Other types of nobs..
c) You're an odd nob
d) You're just a bog standard ordinary, run-of-the-mill nob
I think c) and d) are still better than a) or b) mind.
I want one (a BB Passport that is).
70 posts • joined 15 Mar 2011
Sorry Jimmy, didn't see your post. But it's worth saying again. As consumers we will be be royally screwed twice over - having to pay billions for the priviledge of paying for the system which switches our power off at will, and then paying again for even more exprensive power.
The rational understand that it would be far more cost effective to spend the money improving the energy efficiency of all homes and offices than to waste £13bn (that's what I hear) on meters that will be years out of date by the time they get installed in numbers.
And with improving the housing stock, the money is much more likely to benefit local economies rather than giving it to huge foreign owned business that pay next to no tax.
The real point of smart meters is to allow energy companies to control your use of power when demand is outstripping supply - "sqeaky bum time" if you like.
And you WILL sign a contract to let them do this because otherwise your power bills will become quite unaffordable (unless you have lots of dosh of course). Ce la vie or maybe "Alles ist seinen Preis wert" is more appropriate.
From what I see driing a lot in the UK, your bog standard plod seems to drive just like the average numbnut car driver - I think they used to be much better years ago, but they've got significantly worse over the couple of decades. But maybe that's because they are getting younger!
Seriiously though, dedicated traffic cops seem to have remained very good - I haven't ever noticed them driving like eejits (though there are always going to be exceptions).
No need to take your telly to the bog - it can be there as your personal hi-tech disposable. The cardboard tube will need to be a bit stiffer - how about replacing that with a carbon fibre one.
They'll have to give it a less slippy coating mind.
The door is wide open for nasties, intentionally devised but mostly otherwise, to be bought into their homes by unthinking consumers.
No doubt like the first few IOT devices, they will have some novelty value, especially for El Reg tinkerers and the like, but here in Britland our concern should be not just focussed on the technical security stuff, but on the more run of the mill issues.
Our government is relying heavily on IOT to facilitate a massive programme of invasive monitoring and control of our domestic activities.
To whit, the infamous Troajn horse known as the "SMART Metering" project that British consumers are forced into paying through the nose for via their utlity bills.
Yes, the plan is to link your friendly fridge, central heating boiler, washing machine etc. to your smart meter that you WILL install.
The way you will be forced to do it will be in a similar way to the introduction of water meters in Britain. When a new house or flat (apartment) is built, it will be part of the build. For existing housing stock, when the consumer moves out, the new owner/tenant will find they have to take the smart meter when they take over the property.
You will then see on sale boiler control systems, ovens, freezers, etc. that will be compliant with this smart metering system - maybe the retailers and installers will eventually only be able sell these kind of devices - like the way you have to buy condensing gas boilers now.
For early adopters, the bribe will be that you get discounted electricity/gas/water bills.
In due course, you will find that you will pay a lot more for your utility services if you don't use the smart meter system with "approved" appliances.
The deal will be that "un-smart-metered" services will become progressively more and more expensive than un-metered. Smart meter households will be able to pay a lot less per unit of whatever by allowing the utilities to limit the use of their ovens/fridges/kettles etc, to off-peak times.
If they are well off or desperate, the mart meter household will be be able to overide the device limits, but will have to pay heavily for the priviledge.
Here's a scenario, it's Sunday evening Winter 2025, the kids need their school clothes washed and dried for the morning.
Unfortunately there is a big energy gap in the UK. We now have no nuke power stations, and the new Chinese/French designs are running 10 years behind schedule and the first won't be ready until 2035. World natural gas supplies are up 25% over the last 10 years, but world demand has gone up 50%.
UK shale gas is coming on stream in larger quantities, but early bores have been shown to have a very short commercially productive life and so government is having to underwrite all new development and infrastrcuture costs.
So if little Jonny needs his school kit cleaned and dried by tommorrow, it will costs his ma & pa £25 for the priviledge.
Oh and while I'm at it, why not make the parents of this select priveledged few pay through the nose for giving their sprogs yet another leg up over the unwashed masses, and put the money earned toward improving science / maths education standards amongst those others, less lucky in their financial / family situation, who might actualy deserve to benefit from this explosion of altruism.
Not. What a smugtastic article!
