* Posts by Jeff 11

303 posts • joined 7 Jul 2009


If you want a vision of the future, imagine not a boot stamping on a face, but keystroke logging on govt contractors' PCs

Jeff 11

Such an impressive technological solution naturally makes the assumptions that

1) All work is done on a desktop machine

2) All work involves typing or mouse activity

3) All work is done on one device

4) All work happens while online

5) Phone calls with the client aren't part of work

6) Meetings never happen

7) Business travel isn't work

...and probably a million other dumb things.

I wouldn't worry. It'll be trialled, ripped to pieces by users, and unceremoniously dumped when contractors ending up taking their clients to court, or walking out en masse over unpaid billable hours when they can demonstrably prove that they've been working during the hours the system tells the client they haven't.

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

Jeff 11

Capita chief exec Jonathan Lewis, who was part of the panel being grilled by the MPs, chipped in: "That's close to 100 per cent of the margin on the contract. And if you add the incremental investment we've had to make, which is somewhere in the order of £60m, to deliver on that, over the term of this contract we will lose a very considerable sum of money," adding that the army would save "£200m" over the lifetime of the RPP contract.

A 2% margin on a £1.3bn IT contract? Oh dear. (I suspect quite a lot of executives on this project will be very well remunerated.)

Total Inability To Support User Phones: O2 fries, burning data for 32 million Brits

Jeff 11

So their Ericsson appliances/applications have somehow failed.

Perhaps they should have avoided this single point of failure for such a critical piece of comms infrastructure (using redundant bits of kit from the same supplier doesn't work if all instances of it are affected by the same issue).

If other operators around the world are affected then it sounds like a botched update, or a very well coordinated cyberattack. Or perhaps they're all using some cloudy service and THAT has gone down?

OneDrive is broken: Microsoft's cloudy storage drops from the sky for EU users

Jeff 11

"Hi! Let's team up in getting this issue resolved. To start, can you tell us since when did the issue start? Have you tried clearing your mobile browser's cache and cookies? We'll be waiting for your response."

...code for:

"We don't have adequate monitoring, we're putting obstacles in your path to make you think it's anything but our fault, and we won't update you until you update us."

Mything the point: The AI renaissance is simply expensive hardware and PR thrown at an old idea

Jeff 11

I worked for a fintech company a while back, where regulatory compliance on explaining how significant, financially life-changing decisions by algorithms was imperative. At some point the company 'adopted AI' and I asked a question about how such an 'AI' working for the company could explain its (evolving) decision making process to a regulator.

I received no answer from the AI guys, but I suspect it would be along the lines of "Well, it all started with training data set n-458493, I thought the answer was 2, but I was told it was 3, so I adjusted one of my neurons to give 2.6 in future. Then training data set n-458492 came along, I thought the answer was 2.6, but I was told it was 1, so I adjusted two of my neurons...."

Forgotten that Chinese spy chip story? We haven't – it's still wrong, Super Micro tells SEC

Jeff 11

A more cynical - and plausible, at least to me - theory is that some actor wants to devalue Supermicro or damage its reputation to manipulate the market. The technical difficulty of doing what Bloomberg has reported makes me very cynical, especially when there are easier avenues of attack.

PC version of Linux 4.19 lands with PC version of Linus Torvalds: Kernel handed back to creator

Jeff 11

It's a crying shame that the no-nonsense emphasis of the code of conflict didn't make it into the code of conduct. The expectation of what some might feel overzealous reviews was the whole point of weeding out entitled personalities who shouldn't be contributing to the most critical software project in the world. I think LT's rants have done more good than harm, in publicising that poor-quality code and unprofessionalism will get you publicly embarrassed - but ONLY for those things.

Instead, this catch-all made it in:

Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:


- Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting

...where a committee (or individual) can interpret things how they wish to get rid of controversial people or ones they simply don't like. Things like https://www.inc.com/sonya-mann/drupal-larry-garfield-gor.html springs to mind!

