* Posts by batfink

128 posts • joined 10 Jun 2010


You got a smart speaker but you're worried about privacy. First off, why'd you buy one? Secondly, check out Project Alias


Re: you could simply not put the creepy things in your home

If you have to get up and walk to within a metre of the thing just to wake it up, why not devote that effort to actually doing yourself whatever you're asking the bloody thing to do?

Most of the uses we hear are for numpty things like "play music", "turn on the tv" "dim the lights" etc etc, which, frankly, don't take a lot of physical effort.

Obviously there are cases, such as for the wheelchair-bound AC above, where they are actually useful. But the idea of putting in physical effort to shout at something to try to save physical effort...?

iPhone price cuts are coming, teases Apple CEO. *Bring-bring* Hello, Apple UK? It's El Reg. You free to chat?


Re: "Our users are hanging on to their iPhones a little longer"...

And I'm sure that landmines WOULD probably be referred to as "objects of excitement"....


"Our users are hanging on to their iPhones a little longer"...

Mr Cook left off "users have no reason to upgrade" from his list.

My 6S does everything I need a phone for. Everything past there has just been "more of the same", with slightly better cameras, higher-res screens, more powerful CPUs, mild waterproofing - none of which offer me any incentive to buy, as the 6S is good enough for all of those things. Well, except for waterproofing, but then again I tend not to take my phone swimming. Sometimes there are actual steps backwards, like replacing Touch ID with Face ID.

So, when my 6S dies, I'll buy a, er, replacement 6S, not a £1200 iPhone X or whatever.

I wonder whether we're now at the point where mobile phones are just a commodity. like landlines used to be. Yes people will still buy them as they need them, but they're no longer objects of excitement. If that's the case, then Mr Cook had better start factoring that into his forecasts.

You think election meddling is bad now? Buckle up for 2020, US intel chief tells Congress


What about the internal actors?

I note that Mr Coats doesn't give us any idea about the proportion of election meddling that they expect from external players vs the home-grown bullshit, deep fakes, trolling etc that Americans themselves will be throwing at the campaign.

Judging by the info we have on the amount of money spent by the Filthy Russkies trying to influence the last result, I suspect that the external interference will be a tiny speck in the overall bullshit volume.

Data flows in a no-deal Brexit are a 'significant' concern – MPs


Covered in the ICO blog, linked in the article.

'Nun' drops goat head on pavement outside Cheltenham 'Spoons


"We're all sinners"

This is exactly the point. We're not "all sinners". "Sinning" is a construct of your religion, and in general seems to mean "acting outside the strictures we want to apply to you". Therefore, none of this applies to the rest of us.

Even within Catholic history, there's been argument about the doctrine of original sin. Bede (unreliable of course) talks about the crushing of the Pelagian Heresy, by the usual religious method of killing people. The whole point of the crushing of that heresy was to make sure that the church controlled "access to heaven", and by extension, people's lives.

So, please feel free to live your life as you like, but don't try to apply your narrow standards to everyone else.

Of course, this makes me wonder what random goat-beheaders also class as "sin"...

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms


Re: And just how does this

Message received, Oh Great Leader Boris. Operations will commence at once.

And congratulations on using such an innocent channel as El Reg to issue the order...

Marriott's Starwood hotels mega-hack: Half a BILLION guests' deets exposed over 4 years


Re: Just wondering

My card details got into the wild after the British Airways hack, and rogue transactions started to hit in < 24 hours. Fortunately my bank was on top of it (and yes I had notified them) and I think between us we caught all of the dodgy ones. So, yes it's very possible people lose "real money" from these breaches. I was lucky, and was paying attention.

As an aside: unfortunately this (and the subsequent card cancellation) hit exactly at the time I was trying to use the card to pay for a car hire in Italy, which added an extra layer of entertainment to the usual Italian car-hire circus.

Merry Christmas, you filthy directors: ICO granted powers to fine bosses for spam calls


Beers all round...

...when we see the first fine collected.

Congrats to Debbie Crosbie: New CEO at IT meltdown bank TSB has unenviable task ahead


Re: Think I know what I'd rather have....

Yes the underlying stuff will be running on a private cloud on commodity hardware, but running on top of that will be a pile of steaming latest/greatest in-house apps & microservices developed in the latest/greatest Agile & DevOps fashion.

This will be great for a couple of years, until the original devs leave. Then it's going to be exactly the same problems, with nobody now having a clue how (or if) all of these things interface - again. Only now it will originally have been implemented in a more efficient fashion.

