* Posts by John Stirling

210 publicly visible posts • joined 29 Mar 2007


Microsoft CEO Nadella's compensation drops... to $48M

John Stirling

Re: Have Mercy on the Criminal^H^H^H^H^H^H^HCEO

Why a slingshot? You aren't going to get relativistic speed from a slingshot - unless you're slingshotting it around a black hole.

Bank of Ireland outage sees customers queue for 'free' cash – or maybe any cash

John Stirling

Still off topic - war footing

Nazi Germany put the economy on a war footing almost immediately they were in charge - at least 5 years before the war. By the time of the war military spending was the largest component of the economy by far, mainly funded by debt taken on pre war. I think I'd argue that the US absolutely shifted to a war footing - although perhaps not to the same extent that we did, or indeed the USSR. War related production in the USA was 40% of gross national product at the end of the war.

Threads versus Twitter: Shouldn't we be happy the wheels are falling off antisocial social media?

John Stirling

Re: Trivial to Join (threads)

[quote] It is time we all kicked the Social Media habit. We managed before it came along. [/quote]

We managed before electricity, but I think life is better with it. Social media has its faults, but as a technology it offers benefits if used correctly.

Google slays thousands of fake news vids posted by pro-China group Dragonbridge

John Stirling

Re: Censorship

Lots of things which are bad in isolation (censorship) turn out to be necessary at some level.

Lots of things which are generally beneficial (free speech) are problematic when taken to extremes.

Freedom is good. Using that freedom to murder those around you is bad. Law is the compromise between freedom and tyranny.

speech is a specific form of action, which for some reason many people think should be 'freer' than action. But ultimately why should you be any freer to legally incite my death (as a simple example) than you are to murder me?

All 'real world' crimes have their speech analogy. This seems, according to the article, roughly analogous to fraud. People are genuinely unable to tell the difference between truth and lies - because their sensory model was developed tens of thousands of years ago, and any upgrades to deal with digital environments are not yet in the firmware, but are purely software, and buggy.

So 'censorship' is necessary because otherwise these people, who are convinced of lies, will do terrible things, and people will die and suffer as a consequence.

Is that a lesser of two evils type thing? Yes of course. Does it make censorship good? No. Just a lesser of two evils.

Meta links US military to fake social media influence campaigns

John Stirling

good news in the detail

At least they're targeting other countries, which means it's less likely to be about making the idea of a military coup more acceptable to the American public.

John Stirling

Re: Shutdown

...as they shift across to Twitter, and it's fact based information sphere /s

EU still getting its act together on European Chips Act funding

John Stirling

and in other news....

Subsidy receiving company says they need more subsidy...

FTX collapse prompts other cryptocurrency firms to suspend withdrawals

John Stirling

Re: "It’s hard to see SBF in a clear light"

Any donations should be capped. I'd suggest $10k. Buying elections is scummy.

Of the top 10 donors, 7 were Republican, 3 Democrat, and it's just immoral. Much of it special interest or specific candidates. Trying to buy your own brand of politics is a fascist dick move, irrespective of the party you're donating for.

John Stirling

Re: Bankman-Fried, evidently in the Bahamas, ...

Money gets big, people's brains short circuit. They don't have stress resistance, they have an inability to conceive of the amount of money in question.

John Stirling

Re: Consenting adults. (Consenting by default?).

Crypto isn't a ponzi scheme, or a scam. Neither is it an 'investment'.

It is an alternative way of tracking ownership.

NFTs track ownership of digital assets - which is an interesting idea closely allied to copyright. They have boomed and busted, but will return, and when they do they will mature into real ownership of things that would otherwise rely exclusively, or mostly on copyright.

Crypto currencies are just that, currencies. Why is a $/£/euro etc worth something? Because we all agree it is, no real other reason. It is either a bit of paper (or increasingly plastic), which is no use other than currency, or perhaps cavity wall insulation, or it is a digital record in a database.

Why do we trust it? Because a Government tells us it can be trusted. You know, those people you see on the TV every day demonstrating their trustworthiness.

But currencies work, mostly.

