* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Don't rely on us to protect the open internet, warns FTC Commissioner

veti Silver badge

Re: Why is this a surprise?

You seem to be missing the point, which is that "Trump's FTC" manifestly is quite different from his FCC.

The FCC chair wants to say "all your so-called 'concerns' are perfectly well covered by the FTC". The FTC chair now says "oh no they're bloody well not!".

That is - not the kind of well co-ordinated messaging we'd see from a competent corrupt administration.

Google learns to smile, because AI's bad at it

veti Silver badge

Re: Hmmm...

Sounds to me more like "the more photos we have to train on, the easier it gets".

I'd like to know how many false-positive recognitions it scores.

Once again, UK doesn't rule out buying F-35A fighter jets

veti Silver badge

Think it through

Because the US is governed by a mercantalist twat who thinks that the point of having allies is to sell them stuff, and the government wants to keep him as sweet as possible for as long as possible while it works on this Brexit bollocks.

Seriously. Why "rule out" something, when you can always just "not do it" later?

From the graaaaaave! WileyFox's Windows 10 phone delayed again

veti Silver badge

Re: What could possibly go wrong?

Think market niches. If you want to get a slice of the mobile market, what are your choices?

Basically, Android or not-Android. If Android, then you're competing with *huge* players, and several of them. Huawei, Motorola, Lenovo, Oppo. You think you can do it better than all of them, or cheaper? Yeah, right.

Or not-Android. Then you can try to roll your own, a la Apple or Samsung, and good luck with that (Blackberry and Nokia have been there before you, and their experience is not encouraging); or you can identify another minority platform that might fit an under-served market niche. Windows is out there. For all its faults, it's got millions of developer-hours and a huge user-experience base behind it. It's a very logical choice.

Did you unwittingly support the destruction of net neutrality rules?

veti Silver badge

Re: Strange pattern

Or the ones wanting to destroy net neutrality generated millions of obviously fake messages in support of Pai so that they could claim the anti-net-neutrality partisans had done it to make it look as if the process was rigged.

Or the pro-net-neutrality crowd generated them to make it look as if their opponents were setting them up to make it look as if they were etc.

Or maybe all of the above. There's a lot of comments, who's to say all the bots were run by the same people?

If you're going to cry 'false flag', why stop at one level?

veti Silver badge

Re: queue remoaners wanting a similar tool in the UK to validate brexit votes (:

You are familiar with the term "secret ballot", right?

There's a huge difference between comments, freely and openly submitted to a public body, and - votes.

I'm pretty sure you know that. Don't you? Currently I'm guessing that the artful spelling misteaks are just part of the troll.

Prison hacker who tried to free friend now likely to join him inside

veti Silver badge

Enough is enough

When are browsers going to start using a font (in the address bar, particularly) that actually allows you to see the difference between 'vv' and 'w'? Or 'rn' and 'm', or 'li' and 'll'...

It's not that difficult, any monospaced font would do the job. That would just leave us with trying to tell the difference between 'p' and 'р' and 'ρ'.

We go live to the Uber-Waymo court battle... You are not going to believe this. The judge certainly doesn't

veti Silver badge

"and find out many hours they billed, because a three million dollar payoff for writing a single letter is unconscionable."

Too right. Shouldn't be more than $1 million, $1.2 million tops. Maybe $1.5 million if he had to get it reviewed by a senior partner. But that's it!

Hey girl, what's that behind your Windows task bar? Looks like a hidden crypto-miner...

veti Silver badge

Finally, a reason to move the task bar

Just 20 years after Microsoft gave us the capability, at last there's a reason to do it.

Unfortunately it would mean relearning 20 years' worth of muscle memory and habit - but hey, nothing's for free, right?

Judge stalls Uber trade-secret theft trial after learning upstart 'ran a trade-secret stealing op'

veti Silver badge

"Stealing trade secrets"?

If you choose to keep something a "trade secret", surely the onus is on you to keep it from being stolen. If you can't do that, then you don't deserve it. Try patenting it instead.

You can charge people with unlawfully revealing trade secrets. But if your rivals somehow get hold of them, I don't see how you can (coherently) charge those rivals with doing anything wrong. They're like journalists publishing a leak - the person you go after is the leaker, not the publisher.

Uber is being fitted right up here.

Federal police didn't delete all copies of journalist's metadata

veti Silver badge

This is what you get...

... when you give special protections to special people, just because you want to keep them sweet.

If a government carves out exemptions to a law to appease some privileged minority, that's a honking big clue right there that they're trying to fragment opposition to the law because they know they can't justify it on its merits.

