* Posts by MonkeyCee

1052 posts • joined 16 Apr 2013


Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Responsibility

"All it would take is enough power to declare their own self-determination "

Look, I know the magic sovereign fairy gives certain types the woody, but like many "magic" terms, you can't just declare you've got it and everyone else will accept it.

There are two hundred odd countries, and they are sovereign. If you want to make another one, good bloody luck. Prolonged civil war maybe, such as Sudan splitting into two countries.

Unless all the other sovereign nations recognise you, then you can declare yourself God-Emporer all you like, your laws, edicts and refusal to pay taxes don't wash.

Bear in mind that the East India company liked to claim it was "somewhat" sovereign (issued it's own coinage, conducted wars, collected taxes and enforced laws) and had a land army roughly twice the size of the British army, and yet never declared itself sovereign.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Errr, censorship?

"At 13:40 this nutter goes on the rampage, uploading video as he goes. At 14:40 his video goes live. At 16:00 the police figure out who he is. The video has already been live for over an hour."

Not sure if you've been following the case, but the cops had him in custody less than 40 minutes after he started the attack. So on your timeline: 14:36 police ram his vehicle off the road and arrest him.

"But all of these calls to "take responsibility for the content that your users post" are euphemisms for having governments around the world outsource the job of censorship to huge unaccountable multinational companies. "

OK, exactly how do you think current media publishing rules work? There's no government employee who checks over the Mail and the Gruiniard before they go out for publication.

And yes, I do think the Mail needs a bollocking for putting this psychos manifesto and an edited copy of the video up.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Why share?

"I know from people I've had the misfortune of actually knowing that there are groups with very racist views down there"

Seems to be centered on Timaru. So Christchurch isn't rascist compared to Timaru, Dunedin isn't rascist compared to Christchurch etc...

The mayor is obviously talking out of his arse. I lived in NZ for a couple of decades, of which I spent maybe a dozen nights in Christchurch. Both times I've been assaulted on the street have been there, and while I can't be certain of the political views of the skinheads with swastika tattoos that were busy stomping on me, I'd have guessed at somewhat right of center.

Perhaps the mayor just felt that hating non-pink people or pretty much any religion is just the norm, hence why there's no special attention paid to the skinheads. If he really doesn't think there are any, then he should take a stroll through the center of town on Saturday night in drag.

All good, leave it with you...? Chap is roped into tech support role for clueless customer

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Went for a coffee - stayed two weeks

I'll add, never give your passport away to anyone, full stop. You can allow them to inspect it, and many nations make this easier (France and UK have transparent booths so you can see they aren't doing anything funny).

Many many stories of them being stolen. A stolen kiwi passport is worth $10-50k on the black market, so if you leave yours to rent a motorbike in Laos, don't be shocked if you come back and the guy claims some other white dude took it.

Don't sell it either. Knew one of chap who tried that, when Internal Affairs (NZ home office or state department) got wind of that they got his residence revoked, got him deported from Oz when he went there and locked him up for about the same amount of time as killing someone.

It's government property, and you can refuse to give it up to anyone other than the issuing authority.

"Holding on to your passport for safe keeping" is what gang masters do.

If you can get dual passports or dual citizenship if you travel a lot, having a second option is always nice.

Yelp-for-MAGAs app maker is warned there are holes in its code. Does it A. Just fix the problem, or B. Threaten to call the FBI, too?

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: @ Mark 85 -- Shooting the messenger again.

"Whats even worse is that most commentators here would probably think that is fine."

I'd think not. In general, whatever our personal and political disagreements, I find the commantards are not believers in violence. I'm on the fence about fighting actual fascists, but I'd not thump a republican, conservative or national voter just because we held radically different political views. Especially in a two party system, which is going to always involve some amount of nose holding for the party candidate.

I don't like Trump or his politics, but I don't think he should be harmed as a result of that. That extends to his supporters. Don't even think he should be impeached, pretty sure the wheels of justice will grind him down.

I'm pretty sure that the majority of the GoP don't actually like him either, but he was their guy, he's getting 2-3 picks onto the SCOTUS and can be relied on to put the right white fella in place. He also winds the left up like no-ones business :)

"MAGA hat wearers are regularly attacked or abused."

Any more than anyone wearing an open political declaration?

Not that I approve of attacks, but if you're wearing a political slogan, aren't you asking for a reaction?

But yeah, don't fight each other please. Save that for when the buggers who do want our freedoms come for them.

The Handmaid's Tale or Man-made Fail? Exposed DB of 'BreedReady' women probably not as bad as it sounds

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Just wondering why the field is needed

While we're two countries separated by a common language, the USians have used the term "pre-pregnant" to refer to any fertile woman.

In that case it was some of the usual controlling bullshit, essentially that if you could potentially have a baby, you should abide by all the expectations of a pregnant mother. So no drinking, no $FOOD depending on cultural norms*, no drugs etc.

I'm sure urban planners do this all the time. The Dutch are quite effective at it, so while no-one asked if my wife and I were planning to have a kid, being a married couple in a child friendly neighbourhood, I'm pretty sure we we're down as "potential kid" in some planners DB.

Planning for where new schools and child clinics should be sited being based of where future babies are most likely isn't nearly as creepy as the other possible implications of this DB.

