* Posts by Norman Nescio

618 posts • joined 7 May 2008


The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: re: deleting data from backups

Eee, when I were a lad, many aeons ago (before GDPR), we did some backups to WORM drives. Not easy to delete some records from them.

As other posters point out, you can devise encryption schemes that allow you to 'forget' how to decrypt data keyed to an individual: assuming each individual has one or many unique IDs which have a list of encryption keys for the actual records linked to them, you 'simply' delete the list of keys, making all records inaccessible. The key management problems are not trivial.

To be honest, I quite like immutable records. I don't want, for example, details of my pension contributions to vanish into the ether; or indeed records of entry to the UK on HMT Empire Windrush. What I don't want is people using them for nefarious purposes: the right to delete is solving the wrong problem, when what you want is to be able to trust people not to abuse personal information. Gaol terms for people/directors of companies abusing that trust, rather than fines that can be written off as 'the cost of doing business' might get people taking things more seriously.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Manager and Cashier

Many years ago, I took the view that living off the interest was too risky*. So I decided that you needed to be able to live off the interest of the interest. At that time, savings accounts were generating roughly 10% per annum, so I reckoned on £4million being about right. 10% of £4 million being £400,000, and 10% of £400,000 being £40,000. Since that calculation, inflation has meant the starting capital should now be roughly £12 million.

Unfortunately, I knew of no way I could get hold of the necessary amount (I am neither criminal- nor business-minded, nor play lotteries) so I've been a wage slave for longer than I'm comfortable with.

It is certainly possible to live comfortably on much less, but I set my sights on a reasonably luxurious lifestyle - not needing to work being the greatest luxury. Of course, morally, living off the sweat of other people's brows would make me a parasitical rent-seeker, so I try to assuage my moral shortcomings by supporting policies that help the Gini coefficient for both wealth and income approach zero.

*Essentially, by spending all the interest every year, you are eroding the value of the capital sum by the inflation rate each year (the real, inflation adjusted value goes down). At some point, that means the value of the interest is less than a comfortable annual income. That can happen surprisingly quickly. If you take the approach that the interest rate will approximate the inflation rate, then you preserve the real value of the capital sum each year, whilst 'creaming off' the interest on the interest. Eventually this strategy will fail, as interest rates lag inflation, but over a lifetime I reckoned that was a reasonable risk to take. If you have not lived with high inflation, you might not realise how nastily it bites. Of course, you can eat into your capital, but then you have to hope it lasts your lifetime.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Heh. A classic.

It's not good practice, but I have had to pull out emails going back years from my personal PST archives answering queries about the precise details of the set up of multi-year high-value contracts.

As for why I had personal PST archives: the corporate email solution used centralised Exchange, with limited disk space. Auto deletion of email at the end of a retention period had been put in, mainly (as far as I could see) to control the huge amount of server storage being taken up by email. People were using it as a documentation archive. the official document management 'solutions' brought in over the years had all turned out to be uniformly dreadful, so people voted with their tried and battle tested approach: saving everything in email.

I pointed out (using the ingenious argument of a previous somewhat maverick manager) that the cost to the company of my time going through my old emails pulling out relevant documentation and putting into the umpteenth revision of the centralised document mismanagement system was far more that simply letting me store some PST files on some (suitably encrypted) USB drives. So this was allowed, while other colleagues cursed the email retention policy.

These days, corporate lawyers would put the kibosh on it: leaving potential evidence open to discovery is to be avoided. And GDPR regulations (if applicable) are clear on only keeping (personal) data as long as there is a good reason for it, and no longer. But my personal offline archive saved some corporate bacon on more than one occasion. I would certainly be a fan of a well-structured document/data management system with free text search (and regexes) but I must admit that going into my email archive and looking at all the emails to such-and-such a company in the specific time period leading up to contract signature, and emails to and from bid team members in the same period was very easy, and often enlightening. Internal emails also tended to be informative regarding why certain contentious clauses were written the way they were.

This was many years ago, and things are done differently now, often with good reason, but future historians will probably curse us for deleting the good stuff.


Norman Nescio Silver badge

I have had to re-educate certain users that used 'Deleted Items' as their archive. Years of email. They only came to me because they had run out of disk space!

RISC OS: 35-year-old original Arm operating system is alive and well

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Some features i would like today

In the 80es, it at times required black arts to get the letter ø displayed, or even worse, printed.