Bank on it: It's either legal to port-scan someone without consent or it's not, fumes researcher

Jeff 11

"It's a local scan (in web page code) not a remote port scan.

That's a big CMA difference if you ask me. (local verses remote)."

I don't know why this comment is getting downvoted. No individual or remote system is connecting to your machine, and this (invasive, I agree) action is triggered by your browser downloading some asset on a system you are using voluntarily.

I agree there are ethical ramifications as this information is reported back and used 'somewhere'. But legally, I can't see how this could be any more a violation of the CMA than almost every media website the world over checking to see if you're running an adblocker in your browser, or downloading and running a script that performs port checks on your machine using netstat.

Facebook stockholders tell Zuck to reform voting rules as data scandal branded 'human rights violation'

Jeff 11

"Cry me a river. In a market economy if you do not like how the company is acting on your behalf sell your shares. When the shares were bought I expect the situation was the same, so if they dont like the situation they can remove themselves easily.

In the market your money is your vote, use it."

You're not wrong, but I imagine the asset managers' desire to be seen as 'caring shareholders' is eclipsed by their desire for profit, and this is simply a publicity stunt.

A Reg-reading techie, a high street bank, some iffy production code – and a financial crash

Jeff 11

Re: Can I Just Point Out ...

"What if the only purpose of tracking the value is to compare against some threshold value and display an alert / send a notification / ring an alarm or some-such? Then that would explain why it managed to sail under the radar for so long.

Making sweeping assumptions on usage, without seeing the full context makes you almost as bad as the original coder."

1) The submitter's boss told him it needed fixing.

2) If that was the case then the TOTAL_EXPOSURE variable is totally misleading and will hurt future generations... and the code is still bad.

Brit IT contractor wins appeal against HMRC to pay £26k in back taxes

Jeff 11

"Thus to employ people without affecting OPEX you must use CAPEX (Capital Expenditure). This is usually defined as project cost.

Thus using CAPEX instead of OPEX you separate Contractor from Employee. Therefore, Contractors are not employees. No IR35."

CAPEX is the purchase of assets that must amortised over their lifetime as they deliver value beyond the financial year in which they were purchased. For tax purposes they cannot be claimed as business expenses. OPEX is everything that's more or less an ephemeral operating cost (and therefore a 100% deduction from revenue) for tax calculations.

The costs of retaining employees and the services of contractors to keep your business operational both fall under the latter. Which internal 'budget' a client uses to fund this is wholly irrelevant as far as HMRC's view of the client's, and contractor's tax situations is concerned.

Jeff 11

The article omits an important detail of the case: this is the second time the guy has been targeted by HMRC, and ALSO the second time he beat them. That stinks of a punitive agenda which is against the principles of impartiality HMRC are supposed to be have. Even worse, the cost of prosecuting the case would have been higher than the paltry sum of tax they could have claimed if they'd won and so this would have been a symbolic victory. As it stands, us taxpayers have to foot the bill for the lawyers.

Open justice FTW! El Reg fought the law – and El Reg won

Jeff 11

""It could be prejudicial to taxpayers if allegations of tax avoidance in HMRC's statement of case, which the tribunal may later decide are unfounded, are reported in the press before the case has been heard."

AFAIK 99.9% of "taxpayers" wouldn't go to Upper Tribunal unless the sums involved were colossal and worth taking on. So doesn't this judgement simply remove the additional benefits afforded to the wealthy and/or large companies who can afford to appeal?

Hortonworks takes ex-sales manager to court over non-compete allegations

Jeff 11

Funny, when VMWare sued them in 2013 the Hortonworks line was:

"People have every right to freely pursue opportunities with any company they believe will advance their personal and professional objectives, and should not be limited in any way from doing so."


'Do the DevOps?' No thanks! Not until a 'blameless post-mortem' really is one

Jeff 11

I was talking about this with a friend yesterday evening - businesses with enormous risk potential (i.e. banks) are incredibly risk averse and this generates IT practices that favour disconnected, non-converged silos of systems with high levels of technical debt. But at the same time, this, at least on the surface, prevents broad systemic problems from affecting the entire business' IT when something goes wrong. Since devops is so often 'sold' as realising various business efficiencies from converging these silos together, that's anathema to that way of thinking and so things stay the same.