* compare the advice for pregnant mums in France versus Germany

What happens when security devices are insecure? Choose the nuclear option

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: I had one of these at the time

My nuclear war planning consists of either going to one of the three nearby NATO bases, or not being around due to being wiped out in the blast wave from one of them being nuked.

At least it will be quick :)

Hipster whines at tech mag for using his pic to imply hipsters look the same, discovers pic was of an entirely different hipster

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: So...

Yes, but it's pretty situational :)

I'll my antipodean friends with a "hey cunts, what's up?" but I'm pretty sure that calling someone one would be offensive.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: The man in the mirror

My doppelganger is a Russian ballet dancer, with the same first name.

I found this out when I was at a party and a lass he'd hooked up with the previous weekend was there, and she was pissed off with me ignoring her, then "faking" a british accent to claim I was someone else. Oh, and I'd grown six inches in a week :D

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: We have surely reached peak beard.

First of all, it's OK dude, if you can't grow a beard there's nothing wrong with that.

"Getting very fed up of seeing them. So if you've got one: try being an individual and shave the damn thing off."

The norm for me was that men are expected to shave. So what you mean is please conform and shave.

"It is very unlikely to actually suit you."

Being 40 with the face of a teenager doesn't suit me. Having stubble* unless I've shaved in the last hour doesn't suit me. My options for looking professional at work are to trim my beard a couple of times a week or shave 3+ times a day.

"You probably look like a pillock. "

Sure, but that's got nothing to do with the beard :)

" And it must be like kissing a dog's arse."

In terms of partner and kid complaints about kissing me, it's only ever after shaving or trimming. Like the hair on the rest of your body, it's pretty soft, and gets softer the longer it's around. Assuming you brush it, the natural oils will make it nice and soft.

So unless you shave each time before you kiss someone, beard >>> stubble for comfort purposes.

My memories of my dad and uncles with beards is also that they were very soft. So not sure which beards you've been kissing, but obviously the wrong ones :)

"Oh, and for the love of God, ditch the bloody North Face too, and watch your stupid backpack - there are other people on the train too, you muppet. And stop staring at your phone like a drooling imbecile."

That's pretty specific.... bad commute in this morning? I'm gonna guess (since you're AC) that you were too scared of the response to actually call them on their shitty bag etiquette. Luckily I'm in the the Netherlands, so if people are being pricks with their bags etc on public transport I just call them out. Teenagers rather than hipsters, but I'm sure it works as well.

As for hating hipsters, it'd be easier if they didn't like many of the same things as me, for apparently the same reasons, I've got a fixed wheel bike** as one of my commuting bikes, I do woodwork, I like tasty beer, I wear chucks, I vape rather than smoke, I like practical clothing and I have facial hair. Mind you, I don't live anywhere cool, my beard is far too short for hipster cred (or joining ISIS) and my hair styling is about as basic as you can get.

* dark hair + pale skin = visible stubble pretty much immediately

** oma fietes - grandma bike

We sent a Reg vulture to RSA to learn about the future of AI and security. And it's no use. It's bots all the way down

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Usual bollocks, alas

So it's normal ML, which is repeating the past. Which is fine for certain situations, but not so hot for many of the fuzzy ones.

"They could be decked out with cameras that identify suspicious items including guns and knives, or include microphones to listen out for gunshots and tell-tale screams."

Don't we have that already with CCTV? Don't we already have the ability to use AI on a central node (rather than an edge device) on these things? So why isn't it being used? Oh wait, it's a lot bloody harder to use sensor data in an uncontrolled environment. Or is the (oft made) claim that all we need are more and better sensors, and better data, so we just need improvements in CCTV :)

"or work alongside police officers."

Er no. Sorry. If there is one job that's not going to be replaced with AI it's beat cops. Many de-escalation techniques involve building a rapport and identification with the suspect, and I'm not sure that a robot is going to have the emotional intelligence or creative thinking to deal with this*. Having non-LEOs working with the cops to deal with situations can also work well, but I'd take a dog over a robot most days.

"Researchers, we were told, are interested in creating roving network-inspecting bots that can study past cyber-attacks, identify patterns in the intruders' data accesses and methods, and use that knowledge to detect future network compromises. "

OK, I'm confused. Is this a fancy network log analyser? Or is it going to have the ability to act on it's suspicions? Because having a tool to flag stuff up to a meatbag is nice, but it's not bloody AI.

* or most members of the public for that matter.

Customer: We fancy changing a 25-year-old installation. C'mon, it's just one extra valve... Only wafer thin...

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: my line of defense against this:

"It's a well established fact in my family that I fix Windows by installing Linux "

Other than pulling their data off first, that's 90% of my computer "support" these days. Mainly switching the language is simple, compared to switching a Windows install between English and Arabic.

MPs tear 'naive' British Army a new one over Capita recruitment farce

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Lather, rinse, repeat

"privates these days are of above average intelligence"

To be fair to most of the grunts I knew, they had a choice of one of two lives, both of which involved holding a gun. Since one involved having to some school work, they figured that one had the better long term odds.

