* Posts by Simplepieman

22 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Apr 2008

Open source author pulls code after GPL abuse


Re: "as if the original version was being abandoned"

"The reselling commercially without permission is of course enough to call in the lawyers..."

Erm, nope. Nothing in the GPL prevents commercial resale with no permission required whatsoever. The only stipulation is that the modifiled GPL source be made available for free and that the modified code be released under GPL.

Commerce isn't the enemy - closed-source is the enemy.

BT wary of rights holders' site-blocking proposal


Thanks for the credit... not.

So, reading the ORG piece, it turns out the proposal was leaked a a blog called Slightly Right of Centre, not the Open Rights Group...


PHP apps plagued by Mark of the Beast bug


Mickey Mouse's rectum to all you PHP haters

So I cut my teeth on Z80 assembler before I learned C

In my first job I was taught C++ and Objective C (in the days of the Next foundation, well before Apple made Objective C cool).

Over the last 15 years I've used numerous languages on a range of projects, from military to transport safety critical and safety related.

So obviously I'm not a "real programmer" - that's why I use PHP as my tool of choice for most web projects.

(But don't hold your breath if you're using emergency telecommunications or travelling on a certain UK railway line - your physical being may be about to intersect with software I wrote, and after all, I'm not a proper programmer...)

Loons speak brains on gov Treasury crowdsource site


Here's one suggestion that might just work...

Found one suggestion that seems to be reasonably sane if not a little optimistic:

Competitive Innovation - pay several smaller IT companies to demo system solutions and choose from the best instead of paying the "big four" (5, shurely?) £30m a pop


So if we all vote this one up the gov can still ignore it since everyone knows the Tory party just like the last government are all bankrolled by big biz and there's too much dosh at stake for them to lose...

BBC grabs stock photo of own building


BBC seem to be wasting cash on Facebook adverts too

Saw this on Twitter this morning, are BBC actually paying for Facebook ads to get visitors to their comedy website? WHY??!


Racist content on US server 'within UK jurisdiction'


English Jurisdiction... but only when it suits!

"the Crown Court had jurisdiction to try the appellants for their conduct because a substantial measure of the activities constituting the crime took place in England," according to the Court of Appeal.

Hmmm, try telling this to Gary McKinnon.

Woman sues EA over 'secret' Spore DRM



It took me best part of a day to work out how to unravel SecuROM from a friend's PC after one of their kids had installed sumsuch twaddle, and I can't even post instructions online for fear of beind DMCA'd and having my domains snatched.

These copyright mobsters need a taste of their own medicine. I stopped using warez back in 1993 because of the ethics, not the DRM. There will allways be ways to nick software so why bother with crap like this.

Nokia creates Indoor Positioning


Me too: been there, done that...

I had a pretty neat prototype working using a combination of solid state giros and traditional GPS 5 years ago when I worked at ****. Of course we had drift, but most of that was down to our crude prototype manufacture and we reckoned on a much greater improvement if we got the giro alignment more true to the orthogonal. Then we all got fired as **** closed their UK research arm. ****

ISP reporting network to pierce bandwidth smokescreens


Where is the REGULATOR!!

Something I've been ranting about for ages is a standardised set of performance and price metrics (a kind of dashboard) that allows users to compare products in much the same way as APR and prominent disclosure of significant terms did for loans.

My biggest grief is with mobile companies, but increasingly with ISPs. Their text and talk bundles make it nearly impossible to compare like-for-like, before throwing mobile and roaming charges in.

If all mobile sales contracts started with an A5 landscape box where average price per minute for off peak/peak/Europe/International (send+receive)/Text/Data that would at least give some visibility to consumers.

Similarly with ISPs, except the box would arguably be simpler, as there are less parameters: inclusive GB, bandwidth shaping policy, blocked ports, mandated invisible proxies (y/n), average speed achieved by real customers at 3 standardised times: 10am, 1pm, 8pm split weekdays/weekends.

