* Posts by Len

864 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jan 2009


No joke: Cloudflare takes aim at Google Fonts with ROFL


GDPR compliant alternative to Google Fonts

For those looking for a GDPR compliant alternative to Google Fonts I can recommend fonts.bunny.net. They have drop in replacements for all Google fonts and even a WordPress plugin that redirects it for you if can't (or prefer not to) change your WP themes with hardcoded links to Google Fonts.

If anyone finds an $80M F-35 stealth fighter, please call the Pentagon


When I grew up the joke was that you only ever saw artist impressions of the F-16 because they tended to crash before someone could take a photo.

OpenAI's ChatGPT has a left wing bias – at times


Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

Are you sure you're not confusing the FDP with AFD and VVD with PVV? Because AFD and PVV have some fascist tendencies but VVD and FDP certainly don't. The VVD and FDP are pretty mainstream centre-right parties. You might call them uncaring, greedy, catering to a narrow base of people with above average wealth who've 'made it' while neglecting anyone else but you can't call them extremists.


Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

Good point. The US has quite a unique definition of the political label "Liberal". Most Liberal parties all over the world (from the German FDP and the Dutch VVD to the Australian Liberal Party or the UK's 19th century Liberal Party) are right-of-centre parties focusing on small government and low taxes, it's only the US where it seems to mean almost the opposite.

OpenZFS 2.2 is nearly here, and ZFSBootMenu 2.2 already is


Also in TrueNAS

The first beta of TrueNAS SCALE 23.10 also includes OpenZFS 2.2, though it's a beta and based on OpenZFS 2.2.0 RC3 so I would only use it for testing purposes at the moment.

iXSystems, the company behind TrueNAS is a major contributor to the OpenZFS code and quite a few of the improvements in the latest OpenZFS are either done by iXSystems developers or by others but sponsored by iXSystems. I believe they were also behind getting the RAID expansion development back on track.

Not call: Open source gurus urge you to dump Zoom

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Re: Use Jitsi

That is a very good point. Fortunately the Jitsi software is open source and can be self-hosted. That means you could host your own, or choose an EU-based, GDPR-compliant, Jitsi service. I've just found this one for instance: Fairkom.eu.


Zoom Out

They missed a trick in not calling the campaign Zoom Out. It works on two levels, pushing Zoom out of the building and zooming out to see the alternative services.

Also, this excellent piece of sleuthing suggests it was far worse than just some unfortunate wording: Zoom knots itself a legal tangle over use of customer data for training AI models. It seems clearly in breach of many European privacy safeguards and, for instance, I don't think any judge would agree with their definition of opt-in ("we start using your data from the start and then notify you so you can leave the call if you don't like that" is not opt-in). Furthermore they either seem to accidentally or on purpose make a complete hash of their understanding of the GDPR, or who their regulator is.

India launches contest to build homegrown web browser


Re: I wish them luck

I seriously hope that this will be based off the Firefox code (who knows, Mozilla might even help them because at some level it's in their interest) and not just another slightly adapted version of Chrome with its Blink engine.

It sounds counter-intuitive at first but I seriously worry that Apple might be barred from requiring the use of the WebKit engine as underlying render technology on iOS. Such a ban may appear to create more user choice but it actually would reduce choice because it would just allow companies to make sites that only work on Blink and if you complain they'll just tell you to install Chrome because "it works just fine when they check it on Chrome".

Firefox currently has about 200 million users making its Gecko engine the third most used engine to browse websites. If the "IndiaBrowser" would use the Gecko engine too it could easily double the use of Gecko worldwide, making the engine competition more of a three horse race again, instead of one horse on wheels with rocketboosters while firing at the competition and two horses behind it dodging bullets from a bully.

If India is seriously worried about the dominance of Western tech then not using Chrome/Chromium/Blink, which is effectively a trojan horse pushed by Google, should be a good first argument to pick something else.

I don't see building another engine from scratch as a viable alternative. Developing browser engines has become so complex now browsers are essentially application platforms that the complexity is probably in the same ball park as building an operating system. I would argue that developing a kernel from scratch is easier than building a web browser from scratch.

