* Posts by Nick Kew

1976 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

Australian prime minister blames 'state level' baddies for Oz parliament breach

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It's precisely because they won't use Huawei that they had the backdoored infrastructure.

Techie in need of a doorstop picks up 'chunk of metal' – only to find out it's rather pricey

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Re: Watch out for geological samples

There was a story floating around in the 1970s about a consignment of luminous watches that was due to be disposed of at Windscale/Sellafield, before someone pointed out that the radiation levels were higher than they could legally handle. They had to be sent to Aldermaston instead.

Around that time my schoolboy self inherited a luminous watch from my grandfather. On dark nights, it could be the brightest thing around, and occasionally served as a torch on the country lanes where for a mad year or two I used to jog.

Amazon triples profit to $11.2bn, pays ZERO DOLLARS in corp tax – instead we pay it $129m

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Re: This is really very easy

Have you read the actual Amazon figures? I haven't: I've only read the story here.

El Reg clearly call the number a profit. The one use of the words "net income" is very loose, and I wouldn't read anything into it unless I had some external reason to suppose it was not in fact a profit as reported.

As for investing sufficient to avoid tax, I've done that myself for quite a few years. Not on Amazon's scale of course, but I've had some big tax rebates (the biggest in five figures UK£) and my tax-free dividend income roughly speaking pays the rent.

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Re: This is really very easy

I'm not an accountant, but I thought I had some idea of the definition of profit. Isn't it basically the difference between income and expenditure? The latter includes investment, so a reported profit of $11.2bn would be after accounting for investment.

Who is being misleading here?

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Re: "That makes me smart"

... not to mention the kneejerk reaction seen here that Amazon should be funding Trump.

What the tax-efficient multinationals have shown is that corporation tax is not fit for purpose. Governments are making noise about it and discussing idiocies, but at the same time they're also (more quietly) Doing Something. Here in Blighty that's taken the form of reducing corporation tax while introducing new taxes on dividends instead. Time will tell how that turns out.

How's this for sci-fi: A cosmic river of 4,000 stars dazzles lifeforms as it flows through a galaxy. And that galaxy is the Milky Way

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Re: turtle-fodder

That's a slander! Why on Earthin Space would Great A'tuin home in on a dunghill?

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Re: Continents and Stars

They must be turtle-fodder ...

Pokemon No! Good news: You can now ban the virtual pests, er, pets to stop nerds wandering around your property

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Re: We found an easy solution...

Mastiffs are far too friendly, even when very hungry.

But then, perhaps that's just what I see. I interact with real animals, not virtual ones, when out and about.

The algorithms! They're manipulating all of us! reckon human rights bods Council of Europe

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Re: The private sector ? Act with fairness ? Have you heard of Facebook ?

Seems to me that what is at issue here is that the liberal elite are getting all huffed up that somebody other than their political organisations might be able to influence.

Agreed, this is democratisation they're worrying about. Echoes of the Establishment reaction to Gutenberg, and many other historic events.

But I'm not convinced by your describing the likes of Rupert Murdoch as a "Liberal" elite!

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

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Re: Iomega

Guess I was fortunate my iomega drive died before it had acquired anything more than a bit of test data.

What a total waste of money. Or in this context, what a rip-off.

Crash, bang, wallop: What a power-down. But what hit the kill switch?

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Re: Cray Red Button

Must've been a cray for help?

Sorry. Like other commentards, I'm sure I've read this story at on-call (or maybe who-me) too recently before. Mine's the one with ... oh, they all are.

Edit to add: Here's a much more dramatic rendition.

Roses are red, so is ketchup, 'naked' Huawei tells its critics to belt up

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Re: Looking at the source code is nice and all

Bugs can lurk.

But would you try to slip something deliberate in to an open codebase where every commit goes out immediately to a bunch of active developers, as well as of course being on public display to security researchers and AI tools? That's an altogether different proposition!

Compare the amount of (hostile) scrutiny Huawei is getting to any of its rivals, and tell us which is the safer bet?

