* Posts by adrianww

166 publicly visible posts • joined 17 Jun 2009


Honda cooks up an electric motorbike menu, with sides of connectivity


Re: Hmmmmmm

I could imagine scenarios where it is having the rider assist gubbins that actually makes things more dangerous. If you start getting riders who ride more carelessly on the basis that the assorted rider assist technologies will save them from their own stupidity, bikes with rider assist could end up with a worse safety record than those without. I don't know whether there have been any studies into this kind of thing (perhaps on bikes, but maybe in cars or other vehicles), but it's an interesting question.

My own time as a motorcyclist was fairly short-lived and is now nearly thirty years ago, but even back in the day, I wouldn't have thanked you for any additional techno-wizardry (with the possible exception of ABS which was about the only such thing that was available at the time and then only on a couple of bikes such as the Honda ST1100). And certainly not bloody stupid things like entertainment systems, etc. Riding a motorbike is a dangerous activity - you're physically vulnerable, you can be hard to see and you have to be much more aware of your surroundings, road conditions, etc. Knowing that the only thing between you and a nasty end is your own ability, alertness and good sense is a good way to make you stay safe. If you do make a stupid mistake and live to tell, you learn very quickly not to do it again.

Rackspace rocked by ‘security incident’ that has taken out hosted Exchange services


One might even say…

Microsoft Exchange. What could possibly go right?

Zuckerberg wants to create a make-believe world in which you can hide from all the damage Facebook has done


Re: Sadville 2.0

No, he’s not inventive enough to come up with that kind of thing. It’s actually much simpler - “Mark’s Electronic Targeted Advertising”

Nobody cares about DAB radio – so let's force it onto smart speakers, suggests UK govt review


Did anyone ever get DAB to work?

Over the last 15-20 years, I have tried various DAB radio receivers at various times while living in a bunch of different places. Admittedly, no major cities but various towns and villages and rural places in different bits of England and Scotland.

At no point has DAB worked. I think the most stations I ever managed to pick up was about 7 or 8 and, of those, half of them were stations that I wasn't interested in hearing and all of them arrived with a sound quality that could be generously described as "variable" but was probably more accurately described as "a garbled, bubbly stream of unpleasant digital artifacts".

Why the hell are they still flogging this dead and decomposing horse? Is it just utter technological stupidity or did someone get paid a lot of money to promote and support this utter monstrosity? Is there a worldwide champions league for governments based on how technologically incompetent they are and, if so, does anyone anywhere stand a chance of knocking the UK government off the top spot?

China successfully launches Mars probe that packs an orbiter, lander, rover


Re: China has successfully launched a Mars probe.


China's silicon-self-sufficiency plan likely to miss targets due to Factories Not Present error


Re: sales dip of negative 5 per cent.

Yes. I raised a pedantic eyebrow at that too.

Mortal wombat: 4 generations of women fight for their lives against murderous marsupial


Re: What kind of name is "wombat"?

Obviously, it’s a bat with which you play the traditional Australian game of wom.

Not sure about the rules or size of the playing field etc. but I’m sure you can find out somewhere.

Mind you, in situations such as the one described in the article, you’d probably need a wombat-bat. Or should that be wom(bat)^2?

Morrisons puts non-essential tech changes on ice as panic-stricken shoppers strip stores


Re: "throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"

I panicked when I happened to be picking up a couple of bottles of screen wash at a well-known German discount supermarket. Ended up coming home with a pillar drill and a bench grinder as well.

Oh, hang on, that’s not panic is it? It’s fairly normal for Aldi-Lidl-di-Aldi-Lidl-di-dee.

Anyway, what’s this COVID-19 thing that everyone is banging on about?

(“COVID-19 too-loo-rye-ay. COVID-19 too-loo-rye-ay. Now you’re full grown. Now you have shown. COOO 19...”)

Aww, a cute mini-moon is orbiting Earth right now. But like all good things, it too will abandon us at some point


...continuum transfunctioner?

In the red corner, Big Red, and in the blue corner... the rest of the tech industry



Not sure I'd have said that TCP/IP was barely three years old in 1987. Its widespread, standardised use might have only been 3-4 years old, but it was invented in the mid 70s (74? 75?), several prototype implementations were developed in numerous places during the late 70s and early 80s, the US DOD declared it the standard for all military networking in 1982 and the migration of ARPANET to TCP/IP was completed by January 1983.