After a decade in the military, they have playing dumb down to a fine art. Certainly enough to fool most civvies :D

YouTube's pedo problem is so bad, it just switched off comments on millions of vids of small kids to stem the tide of vileness

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Is this real, or just the latest panic?

“Playing heavy metal records backwards summons the devil”

These days one can just load any EA product.

Three-quarters of crucial border IT systems at risk of failure? Bah, it's not like Brexit is *looks at watch* err... next month

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: What possible delay?

If it was binding a simple majority would not have been enough.

And stop with all this 48:52 crap.

37.5% of the electorate voted for leave the EU.

34.5% of the electorate voted for remain in the EU.

28% of the electorate didn't vote.

If we held a binding referendum, then having that third group express their opinions might give an accurate picture.

Traditionally a referendum that says "We currently do X, lets do Y instead" counts the net percentage of "do Y" votes and compares them against all the others. In other words, not voting is effectively the same as voting to continue the status quo.

"ask for a fresh referendum due to "alleged" foreign influence and irregularities."

I thought it was because both sides breached campaign spending and finance laws.

I am impressed by Putin's judo hands-off moves. For the cost of dozen cruise missiles he's managed to cause the US and UK to piss off their military allies, distract their legislatures onto petty domestic matters, and create or widen deep divisions within the people.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: What possible delay?

"and the election which wiped out the EU supporting party"

Bullshit. Neither the conservative or labour had a solid position on EU/Brexit at the last GE, and they aren't clear now. Labour is still fudging it, last I heard they want a customs union, which crosses pretty much all the leavers red lines (have to follow EU laws, abide by ECJ rulings) so I'm not sure whether they are pro or anti EU, but they certainly aren't what most leavers want*.

The conservatives have managed to negotiate a Brexit deal which they can't get passed by their own party, let alone cross party. So again, no idea if they are pro or anti EU since they can't actually agree what they want, let alone what they can negotiate as a party position, government position, let alone as a country.

"But this is the problem with the remain argument."

Other than it's the status quo?

My argument for remain is that it is a complete proposal. All the current systems support it, and there are plenty of things that the leavers want** that the UK could do while remaining part of the EU, but won't (*cough* immigration *cough*). I think drawing attention to the things that are going wrong with the EU is a good thing (whichever side you're on), but Whitehall has spent decades hiding their own incompetence behind the facade of the EU.

As an example DEFRA is unbelievably shite on making payments, so despite the farmers doing their paperwork, the EU paying DEFRA out, British farmers still get paid months after their EU counterparts. So British civil servants being incompetent at doling out EU money is somehow an EU problem. If only the EU was a federal state and could sort out the British civil service, but it turns out that all the EU members are in fact sovereign. Well, sovereign in legal terms, I'm sure there's some other definition :)

If and when I see an actual proposal from the leavers, rather than empty promises, then I'll listen. One that is based on a) the current situation and b) things that are available now would be nice.

Mind you, it would be pretty funny if other policies were allowed the "creative freedom" that leavers utilize. Then we could have a defence debate on the merits of the Royal Navy using laser armed sharks versus powered armored marines. Or energy policy, where parliament can declare that nuclear fusion will solve all our power supply needs, and that it will be available in six weeks time....

"Very few (and I appreciate discussing with them) seem to argue sensibly on fact."

I found that using facts in a debate with leavers is asking for a fight. It's pretty clear that most have a decided position, and it's not based on facts and logic. This is the norm for most politics, and why the "informed voter" is a myth.

* I recognize that identifying what leavers want is very hard, since it's mainly about what they don't want, and that most of the time those "nays" are contradictory. Or undefined. Or are words that means something different to them than me.

** and aren't wrong about, IMHO

Slow Ring Windows 10 fragged by anti-cheat software in the games you're playing at work, says Insiders supremo

MonkeyCee Silver badge


"There is a cost to a physical disk, not to mention the cost associated with handling and postage/packaging."

Which should be minimal. Even if you allowed for say two replacement disks per sale, and you spend the minimum effort checking the client claims, it's maybe a buck or two on top of a games price.

It's pretty basic customer service. I'd assume it was essential for any industry that runs a lot on loyalty. If a customer has gone to the effort of getting hold of you, the story of how you treat them is going to be told to quite a few people.

My friend is an avid bibliophile, and buys a couple of hundred hardbacks a year. Half of these are from a single publisher (Baen). Not only does he regularly get "free" books (typically first in a series) from them, but he's had about a dozen books replaced (flood damage) for free. Including shipping. And it works, that's where he spends the bulk of his book money.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: cheating

"As detected by their "anti-cheat" system."

In certain very old multiplayer games there was a "cheat" flag. I discovered in many games that it didn't take into account certain effects you could stack, and thus you could end up wrecking a long game by cheating.

Always liked that Civ just stuck it on the menu for you :)

There are some who feel taking Ashen Empire Ermor in Dominions 2 is cheating anyway.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Vendor lock-in

"are as strategically useful as the prizes in a country fair tombola."

Depends on the game.

Several recent releases had lootboxes that were pretty much required in order to progress. Star Wars Battlefront and Shadow of Mordor off the top of my head.

After much backlash, the companies got rid of the lootboxes and reduced (by 90% in one case) the amount of grinding needed to unlock in game items. Which quite clearly showed that the game was designed that progression required lootboxes.

