* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Law's changed, now cough up: Uncle Sam serves Microsoft fresh warrant for Irish emails

veti Silver badge

So, I had a look at the CLOUD Act...

And it's appalling.

Under it, Microsoft can try to resist handing over the data if it thinks:

“(i) that the customer or subscriber is not a United States person and does not reside in the United States; and

“(ii) that the required disclosure would create a material risk that the provider would violate the laws of a qualifying foreign government.

If it files such a motion, then a US court will decide whether to grant it - that is, a US court has to interpret the laws of whatever other country is being targeted this week. I'm pretty sure that's unconstitutional, because US courts are only empowered to interpret US laws (Article 3, section 2 of the constitution).

The mere fact that the request violates a foreign law - is no defence at all. It also has to belong to "a non-US person". How that is supposed to square with the equal protection clause, I'm not sure.

Watchdog growls at Tesla for spilling death crash details: 'Autopilot on, hands off wheel'

veti Silver badge

Re: Crash (almost) re-created by another driver

Which is all well and good, and very interesting in itself...

But what bothers me is why the autopilot didn't stop, or at least slow, the car when it perceived that it was rapidly approaching a solid obstacle, regardless of "lane markings". What if it had been completely right about the lane, but there had been a stationary car in it? Wouldn't it have stopped?

Or did it not perceive the obstacle? Because that's a whole other can of worms, but no less wriggly.

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

veti Silver badge

Re: Thanks to the British voters?

@Dodgy: "status quo" was explicitly one of the options on the ballot, and it's the one that lost. If non-voters wanted it, they bloody well should have voted, I have zero sympathy for them.

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Re: Where are the Brexit fans?

@Phil: thank you for a reasonably balanced view.

I'm two parts convinced that Theresa May is trying her damnedest to stop Brexit, the only way that has any chance of working: by taking the country right to the brink, then getting an overwhelming majority to cry off. I don't know how else to explain that farcical election campaign.

But at this point, I don't think she'll succeed. Manoeuvres like this have done a lot to harden Leave opinion. Much more of this hamfisted bullying, and a clear majority would go for the hardest Brexit imaginable.

veti Silver badge

Re: No surprise

What do you expect ? That UK companies can keep using .EU domains ?

Why not? Icelandic and Norwegian ones can. So clearly, EU membership isn't a requirement.

Autonomous vehicle claims are just a load of hot air… and here's why

veti Silver badge

Of course no-one can guarantee the future (including you). But Waymo is prepared to bet $1.3 billion on their technology. What's your bid?

veti Silver badge

I feel I have to point out that autonomous cars are "on the roads" in 2018. I'm quite freaked at how accurate that prediction was.

True, they're not on many roads, but they're out there.

I don't know if you noticed, but last week Waymo announced they were buying 20,000 of the things from Jaguar (link). That's not a test run, that's an operational fleet - that will be on the road by 2020.

That seems pretty close to me.

Donald Trump jumps on anti-tech bandwagon, gets everything wrong

veti Silver badge

Re: Trump was accurate and some people don't like it

This story is a typical political attack on Trump for stating the truth about Amazon who has many issues not the least of which is listing merchandise as "IN STOCK" when they in fact do not have the merchandise available to ship to consumers.

Which is nothing to do with what Trump said, but whatever.

Then they string the customer along for weeks until the customer finally cancels the order

In which case they get no money. Your point?

Another wonderful treat when dealing with Amazon is that they use low cost delivery services that are unregulated and IME completely unreliable. As a result they show up at a business before 8:00 am to deliver a package and then do the same day after day after day and return the package as undeliverable because they can't read the hours of operation on the front door.

Another way of cheating themselves out of revenue. If this is a common problem, it's a self-correcting one because Amazon will shortly go bankrupt. What's the problem?

In regards to Trumps statements on Amazon he is correct they pay little local taxes compared to what local businesses pay.

I'll type this slowly so you can understand it:

Whenever someone makes an industry more efficient, that means its expenses go down. And then the taxes it pays on those expenses also go down.

When Henry Ford introduced the $100 car, the tax he paid per car was a lot lower than the tax paid by his rivals who were still charging $1000 per car. This is efficiency, it's a good thing. The alternative is sheer waste. If you want to embrace that - well, that's the mistake Britain made in the 1960s/70s, or the communist bloc for its whole lifetime.