Anyway, that's a minor quibble. In all other respects, the article is bang on the money. Hopefully, Oracle will get shown the door in no uncertain terms on this one. Although, this is the USA we're talking about where corporate money appears to be king. Who knows how it will actually play out.

Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons


Re: Why indeed...

Oops! I appear to have tweaked the nose of some who have sipped of the Sonos Kool-Aid.

Being fair, I suppose I was a tad harsh.


I'm certainly no high-end audiophile (far from it) and most of my audio stuff is unashamedly low priced and low end. I've spent far more on instruments than any hi-fi stuff (even though my instruments are, themselves, largely from the low end of the price spectrum). I do, however, stand by the general drift of my earlier hyperbole.

A few years ago, I actually looked into buying some Sonos stuff. Someone elsewhere in these comments has already mentioned the convenience factor, which is a fair point and was the angle I was coming from. So - knowing three or four people who had various different Sonos products (including one guy who had spent a fairly significant amount putting Sonos speakers, etc. in several rooms of his house) - I asked if I could go along and have a listen to some of my favourite bits and pieces of music on them.

Now, I suppose if I'm being scrupulously fair about it, it's possible that all of these folks had things configured incorrectly or set up the wrong way or some such, but the overall impression that I was left with was that the Sonos stuff just didn't sound very good. Even compared to the relatively cheap and basic gear that I had at home, never mind some of the stuff I've heard over the years in the homes of more serious musicians and audiophile types.

As background music while you were doing something else, or to provide music for a bit of a party, yeah, the Sonos kit was fine. Similarly, if you're using it to provide the audio for your TV or home cinema set up (maybe). But if you actually want to sit down and listen to the music, as music, with no distractions, I really didn't rate any of it at all. And certainly not at the kind of inflated prices that Sonos were charging.

So I decided not to pursue that particular avenue after all, before I even thought about the issue of product longevity and the possibility of the manufacturer simply pulling support for things after only a few years.

Under the circumstances, I guess I dodged a bullet. Even if they had sounded much better (as they should have done, given the price) I'd have been royally pi...er...peeved had I bought into them only for Sonos to pull some of the stunts that they have in the last couple of years.


Why indeed...

Godawful, overpriced, under-performing speakers with sound quality that is barely acceptable if your target audience is a bunch of very, very drunk people at a party, but that's about it.

I've got a cheap pair of Bluetooth bookshelf speakers that don't sound great, but they still sound better than just about any bit of Sonos kit I've ever heard.

My old Wharfedale Diamond actives are pretty comprehensively low-end and poor sounding (as near-field monitors for recording purposes go) but leave anything Sonos produces lying dead in the dust when it comes to sound quality. Meanwhile, for general listening, the nearly 20-year-old Missions connected to my nearly 40 year-old hi-fi easily show up anything Sonos produces as sonic garbage.

Even allowing or inflation, none of these speakers cost as much as one of Sonos' lower-priced offerings, much less their more pricey warble-boxes. And I'm not even a major hi-fi geek. I know guys who have amps and speakers that are as far beyond mine as mine is beyond the Sonos stuff.

Also, none of these items are suddenly going to stop working because some corporate money-grubber decides that he doesn't want to support them any more. Even if you weren't a bit daft to buy in to Sonos' tat in the first place (*) you'd certainly be out of your mind to stick with it now.

(* Actually, you probably were a bit daft, but we all do daft things now and again. It's only if you don't learn from them that you're crossing the line into really stupid.)

What was Boeing through their heads? Emails show staff wouldn't put their families on a 737 Max over safety fears



Monkey-Clown Aircraft Systems?

Greetings from the future where it's all pole-dancing robots and Pokemon passports


Re: Hmmmm...

Well, you...er...plug it in and then you wave your hands around it in the appropriate fashion.

It then makes unearthly “Ooooo-eeeeeeee-oooooooo” noises in a fashion that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike music.



Haptic Schlong. There’s a good punk band name if ever I heard one.

Or possibly the title of some weird electronica/space rock fusion album.

Happy New Year folks!

(Mine’s the one with the theremin in the pocket. No really, officer, it’s a theremin, honest!)

Post Office coughs £57.75m to settle wonky Horizon IT system case


Rude words go here.

When I first heard that the PO was finally having to fess up to this ludicrous shambles and make some kind of recompense, I was rather pleased.

Now that I know more details, I think the whole thing is a travesty and the management and other people behind this shameful episode should be strung up and quartered.

Disgraceful from start to finish.