How to spot OpenAI's crawler bot and stop it slurping sites for training data


Re: The risk with Robots.txt

I get that, thanks. But I was wondering how to do it selectively. So, let's say I want ChatGPT to hoover up data from directory X but not from directory Y, without telling all and sundry that directory Y exists so I can't do disallow Y in Robots.txt


The risk with Robots.txt

Can someone enlighten me?

Robots.txt has been used for/against search engine bots for ages. It has always come with the warning that if you don't want people/bots/crawlers to know that directory B exists you should not explicitly allow crawling of directory A while explicitly blocking crawling of directory B. You're asking not to look somewhere and only scrupulous bots would honour that. The solution is usually to sort it out at page level so a page you don't want to be crawled has a meta tag blocking it.

How would one do this with the ChatGPT bot? Will it also look at the page meta tags? I don't trust some makers of AI bots to not use a block attempt to explicitly go and harvest data from directories that I have disallowed. It might just give them an edge over OpenAI.

How could I let ChatGPT freely crawl my FAQ or About Us page but not my Content page?

Aspiration to deploy new UK nuclear reactor every year a 'wish', not a plan


Re: Technical marvel, but it's the economics, stupid

You are looking at consumer cost, which is hard to compare and doesn't say much about production cost. Some countries have amazing grids, some country's grids are held together by tie wraps and duct tape. Some countries add extra levies to pay for grid upgrades, some don't. Some countries add extra levies for an energy transition, some don't. Some countries have a well functioning utilities market, some don't.

If you want to look at the wholesale cost per source you'd need to look at what's called the 'Levelized cost of electricity' (LCOE). Then you'll typically see, from cheapest to more expensive, something along the lines of Large-scale solar -> offshore wind -> onshore wind -> combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) -> geothermal -> nuclear -> small scale solar * -> coal (hard) -> coal (soft) -> more obscure sources such as old fashioned gas plants, oil, etc.

Occasionally offshore wind and onshore wind trade places in that order, dependent on geography. Spain will probably have cheaper onshore than offshore wind whereas Denmark will have it the other way around. Also, load factors vary per country so some countries will have wind farms that produce about 60% of the time, other countries only 30% (often, but not solely, based on whether they have more offshore wind parks as offshore has a higher LF). But interestingly enough, even an abundance of coal in a country doesn't reduce the wholesale price that much. And neither does having serious economies of scale in nuclear, like the French have.

The thing is that the fuel cost only plays a part role in the total cost of producing a MWh. Obviously fuel cost for wind and solar plants is zero per MWh whereas gas or uranium or coal cost money but the total cost of construction, operation, maintenance, decommissioning etc. is where the real expenditure lies.

* Small scale solar, such as people putting a few solar panels on their house, is not very cheap in the grand scheme of things but because it's individuals who become less dependent on their energy supplier it might still make economic sense for them. Even more so because most other forms of electricity production are usually beyond the reach of individuals.


Technical marvel, but it's the economics, stupid

Nuclear power plants are without a doubt a technical marvel. Its designs, its complexity, its processes, its safety procedures are truly part of a great human achievement.

However, the problem the nuclear power industry has is that the economics, not the technology, make it outdated. It simply cannot compete on price because construction is so hideously expensive. There was a time private power companies had their own nuclear power plants, then came a time that only governments had enough money to finance them. Now were at a time where even many governments don't have the required funds any more to make it happen. Every time there is a nuclear power incident somewhere on the planet (on average every fifteen years I believe) the cost for new reactors shoots up yet again.

The UK had to get China to fund its latest reactor and could only get the Chinese to sign the contract in return for a strike price twice the current wholesale electricity price, guaranteed for 30 years! While the trend on the wholesale electric is only downward. That means that in ten years we'd probably be paying the Chinese four times the wholesale price, in twenty years ten times the wholesale price. It means that nuclear power plants are essentially running on subsidies to produce reliable baseload. It's financial madness to overpay so much just for reliability and it opens up the economics for alternative systems of reliability (batteries of all kinds for instance) to grossly undercut nuclear power.

Even France, easily the world champion in using nuclear power to fulfil its demand, is investing in wind power like it's going out of fashion because the economics of nuclear are starting to hold them back.

