* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

3234 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Hi Facebook, Google, we think we might tax your ads instead – lots of love, Europe x

Phil O'Sophical
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Pint

that these company's have bases of operation in the countries they sell to

I can see the "cloud" making that one a minefield. As for a levy on ads, will we see them trying to get a rebate based on how many people use adblockers?

Here's hoping no-one taxes popcorn...

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Something good about Brexit? Errr, more teeth for Ofcom! – report

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Isn't this just fluff?

Isn't that just the screamingly obvious wrapped up with trite speculation?

Yes, 27 pages of maybe, based on something that hasn't been decided yet. I wish I could get paid for writing stuff like that.

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UK PC prices have risen 30% in a year since the EU referendum

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: PSA: For the confused

Not going to happen anytime soon with this lot in charge.

Not going to happen anytime soon no matter who's in charge. Governments are even worse at predicting the future than stockbrokers are.

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Viacom exposes crown jewels to world+dog in AWS S3 bucket blunder

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Well, duh.

was expected to be protected by Amazon's security

Exactly. People are used to the idea that they can put anything they want on an on-premises system, and the corporate security bods will make sure it's safe. Move to the cloud, and they assume the cloud provider will do that, which of course they won't. Having your corporate environment in the cloud doesn't make it any less your responsibility to protect it, but of course that spoils the message that cloud is cheap because "someone else does everything" so the consultants will never mention it.

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BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: RE: Sabroni

exclude people from voting on the grounds that the vote is only advisory

Sorry, you're seriously claiming that making a vote advisory in some way prevents people from participating? That has to be the most ludicrous sour grapes comment on the referendum that I've seen so far.

British citizens resident overseas for more than a certain amount of time (I think it was 8 years, but stand to be corrected)

15 years. Was 20, but Tony Blair decided that expats were more likely to be rightwing and reduced it. Cameron promised to remove the limit, but didn't.

there was never any possibility of most people being properly informed about what the vote actually meant in the first place.

That's perhaps the most damning comment about modern politics. You're seriously claiming that the vote wasn't valid because people weren't correctly told how they should vote by either side? I can see why you like the EU model, keep 'em voting until they get it right.

If people haven't got the interest and time to learn about the issues and make their own minds up then they shouldn't be voting. It's not a playground game, it's a serious matter.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: RE: Sabroni

Would I guess that you didn't vote in the European elections then?

Correct. I live in a non-UK EU country and have not registered to vote for that pointless sinecure of a Parliament.

Can you name any of your MEPs?

No.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: RE: Sabroni

And we seem to be going through with this silly Brexit thing even though only 37% of people voted for it.

By that method of calculation only 33% voted to stay. That's on a par with the 350m figure...

53% of the 72% who cared enough to vote voted for it, which is a bigger turnout, and a bigger majority, than any European election in the UK, and most UK parliamentary elections. If you claim that the numbers make the result invalid, then you must accept that most UK elections in the past 100 years were even less valid.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: RE: Sabroni

Which bit do you think is undemocratic?

Democratic is not the same as representative. With 720-odd MEPs drawn from 28 countries the chances of any of them representing anything but their own snout in the trough is nil. The unelected European Commission decides what to do, and the members of the parliament club rubber stamp it because they'll never be able to agree on anything different.

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Phil O'Sophical
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I'd have all colleges of the universities of both Oxford and Cambridge privatised, and sold to the highest bidder,

Er, who do you think owns them now? (hint, it isn't the state)

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Brit ministers jet off on a trade mission to tout our digital exports...

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Brexit

But does 'IT products' include bits travelling along fibre? Will all packets travelling across borders have to stop for customs checks?

Could be tricky, since photons have no rest mass. Would there be anything to check once you'd stopped them? Maybe you'd need red & green filter channels at Lands End?

Can illegal immigrants hide their digital identities in a stream of data? We only want British-made bits on our interwebs.

I usually use recycled bits, much more eco-friendly.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Brexit

What is the WTO tariff rate for importing and exporting bits?

Generally 0%. Look up the WTO "Information Technology Agreement" from 1996 which currently has 82 participants covering 97% of world trade in IT products and who are "committed to completely eliminating tariffs on IT products covered by the Agreement". Individual countries may impose taxes like VAT, of course. Brexit is, as usual, irrelevant here.

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Microsoft Office 365 Exchange issues for users across Europe

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Or you could have the actual information

That was certainly data, but I'm not sure there was actually any information there:

user impact: it didn't work

root cause: something broke

final status: not broken

next steps: crossing our fingers

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Noise-canceling headphones with a DO NOT DISTURB light can't silence your critics

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Do not disturb notice.

