* Posts by Dr Paul Taylor

223 posts • joined 15 Jul 2009

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Talk about a GAN-do attitude... AI software bots can see through your text CAPTCHAs

Dr Paul Taylor

American imperialism

To add to all the other stupidity of Google CAPTCHAs, we have to recognise AMERICAN cars,

AMERICAN street signs, AMERICAN shop fronts, etc.

Check your repos... Crypto-coin-stealing code sneaks into fairly popular NPM lib (2m downloads per week)

Dr Paul Taylor

Javascript

Why did we ever allow this cr@p on our webpages in the first place.

I was just checking out the "more computing power than Apollo 11" adage. In fact your bluetooth devices have more computing power than Apollo 11 had. This seems to be the best account.

So, FIFY, it now takes more computing power to load one poxy webpage than the whole world had when Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon.

What the #!/%* is that rogue Raspberry Pi doing plugged into my company's server room, sysadmin despairs

Dr Paul Taylor

"That username has already been issued to someone else."

That's the reason why I am "Dr" Paul Taylor on El Reg. There seems to be no way of getting my login merged with my earlier "Paul Taylor".

UK.gov isn't ready for no-deal Brexit – and 'secrecy' means businesses won't be either

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: So join your local campaign group to stop this

Big thanks to Jamie for setting this site up on his server, where it is now live.

The rude AC appears not to have looked beyond the front page to the site itself. That front page was edited from something else in a considerable hurry in the half hour before I gave a demo. It was subsequently replaced with something cleaner. The program-generated main pages have no CSS, Javascript or cookies, but maybe (Jamie or) I will get round to writing some CSS to smarten it up later.

Dr Paul Taylor

So join your local campaign group to stop this

www.IStopBrexit.info

The campaign is desperately short of IT competent people.

It would be great if someone could offer me a Virtual Private Server with LAMP for this site,

Shortages, price rises, recession: Tech industry preps for hard Brexit

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: And all we can do...

To Loyal Commenter: of course I agree with everything you say, but I think you might be overestimating the numbers. A bit over a week ago I attended a presentation by a BfE person originally from Bristol that 50,000 had signed up on the PV website, FB, Eventbrite etc. Received wisdom is that you multiply such numbers by 10 to get the actual turnout.

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: And all we can do...

and go to the demo on Saturday 20 October at midday from Park Lane (Hyde Park):

www.peoples-vote.uk/march

and join your local campaign group: www.IStopBrexit.info

UK.gov withdraws life support from flagship digital identity system

Dr Paul Taylor

Government denying people their rights

I think you may have missed a big one. The date 29 March tolls a bell.

This sounded like a pretty simple IT project. Hate to think what might happen with "maximum facilitation" (a piece of Newspeak if I ever heard one).

Microsoft liberates ancient MS-DOS source from the museum and sticks it in GitHub

Dr Paul Taylor

Ah, 9900

My very first programming job. Instron in High Wycombe.

'This is insane!' FCC commissioner tears into colleagues over failure to stop robocalls

Dr Paul Taylor

Dont advertise your number

My residential number is not in the phone book and I only give it to friends, never to companies. So I rarely ever get robocalls; they do happen once in a while because they dial random numbers.

Voyager 1 left the planet 41 years ago – and SpaceX hopes to land on Earth this Saturday

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: 3.6AU per year

It's only a bit more than half of the orbital speed of the Earth, which is of course 2pi AU per year.

(Why am I not allowed to include HTML symbols like π ?)

Tech firms, come to Blighty! Everything is brill! Brexit schmexit, Galileo schmalileo

Dr Paul Taylor

Brexit Schmexit

That slogan was on EU in Brum banners in September 2016. (Credit Alan Suter I think.) When I went into the pub after the demo to "welcome" to Tories to Brum for their conference, people asked me what Schmexit meant.

IT systems still in limbo as UK.gov departments await Brexit policy – MPs

Dr Paul Taylor

Who smashed up the house?

The angry, stupid children have smashed up the house: and they are precisely the wrong people to fix it.

Agree with you completely, except that the angry stupid grandma and grandpa smashed up the house, leaving the children to fix it.

I have been of the opinion since Gordon Brown was in no 10 that we have no competent politicians in any of the parties.

That Brexit in action: UK signs pact to let Euro court judge its patents

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: the UK's planned exit from the European Union

no one said "well planned"

My comment stands nevertheless. There has been no "planning" at all, even bad planning.

Equally, brexit will not just fail to bring net benefits, it will not benefit anybody in any way at all, except perhaps American billionaires, and I now doubt that it will even benefit them.

