* Posts by Not also known as SC

380 posts • joined 11 Sep 2012


Google to yoink apps with an unauthorized Call Log or SMS habit from Android Play Store

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Apologies if this sounds like trolling...

...but this must be one of my all time favourite quotes "Microsoft’s CEO declaring that Privacy is a Human Right,"

If at first, second, third... fourth time you don't succeed, you're Apple: Another appeal lost in $440m net patent war

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Re: Are VirnetX actually Trolls?

The article however states "The company exists solely to sue other companies that are infringing patents that it bought." (I assume that the author is referring to VirnetX here).

Who to trust, El Reg or Wikipedia?

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free

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Re: But he got less votes.

Serious question to BB

I know that you yanks are far more partisan about your political parties than we are in the UK so you like to spend every opportunity slagging off the other lot but I can't help wondering about your use of


What is the comma meant to represent?

DEMON ... RATS I understand but is N,C meant to mean something as well or is it just stylistic?

Dark matter's such a pushover: Baby stars can shove weird stuff around dwarf galaxies

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Re: Sums over matter do matter

That's the way it works. Also dark matter doesn't mean just one type of 'dark matter', it could be lots of different types of dark matter none of which we can detect directly. The models used to explain our understanding of the Universe however require dark matter and dark energy. That is why there is so much effort to prove dark matter exists because then we know that the models are accurate (or at least on the right lines). Astrophysics is a strange science in that it is all based upon observation unlike most sciences, which as you state, require you to physically interact with things, repeat measurements etc. In fact from that point of view astrophysics actually fails the definition of being a science - it is more observational mathematics.

Oregon can't stop people from calling themselves engineers, judge rules in Traffic-Light-Math-Gate

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Re: Great for this Engineer

I'll stick with keyboard monkey

Sticking with one mobile provider gets you... Oh. Price rises, big exit fees, and lovely, lovely lock-in

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Re: And another thing.....

I ‘upgraded’ from a contract to a SIM only plan. Again kept my number but got a far better deal than I had (20GB v 2GB) before even factoring in the handset cost.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave me tea... pigs-in-blankets-flavoured tea

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Re: Crimble Free Zone?

"We can't even point and laugh at how silly it is? You sound like a right Scrooge McDuck."

This always bothers me. Scrooge was mean at the story but by the end he had become one of the finest men the City of London had ever known and was famed for his generosity. Is this remembered? No. Instead he is a byword for meanness. Why did he waste his time?

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Re: Sprouts

are evil.

Holy smokes! US watchdog sues Elon Musk after he makes hash of $420 Tesla tweet

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Re: 5 minute recharge time

" It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity. Electricity is electricity."

Are you sure about this? Smart meters can analyse your power consumption so should be able to determine that you are using electricity to charge a car by the consumption rate and determine the proportion related to the car. If that isn't plausible at the time the government would probably insist on an annual report of your mileage (or even a detailed breakdown depending upon the monitoring used by the car) from which it could work out the electricity consumption rate and charge accordingly. Electric cars etc are great, but don't expect them to be cheaper to run.

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Re: 5 minute recharge time

" And to travel that 250 miles has cost you a lot less than if you had used a petrol engined car.(cost to travel not including the vehicle)"

This works on the dangerous assumption that governments will not boost tax on electricity used for electric vehicles / introduce road pricing etc to replace the drop in tax from fossil fuels. Justify electric vehicles any way you like but don't rely on running costs and 'fuel' being cheaper once they become mainstream.

Bouncing robots land on asteroid 180m miles away amid mission to fetch sample for Earth

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Pity it was Posted on Twitter

For a moment I actually thought that I'd consider joining Twitter so I can find out about these sorts of things first hand, so I followed this link

— HAYABUSA2@JAXA (@haya2e_jaxa) September 21, 2018


Heeeeeeere weeeeee cooooome!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Ppcjr40SgG

Although the top photo is amazing I couldn't help wondering about the other images in the post. Am I just a miserable git?

I've seen the future of consumer AI, and it doesn't have one

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No one misses Clippy.

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"Bad cook, Good physicist?"

Even better chemist! Wouldn't burning water produce hydrogen peroxide?

