* Posts by Apdsmith

36 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg


Re: VIFing?

Partly that, but also the fact that the Argentine Air Force Mirages were so far into their maximum range that they couldn't throttle up to the kinds of speeds they were built to fight at. Forced to throw away a key advantage, it's unsurprising they suffered against FAA Harriers.

Hardcore creationist finds 60-million-year-old fossils in backyard ... 'No, it hasn’t changed my mind about the Bible'


Re: Evidence.

The thing is, even if all of this god stuff is accurate (I don't think so personally, but that's not important for the sake of this argument) - suppose there is a supreme being who created the entire universe in all it's complexity and sheer size just for the enjoyment of us humans - how, quite how, are you going to explain this to a bunch of goat-herders two thousand years ago in any fashion that will make sense apart from "magic"? Nobody can comprehend the number 4.54 billion, let alone relate to it in terms of placing yourself in scale to such a massive period of time. Similarly, size. If a modern human went back in time to the time these legends were written, if they were able to communicate and if they didn't give everybody some modern-day pathogen that's lethal to the lot of them, how are you going to communicate the size of just our solar system to anybody from that era in any functional way? You'd almost have to introduce some hackneyed number like 5,000 years for it to be understandable.

If Europe is against US's Irish email grab, it must pipe up now


Re: Sloppy corporate structure. Sloppy security. Sloppy access rights

Hi AC,

Umm, nope, it is owned by a subsidiary. Unless Microsoft just gives away it's European operation entirely, though, it's still under MS control, which is the point that district judge is making. It does seem weird to me that a district judge is abrogating treaties, I did not think that this was in their remit.

I'm pretty sure no-one in the US has access. But, as the district judge has realised, they can give orders to the people that do, even if they are under European data protection laws, the judge doesn't care. He's ordered MS US to get the data from MS IE and, presumably, if MS US does not comply it will be sanctioned - it's up to MS US to either find a way to comply or get the order struck down somehow, and I think they do deserve some credit (I don't know how much) for actually fighting it rather than rolling over.

I'm really not sure why they didn't use the existing option. Was this perceived as an easier option? Is someone trying to make a point? Do they actually _want_ to reduce American competitiveness abroad (Yeah, sure, I'll put all of my precious data on a US-owned cloud now, what could possibly go wrong!)?


BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?


Aargh, this reminds me of our multifunction printer - bought without IT department input - we were literally told when they engineer turned up and wanted to hook it into AD (the answer, you may be unsurprised to hear, was "no") - it took us about three years to get the bastard thing to work right and even then it was constantly experiencing jams and feed problems because the department that spec'd it hilariously underestimated the usage...

YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins


While I agree with what you're saying, isn't part of being a sysadmin being mindful of the business requirements - keeping the systems fit for purpose has to include being able to trade, after all.

BOFH: An UNHOLY MATCH forged amid the sweet smell of bullsh*t


Ha, we just upgraded _to_ Oracle 10g! Up until July it was on 9i (and no, that box doesn't have any internet access, thank you for asking) - joy of legacy systems, eh?


Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...


Re: Too much of a good thing

Yep, GDP is the worst form of measurement - except all those forms that have been tried from time to time. (Apologies to Churchill) - this is why it's called the "dismal science" - at least chemists and physicists get to measure what they're working with, can't do that in economics (or, at least, if you can come up with a concrete way of doing it you're probably due for a nobel or two...)


Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how


Does anybody else, reading this, get shades of the bionic man intro...?

NSA Sentry Eagle placed spies in private companies


Re: Indicative?@ Apdsmith

Hi Ledswinger,

I hadn't actually thought about it that way, but it's an interesting point - I was speculating more as to the mindset generally - the apparent lack of security for _anyone_ in that position was what set me off on that train of thought.





Ledswinger:The unfortunate thing is that Snowden or not, this would eventually have leaked out

You wonder the extent to which this is indicative of a mindset - was it as simple as Snowden, being "on the inside", wasn't really a party to the rules and could do as he wished?

Jony Ive: Flattered by rivals' designs? Nah, its 'theft'


Re: Those in glass houses, Sir Jony...

It also ignores one of the things that Apple actually does do quite well - I don't rate them as all that innovative, personally (This is the company that sued MS for stealing the stuff _they_ stole from PARC, remember) - but it'd be foolish to deny Apple's talents as system integrators. Getting all of the stuff that other people invented to work together well is an important skillset of it's own, but because of the insistence on maintaining the "Apple invented the helicopter" thing they've got going on they completely ignore this (I think) fundamental aspect of their business.

