* Posts by Len

586 posts • joined 26 Jan 2009

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Twitter, Reddit and pals super unhappy US visa hopefuls have to declare their online handles to Uncle Sam

Len Silver badge
WTF?

Re: "Genossen, wir mussen alles wissen."

True, although nowadays people happily pay Google or Amazon to introduce smart microphones to their households themselves. The Stasi could only dream of that.

Software bug in Bombardier airliner made planes turn the wrong way

Len Silver badge
Coat

Re: Crossing the International Date Line/Equator

When I grew up the joke was that you only ever saw artist impressions of an F16 in flight as they would crash before someone could take a proper photo.

SAP proves, yet again, that Excel is utterly unkillable

Len Silver badge
Facepalm

Excel bugs

It’s been years since I looked into this but I remember that when the people who developed the OpenDocument standard went about reverse engineering the Excel format for interoperability they ran into quite a few issues that put me off using Excel formats for anything important.

The OpenDocument standards team received a lot of input from mathematics professors to prevent the mistakes that Microsoft had made. I believe they also had input from the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group (whose list of Spreadsheet horrors is a frightening read) to prevent common human error when working with spreadsheets.

There is a leap year bug carried over from Lotus 1-2-3. They screwed up the leap year maths and incorrectly considered 1900 to be a leap year. Not a problem if you never venture more than a century ago but if you have time series that go back to before 1900 your calculations will be off in Excel. (Excel wrongly assumes 1900 is a leap year)

I believe there was an issue with the order in which Excel performs certain operations (not entirely BODMAS?). If I recall correctly it would screw up mortgage calculations.

The challenge for standard developers is then to choose between perpetuating the error or lose roundtrip compatibility. For the leap year bug OpenDocument team chose not to perpetuate the error and MS now lists using the year 1900 as an incompatibility between .XLSX and .ODS formats (without stating that it's Excel that's at fault).

Anyone know more about this? The leap year bug is a WONTFIX, any others?

Rust marks five years since its 1.0 release: The long and winding road actually works

Len Silver badge
Happy

Wish it could become a money maker for Mozilla

I wish Rust could become a money maker for Mozilla in some form. Not because I don't like that many things are just given away for free. It's just that I consider Mozilla to be a force for good in tech and anything that could help them diversify their income streams and gives them staying power is a plus.

Facebook to surround all of Africa in optical fibre and tinfoil

Len Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Choice of countries

I'm somewhat surprised by the choice of countries. For instance, why is a country like Namibia (with its fairly large mining, manufacturing and banking sector one of the rising stars of the continent) not included whereas a non-African country like Oman is?

A connection to Luanda in Angola (the world's most expensive city after overtaking Hong Kong) would make sense too. Luanda is also where South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) comes on land from Brazil so it could bring 2Africa countries closer to South America. The same argument goes for Cameroon where the SAIL from Brazil comes on land.

Historically the reason that every African coastal country wanted its own connection was that they didn't always trust their neighbouring states. The ties between Namibia and South Africa are pretty good as far as I know so perhaps that traffic can just continue over land. Are there considerations that I'm not seeing?

Total Eclipse to depart: Open-source software foundation is hopping the pond to Europe

Len Silver badge
Angel

Re: A long time coming

The suggestion that English has a correlation between how words are spelled and how they are pronounced is fanciful.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: A long time coming

Do you spell it advertising or advertizing? Why?

Len Silver badge
Meh

Re: Bye bye

I wish more Americans started to understand the difference between Social Democracy, Socialism and Communism.

Len Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: A long time coming

Regarding the British newspapers and their date notation, I've read the history behind that once but unfortunately forgotten most about it. You mean when spelling out a full date like January 10 2020, right? I am not aware of any British newspapers writing 01/10/2020 when they mean the 10th of January 2020 but the former does occur. I believe the Guardian used to write it that way since it was founded in the early 19th century and didn't change it until last century. I believe, like so many things in the UK, the Brits and the Americans diverged over time and writing it like January 10 2020 has become less common in the UK.

