* Posts by alain williams

1218 posts • joined 29 May 2007

Page:

GDPR for everyone, cries Microsoft: We'll extend Europe's privacy rights worldwide

alain williams
Silver badge

So will telemetry be switched off ?

I doubt it.

MS did release a tool that it claims decodes what is being sent, but since the tool is closed source ... who knows ? I'm OK with MS keeping much of its stuff closed source, but things like this absolutely demand open source. Fully specifying the byte-stream format would be another way of doing it.

4
2

Military brainboxes ponder 'UK needs you' list of AI boffins

alain williams
Silver badge

Is this the answer to the Fermi paradox ?

Other civilisations have blasted themselves to eternity as we now look likely to do - it only takes a few ''rogue'' AIs, either through bugs, by design at the behest of an Ernst Blofeld character or ISIS type group.

2
0

UK digital committee fumes: You didn't answer our questions, Facebook. (Psst. EU. Pass 'em on)

alain williams
Silver badge

'Weasel words and wilfully blind'

Well,of course MPs would recognise that -- it is what they frequently do when they do not want to answer questions put to them by journalists & similar.

I suppose that it is too much to hope for a universal epiphany amongst MPs that we do not like it when they dodge questions.

4
0

'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'

alain williams
Silver badge

GDPR violation ?

Your phone is *your* phone so it is personal information. Grabbing location/... data is taking personal information. Did you consent to this ? If not then it is illegal.

There need to be prosecutions.

57
0

US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years

alain williams
Silver badge

Congress has screwed up

They did it better in 1998 when they extended copyright by 20 years. This meant that 20 years later they were showered with yet more mouse gold. This time, extending by 50 years, means that they will not get any more bribes ^w research contributions for a looong time.

They should, at least, make the mouse pay!

PS: 20 years in 1998, actually a bit more complicated, but still.

8
0

Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

alain williams
Silver badge

As long as they run a 3G service ...

I don't really care what new 'phones they sell - I don't buy my 'phone through my network supplier. Hell, there are still parts of the UK where 3G does not work and the 'phone has to use 2G.

43
1

Airbus windscreen fell out at 32,000 feet

alain williams
Silver badge

Re: Last time this happened...

Although you do have to ask why the thing was built with different diameter screws that were so close in size. It is asking for mistakes to be made.

5
25

T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of 'trademarked' magenta

alain williams
Silver badge

Who is plainly stupid ?

Nonetheless, DT claimed that the Great British Public (bless their silly little heads) might get the two companies mixed up as a result of the pinkness

Reply saying that the Great British Public are clearly more intelligent than the directors of T-Mobile as they do not get the two mixed up.

8
0

Adobe, 'hyper personalisation' and your privacy

alain williams
Silver badge

Hashing does not stop something identifying someone

"Device Co-op is not on personal identifiers. It is hashed," she said.

If you take a hash of a personal identifier that yields a unique hash, then it is a personal identifier. Just because you cannot (easily) reverse it to get the PI does not mean that it is not a PI. If push came to shove just look through the entire database hashing each ID.

Adobe is squirming, trying to evade the law; but they will still be breaking it.

10
0

If you're a Fedora fanboi, this latest release might break your heart a little

alain williams
Silver badge

The Mate spin

Gnome has long been unuseable. I'll download the spin that uses the Mate desktop over the weekend.

9
0

LLVM contributor hits breakpoint, quits citing inclusivity intolerance

alain williams
Silver badge

Re: Most discriminated against

@ eldakka

I don't think that your examples are due to discriminated against but evidence of social forces that encourage people to help other people. The ''cost'' to him of doing these things is far less than the cost to those who do have kids. When he becomes a dad then he will feel some of the benefits (although he would feel the benefits far more if he were a mum - society still believes that mothers care for their kids while fathers should go out to earn to pay for them).

You could, by your thinking, say that someone who is not carrying a bag is discriminated in a crowd of bag laden shoppers as it is expected that he will hold the door open for them while no one holds the door open for him.

2
6
alain williams
Silver badge

Re: The only valid form of positive discrimination

My strong instinct is to agree with what you say.

However I am mulling that education is one field where one might soften a bit: accept someone in from a poor educational background (ie bad school) in the hope that your school (a good one) can fix past problems. But I suppose that you would only do that for pupils who, while having not attained good exam grades, you (somehow) deduce are bright enough to do well in your good school.

So: I return to your assertion: discriminate on the basis of assertained innate ability rather than exam results.

7
1
alain williams
Silver badge

The promote discrimination while claiming to fight it

I applaud the LLVM code of conduct, short, easy to read & inclusive; summary: be nice to others.

I dislike the Outreachy Eligibility for being sponsored. The writers seem to have decided that white men are bad and so are excluded from sponsorship to a technical project. They seem to think that they can increase diversity by increasing divisions and discrimination by excluding some people on the basis of race & gender.

