* Posts by Britt Johnston

579 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Apr 2006


Amnesty International and French media protection org claim massive misuse of NSO spyware

Britt Johnston

another finger pointed

the French channel FR24 also mentioned a collaboration betreen Mexican security and a drug cartel. The Minister has moved on, but the cartel group stil uses the spyware. The source appeared to be miffed because Pegasus licencing payments were no lomger being paid.

The perils of building a career on YouTube: Guitar teacher's channel nearly deleted after music publisher complains

Britt Johnston

Automated Support

"The whole system is automated, he said, and it seemed impossible to get a human to consider his case."

This is Can't Reach A Person support (CRAP) and is one of the worst characteristics of technical companies. Wear a mask, or hold your nose if your workplace runs like this.

Intel is offering more 14nm Skylake desktop processors, we repeat: More 14nm Skylake desktop processors

Britt Johnston

but I want a CPU, ,,,

not a toaster

What's the German word for stalling technology rollouts over health fears? Cos that plus 5G equals Switzerland

Britt Johnston

stalled too late?

Where I live, in Basel, they have a trial 5G net up and running since the middle of last year,

In fact, the article below seems to suggest that coverage of operating or installed antennae is already close to complete, so a moratorium on new antennae would come too late to be relevant.


If the words are too much, just click on the map of Switzerland covered in green dots.

Oracle sued for $4.5m after ERP system delivery date 'moved from 2015 to 2016, then 2017, then... er, never'

Britt Johnston

a gorilla is not better than an elephant, but different - and both are expensive pets

Oracle business modules are more flexible than SAP, which leads to more ways to link the modules together, mostly inappropriate I I have twice seen a sales rep whip up a credible critical module in a few weeks,to get the contract, leaving a different company to do a cheaper development

The SAP modules are already linked together, and SAP recommends the company learn to model the business to the application, As mentioned above, with optimism and Excel, this is possible after a few years and expensive updates.

'Java 9, it did break some things,' Oracle bod admits to devs still clinging to version 8

Britt Johnston

Re: Updates

even Apple left version 9-0, and skipped to X, 9.0 is jinxed

You wait for one IT giant to show up with its sales figures, then two come at once: Red Hat, Oracle

Britt Johnston
IT Angle

autonomous DB report?

Given that Oracle databases have had a meta-DB to set up and manage its structure for the last 25 years, I was curious whether they had finally taken the step to adjust table sizes automatically.

I typed 'autonomous database' into your search window, hoping to find a report by somebody who has given it a test drive. No luck, but comments on the recent Oracle shindig were filled with users recommending avoiding the company like the plague. Was that the last word on the subject?

German cybersecurity chief: Anyone have any evidence of Huawei naughtiness?

Britt Johnston

Sicherheit macht frei

here two random statements, as text is required:

Intelligence = Hackers sanctioned by a state administration

Hackers = Intelligence not sanctioned by a state administration

Buried in the hype, one little detail: Amazon's Alexa-on-a-chip could steal smart home market

Britt Johnston

sorry Dave, the internet is down...

The microwave charred your meal, and I cannot order a new one.

I will power down

UK spies broke law for 15 years, but what can you do? shrugs judge

Britt Johnston

Re: So that's the big deal - extralegal processes undermining security, and paid for from taxes

There is a further problem: public servants undermining information security systemically, when they would be among the best-informed groups to help improve and secure it.

Britt Johnston
Thumb Down

Re: the big deal - taxes pay for this misuse

Another negative - the public servants who would be in the best position to make info handling secure are the ones actively undermining it

Core blimey! Apple macOS update lifts boot from MacBook Pro neck

Britt Johnston

The problem started with pentium 2nd gen. burn-outs (I suffered from two of them)

The work has since been out-sourced to GPUs, along with the heating problem.

As mentioned by many replies, the PC industry has forgotten a key basic engineering process: design, develop specs,, add a safety buffer, meet specs. Using spftware to cover hardware gaps is a cludge.