This smells like the (UK) government's "Help to Buy" scheme - give more to those already have more, and leave the rest to fester in their ignorance and the prospect of joining the swelling ranks of the masses slaving away for the minimum wage.
From the tone of this piece, I strongly suspect that those nominated will drawn from the gifted and talented list, which in my experience is populated almost exclusively by the offspring of the well-to-do wealthy middle classes, who can afford to hot-house their precious Tarquins and Jemimas, buying them all the kit they can can shake a Kinect / iPad at, and / or can afford the time to spend nurturing the priveledged little loves, introducing them to the marvels of the scientific and mathmatical when, in those rare spare moments when they are not taking them to listen to West Russian classical music, learn Mandarin/classical piano/violin/etc.
Rant over. I wish I felt better now but I don't.
Yours, etc .
The app makers, phone manufacturers, network operators and phone designers would all like to grab all the action (our cash) for themselves and screw us, the customers, over royally, and if they can get away with it that's just what they do.
Move along now - nothing courageous to see here folks..
Agree - as consumers / users of home equipment we will effectively be forced in to joining and using the IoT.
You will find you have to connect your fridge, cooker, lights to get them to work at all - they just won't function without a connection to your "smart" meter. You'll have to agree to get a reasonable deal on your power bills, and the "reasonable" deal will mean your power company can switch off your applainces / heaters etc when they like. Washing, heating or toast on demand will be the preserve of the rich.
The appliance manufacturers will work out they can make money by making their warrantees more restrictive, conditional on them being able to monitor your use of your cooker, washing machine etc.
Just like your iPhone has a water sensor to see if it's been down the WC, the washing machine will have a load sensor to see if you put too many y-fronts in at once, the oven will know if you left the grill on overnight too many times after a session and grass you up, the toaster will record if you were a bit heavy handed - sorry mate, no guarantee any more, no refund when it craps out.
The excuse will be it's for your benefit, saving you money, when really it will be about allowing power companies and appliance manufacturers keep their profits going up at your expense.
That the day-to-day business operations of these really big retail companies with lots and lots of customers are all about really big IT systems processing big amounts of sensitive data.
Because IT is at the heart of these businesses, you would think they'd have at least one main board director with fundamental IT systems knowledge and expertise.
That problem for the company with a main board IT director is that is that they cannot (or it makes it more difficult for them to) claim ignorance as a defence and lay off responsibility to more junior IT bods or third party service providers / contractors when this kind of event takes place.
That this government can make teaching code work better than any other educational endevour which they already manage, badly. UK governments over the last 40 years have all made a complete hash of education policy, sadly it just seems to get worse with each new lot voted in.
Evidence based policy making (EBP) is an interesting development that might help goverments make better policies, which can only (?) be a good thing, regardless of whether they are Labour Tory, Libs etc.
They would have to think through the implications of the policy and how it would work in practice (things like how much money and time it would take to impliment the policy effectively, what kind of person is likely to best suited to managing the implementation of the policy).
In theory, UK governments are already signed up to EBP, we promote it to developing countries. Sadly, but predicatably, our governments are only likely use EBP where the answers produced fit their agendas. Do as we say, not as we do...
We don't want to do tech support for anyone else at all really.. aged parents excepted - maybe. Friends/siblings (AKA "friblings"), unless seriously broke and/or desperate, should always be pointed elsewhere for anything other than vague mutterings about IT stuff. Play the mug once, and you get the hat for life and will forever be wasting your time (and theirs often) tinkering with and fixing their cerappy old virus ridden kit for free when they just need to hand over the readies and bloody well pay for something, commercially, with money!.
I'm not a great fan of capitalism generally, but professionally, it just makes life a lot more straight forward.
If you pay for something you have a right to expect a service, if not you don't.
If fribling gets a new PC, no matter how cheap and rubbish, well it should be covered under warantee/sale of goods act etc, and someone else will be responsible (i.e can be blamed).
If they have the dough, fribling should just be pointed towards a Mac.
They will know / recognise Apple kit, and while expensive, will accept that Macs do look nice, are a feel good buy. Best of all, there are places called "Apple Stores". And while Macs are still much less likely to suffer effects of virus stuff etc than Microsofts, if and when things do go wrong, I can say truthfully I don't really know too much about fixing them and point fribling to the Apple shop - job done! Currys-PC World just doesn't have the same associations with "knowing about IT stuff".