Crypto currencies are the disintermediation of Governments from money. Crypto 'exchanges' are simply a way of converting Government (fiat) money into the token of your choice, or between tokens, or back. And as all humans do, we've turned it into a gambling den of iniquity and great profit. And now loss.

Woopdido, it blew up, and fraud has been discovered. EVERY BLOODY TIME something new arrives it booms, it busts, fraud arises, lots of people lose their shirts, and what arises from the ashes is v2.0 with more appropriate protection in place.

There are probably 10k tokens out there, and probably space for 20ish general purpose ones, and an arbitrarily large number of special use tokens. They'll be used to track loyalty cards, or holiday time, or processing nodes, or who knows what, the applications are many and varied, but not (I believe) for general use, and you should only find general use tokens on an exchange. Imagine my starbuck coin, which has earned me a free coffee. How much is that worth on Binance? A coffee. Any other value is irrational. Many tokens don't have a valid use case for a free float.

Crypto2 will be as big as tech has been since the tech crash of 2000-2003. Jan 2000 - Amazon $84 per share. Mar2003 Amazon $4 per share, 95% collapse, it's all a bust, and a con. End of the world. By the end of 2021, $2500 (approx) per share. Rather less now of course, but still a lot more than $4 or even $84. History never repeats itself, but it's a bit like Hollywood, Good stories get recycled a LOT.

The time you solved that months-long problem in 3 seconds

John Stirling

Re: Fuck that

I don't think the downvotes are because of your quite frankly excellent work ethic.

I think the downvotes are due to your bombastic and arrogant prose.

You could say something syntactically identical and get lots of upvotes if you were just a little more thoughtful, which is ironic considering that if you're being truthful then really very sophisticated thought comes very easily indeed.

UK spy boss warns China hopes Russia will help it take over tech standards

John Stirling

Most of those 70 years were bang on - it is only in recent years since the overt kleptomaniacs have been in charge that the Russian war machine has failed to receive reinvestment.

The core problem with kleptocracies is the thieves always think they are the primary thief, whereas they are just one of many

Big bang theory: Was mystery explosion over New York caused by a meteor? Dunno. By a military jet? Maybe...

John Stirling

Not zero, but I'll admit, low


You're on a Huawei to Hell, China tells US: We'll fight import tariffs, trade war to bitter end

John Stirling

Re: Most Favoured Nation Trading Status ?

It always amazes me how short term people are when they do not naturally support an idea. Everywhere else that democracy has arisen has taken centuries, all of a sudden if Clinton can't get it on an unstoppable bandwagon within a decade or two the plan is unworkable.

Make China rich, and its people will demand more rights. That is already happening, and the Chinese government have that particular tiger firmly by the tail - forced to continue growing the economy or face disruption.

We need China in the tent, we need USA in the tent. Share clean tech, work together. That way the global economy may not be entirely swept aside, and loss of life may be kept to the 100s of millions when the environment bites back.

The current trade war, and the ignorant posturing that goes along with it is not heading us in the right direction.

It's not chicken feed: Million-dollar meal deal for livestock sabotaged by hackers... and, er, exchange rates

John Stirling

Re: The remaining £93,540.99...

I would send you £78, which would be worth whatever it was worth when converted. The article says that they sent £93k less in the same currency they held it in. This may be a failing of the article, but as stated they have genuinely made a nice little profit.

I presume this was over the brexit vote, which is the only time I can think of with such serious movements in exchange rate in such a short period of time.

Sinister secret backdoor found in networking gear perfect for government espionage: The Chinese are – oh no, wait, it's Cisco again

John Stirling

Re: Keys

Your history as stated is a little lopsided - but that's fair enough - you appear to be from the USA, and it isn's far off. We do definitely owe you historic thanks for being on our side for most of the wars of the 20th Century. I like to think we've stood by you during yours. You have a fine document forming your country, one of the best ever written. In many respects yours is a wonderful country. But the plutocracy is working hard to take it over, and I do not understand why the overwhelming majority of ordinary Americans appear to be complicit in being sold down the river by dishonest ruthless bastards who are not loyal to them.

Those criticising 'America' are mostly not criticising America, but the plutocratic bastards trying to steal it from you.

Supreme Court of UK gives Morrisons the go-ahead for mega data leak liability appeal

John Stirling

Company liability

If the company had taken sufficient precautions the crime as it stood would not have been possible.