US Air Force inks deal with Raytheon on Windows 10 (and other) support for ARSE

Black Helicopters

Re: They

That’ll be the Frontline Emergency Combat Kit that they’re working on.

Combined with the Dynamic Response Inflight Night Kit, they should have most of the bases covered...

Apple's looking at you, kid: Fanbois froth over AR patent docs for gaze tracking headset



Given the description in the article, shouldn't that be foveal? Last time I looked, there's no such thing as a "forvea", just a "fovea" (or "fovea centralis" if you prefer its Sunday name) which is, indeed, the most sensitive part of the retina where light can fall directly onto cone cells.

Or has the computer industry taken its usual approach of inventing a similar-sounding new word to hide the fact that a bunch of software/hardware engineers and IT salesdroids can't use a medical dictionary?

(Mine's the one with the copy of "The Human Eye: Its Structure and Function" in the pocket...)

Yes, people see straight through male displays of bling (they're only after a fling)


Re: Really?

I suspect you do indeed do a lot of beating off.

Doing it with a stick rather than the more traditional way? Well, that's your prerogative...

Avengers: Infinity War: More Marvel-ous moolah for comic film-erverse, probably



At the risk of seeming like just another nit-picking nerd, are you sure that's Thor standing with Black Widow in that picture? And, if so, does Captain America know that the Norse geezer has nicked his outfit?

Li-quid hot mag-ma: There's a Martian meteorite in your backyard. How'd it get there?


Re: Bah!

Yeah, but it were Ogilvy what told him as well.


Re: Bah!

Nope, I'm pretty sure that Stevie said exactly what he intended to say. Although it was probably Ogilvy who told him...

Doctor Who: Oh, look! There's a restaurant at the end of the universe in Hell Bent


Re: For me this summed up everything that Moffat is getting wrong

I think the problem that Moffat has suffered is the same one that plagued Babylon Five and Star Trek: DS9 back in the day. It seems like the majority of science fiction series (and franchises) at some point attempt to do the whole "encompassing story arc" thing. Unfortunately, the producers and writers get so obsessed with trying to shoehorn in oblique little references to past and future events, plot sidelines and other self-referential details that they forget to make the individual plot elements, characters and episodes within the overall story compelling in their own right.

It's like someone having the vision of some wonderful, elegant building in mind and then spending so much time, money and effort on the pretty drawings and architect's models that, by the time they come to build the thing for real, they can only afford the shoddiest of materials and the end result is a slipshod, rickety assemblage of poor quality bits and pieces.

Whereas, if they concentrated on the key individual elements first (immediate plot, character, etc.) and then built the story arc around those afterwards, they might stand a chance of coming up with something bigger, better and more compelling. Foundations first and then start building your soaring spires - not the other way around.

(And yes, of course, I realise that they have to have at least some vague idea of where they want the whole thing to go but it still feels as though too many series put the end-to-end story arc first and then forget to build it up out of good stories along the way.)


Sack him? No. But...

To be fair here, I wouldn't say that Moffat should be sacked. Possibly returned to the role of dedicated screenwriter (at which he has already demonstrated his ability) while someone else takes on the responsibility of running the show as a whole, but certainly not sacked.

This series has, however, largely been shite and I really don't understand how anything other than severely rose-tinted glasses (or hopeless addiction to all things Whovian) could make anyone believe otherwise. I really did have high hopes for Peter Capaldi in the role and I think he has tried very hard to make something of the rather shoddy mess that he has been given in terms of plotlines and script but this has been the first season of the "new" Dr Who where I, for one, have found the sow's ear simply too ugly, trite and frivolous to be turned into any kind of purse, much less a silk one.

Still, takes all sorts I suppose. If it rocks your boat, more power to you, but I still think I'd prefer to see it shelved again (or canned altogether) rather than watch another season like this one.


Re: 4.5 billion years?

Oh yes it is!


This is obviously using some new definition of the word "best" that I was previously unaware of.

Although I suppose - to be fair - there have been worse episodes during this shark-jumping train-wreck of a series. Like the first two or three which ensured that I didn't so much watch this rest of them as sit in the room doing something else of a Saturday evening while others watched it.

Still saw enough of what was happening to vote for putting it back on the shelf for another couple of decades though...

Devious Davros, tricksy Missy and Dalek Clara delight in The Witch's Familiar


Re: Hang on...