GitHub flub spaffs 8Tracks database, 18 million accounts leaked

Jeff 11

As the company explains in its fess-up post, the source of the leak was an inadequately-secured GitHub repository: an employee wasn't using two-factor authentication. 8Tracks found out when there was an unauthorised attempt at a password change, and on investigation it found backups of database tables in the staffer's repo.

The source of the leak was storing backups in source control on a public service, and inadequate access controls - either allowing devs access to production data or ops to source control! How does 2-factor auth address that?

ICO fines Morrisons for emailing customers who didn't want to be emailed

Jeff 11

So basically this tells businesses that the cost of blatantly violating the rules and spamming people is roughly £0.08 per address - sounds like a good deal to me. Nice one, ICO.

Firefox 54 delivers sandboxes Mozilla's wanted since 2009

Jeff 11

"As Mozillan Ryan Pollock explains, “Firefox now creates up to 4 separate processes for web page content. So, your first 4 tabs each use those 4 processes, and additional tabs run using threads within those processes. Multiple tabs within a process share the browser engine that already exists in memory, instead of each creating their own.”

I'm not saying this approach can't work, but having some experience in this area, it sounds like Mozilla's devs may have created a lot of hassle for themselves in trying to combine processes and threads to achieve their desired outcome. The old problems of one misbehaving tab deadlocking the others (well, presumably only a quarter of them) may still exist, and with the added problem of having to rebalance running tabs to the other 3 processes when one becomes overloaded? I appreciate this approach saves memory, but the one-tab-per-process model devolves so much of this scheduling and resource management overhead to the OS kernel, which is what it's designed to do.

Roses are red, violets are blue, fake-news-detecting AI is fake news, too

Jeff 11

The problem with feature detection and machine learning in general is that it assumes honesty in the learning material. Emergent technologies in an environment where the spectrum for deception is effectively infinite will at best result in an AI-poisoning arms race between the liars and the engineers trying to root them out. Full Fact's solution might make it harder for liars to get their material on the web, but any system that classifies data based on relationships between statements, news organisations, past reputations and so on is completely open to being gamed.

Blockchain could be *part* of the answer, in a cryptographically reliable, extensible chain of evidence of where a fact came from. Having to publish a chain of sources when they source garbage from World Truth Tv or even Wikipedia might make journos a lot more responsible about fact checking in the first place, and out those who mutate the truth for their own ends. In the same vein, reports that come from individuals that fanatically pursue truth on the front lines are going to be that much more credible.

FTC accuses man of faking its news to further tech support scam

Jeff 11

The FTC says the so-called press release is fake news.

Welcome to 2017 - the year when the scam died and fake news took its place in the dictionary.

Microsoft: Why we had to tie Azure Stack to boxen we picked for you

Jeff 11

Engineers presumably like to build and test things incrementally in smaller test environments, perhaps using commodity or obsolete hardware no longer in use, to ensure things work acceptably before buying the production-scale hardware (which if supported by MS, should have no problem running them). It seems bizarre that they could do that using something like OpenStack, but not Azure.

The conspiracy theorist in me suspects that might just be because Azure is ever so slightly less solidly built than you'd expect from a cloud platform.

Corbyn lied, Virgin Trains lied, Harambe died

Jeff 11

On the CCTV and breach of privacy policy issue...

...it's a complete red herring, because no information that Jeremy Corbyn actually provided has been disclosed. His being on a train is a matter of public record, not provided information - he's already 'disclosed' his whereabouts to the media anyway and the released CCTV images do not show anything sensitive beyond that. Virgin has not breached its own policy.

Whether it has breached ICO guidelines and can be sanctioned is another story, but any such sanctions will likely be very light given that CCTV material is often released into the public domain.

Star Trek Beyond: An unwatchable steaming pile of tribble dung

Jeff 11

Re: The horrible thing is...

