* Posts by James 100

685 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Jun 2009


Laid-off IT workers: You want free on-demand service for what now?

James 100

Memory lapses

In the absence of money, I find my memory starts to develop small glitches.

For example, is it "date" that reports the current time, or "sudo nohup rm -rf /"? It's expensive for me to tell them apart, you know ... and, of course, even more expensive not to.

OK, I see the point about their excuse about possibly needing people back in case of future litigation - but (a) it should stipulate that, like the old version did, and (b) they should include appropriate payment: index-adjusted payment, plus any expenses incurred, at the very least.

New Nexus 5X, 6P smarties: Google draws a line in the sand

James 100

Update speed

The main advantage to me is getting updates on a sane schedule, instead of having to wait indefinitely or just being flat-out denied updates because the manufacturer's attention has moved to newer models.

Personally, I wish they'd move to a model more like the PC market: LG and co sell hardware, Google and co supply software to run on it. You don't get your Windows or Linux updates from Dell or HP, they come straight from MS/Ubuntu/whoever.

I'm quite interested in the new WileyFox handsets, the Swift and particularly the Storm: dual-sim support, SD card (though irritatingly, not both at the same time: at least one handset does support both, but not this one) and decent screen, camera and CPU. Pretty much everything I'd ask for in a handset, for £199! I just hope they stick to vanilla Android, so it can be kept updated easily for the long term.

On its way: A Google-free, NSA-free IT infrastructure for Europe

James 100

Re: Telecos. Oh.

The beauty of the Internet is that we don't need much coordination of that. We have secure DNS facilities, we just need to enable them ourselves. I did on my domains ages ago - TheReg, of course, is a decade behind as usual: no IPv6, no DNSSEC, no SSL: http://dnsviz.net/d/theregister.co.uk/dnssec/

IMAP's a bit of a red herring here - it's normally used over SSL anyway, the weakness is actually in the SMTP delivery of mail between systems, where TLS is optional. That's one security facility TheReg *does* actually have enabled ... but only because they outsource their mail to Google.

If we have decent crypto on each end, the bits in the middle don't actually matter any more. If I email theregister.co.uk, tapping the backbone or submarine cables will get GCHQ and co nothing but encrypted gibberish - they'd have to rely on something like PRISM to get the mail from inside Google itself to know what the message said.

Online VAT fraud: Calls for government crackdown grow louder

James 100

Re: Ordering 'stuff' from outside the EU

The previous post was talking about "if you make a purchase when you are outside the EU", where of course no VAT should apply, only sales tax (or whatever is appropriate), since they're exporting it to you. Apparently people in Jersey often have a problem explaining this to UK mail order vendors, since they're outside the EU and so shouldn't be subject to VAT.

Strike one – First net neutrality gripe against an ISP is nixed by FCC

James 100

Need for a neutral point

This is where neutral peering points like LINX come in; if Comcast, TWC and co were connected to a peering point like that (which happens to have a rule against running ports at 100%: you're expected to provision extra ports to relieve congestion on that side) and required to accept settlement-free peering there, there wouldn't be a problem.

Yes, the traffic's often asymmetric - that is, after all, exactly what Comcast's whole cable network is specifically designed to deliver: it's heavily optimised for download traffic at the expense of upstream. IMO, though, Comcast's customers are already paying them to transport data from those peering points to themselves: other networks shouldn't have to pay beyond the cost of reaching the peering point itself.

I'm not a fan of overregulation in general, but defining Internet access as including the transportation of data traffic between the end user and one or more public peering points open to all comers seems reasonable to me; if you only provide connectivity to private peering links that's not "Internet", just a big walled garden.

'To read this page, please turn off your ad blocker...'

James 100


I remember a few years ago checking out a friend's new website, and finding the navigation section didn't load at all. After a bit of digging, it turned out she'd innocently named it something like "banner", since it was a banner along the top of each page ... which, of course, got it filtered out by the regex-based filters of the day.

Until fairly recently, I was content with the lack of ad blocking on my mobile - then hit a couple of sites which were infected with non-mobile-compatible ads. The page itself worked fine, but the ad generated a fake window complete with close button - then shoved some irritating content into that window, which resized itself so the close button was off-screen, leaving me with part of an ad and no access to the actual story I was after. Funnily enough, I will be blocking them now.