Skynet it ain't: Deep learning will not evolve into true AI, says boffin

Britt Johnston

we will know when it happens

I'll recognise true AI when there is a job type to reverse engineer a better expert system and dig out the factors that we hadn't considered before

In the meantime, I'm waiting for someone to hash the amazon and facebook databases, to provide more ideas for Christmas gifts, and to remind you that tomorrow is last orders for timely delivery

How UK’s GDPR law might not be judged 'adequate'

Britt Johnston

FOI requests are not the best way to get road repairs

Some kind of active discussion would lead to more efficient resolution, I'd suggest.

Intel lobs out new Core m3/m5 Compute Sticks, shouts 'Fetch!'

Britt Johnston

Re: Apple TV / Roku / etc.

I was thinking of using one to turn my laptop into a dumb terminal, hoping that the OS can't be upgraded. Then I could override the laptop OS with a second OS.

The comment above that Windows not only updates, but also that the upgrades stop normal function counters this dream - Press rethink.

NSA boss reveals top 3 security nightmares that keep him awake at night

Britt Johnston

Re: Data tampering

This is a real problem in industry databases, as managers come, redefine terms or scope, and go. It is a kind of revisionism, and over time can degrade a company's history. It reduces the useful life of basic infrastructure systems, accelerating their replacement time to every 10 - 20 years. Mergers, legislation and reorganisations speed the decay.

Equating company management to non-state terrorists is a bit heavy though.

Who hit you, HP Inc? 'Windows 10! It's all Windows 10's fault'

Britt Johnston

Hi Egg, this is Chicken cheeping

The main problem where I live is that machines with Windows 10 have not been available till 2016. If anyone wants a new machine, with skylake innards, it has been better to wait.

And, by the way, Windows 10 is NOT free on new machines - which seem to be more expensive than the last generation.

Yet again, my reason for looking is that the current laptop overheats.I wish one PC manufacturer would merge with a 'fridge' maker. Or a car firm; they don't ask you to live at fried-egg temps, just because a component has upped performance.

I wonder if Intel deliberately aims at that with their idea of overclocking when things get tight. Logically, on first signs of temperature rise, the performance should drop to stay at safe levels, rather than overclock till the safety switch blows.

What we all really need is an SD card for our cars. Thanks, SanDisk

Britt Johnston

more useful would be...

a battery that you could slot in for an extra 10 hours running time.

Oh, this is not a discussion about mobile phones?

Microsoft herds biz users to Windows 10 by denying support for Win 7 and 8 on new CPUs

Britt Johnston

RE "things I thought I'd never read"

It doesn't surprise me. Any wish to leave a working OS alone is much better than an announcement that on new hardware, your working OS will probably be trashed on a Tuesday update when you least expect it.

How about Cyanogen to build a neutral UEFI, though probably removing the old one will be harder than building your own around a neutral (or Mac) motherboard.

Windows 10 lags 7, 8 … and even Vista in the channel race

Britt Johnston

Re: It saturation. It isn't the OS, its the hardware

Almost. I want a multiboot office machine with two switches linked to boot, one to the Windows drive and the other the fun button.

A good effort, if a bit odd: Windows 10 IoT Core on Raspberry Pi 2

Britt Johnston

"So, a Porche 911 is just like a Hillman Imp then?"

Not quite, it has rounded corners.

WANTED: A plan to DESTROY metadata, not just retain it

Britt Johnston

More data than necessary

You are right, in the sense that this data needs limiting - though systems use additional data to make identification unique. Does your customer system have any John Smiths?

Britt Johnston

This needs extending to all applications (and includes security)

I recently went to a bookstore, where the cashier asked if I was eligible for a loyalty discount. I had no idea, so we delved into the company database together. Of the four family members under our current address, my address was correct. They had not registered my wife (she didn't ask, presumably) one daughter has been abroad for 5 years, the other died 5 years ago: so 50% success. But the example indicates some practicable solutions.

- regularly mark metadata with no transaction activity as "for deletion"

- automate this process, and use only consolidated data in evaluations

- allow record holders and those affected web access to propose corrections for wrong and near-duplicate data (including credit ratings)

- add a functional data complaints procedure

I don't know how many big databases could meet these criteria with a web add-on. I know that most of my employer's ones wouldn't, as I've been working on a data consolidation programme for the last 4 years.

We also found that I had never been offered any loyalty programme, perhaps a missed opportunity. Not updating the mistakes certainly was.

