* Posts by Cris E

95 posts • joined 29 May 2008


Things I learned from Y2K (pt 87): How to swap a mainframe for Microsoft Access

Cris E

Re: Access

Around Y2K I did a bunch of Access front ends. At the time the tools available for writing complex clients with lots of forms were some combination of awful, expensive, unreliable and complicated. Our team could knock out an app against a SQL Server back end before a Powerbuilder contractor could be hired or the java guys could decide on struts vs spring.

Cris E

Amanfromars would like to lend you money!

And if you turn to your left, you can see the walls of Amazon Web Services' vast server farm. And next to it, a gift shop and visitor center

Cris E

I've got a Whole Foods a mile from here with package pickups and lots of oddly not-food items for sale. You still can't get a mouse or printer paper, but there are clothes and other stuff they introduced.

Cris E

Re: No-one mentions AWS

Amazon's long game of razor thing, tax-reducing margins spread across the entire economy generates huge amounts of money and corporate value without leaving much exposed surface for governments or competitors to get much of a grip on them. The huge and hidden benefits aren't just the taxes or huge revenues to work with, but what those tiny margins do to all their competitors. To fight them as a retailer or streaming service or a grocer or a cloud computing vendor you need to survive on just as little profit, and it's really not possible for most companies to do for any extended period of time. So I agree that the dystopic corporation that everyone has been talking about for the past fifty years is going to turn out to be Amazon.

Cool 'joke', bro, you could have killed someone: Epilepsy Foundation sics cops on sick flashing-light Twitter trolls

Cris E

Re: mailing a rabid bat or rattlesnake

As was slaughtering captives, raping women, selling children, salting fields and DNS hijacking. Those Greeks could be real ******s sometimes.

Internet jerk with million-plus fans starts 14-year stretch for bizarre dot-com armed robbery

Cris E

I don't know, I sort of feel bad for RLA as well. Imagine a life where it's possible to truthfully say "My greatest gift to my son will be, yes, this name!" and not just slump into an extended depression. That's all you have to offer? Man, that's sad.

Oi, Queenslander who downloaded 26.8TB in June alone – we see you

Cris E

Re: Quick maths

Ultra-rich NZ preppers loading movies into their near-site data center, ready for the end times!

PSA: You are now in the timeline where Facebook and pals are torn a new one by, er, Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen

Cris E

Re: "Hate speech is actually banned on our platform"

The root problem is that on-line platforms - mostly American run - invariable adopt the American model of "anything goes" which is anathema to those from more civilised quarters.

And yet they're very clear that that do reject content all the time, posts taken down and accounts suspended for Bad Things. So how do they filter out some materials but not others? It appaears to be a matter of taste, and they like the taste of revenue more than the taste of integrity.

Top American watchdog refuses to release infamous 2012 dossier into Google’s anti-competitive behavior

Cris E

Re: There is no Internet B

I have this view that eventually there will be more than one internet, one owned by the corporates that becomes a morass of crap similar to as it is today, and then another totally legal "neutral" internet, similar to the dark web, but (CUT - PASTE) a morass of crap similar to as it is today, This is where the rebellion live (i.e. the normal people).

Boffins don bad 1980s fashion to avoid being detected by object-recognizing AI cameras

Cris E

Re: Great

Dominic Toretto, programmed with Hollywood logic:

Oh my God, there's another car coming into my lane. I'll hit this inanimate object over there, bounce up on two wheels, thread between oncoming traffic, drop to four wheels, hit this convenient ramp on the side of the road, fly over five rows of oncoming traffic and land on the proper side of the highway, safe from oncoming baddies.

Bloke who claimed he invented Bitcoin must hand over $5bn of e-dosh in court case. He can't. He's waiting for a time traveler to arrive

Cris E

Re: $5bn

What if, and I'm just spit balling here, but hear me out: what if he doesn't have assets worth $5bn?

Cris E

Re: Not much left then...

"Wait, one sec..."

<tries B1tC0inGod!!1!">

"Nevermind, got it."

Cris E

The great thing about time travelers is that they can only go to specific points in time, say January, and not whenever they want, like this week to keep him out of jail. Apparently.

Anyone for unintended ChatRoulette? Zoom installs hidden Mac web server to allow auto-join video conferencing

Cris E

Re: but everyone else is doing it

That's the next obvious question: who else is doing this? El Reg didn't choose to pursue that line of questioning in such a target-rich interview, but it might make a fine follow-up.

Buying a second-hand hard drive on eBay? You've got a 'one in two' chance of finding personal info still on it

Cris E

Re: Who gets rid of old IT kit?

No one is getting any of *my* personal porn off the stacks of 1.44mb disks up in the attic.

