* Posts by Nick Kew

1974 posts • joined 16 Jan 2007

Disturbance in the force lets phones detect gestures with Wi-Fi

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Specifically, as the human moves her arm

It must be only the female whose arms are anatomically close to big wobbly bits whose movements are what it really detects.

I'll get me coat.

Crypto protocols held back by legacy, says ENISA

Nick Kew Silver badge
Big Brother

Oh my ...

[am I allowed to post here without being a Trevor?]

Methinks those herrings in EU waters look rather reddish. Execution times? Power consumption? Isn't that pure background noise on an operational server? Or perfectly unmeasurable in an ATM machine?

Suppose you could indeed infer key size. You still face the original number of bits in the headline security level. But ... oh, hang on, key size wasn't secret in the first place. Whoops!

On the other hand, maybe your entropy generator itself might have a footprint. And maybe a modern-day Turing might have developed a database that could draw information from such a beastie ...

Bang! You're dead. Who gets your email, iTunes and Facebook?

Nick Kew Silver badge

FWIW, a startup recently ran a crowdfunding campaign to address precisely the problem of the "digital legacy" of an individual. I forget the name, and I don't even recollect whether they were successful, but someone out there is working on it.

'Cleantech' a dirty word for VCs? RUBBISH!

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Regressive taxation

Intuitively, carbon tax seems like a very regressive tax.

Not true.

People who use lots of energy are people with more money than sense. Ranging from the ultra-rich to those of more modest means but very little sense.

The poor don't have cars (let alone superyachts), nor wander around in shirtsleeves when nature's temperatures drop below what's comfortable.

Nick Kew Silver badge

VCs have lost money in greentech

Speaking as an investor with quite a lot of my net worth in VC, including some in VC funds devoted solely to greentech ....

Some VC funds have gone big on greentech, and have lost lots of money for investors. Others have made modest investments so their losses in greentech are absorbed by gains elsewhere.

Others are making good returns on green tech itself. But these are funds specifically targeting government subsidies such as FITs and ROCs. Arguably not in the spirit of VCs, and the government have been tightening the rules to deny these subsidies to new VC investments in wind or solar power.

VC is supposed to be risk capital, but it certainly doesn't help when government is forever changing the goalposts. Investors are much more tolerant of legitimate business risk typical of VC (e.g. "the technology is unproven", "the market is untested") than of being robbed of a promise on a politician's whim.

Neither does it help when governments "pick winners" directly. Thus when solar panel manufacturers were clobbered by global oversupply, Obama bailing out his pick with taxpayer funds just damages the rest of the industry. Likewise when China and the EU squabble while industry (in both places) would much prefer just to be left to get on with the job.

I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Sad, y'know?

I guess the only way forward is to so flood the internet with stupid shirt pictures that the fools overload and burn out.

Good point.

Anyone know where I can get a shirt like that? El Reg, earn your journalists stripes and tell us!

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: I Could rant all day

Galileo recanted his science and avoided getting burned at the stake. History remembers him as a great scientist, but in his own time he was in trouble.

Malala Yousefzai took a stand against bigots who attacked her. Now a huge celebrity and looks set for a life at the top. But nothing (yet) to go down as much more than a footnote in history. More a Rosa Parks moment than a Martin Luther King dream.

Looks like this scientist has gone for the Galileo option. For history, not his own lifetime. A natural reaction from a rabbit caught in the headlights of a wave of bigotry that had never even crossed his mind.

Nick Kew Silver badge
Big Brother

Burn the Witch!

This is a scientist, not a TV personality. He's on camera because he's involved with a newsworthy event.

What does it say about our Thought Police that they can be watching him ... not to marvel at a feat of engineering ... not to be gripped by a "will it work" cliffhanger ... not to learn something of the science it supports ... not to draw lessons[1] from the experience ... but to stone the heretic? Have they lynched the creators of Lara Croft yet? Better not tell them about Italy and Renaissance Art, where the ladies are often not merely central to the pictures, but naked!

[1] Lesson: when sending a scientific vehicle into space and where it *might* fall long-term in deep shadow, the marginal extra cost of equipping it with on-board nuclear power is probably worth it.

Words to put dread in a sysadmin's heart: 'We are moving our cloud from Windows to Linux'

Nick Kew Silver badge

Preaching to the choir

Are you sure you're in the right publication? Aren't reg readers far more likely to be the people cleaning up the mess than the ones making this kind of startup mistakes?