It still does. And still often doesn't work. Probably because some of the shiny new web-stuff has back-ends reliant on code from the 80s.

Back when the UK was more entangled with Europe than it currently is, many UK organisations had great difficulty in correctly addressing mail to foreign addresses with 'funny' characters in them. In Scandinavia, many people had to resort to the standard ASCII replacements of 'oe' for 'ø' and 'ö', 'ae' for 'æ' and 'ä', and 'aa' for 'å' , and in German-speaking locations 'ue' for 'ü'. You could use the correct character on a website profile, but whatever back-end printed the envelopes would at best leave a blank in place of the letter, or sometimes an inappropriate glyph.

It is less of an issue now, as many UK organisations reliant on legacy code for their core operations no longer do business with people outside the UK.

It's going to take a long time before UTF-8 is universal.

Unbelievably clever: Redbean 2 – a single-file web server that runs on six OSes

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: εxεcµταblε is pronounced more like ‘echesmtable’

I find as I get older, using Listz for my Chopin is very helpful to stop me forgetting things.

AI's most convincing conversations are not what they seem

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: 180 Turing

Irritatingly, that link times out. I did not realise it would. Sorry.

The official journal article is at Turing, A. M. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Mind, vol. 59, no. 236, 1950, pp. 433–60. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2251299.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: 180 Turing

If no-one wants it for 'testing machines' can I use it to discern if a human is capable of having a convincing human conversation?

The 'Turing test', more accurately known as 'The Imitation Game' does precisely that, as the point of the exercise is for the (human) interrogator to determine which of two responders is the human one. That necessarily implies the human is capable of having a convincing human conversation; or at least, more convincing than the machine.

Original Paper, which is worth reading: A. M. Turing (1950) Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Mind 49: 433-460.

Password recovery from beyond the grave

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Legal issues

While the practical benefits of having a copy of passwords for role-based accounts are obvious, I'd be a little careful about using personal account passwords. For example, I'm not sure how banks would take it* if someone logged in to a personal account using the credentials of the deceased.

The processes and procedures around dealing with incapacitating illness** of and death of account holders is one thing that many organisations are very poor at.

*I'm pretty sure they'd take it badly.

**One of the snags many people don't realise with Lasting Power of Attorney (used to be "Enduring Power of Attorney" before October 01, 2007) is that it ceases on the death of the person giving the power to someone else (the donor).

Behind Big Tech's big privacy heist: Deliberate obfuscation

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: GDPR insists on inmformed consent

As I indicated above "informed consent" is required if Consent is one of the lawful bases/conditions relied upon by the organisation - to use your example of a bank, it is highly likely a bank would rely upon Article 6(1)(b) "Performance of a Contract", 6(1)(c) "Legal Obligation" (e.g. for anti-money laundering checks), and 6(1)(f) "Legitimate Interests" (for their marketing activities). They may or may not also rely on Consent.

You are quite right to point out the other grounds possible for processing of personal data. A lot of people think that consent is always required.

However, people may get the wrong impression that 'legitimate interests' covers all marketing activities. If you read the ICO guidance, it is not as simple as that.

ICO: When can we rely on legitimate interests?

I believe there is significant overuse of the 'legitimate interests' ground, and would really like a test case to be brought. Failing that, an amendment to the law to make the legitimate interests ground a default 'object' (making it almost exactly the same as the consent ground) due to abuse.

Norman Nescio Silver badge


Just tax holding and processing data that meets the GDPR Article 4 definition of 'personal data' and 'processing'. Don't want to be taxed - then don't process the data of individuals of the relevant jurisdiction. Have a higher rate for offshore processing.

GDPR Article 4:

For the purposes of this Regulation:

(1) ‘personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;

(2) ‘processing’ means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction;

It produces a revenue stream for the government, and since it costs the companies money, will act as an incentive to minimise use of personal data. Would also provide job opportunities for auditors to check how much personal data was being processed, funded by the extra taxes generated from miscreants who under-report their processing.The auditors could also check that the correct grounds for processing are being used for processing. Throw in a 'de minimis' exception for individuals, and we are good to go.

Could even be a good replacement for fuel duty.

