* Posts by Oh Homer

647 posts • joined 18 Oct 2013

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Auntie sh!tcans BBC Store after 18 months

Oh Homer
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Re: "can we prevent every single person not paying"

Did you just compare an entertainment company to the emergency services?

BBC fanatics are utter loonies.

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Oh Homer
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Childcatcher

Re: "TV Licensing give me a shiny letter saying I don't need one"

How magnanimous of them.

I'd be inclined to ask why I should have to prove I don't need a TV license at all, particularly to some glorified debt collection agency acting on an entirely fictional debt, where they're merely opportunistically presuming that there may be a debt.

If actual debt collectors operated like that, they'd be shut down and sent to prison.

Maybe Tesco, Halfords and Starbucks should start sending goons on door-to-door harassment campaigns, demanding that people prove they don't owe them any money, then issue shiny certificates when they manage to prove what good little boys and girls they are.

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Oh Homer
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Childcatcher

Re: "can we prevent every single person not paying"

Sky does it. Virgin does it. Basically every TV company in the world does it. So why can't the BBC?

The fact that the BBC may claim this is difficult is not my problem. Why should I have money stolen from my wallet just to spare some company the ordeal of competing in the free market, because their business model is predicated upon the preservation of "obscure stuff" that nobody watches, nobody pays for, and therefore must be essentially tax funded?

The world is full of "obscure stuff" of interest only to tiny minorities. Should I be forced to pay for all of it?

RCA's Capacitance Electronic Disc (an ill-fated analogue video disc system from the early 60s) is an extremely obscure but collectable curio that most people have never even heard of. Should we have a "license fee" to ensure that this retro junk remains available for all time?

How about the Volugrafo Bimbo, an obscure Italian car from the 1940s? Should we have a global "Bimbo Tax" to ensure that all three of the world's population interested in this post-war garbage can continue to drive around like a trio of greaseball poseurs?

Only those interested in the obscure should have to pay for it. Frankly, only those interested in anything should have to pay for it. If they don't want to pay for it, then clearly they weren't really that interested in it, so the fact that it then slips into the abyss is no great loss, and certainly nothing whatsoever to do with me.

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Oh Homer
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Big Brother

State protected entertainment

I think this clearly demonstrates that the only thing keeping the BBC alive is state protection, and if it were left up to the democratic vote of consumers' wallets then it would disappear in a bureaucratic puff of smoke.

The question then is: should the largely disinterested majority be forced to fund, through involuntary taxation, something that is apparently only of interest to an economically non-viable minority (as the BBC itself concedes), where the thing in question is merely trivial entertainment rather than some life-or-death public utility?

In other words, let BBC fans pay for it, if they're that passionate about it, and leave the rest of us to decide if, when and who we pay for entertainment.

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It was bound to happen: Amazon launches first grocery store

Oh Homer
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Re: No, just....no

Ordering online but then collecting in person is just silly. It's the worst of both worlds. Surely the whole point of buying online is to avoid leaving the couch/bed/desk. If I'm going to have to travel miles to pick up groceries in person then I may as well just do the shopping in person while I'm there. That way I also get the opportunity to buy the "spoiled" discount items that never make it into the online store, plus I get to smell and feel the stuff I'm buying - a reasonably important consideration when it comes to food.

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'Major incident' at Capita data centre: Multiple services still knackered

Oh Homer
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Trollface

"Robustly tested"

I hope they "robustly test" the cobwebs with a firm brush first.

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Wow, someone managed to make money on Fitbit stock – oh, 'fraudulently'

Oh Homer
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Coat

Re: "Fitibt"

In Scotland that might be a sarcastic reference to BT wasting money on football, when they should be using that money on improving their pitiful rural internet speeds.

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Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

I wish they'd stop calling it "rape".

Only in Sweden could a condom ripping during voluntary sex qualify as "rape".

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Do we need Windows patch legislation?

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: Forced to support forever

@johnfbw: Well, your license is only "perpetual" in the sense that Microsoft will not sue you for attempting to continue using it long past the point where it ceases to be useful.

Like it or not, proprietary software is a service, not a product. Once the vendor drops support for that service (and subsequently the entire ecosystem surrounding it), the utility of the thing you paid for rapidly drops to zero.

"Perpetual licensing" is like a bus pass for service that stopped running years ago. Yes, you have the contractual right to take that bus, in theory, if it ever runs again. Which it won't.