I imagine this trend has Google changing their trousers though: virtually all their income still comes from web ads. Strategically speaking, it may also push more publishers down the "app" route - can't block in-app ads the same way you can web ones - which of course drives more revenue to Apple's iAd while moving content out of Google's home turf, the web. Lose-lose for them.

BOFH: Press 1. Press 2. Press whatever you damn well LIKE

James 100

Problem solving

Take boss.

Open tape vault door.


UK.gov mobile not-spot coverage project set to be completed in the year 2155AD

James 100

"In response to a Freedom of Information request, DCMS said there had been problems finding locations that provide the coverage needed to satisfy projects requirements."

Wow, the places companies haven't already installed masts are places it's difficult to put masts. I'd never have thought of that either, where do I sign to get a government job?! *headdesk*

Maybe if they'd focussed their efforts where government involvement would help - easing planning rules, providing access to government land like MoD sites, maybe waiving some listed building status so they could use the roof of a church or something where they couldn't before - it would actually have benefited us? Or they splurge millions to discover that actually, after two decades of multiple companies pouring billions into network builds, all the easy bits of a network build have already been done after all.

Ad-blocking super-weapon axed by maker for being TOO effective

James 100

Seller's remorse?!

It's hard to feel any sympathy for him: he produced a tool to block ads, now he's upset that it's being used to block ads!? What did he expect, only 3 people would use it so nobody would ever notice?

Yes, it's an arms race, and so far on mobile the advertisers have had it virtually all their own way. I've seen ads which actually disable the page they're infecting on mobile devices - fake windows, with a close button which either fails to respond, or loads too far off the edge of the screen to be used. Probably the result of lazy design which assumes it will only ever be used on desktops, but irritating whatever the origins. Time to start blocking that junk!

Microsoft has developed its own Linux. Repeat. Microsoft has developed its own Linux

James 100

Re: "Microsoft Linux" ?

> Maybe systemd was an MS plot all along

No - MS itself was an early systemd manifestation...

AT&T grabs dictionary, turns to 'unlimited', scribbles it out, writes: '22GB a month'

James 100

Re: Don't sell what you can't deliver! Increase capacity, DUUUH!

Are they really at or even near those limits in most places though?

Here in Scotland, I picked up EE's 200 Gb for GBP10 offer out of curiosity. My handset has cycled (while stationary, in a city) through the full range of options: 4G, 3G, EDGE and plain old GPRS, as well as periods of "no signal". If I'd bought it for any better reason than "I'm off sick and out of my head on pain pills, so what geek toys can I play with without moving very much?" I'd be fairly pissed off at them. As it is, so far I've managed to use up 2 Gb.

As for "unlimited", I've had TalkTalk tell me 40 Gb in a month is too much for an unlimited business-grade ADSL service to cope with, and that's why we were seeing massive latency spikes and packet loss all day. Which is strange, when we replaced it with a non-unlimited business grade service whose next tier of service was "up to 200Gb per month" (with a 500Gb option above that)...

Symantec/GeoTrust revokes some SSL certificates for .pw TLD

James 100

Bizarre move

As the AC says, banning spammers from getting Symantec SSL certs is hardly going to inconvenience them anyway - and they're still pushing the expensive EV ones, just stopping the cheaper regular ones...

I use a .pw for my personal email address - Sutherland is a common enough surname that the .com, .co.uk, .net etc were all long gone, but I managed to snag sutherland.pw for myself when it opened up. I'd hoped to get suther.land when .land was set up, but too slow again...

As for spam? I don't recall seeing any at all using .pw addresses anyway.

The last post: Building your own mail server, part 1

James 100

Hybrid for now

I've been very impressed with Fastmail for a few years now - seriously committed to reliable service (replicating in real-time between IBM Linux and Sun Solaris hosts in different DCs, to minimise common points of failure: firmware bugs, hardware flaws, OS bugs etc). So far it's been rock-solid for me.

I handle a bit of mail routing myself right now though, on VPSs (I have a few addresses I want special handling for, like blocking particular senders on the SMTP level - Fastmail can only filter post-delivery) - in the next month or two I'll probably shift the balance in that direction a bit further, so everything hits my machines first, then gets copied into Fastmail.

Like the article says, it's not scary or rocket science, just a little bit of effort to get full control. Well worth it for a lot of The Reg's target audience I suspect.

Yahoo! won't! fix! emoticon! exploit! in! death! row! Messenger!

James 100

Dead app?