I'd start with a simple desktop sign on a folded cardboard plaque that read "If the red lights are on I'm busy. Please leave me a note or come back later when the red lights are off. Thank you."

Or just "I aten't listenin" ?

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EU's tech giant tax plan moves forward

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Juncker

In a short while, will the new country of Catalonia be in the EU?

That presupposes that Spain will let it go, which seems unlikely given that the referendum has been declared illegal. Is either party ready for a second civil war?

To answer the question, at the time of the Scottish independence referendum the EU bigwigs made it quite clear that if a region seceded from an EU member state it would not automatically become a member in its own right. It can apply, but will have to meet normal entry conditions, including economic convergence criteria. That is likely to take 5+ years at least.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: And in DC the US Treasury is not happy

a short incoherent stream of blather and cliched ad hominem trolling

Hmm, quite.

Can you clarify what income tax and inheritance tax have to do with the subject under discussion, which is how to modify taxes on corporations so that they find it harder to avoid paying tax on their sales (which, of necessity, go to buyers)?

(For the avoidance of any doubt, I am not the AC that your ad-hominem remarks were directed to)

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: EU - making it up as they go along

on balance the UK government are worse than the EU for making things wildly, needlessly complicated

True, the UK tends to gold-plate EU directives to make them "better" unlike, say, France which re-interprets them to make them more convenient.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: And in DC the US Treasury is not happy

If Google paid more tax, how exactly would that be passed onto the consumer?

Google would increase the prices of its advertising, the advertisers would increase the price of their products to cover their extra costs, and the consumers will have to pay higher prices. Where else could the money come from, if you assume that Google doesn't want to take a cut in profits, which is a given.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: EU - making it up as they go along

Politicians, especially EU ones, never seem to understand the KISS principle. Altering the rules to fix the loopholes is one thing, adding new and different rules will just create new and different loopholes for accountants to exploit.

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BOFH: We're only here because they said there would be biscuits

Phil O'Sophical
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Episode 2?

Sadly the follow-up is likely to be the cancellation of the new servers, because manglement has blown the whole discretionary spending budget on paying a design agency to create the new brand. Which will probably look like an artistically-italicised cattleprod sticking out of a plastic duck.

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Tick, tock motherf... erm, we mean, don't panic over GDPR

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Where does it all end?

I think this is going to be one of the big headaches. Say you're in a band that maintains a website where people can sign up to get email about forthcoming performances, new CD releases. Will you now have to put the whole GDPR infrastructure in place to allow people to (securely) log in and manage the PII you hold?

I can see a market for companies to provide "club sites" that look after this sort of thing, for a fee of course, much as eBay and Amazon Marketplace do for small traders. Some of those sites will be competently and securely run, but others will not. Fot those that are not, there's an opportunity for hackers to gain access to far more PII that would be put at risk by keeping a mailing list on your home PC, even though the latter could be a GDPR violation.

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UK Home Office finds £20m to throw at Oracle cloudy ERP

Phil O'Sophical
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Back to the 1970s, basically.

Well, that's all the Cloud is, isn't it? Just a big data processing centre that you rent time on.

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The sky is blue, water is wet and UK PC shipments are down

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

you are saying no country in the EU has it's own government

Ah, propaganda 101! Take something I said, and claim I said something different and more extreme. Very good, but perhaps a little too obvious this time.

I didn't say that, because that would be a ridiculous thing to say. Evidently each country still has it's own government, which has control over some things (a policy called subsidiarity) but those governments are subject to overall control by the central EU bodies. That's the basic principle of the EU, central control where it considers it to be appropriate, problems to be resolved by increasing control: "more Europe". Much as Westminister delegates control of some issues to the Scottish, Welsh and NI local assemblies while remaining in overall charge of what it wants to be.

As for Parliamentary elections for Westminister, of course they happen, and it's very interesting to look at the turnout figures. Prior to 1992 (the year the UK joined the EU) turnout was consistently around 75-78%. After 1992 it dropped to 60% but has climbed back up steadily to 70% since then. European parliament election turnout in the UK has been around half that, pretty steadily 35%, except for a drop to 20% in 1999. That's a fairly clear indication of how people see the relative importance of the two parliaments.

Did you by any remote chance vote for the UK to leave the EU?

Nope, did you miss the bit where I said I didn't live in the UK now?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

The Pound Sterling has dropped very significantly against the Euro and the US Dollar since the referendum. It has lost about 15% of its value compared to those currencies - which will affect the price of imported goods and materials.

