* Posts by Ptol

32 posts • joined 19 May 2015

Dozens of .gov HTTPS certs expire, webpages offline, FBI on ice, IT security slows... Yup, it's day 20 of Trump's govt shutdown

Ptol

Re: Comparison

In the UK, there are some key differences. Our budgets are not about parliament authorising spending by government, they are just about how the government plans to tax us to contribute to the government spending.

The second key difference, in the UK we do not vote for our prime minister. We vote for a local MP, usually based on his party membership and the policies of that party. This means UK government MP’s are fairly closely aligned to our prime ministers policies. US politicians are elected seperately from the choice of president, often on a different time, and based on their own local platform.

Finally, in the UK, opposition parties will strongly oppose government legislation, if they think its a poor approach. However, in the House of Lords ( a bit like the US senate) there is a gentleman’s agreement to only amend, but not block laws that were part of an election promise.

In the UK, there have been occasions when budget announcements did not get the full support of parliament, but it would only prevent changes from occurring. Government carries on as before.

F***=off, Google tells its staff: Any mention of nookie now banned from internal files, URLs

Ptol

Im sure theres only one reason why a tourist would visit that town...

Have you ever been there? Its a nice enough place - but its not exactly a tourist honey pot. In fact, I can only think of one reason for a tourist to visit there, and thats to pose by the welcome to... sign.

Stern Vint Cerf blasts techies for lackluster worldwide IPv6 adoption

Ptol

"You mean that in the early days somebody actually seriously proposed 16-bit networking addresses for a networking protocol that exited a building?"

At the time, there were probably only 50 institutions in the USA that might have a big enough budget to buy a computer, so using the second byte was considered future proofing, 4 whole bytes was exceptionally extravagant!

NHS England fingered over failure to forward patient correspondence

Ptol

NHS Restructuring...

They all seem to be about providing ways for the existing most senior staff to obtain a cash lump sum, and allowing commercial entities to participate in the NHS care.

Why do they want that? well the cash is needed to prevent a riot over the commercial participation. The commercial participation is needed to outsource the budget deficit to the commercial company, then these are the potential outcomes:

1. The service adjusts to less funding by reduced clinical outcomes.

2. The commercial service runs out of cash and goes bankrupt.

3. The service is cancelled as its not cost effective, and a type of care is eliminated from the NHS.

There will be blood: BT to axe 13,000 employees

Ptol

if you think they are bad now...

wait till all the good employable staff have found new jobs, and only the runts of the litter are left... Isnt that what happens with most corporate resizing strategies, who 6 months later realise that the staff they shed were the ones actually doing the work?

You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

Ptol

The "joke" makes a valid political point very much in line with the GNU political views

I would expect that any software developer or technical author who had written that joke into their software document at work, for their customers to read would probably be having a difficult conversation with their boss afterwards...

However, as I understand it, one of the aims of GNU software is to make a political stance about freedom of software, its source and its documentation, and in that respect this line of text is very much on message.

Whats next? break everyone existing code by renaming the function from abort() to terminate()?

Apple, if you want to win in education, look at what sucks about iPads

Ptol

missed the biggest issue of all, robustness

My daughters school in New Zealand has been doing BYOD for a couple of years for children aged 9 to 11. Overwhelmingly, the school recommends netbooks for most. Windows 10 devices with touch screens if your child is wanting a proper laptop, and most relevant to this article - do not buy them an i-Pad.

The teachers were at the point of pleading with us parents about this. All the children want the i-Pad. but they don't last a year. The i-pads are just not robust enough to handle 40 weeks of normal life with a 10 year old. Netbooks were their recommendation, just for their simplicity,robustness and battery life.

Sheer luck helped prevent mid-air drone glider prang in Blighty

Ptol

Re: Chute etc

Paraglider reserve parachutes are different from parachutes worn by skydivers. Principle difference is that they are shaped like an old WW2 parachute with the middle pulled down, making them donnut shaped. A freshly repacked reserve can open in around 150 ft, but are typically quoted as 500ft by the manufacturer.

