* Posts by JohnG

1421 posts • joined 27 May 2007

Play the Snowden flights boardgame: Avoid going directly to Jail

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Fly east?

"Why didn't he fly East from HK to Guayaquil, Ecuador?"

Probably because he had been told that "he would be arrested within hours" and there were no flights to Guayaquil at the weekend.

EU signs off on eCall emergency-phone-in-every-car plan

JohnG Silver badge

Re: you'll be fine in heather country or wooly wales

"no GPS in amongst the mountains, rocks and glens, no mobile signals..."

I'd agree about the "no mobile signals" but GPS works just fine in mountains and glens.

Windows NT grandaddy OpenVMS taken out back, single gunshot heard

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Nearly made it

About VMS Clustering - I haven't seen anything quite as flexible since. Clustering via disk or network interfaces. You could share any resource that could be given a name.

There were many other nice features, such as automatic file versioning and a very comprehensive and easy to use help system.

Pathworks had versions for both MS-DOS and MAC - to my knowledge, the first to allow DOS and MAC systems to share the same folders and printers.

BSkyB-owned BE slams into traffic pile-up over 'unlimited' broadband lie

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Come on 150GB a month

"... valid business reasons for the ISP to want you to not use all of it all of the time..."

That's fair enough but ISPs should just be honest about their traffic management policies and quotas. Like any other business, they should not make misleading or false claims when snagging customers.

iPHONES and 'Pads BANNED in US for violating Samsung patent

JohnG Silver badge

Re: bzzzzzzzzzt.

"...Apple being hoisted by their own petard..."

Life on Mars means subsisting on grim diet of turd-garden spinach

JohnG Silver badge


Wouldn't it be better to send some robots to start growing the fruit and veg? The robots could compost the uneaten vegetation and use this in place of human shit. The added advantages are that the robots wouldn't starve if their farming proved ineffective and humans could delay their arrival until the robots have food and drainage up and running. Hopefully, the robots would be less likely to commit suicide or get drunk and kill each other.

Top guns doomed as US Navy demos first carrier-launched drone

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Range

Eddy Ito - Yes, what you said but there is also a political advantage: Having a drone brought down in someone else's territory is embarrassing but nowhere near as much of a political headache as a pilot being captured.

German publisher accuses Microsoft of URL sniffing

JohnG Silver badge

Re: "You'd be nuts to run your business using Office 365".

"Its still better than Google Apps though..."

Google Mail is apparently the choice of CIA operatives in Moscow, if recent reports are to be believed.

I think it is always sensible for users to think about the location and jurisdiction applying to any services or servers that they use and how those jurisdictions may treat foreigners and their data.

UK MPs tell Google: Get back here and bring your auditors with you

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Weird

"We are talking about income tax here, not sales tax or VAT, right?"

Corporation tax. The issue is where each transaction takes place i.e. which country and therefore, whose tax system applies.

Yes! It's the NFC phone-bonk doorbell app AT LAST

JohnG Silver badge

You can ring my bell

Wireless door bells start at under a tenner on Amazon. Door intercoms start at 25 quid. No smartphones or associated data services needed.

If the blokes delivering parcels don't have the requisite smartphones and data connections, users of the app described in the article will probably spend a lot of time in queues at post offices. Still, they'll have smartphone with which to amuse themselves while they wait for their stuff.

NORKS powers down whole towns to find pirates

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Surely that's untrue?

"Err... Are you trying to tell us that Senator Joseph McCarthy was a figment of our imagination?"

I am getting on a bit but I wasn't born when the communist witch-hunts were in full swing in the USA. By contrast, the Kim dynasty has been mistreating their own people for 60 years and show no signs of letting up. Whilst the USA and other western democracies may have many faults, it is patently absurd to suggest that life in any of them bears any resemblance to that in North Korea.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Surely that's untrue?

"I think it's way more likely that this is simply propaganda, reported as fact in the Nork media to make citizens think twice about buying a cheap DVD from Chinese blokes toting sports bags, probably intended to keep the state owned version of blockbusters in business more than identifying dissidents, i'm pretty sure Mr Kim already knows that they're all dissidents."