Indeed so, although that has also helped exports. Of course, the winners don't complain about it, only those who lose out.

Dan 55's original comment was that income hasn't risen, and prices have. That situation has been around for at least the past 4-5 years, so it can't be blamed on Brexit alone.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

Phil O'Sophical doesn't appear to like Europe or its inhabitants.

Really? Then tell me why I (a Brit) live in an EU country (which isn't the UK?)

I like Europe just fine, I just think it's a silly idea to have one government trying to be in charge of all of it. Europe's strength comes from the diversity of it's members, one size demonstrably doesn't fit all.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

Prices are rising, income isn't.

That's happening all over Europe, and predates the Brexit referendum. ECB austerity policy is a more likely cause.

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Defra recruiting 1,400 policy wonks to pick up the pieces after Brexit

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Brexit

Theresa May losing her majority and becoming a minority government, when she asked the electorate to increase her mandate to make Brexit

That's an interesting interpretation of the situation, but doesn't correspond with the facts.

May was stupid enough to believe polls which said she had a chance to get a large majority, which would have put her in a position of much greater power in general. She then announced (or rather her advisors told her to announce) that her new powerful government would introduce laws that directly hit the finances of the people who voted for her. Unsurprisingly, they gave her a kicking.

It had little to do with Brexit, which should be obvious since the party which gained from the election was Labour, also pro-Brexit. The LibDems, who are vehemently anti-Brexit made only small gains, and even lost the seat which their anti-Brexit campaigner had won from Zac Goldsmith at the previous election. May is an clueless autocratic menace who does far more harm than good to the tories. The missed a chance to kick her out after the election and I think they'll come to regret that. That was the election issue, not Brexit.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Brexit

The figures were compiled by NHS Digital, not The Guardian as you claim.

The figures may have come from the NHS, the opinion that stated "experts fear the number of people leaving is the more significant trend" was part of the Guardian article that you linked to, clearly bylined. The expert quoted is from the RCP, she said "confirm our our fears that EU doctors are feeling unsettled and, at worst, leaving or planning to leave the UK". Fears, not figures.

So, I repeat, it's interesting that you stopped quotiong the Guardian article where you did, and left out the bit that said "EU staff numbers rose across the period analysed" in the Guardian article.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Brexit

A total of 17,197 EU staff, including nurses and doctors, left their posts in 2016, compared with 13,321 in 2015 and 11,222 for 11 months in 2014.

Interesting that you stopped the quote there, and didn't continue with the next line:

"Even though EU staff numbers rose across the period analysed, experts fear the number of people leaving is the more significant trend."

So net EU staff numbers are going up but the Guardian's "experts fear" that the number they can use to crank the Brexit FUD machine is the significant one.

Well, it is the Guardian.

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Phil O'Sophical
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WTF?

Re: Brexit

Pick the NHS or agriculture sector or university teaching or research article of your choice. Oh, here's one.

That's an article on how a British family business selling salad invested in new facilties but didn't get the increase in business that it needed to pay for it, which it blamed on the pound's fall after the referendum. It has nothing at all to do with EU citizens leaving the UK!

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: brexit cost

Please do check the numbers and let me know if I've overlooked something.

The numbers seem correct, although the rules apply very specifically to (as the court judgement says) unemployment and maternity benefits and exclude social and medical assistance. The fact that this had to go all the way to the ECJ for a somewhat unusual case shows that individual countries have little control over it.

If we assume that EU citizens make up about 5% of the total UK population this means that they're half as likely to claim benefits as UK nationals.

Yes, that is unsurprising, and shows again that EU immigration isn't a major factor in Brexit, because most EU immigrants do come to work and contribute. It's only one, relatively small, issue.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: brexit cost

1. Will UK actually save any money from exiting

Doesn't need to save anything, just needs to break even. The UK is a net contributor to the EU, to the sum of around £8.5bn per year (£160m per week, not the silly £350m gross figure that's sometime bandied about) so there is budget to cover extra costs.

2. Does government and general public has a complete understanding how to practically make this separation happen

Nope. Never been done before, no-one knows how it will come out. That's why there are two years of negotiations before the full details will be agreed.

3. I understand that biggest benefits are seen in restricting immigration

That is incorrect. Some politicians have been using that as an excuse, and some of the pro-remain campaign use it to claim that all leavers are racists, but it's not the major issue. It will have some impact: reduction in "benefit tourism", and the UK won't be subject to EU quotas for non-EU immigration, but the UK is already one of the most welcoming EU countries for immigrants (just behind Germany) by choice. That is unlikely to change significantly.