2H20+02 -> 2H202

Fruit flies use the power of the sun to help them fly in straight lines

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Re: Flying Round in Circles

@Gene Cash According to the Mighty Boosh, a human will walk in a circle with no reference points to refer to because we have one leg longer than the other. I just wondered if the same thing applied with slightly different wing sizes leading to the fly moving in an arc as you said. However as the text referred to the flies aligning with the light source I wondered if the researchers meant that if the inbuilt compass cells weren't present the flies would always head towards the light source.

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Flying Round in Circles

"Without these special compass cells in their brain fruit flies ... would end up flying endlessly in circles."

Any idea why? Are the wings different sizes, or do the researchers mean to say that they'd expect the flies to always fly towards the Sun so would they follow the sun? My initial theory was too much fermented fruit but I'd be interested in the real reasoning behind this statement.

AI sucks at stopping online trolls spewing toxic comments

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Definition of Trolling

So has El Reg gone down the line of changing the definition of a troll from 'prat who likes to get a rise out of people on-line' to 'anyone you disagree with' or is trolling the term the researchers used? Hate speech is hate speech - it isn't trolling - and calling it trolling, instead of what it is, legitimises it to a degree because 'it's only trolling'.

You won't believe this but... everyone hates their cable company: Bombshell study lands

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Re: Obviously Not American But...

"Virgin Media ... the shittest customer service I've ever encountered,"

To be fair I've just moved from Sky to VM (half the price and 350Mbps v 75 Mbps) two months ago. I've only had to call customer services three times. Getting past the first line call centre is incredibly painful. The call centre staff totally failed to even understand the issues I was having when I spoke to them.

(For example when I had phone problems.

Me: "I can make local calls in my own STD* area but cannot call someone outside this area".

VM: "So you can make national calls but not international calls?"

Me: "No..." etc - repeat for about thirty minutes).

However once you get onto the local (UK?) support staff then they are quite good. So re the call centre part then yes you are totally correct but let's give credit to their UK staff.

*STD, for non-UK residents Subscriber Trunk Dialling or area code.

UK cyber cops: Infosec pros could help us divert teens from 'dark side'

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I understand what you're saying with "In my family, the diagnosis, and relevant medication and mental health services don't seem to have really helped those receiving them." but the problem is without these medications / interventions how bad would things have been? It might have been better as you observed later on, but as everyone is different it could also have been a lot worse.

If you need a bright side at least your family members are in the system now and are less likely to fall through the cracks in the future as someone who is completely undiagnosed but does have problems.

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Re: Not much hope for the rozzers, it seems

I'm also interested in the fact that out of 36ish teenagers on the programme so far only one was a girl. Statistically that means the number of girls is insignificant so we can say for all intents and purposes that the 'crime' is being committed by boys only. So assuming that there are equal numbers of boys and girls does this mean that half of all teenage boys have committed a cyber-crime? This seems remarkably high unless the definition of crime is really wide.

Wasted worker wasps wanna know – oi! – who are you looking at?

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Re: / Smug

I also have *never* been stung by a wasp or a bee.

I put it down to running around and screaming while waving my arms about.

Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!

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I thimk my ketbored has the same sooftware.

Almost 1 in 3 Brits think they lack computer skills to do their jobs well

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Re: Training

"Why do people assume that training should be provided by the company?

Training is YOUR reasonability, it’s YOUR skill set and you are responsible for it."

Not really. Extreme example: If I'm employed to operate a paper cutting guillotine and cut my hand off because I didn't know how to use the tool correctly then the employers would be liable for not providing the training, not me.

Training is to give people the ability to do their jobs correctly. If employers need a job done then they need to ensure that staff know how to do the job either by offering training or employing staff who do know. Sometimes you're not going to find staff with the required skill sets.

As a professional I agree with you that you should look after your own skill sets and make sure you are up to date but if your employer turns around and says we want you to switch from technology A to technology B then the onus is on the employer to provide and pay for the training.

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Cloud Storage

I find this comment interesting

"The ... survey also reckons that 16 to 24-year-olds are the most likely group to be using cloud storage services"

By this do they mean that 16 to 24 year olds subscribe to a cloud storage system like Amazon's or that they just store their photos / music (automatically) online in iCloud / Google's / Microsoft's version? In other words do they use cloud services through choice or by default? Are mail servers considered cloud storage or not because if they are then surely practically everyone stores data in the cloud if they are using IMAP?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a giant alien space cigar? Whatever it is, boffins are baffled

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Re: Ahem....

