* Posts by llaryllama

70 posts • joined 7 Jul 2010


You're not getting Huawei that easily: Canadian judge rules CFO's extradition proceedings to US can continue


Re: "We expect that Canada's judicial system will ultimately prove Ms Meng's innocence."

Meng was arrested and placed under house arrest due to suspicion of defrauding the banking system. She has relative freedom while on bail. All details of the case are transparent and publicly available. The Canadian judiciary is mostly independent from government.

Kovrig and Spavor have been locked in an unknown detention center with no details of their crimes provided except that they are held for "espionage". The Chinese court system is completely controlled from the top down by the CCP.

Let's leave whataboutism and "you did X first" in the Soviet era where it belongs.


Some background

I know it's tempting to assume the case is purely political and Meng is being used as a bargaining chip with China, but she was not arrested for breaking sanctions. She was arrested for banking fraud by declaring that payments were received for Entity A while they were actually being shuffled to Entity B.

If anything Meng's status as a political pawn - perceived or otherwise - has helped avoid extradition to this point, because nobody wants to be seen as throwing the hot potato back into the pot.

China and its CCP-connected citizens get away with a lot of dodgy stuff on the international stage and expect everyone else to play by liberal democratic rules while they can bend the rules any way they like without repercussions. Whatever the political ramifications I don't have a great deal of sympathy for Meng when she is alleged to have committed a fairly serious white collar crime and is under house arrest in a transparent legal regime. Try playing the banking system in China and see where that gets you.

Full disclosure: I'm Taiwanese so I'm kinda biased against China but for good reasons.

If you miss the happier times of the 2000s, just look up today's SCADA gear which still has Stuxnet-style holes


Industrial computers

I do hardware and software design for niche industrial systems. When I first started working with Modbus I was pretty shocked that such an insecure and outdated comms protocol was still de rigeur for industrial use and most likely used in a majority of critical infrastructure plants. As much as I hate building anything non standard I ended up developing my own protocol for internal comms.

For anyone who's not aware Modbus was originally developed 30+ years ago as a way for industrial equipment to talk with each other over RS485. At some point it was hastily bolted onto IP network as Modbus TCP/IP. There is zero authentication in standard Modbus and there are some pretty big limitations in the protocol such as only 16 bits used for data (a 64 bit float would need to be sent as 4 messages and converted at the other end).

Any promises to extend rights of self-employed might win an election, hint Brit freelancer orgs


Re: Purely anecdotal

Slightly late reply.. but Taiwan.


Purely anecdotal

I struggled as a youngun in the UK to get a business off the ground. It was in theory a good business but something like half my earnings were going out in various taxes and I wasn't even making that much to start with. I didn't dare hire any staff because of all the extra tax complications and legal risks. It felt like every small win was immediately knocked down by HMRC or someone else. So it just stagnated, I got sick of it all and left the UK.

I now live in a regime that has a single page income tax return, no CGT and minimal tax on overseas income. It's not just that I pay less tax - it's so much less stressful when everything is simple, you don't have to mess around with 100 different deductions and the tax office doesn't call you a "customer". It's no coincidence that SMEs flourish here, we weathered some nasty economic hiccups just fine, unemployment rates are extremely low and government runs very efficiently. It's tempting for governments to kiss the arse of big business because it's a quick easy win. But in the long term SMEs are the sturdy oaks in a forest of shit (excuse the analogies). So yes, more should be done to encourage and support them.

Hey bud – how the heck does that stay in your ear? Google emits latest Pixel Buds, plus extra bloatware if you have the matching phone



I have a love/hate relationship with wireless earphones in general. I have gone through 3 pairs of powerbeats from 2 different design iterations and the buttons stop working on all of them after a few months. I tried a few different true wireless earbuds including Apple's and they all suck. Terrible battery life and constant sync problems between the two ears especially in busy places where I'm most likely to use them (like the gym).

