* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

In detail: How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day

veti Silver badge

Re: You are number 6

This, exactly.

The fact is, data about me is worth far more to Google than it is to me. I couldn't begin to monetise it the way they do. I wouldn't know where to start. So why should I begrudge it to them, when they give me a whole raft of useful services in return?

Yes, they know what I'm likely to buy. I still don't see almost any ads (thank you, Adblock), and those I do see are more likely to be of interest to me. Is that a bad thing?

Yes, they know where I live and where I work. I have no objection to them knowing that, provided I'm reasonably confident it's not available on demand to any old nutjob who asks - and I am reasonably confident of that. Yes, they probably know what I do for a living. They may know who I bank with, who I do business with, what sites I browse, what kinds of porn I enjoy. But I have faith that they're not going to use any of that information improperly, because there's no plausible way of making a profit out of it.

And sure, governments may be able to access it too. People have this fantasy about the secret police kicking in their door one night and dragging them off for re-education, or something. In the immortal words of Slaartibartfast: "That's perfectly normal paranoia, everyone has that." Face it: you're not that interesting. Not even your porn collection.

DUP site crashes after UK general election

veti Silver badge

"No coalition" is entirely possible, it's called a minority government. Nothing particularly groundbreaking about that as a concept, we've had 'em before, and some Europeans have them regularly.

A "no confidence" vote needs more than just defectors from those you're counting on, it also needs a solid turnout from everyone else. Depending on the cause and the opposition at the time, it's by no means guaranteed that Labour, the SNP, the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru could all be persuaded to support the same motion on anything without defections from their ranks too.

Cabinet Office minister Gummer loses seat as Tory gamble backfires

veti Silver badge

Re: Well look on the bright side

If Sinn Fein shows up, it will show them up for the biggest hypocrites outside the Tory party.

Oh, and the SNP - whatever happened to their "non-interference in English affairs" pledge?

veti Silver badge

Re: What a mess...

I hear a lot of this "Corbyn has principles" meme.

Can anyone tell me what they are? Because as far as I can see, his policies are fed to him from his underlings. I've yet to hear the man himself state something he, personally, actually believes in.

veti Silver badge

Re: Good riddance

Ye gods, really? I can't imagine anything worse.

Give me a toff boy with a history degree every time. At least history would help them appreciate why a fragmented government is a Good Thing.

You know this net neutrality thing? Well, people really love it

veti Silver badge

Lobbyists are powerful because they can deliver votes. One way or another. In their own right, they're nothing; their power is solely in how many votes their support can be bartered into.

If you can persuade a politician that a single issue is so unpopular that no lobbyist can outweigh the votes it'll cost them, then the lobbyists are powerless. That's what happened to Trumpcare Mk I and II, and will probably happen to Mk III.

When can real-world laws invade augmented reality fantasies? A trial in Milwaukee will decide

veti Silver badge

Re: Actually seems reasonable to me

There's nothing to stop a park from putting up signs "No augmented reality games allowed", if it comes to that.

veti Silver badge

Re: a Mortal Threat...to augmented reality games

The $1 million is in "general liability coverage". It's not a fee that you actually have to pay up front, it's an insurance policy that you have to take out against the likelihood of being sued at a later date.

Seen in that light, it's very reasonable. Probably not much more expensive than 3rd-party car insurance.

Tech can do a lot, Prime Minister, but it can't save the NHS

veti Silver badge

Re: Real world underfunding

May, to give her credit (and there's a phrase I never thought I'd type), always denied the "£350 million" bollocks. So it's not exactly fair to try to hang that round her neck.

Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

veti Silver badge

Re: Honest question

As any journalist can tell you, notes taken at or immediately after a meeting carry a lot of weight, if you ever end up in court.

Their strength decreases rapidly as time passes before making them, so it's important to make them as quickly as possible. If there's no dispute that the meeting took place, and if there are no other records, your memo - written immediately afterward - is likely to be accepted as the most authoritative account that's ever likely to exist.

veti Silver badge

Re: Top-Posting?

Came here to say this. Seriously guys, how long would it take you to reverse the order of notes?