Boffin imagines Wi-Fi-defined no-shoot zones for wireless weapons

Nick Kew Silver badge


How will this affect my crossbow?

If only 0.006% care about BLOOD-SOAKED METAL ... why are we spending all this cash?

Nick Kew Silver badge


How many of us ever heard of "fairphone", before El Reg mentioned them to tell us noone buys them? Not I.

If a mainstream manufacturer - a Samsung or HTC - were to start talking up ethical values as a principal selling point, that might tell us a lot more about whether anyone cares. Especially if noone else joined them.

BTW, three Ts? I live near a current Tungsten mine, and lots of old Tin mines.

'You have no right to see me naked!' Suddenly, everyone wakes up at the Google-EU face-off

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Meh...

Think it was a Dave Allen joke. The catholic girl and protestant boy see each other naked: I didn't know we were that different, you protestants and us catholics ...

Or vice versa.

Rich techbro CEOs told to sleep rough before slamming the poor

Nick Kew Silver badge

You mean the SF Bay area is getting so overcrowded as to suffer some of our UK-style problems? Like when they cleared out those not fortunate enough to be Rachman's tenants from under London's Embankment.

Disney wins Mickey Mouse patent for torrent-excluding search engine

Nick Kew Silver badge

Business Strategy

This is an interesting one.

Noone can compete with google on merit: giving us the users genuinely useful search results. So wannabes attack them through the courts and sometimes through the meeja instead.

Now next time there's a fuss about something in google results[1], all they need to do is run a big publicity campaign saying the Goog isn't doing enough, and look, here's something they can and should (nay, must) do ... it's all there published ... criminally negligent that they're not doing it already. Kerching!

[1] Jihadi John threatens feminist troll with copyrighted video of under-age kiddie involved in Bad Things ... hmm, Lord of the Flies, or Wozzeck, or ... well, you get my drift.

Piketty-Poketty-Poo: Some people are just itching to up tax to capital ...

Nick Kew Silver badge

Capital vs Capital

I don't know if Picketty tries to make this distinction. The rest of the world fails badly, and indeed sometimes turns it upside down.

We should distinguish between Good Capital and Bad Capital.

Good Capital is the classic entrepreneur and his/her investors, putting their resources (money, time, effort, etc) into things which are in some way a net benefit. Note that that includes those who work in a productive field[1] and derive an income for their efforts, as well as those who invest their money.

Bad capital is the monopolisation or consumption of the commons: finite and indeed scarce resources. If you own property you can derive huge advantages from it, yet it's a zero-sum game: what I own, you are denied. Furthermore you expect the long-suffering taxpayer to support your monopoly, so If I and my very big mates decide to move in to your house, you'll turn to the police to restore your rights. In other words, people much poorer than you are required to pay to uphold your monopoly.

OK, having a house to live in is not a bad thing, but it's still less deserving of reward than Good Capital (the house being its own reward). But what about the property empire? That weekend home that stands empty most of the time, and could otherwise house some hard-pressed local family? Or to take another case, the destruction of the commons by burning of fossil fuels? These are Bad Capital, in that ownership of them confers no benefits but imposes actual costs on society.

Good capital should be encouraged. Bad capital should be taxed. All too often, our society does the exact opposite.

[1] Maybe even a more dubious field like writing provocative articles for some dodgy online publication.

Free government-penned crypto can swipe identities

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Am I reading this correctly?

Didn't the article say contactless?

You'd have contactless access to $random-bod for some time if you just sit around somewhere public, like in a cafe or on a train. And if you're serious about $particular-target, you watch for an opportunity and deliberately sit at the next table and order your coffee.

Banksy denies Banksy impostor's claim to Banksy.com – which isn't owned by Banksy

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Impressed

Indeed, but not entirely unique. The open sourcer has an element of that mindset. And even the big faceless corporation may do: look at how Novell stepped in to the SCO case at a time when it was just SCO vs IBM.

Voltaire would approve.

This Changes Everything? OH Naomi Klein, NO

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Carbon Tax

Damn, I have a premonition some idiot might feel compelled to take issue with my focussing on petrol and ignoring other burning of fossil fuels. So let me preempt any such correction by pointing out that I know very well I'm addressing just one of many issues when I focus on it. I just happen to think it serves well to demonstrate my point about political problems, given the history.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Wealth

Jack of Shadows, if you think like that, no nation will ever meet its needs. Think of it as a variant on Parkinson's law: needs expand to exceed the resources available to meet them.