NASA finds ancient films that extend Arctic ice record by 15 years


Hi Corinne,

Nevertheless, it'll still be interesting to see how well the data matches with modelled data - modelling is hard and I'd be interested to see how well current models hold up when compared against the real world.


Climate: 'An excuse for tax hikes', scientists 'don't know what they're talking about'


Re: Maybe we could get a consensus

That's exactly it!

I try and be a sceptic generally, and the key thing, I thought, about scientific theories was falsifiability - how you know you're wrong.

So, and this is an honest question, what would have to happen for the global warming theories to be wrong? There's a lot of murky science, a large part of that no doubt deliberate, but I still don't know the source - tame "denier" scientists, "warmist" zealots, some random politico lookig to cause panic and cash in. From my unexperienced viewpoint, makes it very hard indeed to work out what the actual debate is about or should be about.


MPs to sue UK.gov over 'ridiculous' emergency data snooping law


Re: Bloody hell!

It's possible, true, but both Davis and Watson seem to be fully paid-up members of the awkward squad, so I wouldn't bet on it.

Saddle up for the Tour de Firmware


Re: Missed some

I regard myself as a fairly typical cyclist and I don't a) jump red lights - great, save 30 seconds. And get killed by a bus. Genius idea! b) race down pavements - while I do go on pavements (see "get killed by a bus!" - some of the junctions around here seem designed to eliminate the cycling population) if there's anybody in sight it's into first gear. Hitting people is most of the time as bad for the hitter as the hittee.

Don't have a bell so I have to lock up the back wheel to get attention, which does, admittedly, work quite well but isn't terribly good for the bike. And no, I don't do that if you're just walking around, see "into first gear" - I don't have the speed to lock up the back wheel _unless_ you amble into the cycle path \ road.


BOFH: You can take our lives, but you'll never take OUR MACROS


Re: Spreadsheet nightmares

Our lot are somewhat similar - ancient ODBC spreadsheets that slow down the production system when refreshed, check, lynch mobs, check - however, their solution was innovative - you see, they got tired of waiting for the refresh when they change parameters ("What do you mean, what date? I don't put a date in...") they've instead saved a version of the spreadsheet for all of the different parameters they used - with the data saved, of course. One hundred and twelve Meg per spreadsheet, we counted 50 the last time we asked to _please_ stop murdering the file server (that's for one spreadsheet - this department takes up ~15% of the file server all by itself), or, even, perhaps, use the new report that the nice lads in Business Intelligence have built for them.

As a compromise they've deleted the reports that they've been holding for the people who left two+ years ago. Gee, thanks.

What is ex-NSA spyboss selling for $1m a month, asks US congressman


Re: Apdsmith AC Military Industrial Congressional Complex

Wow, I see reading isn't your strong suit.

If you read the comment again, this time reading instead of reaching for the first handy sheep simile at every opportunity, you'll see that I've said that we bear _some_ responsibility but at no point said we bear _all_ responsibility. Because that would be stupid. Or perhaps you have difficulties with the difference between "some" and "all"?

Not nice when people assume stuff about you without checking, is it? Point made, I'll return to my usual level of discourse.

I realise that this probably isn't going to be a popular opinion, but, having committed to invading a country on what turns out to have been a pretext, I'd really the US (and her allies) went about it properly. Any amateur can invade, wreck the joint and leave a mess for generation afterwards (us Brits and Pakistan, virtually anybody and Afghanistan) but, having the will to invade and the will to manage your colony (let's be honest, after blowing up or sacking _the entire army_, dismantling the existing civil service and having to put troops into the cities to deal with the terrorists it's difficult to call it anything else) are two very different things. The domestic will in the US was never there because, it now appears, either the government of the day didn't tell or (and this is an actual possibilty I still find it difficult to credit) didn't realise they were going to be stuck there for a generation or two. It's not surprising it turned into a mess, but even after invasion, with the Iraqi government having very little legitimacy in anybody's eyes (how much time and how many bodies did it take to get rid of Blackwater? And that's a bunch of heavily-armed mercenaries going around and killing random citizens, if you can't sort _that_ out what hope is there for you?) it's not surprising everybody fell back on the "traditional" government, the pre-existing tribal system, which only made things worse long-term.

As to how things are now, I can't see any circumstances under which Nouri Al-Maliki gets to stay. He's clearly not representing the whole of Iraq and the fraction of it that he has chosen to represent, he cannot protect. I don't think Al-Maliki or the Iraqis are blameless in this, but I think it was stupid to expect anything else. Just backing Al-Maliki with troops and guns is pointless, I agree with you there - we've either got to accept the break-up of Iraq as a state or find a way to get the Iraqi government to realise that they have to look after the people they have, not the people they want to have. Doing that in the middle of a shooting war is going to be a hell of a job, though.