@ac: "maintained independently" doesn't have to mean you, it can be a contactor you outsource work to, or (more likely in the case of open source) a community of volunteers. The idea that open source is only useful if you personally are a programmer is ill-considered. At the very least you have more flexibility than you do with some vendor's proprietary solution, which he can and will eventually terminate. Surely some option is better than none.

The point is that those at the NHS (and anyone else with such expectations) are incredibly naive if they think they can pay once and play forever. One way or another they will be forced to face the responsibility of maintaining a currently working solution, whether it's paying Microsoft once every few years for a platform upgrade, or paying a service company to maintain a constantly updated open source solution, or even paying in-house engineers to develop and maintain their own system.

That's just Admin 101, and yet strangely it seems to be a concept totally beyond the grasp of the NHS (and other organisations still using archaic software).

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Oh Homer
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Linux

Forced to support forever

I'll go with "NO", even though I'm not a fan of either Microsoft or proprietary software in general.

Why? Because if you choose to "buy proprietary software" (i.e. purchase a limited license to use somebody else's software) then you do so in the full knowledge that what you're actually buying is a limited term contract for a service, you're not purchasing real property that you should rightfully get to use forever (or whatever arbitrary period you deem acceptable).

The real wake-up call here should be to stop buying proprietary software, and instead invest in something that can be maintained independently of the vendor (i.e. open source).

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MP3 'died' and nobody noticed: Key patents expire on golden oldie tech

Oh Homer
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Re: "FLAC file vs vinyl"

Even better: the 24-bit FLAC recording of vinyl, to demonstrate the "superiority" of analogue audio ... by digitising it. o_O

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Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: "they *think* makes it sound better"

Well, maybe people do have the right to waste their own money on placebo bullshit, but that still doesn't make it anything other than placebo bullshit, and that bears repeating loud and often so their bullshit doesn't mutate into a cultural norm.

The argument against audiophile gibberish is basically the same as the one against religion. It's not about what they believe, it's about what they tell everyone else to believe.

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Uber may face criminal charges over alleged stolen self-driving tech

Oh Homer
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Paris Hilton

Re: "demand honesty and ethical companies"

Sadly the demographic that is even aware of this (or any other) corporate malfeasance is probably contained entirely within this forum, unless they've read about it in the Daily Mail, where they had a brief moment of outrage before moving on to more pressing matters, such as Kate Wright's "eye popping cleavage".

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Beeb hands £560m IT deal to Atos. Again

Oh Homer
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Pint

Re: "declare harddrives with bad sectors fit for work"

Haha! Comment of the year!

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BT to axe 4,000 jobs across the globe

Oh Homer
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Windows

Re: Perfect timing

Origin Broadband (I have no affiliation with them).

Actually I would happily have paid A&A more for a better service than I currently pay BT, but sadly they don't serve my area. So this wasn't just about saving money, it was the principle of being ripped off by a multi-billion pound corporation, providing a token service to rural customers for exorbitant prices.

If I'm only deemed worthy of 1990s internet speeds, I don't see why I should pay more than 1990s prices. Simple.

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Oh Homer
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Perfect timing

After years of putting up with BT's obscene prices (currently £53-ish per month), for practically no service (I'm one of those unspeakable peasants who has the audacity to not live in the middle of a concrete jungle), I finally switched to another Internet-plus-phone provider, which will give me essentially the same service I had at BT for one third of the price, and that's not even an introductory price that magically goes up after a year, it's forever (barring inflation).

The phone call to BT's retention department ought to be a highly amusing experience. Even the best new customer deal I've seen is still ten quid per month more expensive, and I'm not a new customer. In fact just their "line rental" bullshit alone costs more than the entire package with my new provider.

Good riddance.

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European Patent Office dragged to human rights court – by its own staff

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: "Get rid of the unions"

Unions provide the collective bargaining power required to defend otherwise powerless individual members of the working class majority against exactly the sort of unaccountable tyrants the EPO typifies.

Conflating the two is highly disingenuous, since the former actually redistributes power to resolve social injustice, whereas the latter abuses power to cause it.

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Oh Homer
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Big Brother

Re: And the circus continues...

From the "failed to achieve" link in the article:

closed-door meetings between government representatives
There's your problem, right there.