Patch me, if you can: Grave TCP/IP flaws in FreeRTOS leave IoT gear open to mass hijacking


Patch? HOW??

Patch all those Idiocy-of-Things already out there in the wild? How? How would I force an Internet-connected toothbrush to update? Press the button 13 times with a pause between 10 & 11? Or do we rely on a Push from the vendor, which just means other security flaws?

Tbf I do have a couple of remotely-accessible radiators in an Airbnb/rental flat I own, mainly for the fun of sitting on my sofa and turning the heating down on the fuckers energy efficiency. Their software does provide a very obvious and easy way to update the firmware, but of course most users' reaction will be "what's firmware?".

Gaah. Intractable problem, caused by numpties who think that just because something can be connected to the net, it should be, regardless of use cases (or lack of).

European nations told to sort out 'digital tax' on tech giants by end of year


Re: taxation vs economic activity

Which is all fine if everybody plays the game and takes their income from the company (whether salary, bonuses, stock, dividends etc) on-shore, and pays their local taxes. However, when both the companies and the large recipients of the payouts are nicely hidden in tax havens, or are playing the Double-Dutch Irish Sandwich games, then NO revenue comes back to the nation(s). Likewise for companies building up massive offshore cash mountains, which isn't really helping any economic activity.

The rosy view of Capitalism is like the rosy view of Communism. Human nature gets in the way...

Game over, machines: Humans defeat OpenAI bots once again at video games Olympics


"a team of former Chinese Dota 2 professionals"

What nationality are they now then??

The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs


Re: Leap Seconds and the rotational inertia of billions of platters

No - Southern Hemisphere HDD's spin the other way

Sad Nav: How a cheap GPS spoofer gizmo can tell drivers to get lost


Re: I don't need a gadget to confuse my GPS..

It's ok AC - for only several hundred of your English Pounds each time, your local friendly Merc dealer will sell you the annual updates. Bargain!

Or, as a cheaper option, buy a brand-new TomTom every year and throw away the old ones...

London's top cop isn't expecting facial recog tech to result in 'lots of arrests'


Re: The spectre of Charles De Menezes has no face...

Bullshit. He did not "jump the barrier when the police were chasing him". He wasn't running. He walked through it using his card like everyone else. He got on the train like everyone else and sat down. The rest, plus the "fact" that he was wearing a long coat (again bullshit) was just BS leaked to the press to cover up the massive screw-up in the operation. There were plenty of eyewitnesses, which is how the truth came out.

Tech firms, come to Blighty! Everything is brill! Brexit schmexit, Galileo schmalileo


Re: The Enigma to Embrace, Expand Upon and Enjoy .....

Either amanfrommars1 has been hacked, or he(she?/it?) has invested in some kind of translation system. That's two posts now that have made perfect sense.

Keep your hands on the f*cking wheel! New Tesla update like being taught to drive by your dad


The Merc solution

Apparently the new Merc S-Class has "driver assistance functions", and, like the Tesla, monitors whether you've actually got your hands on the wheel, BUT the difference with the Merc is that it takes action when it detects you haven't done anything for a while.

This includes stopping the car, unlocking it and calling its emergency number, all on the assumption that you've probably died, because as you're driving an S-Class you're clearly a heart attack risk.

Not sure whether it actually pulls over or just stops you in your current lane (no doubt the fast one). The latter would then become exciting very quickly...

Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services



So, a saving of £500 per handset per year (alleged).

How many handsets?

How much is the airwave replacement costing?

The rest is an exercise left to the reader...

Hats off to Motorola for spotting the ongoing opportunity when Macquarie was unloading it and picking up a bargain BTW.

Uber jams Arizona robo-car project into reverse gear after deadly smash


Re: AV's Hindenburg?

Back to the basic comparison of competence then.

You assert that a "comparable human driven vehicle would not" have killed the poor pedestrian.

Humans kill quite a lot of pedestrians every day. There were 6,000 killed in the US alone in 2017, according to Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamohn/2018/02/28/high-pedestrian-deaths-in-2017-risk-becoming-new-normal-report-finds).

So, your assertion doesn't hold. It's based on the idea that all (human) drivers are competent, which is demonstrably not the case.

What we need are comparisons of fatalities/injuries per mile travelled. Obviously this also varies by country...

UK's Royal Navy accepts missile-blasting missile as Gulf clouds gather


Re: South China Sea? What?

Protecting the vitally important sources of tonic you know, old chap.