Re: AC Military Industrial Congressional Complex

Hi Matt,

I don't think anybody is seriously arguing that Saddam Hussein was a good, kind leader, but the fact - widely acknowledged - remains that the allies invaded Iraq with inadequate planning performed on what to do once they'd won.

Al Qaeda wasn't even a factor in Iraq until our blundering let them in. I'm not sure that does (or should) count as much of a plus point for the allies. The tribal fault lines now exposed we certainly knew about because we were trying to exploit them in 1991, but, because we didn't manage the handover to Iraqi control very well, we let the majority elect a president who felt free to ignore the minority (though I can understand that some in the administration at the time would feel nothing wrong with that).

That's why America (and her allies) are responsible, to an extent, for the current failures in Iraq, because if they'd planned better, it wouldn't be in quite the same mess that it's in now - this is leaving aside any "WMD" arguments - this is purely about, however, whyever, you decided to go in, doing a good job of it. We didn't.



Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006


Re: Not guilty, perhaps

You do - this is it.

This would be a very different country if there was a "we think you're guilty, we can't prove it, but we're going to assume you are anyway." option - much as I am surprised myself that Rebekah Brooks was found innocent, unless and until the prosecution is shown to have messed up somehow there just isn't the proof (and maybe not even then) to show Brooks did it.

To my mind, that makes her a pretty reckless editor, running stories without knowing the provenance of them (would El Reg's team care to comment on the generally-held wisdom of that?) but there you go...


How practical is an electric car in London?


Re: On Street Parking

Hi Naughtyhorse,

I think one of the points I've not yet seen made on 3) is that fitting various random devices to strip out NOx etc (or even carbon capture, assuming it ever actually works) may be feasible for 1 x Drax but it considerably less feasible for 5,000 x petrol engine cars...


BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept


Re: Signs on the reserved parking spaces:

One of our sub-departments (it's a long, dull, story) actually _asked_ to be renamed to "Business Systems" and were extremely unhappy with us for pointing out the perceived worth of information produced by the "BS" department...


US judge: Our digital search warrants apply ANYWHERE


Re: Conflicting Laws

Hi Number6,

Obviously it'd depend upon the firm's legal department, but the key point is that US authorities will be able to get at senior officers of the firm, so, if that was me, I'd rather not go on record as being the person to decide not to comply with a subpoena. Is that a "do not pass go" contempt of court to do that?

Which is a shame really, as it's just reinforcing the perception that - even if they didn't want to - US firms are legally required to place zero value on your privacy (as an individual) or your commercial confidences (if you're a firm) - so if you have competition in the US, the only safe option is not to use any US-affiliated firm for storage or compute.


USA opposes 'Schengen cloud' Eurocentric routing plan


Re: I can understand the potential foreign trade implications...

Hi Marketing hack,

While you're correct, and they can do that, U.S. Law as it currently is (under my understanding) means that there's no difference between a U.S. server running in New York or in Berlin - if the NSA wants access, the U.S.-headquartered company is required to provide it and then required to lie about providing this access. This is why, through no fault of their own, _no_ U.S. company is trustable - the legal framework they are subject to simply precludes this.

A carefully-structured EU company, however - at least, until the EU gets around to implemented this law themselves (surely it's only a matter of time) - could create a U.S. division that it _knows_ will get compromised by the NSA and only provide the minimum data necessary for it to function. Would seem a tad risky - I'm sure that any competent spook, given legal access to a chunk of a network, would duly attempt to break into the rest of it and nobody with any sense would _want_ to go up against the NSA - but the structure could be put in place.



My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS


Oh, we've got plenty of those!

In fact, they've proved perfectly willing to spend budget they don't even have! (why yes, every new starter does need the latest Mac Pro. Even if they're doing admin work.)

That'd be our friends in Marketing, who are also fond of getting the company to sign up to nice, shiny systems without asking IT. Which we then - legally, that is, given our data protection and PCI obligations - can't use. Ta very much!


You're spending WHAT on iPhone 6? Wells Fargo downgrades Apple stock


Re: They haven't since about 2007 (@AC)

True enough, but isn't that what apple have *always* done well? They're very competent integrators, and this is from somebody who is in no sense a fanboy(i?)

Just don't expect them to bring out any ground-breaking technologies. Or "Get" the more boring sorts of businesses that I work in. That's all.