Somehow an organisation that promotes discrimination has succeeded in getting USA tax exempt status - this should be rescinded.

48
4

HP Ink to compensate punters for bricking third-party ink cartridges

alain williams
Silver badge

''give them AU$50 apiece''

that will hardly compensate for the hours of time wasted (even at minimum wage levels), the frustration, the problems caused by not being able to print something important.

It is also not enough to discourage HP from pulling a similar stunt again.

Compensation should be a minimum AU$500; or more if the customer can show consequential loss.

HP is acting as John Deere does with tractors. Both are despicable.

16
0

Blighty: If EU won't let us play at Galileo, we're going home and taking encryption tech with us

alain williams
Silver badge

Re: Fucking Brexit

It seems to me that Michel Barnier & pals want to make things as painful for the UK as they can, even if it means hurting the rest of the EU as well. International cooperation exists between many countries that are not part of the same trading/political block - they do this when they see the mutual benefits.

The Ukraine, Morocco, Norway & Switzerland are involved with Galileo so why should the UK be excluded ?

There is no real reason why the UK could continue to be part of Galileo (& pay its contribution) to the mutual benefit of the UK and EU.

Some politicians on both sides are plonkers.

87
22

Hands off! Arm pitches tamper-resistant Cortex-M35-P CPU cores

alain williams
Silver badge

Cost how much extra ?

If it is much more than 1p/chip then the bean counters will avoid it.

I see that the documentation is free - good start.

4
0

Brit healthcare system inks Windows 10 install pact with Microsoft

alain williams
Silver badge

All the easier for the USA to grab by health records ...

via the spy-ware, errm I mean, telemetry nailed into the W10 machines.

How much of NHS specialist IT application could be delivered via a web browser so that they could run a secure Linux on those machines. LibreOffice would provide a good enough word processor for appointment letters, test result reports, ... ?

13
5

Brit MPs brand Facebook a 'great vampire squid' out for cash

alain williams
Silver badge

OK: Facebook is a bad boy ...

MPs (appear) to finally understand that. What about the rest of them ? How about starting with Google.

Most of the public, unfortunately, will have tut-tutted a couple of times and continued as before.

14
0

Astroboffins discover the stink of eggy farts wafting from Uranus

alain williams
Silver badge

Optional, related reading

If you enjoyed this El Reg article then you will enjoy this book.

Ah, to be a school boy again!

5
0

Time to ditch the front door key? Nest's new wireless smart lock is surprisingly convenient

alain williams
Silver badge

How long before forced upgrade ...

when google decides that it will no longer support that model and wants you to buy a new one ?

The lock in my front door is 30+ years old ... will this Nest product still be working in 30 years ?

43
0

Apple unleashes FoundationDB as an open source project

alain williams
Silver badge

So, as I understand it ...

Apple has outsourced development of FoundationDB and expects the outsourcers to work for free.

9
5

SpaceX finally Falcon flings NASA's TESS into orbit

alain williams
Silver badge

second stage ?

What should they do with the second stage other than throw it away ?

One idea: park it in orbit and put it up for sale. The cost of taking it up X hundred miles has been paid, so sometime it might be of interest to someone who is building something large upstairs and who needs a lot of metal. I'm assuming that it could be melted/reformed into something else.

14
1

Cutting custody snaps too costly for cash-strapped cops – UK.gov

alain williams
Silver badge

I wonder what would happen ...

if I told a government department that I would not obey the law because ''my IT systems made it technically impossible" to do what I was supposed to do ?

40
0

UK spy agency warns Brit telcos to flee from ZTE gear

alain williams
Silver badge

Could we have a 'Cell' for 'phones

a unit near GCHQ that would check/validate mobile operating systems and apps to ensure that they did not have back-doors/spy-ware in them. I would want their results (& checksums published & end-user verifiable) by equivalent Cells in China & Russia - I doubt that the 3 would collude enough to agree common spy-ware.

Hmm: thinking about my last sentence -- I'm not sure.

6
2

Exposed: Lazy Android mobe makers couldn't care less about security

alain williams
Silver badge

No money in it

the user has paid for the 'phone ... the ROI on security updates is zero. Far better to encourage the user to buy a new model that has got lots of shiny new (useless) features.

No manufacturer brags long term patch availability, so punters do not think about it as a purchasing criterion.

The only way to get them to do it would be to make the manufacturer liable in some way - as with motor cars. That will be a long time coming.

The same applies to all IoT stuff.

49
3

Facebook scandal: EU politicians should aim for straight answers, not star witnesses

alain williams
Silver badge

Have someone with nouse ask the questions

Eg get someone from EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) or similar to ask the questions.

Second best is to get EFF to write them so that the politicians can still look clever by asking them; the trouble with this is that they won't be able to ask the right follow up questions - to the obfuscating answers.

