* Posts by Kevin Johnston

1320 posts • joined 6 May 2007


Tencent’s gaming surge trumps potential loss of the one or two percent of cash it makes in America

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: So...

Hey...sounds like a plan to me :)

Appeals judges toss out FTC win: What Qualcomm did to its rivals was 'hypercompetitive, not anticompetitive'

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Re: Future standards

Too true, there have been more than enough examples by now of companies getting their patented methods included into standards and then racking up profits through 'interesting' licensing. I know we have FRAND and similar but they tend to be reliant on companies playing nicely which never works 100%.

How about the standards committee does some proper work to value the contribution of each piece of work to the whole standard and then set AND PUBLISH a price per use of that standard with a breakdown of who gets how much from that. Contributors get a guaranteed income and anyone wanting to use it has a clear up-front cost

Police face-recog tech use in Welsh capital of Cardiff was unlawful – Court of Appeal

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Chief Constable says the judgement...

"points to a limited number of policy areas that require this attention"

That's fair, if there are 200 policies and you do not know which are affected you cannot say that is limited. If there are 200 policies and ALL are affected then it is just one block, containing 100% of the policies.

Whoops, our bad, we may have 'accidentally' let Google Home devices record your every word, sound – oops

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Time for a mega GDPR related fine on Google

But that is not the best way to do that. There is a figure defined as 4% of tunrover but that would be for each juristiction so if there is a fine from France and one from Germany and one from Italy and one from Belgium etc etc...27 members of the EU = 108% of turnover...result

Geneticists throw hands in the air, change gene naming rules to finally stop Microsoft Excel eating their data

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: I must be missing something...

One of the tasks I have to do often is taking a sub-set of data from a system and producing a report to show status. One of the identifiers is a Hex string but if Excel sees no letters it converts it to a number with exponent and due to the length of the string it will lose the last 8 digits...forever

Face masks hamper the spread of coronavirus. Know what else they hamper? Facial-recognition systems (except China's)

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: What ?

From the article this was authenticating against the untouched image of the person so one system could nearly always match a pair. As other people have said though this needs the false matches to have any meaning. Just becauseyou coudl show that Picture A matched Picture A with a mask 99% of the time means nothing if it also matched it to Pictures B, C, D and E with masks to similar proportions.

Australia sues Google over data collection practices that merged DoubleClick data to create single user profiles

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: I wonder how much Google earns per search user?

No no...you don't seem to understand how this works

I will pay $40 per year to opt-out in accordance with conditions (to be attached at some point) which may or not be contradictory and are in multiple languages (which may or may not say the same things) and any breach of these conditions requires Google to pay a 0.01cent per byte per day penalty where a day is any period of time which can be measured by a clock and this may result in more than one charge per calendar day (timezones may change during the calculations). It is also agreed this cannot be challenged in any terrestrial or extra-terrestrial court unless confirmed in writing before the above terms have been read. Any misunderstanding or disagreement will be determined in the way which most penalises Google.

That's how ticksy you have to be to play Google at their own game

Sick of AI engines scraping your pics for facial recognition? Here's a way to Fawkes them right up

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

I recall a wonderful short story by Isaac Asimov which foresaw this scenario where comparisons were made of brainwave patterns in people with depression compared to happy people. If you subtract a complex waveform from another complex waveform the result is a third complex waveform.

With the cameras, they are now are so much more capable than the human eye/brain combination for storing details that minute changes are seen as completely different images unless you reduce the details down to the point it matches some A list celeb with a cactus. Meanwhile, we see the person we expected to see.

My life as a criminal cookie clearer: Register vulture writes Chrome extension, realizes it probably breaks US law

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Ah...the law of unintended consequences

You have to love how often this hits in areas which seemed to be very simple and clear. Clearing a cookie could be illegal because it tracks your usage while that cookie over there is unlawfully tracking your usage and you are encouraged to delete it.