Repeat after me: a journalist's ONLY special legal privilege should be the absolute and inalienable right to be treated exactly like every other bugger.

Once you stray from that rule, you're asking the government to decide who is and isn't a "journalist". And that's giving them way too much power.

'Break up Google and Facebook if you ever want innovation again'

veti Silver badge

Re: Concurrence

"Fatal to competition" is always overstated.

It's only 20 years ago, when Microsoft looked like an unassailable monopoly. It wasn't antitrust suits that broke that hold, it was technological change - innovation, mostly by Google and Apple and to a lesser extent Amazon, that left Microsoft in the dust, despite their monopoly position.

Remember 10 years ago, we all thought Google was basically the advertising monopolist? Now Facebook has joined them.

And the same will happen again. "Incumbent advantage" has a limited shelf life - it only lasts until someone routes around it.

Team Trump goes in to bat for Google and Facebook

veti Silver badge

Re: What did you expect?

@Big John: "history's greatest bribe taker' has nothing on Trump. His bribes are just the greatest ever. They're beautiful bribes, bribes to make America grate again. Well, one American anyway.

I'm old enough to remember what republicans were saying about Obama, before he was elected. So yes, I'm willing to concede that the losing side does make a lot of bullshit predictions. And if by "the East Asians' you mean the Chinese - which is statistically accurate, if nothing else, after all the modal 'East Asian' is Chinese - then sure, they would certainly concur that the Dear Leader is doing a fantastic job. He's basically walked back all America's claims to influence in the Pacific region, leaving the whole place to the Chinese.

Maybe his goal is to hand over Hawaii to them. After all, that would retroactively justify all those 'birther' claims that he spent eight years banging on about. It'd be the ultimate "Fuck you" to Obama.

Stick to the script, kiddies: Some dos and don'ts for the workplace

veti Silver badge

And yet business processes, which are basically scripts that run on humans, do they go through equivalent change control and peer review?

As a matter of fact - in the companies I've worked in, at least - they generally go through much more rigorous change control. Because they affect whole teams/lots of people, rather than just you and the one guy who's looking at your reports. So there will be real thought put into exactly what the change is supposed to achieve, and how to tell whether it's working.

veti Silver badge

Re: Something missing?

Pardon my ignorance, but isn't the single most important aspect of a script that it actually works?

No, the most important aspect is whether or not you can tell that it's working.

And without the abovementioned change control aspects, the answer is: no, you can't.

It could be running exactly as designed - but without any way of knowing what it's designed to do, that's no help to anyone.

veti Silver badge

Re: I'm technically under a NDA

"Naked Database Administrator"

It's not Friday....I don't need mental images like that in my head!

It is Friday, and I still don't need that mental image thankyewsoverymuch.

Phone fatigue takes hold: SIM-onlys now top UK market

veti Silver badge

Re: Good

I'm honestly surprised it's taken so long. It's as if people have heard of competition, but it's never occurred to them that they, as consumers, can use it to their advantage.

veti Silver badge

If a phone manufacturer used their noggin and created a decent handset (swapable battery, microsd, current mid-range specs) with long term support and a yearly cost of say £20 they would take the market.

Yeah, and if they throw in a pony they could corner the market of girls aged 4-14.

But before a commercial company is going to do something, there needs to be a way they (think they) can actually make money doing it. Just "taking the market" isn't much of a benefit, if you're losing money on every sale.

Long term support of phones is difficult. Difficult means expensive. "£20 per year" wouldn't begin to cover it; and who would be willing to pay £200, which is probably closer to the real cost?

Permissionless data slurping: Why Google's latest bombshell matters

veti Silver badge

Re: Not all data fetishists are government employees

Sure, but you could do the same with "freedom, motherhood and apple pie", so that doesn't really add much to our understanding.

London mayor: Self-driving cars? Not without jacked-up taxes, you don't!

veti Silver badge

Whose idea was it to exempt low-emission vehicles?

The congestion charge is meant to reduce congestion. Exempting vehicles because they're "cleaner" never made sense.

The "pollution charge" is called petrol tax, and it's a separate thing.

Hint to Sadiq Khan: parking spaces. It's within your power to divide up every road in London into areas where (a) you can't park at all, or (b) are divided into discrete, marked spaces, each owned by an identifiable entity. At that point you can tax them.

Iran the numbers – and Persian internet is the cheapest in the world

veti Silver badge

Re: Shop around...

I'd like to know what their definition of "broadband" is, and what their methodology was for determining its price. Did they look at ads? Ask providers? Ask consumers, or consumer advocacy groups? Ask governments?