Why not go on one of those trips to North Korea, smuggle in a DVD player and some DVDs of anything from South Korea or the imperialist Yankees and then tell us about it when you get back?

Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week

JohnG Silver badge


The ammunition is likely to show up on metal detectors.

In the UK and other European countries, the purchase of ammunition is subject to the same sort of constraints that apply to the purchase of guns. Is this not also the case in the USA?

Star Trek: The original computer game

JohnG Silver badge

I played trek in 1976 via a teletype on an IBM system at Exeter University's computer science department. The only bit I can remember now is where the game would suddenly announce "Yeoman Rand has spilled coffee on the command console" and dump you somewhere new. It may sound crap now but it was way better than "lunar lander" on a teletype.

It's official! Register hack is an alcohol-flushed cave dweller

JohnG Silver badge

Re: So what do they do with *their* copy of the data?

I wonder if these US based DNA labs get any subsidy or other recompense from the NSA or similar branches of the US government.

Game designer spills beans on chubby-fancying chap with his stolen Mac

JohnG Silver badge

Re: MacBookPro Owners

"However, as this software becomes prevalent the first thing any thief will do is nuke-and-pave the storage. Tracking gone. This leaves hardware as the only viable option (unless UEFI can somehow be used to protect an area of their drive and the software runs there - dunno)."

There is this:


A number of notebook manufacturers include something in the BIOS which means that (once the device is associated with a subscription), even if the operating system is wiped, the notebook will phone home once another OS is installed and the system is connected to the Internet.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Careful here

"I think "Plumpy" might at worst be in line for receiving stolen goods, but what you are doing could be viewed as a lot worse. Think about it."

I thought about it and decided that if the photos and remaining 2.5GB of data weren't sufficient evidence that the person in the photos was the thief or at least, a recipient of stolen goods, then there is any enough evidence of any crime being committed by publishing the photos. The thief could try a civil case but then he would have to explain how he came into possession of someone else's Macbook.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Cops? Ha! I had an entire CAR stolen

"If you find *your* car parked somewhere you don't remember parking it, unlock it with your key and drive it off, it's hardly stealing?"

Quite. If it is your property, by definition, you would not be stealing it. Furthermore, if the Police couldn't be arsed to arrest the actual thief, they are hardly going to get around to arresting the rightful owner (they'll likely be too busy looking for kerbs to trip over or totting up their bungs from the press).

IT salaries: Why you are a clapped-out Ferrari

JohnG Silver badge

The rot started after Y2K

In my area of networking and telecommunications, the rot started after Y2K. All the manufacturers declared many of their slightly older products not compliant for Y2K, thereby forcing everyone to blow 5 years worth of their IT budgets on shiny new IT gear and the associated software upgrades. This meant that post Y2K, nobody needed anything new for a few years. It seemed to come as a surprise to manufacturers that Y2K was just a bubble and that they wouldn't be selling anything for a few years afterwards - so they started making people redundant in large numbers. Added to this was the ridiculous overspend on 3G licenses, leading to more redundancies at telcos. As the country was then knee deep in networking and telecoms people looking for work, rates plummeted. As far as I can tell, rates have not really recovered - if I returned to work in the UK now, I could expect contract rates about half of what I was paid in the mid-90s.

Anons torn over naming 'n' shaming of 17yo's gang-rape suspects

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Those accused of rape and similar crimes...

"... should be given anonymity unless and until they are proven guilty"

While I would normally agree with this, this case is different in that the perpetrators breached their own anonymity. One of the perpetrators took photos of the 15 year old victim being raped and being sick and subsequently distributed the photos, as part of a campaign of harassment and humiliation of the victim.

FAA: 'No, you CAN'T hijack a plane with an Android app'

JohnG Silver badge

Mobile Phones must be switched off

From the CAA website:

"Portable Electronic Devices (including mobile phones)

The use of portable electronic devices for sending and receiving data and voice calls is not permitted on board aircraft after they have closed their doors.

It may be possible to use a portable electronic device that has a transmitting facility in-flight, provided the transmitting facility is de-activated. This is often referred to as ‘flight safe mode’ or ‘airplane mode’.

Some airlines allow customers to use portable electronic devices for transmitting data and calls if the aircraft is fitted with a system that supports this, but there may charge for this facility."