"What im saying is they can buy a tiny advantage, not a big one."

That's an argument against pay to win. People will pay for purely cosmetic items, even in single player. In multi player it can become even more important to a certain class of player*.

They are gambling**, and they make money hand over fist like gambling. The PTB are looking for someone to blame for the uptick in youth gambling and for once they might actually be right that video games are to blame :)

Blizzard Activision made 7 billion in revenue in 2017, 4 billion was from in game sales. Just to be clear, a games company made less money selling games and subscriptions than it did by selling lootboxes.

It's gambling, so it should be regulated. To the PTB, that means some goodly chink of sin tax :) For me, I'd just like the honest odds for things, and the right to just buy the damn things if I really want.

Well, what I'd really like is to have a game where I got all the content, and they charged me an appropriate upfront price, rather than a "how much have you got approach?". Or no upfront cost, and all the free to play and pay to win mechanics you want.

* While it's been a while since I played WoW, when I did I'd did I'd make more gold from supplying "fashion designers" with my trash drops and selling mounts than alchemy and all the shuffles on anything but a dead server. A months sub for a pair of low level green pants. To some people, fashion is the ONLY thing.

** Various governments have looked at it, and concluded that paying money for a random chance at an item is indeed gambling. Games company response has been to say "Fuck you Belgium, we'll just pay the fines down the road" and release the latest FIFA/Battlefield etc.

Cops told live facial recog needs oversight, rigorous trial design, protections against bias

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: 98% false positive rate?

"Suppose the face recognition AI has a 1% false positive rate. I.e., given a 100 innocent mugs it will wrongly recognize only one of them as a criminal. Now conduct a "trial" on a set of 9,800 people coming out of a particular tube station during a given day. There may be 2 real criminals in the bunch, but the AI will flag 98 innocents in addition to them. Out of 100 people identified as criminals in the trial 98% will be false positives."

Surely those are different things? Accuracy and false positives.

I thought a 1% false positive rate was that of 100 positives, one was in fact not a positive. So of 100 images flagged as crims, one is an innocent person.

Now, depending on the ratio of criminals to innocents, you'll get different results. Say 1 in 1000 people are criminal enough to make the database.

So say you sample 100,000 people, which contain exactly 100 crooks. Assuming 0% false negative, 99% true positives and 1% false positive the system should flag the following:

- 99 crims as crims (99% true positive, 0% false negative)

- 1 crim as innocent

- 999 innocents as criminals (1% of 99900)

Making the system roughly 9% accurate.

Mostly I have to explain this sort of thing in regard to medical tests, which tend to (for obvious reasons) have low false negative rates in exchange for high false positive rates. Better to accurately diagnose all the people with a disease while scaring the crap out of healthy people rather than miss a correct diagnosis.

Generally only accuracy = false positive rate when 50% of the population has whatever you're testing for.

Insane homeowners association tries to fine resident for dick-shaped outline car left in snow

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Power unchecked

"You, likely, come from a country with an unelected hereditary head of state and FPTP electoral system that all but demands tyranny of the minority masquerading as a huge majority"

But the head of state in constitutional monarchies is largely ceremonial. The devolving of power to make laws, declaring war and raise taxes to parliament is pretty fundamental part of the UK constitution. Lizzy is so nice that other countries choose to have her as their head of state.

Not sure where you live that has no FPTP elections, but even in NZ they have FPTP for some roles, MMP is half FPTP, and local councils are FPTP or STV.

The only thing that FPTP does guarantee is a two party system.

"and yet slag off the country that managed to throw off the shackles of medieval thinking."

That's not the USA then? Last I checked congressional and mayoral races are FPTP. So exactly like the UK. The electoral colleges differ by state, but some states are winner take all, which seems like FPTP on crack to me :)

In the other "medieval" countries I've lived in elections are held on weekends or public holidays, so people with jobs can vote. In the "modern" USA they're on a weekday, in order to allow farmers a couple of days to get in to town. You know, like in medieval times...

It's also not possible to tar the USA with a single brush. Certain states take their elections seriously. They're the ones who aren't gerrymandered to pieces (boundaries based on law), have somewhat sane vote counts, and generally aren't big on voter suppression. Other states work VERY hard to ensure that certain voting segments never get their say. Mostly against democrat voters, but I wouldn't be shocked if there was a way to disenfranchise red voters then certain political actors would use it.

Oh, and if you want to shit on UK democracy, the upper house (equivalent of the senate) is unelected, and is for life. Ideologically I object to it, but in practice the Lords have a lot more sense than the commons. In part because they don't need to spend most of their time ensuring they get re-elected, or engaging in the internal party backstabbing sessions.

Don't mean to alarm you, but Boeing has built an unmanned fighter jet called 'Loyal Wingman'

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Gulf War....

Pardon my ignorance, but I thought that mass use of drones was part of the Gulf War.

Getting the Iraqis to expend SAMs or light up their radars to target drones pretending to be bombers, while following up with actual bombers, was apparently very successful.

In fact the drones fooled the Iraqi defenses so well that they thought they were doing a lot of damage, shooting down hundreds of planes. Instead they were blowing up drones that cost less than the SAM used to twat them.