Currently I'm using Sony wireless earphones that are almost perfect but have terrible battery life and even more terrible power management software. Tap the power button, earphones tell you there is "about 50% remaining". 20 minutes later "low battery, switching off". But they have really nice noise cancelling including an ambient noise microphone for outdoor safety, sound quality is great and I love the way are designed with a neckband and a wire for each ear (feel like traditional earphones but stops me losing them). Those were cheaper than the Beats too at around $130.

Surely someone could have figured this out by now and brought out well designed, reliable, durable wireless earphones with good sound quality and at least 8-10 hours battery life at $150 or less?

Wakey-wakey! A quarter of IT pros only get 3-4 hours' kip – and you won't believe what's being touted as the 'solution'


Re: Yeahbut ...

I need a good 9-10 hours so taking kids to school in the morning is brutal. I'm in a permanent state of chronic tiredness. I try to be very disciplined getting to bed early but the only time I have to myself is post-11pm so that usually goes out the window. When I was younger and self employed I was quite happy working until 8am and sleeping until 6pm. I think I might be a vampire.

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels


Great value

I just spent about half that buying a new 600kg capacity hydraulic lifter cart for our machine shop floor. You can put a dozen or so Macs on it if you really want but I find a better use is to take turns standing on top doing the Titanic pose while someone pushes you full speed across the factory.

What do you get when you allegedly mix Wireshark, a gumshoe child molester, and a court PC? A judge facing hacking charges



I would really hope that a judge or someone else in such a position would put some effort into making sure that their computer really is secure and not being monitored for nefarious reasons. She should be commended for looking after sensitive data. There has to be more going on behind the scenes that isn't being reported, a judge on judge conflict with the other side just having more strings to pull?

OPPO's Reno 2, aka 'Baby Shark', joins the deepening pool of high-spec midranger mobes


Re: £449 is now "midrange"?

I own an Asus ROG phone that was about £800 in English money. That happens to be exactly what I paid for my first ever 2nd hand laptop a long time ago and I get a lot more use out of the phone.

I tend to change phones about every 3-5 years usually because I have worn them out and/or had one too many accidents. So let's say my phone is costing me less than £20 a month. I probably use it at least 8 hours a day, mostly for work but I also use it to watch movies and all that other stuff.

Yeh I could get by with a much cheaper phone and I did for many years. But having all that extra processing power and memory is very nice, I can plug it into an HDMI screen and it runs as fast as a midrange laptop. In fact I also use it as a laptop with a USB-C dock.

I guess there is a fine line between weighing up the value of an item that you can easily afford and getting into debt so that you never have a car/phone/clothes more than 6 months old. But there is a real use case for some of these expensive things. If they make your life better or easier in some way and their purchase does not create any financial difficulties then why not?


Re: £449, putting it firmly within the middle of the pack

In the late 90s I was working in telecoms and was constantly getting laughed at for my bright orange monstrosity of a phone (I don't even remember the manufacturer). So I coughed up £220 for a Nokia 8210, according to BOE's inflation calculator that £220 is worth almost £400 today.

Now I understand what you are saying, especially since the 8210 was a premium phone when it came out. But you have to admit you get a lot more for £400 these days then you did 20 years ago. My current phone has a dock and doubles up as a very usable laptop. And I certainly couldn't peruse El Reg on an 8210.

Samsung on fridge cert error: Someone tried to view 'unsavoury content' in middle of John Lewis



I surely can't be the only touch typist who "reconfigured" many a school keyboard by swapping all the key tops??

US games company Blizzard kowtows to Beijing by banning gamer who dared to bring up Hong Kong


Re: yOur favorite ElReg Troll speaketh

Gaming is an easy scapegoat for just being a shit dad. I will never claim to be anywhere near a perfect parent but life is about balance and we all do OK. I play games together with my two boys, it's definitely more positive for the family than negative. Yes I sometimes sit on my arse with a beer playing Battlefield 4 for an hour that could be better spend doing other things but we all need our downtime once a week.