Frankly, no official meeting between any democratically elected representative and anyone else (or for that matter a meeting between any parties where the outcome directly influences the public interest) should ever be behind closed doors, as a matter of democratic principle. I don't care if it's supposedly a "matter of national security", one of those sinister "trade deals", or in this case a glorified vending machine for state-protected monopolies, operated by white-collar gangsters with "diplomatic immunity".

Public servants do not get to keep private secrets with public money. Period.

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Oh Homer
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Childcatcher

Above the law

No organisation, and certainly no individual, should ever have that much power. It's utterly obscene, especially given that the organisation in question is just a glorified business operation, not some life-or-death public utility.

Not only does the totalitarianism of the EPO urgently require intervention, but the whole concept of "immunity" from any sort of accountability, due to some bogus and outmoded diplomatic protocol, needs to be not just reviewed but summarily abolished.

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US copyright law shake-up: Days of flinging stuff on the web and waiting for a DMCA may be over

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Copyright terrorism

I'm firmly in the "copyright is a scam" camp, but since Content® recyclers "creators" are unlikely to concede the utter moral indefensibility of their plagiaristic business model any time soon, I propose that the solution is quite simply to apply the same rules and punishments to fraudulent copyright claims as are currently applied to supposed "infringement", which is to say that, at the very least, there ought to be some, which currently there aren't.

So copyright terrorists carpet-bombing the internet with opportunistic take-downs should be criminally prosecuted, fined and imprisoned for every false claim, even (or in fact especially) if it's generated by some bot without verification and justification. Moreover, this should be fast-tracked with little or no due process (shoot first), since that is also how supposed "infringers" are treated.

Fair enough?

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Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

Oh Homer
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Big Brother

"not be allowed to introduce true end-to-end encryption"

Sorry, totalitarian rulers, but unless you plan on using technical measures to physically block access to foreign (as in beyond your jurisdictional powers) VPN privacy services, what you plan to "allow" is of no consequence.

Although I fully expect that such services will in fact eventually end up being deemed "illegal", in principle, even if it's beyond their power to actually stop us using them.

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Forgetful ZX Spectrum reboot firm loses control of its web domains

Oh Homer
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Meh

Vapourware

Hopefully this (or something like it) will not take 27 years to finally be available.

Or you could just do it yourself. No dodgy crowdfunding (or 27-year wait) required.

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Apache OpenOffice: Not dead yet, you'll just have to wait until mid-May for mystery security fixes

Oh Homer
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Childcatcher

Re: "What needs to be done"

No, what actually needs to be done is for Microsoft to stop redundantly "competing" with its own supposedly "open" (and perpetually incomplete) "standard", and just adopt ODF, like it should have done in the first place.

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Oh Homer
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Big Brother

"studiously read by people for ... ill"

The AF's Orwellian mentality alone is enough reason for me to prefer LibreOffice.

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'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

Oh Homer
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Big Brother

'rigid, unbending enforcement of "the rules"'

It's not so much the rigidness as the rule itself that's so appalling.

Suggesting a better traffic lights timing algorithm is a criminal offence?

America is off-the-charts insane.

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PC sales are up across Europe. You read that right. PC sales are up

Oh Homer
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Childcatcher

Re: The PC is dead

Yup, not only is this just a tiny blip, but it's not even this year's blip, it's last year's back-orders due to component shortages.

And yes, Brexit is worth mentioning. Sales were already in the toilet due to the bankster heist known as "austerity", a general lack of interest in all things not mobile, and that malware masquerading as the next version of Windows. Brexflation has merely compounded an already dire situation.

The PC isn't just dead, it was brutally murdered in its sleep.

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Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04

Oh Homer
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Terminator

Re: if you want a different init system

That choice is rapidly disappearing, not so much because distro maintainers actually want to standardise on Systemd, but mostly because more and more of the upstream stuff those distros depend on is becoming increasingly hard wired to it, starting with Gnome itself. It's the Poettering Effect: a self-fulfilling prophesy in which the monolithic and exclusionary nature of Systemd makes it "necessary".

Systemd is not only an overreaching abomination that is an affront to the Unix philosophy, but it's also single-handedly destroying the freedom and diversity of the Linux ecosystem, to the point that eventually there simply won't be any point in there being more than one distro, more than one Desktop Environment, or more than one anything. The anti-choice brigade applaud this development as a great victory, like a bunch of cloth-cap-wearing nationalists applauding the deportation of foreigners.