Reminds me of an online banking Catch-22...a certain Spanish bank suggest installing Trusteer to help defeat ungentlemanly attacks such as man in the middle (also know as 'Variations on Verified by Visa') but while you can say no, this pops up every time you log in unless you allow it to set cookies. So you have a choice of trying to be secure or to clear these annoying adverts (no, AdBlock et al do NOT block it and it needs you to say No multiple times before it will set the 'do not ask again' cookie).

Top Ubisoft execs eject after staff complain of 'toxic' workplace environment for women at Canadian studios

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: One problem amongst many...

I get the feeling that anything produced by Ubisoft over the last couple of years is just a mash-up of a handful of titles in the hope it made the game interesting to people who hadn't tried that series before. While totally hacking off everyone who had been playing the series since Episode 1

Sueball locked, loaded and pointed at LinkedIn over iOS privacy naughtiness

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: had submitted a new version of its app that removed the offending code

It does seem to me that they got this new version out remarkably quickly. Almost as though they had done some testing of the new OS to see what it would show up and were poised to see if anyone was going to complain.

Indonesia slaps 10 percent tax on three Googles

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Re: The nation on Tuesday posted news that the following entities are now to collect VAT:

tres droll...have an uptick

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: It normally the Caps lock

I still get that issue with remote desktop type stuff...You hit Capslock on the remote side and all works well but when you switch back to your local machine it is 50/50 chance if the Capslock light shows reversed or not

Never knowingly under-digitally transformed: Retailer John Lewis outsources tech function to Wipro

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Ooh look at the large number of ACs posting...

Sadly some Manager would probably read them then decide that they need to find out who is being so rude about the company and march into IT demanding they track down people commenting on El Reg...

and not realise that the people they expect to do their bidding are the ones they just sh*t on

The internet becomes trademarkable, sort of, with near-unanimous Supreme Court ruling on Booking.com

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

So many gaps in this...

Did the court consider even the longer standing options for TLDs? Do Booking.com have any rights over someone using booking.co.uk or booking.org? What if said company does not have any overlap with the booking.com offerings?

This is Pandora's can of rapacious carnivorous worms being opened

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Funny how often it happens that a problem has gone away like that. Almost as though some 'Who-me' moment has occurred and been fixed on the quiet before the engineer can track it down

Google isn't even trying to not be creepy: 'Continuous Match Mode' in Assistant will listen to everything until it's disabled

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

To be fair it ends when the extra processing drains the battery to empty. A new session starts when you recharge the phone

ZFS co-creator boots 'slave' out of OpenZFS codebase, says 'casual use' of term is 'unnecessary reference to a painful experience'

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Political Correctness

I find the following to be the best response to reports of poilitical correctness, as quoted by Billy Connolly...

“Frank Zappa was correct when he said, ‘Political correctness is the language of cowardice. It’s the fear of confronting things. You can say someone is ‘so-and-so challenged’ but it’s an insult to them to assume they’re challenged by it. Tell it like it is. It will set you free.”

An Internet of Trouble lies ahead as root certificates begin to expire en masse, warns security researcher

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Ha..I say unto you

And people called me a luddite for buying a decent large-ish screen monitor with built-in speakers rather than a smart-TV. I don't even connect it to a 'smart-box' as I have a Freesat box for the live TV and if it is not available there then I can watch on my laptop. I have yet to hear a good reason to connect my white goods to the internet (or connect my lightbulbs/doorbell/thermostat/toilet)

OK...maybe the toilet was not a real option.....yet

IBM quits facial recognition because Black Lives Matter

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I hate stories like this

You get all revved up to blast the company for their bad habits then they do something like this which may not fix all their issues but is a positive step

Of course, it could be said that with their challenges to get this working they know just how bad it can be so are ideally placed to be a Subject Matter Expert for the failings in facial recognition.

So, so conflicted about them now

If Daddy doesn't want me to touch the buttons, why did they make them so colourful?

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: More of a Who Me? except he got away with it

I still remember with great fondness the Compaq Deskpro systems which were built like vaults and came with spare screws to use when adding extra discs/adaptor cards etc. My favourite version could even have the disc storage turned to be desktop or tower.