Of course if you want to consider a missile or a V2 to be an autonomous drone, then we've had killer drones for quite some time.

IBM so very, very sorry after jobs page casually asks hopefuls: Are you white, black... or yellow?

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Cultural sensitivity

"Oddly, every time racial slurs are discussed I see terms that either I've never heard of or didn't realize were slurs."

It's quite culturally dependent too, certain slurs carry a lot more weight depending what side of the Atlantic you're on. There are things I can say to a black chap from London that I couldn't say to a black chap from New York.

It's also about intent. Some things you can give a person a pass for ignorance. So if my Brazilian friend refers to my Scottish friend as English rather than British, he doesn't take offence. But if this Southern pansy called him English he'd be offended.

ZX Spectrum Vega+ 'backer'? Nope, you're now a creditor – and should probably act fast

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Bah!

"If someone just has an "idea", and still needs to make a workable building design from scratch, there are good chances the idea may not go anywhere...."

I'll chip in with my tuppence here.

Crowdfunding anything where the manufacturing side is non standard (ie most tech products) means adding another complex layer to the whole process, one which if mistakes are made can swallow all the funding. This is obviously high risk, even if the people running are experienced in manufacture.

Crowdfunding something where the bulk of the work is on the creative side, with the production being costly but one off, is less risk. It's less risky for things like a movie or a series, more risky for software, as the goalposts are harder to move for the former.

Personally I've only crowdfunded/prepaid for projects where I have enough faith in the people behind it to know I'll either get something I want from it, or the money went to a good cause.

Usually this is books or artwork for me. I never get quite what I expect, but that's what you get for hiring an artist :D

My "worst" crowdfunding experience was paying for a chaps first novel up front. He ended up spending all the cash on meth, having a complete breakdown, jail, rehab, then a McJob. Then he started writing again, so about four years late I got a collection of short stories and a letter of apology/explanation, which functions nicely as an authors foreword. Then a couple of years later the promised novel. Followed a few years later by his stab at YA.

So delivered several years late, but 2-3 times the value over a decade.

Quite frankly I'd rather be buying aspiring writers their booze and drugs rather than a new car for the lawyers and a new pool for the liquidators.

Accused hacker Lauri Love loses legal bid to reclaim seized IT gear

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Is this how far we have sunk?

"surely they would need to return (especially since charges were dropped) anything they confiscated, in same condition they were when confiscated."

Not in NZ, and not in the Netherlands.

If the Dutch police search your car for drugs (ie take it to pieces) and don't find any, they will return the car in pieces.

As long as they had legal grounds for a search, and they followed the rules for evidence preservation, then they are covered.

If they only do it to you every three months it also doesn't meet the threshold for harassment.

Dratted hipster UX designers stole my corporate app

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: un-improvable legacy interface designed a thousand years ago

The induction hobs in the student digs here are quite nice, you set the temperature, and they resistant to stuff spilling on them. They turn off if they don't sense a pan, but it's two presses to get it on set to 120C, and one push for +/- 10C.

I've got gas at home, knobs and all :D

Return of the audio format wars and other money-making scams

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: If you're looking for a challenge...

"will need to use gut strings"

A chap I knew was a professional hunter, doing pest control.

One of his sidelines was selling catgut and ratgut strings that he'd made himself. Apparently skinny feral cats and fat rats produce the richest sound.

He's also got a decent answer for "how many ways can you skin a cat?" :D

Hold horror stories: Chief, we've got a f*cking idiot on line 1. Oh, you heard all that

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Mute button

At one role for a bank the mute button stopped the customer from hearing what you said, but it still went on to the recording.

Reviewing problem calls was always entertaining, since you couldn't tell, except by recall or lack of reaction, when mute was on.

One thing I did learn was that the people calling on the VIP* lines were much more respectful, polite and friendly than those on the regular lines. Even when someone had made a serious cockup, while they were very clear that while they wanted it fixed ASAP they did not consider me at fault, but rather that I was part of the solution.

The business clients were fine too. Since they actually used the system a lot they often knew exactly what they needed doing, or at least had a good idea of what the problem might be. Since 90% of things that went wrong involved payroll there was again the focus on solving the problem first, tidying up the resulting messes, then only doing the blame game to try and prevent things in the future. Also showed me that quite a lot of employers take their responsibilities seriously, so if a payroll batch failed halfway they'd run it again and pay some people twice and sort it later rather than risk anyone not getting the pay on time. Or when there wasn't enough to cover a full second run before overnight clearing deadline, so all the C suite and department heads pay got held back for a few days.

My ex works for the tax department. The list of things she's been called, either directly or on an unmuted phone, are far worse than anything I've had. Best is that it's in three official languages, plus whatever else the caller has. She's Dutch, so is pretty direct about it, so when one client said "oh, it's that cunt from the tax department" when someone in the room with her asked who she was on the phone with, when the client picked up the phone again my ex cheerily said "hi, it's the cunt from the tax department here, do you have that reference code now?". After sorting the client out, she even got a sincere apology, which is pretty rare here in the Netherlands :D

* private banking and share trading, people who would describe themselves as comfortable rather than rich...