Thankfully the upcoming CBS series has ditched the reboot timeline and gone back to basics of the original, somewhat more intellectual continuity set after the events of The Undiscovered Country. That puts some helpful constraints on what the writers can('t) do...

Silicon Valley's contribution to the US Republican Convention: Gayness

Jeff 11

Applying the contrarian argument to his crusade against Gawker is fatuous at best. Being outed at a time when you may not be ready is a horrid experience regardless of whether you can later say you're proud to be gay. And let's not forget Gawker is one of the nastiest examples of unrelenting gutter journalism there's ever been and definitely deserves to die.

Florida U boffins think they've defeated all ransomware

Jeff 11

Detection could be a moot point if a successive generation of ransomware works silently as a rootkit, encrypting the disk gradually in the background and intercepting filesystem calls to provide the plaintext version until everything is locked up. Then it uploads the keys to a box on the net somewhere, removes them from the machine, and sticks up the user with the 'pay up' dialog box.

If I were a malware writer, that's how I'd do it!

Managing infrastructure, a newbie's guide: Simple stuff you need to know

Jeff 11

"Running a single operating system on a physical server is incredibly last year"

On the contrary, for some applications, VM multi-tenancy is last year. Containerisation seems to have reached the mainstream - particularly Docker (https://www.thoughtworks.com/radar/a-z)

Ex-GCHQ chief: Bulk access to internet comms not same as mass surveillance

Jeff 11

Headline: "Ex-GCHQ chief: Bulk access to internet comms not same as mass surveillance"

"He also claimed that bulk access to internet communications was the same as mass surveillance."

The article doesn't make clear who made the second statement, care to clarify?

Manchester fuzz 'truly sorry' for 'accidentally' hacking phone of whistleblower cop's girlf

Jeff 11

"Experts analysed the phone for the police and found that the '1' key would have had to be pressed and held down to access the voicemail and then, during that call, the adjacent '#' key had to be pressed to connect to the person who had left the message, as happened on this occasion."

Wow. You might want to provide a third set of quotes around the word 'hacking'?

Cell-network content crunch needs new cache designs, say boffins

Jeff 11

Worth it?

Has anyone looked at just how what percentage of backhaul traffic a local cache at the cell level is going to save?

So much of what we consume on our phones is streaming content, which is difficult or impossible to cache as a third party. And even when you're talking about simple HTTP requests with relatively static responses, is there a great enough proportion of content that's repeatedly requested to substantially affect a large enough proportion of users?

I don't want to say 'no', but I would imagine this is the case. It sounds to me like a massive amount of investment, maintenance and administrative headaches will be needed for a questionable return...

Oracle pulls CSO's BONKERS anti-bug bounty and infosec rant

Jeff 11

"I am not dissing bug bounties, just noting that on a strictly economic basis, why would I throw a lot of money at 3% of the problem (and without learning lessons from what you find, it really is “whack a code mole”) when I could spend that money on better prevention like, oh, hiring another employee to do ethical hacking, who could develop a really good tool we use to automate finding certain types of issues, and so on."

Maybe because defensive, top-down, bureaucratic corporate culture is only ever an obstacle to security research and bug fixing? Other corporates have recognised that the independence of thought encourages novel approaches to finding those software defects your internal team can't handle.

Labour policy review tells EU where to stuff its geo-blocking ban

Jeff 11

Some digital products will not sell to anyone in certain territories of Europe because the economics are so different, especially those that don't use the Euro. Try selling content to parts of eastern Europe at a converted GBP/EUR -> local currency price and you get almost zero uptake. Instead, content providers can make additional revenue by selling the same product on volume at a much lower normalised price. That's actually a lot more fair to foreign EU citizens than forcing everyone to pay a normalised charge everywhere, despite the fact that disposable incomes can be fractional between countries.

This law is effectively an order to shut off those revenue streams and kill off jobs and business that rely on them.