Nuclear is on course to drop out of the top five cheapest ways to produce electricity and I see no way it can compete with, for instance, solar and wind power which, all things considered, are becoming insanely cheap. I don't see how nuclear could ever become cheaper than those two again. There's something to be said for nuclear to power submarines, perhaps even spaceships, but not countries any more. I think that ship has sailed.

Always on the Horizon, UK must wait for megabucks EU science deal


Re: becoming a global science superpower

To be fair, the UK has (or had) some prerequisites that make being a (not 'the') global science superpower not an entirely unrealistic ambition. It's just that many steps have been taken in the last decade or so that are precisely the opposite of what is needed. Steps such as making universities more reliant on international students for their income and then making it much harder for international students to come to the UK. Or throwing up barriers for international scientists to come to the UK by bombarding them with mountains of bureaucracy just to be allowed to work in the UK. Or having an esteemed professor denied a visa so they can't speak at your conference because someone at the Home Office doesn't like their skin colour.

Wanting to become a global science superpower and then leaving the European Union is a bit like wanting to become a global military superpower and then abolishing the Navy and the Air Force. It's not the most helpful of steps.

Man who nearly killed physical media returns with $60,000 vinyl turntable


Re: Snap, crackle and pop...

Don't forget to put a resistor between left and right channels to create some crosstalk, add a 50Hz hum (60 for muricans), a bit of rumble, and a 16KHz low-pass roll-off filter.

Netherlands digital minister smacks down Big Tech over AI regs


Re: No it isn't

It goes even further. If, let's say, BMW produces cars that are fundamentally unsafe for drivers and everyone around it, BMW management knows about this but still keeps selling these vehicles to the general public with the suggestion to use them on the public roads, then BMW's management would be liable on a whole host of levels and would spend most of the year in court.

In a non-hypothetical, Tesla is actually facing a lot of legal scrutiny at the moment for more or less implying that their cars can drive themselves when we have the death toll to prove that they can't. Mercedes, the current fore-runner in automated driving in Level 3 and even Level 4, only got to that stage by very tightly cooperating with legislators.

The peddlers behind the latest fake-AI LLMs want legal immunity from being responsible for the damages that their products cause to its users or society as a whole. That's a huge difference with the car industry.

Python Package Index had one person on-call to hold back weekend malware rush


Difference between PyPi and NPM?

Forgive me because this is not really my field but isn’t it the case that PyPi and NPM are quite different?

I thought that PyPi hosts packages that are included by developers in their projects but that are ‘compiled’ into bytecode on deployment. Every visitor of the web app would always run that bytecode until it’s updated in a new deployment.

With NPM the code isn’t downloaded until a visitor of the website starts the app by visiting the site. It’s then executed together with all the other latest packages.

That would mean that a Python app would be considerably safer if you have a policy of only using packages that are at least a week (or so) old to allow malware to be picked up, whereas with an NPM app an infected package would be used by millions within seconds.

Or am I mistaken?

Elizabeth Holmes is going to prison – with a $500m bill


Re: I'm a bit torn

To be fair, and I'm not a massive fan of VCs plus I think most of them are not as smart as they think they are, in this case hardly any (or even none?) VCs were involved. Theranos went shopping for investment with the usual suspects and all of them turned them down. They probably sniffed something suspicious that they couldn't put a finger on.

That's how Theranos ended up with such an odd collection of investors, a few rich politicians, some rich business people, some random idiots with way more money than sense but very few investors for whom investing is their day job.

Owner of 'magic spreadsheet' tried to stay in the Lotus position until forced to Excel


Re: Spreadsheets for Dummies /s

I can thoroughly recommend the Horror Stories list of the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group (EuSpRig). It has that story and many more.

France bans all recreational apps – including TikTok – from government devices

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A much more sensible approach

I think the French approach is much more sensible than what we've seen in other countries.

Granted, TikTok goes to extreme lengths in spying on its users (it's essentially a key logger, among other things), but its business model is not that different from many other "free" social media services. It makes much more sense to ban specific practices or types of apps than to single out a single app but leave the other data predators untouched.

I understand why it's hard in the US to ban domestic apps from major political donors but I don't see why the UK/Finnish/Portuguese/Norwegian government couldn't ban Meta apps on its devices for instance.