If you mean British media that would put a date like 01/10/2020 when they mean the 10th of January 2020 then I have only seen those things online. That is either the result of stupid Content Management Systems or just sloppiness. I remember that in Wordpress you couldn't even choose DD-MM-YYYY, they considered that a 'custom format'. Hopefully that stupidity is fixed.

You can also see very odd things happen with media spanning both the US and Europe. If you go to Politico.eu for instance then you see the work of European journalists based in Europe writing articles about things happening in Europe but they use the MM-DD-YYYY format. Probably because they share their systems with the Americans of Politico.com.

As for YYYY-MM-DD, apparently that is not uncommon in Asia. The most common place you'll probably find it, though, is under the hood in all sorts of software as its unambiguous, allows for easy sorting and all sorts of other things that computers tend to like.

Len Silver badge
Mushroom

Re: A long time coming

I'm not massively bothered by US English, though I find it difficult to write myself, and even the difference in decimal delimiters between various countries doesn't bother me that much (as it's often easily deducted from the context). When a file states 10.000,00 I know what it means.

The one thing that massively gets my goat is their absolutely insane date system. DD-MM-YYYY puts the most accurate element first, there is a lot to be said for YYYY-MM-DD where you increase the accuracy as you go through the digits but what fresh hell is MM-DD-YYYY!? Why not YYYY-DD-MM or DD-YYYY-MM while you're at it?

The problem is that you often can't deduct from context whether 4/6/2018 is in July or April. "This key expires on 2/8/2020", does that mean it has already expired or do I have time to renew it when it's more convenient?

To add insult to injury, a lot of American software (desktop and online) doesn’t allow you to change it or some times allows you to change the date notation into something else but then DD-MM-YYYY, the world’s most used date format, is not an option. They practically force you to use a system that only one country in the world uses.

Don’t get me started on not allowing a normal 24h clock in situations where being 12 hours off is disastrous.

Len Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Tip of the iceberg

Yes, using GSM is how the US managed it in the end, although that's not that relevant.

What Europe did is deciding on an EU level that there should be only one standard and that handset manufacturers, infrastructure manufacturers and telcos should compete using that standard (GSM). It created a broad ecosystem, economies of scale, lots of competition plus it allowed consumers enormous amounts of flexibility.

In contrast, the US decided to allow competition between standards to see which one would win. There is of course something to be said for that (who knows, GSM could have turned out to be inferior to other potential standards) but there are two issues with it. Especially in these in-transparent complex systems, consumers are not always incentivised (or even able) to choose the standard that is superior. Secondly it creates a major risk of vendor lock-in. Policy makers in the US don't mind vendor lock-ins that much (as it benefits one company massively, "winner takes all") but here in Europe we tend to dislike it as it's not good for the consumer.

The US could have taken the European approach and decided that one standard would be selected that would become the playing field. That one standard could have been GSM or could have been something else but which standard it would have been would be less relevant. It's the way you create the market that makes the difference.

Len Silver badge
Go

Tip of the iceberg

I have noticed with a couple of open source projects that, when you look closer, a lot more of the development is actually done in Europe than it appears at first.

Many stewardship organisations, foundations etc. are in the US, behind a US legal entity and a .com or .org using American spelling, their moronic date notation and accepting donations in US Dollars but when you look at actual commits to the codebase (stored on git servers in the US) or the activity on the mailing list you'll notice that much (or most) of the activity is actually in Europe.

I recently realised this with the OpenWRT project where some journalist based in California had used one of those "the maintainers didn't immediately respond to request for comments" lines and then had to be told that most of the developers are actually based in Europe and so he had emailed them in the middle of the night. On paper it's legally represented by the Software in the Public Interest (SPI) - a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation but in practice it's more European than American.

The Document Foundation, the stewards behind LibreOffice, takes donations in US dollars by default and uses American spelling on its web site but are actually a German “stiftung” based in Berlin. Probably not that strange since it emerged out of OpenOffice which emerged out of StarOffice, which was a German product.