Hungover this morning? Thought 'beer before wine and you'll be fine'? Boffins prove old adage just isn't true

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Drinking advice

The suggestion I have is to maintain a 2:1 ratio of alcoholic to non-alcoholic beverages. It prolongs the happy drunk buzz and helps with the hangover.

For the Reg hacks it's probably a normal Thursday.

WeWork restructuring bites El Reg hacks where it hurts as afternoon brew delayed

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Your Mom doesn't work here

Best solution I encountered for the lack of responsibility with cleaning dishes was to make it a managerial responsibility. As in, the manager goes and cleans it up after break and lunch.

Turns out people actually clean their shit up if they know someone senior might have to decrustify their mug.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

To be fair....

" in my mind it was more along the lines of damp cellar, naked light bulb hanging from wire, dartboard with photo of TIm Cook in the wall, semi cannibalized remains of old computers in the corner.."

I've worked at the same university that Simon did, albeit after his time.

That's a pretty accurate description of the appearance of some of the IT rooms. Other than the smell, which was quite distinct for some of them...

Civil liberties groups take another swing at Brit snooping regime in Euro human rights court

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Well ...

"I imagine that the building of an EU army will begin from building a shiny, glass HQ in Brussels."

The Kortenberg building perhaps? Where the Common Security and Defence Policy is based? The one that deploys military forces on loan from EU countries? Think that's like 20 years old now.

If NATO forces are being used, the EU won't interfere. It's only if NATO is not that the EU will send in the grunts.

Part of the issue is that non-EU NATO members can effectively veto EU military operations, which rankles those people who are fussy about actual sovereignty*.

So there exist an "EU army" already, it's mpre about redefining their role.

"while the idea of an EU army is pretty hilarious, given how they've dismantled their national ones"

I take it you didn't serve in Africa then. Plenty of French deployed in the global war on nouns. You can make all the jokes you like about googling French military victories, but when the shit hits the fan a Rafale is as good as the RAF.

* if a very broad sense, sovereignty means you can collect tax, make and enforce laws, and conduct war in a fashion that is consider legal by all the other sovereign entities. These days it's countries and institutions, historically it's been individual people, kings,dukes, jarls etc

Crypto exchange in court: It owes $190m to netizens after founder 'dies without telling anyone vault passwords'

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Lesson for us all...

"whereas $190 million in US currency or gold will likely be worth pretty much the same in five years."

Gold fluctuates based on how good/bad things are perceived to be, and what the Chinese and India governments are doing. In the last 10 years it's been between $400 and $1800 an ounce. I no longer own any since both China and India have been paying spot plus 15% for a couple of years now.

Based on current inflation rates, USD from 5 years ago has lost about 8% of it's purchasing power.

As compared to Lego, which gains about 3% a year in value. Someone even analysed which would be the better investment, and the returns Lego beats gold for about 38 out of 40 years. Obviously there are more traditional investments that beat it too, but it's not quite as good a store of value as it appears.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Bullshit

"he could probably transfer the funds out somewhat easily by sending them to an exchange and getting a different currency."

That requires an exchange that is out of reach of the creditors.

Most legit exchanges have a blacklist of wallets that are known to contain stolen/contested funds, and won't accept deposits from them. Because they then become liable.

In the same way having $137 million in cash would present a problem trying to deposit any significant amount into a bank. Even under formal reporting limits the activity will get flagged.

As I said above, if he planned this in advance, maybe. But faking his death then moving the crypto is dumb. I can't really see how someone "smart" enough to fake his death would also be dumb enough to try and loot out afterwards.

If the cold wallets are empty, I'd have expected reddit to have burst into flames by now :)

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Bullshit

The part about the bank deposits requiring access to his computer are either bollocks or imply that there was no other record of where the accounts were held, which is pretty sus.

I can see why they might hold on to them (for the moment) until an agreement is reached on who gets paid back in which order.

Not sure anything is going to calm the conspiracy theory. Not sure what currencies were held, but at least some can be monitored. If the cold wallet is known, then you often can see the balance, and the bank stuff is supposed to have independent financial oversight now.

Now if he's already got his money out before all the attention, and washed into the legal system, then faking your own death and getting a new face and a new life might be a workable plan.

As for cold storage crypto keys, you've got to make a difficult call on those. Anyone who has them also has full access. My choice was to have them* kept by the lawyer who handles my will. It's in a sealed letter, along with all the details of accounts and access details. My business partners can screw me far harder than just emptying the accounts, so they have their own credentials to everything.

Same deal at workplaces, by choice the letter with all the domain passwords was with legal, not the boss. The next best is somewhere only the next BOFH would find it, usually taped it on the bottom of my lowest desk drawer. The one with the single malt, boxes of chocolates and gift cards hidden under assorted ewaste.

*and other property I'd want passed to my next of kin after I died

Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Microwave UI

"The companies who make microwave ovens *used* to take pride in a well designed user interface."

The three button design? Stop, open door and nuke for 30 secs or 1 minute.

No need for any of that other guff :D

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

MonkeyCee Silver badge

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

"I studied Animal Farm & 1984 in the distant past - in my UK skool both were covered at O Level "

Same here for GCSE. I thought the main point was that they were his first and last books. Hence why Animal Farm is somewhat optimistic and comic, wheras 1984 is pretty bleak.