I don't spend much time solo gaming any more but my family would probably say I spend way too much time playing violin, we should definitely ban all string instruments for the sake of the children.


Re: couls gamers care less, really?

Especially since AAA titles are all $60+ these days with subscriptions needed to play online it's us middle aged geezers propping up the sales.


Exactly the problem

If those disillusioned kids were allowed a voice for their own future without heavy handed ham fisted directions being sent down from their CCP overlords none of the violence would have happened.

The Chinese government puts Face above all else, it's like having a proud and arrogant father who will lie on his death bed with no friends or family around rather than admit he's wrong.

Banning HK youth from any events for having an opinion will make things 10x worse for all involved.

What? No way. Apple? Censoring iOS 13 to appease China? Gosh. How shocking. Who'd have thought it?



While China's petty crusade against Taiwan continues the fact is I can use my Taiwan passport to visit 146 countries visa free. Visiting Europe is highly amusing as our green ROC passports are allowed to use the express e-gates while PRC passport holders have to get a visa in advance and wait in line. The current situation is a joke - most Western countries pay lip service to China because they think there is a pot of gold at the end of the silk road, but double dip by treating Taiwan as a de facto independent country to make those tourism and investment $$. Have some balls and stand one way or the other - preferably by telling the PRC to get lost.

Now that's integrity: Bloke sinks 7 beers, turns himself in. Cops weren't looking for him


Why so much hate for Bud?

Maybe you guys get some other variation but the 5% US import Budweiser sold in Asia is really quite nice. It's a clean inoffensive lager with pleasant toasted oak and apple flavors.

New lows at Bose as firmware update woes infuriate soundbar bros


Small powerful hifi setup

Want a smallish and good looking brand new 5.1 setup without having to wire rear speakers? Get 2 pairs of Q acoustics 3000 series bookshelf speakers, optional center speaker, Polk 10" subwoofer plus a Denon AVR or Sony STR 5.1 receiver. Add a rocketfish wireless speaker kit and you have a system that will blow the arse out of your Bose soundbar with change to buy a PS4 for playing Blu rays.

Australia didn't blame China for parliament hack in case it upset trade relations – report



China has never been and will never be a particularly good partner to any other country, especially not Western democracies. I've said it at least ten times and I'll say it ten more, why are Europe, Australia and the US tripping over themselves to get shafted by China?

Uncle Sam is Huawei out of line with these hacking attacks, patent probes, Chinese mobe maker sighs


Re: Business as usual from the f'U of SA

This is a general issue doing business with China, perhaps and maybe are as good as you will get. Ownership and control are intentionally obfuscated and opaque. I don't believe Huawei is directly state owned but with Ren Zhengfei being a CCP member it's de facto state controlled.


Sorry for the Whataboutism but...

As a citizen of a country repressed by China I admit to being highly amused by the whole situation. I will feel sorry for Huawei when foreign companies have even 1/3 the access and freedom in China that Huawei has in western countries.

Hong Kong ISPs beg Chinese govt not to impose Great Firewall on them


Re: Two points

3) Something something with Chinese Characteristics

Gov flings £10m to help businesses get Brexit-ready with, um... information packs


Re: Please explain

As if to mirror the real life situation our pro Brexit friend appears to have buggered off so you won't get an answer.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moves to shut Parliament



I would posit that Brexit will have a bigger effect on IT in the UK than anything else this decade. If anything more coverage is deserved, not less.

Huawei goes all Art of War on us: Switches on 'battle mode' and vows to 'dominate the world'


Re: no longer required US components

ASUS ROG phone here. I admit I kinda bought it just to be awkward and because you can customize a flashing logo on the outside but it happens to be the best phone/ultra portable computer I ever owned. I got the dock with it that plugs into an HDMI monitor and has more USB ports than my wife's Macbook Pro.

Hack a small airplane? Yes, we CAN (bus) – once we physically break into one, get at its wiring, plug in evil kit...