Justification for being able to a) dump the database, b) store to USB?


John Stirling

Re: "mental institutions and prisons are full of nutters I don't understand"

"The difference is usually those in mental institutions had no choice - those in prisons usually had."

An interesting and conventionally accepted point of view which neuroscience would perhaps somewhat challenge.

If breaking the law is irrational, because the punishment outweighs the benefit, and if expecting to get away with it is irrational, then almost by definition the crime was an irrational act, and therefore the criminal was in some way mentally deficient in their decision making.

We are now reaching the point where we know that there is a quantitative and qualitative difference in the brain chemistry of people who struggle with their weight, people who become addicted, people who are late, people who commit antisocial behaviours, including crimes.

The difference between a mental institution and a prison is one of degree not kind, and the differentiation is arbitrary, inconsistent, and varies with time.

NASA: We need commercial rockets! SLS: Oh no you don't!

John Stirling

or, indeed, from fictional (star)ships of discovery from the future!


The future is just the past, rebooted.

Germany tells America to verpissen off over Huawei 5G cyber-Sicherheitsbedenken

John Stirling

Re: How about Apple's apparent deflation? The surgence of "cloud"?

Derivatives do not confer voting rights - therefore are not ownership.

They are a speculative bet on the movement in the price, and are specifically not able to confer control.

If they are 'physical' derivatives (i.e. backed by borrowed shares) then they may influence the share price when the derivative matures if it requires someone to acquire real shares to meet a promise. This can be funny to watch when a short trader gets it wrong.

Bad news for WannaCry slayer Marcus Hutchins: Judge rules being young, hungover, and in a strange land doesn't obviate evidence

John Stirling

Re: Why in the name of god...

As a liberal minded chap - I'm with you. Which is a bit of an odd position to be - but you appear rather less reactionary than my liberal colleague who reacted so strongly.

The algorithms! They're manipulating all of us! reckon human rights bods Council of Europe

John Stirling

The reason this stuff works....

...is because despite THIS forum being a hotbed of high IQ analytical individuals, the main thrust of debate has been to attack the points made by others.

Instead of

Gov says private companies bad...

...no but private companies worse.

The stream SHOULD be

Gov says private companies bad...

...yes, and Gov not great either - how do we legislate to ensure we are not all manipulated into meaningless factionalism by a few well placed sock puppets.


British cops told to scrap 'discriminatory' algorithms in policing

John Stirling

Predictive policing has the ability to be great if....

Sadly it is true that certain sectors of society are more likely to be sucked into crime, and especially gang crime. Typically young men from lower income households with lower educational attainment, and lower levels of aspiration.

The issue here is that instead of looking at 'young men who are poor, not doing well at school, and don't see a good future' (which is really difficult to profile) the algorithms take the easy way out and do a match with 'young black or muslim men'.

There is nothing inherently less aspirational, educational, or attaining about any particular genetic inheritance - but there may be about certain cultural groups, and how those groups have integrated (or failed to integrate) into UK society. Algorithms have a distressing tendency to jump on the back of easily identitfiable statistical factors, which may 'work', but which will exacerbate the underlying issues by objectifying and victimising groups which have already experienced significant negative bias.

Sadly unless society (or its proxy, Government) makes a concerted (for which you can read 'expensive') effort to actually address the underlying issues the problems will continue.

A rather interesting study into educational attainment in I think South America showed 10% better education, incomes and attainment now in communities clustered around the sites of educational religious missions 200 years ago. No such positive affect existed around doctrinal religious missions. These affects are long term, and persist long past the original causes, unless positive action is taken to correct problems.

Predictive policing is coming, and it will reduce crime, but it is the challenge for society to ensure it doesn't do so by making it even harder for those who are suffering under current systems to improve their position in society.

Furious Apple revokes Facebook's enty app cert after Zuck's crew abused it to slurp private data

John Stirling

Re: But but - Apple protects our privacy!

Never owned an Apple product, probably never will. Don't like the smug Cupertino bastards at all. I do on the other hand quite like Google stuff, and I don't have a social media presence at all to speak of.

