* Posts by veti

3015 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

End of Microsoft NHS deal means mass deletions

veti Silver badge

Addressing the wrong problem

For the past 13 years, I have told everyone I work with or have any business dealings with, that all attachments to emails formatted as .doc (or, more recently, .docx) will be deleted unread. Back in '97 I presented this as a security precaution, but I don't even bother any more.

I haven't missed anything important yet.

Kaspersky blocks BBC News over false phishing fears

veti Silver badge

Fortunately for us all...

You can't libel a corporation, only an individual.

There is a slightly grey area when a corporation is closely associated with an individual (as in, e.g., Rupert Murdoch with News Int'l), in which case he *might* try to argue that nasty comments about NI were actually aimed at *him*, but that would be a difficult case to make. Particularly for the BBC.

RAC prof: Road charges can end the ripoff of motorists

veti Silver badge

This is how

Announce you're abolishing VED completely. No more of this "sliding scale" nonsense, no discounts, no rebates - just scrap it. (Also saves the costs of collecting and enforcing it.) That's a tax cut of, on average, 125 to 205 quid per vehicle per annum for every vehicle owner.

At the same time, you announce that this is the money you're loading into fuel tax. To cushion the blow further, you're not loading it in all at once - you're happy to phase it in gradually, at a rate of 5p per litre per year over the next 10 years. Of course by that time you'll have massively overshot the level of breaking even, but that's only fair, isn't it? - a tax cut up front, paid back later when the economy is in better shape...

Fusion reactor eats Euro science budgets

veti Silver badge

Which is likelier?:

... that a scientist who has built a career on nuclear fusion is going to say "We can do it, we're only 15-20 years away now, just keep feeding us the cash."

... or that she's going to say "It's an impossible dream not worth chasing. It's very sad, but there you have it. Might as well sack us all now."

So while you're right - that this will never get any cheaper - we have to face the fact that no scientist, except possibly one who's on the verge of retirement, is *ever* going to issue the second of these two statements. So after >30 years of, basically, zero-rate progress, how does it make sense for us to continue writing blank cheques to these scientists? Perhaps it's time to grow up and realise that we have to draw assumption #2 ourselves.

Copyright wally of the week

veti Silver badge

Re: No compliments here...

"Great work on that report, but I'm going to pass it off as my own" would indeed be an Evil sort of compliment.

"Great work on that report. Is it okay with you if I pass it off as my own?", however, is quite a different sentiment.

He's only asking. Take a deep breath. Accusing the guy of anything, or even calling him a "freetard", is entirely unwarranted.

tl;dr: Whatever, dude.

Burger van busted offering free takeaway porn

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Thumb Up

Where did they get the DVDs?

Quite apart from the beer, food and porn licensing issues, did they have the copyright holder's authorisation to be distributing the DVDs?

If they were giving them away free, that makes me suspect they were just ripped from somewhere, so they should be on the hook for video piracy, as well as unlicensed trading in food and beer.

UK.gov issues death warrant for ID cards

veti Silver badge

Have we all forgotten...

... it was a Tory home secretary, Michael Howard, who first floated the National Identity Register, long before 9/11?

That the Tories have now turned dead against it says a lot about what a few terms in opposition will do for a party. To think that only five years ago, that same Michael Howard was actually the party leader.

This is an idea that's entrenched in the Home Office civil service. As such, it will keep coming back. My prediction: if the Tories win more than two consecutive terms in office, no matter what else has or hasn't happened in the meantime, they'll reintroduce the idea themselves at that stage.

veti Silver badge

"Why not issue them with a bit of plastic...?"

Because the foreign national already has a unique identifying document. It's called a "passport". You don't have to carry it with you at all times, but you probably do have to produce it when, e.g., applying for a job or opening a bank account.

How is giving them an <em>extra</em> piece of plastic to keep track of, going to make anyone's life any easier?

Unless, of course, the idea is to require them to carry it at all times and produce it on demand by police. In which case you're still introducing fascism, just being a bit more selective about it. Which is no problem, fascism is <em>all about</em> being selective, it'll expand later when we've learned to accept it.