It's depressing that Yahoo gave up on the service years ago - dropping the iOS client, for example (then third party ones slowly succumbed to bitrot) - it was actually pretty nice. I have three friends who still use it almost exclusively, too; I suppose I'll have to try to nudge them onto something still supported now.

Good work Mayer: are there ANY bits of Yahoo you aren't in the process of breaking now?

'Major' outage at Plusnet borks Brits' browsing, irate folk finger DNS

James 100

Re: Routing or DNS

Less so now that the "edns-client-subnet" extension is being rolled out - OpenDNS and Google's servers can now pass on the subnet a client is on, so Akamai and co will return "the server IP nearest to that client's subnet" as opposed to "the server IP nearest to that DNS server".

It's not perfect, but apparently most CDNs now either use anycast (which avoids the issue by other means) or edns-client-subnet, so not much of a problem these days.

Also, OpenDNS routes your queries to London, across LINX - so the worst case should be that you're pulling traffic across LINX rather than internally. Not perfect, but not as if it's pointing you to a server in New Zealand either: you shouldn't see much difference. (My ISP has no Akamai servers on-net anyway, so all the traffic comes across LoNAP peering; even if they did, not all content is cached in the local servers, so you end up doing that too.)

I get the best of both worlds, by using my own resolver: as long as I still have UDP connectivity, I have working DNS service, and CDNs all see exactly the right IP address for me too.

That's a Tor order: Library gets cop visit for running exit relay in US

James 100

"Useful to terrorists"

That's what infuriated me about one of the UK's kneejerk responses, outlawing supplying "anything useful to terrorists" - which would appear to include selling them lunch, a biro and notepad or a map of the UK motorways. Of course, we have to trust that they will really only use this absurdly broad power for good reasons ... right?

Yes, with an *anonymous* relay service, there's a risk that as well as the incriminating financial records that prove someone's been cooking the books at some big company as they get leaked to the NYT, you're relaying some dirty old man's child abuse material, a college student's bootleg copy of Adobe Creative Suite, a high school student's MP3s and Al Qaeda's latest operational plans - that's pretty much what the anonymous bit means.

Governments had the sense to understand this decades ago for postal and package services with "common carrier" laws: when someone is transporting a parcel from A to B, you can't expect them to know if it contains books, drugs or a parcel bomb, so you can't blame them for whatever it is. Sadly, it seems that level of common sense has become extinct in governments now...

Ofcom issues stern warning over fake caller number ID scam

James 100

Re: Perhaps an automated reporting

I've wanted a similar facility for a while now: a code like 1671 which you dial after any spam call, which triggers a trace and reporting mechanism. "Number withheld" or not, the telco still knows what route the call came from (since they bill the originating telco for it) - it would be trivial for them to aggregate these reports and feed back to Ofcom for enforcement, while blocking the worst overseas offenders - exactly as we do now for spammers.

James 100

Re: It should be illegal ...

When you make a regulation for phone companies to stop third parties using a particular trick, it should be fairly effective.

Mind you, they're all required to allow us to block anonymous calls, but BT and Virgin charge an unreasonable price for the option, while the mobile networks ignore the obligation completely (claiming the facility to reject each call individually using CLI was sufficient). On the other hand, they were all too compliant about providing 141 free of charge in the first place; perhaps prohibiting its provision on business lines would actually be obeyed.

British killer robot takes out two Britons in Syria strike

James 100

Re: Victims?

"It means that enemy combatants which just fight your military targets without engaging in violations of the relevant conventions like attacking civilians, hospitals, etc should be treated appropriately and not subjected to a trial for murder and sentenced because they are attacking you."

There are various other requirements for them to qualify, such as wearing a uniform and having a proper chain of command which has been announced publicly, not hiding in hospitals or other protected places...

Moreover, nothing in the Conventions prohibits killing the enemy - it just means they have to be treated properly if and when they surrender or are otherwise rendered unable to fight.

Nothing in the Conventions, AFAICS, prohibits trying and executing your own citizens for treason when they take up arms against you, either.

Oracle plugs socket numbers on DIY Standard Edition

James 100

Re: If you are not already tied in

You could probably get a ten node cluster, serious support agreement and still have change that route - which is fine until you're trying to host an Oracle-only product!

Long term, I'd like to think those will be extinct - but I can't see it happening any time soon. There's an awful lot of lock-in to be undone...