Makers of ad blockers and browser privacy extensions fear the end is near

Norman Nescio Silver badge


Given the immense complexity of current browsers, which translates into a lack of control over the features by ordinary folks/programmers, as only very well-funded (either by money or 'free' time) development teams can work on them, the time might be right for a revolution in practice and for a simpler approach to become more popular.

I'm thinking of something like the Gemini protocol

The design is deliberately not easily extensible, in order to preserve one of the project's stated goals of simplicity.

I'm not saying the Gemini protocol is the solution; but something like it might be, with a design 'baked-in' to make it difficult to take over in the way that browsers have been.

The browser 'market' is horribly skewed by Alphabet/Google. Just like Microsoft did, they define the 'standard browser', and you get what suits Google to offer. It's not a good situation, but I don't know how it can be effectively remedied on a long-term basis.

Small nuclear reactors produce '35x more waste' than big plants

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Opaque

Pollocks to this. The sole reason for all these puns is to skate around the topic in the hope that people will clam up before the truth is winkled out. If it doesn't stop, I'll get crabby.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Da Future!

Given that nuclear reactors are pretty much sophisticated kettles, producing steam to power turbine-generators, yes, it is a steam age.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Why the HELL Nuclear

Waste Management Febriary 2017: Wind turbine blade waste in 2050

"The research indicates that there will be 43 million tonnes of blade waste worldwide by 2050 with China possessing 40% of the waste, Europe 25%, the United States 16% and the rest of the world 19%."

Currently wind turbine blades are difficult to recycle. That's a lot of land-fill.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: even more safer to operate?

VoiceOfTruth said:

Lots of stupid people out there.

Actually, shorn of context, you've managed to make a true statement there. Well done!

Now try a little introspection.

That time a techie accidentally improved an airline's productivity

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Everybody knows...

The menu system on those old Nokias was good. Each item was numbered, so you could find options just by going down the tree (I wouldn't be surprised if someone was inspired by SNMP Object Identifiers (OIDs)).

Remembering the path to walk through the menus to get to the language choice wasn't difficult, but if in doubt, the phone were so popular, you could be pretty sure someone in the vicinity would have one, so you could walk through the English menus on their phone while doing the same on your phone set to Finnish or Turkish and sort it out that way.

The simple, clear, and predictable menu system was also a boon for people with sight impediments: a good example of how things should be done.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Easy to miss something trivial

Perhaps the instructions could have said "Ctrl with C", or even "Ctrl and C simultaneously". Many people interpret the instructions "Do A and B" as do A followed by B, for example "Shampoo and set", "Cut and cover", "Out and Return", "Pay and Display", "Dinner and Dance", or even the three S's "Shower, Shit and a Shave", which would be messy if done simultaneously.

Engineer sues Amazon for not covering work-from-home internet, electricity bills

Norman Nescio Silver badge

In Norway, tax deductions are available for commuting to work.


Tech hiring freeze doesn't mean people won't leave

Norman Nescio Silver badge

The word is shrank.

Not if you speak the USAian version of English.

Past of dive is dove, not dived.

Past of drag is drug, not dragged

Past of fit is fit, not fitted

Past of sneak is snuck, not sneaked

Past of shrink is shrunk, not shrank

They like their irregular verbs.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Allow me to warm up a bag of microwave popcorn...

Resistance is useless!

Elon Musk orders Tesla execs back to the office

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Ego Musk

I had the same thoughts as you, until I looked at this website. There's a few BEV vehicles that can tow:

New Electric Tow Cars List – Updated April 2022

Volkswagen ID.4/Skoda Enyaq

Hyundai IONIQ5/KIA EV6

Assorted BMWs, Audi's, Mercedes

Renault Megane E-tech

Perl Steering Council lays out a backwards compatible future for Perl 7

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Backwards compatibility

This is good advice. Rolling your own time functions is fraught with elephant traps:

Falsehoods programmers believe about time

Asking for the ability to process *any* date programmatically is a 'bit of a stretch'.

Making <time> safe for historians>

Assumptions about time and clocks is a rich source of obscure errors and gotchas.

How to explain what an API is – and why they matter

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: The Car Building Analogy is Flawed

Traditionally everything British used everything Lucas had to offer, but that’s a period best kept in the dark.

If you were using Lucas for lighting, that was not difficult!


Norman Nescio Silver badge

APIs have been around since the dawn of computing

They are just a documented way of handling the arguments in a subroutine call.