The last bastion of "real Linux" is down to just Devuan, and possibly Gentoo (for now). The rest, or at least any not based on the above, are destined to be assimilated by the Poettering Collective, if they haven't already.

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Oh Homer
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Linux

Is it done yet?

So has Gnome 3 "Shell" finally restored all the features missing compared to Gnome 2?

Actually I'm only half trolling because I'd seriously like to know. It's been so long since I've used any version of Gnome that I can't even remember what features were missing, but I vaguely recall thinking at the time that it was so Spartan that I might just as well use Openbox at a fraction of the bloat, so I did, and never looked back. As a bonus this made it somewhat easier to avoid being infected with the Systemd virus and other Poettering baggage.

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Not the droids you're looking for – worst handsets to resell

Oh Homer
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Meh

Re: Until the battery dies

Surely a replacement battery is cheaper than a new phone.

I tend to keep stuff long past the "until it dies" point. With me it's more like "until its fossilised remains are unearthed by a team of archaeologists and sent to the natural history museum's research department for further analysis", and even then I usually steal it back from the museum and renovate it to full working condition, and will stubbornly cling to it until it's prised from my cold, dead hands.

I'm not kidding, either. Literally just this week I bought a new battery for my SGS1. I'm buying seven candles and a cake on the 4th of June.

"Until it's no longer supported" just makes me laugh, and a little angry. As a point of principle I refuse to have my property arbitrarily terminated by the vendors. I'd happily spend ten times the cost of a replacement just to deny them the satisfaction, although in practice I rarely have to spend anything at all, especially when the thing being "terminated" is just proprietary software that can easily be replaced with Free Software, and in my case usually is on day one.

Not that I don't buy new stuff, but the old stuff would literally have to vaporise in a puff of blue smoke first. I think that's happened maybe once in my life. I was in therapy for months afterwards.

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We're spying on you for your own protection, says NSA, FBI

Oh Homer
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Paris Hilton

Such ambivalence

It's so absurd it's almost Pythonesque.

Maybe it's time for a new Four Yorkshiremen sketch, but with the (hopefully disembodied) heads of the three-letter agencies instead.

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Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

"Swapping liberty"?

What an odd characterisation of labour.

An equitable exchange of labour for money or goods is not a loss of liberty, it's the voluntary utilisation of one's liberty for personal gain.

I am not somehow "less free" because I choose to work for someone else, to earn a wage so I can buy goods, rather than work for myself to make or grow those goods directly.

Either way I still have to work. To characterise such work as a loss of liberty is like saying that merely being born is comparable to slavery, as if the only true "freedom" is being strapped to a couch for 75 years, being spoon fed jelly by a nurse.

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Alabama man gets electrocuted after sleeping with iPhone

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: "e·lec·tro·cu·tion"

You need a better dictionary.

electrocute (v.)

"execute by electricity," 1889, American English, from electro- + back half of execute.

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Oh Homer
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Re: Is it a rule that folks in Britain and Europe MUST find fault in everything American?

Yes.

Well, not so much "find" as trip over.

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Oh Homer
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Re: everything's a lot better nowadays

Yes, apparently some countries believe in learning from their mistakes.

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Who really gives a toss if it's agile or not?

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Misapplication of methodology

This is what happens when the person designated as most qualified to figure out how to win the America's Cup is the accountant, and he chooses the Caterham.

Agile? Yes, but not on water.

Generally it's probably better if engineering decisions are left to actual engineers.

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Mark Shuttleworth says some free software folk are 'deeply anti-social' and 'love to hate'

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

No work is ever "bad"

The point is simply to do the work, listen to the criticism, and constantly improve the result.

Sadly that all falls apart when you stop listening to the criticism, throw your toys out of the pram, and whine about "haters".

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Oh Homer
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"Hate on Free Software"

I advocate Free Software in principle, and indeed academic freedom in general, but the fact of something being free (in either sense) does not somehow make it immune to criticism, in fact any kind of progress absolutely requires it.

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Oh Homer
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"IOS/Android had no competition"?

Spot the obvious oxymoron.

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US govt ceases fire in legal spat with Twitter to unmask anti-Trump 'immigration official'

Oh Homer
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Alien

Troll?