As the glider was on finals, taking evasive action also has other consequences - like do they still have enough energy left to safely reach the landing field?

EU aviation agency publishes new drone framework. Hobbyists won't like it

Ptol

Re: EASA

All air activity altitude in the UK should be in feet. Our airspace maps show all the altitudes in feet based numbers, even FL ones which are really air pressure based.

As a paraglider pilot, i used feet in the UK, and then usually switched to using meters in the alps, as that was how the local air restrictions were displayed.

Some 'security people are f*cking morons' says Linus Torvalds

Ptol

Re: Userland

If I believed that someone had hacked into my server, would I try to patch and repair and keep the server going? or would I format the box, and rebuild it?

So, consider a server that is part of a highly available cluster farm, that is designed for surviving server failures - A kernel detecting an illegal permission escalation attempt deciding to kernel panic? Well, the system is designed to cope with that. Much safer than having a hacker roaming around your server farm for 3 months before you spot them. How do you unpick that mess? The last 2 weeks backups to the disk backup system wont help, that's for sure.

Kaspersky: Clumsy NSA leak snoop's PC was packed with malware

Ptol

The problem is that whilst it is entirely possible this is the output of an honest and genuine post incident review, that shines light on both the sophistication of state operators in the internet espionage world, and also the complete naivety and carelessness of key individuals that should have known better.

It could also be a great work of fiction.

Guess we might know for sure in 50 years time.

Search results suddenly missing from Google? Well, BLAME CANADA!

Ptol

Company moral hazard....

The ruling is straight forward. Company 'A' that has operations in Canada is told that they must not facilitate activity that is illegal and also detrimental to another Canadian company.

Why should Company 'A' be allowed to continue profiting from this illegal criminal activity anywhere in the world?

Company 'A' should take a long look at itself and make its decision on whether it accepts that the court in Canada is right, it shouldn't facilitate this illegal behaviour, and comply with the court ruling, or if it decides that it will not comply with the rule of law in Canada, to withdraw its operations from this unreasonable legal jurisdiction.

Tesla death smash probe: Neither driver nor autopilot saw the truck

Ptol

Re: Still driving?

"Nope. Hitting a pothole or a ditch would initially be seen primarily by the suspension sensors, with the suspension extending, then compressing, and a longitudinal deceleration being sensed on the wheel(s) hitting the far edge of the pothole"

I have seen several "pothole collisions" in telematic data capture systems. Perhaps when the telematics is built into the car at manufacture, they have sensors on the suspension, but the retrofit systems I have seen rely on inertia sensors to detect sudden accelerations in a collision.

Ptol

Re: Right, $50 of bars will stop a 4000lb car going 74mph.

"It doesn't seem to be a problem anywhere else."

Hump back bridges in the UK are clearly signposted, as well as additional "risk of grounding" signs when needed. Just like there are bridges that are too low for some lorries.

Having a car / lorry / motorbike does not give an automatic right to use EVERY road.

Brit hacker admits he siphoned info from US military satellite network

Ptol

Costs?

Lets do the breakdown:

PR budget to cover embarrassment: $400,000

IT Consultancy to configure our systems securely: $200,000

Company Time Investigating breach and management meetings: $27,900

Engineer time triggering a rotating rebuild of the servers: $100

Thus, the actual damages legally due in court $100

When we said don't link to the article, Google, we meant DON'T LINK TO THE ARTICLE!

Ptol

"I'd be curious to know what'll happen if Google countered that US law COMPELS them to keep the link alive lest they be charged with hiding or destroying evidence, putting US sovereign law against German sovereign law?"

Thats a fact of life. Companies must obey all laws of all countries in which they operate. Their options are to withdraw from a country, to cease trading completely, or to lobby hard for a change in laws in the new country, so they can open an office and employ lots of people.

At the feet of the Great Monad, or, How the functional programming craze plays out

Ptol

Re: Sort in a functional language

"Congratulations on not understanding the point I was making. I guess you think functional languages use a special functional based CPU rather than the normal one? Never mind."