Fortunately, nobody. I watched it because - in general - I have always had a soft spot for Dr Who, harmless and fun hokum that it is. I enjoyed it as a kid and I have enjoyed it a fair bit during the last few years. However, as I said, I think that during Matt Smith's tenure as the Doctor the general standard of the writing and development of the series deteriorated. And, if anything, it seems to be getting worse. Or, at least, getting no better.

Once upon a time, I would make an effort to see each episode in a series. During the last couple of series, I missed the odd episode here and there and found that it had reached the point where I wasn't that bothered about catching up with the ones I'd missed (even though that's easy enough to do nowadays what with iPlayer, etc.) I watched the first episode of this series in the hope that they had given it a bit of a refresh and were going to give Peter Capaldi better scripts to work with. I then watched the second episode to see how they wrapped up the story (and whether the first episode was just an unfortunate aberration). Sadly, while the second episode was somewhat better than the first, it certainly doesn't give me hope for the future.

So...as I said, fortunately no-one is holding a gun to my head and forcing me to watch and, short of having absolutely nothing else to occupy my time of a Saturday evening (which is unlikely to be the case most of the time) I don't expect to be watching any more. And I'm still baffled by all the fairly glowing reviews I've seen around the place. I can only assume that they have been written by inveterate Dr Who fans who would give a sound thumbs-up to any old drivel so long as it had two hearts and a Tardis.


Hang on...

...reading the reviews here and most of the other reviews that I've seen in the press or online, did the reviewers actually watch the same episodes as I did?

They were very, very poor indeed. OK, so Dr Who isn't (and has never been and is unlikely ever to be) high art, but it has on occasion been interesting and entertaining. For all their occasional failings, the Eccleston/Tennant seasons did have some nice moments, the odd interesting story or plotline and the introduction of some rather fine new "baddies". As a reboot of the tired old original series, it was quite welcome and showed a fair bit of promise. Almost as though the Beeb were taking it slightly more seriously this time around.

But then Matt Smith happened. Not that he was particularly bad, but as his time in the Tardis continued, the whole thing started to come apart as far as story lines, characters and general quality of the overall narrative were concerned. By the time he regenerated, a new Doctor was already long overdue and I had some high(ish) hopes for Peter Capaldi, so long as he got decent scripts.

Oh well, so much for that then. Decent scripts? Chance would be a fine thing. If anything, they've gone even further down the pan than they already were. I wouldn't even mind if they had come up with something where I could actively dislike it (perhaps taking it in a determinedly different direction altogether) but no, it's just a whole heap of "meh". The bits that weren't eminently predictable were simply boring - characters that were even more cardboard cut-out than usual (if possible), plot devices that were either glaringly transparent or supremely ad hoc and an overall feel of mediocrity. I watched the second episode just to see if it picked up any after a pretty abysmal first one. Being fair, the second episode was probably better than the first, but not enough to warrant making any special effort to watch a third.

Perhaps it's time for this McTedium Sandwich with Extra Cheese to be put back on the shelf for another couple of decades until someone can come up with another interesting reboot...

Oi, Google! Remove links to that removed story, yells forceful ICO


Re: Please remove the link...

As the years have gone by and I've watched the web grow into the seething morass of stupidity and insanity that we see today, I begin to wonder whether "delete the entire Internet" actually isn't such a bad idea.

I'd even go as far as to recommend nuking the entire site from orbit. After all, it's the only way to be sure...

Wikipedia jumps aboard the bogus 'freedom of panorama' bandwagon



...the thing that makes me most worried that something like this idiocy may ultimately make it into EU legislation in some shape or form is, in large part, the absolute certainty with which El Reg's redoubtable Mr Orlowski says it can't happen. Not that I necessarily disbelieve everything he says, but I've never been convinced that he knows as much about things as he thinks he does.

Anyway, as far as this particular issue is concerned, while I'm no fan of self-aggrandizing Wiki-anything types, I've seen enough ill-thought-out and utterly cocked-up legislation coming from the EU or from individual European governments (not least our own in the UK) that I can easily imagine some bunch of assorted political dimwits picking up this dog's breakfast of an idea and actually trying to run with it. On that basis, I'm prepared to stick my name on the petition and possibly even badger my MP/MEP just on principle. Conversely, if Mr O turns out to be right in this case, then that is a fine and good thing and I shall sleep sounder in my bed.

I block, you block, we all block Twitter shock schlock


I wonder...

Most of the folks on my block list tend to be people or companies whose Promoted Tweets have appeared in my timeline. In fact, my first (and pretty much only) action on seeing a Promoted Tweet is to block the sender.