The organisation behind FreeBSD, the FreeBSD Foundation, is an American 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation based in the US. Not that surprising given it emerged out of American universities. Looking at code commits, or the FreeBSD forums, however, shows that actually a lot of the contribution comes from Europe.

I have a feeling that Europe's willingness to open source (and more importantly, open standards) compared to the US says something about the two cultures' different approaches to business and supply chains. Here in the UK we have a long history of open standardisation, long before computers took off (though we're not that good at global standards, we like them invented here or we ignore them). The US is more a 'winner takes all approach' to capitalism (see how long it took to be able to have mobile phone handsets work across all telcos, that was the result of a deliberate policy choice to allow competing standards instead of competing companies) whereas Europe has more of a 'many smaller businesses approach' that are part of each other's supply chain. In Europe we also tend to be more strict on open competition, open tendering and anti-trust than the US. If you look at which governments required the use of open document standards then European governments are ahead of any other continent.

Perhaps Europe is the most logical place for open source and open standards stewardship organisations.

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

Len Silver badge
FAIL

Re: Trust Office

I think that's not a compatibility argument but rather a "No-one got fired for buying IBM" argument. People accept the incompatibility because it's a Microsoft product.

When it comes to compatibility with Docx files it's usually Microsoft's own products that fare the worst. It's quite common for the same Word document to look different or have other issues between various versions of Word or between Word for Mac, Word for Windows and Office 365.

It's no surprise that, after the dust had settled somewhat after format standardisation wars between ODF and OOXML, Microsoft had to admit that creating an open standard (as in documenting a standard that someone else must be able to implement) was much harder than they thought. There are plenty of examples where MS developers seem unable (or unwilling) to follow the OOXML standard. So even if other developers stick to Microsoft standards the documents still have issues in Word because MS developers don't stick to MS standards.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Len Silver badge
Stop

I don't think Apple and Google are creating an app

As far as I'm aware there is no Apple/Google app and there won't be an Apple/Google app.

All they have done is agreed a way to collect, store and share information in a uniform (cross platform) way and have developed an API do to this on iOS and Android level. It's then up to governments to create an app on top of this API. Only one government app per country will get access to this API to prevent fragmentation.*

Apple/Google were in talks with the UK government to have the UK government app use that API but the UK Gov declined because the API is too privacy conscious.

* Considering the UK is still in the Brexit transition phase I wonder if there could be an EU-wide app run by the European Centre for Disease Control that could also cover the UK. It would directly compete with the UK gov's and I would be happier to install a decentralised app run by the ECDC than some shady Dominic Cummings outfit.

UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told

Len Silver badge

They don’t have to sell it to anyone, they already have it.

It may say “NHS” on the tin but the people behind this app are Ben and Marc Warner. Dominic Cummings had worked with them during the Vote Leave campaign (you know, the Cambridge Analytica / AggregateIQ / SCL Group scandal that was found to have broken multiple laws and led to a long police investigation) and so when there were millions of taxpayers money to throw around for some massive data gathering app, Cummings decided it was best to give it to them.

The police will never find out. And if they do, it will be too late and your data is in the hands of shady groups.

https://mobile.twitter.com/carolecadwalla/status/1254315149135151104

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: How much will it help?

Yep, it prevents contagion. Fruitcakes will remain fruitcakes and after a take down from mass platforms the most extreme types will probably just gather on Gab, Stormfront or LBC instead. They don't just find a new hobby or new group of people to hate.

It does, however, prevent everyday people from being radicalised. And, unfortunately, I think everyone knows one or two people who used to be quite normal and are now radicalised beyond all comprehension. My perfectly normal mid-fifties Home Counties accountant has become a borderline neo nazi around the Brexit referendum and is now spreading (and believing!) dubious tropes from Alternative fur Deutschland. And he's Jewish himself...

A friend of mine is very intelligent, be it a bit manic. She is the type you can mention programming in Python or monetary policy instruments to at lunch time and the following day she's pulled an all-nighter, devoured the three key text books on the subject and is teaching me stuff. She has now stumbled upon some dubious stuff about 5G on Facebook and I sincerely hope she is not going down the rabbit hole on this one.

