis Services now. AWS have SPICE but really irritatingly they refuse to sell it stand-alone.

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Adam 52
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Re: Over-reliance on single nodes ...

"there are a number of Oracle databases in use that have potentially life threatening consequences if not accessible."

That sounds like a particularly foolish bit of design.

Particularly as the license explicitly says that the Oracle database not designed for situations "that may create a risk of personal injury".

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Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

Adam 52
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Re: A stupid question

"In which case, of course, if El Reg is willing to pay me three cents to do it, I'd be willing to scale it up so we can both profit."

In most jurisdictions that's considered fraud. One of the reasons that the Ad networks track is to detect fraud. Now under GDPR they won't be allowed to track to target Ads (without consent) but will be allowed to continue tracking to protect legitimate business interests and one of those legitimate interests is detecting and preventing criminal behaviour.

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Adam 52
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"Like the EU mandated cookie warning, you mean?"

That annoying banner isn't EU mandated. There's nothing saying consent has to be obtained like that, it's just lazy site designers.

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Adam 52
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Re: I hate advert(iser)s because

Oh the irony of using the comments section of an advert supported site to moan about worthless content!

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Adam 52
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Re: It's not the ads, it's the tracking

Come May 2018 you'll have to opt-in to tracking (if you're in the EU).

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Adam 52
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Re: And the choice is ?

I remember that Internet. There were a few freeware and shareware apps and some low-res scans of old copies of Playboy.

Then came some commercial sites subsidised by conventional sales and, in the case of the newspapers and TV, conventional advertising. Those sites quickly added online adverts to become at least partially sustainable. And there was the tax funded BBC.

Much as we dislike Facebook et al if you want the modern Internet with Google, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Spotify, Twitter and The Register then you're going to have to pay somehow.

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Adam 52
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Re: And the choice is ?

"I say screw them and let all the crap content die a death, leaving the good stuff out there."

Who pays for the good stuff to get made?

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Game authors demand missing ZX Spectrum reboot royalties

Adam 52
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Re: I'm a little in between with this...

You're saying that infringing for the purposes of making a product and selling it is "personal use"?

Is that in the same way that copying videos and selling them at car boot sales is personal use?

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30,000 London gun owners hit by Met Police 'data breach'

Adam 52
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It does. Criminal gun possession in the UK, whist becoming more prevalent, is still rare and those guns themselves aren't state of the art. That is partly because it is so hard to get hold of a gun and partly because we have a culture of our criminals not using guns, which itself is a positive feedback cycle with high sentencing for gun crime.

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Australia scraps temporary visas for skilled workers

Adam 52
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Oil and gas exploration is one.

You've got some people with the skills locally, but not enough to cope with the boom times because you sacked them all during the bust.

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Super Cali goes ballistic, Uber drivers are stocious (allegedly!)

Adam 52
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"mandating they immediately suspend drivers accused of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol"

Really? Any disgruntled customer can ruin the livelihood of any taxi driver?

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Troll it your way: Burger King ad tries to hijack Google Home gadgets

Adam 52
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Re: Computer Misuse Act?

"If you leave your device open to the point where the voice of a random stranger can activate it"

Let's translate that statement to other crimes and see how sensible it is:

"If you leave your car unlocked where any random stranger can drive off in it"

Nope, still TWOC.

"If you leave your door open to the point where a random stranger can walk in and take your stuff"

Nope, still burglary.

"If you go out after dark where any random stranger can grab you off the street"

Nope, still assault.

"If you leave your child unattended playing in the street where any random stranger can take them"

Nope, still kidnap.

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Google fumes after US Dept of Labor accuses ad giant of lowballing pay for women

Adam 52
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Re: Why are they in court?

What's equal pay? Only if you can answer that question is it easy to show. If Google release figures in open court then they will be massaged to show whatever outcome the publisher wants to show and Google will suffer reputation damage.

Google will pay men more by one metric, simply because Sergey, Sunday, Eric and Larry are all men. If Larry and Sergey had been female they wouldn't, but there's nothing they can do about that short of gender reassignment surgery.

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Adam 52
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Re: The DoL sued Google earlier this year seeking to get its hands on the details....

"How hard is it for Google to run the DoL algorithm on their labor force and see if they comply?"

Government stats tend to use the algorithm select sum(pay) group by gender. Or the advanced ones do select sum(pay) group by role, gender. They aren't overly useful because men work overtime more than women, because women take maternity leave and because women are offered more - and take up - flexible working.

For Google to comply with the government methodology it'd have to pay women more than men, or force them into less social working patterns. Hopefully they won't be obliged to do so.

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Adam 52
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Re: Comparing like with like

I suppose this is why Google is asking for the data and methodology. Google almost certainly has the better statisticians.

