* Posts by Nick Kew

1974 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

UK Prime Minister calls on internet big beasts to 'auto-takedown' terror pages within 2 HOURS

Nick Kew Silver badge

What a brilliant idea

And for her next trick, let's have ISPs filter out all spam fully automatically: get your \/|@gra past those filters. And telcos, of course. And the Post Office. The poor old spammers will have to take evasive measures like using envelopes that impersonate a legitimate letter!

As I said when it was The Liar driving online censorship, I expect the first casualty to be that most ultra-violent work of hate, massacre and genocide, the Old Testament of the Bible. Not to mention the sizeable chunk of western culture derived from those bloodthirsty stories.

Chap tames Slack by piping it into Emacs

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@John Smith 19

How do you solve the halting problem?

Bloke fesses up: I forged judge's signature to strip stuff from Google search

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John Gay summed it up nicely

A fox may steal your hens, sir,

A whore your health and pence, sir,

Your daughter rob your chest, sir,

Your wife may steal your rest, sir,

A thief your goods and plate.

But this is all but picking,

With rest, pence, chest and chicken;

It ever was decreed, sir,

If lawyer's hand is fee'd, sir,

He steals your whole estate.

Senators call for '9/11-style' commission on computer voting security

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Re: What's new?

I know that very well.

The point I meant to make is that it's no more than another skin on a well-known issue of manipulating elections. Something that's come a long way since the eponymous Gerry. Or indeed before him, though I don't know if the Romans had a word for it.

What greater gerrymander for our times than Cameron reneging on his 2015 manifesto commitment to enfranchise Brits longer-term abroad? The very ones who might expect to lose most from brexit.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Self-fulfilling prophecies'R'us

*perhaps less obviously criminal than the Russians, but most fortunes have at root some dodgy shit

The Russian Oligarchs made their fortunes recently - from the big Yeltsin giveaway of state assets. It's the passing of time that turns later generations from Oligarchs to Aristocrats.

The UK has its relatively-modern oligarchy. From the big housing giveaway of the post-war era. From the high-profile gangsters like Rachmann or Hoogstraaten to the beneficiaries of council house giveaway, we have a modern-day oligarchy in a country where property counts for more than production.

Nick Kew Silver badge

What's new?

Damn, we'll need a dreadful new word for this dreadful new phenomenon.

How about Gerrymandering?

Tech biz must be more export-focused, says defence kit minister

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Our strengths

Along with bankstering, weapons are the UK's long-term great export strength. That's why we, usually with the US, have mongered so many regional wars since the end of the Cold War threatened a decline in the sector. They're trade fairs for a great export industry!

Would you get in a one-man quadcopter air taxi?

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Re: It won't let you out. Or land...

as the drone he is condemned to ride for eternity passes overhead.

Heh. The original Flying Dutchman wasn't literally airborne.

123-Reg customers outraged at automatic .UK domain registration

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Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

I'll don't see how you can force someone to take possession of something, nor how you can do that without their consent just by having an opt-out.

There commonly isn't an opt-out. Like when Virgin raise their charges yet again, and throw in something you never asked for and will never want.

Dammit, even the notorious Microsoft Tax has long been an annoyance for many.

Facebook posts put Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli in prison as a danger to society

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Re: Misleading headline.

You know what goes on.

Yeah. All kinds of stories, some of them worth reading. And a commentariat whose relatively-light censorship usually permits a moan, at no greater risk than being downvoted. I don't need no Doctor Syntax: give me Dr Grumpy instead.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Misleading headline.

Clearly a ****. But that's not a reason to bang him up. It obviously wasn't a call to rid anyone of some turbulent priest like the Lord AbsoluteA***" case.

But in the text it turns out he wasn't banged up for being an **** online. The story is just about bail being revoked, and the bail was in connection with real crimes. Shame on the Reg for such misleading clickbait over a non-story.

'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google

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Re: Hmm..

"I've never met a noun that can't be verbed"

Yes, but what does it mean? Can you be arsed to think it through?

And please, don't think of verbing my name. That would look like theft.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Surely....

The best you can hope for with comments in source code is that they don't contradict the source code...

On the contrary. When they contradict the source code, they offer valuable clues as to how the code has evolved, and useful hooks for searching the change control archives.

Or into the thought processes of the developer, if they are contemporaneous.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Surely....

I remember one case where it surely did not, it said "abominable hack" and it was!