Japanese cops arrest their first ransomware-slinging menace – er, a 14-year-old school boy

veti Silver badge

Re: There is no excuse for this

So what's your suggestion, we should only go after the biggest criminals and leave the smaller ones alone?

No thanks. One perp stopped is better than none. Particularly as now there's an outside chance he'll straighten up and channel his talents into something productive.

Ex-Waymo engineer pleads the 5th in ongoing Uber law fight

veti Silver badge

Re: deny you adverse inference

Right, which is one reason why Uber told him not to do it, and cut him off when he did.

The other reason being, their best hope is to throw this one guy to the prosecutors and just pray that no-one has enough evidence to pin anything on the rest of the company. If they try to stand by him at this point, they would put themselves at risk.

veti Silver badge

Re: Let me see.

Unfortunately, Uber has every opportunity and likelihood that it can put enough distance between itself and this guy that he's the one who takes the fall, and they get to walk away with only superficial damage.

The American business system is pretty much designed to allow this - companies throwing lone employees to the wolves and walking away. It's a kinda mirror image of the British system, which is designed above all to protect the people at the top, even if the company goes down the khazi.

(Because one doesn't want one's old pals from Eton and Oxbridge trying to mooch off one when their careers go titsup, that's why.)

Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

veti Silver badge

Re: Can someone with more knowledge on the subject answer me this:

The result was so close that you can reasonably claim just about everything swung it.

But none of that makes a difference. The rules are the rules, the game is over and there's no plausible way to replay it.

Does it raise doubts about the mandate of the current bunch of rulers? Yes, but frankly if you didn't have quite a lot of those sorts of doubts already, you're (a) not paying attention and (b) unlikely to be persuaded now.

Social media vetting for US visas go live

veti Silver badge

The clause "Names and dates of birth for all current and former spouses, or civil or domestic partners" - implies that they've thought of that. I wonder how many spaces there are on that part of the form.

veti Silver badge

Are you suggesting that US law should apply immediately to anyone, worldwide, who even wants to travel to the US? I thought we were against extending extra-territorial jurisdiction?

Once they're on US soil (or, probably, in US airspace, not sure how that law works), then we can start talking constitutional protections. Until then, they're not relevant.

Healthcare dev fined $155m for lying about compliance

veti Silver badge

They're getting off lightly.

The flip side of "self-certifying" that you comply with something is, you put your name to it under penalty of perjury. They could have been jailed for that.

New 'Beaver' web server has exactly ONE user outside China

veti Silver badge

Re: Usage Stats

There's nothing inherently wrong with IIS. It's a popular choice particularly for smaller companies who simply don't want to shell out on someone who can roll Apache when they already have dedicated admins who know quite enough to configure IIS. If you're some 20-employee workshop or database firm or plumbing supply stockist or pizza shop, then you probably already have all the expertise you need to create and host your own IIS website, whereas using Apache would be a whole new learning curve.

And that's a perfectly honest niche, there's nothing wrong with those sites. They're not going to rival Twitter or Amazon anytime soon, but as a shop window for the business, they're fine.

I really don't know about platforms for new serious commercial or interactive sites. Maybe IIS is holding its own in those markets, maybe not. I suspect not, just because if someone is putting that level of investment into a website, they're likely to budget for a real professional to manage the hosting.

TRUMP SCANDAL! No, not that one. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one.

veti Silver badge

Re: Ha Ha

If Seth Rich gave anything to Kim Dotcom, then Dotcom would have published it to the world himself, and he would have done it months ago. Now there's a man who doesn't know the meaning of the word "shy".

And if Kim Dotcom has any actual evidence, he could be a lot more convincing.

veti Silver badge

Re: Looking forward to the wiki dump

@John Brown (no body): he's not. He's never been concerned about that, and the USA has never applied for it.

What he's concerned about is having to do jail time in Sweden. Everything else is just a blind, because - and brace yourself for a shock here, I know it's hard to believe - Assange is a born poseur.

veti Silver badge

Re: Ha Ha

He hasn't flopped on every issue from his campaign. Merely those that promised to benefit ordinary Americans, like cheaper/better health insurance, infrastructure spending, bringing back factory jobs, draining the swamp. If you voted for him on those grounds - well, the more fool you.