Murdoch's paywall: The end of the suicide era?

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Black Helicopters

+5 Insightful

Outstanding comment, putting your finger on the nub that El Reg seems to have missed...

This is a no-lose scenario for News International. If they get a decent number of subscribers - well, great. But whether they do or not, in a year or so they'll have numbers to use as ammunition in their war to drive BBC News offline. If they don't get a single subscriber, they can say "See, the BBC makes it impossible to compete". If they have a million subscribers, they can say "See, people will pay for online content, the market can provide it just fine, there's no legitimate public-service reason to offer it for free."

Clever move.

You paid €20m for UN mobe-fear - and that's just the start

veti Silver badge

If you can persuade some laypeople that there may be a connection there...

... say, by pointing out how shellsuits emit electromagnetic radiation at frequencies that have been conclusively linked to bioelectrical effects in other contexts, then - yes, I'm sure you can get your €20M for that. But if you can't convince them, just shut up already. The reason we have committees to give out this kind of funding is so that we, personally, don't have to spend our entire lives listening to every crackpot with a brain-dead theory - we only have to hear a subset of them.

The "no plausible mechanism" line is ridiculously spun. Nobody even tries to deny that strong doses of microwave radiation have dramatic health effects in the short term - that's why microwave ovens are well shielded. What exactly is "implausible" about the idea that much lower doses may have different effects over the longer term?

The Cameregg plan: Who got what?

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Labour voters don't live in Heathrow/Stansted flight paths

... Tory and LibDem voters do.

The decision to build new runways is an example of old-fashioned class warfare. Labour was trying to piss off ConDem voters; now the ConDem regime is taking care of its own. Simple as that.

Millions wasted on IT: PAC chair parting shot

veti Silver badge

Duration, duration, duration

Typical ministerial tenure: about 2 years.

Typical large IT project duration: 6-10 years.

In other words, the person responsible for starting the project has zero expectation of seeing it through to the end. And when she's replaced, her successor will want to make his own "improvements".

The contractors, of course, know this, and they know it makes the contract basically a blank cheque. That's why they'll fight like demons to win it.

Incidentally, the same objection applies to yesterday's Tory brainwave of outsourcing back-office IT functions. Whenever you create new channels to give public money to private companies, you get new avenues for abuse and corruption.

Just stop it. If the data won't fit in a spreadsheet, the gov't has no business collecting it anyway. So let's run all public services using nothing but Excel. We'll save a fortune in the short run, and an even bigger fortune in the long run.

Outsource back office, Gershon tells Tories

veti Silver badge

Tory SOP

There's a disturbingly powerful wing of the Tory party that sees its raison d'etre as being to channel public money into private companies, as quickly as it can. I suspect Mr Gershon is appealing to this wing.

Here's a thought, Mr Gershon: what reason do we have to believe that private-sector contractors will be more industrious, more honest, more efficient than the public-sector workers currently doing this job? Doesn't the history of government outsourcing rather suggest the opposite? They may have better resources, but there's absolutely no reason to assume they'll use those to give better value to the taxpayer - when there's so many more *fun* things they could be doing.

Heathrow security man cops perv scanner eyeful

veti Silver badge

"Pressed a button to take a revealing photo"?

I thought that was supposed to be "impossible"? Weren't we told that the machines don't actually record permanent images?

Of course, the button in question might have been the one on his cellphone camera.

But the elephant in the story here is: why do we only hear about this when the victim is an employee? How many plain ol' civilians does this happen to every day?

We need a "things that make you go hmmmm" icon.

FBI cyber cop says 'very existence' of US under threat

veti Silver badge

Oh goody

So let's put two and two together here:

Two: "the cyber threat can be an existential threat".

Two: "given enough time, motivation and funding, a determined adversary will always - always - be able to penetrate a targeted system."

Four: Therefore, no matter how much you spend on cyber security, it will never be enough. The only way to save the USA is to make sure that no "determined adversary" ever gets money and time. He's not angling for a budget to ramp up security: what he wants is a license to actively hunt down every hacker on the planet.


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