* Posts by Paul Smith

398 posts • joined 11 Jul 2007


French data watchdog dishes out largest GDPR fine yet: Google ordered to hand over €50m

Paul Smith

Wishful thinking

Does anybody think the fine will actually be paid?

Man drives 6,000 miles to prove Uncle Sam's cellphone coverage maps are wrong – and, boy, did he manage it

Paul Smith

If you can't make a phone call, just how do you think the phone company profits?

Paul Smith

Re: Why are physical checks needed?

... because tower data tells you what is happening at the tower (which you don't care about) and not what is happening between the towers which is what you should care about.

Say GDP-aaaRrrgh, streamers: Max Schrems is coming for you, Netflix and Amazon

Paul Smith

Re: sounds like...

What a waste of good coffee, could I have another another keyboard please?

I just searched the intranet of the Company I work for (a European company with 100,000+ employees) for the key words "Data Protection Officer" and got zero matches. We ain't got no stinkin DPO!

The last time I dealt with a DPO was when I tried to resolve an issue with a telecom's company who claimed I had extended a contract over the phone and wanted to charge me early termination fees. The Data Protection Office had one single employee who was off on extended leave. (The temporary secretary who was covering for him told me that she probably shouldn't say, but that she thought it was stress related).

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

Paul Smith

Safe reserves and efficiency

The experiment (as originally described) was clearly a multi-generational one, and the amount of power reserves required for it to survive through a lunar night are not actually all that high. However, 'not all that high' could still quickly become higher then 'safe reserves available for secondary functions' if the units insulation, solar panels, battery reserves or any of a dozen other factors were even slightly less efficient then planned, leaving them no choice but to pull the plug. I still say they deserve major credit for even trying.

Three quarters of US Facebook users unaware their online behavior gets tracked

Paul Smith


"Reports of misclassification came more frequently from self-described moderates"

Don't all extremists think their own behavior is reasonable?

Having AI assistants ruling our future lives? That's so sad. Alexa play Despacito

Paul Smith


Just because you are too old to be a Smart Young Thing anymore doesn't mean they have gone away.

People say tabloid hacks are always looking for an angle. This time, they'd be right: Tilting disk of proto-planets spotted

Paul Smith

Re: Chicken and egg

I am sure you mean well and that you think you are on to something important, but your grasp of basic physics is incomplete and that is leading you to make some quite silly assertions.

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

Paul Smith

Re: How many Shuttles could have been kept operative..

Space Shuttle launches cost about $1.5b, so the wall would have paid for about 4 launches.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

Paul Smith

Re: Don't worry, it's only money

"The UK is, and always has been, largely welcoming to true immigrants and asylum seekers." Bollocks!

"It's one of the most welcoming countries in Europe". WTF, did you read that in the Daily Mail? Did you also read the words "Windrush", "Hostile Environment Policy", "Deport First, Appeal Later" ?

The UK does charity quite well, but it does not do 'welcoming'.

Paul Smith

Re: Does anybody actually use a .eu ?

Does anybody *not in the EU* get to use a .eu? No! So what exactly is the story here?

You may like the Daily Mail narrative of us and them, but UK politicians and bureaucrats have been involved in drafting, negotiating and approving every single thing that has come out of the EU since the 1970's. That is how the EU works and until you understand that you will never understand why the rest of Europe is looking at you in despair and disgust. You started divorce proceedings so you could find a better fuck elsewhere, so do not act surprised when the EU refuses to give you a 'quicky for old times sake'.

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

Paul Smith

Re: Alternate theory

AC - Now that is an interesting theory, but I suspect it still has a few kinks in it.

The assertion "27. Which makes Gamma rays, 1x10^20hz ~ 99.99% W per Spin, and light at 10^15hz is ~99.9999999% W per spin. Gamma rays should be slower in a vacuum than light." has an implication that radio waves should travel faster then light, something which has never been observed.

2018 ain't done yet... Amazon sent Alexa recordings of man and girlfriend to stranger

Paul Smith

Re: More questions than answers...

"So once the request has been completed, there is no real reason for keeping the information around..." Not quite correct. If your Alexa initiates a 'contractual' agreement on your behalf (ie "Alexa, buy me a new toy Yoda") then the record must be kept for as long you can refute the contract.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

Paul Smith

Re: Crossing the Line

IT graduates with principles. What a remarkable idea.

Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

Paul Smith

Dude, stop shouting!

SQLite creator crucified after code of conduct warns devs to love God, and not kill, commit adultery, steal, curse...

Paul Smith

Bedroom rules

What goes on in your bedroom between consenting adults is your business, no matter how distasteful others may find it. And as a self-professed liberal, I have a moral obligation to defend your right to continuing doing what ever it is you want, but that doesn't mean I can't ask you to keep the fcuking noise down. These guys have a closed shop development group so if they want to indulge in superstitious rituals, it makes no difference to me whether they use agile scrum, group hugs or Benedictine Christianity, as long as they keep the doors closed.

Super Micro China super spy chip super scandal: US Homeland Security, UK spies back Amazon, Apple denials

Paul Smith

obvious alternative

If you change one detail in the Bloomburg storey, then most of the contradictions and denials go away. Think what would happen if Bloomburg were to come out with a correction along the lines of... "So sorry, did we give the say the spying chip was Chinese? No, they just made it for us."

Python lovers, here's a library that will help you master AI as a newbie

Paul Smith

Bollock naked emperors

"Many people think they need to spend years studying advanced math first [to learn AI]"

As someone who has spent those years and learnt advanced data science (including the niche that is AI/ML), I initially laughed at the idiots who thought they could use AI/ML for all sorts of applications. Now I think that those years were wasted when I see PFYs being paid more then me to produce 'applications' with embedded AI's. When challenged to explain how they work (if they work) they claim it is too complicated for anyone but an expert to understand, when in fact it is usually just a pretty crude decision tree.

US government upends critical spying case with new denial

Paul Smith

One is a police state; the other a democracy.

I think you meant republic, not democracy.

If the majority in a democracy decide the police can beat your door down, reason or none, then there is not much you can do about it. In a republic, or a democratic republic, the power of the majority is constrained by a constitution or charter. A simple majority decision is not sufficient to infringe on an individuals rights. A small difference, but an important one.

EU tosses Nokia a small loan of €500m, tells it to go crazy with 5G R&D

Paul Smith

Re: Nokia?

5G is not 'innovative startup' tech, it is boring, big business, infrastructure tech. Think of it more like water supplies and sewerage then bit coins and block chain. And what ever your personal opinions on Nokia phones, along with Ericsson and Hauwei, Nokia are major contenders in the telecoms infrastructure business.

Intel rips up microcode security fix license that banned benchmarking

Paul Smith

Silly season...

Does nobody else think this whole security risk business is getting a little out of hand? If you want a genuinely secure box, then you don't need to worry about whether or not it has any of the go-faster features that convinced us to buy it in the first place, you simply need to ensure that it is not connected to anything. For ultimate security, don't turn it on. If you must turn it on, then you must assume it is not ultimately secure and treat it with the appropriate caution. What is so difficult about that?

Dropbox plans to drop encrypted Linux filesystems in November

Paul Smith

Re: Good Move

"Just because dropbox isn't 100% secure, doesn't mean your local version should also be weak."

I am afraid that you have that backwards. Security is as good as its *weakest* link, not its strongest. It doesn't matter how secure your data is locally, if you leave it unencrypted on the bus, in the cloud or on dropbox, then it is not secure.

Paul Smith

Good Move

I think this is a good move.

For some unexplained reason, some people seem to think that because of their having made a little effort to secure data on their local disk, it is somehow still secure when shared with dropbox. It is only a few extra minutes work to set up a non-secure partition on Linux that can be shared with dropbox which would help make it (more) obvious to the user that no matter how secure your data is locally, anything outside that security net is, well, outside that security net.

Amazon meets the incredible SHRINKING UK taxman

Paul Smith

Re: We're the ones to blame

Amazon are not being unethical! What part of obeying UK tax laws to the letter or maximizing shareholder return do you find objectionable? Or are you just jealous that they do it better then you can?

Paul Smith

...not paying their fair share of tax...

I am not a tax expert but I had a quick look at the HMRC web site and I couldn't find any reference to 'fair share'.