Google+ replacement ‘Currents’ to end beta and debut in G Suite on July 6th

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Another product for google to burn

Apologies but I thought that was well known. Any Google product which moves out of Beta is about to be killed off

Publishers sue to shut down books-for-all Internet Archive for 'willful digital piracy on an industrial scale'

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

In the UK, the current Theft Act includes a critical phrase 'for pecuniary advantage'. In essence it means that they are using your property to obtain money which you should have. This came about when people started ransoming back property so they could claim they never intended to keep it or else to show it as security for loans etc before replacing it.

By making digital copies available to all for free of works without permission they are reducing the income the author receives hence theft.

Not the Wright stuff: Bitcoin 'inventor' loses bid to sue YouTuber who called him a liar

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: "neither side was short of a few shekels"

Perhaps hoping they would spare one for an ex-leper

Embrace and kill? AppGet dev claims Microsoft reeled him in with talk of help and a job – then released remarkably similar package manager

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Embrace...

I think Extend has now been replace by Embugger

Gone in 9 seconds: Virgin Orbit's maiden rocket flight went perfectly until it didn't

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

I see you haven't thought that through properly. The testing phase is built into the plan to get it through the Exec approval steps and used as the removable cushion to meet the original 'launch to market' date

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: "more than a dozen initiatives focused on enhancing workplace safety and product quality"

Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo etc etc

Unmanned drones to slash NHS delivery times to one-fifth of road 'n' rail transport

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Miles and Miles (of) Bugger All....or at least as close to that as you can get on an island 23 miles side to side and 13 north south

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Yes, lands on the Island at Binstead, oddly, which is in the midst of an area of MAMBA so no great loss if anything happens there even though it is then a nightmare by car/bike to St Mary's hospital. On the mainland they seem to be using Lee-on-Solent which gives them lots of flexibility on flight planning.

Quite impressed with the design as it seems to be very much based on the idea of goof capacity/minimal frills with an excellent view from the camera in the tailplane in case someone has to step in and take control.

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon cleared to hoist real live American astronauts into space

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Can we just make sure that whatever suit design is used it doesn't have those ()*&^)*&^ lights inside designed to make the wearer readily identifiable but also making it impossible to see out

Coronavirus masks are thwarting facial recognition systems. So, of course, people are building training sets from your lockdown-wear selfies

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: I find your lack of face disturbing ...

There was an image on El Reg recently of a number of ladies from the far east all with masks which appeard to be printed with the lower half of someones face. Now that is the best way to beat facial recognition, does it use the lower half of Sam Smith or the upper half of Joe Soap or simply flag you as Joe Smith?

Tech's Volkswagen moment? Trend Micro accused of cheating Microsoft driver QA by detecting test suite

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Petty or Pedant?

I know I shouldn't rise to this but...

"Most of the driver feels like proof-of-concept garbage that is held together by duck tape"

There is a brand name of Duck Tape but generically it is Duct Tape designed to be used when joining large hoses in ducting which need strength and flexibility at the joints.


Huge if true... Trump explodes as he learns open source could erode China tech ban

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I'm confused, how can you say something has gone missing when there is no evidence it was ever there? Is this some Chinese inspired bigly conspiracy?

Donald Trump extends ban on Huawei, ZTE telecoms kit in US companies to May 2021

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Re: Ah, that old chestnut.

So it is really just a question of which countries you want to allow to overtly monitor your data and which you want put in the covert group...

because of course they are all doing it to some extent

Sky Broadband is not the UK's cheapest, growls ad watchdog

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Disappointingly

While I fully agree with the sentiment there was a very appropriate comment I read from a photographer. He was asked which of the cameras he owned was the best and his response? Whichever one I have with me.

There is the nub of the challenge. As you say, an SLR is not readily luggable but if you are serious about your pictures you will make the effort. If you want snapshots (some of which are likely to be stunning by luck as much as by judgement) then a modern smartphone is actually very good for this and tends to be somewhere about your person at all times

The Rise of The (Coffee) Machines: I need assistance. I think I'm running Windows. Send help

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: What annoys me intensely ...