Don't think that's me, but if the adjective had been, say, "ugly" or "hideous" I could be a candidate. Though I'd probably accompany it with some more suggestion: why it's necessary, how it might be improved when I or anyone have time.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Because It's Not Google

"Did you google with yahoo or altavista back then?"

I seem to recollect googling with infoseek before altavista existed.

No, wait, googling didn't exist back then. The nearest was probably giggling.

UK's new Data Protection Bill will be 'liberal' not 'libertarian', says digi minister

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What ???

"personal data" to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA.

Erm, where to begin? Damn, not here, I'd be preaching to the choir (probably at length).

I hope that quote is a journalistic simplification, because that would leave scope for having consulted someone who knows what (s)he is talking about, and a law whose detail makes a bit more sense.

Linus Torvalds' lifestyle tips for hackers: Be like me, work in a bathrobe, no showers before noon

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Re: Personally, I shower AFTER work.

Likewise. Only ever shower earlier if I've been doing something that particularly demands it. Like gardening.

Happy to say I'm in pyjamas right now. And but for the fact that I have to go out in a few minutes, I'd still be in them at lunchtime.

The key trick is to have some kind of clothes convenient, and be able to pull them on in a few seconds if someone appears at the door. Like the lady who came to read the electricity meter at about 8:20 yesterday morning.

Daily Stormer binned by yet another registrar, due to business risks

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citation needed

@Dave C

Your post is a lot more specific than most in this discussion.

Did you visit the daily stormer website to inform yourself? Or are you posting allegations (whether your own or a third-party) that may or may not bear any relationship to reality?

Nick Kew Silver badge

Two different arguments

It seems to me this discussion confuses different arguments:

1. Basic free speech. Should Daily Stormer have it at all?

2. Corporate decisions about providing a platform for free speech.

3. Actions against free speech.

I'm with Voltaire on Daily Stormer having a voice (not that I want to listen to them[1]). I'm also with corporations having the right to say "not on our platform", though I'll cry Hypocrisy if those corporations also make claims about universality or about being champions of free speech.

What is much more sinister is if, as hinted here, corporations are being intimidated into denying free speech. Even to real Nazis (if indeed they really are both nationalist and socialist). Yet we know that kind of thing does happen, much more widely. I was first aware of it back in my schooldays, when the news carried semi-regular stories of peaceful marches by one political faction being disrupted by violence from another, and then banned for fear of that violence.

[1] Unless in the context of this story itself: if I post here, I should really take a look so I know what I'm talking about. Better do that from the relative anonymity of public wifi, if the Great Firewall will let me.

Red panic: Best Buy yanks Kaspersky antivirus from shelves

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You're not trusting "the Russians" or "the Americans". You're trusting one private company over another. Which seems an entirely reasonable thing to do, regardless of your politics.

Nick Kew Silver badge

What it doesn't say

"Under Russian laws ...

Note the weasel words. You're meant to conclude that the Russian government has the power to require Kaspersky to spy on its users.

OK, the company is required to assist the spy agency in its operations - well, that sounds plausible and also fair: the security services might call on Kaspersky to help with protecting vital infrastructure from a stuxnet. Or maybe the powers are more sweeping and they might be called on to help with analysing a seized 'puter for kiddie porn, or a 419-ers activities, or other such things. Noone is telling us how far those powers do or don't go.

But - Russian law requires telecommunications service providers such as Kaspersky Lab ...? Really? So antivirus is a telecoms service? Or could it rather be language designed to mislead by conflating different issues (and projecting a politician's wet dreams)?

Perhaps it's a skirmish in a battle between AV vendors and US security? Destination: US vendors required to install spyware; non-US vendors choose install spyware or be banned.

Scientists, free software bods still worried about EU copyright proposals

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Fingerprinting text?

We're told it puts Github content at risk. Wouldn't that basically just mean Github having to locate infrastructure outside the jurisdiction of such nonsense? Or might it lead to Github admins being arrested - like security researchers in the US? Sounds mildly far-fetched.

Github content (at least, content that matters) is source code, which is text. If that's affected, it would seem to imply some kind of fingerprinting on text. That really would lead to all kinds of nonsense, though it might be a Hollywood wet dream to make a film of a Shakespeare play and then catch copies of the original in its copyright net!