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Law Commission pulls back on official secrets laws plans after Reg exposes flawed report

Adam 52
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You'll note that what the press, be it the Daily Mail, The Guardian or Duncan Campbell, are kicking up a fuss about is that *journalists* are being treated the same as the rest of the great unwashed.

This isn't anyone standing up for the little people against the government, it's the journalist club protecting itself.

The Guardian, of course, lost any moral credibility when it gave up Sarah Tisdall.

The Law should apply to all equally, cabinet ministers who leak should be prosecuted just like journalists or civil servants and Clive Ponting's defence should be enshrined in statute to protect the public from the state.

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Internet Society tells G20 nations: The web must be fully encrypted

Adam 52
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Re: Remember your audience

"They can not grasp either you have secure, encrypted communication for everyone or no one has it. The math is rather binary on that point."

Way back in the late 80s I worked in banks. Back then DES was export restricted and PGP didn't exist.

We wanted encrypted comms, for obvious reasons. So I applied for a DES export licence. It was a long and complicated process but in the end I got one.

So you *can* have legal secure and encrypted communication for *some* people and not everyone. The maths says nothing about legality.

Nowadays things are different, source code to many algorithms is widely published, but that wouldn't stop a government introducing a licencing system for encryption if it wanted to. Licences issued to Google, Snapchat et al. on the condition that they open comms on production of a warrant. You can't uninvent the white van either, but you can regulate courier services (as Uber are discovering). Before you all start ranting, I don't think they should, but they could.

All this talk about "you can't change the maths" could equally be applied to firearms - you can't change the basic physics either but that doesn't stop governments restricting their availability. Any idiot with a lathe can make a bad gun, just as any programmer with a compiler can make a bad encryption app.

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Subpostmasters prepare to fight Post Office over wrongful theft and false accounting accusations

Adam 52
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I spent a fair bit of my career analysing Horizon data. Different branches use Horizon very differently so there could well be a class of error that only affects some use styles.

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An echo chamber full of fake news? Blame Google and Facebook, says Murdoch chief

Adam 52
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Re: Luddite Whining

That's not true at all; or wasn't until Google et al came along.

In the old days content sold, whether rabble rousing in The Sun, investigative journalism in The Guardian or analysis in the Financial Times. Remember the Telegraph's expenses investigation?

And then you had an audience which advertisers were prepared to pay for handsomely (because sales went up and there were limited places to advertise). Running a newspaper was almost literally a licence to print money. The business model was simple. It was never the elite paying the bills, not directly, it was the owner, a trust or the public via advertisers.

Now there are many places to advertise and get content, so both Ad revenue and circulation have slipped. Newspapers have had to become more business oriented. The Daily Mail chases Ad revenue by running click-bait rubbish, The Guardian sells assets to pay the bills, the Telegraph and Financial Times chase subscribers. The Sun attempts to blend the Mail and Telegraph models (or you could describe that as adopting the Sky model).

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Put down your coffee and admire the sheer amount of data Windows 10 Creators Update will slurp from your PC

Adam 52
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Re: I thought

I posted a list of software that I use that requires Windows (or a Mac) a few months ago. You always get some armchair pundit without a clue who thinks that GIMP is a suitable replacement for Photoshop or Postgres for SQL Server Analysis Services.

Not that Adobe's privacy policy is any better than Microsoft's, of course.

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ICO fines 11 big charities over dirty data donor-squeezing deeds

Adam 52
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I'm not so sure. If depends how Experian, CACI and SIG got their data. From the ICO's position if those giving it didn't tell the data providers it was going to be sold on then they were bad too.

Say, for example, by mining the full electoral roll (which they get as credit agencies), or the census or loyalty card data.

Has the ICO released a more detailed "why" document than the one linked from the article? I can't find it if they have.

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Half a million 'de-identified' patients records to be shared in Bradford

Adam 52
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How does this in any way shape or form satisfy the second data protection principle?

"Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes"

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WWW daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee stands up for end-to-end crypto

Adam 52
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Re: No, it's not settled

"For avoidance of doubt, you don't dissuade people who are or are intending to break laws by providing them with more laws to break."

Yes you do. It's why, for example, the UK has historically had very low gun crime; we used to punish it harshly. Don't forget it's also how Peter Sutcliffe (false numberplate) got caught and severely restricted Al Capone's activities.

"In other words those who intend to use strong encryption as an aid to breaking the law will source it from somewhere - the algorithms are not a big secret."

And - if you have total surveillance - they will then stick out like a big sore thumb. Making them very easy to arrest and prosecute. Also making it dramatically easier to prosecute for *something*. To reuse Phil Zimmerman's metaphor, if everyone uses postcards then anyone with a envelope is suspicious, especially if you ban envelopes.

So the debate shouldn't be about whether this will work, it will, but whether it will have massive downsides and is morally corrupt. That would be an adult debate, not that you'll find much here.