I've done this before over several years (only since OSX mind) and I have yet to get a "fribling" support call (about software / OS issues anyhow) from those who went down the Mac path.
Although used to dealing with Linux & Unix systems as part of the day job, and have them myself, I really,really don't want to be a Linux/BSD or wotnot evangelist and be lumbered with fribling wingeing about things that are different/don't work the same as Windows blah blah blah...
Who let those hordes of third party scripts into their website. It used to be that "!trustworthy" websites nearly always only served code from their own domain(s). Now the corporate world and his dog lets almost any old
advertising reseller or wotnot into their web space, and the users are basically expected to trust all of them, no matter how unfamiliar they are.
Even the banks do this now. While you can expect to trust "mybank.co.uk", why should you trust all those third party advertising / cookie tracking scripts that link to yet other third party domains with unknown security/data policies.
Maybe some of the posters here who manage their own domain email would care to run an experiment:
1 create a couple of random email accounts like "email@example.com" and "firstname.lastname@example.org".
2 Do not use these email addresses for anything at all.
3 Redirect these to one of your business as usual catchall accounts.
4 Wait a few weeks and see what comes in.
5 Report back to this thread (assuming Reg mods lets it stay active that long).
I have no idea how this will turn out, but if we have a few hundred addresses between us it might provide some useful info about this.
Yep, I reckon the Atari was probably the best family present (excluding for the oldsters of the time). I think we got at least three Christmases worth of games out of that console, pretty good considering the punishment it took.
I reckon biplanes was the one that gave those indistructable joysticks most grief - seem to remember having 4 player mode. all really pushing the wretched controllers as hard as we could for hours on end - never did break the things.
It was all still working went consigned by mum to the "cheridy" shop. :(
Deprressing, but I don't think the septics have a monopoly on having a generally ignorant population anymore (assuming that was ever true) . Going on my experience of what seems to be the most popular telly and Brit news Interweb, us Brits are running you yanks a very close second if not leading by a head.
A quick rummage through recent news stories on the most popular sites (Daily Mail, Metro), especially those concerning more "technical" news , will show us up, both in the language used in reporting and that used in the public responses.
I don't think this a class/wealth related issue either, except that if you come from a wealthy back ground there is less excuse for being a dumbass than if you come from a "less wealthy" background.
Most users just can't be bothered to use the simple security they already have - ahem there are a few above even amongts the hallowed realms of the El Reg community.
Basically, security =work. It doesn't come free, even if you don't have to pay cash up front, you'll need to pay in time spent "doing" the security.
A good rule of thumb is that the more effective the security measures the harder it is to use the things you're securing. The "easiest" security is often overlooked / ignored by the user because your average 'puter punter just isn't bothered / educated enough even to use the basic security features their OS and software already offers.
Going from the most basic:
PW protecting OS access / hardware access</li>
Once the OS is running, have a different user account for each user and enforce use of these with a decent PW policy (and remember any password is better than none).
Logout / lock the OS whenever you leave the machine - it takes 2 secs max. There is no excuse for not doing this - especially for the more techie amongst us. Leaving your desk? Lockit. At least use an automated screenlock.
Use a browser that has usable secuirty options including a Master password for saved pw lists.
I also think it is an issue that Chrome doesn't offer a Master pw feature, but every user has a responsibility to educate themselves enough to safely use the common web tools, even though this is not very straightforward for most people.
Whose job is it to educate computer users about using sensible security measures for all their PC activities?
Given how much of our lives are dependant on and conducted via the Internet, and the fact that Government is now forcing us to use it to interact with it's various departments, we're probably at the stage where some kind of compulsory education is in order
Maybe the long forgotten computer driving licence should be brought back, to lfe, and only those who have "passed" should be let loose with a "proper" PC which you set up and configure yourself.
All those unable to pass the test should be only allowed to use a special, "authorised" pre-configured device designed especially for Internet "Learners".
Maybe that device will have a real, proper physical key they have to insert in order to use the machine, and maybe they have to turn the key if they want to do anything at all risky. And it should come with a lockable paper notebook to write all the passwords in.
Er, that's it.
You know nearly all the articles getting loaded up allow comments, even the recent ones (look at today's main El Reg home for example).