I'd guess that some other folks do the same.

So...if we all exchanged our lists of blocked users, could we come up with the beginning of a global Twitter spam block list? Pretty sure that wasn't Twitter's intention with this feature, but it sounds like a very useful application for it.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: The new common-as-muck hybrid


Re: How much?

Absolutely, I know you have to have some new ones out there otherwise there won't eventually be old ones. However, the point that slightly bothers me is that as emissions regs are tightened further and further and car taxation is tied more and more closely to them, it becomes more punitive to keep running the older cars and people are pushed in the direction of new ones. Which is all well and good from the day-to-day emissions point of view but takes little (or no) account of the overall environmental impact of the manufacturing/disposal process. Or, at least, it pushes those costs/taxes back up into the manufacturing chain (whence they are probably ultimately passed on to the consumer anyway, but with additional profit margin applied) or it pushes them into the waste disposal chain (where, again, they are probably passed on to the consumer in some shape or form). So, ultimately, we all end up paying even more (directly or indirectly) and the only people really to benefit from it are the manufacturers, their bankers and their political pals. Funny how it often seems to end up working like that...


How much?

The problem I have with this thing is the price. For twenty-eight grand I could have something with a conventional engine/drivetrain but much better and more usable out in the sticks where I live. A diesel Subaru Forester (for example) if I wanted something with a bit of ground clearance and the ability to cope with the local farm tracks, minor roads and bits of off-roading that are sometimes required. Or even just the standard diesel Outlander if push came to shove.

Actually, having said that, I don't think I'm likely to spend that much on a car again anyway. I prefer to buy something a couple of years old after some other poor sap has eaten all the depreciation. Which begs another question for me - which is more environmentally friendly? Buying a new "eco-car" every two or three years (with the associated costs/environmental impact of its manufacture) or buying something older that is less tree-friendly (so to speak) and then running that for several years (assuming it's properly maintained, etc.) Because the current road-tax system seems to be increasingly geared towards hitting the owners of older cars (that were manufactured for looser emissions regs) in their pockets but making no allowances for the environmental impact of manufacturing the shiny new ones (or, indeed, disposing of the old ones that no-one then wants).

Of course, the manufacturers do have to pay their environmental charges and taxes so that obviously will come into it, but it just seems like we're increasingly moving towards a world where everyone is being persuaded, poked, prodded and cajoled into buying the newest this, that and the other even when we're talking about things like cars (which, for many folks, will probably be the second most expensive thing they will buy in their life, or even the most expensive if you leave houses/property out of the picture). Which is all very nice for the revenues and profitability of the companies that make all the doo-dads (and their political chums) but is it really all that good for the people? I'm not certain...

Drone penetrates Virgin's shapely space arse


Re: Slightly worrying

Heh, heh, heh, "bottoms", "number 2", heh, heh, heh...

(Damn - where's a minion icon when you need one?)

Why Joe Hockey's Oz tax proposals only get five out of 10


Re: GST/VAT Rates for International Sales

Not only is he "almost right" about the sale of goods, he's specifically and actually right - so long as (as you mentioned) your annual sales into other EU countries fall below the distance-selling threshold in each one. I suspect that there are a lot of UK small businesses/SMEs who fall into that category and who are grateful that the system is actually fairly rational in that respect. These are also the businesses who are going to suffer the most from the ill-thought-out and poorly-publicised way in which the digital products/services rules were introduced. We all suspect that we know who the EU were trying to target when it came to that almighty shambles, but it's the little guys who are going to feel most of the pain. As you say, it would have been better and far more workable if they had applied the same rules/thresholds as for physical products, but the idiots didn't do that.

Jupiter Ascending – a literally laughable train wreck of a film


Re: Sceptical Mila is sceptical

I'm not certain that Matrix 2 and 3 suffered from "trying to do too much". What they suffered from was the Wachowski siblings suddenly finding that the quite interesting idea that powered the first film didn't actually have the legs to be extended to anything further. The end result was a second film that became increasingly awful, shallow, poorly plotted and laughably scripted as the minutes ticked by. Then, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, along comes the third film, mewling and puking in the bottom of the barrel where the second left off and - to everyone's astonishment - actually managing to be even worse.