Dr Paul Taylor

the UK's planned exit from the European Union

Of all the words that could be said about this, planned is not one of them!

AI boffins rebel against closed-access academic journal that wants to have its cake and eat it

Dr Paul Taylor

refereeing and typesetting

Thank you for the first journalistic article I have seen on this topic that says it honestly as it is: researchers do all the work in producing journals, publishers do nothing. Researchers always did the (research and authorship, obviously, and) refereeing, but for the last 30 years (thanks to LaTeX) they have done the typesetting too. In fact Springer mangled the typesetting of the last paper of mine that they published, despite repeated assurances from the editor of the volume that they wouldn't touch it.

Sysadmin unplugged wrong server, ran away, hoped nobody noticed

Dr Paul Taylor

Around time of this story, while I was working at South Ken Tech, a JCB sliced through the main power cable in the street. The power was not off for very long. However, this was before journaling filesystems, so the machines took an hour or more to do all their fscking to recover.

Facebook scandal: EU politicians should aim for straight answers, not star witnesses

Dr Paul Taylor

Liber facium delendus est.

No, Sierra Leone did not just run the world's first 'blockchain election'

Dr Paul Taylor

So what was blockchain used for?

So, a story that I didn't hear was false.

It would be nice to know, technically, what this company did use blockchain for in their observation of part of an election, and whether it was effective in identifying any fraud.

We need to talk, Brit Parliamentary committee tells Mark Zuckerberg

Dr Paul Taylor

Did some of our politicians and businesses pay for their services over brexit?

As I said, I urge you to read the rest of Carole Cadwalladr's coverage of this story.

here

Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Shoot the Messenger

If this weekend was the first time that you heard this story about Cambridge Analytica then I urge you to read Carole Cadwalladr's coverage of it over about a year:

theguardian.com/profile/carolecadwalladr

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Facebook and Brexit

If you read what I wrote, you will see that I have nothing to do with "social media". What is needed, simply to make the anti-brexit movement work as well as any company (I am not saying that is "well") is some basic IT competence to do its internal management.

As to whether it is going anywhere, when protests happen, politicians slip quietly out of meetings to whisper in the organisers' ears to thank them for not letting the matter rest quietly. For example, when we had a little demo outside the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham in October 2016, people tiptoed out to say "there are people in there trying to stop this madness".

So please offer to help instead of complaining.

Dr Paul Taylor

Facebook and Brexit

The entire anti-brexit movement is run on Facebook. There at least 700 closed FB groups, most apparently with very few members, which will therefore have little impact on the campaign. But besides this, the national organisations run their entire operations through FB groups. I have had most contact with Britain for Europe, which represents the grass roots groups.

Despite telling people essentially what hit the news this weekend, other activists will not take no for an answer when I refuse to join FB (these are people who who not pressurise a vegetarian to eat meat). The solution to every problem is yet another FB page, whilst the websites are hosted on "free" services such as Google and Wix, giving out edit privileges liberally. None of the activists has a clue about information management.

To put it the other way round, it seems that IT-competent people are not willing to volunteer for the campaign. You can see from my comments elsewhere on this site that I am not really an IT person: I am a mathematician in a CS department. But I have taken to calling myself "the only geek in the village", since noone else has any programming skills at all.

If you'd like to help, please contact me at pt@euinbrum.org

Did somebody say Brexit? Cambridge Analytica grilled: Brit MPs' Fake News probe

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Repeating the lie enough times..

"Trump was probably the least honest candidate in history"

There's a lot of competition for that honour!

Unfortunately, this site is lacking in citations.

Terror law expert to UK.gov: Why backdoors when there's so much other data to slurp?

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Security settings

You use Google?

'Twas the night before Y2K and a grinch stole the IT department's overtime payout

Dr Paul Taylor

Dismissing Y2K

And if you hear somebody dismiss Y2K as nothing, remind them it turned out that way because of the how the tech community prepared for it.

You might imagine that the CEO of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce might have a bit of a clue about (a) IT and (b) the business implications of erasing 45 years of trade legislation.

Said CEO, Paul Faulkner, was a speaker at a recent event about brexit at Birmingham City University. He breezily dismissed concerns about whether planes could fly on 30 March 2019. "It's scaremongering," he said, "just like Y2K, nothing will happen."

In the audience time I took the opportunity to point out that "nothing had happened at Y2K" because thousands, if not millions, of programmers had put in the overtime to fix it. David Davis, on the other hand, had just admitted that he hadn't done his homework and didn't have a clue what the "impact" of brexit might be on 57 industries. I don't know what the legal basis is for flying a plane across the Channel, but so far as I can gather, it will be illegal when we pull the plug on 45 years of legislation.