I think UK, and western Europe in general, has too generous benefits for people who are not working ... I would suggest to make much harder to such benefits, provide them for shorter time and immigration problem will resolve itself.

This control of "benefit tourism" is exactly what the UK government has been pressing for for many years, but the EU consistently refuses to accept it. It was a key part of Cameron's "renegotiation" platform, and the fact that the EU rejected it was one of the many reasons that people voted to leave.

The main reasons for leaving are economic. When the EEC was an economic group of co-operating neighbours it worked pretty well. When the politicians started to turn it into a trans-european empire it all started to go downhill. Economic stagnation, austerity as a failed cure, rising populism, refusal of the 'elite' leaders to listen, all signs of a group that is about to implode.

It's not surprising, every time someone has tried to unite Europe under one leader, from Cæsar to Napoleon, and on to more recent events, it's always failed and often violently. Never seems to stop them trying.

Being outside it will give the UK the opportunity to deal with other world countries on a level footing, not limited by EU policies and dogma. It won't be easy, but it will be better than going down with the sinking ship. It is a pity that it became necessary, though.

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Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Phil O'Sophical
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"well I don't know how that happened!"

Keyboard shortcuts when the wrong window has focus? Happens to me occasionally, and very annoying it can be.

I don't know what email client he uses, but if it has a way to turn off the shortcuts you could try that.

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The cheek of it! Beach bar owner shoots nude bather in the booty

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Brit Police Helicopter spys nudists

It's a pity really that Britain is the way it is about body acceptance

The French papers had a recent survey about which nationalities of women were comfortable about being topless on a beach, and Britain didn't do too badly. No surprise that the US was joint last...

Spain 49%

Germany 41%

Netherlands 35%

France 29%

UK 26%

Italy 20%

US 11%

Canada 11%

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Chap behind Godwin's law suspends his own rule for Charlottesville fascists: 'By all means, compare them to Nazis'

Phil O'Sophical
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True capitalism depends on increasing the business output to satisfy the demand of increasing customers. Unfortunately without infinite resources or customers it will always fail at some point.

That simplistic model assumes that resources are destroyed after use, and are completely separate from customers, neither of which is the case. One classic resource is labour, which is renewable on both the individual level (I can work again after a night's rest) and collectively (when I retire or die, someone else will take my place). I am both a consumer and creator of resources, and the resources I consume are not destroyed by that consumption but converted into a form where they can be used by another consumer.

Since the earth is not a closed system, being constantly refuelled by energy from the Sun, we can't even consider resources as finite, at least not in terms of the practical lifespan of humanity.

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Blighty’s beloved Big Ben bell ends, may break Brexit bargain

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: We've got modern technology now, how about an official bong app?

> official bong app

It already has its own twitter account, that tweets BONG

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Size is not everything

an array of smaller inexpensive speakers

Hmm, the second criteron rules out John Bercow, then.

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Phil O'Sophical
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It's 2017

Couldn't they rig up a couple of loudspeakers & an MP3 player on a timeswitch, or something, as a stopgap?

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Brit firms warned over hidden costs of wiping data squeaky clean before privacy rules hit

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Once we leave the EU, this silly nonsense can be binned!

I'm sure general human rights, cosumer protection, and general data protection will be head of the queue.

The European Convention on Human Rights was drafted in 1950 by the Council of Europe, of which the UK is a leading member (it is not an EU body). That was 23 years before the UK joined the EEC, 42 years before it joined the EU.

The first UK Sale of Goods act was passed in 1893, 99 years before the UK joined the EU. It's been updated many times, and exceeds EU minima in many areas, notably digital services.

The first UK Data Protection Act was passed in 1984, 11 years before the EU DP directive.

The UK does not follow the EU unwillingly in these areas, it leads, and there's little reason to feel it would do otherwise in the future.

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TalkTalk fined £100k for exposing personal sensitive info

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: £100K

Exactly. TalkTalk has 955m shares in circulation, so a £100K fine is 0.01 pence per share. The "fine" means that TalkTalk shareholders will see a 0.1% reduction in their dividend. Completely meaningless.

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New Amiga to go on sale in late 2017

Phil O'Sophical
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Coat

Re: I'd say..

the world would possibly be a little better, in a small way.