What's new-ish is the ability to run subroutine calls across a public network*, where you don't necessarily have ownership or control of the far end, and potentially paying for the privilege. This enables monetisation of (micro-)services, and a network effect of many people using the same API operating on common shared data. A bit like one fax machine being useless, two being of limited utility, but connect fax machines to a public telephone network and you suddenly have a new way of sending information around.

*Remote procedure calls have been around since the early 80s, and were an academic curiosity before then. New-ish in the history of computing. Possibly just discovered by Marketing?

Beijing needs the ability to 'destroy' Starlink, say Chinese researchers

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: On a more serious note....

What have somnolent Equi africanus asinus go to do with the price of fish?

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: LibreOffice, for example, is every bit as good as Microsoft Office

To be fair, I've just had to compile a driver for a WiFi PCI card - the Realtek 8821CE - from source.

Luckily, Ubuntu kindly packaged it up as a .deb file, so it wasn't particularly onerous.

Disabling 'Secure Boot' so I could install it, however...

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Training vs. education

If you're going to teach kids in the classroom, which desktop/set of apps are you going to present - a selection of distro/desktop/apps that the local teacher likes (which may be good of course), but which may be a combo never seen again by the kids, or the MS pile that they will see everywhere?

Training people to use the Microsoft ecosystem is not education. Education is about teaching the underlying principles, which might be achieved by showing multiple different examples of a (desktop) GUI, a file manager, a text editor (e.g. Notepad, vi, sed), layout processor (e.g. Pagemaker, TeX, Word, LibreOffice, troff), scripting (Powershell, bash, ECMAscript), and so on. You then go on to work out what might be the best tool to achieve your objectives, and/or meets your use case, looking at benefits and disadvantages.

95% of people will still go on to use Microsoft Windows and software for that platform, but the 5% are worth nurturing.

The sad state of Linux desktop diversity: 21 environments, just 2 designs

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: The curse of overchoice

Asking for enlightenment here: why not use a Windows PE image to check that everything works? That doesn't take an hour.

From a Linux perspective, booting a live image off a USB flash memory thumb drive lets me check that everything works for Linux, and I can customise that image. I have a WinPE flash memory thumb drive that allows me to to firmware updates on PCs where the manufacturer doesn't provide a Linux-friendly firmware update mechanism.

It is entirely possible that I am missing something obvious here.

When I was doing Win10 installs (not just testing) on refurbished laptops, I was doing a lot more than one an hour - I couldn't swear to it, but 15-20 minutes sounds possible. I had a set of installation USB drives, and had several running simultaneously, each at different stages of the install.

OpenVMS on x86-64 reaches production status with v9.2

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: I wonder how many people still remember how to use it?

It seems now that IT is full of people glueing together pieces of code with sticky tape and pushing it out to production with the threshold of pushing it out being as low as 'it works'

It's the concept of 'Minimal Viable Product', sadly approached from below. Often found in concert with the 'Minimal Marketable Product'.

Roman Pichler, 9th October 2013: The Minimum Viable Product and the Minimal Marketable Product

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: I wonder how many people still remember how to use it?

As a means of querying arbitrary data in structured files, DATATRIEVE was really quite neat. I never used the plotting routines (PLOT WOMBAT anyone?), but for querying what were quite large files for the time, it was very useful tool for me.

Norman Nescio Silver badge


Shame it isn't open-source

We had the BLISS/Macro32 source on microfiche, and it came if very handy debugging obscure problems.

Corroboration here: https://www.osnews.com/story/27871/hp-gives-openvms-new-life/

So while you couldn't modify and distribute the source, it was available for inspection, and jolly useful it was too.

Only Microsoft can give open-source the gift of NTFS. Only Microsoft needs to

Norman Nescio Silver badge


Sounds like the author had not heard of NTFS-3G, which has worked pretty problem-free* for years. Mounting, reading and writing NTFS works just fine**, and it comes with all major distros. OK, it is a FUSE-based system, but that is transparent to users, and the performance is quite OK**, unless you for some reason want to use it as your main FS (and why would one want to do that on a Linux system?).

*For values of 'problem-free' less than 100%

**For values of 'just fine' less than 100%

***For values of OK less than 100%

NTFS-3G is by no means problem-free. There are, for example, NTFS on-disk structures it cannot cope with - for examples, see the manual regarding other types of reparse points. (It's also worth reading the NTFS-3G FAQ for gotchas) Effectively, NTFS is still a moving target.