But some issues he's been steadfast on. Cutting taxes for the rich, specifically himself and his family, he's pretty firm on that. Appointing a conservative to the Supreme Court. Being anti-abortion. Increasing military spending. Basically, everything the Republican party orthodoxy is into, he's right there beside them, because he knows he needs their support.

US citizens complain their names were used for FCC robo-comments

veti Silver badge

Re: Sue?

They should certainly try suing the FCC for defamation, since it's publicly, falsely associating them with a political position they don't own.

Congresscritters float benefits for gig workers

veti Silver badge
Facepalm

Of course the companies like it

Get the federal gov't to pay benefits for their workers, so they don't have to? I imagine Lyft et al will love it.

It's no different from WalMart helping its greeters to claim food stamps. Anything's better than actually paying your pesky workers what they're worth, amirite?

FCC revised net neutrality rules reveal cable company control of process

veti Silver badge

That's Trump's genius. He's identified that the general hatred and distrust of politicians has now reached such levels that you don't even have to pretend to be motivated by anything other than naked greed, now. Indeed, if you do have any other motivation, people will trust you less because they assume you're lying.

It's just one of the ways in which he has successfully broken American democracy, and I don't expect it'll be repaired quickly.

UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

veti Silver badge

Re: Clueless govt...

Oh yeah, because Labour would be so much better. From their manifesto:

We will always provide our security agencies with the resources and the powers they need to protect our country and keep us all safe.

Granted, there follows some bromide about preserving civil liberties, but you know what? - the Tories have that too.

8 out of 10 cats fear statistics – AI doesn't have this problem

veti Silver badge

I don't think we can blame this on "politicians". Everyone and her dog abuses statistics.

And there are many ways to fudge numbers if you don't know how, and don't have a deep understanding of anything. One of the problems of statistics is not just that it's easy to do them wrong, but that it's actually really hard to do them right.

Britain's on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution

veti Silver badge

The trouble with "failsafe"

... is that the owners will take it as a challenge.

Every major nuclear accident - Windscale, TMI, Chernobyl, Fukushima, you name it - came about despite precautions, because administrators saw that all was working well and decided to cut corners. The more failsafe the design, the more they'll cut.

There's no way to avoid it. You need to invent a reactor that literally can't do anything dangerous, no matter how much it's abused, because sooner or later it will be abused to that level.

IT firms guilty of blasting customers with soul-numbing canned music

veti Silver badge

Re: er - call holding in *2017*

In the 1970s, did you imagine you'd be able to publish your generic discontent to an audience of millions, for nearly zero effort and zero cost?

It's amazing what people will put up with, provided they're free to whine about it. Take away that freedom, however, and watch the gutters run red. (As witness those idiots who try to stop people posting bad reviews.)

.Science and .study: Domains of the bookish? More like domains of the JERKS!

veti Silver badge

In other news, water still wet

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that TLDs set up to scam people are being used by scammers. Whatever next?

Has AI gone too far? DeepTingle turns El Reg news into terrible erotica

veti Silver badge

Re: Please no

From the sample given, it looks as if all it does is take the first sentence from the source material, then switch into some predetermined prose. So it doesn't really matter what you start it off on.

Why Uber threw top engineer Levandowski under self-driving bus

veti Silver badge

Re: What if he doesn't have the docs?

In that case, he's actually OK. All he has to do is make a statement "I never took any docs, I don't have any docs, I haven't communicated any docs to anyone", and he's in the clear.

Unless someone can prove he's lying, of course.

This is arguably where Uber's excessive dickishness comes in. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that he really is completely innocent of these charges - and yet he is, quite rationally, afraid that there might be something else that he could be stitched up for. Possibly, some charge that neither he nor his prosecutors have even thought of yet.

That's exactly why the Fifth Amendment exists, it's to protect people who think they might fall into that category, and that's what Uber - not the court - is forbidding him to use.

veti Silver badge

The letter is positively Kafkaesque

He has to hand over all the materials... but he's forbidden to access his own computer systems to do so. He has to tell everyone he's communicated materials to, to hand them over - but he's forbidden to communicate with any Uber employee.