Server theft knocks Peter Gabriel off the web


Data Centres and Sat Nav

Being in the industry I visit a fair few data centres each year. Is it just me or do all data centres have deliberately misleading postcode location data?

Typical scenario is: follow sat nav for 250 miles, get to industrial estate in the AEOK, drive around for 30 minutes in the general location of point on sat nave before giving up and phoning the client to ask where I am meant to be.

For those not in the know, typically such places have no signage and a locked steel gate.

Creative settles MP3 player capacity clash


@Ben Mathews RE: To be fair to um

Not strictly true. Back in the dark ages a kilobyte was well established as 1024 bytes. When storage manufacturers reached a megabyte there was no formal definition so some went for a definition of 1000 kilobytes to steal a few percent in their size claims, and others went for 1000000 bytes to steal even more percent.

So actually you sometimes find 3 definitions of GB. Sometimes its a billion bytes, sometimes it's a million kilobytes, when actually in all but hard disk manufacturers claims we all know its 7.37% more than a billion bytes, or 4.97% more than a million kilobytes.

Whatever salesman thought this up in the 70s should be given a medal.

Sun may shut off high-end MySQL features


@AC RE: Simple Solution

I've said it before and I'll say it again - NO WONDER YOU POST AS AC. Please, anyone with any success with large-scale postgres systems that hasn't noticed serious performance hits hit me back. As much as some like to knock MySQL it is **the best** open source offering, if not the best full stop. I bench-tested the market 2 years ago and was blown away with MySQL and it's just got better.

I'm with the forkers. They have a right to take it in one direction and we have a right to prove it got where it did through passion not dollars.



Anyone who's ever contributed even a single line of code, be it bug fix or new feature to MySQL I'm sure you feel the pain in your bollocks/eyes (delete as appropriate to gender) that I do in both mine.

Some of us have paid not in cash but in development contributions over the past years. Fair enough - I haven't contributed for nearly 10 years, but I did, and part of what you're building on is mine.

Who's the freetard now?

EU demands Google slashes cookie retention times

Black Helicopters

What's Google's definition of anonymize?

As we are all aware, even "anonymized" search engine data can be used to identify living individuals:


And cookies are getting such a bad name of late. The actual cookie expiry time is somewhat irrelevant. I set a cookie for 6 months. Visitor comes back to my site in a month's time. I use the UUID from the existing cookie and plant a refreshed cookie that lasts 6 months from that date.

The expiry time is only relevant when a visitor doesn't come to my site for many many months.

HSBC pops thousands of customer details in the post


A regulator with teeth?

>> HSBC has told the Financial Services Authority what happened. The FSA fined Nationwide £980,000 for breaching customer privacy last year by losing a laptop containing customer information. ®

Wow, a regulator with teeth. Whilst Ofcom fail to grasp the concept of anti-competitive pricing plans and hidden terms and the ICO pander to the ISPs and Phorm over RIPA it's nice to see someone taking our personal data seriously.

Carphone Warehouse stares down BPI and UK.gov on three strikes



Frymaster - do your homework before posting.

The "threat" of legal action if ISPs didn't acquiesce to me hinted strongly at the suit against Eircom in Ireland, which is part of the EU, as is the UK, and which I mentioned in my original post, alongside relevant EU legislation.

From http://www.independent.ie/national-news/eircom-may-face-music-in-illegal-files-row-1313154.html

They [IRMA] are challenging Eircom's refusal to use filtering technology or other appropriate measures to voluntary block, or filter, material from its network which is being used to download music in violation of the companies' copyright and/or licensing rights.

Also you may want to check Wikipedia under Deep Packet Inspection and, anyone on the thread who wants to help keep this wiki balanced, ensure that reference to the disputed legal position in Europe is kept in the wiki under “Copyright enforcement” subheading.


Record companies should read up on European legislation...

As an avid campaigner for 'net neutrality (hence my recent coments against Phorm), I really wish the record companies would check up on relevant legislation, including obligations under European directives, before e.g. haluing Ericom into court in the Republic of Ireland.