EU court must rule on legality of UK's mass surveillance – tribunal

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The Tom Watson case

Is that the same case that Watson brought together with David Davis, until the latter became a government minister and dropped his part in the case against said government?

Stand up who HASN'T been hit in the Equifax mega-hack – whoa, whoa, sit down everyone

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They're doing us a favour

Whatever data equifax hold on most of us is self-evidently not secret or private: it's assembled from publicly-available information. And is the kind of thing that regularly leaks in bulk: here's from ten years ago.

If this leak can help convince companies to stop misusing such public information as proof of identity, then it's done the world a favour.

You are the one per cent if you read Firefox's privacy spiels

Nick Kew Silver badge

How often?

If I read and accepted the T&C's of Firefox's ancestor twenty years ago, how many times should I have read it thereafter? I don't recollect aptitude thrusting them in my face when it updates Firefox for me, nor even when I run a new install on a new machine.

Are you saying something has materially changed this century? Without ever generating an alert? Damn, this smells of lawyer-fodder.

France to tack weapons onto spy drones – reports

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Insecticide weapons?

Whose drone was it you recently reported on doing battle with Asian hornets?

Three challenges UK watchdog to a duel over mobile spectrum rules

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5G vs 4G?

So what does 5G have to offer?

More speed? More capacity? 4G is more than ample, thankyouverymuch.

More coverage? Now that would be a worthwhile improvement. In fact, if you offered me universal coverage, I'd take 3G speeds as a tradeoff.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: What really pisses me

It's a business expense for the telcos, so they get to offset it against tax. That happens over several years.

In the case of Vodafone, it gives them a name for "tax avoidance". The others probably only escape the same fate by virtue of being foreign-owned and thus having less visible UK tax affairs.

So in a sense they pay twice over. Once in money, and a second time in reputation.

UK.gov unveils six areas to pilot full-fat fibre, and London ain't on the list

Nick Kew Silver badge

@Steve Davies 3

Bah. Electrification of two perfectly good railway lines? Luxury!

Our railway line isn't merely not electrified, it periodically disappears under water or gets washed out to sea, leaving us nothing. And they won't stump up a few quid to re-open the alternative line running inland!

HPE wraps up $8.8bn Micro Focus software dump spin-off

Nick Kew Silver badge


Someone on an investor board once asked if Micro Focus (MCRO) was like a cheaper Autonomy. How prescient! Though MCRO's share price has quadrupled since then, it's still a lot cheaper than Autonomy was at the time HP swallowed it.

MCRO seems to be quite indecently successful at swallowing up once-great names - from Borland to Novell - and making a successful business of it. My pension fund hopes they make a big success of this latest acquisition. At least it looks more promising than HP swallowing EDS and Autonomy in a vain effort to play MeToo with IBM and Oracle.

User thanked IT department for fast new server, but it had never left its box

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Re: Credit for something I didn't do?

There's a Dilbert for that. But I'm not going to go looking for it.

Boffins want machine learning to predict earthquakes

Nick Kew Silver badge

What you describe looks like a classic case of prejudice.

The simulation is obviously of limited value, though it demonstrates a system working in principle. And you describe the work with real data as including pre-filtering to identify the signal from the noise. An application of precisely the kind of prejudice you describe. Except, here it's objective.

Prejudiced humans = prejudiced algorithms, and it's not an easy fix

Nick Kew Silver badge

Humans learn their prejudice through statistics and Big Data.

That sounds more like postjudice than prejudice.

Or am I old-fashioned, taking the word to say what it means?

Ice-cold Kaspersky shows the industry how to handle patent trolls

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Re: What are lawmakers doing?

It's more than just political funding, it's economic imperialism.

US companies lead the world in (extremely) dodgy patents, and are aided by the legal system in asserting those, particularly against non-US companies. Look at how NTP effectively destroyed RIM[1] before those patents were finally invalidated: once that case was sucking its lifeblood, the one-time leading-edge innovator was drained externally by having to pay the pirates, and (I speculate) internally by a culture whose emphasis had been turned from innovation to litigation.

[1] The Canadian company that brought us the blackberry phone.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Did the pirates make it too easy?

Thinking back to the reporting of a much bigger and more celebrated IP case, SCO refused for a very long time to be specific about its claims and identify the IP of which it alleged violation.

This time, they specified "US Patent nnnnn", which would seem to make it a lot easier (and thus cheaper and less painful) to defend. Not that I'd wish even that on an honest business.