Amazon is actually overwhelming the poorly run U.S. Postal service adding to financial losses and poor customer mail service.

So which is it, should Amazon use the "poorly run" USPS or should it use "low cost delivery services that are unregulated"? You can't have it both ways. If delivery is such an issue for you, then pay for the delivery option you do want. Or, and here's a thought, do your shopping elsewhere.

veti Silver badge

Citation please. When did Obama say these same things about Amazon?

And what "facts" did Trump "reveal"? I see several untruths, but nothing that can plausibly be described as a "fact" that wasn't already common - heck, near-universal - knowledge.

veti Silver badge

Re: brain farts

@Frenchie: I agree with your point that the overt partisanship of media coverage is unhelpful. But it is certainly not "living proof that the media is biased against him".

In the first place, The Register has never pretended to offer impartial journalism - on any subject. That's not what people come here for.

In the second place, The Register is hardly typical of "the media". It's a cliquey news site for tech professionals with a strong British bias. (Also, I suspect, a "middle-aged" bias and a "male" bias, but those are rather less strong.) Time Magazine it ain't.

Your suggestions to "the media" would be more helpfully addressed to the New York Times, The Atlantic, Washington Post, CNN...

How do you make those darn code monkeys do what you want? Just give 'em a little nudge

veti Silver badge

Re: Ring the bell

It's very hard to generalise about this, because every software package is different, but if you document it as "do this", then effectively your software now does only that. Easier to support? - sure, because 80% of people stop trying to use it, because what they want to do is something slightly different.

I've been in the same position - for years I was the documentation guy at a small software company. My bosses were forever telling me to write the process to be followed. But what that left out was, basically, all the options. I'd end up documenting one very specific workflow, out of several hundred such options that the software would support. There were fewer questions of the form "how do we do this?", but many more of "what does this button do?"

What's an RDBMS? Don't ask the UK's data protection watchdog

veti Silver badge

Re: He's not wrong...

I mean, how many significantly large organisations are going to say "no" to a question such as "have you implemented a formal backup strategy?"....

You realise that question is followed up immediately by "Can I see it, please?" Followed by "Can you show me this component here?", "please restore this test environment from your last available backup", and "show me how you perform a backup".

Just "saying the right thing" to auditors, even unskilled ones, is asking for whole new dimensions of trouble.

Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history

veti Silver badge

Re: The hardware underneath

And by "roll it completely on your own", you mean "running your own software, on your own operating system, your own hardware, with chips designed, fabricated and soldered into place by you personally."

Anything less is just posing.

Ideally you should also be laying the fibre and installing connectors too, but that would be unreasonable. So long as there's no silicon within your server centre that's provided or manufactured by anyone else, that's probably good enough.

Assuming you're perfect, of course.

Microsoft's Windows 7 Meltdown fixes from January, February made PCs MORE INSECURE

veti Silver badge

Re: it was a mistake, would we lie to you?

You think it's a cunning ploy?

I think you severely over-estimate Microsoft's competence.

Fatal driverless crash: Radar-maker says Uber disabled safety systems

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Re: We must ban all self-driving cars on public streets now

And will you take the blame for the next pedestrian killed by a human driver who performs less well than a self-driving car would have done? Because that will happen sooner.


Even if self-driving cars are never perfect, they might still be better than the alternative. We want to get them to that stage sooner rather than later. That requires testing.

veti Silver badge

Ah yes, the good old "artificial intelligence is impossible" line. I wondered how long we'd take to get to that.

Brains are not magic. Everything that goes on inside a human mind is something that can (in principle, if you really want to) be replicated in another environment. Of course mosttimes we don't really want that, but the point is that any generalised statement about what one thing or the other "can" do is just - magical thinking.

Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg has flunky tell UK MPs: Nope, he's sending someone else

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Re: The heat is on

I don't blame him.

He knows the UK MPs just want to grandstand for domestic consumption: every question they're going to put to him will be one that he's already fielded from US Congresscritters, so why go through it all again?

British MPs want their photo op, they want to be seen to be grilling Zuck. But apart from bolstering their own campaigns, what would be achieved by it?

Facebook's inflection point: Now everyone knows this greedy mass surveillance operation for what it is

veti Silver badge

Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

If I had a share in Google for every time I've seen apparently intelligent people claiming that ads don't work, I could have retired a decade ago.

