* Posts by DavidJB

26 posts • joined 11 Oct 2013

It's 2016 and Windows lets crims poison your printer drivers


Well, at least there's an upside to my printer not working.

UK eyes frikkin' Laser Directed Energy Weapon


If I recall correctly, the Royal Navy first ordered the Phalanx system in a panic during the Falklands episode, when they discovered that their air defence systems (Sea Dart and Sea Wolf) were close to bloody useless. Sea Dart only worked against high level targets, while Sea Wolf was a 'hittile' which required the damn thing to actually hit a small fast-flying object, with no proximity-fuse option. Then along came Exocet.

'You've been hacked, pay up' ... Ransomware forces your PC to read out a hostage note


I guess they are not targeting Russian users because they don't want a 'visit' from Russian security bods. Which gives a clue to where they might be based.

Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station


'Observant readers will have noticed that the plants are all dead and the base looks more like moon rock than a thriving ecosystem.'

Is this supposed to imply that radiation has killed the plants? The exuberant wildlife around Chernobyl suggests otherwise.

Murderous necrophiliac kangaroo briefly wins nation's heart


Re: Natural behaviour

There's a famous photograph of an elephant having its way with a rhino. Sounds hilarious until you see the size of an elephant's todger. Ouch!

Brit cuffed for Kyrgyz 'horse penis' sausage quip


Was the proprietor by any chance a Mrs Miggins?


'Profoundly stupid' Dubliner's hoax call lost Intel 6,000 hours of production


Re: Phoning it in

The IRA's policy on warnings was a bit more subtle than that. When bombing a 'military target', such as a pub often used by British servicemen, or a military band playing to a public audience in Regents Park, no warning needed to be given. Likewise, a 'political' target, such as the hotel in Brighton where the Conservative Party was holding a Conference, deserved no warning. When bombing an ordinary 'civilian' target, a telephone warning was given, but so vague as to be be almost useless. A typical example would be a warning that there was 'a bomb in a London railway station'. As London has about a dozen central stations, and hundreds of suburban ones, with many places to plant a bomb, the only practical response for the authorities was (a) to ignore the warning, in which case 'the authorities' would be blamed if a bomb did actually kill people, or (b) to shut down large areas of economic activity (e.g. the rail network, or an entire city centre), and waste time searching for a possibly non-existent bomb. In many cases there was in fact no bomb at all, but the IRA planted real bombs just often enough to make option (a) too risky. You have to admire the ingenuity of the policy: for a minimum of risk, cost, and effort, the IRA inflicted a huge amount of fear and inconvenience, while maintaining the pretence of wishing to avoid 'innocent civilian' casualties, and not alienating their sympathisers, apologists, and funders in America.

Millions of people forget to cancel Apple Music subscription


"Spotify remains the largest in the market with 75m users, of which 20m are paying $9.99 a month (and the equivalent in other countries)"

Really? Source please. Spotify claim to have 20 million 'paying' subscribers, but an unknown and possibly large proportion of those are paying heavily discounted rates, such as $1 or £1 for a 3 months trial period. So far as I know, Spotify have given no figure for the number paying the full subscription rate.

Top boffin Freeman Dyson on climate change, interstellar travel, fusion, and more


Re: Bob Forward? Try Larry Niven

How would you slow down?

I don't know what Dyson would say, but I suggest a judicious use of gravity. In existing space travel within the Solar System (Voyager, etc) the gravity of the planets has been used as a 'slingshot' to accelerate space vehicles, so with an appropriate choice of timing it could be used to slow them down.


Re: customising weather to combat sea level change?

Not much snow melts in Antarctica, where the temperature even at the coast in summer is seldom above zero. In the centre of the continent, where the snowfall would presumably be induced, 'summer temperatures struggle to get above minus 20°C' (British Antarctic Survey). As to the quantities, Antarctica covers about 3% of the Earth's surface, so to lower sea level (covering about 2/3 of the Earth's surface) by a metre (the projected rise over the next century or so), you would need to pile up the equivalent in ice of about 20 metres of water over Antarctica. That's a tiny fraction of the present thickness of the ice cap. (Newly fallen snow is much less dense than water, but it would soon compact into ice which is only slightly less dense than water.) So I think in principle it is doable, provided you can actually get enough snow to fall.

You CAN'T jail online pirates for 10 years, legal eagles tell UK govt


Re: 10 years?

And remind me, why is this a reason for treating online copyright infringement any differently than offline (physical) copyright infringement, which is the actual point at issue?

Labour Party website DDoS'd by ruly democratic mob


I wonder how many of the new 'Labour' (not to be confused with 'New Labour') voters are Putinbots? I got a bit of a wakeup call when I was visiting some vaguely lefty friends and found they were watching a lot of Russia Today TV (prop.: V. Putin), on the grounds that it gave an 'unbiased' view of world events.

Assange™ to SQUAT in Ecuadorian broom closet for ANOTHER FIVE YEARS (maybe)


Re: Reality sets in

Correct. The case concerns criminal charges, not a civil suit, so it is for the state prosecutor, not the alleged victims, to decide whether to pursue it. I presume that is what you meant?

'Sunspots drive climate change' theory is result of ancient error


Re: Deniers?

Just to be pedantic, there was never a time in the last 2,000 years when the bulk of scientists believed the earth was flat. The approximately spherical shape of the earth was established by the ancient Greeks and accepted by all informed scholars from then on, including medieval philosophers like Aquinas and the Venerable Bede..


Re: Deniers?

The land area of Bangladesh is increasing. It is part of a massive river delta system. Rising sea levels *might* in the long term leave 'Bangladesh under water', but we are not seeing it yet.