There - affiliations admitted; Apple did the right thing, exactly, and in a timely way. Google possibly did the right thing by pulling their version after getting fingered for doing the wrong thing - but hopefully at least without the breach of license terms that makes this Facebook crime so egregious. Facebook did the wrong thing, repeatedly and persistently.

Facebook need to be prosecuted severely, with a European GDPR style 4% of global turnover fine.

If I'm wrong about Google and they used a dev cert, then they need to be prosecuted on the same terms.

If you wanna learn from the IT security blunders committed by hacked hospital group, here's some weekend reading

John Stirling

Re: show me the money

If management say 'no' then they become the ones where the liability sits personally. That is the beauty of GDPR

The fur is not gonna fly: Uncle Sam charges seven Russians with Fancy Bear hack sprees

John Stirling

Re: Same guys?

I would imagine your compatriots did indeed roll on the floor laughing Ivan.

I can fix your basic thesis though;

The <insert any serious nation state here> are wicked, powerful and adept, but also sloppy, stupid and incompetent.

Seems pretty self evidently true to me.

A basement of broken kit, zero budget – now get the team running

John Stirling

Re: I concur

I see the 'report abuse' button, but where is the 'report self abuse' button when you need it?

Nokia: Oops, financials aren't great. Never mind, 5G will solve our woes

John Stirling

So the cash reduction matches the dividend, so it didn't burn cash, and made an accounting profit..

I.e. Is currently sustainable

That's quite an achievement considering where they've come from recently.

Great news, cask beer fans: UK shortage of CO2 menaces fizzy crap taking up tap space

John Stirling

Re: Bravo madam!

A proper conservative government would stick to asking shareholders their friends sponsors in the City


Could we please move on from childish tribal stereotyping.

A proper government of whatever philosophical persuasion will act as best they can to deal with the very complex problems they face on a daily basis for the benefit of their electorate.

If we the electorate had slightly higher standards with regard to the honesty of our politicians they would be more honest.

Doesn't matter if you like it, the 'free' (hah) market drives our choice of politician as much as it does markets.

Corruption and dishonesty are inputs into that process as much as anything else and as long as we (political) consumers continue to purchase what is peddled we'll continue to get it.

There are occasional attempts at grown up honest government from the fringes, but they rarely get far.

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

John Stirling

Leave/Remain rinse repeat.

I voted remain, because I felt that the second world war was a bad thing, and Europe doesn't have a great track record of not starting wars over any 50 year period in non politically contiguous geopolitical entities (we have definitely been part of Europe in that respect). I suspect our exit will indeed doom the EU as suggested by many exit voters, and I suspect that will lead to adventurous activities in Europe which will be very unpleasant. I sincerely hope I'm utterly wrong.

I respect the exit voters who voted as they did for morally defensible, and aspirational reasons, even though I believe their hopes are trumped by not dying in our (our being the human species) millions. I respect the remain voters who believe in the EU as a flawed but ultimately worthwhile entity.

I really don't respect the invective or pejorative comments which simply seem to suggest to me that my concerns about how people react to one another when not bound together by common goals are valid.

This nonsense about EU domains seems pretty small beer which will be sorted in one of several ways, probably including an extended transitional period for those where it is an issue, but who for some reason cannot use an EU geographically located registrar. It seems a simple fix - and it is only that most people will ignore it until their website stops working that makes it even marginally inconvenient.

Sysadmin left finger on power button for an hour to avert SAP outage

John Stirling

@automatic power on

...I've taken to the simple expedient of not connecting any of the buttons on the case, setting the machine to start when the power comes on. The big switch for the power bar is much less sensitive to cat induced failures....

I used to do that, until the local power company decided to have an outage, which came back on 1 minute and 45 seconds later, and then went off again at the 2 minute mark, before repeating. For 26 hours over the weekend.

Which taught me a couple of things;

1) think hard before enabling auto on after power outage;

2) always use UPS on anything you care about.

3) Fridges also benefit from UPS.

Surprisingly a large percentage of the dozen of so PCs survived that little incident, although a number did not - and the Fridge needed a new motherboard!

Oi! Verizon leaked my fiancée's nude pix to her ex-coworker, says bloke

John Stirling

Re: Four million dollars?