Reading the @Alt_USCIS feed I see nothing that is actionable. Embarrassing for the Trump administration, certainly, but not untrue.

Can a president actually claim to be "criminally harassed" by the truth?

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Reg now behind invisible HTML5 Bitcoin paywall

Oh Homer
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Pint

Re: nobody uses bitcoin

A few points:

  • First, April Fool!
  • Second, had it actually been real, I'd rather contribute to El Reg with CPU cycles than bandwidth-eating spam
  • Third, however I fear that might fall foul of the Computer Misuse Act and friends. especially without an opt-in/out disclaimer
  • Fourth, did I mention April Fool?

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Your internet history on sale to highest bidder: US Congress votes to shred ISP privacy rules

Oh Homer
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Big Brother

It's times like these...

That make me very glad I'm European.

For now.

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Cheap, flimsy, breakable and replaceable – yup, Ikea, you'll be right at home in the IoT world

Oh Homer
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Alien

Yet another offensively pointless First World problem

Oh the dilemma of choosing which colour of lighting shall illuminate my barely used kitchen today.

Seriously?

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UK Home Sec: Give us a snoop-around for WhatApp encryption. Don't worry, we won't go into the cloud

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

I wonder how...

... our totalitarian rulers propose to ban, circumvent or backdoor open source communication tools like Bitmessage and ChatSecure?

The problem with such Draconian measures is, as with DRM, that they just inconvenience the law-abiding masses, while the actual criminals/terrorists carry on regardless.

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Ever visited a land now under Islamic State rule? And you want to see America? Hand over that Facebook, Twitter, pal

Oh Homer
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Flame

Does that include...

British Squadies who went to Iraq?

Or non-US civilian contractors who were subcontracted to KBR et al?

Or journalists, news photographers, aid workers, and many other perfectly legitimate non-combatants?

Trump seems to be cracking nuts with a sledgehammer.

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Good news, everyone! Two pints a day keep heart problems at bay

Oh Homer
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Re: Is your doctor taking any new patients?

Yes, but the bouncers are only letting one in every 20 minutes.

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Oh Homer
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Pint

Re: Prescription

Me: Doctor, you've got to help me, I'm too poor to afford my RDA of booze!

Doctor: OMG, nurse, fire up the emergency keg, stat!

Nurse: Charging glass. Clear!

Doctor: He's not responding. Give me 70 cc's of Glenmorangie!

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Cheap calls gateway operator has been on bail for 7 years

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Linux, not Microsoft, the real winner of Windows Server on ARM

Oh Homer
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Linux

Re: Bit confused

I think what Trev is saying is that Microsoft's adoption will drive open standardisation that unintentionally benefits its competitors, who will further benefit from Microsoft's litany of recent failures.

Microsoft has always been hideously inept at nearly everything, but managed to maintain its monopoly by the circular dependency of proprietary standards, and legacy software locked into those standards. However, it wasn't prepared for this mass migration to new architectures, and now it's playing catchup, and losing, because it has little choice but to abandon its own legacy, and thus break the chain of dependency that kept an entire industry tied to Microsoft for decades.

Microsoft is still a big player, but it will become increasingly irrelevant over the coming years, and is inevitably destined for obscurity, if not extinction.

Personally I won't miss it, in fact I suspect most people won't even notice, as we head into an ever more abstracted Cloud environment.

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Judge issues search warrant for anyone who Googled a victim's name

Oh Homer
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Facepalm

Dear Judge Larson

You may be shocked to discover that Teh Internets are international, and Google has hundreds of millions of users making billions of searches per day, so your shortlist of "suspects" now includes everyone from Billy Joe Bob in Bear Creek to Gupta in Mumbai.

Happy hunting.

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Tech titan pals back up Google after 'foreign server data' FBI warrant ruling

Oh Homer
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Big Brother

The consequence of forcing US companies to violate international law

Would be either economic (and subsequently political) isolation or the "normalisation" of international law.

I suspect the prevailing climate of ultra-nationalism favours the former, however both outcomes have potentially dire consequences, depending on whose laws we "normalise" toward.

Impulsively I wish for the former, even though I despise nationalism, purely out of the selfish hope that this will spare the rest of us the continued horrors of American hegemony.

But then I remember what happened the last time an ultra-nationalist superpower alienated itself...

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