F***=off, Google tells its staff: Any mention of nookie now banned from internal files, URLs

Cris E

Re: US military services

The military is not allowed to be used in domestic law enforcement so as to avoid the third world tackiness of presidents using them to ignore the will of the people. The CG technically being outside the Dept of Defense gives them the right to arrest, detain, enforce all sorts of laws, etc, which is the big reason Trump's recent plan to use the military at the border was such a non-starter.

Assange catgate hearing halted as Ecuador hunts around for someone who speaks Australian

Cris E

Re: Downvoted ..

Two years ago he might have been a person on interest in the US, but under the new regime anything Obama did is wrong so Julian's going to be free to go. The worst thing he could do is stay holed up until the 2020 election and find himself with a Dem in office looking for issues to display the restored vigor of the DOJ.

Trainer regrets giving straight answer to staffer's odd question

Cris E

Re: you call that Loud :)

It's one thing if it's real work that makes all the racket, but quite another if it's just crap. In college my labmate had the group's daisy wheel printer in his windowless, concrete, basement office (down the hall from my slightly smaller windowless concrete basement office.) Any time he got cranky we'd just print off a couple decade's worth of calendars. Oh the sounds he'd make as he roared down the hall. Good times...

What do a meth, coke, molly, heroin stash and Vegas allegedly have in common? Broadcom cofounder Henry Nicolas

Cris E

Re: Another affluenza victim, shirley.

The two are nothing alike: Nicolas actually has a pile of money, and that skeezy hair looks real.

The YouTube crackdown on fake news: Promoting bonkers Florida school shooting conspiracies

Cris E

Re: Robert Mueller is a neo-Mccarthyist

The main goals of the Russian trolls, dividing public opinion and fomenting unrest online, is different from revenue generating ads. The latter only encompasses paid ads, while astroturfing is peer-to-peer and doesn't require any ad buy. Metrics can show priorities, and ignoring the actual damage to focus on the cash says quite a bit about FB execs.

Cris E

Re: Getting tired of this "blame the messenger" campaign...

Um, this isn't some simpleton common carrier getting caught in the crossfire of quickly evolving news stories. Google is king-making every time they suggest any content to the masses. How many of those views came before it was featured on the Trending list and how many came afterwards? What percentage of the push came from Google? The fact is Trending is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and anything on that list is going to get shot to the moon. For a company that's trying to improve the quality of its recommendations it would appear to be a poor decision to not vet whatever goes on the few lists they do crank out. I have no sympathy for poor little Youtube.

Class clowns literally classless: Harvard axes meme-flinging morons

Cris E

Re: Reaping the Destruction of Education over 20 years by Neoliberals

What a coincidence, this comment also illustrates the demise of considered, moderate thought in the western world.

Not everything is black and white, not everything is the end of the world, not everything is a plot by The Others to ruin The Good Thing. Most of life occurs in shades of grey, individual situations don't always fit into broad, loud headlines, and most discussions benefit by a little thought and nuance.

In this case, for example, a small group of the hundreds and hundreds of admitees acted in an manner unacceptable to their new community and were exposed by other new students from the same community. The entire group is not at fault here, as it self-policed. The entire group is not absolved of this either, as the stupidity did happen. Most of this is far more mundane than the Koch-fueled phantasms you managed to splash all over the place. Calm down.

Cris E

Re: Draconian?

"That said, surely the context matters?"

Yup, but not in the way you're implying. Harvard has an infinite supply of these kids, so setting a couple of them alight every year or two sets an example for the others and throws a lovely reddish light on them that drives away the shadows these memes were casting.

Cris E


Get real. When they acted it cast a shadow on the brand, and the company will act in its own defense. Those kids were not "soccer players" or "from New York" or "4chan creeps" but "Harvard admittees". That's a Harvard logo on a story about pinata babies. Expect trouble.

Cris E

"New"? Where have you been?

Cris E

Re: Bah!

A little agree, a little not so much.

Kathy Griffin was dumb and not funny and got abused online, but she doesn't deserve the amount of crap she's received. But these weren't a bunch of random strangers who met on 4chan. These were hand-picked by the august institution to constitute the next class and acting as a group. They had no context outside of that, so when it came to light (and who expected it not to?) the school was put into a spot where they could say "Yup, those are our cherubs!" or "Whoa, OK, they aren't in yet, right?"

What was going to happen? Expect stuff like this to come to light, especially in a university context where kids are just starting to flex their voices. Expect large organizations to make the expedient PR move rather than defend stuff like pinata baby jokes. Expect rich kids who could get into Harvard to come out of this just fine.

Cris E

Re: The one good thing about social media...