If we were all using M68k instead of x86 architecture the world would be better in a very big way :)

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Phil O'Sophical
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Read the linked document, dated August 3rd 2017:

"After the big success of the Vampire 600 V2 and Vampire 500 V2+, Apollo Team is proud to announce their next generation FPGA device: the Vampire V4."

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Foot-long £1 sausage roll arrives

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Best sausage roll

It's worth driving several junctions in the wrong direction just to visit Tebay & the farm shop.

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Smart streetlight bods Telensa nearly double full-year revenues

Phil O'Sophical
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How long before they're hacked?

A whole town of interconnected IoT streetlights? Must be a tempting target...

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Mediocre Britain: UK broadband ranked 31st in world for speed

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: "superfast rollout is continuing at speed."

if your client was say, in America, you wouldn't just go and visit them every time you needed a discussion on the basis it's good for relationships. Sometimes you have to draw the line.

True, but why video? I have phone conferences with US colleagues every week, and 2-3 times a year I travel to meet them in person, and have a chat over a beer. These days a phonecall + shared screen to discuss a document or a bug is much more useful than a videoconf. It really adds very little.

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Phil O'Sophical
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It would be interesting to see the methodologiy

This ranking is based on speedtests, so they seem to be testing download speeds from some server, not just individual homes. It would be useful to know where the server(s) are (in the country, outside, near the test site, etc.) and what the overall internet backbone is like. Unsurprisingly some of the worst figures come from small islands which probably have a single satellite link at maybe 20-40Mbit/s to the rest of the world, so even if they have FTTP to every house performance will still be crap for, say, a Netflix download from the US. Singapore, on the other hand, is a big hub for international fibre links.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: "superfast rollout is continuing at speed."

For example, why is any company sending people from Manchester to London for a 1 hour meeting when there's video calling? Oh yeah, because it's unreliable, and isn't something all people can / are prepared to do.

Yeah, I spent years doing video meetings, never got to know the people I was "meeting" with. Just one face-to-face meeting is worth a dozen TV calls. Funny how our video suite now lies empty and unloved, so much so that the facilities team wants to remove it to save money.

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Re-identifying folks from anonymised data will be a crime in the UK

Phil O'Sophical
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Strasbourg is much more democratic.

I'm genuinely curious about how you define "democratic".

The European parliament has 751 members, elected last time round by only 42% turnout, much lower than most national elections. The number of MPs from each member is inversely proportional to the population, smaller countries have more MEPs per head than large ones and hence more weight.

It can't decide to make law, it has to wait for the Commission to do that, after which the parliament can only change or reject it. It spends a fortune of taxpayers money every month switching between Brussels and Strasbourg to avoid upsetting the French even though most MEPs would prefer to be based solely in Brussels, but that would be vetoed by France.

Frankly it's more like a company board than a parliament, I'd argue that most national parliaments, and regional assemblies, are more democratic and more representative of their constituents than it is.

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Phil O'Sophical
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subject to the ECJ, something which Weak and Wobbly May has claimed will not happen to the UK after Brexit.

The ECJ rules on EU law. Doesn't matter where the parties involved are, it's the law in question that's the decider. Nothing about Brexit was ever going to change any of that, if you thought someone said otherwise then you misunderstood. Where the UK replaces EU law by UK law, the ECJ will not have jurisdiction. Where the UK is still affected by EU law, such as in dealings with EU countries, the ECJ will have jurisdiction. Just as it does for US, Chinese, and any other non-EU country that deals with the EU.

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Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

Have you tried using kickdown?

Kickdown is great on a torque-convertor auto linked to a decent, torquey naturally-aspirated engine. On a modern DSG box with a little turbocharged lump attached, kickdown tends to become "pause, jerky downchange, screaming revs, slow acceleration until turbo kicks in, zoom" invariably followed by an upchange and drop in acceleration halfway through the overtaking manoeuvre. At least with a manual you can change down smoothly and get the turbo spinning in preparation, ready for the gap.

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Big question of the day: Is it time to lock down .localhost?

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Is localhost even needed?

I can't think of a single use-case where we wouldn't be better off using the machines real name or IP.

We have some machines on our network with 10+ interfaces, some physical some virtual, all on different subnets. Which one is the "real" name or IP?

localhost as a name, and it's associated IP addresses, is not just an understood convention, it's built-in to implementations. Most Linuxes/Unixes that I've seen have an explicit loopback device, lo0, that the address is bound to, and that gets special treatment in the IP stack.

As far as DNS resolution goes, IPv4 and v6, does anyone not have

::1 localhost

127.0.0.1 localhost

as the first two lines in /etc/hosts?

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