Gran Turismo 6: Another glossy, gorgeous Mario Kart on steroids


Ahh, many misty-eyed memories of belting around that double apex corner at Oulton Park, flat out on a car with minimum downforce. That game didn't _need_ force feedback gubbins to let you know the car was on right on the limit...

CIOs, IT chiefs: ARRGH! What do you MEAN, HR just bought 400 iPads and didn't tell us


Re: I don't want control

Sometimes even being involved isn't much help. We recently ran a tablet test here, assessing which of the tablets was best for our needs. The best option for us was, surprisingly perhaps, a Surface tablet.

So, shortly therafter, we purchased over a hundred iPads. "They work better", we're told. Not according to the testing we did. "They're faster", we're told. Not for the specific situation we had. "They're more reliable", we're told. Not judging by the support issues logged.

I really would have preferred if they'd said at the start "We're getting iPads because we want iPads." Don't make me spend money and time on doing the process "properly" if you have no intention of listening to what I'm going to say.

NSA justifies hacking world's digital communications


To be fair, it's not *everybody*. Courtesy of the "Special Relationship" (which at times seems to resemble nothing more than Stockholm Syndrome) and the intelligence agreements between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA, it's all gravy as far as they're concerned. To be honest, I'm surprised the NSA even bothered tapping Americans. I understand the process used to be that the NSA's uk subsidiary did the job, neatly side-stepping any troublesome hiccups like an American's constitutional rights...

Reports: NSA has compromised most internet encryption


Re: GCHQ are doing their job


I suspect the answer to your question is "When it became easier to treat us *all* like criminals than think about targeting specific individuals."

My worry is the old Franklin quote - I suspect that although hoovering up every damned thing has been sold to The Powers That Be as cheaper than performing competent analysis (not that I'm qualified for such, but that's not the point) it's actually not as effective as believed, leaving us all worse off for very little benefit.

Which to be fair would be about par for a government program conducted in utmost secrecy.


Apple dodged all UK corporation tax in 2012


There's actually already a rule in the UK that any corporate structure deemed to exist only to reduce tax doesn't exist as far as the tax man is concerned. It's quite a neat rule, I think, however, to be able to use it we'd have to hire some civil servants (i.e., Tax Inspectors). How long would any other business that decides to sack the sales team last? Only in government...

BEST reiterates ‘no solar forcing’ claim


Re: >"Well, are all 36,866 stations using the same formulae?"

Hi AC,

I think you may have overlooked the weighting calculation - your quote specifically mentions that it compensates for station distribution by performing calculations regarding distance between stations. If your location is (possibly) incorrect, then so is the distance, surely?

Not passing judgement on the research itself, merely the apparent contradiction in your comment...


Firm-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's tax dodge profit shift? Totally legit


The solution's mostly there already

There's already the facility in this country to ignore company arrangements that are in place solely to reduce the tax bill - what might be an idea is to stop sacking the people in HMRC who police these things. Large corporates are increasingly able to pay whatever they like as HMRC is increasingly unable to go to court and get the more creative avoidance declared evasion. As ever, the law is already there to deal with the situation but the will to enforce it is sadly lacking - you'd almost wonder if the point is to engage in some "isn't this awful" hang-wringing for the voters while ensuring that valuable donors aren't truly threatened.

NotW reporter accused of hacking over 100 mobiles


Re: Who Cares?

Who cares? Andy Coulson is likely to be a member of the next government, and clearly believes that privacy is only important as long as it doesn't get in his way. You might find that he finds all of the rather shady tricks new labour have been up to recently too convenient to get rid of, and he's got Dave's ear, that's his job, remember?

European court pulls plugs on terror stop and search


So, how long before ACPO decide they outrank ECHR?

We could run a pool on how long it's going to be before ACPO issue guidance to police forces throughout the country essentially stating that those Europeans are a bunch of killjoys who should keep their noses out!

On a serious note, I'm a little surprised that nobody has asked the ACPO representatives quite who the hell they think they are, making announcements on what the law is or isn't. That sort of announcement would seem to be somewhat above a Chief Constable's pay grade...

Hacks hoodwinked by hoax Baltimore mayor's website



Hi BoBe,

That's actually the nickname for the Guardian, from it's history of poor typesetting and sub-editing. Good spot, though.

Chief constable caves to judges on disk grab



I suspect the 'loophole' the chief constable wishes to close is the one where the Police get to decide who's an expert witness. His main point of contention seems to be that somebody, somewhere, has given this man the opportunity to look at something that the chief constable did not approve of - obviously a heinous offence ...


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