I admire anyone who takes a stand against the likes of IRMA etc just because of their strong-armed threatening tactics.

It is clear from Directive 2000/31/EC that ISPs are not obliged to monitor the information they transmit, whilst Directive 2002/58/EC gives a general right to individuals' privacy of communications, as enacted in the UK under RIPA.

Whilst copyright protection lobbyists continue to play hard-done-by, arm-twisting governments and ISPs into eroding individuals' fundamental rights, I fully support anyone taking a stand against this, even though, kids, it IS wrong to steal ;)

BT: 'We did not let anyone down over Phorm... it was not illegal'



Please don't be so hard on the BBC. The message I saw coming out of that was that BT were being accused of doing something illegal in order to send you advertising.

No mention of "targeted" advertising and no mention of less advertising.

And you know the public hate advertising.

So the message the layman would have got is that BT were being accused of doing something they don't understand but is claimed is illegal - to send more advertising!

Priceless! Even if you didn't care or didn't believe the spy claim, you may start to think Sheeet I don't want more advertising, be it pop-up, junk email whatever.


Priceless opening line from Emma Sanderson...

"We absolutely were not spying on our customers..."

But they admit to a trial where they observed customers traffic without the customers knowing about it.


From the Compact OED



1 not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others.

2 fond of having or keeping secrets; secretive.



1 a person employed to collect and report secret information on an enemy or competitor.

2 a person or device that observes others secretly.


BT and Phorm secretly tracked 18,000 customers in 2006

Jobs Horns


> Almost every decision in life is made on a cost-benefit basis. You weigh up your

> projected benefits, measure them against your projected costs, and if the benefits

> outweigh the costs (with suitable certainty) then you go for it.

The problem is that all young buck management and execs think they’ve cracked this, think they understand this and press ahead on a "cost/benefit" grounds.

BUT - many fail to properly factor in costs and benefits that only occur over a longer period of time, e.g. staff goodwill and brand image/brand damage. Research and Development is another good example.

Short-term thinking is encouraged by the stock market, where execs are hired to provide "shareholder value". But the stock market is inherently short-termist, so shareholder value comes from short-term measures which inevitably lead to a stagnation of share value or a spiral of decline.

This whole sorry tale smacks of short-term or flawed thinking:

1.) Targeted advertising has limited value. For ubiquitous products in a saturated market maybe, but some of the best results come from adverts that catch their viewers unaware or introduce them to products they hadn't even thought about.

2.) Targeted advertising already exists. Advertisers compete for space on websites based on the topic of that website. Phorm is not offering anything unique - it is trying to gatecrash a party, so why is their product deemed so valuable?

3.) Whilst customers (and staff) oppose the tie-up with Phorm, the ISPs risk damaging their long-term value.


@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

1.) The BBC hate us. They think the IT community and El Reg are a bunch of fist-thumping alarmist conspiracists and have been ignoring our pleas for weeks and the first story they put up about Phorm was a "good news - Phorm are great"

2.) See point 1.)

HOWEVER... Word on the grapevine is that a mainstream TV channel will cover a Phorm-related topic this week.


@William Morton

> No doubt PHORM have cleaned up their code since then and hence are more in

> line with the UK legal requirements

But that's just the problem. Software is notoriously hard to validate and police. It's what Phorm and their PR teams just don't get. It doesn't matter how careful they are with data, and many safeguards they *say* are in their software.

It's illegal to intercept a communications stream without permission from both ends of the communication. It has to be - otherwise you have a situation where some companies are deemed "good" and are allowed access to intercept, whilst others are deemed "bad" and aren't. But who will police this over time? Who will regulate this? Is it worth setting up a regulatory body capable of daily oversight? Probably not - therefore intercept is banned end of.

What the "secret" trials do is avoid the contested legal area on whether consent of a website can be assumed. In these secret trials, even the end user didn't consent, so plain and simple case one would hope.