For many people, NTFS-3G is 'just good enough', if, for example, you are rescuing some files, or transferring a limited number from one system to another; but as the open-source writers are not the maintainers of the original, they can always be caught out,

As for performance, it's FUSE. I did an backup rsync by mistake from a Linux system to an external NTFS drive. Slow as molasses. Certainly not good at creating the myriads of files. Having stopped it and used ext4 instead, things were far faster. This is not to say NTFS-3G as the target filesystem was unusable, just considerably slower.

I am very glad NTFS-3G exists. It has allowed me to help out friends in need many times, and I am very grateful to the stalwart developers and maintainers: theirs is an unenviable and unending task. For certain use-cases, if you live within its limitations, it is great, and certainly a wonderful addition to my toolbox. However, it is not an officially blessed driver from Microsoft, with all the consequences that entails.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Full names please.......

I hear that Isobel would be the standard spelling.

Google Docs crashed when fed 'And. And. And. And. And.'

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Absurd

Then turn off grammar checking, and you'll never have to see it.

You're welcome.

Shirley that should of been: "Your welcome?".

After historic win, Amazon workers at another NYC warehouse reject unionization

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Oh the humanity...

In the best case, a union is like have a legal team and HR department on your side, not the company's. It is a small step to redressing the imbalance in power between the employer and employee.

In the worst case, industry-specific unions have union employees and a dysfunctional internal power/management structure that can reflect the worst of companies, and lead to the union member having little, if any representation of their individual case, and little to no choice over union policies.

Where a union is on the spectrum between best and worst case can vary considerably.

The worst American union practices are illustrated by believable stories of people not being allowed to change light-bulbs as that's a union electrician's job. It doesn't matter if it is true or not, the belief is enough to give (sensible) unions a bad name. (Much like the 'Spanish practices' of Fleet Street, as was).

Given Germany manages to have a successful economy, while having good worker conditions and involvement in company administration, I'd say there is room for improvement, both the the USA and the UK.

Meetings in the metaverse: Are your Mikes on?

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Metaverse Avatars

When Skype for Business was inflicted on us many, many moons ago, I discovered that the avatars could be animated GIFS. It wasn't long before all the techies had personalised animations, some quite clever. HR soon put a stop to it, requiring boring corporate photographs.

Metaverse avatars could be anything. Attend your meeting as 7of9, a furry, Arnie, a rendition of Munch's The Scream, a Barney, and so on. I expect HR will put a stop to having fun and require consistency and a resemblance to your real-life appearance.

On the other hand, a hacked client could put any appearance you liked on other participants as experienced by you, which could be fun, and maybe distracting.

Dropbox unplugged its own datacenter – and things went better than expected

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Re: Corporate objective?

None of the denizens of the C-suite will be at HQ - they will all be remote-working from ski-cabins in Colorado, beach 'huts' in Hawai'i and the like.

In fact, this gives an excellent justification for remote working - if you cluster all your essential people in a single building, all it takes is a comic-book meteorite to wipe them all out in one swell FOOP! (Roy Lichtenstein eat your heart out.) and your business is gone. If everyone is working from home, then your business continuity problems are far smaller.

(Off to write business case for permanent home-working for DR/BCP purposes.)

Google bans third-party call-recording apps from Play Store

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Bluetooth?

You are most likely right about capacity restrictions on Bluetooth protocol if trying to send the combined audio channel (mono microphone + mono audio) back to the phone. Until the most recent revision of Bluetooth, running stereo audio + mono microphone required some 'tricks', as the headset profile is mono audio. Gaming headsets that offer stereo sound and microphone use proprietary protocols, or the aforesaid 'tricks'.

But I was thinking more of the headset writing to an SD/TF-card, or having a line-out to an different recording device.

I find it irritating that Google are not simply giving the end user control with app permissions, so that in general apps don't get access to monitor the microphone input channel or audio output channels - the Linux (Android) sound architectures Pulseaudio or Pipewire certainly could do this, and I would not be surprised if JACK or ALSA can. Then only the user-chosen recording app could be given permission to monitor the relevant audio streams/channels. You bought the phone, so you should have the control over what particular apps are, or are not allowed to do.