I'm generally against big law suits, but on this occasion I disagree with you, and agree with the plaintiff.

In US terms $4m sounds ridiculously proportionate - in that actually the crime is a) technical error, and then b) saying bollocks to you unless you get a big lawyer.

If the issue is genuine then I sincerely hope Verizon get a seriously bloody nose in public for being complete arseholes.

Here we go again... UK Prime Minister urges nerds to come up with magic crypto backdoors

John Stirling

Re: The crux of it.

An excellent example, as it shows not only the essential futility, but also how much damage it does - once the young toe rag grows up enough to start abiding the law they are effectively excluded from meaningful interaction with society, and thus less likely to ever contribute to that society.

Intel’s Meltdown fix freaked out some Broadwells, Haswells

John Stirling

Re: Hmm.

Since putting the latest MS patches on my (Sandy Bridge based) PC, I've had two unexplained crashes...

...good news! They're not unexplained anymore...

FCA 'gold-plates' EU rule, hits BYOD across entire UK finance sector

John Stirling

Re: Not sure FCA rules say what you think

Small IFA firms can be mifid exempt. Many of the rules still apply, but call recording is replaced with 'detailed notes of relevant conversations'.

John Stirling

Re: Blocking WhatsApp, FaceTime, iMessage etc...

This is largely customer protection. If 'sleazebag drone rings up potential investor and lies through their teeth, it is recorded and (hopefully) things can be done. If they have to call from the payphone the victim (or mark or target or conspirator take your pick) has a greater chance of thinking "hang on, this is odd."

Nothing is perfect, evil people will circumvent any control. The idea is just to make it a bit harder each time...'

The problem with this is that actually the sleaze bags carry on, as the incentive is still sufficient to encourage them, and the disincentive of making it a bit more difficult is not sufficient to dissuade them.

The cumulative cost of regulation now exceeds the cost of fraud before regulation existed.

It is not possible to go back to the 'wild times', nor would one want to, but regulation does need a root and branch rethink about how to actually inconvenience the bad guys enough to make 'bad stuff' uneconomic without stopping legitimate activity completely.

Whois? No, Whowas: Incoming Euro privacy rules torpedo domain registration system

John Stirling

Trouble both ways

Whilst whois is not a necessary part of dns, attribution is a necessary part of freedom of speech. If I'm a local business called xxxx then having someone register xxxxareabunchofcocks.com is a nuisance, and with having no register of ownership I have to prove criminal infringement rather than merely damages (a civil matter) to get the name of the tosser who's trying to defame me.

Without a name then I have no hope beyond the oh so marvellous, timely, and effective dispute resolution rules which will utterly fail me unless I'm a) a huge lawyered up entity, or b) able to show I should actually take control of xxxareabunchofcocks.com, which I won't be able to do since it isn't passing itself off as me.

So I understand the privacy thing, but it shouldn't provide a right to complete civil anonymity without recourse.

Panic of Panama Papers-style revelations follows Bermuda law firm hack

John Stirling

There is a big difference between 'illegal' and 'subject to challenge'

Rich folk often do things which their lawyers tell them are legal, but not to tell HMRC (for UK residents) as HMRC may take a different view.

Make no mistake this will result in a flurry of activity unless the breach is seriously limited.

Whilst I'm not sure I'd set the bar at 'politically embarrassing' as Lee D does, there is a good point that if you're not prepared to justify your behaviour to the relevant authority (which may be the court of public opinion) think hard before acting, as we now live in a world where if you're high profile it's probably going to be public knowledge eventually.

This and other leaks like it may change the 'rich and powerful' to become slightly less psychopathic, which will be no bad thing.

Please replace the sword, says owner of now-hollow stone

John Stirling

Re: Easy

I don't know, this one sounds like it may have been cursed, thoroughly rusty, and possibly even corroded.

Not sure I'd want to #wield it without a ready source of fountains near by.

SanDisk man tipped off his family to Fusion-io fusion, bagged $220k in share snatch – says SEC

John Stirling


It is astounding what people do when they are desperate.

Manager tells his wife, for no other reason than because she is his wife. She tells her family, they pressure back to buy stock which he either knows about or doesn't. Everyone goes to prison.