I can imagine that each of these approaches could yield quite different results...

veti Silver badge

Re: RE: Anybody with a link to that list.

The price is not set by the government in either country.

You sure about that? The governments don't set targets or quotas for ISPs, or subsidise their infrastructure, or grant (or control) local monopolies?

"Setting the price" doesn't have to mean explicitly specifying what it must be. But governments generally have a huge influence over the economics of ISP operations.

veti Silver badge

Re: RE: Anybody with a link to that list.

It's very interesting that Russia (which has a tightly controlled economy and highly -cough- stable politics) is almost twice as expensive as Ukraine (which is a shambles)...

Russia's per-capita GDP is almost exactly double Ukraine's. So I guess that's probably the answer.

Given that they're both at the "really, really cheap" end of the spectrum (the difference being that Russia is merely "ridiculously cheap", whereas Ukraine is "asymptotically approaching absolute zero") - I would guess that the price is basically set by the government, and it's based on what they think their median lower-middle-class citizen is willing to pay for their propaganda.

veti Silver badge

Re: and in North Korea the cost is?

I don't know why it's not linked from the article, but the full list is here. (Warning: Google Sheets.)

Spoiler: North Korea is not included.

veti Silver badge

Re: Chin up mate.

One of the few nice things to come out of Brexit should, in theory, be a drop in the price of Japanese cars. Because the European import quota will no longer apply.

So don't mess about with that Eurotrash, buy a decent Toyota or Mazda.

Uber: Hackers stole 57m passengers, drivers' info. We also bribed the thieves $100k to STFU

veti Silver badge

Re: Rotten to the core

And they've got a new CEO, and he's firing C-level people in an effort to clean house.

Look, I despise Uber as much as the next person. I still take taxis. But for pete's sake, if the company is trying to clean up its act, at least give it credit for what it does.

Otherwise it'll have no incentive to change its ways, because it gets condemned either way.

National Cyber Security Centre boss: For the love of $DEITY, use 2FA on your emails, peeps

veti Silver badge

Why the idea that a Harvard MBA precludes criminality?

A Harvard MBA test precludes criminality. The business plan you submit will be disqualified for blatant criminality.

What the MBA gets up to after they've passed their test, or before it for that matter (provided they can keep it out of the test itself) - that's another matter entirely.

Level 5 driverless cars by 2021 can be done, say Brit industry folk

veti Silver badge

"Where do you park them?" is, I think, the best use case of all for driverless cars. Because you can park them wherever you like.

Car takes you to work in the morning - you tell it to go away, as far away as necessary to find a free parking spot, then come back and pick you up at 5 p.m. Or you can send it home to park safely in your garage, until it's time to come and pick you up. It'll take a while, but within 20 years or so commercial car parks will be a thing of the past - no-one will pay anything to leave their car anywhere for more than a couple of hours, max.

Of course, the next logical step is to stop owning a car entirely, and rely solely on Uber/whoever's driverless fleet to ferry you about on demand. But that's a whole further step.

Then there were four: Another draft US law on 'foreign' (aka domestic) mass spying emerges

veti Silver badge

Pesky 14th amendment says

If you pass a law that protects US citizens from their government, then it will also protect non-citizens. There is no constitutional way to differentiate between the two.

Either you have spies, or you don't. There is no such thing as a tame spy.

How can airlines stop hackers pwning planes over the air? And don't say 'regular patches'

veti Silver badge

Re: How can airlines stop hackers pwning planes over the air?

Do not allow anything that can act as a computer on board anymore.

Not good enough, unless you mean to prohibit all electronic avionics as well (which is a whole 'nother idea, and comes with its own costs). The plane could be pwn3d remotely while sitting at the boarding gate, and the effects not noticed until after takeoff.

Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

veti Silver badge

Re: A shorter term problem

Then in so far as those jobs still need to be done, people will need to be paid (or otherwise rewarded) more for doing them.

I see that as a feature, not a bug.

veti Silver badge

Spammers. Bloggers who live on ad revenue. Those... people who post reheated political talking points on every forum on the internet, including this one. Ambulance chasers. Reality TV producers. Reality TV "stars". Professional celebrities. Journalists who write about celebrities. Paparazzi. Daytime TV presenters. The Shopping Channel. Advertising salespeople. Telesales drones. Cabinet ministers. A significant percentage of all civil servants.

All in all, there are probably hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who turn up every morning to do a solid, professional, arduous, and often unrewarding and unsung, job that only has the effect of making the whole country a shittier place. Think Nathan Barley.