What balls! India blocks 0.00008 per cent of web in anti-pr0n move


Well, you can laugh, but a very large proportion of porn on the internet is supplied by a few dozen sites, and a surprisingly large proportion of those are owned by a single company called - and I'm really not making this up - Mindgeek. I just searched The Register for 'Mindgeek' and got not a single result. Since a significant proportion of all internet traffic must be Mindgeek-related, this seems a serious oversight. It is probably bigger (in terms of traffic) than Netflix, which gets over 700 results.

'Snowden risked lives' fearfest story prompts sceptical sneers


It is fallacious to argue that because the Russians or Chinese are (allegedly) able to decrypt the Snowden files, there is no need for Western intelligence agencies to worry about the prevalence of encryption. Assuming that the Russians or Chinese have obtained copies of the files (and they surely have), they would know that they are hugely valuable, and would be willing to put a correspondingly huge effort (human and machine) into decrypting them. This effort might include traditional methods such as blackmail, burglary, and honeytrapping to get information about passwords, etc. How many journalists and others have that information? How many of them are deeply hostile to the West? (Most of the staff of the Guardian for a start!)

The problem of mass encryption is entirely different. The intelligence agencies might have hundreds of potential suspects. It would be quite impractical to put as much effort into all of these as the Russians and Chinese would be able to put into Snowden. Quite apart from the fact that the Russians effectively have Snowden in custody already.

Time to face the Apple Music: Spotify looks worried, and rightly so


Spotify announcements always have to be read with a hefty dose of caution. Why did the number of paying subscribers increase very sharply towards the end of last year? Well, there could be several reasons, but the most obvious is that Spotify started offering extremely generous discounts to new subscribers. Notably, many were able to get a 3-month introductory trial for only £1 or $1. That's right: just 33 pence or cents per month! In Spotify's stats these would presumably count as 'paying subscribers' even though the actual revenue per head would probably be less than if they were 'ad-supported' in the free tier. So the acid test, which journalists should be putting to Spotify, is whether revenue per head has actually increased over the period.

'I think photographers get TOO MUCH copyright for their work'


Re: Important Point

I think you will find that you can take shelter in a house. That is pretty much what houses are for.


It would be quite possible in principle to achieve the aims of copyright entirely through contractual means. You just require a purchaser not to copy, and to impose an appropriate condition on any subsequent purchaser, setting up a potentially infinite chain of contractual obligations. (Think mathematical induction....) In practice, in a world where not everyone is honest, this approach would be unworkable, because it would be impossible to trace who was responsible for any break in the chain of contractual obligations. Hence the need for copyright statutes, to remedy the defects of a dishonest world.

The practical difficulty is less applicable in certain cases, notably computer software, games, etc. The contractual conditions of purchase include a non-copying clause, and this gives the vendors a basis for action against infringers. The difference, as compared with more traditional copyright items like books, music, and films, is that computer software, games, etc, are not fully functional without at least occasional connection to the internet. This gives the vendors the opportunity to act against unauthorised copiers in various ways, loosely summarised as 'DRM'. And yet despite the contractual basis for DRM, the freetards hate it even more virulently than copyright. How odd.

Has Google gone too far? Indie labels say it's crunch time for The New Economy


Re: "Songwriters are negotiating with a gun to their heads. The gun is piracy"

If you had some basic reading skills you would understand that YouTube is planning to introduce a new, premium-paid streaming service, for which they need licences from the content owners. In an attempt to pressure some of those content owners (the indie labels) into agreeing to their proposed terms for the new service, they are threatening to bar the indie labels from using the existing YouTube service. Is that clear enough, or do I need to explain it in shorter words?

Indie record labels to haul YouTube before the European Commission


No, they are complaining that a monopolistic advertising platform is threatening to bar them from using it if they do not accept the terms that the owners of the platform are trying to impose on them in connection with another service. It is about as clear a case of an abuse of a dominant market position as you could possibly find. When I first saw what the indies were complaining about, a few months ago, I refused to believe it, because I couldn't believe that YouTube/Google and all their highly-paid lawyers would be so stupid. But it seems I was wrong.

Malware+pr0n surge follows police op to kill illicit streaming sites


They are not a 'random police force'. The City of London Police have a designated UK-wide role in dealing with financial crime and various other matters, which now includes IP crime. (Just as, e.g., the Metropolitan Police have a national and international role in anti-terrorism.) Also, of course, they are dealing with criminal copyright infringement, not a 'civil case'.

Supermodel Lily Cole in Impossible partnership with Jimbo Wales, YOU


I hope they have a good tax lawyer. People who work not for money but in return for goods or services are liable to income tax on 'benefits in kind'. If this scheme ever catches on the tax authorities will be all over it.

Canadian operator EasyDNS stands firm against London cops


Some hypocrisy on the part of EasyDNS. When it concerns copyright infringement, they insist on a court order from their own local court. But when it comes to other forms of online misconduct - alleged cases of spam, phishing, malware, etc - they reserve the right to boot a client off without any legal process if 'The domain is engaged in network abuse or poses a threat to the stability of the internet (or to easyDNS itself). In this last case, we are the final arbiters of what qualifies. This would include things like spreading malware, running botnets, spamming, phishing, etc. '

So they feel free to act without 'due process' when it suits their own commercial interests (just like Google and other key players) but not when it doesn't.

ECHR rejects free speech plea over offensive online comments


Re: Dailymail astroturf does

I'd hardly call the Director General of MI5 a 'low ranking civil servant'. And you can be quite sure that Parker would have cleared his speech with No 10 in advance. That's how Government works.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019