Scrap London cops' 'racially biased' gang database – campaigners

IT Angle

Problem with nominative determinism

I think what we're seeing here is a problem with naming. Here it seems that the Met have created a "Gang" database where they actually mean a "Black Gang" database. Let's call it what it is and avoid the confusion.

Clearly a "gang" database should also include those others who are responsible for the other 73% of the youth violence. However if the very definition of "gang" that you're using assumes you have to be black to be in one, then that's never going to happen.

Yes, all the high-profile crime plastered over the papers recently has been black kids. However, if the quoted stats are correct, then our impression that all yoof crime is black kids then it's a good example of Availability Bias - ie we're not seeing the full picture in the papers.

A little while ago that a gang of yoofs were sent down for various forms of villainy in North London. The papers published their photos, and it made me little heart glad to see that they were a mixture of black, white and asian. A proper sign of integration at work... It would be interesting to see how many of the non-black ones were on the famous database.

And no Ma1010, not all "artists" are out there glorifying this crap, and quite a lot are actively working against it. Just because you don't seem to be aware of that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. To take a single example, try listening to Missy Elliot and then try your lazy generalisations.

And just to dispel the other generalisation you will have come up with reading this: I'm neither black nor a yoof...

Autonomy ex-CFO Hussain guilty of fraud: He cooked the books amid $11bn HP gobble


SFO with egg on their faces?

So, given that a US court has found him guilty, wouldn't that tend to indicate to the SFO that perhaps there might actually be a case to answer after all?

Airbus plans beds in passenger plane cargo holds

IT Angle

I'd pay if the price was reasonable

I do UK<->OZ (East coast) at least once a year. I'd happily pay a premium for this, but the question would then be "how does the cost relate to Business Class?". If it's approaching Business Class cost, then there's no point, as it'd be better to just fly Business.

The current 14+-hour legs OZ<->Dubai are bad enough in cattle class, so I'd never even contemplate a single UK<->OZ hop without being able to lie down somehow (and no I can't afford Business).

Regarding the 380's: we will now explicitly only book flights on 380's, preferably Emirates. Have done 777's and they don't compare. So, in general, Emirates get our custom simply because they have 380's. I doubt we're the only ones with the same attitude, so I'd guess that aircraft make a lot of commercial sense for Emirates.

Diplomats, 'Net greybeards work to disarm USA, China and Russia’s cyber-weapons



Usual problem here: how do we identify the perps? All the various spook agencies will continue as normal and if found out they will be saying "Wasn't me guv".

Great, we're going to get DevOps-ed. So, 15 years of planning processes – for the bin?


Re: Usual DevOps bollocks

@mat - yep nice theory, and fine for trivial changes. And yes, it can streamline the grunt work.

However, unless you have managed to build your nice expert system, defining all of the interdependencies in your estate, there will be no substitute for the usual bearded 20-years-of-service arsehole pulling you up in the CAB and saying "This Change you're making to system X will bring down system Y because you've not thought it through now run along and try again. And by the way, I see that you ticked the boxes in the approval system to say that your new design complies with the architectural principles, but it doesn't really, does it?".

And good luck building the system that's going to automate all that knowledge and be able to do proper reviews.


Usual DevOps bollocks

So, this whole article can be boiled down to "Processes? We don't need no steenkin' processes!". In the author's opinion, the Dev teams should be able to create any old crap as they see fit, without being constrained by architectural reviews or appearing at Change Boards to convince people that they're not going to break something else when introducing their latest wheeze.

The throwaway comments about Ops were telling. No more tickets? Really? How then does the organisation know whether they need more/fewer Ops? It might work ok if they had dedicated Ops for each app I suppose. Nice and efficient...

It's just storing up problems for the future. But that's alright, it's the latest magic bullet, so what could possibly go wrong?

UK.gov: Psst. Belgium. Buy these Typhoon fighter jets from us, will you?


Re: Defending the continent against potential Russian aggression

Yes I agree that the Baltics may well have a reason to be threatened, but the rest? Really? Even though the poor Poles do have a history of being invaded from the east in even centuries and from the west in odd (or was it the other way around?), what serious threat of invasion of western Europe by Russia is there today? A shooting war in Europe? To what gain?

Yes I do agree that we need to meet our obligations under the alliance. However I do see a lot of fairly crude anti-Russian propaganda going on over the last few years. Never mind the recent reds-about-to-overwhelm-us speeches we've seen from our (UK) glorious defence minister and Mr Stoltenberg, which are probably just pleas for increased budgets); it's pretty obvious in the hysterical reactions we see whenever a Russian ship comes anywhere near the UK (say, the Channel) on its way somewhere else. It seems to me to have been building up these last few years, and I can't really understand the reasons behind the increase. Just normal political talking up of external threats maybe?