Dumb is most certainly likely to apply, moreso when your life protects you from most consequences. For example, what sort of idiot thought they could post some of those things in the main group without a second look? Who imagined there wasn't going to be a snitch? What kind of response was expected once this mess came to light?

Just because your money or connections can get you out of trouble doesn't mean you lack the native gifts to get into the ditch in the first place. Dumb has as much to do with common sense as intelligence.

Cris E

The one good thing about social media...

...is how easy it makes it to spot dumb people. Wow.

Sysadmin finds insecure printer, remotely prints 'Fix Me!' notice

Cris E

Re: Never do this

But if someone steals that guy's credit card info there's no way to prove you were just "slipping in a piece of paper" and not "copying down all the CC info", is there?

Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry

Cris E

Re: It is the apps tied to ActiveX that cause the problems

It's not just Windows and IE. We have old yet vital crap tied to a particular Java version that's keeping some very obsolete hardware and software online. MS is just the largest and least motivated OS provider.

Silicon Valley tech CEO admits beating software engineer wife, offered just 13 days in the clink

Cris E

Re: Jail time should be 5 years

Actually the prosecutor made a deal but the judge hasn't agreed to it yet. In fact the court stopped when it heard her statement and did not sentence him yet. Read the piece, it says the courts are working as they should, with various parties acting as checks on other roles.

Now if the deal stands, on the other hand, you will be correct in condemning the courts. We'll know on May 19.

Robo-AI jobs doomsday may, er... not actually happen, say boffins

Cris E

Re: Rechristened

Well, sure, facts: go ahead and be that way. But you can't deny the almost laughable amount of computing power that can be brought to bear on the most trivial of tasks these days. Just as the widespread availability of cheap high speed networks changed the world, this will remove barriers to all sorts of tasks that were more or less solved but not implemented because of cost or complexity.

Cris E

Re: Where's Fred Pohl when you need him?

Not too different from multi-function printers today: standard maintenance in the field, component swaps for some repairs, full unit replacements for anything complex, and rely on the network for configuration, monitoring and upgrades. The hard stuff, programming and design, stays centrally located and minimized. It'll be a mess for a while, but it's been done before and will be again.

Cris E

Re: Displaced not redundant

The thing is, as cheap as robots are getting it's still a capital outlay that has to be justified by the operational cost over time. And as more and more people are unemployed the cost of labor will fall until it reaches whatever passes for minimum wage. You shouldn't buy robots if meat is cheaper over the long run unless there's a quality improvement or some other justification for it, and some work is low margin enough that the cost of automation will never be covered.

Cris E

Re: Inverting the pyramid

Maybe. Much of what managers do is herd people through reviews, assignments and scheduling. Take that work away and you can essentially kill off that whole role and go with directors, project managers and the reduced staff necessary for decision support and marketing.

Cris E

Right: over the past hundred years farming jobs didn't go away, but one or two guys can do the work of dozens. With ratios like that, the idea of farm hand as a separate job from farm manager has all but evaporated.

Ford to build own data centre to store connected car data

Cris E

Re: Is that a good idea?

Well there's nothing else near there, so it'll be cheap to buy up a large buffer zone.

Seriously, I bet they got a huge subsidy to bring the construction jobs in and the development jobs are a solid addition for the community, but I wonder if they realize how few people it takes to run a HUGE data center like that.

Force employees to take DNA tests for bosses? We've got a new law to make that happen, beam House Republicans

Cris E

Re: Hey, I'm all for it!

If they can't get a PDF of Trump's taxes out there I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for his DNA.

Cris E

Re: Bryant - Rob d. Adrian 4 extreme

So costs can be used to justify any hiring decisions imaginable? You already went on record against women, how about making up some race-based costs? Are you actually endorsing getting rid of all employment bias laws? Just getting a pretty harsh vibe here, and it's more than the usual Libertarian "I got mine" selfishness.

Cris E

Re: @ST Kinda misses the point

Wait, who doesn't know insurance?

ACA was intended to make insurance possible for people who chose to go for it. You can complain about premium increases or making too much money, but honestly what the ACA did was a vast improvement for tens of millions of people. The only real problem was the incentives to get healthy people off the sidelines were too low. The new plan offered by Republicans reduces the subsidies to the poor, increases them to the affluent who don't need them, and and decreases the incentives for healthy people to get in the pool.

And risk pools are awful. Not sure where you're from, but my state had one that featured unpayable premiums and stratospheric levels of subsidy to stay solvent. Those subsidies came from... fees levied against the health plans of the healthy. The latest Trump plan will leave craters in the budgets of any insurance company dumb enough to try running a high risk pool since the proposed supports are laughably below anticipated costs to run such pools.