Arm swans off to Nasdaq despite UK gov pleas to IPO in London


Re: Reasons?

The London Stock Exchange has a bunch of issues. Just this morning the FT wrote ‘There are no domestic equity investors’: why companies are fleeing London’s stock market about how the lack of UK investors buying equity in UK companies means that there's a lack of 'validation' that local investors give to a stock and that foreign investors might look for before they buy.

Add to that that New York has deeper liquidity pools (a combination of just having a bigger home market, more stupid people with lots of money, and some other factors) means that it's easier to raise money in NY than London and that valuations tend to be higher there.

Add to that that London is very much a 20th century exchange, dominated by stale and old-fashioned mining and commodity conglomerates, not flashy 21st century tech firms. If I recall correctly it was either 2022 or 2021 that Amsterdam had more tech IPOs than London.

Add to that that the UK has limitations on shares of multiple classes, very popular with tech founders as it allows them to sell a majority of the business but still have a controlling share.

And then there is the small issue of Brexit. It's not a top three cause of the LSE's issues but might make it into the top five.

That means that London is not a place where many tech firms like to list. I don't know if Amsterdam could be a place for ARM's secondary listing as I don't know enough about the minutiae and specific requirements that ARM is looking for.

Musk says he ain't going anywhere as Twitter CEO until at least late 2023


Re: I might ...

As I understand it Mercedes was actually the first car maker to be accredited for Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous driving. Level 3 in the US and for quite some time now. Level 4 only in designated spaces in Germany and more recently.

Musk has been selling "Full Self Driving by next year" for about a decade now, and he has to otherwise Tesla would be valued as a car maker with lower multiples. By convincing investors that Tesla is not a car maker but a tech firm he has been getting far higher multiples for the company's valuation. He can't back down now or Tesla stock would collapse.

Cat saves 'good bots' from Twitter API purge


I still don't understand why he insists all read-only access to Twitter should be blocked too. Even reading from your own Twitter feed.

Countless people and businesses will now have to remove their Twitter feed from their own site, greatly reducing Twitter's exposure to non-Twitter users. Not long now and Musk is going to ban sign-ups...

No more free API access, says Twitter: You pay for that data


Re: Well that *IS* his aim,

Twitter has just made its first debt payment of about $300 million so I'm not sure avoiding debt payment was the plan. Twitter makes first interest payment on Musk buyout debt -sources

Third-party Twitter apps stopped dead with no explanation from El Musko

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It turns out to have been amazing foresight of Tapbots (the makers of Tweetbot) to start working on their Mastodon app, Ivory. It's still in alpha and yet some people are already raving about it.

I suppose that, even though the Mastodon network works differently from the Twitter network, all that UX experience with Tweetbot turns out to be quite transferable.

With Mastodon, decentralization strikes back

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Re: Standards

Fun fact, Tumblr is joining the Fediverse so you could follow Tumblr blogs with your Mastodon account.


Re: Mastodon's biggest issue

That is indeed an issue. Don't forget, however, that the Mastodon reference server was essentially built by two people over six years with the tools and expertise that they had.

There is an interesting thread from late 2021 or early 2022 somewhere on Masto where people are speculating why Truth.social (which is built on the Mastodon reference software) wasn't launching even though they said they had 1.5 million people on the waiting list. Eugen Rochko, one of the Mastodon developers, suggested it may have something to do with the required expertise to run servers with that many users. The expertise to develop the heavy lifting services required to handle millions of concurrent users is concentrated in a handful of big tech companies, the average startup dev never gets to work with those scenarios, never gets to build those skills, never gets to discover in practice what works and what doesn't.

That may now be changing due to the Mastodon hype. There have never been so many eye-balls on the Mastodon code from experienced people as there are now. There are ex-Twitter people who are sharing their experience with running these massive services (from infrastructure to UX, from moderation to onboarding) with the Mastodon community. There is even a special Mastodon instance for former Twitter staff, Macaw.social.

I suspect that gradually bits get replaced for better performance. It should, for instance, be feasible to rewrite 'Sidekiq' (the Mastodon process responsible for queuing all the connections that send and receive posts from other servers) from the ground up in a more suitable language. It could be tested on some more experimental Mastodon instances for a bit (just like some instances have a tendency to be slightly ahead on beta versions while others play it safe by being slightly behind 'stable') before it get replaced in the main implementation.