It's a timeless classic.

Or he's a complete idiot.

'Dear diversity hire...' Amazon's weapons-grade fail in recruitment email to woman techie

John Stirling

Improve gdp?

OK, I'll bite.

Increasing representation is a good thing. Being diverse enough to represent a fair microcosm of society is a good nice thing.

But how does that translate into half a trillion more cash?

Shock: Brit capital strips Uber of its taxi licence

John Stirling

I was going to write something clever and apropos regarding smoking as an analogy - but actually I can't be arsed. Brenda McViking you're talking complete shit.

This isn't keeping the gravy train going, it is addressing the shortcomings of one of the new operators. The monopoly you speak of is dying, and has been for 30 years - it'll be a while yet, but its final dissolution is probably inevitable.

Uber's basic principle is great - use the internet to make personalised transport easy and more cost effective.

Their detailed business model of 'and damn everything else' is not acceptable, and needs to change.

Since the regulators only have one recourse, they are using it. I am sure that they will do a deal in court announce the win, and then hopefully obey the law. After all the actual rules they have been told to follow really are not that onerous.

Alternatively (and I'm all in favour of this) get Parliament to make the board personally responsible for the crimes of their contractors or employees where they cannot show that they took sufficient steps to ensure such crimes did not happen - and get a proper extradition treaty in place so it can bite.

In fact personally I'd do that anyway for EVERY company with a balance sheet or turnover of more than say £100m.

Make them earn their salaries for once.

Stand up who HASN'T been hit in the Equifax mega-hack – whoa, whoa, sit down everyone

John Stirling

Re: Only

An interesting data point. How many execs hold stock? If it's a dozen then these three are dirty. If it's 2,000 then they are likely random noise.

Oracle 'systematically denies' its sales reps their commissions, forces them to work to pay off 'debts', court told

John Stirling

Re: Sales is hard

I see the joke icon, but as one of those thar sales people who has at times also been a software architect, and engineer (essentially an engineer who can communicate) I'll bite.

The problem with no sales is no progress.

No one will buy the new unproven thing as no one will be pushing it, or leveraging their personal contacts to persuade people to try it.

Which means incumbent monopolies.

Countries without entrepreneurial sales led cultures (as a species we have experimented with this a fair bit) get left behind surprisingly fast.

Sometimes the military keeps up for a bit, but so far as a system it has failed to deliver progress.

Start a new business and you'll discover that the one important department is sales, which I learned by being in involved with an awesome startup that didn't have a sales department, and floundered until the Ceo stopped making the product better and started selling it.

Hacker dishes advanced phishing kit to hook clever staff in 10 mins

John Stirling

Re: WTF?

What you are missing is that corporates pay the hackers to penetrative their networks, so it isn't a crime

Look who's joined the anti-encryption posse: Germany, come on down

John Stirling

and in other news....

...european Governments have decided that gravity can no longer be allowed to influence their legal operations and are going to pass a law that allows duly authorised Government agencies to disregard gravity, and float around at will.

Gutted: 6.6M cleartext creds, dox, breached in ClixSense site hack

John Stirling

Oh for heavens sake...

Massively upgraded security. There is now a clear instruction to press windows-L when they go to the loo.

BEELION-dollar lasso snaps, NASA mapper blind in one eye

John Stirling

Re: And this is why Science is a waste of money

@And this is why Science is a waste of money

By the same argument, so is medicine.

'This ruling does nothing to change the facts' thunders Apple in latest price-fix appeal blow

John Stirling

That's not distortion, it's sophistry.

Apple did nothing to conspire - they joined in an existing conspiracy.

A ruling cannot change facts, it rules on what they were, and how they interact with the law, but clearly doesn't change them.

Good lawyers those Apple folk

WikiLeaks offers $100k for copies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – big biz's secret govt pact

John Stirling

Why is there an AC trying to derail the comments?

Until I read his 'freeow' comments I was a bit cynical about the story, but once some arse tries to rubbish a stance it's worth inspecting, and like wow, but not freeow.

Go check this out. AC if your moronic asides were intended as a double bluff to get the tech world interested then I suspect you're a genius. Otherwise, not so much