Who runs this world? Sony Pictures CEO jokes about getting UK culture minister fired

Britt Johnston
IT Angle

What are Churchill and Marx doing in the same bed as Barbara?

I like the idea of ElReg's <<Minimise Comment>> icon, but it doesn't seem to work well enough in the case of this article.

Microsoft points at Skype, Lync: You two, in my office – right now

Britt Johnston

AC on deadline beggars

Try inviting yourself to meetings during the endangered periods. If people can read your calender, you can call it something like Deadline KPI controls.

Prez Obama cares about STEM so much he just threw $240m of other people's money at it

Britt Johnston

evidence of ability

The STEM jobs are the ones which are most likely found by peer recognition and a good network, and least rely on formal training.

A good start might be to decriminalise an effective hack (see yesterday's news), then maybe to organise hackathons with some social aim.

We need copyright reform so Belgians can watch cricket, says MEP

Britt Johnston

dubbing changes characters

How 'bout John Wayne in French. He wouldn't sound out of place at Ascot.

Britt Johnston

sport transmissionaries

After this commentard flow, I finally realise why pool, billiards, darts and bass fishing are the great sports on European pay TV - they have no value anywhere in Europe. I used to watch Eurodummy sumo, the few seconds of action anyway, if not the pre-match throwing of salt and grimaces, but even that got shot down.

Bounty! hunter! discovers! holes! in! Yahoo! Stores! security!

Britt Johnston

Re: trolling the pic

Cowboy films have been replaced by space odysseys - old hat on new icon, Patrick Stewart?

Microsoft Swarms all over Docker Machines

Britt Johnston

Re: Embrace, extend, hmm, what's that last one?


Visa: One million bonks a month for Europeans from next year

Britt Johnston

Re: Data to US companies is suspect and in the wrong hands

1- <this separation from 5 eyes is exactly why the Swiss run their own national clearing centre.>

I agree, it is Europe and especially the Eurozone that has risks and problems.

2 - <the ECB is not going to give the impression of competing with national banks in how to get hold of our money quickest. Politically far too dangerous.>

Good point. I don't think the ECB has to run it, more that it could make sense to facilitate such a program. Maybe they could channel the job to a competent outsider, which might even be Visa. But there is a question in the background, whether a few top banks are essential for clearing transactions, and should be well rewarded for the drudgery, or whether a shared secure automated system is sufficient, or better, e.g. for the chosen topic of shared electronic micropayments.

Britt Johnston


Eurobonk is spelled Eurobanque, sorry...

Britt Johnston

Data to US companies is suspect and in the wrong hands

Wikipedia says: Visa Inc. (/ˈviːzə/ or /ˈviːsə/) is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Foster City, California, United States.[citation needed]. Visa Europe is a separate membership entity that is an exclusive licensee of Visa Inc.'s trademarks and technology in the European region, issuing cards such as Visa Debit and Visa Credit.

Perhaps we could persuade the EU to insist on splitting-off the Euro business domain from fiveeyes supporter nations.

Such a Eurobonk might even become a replacement for clearing banks, e.g. as a public service run by the ECB.

Microsoft man: Internet Explorer had to go because it's garbage

Britt Johnston

Re: So, Webkit is new new IE

<We are getting rid of Trident (hopefully Spartan will be decent)>

This strategy doesn't look as if all your risks have been minimised yet.

EU ministers hold Big Meeting on Big Data. But how will they get you to hand it over?

Britt Johnston

"data-intensive research"

My data is intense too, but only on bad days.

The lion-tamer's tails and whip, please...

BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

Britt Johnston

And: Star would have to be a HUGE dwarf to wobble the planets

And if you can't see it, the gravity change will be small too, as both effects are inverse square.

It's not easy being Green. But WHY insist we knit our own ties?

Britt Johnston

Green Economics - What about trust, etc

Another thing is that an accountant can't tell the difference on his books between an beef steak and a horse in Rumania.

If you grow your own, you understand more.

Okay, so Tim, your standard model doesn't value time, can't capture trust, doesn't allow for improvement in goods or services over time. That is like the phlogiston theory of chemistry, which I don't use any more.

Please talk to a green economist and get a decent model, for all of our sakes.