I think that in a time where lies spread faster than ever (“Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it.”) and can have such devastating impact it sensible to try and keep ideas in the fringe that belong in the fringe.

Len Silver badge
Windows

Haircuts

Hang on, I'm on the proper side of the Atlantic and I'm upset over not being able to get a haircut too!

Not only have I developed 'mask envy' about people out and about with better looking masks than me, I am also becoming jealous at those who, completely coincidentally, had a haircut just before the lockdown. The only upside is that facial recognition tech no longer works on me.

Xiaomi emits phone browser updates after almighty row over web activity harvested even in incognito mode

Len Silver badge
Stop

What's the difference between Mi Browser and Google Chrome?

I don't really get all the brouhaha around this Xiaomi revelation. It's not any different from what Google Chrome does, harvesting all data including from incognito sessions. Android data slurping measured and monitored

I suppose scandals like these are good to reiterate to the wider public that when it comes to privacy, browsers are one of the most sensitive pieces of software. Choose wisely.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

Len Silver badge
Go

The problem is that colours are usually non-ordinal until you give some, often subjective, meaning to it. Red, yellow and green make sense but only if you already know the colours from how they were once agreed on traffic lights. Red as a colour for danger makes some sense but green as a colour for the opposite much less so. In many countries the middle light isn't yellow but orange (and they call it orange too).

Black has always been an ambiguous colour (or technically, the absence of colour). As you say, when it comes to financial figures 'black' is a positive thing, though 'black money' is money before it is laundered. Meanwhile, in branding 'black' is often the highest, best, or most expensive tier, think 'black label'. For that reason I've always found the 'black hat' and 'white hat' terminology ambiguous too.

I think this makes a lot of sense, 'Allow' and 'Deny' are unambiguous.

Who's still using Webex? Not even Cisco: Judge orders IT giant to use rival Zoom for virtual patent trial

Len Silver badge
Big Brother

As it happens I've got a Webex tomorrow morning

I've have been on quite a few Webexes over the last few weeks and have one again tomorrow morning. From my own experience over these weeks they seem to be quite popular in international relations, foreign offices, embassies etc. Possibly because they've been instructed not to use Zoom.

The UI looks fairly clunky and dated but the functionality works well. Even with massive sessions with over 150 participants, with Q&As in a chat window etc. It's just all a bit more of a hassle than Zoom. If Cisco is smart this is the time to spend serious money on UI/UX and keep a chunk of the video conferencing market. The size of the market is exploding so even if you keep the same market share you suddenly have three times as many customers as two months ago.

From attacked engineers to a crypto-loving preacher with a questionable CV: Yep, it's still very much 5G silly season

Len Silver badge

Re: Fall of empires (and civilization too?)

Yes, all you need to do is find someone who is vain and a moral vacuum willing to do anything he is told to do as long as he gets the prestige. That's how Boris Johnson was put in the top job in the UK.

Len Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: "The frequency that they're using is just below the classification of a weapon"

I think one of the key things that almost every conspiracy theorist shares is that they have never managed more than two people.

As soon as you manage more than two (and technically it starts at two as that is when you run into the Dyad vs. Triad problem where it's possible for two people to conspire against a third, creating all sorts of real or imagined issues) you'll discover that there is a big gap between what you want to happen, what the people think you want to happen, and what will really happen.

If even relatively minor operations can only be executed to about 90% perfection and operations requiring just ten people not to talk still leak to the press, imagine what the success rate is of an operation that requires tens of thousands of people to all do exactly as what is expected of them. Tens of thousands of people who all keep their mouth shut for ever, never say too much when drunk or in an emotionally fragile state, never experience regret or are never desperate in need of cash but with a story to tell that could make them mega bucks.