I've tried quite hard over the years to find redeeming features in the second film and - while I haven't really managed to do so yet - I still live in hope and can occasionally watch it again to see if there is anything there to save it. The third film is unadulterated dross and is almost bad enough to make you wish that none of them had been made at all. I have tried to watch the third film again. I've even seen bits of it here and there when it's had an airing on the TV. I've still never managed to find anything in there worth the effort and could probably only manage to sit through all of it if I were sedated or spectacularly inebriated. It's about as much fun as cleaning a badly blocked plughole in a house populated by yetis who use their own dung and phlegm as shampoo.

I suspect that, if there had been a fourth Matrix film, Plan 9 from Outer Space would finally have had something to look down upon.

'YOUTUBE is EVIL': Somebody had a tape running, Google...


Re: elreg misquote

Yes, except the transcript doesn't cover all of the ground around this. It's not as simple as you make out. The new terms include a few interesting provisions that are, at best, unacceptable restraints of trade and, at worst, just completely screwing the artist over for Google's profit. All in all, it amounts to something little different from the worst excesses of the old-style recording industry. That's the very industry that some of the Internet/web cheerleaders used to say would be brought to heel by the wonderful, open access that our new technology provided. Unfortunately, they didn't go on to mention that the new corporate behemoths that would be controlling this amazing electronic utopia would turn out to be even worse, more acquisitive and more duplicitous than the old ones.


A loophole

Interesting that the droid from YouTube described this as "a loophole" though. Wonder if they'll close it at some point.

Mind you, the more important point is that - as I understand it both from the transcript and from reading about this elsewhere - you can go down this route, but the consequences are:

1) that they'll track content for you, but won't take it down (so you have to be constantly issuing DMCA takedown notices if you want to manage your content/presence on YouTube, etc.)


2) not only will they not pay you if a third party uses your content, but they won't pay you if you use it yourself either. So if YouTube was one of your existing revenue streams and you want to keep any kind of revenue from it at all, you have no option other than to sign up and accept whatever terms they want to shove at you. Including all the restrictive crap about simultaneous releases, having to have all your material on Music Key if you want it on YouTube, etc.

So, as agreements go, it still stinks to high heaven. And Google trying to imply to the press or media that the person complaining about this is somehow lying about it or has got it wrong when the transcript makes it pretty clear that the things she is complaining about are - largely - true (give or take a "loophole") just stinks even higher. As Lowery's article points out, it's not vastly different from the pile of festering dung that Google/YouTube gave the indie labels.

The Shock of the New: The Register redesign update 4


Re: Update 3

Not just you - I was wondering the same thing. Maybe they don't like us and have only shown update 3 to the El Reg Illuminati. (The El-luminati?)

Whitehall at war: Govt’s webocrats trash vital digital VAT site


Re: The VAT site's been ****ed for weeks

Lots of folks know nothing about this EU VAT malarky and it's going to bite lots of people in the bum rather hard.

In spite of HMRC and the government claiming that they have extensively publicised the forthcoming changes, I only became aware of them a couple of weeks ago and we're going to be pulling all digital products from our website by the end of December until we can work out how to deal with the VAT MOSS VAT mess. (Fortunately for us, we mainly sell physical products and they aren't affected, but we do have several dozen digital download products too and were planning to do more in the future so we're going to have to sort this out sometime in the new year.)

If you don't deliver digital content to consumers in the EU in any form, then by all means don't worry about it - it'll save you some headaches and several "WTF were they thinking?" moments. If you do deliver digital content (video, audio, ebooks, software downloads, etc.) to consumers in the EU, do some digging and find out what it's all about. PITA doesn't even begin to describe it. Not that any of it is particularly challenging in concept, but like all government and EU interventions, the practicalities and making it workable are another matter altogether...

Having said that - and being fair to the folks at HMRC - the VAT MOSS idea that they have come up with is, at least, an attempt to make this thing a little easier. I haven't looked at the VAT MOSS site myself yet, but I know that the alternative is just unspeakable so anything that tries to make the process even a little more straightforward gets a thumbs up from me. And if the goons in the GDS are trying to hamstring it, then they should just be told to sod off and actually try doing some useful work themselves rather than just interfering when other people are actually trying to solve real problems.

(Big boom icon, 'cos that's what I'd like to do to the numpties in the EU who came up with this gem.)

Yes, Samaritans, the law does apply to you. Even if you mean well


Re: Domestic purposes

I'm not a lawyer (although I've had quite a lot of dealings with them for reasons that aren't relevant here) but I don't think that this would stand up. The c.29 Part IV, s.36 "Domestic Purposes" exemption is stated as follows (from legislation.gov.uk):

"Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III."

