* Posts by John Mangan

342 posts • joined 14 Aug 2007


Huawei hasn't yet fixed its security vulns, says UK's NCSC overseers

John Mangan

Re: Old hat

...and I'm sure no other Western democracies have any similar powers either.

Shit! I nearly ruptured a bowel trying to keep a straight face typing that.

Oldest white dwarf star catches amateur's eye – and its dusty ring leaves boffins baffled

John Mangan

Genuine Question

When articles such as these show an 'artist's conception' I often find myself wondering - how well versed are said artists in astronomical phenomena?

Have they just been told 'there's a shiny bit in the middle and kind of a cloud around it' or do they actually know something about the subject?

Revealed: Numbers show extent of security fears about security biz Kaspersky Lab

John Mangan

Re: It's not just Kaspersky

...and yet, still no solid evidence.

Opportunity's mission is over, but InSight almost ready for a driller thriller below Martian surface

John Mangan

Re: Haven't they done this the wrong way round?

I thought the same thing but I wanted someone else to take the flak for pointing it out. Hopefully in a short while one of the brighter commentards will be along to explain the thinking behind it.

One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once

John Mangan

Re: 1984

That must be why they throw a festival every time Universal Credit rolls into a new town....

Sci-tech committee: UK.gov's 27-page biometrics strategy is great... as toilet paper

John Mangan

We've got top men working on it.


Top. Men.

LibreOffice 6.2 is here: Running up a Tab at the NotebookBar? You can turn it all off if you want

John Mangan

I've used LibreOffice for years.

Since it was forked from OpenOffice in fact.

I've never had Office installed at home so can't comment on the 'forcing Excel and Word' to close but it's never forced a reboot on me.

It's free, it works and it's not Microsoft. (Cheaper, faster, better?)

How big is the UK space industry? It hauled in £14.8bn for 2016/2017 – report

John Mangan

Re: Not optimistic

WTO rules don't prevent you having specific deals with specific countries. They DO however prevent you having special rules with one partner without a corresponding trade deal without expanding it to all other WTO members.

So if you allow the EU the special access across the Northern Irish border without a deal in place with the EU then everyone else is entitled to the same thing. I've lost track of how many times I and others have written this and still the message doesn't sink in.

John Mangan

Re: Eh?

Oh come on! You have trade deals and you trade. you have processes in place for dealing with the daily flow of trade between your country and the rest of the world.

So does Britain BUT the majority of that is so-called frictionless trade with the EU. with 'no deal' that stops and our processing capacity becomes so grossly over-loaded that nothing moves. It also means that we haven't had the time to complete trade deals with other nations (since we are leaving the trade deals with those same countries that we currently have arranged via the EU).

Try comparing apples with apples rather than main battle tanks.

John Mangan

Re: Brex-shit

@Doctor Syntax

I wish I could believe it could (or would) be turned around so easily but I expect, after the initial shortages, panic-buying, lorry queues, etc. that it will settle down and prices will rise, jobs will be lost and it will take 2-3 years for enough people to start putting two and two together. Then there will be the inevitable 'this all the EU's fault because' blather.

By this time Boris or 'friend' will be PM so there is no chance that it will be reversed. Jeremy appears (to me, YMMV) to be making Labour unelectable in the near-term. So, I think nearer a decade before there is any chance of re-joining. EU will want some kind of guarantee that this isn't going to be a yoyo process and we will rejoin with none of the rebates, opt-outs, etc that we currently have and our standing considerably reduced not just within Europe but around the world.

But I am feeling quite pessimistic at the moment. I prefer your version.

John Mangan

Re: Not optimistic

"Eurocrats do NOT need to block medicines etc coming in"

That's never been a claim, threat or prediction. The problem is that at the moment there is no process, people or capacity to manage traffic at freight terminals (in Britain) if there is no deal. That means lorries spending hours (or possibly days if you believe the most apocalyptic predictions) waiting for processing leading to shortages when customers don't get their goods. (Also ignoring that people could panic buy if there is a perception of any shortages).

That's why our government (no, not the EU) is paying non-existent ferry companies at inoperable freight terminals, buying specific capacity on passenger ferries and paving an unused airport in preparation for this SELF-IMPOSED fuck up.

If you're going to raise a straw man at least give it two legs to stand on!

John Mangan

Not optimistic

At first I thought that MPs last night voted to send Mrs. May off to Europe in search of a unicorn then I realised that they had actually sent her off to find a unicorn that was "‘a more mauvy shade of pinky-russet.’ than the backstop . (With apologies to Douglas Adams).