Zucker for history: What I learnt about Facebook 600 years ago

veti Silver badge

Re: Good article

So, as was said, because he wanted to get his end away.

Nah. Henry was well aware of the distinction between sex and marriage, he didn't need to divorce or marry anyone to get his end away.

What he really wanted was a legitimate male heir, with the emphasis on "legitimate". (And hence, indirectly, also "male", since a female would always be of slightly suspect legitimacy - c.f. Mary and Elizabeth.)

It's easy to see people as motivated solely by selfishness and hedonism, but often there are excellent political reasons behind these stories. Henry VIII is one such.

Surprise UK raid of Cambridge Analytica delayed: Nobody expects the British information commissioner!

veti Silver badge

No matter what they shred, when the ICO comes round they have to have something to show. And it has to look at least semi plausible to account for the known facts. Otherwise they're bang to rights for destroying evidence, which is a far more serious crime.

Destroying the data would be easy. Replacing it - convincingly - not so much. Just ask anyone who's ever been audited...

Brit MPs chide UK.gov: You're acting like EU data adequacy prep is easy

veti Silver badge

Yes that's 6 halves but as Tory MPs are capable of changing firmly held opinions several times over lunch it's probably about right.

You say that as if "Tory MPs" are somehow worse than Labour ones in this regard. I don't see it.

veti Silver badge

No, Brexit MPs are saying 2 years because that's what the law says will happen. Both EU and UK law agree on this. As of one year from next week, the UK will no longer be a member of the EU. To reverse that - is technically possible, but it would take political and legal manoeuvrings that would amount to a constitutional amendment.

The whole argument is about what, exactly, "member of the EU" does and doesn't mean. That turns out to be a surprisingly complex question.

If you'd asked me two years ago, for instance, I would have said that all member states send representatives to the council of ministers and to EU summits. But the UK stopped doing that immediately after the referendum. So in that sense, it's already not a full member of the EU.

Other aspects of membership - being bound by EU laws, courts, common foreign policy, common fisheries policy, participation in EU budget etc. - all turn out to be negotiable. Again, not what I'd have said if you asked me pre-referendum. Who knew? We're in uncharted waters.

"Ceasing to be a member" is easy. "Defining what that means" is something else entirely.

You must be yolking: English pub to launch eggstravagent Yorkshire pudding

veti Silver badge

Re: Direct action time

I'm pretty sure that if the good citizens of Nottingham don't break out the pitchforks etc. at this provocation, they may later be held complicit when the matter comes to the Hague.

Addicts of Facebook and pals are easy prey for manipulative scumbags – thanks to tech giants' 'extraordinary reach'

veti Silver badge

Re: Yeah right...

Both sides lose. The EU loses Britain's money, while Britain also loses because its currency is now worth less.

Britain has already taken approximately a 10% hit to GDP, it's just not reflected in the official figures because those are denominated in sterling.

The "funds from Europe to Britain" are important only for a few people - specifically, those involved in EU-funded activities. They don't mean that much to most of us. But for those specific people, they are very important. In some cases there are also "multiplier effects".

Finally, as absolutely anyone who's ever attended an economics class of any kind will tell you, the more trade there is, and the freer it is, the better off - in aggregate - is everyone concerned. Cutting one party off makes all parties poorer. That's why trade wars are so stupid.

Happy now?

Bitcoin's blockchain: Potentially a hazardous waste dump of child abuse, malware, etc

veti Silver badge

Re: Potentially?

The more I learn about Bitcoin, the more amazed I am it's lasted as long as it has.

In other news, the price of Bitcoin - has not dropped at all since this story appeared.

BOOM! Cambridge Analytica explodes following extraordinary TV expose

veti Silver badge

Re: Team from Facebook are in their offices tonight?

Was there a team from Facebook there? All I see is a tweet asking very much the same question as you. That's not a report, it's an innuendo poorly disguised as a question.

Facebook confirms Cambridge Analytica stole its data; it’s a plot, claims former director

veti Silver badge

You have to remember how ridiculously close the election was. The winning margin came to less than 0.1% of voters across three states.

So yeah, it's possible CA had that big an effect. Just that it wouldn't have meant anything without all the other things also having their effects. Giving all the credit to CA is like paying for a coffee with 1p coins, and saying it was the last one that bought it.

Google to 'forget me' man: Have you forgotten what you said earlier?

veti Silver badge

Re: Add spent convictions to the discrimination legislation

No, a valet is a gentleman's gentleman - and I don't see any exemption for them.