Look at so-called "fuel poverty". There is the expectation in Britain today that everyone should be able to keep their houses warmer in winter than even the Queen could probably have managed when she was half her present age.

Or look at housing. We have more house per capita than we ever have in history, yet we're always short of them. That's rising aspiration, at the bottom where even students want their own room, at the top where owning multiple homes has become far more common, and in the middle where many now turn their noses up at the "first time" homes of yesteryear.

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Carbon Tax

Carbon tax is indeed the rational solution. If fossil fuels were held to environmental and safety standards comparable to those we (rightly) impose on the nuclear industry, burning them would become an expensive luxury: a scented candle for special occasions, rather than an everyday thing.

However, we can't hike petrol to £100/litre overnight, we should do it gradually, giving people time and incentives to change behaviour, and industry time and incentives to develop alternatives to today's big polluters. The incentive is of course the knowledge of that rising price.

The politics are another story. John Major introduced just such an escalator for one major polluter. It was accepted at the time, and survived the beginning of Brown’s stewardship of the economy. But in 2000, someone set up a website, and a huge meeja campaign grew up against the escalator, now labelled one of Gordon Brown’s “stealth taxes”.

First there was a campaign, supported with millions worth of free publicity from the likes of the BBC, called “dump the pump”: motorists were exhorted to boycott petrol stations every Monday in protest at “high” prices. Come the first boycott Monday, the petrol stations reported no difference: if anything a slight increase in trade. After the second week, they abandoned the campaign: the silent majority had decisively rejected it.

So, after a couple of months of quiet, they took a different tack. Instead of looking for public support, a few thugs took “direct action”, the kind of thing that would probably be described as terrorist today. But they had support from some prominent public figures: notably the Tory leader of the time: a raving demagogue who shortly afterwards took his party to their worst (but best-deserved) election defeat in … well, certainly in my time. And more importantly – indeed crucially – they again had the support of the meeja: if I might make a cheap jibe, London journalists want their cheap travel to their country cottages (having already priced local people out of the market)!

Having dispensed with the idea that the public (indeed, the motoring public) would support a peaceful campaign, the terrorist campaign was extraordinarily successful. Instead of standing up to the thugs and taking all necessary measures to ensure essential services were maintained (as Mrs Thatcher certainly would have done), the government cravenly capitulated. Green taxes were effectively abolished.

Now, does that mean they're politically dead for the foreseeable future? Very likely: the current government contains some sworn enemies of the planet (Osborne and Pickles spring to mind) in powerful positions, and noone to take a contrary view. I have tried to suggest an alternative approach: basically tie rising green taxes to an equal fall in tax elsewhere, and concentrate on a target for the falling component (my suggestion being complete replacement of both halves of so-called "national insurance", thus returning money both to people and companies).

Who's that sniffing around BlackBerry? Oh, is it YOU again, Lenovo?

Nick Kew Silver badge

I want a blackberry!

... because Nokia's phones with proper keyboard have gone from wonderful (the E71) to a bug-ridden pile of s**t (the E6-00). And blackberries are a fair second-best in terms of a comfortable fit in the pocket and the hand without it feeling like moving around in plate-armour!

Will Lenovo make a decent product combining portability, usability, battery life, and a proper keyboard? If so, bring it on!

UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

Nick Kew Silver badge


I've got Debian on this box, and aspects of it are indeed (surprisingly) painful.

I may revert to Slackware next time. See if that's still honest.

Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...

Nick Kew Silver badge

It can be done

Many years back I lived for a time in Sheffield. Not one of our wealthier cities by conventional measures, but they're doing something right and - if it hasn't changed beyond recognition - I'd much rather return there than other big cities I've lived in like Bristol, let alone London!

Furthermore, I can point to a completely hard-nosed economic measure of happiness there. When I came to take out household contents insurance, I found the heart-of-student-land premium to be the same as for a small Somerset village where I had lived immediately before. Intrigued by this I investigated further: just one Sheffield postcode (S4 - Attercliffe/Brightside) had a slightly-elevated premium, and even that was many levels below the cheapest postcode in London or Liverpool, and at the cheap end compared even to the more rural postcodes of other big cities such as Manchester, Leeds, or Bristol.

You don't get more hard-nosed than the insurance industry. I *think* the major reason for Sheffield's success was the amount of open green space, and that this wasn't just ugly urban parkland (the Hampstead Heath phenomenon) but felt like a real spur of the Peak District on one's doorstep.

Lies, damn pies and obesity statistics: We're NOT a nation of fatties

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: lies , damn lies, and who are all the pies?