Strap yourselves in boys and girls, we could experience some turbulence....and explode. (Sorry, Firefly)

Smaller tech firms just aren't ready for a no-deal Brexit, MPs told

John Mangan

Re: Taking Back Control!

@Rich 11

Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

Say what?! An AI system can decode brain signals into speech

John Mangan

Re: There be dragons here!

My reading of the article was that they were looking at the specific brain signals when somebody is speaking or imagining speaking. From my admittedly limited understanding of brain function I think this would be different from the general and literal 'stream of consciousness' of your internal monologue.

Anyone else?

Data flows in a no-deal Brexit are a 'significant' concern – MPs

John Mangan

Project Fear

The biggest change to movement of goods and services in a generation will cause disruption - project fear

Disrupting a peace deal that brought some semblance of peace after decades of murder and mayhem - project fear

Companies spending significant sums of their own money to buy up all the available storage space in the country - project fear

Businesses tightly tied to just-in-time logistics chains considering their long term future here - project fear

Government prioritising the transport of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies - project fear

Government hiring a ferry company with no ferries to provide capacity for trade - project fear

Government building hard-standing, loos and other infra-structure on an unused airfield to store the lorries with their rotting produce - project fear

Seriously I cannot believe a developed country at the start of the 21st Century is placing itself on a war footing for such an ill-conceived, ill-thought out and nebulous concept as 'taking back control'. It is as clear as it is ever going to be that we are ceding control in every area that matters and our children will never forgive use for what we have wrought.

Oh well, I'm in the prosperous south, my home is mostly paid off and I can fairly readily move to a low-income life-style if necessary. I'm pretty sure I will be okay but I do fear for my kids and the people who thought the 'elites' had forgotten them before the referendum are going to find out what oblivion is like.

Happy New year everyone!

Nationwide UK court IT failure farce 'not the result of a cyber attack' – Justice Ministry

John Mangan

Re: wtf does not "freeing prisoners unlawfully" mean ?

TBF, although the priority should be not jailing the innocent you just know that the Daily Mail and their ilk would love the 'criminals run free' terrorising the land slant and would put far more words on the page than for an 'innocent Billy spent the night in the cells" story.

On the other hand, this could have given them the chance to blow both horns simultaneously without any apparent self-awareness of their own hypocrisy.

This must be some kind of mistake. IT managers axed, CEO and others' wallets lightened in patient hack aftermath

John Mangan

Re: Seems legit

Getting sh*t done?

xHamster reports spike in UK users getting their five-knuckle shuffle on before pr0n age checks

John Mangan

Answer: I'm working from home.

Unless work spills the beans.....

John Mangan

So, the obvious question,

has there also been a marked rise in the purchase of VPNs?

Or do we expect this to follow in a more gentle climb as people see the legislation come into force on their favourite sites and then Google 'bypassing patently useless porn filtering mechanisms"?

Amazon exec tells UK peers: No, we don't want to be dominant. Also, we don't fancy being taxed on revenues

John Mangan


"it paid £2bn on pre-tax profits of £72.4m."

How does that work then? I thought corporation tax was only paid on profits. I thought that Phil only announced the 'digital tax' a few months ago so that can't be included.


Oz cops investigating screams of 'why don't you die?' find bloke in battle with spider

John Mangan

I often wondered...

if Australia was Harry Harrison's inspiration for Pyrrus?

The glorious Brexit uncertainty: The only dead cert on data rules for tech biz in 2019

John Mangan

Re: My prediction is...

@Oh Matron!

As a Remainer (Bremoaner, etc. ....) I don't know whether to upvote or downvote your comment. I like the subversion of a well-worn phrase but dislike (predictably) the implication that there could be a good Brexit (or even that everyone wanted the same Brexit).

I kind of like the conflicting sensations in my brain. Thanks.

John Mangan

May you live in interesting times.

As bowel-liquefying a curse as it has ever been.

Brexit-dodging SCISYS Brits find Galileo joy in Dublin

John Mangan

Re: Sadly with May running the clock down...

@Jason Bloomberg. I agree and two years+ of 'negotiation' has hardened the positions further.

It's grim, really grim.

John Mangan

Re: Sadly with May running the clock down...

@DJO - No, I don't think the civil unrest will just be 'violent far-right thugs'.