A butler is a household manager, with considerable authority for hiring and firing others. Plus, of course, they will almost by definition be employed only by stupidly rich people. I suspect that's the real issue.

veti Silver badge

Re: Add spent convictions to the discrimination legislation

@BlockChainToo: You'll be relieved to hear that accountants are specifically exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act: their convictions are never considered "spent".

There's an odd list of professions this applies to: among others, it also includes doctors, nurses and pharmacists, vets, unit trust managers, taxi drivers and...

wait for it...


FYI: There's a cop tool called GrayKey that force unlocks iPhones. Let's hope it doesn't fall into the wrong hands!

veti Silver badge

Physical security has always been the most important layer

That hasn't changed.

If someone you don't trust has unrestricted access to your phone, for two hours continuously...

... it's over. Forget it.

Historically this has always been true. It seems there was a brief period when we were all anxious to pretend it no longer applied, but that was only ever an illusion.

After repeated warnings Facebook bans Britain First for 'inciting hatred'

veti Silver badge

Re: Snowflake, much?

“Allah is a Gay God” is odious but I guess piss-christ is OK in your book...

There's a difference between an exhibit in an art gallery, where people have to go out of their way to see it, and plastering posters around the streets of Luton.

One of these things is Conduct Likely to Result in a Breach of the Peace.

That's what this is about: peace. No more, no less. If you're trying to make people so angry that they escalate to shouting and violence, then you're an enemy of the peace, no matter which "side" you claim to promote. And if you're doing that in a foreign country where you have no automatic right to enter and reside, you should bloody well expect to be barred from re-entering it.

Then you can go bitch and whine on Twitter about how your rights are being trampled by the oppressive librul establishment (like Twitter), and welcome.

veti Silver badge

I think the Daesh flag on the roof of his house constitutes shouting.

Err... no. People put all kinds of things on their houses.

When I was a kid, anarchist slogans were in vogue. If everyone who displayed a poster saying "If you don't hit it, it won't fall" - to say nothing of "everyone who expressed a liking for the Sex Pistols" - had drawn the attention of Special Branch, they'd have had a very busy time of it.

To this day there are people in the United States who proudly display the Confederate flag. A symbol whose entire raison d'etre is armed rebellion against the USA.

Should people who display Scottish flags in England be investigated? Those two countries have been at war for most of the past millennium. How about French flags, or - gasp - German ones?

None of these things "constitutes shouting" anything very provocative.

veti Silver badge

No, if you are going to "ban hate" then you need to warn people who are posting material that you feel infracts your rules, and if they ignore the warnings, ban them.

Note two points: targeting, and warning. No blanket bans, and anyone who is banned gets a warning first.

In this case, it's clear that Britain First were warned, and decided they'd rather raise a stink as Facebook martyrs than stop posting shit. And lookie here, no shortage of useful idiots on El Reg happy to oblige them.

veti Silver badge

Re: the white working class children in Rotherham, Telford and Rochdale

@Anonymous Coward (why anon, by the way)?

Not by "minorities" but by "Asians," even though none of the child predators are Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc.

As you would know if you had been brought up in Britain, "Asian" in that country has always been broadly synonymous with "brown". Mostly Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan. East Asians (mostly Chinese/Taiwanese, plus a smattering of Malaysian/Singaporean - there are very few Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese etc.) are an afterthought.

veti Silver badge

@Anonymous Coward

Tell me, how many jihadist that go around shouting they want all Christians and westerners to die have ever been challenged or even stopped before they go all stabby, killy or bomby on people?

Citation please. For "jihadists going around shouting (that stuff)".

I certainly didn't hear them. Who did?

Bad blood: Theranos CEO charged with massive fraud

veti Silver badge

Re: the only penalty is 'you can't do that again for 10 years'

"Real prison time" may still be on its way. Her comeuppance hasn't ended yet.

YouTube plan to use Wikipedia against crackpots hits snag

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Re: Partnership requirement to read?

If you were planning to cause a significant long-term increase in their bandwidth bill, and to leech off their good name for your own commercial purposes, it would be at least polite to discuss the matter with them first.