And if he doesn't comply with all these contradictory requirements - as judged unilaterally, and without appeal, by Uber - he's fired.

It's not a nice letter.

veti Silver badge

I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure a court can't order an individual to waive their 5th amendment rights. Uber can't invoke those rights itself, but Levandowski still can.

Uber, of course, may be asserting the right to fire him if he does. Which may or may not open a whole separate can of worms.

Wow, someone managed to make money on Fitbit stock – oh, 'fraudulently'

veti Silver badge

If you can figure out a way to send Wells Fargo to jail, I'm all ears.

"Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned; they therefore do as they like." - said a British Lord Chancellor. In the 18th century. How far we've come.

Google cloud glitch hits at Beer O'Clock Friday, fix coming Monday

veti Silver badge

The point of SLAs is to define exactly what they promise to deliver, and what compensation I get if they don't.

Provided they can deliver what they promised, why do I care how they do it? They could be writing the whole thing out on vellum with quill pens for all I know. Or care.

Hi! I’m Foxy! It looks like you want to run Flash. Do you need help?

veti Silver badge

One format down...

How many to go?

All media formats should be click-to-play. Autoplay of anything - even GIF, arguably even Javascript - is an abomination that we should never have begun tolerating in the first place. It only encouraged them.

Man sues date for cinema texting fiasco, demands $17.31

veti Silver badge

Re: @Robert Helpmann??

How exactly do you arrange transport for someone who is not ready to travel yet, and you're not sure when they will be? And you're not on particularly good terms with them, and don't know their phone number, or whether they use Uber or Lyft or old-fashioned taxis?

Call a taxi to arrive at the cinema in an hour's time? Then how would the driver identify the fare (who wouldn't be looking for him), and how do you know the fare would even leave as soon as the movie's over?

Britain shouldn't turn its back on EU drone regs, warns aerospace boffin

veti Silver badge

Re: Here be snowflakes...

One of the benefits of being in the EU was precisely that these kinds of regulations were developed trans-nationally, i.e. there'd be one body of people doing it for 28 countries, rather than 28 bodies all doing it separately and then comparing notes.

Of course you can do it the latter way. But it's demonstrably at least a couple of orders of magnitude less efficient.

Even allowing for massive waste corruption at the EU level, even if 90% of all resources the UK contributes to EU standards making is squandered, it'd still be a bargain.

Parallel example: New Zealand maintains its own technical standards. But for nearly all purposes, it also accepts Australian standards as valid. Australia, for its part, generally (i.e. across most markets) accepts either US or EU certification as sufficient to allow a product to be sold.

The UK should simply rule that anything legal to be sold in the EU is also legal in the UK. The converse doesn't have to be true, though. If manufacturers decide they don't want to sell to the EU market, I don't see why they should be required to.

Police anti-ransomware warning is hotlinked to 'ransomware.pdf'

veti Silver badge

Re: We chose not to open the PDF file

Objection! The numeral 1 in Arial is quite distinctive, nothing like the lowercase L or capital I.

But Arial is also the venue of Microsoft's biggest crime against typography, and that is "zero thought put into kerning". Which means that in a lot of MS-derived software, it's impossible to tell the difference, visually, between 'd' and 'cl', or 'm' and 'rn'.

veti Silver badge

Re: How things have changed

The thing is, everyone knows this sort of advice doesn't really make anyone safer. It's just The Authorities covering their collective arse.

This way, when someone gets hit, they can throw up their hands and say "We told them!" And that means it's officially Not Their Problem any more.

If the gov't could designate someone whose problem it definitively is, then we might get something more useful. Until then, we're on our own.

veti Silver badge

Re: Mmmm

"Coming from someone you know" is a pretty low hurdle to clear. Was a useless rule for dealing with last week's attack.

And seriously, preview panes opening attachments automatically? That hasn't happened in at least 10 years, probably longer. By default, most email clients don't even download linked web content such as images, much less execute anything.