I've spoken to a lot of leavers over the last two years. Yes, there are some blinkered "La-La I can't hear you, Project Fear. sovereignty above all else" types who can't or won't engage with any rational discussion but there are many who have more complex reasons that this for wanting to leave and they will feel that they have been ignored and cheated - and to an extent they would be right. There were reprted to be 700,000 attendees to the "People's March". I suspect that the resentment of a non-Brexit could bring even more out.

Polls have shown that there hasn't been a large shift in the voters on the Remain or Leave side since the referendum. The only significant shift has been the "Don't Knows" who have moved more strongly towards Remain than Leave but it still isn't clear that that would change the result if there was a "People's Vote".

That's why I opined that there were no 'good' options left. And as somebody else commented "This is a Critical Defect". Amen.

John Mangan

Sadly with May running the clock down...

.. there is unlikely to be time to have a second referendum.

Getting an extension to Article 50 requires the agreement of all EU27 but I have no sense what the mood in Europe would be in that case.

It also seems impossible that a Norway+ or any other such unicorn could be agreed before the clock runs out.

On the upside withdrawing Article 50 only requires for 'us' to make that choice. Then all we would need to deal with is the serious civil unrest that I suspect would arise from that.

I think we are sh#t out of 'good' options. (I am, from personal preference, advice of economists and a basic understanding of maths excluding 'no deal' from the 'good options' pile).

DeepMind quits playing games with AI, ups the protein stakes with machine-learning code

John Mangan

I'm confused.

"Template-based modelling, however, only works if there is another well-known protein that is comparable. If there isn’t, developers have to turn to free modelling to construct formations from scratch. This is where DeepMind's neural-network software comes in, and generates new structures from a given set of amino acids, and is scored on its accuracy."

If there is no template, and the protein hasn't been X-Rayed, etc. how do you score its accuracy? Did I miss something in the article?

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

John Mangan

Re: Genuine question...

I would guess that the UK could continue to use the US GPS for military and NATO trials.

Galileo was just supposed to be an alternative under our (EU) control that the US couldn't cut us off from (so we did that ourselves).

John Mangan

Re: my respect for Mrs. May has actually risen.

@JimmyPage I don't disagree with you (I'm unsure of the misogynistic to be fair) but this is still a bravura performance.

She's not invited to my Christmas party.

John Mangan

Strangely in the last week or so....

...my respect for Mrs. May has actually risen.

She was told she couldn't get a deal - - - she got one.

She was told she would be ousted by the ERG - - - that didn't happen.

She's been told that it has no chance of getting through parliament but she keeps on ringing that bell.

Honestly at this point I can't tell if she has some master stroke to pull from her sleeve at the eleventh hour (dark murmurings of EU concessions that have already been agreed), is totally deluded or is just running on sheer grit and determination but it is inspiring in its way.

On topic, this is just one more reason why Blighty (unsurprisingly) won't have it's own GPS and it astonishes me that the government will need to splash £92 million to convince themselves of this. Surely looking ahead to the lack of the £5 billion (conservative estimate) that it will cost would be enough?

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter

John Mangan

Re: Nice, but ...


Bugger! That is all.

John Mangan

Re: Nice, but ...

LIGO only measures certain frequencies corresponding to certain cosmological phenomena. There are other phenomena 'expected' to produce gravitational waves in different frequency ranges.

LISA for instance will be looking in a lower frequency range.

US told to quit sharing data with human rights-violating surveillance regime. Which one, you ask? That'd be the UK

John Mangan

Re: I am confused

I would say slightly better. So far as I know the US won't even let its soldiers be charged?

'American Exceptionalism' or somesuch nonsense.

John Mangan

I couldn't help wondering...

..if the US(!!) has concerns about this what are the chances that we will get a data adequacy agreement with the EU post-Brexit?

It may not be as straightforward as the government claimed only a week or two ago.

Colour me surprised. (Well, not *that* surprised).

Talk in Trump's tweets tells whether tale is true: Code can mostly spot Prez lies from wording

John Mangan

I'm interested in the 'success' rate.

It's alluded to in the article. Trump's tweets can be inaccurate but he may believe it to be true.

It's possible that the analysis is 100% accurate and picking out all of the tweets he knows to be a lie.

There's no information on how many were false positives.

Google swallows up DeepMind Health and abolishes 'independent board'

John Mangan

Much fuss about nothing

This is a perfectly understandable mis-match in communication.

When Google said 'never' they meant until they had forgotten about it - about six months.

This is the same as any tech companies use of 'unlimited' meaning until it becomes burdensome.

I'm sure long-time readers can complete the lexicon for themselves.