The magic fairy dust is this: If you structure your function so that the recusive call is the last act of your function, then erlang will reuse the same stack memory, allowing you to write a recusive function to iterate over a very long list without running out of stack space.

Other languages dont tend to do this, as the programmer will have written a loop instead.

Your roadmap to the Google vs Oracle Java wars

Ptol

<quote>

It seems to me that an "open platform" should allow a clean-room re-implementation, *and* for you to implement as little or as much as you like, or indeed to modify it in any way that you like

</quote>

What does "clean room re-implementation" re-implementation actually mean?.

(a) Thinking about an abstract problem, then designing and implementing a new solution from first principles without reference to any existing solution?

(b) Copying some lines of code, but not all of it.

I can see that (b) could be covered under a "fair use" clause, but it cannot possibly be "clean room"

I need an ISP that offers IPv6. Virgin Media: Whatevs, nerd

Ptol

If you think NAT protects your network, then I am sorry to break the news that NAT alone is little more than closing your front door without locking it when you go on holiday for 2 weeks sun.

Firewalls blocking packets provide protection whether you are ip6 or ip4.

'At least I can walk away with my dignity' – Streetmap founder after Google lawsuit loss

Ptol

Re: My condolences.

Monopolies do have an obligation to not use a monopoly in one market sector to obtain a monopoly in another market. Google are very much at risk of accusations that they abuse their search monopoly to obtain market share in other markets, and they no doubt have lawyers trying to make this area of law as muddy as possible and then get governments to rewrite such laws in their favour.

Anti-smut law dubs PCs, phones 'pornographic vendor machines', demands internet filters

Ptol

integrated services?

Surely it is a way to protect local shops against the onslaught of out of state web businesses.

Want to buy a phone? Sure, just pop down with your proof of age, pay the $20 and ignore the spam that we have to place in your package. No sorry, due to state laws, these cannot be delivered.

Bloke flogs $40 B&W printer on Craigslist, gets $12,000 legal bill

Ptol

not responding, means you lose

Its the same in the UK, if someone sues you in the small claims court, and you do not respond, then the case will go ahead in your absence and the court will rule against you.

However, there is the option when you do eventually find out about the claim, to ask for the earlier judgement to be set aside - but that costs money.

How El Reg predicted Google's sweetheart tax deal ... in 2013

Ptol

Tax avoidance is really simple. avoid doing something that is taxed, and do something else that is not taxed. Working? that's taxed. Sitting at home on benefits? Well, its taxable, but the tax man never quite gets round to sending you the tax return?

Accountants advice? Punch your boss!

Donald Trump wants Bill Gates to 'close the Internet', Jeff Bezos to pay tax

Ptol

Murkin Politics

Murkin Politics has always confused us Brits. We don't understand why your politics is so right wing, or why you regularly elect the joke candidate. But you do, and we love the way you guys are happy having a leader that is the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

but I have to say, when Fart Hair gets elected, its going to take at least 4 years to stop laughing.

Competition watchdog dismisses plans by TfL to uber-regulate Uber

Ptol

Difference between a taxi and a private hire?

The Uber app on the phone represent is both an efficient way to prebook a private hire, and an effective use of technology to flag down a nearby taxi!

Hypervisor headaches: Hosts hosed by x86 exception bugs

Ptol

I'd expect more of The Register...

So there is a bug in some CPU's virtualisation support. The Register runs a story on it. Great...

But we get very little real info, just hype. Is it just x86? and not x64? in which case this is a non-story, as any significant user of virtualisation will be doing it on 64 bit servers. The issue 'described here' link actually takes you to the Microsoft patch, which is not exactly informative of the problem.

Please reflect on how a more suitable article could have been written.

Ex-Apple bods suing Apple for bag searches get class-action upgrade

Ptol

Being a rebel

If companies wish to do this, then they also need to resource it appropriately. It may be reasonable to wait a couple of minutes, occasionally - but if this is 5-10 minutes every shift, and 20 minutes on a bad day, then no matter what the company policy is, its out of order.

