* Posts by Intractable Potsherd

3544 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Tech set responds in wake of American protests, police violence and civil unrest

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Re: "Sons of Obama"

Thanks, C - you are probably right in this case.

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

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Re: contact with Dominic Cummings.

@AC - assuming (probably wrongly) that you aren't another troll - would you care to explain your thinking?

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Re: re: 1) my phone blocks numbers not in my contact list

I also have a policy of "unrecognised numbers get ignored". Doctors etc have instructions to leave a message - no message, no contact. I don't give a flying monkey whether I miss a contact-tracing call - it means less than nothing to me.

Privacy activists prep legal challenge against UK plan to keep coronavirus contact-tracing data for two decades

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Re: Optional?

"Mandating" is very difficult without mandating ownership of a) smartphones* and b) those with certain operating systems. With no difficulty at all my main Android phone could become a home-based terminal whilst any one of my Sailfish or Nokia/Sony Eriksson chocolate bar phones become my everyday carry (perhaps a different one on a cycle only I understand!) I won't be the only one El Reg reader, let alone UK citizen, that does something similar. As I've said many times, if government wants my identifiable data, it should ask for permission. Make it an advantage to me, not solely to them, and persuade me it is going to handled properly, and then we'll begin to talk.

*I know India has developed a system for some feature phones, but only some.

So you really didn't touch the settings at all, huh? Well, this print-out from my secret backup says otherwise

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Re: To my shame ..

What's your evidence for that? Oh, yeah - none at all.

Australia to refund $720m in 'debts' determined by dodgy algorithm

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Re: They need jail time then

This is a case where not making a decision constitutes a decision.

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Re: Governments don't pay for anything...

It's not often I invoke the "extreme prejudice" option, but putting those responsible in a three-metre-deep pit, dousing them in petrol, and lighting a slow fuse which may or may not end in the pit seems appropriate. They would get a taste of the fear and helplessness their victims felt.

Software bug in Bombardier airliner made planes turn the wrong way

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Re: "Of 296 passengers and crew on board, there were 112 fatalities."

@AC: I had a look at the archive expecting the plane to be a Wellington, but was wrong - it was a Lancaster!

I loved the bit preceding that incident - "On 19 May, during a raid on the Tours marshalling yards, on final approach and waiting for the bomb-aimer to order ‘Bomb doors open’ his aircraft was hit by another Lancaster flying in almost the opposite direction. Another foot or so and there would have been one almighty bang. He managed to maintain control of the aircraft, continue the run and drop their bombs. Quiet an achievement given that he was now flying on only two engines, the port outer propeller was bent backwards and 12 feet of the port wing was missing. The Perspex top of the cabin just above the pilots head was also smashed which reduced the cockpit temperature dramatically. It was a long, slow, cold and dangerous return for the crew especially as German night fighters were on the look out for damaged aircraft such as his. He landed safely at RAF Tangmere in Sussex although 61 Sqn base was in Lincolnshire." Seriously good flying!

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Re: At least..

"Posts by RF Burns

1 post • joined 31 May 2020"

Troll - don't feed or it's yours.

Boeing brings back the 737 Max but also lays off thousands

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Re: They are to big to fail

Bouncing would be better than a horrible death in a fire-ball!

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Re: It still doesn't look good for air travel

"... particularly now that Covid-19 has got people used to not flying."

I don't think so - most people regularly go months or years between flights. It won't have made any difference except to make people look forward to flying more (getting out of HMP UK looks very attractive).

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

Fly them out of the factory and straight into the ground* - problem solved!

On auto, of course, (unless piloted by members of the board and/or the beancounters).

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

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Re: Bon Voyage

For me, the only sour note is the MAGA-esque jingoism - "Hey, its All-American, woot woot!!11!"

I expect a bit different from El Reg.

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I love the mission patch on the Twitter thread, too!

Competition? We've heard of it. MoD snubs cloud rivals to hand Microsoft £17.7m Azure hosted services gig

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Re: Data sovereignty, eh?

Nurse - he hasn't taken his pills again!!

Hooray! It's IT Day! Let's hear it for the lukewarm mugs of dirty water that everyone seems to like so much

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My mother still does! She seems to have an endless supply of teabags without perforations - there is no way to make good tea in her house without bringing our own supplies (and that can lead to awkward situations!)