I can see three things coming of this, none of them good. First, a whole new lot of nutjobs will start adding bullshit to Wikipedia. (Of course this already happens, but it will increase by a couple of orders of magnitude.) Second - as a result of that - Wikipedia will lock down a lot of articles, and it will become substantially harder to update. And third, Wikipedia will update its terms and conditions specifically to prevent other people from pulling this kind of crap again.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Toyota to flog 10,000 aaS wagons to Avis Budget rentals

veti Silver badge

Re: Hello Mr Corfield!

@John Brown: And when every car rental company is abusing and gouging its customers...

... then I'll start my own car rental company, in which I'll use the data to protect myself from losses by charging drivers correctly, rather than random gouging.

If you want to abuse an incumbent position, you need high barriers to entry. Those don't exist in the car rental business. If you think you can do better than Avis? - Go nuts. Start now. There's literally nothing to stop you.

veti Silver badge

Re: Hello Mr Corfield!

If I rent a car from Avis, I have no objection to them observing what I do with it. They have a legitimate interest in that. Fine with me.

If the whole experience is substantially more intrusive or expensive than I bargained for, then I'll patronise some other car rental service instead. Avis doesn't have a monopoly. (And it's hard to see how overcharging or mistreating their customers will help them to acquire one.)

What's the problem?

Crypto crackdown: Google bans ads for unregulated currencies

veti Silver badge

Re: being wealthy on paper as long as they don't try to sell them

If anyone is fool enough to accept BTC as collateral for a (real money) loan, they deserve everything they get.

Ex-GCHQ boss: All the ways to go after Russia. Why pick cyberwar?

veti Silver badge

Re: "we are not outside the international rules of civilised nations and we don't want to be,""

@John Smith: please rid yourself of the idea that post-Brexit, Britain will be desperate to be Russia's friend. Granted it will need friends, but you'd have to be desperate indeed to bend over for Russia.

We all like to moan about America, but for all their faults - even with the Dumpster in charge - they're still better than the Russians. (So far. If the Democrats are fool enough to give him a second term, I guess that would probably change.)

Researchers create AI attacker to defeat AI malware defender

veti Silver badge

Playing defence is hard

If you know in advance what tools your opponent is using, you can beat them.

Colour me astonished.

Russian anti-antivirus security tester pleads guilty to certifying attack code

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Age checks for UK pr0n site visitors on ice as regulator cobbles together some guidance

veti Silver badge

I assume that, like pretty much all laws in this area, this one is designed to increase the market for some kind of porn or other.

In this case, maybe they have shares in nudie magazines.

Tech giants should take the rap for enabling fake news, boffins tell EU

veti Silver badge

"Media literacy"

Oh yes, that'll totally work. Because improving education has solved every other problem, right?

Pro tip: if a report's keystone recommendation is "we need smarter people", that suggests the people writing it really don't have any ideas at all.

Stock trader gets two years in prison for pumping up with Fitbit

veti Silver badge

Re: Yet Trumps buddy...

The "dumping" happened at least a week before the announcement - we don't know exactly when, but that's when the sale was made public.

If you're going to smear people, at least get the facts right.

And a brief look at the company's stock price (here) shows that it was already in decline for some weeks before then, so selling doesn't look all that suspicious. Even after the announcement, the hit to the stock was hardly crushing.

I'm not saying it was all aboveboard and there's nothing to see here. I'm saying this is one way fake news spreads: claims get exaggerated and repeated by people who can't be bothered to check the facts, because they "feel" true.

Less than half of paying ransomware targets get their files back

veti Silver badge

I've bought four high capacity external hard drives in the past 10 years, for backups - and all four of them have broken down. Right now I have no offline backup.

This is when Google Drive looks attractive.

veti Silver badge

You are mistaking opportunism for planning. They look superficially alike, but opportunism works better.

veti Silver badge

Re: I actually am surprised

I would guess that most of the scum doing this sort of thing are not particularly concerned with the reputation, and hence long-term viability, of the business. They just want money now. Tomorrow is a whole other problem.

Bots don't spread fake news on Twitter, people do, say MIT eggheads

veti Silver badge

Not comparing like with like

A "true" news story generally gets reported by many different channels concurrently. A made up one has a single authoritative source.

To compare the two on Twitter, you'd need to aggregate all the "primary" sources of the real news story, vs following the propagation of just one tweet for the made-up story.

To put it another way: a BBC tweet may not get many retweets, not because no-one's interested in the story, but because they prefer the reporting in the Grauniad or Le Monde or the Chicago Tribune instead.

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