In the UK, if you have caring responsibilities for a child, or a disabled person, you are legally entitled to inform your employer that you need to leave now to fulfil those responsibilities - even in the middle of a shift, and your employer cannot sanction you in any way.

Australia cracks tech giants' tax dodge code

Ptol

Looking at the wrong place for eliminating tax dodges

When you have a multinational designed and engineered consumer product manufactured in a few factories and then shipped and sold around the entire planet, which every country involved wanting a share of the profit (which only exists if there is an end buyer for the product) I think having a clear, fair and globally accepted solution impossible.

The best tax strategy for countries is to remove the incentive for complex legal structures. Write legislation that allows countries to "see through" or to treat such arrangements as though they are all one company, in the country where the tax is being assessed. This creates a powerful disincentive for companies to structure themselves this way, as they would then be double taxed by both countries.

Imagine a situation where Singapore pays a manufacturer X per unit and then ships them to Australia for where a legally related company sold them for X+200 to a shop (also legally owned by related owners) . and that shop then sells the same product for X+800 to the end user.

Faced with the whole 800 profit being taxed in Australia twice, and Singapore once, you can bet that a these companies will become truly independent, so they can be taxed independently and will only exist as viable independent businesses, where the market works out where the value (and hence profit) exists.

Contractors who used Employee Beneficiary Trusts are in HMRC's sights

Ptol

The tax issue...

When I was contracting, I quickly realised the only "safe" way to do it was as an employee through an umbrella company. This in turn meant I was giving up most of the tax advantages of being a contractor, and taking on a lot of income risk for sickness, holidays, gaps in contract etc.. I'm now back being an employee.

If you want to contract in a "tax efficient way" then you are taking on significant tax risks. With limited companies, you could be deemed on the wrong side of IR35, and there is no effective way to manage these risks - not even insurance. In the end, you need to decide how much risk you are prepared to take for that bit of extra cash today.

For the current batch of contractors who are in the firing line, I recon their best option is to repay back that loan to that offshore company, but I'm glad I ignored the constant approaches by DarwinPay to get involved in such schemes.

The US taxman thinks Microsoft owes billions. Prove it, says Microsoft

Ptol

Flat rate tax system...

Unless you have a flat rate tax system, when there is enough money at stake, there is an incentive to transform a process to generate the tax liability at the lowest taxed rate. For people working as an employee you tend to get most of your reward as taxable income that you have very little flexibility over, and very little in the way of allowances to offset your tax bill.

However, earn enough, and are able to control how you receive your money and its a very different game. Dividend income from shares avoids the nasty national insurance tax. Capital gains is even better - if you qualify for entrepreneur relief! What about the negative tax rates out there?

Can you live without earning very much this year? Well, pay your self very little, and then claim tax credits to top you up!

Then there are the probably illegal methods, that keep coming around. Lend yourself the money at a commercial interest rate that keeps adding to your debt. Remember you will need to repay this at some point but that can be handled by the probate office...

MORE Windows 10 bugs! Too many Start menu apps BREAK it

Ptol
Joke

Microsoft use FAT16 for new start menu....

Has an inexperienced programmer got confused with all the different API's on windows and inadvertently used a FAT16 library call to get the start menu shortcuts?

EMC to channel: Put all your sales eggs in our basket and we'll hurl cash at you

Ptol

What will the end customer see?

When I have been buying big hardware, I have to talk to several different re sellers. The purchasing dept needs 3 independent quotes to sign off on the purchase.

If it means that each reseller is a specialist in their hardware, that the manufacturer is investing in their re sellers technical competence so they actually knows about their product and have experience of using it properly and then use that to help you make a solid technical assessment (for good or bad) then this would actually be a good thing.

But that wont happen. One reseller will become tech savy, do the work to create the order, then purchasing will ring round a few companies and find a different reseller that turns the extra margin into lower prices and gets the order. End result, this will noty improve tech knowledge amongst the resellers, just move business from big multivendor companies to closed shops.

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