However, that isn't the worst. At my friend's mum's funeral recently, he recounted her recipe for tea - put cold water in a mug to half-full, add a teabag from the side of the sink where it had dried out from previous use, put mug with water and teabag into microwave for two minutes, add milk to fill mug, and serve. I assumed it was a joke, but the number of knowing nods around the room suggested otherwise. Fact-checking afterwards seems to verify that this was indeed true, which just goes to show that there is always something worse than you have imagined!

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Surely it depends on the size of cup/mug? Daft little teacups, beloved of educational and NHS catering, need *at least* three an hour. The average mug (about 250ml) needs one or two an hour. My perfectly-sized 800ml mug (made specially for me by a Czech potter) - one every two or three hours.

Campaign groups warn GCHQ can re-identify UK's phones from COVID-19 contact-tracing app data

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"1000s of people cramming on to UK beaches, beauty spots, parks etc because we are having the hot weather who could be spreading the virus right now."

The evidence is becoming much stronger that the chances of catching the virus outdoors are very, very low - approaching zero, in fact. This comes from looking at rough sleepers (virtually no transmission) and known clusters (all bar one indoors, and, interestingly, associated with noisy environments including choirs, concerts, and nightclubs). Essentially, being indoors with people singing and/or shouting seems to be the optimal way to catch this thing. Being outdoors is probably the safest place.

Far-right leader walks free from court after conviction for refusing to hand his phone passcode over to police

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Re: He should be grateful he's British

Why were a bunch of "ultranationalist and xenophobic" nutters doing talking to an ultranationalist and xenophobic nutter from a different nation and "race"? Surely their creed demands that there is no common ground. It must be difficult having a meeting when everyone thinks they are inherently superior to everyone else in the room!

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Re: Was Miranda Read Her Rights?

In this case, it is "Was Miranda read *his* rights?"


Imperial College London signs £5m campus sponsorship, 5G deal with Chinese comms bogeyman Huawei

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Re: Nowt so thick

As far as I can see from (fairly) extensive reading, there is nothing that makes Huawei kit less reliable or trustworthy than any other manufacturers' kit, and more reliable than some others. Apart from some gobshite in a country that is largely irrelevant to a UK university's purchasing decisions, no one else seems to thing there is a serious problem, either. Here's a thought - maybe the kit bought is most appropriate for the job, all things taken into account.

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Re: Anyone else reminded of John Hammond

"Cambridge ... students there are being harassed by the US military - dangling money with the unspoken (until you've signed) rider that you are US MILITARY property."

I don't understand the reference here, Jemma. Any chance of a [reliable] link, please?

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

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Re: @DougS

In essence, clothing fits into my argument the same - if there is a provable reason to *insist* on clothing then it is fine (despite the fact I never wear trunks, and would never go into any type of business establishment, or even visit e.g. an ice-cream van, without a shirt, I won't go into a shop/cafe/whatever that has a sign insisting on a minimum level of dress). However, it doesn't need a huge change in social mores to get people to wear clothing whilst out of the house (at least in the UK), so your argument fails.

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Surely you support "mandatory" mask wearing in businesses when required by the business owner though, right? "

I most certainly do not! There are only a few places that a mask *might* be necessary for infection control purposes, and they are, for most people, healthcare premises.

Your freedom to make me do things you deem "necessary" end where my rights (and more importantly the rights of my 84 year old mother) to free choice begin.

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

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Re: By Any Other Name

I think there is a word missing - "Unredacted", maybe?

India opens its space industry to private companies

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The OP has one post, and joined 18/05/2020. Assume troll and don't feed.

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

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Re: Can't beat this

There is a very slight bend in a road on the South Yorkshire/West Yorkshire border that is known as "Nigel's Bend" to members of a couple of motor clubs due to the distance from the tarmac and depth of penetration into the woodland that was achieved one evening!

Beer gut-ted: As many as '70 million pints' spoiled during coronavirus pandemic must be destroyed in Britain

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Re: "Nasty little nationalist."

But essentially the same sentence - "Who cares about the economic future, Scotland UK will be "free". Might look good as an epitaph, not so great for the generations to come, at least those that can't emigrate." - can be applied to arguments to leave the EU, so why shouldn't we have the choice to put freedom before finance?

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Re: K'in eejets.