Defending the continent against potential Russian aggression

I am immensely comforted to know that the Belgians are buying fighters to defend us against those commie hordes massed on the East German German Polish border, waiting for the merest excuse to bring us under the rule of the Great Bare-Chested Not-At-All-Gay Overlord.

Oh wait - they're already under our beds, aren't they?

Stop calling, stop calling... ICO goes gaga after home improvement biz ignores warnings



That is all.

UK Home Sec Amber Rudd unveils extremism blocking tool


only 50 out of a million randomly selected videos requiring additional human review

And they know this how?

How many out of that million were (correctly) identified as positive for "terrorist content"? How many were (correctly) declared "clean"?

So that infers that some human has checked all of the videos and agreed with the classification. Not a bad effort, given the timeframe and ££ involved.

Or are they just saying their system said "Dunno" on 50 of them and they just assumed all the others must be ok then?

And while I'm ranting, how did it go identifying, say, neo-nazi or Continuity IRA videos? Or don't they count as "terrorist" because they're not in Arabic?

What's that familiar smell? Ah yes - it's bullshit.

Brit regulator pats self on back over nuisance call reduction: It's just 4 billion now!


Re: The landline is now a liability

Yep. Appoximately 100% of the calls on my landline are scammers. Maybe 10 a week, and I'm TOS registered.

So what do our friends in the Gummint propose to do to shut the door on the overseas call centres? It's all very well attacking the onshore ones, but in my experience, they're a small proportion of the total.

Why aren't you being arbiters of truth? MPs scream at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter


Re: "What is this [spread of misinformation] doing to our children?"

Astounding. A politician worrying about what misinformation might be doing to the populace. Don't they all do this for a living?

UK infrastructure firms to face £17m fine if their cybersecurity sucks


Can we make it retrospective?

Please please please.....

Otherwise, we still won't catch Baroness Harding, unless we can reclassify the NHS as "infrastructure".

Private submarine builder charged with murder of journalist


I, for one, will be interested to hear the next few versions of his story.

Ice cliffs found on Mars and NASA says they’re a tap for astronauts


Re: Ahh. science & Mankind

Cassini was deliberately crashed into Saturn as the route least likely to contaminate any environments out there. Left to just fly around for long enough it was likely to crash (uncontrolled) into one of the various moons, with a much higher risk of leaving bits behind.

Butcher breaks out of own freezer using black pudding



That's some pudding.

Is that why they say "Once you've had black, you'll never go back"?

Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'


Re: They will never work in an urban environment.

The same way we do now. The occupants shout at the kids.


Re: And of course the moral issue...

"But you do have a point that all these cases have to be covered, evaluated, resolved, and catered for before a car can be autonomous"

I see this kind of statement quite a lot in the discussions of autonomous cars.

No you don't need to solve every possible case before implementing this. We don't do this for any other form of engineering. All you need to do is to solve enough of them that the autonomous systems are better than the (quite fallible) meatbags that are currently in charge of driving.

The most recent stats I can find (2016) on the current state of play in the UK show ~1800 fatalities and ~180,000 injuries on the roads. US is ~37,000 (impressive as it's only around 5X the UK population, but no doubt greater distances for emergency response, maybe more miles travelled pp etc etc of course). Oz ~1300 likewise. So, there's your target - autonomous vehicles just need to kill/injure fewer people than that.

So, all the autonomous systems need to do is to show that they're safer than these current figures. At that point, the insurance companies are going to step in and start pricing us meatbags out of our cars, to keep their own costs down.

Our friends in the Gummint may also take a hand, to cut down the overall health costs. There are already rumours of them introducing a road tax per mile travelled, in preparation for losing all that petrol tax now that they've mandated that we're all going electric Real Soon Now (another rant, don't get me started...). It would be simple to extend that as another way of pushing autonomous cars.

UK watchdog dishes out fines totaling £600k to four spam-spewers


Re: Good

And payable by the Directors, not the (no doubt) Limited Liability Company.

Virgin Hyperloop pulls up the biggest chair for Branson, bags $50m, new speed record


Re: "fastest speed record..red Fiat Panda..four occupants..etc etc

@John Smith 19 - you left one thing off your list of journey times:

- Building the bloody thing: About 150 years.

Russia could chop vital undersea web cables, warns Brit military chief


Er, so what's Sir Stuart's proposed solution then?