AMD rattles Nvidia's cage with hardware-based GPU virtualization

James 100

"While as many as 15 typical workers can share the same virtualized chip for Office-type applications,"

Just how much graphics acceleration does an "Office-type application" actually need in the first place? The only animation they've had was Clippy - and I'm not sure supporting that is really a step forwards!

Yammer security sub-standard says US Veterans' Affairs Dept

James 100


We seem to have been infected with Yammer via Office 365 - so nothing inside the firewall, just a website where people can post junk. Rather like Facebook and Twitter, but with far fewer users... (In our department, we just use those two free options for everything: nothing is "sensitive", and we generally want to keep in contact with former staff and students who don't have current credentials too, which Yammer seems to miss.)

Management has bought into it, though, so we periodically get posts from them bringing the latest nasty shock - erm, corporate strategy. Other than that, you can load it up to watch the digital tumbleweed blowing.

'Edward Snowden' discovered hiding in Indonesian river by boffins

James 100

New identity

Damnit, El Reg, have you any idea how much effort the Russian government put into crafting Snowden's new identity - not just a new name, or even a new face, but giving him a whole new species to hide under, and you go and blow his cover like that?!

Shingled drives get SpectraLogic archive down to 9 cents/GB

James 100

Re: Independent failures?

Presumably the calculation is that each RAID-Z3 array will spend N hours each year degraded/rebuilding, then calculated how many years it would take before a further double-disk failure occurred during one of those windows of vulnerability, to get a nice impressive number. Nice bit of benchmarketing, but not remotely realistic of course.

(I preferred the guy - from Intel, IIRC - going through disk reliability figures, pointing out that with a modern drive capacity approaching 10^14 bits, suddenly that "good" error rate of 10^-15 becomes a virtual guarantee that you *will* hit corruption at some point while rebuilding your RAID 5 array - so you need a minimum of RAID 6 just to be able to rebuild an array of large drives reliably. Meanwhile, a scary proportion of our data isn't checksummed, so when it does get corrupted we won't know about it until it's too late!)

That thing we do in the UK? Should be ILLEGAL in the US, moans ex-State monopoly BT

James 100

"as i've written before, BT currently has an interest in keeping OpenReaches (Line Rental) charges down, ISP's will have an interest in upping openreaches charges so they get more margin on the passed through costs, possibly by sticking in unnecessary gear and charging their peers for transiting it."

No - BT have been inflating Openreach charges wherever possible (since that allows them to milk their "competitors") including inventing truly absurd charges, like the three or occasionally even four figure charge for reporting complex faults, "SFI". (By shifting goalposts, they now impose a charge if the first engineer fails to find a fault, even when the second engineer finds and fixes it then admits the first guy should have if he'd done the job properly.)

As for unreasonable charges, get back to me when I can dial a UK number starting 07 from anything other than another 07 number without getting gouged to bankruptcy for it! (Yes, to be fair, BT and Three are both campaigning against that particular scam now, but it's been in place a very long time now.)

It was only last year I had an "Openreach" engineer in my home telling me my fault would be fixed more quickly if I used BT as my ISP rather than one of their rivals!

Ashley Madison hack – Tory MP Green denies registering account

James 100

Two MP accounts

The other MP account exposed so far was a very obvious fake, with most of the details being wrong, so it wouldn't be a shock if this turned out to be junk too. Someone said a certain Mr B Obama has a whopping seven accounts on there too!

Meanwhile, I read somewhere else that a married convicted child molester had two AM accounts (active, paid up ones, not just unverified registrations like this one) on the go at once. I suppose if you can put up with the child molester bit, tolerating a bit of adultery as well isn't such a big deal, but still...

TalkTalk not talking much as systems take a tumble

James 100


"On Twitter it asked customers to call after 1pm, and their internal VoIP and data systems are affected."

Well, this is the bunch that told me VoIP won't work over ADSL, it needs a leased line or at least FTTC, so not too surprising they've managed to make a pig's ear of their own too!n (That, and "40 Gb per month is too much usage for an "unlimited" business ADSL line", got us to move to a proper ISP.)

Conference Wi-Fi biz fined $750k for jamming personal hotspots

James 100

Re: Just ignore them?

"Yes, there may be any number of reasons for asking a client to leave a network."

YOUR network, yes - but the problem here is that *their* network can order clients to leave *another* network! That's the absurdity of it. Vodafone can't come along and switch my Three service off - because it's not their network.