Of course there are groups of people of all stripes on all sorts of levels planning things in secret (from a product launch to a plan to overthrow a government). A lot of shady stuff happens. But to think plans that would involve tens of thousands of people to work flawlessly and silently can ever be executed even remotely close to successful is madness.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Fall of empires (and civilization too?)

Thanks! Parts of it are indeed close to conspiracy theories. Parts of it are down to basic modelling, though.

Create a flow chart with the various outcomes at various stages in the process. Look at actions from the last four years how the various actors (government departments, courts, political parties, the media, Trump himself, the Attorney General, the House, the Senate etc.) have behaved when they were faced with a similar juncture and use it to inform the likelihood of them behaving similarly at each potential outcome in the process. That leaves at least two or three outcomes with above 5% probability that are quite worrying for the stability of the country.

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Fall of empires (and civilization too?)

By law, the end of his term is 20 January 2021, unless he is re-elected. That's why he'll use every legal and illegal trick in the book to win. He'll bribe or threaten members of the electoral collages to vote for him. He'll explain the constitution and the law in his own way, the Department of Justice, the Republicans and parts of the media will support him in that. Possibly the Supreme Court too. George W. Bush got the presidency through the courts instead of the ballot box, Trump can do that too.

But yes, if he can't win then it's unlikely the military and security services will support him any longer. And yes, they will probably win from nut jobs with guns. The resulting chaos would probably be severe enough to be called a civil war, though.

And that is the worrying element. If you map out these elections into a flow chart with five or so different outcomes there is a frightfully high chance of serious disruptions in two or three of them.

Len Silver badge
Meh

Re: Fall of empires (and civilization too?)

Anyone who finds the above scenario implausible, do you find Donald Trump admitting to losing the elections a plausible scenario?

Len Silver badge
Meh

Re: Fall of empires (and civilization too?)

You know, I have at times wondered if that is indeed what we're witnessing. An unravelling.

There are some popular memes showing an increasing amount of shit happening to the world since 2015 (and yes, I include the death of David Bowie in that). That makes you wonder what could possible top the coronavirus outbreak. I think I have found it.

Donald Trump is not going to recognise the outcome of the US Presidential Elections if he doesn't win at least 75%. He'll threaten the electoral colleges to disregard the popular vote in their state and vote for him (ECs are not legally obliged to take the ballots into account). He'll fight the result in court in any state that didn't vote for him until he is re-elected. If he doesn't get a second term he'll get the militia, the people who are now on the streets protesting against the lockdown and the conspiracy nutjobs to pick up arms.

And presto, the current times are a relative bliss.

Len Silver badge
Happy

Re: It was Elon Musk, with a satellite, in space

Try setting fire to a satellite, bitches.

Len Silver badge
Angel

Re: "The frequency that they're using is just below the classification of a weapon"

The most hilarious thing about those videos I find is that they show footage of explosions on one of the top floors and say that it "showed signs of a controlled demolition".

Anyone who has ever seen one of those videos of controlled demolitions should have noticed that, obviously, they blow up the foundations (and not the roof) as they want the building to collapse on itself, not spread debris far and wide from the highest point.

Len Silver badge
Coat

It was Elon Musk, with a satellite, in space

I am genuinely surprised that nobody has made the obvious connection that controversial billionaire Elon Musk is sending tens of thousands of satellites into space with their antennas aimed at earth and within months the coronavirus pandemic breaks out.

Second-wave dotcom Uber-investor Softbank forecasts gargantuan losses as world economy faces slump

Len Silver badge

Re: Prospects for the global economy

As you can see, that was a specific reference to the public health impact, not the economic one.

Unless something drastic suddenly happens in another European country the UK will remain in the top five of worst hit European countries when it comes to deaths per million. Greece doesn’t even make it into the top 20 of worst hit.

What the economic impact of the health crisis will be is a different matter. A country like Spain will probably have an easier time to bounce back than a country like Romania, despite Spain suffering a bigger health impact.

Len Silver badge
Meh

Re: Prospects for the global economy

I’m not very optimistic for the UK economy. The UK economy was stagnating in Q4 and we can safely say that we entered a recession in February. And that was before the coronavirus outbreak started to impact us here.