Re: Standards

Someone (it might have been Cory Doctorow) described the landscape of social media as something along the lines of five walled gardens that are filled with screenshots of the other four platforms because they refuse to acknowledge each other's existence. It's quite apt.

What I find very interesting, and is touched upon a bit in this piece, is that one day the current implementation of the Mastodon service (or the Mastodon reference server) is no longer satisfactory and someone might build a newer social network using the ActivityPub protocol. That makes sense and is to be expected. The interesting bit will be that, just like you can currently follow someone's PixelFed or PeerTube account with your Mastodon client, you can follow the old Mastodon accounts or servers from your the new network. You could even decide to import all your old posts into the new network. That is truly something that was impossible in the old Silicon Valley/BigTech model of walled gardens *.

* There are people who have imported their old tweets into Mastodon but it requires a lot of tinkering (for instance so your Mastodon server doesn't tell all your contacts about a new post for every single one of your old 50,000 tweets that you're importing).

TSMC said to be considering first European semiconductor plant


Re: Netherlands

The thing is, if you build a fab, you only do a handful of transactions with a supplier of machinery (such as ASML) whereas you do daily transactions for the rest of the life of the plant with your customers.

These chips need to go into cars, helicopters, power tools, computers etc. so it makes sense to be closer to TSMC customers. Hence these companies typically decide to go for Germany, Italy or France (in that order) because that's where the high tech industry is.

World's richest man posts memes as $44b Twitter acquisition veers off course


Re: Waah

No, it's none of them. I don't know about LegalEagle but Popehat and that Brummie guy who does constitutional law are already on Mastodon. Anyway, it doesn't matter who it is. That's not the point.

In case anyone is interested in a #TwitterMigration Best Practice, this is what I have so far.

1) Pick a Mastodon server that you think suits you, either based on interests or on geography, but whatever you do, for the good of the world and yourself, do not choose Mastodon.social as it's already far too full and so permanently slowed down. You won't like it.

2) Create an account with a name that is identical or similar to what you had on Twitter. At least for the first two months or so also use the same profile image and background image. It helps people from 'the birdsite' easily recognise you on Mastodon.

3) Run a tool to help you find your Twitter follows on Mastodon. It exports it to a CSV that you import into Mastodon. You'll be surprised how many people you followed on Twitter are already on Masto.

If you followed many people on Twitter it may make sense to run this tool once a week as more people may have moved since you last used it.

4) Put your full Mastodon handle in your Twitter Bio. It helps your followers, other people that stumble upon your profile, and most importantly tools such as the one in 3) to find their Twitter follows on Mastodon. If you plan to give up Twitter for good, have a link to your Masto profile as a pinned post for a while before fully closing your account so people can follow you to Mastodon.

5) Mastodon doesn't have verification schemes or Blue Tick stuff like Twitter. But, you can verify yourself if you have a domain name. By having a rel="me" link to your Masto profile on your website you will get a green bar for the link to your website. That way people know that the person behind the website is the same person as behind the Masto account.

6) If it turns out that you have chosen the wrong Mastodon server for you, you can always move your profile. Your follows and followers can move with you but your posts cannot. Don't wait months before you move.

6) If you're looking for a mobile app, avoid the 'official' app. It's too new and still needs some polish. The best app for iOS is probably Metatext, for Android probably Tusky.

If, after you've created your new Mastodon profile, you are concerned about where Twitter is going you are not the only one. With so much of the security and infrastructure staff gone it's likely that they will be hacked soon. If you had a habit of posting private information in DMs (or are just not comfortable with people having all your tweets in one file), there are automated tools to help you delete stuff on Twitter.

For EU Citizens there are also guides out there that will walk you through how to submit a GDPR data request but I doubt any of the staff that would deal with those processes is still around. It's going to be two weeks at most before Twitter is in serious legal trouble with the EU: Is Elon Musk’s Twitter about to fall out of the GDPR’s one-stop shop? and EU privacy enforcer puts Elon Musk on notice as Twitter melts down


Re: Waah

Yes, it's surprisingly fast. I remember the 'Summer of Facebook' in 2007 when everyone seemed to move from MySpace to Facebook (at least here in London) but that took probably about two to three months. The Twitter meltdown achieved the same thing in weeks.