I'm sorry but nothing can beat the PC Startup error

Keyboard not found, Press F1 to continue

Users of Will.i.am's Wink IoT hub ask 'Where is the love?' as they're asked to pay for a new subscription service

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Let's start a new fad

Perhaps you could add a 'Smart-user' option for those who know how to read a sheet of instructions and can insert plug A into socket A without having to consult all their virtual friends about how they did it and what colour the fire should be.

Does a .com suffix make a trademark? The US Supreme Court will decide as Booking marks its legal spot

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Trademarking an address

I agree with your last part but since every internet presence will include .com or .org or such then the presence of such a suffix in a trademark begs the question of how widely they could enforce it. If they win the fight to trademark booking.com then would a car-hire company or a theatre be blocked from using booking.org or booking.co.uk?

Sophos XG firewalls hacked, hotfix ready. Texts wreck Apple iThings. Yup, business as usual in infosec world

Kevin Johnston Silver badge


Did those nice chaps manage to find out and deal with the person peddling the idea that injecting bleach would cure Covid-19?

Cisco UCS servers slugged by 'This SSD will self-destruct in 40,000 hours' firmware farrago

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Re: Kind of Hertz

Does it not just change from bathtub to square wave?

Cloudflare outage caused by techie pulling out the wrong cables

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Re: Cables with labels on

Surely the cables should have a more meaningful label than just the presumed port number as that would mean the two ends would be unlikely to have matching labels and that way lies madness.

Why I was taught was that cables are labelled with a defined cable number and the purpose/connections for that cable are kept in a table as a known good state.

Signal sends smoke, er, signal: If Congress cripples anonymous speech with EARN IT Act, we'll shut US ops

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

This wouldn't be the first time that US laws on encryption have left them using a lower grade system than the rest of the world. When they limited the encryption levels that could be sold to non-US customers a number of companies went 'Rest of the world only' and increased bitness well beyond that available in the US. Net result was the US Government caved in so they could catch up

Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: I heard ~9 meters is how far the virus can travel...

Surely you would just call it a Beamon also known as 64 Linguini

Kevin Johnston Silver badge


Would that be length or width?

Ofcom waves DAB radio licences under local broadcasters' noses as FM switchoff debate smoulders again

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: A couple of points to note

Came in to say much the same...

Had to replace my car recently and the new one has DAB/FM unit (with other cruft) and I have been able to do some direct comparisons since I have a fairly limited driving experience at the moment. Living on the edge of a failry large town and curving round the top to get to a supermarket.

DAB - regular 5-20 seconds gaps as it reminds itself what I was listening to

FM - 2 spots on the route where I get interference passing some electrical distribution stuff but listenable from switch on to switch off

'Anything' related to remote working is a winner for Euro disties, but classic enterprise hardware? That's another story

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: But if there is ever an end to this...

Oh yes please....if any company needs a quick boost of income just run a raffle with the winner being the one to pass on the "and don't come back" message

Remember Tapplock, the 'unbreakable' smart lock that was allergic to screwdrivers? The FTC just slapped it down for 'deceiving' folks

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Well....

As a follow on from that, consider the value of the item(s) it is intended to protect. You could easily end up in the position where the lock system is worth more than what it is protecting

Stob's vital message to Britain's IT nation: And no, it's not about that

Kevin Johnston Silver badge


There is no F in Cod?

That awful moment when what you thought was a number 1 turned out to be a number 2

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Technical management tips

My Father taught me a similar technique when I announce I would follow in his footsteps and become an engineer.

'When it all goes wrong, and it will, get a sheet of A4 paper and explain to it in detail every step you have taken to get to the mess you now have. Before completing the sequence you will realise which step you missed out/messed up.'

What happens when the maintainer of a JS library downloaded 26m times a week goes to prison for killing someone with a motorbike? Core-js just found out

Kevin Johnston Silver badge

Re: Zloirock

I wasn't sure what you meant by that so tried searching the web for clues and now apparently I have to have a video conference with HR



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