Amazon in the UK obey the laws passed by UK politicians including the tax laws. If UK politicians want them to pay a different amount of tax, all they have to do is change the tax law. Of course they wont do that because the new laws would apply to all companies, including Stemcor. Instead, they prefer to get a few column inches by grandstanding without doing anything, it just happens that this particular politician is unusually stupid and/or hypocritical given her family connections.

How much do you think Cisco's paying erstwhile Brit PM David Cameron?

Paul Smith

Re: JFGI...

Let me fix that for you...

Perhaps, never forget the first law of betting - "never bet with your own money".

I predict a riot: Amazon UK chief foresees 'civil unrest' for no-deal Brexit

Paul Smith

re:- We Brits don't do civil unrest.

cough*Poll Tax*cough,*Mark Duggan*cough*Brixton*cough.

UK's first transatlantic F-35 delivery flight delayed by weather

Paul Smith

Re: Carrier Command

An all-weather aircraft that the RAF are afraid to fly in less the perfect weather is an embarrassment, but the sight of it failing to land on the ship explicitly designed for it would just prove that the Royal Navy can screw up an acquisition process every bit as well as the RAF.

ZTE can't buy chips from America – but can still get sued for patent infringement in the US

Paul Smith


"It's still the richest country in the world" - No, it is not.

It is behind China and the EU on most lists including the CIA factbook.

Chief EU negotiator tells UK to let souped-up data adequacy dream die

Paul Smith

Re: Well, duh

"There's 27 of them, so they have a fair choice....

Which one of them is going to take up the UK position in the financial world? Or pay the UK share of the budget?"

Financial services accounts for roughly 7% of the UK GDP at about £120b. Since Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin have already picked up a good deal of the financial markets business and most of the rest will follow, the income from that should help offset the 'pain' of losing the UK' s share of the EU budget. I wonder what the May and crew have lined up to replace that source of income?

Whois privacy shambles becomes last-minute mad data scramble

Paul Smith

RE: I get lots of contacts to my registered address

It is your *registered address*! It is the address that you have chosen to register as the *public* point of contact for the website that you have chosen to *publicly* publish! Of course this must continue. Your lack of ability to set up a spam filter or use a webmaster@mypage.com address doesn't stop you from publishing the site (though maybe it should) so why should it stop me from inviting to partake of the latest special offer?

You're in charge of change, and now you need to talk about DevOps hater Robin

Paul Smith

Every fad that I have come through has, with hindsight, brought at least some advantages over its predecessor but not one single one of them lived up to the marketing hype, and most even failed at their major selling point. Remember how OO was going to create a world of reuse-ability? When will the evangelists get the message that each fad they are singing the praises of is not "THE ANSWER", it is just a tool, and that every professional knows that some tools are better at some jobs then others.

I've got way too much cash, thinks Jeff Bezos. Hmmm, pay more tax? Pay staff more? Nah, let's just go into space

Paul Smith

Do you want to live in a planet where Jeff Bezos is the supreme emperor?

As opposed to one with Trump in charge? Ohhhh... Tough one.

Blighty stuffs itself in Galileo airlock and dares Europe to pull the lever

Paul Smith

What planet are you on?

Can somebody please explain to this poor thick Irishman what the British politicians think is going on?

A rather small and self interested group of people supported by the media they owned managed to force/trick/con a tiny majority of the British population into thinking that leaving the EU would be a good idea. OK, well sh1t happens and maybe leaving is the right thing for the British nation (though I strongly doubt it) but having then (unnecessarily) signed and delivered divorce papers to Europe, why on earth would anybody think they would be able to keep the best silver or that their requests for a quickie 'for old times sake' would be granted? Sorry lads (and lasses), the only people who do well from a divorce are the lawyers. If the costs of Galileo, or any other project that British politicians representing British voters agreed to is increased by the actions of British politicians, then British voters and tax payers will have to pay those costs.

German sauna drags punters to court over naked truth

Paul Smith
IT Angle

Mail online is over there

Who really cares what goes on in a German sauna?

'Disappearing' data under ZFS on Linux sparks small swift tweak

Paul Smith

Goto Jail, go directly to jail.

Am I the only one to get nervous about the use of 'goto' statements in the code?

If (err == 0) goto retry;

Huh? Does zero mean no error, in which case why are they retrying, or is it a recoverable error, in which case why not use the appropriate constant?