Mastodon hit a new record for sign-ups per hour this morning and I notice it myself too. I left Twitter for Mastodon at the start of this year but in just two weeks it seems everyone I knew on Twitter has now done the same. A friend of mine is a bit of a media personality as a result of his work as a lawyer and he has tens of thousands of followers on Twitter (no, it's not the Secret Barrister, they're already there). I am helping migrate his stuff off Twitter to Mastodon as we speak.

I struggle to find a comparable event where an online entity went down this fast (offline we've seen things go fast, from Lehman Brothers to Enron) but online communities seem to go under slowly. I read a great thread about the 'Trust Thermocline' and how big names can innovate or evolve with consent but go one step to far and suddenly lose all trust in a very short time. We're sort of speed reading that process with Twitter at the moment.

Twitter, Musk, and a week of bad decisions


Re: Couple of contradictions in Musk’s plans…

What I don't understand with all these suggested alternative plans that Musk is supposed to have, why start with spending tens of billions buying the headache that is Twitter Inc?

He could have created a new start up (without all its legal, technical, human capital and financial debt), financed it with $1 billion in seed funding, and have the world's best funded startup laser focused at his latest goal and still have $13B more in his pocket than he has now. It just doesn't make business sense.


Re: I really don't understand the 50% workforce, 80 hour week thing...

Twitter's problems are not technical, they are legal, regulatory, political, some times genocidal. Creating protocols or AI bots are not going to help you if you're summoned to appear in US Congress or European Parliament and explain why you took/did not take a certain action that has caused serious harm.

That many legal and policy people have resigned or have been fired (allegedly the Brussels office has only two people left, just when the next twelve months will probably see more relevant regulatory action than the previous twelve years combined) signals big trouble ahead. The sea is full of icebergs and Musk has drawn the curtains and fired the lookouts.

Big brands urged to pause Twitter ads until Elon's learned how this all works


Re: Meanwhile Mastodon is suffering

Mastodon is non-profit so the benefits of just a lot of extra traffic are not as clear cut. It massively increases costs (this server operator had to swap his 8-core database server for an 36-core one) but but not necessarily income to cover those costs, if they're lucky the lag in increased income following on from these increased costs is not too big.

But yes, there are also positives to the extra attention of course. Especially if this broadens out the base of users beyond the usual suspects of early-adopters-with-a-tech-background.


Meanwhile Mastodon is suffering

Mastodon server operators say they've never seen anything like this as they get more new users in a day than normally in a month due to the great #TwitterMigration.

I have noticed that one of my Masto accounts is currently unbearably slow because the server operator can't get new servers provisioned quick enough. I've seen some of these spikes earlier but never as high as this and never as long, it's been madness non-stop since Friday. Elon's not only ruining Twitter, he's also ruining Masto.

Cops swoop after crooks use wireless keyfob hack to steal cars


Re: I call that a successful operation

That is more or less expected as it was a Europol operation. Their role is specifically to collect and share intelligence with regular police forces, investigate bigger and border-crossing types of crime, and coordinate pan-European searches and arrests.

They don't have their own 'cops', they leave the searches and arrests to local police forces but they will take the coordinating role (so a dawn raid in Portugal doesn't alert the accomplices in Finland because all raids happen simultaneously).

It tends to take a while before Europol gets involved, petty crime is not their thing, but when they do get involved they tend to be quite impressive operations. What probably triggered Europol involvement is that this wasn't just a local gang who fiddled with some fobs to steal a handful of cars but that it was an organised crime ring that sold their tech and services to local gangs.

Another UK tech company bought out: Schneider Electric grabs rest of Aveva


The French are coming!!!111

The FT had an interesting piece on how, in a relatively short time, we've seen a high amount of UK takeovers by French companies.

French buyers snapped up a slew of British assets on Wednesday, from a slice of the UK’s biggest telecoms group to a buyout of one of the country’s oldest technology companies, underlining how overseas acquirers are taking advantage of depressed valuations.