So, what does Sir Stuart suggest we actually do about this Threat To Our Way Of Life then? Buy enough boats to shuttle up and down the wires at 10min intervals, looking For Bad Guys at their nefarious activities? Blockade them thar Russkies in their ports perhaps?

Or is he just asking for more funding for the sharks/lasers project?

The North remembers: York scraps Uber's licence over data breach


Re: Oi!! (II)

Nup - put that map down Bed. It's beyond the Watford Gap, therefore is North, and not be visited without passport and translator.

Gemalto: Cheers for that 'unsolicited' €4.3bn bid, Atos. We'll think about it


+1 for the photo

I told zem we already got one!

Archive of 1.4 billion credentials in clear text found in dark web archive


Re: STOP. In the name of love.

No no no. Putting all your passwords into a password manager is all fine, until you discover that your password manager has been pwned. Then it's game over.

Lastpass anyone?

'DJI Mavic' drone seen menacing London City airliner after takeoff

Black Helicopters

A rare "Drone Sighting" that might actually have some credibility

One of the problems I see in these discussions (viz: "Ban the Lot of them") is that every report of drone/aircraft proximity is taken as gospel, when in fact there seems to be close to zero corroboration that the objects seen were in fact drones. This is the first one I've seen in a long time that seems to have some credibility.

Some of the reports strain any sort of credibility, such as the one a little while ago reporting a near-miss on a drone at 11000ft. Seriously? Yes there are drones that have the range and endurance to be hovering on a flightpath at 11000ft, but they're expensive enough that you wouldn't want to risk having it run over by an incoming aircraft.

Likewise most of the reports of actual collisions with "drones" turn out to be something else, such as the "drone" bouncing of the Socata in Adelaide in July, which turned out to be a flying fox (*).

Of course scrotes and f*wits who do fly drones around airport approaches should be dealt with severely, preferably in a way that also prevents their genes from contributing further to the pool.

However this shouldn't be done on the basis of "I saw something! I reckon it was a drone!". It should be done on the basis of "This object that was sighted was a drone and here's a photo" or "The object that struck the plane was a drone and here are the pieces".

On the bright side, at least unidentified objects are now usually classed as drones rather than alien spacecraft, as in the Good Old Days.

(*) A large bat, not actually a fox that flies...

Apple looks forward to wiping $47bn off its overseas profit tax bill – thanks to US shakeup



They could just leave the money overseas and not pay the 14%, leaving them hanging on to the whole $100bn-odd tax instead of handing over $49bn-ish.

I'm sure there are those in the US who will now be saying that of course Apple will be only too happy to bring their money back onshore and only pay $49bn, because that's the kind of civic-minded people they are. Therefore more money will be available to the Great Unwashed, spreading joy & happiness. This money could then be used to boost the economy, as the GU go forth and buy unicorn droppings and fairy dust.

UK.gov failing to prevent £10bn of annual online fraud, say MPs


So let me get this straight...

So, the report says that the Home Office should be doing something about this but they're too useless, and they don't have any baseline data about the size of the problem in the first place. A difficult fix, given the ongoing incompetence of successive HO ministers (of various parties).

And the report says that the banks aren't doing enough either. At least that one's easily solved: make them f'n responsible for the losses. Even doing basic checks like matching names against account numbers when doing transfers would be a help. Doubtless the reason this hasn't been done in the past is that the banks consider it cheaper to argue the toss when somebody (by fat-finger or fraud) puts in the wrong account/sort code, than to guard against it in the first place.

Clearly this is a big issue and worthwhile doing something about, given that (allegedly) £10bn is going into the hands of scumbags rather than usefully (and taxably) being shuffled around the legitimate economy.

So, expectation that any of this will be fixed in the foreseeable? Hahahahaha ahahaha...

Damian Green: Not only my workstation – mystery pr0n all over Parliamentary PCs


Where's the snapshot?

IIRC the original raid on Green's office was to trace the source of leaks, and therefore his machine came under investigation.

You would expect that the first thing Inspector Plod is going to do as part of this investigation is to snapshot the machine, so that (a) there's a backup of any evidence and (b) so the porn leaking trail can be examined at leisure.

So, given UK Plod's reluctance to destroy any gathered intelligence anywhere, ever, it should be a very simple matter to produce the snapshot made at the time and prove/disprove Green's protestations of innocence.

None of this forgives the f'n appalling use of coppers coming into parliament without a warrant in the first place, of course.

Three useless UK.gov 'catapults' put in Last Chance Saloon


Yeah - replacing the bogies would be terrifically expensive of course....


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