I have had several bad experiences with cider over the years (awful taste, more gas than lager, atrocious hangovers or being sick after small amounts*) that I don't even contemplate it these days. I don't know anyone who drinks it either, so I have no one to educate me, so cider stays off my list of drinks.

*compared to beer sessions.

Vint Cerf suggests GDPR could hurt coronavirus vaccine development

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I was taught at law school that "Black Letter Law" is an abomination and denies the need for judges. The statute should point the direction, but not define the route taken nor the specific end point. I used to agree with that, but I now think that it misses a key point - the statute needs to be clear about the direction. The current state of statute writing is so shit that judges need to be far more disciplined in their interpretations.

DBA locked in police-guarded COVID-19-quarantine hotel for the last week shares his story with The Register

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Re: And this is why the Aussies are on top of it

If the number isn't recognised, the phone stays on the cradle. If you want an answer, leave a message.

(Note: I don't have school-age children, but this is my general rule and it would apply whoever called.)

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

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Re: I think UK is just catching stray bullets

@mask AC: I'm starting to think you have a financial interest in mask sales. I don't care what you or other health absolutist want to wear - you can have a mask, a positive pressure breathing apparatus, or an NBC suit for all I care - but don't force it on me. It is unnatural and inhuman to wear masks, and, sooner or later, the time will come when they have to come off. Then, the follow-up infections will start.

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Re: One would have throught...

Yep - if you are that worried about this rather trivial (in the great scheme of things) virus, stay at home or invest in an NBC/bio-isolation suit. The Precautionary Principle being applied is hugely disproportionate even taking the worst-case projections.

NHS contact-tracing app is best in the world, says VMware CEO... whose company helped build it

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Re: Not true

@misinformation AC: "Doctors wear masks, do they look like bank robbers?" Doctors, nurses dentists etc wear masks *for specified purposes*, and rarely when actually communicating with patients. They are, aware of the hugely negative impact of not having the evolutionarily maximally communicative parts of the face visible. Studies exist that show that trust takes a huge hit when communicated through a mask.

"Does all of Austria look look like bank robbers?"

Yes, yes it does. It also makes them look like paranoid fools.

"What about the successful European countries?"

Define "successful". However, I have stopped talking to my Czech friends and relatives if they insist on wearing the mask either on video chat or in person.

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Re: Wear the mask

"... if you're coughing best to stay at home and do a proper job of avoiding transmitting the disease."

This ^^. If you feel the need to wear a mask, then you shouldn't be out. Either you have a cough or you are in an at risk category. If the former, observe the self-quarantine rules. If the latter, choose to stay at home or take a risk.

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Re: Wear the mask


No I won't, and I'll think less of anyone simply doing shopping or getting exercise. Face coverings are the preserve of people who want to hide their identity and wish people with hearing difficulties to be unable to communicate with them. I don't let my children wear masks for play, so this isn't a random objection.

More minor reasons - I have psoriasis on my face, and face covering will make it worse; I'd need to shave off my beard of forty years standing; masks make my glasses steam up. Added to the tiny, tiny risk of catching or passing on the virus, there is no argument that works for me.

Papa don't breach: Contracts, personal info on Madonna, Lady Gaga, Elton John, others swiped in celeb law firm 'hack'

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"... they are absolutely sure they are the smartest and most knowledgeable person in any room on any subject." Interesting - my experience is that lawyers are quite willing to acknowledge they don't know about $topic*, but then express complete disinterest because they don't know about it!

*Unlike doctors, especially GPs and surgeons

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There is so much I could write on this topic, but I'll keep it short. Lawyers follow the instructions of their clients, even down to means used. Corporate litigation lawyers have one instruction - win this case. They are very good at finding gaps in the law, and following things to a more-or-less logical conclusion. Lawyers at the top are just like anyone else at the top - they want to do the best job they can. Like professional sportspeople, they want to win, and they want to do it often and decisively. If you could afford the same level of legally trained bodies, you'd do the same, unless you are sufficiently clued up to win, usually by appearing in person - judges, in general, will have a lot sympathy for the competent amateur.

The problem comes from a system that allows huge dissimilarities in representation. To my mind, expenditure should be capped for both sides at the level the poorest engaged person can afford, e.g. if Apple wants to sue Jo Bloggs, legal expenditure is capped at Jo's level. The same if Bloggs wants to sue Apple. This would prevent throwing resources at a case until the other party can no longer afford to continue.