Entrepreneur Xavier Niel bought a 2.5 per cent stake in Vodafone; Schneider Electric agreed to buy Aveva for £9.5bn; and Suez moved to buy back its British waste-treatment business for around $2.3bn.

The UK is experiencing relatively high inflation, low investment confidence and a weaker currency, making it an attractive moment for European suitors to pounce on struggling British assets.


Financial Times: French groups swoop for depressed British assets

It's obviously attractive for holders of euro's to buy companies valued in sterling. The GBP to EUR exchange is looking poor so they get a baked in discount. But, it's also the medium term economic outlook which depresses the value of UK companies. It's full on bargain hunting.

Left-wing campaign group throws weight behind BT strikes


Hhmm, neither Sweden or the USSR have ever been Socialist. Sweden has a long tradition in Social Democracy and the USSR had a long tradition in Communism.

Social Democracy is inherently Capitalist although with many guard rails to prevent market failure or too much inequality. Communism is pretty far removed from Capitalism.

Socialism, rare in practice (I’d struggle to name a country in Europe that has had an enduring experiment with Socialism, Western Europe tended to always prefer Social Democracy over Socialism. Perhaps Albania?), would sit somewhere on the spectrum between Social Democracy and Communism when it comes to its economic model.

Google tells Apple to 'fix text messaging' in bid to promote RCS protocol



Agreed, but I believe that is a level lower. WhatsApp started out using XMPP (and may still do, just in a Signal-based encryption wrapper). iMessage still is XMPP as far as I'm aware. Same for Facebook Messenger. Most messaging systems just grab XMPP as the starting point and then build upon and around that.

It's the interoperability where the challenge lies. Having twelve walled gardens all use XMPP doesn't help interoperability one bit.

As usual, the tech bit is the easy bit, the economics is the hard part. The success of SMS was that operators could charge for its use. That gave them an economic incentive to support it, nay, actively promote it. Imagine there were some open standard based around XMPP for interoperable messaging. Demand side will not be the driver as most people don't care, they just want to chat with Jane about Love Island, even if it goes via a server in China owned by the state. Supply side will not be the driver if there is no way to at the very least offset the cost and preferably even make a profit.


RCS seems to be a mess

I remember seeing this thread two months ago and realising why Apple hasn’t implemented RCS yet. The standard might need some more work before it’s ready for the big time.

GitHub courts controversy by suspending Tornado Cash developers and reneging on cookie commitments


Re: emoji

If I'm not mistaken the American legal concept of Freedom of Speech (the European legal concept of Freedom of Expression works differently) is to regulate the relationship between an individual and the state, it doesn't not apply to companies. You can get fired from your corporate job if your boss doesn't like your speech.

In this case GitHub does not have a duty to host your code whereas it has a duty to follow local laws around sanctioned entities. I'm typically hardly a defender of GitHub but in this case I don't see how else they could have responded (perhaps they could have left the contributors' accounts active with a warning to not put Tornado Cash code back).

GitLab versus The Zombie Repos: An old plot needs a new twist


Unfortunate timing

The timing of this has been disastrous for GitLab. This happens just when groups such as the Software Freedom Conservancy were making inroads with their Give up GitHub campaign on the back of GitHub giving away other people’s open source code as part of its CoPilot feature.

That GiveUpGitHub move seems to have caught on, judging from noises around the #GiveUpGitHub hashtag on Twitter and Mastodon and alternative services such as Hostea and Codeberg are reporting a lot of interest.

Of course the most pure open source advocates would still have been suspicious of GitLab but if they had played their cards right GitLab could have been a refuge for many people leaving GitHub but slightly hesitant of moving to smaller forges such as Hostea or Codeberg.

That doesn’t solve GitLab’s Freemium economics problem, of course, though perhaps an influx of paying projects on the back of the GitHub exodus could have changed it for the better.

Microsoft thinks there are people on 2G networks who want to use Outlook


Re: "the best Outlook experience"

Hardware is usually ridiculously overpowered and relatively cheap. Development time is very expensive. A lot of effort going into optimisation doesn't make commercial sense.