LEAKED: Samsung's iPhone 6 killer... the Samsung Galaxy S6

Jeff 11

If Samsung have realised - in their sixth iteration - that build quality matters, and spending serious money on a lump of scratch-happy plastic is a crap proposition for people whose pockets have other things in them, then I'll be looking into the S6.

Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Jeff 11

Re: All methodologies will fail in the right conditions

"The real mistake is to pretend that there is a single process that can fit all situations well enough."

...this. And there seems to be a fundamental problem with understanding what Agile means - it's not adhering to any one methodology but an agreement between stakeholders and development teams that we live in an imperfect world and must collaborate to organise an efficient process accordingly. For example, Scrum doesn't work for agencies whose teams are responsible for a number of unrelated projects. In this case Agile doesn't say 'find another methodology', it says adapt something whose fundamentals help avoid team, communication and legal problems and so avoid widening the divide between different parties involved in a project. It's also a response to traditional development methodologies creating software that's already obsolete when it goes into production, rather than products that might be imperfect to start with, but generate substantial value even in that state. Being successful in business is usually about being pragmatic, and Agile is all about pragmatism.

High-end SAN clan Dot Hill outshone by software biz Veeam

Jeff 11

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity...

Forget Paris: OpenStack is not a cheap alternative to VMware

Jeff 11

I don't disagree with the idea that OpenStack as a universal alternative to VMWare falls short - but you don't back up your assertion with any reasoning whatsoever.

Virtualization is a lot more broad than 'just' migrating legacy stacks into VMs. At its core there's nothing in VMWare that can't also be done in OS because of the underlying technologies involved. As far as I can see, it's just the (present) lack of holistic management tools that makes administering OS infeasible for large legacy deployments. I'm sure certain workloads will perform better on VMWare and HyperV but I foresee that this gap will also narrow in the near future.

If there's one area where I can see a cost differential it's getting in the skilled people to plan and build up the infrastructure in the first place, and the spinup time to deployment.

Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'

Jeff 11

I reckon publishers are in this situation in part because they've refused to modernise to faster paced retail demands. Printing presses might be the most cost-efficient system for mass production, but some smaller publishers have been doing print on demand for over a decade at a decent profit (IIRC ~$5 for a 300 page technical manual is a decent going rate). No doubt an insane amount of labour goes into running traditional presses, but if printing and supplier logistics are the biggest business issues faced by publishers (review, editorial, marketing etc. will probably always be human processes), then they should be collectively adapting to make that more agile.

I also imagine the terms imposed by Amazon aren't hitting them hard enough to make book sales in any way unprofitable, otherwise they really would tell them to get stuffed and sell through the many other online alternatives.

Has Google gone too far? Indie labels say it's crunch time for The New Economy

Jeff 11

Useful middlemen using legitimate business tactics to take a larger cut of profit? Good God, whatever next!

The total naiveté of businesses who got into bed with Amazon and then realised they're locked in to the revenue stream to keep their business going is astonishing. A major client of mine has always been aware of this and sees Amazon sales as a major side channel to their direct revenue streams; everything they offer is available through their own site, and there are incentives other than price for customers to buy directly rather than through Amazon. And for B2C orders, it works out slightly more in favour of direct sales than through Amazon.

That doesn't mean to say Amazon is irreplaceable. Take products away from sale there and some of those sales will be made directly, with no cut taken by middlemen. The question is how large a cut Amazon can take of your sales compared to the percentage of lost sales in not using Amazon, something that's not easily answered without some risk to your cash flow.

The fact is that Amazon, Google and Apple have invested a lot of time, money and human innovation into building software that lets businesses sell things in large volumes over the web, while producers and suppliers have lazily soaked up the profits opened up by these gateways to the global market - rather than reinvesting them in diversifying their distribution channels to prevent lock-in. Now they're whining because these innovators have taken advantage of that myopic short-termism.

I am mystified as to why there hasn't yet been a jointly owned or independent audio distribution platform funded by the major players in the music industry, who can then keep licensing costs down and empower them to give the middle finger to the giants in negotiations.. Even if it isn't the best platform to sell music on, it's existence and potential exclusivity would still be enough to make Apple, Google, Spotify et al think twice about trying to gouge their suppliers.

Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the worst

Jeff 11


Defensive, safe driving doesn't work when every vehicle on the road does it and rules and algorithms can't produce a safe answer as to how to proceed in a deadlock situation. For example, if four cars arrive in each lane of a four-spoked mini roundabout in the UK, someone has to take the risk and go first despite no-one having right of way - which is surely anathema to Google's vision of crash proof vehicles. Perhaps that could be solved by seeding each vehicle with a small degree of randomness, or having something like quorum resolution between vehicles, but there are probably a lot of more complex scenarios which would require more work...

Gigabyte Brix Pro: You don't need no steenkin' Xbox... when you have 4K-ing amazing graphics

Jeff 11

Gaming at 4K? Really?

Even the most modern, high specced dual SLI/Crossfire PCs can't comfortably run modern games in 4K without reducing visual quality in other areas. There's no way Iris Pro - which has a small fraction of the rendering power of such systems - could possibly do the same unless restricted to graphically trivial games.

As for the XBox One, doesn't it still have problems rendering in 'just' 1080p?

Australia targets software maintenance costs with Drupal plan

Jeff 11

Drupal is fundamentally crap for performance because of its modular approach - bootstrapping every single installed module on every single page request makes it incredibly sluggish. One of our sites runs an enormously customised Drupal 6 installation and we've had to roll in hundreds of optimisations and low level techniques to get it to run at an acceptable level of performance when it needs to execute dynamically. It doesn't matter which version you use - the everything including the kitchen sink approach will never match rivals that are built around lazy loading of functionality for performance.

On the plus side, it's the quickest PHP-based CMS I've encountered for prototyping and building new functionality, and extending existing functionality - but you need the capability to optimise your critical, high-traffic paths through your site you'll end up with an obese, wheezing dog of a responsive experience.

Here comes the SAN: HP gives away virtual one

Jeff 11

"Up to 1TB of storage"!?

Perhaps the story should be "HP gives away virtual SAN trialware"?

...Or perhaps it's not much of a story at all.

New iPhones: C certainly DOESN'T stand for 'Cheap'

Jeff 11

Delusion much?

"...but it is a significant upgrade."

Did Apple gas the world's media with hysteria-inducing drugs at the unveiling?

Pretty much every tech news outlet and market analyst has been saying the same thing, but for me this has been the least substantial upgrade I've ever seen from Cupertino.

64-bit isn't significant in the phone space. It wasn't significant in the PC market 10 years ago when it became de facto standard in CPUs. Perhaps In the gaming space, for higher fidelity visuals - but then the sort of games the massively vast majority of the market play on phones don't make much use of the graphics technologies that most phones have had for the past few years.

That leaves us with a fingerprint sensor to unlock your phone, a slightly tweaked camera and flash, and the option of a gold case.

To be honest, Apple's literature says it all - "we've managed to do all this clever stuff you'll never notice without even changing the design, or increas... err, decreasing the battery life". All smartphone makers may end up at this apparent dead end, but Apple seems to have won that race.

Attention, addicts: LEGO meth lab pays homage to Breaking Bad

Jeff 11

Re: wow..

I was thinking Heisenburglary...

OWN GOAL! 100s of websites blocked after UK Premier League drops ball

Jeff 11

All this misdirected ire towards the FA is astounding. Yes, they gave the judge a list of IP addresses but it was the judge who ordered ISPs to block them. However much you may dislike them, the FA do have a legitimate grievance towards their copyrighted material being leeched and profited from, and are certainly entitled to seek a legal solution. The implementation of that solution was extremely stupid, I'm pointing the finger squarely at the legal apparatus for making this collateral damage possible.

Cameron demands Brits BOYCOTT angry-troll-infested websites

Jeff 11

"Cameron telling us that we should simply turn off the Internet for our kids or apply filters etc to limit the sites they access simply isnt enough, we need to be able to allow our kids to get away from all the bullying."