The UK was economically already poorly placed for the outbreak and is now on course to be one of the worst hit countries in Europe from a public health perspective too, with a lockdown lasting much longer than many other European countries. The first countries in Europe have already started lifting their lockdowns, many of which were less drastic than ours anyway. A Dutch friend of mine told me the DIY and furniture stores were rammed over the long Easter weekend.

It should be no surprise that the economic hit to many other European countries is considered to be bad but not as bad as the UK. I expect some to not even hit double figures when it comes to economic contraction and a sharp recovery.

How generous of GitHub to slash prices and make all its core features free. So what gives? Oh right, GitLab

Len Silver badge
Happy

I'm quite interested in Gitlab's ability to be entirely self hosted, in your own infrastructure without dependencies on (and look-ins from) others.

Already in final beta? That's Madagascar: Ubuntu 20.04 'Focal Fossa' gets updated desktop, ZFS support

Len Silver badge
Stop

Re: ZFS is for dedicated file-servers

I would say that is nonsense. Every single one of our servers and VMs (even the smallest with just 1 core, 1GB RAM) runs ZFS as their root and data file system.

Why? Because we like the data security it gives and is the required file system for iocage containers so that settles it.

As far as I know the RAM hunger is only an issue in dedicated file servers where you want to use advanced deduplication features. For desktop and small server use you just don't use dedup.

We're number two! Microsoft's Edge browser slips past Firefox in latest set of NetMarketShare figures

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Firefox blocks tracking

Wasn't this to be expected now Firefox blocks many trackers by default? Usage will look much lower than it really is if many counters can't count any more.

I've always wondered whether this was one of the reasons why Mozilla waited so long before they turned this on by default.

Not only is Zoom's strong end-to-end encryption not actually end-to-end, its encryption isn't even that strong

Len Silver badge

I was thinking of putting it on a separate VM, alongside our other VMs. But yes, the downside is that you're paying for a relatively powerful VM 24/7 even when there's nobody on a call.

When you say "more network bandwidth", what did you use and did you notice it bandwidth being a constraint?

Len Silver badge
Happy

First of all, I think I should have pointed to Jitsi Meet instead of the Jitsi VideoBridge.

I haven't tried running the server myself (more of a FreeBSD guy myself and it's primarily aimed at Linux servers from what I read), I only used it for a basic p2p session and that was on a slow machine so I assumed that was the reason the video was seconds behind the audio. Allegedly, though, running your own server should solve some of those issues.

The law firm of a friend of mine has chosen Jitsi (they do a lot of human rights cases, no chances of them ever considering Zoom) and it seems to work for them. I don't know about their server spec, however, they might have gone to town with a massive VM to reduce dependency on the clients.

Len Silver badge
Happy

I think that for Jitsi to work well you need to set up your own server. Jitsi VideoBridge

If you use the basic (no account, no server) option everything is handled Peer-to-Peer and all the processing etc. is done locally. This means that the slowest client decides the quality for everyone else.

We are now considering setting up our own Jitsi infrastructure so we will never be dependent on dodgy third parties for our video conferencing needs.

Cloudflare family-friendly DNS service flubs first filtering foray: Vital LGBTQ, sex-ed sites blocked 'by mistake'

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: And the problem is?

Ideally you'd decide the filter yourself instead of trusting someone else with it. As that is obviously too much work it would be nice if you could have a menu where you disable certain buckets.

For instance, I would not block nudity but I would block violence, religion and pro-suicide sites.

That solves the values problem, though it doesn't solve the problem that someone has had to decide site X or Y goes into a certain bucket which involves their judgement, not yours.

Len Silver badge
Facepalm

American definition of family friendly

Why does the American definition of family friendly always mean far right? As if normal people don't have families.

I am far more worried about my children seeing violence than sex. They can see naked people all day as far as I care, rather unclothed people than people being shot, strangled, raped, decapitated or hanged. This is the same cesspit of values where Facebook got its policies from where it's fine to post videos of women being decapitated as long as you don't see their nipple during the murder.