As I see it, there are two important points in there.

First, it stipulates that the data is processed by the individual, not by a third party on their behalf. I suspect that the letter (and intent) of the act probably wouldn't be construed by a court as permitting some third party - and certainly not an organisation of any sort - to carry out data processing on the individual's behalf. At least, not without a specific contract between that individual and the organisation in question (by which I refer to a more formal and direct contract than any that may be implied by someone simply opting to use a free service available to all).

Second, it stipulates that the individual may carry out processing "only for the purposes of that individual's personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes)". While it could possibly be argued that someone wanting to monitor the tweets of a close friend or relative because they are worried about their mental state may fall into the realm of "personal, family or household affairs", it would probably also be argued that such processing would only fall fully within the remit of the Domestic Purposes exemption if the person being monitored had a demonstrable familial or personal connection with the person doing the monitoring (and, if the lawyers wanted to push the point, was even aware of it and had given some form of consent). In the absence of that, it is difficult to see how the "personal, family or household" affairs clause could be deemed to apply. Since, in the case of the Samaritans app, there is no mechanism to check or demonstrate that such a connection exists between the person being monitored and the person doing the monitoring, it is hard to see how it can be seen as falling within the remit of s.36.

In any case, I'm sure that determining any of this in a court would be a bit of a legal bun fight that would earn a couple of barristers a tidy few grand. And I still suspect that the exemption would ultimately be found not to apply (mostly on the first leg above, but also quite possibly on the second given the app in its current form).


Re: quite right - 1st world problems.

Yes, and here in the UK, Google has to abide by the DPA just like everyone else and, if you serve them with a Section 12 notice, they have to act upon it and stop processing any information about you. Which is the whole point here - it applies to Google, it applies to anyone or any organisation who holds or processes personally identifiable information and, given what Samaritans Radar is trying to do, it very probably applies to them too.

Furthermore, when you use Google, you know full well that they will be taking the information that you provide and using it in the various (and, perhaps, sometimes nefarious) ways that they do. However, you don't know what the Samaritans Radar app is doing since it isn't YOU who opts to use it or have your tweets monitored by it.

So...10 out of 10 for a nice idea on the part of the Samaritans, but minus several million for good thinking and all that.


Re: I can't believe a journalist wrote this story.

...and I can't believe that you actually read the article or that anyone could be myopic enough to miss the point quite so spectacularly as you have done.

However, in the interests of spelling it out, if the bizarre scenario that you describe were to arise, then El Reg would, indeed, be obliged to comply. Or, failing that, to take the matter up with the Information Commissioner or other relevant authority or even, in the extreme case, to mount a defence in court on the basis of wider public interest, etc. It's the law, you maroon. That's how it works. Or don't you think that El Reg has to abide by the DPA too?

More importantly, any public pronouncements reported by the Register are just that - reported. No further automated data processing operation is performed on the content of those pronouncements. Articles are written to discuss particular subjects and, in some of those articles, comments made by relevant and/or connected persons are reported verbatim (give or take the occasional typo). At most, the writer of an article may offer their own opinion as to meanings (hidden or otherwise) but that is not the same as performing any kind of data processing operation on the original information.

The scenario is, therefore, completely unlike what is done by the Samaritans Radar app, which does perform some kind of automated data processing upon the original tweets. Which is why it probably does fall within the remit of the Data Protection Act, regardless of the public nature of those tweets. The Samaritans, worthy and worthwhile as they are, can't just wave their hand like some kindly old Alec Guinness and say "We don't believe the DPA applies to us in this case. This is not the data processing system you're looking for." If they want to do the kind of thing that they're trying to do with Samaritans Radar, they're going to need to dot the i's and cross the t's with the Information Commissioner's Office to ensure that they are complying with the relevant legislation. And, if they do fall within the remit of the DPA (as they may well do), then they'll need to respond to things like Section 12 notifications correctly.

Now look what you've done. I'd always promised that I'd never use a facepalm icon for anything I read on the Internet - regardless of how dim it may be - because it seems a bit rude really. And now you've gone and made me do it. I hope you're pleased with yourself.

Will.i.am gets CUFFED as he announces his new wristjob, the PULS


4kW of...

Actually, I almost got it right without following the link. Except I thought the 'D' stood for 'Daft'.

Close though...