Is it just a totally random decision and you fellas make it up as you go along? Mind you, why shouldn't El Reg staffers do just that, it's your site. Anyhow, you don't have to be Sherlock to notice that the "No Comment" articles are mostly by Lewis, so I've done my own survey of his recent articles and the comment/no comment pattern looks like this:
Last 10 articles for each category:
Articles which really don't have any obvious connection with global warming,tree huggers, nuclear power or any of that kind of shite.
Comments - 9 No comments - 1 (any idea as to why comments aren't allowed on rhino incest?)
Articles which really do have an obvious connection with global warming,tree huggers, nuclear power or any of that kind of shite.
Comments - 0 No Comments - 10.
Is this a rule? Can someone code for this please? Something like:
IF Article contains "global*" OR "warm*" OR "CO2" OR "glacier*" OR "sea level" OR "Rhino Incest" THEN Article.Thread=True
Lewis is quite able to handle the shitty comments (the freedom to make / read shitty comments is half the reason for coming to El Reg after all), and it must make for great stats. Or is it that there is too much traffic generated by the pro & anti-global warming comment trolls?
If it's an attraction selling nosh, then, as befits a genuine El Reg article, you should taste everything on the menu and give nosh ratings. Nosh is a key compenent of any trip, especially a techhie-type trip, and essential if you have to trek miles in the wilds, so it's likely far from alternative perveyors of haggis n' neeps, tatties and other Scots type grub.
It's just the attitude you expect from the dodgier advertisers, but the serious points are about how and why people / businesses turn a buck on-line. For some it's the only way to make their bread, for others it's a useful extra revenue stream.
The real issue is about the contract the Randal Rothenbergs (isn't that the name of slimy reptile off Monsters Inc?) of this world think we should all be forced to agree to, regardless of what we, the users prefer to do with our online activity information.
If you run an information website that is mostly supported by advertising, I reckon it's fair enough for those websites to say
"hey, if you want to read our site, you have to let us set cookies, and then mine and sell on your viewing habits while you're here - that's how we make the dough to provide our information you like so much.".
Now if you like the website info a lot, and could trust the website / their advertising "partners" to use your cookie information responsibly maybe you wouldn't mind.
But what with the humungous numbers of third party domains trying to set cookies and run scripts, even on supposedly trustworthy sites like the banks and big online retailers, most of us don't have time to work out who all these different outfits are and whether they can be trusted - even tech savvy El Reg readers. My mum still struggles to fire up her PC, so asking her and teh hordes of other non-techies that make up 90% of the users to make that kind of judgement is unfair and unreasonable.
If the advertisers / website owners could be trusted to do the right thing, maybe we could have a independant, workable advert/cookie preference service like the UK's Telephone and Mail Preference . services.
But they can't so we can't. Switch them all off by default and nuke'em all from space - it's the only safe thing to do!
I'm ambivalent about the benefits or otherwise to the Scots of independance, though gut instinct tells me in the short term there won't be much very bad fallout, mostly stupid inconveniences, but in the longer term it will cause big problems for both populations that they really won't need (and the majorities both sides of the border won't have asked for).
My guess is that Lewis really doesn't give a toss about Scotland, Alex Salmon, independance or anything to do with them unless it impinges on his the Holy Turf of Climate Change, and maybe defence - what about prospects for "The Sovereign British Territory of Faslane" - Lewis?
I get your point that it's the same system / functions on Forum / threads as are offered for the main articles, but it's not the same in that comments are not presented with the article - you have to find your way to the forums and topic(s) you guess will be associated with the article and then find the thread.
Most won't be bothered (granted most probably don't look at the comments anyhow).
The point about the comparison with the Beeb is my main worry. BBC News used to offer comment functions on nearly all of their articles. Now comments are only permitted on a small number of carefully selected news items, which is in my book a subtle form of censorship.
Let El Reg continue to proudly offer ubiquitous comments - no back door censorship here please.
The ubiquitous comment facility is one of the things that makes El Reg special - unlike the Beeb which is too scared to let us plebs make remarks about it's news site output.
I notice that the comment options are not available for Lewis Page's piece about Scottish Salmond's daft tidal power plans, and instead we're directed toward the forums.
Please tell me this isn't a new trend for El Reg..?
I'll fess up to not having a recent Windows phone, but have had a little play around with a couple, and do believe the consensus which seems to say the latest versions work pretty / very well on most of the new Nokias, which are nice hardware designs with decent specs.