Because a child watches 1500 murders before he's

Twelve years old and we wonder why we've created

A Jason generation that learns to laugh

Rather than to abhor the horror

Are there family friendly filters that block violence instead of naked people?

Internet samurai says he'll sell 14,700,000 IPv4 addresses worth $300m-plus, plow it all into Asia-Pacific connectivity

Len Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Civilian note

An RBL based on prefixes could work. You do, however, run into the same problem that makes IPv6 Privacy Extensions more anonymous than IPv4, you will need to know the size of a prefix for every IP to make it accurate.

Most ISPs give out a /56 per connection, some more generous ones give out a /48, the most stingy ones only give out a /64. If you take a wild guess and assume that every IP is part of a /56 block you run the risk of either not blocking enough or blocking half the subscriber base of some ISP.

Freed from the office, home workers roam sunlit uplands of IPv6... 2 metres apart

Len Silver badge

Re: Perhaps (probably?) mobile users

It's not so much mobile as it is non-corporate traffic.

Many domestic ISPs now hand out IPv6 addresses (even without most end users knowing) whereas statistically probably fewer corporate networks do. That means that home traffic is more likely to visit Google.com, YouTube.com, Gmail.com etc. over IPv6. We've been seeing this on evening and weekend traffic for at least a decade.

Germany says nein to Euro Unified Patent Court, pulls plug and leaves it nearby if anyone wants to put it back in

Len Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Good idea, poor implementation?

Thanks Andy J, I think I am indeed not fully understanding the whole situation and conflating two separate structures.

It's been a while since I had to deal with a patent attorney to try and get some of our work patented and that whole episode of Byzantine structures and Kafkaesque procedures made me vow never to get involved in anything like that ever again. It's probably why the thought of a Unitary Patent is appealing to me.

Len Silver badge

Re: Good idea, poor implementation?

- the EPC is not an EU instrument. It has nothing to do with the EU.

Sure, but why should EU membership of signatory countries be a requirement then? That's the bit I don't understand.

- the jurisdiction of the CJEU is the cited reason why the UK pulled out of the UPC in the first place, so the red-line holds.

I wouldn't read to much into what the current low-skilled clueless government says or does. They don't know what they're doing and their opinions will have very little bearing on what (and who) will ultimately decide the outcome.

Settling the UK's outstanding financial commitments was a red line, until it wasn't. A border down the Irish Sea was a red line, until it wasn't. Enrolling in programmes that are regulated under EU law (and therefore mean CJEU jurisdiction), from science, health and education to security, law enforcement and energy will become a pressing decision for the UK in the next few years. Either under the current festival of incompetence or the next. By the time the UK has a chance to think about patents again (not in the next few years if you ask me (it will have already enrolled in EU programmes with CJEU jurisdiction so that won't be an obstacle for a European Unitary Patent.

- devising an UPC system that is essentially an international court, outside the EU, but available only to "contracting members states" (of the EU), and appeals directly to the CJEU is not required or even sensible. Unlike the EPC (which has no such constraints), it precludes the involvement of a multitude of states that might otherwise be able to harmonise patent law and case law, not least the rich set of states contracting to the EPC.

A truly inclusive international agreement for harmonisation of patent law and interpretative and litigation case law is what is needed here. Not an exclusive court answerable to the CJEU that knows, frankly, nothing about patents, their validity or infringement anyway.

I don't think you and I are that far apart. I don't see why this system should be limited to EU countries. But, I do understand why it made sense to use an existing legal order like the European Union instead of having to reinvent the wheel and recreate an entire parallel structure.

I'm not sure it matters whether the CJEU know much about patents, they needn't get involved in that anyway. If the system would work in any way like it works now, the CJEU does not get involved in the technicalities of a case that is put before them. Their role is solely to interpret EU law, elaborate on it in relation to the question the referring court has asked them, and then hand it back to the court that referred the case so that can hand down a final verdict.