"Photons that are seen haven't passed through. They've stayed."


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Re: Ahem....

even bigger pedant alert!

"Oumuamua is an extremely rare object, and is believed to be the Solar System’s first interstellar visitor to be seen passing through."

As light is made from photons which are considered particles (from a particle physics point of view) we have seen numerous interstellar visitors - billions every second - albeit very small visitors.


Shared, not stirred: GCHQ chief says Europe needs British spies

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Re: Cmon

All good points and I'll be more than happy to be proved wrong.

There is one thing you're forgetting though - the bunch of clowns doing the negotiation on behalf of the UK...

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Re: Cmon


My point though is that there is no such thing as 'Europe' from a political point of view. There is only the EU. If we leave the EU we are no longer part of the political organisation and can not expect any access to the EU structures. If the EU wasn't so tightly integrated then we could deal with individual countries but the reality is what it is. Belgium for example won't do a deal with the UK because Belgium is part of the EU so will negotiate through the EU. Hopefully something will be worked out but to make the claim that we're "leaving the EU but not Europe" so we should still have access as Fleming said seems incredibly naive. Politically the EU is Europe and Europe is the EU.

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Re: Cmon

"leaving the EU but not Europe"

This is a very important statement that needs to be reiterated to both sides, particularly the EU.

but to the EU there is no such distinction because they see Europe more of a political entity than a geographic one. Leaving the EU means leaving the political frameworks and organisations. The intelligence agencies (etc) are part of the political framework so we leave those as well when we leave the EU.

Blood spilled from another US high school shooting has yet to dry – and video games are already being blamed

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Re: Early information


"but a lot of people who buy guns value them a weapons for personal defence. "

Which isn't necessary a bad thing. I don't think people are calling for guns to be banned but controlled. Does a home owner need a loaded assault rifle at hand 24 hours a day to protect themselves from a home invader or would a hand gun suffice (never having held anything bigger than a .22 target pistol and that was 30 years ago this is a genuine question)? What is wrong with assault / hunting rifles being kept in locked safe and a hand gun readily available?

I imagine that hand guns kill people a lot less quickly than assault rifles so restricting access to them would help reduce the death toll of a school shooter.

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

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"Presumably you do that before you get the shopping out of the car."

And I imagine most people have their door key on the same keyring as the car key so why not just use that (so none of "it's something we all do when we get home: rummage around in your pockets or bag, find your keys, identify the one you want and then stick it in your front door to gain access")?

In agreement too because this feels too much like a solution looking for a problem.

Here's another headline where NASA is dragged through the mud for cheap Mars wise cracks

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Hi @Alistair and @Peter2

I think my comment may have been slightly badly worded. The Register's tag line is "Biting the hand that feeds IT" so it is easy to imagine that this site's purpose is as an IT news source and would generally attract IT types. Luckily the site carries more articles than just IT and is the better for doing so. The wide range of knowledge from writers / commentards ranging from obsolete communication protocols through to fighter jet command software makes this a truely fascinating site to visit. Icon for any distress my comment may have caused :-)

Back to my original post, what I was meant to be asking was if the presence of an astrophysicist on the writing team was a reason for the large number of space related articles?

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Is that why we have a relatively large number of articles (for a nominally IT specific publication) about planets, stars, black holes etc? Not complaining - it is the wide range of interesting articles, the witty writing style and intelligent commentards (YMMV) which brings me back to the Register.

Beware! Medical AI systems are easy targets for fraud and error

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@Brewster's Angle Grinder

"And I struggle with how much this can be exploited. "

One unlikely, tin foil hate wearing possibility is to create a false database that diagnoses higher instances of illness so that drug companies (for example) could push extremely expensive and profitable drugs where they're not needed. I doubt many medical people would want to contradict the AI's results because a patient might then die, and no one wants that on their conscience, so this fraud would be very hard to detect and prevent. (Even a tiny % over-diagnosis rate could prove very lucrative to the right people).

There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

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Re: Saracen and Roland

I looked it up on the internet (even us older people do that occasionally) . Is it the Song of Roland reference?

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I'm an 'engineer' - company assigned job title. In my mind I'm just a keyboard monkey.