The "growth of employment" is not something we should be celebrating.

You, Google. Get in here and explain all this personal data slurping – Missouri AG subpoena

veti Silver badge

"Investigative subpoena"?

Sounds to me very like legalese for "fishing trip".

The A-G doesn't even mention the statutes that he thinks Google may be violating, he just waves his hands and talks some generic bullshit he's read about big data. I'm pretty sure "being big data" is not a crime, even in Missouri.

Don't get me wrong, I have no doubt that Google unfairly manipulates its search results (and has done so these 10 years or more, basically ever since the launch of Google Books). But if I were making this kind of complaint about it, I'd be a lot more specific about it.

Munich council: To hell with Linux, we're going full Windows in 2020

veti Silver badge

I can believe 800 programs.

Munich is a big place. I don't know what the specific responsibilities of its city government are, but I wouldn't be surprised if they include everything from policing to water quality to arts galleries to education to public transport, public health, parks, sports, dog registration, air quality, tourism, rubbish collection, libraries, cemeteries, city planning, housing, social services, animal welfare, food safety, roads and signposting, traffic management, taxis, land registration, civil defence, elections, and probably at least as many more things I haven't thought of. To say nothing of "reporting on all of the above to state and federal gov't".

Not having worked in any of those areas, I'm not remotely qualified to know what systems they may involve. But I would guess each of the above departments uses at least 2-3 separate databases that are developed specifically for Windows, and simply not supported on any other platform. Plus a dozen more applications I can barely even imagine.

This is what open-source zealots too often fail to account for. The world is complicated. Millions of developer-years have gone into building the systems that maintain everything around us. You can't redo all that just by waving your hands and saying "all you have to do is this" - somebody actually needs to put in several metric fucktonnes of work to make it so.

Now Munich has said, they're not going to be the ones to pay for that effort. And I don't blame them.

Brit cops slammed for failing to give answers on digital device data slurpage

veti Silver badge

Re: "10 said it would require a manual search to get it."

Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, there's a table called something like "seized_property".

Now, what are the odds that table has checkboxes like "electronic_item"? "digital_item"? "social_media_enabled"? (And if it has, how likely is it that that information is correctly entered and audited?)

More likely it just has, at best, a drop-down-selected field that can hold values such as "Mobile Phone" - without differentiating between smart and dumb phones, or carphones, or feature phones.

At worst, it may even be entered as free text, in which case... good luck with that query.

UK.gov: IT contracts should be no more than 7 years. (Not 18, Fujitsu)

veti Silver badge

One supplier = one throat to choke and no ability to deflect attention elsewhere.

Doesn't happen anyway in the public sector, because the dynamic whereby politicians have to identify with and champion their pet projects makes them, basically, hostages to their own contracts.

veti Silver badge

Re: Missing the point

Backbench MPs get, IIRC, £74,000 a year, plus the kind of pension arrangements most of us can only dream of. If they don't want to put up with a few years of "reduced employability" (seriously? exactly how many MPs do you think are remotely qualified to work in the IT industry anyway?), then tough titty.

Alexa, please cause the cops to raid my home

veti Silver badge

So much that I have a cynical suspicion that they get the stories by reading them here.

Well, where do you expect them to get tech stories from? Journalists aren't prophets, you know, they don't have angels coming down on a daily basis to tell them what's up - they read the news same as the rest of us, and decide what to follow up.

Boffins: We can identify you by your typing, and we're gonna sell the tech to biz, govt – yay!

veti Silver badge

Re: A few comments...

"The T9 predictive text system of 1998" was better than my brand new Android... (Windows Phone was even better. But never mind.)

Time to give Swype a try, I think.

I don't begrudge anyone developing this technology, nor yet selling it to anyone who's curious enough to buy it. Just so long as they don't try to stop others from taking their own countermeasures, as proposed in the first post...

To most people it doesn't matter - it's really not that big a deal if $COMPANY can identify who's using their app. But there are those who do care, and those people shouldn't have their options shut off.

US government seizes Texas gun mass murder to demand backdoors

veti Silver badge


"it's going to cost a great deal of time and money, and in some cases it costs us lives."

[Citation needed]. Name these "some cases". Who, specifically, has died because the FBI couldn't decrypt someone's phone?

US domestic, er, foreign spying bill progresses through Congress

veti Silver badge

Stop talking about "citizens"

Look: any politician who pretends that it's in any way possible to allow powers to be used only against foreigners, not against citizens - is just grandstanding. What they're proposing is unconstitutional in its own right. So saith the 14th amendment.