US government: We can jail you indefinitely for not decrypting your data

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Re: Does the govnernment even read their own briefs?

Liar, Liar, briefs on fire.

Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller

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Re: I'm touched by the weirdness of this request...

I'll second those who say skip the first two (very much lesser) works.

After those, they fall into different periods. The earlier ones (the Witches, and the Rincewind ones) are the most directly funny, tending to thoughtful slapstick. My own startingpoint was the witches. Later he gets more humanistic and a bit darker: the peak of that would be Night Watch. And he did go downhill towards the end as the alzheimers set in.

Note that there are *lot* of literary and cultural references: if you're not English, you may get less out of them (but don't let that put you off). And allusions: the Pork Futures Warehouse described the financial crisis before it happened, while "Interesting Times" (published 1994) could have been about "9/11" in almost the same sense as Arthur Miller's Crucible was about McCarthyism.

Boffin rediscovers 1960s attempt to write fiction with computers

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It was a dark and stormy clock

Memorable real-life first line of a computer-written tale encountered in my student days, early '80s (tale probably dating back to the '70s: the printout looked old).

By then they also had 'puters composing original music.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Probably the software was bought by Hollywood....

c.f. WayForward Technologies. Though Dirk Gently was a generation on in the 1980s, and they had apple macs.

WannaCrypt NHS victim Lanarkshire infected by malware again

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@Chris G

Undermanaged is not a term I'd associate with the NHS.

It's must be a strong candidate for the world's prime example of this management style.

UK.gov wants quick Brexit deal with EU over private data protections

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Re: Diversionary tactics

There could be some kind of crowd pleaser over free movement such as not providing social security for the first couple of years. It's naive to expect more than that.

Under normal EU rules, freedom of movement doesn't entitle anyone to another country's benefits. At least, not until you've been there legally for five years, when you become eligible to apply for permanent residence and then citizenship. Indeed, if you move to another country for more than three months, you have to demonstrate both the means to support yourself and health insurance, so you won't be a burden on your new country.

The UK has an unholy combination of a monstrously ridiculous benefits system and a determination to manufacture problems with it. Labour did it because they wanted more immigration, the Tories because they wanted to whip up anti-EU hatred.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: They need us more than we need them

Yep. Of course.

5% of their trade is with us; 50% of our trade is with them (in ballpark terms). And we're more dependent on trade than most, except perhaps the Dutch. Even the big manufacturing nations - like Germany and Italy - have only a tiny fraction of what we have at stake.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: There 'May' come a time

Not saying it will happen but the EU seem hell bent on putting as many obsticles[sic] in the way just to make sure that no other country even thinks about leaving in the future.

I think the EU right now are sitting back and watching the UK government self-destruct in a shower of incoherent nonsense. No intervention from the EU required to deter anyone else from trying to follow!

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: I don't think anything's going to happen until EU citizens' rights are sorted out

To be fair to the British courts, I think they'd have thrown out the Home Office case in this instance, too.


Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: This broke the bulshitometer by driving it off the scale

EU response: You can stay with us on data protection so long as you commit to accepting the ECJ's supremacy on matters of data protection. And you can appoint a non-voting representative to the panel.

Any more concessions than that would seem very odd, and one would have to question what price had been paid behind the scenes.

Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

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Re: One side is not enough

@ Potemkine!

Upvote for the laugh, but I can't help thinking I've said more to clients about colleagues than vice versa.

Uncle Sam outlines evidence against British security whiz Hutchins

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Re: Evidence is so last century

Are you, or have you ever been, a security researcher?

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: It's a plot

Aha! So this story is really just our own government doing the same thing more humanely?

Nick Kew Silver badge
Black Helicopters

citation needed

Erm ... where's the source for the chat logs being from someone? I read this story as referring to chat that had been public, and either archived somewhere public or eavesdropped. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

Yes, the chat log appears to be the only evidence to pre-date his arrest, so one might expect it contains real substance! I expect El Reg will keep us up-to-date with what incriminating evidence emerges. And whether it's Hutchins or just the Spooks that it incriminates.

India's Aadhaar national biometric ID scheme at risk after Supreme Court rules privacy is a right

Nick Kew Silver badge

How can they get it so wrong?

Public key cryptography (like PGP) has demonstrated that we can implement digital identifiers that don't leak, and that aren't controlled by any Big Brother. Why accept - let alone mandate - worse?

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