Sometimes IT security IS more trouble than it's worth

I think this is one of those situations where extra security like encryption or authentication of messages has very little real world value, while the chance of something getting borked due to an error in the security protocol is a real hazard. Kind of like putting bars on your windows if you live in a high crime area then not being able to escape in a fire.

I got 502 problems, and Cloudflare sure is one: Outage interrupts your El Reg-reading pleasure for almost half an hour


Re: Independence

Once you get into page rules and other features it's extremely powerful for the price. Most of the pages on our site are static so I set up page rules to cache them along with all the images, fonts etc. used by dynamic and static parts of the site. You can block or challenge visitors with lots of parameters to fine tune. Oh and you get brownie points with Google search rankings for having a fast site as well.

NASA goes commercial, publishes price for trips to the ISS – and it'll be multi-millionaires only for this noAirBNB


Re: Dump Fee

I should point out that waste disposal is $3,000/kg as well, and at the risk of sounding crude I can't be the only one here who's taken a 3 grand dump now and then.

Uncle Sam wants to read your tweets, check out your Instagram, log your email addresses before you enter the Land of the Free on a visa


Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

I gave up my UK citizenship 2 decades ago as I moved to Asia when quite young, on the rare occasions I travel to the UK or Europe I get the third degree about where my "other ID" is (I'm ethnically Scottish, I had an albino friend in school with darker skin). The last (and worse) grilling was from a British Indian guy at immigration who didn't see the irony behind his racial profiling that would most likely get him sacked if I was <insert ethnicity> with a European passport.

You're on a Huawei to Hell, China tells US: We'll fight import tariffs, trade war to bitter end


Re: Fart

China getting pissy about fair access to markets is laughable and the media continually miss this point.

Export a container of Widgets from Crapola Inc., Shenzhen to the US and get it cleared instantly with zero or minimal import duties.

Export something similar from Redneck Supply Co., USA to China and find your product cannot be cleared because you do not have 15 licenses that are impossible for a foreign company to acquire. If it does get cleared have fun paying double or triple digit tariffs.

I am 110% behind free trade, when free trade is free trade. Not one party having complete access to western markets while other parties have extreme restrictions against reciprocal imports.

Oracle co-honcho Mark Hurd can't wait to turn your $1 of IT support spend into $4 of pay-as-you-go cloud revenue


Re: Slightly off-topic question

Thanks for the informative input everybody, it all makes more sense now.

I didn't get into database and ERP type work until the last 10 years or so, and in this time there have always been powerful free open source solutions for SQL, plus a competitive market for frontend CRM and resource management software.


Slightly off-topic question

I've been curious about something for a long time and readers of El Reg are probably the best bunch to ask.

What exactly is offered by Oracle that is so powerful/critical/unobtainable that they can get away with obscene prices/licensing terms/business practices?

There are similar sized companies in our industry who use Oracle ERP systems, but we get on perfectly fine with a combination of open source and in-house software. I visited a larger competitor in Europe and noticed their Oracle CRM system looked very crusty and not very friendly to use. At a very rough guess they must be spending close to 10% of their annual income on Oracle licenses.

Is Oracle software just particularly good at scaling for very large companies? Are execs getting kickbacks? Is everyone just stuck in a "it's worked for 20 years, don't touch it" mindset?

Strong-willed field support op holds it together during painful customer call


Cheers to that

Also life is too short to be a miser about some help or information that takes 5 minutes or less to give. I sometimes worry if I am taking it too far, but I work in a very specialist industry where a lot of old knowledge is dying out. I am more than happy to help out a competitor's engineer especially if they are a young'un. My karma meter being full does pay dividends when I'm the one who needs help.

Google Pay tells Euro users it has ditched UK for Ireland ahead of Brexit


Re: What I hope for...

It's not just services, a huge volume of goods were passing in and out of the UK as an easy and efficient door to get into EU free circulation. Doesn't matter how low your taxes are or how good the ports are, without the EU connection it's worth nowt. UK had some of the fastest sea routes possible into Europe from the far East via Felixstowe, all that business is now being moved to Ireland and the Netherlands due to attractive import tax deferral schemes.