2
0

Samsung Galaxy S9: Still the Lord of All Droids

alain williams
Silver badge

"the after-market support"

Oh yeh ... in my experience Samsung abandon 'old' handsets pretty soon after a new one is released, no operating system patches - leaving users vulnerable to exploits.

They should provide lifetime support - where lifetime means as long as they continue to work - which should be 6-10 years.

That is what I care about - not the number of pixels in the camera.

8
0

British government to ink deal for yet another immigration database

alain williams
Silver badge

Usual suspects again

What were those fine words a few years ago about giving more contracts to SMEs ? I doubt that they would do worse than Accenture & gang.

37
0

Nervous Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg passes Turing Test in Congress

alain williams
Silver badge

Irony alert: politicians attack facebook ...

over intrusive monitoring that invade privacy ... the same bunch that approve of even deeper data sweeps by the likes of NSA/FBI/GCHQ and this data is then available (often without oversight) to the police, local councils, government departments, ... In the UK DRIPA (RIPA predecessor) has been ruled by the High Court & ECJ - RIPA is worse but T May is doing little to roll this back.

It is a shame that Zuck did not have the balls to point this out -I would have given him a big thumbs up for that.

5
0

Are you SAP-py now?! ERP giant overhauls pricing model following indirect access drama

alain williams
Silver badge

Is SAP trying to become Oracle ?

It is moving in the same direction.

5
0

Company insiders behind 1 in 4 data breaches – study

alain williams
Silver badge

Another mitigation strategy

is to not overwork people. When rushing to get something done quickly it is so easy to make mistakes, not take the time to check, ... The hapless employee is then held up to blame, not the manager who put them under too much pressure.

9
0

They're back! 'Feds only' encryption backdoors prepped in US by Dems

alain williams
Silver badge

Mrs May: I have an idea that should work ...

please just employ me at the very reasonable salary of £200,000/year and I promise that I will try my hardest to code something that has a GCHQ only back door.

It is not a lot of money for the government to save us from evil terrorists & drug dealers (do think of the children), but will bolster my pension fund nicely - I only have a few years before retirement.

If we get a good designer who can make the app look pretty then all these nasty people will be seduced into using it rather than some free open source stuff.

Please, pretty please!

7
0

Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte creating app to register 3m EU nationals living in Brexit Britain

alain williams
Silver badge

A focus on security I hope

This is going to want a copy of all the information that is needed to open a bank account & similar. If someone can compromise it there are going to be many unhappy people.

Making this run on a mobile phone might be trendy, but is it secure ?

Hmmm

22
1

2018's Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptop is a lovely lappie

alain williams
Silver badge

"who uses a laptop’s speakers these days"

I do.

Not very often, but sometimes I come across a video clip that I want to watch, eg off BBC news. For something short I don't want to fish around to find some earphones to plug in.

7
0

Amazon and eBay agree to expose potential VAT evaders for UK tax man

alain williams
Silver badge

It is not just lost VAT ...

but since they can charge 20% less than a native vendor (ie UK based who does pay VAT) they can undercut them and so UK jobs, etc, are lost. Thus the true loss to the UK is much more than the £1.5 billion VAT.

31
1

Mind the gap: Men paid 18.6% more than women in Blighty tech sector

alain williams
Silver badge

Equality for men & women ?

how about we then get down with real equality and have full paid paternity for men to be even with women

What happens if a mum wants time off due to a sick/... child: it is usually granted without a fuss. If a dad does the same thing: often there is resistance from managers.

Following divorce: the kids go to mum 90% of the time & dad struggles to see them; mother then complains that her career/pay has suffered as a result. Share the childcare and everyone benefits.

20
1

Facebook dynamites its own APIs amid data slurp scandals, wrecks data slurp applications

alain williams
Silver badge

NHS & Google

So has this brouhaha finally woken the NHS to the fact that giving patient data to Google is not a clever idea ?

Has Google deleted the data or just said that they have ?

10
0

Don't want to alarm you, but defence bods think North Korea could nuke UK 'within a few years'

alain williams
Silver badge

Could but won't

The Norks are rational enough to know that if they nuked the UK or anywhere else then they would be reduced to glowing embers -- look at their recent actions. The summary of this report says as much. They will huff & puff and carry out more missile tests just enough to worry people in other countries.

3
0

Facebook can’t count, says Cambridge Analytica

alain williams
Silver badge

Does the number matter even approximately ?

What they are trying to do is to distract the focus from ''they abused personal information'' to ''how many ?''

This is not too far from how political messages work these days -- sod the facts, produce vague, emotional messages that most listeners will interpret differently as being good for them.

OK: politicians have always done that, it used to be called 'spin'; but these days it seems more deliberate - we are in a 'post truth' era where people believe things despite clear evidence to the contrary.