Either the snooping is legal, or it's not. "Legal, but only against non-citizens" is an idea that is inherently incompatible with American law.

So please stop talking about how these things can be/have been done to citizens. It's a red herring. The question is whether they should be done to anyone.

Better filters won't cure this: YouTube's kids nightmare

veti Silver badge

Re: People seem to think this is a unexpected consequence of YT's ad model.

A lot of this material involves characters who are definitely protected by copyright rights that are, as a rule, quite brutally enforced. Some of the more popular ones include: Spiderman, Paw Patrol, Elsa (Frozen, i.e. Disney), Cars (Disney again).

But it's whack-a-mole for them. Even Disney's lawyer team can't cope with the sheer rate at which this crap floods onto YouTube. There are lots of "Elsa" videos that really are fair use, so you can't just ban them all.

So I don't think this is the answer at all. If that particular mechanism were going to work, it would have been triggered already.

veti Silver badge

Re: Wow..

You can't "take the producers to task". In the first case, you can't find the buggers - if you try to email them, it's vanishingly unlikely your email will be read by a human. In the second place, the producers (in so far as there are humans behind the whole thing) are mostly unaware of what's going on. Most of this stuff is algorithmically generated, not creative.

veti Silver badge

It's not that they have to be weird, just that there's nothing stopping them from being weird.

The article explains this pretty well. First, assume that the production is automated. (There are quite a lot of indicators that this is the case.) Then, remember that trolls are a thing, and some get popular.

Now, your automated algorithm is set to work out "what's popular" and "how to get onto the most popular 'videos like this' lists". When an intentionally produced troll video gets enough views, it becomes as a valid input to the algorithm. And to get onto the lists, it dresses itself up as a kids' video - and the damage is done, without any malicious human intervention at all.

UK's surveillance regime challenged in landmark European court hearing

veti Silver badge

Re: So (according to the IPA) it's legal to slurp as Snowden let everyone know it's happengin?

Not... quite.

According to the tribunal's ruling, the Tempora program could be legal, in principle, if the government fessed up to it. (Because it's important that the rules governing these things be public, that's why.) But since they hadn't fessed up to it, at the time the ruling was delivered, it couldn't be ruled legal - only "potentially legal".

Got that?

But Snowden didn't make it legal - only HMG could do that. I haven't been able to find out when, if ever, HMG has officially confirmed the program's existence.

Microsoft goes to bat for Dreamers: Windows giant sues Uncle Sam to block staff deportations

veti Silver badge

Re: Optional

It's easy (so easy) to rail against the Trump, but he's really not to blame for this. The A-Gs of several states were already in the process of taking legal action against DACA, and most informed opinion said that it had basically no defense.

I'm not completely heartless, but I do believe in rules. And if the rules are stupid and heartless (which they are, completely guilty on both counts), the correct answer is to f---ing fix them. Not for a president to unilaterally declare that he's going to ignore them. That's - just wrong. It's unstable, doesn't fix the underlying issue (which is why the next idiot can reverse it); it ignores the constitution; it brings the law into disrepute; it sets a terrible precedent; and worst of all it lets Congress off the hook - giving them the freedom to squander their time on meaningless symbolic wankery, which pretty much sums up everything they've done this century.

veti Silver badge

Because Microsoft has no employees outside the USA?

Let them be deported. Microsoft can show its support by continuing to employ them in whatever country they're deported to.

Deport the people, deport their jobs. It's only fair. And it would also help to make Trump look like a cupid stunt, which is always a plus.

Londoners: Ready to swap your GP for an NHS vid doc app?

veti Silver badge

Re: Can't come soon enough

So you're not ill enough to bother then.

Fallacy of the excluded middle. "Being ill" isn't a binary thing.

Obviously there are people who are perfectly well, and don't need to see a doctor. And there are people who are really ill, and do.

But there's a huge swathe of people who are pretty much OK, but they have a persistent headache, or a cough that just won't go away even after three weeks, or a pain in the back that they can work through but it doesn't seem to be getting better, or... whatever. And they could take it to a doctor, but it doesn't quite seem worth it, not yet anyway.

Donald, YOU'RE FIRED: Rogue Twitter worker quits, deletes President Trump's account

veti Silver badge

Re: Liberals' level of hate just got upped a notch

What hate? *This* is mirth.

It's not as if we're laughing at someone running over Trump's cat, or driving a truck into one of those atrocious buildings of his. "11 minutes without a Twitter account" is not an injury, merely an insult. You, and the twat-in-chief, should learn the difference.

veti Silver badge

Re: @AC

I just wonder when he found out it was his last day.

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