WikiLeaks is wiki-leaked. And it's still not even a proper wiki anyway

Dr Paul Taylor

Tu quoque

On a point of information, the tu quoque (you too) defence was found to be valid at the Nuremberg war crimes trials and got Doenitz off: see here.

That does not deflect from my view that, despite my one-time sympathy for him, it's time Assange faced his Swedish trial for alleged attempted rape and before that his British one for jumping bail. I don't think I need to say what I think of the Orange Snowflake.

Whois? No, Whowas: Incoming Euro privacy rules torpedo domain registration system

Dr Paul Taylor

If you want to keep your domain name contact details secret, first question why?

Maybe you're a Remoaner, SabotEUr or Enemy of the People but would like to avoid the DIY trials for Treason that have been offered to prominent figures. www.euinbrum.org

UK's NHS to pilot 'Airbnb'-style care service in homeowners' spare rooms

Dr Paul Taylor

more like £4K

When my Mum was in a care home with Alzheimers in 2012 it cost about £3600/month. Probably a lot more now.

UK PM Theresa May's response to terror attacks 'shortsighted'

Dr Paul Taylor

Unless she magically figures out a way to ban mathematics

Don't give her ideas!

She'll have another referendum to do that!

Russian data scientist unable to claim £12,000 prize in Brit competition

Dr Paul Taylor

History

John Harrison's clocks. If your face doesn't fit...

PC repair chap lets tech support scammer log on to his PC. His Linux PC

Dr Paul Taylor

if they call you a mother [bleep]

My parents got one of these calls, even though they didn't have broadband. My mother had

Alzheimer's, so we let her take the call...

Top UK judges rule: Government can't pull the Article 50 trigger alone

Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

Re: David Davis is expected later today ...

Somebody put a petition on the Parliament website proposing an amendment to the Treason Act to the effect that anyone campaigning for UK to rejoin the EU would be guilty of it. Next we'll have one making it a criminal offence to speak French or Greek (both of which I'm studying at the moment). The Brexiters certainly have a particularly sick mindset and have no comprehension of what Democracy is, unless, that is, we translate it as mob-rule. Congratulations, by the way, to the Commentard who read the Supreme Court judgement: I forbad myself to do so because other things need to be done.

San Francisco first US city to outlaw ISP lock-ins by landlords

Dr Paul Taylor
Thumb Down

Saddling the landlord

The article, comments and presumably the legislation all seem to be founded on the idea that private landlords are evil capitalist bastards who are in league with the evil capitalist bastard ISPs, whilst tenants are exploited but know best how to get the best deals.

The other point of view is that maybe the landlord has looked for a good deal, which the tenant screws up because, like many customers, s/he has been seduced by some marketing scam that will tie the property physically and legally to some evil capitalist ISP (or energy supplier or ...) long after the end of the tenancy.

OpenStreetView? You are no longer hostage to Google's car-driven vision

Dr Paul Taylor

Portable atlas?

We carry around with us nowadays plenty of spare storage and cpu power to include an atlas, or at least a street atlas of wherever we're planning to go. However, the powers that sell us the technology ignore that and want us "connected" all the time, I suspect for their own motives. Another problem with carrying a digital atlas is copyright.

So where I hoped this article might be going was to tell us that OpenStreetMap now has excellent coverage and some easy to use system for downloading data in bulk and displaying it as needed. Maybe it could use the Debian package management system. But no, that's not sexy enough. It would be nice to know anyway.

Ofcom to force a legal separation of Openreach

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Openreach to the installs & repairs - favours BT customers

Au contraire. In 2009 BT Retail had my phone and ICUK my broadband. There was a fault on the phone line. BT Retail's reponse was to blame me. More faults. After 4 1/2 months the fault only affected ADSL so I got ICUK on to it. Within an hour or so they had got Openreach to "reset the line". My guess is that the DSLAM (or whatever it is called) was knocked out of place, but BT Retail was structurally incapable of fixing such a fault, because it would require insight or extended technical communication with the customer. Of course I switched my phone line to ICUK and there has been no similar problem since then. Lengthy discussion with BT "high level complaints" and the "ombudsman" was just a whitewash.

Dr Paul Taylor

Granny's phone

Rather than splitting Openreach from the BT Group they should split off incompetent BT Retail into ten bits according to the last digit of Granny's phone as independent companies. Let's call them the Ten Green Bottles.

UK PM Theresa May's £2bn in R&D still a drop in the ocean

Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

£2b is rather less than the annual cost of employing the extra 30,000 civil servants who are needed to find out what "Brexit" means.

TfL to track Tube users in stations by their MAC addresses

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: Streetview

Wasn't this very illegal when Google did it?