Norman Nescio Silver badge


Perhaps an enterprising business will market a Bluetooth 'headset' with built in recording, or at least a line-out socket?

SpaceX's Starlink service lands first aviation customer

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Telenor Maritim

If Starlink has the capacity for cruise ships and ferries, and marinised terminals become available, it will be a good thing.

Telenor Maritim provide services now with a variety of technologies, and I can say from personal experience that they have great potential for improvement.

Robots are creepy. Why trust AIs that are even creepier?

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Pitchforks

And C.M.O.T Dibbler in the background selling dubious 'refreshments'.

Insteon's vanishing act explained: Smart home biz insolvent, sells off assets

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Re: we all wish that were true...

Oh yes. There's a famous YouTube channel and associated website (http://www.bigclive.com) where Big Clive dissects 'wall-warts' bought from various sources, including online tat emporia and points out how many safety standards they break. I strongly recommend it. It is eye-opening.

Note that the ink to put an CE logo (even an accidentally non-compliant one) is a lot cheaper than actually doing the electrical compliance testing.

This applies even more to the post-Brexit landscape where manufacturers are less likely to go through the process to put a UKCA mark on devices.

ESET uncovers vulnerabilities in Lenovo laptops

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Bitlocker?

I have seen it referred to as the 'PIN Code Number'. Historically used at ATM machines, of course, but these days used mostly to unlock phones. But we work in IT, so redundancy is meant to be good, isn't it?

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: safe

Yes, but the problem is, you do not know if you are safe, or the product is deemed so old that it is out of support and they can't be be bothered to produce new flashable firmware.

This is why open firmware and documented flashing mechanisms are important. Even better if they follow some sort of open standard.

As others have pointed out, a hardware switch that needs to be thrown to allow flashing/updates is also a good thing. For those who want to do things remotely, you can always leave the switch in 'the allow updates' position and rely on software-based security, but for the rest of us with local notebook PCs and desktops/towers, a hardware switch would improve security immensely.

Twitter faces existential threat from world's richest techbro

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Twitter's job is to be Twitter – not to make people rich

icon, because, facepalm. the purpose of a company is to MAKE MONEY.

Making a profit may well be an ancillary purpose of a company, and not its primary purpose. The continued existence of a company might require that it makes a profit, but that existence can be directed towards other ends, as used to be documented (before the Companies Act 2006) in the 'Object clause' of Memoranda of Association.

The primacy of making a profit, or maximising a profit has long been debated.

Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: The Purpose of the Corporation

William Cohen, reporting on Peter Drucker's view: The Purpose of Business Is Not To Make A Profit

[Drucker] considered profit (as opposed to profit maximization) even more important for society than for an individual business.


Profit and profitability are absolute requirements.


However, this does not mean that profit is the basic purpose of a business. Profitability really is an essential ingredient by itself which might be better spoken of in terms of an optimal, rather than a maximum size. In support of this thesis, Drucker noted that the primary test of any business is not the maximization of profit, but the achievement of sufficient profit to allow for the risks of the financial activity of the business, and thus to avoid catastrophic loss leading to failure.

The issue is not whether businesses require profits to assure long-term survival (evidently they do), but whether profit maximization is the primary purpose of a business, and there are good arguments for it not being.

COVID-19 contact tracing apps were suggested as saviors. They sometimes delivered

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Or did it have to do with the population and distrust of the government?

It would be interesting to understand the reasons why 3% of AB, 4% of C1, 4% of C2 and 11% of DE don't use smartphones. It's not a population well catered for by companies that offer all types of service methods: both iOS and Android apps*.

*Yes, that is a clip from the The Blues Brothers, released very nearly 42 years ago.

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Turn Bluetooth off...

It was, of course, in Yorkshire, as, surprisingly, it is only there it is possible for chinchillas to jointly possess an aviary, or, to put it another way, for chinchillas t'own the crows.

I'll get my overcoat, please, and walk out into the epidemic of corvids - think Hitchcock.

French court pulls SpaceX's Starlink license

Norman Nescio Silver badge

People I've met who subscribe to such theories are proud to espouse them publicly.

Presumably she was publicly his épouse. Ah! Mon pardessus, merci!

Norman Nescio Silver badge

Re: Not quite...

One takes a dish of tea.

Mark you, if Jodrell sized, it goes cool before I can finish it.



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