Why is there a fundamental human need for your child to visit Facebook or Twitter?

Was there such a need when you were of the same age?

People like yourself keep saying how essential it is to ingrain social media sites and services into your lives, but this is a modern, self-perpetuating lie. I have zero day to day interaction with Facebook and zero day to day interaction with Twitter. You don't get ostracized for not having a profile. You don't automatically become a luddite by refusing to use them. The fact that parents are allowing their kids to use these sites is probably doing them more physcial and mental harm than keeping them away from it - it promotes the idea that you can have proper relationships via messaging services and arguably keeps them (at least in part) from having real lives themselves.

UN to call for 'pre-emptive' ban on soulless robot bomber assassins

Jeff 11

I'm a bit surprised at the rather flawed analogy between an autonomous drone and a guided weapon - usually your analyses are more on the ball Lewis!

A Tomahawk missile is of course capable of failing to achieve its objective and causing collateral damage, but its simplicity (it's basically an autopilot without the landing code) means that's less likely to happen than something that can make decisions autonomously - and even if it does happen, it can only blow up the wrong thing once.

A reusable machine that can decide how to fulfill its objective can do so in many more ways, and, potentially, multiple times. Fortunately that sort of real intelligence is far beyond our means to effectively implement at the moment.

Microsoft reveals Xbox One, the console that can read your heartbeat

Jeff 11

It's not much of a surprise to me but this could be a fairly important moment in gaming, for it means all the heavyweight consoles now have something in common - x86 CPUs. The new Xbox also runs DirectX, which should make it technically trivial to have dual releases on the Xbox and Windows PCs. The PS4 will also handle x86 code, although it'll no doubt have lots of proprietary APIs and GPU intricacies to handle, but they'll probably be much less of a complexity gap for doing multi-platform ports.

WTF is... LTE Advanced?

Jeff 11

What's the point in increasing front-line radio data speed if the backhaul can't accommodate it? There are practically no websites that are going to transfer data to you at 1Gbit, never mind that most phones wouldn't be able to pull at that speed. I'm all for advances in technology but there is always seems to be a trade off between increasing data rate and decreasing viable range, and right now the world needs the latter, not the former.

Object Storage: A solution in search of a problem?

Jeff 11

Just because you can theoretically build a multi-petabyte cluster to store hundreds of nodes' worth of data doesn't necessarily mean you should. Object storage is and probably always will be a niche product, but there are numerous advantages to not putting massive amounts of unstructured data on a filesystem; the first, obviously, being that you don't have to worry about designing and maintaining an artificial structure around it as your data pool grows. You don't have to worry about errant processes on your storage boxes doing things they shouldn't on data being stored as regular files. You don't have to worry about the intricacies of the underlying filesystem, or whether you'll be able to grow your clustered filesystem indefinitely while maintaining scale. You don't have to worry about whether a software bug in a very complex system like Gluster will cause an unrecoverable error or split brain, because object storage tends to be fundamentally simpler than layered filesystems and storage protocols working together to produce the same result.

Ofcom: Parents, here's how to keep grubby tots from buying Smurfberries

Jeff 11
Thumb Down

I'm riled by the lack of pragmatism from parents whose nippers have been caught by the in-app purchase trap. There are a number of things a parent can do to stop this from being possible - like having a decently hard to crack app store password, changing their password every so often, checking their account balance online to make sure no unauthorised activity is going on, or just doing the totally sensible thing of removing your credit card details from a device YOUR CHILD HAS ACCESS TO. I'm all for adding better controls to more granularly restrict certain activities, but you're ultimately undertaking a massive level of risk by giving a device to your child that's linked to your bank account. Wallets are not toys, why should phones be?

"It is down to parental supervision, but when ad companies target young children in such a way it is wrong."

From an ethical perspective I'd agree, but companies have been doing this for decades and the more integrated technology becomes with our lives the more creative extracting money from children's pockets will be, and the further ahead of regulators and authorities the ad boys will be.

Ultimately the price of security is convenience, and vice versa - choose your poison.


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