This comment took 15 minutes, at my standard internal rate of €8.50 (minimum wage in DE). Please enter an upvote as an €1 token recognition of any value to you (virtual egofunding). Or a downvote, if you feel I wasted more than €1 of your time.

Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

Britt Johnston

Re: Empty shops are not a usable measure of economic activity.

There is a core of truth in your postulate, but it does indicate economic efficiency, especially the changes over time.

As an example where I live, in Basel, in that area of Switzerland every old home is renovated or rebuilt, whereas a few miles away, in France, they use older houses to store hay in, while they crumble into disrepair.

While this is clearly related to housing policy, lack of land, bubbles, the good old days, etc, it also a measure of how well potential is being turned into reality.

What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Britt Johnston

Fahrenheit 451

We should be able to get away with suggesting that the best approach is to burn down the internet.

Microsoft patch batch pre-alerts now for paying customers ONLY

Britt Johnston

Change of policy

If OEMs were to provide private users with a cloudburst that's robust enough to not need changing or rebooting every few weeks, this policy would be fine with me. Leave it to the professionals to get their hands oily.

Microsoft BEATS Apple, Google ... to accepting limited Bitcoin payments

Britt Johnston

MS is being well-behaved

They could have introduced their own currency, the MS-Talent or something similar. That would have shaken up Wall St on a Friday.

Prez Obama slaps sanctions on Norks in payback for Sony hack

Britt Johnston
Paris Hilton

Re: Meanwhile in North Korea

well, hasn't someone just started a turnaround dash by marrying Kim's sister?

EU VAT law could kill thousands of online businesses

Britt Johnston

managing customer country

I'm seeing an increasing number of sites which ask you to identify your country when you first register - that seems efficient way to capture without holding personal data. They sometimes offer specificity of language etc as an encouragement.

If you want, you could add a check for country consistency when you ship, still no need to keep the address beyond the shipping process.

UK.gov biz dept: Youth apprentice? Get a degree while you're hired

Britt Johnston

Freedom to move and grow?....

As comments mention, the idea has been around for decades, but is becoming extinct. Yet, the recent EU report on uni education found that, particularly in German-speaking areas, this approach has been very successful (especially for practically-minded kids who have had enough of school) and encouraged other countries to try it.

I would suggest something else - if UK industry can't get its head around building and paying for practical skills, why not consider doing such a course in a European institute, and affiliate to a European firm - many of the institutes offer courses in English, or maybe your language skills are already good enough. My bosses son is signed on to one in Baden (CH) with ABB, for instance.

Plan and apply about 12-14 months in advance.

'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described

Britt Johnston

tin-hat correlations

The world economy suddenly took a dive in 2008, as REGIN started up, It is slowly improving now, but hasn't really recovered fully yet, which is consistent with this malware being discovered in 2011, but with modern versions probably still being extant.

Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

Britt Johnston


This is perhaps as near as we will ever get to a confession:

- Mr Bristow's department would like to work legally

- they would also like to help with serious crime

neither of which is happening to any extent today.

Google purchases petite pollster Polar, purloined ppl punted Plus-wards

Britt Johnston

Re: youtube?

There is a second poll on the next page for antisocial network sites...you didn't find it?

IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Britt Johnston

Pegging (3)

Pegging is also something the Scottish Central Bank can do to its currency, in contrast to the non-central banks, who will be speculating on the robustness of the peg.

Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes

Britt Johnston

not like condoms, like beer

Data is not-countable, and in this lingustic sense more like beer (data is, not data are).

If you insist on counting the stuff, you can put it in packets, as in gigabytes of data or pints of beer.

Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?

Britt Johnston
Black Helicopters

the randomised controlled trial is still the gold standard in medicine?

The logical idea is to disentangle the effects of each of one or more interesting parameters.

Medics, on the one hand, are less scientific and more use-oriented. Doctors will switch regimes if the first one is unsatisfactory or, on occasion, try unproven drugs on an anecdotal report.

The trials are more scientific, more costly, and leave many parameters uninvestigated. That is why, for instance, cancer studies don't want to test for multiple co-medication, or relevant patient populations like children, women or over 65s.

'Gold' is the price of being scientific about evaluating new medicines. It has done well this last half century in checking for effiacy or reducing expected side-effects, and less well on quick access for serious diseases, cost reduction or finding underlying mechanisms.