Why does exercise incur a cost? Noone charges me for a swim in our local rivers or the sea. Cycling isn't free, but it's cheaper than other ways of getting from A to B.

The main barrier to exercise is highly-polluted and car-infested roads making it thoroughly unpleasant to go anywhere!

Nick Kew Silver badge

It's not just moving goals. Different measures can tell very different stories, and we're all different.

When I had a health check a few years back, they[1] found me obese measured by BMI. But they also measured my body fat at 17%, bang in the middle of healthy range, or in what Wikipedia calls "fitness". Make of that what you will!

[1] Nuffield health. The check was a perk of my then-job.

Marriott fined $600k for deliberate JAMMING of guests' Wi-Fi hotspots

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Buy a 3G/4G dongle.

Got a 4G hybrid device: provides a choice of wifi or USB connection. Great for travel within the UK, including time spent on the train.

But worldwide roaming charges? No thanks! Just never book accommodation without free wifi. At least, unless travelling on business and spending all day somewhere with it!

Want to see the back of fossil fuels? Calm down, hippies. CAPITALISM has an answer

Nick Kew Silver badge

Is your money where your mouth is?

OK, Worstall, how much have YOU, as an avowed capitalist, invested in clean energy, energy efficiency, fuel cells&storage, and related areas that advance the cause of a future in which our kids can enjoy a developed-world lifestyle in a less-polluted world?

I agree with your thesis in principle: it's just a shame politicians are so two-faced about it (in the current government we have Osborne and Pickles prominently supporting much more pollution). Capitalists work best when we put our money where our mouths are, which is why in the past year and a bit I'm pleased to have added Blighty's biggest and best energy source to my portfolio, with investments in two tidal power projects to add to those in lesser (for our geography) sources like solar.

Bad boy builds beastly Bash bug botnet, boxen battered

Nick Kew Silver badge

Not just CGI

People running Apache: if you think you may be at risk, watch Planet Apache for a solution built into the server!

I'd take issue with the assertion that CGI+bash is likely to be the most usual vector. Applications (CGI or otherwise) that invoke bash through system() or equivalent may very well be more widespread.

Some of those could be running under a standard server. For example, SSI "<!--#exec cmd ...", or a filter running under apache's mod_ext_filter. The latter is recommended as a security measure in at least one well-reputed security book, albeit not actually running bash!

Also worth noting, Linux is particularly vulnerable. Most scripts use #!/bin/sh, which is normally old Bourne shell. Linux doesn't have Bourne shell, but uses an emulator for #!/bin/sh, and that emulator is usually bash.

Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer

Nick Kew Silver badge

What was the point of phones4u?

Our high streets have been saturated with mobile phone shops for a long time. You'd've thought there should've been a shakeout at least a decade ago.

As for phones4u .... was it not a case of neither fish nor fowl? If it's neither a network's own outlet nor an independent vendor for all the networks, then what niche does it occupy? I'd've thought that as soon as it lost one major network, it would lose its value to the others.

Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Replacement cycle....

I bought a new monitor just a couple of months ago. Not to replace anything, but because I got a treadmill desk, and wanted a big monitor for it without changing the monitor at the old sit-down desk.

It never even occurred to me to consider a touchscreen beast.

On the other hand, when I bought my ultrabook, the touchscreens were so common I had to make a conscious effort to avoid them. I expect that's where the market really is.

GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine

Nick Kew Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: Another 'could be' law?

Sorry to ... erm ... piss on your protest, but for the police to say "could be" may be entirely reasonable.

Technically even if they were shooting GCHQ employees with guns rather than cameras, police could only say it "could be" against the law. It would be for police to prosecute, but the decision would be one for a court.

It would be ironic if it were indeed deemed illegal because it violated someone's right to privacy!

Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

Nick Kew Silver badge

There is no market

Housing in the UK is not a market by any normal definition. But that's nothing new: every government initiative since 1945 (and probably before) has done damage in one way or another.

There's just too much public money in it. Housing benefits push rents upwards, which in turn raises yields for landlords, which in turn pushes "market" prices up. Whereupon politicians see it's unaffordable and throw yet more money in, both directly and by proxy such as loose lending, not to mention a succession of initiatives in the name of "low cost" or "affordable" housing. Wave upon wave of ill-conceived and poorly-built houses since 1945 that just serve to put massive pressure on any half-decent stock. And finally, paying builders incentives to build more (like today's "help to buy") just serves to push the price of land up another notch.