It's an absolutely braindead flaw, and far too widely abused (I've seen universities abusing it to prevent people tethering their laptops to phones within range of their WLAN, too) - fortunately, the vulnerability was fixed in the 802.11w update, which Windows 8 implemented, so hopefully this will be a problem of the past eventually!

HP is getting so good now at negative growth, it should patent it

James 100


"But the higher-margin "business critical systems" saw sales slump 21 per cent, year on year."

Oh dear. Isn't that where their Itanium business gets listed?

Quite how the boss can be "pleased", when almost all of the company seems to be in a nosedive, is worrying ... does she have a plan to fix it, somehow, or just have a really good parachute handy?

Vodafonica’s Cornerstone missing its UK coverage target, says report

James 100


I was wondering what the O2-Three combination meant for Cornerstone and MBNL, since that would seem to mean the UK would be down to two genuinely separate networks, with O2 and Three customers using both of them - a bizarre situation. I'd have expected some sort of announcement of plans, or at least a leak, by now!

Who should be responsible for IT security?

James 100

Re: CISO on its own?

I think this depends very much on the business.

For a bank, risk/security is very much a field in its own, so you have dedicated fraud specialists, policies, investigative tools etc. For most businesses, though, computer security should be very much an integral function of IT: the IT department should be aware of security issues, and factor that into all their procurement and policy decisions. In that sort of setting, splitting out security would be a big mistake, particularly in terms of budget. Who funds the firewall, IDS and VPN for example? Is that an IT purchase, or a security one - and what if they disagree? Supposing Security wants that shiny new Cisco IDS switch blade - but IT want to dump Cisco for that nice fast Extreme Networks core switch, which that blade won't fit? Who is responsible for SSL certificates, authentication policies, making sure new components are properly secured...? Recipe for disaster.

Choc Factory patches zero day Google for Work hack hole

James 100

No, if you can't agree on a deadline (or equivalent criteria; sometimes there might be a dependence on a third party, like submitting a patched version to the Apple App Store then having to wait for Apple to approve it so users can actually install it) - release it straight away, because they're not engaging properly.

Anything other than agreeing to expedite a fix with a reasonable timescale sounds too much to me as if they're planning to hide it instead - so if you don't disclose ASAP, you'll probably find their lawyers trying to bury you instead. Every day you delay disclosure is another day they might be using to get a court injunction to gag you about it, as Ross Anderson's guys at Cambridge University have encountered in the past.

Jimbo 'Wikipedia' Wales leads Lawrence Lessig's presidential push

James 100

Empty gesture

If he really wanted a political campaign, he'd be running for a Congressional seat somewhere tech friendly; instead, it looks as if he wants to be a new Ralph Nader.

Campaign against the likes of SOPA? Yes, I'd get behind that. "Run" for President, with a platform that doesn't actually make any sense (as Gregory Kohs points out above)? That's just silly. If you must focus on the Presidency, better to use the resources to examine and criticise the platforms of the candidates who actually stand a chance: if you can make even one of the two eventual party nominees shift their position on one issue like copyright, you've achieved more than this "campaign" will.

US appeals court: Yes, Samsung ... sigh … you still have to pay Apple

James 100

Re: Wow, the US is gonna actually claim some tax from Apple!

Probably not: court-ordered compensation isn't normally counted as income for tax purposes. (The logic is that it's restoring something you lost, so there isn't actually supposed to be a net gain to you.)

Verisign sues Google's new love-interest .XYZ for a second time

James 100

Cornering people as a business model

I've never liked Verisign's approach in general - like getting Microsoft to force developers to use their code-signing certificates, rather than equally valid but cheaper ones from their many competitors. To me, that alone is reason enough to avoid dealing with them in any other situation: I'm heartened to hear it seems others feel the same way.

Would YOU make 400 people homeless for an extra $16m? Decision time in Silicon Valley

James 100

Better uses for the $39m?

On the other side of the coin, would preserving the status quo here be the best use of the $39m? Someone pointed out earlier that the development would mean a huge increase in the taxes paid for that site each year, as well as providing housing to more people than it does now; better perhaps to invest that $39m in improving services to all the area residents instead. (Another post points out that even the $39m option would have meant both some evictions and some additional investment to bring the site up to compliance, too - making that a worse deal than it looked at first.)

Take the $55m - and pressure the council to put the $39m into providing a decent park and ride service or something so people can commute there from more affordable areas.