UK ballsed it up and other countries have pounced

I work for a medium sized company that used to have a UK office with a handful of people managing imports from outside the EU. We were paying a decent amount of UK tax despite not even being a UK company. There are at minimum tens of thousands of companies like ours that used the UK as a convenient gateway into Europe.;

The Netherlands, Ireland and Estonia all understood this and quietly started actively poaching companies like ours. NL's approach was most impressive, they have a government team physically touring small and medium sized companies in east Asia to pitch NL as a potential new EU home and setting people up with NL service suppliers.

We ended up moving to Ireland a few months after Brexit was confirmed - now Ireland gets the tax, Irish staff get employed and Irish suppliers get to sell us stuff.

I don't really care about Brexit beyond the mechanics of organizing this move, but as a relative outsider it seems like a real dumb arsed decision by half the UK population.

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late


Re: Bah!

Sorry to be a party pooper, but you are likely paying more in electricity to run that thing for 3 months than it would cost to replace outright with modern hardware. I have got rid of many old boxes that otherwise ran well for just this reason, in one case consolidating several kW of power hungry servers into a single i7 based system that is much more frugal and paid for itself in a few weeks.

Vitamin Water gets massive publicity for new flavor: Utter BS


It's got electrolytes...

Huawei exec out of jail, just as US accuses China of Marriott hack



Surprised and disappointed that no media outlet has dug deeper into all of these cases and just lashed out at Canada for being America's lap dog (they aren't) and support Meng for being an innocent pawn of international relations (she isn't).

Meng was arrested on charges related to defrauding the US financial system in order to evade sanctions.

Canada has done the right thing - international law cannot be based on whether or not some action will piss off a superpower in the middle of X or Y important deal.

Meng has had full access to family, lawyers, consular support and fair hearings - none of which is afforded to foreign citizens or Chinese nationals arrested in China for even petty crimes. China's media has pushed the angle that Canada or the US have not given full details of the charges, but this is actually because Meng's lawyers applied for a gagging order which has been respected.

'Men only' job ad posts land Facebook in boiling hot water with ACLU


I think some people might have missed something...

If this was a case of certain people being denied jobs outright then that is not OK, but these are paid ad placements.

If you had a limited budget for posting a job ad and knew that 95% of interested parties would most likely be men then you target your budget to where it will be most effective. Why would you want to spend half your budget advertising to a group that will give you a very low rate of qualified, interested applicants?

You know all those movies you bought from Apple? Um, well, think different: You didn't


I live in a region that is not well supported by the major publishers and torrents are generally the only way to get a lot of new content.

The thing is, once you get used to working with DRM free high quality .mkv files you start to ask why the hell you would pay for a crappier experience where you have to login, reauthenticate yourself, wait for the network connection to settle down and wonder if the content will be removed next week.

I am a huge film buff and still buy a fair number of blu ray discs because they are basically the same price or cheaper as a digital download, sound and picture quality is amazing (HDR10 looks great) and they are more convenient for me than storing a lot of ultra HD content.

Same goes for music, I used to buy albums on iTunes and just got annoyed with all the restrictions and it's often more expensive than buying physical media. For casual listening I have a Spotify subscription which I don't mind paying for because it's pretty clear that I'm paying for a service rather than ownership of a product. Most vinyl releases come with a download code these days so you can own something physical and also download the DRM free files for convenience.

Oddly enough, when a Tesla accelerates at a barrier, someone dies: Autopilot report lands


Playing Elon's advocate here..

I am wondering out loud what the net benefit/loss is so far with these self or pseudo self driving cars. I wasn't able to find any proper studies but admittedly haven't tried very hard.

Do road deaths and injuries decrease when they are being used? It's an important question to ask because if the answer is yes then we should support their use and development even when there are mistakes or accidents.