On flights that I have taken with Lufthansa for at least the last five years, they always announce that the law requires mobile phones to be switched off when the aircraft leaves the gate and not be switched on again until inside the terminal building at the destination.

French spies do a Barbara Streisand over secret nuke radio base

JohnG Silver badge

Re: It's not a radio base...

"..it's where French government ministers stash their untaxed cash (allegedly)."

Surely, that would be banks in Switzerland or other tax havens in the Caribbean, if recent reports are any to go by.

How I nearly sold rocket windows to the crazy North Koreans

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Mixed lessons from history?

"If the Norks were to start something, I am pretty sure the Chinese would fight against them..."

...or the Chinese might just fail to assist North Korea in any conflict. That the Chinese co-wrote the last UN resolution, instead of abstaining in a vote on North Korea suggests that the Chinese government is getting tired of the Norks and their behaviour.

Perhaps the big question for the Chinese would be what would follow a collapse of the Nork dynasty. They probably wouldn't be too chuffed to have a unified Korea, run from Seoul and friendly with the USA, right on their border. On the other hand, it is questionable whether the South Koreans would want reunification with the North if they have to pay for it.

Swedish judge explains big obstacles to US Assange extradition

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Guarantee from Sweden

"Almost all bail breaches in the UK...."

All you say is true - except that Assange has exhausted all legal barriers to his extradition to Sweden and has shown himself to be a flight risk. In such a situation, he would likely be detained until extradited.

With any luck, the Ecuadorians will find a way to smuggle him to Ecuador - and he will then end up in self imposed exile, unable to return to the EU, his native Australia, etc.

JohnG Silver badge


"n both cases, it's basically Assange v the woman (I assume they would prefer to be known as women rather than girls). So, the 'facts' are not as easy to state as you make out. In some important regards, Assange claims different to the woman. You can't simply take the womans account as fact and ignores Assanges claims."

Which is precisely why he was supposed to have answered questions of the Swedish prosecutor, to decide if there were any grounds for court case. If there was a court case, the court would then decide, based on the evidence presented by the prosecution and his defence counsel. That's what courts are for.

The answer was not to leave the country before the prosecutor had even had a chance to question him - that just made him look guilty and prompted the Swedes to issue an EAW to have him returned for questioning.

JohnG Silver badge


"...what Assange owes the UK in terms of court appearances , prison time and fines. Assange probably feels he doesn't feel owe anything"

Assange skipped bail, which is an offence. I think courts in most countries take a dim view of being ignored.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Yeh right.

"All Assange did .... ....Sweden should drop this farce ASAP."

Their country, their laws. If the Swedish electorate wanted their laws changed, I guess they would vote accordingly.

The irony with this whole thing is that if it ever ended up in a Swedish court, Assange's defence team would likely be able to pick enough holes in the case to have him acquitted. Assange made everything more complicated by doing a runner before the prosecutor had a chance to question him.

I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Community?

"Some of the replies and downvotes prove my point."

No they don't. When was the last time your doctor or paramedic neighbours performed a time consuming medical procedure for a non-life threatening condition for you or anyone else who is not their patient? I would suggest never (not least because they wouldn't have the relevant medical records nor the authority to treat another doctor's patient). It seems more likely that they might give some advice like "Ask you doctor about seeing a relevant specialist" or "If you don't trust your GP, get a second opinion".

It's one thing to ask someone for advice but something else entirely to be expect them to work for hours for free. It is a different matter if someone has a genuine emergency (e.g. "I have to hand in this report tomorrow but my printer isn't working") but they are on their own if it is something like "I bought this gadget and can't be bothered to waste my time reading the two page Getting Started instructions booklet, so I thought I would waste your time instead".

Attention, CIOs: Stop outsourcing or YOU will never retire

JohnG Silver badge

Re: UK Companies are getting exactly what they desrerve

AC @Thursday 14th March 2013 11:31 GMT

That's exactly what I was going to say. The difference in my case was that I left the UK in 2001 after many months out of work. Despite the post Y2K slump (everyone had all new gear before Y2K) and telcos/networking companies making thousands of people redundant, the government started to bring in people from India to solve "the shortage of skilled people in the IT sector". I went to Germany and stayed.