With (say) Cisco, you have all the same risks as Huawei, plus the additional risk that someone is smuggling in a backdoor (NSA made them an offer they can't refuse) invisible to anyone outside a small team within the company. That makes the hurdles to finding it thousands of times higher: you need a Snowden instead.

Roses are red, this is sublime: We fed OpenAI's latest chat bot a classic Reg headline

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It was a dark and stormy clock

... and I was more impressed when I first saw moderately-convincing AI-generated stories, nearly 40 years ago.

Judge snubs FBI's bid to snaffle Autonomy docs ahead of founder Mike Lynch's UK showdown

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Re: So Lynch lied

Evidence previously reported on El Reg tells us at least two existing-or-former HP directors were among those to say the deal was mad and vastly overpriced.

As did others, like Oracle.

I think I said at the time, this looks like an ill-judged MeToo from HP, trying to play with IBM and Oracle (who had recently acquired hardware capability in the form of Sun) in high-end enterprise stuff.

One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

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Turtles all the way down

Who decides what is 'terrorist' ...

Well, if they view the material to make that decision, then they won't want to incriminate themselves. So they'll have to make it in complete ignorance.

Unless we outsource it outside plod's jurisdiction? Have Kim Jong Trump's minions decide?

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Re: "(2)In this section “record” includes a photographic or electronic record."

Don't laugh. Iraq's possession of such things meant they really could produce chemical weapons in 45 minutes.

Just as you or I could, though most of the 45 minutes is the journey to the supermarket to buy bleach.

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Re: Unintended consequences

Terrorist organisation? Sounds more like a 14-year-old who doesn't get out enough.

But why a browser hijack? A simple spam run would catch loads of users whose mailers make it a faff to delete messages unread. I wonder if companies like Apple might be indicted as accomplices in that?

Ivan to be left alone: Russia preps to turn its internet into an intranet if West opens cyber-fire

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Re: Kasperskaya and ruexit

Indeed, but being cut off from (one imagines) a big part of the team would surely hurt. They'd no doubt make ruexit provisions - probably without even the kind of fiasco we've seen with non-ferry-companies or lorry parks - but that might not be how a sufficiently-bitter divorcee thinks about it.

Other Russian-centred projects - like nginx - are of course heavily reliant on connectivity, as much as Russian users of worldwide stuff.

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Kasperskaya and ruexit

Is the lady in charge still on speaking terms with her ex, or does she utterly loathe him?

We need to know whether anything she does might be motivated by revenge there! Disconnecting would of course do huge damage to Russian companies whose legitimate business has an online component.

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

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Week count?

What purpose does a week count actually serve in computing a position? I'm old enough to remember pre-GPS times[1], and we already had 32-bit timestamps. Is that final week purely coincidental with other silly traditions and tragically stupid one-off events, or might this be made a scapegoat for something?

[1] In fact I even spent some time in the 1980s working on a pre-GPS tracking and positioning system for vehicles, where fitting the entire onboard software into a 128k ROM was one of the issues we had to deal with.

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

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By assaulting a sales office when support is bad, you are punishing the wrong people.

Up to a point, Lord Copper.

You're also putting pressure on the company, by what may be the only means available to you. Especially when a company has gone to great lengths to make it impossible to contact support.

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Thumb Up

Re: About a billion years ago ...

Jake, you're well and truly redeemed for that too-soon-repeated anecdote a couple of months ago.

This is well and truly the kind of anecdote that makes reading comments here worthwhile!

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Re: Careful of what you write

You mean ECHAN, of IRC fame?

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Uncle Sam to its friends around the world: You can buy technology the easy way, or the Huawei

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Thou Shalt Not roll out 5G infrastructure better and quicker than the US.

and (only slightly) speculatively:

Thou Shalt Not roll out 5G infrastructure over which NSA&friends have no say.

Oh dear, Lads: Spam marketing bosses banned from forming UK firms for clobbering folk with 500k calls and texts

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Prisons are full, don't want more inmates.

You have to do something really bad, like say the wrong thing to a snowflake[1], to get put away.