5
0

One solution to wreck privacy-hating websites: Flood them with bogus info using browser tools

alain williams
Silver badge

X-T&C header

It might be worth making your browser add a X-T&C header that said something like ''If you misuse my data then you pay me £1,000,000''. It might be hard to make it stick in the courts, but part of the problem is one way T&Cs, you either get to accept it down to the last comma or nothing at all**.

This is part of the Internet 'wild west' that is well overdue regulation; there should be standard T&Cs++ that have been prepared by even handed (consumer/business) lawyers - that people could thus trust.

IETF might even make an official T&C header.

** I admit to being one of the few who I know who does read T&Cs and frequently refuse to accept and thus not use some web site.

++ With schedules to specify things like delivery dates, etc.

13
5

It would totally help, EU told, if data we held on migrants was accurate

alain williams
Silver badge

Log files ...

Log files should be kept to monitor access, specifying who accessed a system and why, and these should be available to national data protection agencies and the European Data Protection Supervisor on request.

They should also be made available to the individual who's records are being looked at. It is s/he who is really going to take an interest and ask why the ex's brother is looking at their record.

7
0

BT to slash landline rentals by 37%... for the broadbandless

alain williams
Silver badge

What to tell BT ...

You do not have fixed line Internet; Virgin provides you with a TV connection and chucks in some Internet.

I can see why BT might offer cheaper to non Internet people - the line can be cheaper & the card in the telephone exchange is POTS only (so cheaper), no load on its ATM network, etc. Well if you get Internet via Virgin/who-ever-cable then BT do not need to provide any of the expensive kit either.

5
1

Java-aaaargh! Google faces $9bn copyright bill after Oracle scores 'fair use' court appeal win

alain williams
Silver badge

Re: Still reeling

The EU has some sanity by explicitly saying it cannot be copyrighted:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/05/eus-top-court-apis-cant-be-copyrighted-would-monopolise-ideas/

Ooooh - another area of EU/USA courts disagreeing, time to order more popcorn!

I hope that the EU view prevails.

8
0

Adobe: New Unified Customer Profile will personalise ads as never before

alain williams
Silver badge

This is what GDPR was designed to kill

and I hope that it just does that - stone dead, wooden stake through its heart.

32
0

Fleeing Facebook app users realise what they agreed to in apps years ago – total slurpage

alain williams
Silver badge

Re: Facebook forcing people to use Messenger on mobile

in the past few months they disabled the messaging part from mobile website forcing people to use their Messaging app

Does this not fall under the computer misuse act ? You have not given FB permission to make such a change ... but it does it.

2
4

Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

alain williams
Silver badge

Re: "and switching to plain text"

and an UTF document will never be in "plain text" and an UTF document will never be in "plain text"

In a modern environment plain text is UTF-8.

Anyway the distinction being drawn is between a structured binary file (eg .ofd or .docx) and a text file containing some kind of markup (eg: markdown, LaTeX or even troff!) Both have their advantages.

11
1

Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

alain williams
Silver badge

Support from Maplin ?

so how much support do you think that Maplin will give you on kit that you buy from them today ?

Dead companies do not give support -- which is part of the reason why the price as to be low enough to make the risk worth while.

8
76

Privacy folk raise alarm over schools snooping on kids' online habits

alain williams
Silver badge

web web proxies for schools: Squid + DansGuardian

I remember doing that .... looking at the web logs the most enthusiastic 'pink pixel' site visitors were the teachers.

3
0
alain williams
Silver badge

Much easier to get a robot ...

to monitor children than for adults (teachers in this case) to know what the kids in their charge are up to.

What kids need is to trust adults and be confident enough that they will seek guidance Adults should spend time with them, adults should get to know and care for them -- and the kids be aware that they are being cared for. A computer is not a substitute for that.

Also: kids will get up to a little mischief, and have done so for millennia, it is good for them to push boundaries, to explore as they get older. Feel the consequences of going too far. What about the perve from the Internet I hear people say -- that is what you need to build adult/child trust for -- so that the adult will get to know and so react/guide in what is really a relatively rare situation.

Sexting: education as to why it is a bad idea, then support/admonishment when it does happen. Making criminals out of kids for this is over the top.

Bullying: this is not new, on-line bullying is just a development, just as when kids stopped using slates and started using paper in the classroom.

Naughty pictures on the Internet ? A natural curiosity. 'No' is not the answer (& impossible to achieve), but educate the differences between sex & relationships, romance & love. Not new anyway -- in my day it was smuggled copies of Playboy.

All of the above need adults (teachers & parents) to spend time with kids, get to know them.

The trouble with a solicitor driven risk averse society is that kids are not allowed to be kids.

18
0

Man who gave interviews about his crimes asks court to delete Google results

alain williams
Silver badge

Re: Easy one

Do I get moderated for speculating that NT1 is not Lord Lucan ?

16
0

Page:

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018