As for rent controls, they do tend to be counterproductive, though data is short on what is actually to blame. The 1977 rent act may have been the biggest disaster of all, but it did a lot more than just impose rent controls to kill the market off.

Anyway, rent controls would be quite superfluous if we didn't do so much to push rents upwards!

In summary, the housing market is a mechanism for transferring wealth from the productive (taxpayers - bearing in mind hard-earned income is the only thing we really tax seriously) to the rich (property owners).

ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION

Nick Kew Silver badge

Someone just assassinated the Prime Minister!

Oh no. Don't tell me someone believed that?

Analyst: Chinese buyers shunning IBM, EMC, Oracle and Cisco

Nick Kew Silver badge

China has the skills base - in spades

China is far from short of highly-skilled developers. The language barrier means we interact with them less than with American, European or other English-speaking communities, but they're there and developing some great stuff.

And as for Snowden, he's done no more than to confirm longstanding suspicions. Example: suspicions of an NSA backdoor in Windows goes back to the last century! Stuxnet demonstrates that vulnerabilities of some kind can indeed be exploited in a real-life act of war. China is right to be wary of what equipment they use anywhere genuinely sensitive, and we should be too.

Average chump in 'bank' phone scam is STUNG for £10,000 - study

Nick Kew Silver badge

Highest in Europe?

Could this be the natural consequence of an expectation that the bank will always compensate you for your stupidity? Take a gamble ... heads I win, tails the bank loses.

Whether they will actually compensate you is immaterial (and looks like a grey area). It's the expectation that counts.

Wake up, grandad: All the techies use social media

Nick Kew Silver badge

Move along, nothing to see ...

It's OK gramps. Speaking as a fellow-veteran, I remember we were re-inventing the wheel back in the 1980s and 90s, too. Though there was IMO more excuse for it in an era when you couldn't just google it before re-inventing.

Though I do deplore the Enclosure of the Commons. Particularly when the new is inferior to the old, which I guess is the scenario that really provokes generational grumpiness.

Some of my relatively-recent thoughts on King Canute at http://bahumbug.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/moglen-vs-history/

Microsoft: NSA security fallout 'getting worse' ... 'not blowing over'

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Really?

Exactly. MS has been predominantly a cash cow for a long time. Cash cows decline over time, and that can upset those who had overlooked their bovine attributes. No wonder they look for scapegoats.

Which is not to say it's total ****. One element in a mix.

Downbeat story about Oracle today too. In the same boat?

On the other hand, contrast today's Reg story about another US tech company: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/19/red_hat_q1_2015_earnings/

Microsoft poised to take Web server crown from Apache

Nick Kew Silver badge

Deja vu again

Dammit, I recollect writing about this before. Aha, here[1] it is, from February 2007. That'll be around the era when I was also writing a column in El Reg.

I think the points made there still stand. If anything's changed it'll be that nginx users might've started to join apache users in following security checklists that tell them to lie about themselves. The most popular Apache security recipes still suggest (as an example) that the server identify itself as IIS.

[1] http://bahumbug.wordpress.com/2007/02/09/numbers-games/

UK govt 'tearing up road laws' for Google's self-driving cars: The truth

Nick Kew Silver badge

No chance

That kind of sandbox would deprive lawyers of a slice of gravy-train. It's got to be kept flexible, so m'learned friends can find in favour of the Right Sort of Chap according to the circumstances of each case.

Is the answer to life, the universe and everything hidden in Adams' newly uncovered archive?

Nick Kew Silver badge


Please get your basic history right! The original Hitchhikers guide was certainly earlier than 1979. Wikipedia says 1978, which is at least credible. Has to be beginning of '78, as it was in winter that we first heard of the Vogons.

Oh, and Nick Webb's official biography of Adams is well worth a read!

Job for IT generalist ...

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Depends on the country


From a not-entirely-dissimilar perspective, I've seen UK industry has no use for techies older than a twentysomething grad. If you don't want to don a Suit and/or relegate your IT work to a hobby, look elsewhere. Either abroad (US being the obvious #1 market), or self-employed/contractor if you've got the salesmanship and negotiating skills to make that work for you.

I telecommute across the atlantic. Pay is still modest, but I get to live somewhere I can afford on it.

El Reg posse prepares for quid-a-day nosh challenge

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: I still need to investigate how I can get some protein on the cheap.

The cheapest source of protein is probably milk,

Far from it. Pulses are a whole lot cheaper: a 90p bag of lentils will expand to sufficient protein for a week.

EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Article sounds like a rant

Your pension fund will definitely lose from a decrease in high frequency trading.


Yes, it improves liquidity, so on a simple buy-then-sell your pension fund may do better. But assuming your pension fund is investing rather than speculating, that's lost in the noise (indeed, 0.5% stamp duty will hurt an order of magnitude more than loss of HFT).

Meanwhile, the money that's not being siphoned off in unproductive trading can instead accrue to shareholders such as pension funds over the years they hold a share.

Is tech the preserve of the young able-bodied? Let's talk over a fine dinner and claret

Nick Kew Silver badge

Where was this clown in the 1990s?

... when the web deezyners first started going out of their way to make things difficult, and really screwed everything up in "dot com" frenzy?

And what has he got against Google and Tesco, both of whom were among the few to buck the idiot-deezyner trend of the early days, and offer functional and accessible websites? In Google's case, that's exactly what distinguished them from a bunch of long-forgotten wannabes and also-rans.

Things have improved a lot since then. Which is just as well for those of us who are by now old farts with sharply-declining physical abilities. That didn't happen because someone whinged over a dinner, it happened because people did something positive. Oh, and because there was a shakeout when most of the worst offenders "dot com" crashed. And because the law gave us accessibility and took action against offenders - even someone as big as IBM and the Sydney Olympics weren't immune. And because pressure groups have been pointing out the importance of accessibility, and bringing it to the attention of decision-makers.

Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: I don't get what all of the fuss is about £1 per day

Per day? Well, if you're working full-time away from home then that's not a big budget.

On the other hand, if you're working from home, or not working, £1/day is plenty for not merely a basic survival diet, but a tasty and varied one. My baseline is what I lived on when in genuine poverty in 2002/3: a diet you could get for under £2 per week at today's prices. One meal per day of pulses (85p for a bag that'll give a week's protein), plus value-line pasta to bulk it out. Any more is a bit of luxury: an onion, a mushroom, a chilli, a tomato ... whatever is going cheap. Plus what you can pick wild: in this season there's wild garlic and nettles.

Did Russians frame Ukrainian hacktivists for alleged leak of 7 million credit, debit cards?

Nick Kew Silver badge

Evidence points to ...

Ukrainians? Perhaps, but too easy. Where's the intrigue in that?

Russian-speaking Ukrainians? Ditto.

Russian-speaking Ukrainians who support their twice-elected president and would prefer Moscow-rule to Kiev-rebels-backed-by-***-knows-who rule? Ummm ... ditto.

Actual Russians? Well, er, ditto once again. Why would they leave such an obvious trail?

The true expert agents provocateurs are here in the West, and have demonstrated readiness to joe-job anyone who opposes them. Even when they get caught they retain almost-plausible deniability (the "Gay Girl in Damascus" was a lone maverick, he had nothing to do with us, Guv).

Hmmm ... Where's Snowden?

ICO decides against probe of Santander email spam scammers

Nick Kew Silver badge

There's usually more than one explanation.

I too have an address unique to Santander, and it's NOT attracting crap (unlike, for instance, my address for amazon or for nectar, both of which got deleted after a week or two - the latter due to Sainsburys spamming it).

My suspicion would be that some folks might have failed to tick the "don't spam me" box when signing up for online service. Santander's website is painful, but not too painful to put up with for 3% on £20k ready cash in today's market.

This record-smashing robot solves a Rubik's Cube in 3.253 seconds

Nick Kew Silver badge

Sloppy timeline

Forty years?

When I first encountered the "magic cube" in 1979[1] the construction was so primitive you'd often take more than 3.whatever seconds just to un-jam it and make a single move. It neither acquired the "Rubik" name nor appeared in the shops until 1980.

Is there a Bah Humbug icon for old farts?

[1] I remember the occasion well. It was a two week summer pre-course for those of us who had just left school and were about to go up to Cambridge. John Conway, the brilliant mathematician and showman, teased us with it in an extremely entertaining lecture.

Voracious alien flatworm hits French in the escargots

Nick Kew Silver badge

Non-EU immigrants

They come over here, they take our chefs' jobs .... it's a disgrace! Has anyone told the Daily Mail?

Roll up, roll up for the Commentards' Ball

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Well done El Reg

You can send mine over IRC: the Virtual Bar.

Some of us use the 'net to liberate us from the shackles of geography (not to mention London, with its slumlords and packed commutes). If you can't have a pint over irc or email I'll have to assume you have yet to catch up with the 1990s.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019