[1] Of any age. I don't believe snowflake is a generational thing, except insofar as some in our universities nurture it.

Cops looking for mum marauding uni campus asking students if they fancy dating her son

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Poor boy!


After that kind of exposure, might there be a kind of girl who homes in on him? As in, with a mum like that, you really need someone to take care of you. A whole new set of apron strings.

Google's stunning plan to avoid apps slurping Gmail inboxes: Charge devs for security audits

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Re: What about IMAP?

Imap accesses individual accounts. So

(a) you need credentials to access an account.

(b) you're accessing something personally identifiable and private.

Well and truly out of any kind of grey area of using a corpus for, say, linguistic research.

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Do something!

They're under huge pressure from governments and media to Do Something. But that "something" is horribly undefined, and we know very well that the kind of things they have to do can't be reliably automated. Nor even reliably assigned to human judgement. Where there are huge grey areas, a US court and a German court might order them to do diametrically opposite things.

This is Doing Something. On a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't basis.

If it kills off a lot of small biz, it's kind-of closing off a zero-investment business model that's pretty rare outside the 'net. At least it isn't the many-millions cost of getting anything licenced in a safety-critical biz like medicines.

And it probably does reduce the risk of a Big Bad Scandal, by reducing the pool of places from which a Big Bad Scandal could come. So from the point of view of Protecting The Children (etc) it's probably a Good Thing. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater[1] might be seen as a side-effect but is kind-of what they're being told to do.

Maybe a logical next step would be to create a discipline of Auditor for sensitive APIs, and a specific qualification for it. Then you get your app independently audited and signed off in the same way as your accounts. Except we kind-of know how ineffectual that process is from the number of companies going bust with big holes in their accounts after a clean audit.

[1] Does that expression go beyond Blighty, or does it look a bit weird to international readers?

Born-again open-source enthusiast Microsoft rucks up at OpenChain

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Re: utterly evil corporation MS was 20 years ago

You may have a point. But noone forces you to use windoze 10: indeed, I haven't used any windoze since about 2000.

What I meant with Utterly Evil was their actions that blighted the 'net as a whole, not just their own users. As in, breaking MIME, thus releasing the first wave of email viruses (Melissa, Lovebug) on their own users, but also breaking standards-compliant systems and stifling innovation on the 'net.

One casualty of that was my own web-based office software (think google docs for the idea), that relied on MIME standards and broke in MSIE. Mail-by-web where MSIE would do its own random thing with attachments, and miscellaneous documents that MSIE might try to load in $random-app.

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Details, man. Look at the Big Picture instead!

To be fair, the name appears to come from the Linux Foundation. So in a comments thread that's mostly bitching about Microsoft[1], your comment should perhaps be caveated as different.

[1] ... and a lot of it still looking at the utterly evil corporation MS was 20 years ago, rather than the reformed MS of today.

Lovely website you got there. Would be a shame if we, er, someone were to sink it: Google warns EU link tax will magnify media monetary misery

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Re: But wait!

Article 11: The link 'previews' that are usually generated on the 'aggregators' are set by the publisher in their web page meta tags.

Where does that come from?

I included that feature in the original WebÞing back in 1995. A couple of years later, spam started to become a problem, and it became clear that it was only fit for a closed system whose participants shared a reasonable level of mutual trust. A general-purpose search engine like google would just be handing itself to spammers if it used those.

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Re: Google news aggregation

If that nonsense ever became true, google would die rapidly as people stopped using it.

Even half true. Or 5% true.

Except in the sense that Google know very well that the reason they have advertising revenue in the first place is because their search engine works for users, so we choose to use it. From memory, google's search results were no better than altavista, but I switched to google simply because they didn't burden me with deezyner pages that took forever to load.

How I got horizontal with a gimp and untangled his cables

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"... putting his Lycra-moulded bollocks at direct eye level."

Now there's an opportunity for you.

Sorry. Mine's the grubby mac.

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

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Just two months ago ...

A story of unnoticed expiry for the "Who, me" column.