The ACA attempted to do things better but was only passed after running a gauntlet of hostile legislators intent on sabotaging it rather than dragging it toward some agreed upon middle ground. Replacement is difficult because instead of focusing on finding something that works the new administration's first goal is to not do anything like the current incarnation regardless of its value. That makes it harder than it should be, and for some really pretty partisan reasons.

Official: America auto-scanned visitors' social media profiles. Also: It didn't work properly

Cris E

Re: What if you don't buy into the whole social media thing?

If you want to purge your empty google+ profile you could do that on google's downgrade page. At least that worked for me a while ago.

Not so fast. Trying to erase your past is a sign of nefarious intent. Also, leaving behind a long and boring history is a sign of nefarious intent. And being interesting, yeah, that's gonna raise some flags too.

I was authorized to trash my employer's network, sysadmin tells court

Cris E

On the other hand...

...they didn't actually treat him like shit. His buddy got hosed, but he was getting a little extra to do his job.

But back on the first hand he was a total d-bag.

Biggest Kodi sweep: Brit cops nab five, bag some dodgy sticks

Cris E

Re: Top tip from FACT

Kodi + Exodus = happiness.

But just to be safe, folks in the USA do recommend using a VPN so that your tracks back to the various content repositories are hidden in the event that laws or enforcement priorities change.

Who's behind the Kodi TV streaming stick crackdown?

Cris E

Re: Said it before, will say it again

"Are you paying for a subscription service today? If you aren't then quit complaining."

Listen, the invisible hand that creates markets isn't a real thing. It's a fools game to wait around for companies to decide they've made enough money through exclusive contracts and lock-outs. As long as they can wring out more profit with the current model they won't make the next move to a broader coalition-style licensing model. The "invisible" hand that fixed music looked a lot like Napster and the Apple store. For video it's going to be more Kodi and a collapse of the siloed content into massive cooperatives that take less profit from far more numerous sales.

Startup promises to cancel your hated Comcast subscription for you for just $5

Cris E

It is a challenge when people want more than one thing and are unable to prioritize or make choices. They want both the discounts from annual contracts and the freedom to leave when they choose without paying the ETA. They want to be loved by everyone and not have to say No directly to someone, even someone as horrible as Comcast. The whole specter of being uncomfortable, even for a few minutes, is the problem.

Google gives up YOUR private data to US govt – but won't hand over its OWN staff personal info

Cris E

Re: As the article pretty much says

If they are discriminating then there will be penalties. And even if the discrimination was merit-based at one point in time, they are large enough now that they have to start acting like adults. That means hiring and paying women, older people, gays, or whatever other groups aren't feeling the love. Even if it's just a coincidence that they just happen to find that all the best candidates look just like themselves, the government still gets to spend its money at companies that look more like itself.

Cris E

Re: @AC Egg-zactly!

It's a reaction to a time, a very real and prolonged time, when many arse-backwards companies discriminated like mad against all sorts of people. It's a bunch of extra bookkeeping for everyone just to keep a minority of dirtbags from behaving badly. The minute anyone can provide an alternative way of ensuring that broad-based discrimination doesn't happen I'm sure everyone would drop this immediately. But as that seems unlikely, this is the next best lever.

Trump hires very best, greatest net neut haters to head FCC transition

Cris E

Re: Bandwidth

But when they want to increase what people can do in their homes they are at the mercy of whatever the last mile can bear, and if Grandma Bell hasn't tended to her knitting that was a bottleneck. That's why they went into those towns with giant rolls of fiber: to goose the industry into modernization. The problem is Google doesn't want to be a carrier, but they want the carriers to step up their game. I like me some net neutrality, but sometimes I wish the kids would play together nicely and work some of this out on their own.

Cris E

Re: Expending Good Will

People do want jobs, but Trump saying that he can bring back manufacturing to Ohio or coal jobs to West Virginia is simply not possible. Coal plants are being closed because natural gas is cheaper and easier than trainloads of coal. Manufacturing is not coming back to Ohio (or anywhere else) in any recognizable form because of how many fewer people it takes to make anything these days.

I completely agree that they are going to be pissed. It does a tremendous disservice to these folks (ie it's a lie) and the disappointment will be terrible. All he's got to offer is a lot of road construction jobs and no way to pay for them, which is pretty much the Democratic plan they would have gotten from Clinton.

The sharks of AI will attack expensive and scarce workers faster than they eat drivers

Cris E

Re: Basic Income is our only solution

The 1% still need their corporations to make a profit, and in order to do that they need customers with money. As the workforce continues to shrink because of improved efficiency or jobs physically moving to cheaper workforces, corporations will demand some way to keep the money moving.



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