Eutelsat and OneWeb to join forces across orbits in $3.4b merger


Re: RoI

Apparently the UK government said (when the initial details of the deal started coming out) that their investment had made $100 million profit. Since then the share price of Eutelsat has taken a big hit (Eutelsat's old shareholders are not that excited about their healthy, profit making, dividend paying company suddenly taking a huge punt with buying such a speculative company as OneWeb) so that profit has vanished.

However, if I were the UK government I would hold on to the shares as I expect them to slowly recover.


It is indeed a takeover. OneWeb has been looking for more money for a while, even after the UK government investment, and they seem to have found it in Eutelsat.

That shouldn't hinder any coverage. When ARM was sold to the Japanese in September 2016, a few months after the controversial referendum, it was hailed as "A sign of confidence in Britain that a Japanese company was investing in the UK!".


Re: Compatibility?

It's indeed quite unlikely that the sats are already compatible. Though perhaps they could do something with combining it in the consumer equipment.

The benefits of GEO are its massive footprint, a single satellite can cover half a continent. The downsides of GEO for internet are the latencies because the sats are so far away.

The benefits of LEO are the low latencies because they are quite close to earth. The downsides of LEO are the enormous amounts of sats needed for decent coverage. Apparently OneWeb has a roadmap for 648 LEO sats at this stage.

I remember they used to pull stunts such as sending the uplink (and thus the request) from consumer to server over a copper cable to keep the latency low and then send the download over the GEO sat because of its enormous (for the time) bandwidth.

If Eutelsat consumer premises equipment can receive from the GEO sats but send to the LEO sats you might be able to pull something similar off. You could have fast, low latency, internet in your remote Alpine hut.

India's Internet Association ends crypto advocacy to do something more productive


Russian capital flight

It is unclear why the Kremlin and its masters are Putin the boot in to crypto. Pundits have suggested read-only techno-rubles could be an instrument that might help Moscow evade the many sanctions imposed because of its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Russia is suffering from tremendous 'capital flight' at the moment as Russians with some money try to get their Rubles out of the country and into Dollars or Euros. Moscow is actively pursuing capital controls to stem this.

Cryptocurrencies work quite well for shifting large amounts across borders if legal routes are limited. I suspect the Kremlin decided that the downside of capital flight is greater than the upside of sanction busting. They could be right.

Bosch to pour $3 billion into European chip fabs and research

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Re: Finally

Agreed. What many people don't understand is that these plans are not expected to produce a European GPU or mobile CPU manufacturer. They are expected to support the existing and future European manufacturing giants in anything from planes, trains, cars and helicopters to medical equipment, rockets, power tools and kitchen appliances.

Many of those sectors have been hard hit by recent supply chain issues and to prevent being that dependent on Asian manufacturing plants ever again they prefer production within, let's say, a 1000 KM radius. When it comes to supply chain risks, even a Chinese company manufacturing in Italy is better than an Italian company manufacturing in Asia.

Most of those industries are perfectly happy with anything under 100nm and prioritise reliability over cutting edge.

US must adopt USB-C charging standard like EU, senators urge


Don't worry, that's where the Brussels Effect comes in. Device manufacturers prefer to make as few different models as possible to reach as many markets as possible so models in the US will just get USB-C around the same time, regardless of whether American law requires it.

The only manufacturers that might be evading this are the ones that don't plan to sell any devices in the EU anyway. But for them mass production, harmonised production processes, and economies of scale will probably make USB-C the cheapest or simplest option.

The same thing happened with the 2009 EU push to stop using proprietary phone chargers. It only officially applies in the EU but you'll struggle to find proprietary phones chargers anywhere nowadays as the impact was global.

Atos, UK government reach settlement on $1 billion Met Office supercomputer dispute


Re: Weather Forecasting

I found more details on the resolution improvements.

The new supercomputer capacity will enable a number of important changes for the ECMWF’s operations, including crucial progress towards its goal of improving the horizontal resolution of its forecast from 18km to 10km and increasing the number of vertical resolution layers from 91 to 137. The ECMWF also has an ambitious goal of a 5km ensemble forecast set for 2025.

ECMWF Opens Bologna Datacenter in Preparation for Atos Supercomputer


Re: Weather Forecasting

Yes, they'll probably supplement it with weather monitoring stations but, from what I understand, most of the data is from satellites these days. And satellite resolution has improved enormously.