While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday's WinXP fix was built in February

veti Silver badge

Re: Plenty of blame to go around

@Doctor Syntax: in your car analogy, there was a "recall". But lots of customers flatly refused to bring their old cars in for repair or replacement. XP was retired 3 years ago, there was plenty of publicity about that at the time, and all currently supported versions of Windows had the flaw patched 2 months ago.

Question: if the brakes fail in my Ford Model T, manufactured 1920, is it fair to blame Ford for that?

If not, then you've accepted that manufacturers aren't responsible for supporting their products ad infinitum, and all that remains is haggling about how long the period should be.

veti Silver badge

Plenty of blame to go around

But it seems to me that the number one muppet in this story is the UK government minister who told Microsoft "no, we know what we said last year, but we're not paying for your patches any more".

Microsoft's "crime" amounts to "not giving away their code for free to people who had made a positive choice not to pay for it". Maybe it's just me, but I find it hard to fault them for that. And even then, according to this story, the patch was distributed in late April.

The one who really needs to fall on his sword (or if he doesn't have one handy, I'm sure many others would be happy to provide one) is Jeremy Hunt. And, of course, the CEOs/boards of all those ironically-named "trusts" that left their unpatched XP machines online.

Ransomware scum have already unleashed kill-switch-free WannaCry‬pt‪ variant

veti Silver badge

Re: @mage "User training and common sense"

@Version 1.0:

If the NSA/GCHQ/etc. really want to read what's on your computer, they will. Don't kid yourself otherwise. This has been the case since you got that first 33.6 kbps dialup modem.

But they're unlikely to encrypt the contents and demand bitcoin from you. That's not their MO. Far too revealing, for one thing.

Sophos waters down 'NHS is totally protected' by us boast

veti Silver badge

Re: Ransomware is ...

... already easily stopped by patching your Windows machines, unless of course they're running Windows XP in which case either pay Microsoft to support them or cut the f***ing internet cable with an axe.

Either way, Sophos is useless.

Lib Dems pledge to end 'Orwellian' snooping powers in manifesto

veti Silver badge

Re: It's what the people want

@codejunky

They dont want any of that. Unfortunately the alternatives are worse.

True. And if you put these questions to referendums, they'd (probably) be rejected.

Unfortunately, or perhaps not, that's not how democracy works. We don't all get to vote on every separate issue, we vote for a professional cadre of people who will deliberate and wheel and deal and make all the individual decisions for us. That means we have to accept a package deal (and why referendums are stupid, because they undercut the whole system by pretending that one issue can be decided in isolation, without ramifications for everything else).

If you don't like the package, there are things you can do about it. Go meet your MP. Organise protests. Join a political party. Or form a new one and stand for election yourself, it's not particularly expensive (in the UK, at least - very different in the US). But all of them require some investment of time. If you can't afford or can't be bothered to do that, then you're stuck with the a la carte.

veti Silver badge

Dan 55 is correct. This is literally not the same people.

Not any of them. Not even close.

veti Silver badge

Re: shame

One thing that I always wonder is that if every country on the planet owes money then which planet is it owed to?

It's like there's an elite that want to keep austerity going because it suits them nicely.

That's - almost the opposite of true.

The money is owed to people who can afford to lend it, i.e. bankers and other rich people. They're the ones who own all those government bonds. "Government debt" is a way of funnelling money from tomorrow's taxpayers to people who have spare cash now. That's why debt is a bad thing: it actually entrenches inequality.

That's why, however much the Tories (in the UK)/Republicans (in the US) talk about reducing the deficit when they're in opposition, when they get into government, somehow it invariably runs up just as fast as under the other party. The only person in living memory who seriously tried to break this pattern was Thatcher.

The other half of the analysis is that "austerity" is a really stupid, counterproductive way of lowering the deficit. And everyone knows this. But it is politically useful.

Beaten passenger, check. Dead giant rabbit, check. Now United loses cockpit door codes

veti Silver badge

Re: Waiting....

If I were a hijacker, I'd be telling the crew member "either that cabin door opens, or your spine does, so think about that before you get clever with any 'duress' code or something".

I'm none too sure how much "security" that would add to the whole setup.

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