I still get emails from UK recruitment agencies, offering me daily rates which are about half that which I received in the UK in the 1990s and more importantly, considerably less than I make now in Germany.

Google to pay laughably minuscule fine over Wi-Fi slurp across US

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Consumers have a reasonable expectation of privacy

"Errm, then they should have switched on their Wifi security then..."

No, that''s not how the law works and if a private individual captures and stores payload data from someone's WiFi, they can expect a criminal prosecution if caught. If you or I are expected to know and comply with the law, how much more a big multinational corporation with many technical experts and lawyers at their disposal?

Google's "unintentional" defence was blown out of the water by the fact that they only stored unencrypted payload data - so, the application bothered to check for encryption, discarded that which was not useful and stored that which was unencrypted. If the goal was simply to link access point MAC addresses with physical locations, they need not have stored any payload data whatsoever.

Coca Cola in the dock over illegal China GPS map claims

JohnG Silver badge

Re: In the interest of our national security

The funny thing is, many of these GPS vehicle tracking systems are manufactured in China.

Infinite loop: the Sinclair ZX Microdrive story

JohnG Silver badge

Re: What happened to the innovation of the 80's

We were busy paying back a huge loan to the IMF and living under the austerity demanded by the IMF as a prerequisite for that loan, following the disastrous Labour and Lib/Lab Pact governments of the 1970s. Many seem to have forgotten that inflation peaked at 26% in Harry Wilson's second term and the resultant pay demands of 30 - 40% ultimately lead to the IMF loan and the Winter of Discontent.

Congratulations, copyright infringers: You are the five per cent

JohnG Silver badge

"The Digital Economy Act, passed three years ago..."

...in the last few hours of the previous government's parliament. This ill-considered legislation was apparently prompted by a foreign media mogul over lunch with an unelected member of the last government and tacked onto the end of a debate on entirely different issues. It is hard to feel sorry for foreign media companies when they engage in such shameful manipulation of our democracy. The protection of intellectual property is a civil matter for all sectors of industry or business - except now for film and music. This is not right.

Bacon sarnies can kill: Official

JohnG Silver badge

Other factors?

"Other enlightening facts to emerge from the survey were that "men and women in the top categories of red or processed meat intake in general consumed fewer fruits and vegetables than those with low intake", and were "likely to be current smokers and less likely to have a university degree"."

Are we therefore to understand that the analysis of the survey did not take account of other factors that might affect life expectancy? One might expect that wealthier people are eating less processed meat and probably enjoy healthier diets and lifestyles than their poorer counterparts. People with the least money are quite likely to be eating the cheapest processed meat products.

Welcome to our Wi-Fi: Devicescape reinvents landing page

JohnG Silver badge

Re: wi-fi providers their own worst enemy

@Gene Cash

You seem to be overreacting a bit... If an establishment advertises free wifi for customers, it isn't unreasonable to have a step which establishes that users are indeed customers. This doesn't equate to "jumping through a dozen hoops", just one. There are no end of offers which require punters to fulfil various requirements to obtain something for free.

BBC's new bosses - the lawyers - strike out Savile probe testimony

JohnG Silver badge

"As I understand it, the redactions were for legal reasons..."

No - it was the lawyers that pointed out that most of the redactions had no legal basis, were solely to save faces of BBC senior management and that these sections should not have been redacted.

Woman nails 'cheating boyf' on Russian 'Street View'

JohnG Silver badge

"...looking over fences isn't against the law either."

It's not that simple. It is about "expectation of privacy". If you look over someone's fence as you walk or drive past - fair enough. If you put up a ladder to have a look over someone's fence, the situation is different. The issue with Google's Streetview is that their cameras are at a height considerably higher than that of a person walking along a street.

US woman cuffed for 'booking strippers for 16th birthday bash'

JohnG Silver badge

Re: I would not be so sure

"...you would have had to go somewhere more civilized - to continental Europe."

Like this story of a 14 year old boy who stole and sold his Mum's jewellery so that he and his mate could go on a binge and visit a brothel:


Notice it is the theft that is the big issue here, not that a pair of 14 year old boys visited a brothel.