Yes, but that was because Google isn't google.gov.uk

Yet another reason for not having a "smart"phone.

Security bods find Android phoning home. Home being China

Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

This is why

I don't have a "smart"phone.

Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

Dr Paul Taylor
Thumb Up

the Executive doesn't get to enact domestic legislation on a whim

It's a pity that the press (at least the Guardian online and Radio 4 lunchtime news) didn't explain the legal argument.

The Executive (in the UK quaintly called the Crown) has Prerogative to decide on foreign affairs. The Brexit Secretary's case was that membership of the EU is a foreign affair. However, only Parliament gets to pass domestic legislation. The Government's case failed because the 1972 Act and membership of the EU creates domestic rights, so it is not within "Royal" Prerogative to remove those rights without the approval of Parliament.

I am not a lawyer, but this does look like a pretty robust Judgement, so I have every hope that the Supreme Court will support it. In the highly unlikely case that the Government appeal to the CJEU, I cannot imagine that that would allow an executive to deny the supremacy of a parliament.

In fact this Judgement is another chapter in the 17th century struggle of Parliament against the Crown. A historic occasion!

In the Judgement, there are three Categories of such rights, of which (ii) includes for example my freedom of movement as a British Citizen in other EU countries.

Brexit must not break the cloud, Japan tells UK and EU

Dr Paul Taylor

Japanese courtesy

I am immensely grateful to Shinzo Abe for knocking a rather large nail into the coffin of Brexit, but I also had this thought:

Any westerner who has visited the Land of the Rising Sun will know that it is impossible to satisfy the requirements of Japanese courtesy and one is always a gaijin. Anyone who has witnessed a Japanese apology will know that it is cringeworthy. So it is really quite entertaining to see them behave in a way that we would see as incredibly undiplomatic.

Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

Parliamentary negligence

Jay, maybe you also missed the fact that it was a Leaver who started the petition asking for a second referendum,

which has now been signed by four million people and is due to be debated on 5 September.

There is no symmetry between whether there was a Leave or Remain win. There should always be a presumption in favour of the status quo and an obstacle to change. This has already been observed here by comparison to the US Constitution, for example, but since this is a tech site let me put it in engineering terms.

The thermostat on your central heating doesn't turn it on as soon as the room goes 0.1 degree below the set level, because to do so would damage the system. Anyone who argues that one vote over 50% should be enough to trigger drastic change must equally accept that if two people change their mind then there must immediately be a drastic reversal. Clearly that would be stupid. Ergo, making the drastic change in the first place on such a flimsy margin is stupid.

PS don't forget the March for Europe on 3 September.

Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

Parliamentary negligence

I seem to have missed the bit about there being a designated 60% threshold,

You missed it because the Cabinet, Opposition, Select Committees, House of Lords and maybe even the Queen (in her private weekly chats with her PM) failed to do their jobs in scrutinising proposed legislation. The one Remaining hope is that they will do their jobs at least in the rearguard defence.

Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

Let's hope

that when Parliament (especially the Select Committees) gets back from its hols, they actually do their job (as they failed to do by allowing the referendum to go through without a 60% threshold) by grilling David Davies and his pals mercilessly until they finally admit that this whole affair is economic suicide, a pack of lies and vastly infeasible.

Brexit Britain: HP Sauce vs BBC.co.uk – choices that defined voters

Dr Paul Taylor

Re: "We Voted Leave..."

Brill!

Post-Brexit spending freeze in UK is real, says enterprise distie titan

Dr Paul Taylor
Flame

How much rope

does new PM May intend to give the arch-buffoon and his two sidekicks before she deems them to have hanged themselves and reverses this national suicide pact?

Argos changes 150 easily guessed drop-off system passwords

Dr Paul Taylor

Argos data security

They also have a policy that has been noted here for banks: phoning customers and asking for their address and other details, and insisting on this before proceeding with the business of the call.

Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

Dr Paul Taylor

Result not significant

Any organisation that does have a codified constitution has clauses in it about how to change it, typically requiring a 2/3 majority. In the US some large proportion of states have to ratify it. The first Scottish devolution referendum was in favour but not by a large enough turnout. Tory trades union law puts up hurdles for strike ballots. Yes, in an election, some> candidate has to win, even if by 50.0001%. When the issue is to create economic chaos, as we are already seeing, 52% is nowhere near a big enough mandate.

Data protection, Brexit and campaigners: Privacy policy? Eh?

Dr Paul Taylor
Big Brother

Privatised political surveilance

Why the hell is a single website being allowed a monopoly of data about the political views of supporters of diametrically opposed parties and campaigns?

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