France wants you to put lights and beacons on your drone

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And They'll Enforce It

As France is the country that introduced reflective stickers on motorcycle helmets which can't be removed without damaging the helmet, along with (IIRC) hi-visibility vests to be carried inside a car at all times and a requirement for a breathalyser kit (but not enforced at the moment) I can truly believe that this proposal will be passed and become law quite soon.

Scotland: Get tae f**k on 10Mbps Broadband USO

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Re: Englandshire

Agreed. Scots shouldn’t have to pay twice but as I said below they will. The English scheme is being implemented by industry not the government and if the usual culprits are involved then charges will go up across the board and Scottish consumers will end up paying as well.

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Thumb Down

Re: Looks like the Register's expanded the use of the Silver badge...

I’m a slightly left of centre bigot. Can I keep my badge, I’ve only just got it?

Edit - I’m intolerant of anyone with extreme views.

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Scots are being naive

If they think that the telecom companies won’t add the cost onto Scottish consumers’ bills even if a separate scheme takes place. The companies will want to appear to not be passing the cost onto consumers and what better way than implementing the same price increases to all customers?

Boffins try to grok dogs using AI, a cyber-brain charter, a bot running for mayor, and more

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Re: Dog-like intelligence

" I reckon I've got decades."

Only if Meg decides you're still worth it...

Doggy beer for Meg for doing such a good job.

Has your machine really learned something? Snap quiz time

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Thumb Up

Re: Algo?

I thought there was going to be a reference to ALGO in the article which would be about how old programming languages were being brought back for ML coding. Never realised that it was being used as an abbreviation for algorithm. I'd go with shooting if I was you.

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

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They can't say that it came from Russia because the chemical composition is just that, and it does not include transit logs.

Years ago while studying chemistry for my degree I attended a talk about chemical analysis. One method, which IIRC was liquid gas chromatography, was claimed to be so sensitive that it could measure impurities in the chemicals created by the material the reaction vessel was made from. This lead on to who had manufactured the vessels and all sort of other things. Assuming that this wasn't just hype, it should be possible with a sample of the chemical to determine quite accurately where it came from.

Wanna work for El Reg? Developers needed for headline-writing AI bots

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"Successful applicants will work with Prof Rice whom we have hired to head this development effort."

Something's not right here - El Reg spending money on something other than beer???

Super Cali goes ballistic, Starbucks is on notice: Expensive milky coffee is something quite cancerous

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Re: Another "Super Cali" headline?


"Texas looks interesting."

You better be quick, apparently Texas is sinking!


Slap visibility beacons on bikes so they can chat to auto autos, says trade body

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Re: No, it's not AI

Our car has an LED dashboard so is always lit up. It also has automatic headlamps so after a while you just rely on the automatic switch on. The problem occurs when the car has been for a service and the headlamps have been switched to manual by the garage. Because the DRLs are so bright it looks to the driver (me) as if the head lamps are on and you genuinely don't realise you're driving with no rear lights. Hate it - very dangerous!

More ad-versarial tech: Mozilla to pop limited ad blocker into Firefox

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Re: Adblocking is stealing

I find a multi-prong attack to be best. Ad serving domains blocked on the router and scripts blocked locally on the computer because there are always going to be some domains I need to use sometimes (like Google) but that I don't want to block all the time.

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Re: Without ad's

Try visiting the Independent’s website with no script blocking and without. Can you honestly say that the vanilla experience with its extended load time, videos which auto play and chase you down the page and other cruft is as nice to use as the site when just the host it self is given permission to run scripts? This is without even considering what tracking is being implemented in the background.

Five things you need to know about Microsoft's looming Windows 10 Spring Creators Update

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Re: Next OS - no idea

@Bert 1

"I hate Apple (iTunes borked my PC music library), and it's an overpriced walled garden."

Only IOS is walled, you can install any old crap in MacOS the same as you can with other OSes (if you can find what you need). Agreed that Macs are over priced - I doubt I'll be able to afford to replace mine if it ever breaks - and you'll be pleased to know that ITunes is just as bad on a Mac as it is on a PC.

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Re: MS copying Apple


I can't see how that the "MS Refused to tell us..." can be copying Apple.

You're new here aren't you?

Edit = in case you really don't know, Apple has a thing for not speaking to El Reg.

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Re: I don't care about the superfluous crap

It's almost as if the operating system is now more important than the programs it is there to support.


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