(Personally, I find it hard to understand these areas getting so insanely overpriced and overcrowded: why are all these businesses and startups jammed into such a tiny area? Startups could locate elsewhere far more cheaply; the likes of Google could relocate half their CA staff to another state and give them a far better standard of living for less money, a win all round - yet we have Apple building their new flying saucer thing in CA to squeeze in yet more, even as they cite the datacentres elsewhere.)

Repeatedly robocalling? That's a paddlin' – a record $3m paddlin'

James 100

Proper regulation

It must be nice having a proper regulator with teeth! One day this week in the UK, I had nine telemarketing calls. All of them anonymous, of course, so no way to file a complaint against the offending entity - high time that facility was removed, or at least restricted and charged for to prevent abuse.

(Yes, I do have a little PBX I'm going to hook to the line any day now to intercept all the anonymous calls and feed them to voicemail - but why should we have to go to these lengths?!)

Samsung says micro-sats could blanket the world with Internet

James 100

Wrong market?

For backhaul from base stations, surely there are very few locations where satellite is the best option: either fibre, or a microwave link to another base station with a fibre connection. For filling in coverage blackspots directly, though, it would be great: just have handsets "roam" onto this constellation as a fallback, as Thuraya handsets do now. Putting this lot in orbit, only to have handsets still reliant on a piece of fixed infrastructure to get a connection anyway, though?!

Cheers, Bill Gates. Who wouldn't want drinking water made from POO?

James 100

Drinking processed excrement

If he can persuade people to do that, why did he still not manage to get people using Vista?

Seriously, nice to see this kind of clever recycling being funded and rolled out, and I hope people would overcome the instinctive revulsion at the source of the water - after all, it happens anyway via rain, and surely this is no less thorough a cleaning!

Patching a fragmented, Stagefrightened Android isn't easy

James 100

Re: Android is the new Windows

In fact I'd say the problem here is that (in one important respect) it *isn't* like Windows. With Windows, Dell can shove in their own buggy drivers and shovel a load of junk adware on top - but it's still Windows, it still gets the updates from Microsoft, and you can buy/download newer versions directly from MS without getting Dell's permission first.

I do like the flexibility of open source - I'll probably be running CyanogenMod myself soon - but if Google had limited the manufacturer and carrier roles to "you provide Linux kernel drivers and any apps you want" and "you can provide network-specific apps" respectively, keeping control of the core OS and updates for themselves, I think the whole Android platform would be better for everyone. (Including the manufacturers, I suspect, since they'd have less work to do!)

Law prof Lessig vows to take cash out of politics by raising tons of money

James 100

Re: I wish him well, just....

I'm pretty sure he'd be safe from that kind of threat: cooking up plans with zero chance of success isn't a threat to anyone.

B is for Brussels: Google's corporate rejig WON'T insulate firm against antitrust probes

James 100

Re: Odd. Too few shards.

Agreed. To protect against this sort of threat, surely the best remedy would be to break off "Google Europe" as a genuinely independent entity, which buys in search facilities from the original Google (in much the same way Yahoo buys in search from Bing). That way, EU governments has much less leverage to try to force changes on the non-EU websites; any fine would have to be based on the EU turnover only (since the rest of Google is just a supplier now).

Presumably, Google know that the Alphabet stuff won't have any effect on this anti-trust problem - so must be doing it for some other reason. What might that be?

Assange™ to SQUAT in Ecuadorian broom closet for ANOTHER FIVE YEARS (maybe)

James 100

Statute of limitations

I can understand the logic behind having a limit, for less serious charges - a long delay could make it difficult to mount an effective defence against charges, making it unfair - but I don't think that timer should tick while the suspect's aware of the charges and "on the run", as in this case. It's not as if he's unaware of the charges, or unable to defend himself in court, so why should the limit apply?

The idea it's all a plot to get him to the US (because of course Sweden is closer to the US than the UK is?!) doesn't hold much water - so why not go to Sweden and beat the charges, if they're so baseless? Going on the run just makes him look guilty.

ICO fines anti nuisance call company for making nuisance calls

James 100

One small step

Is this enough to wipe out all the profits they've made from this scam, though? If not, all it's done is erode their profit margin a bit: put up their overheads, in effect, so they can just pay up and pocket the rest quite happily.

With so many of these illegal spam calls being anonymous, though, will they even begin to deal with the worst offenders? Time to ban anonymous calls, IMO - at least from non-residential lines - or have a per-call surcharge; even just a pound per anonymous call should wipe out most of these scammers.