UK transport's 'ludicrous' robocar code may 'put lives at risk'

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Re: What did you expect?

It's a fluffy bit of guidance written by some junior with an arts degree

Sounds a lot more promising than anything coming from Chris Grayling.

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Re: Missing the obvious

How did we get from self-driving cars to slagging off cyclists?

All it takes is one total moron.

Still, it could be worse. A rant (either way) on brexit would've been equally stupid in this context.

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Re: Missing the obvious

as many are not very good at it at all

Never mind how many are not very good. Even the best put lives at risk when in control of a moving object substantially heavier than a human.

Viasat: Huzzah, we're going to the EU courts over airline broadband

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The Rule of Lawyers. To drain all the vitality out of any tech project and zombify it.

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

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Crypto-busting test case

Taking the story at face value (no laughing at the back), does this make an interesting crypto-busting test case for the kind of folks who did the FBI Iphone?

In 30 days I expect they'll be throwing whatever they can find at it, from brute force to experts. Could be an interesting scenario if some TLA does know how to break it but isn't prepared to reveal that they know ...

As for entrusting your money to one man with no fallback ... erm, 'nuff said. Maybe if it's laundered money you just accept there will be attrition, but who else?

Cheap call? Hardly. GSM gateway judicial review to settle whether UK Home Sec can legally push comms watchdog around

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Re: "eye-wateringly high per-minute rates demanded by telcos back in the early 2000s"

@LDS - It's a long time since I had a phone with an Italian SIM (and telco), but I imagine any significant operator, like Vodafone, there as here will offer a choice of different deals. A contract costing several € per minute to phone abroad is for people who don't anticipate phoning such countries.

Upcoming report from UK's Huawei handler will blast firm for unresolved security issues

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Re: About those dark hints of 'classified information'

Making their own units under their own name is one thing: Lenovo has done that for years.

Could it be that Huawei's crime is to ship products that are not merely competitive with, but ahead of, their Western counterparts. Especially Cisco.

Good news! Only half of Internet of Crap apps fumble encryption

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What if?

We can be matter-of-fact about IoT being in a race-to-the-bottom at the expense of security/etc.

But what would the commentary look like if it were Huawei?

Bug-hunter faces jail for vulnerability reports, DuckDuckPwn (almost), family spied on via Nest gizmo, and more

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Re: ratted out when you report a vulnerability?

Um, calm down!

Bob puts forward a hypothetical, which I don't think we're supposed to read as serious advice, just a mildly amusing thought. And we know this anonymous Hungarian isn't the first to be threatened with severe punishment for Doing the Right Thing.

Your experiences are broadly comparable to mine, and I expect that applies to most of us. But the fact that neither of us has been murdered doesn't mean it never happens.

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You're giving far too much credit to a telecoms company. You clearly haven't had the misfortune to have to try and contact Virgin Media.

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

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Re: RE: Alister

Gah. Must correct myself.

Larry's soundtrack was just a melodic beep, but bearing in mind that limitation, it was probably as great a soundtrack as any game has ever had. And entirely appropriate to the character of the game.

Much more memorable than the green-on-black (as I saw it) graphics.

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A pair of wire cutters suffices. A former colleague was said to carry a pair in her handbag but this was supposed to be to deal with pub sound systems.

I think I'm in love!

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Re: RE: Alister

Back in the days before soundcards and external speakers were a thing

Ah yes. The PC establishing its credentials as a serious machine for business by not supporting sound beyond basic beeps, and by implication not being a games machine.

Ironic that it then became the main games machine, and that you needed an additional sound card. Though even before the soundcard, a game could have a memorable (if ugly) soundtrack: anyone else remember Leisure Suit Larry?

UK spy overseer: Snooper's Charter cockups are still getting innocents arrested

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Re: Is that all?

Arthur, methinks you misunderstand the whole jury system.

It's not about justice or rationality. It's about having enough dupes to have a strong statistical chance of being convinced by whoever is the best lawyer.

Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers

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Re: Design deficiencies

The basement is where the lowest in the pecking order are put.

Students, for instance.

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