There are some pro-car people making a noise that even one death in these vehicles proves they are not fit for purpose etc. etc. while ignoring the fact that traffic accidents are a leading cause of death and injury in the modern world.

I used to enjoy driving when I was younger but as I get older I am starting to think I am just adding to the world's problems by doing so. I guess I see neither autonomous vehicles nor meat bag drivers as the future, it would be cool to see more towns adopt smart urban planning and less reliance on cars or powered transport outright.

What's up with that ZX Spectrum reboot? Still no console


Remember to pack a rubber...


Here's the list of Chinese kit facing extra US import tariffs: Hard disk drives, optic fiber, PCB making equipment, etc


Re: I'm with Mr. T on this one

Generally with these things, there's a carrot approach and a stick approach. The carrot approach would be to make it more appealing for US companies to make their products in the US. It's far cheaper to make them in China, and the company bigwigs and shareholders don't give a shit that it makes Americans poorer, because America's system is aimed at enriching the individual.

It's cheaper to make them in China for mostly all the wrong reasons. Low wages, minimal labour laws, poor safety, almost zero environmental controls and in some cases state subsidies.

Large corporations don't care about this stuff and can't help themselves. They will buy from the cheapest seller even if they know puppies and kittens are being fed into a grinder for fuel.

Some kind of control is still needed at the government level so basic ethical standards can actually be maintained and we don't all just race to the bottom.


Re: Oh no !

No it wouldn't, all WTO countries are given exactly the same treatment here.

Taiwan is a highly liberal, democratic and peaceful country with a nutjob neighbour. From a moral standpoint this is exactly the sort of country and system the US should defend, but Taiwanese are not idiots and realize we are basically on our own in case of military action by China.

Automation will not change China, by the time wages are high enough to make it worthwhile all the cheap manufacturing will have moved on somewhere else.


Re: Oh no !

There is a difference, though, in that Taiwan is extremely open about trade, more so even than Europe. I have imported millions of dollars worth of industrial machinery, parts etc. into Taiwan from the US with mostly zero duties. Taiwan has a fairly balanced ratio of imports:exports and it's very easy for foreign entities to do business here.


Re: Nationalism Trumps Consumer Choice, apparently

This has nothing to do with nationalism and has everything to do with fair trade.

Obviously there is a negotiation tactic going on here, just like buying something at a Chinese night market. The vendor gives you a high price, you counter with a much lower one, pretend to walk away and at the last second they will call you back to make a deal.

At the moment America is basically taking the opening price, adding 10% because they don't want to upset the vendor and pretending not to notice when they steal stuff from their backpack.


I'm with Mr. T on this one

As someone who lived in Asia for most of their life and has tried exporting to China as a small business I am fully aware of how one-sided the realities of foreign trade are right now.

It's basically impossible to export even small quantities of many products into China due to ridiculous laws and red tape at customs. China whines loudly at increased tariffs for industries that are subsidized by government cronyism. cheap labour and lax regulations. But even with increased tariffs billions of dollars will continue to feed into the Chinese juggernaut while the Chinese market remains firmly closed for business except by cooperation with local government-connected entities.

China has been playing this game a lot smarter than western peers in the last 30 or so years and uses democratic openness against itself.

I would love to see genuine global free trade but that only works when all parties are playing fair. I'm amazed that so many people do not understand how China is gaming the west over trade and western countries are losing badly just to get slightly cheaper smartphones and dishwashers.

Terix boss thrown in the cooler for TWO years for peddling pirated Oracle firmware, code patches


How is this even legal?

I don't get how this kind of behaviour by oracle is legal in a democratic, civilized society. Each time they win this kind of lawsuit it only serves to embolden them to take continually more aggressive action.

Audio tweaked just 0.1% to fool speech recognition engines


Re: "My Voice is my..."

Shall I phone you or nudge you?

Big shock: $700 Internet-of-Things door lock not a success


Re: What if ...

The electronic Samsung locks I own have a physical key backup and an external 9v battery terminal in case the regular batteries died.



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