Mind you, it's not like most USians need any introduction to doublethink :)

MonkeyCee Silver badge

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

"Wouldn't that be fun if the person you were raging at was killed shortly thereafter and there you are with that statement being forwarded for enquiry?"

One would hope that when someone gets murdered (or dies suspiciously) that anyone who had enough of a grudge to mouth off about them would at least get a look over. Unless they were a public figure perhaps.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

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

"mainly used for just waiting porn"

Sounds like your internet connection is from the 90s too, if you're waiting for your porn :)

Then again, my two decade old Vaio does speech to text, and it still works if it loses net connection.

I'm able bodied, so home automation seems mainly like faff to me. The heating is already programmable, no hot water cylinder, the oven, rice maker and slow cooker have their own timers.

I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Proof of ownership?

"How long do you figure it will be before someone starts building "AI" systems to figure out, given a large group of pictures, who is the child or parent of who?"

Don't need an AI.

We were covering blood types in biology, and how they get passed on. One lass was very confused, since based on her parents blood type it was highly improbable that she would have the blood type she did. The teacher took her aside for a wee chat after the lesson.

The maternity ward at my local hospital now disguise the blood types on their action board (whiteboard with emergency patient details), they use numbers (AB neg is 7, O is 1 no idea of the others) after a couple came in to see their new grandchild, and the dad saw the daughters blood type and realised that he wasn't her dad, and the new sprog was not in fact his grandchild.

Happens more often than you think. About 10% of the people listed as father on a birth certificate can be shown to not be the biological father. Not that it matters a lot of the time, being a parent is about raising a kid, not just siring them.

"who is the child or parent of who?"

What, like most people can look at Prince Charles and Prince William and see the resemblance as they age, wheras Harry looks like the spitting image of James Hewitt.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Well helloooooo.

"If you allow those scenarios and I think you have to then you have to allow law enforcement, and they come with court orders and subpoenas, so there is independent oversight and comeback if the application is trivial or malign. What exactly is the problem?"

The lack of court orders or subpoenas, while giving access to a confidential database.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Difference in use

"The change is that "other people" now includes the FBI."

As I understood these DNA testing sites normally only allow you to submit your own DNA. If members of the public can submit third party samples I'd be surprised.

The FBI is ONLY using third party samples, it's not an agent submitting their DNA. Very different use case.

There's also a difference between what a LEO can formally gather as evidence and what the public can see. Yes, it can seem silly that a member of the public can take a photo in a public space and be fine, but the cops need permission to do so if they intend to use the photos as part of an investigation. In the US you have to show the entire trail of evidence, as there is the concept of "the fruit of the poisoned tree".

If FamilyTreeDNA was only responding to subpoenas or other warranted searches that should be fine, as a court is acting as a check and balance. But it sounds like it's pretty much a free for all.

I helped catch Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht: Undercover agent tells all

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: So the moral here is

" When fingerprints were first used to prove that someone committed a crime,"

Mild spot of pedantry, but the first use of fingerprints was to prove that someone did not commit a crime. It's quite good for showing that a print cannot have come from a certain person.

There is quite a range in exactly how close a match is needed for a print to be the same as another. In general convicting someone from fingerprint evidence alone is a bad idea.

DNA also has issues, mainly through contamination. Demonstrating someone was at a crime scene is easy, showing they were there at the time the crime was committed is tricky.

"never underestimate the ability of forensic teams"

I'd go for never underestimate the tenacity of an investigator. Once they get their teeth in, they won''t let go.

I'm more curious as to whether this had any effect on the drug trade. It's all well and good arresting the latest kingpin, but it's not actually going to change anything. I'm pretty sure you can still buy the same stuff on the dark web, but now Ross has a lifetime to explain to his fellow cons how to run an illegal business.

Worried about Brexit food shortages? North Korean haute couture has just the thing

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: "Are people _really_ saying that 'supermarket shelves will be empty"

"Personally I'm starting to stockpile a pallet of tinned food."

Unless you're really cramped for space, it's a good policy.

My suggestion is to buy 24 packs (slabs?) of staples (beans, tuna, full meals, fruit, veg) since it's a convenient size, and pile them up in the pantry, back of cupboard etc.

When you do your shopping pick up cans of different things, and cycle through them. If you're stuck eating the same type of beans you might go a bit crazy anyway :)

As long as you remember to replace them, eating cans from the stock is fine. Means you've always got things on hand.

Living in a shared flat while doing this also shows that it works well in a barter economy too. Come Sunday lunchtime my pantry stock would be down by some beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and spam*, with beer, chocolate, Bunderburg or Dr Pepper left in exchange.

"3 tins of food a day for a month is 90 tins per person."

I went on a slab per week, half if you've got rice or pasta. 2kg of dried rice or pasta per person per week.

*mmmmm, fried spam

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Gotta love El Reg @AC

"Not only did she fail to get a deal which could satisfy Parliament, she has now become a hypocrite and denounced her own work."

Don't forget Parliament has no only voted no to her current deal, but has also said she can't take no deal either.