Data flows post-Brexit: 'Leave it to government to make sure you've got a smooth run in.' Er, OK

John Mangan

"very confident idiots"

Why can't I vote this up as many times as it deserves?

John Mangan

Complete the next line in the sequence:

"This will be the easiest deal ever. The Eu needs us as much as we need them"........Oh.

"We are sure it will be a matter of common sense to sort out the Irish border question. It's in everyone's interests".........Oh.

"We can probably keep using the current trading agreements with the extra-EU countries until we can negotiate new ones.".........Oh.

"Data adequacy won't be a problem."............

Bill Gates joined on stage by jar of poop as he confesses deep love for talking about toilets

John Mangan

What does this mean?

"$0.05 cents"

Boffins have fabricated microscopic sci-fi tractor beams for real

John Mangan

Em Drive

I think the perceived problem with the em Drive was that the photons bounced back and forth within a chamber but apparently produced motion in one direction which looks like momentum isn't being conserved. People get itchy about things like that.

Woman who hooked up with over 15 spectres has found her forever phantom after whirlwind romance and plane sex

John Mangan

Part of me is amused . . .

but part of me thinks it is impolite to laugh at crazy (not a clinical diagnosis) people.

Even if they do push themselves into the public eye.

Actually, regarding the public eye thing, how are the programme makers/newspaper editors in any way different from the warders in bedlam?

'BMW, Airbus and Siemens' get the Brexit spending shakes

John Mangan

Re: "Keep calm and carry on"

"But the question really is: why did anyone think the EU would let literally rape itself by the UK ?"

I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

John Mangan

Flame of the week?

Much too well constructed and lacking the raging, slavering uncontrollable USE of RANDOM capital letters and an excessive provision of exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6/10 - See me.

Softcat warns of Brexit cloud forming over UK tech, vows: If prices rise, we'll pass them on...

John Mangan

Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...


"Now thats a downer. So as a country famed for our world trade and capacity to deal globally it sounds like joining the EU caused a number of lobotomies to be performed. I dont think so but if thats your view it would give reason to leave the EU for competence sake."

David Davis couldn't sort out the 'easiest deal ever'(TM) and when May tried, however ineffectively, to drag something workable from that steaming mass of fuckwittery he threw his toys out of the pram so that he could carp from the sidelines. Yeah, we're in great shape.

John Mangan

Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...


As usual you answer none of the questions. Forget whiffling about the EU this and the EU that. In the post-Brexit world, if things are to be even as good as they are now, the UK needs to have trade deals with all of the countries that we currently do (including the EU countries) because the rest of the market is too small to worry about. And each of those deals, apart from with the EU, has to be done one country at a time - and we don't currently have the expertise to do that never mind the capacity to manage them in parallel.

Surely some of those deals will be better but some will most assuredly be worse - any other view is just blinkered.

"Not really. The UK doesnt want a border, NI and ROI dont want one, who is left? So if the EU want one they can make it. It is their problem that they choose to take on themselves. Under WTO rules we dont have to make a physical border."

You need to do a bit of reading. If we don't have a border with Eire (and therefore the EU) then under WTO rules we cannot impose a border on ANYBODY else. Just think about that for a minute before blindly going 'the EU this....'.

John Mangan

Re: There's always an excuse to increase prices, but...

This is one of the things that winds me up. We have free trade with the EU and through that with all of these other countries. Outside of the group the total market size is tiny, really, really, tiny.

I can't work out, and no Brexiteer has managed to demonstrate, where all the boundless goodness is going to come from. Every analysis I've seen shows, at best, a break-even when (if) we work out similar trade deals ourselves with each of these nations individually. In the meantime.......

And then last night on PMQs I saw some mindless cretin asking who was going to build the hard-border infrastructure in Northern Ireland if there was no deal. Clearly not understanding that WE WILL if we don't want to remove all trade borders with the entire world (under WTO rules).

F@ck me, this is grim!

Find these, er, appealing? UK.gov takes red pen to spy court rules, asks for Parliament's OK

John Mangan

But not the European Court of Human Rights.

So far.

Astroboffins may have found the first exomoon lurking beyond the Solar System

John Mangan

Re: With a moon that large

....not to mention 'interesting' tides.


NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again

John Mangan

It just make me sad...

In 1969 I was seven years old watching men walking on the moon on a huge black and white TV in the school hall.

Nearly 50 years later.....what?

UKIP doubled price of condoms for sale at party conference

John Mangan

Please! Just make it stop!

Nothing to do with the article.I just needed to vent.



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