True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS


Re: No good any more

No, you don't understand. The psychos who would be willing to nuke a city just 'cos it got in the way or because it was eying up the girlfriend, spilled the pint, etc? That would be us. Prepared to release a deadly chemical plague across a continent? Us again (if you pay enough and we have the antidote). Prepared to strap people to chairs and force them to watch back-to-back episodes of Eastenders, Big Brother and Hollyoaks for hours? Still us. Strapping headphones to people's ears and forcing them to listen to One Direction, N'Dubz and Ed Sheeran on repeat? Yes, you guessed it, us yet again.

Basically, you just have to make sure that you're the ultimate psycho's psycho at all times. Job done.

Not always easy, I grant you. And a bit downright odd as modern foreign policy goes. But we have a fine history of being both creative and inventive. We just need to channel it in the right way.


Re: No good any more

Actually, the "HM Terrorists" idea could have legs you know...

Drop the whole Geneva Convention/Human Rights thing and just become the ultimate mercenary state. Hire out our armed forces to whoever needs them the most (and pays best). Become the world's biggest bunch of utter bast...er, you-know-whats.

"Hey Uncle Sam? Got a problem with terrorists in <insert foreign state name here>? No worries, for a mere several billion in untraceable readies, we'll get in there, flatten the place and get out again, no questions asked."

New passports with really scary looking covers, nationality listed as "HM Terrorist" and taking the Stewart dynasty's old "Nemo me impune lacessit" as a new motto (with the agreement of the Scots of course, who still get to join in and play the game whatever the result on September 18th).

Once we have a few successful and sickeningly violent operations under our belt, it might get to the point that no other terrorist nutter in the world would ever want to mess with us. We'd be the equivalent of the little bloke in the pub who no-one particularly likes, but who is never given any bother because absolutely everyone knows "Don't mess with him - he's a total psycho! He once bit someone's kneecaps off and spat them back into the poor fella's eyes!" etc. etc.

Insane? Me? Whatever makes you think that...?

Vampires and Ninjas versus the Alien Jedi Robot Pirates: It's ON


Re: What would happen if Chuck Norris took up Morris Dancing?

Look, I deliberately didn't mention the Stick and Bucket Dance. I thought we'd all agreed?


"Going up Camborne Hill, coming down..."

I voted that there needs to be an extra poll to ensure that Morris Dancers get included.

But then I thought...hang on, if Morris Dancers are included then there's no need to continue the exercise since it's obvious that they would win. After all, anyone who can get up at crack of dawn on a May Mor-i-ning and dance right through the town hitting themselves with sticks, all after spending the previous night down the pub consuming countless pints of Spindle's Old Neuron-Dissolver until chucking-out time are obviously the world's ultimate Special Forces unit. They're so hard they don't even need to sneak around (unlike those cowardly softies the Ninjas), they can probably outdrink (and outsing) the Pirates and, as for the aliens, they'd probably still be standing there wondering WTF was going on when they suddenly found themselves with a hefty chunk of oak or yew shoved through their brain/neuronal nexus/whatever-they-think-with. Not to mention the terrifying noise from the accordian/squeeze-box/shawm/crumhorn/etc. that will disorient all enemies.

Yep, definitely Morris Dancers if you really want to be on the winning side I reckon...

Angry anti-NSA hackers pwn Angry Birds site after GCHQ data slurp

Big Brother

Third-party ad scumbags

Don't know about Rovio, but the advertising skanks used by King (yes, Candy Crush et al I'm looking at you) and Supercell (Hay Day, Clash of Clans, similar crap) have a well-established habit of putting Javascript hijacks into their ads that dump you out of your browser and into the app store on iOS devices. I understand that the same thing happens (or used to happen?) on Android too. In some cases, it's easy enough just to avoid using websites that are afflicted with ads from those networks, but they keep popping up all over the place, depending on which ad network(s) a given site is using at any given time (and on which ads are being syndicated through multiple networks).

Thankfully, there appear to be one or two iOS browser alternatives that block this now, but it's high time that Apple did something to block that behaviour entirely. Google too, if Android is still vulnerable to it.

In any case, given their propensity for such irritating behaviour, is it any surprise that these worthless lickspittles would flog anything that they can find to the highest bidder? Or just hand it over to the Government for the merry hell of it.

Scumbags. If Shakespeare had been around today, he'd probably have written "The first thing we do, let's kill all the advertisers..."

Vile Twitter trolls thrown in the cooler for rape abuse tweet spree


Actually, one of the statutory aggravating factors for sentencing for most offences (might be all offences - I'm a little rusty) is that the offence was carried out under the influence of alcohol.