"You do not make the public more secure by weakening encryption, you make them less secure"

You change the balance. You make them marginally more secure against terrorists and people the state doesn't like. You make them dramatically less secure against the state, white collar criminals, corporations, tabloid journalists and other states.

Bleating on about you can't change the maths is stupid. Nobody wants to change the maths. They want to weaken protections whatever the cost.

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D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

Adam 52
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There's a list here, as of 2012 I think

https://github.com/SubtleEngine/MPs-Degrees/blob/master/MP_Uni_output.tsv

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Adam 52
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Re: "Banning end-to-end encryption"

"suggest talking to some cryptography people who do not have an interest in discouraging"

Ah, yes, I forgot that the public has had enough of experts and now only listen to those with their point of view.

"then you can bet that applications that implement effective steganography will soon emerge."

That's the same argument that the politicians use - technology will find a way - whether it's carbon capture, breakable-yet-unbreakable encryption or a warp drive.

"Applications I have seen that claim to be able to detect steganography have about an equal number of false negatives as false positives"

It doesn't matter. Sniffer dogs are way worse than that. Yet they still give you an idea where to look.

There will be a stenography app. Or traces off. Unless you think everyone will be capable of hand-coding a secure app direct to volatile storage. Stenography app, strange cat video, unexplained holiday to Pakistan. Juries would convict on much, much less.

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Adam 52
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Re: "Banning end-to-end encryption"

I'd suggest talking to some computer forensics people. Yes stenography is theoretically possible, but it's practically hard and tends to leave traces. And there have been convictions on the back of those traces and curiously manipulated jpeg files.

My guess - 90% of people who try to encrypt and hide it will make a mistake, which is odds most prosecutors would love to have.

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Canadian court refuses to let Feds snoop on Megaupload servers

Adam 52
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Re: What's he done wrong that others haven't

The main difference is that his platform was primarily for facilitating copyright infringement, whereas all the others were incidental. The allegations are that the site owners knew this and yet encouraged people to host and download unlawfully, and indeed downloaded stuff themselves. They had technology to find infringing content but didn't use it.

The allegations are also that their business model was oriented around serving ads on downloads; complaints that could quite happily be made against YouTube too.

Wikipedia has a link to the official documentation.

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Drone complaints to cops are up twelvefold in three years

Adam 52
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incidents dominate UK Airprox Board reports

Is this some new use of the word "dominate"? Used to mean "a handful" or "less than 20%".

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Is Jassy just jazzing on AWS database migration numbers? Smells fishy...

Adam 52
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Re: All vendors will try to lock you in

With RDS there's negligible lock-in and the operational benefits over running on ec2 are huge (monitoring, point-in-time restore, read replicas and auto failover). In my view it's a no-brainer unless you need a feature not in RDS or have a large fleet of non-RDS instances and want consistency.

Stuff like Kinesis Analytics and Lambda would be a right pain to migrate away from, but I think it's still usually worth it because the pain is mostly stuff you'd have had to do anyway if you didn't use the AWS product.

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Creators Update gives Windows 10 a bit of an Edge, but some old annoyances remain

Adam 52
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Does it still remove reinstalled applications?

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Ford to build own data centre to store connected car data

Adam 52
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Re: Is that a good idea?

The south west corner of Detroit is actually quite nice. That particular bit is closer to Canada or University of Michigan than downtown Detroit.

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Europe to push new laws to access encrypted apps data

Adam 52
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"Did you just say random numbers should be illegal?"

No. I said a brain-dead politician could make sending them over the Internet illegal if she wanted to.

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Adam 52
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"Which comment?"

Mine was about Amber Rudd. It doesn't actually matter too much, EU law is backed by the same physical force as national law.

Of course if you want to be perversely literal then yes, there is little any politician can do. Well, apart from that UKIP one who's handy with his fists.

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Adam 52
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"She cannot do anything against physical persons and corporations using end-to-end crypto themselves. That horse has bolted 20 years ago when Phil Zimmerman gave PGP to the world.".

Yes she can. That's the big advantage to controlling the Police force and a having access to an army. It just requires simple legislation saying anyone sending packets that can't be decoded (encrypted or random, doesn't matter) goes to prison.

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Hertfordshire primary school girls prepare for World Robotics Champs

Adam 52
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Re: Very worthwhile for all concerned

Did you deliberately pick all-girl teams to get publicity or did it just happen that those who wanted to go were girls?

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BDSM sex rocks Drupal world: Top dev banished for sci-fi hanky-panky

Adam 52
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Re: Dries Buytaert is a joke

If that's the reason then fine - say you don't want him on the project. Don't say publicly it's because you think he's a sexual deviant.

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Adam 52
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I hate to break it to you, but it's 2017 and the prudes are in the ascendency.

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