Nature pulls ‘North Korean radioactivity’ story

JohnG Silver badge

Re: And what about that "stone" that crashed into Russia?

In a poll on the RIA Novosti website, just over a third of voters apparently believe that the object over Chelyabinsk last week was some kind of US secret weapon.

Amazon ditches 'neo-Nazi' security firm over alleged harassment of workers

JohnG Silver badge

Amazon not out of the woods yet

The security firm and its apparent neo-nazi connections may be the most shocking part of the story but there are many questions as to whether Amazon and the companies supplying them with agency workers are in breach of employment and taxation laws.

Asian political activists whacked in Mac backdoor hack attack

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Inaccurate.

"Most OSes tend to attempt to stop bad things being installed or executed. But if the hack is via some tool you already have installed then how on earth is the OS going to guard against it?"

Why would an OS allow an application like MS Office the privilege escalation necessary to install some remote control/spying software?

Public told to go to hell, name Pluto's two new moons

JohnG Silver badge

Re: offenbach

...but Offenbach is just a small shitty town to the east of Frankfurt, fast becoming yet another Turkish enclave.

Dead Steve Jobs 'made Tim Cook sue Samsung' from beyond the grave

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Jobs

"Removing 8bn of revenue from Samsung by changing to another, non-mobile making supplier..."

Which other supplier though?

The snag is that Samsung have been coming up with really essential innovations, hence their patents which Apple needs to use under FRAND. Because Samsung have put time and money into technical R&D, they may have an advantage when designing components to exploit the technologies and standards which they have developed.

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Well I never...

"like the pair of firms would be better off burying the blunt hatchet and getting on with making mobes in peace"

Yes but a whole load of lawyers wouldn't then be able to live in the lap of luxury, so they are not about to let that happen.

Multi-billion Euro broadband fund obliterated by EU budget cut

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Dose of Reality?

It's never going to happen. There are fewer net paying countries that there are net takers - and with Qualified Majority Voting, the net takers will always be in the majority. They are never going to vote to receive less, in the same way that our MPs always vote themselves pay rises. The only way to fix this is for us to leave the EU and keep our relationship with the EU as a trade deal, rather than a debt union.

Tennessee bloke quits job over satanic wage slip

JohnG Silver badge

Re: @AC 10:36

"Just fire the ignorant idiot. He's a hazard to the corporation."

The bloke may be a bit weird in his religious belief but there was no suggestion that his employers were dissatisfied with his performance and I fail to see how requesting a different payslip number makes him "a hazard to the corporation". That the number in question was restored to him twice suggests that some at the company were engaging in deliberate provocation, which is probably a hazard to the corporation. What happens when someone thinks it would be funny to give black employees references containing the initials "KKK" or "SS" for the jewish?

US diplomat: If EU allows 'right to be forgotten' ... it might spark TRADE WAR

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Trade War?

"A reason to consider carefully how you use SAAS and cloud based storage."

Agreed. The lack of control and security for commercially sensitive data makes the use of such cloud services inadvisable for any company with US competitors.

Wikileaks reveals Icelandic FBI shenanigans

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Well...

@Falanx Malice would imply some ill will from the FBI towards the authorities of Iceland. I would suggest that "arrogance" is more likely i.e. it probably never occurred to the FBI that other counties have their own laws and procedures and that perhaps they should check before just turning up.

BT to end traffic throttling - claims capacity is FAT

JohnG Silver badge

Welcome to this century, BT

Here in a small town in Germany, my Internet and phone service of the last 5 years has no limit of any kind and (according to Glasnost at http://broadband.mpi-sws.org/transparency/bttest.php) the ISP does not shape traffic. I pay 25 euros a month for telephone with flat rate national calls and VDSL with a measured 30M down and 10M up. With the wife watching TV and films in Russian all day, we shift about 120Gbytes per month. Oh - there's no 18 month contract - I can cancel at any time with one month's notice.

We're not making this up: Apple trademarks the SHOP

JohnG Silver badge

Re: Prior art ?

"The Apple shops are very different to all others. There's a far higher concentration of pillocks among staff and customers."

Yes - but they haven't made that distinction clear in their application.

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