So the PM needs either a new deal, or to revoke A50. Or take no deal, and give Parliament the finger.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Import could be tricky

"There is still the Commonwealth. Many produce food. "

Since 2010 or so the UK has been making it harder for kiwis to come to work and live in the UK. 2 year visas instead of 5, requiring sponsorship etc.

Much like India and Pakistan, they are also going to use any new trading negotiation to get other concessions, which will almost certainly involve allowing more migration to the UK.

With the continuing negotiation of brexit continues between the various factions: euroskeptic conservatives and conservatives, conservatives and reality, government and parliament and eventually actual negotiations with the EU, the UK has shown it can't make a deal to save it's life. The conversation in the national press seems to indicate that they don't even get what kind of negotiation this is.

The UK is choosing to leave one of the two biggest trade blocs in the world, at a time when everyone else is clamoring to get in to one. The knives are out at the WTO, and while the EU is voting with the UK, most of the commonwealth isn't. Certainly the rest of the world isn't.

At least parliament has ruled out no deal, and labour FINALLY took a position that differentiated themselves from the government. A customs union would sort the Irish border question without flipping the DUP out, and prevent goods shortages and other such short term mayhem.

Then spending a decade or two making trade agreements (without a hard deadline) that start when the UK leaves the CU, then plan to leave the CU over a 2-5 year transition period.

"That should not take much effort to fix."

I've never negotiated a trade deal. But I do get to read parts of them, and then get to explain the reasoning why. They can be extremely complex, their reasoning is hidden behind the decisions (but they do publish that too) and the devil is very much in the details. How, where and when are goods checked can by itself take years to agree.

Apple: You can't sue us for slowing down your iPhones because you, er, invited us into, uh, your home... we can explain

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: Attitude

"However, I have a brain so am more likely to spend £200 on an Android handset that will last three years before it needs replacing,"

Phones are commodity items now. There is a price point, which is about 200 eurodollarpounds, where you can get all the features that are "good enough" in a new phone. At about 600 local currancy units is the next price point for top quality. Between them you might get appropriate (IMHO) compromises, so better camera but remaining components the same. The "flagship" phones are status symbols, so they could probably double their price and still sell plenty.

Same goes for most commodity products. A double bed base is about 200 eurodollarpounds, plus whatever else they can persuade you to pay. None of the extras makes a significant difference to it's function as a bed, but you can spend 2-3k on a base easily.

MonkeyCee Silver badge

Re: I have never seen Rolls Royce engineers

"well, have you ever seen RR engineers? "

No, because they are paid to be silent and invisible. Like the butler :)

Post-Brexit plan for .EU tweaked: No dot-EU web domains for Europeans in UK, no appeals, etc

MonkeyCee Silver badge

It's not the EU...

"Or, in other words, once the EU has decided you are no longer a citizen, it will take your property away from you, without compensation"

The UK is leaving the EU. The UK is the one removing citizenship, not the EU. In fact the EU has offered all UK citizens residency* if they are living in the EU, and vice versa with the UK, but the UK government doesn't seem to be able to get that bill past parliament. For some of us our governments have offered us the same deal, even if the UK does not reciprocate, so deal or no deal I get residency in the Netherlands.

I know you're trying to stir up things, but this is clearly based on location and not legal status. As per the article, a non-UK EU citizen whoi has their .eu domain registered to a UK address has to move it somewhere else, or lose it. Nowt to do with who is a citizen or not, entirely to do with the UK being in or out of the EU.

Spitting tacks each time brexit means the UK doesn't benefit from being in the EU, and then blaming the EU for it is getting old. It's almost like all the benefits of the union are classified as "expected" rather than part of the give and take.

Once the UK has finished with settling it's relationship with the EU, in what has been a very measured and reasonable negotiation**, it's going to be interesting to see how the UK (especially the press and public) reacts to having to negotiate with the rest of the world. All the signs from the WTO are that it's going to be a shitshow, even with the full support of the EU. The suggestion that the UK could just carve off it's share of the schedules from the EU (which the EU support) was laughed out.

The government is weak, there is political division within most parties, there is no clear vision for a solution to the current (self induced) crisis and the UK hasn't negotiated a trade deal on it's own for thirty years. The other countries are going to eat us for lunch. I predict a future press briefing were the PM declares that that an unpopular trade deal that maintains the status quo is a great victory.

* IIRC you need to be resident in the EU (not a citizen) for .eu registrations

** if you ignore the political hyperbole and look at what was actually done and agreed.

MonkeyCee Silver badge


" The EU, on the other hand, makes up new rules nobody knew of beforehand. "

What? That's bullshit. Sorry.

The issue is that currently the UK is part of the EU. Thus lots of rules saying "x must be in an EU country" are currently;y fine if x is in the UK. The UK has decided it's leaving the EU, and has not yet managed to agree on what that means for all the cases of x. The proposed "deal" is that the UK remains in the identical position (legally speaking) and therefore all cases of x in the UK are fine.

If the UK leaves without a deal, then the rules are clear. If UK not in EU, then things that require x to be in the EU are no longer valid if x is in the UK. It's pretty simple.

Now, it's bloody stupid I agree. But as with most of this brexit spectacle it's the UK that is the one causing the issue, failing to offer a solution, then blaming everyone else when they get hoist on their own petard.


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