But my gut feeling is, that going on Windows track record on security and transparency, if you run a Windows operation, adding Windows mobiles into the mix is too much like putting all your eggs in one rather holey basket.. Having said, that I really don't believe Android is any more secure in practice in day to day use, and in fact is seriously underated as a security risk for consumers and in the loosely managed business IT environments encountered in most SME's.
What I like most about the touted benefits of BB10 is the feature that supposedly allows effective separation of business and personal data on a single device, plus the secure)ish) messaging .
Plus, with the Q10, the fact you get a physical keyboard option - my fat fingers really struggle with vitual keyboards.
I know it's a stale arguement, but with Maemo, Nokia really looked like they were finally making headway delivering a good smartphone OS, so it was a shame they junked it, especially when the only alternative was to assume the only game in town is now Win mobile OS.
I don't see Sony, Samsung HTC playing that one out in the same way - they're happy to play the field taking each OS on it's merits to their business model.
As a phone manufacturer, the key issue I can see is that MS like to grab a big chunk of your profit up front in the form of the OS license fee, and then a whole lot more for the life of the phone by snaffling a wodge of any app sale revenues.
For Apple and Blackberry, this approach makes sense, as even though they outsource production, they take on much of the commercial risk with the design and manufacture of the hardware, the quid-pro-quo being they pay the price when the phone doesn't sell.
For Nokia, by using the MS mobile OS, they have all the risks of a branded mobile manufacturer, with none of the upside from continuing sales of apps. What gives?
Doh Hoh Ho Ho ho - not. Tea Party Troll, but as usual they come without even bearing the obligatory crumpets.
The same MO as Eden on MS, but not as amusing.
Anyhow, this snooping has being going on forever under various guises (and Presidents both red and blue), and news of this capability has been public domain for many years (e.g: James Bamford's "Body of Secrets..) for anyone who could be bothered to look.
It comes with the territory really. Go back as far as you like, and you'll find with easy to use centralized comms of any technology comes centralized snooping. Simples.
All they need to do is crap it straight out of the back door and let the nasty UV, high energy solar wind particles and similar stuff zap all the turd-bugs to death. It'll likely dry up pretty quickly, too and then be easy to crumble up all over the martian dust and voila - martian mulch all ready for your plants .
Should be be just fine for growing turnips and such. How much water would you have to mix in with the pee to make it ok for watering the veg?
Our politicos in UK and EU countries may often be very bad, but there is plenty of competition from the rest of the world for the title of "Worst".
Anyone care to start the list? Preferably nominations from nominee country nationals - residents can be excused, as if found out, in the worst places they'll get executed/jailed/tortured for dissing the homeland!.
Good idea in principle, but the usual stumbling block will be where in the world all this high tech investment goes. I don't see France, Germany, China never mind Venezuala coughing up without getting some of the action back into their own economies.
Cue years of horse trading a la LHC, reasearch Fusion reactor labs, and the rest. Chances are they'll still be squabbling about who gets what & how much the wonga when the "Big One" hits.
Yep, we have different rules in the UK to those in the US (like for motorcycle clothing/helmets), and I guess individual states might have some of their own special regulations. El Reg needs to remind commenters that we are a diverse bunch and apart from often talking complete bollox because we can, also may confuse because our laws and customs differ quite alot.
How about having a country flag option for commenters?
I reckon this top ten list is warped toward yank favourites, eg for us Brits, Paper Boy?!! Dodgy or wot.
IFRC, over here most coin ops appeared and were played at first in pubs rather than arcades (which I think only got commonplace much later when planning regs were relaxed & tended to only be at the seaside or in a few of the dodgier parts of cities), so naturally memories are a bit hazy but here goes.
The first coin op game I played was Pong, then came Space Invaders, then I'm not so sure of the order but I think it was, Asteroids, Battlezone, Defender, Frogger, Missile Command, Donkey Kong, Pacman, Galaxian. Lunar Lander was a bit of a niche one as it was more difficult to play when pi**ed. Dig-Dug I only played as a bootleg on an early IMB PC at work (copied off a 5 1/4 floppy!) . Forget those after mid eghties as by then the beer drinking had completely taken over.
Never heard of Q'bert, Spyhunter and the rest apart from Streetfighter, but anything decent would have been available over here on the Spectrum/Commodore/BBC.
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