In this case I would image that a case about a patent for 'a better mousetrap' that would be referred to the CJEU by a European Patent Court wouldn't be about the workings of the mouse trap but about whether the process that was followed by the quarrelling parties has interpreted EU law or principles correctly.

Len Silver badge

Re: Good idea, poor implementation?

I expect that CJEU anxiety to be one of the next red lines that the UK will give up so I very much doubt that would be an obstacle in, let's say, five years from now. I expect the UK government to have bigger issues to deal with than patent law for the next couple of years anyway so joining a European Unitary Patent would be more of a matter of 'in due course'.

Len Silver badge
Happy

Re: Good idea, poor implementation?

I too think it's a good idea. Similar to what European Trade Marks have done since the 1990's, a one stop shop to protect your trade mark in over two-dozen countries. A single place to file your patent that covers a lot of markets (for many companies even the only jurisdictions they'll ever need) sounds like a logical next step.

Besides, it could sort out all the issues at the European Patent Office by making them a proper EU institution with proper checks and oversight etc.

I don't see, however, why it could only be open for EU member states? Why could Norway or Switzerland (or the UK once it's come back to its senses) not be signatory to it if they asked nicely? Surely if a participating non-member state accepts that, upon joining, patent jurisdiction is pooled in the new court that should settle it? Is there a legal obstruction at EU level to allowing non-member states in?

That upgrade from Java 8 to 11 you've been putting off? UK fintech types at Revolut 'quite happy' after a year in production

Len Silver badge
Happy

Re: "Software gets new features"

They're a bank, you can pry Java from the banks' cold, dead hands. Java is the new COBOL.

Also, to some extent there is something cyclical. If most developers for banks are using Java and you are looking for developers with experience in banking you're more likely to choose Java as your language.

Build goes digital, Brexit goes virtual (really): El Reg gets some unexpected lessons from WSLConf

Len Silver badge

The challenges of remote trade negotiations

Politico has an interested article about the challenges of conducting complex trade negotiations through video-conferencing.

Andrew MacDougall, who was head of communications for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during seven years of trade talks with the EU, said it “sounds possible in theory but it’s not practical.

People are fooling themselves if they think they will have the same kind of chemistry and ability to get things done over a screen as they will in person,” he said. “So much of this is on intangibles like trust and sentiment and those are really only things that build up from being around the people, being literally across the table from them and having coffees with them in the breaks.”

Politico.eu: Video killed the Brexit-negotiating star

From my experience of spending easily 15 hours a week on a call with the same team for over a year, I can concur. If you get good at these things you can get a tremendous amount of stuff done but there are some things, usually little but very important such as chemistry and raport, that are very difficult to replicate digitally.

The Internet of Things is a security nightmare reveals latest real-world analysis: unencrypted traffic, network crossover, vulnerable OSes

Len Silver badge

Name and shame

My Tado smart thermostat advertises with its encryption.

Data encryption:

TLS 1.2 (SSL), 2048-bit Extended Validation Certificate / TLS 1.2 (SSL), 256-bit elliptic curve encryption / AES-CCM encryption

Perhaps it’s time we name and shame those devices that still transmit unencrypted data. Focus on a couple of big names first and make them aware that it will hurt their reputation if they don’t get their act together.

UK.gov tells rebel MPs to go Huawei – but 5G Telecoms Security Bill was the price

Len Silver badge
Meh

Iain Duncan Smith and David Davis certainly won’t, they are the low skilled people you read about so much lately. They just represent the opinion their US paymasters have paid them to represent.

This whole debate has created some strange bedfellows where very knowledgeable concerned people are grouped together with the low skilled. People who despise human rights grouped together with people who worry about civil liberties. People who are professionally angry grouped together with people who don’t care very much. People who are very principled grouped together with the corrupt.

It would be very funny if it wasn’t a serious matter.

UK Defence Committee probe into national security threat of Huawei sure to uncover lots of new and original insights

Len Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Threat to National Security

Just wait until Prince Andrew is announced to be succeeding Queen Elizabeth.

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