I don't know who approved it or why, but I can see why they didn't spot this problem. I don't know what other problems they have missed but I am sure they are there.

For a story about the benefits of open source, you have picked a very poor example.

Boeing ships its 10,000th 737

Paul Smith

Re: A milestone, surely

According to Flightaware, https://uk.flightaware.com/live/aircrafttype threre are currently 1,624 A320's in the air and 1581 737-600's.

Hansa down, this is cool: How Dutch cops snatched the wheel of dark web charabanc

Paul Smith

Re: Credit where its due...

Daily Mail reader I presume? Nice attempt to associate recreational drug use with emotive headlines without the use of evidence. Just think, if governments got their head together and taxed drugs they way they do booze, 90% of societies drug related problems would be solved overnight, but I suspect that doesn't fit with your view of the world.

GitHub shrugs off drone maker DJI's crypto key DMCA takedown effort

Paul Smith

You have that backwards. When using a public service (such as github) only a very few people with very specific permissions can make your data actually private, and none of them work for you.

Butt plugs, mock cocks, late pay and paranoia: The world of Waymo star Anthony Levandowski… by his kids' nanny

Paul Smith
IT Angle


Is there any particular reason that El Reg thought it important, or even relevant to post these details?

Now had it been a blue-toothed butt-plug...

US senators vow to filibuster FBI, er, NSA's domestic, errr, foreign mass spying program

Paul Smith

Old age...

Old age is a terrible thing. I can remember a place that was called "The home of the brave, and the land of the free". I just cant remember if it was real or a fantasy.

Russia claims it repelled home-grown drone swarm in Syria

Paul Smith

Hi tech?

Hi tech? I don't think so.

20 minutes on google, fleabay and Ama$on and I think I can source all the parts and knowledge required to build a UAV with a one meter accurate autopilot, 5kg payload and 20km+ plus range for under $750.

Cloud-building alien space rays altered Earth's climate – boffins

Paul Smith


That was the plot of the movie "A Convenient Fiction", a so-called documentary response to the environmental Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth".

Kaspersky dragged into US govt's trashcan as weaponized blockchain agile devops mulled

Paul Smith

Re: Kaspersky is a scam

Perhaps instead of disrespecting Kaspersky, you could take a moment to find out how your (and your wife's) credit cards work. It is a lot easier then installing a good AV.

Paul Smith

Dumb and dumberer

When the US banned the use of Huawei telecoms equipment from federal contracts it was because they claimed (without evidence) that Huawei equipment was phoning US secrets home to China. Snowdon later proved that the NSA had corrupted US company equipment to do exactly that.

If the US is now banning Kaspersky for phoning home to the FSB, then I think it must be safe to assume that US software has already been corrupted to do exactly that. Methinks it is time to find alternate suppliers.

So you're 'agile', huh? I do not think it means what you think it means

Paul Smith

Re: so, say you have gone "full Agile"

When was the last time that the person paying for a hundred shovels actually used a one of them?

The 'customer' is the person signing the check and has a correspondingly loud voice. The user is almost always a completely different person with completely different needs and requirements and, in my experience at least, is a person without a voice.

Paul Smith

New trend?

30 comments or more, and not even one that actually defends agile as a way of working. It has been around for 25 years and mainstream for 10 to 15 years, and yet the most supportive comments here still damn agile with faint praise.

Is it time to finally admit that the fad has past? That agile is merely a tool to be used when appropriate.

New Capita system has left British Army recruits unable to register online

Paul Smith


1.3 Billion on the recruitment system? Has anybody pointed out that is a years wages for over seven thousand infantrymen?

You know what's coming next: FBI is upset it can't get into Texas church gunman's smartphone

Paul Smith

Re: The reports so far with some editorial....

"I own a computer and have the skills and ability to do harm with it - does that mean I have a pre-meditated intent to do so?"

No, because a computer is not primarily designed to do harm, and has many practical uses other than doing harm. An assault rifle on the other hand, does not.

You own firearms, that means it is safe to assume you intend to shoot them. If you own a firearm whose only purpose is to shoot people, then yes, it is safe to assume you intend to shoot people.

Java EE 8 takes final bow under Oracle's wing: Here's what's new

Paul Smith

Ding dong the witch is dead!



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