Breaking virus lockdown rules, suing officials, threatening staff, raging on Twitter. Just Elon Musk things

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Re: Same as the Nebraska meat packing plants

There is no reported transmission via food, so more misreporting from the same AC who seems to have a vested interest in spreading the most restrictive practices. S/he he will only be happy with complete quarantine and the social distancing forever in case s/he gets a bug sometime.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Spacecraft with graphene sails powered by starlight and lasers

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Surely "close" needs defining first!

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Re: Calling Isaac Newton...

"Basically, unless the project completes in a timescale of your current job, nobody has any great interest in either finishing it, or really solving the problems. It’s just an annual budget, and people are “contributing”. They aren’t motivated to make the damn thing work."

That is one of the most depressing things I have heard, and it is a fault of manglement. The project should be broken down into achievable chunks (call them what you will) so that the thrill of "Yeeehaaa - we've done it!" is always in sight. The longer-term stuff needs people with a certain attitude to life - one person with a need for resolution in "only" five years can ruin a ten-year project. Fortunately, we have sufficient proof that your basic assertion is wrong - there are many examples of multi-year projects in the world - and these show that there *are* some good managers in existence.

We dunno what's more wild: This vid of Japan's probe bouncing off an asteroid to collect a sample – or that the rock was sun-burnt

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Ummm - what?

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Re: Eggheads?

I'd say "you must be new here", but it seems you've been around for a decade or so. "Boffin" and "egghead" are the highest accolades on this here site, and that's the way we like it.

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer

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Re: Love in a multi-member team

We all know that the first knowledgable* person to deal with a computer problem owns that problem. If the knowledgeable person is unpaid, perhaps having done a favour, then they own all subsequent problems, but no successes.**

*For certain values

*The same used to apply with cars, but not so much these days.

Tom Cruise to increase in stature thanks to ISS jaunt? Now that's a mission impossible

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Re: the point ?

What - you mean they can't take their fancy caravans with them??

There's a black hole lurking within 1,000 light years of Earth – and you can see stars circling it with the naked eye

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Re: A black hole we can nearly see?

"A Fosters for the boffins." Why? What did they do to deserve that!?

Now we know what the P really stands for in PwC: X-rated ads plastered over derelict corner of accountants' website

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Re: missing major issues when auditing companies

A fine and heartening example of ethics being applied to business. It is a shame that you were driven out of business by inveterate liars, though. Thanks for recounting the story!

Apple-Google COVID-19 virus contact-tracing API to bar location-tracking access

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Re: Makes a change

By coincidence, I just read this article that makes some of my points much more articulately: https://unherd.com/2020/05/why-we-should-take-risks-over-covid-19/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups[0]=18743&tl_period_type=3

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Re: Makes a change

@Jim Birch: Ultimately, I *don't* care enough about others that the privacy of myself and others is negotiable. At root, I rather despise the people who put their life before all other things regardless of cost to others. Life is about more than the mere fact of living - quality beats quantity and these apps have a huge potential to reduce quality of life for far more people than will die, just as the results of the lockdown will have devastating effects on far more people than it will benefit. Part of his is familial - we all have an attitude of "if it's your time, so be it", couple with "I don't want to be a burden on anyone". I'd possibly have more relatives left if we had a different attitude, but c'est la vie et la mort. I was mortified when my wife insisted we self-isolate for a fortnight recently, and we had to accept help from others (even though I would happily offer that same help to others). My mum, in her mid-eighties, is going about her business almost as usual, and I'm pleased that she is.

I have long been a supporter of human rights, but, increasingly, the damage that the current iteration has on communitarianism has troubled me, and the response to this virus has crystallised that to near opposition. It is time for some good old-fashioned utilitarianism to be applied - balance harms with benefits.

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

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Re: And what about the people ...

At the end of the day, I grew up with constant comms and a pocket terminal being the ideal (Thunderbird, Star Trek, and thousands of sci-fi books), and being out of comms being the beginning of disaster. I carry my phone (actually, two!) everywhere because that is how I feel comfortable, especially knowing that I can call for help given some of my health problems. The major caveats are that a) I didn't succumb to owning one until there was a specific need, and b) because I don't like disturbing people, the ringer is turned off almost all the time anyway.


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