Of course, if enough of us blocked anonymous calls, they'd find it self-defeating and have to stop hiding like that anyway...

Fancy 10 Gbps home broadband? Broadcom's built the guts of it

James 100

Re: 10 Gig? Erm, no thanks

I was briefly excited when I heard that BT's "fibre on demand" offering was available on my exchange - until I spotted two things. First, it gave 330 Mbps down, 30 up, for about the same monthly fee as four bonded FTTC lines which would give 320/80 ... and secondly, I looked at my traffic graph and realised just how little of the time I'm maxing out the 80/20 I have now. Even with an ultra-high end ISP (yes, I can max out that 80/20 any time I like, 24x7: apparently, they have some of the lowest contention ratios out there) I just don't have a use for that much. Maybe it would shave a few minutes off the next Windows service pack or VM image I download - if the servers can actually deliver that - but is that really worth paying much more for?

What I noticed straight away, though, was how much better the "80 Mbps" service from a good ISP was compared to the "50 Mbps" cable modem I had before, where they skimped much more on transit and peering bandwidth. On the cable service, streams had to buffer for a while, because the bandwidth really wasn't there; after migrating, that was all gone.

Now, if I could cut the latency a bit, or bump the upstream bandwidth a bit, that would be nice - but it'll be a while before I actually have any use for much more than 80 Mbps downstream.

Oracle brews perpetual, all-you-can-eat database licence

James 100

Vendor lock-out?

This sounds a lot like the Microsoft Campus agreement in academia, where they charge a fee based on the number of computers on site (regardless of what software they run). This has an obvious advantage: all your systems are licensed for the relevant software, without any further checks. The downside, of course, is that every system is then licensed for MS software - even if it's actually being used for Linux, Solaris, *BSD or as an embedded control system for something - at which point, there is no saving in using a rival product: you've already paid for the MS option anyway.

I remember coming across this with Oracle in another university years ago - asked why they were using Oracle for an internal user database (something quite trivial, a few Gb at most), the answer was that they were already licensed for it, so why not? Of course, next time the Oracle license is up for renewal, that's one more critical system relying on keeping the license current...

Biggest security update in history coming up: Google patches Android hijack bug Stagefright

James 100

Re: Call me cynical

I would like to think this would mean Google pushing out updates to their own parts directly, bypassing both handset manufacturers and telcos, in the same way Windows Update pulls in new patches straight from MS without consulting Dell first. With proper demarcation - regulatory/technical approval of the baseband bit, the manufacturer providing some Linux device drivers and maybe some apps to run on top - that wouldn't be too difficult.

I went for a SIM-free Nexus for exactly this reason last time; maybe it's time the other handset brands got better update support too?

AIDS? Ebola? Nah – ELECTRO SMOG is our 'biggest problem', says Noel Edmonds

James 100

"If you want to be happy you need to think of yourself as a container of energy."

I think of him as a container of natural fertiliser, do you think that's close enough?

All hail Ikabai-Sital! Destroyer of worlds and mender of toilets

James 100

On Good Friday, I found the kitchen ceiling a foot closer to the floor than usual - turned out the plumber supplied by B&Q had cracked the pipe leading into the cistern, and just wrapped it in PTFE tape rather than repair/replace it properly, so after a while it started watering the floor underneath.

To cap it all, the "professional" plumber had to borrow one of my screwdrivers at one point - there was a narrow gap involved, and his was too big to fit through. I left him to finish the job, and eventually found my screwdriver sitting on the window sill - with the bit removed.

A month later, the replacement cistern started flushing constantly - apparently there was a component missing, so it got stuck after the first N uses. The words "trading standards" and "lawyer" got involved at that point, so they fixed it properly this time.

Back on IT, a friend managed to get a free laptop with my help - it had an odd BIOS bug which prevented Windows running properly. After a few visits back to the manufacturer, they admitted defeat, sent a replacement and said he could keep the faulty one as well - which I fixed by switching to the other HAL, at which point it worked fine. (Buggy ACPI implementation, as I recall - it's been a few years now.)

STOP! You – away from the keyboard. There's no free speech in our China

James 100

Re: Situation critical ?

"I would have honestly thought that suppressing the opinions of over half a billion people would be a bit too costly for any state to bear."

I suppose for the current rulers, the comparison is with the cost of NOT suppressing them - Marie Antoinette would probably think a bit more population oppression would be a bargain at any price, after all...