* Posts by Rikkeh

115 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Jun 2009


Streetmap loses appeal against Google Maps dominance judgement


Yes they did. But this trial wasn't about that.

Abuse of dominance requires two elements: dominance and abuse. Both sides accepted having the Court decide first whether or not Google's behaviour was abusive. Given that the Court (rightly, I think) determined that the behaviour wasn't abusive, there was no need to decide whether or not Google was dominant.

Given that (because the Court found there was no abuse) Streetmap would've have still lost regardless of the finding (or not) of dominance. It would've therefore likely been on the hook for the costs incurred in all the argument about Google's dominance whether or not it had won on dominance. So you can see why Streetmap accepted the splitting off of the abuse point to be decided as a preliminary issue to the main trial.

Five key findings from 15 years of the International Space Station


Industrial processes... in SPAAACE!

I wonder how long it's going to be before these zero gravity processes have widespread commercial applications. What I really mean by this is how long is it going to be before we have private drug labs and metamaterial factories in low earth orbit?

No more jaw-jaw, as PRS sues SoundCloud over music streaming


The golden age of the internet

Like the Golden Age of Hip Hop (which benefitted from a brief window between sampling being easy to do and it being something you had to clear), there seems to have been a golden age for the internet, where platform creators were able to turn a blind eye to copyright infringement by their users and get rich, in part, through other people's content.

Now that golden age is over, the surviving internet giants have the bargaining power for licensing not to cost them a significant amount and the startups need their backing in order to survive.

Trumped up lobby group tries to get EU data protection watered down


Lobbying the wrong people

So the issue is that the US is charging in and bypassing the international frameworks for taking data stored in the EU, and this lobby wants to attack the EU for blocking this?

The only argument in favour of this approach seems to be "we've determined that, while you may be right here, there's a bigger bully who we're more afraid of". Given that the EU is the bigger economy than the US, you'd hope that being able to do business there would ultimately be the priority.

Google watchers react furiously to ad flinger’s competition case defence


Everything or nothing

What's very interesting about this case is that Google tried to settle the case against itself with behavioural commitments, but this was derailed, not by the Commission per se (which was minded to accept them) but by the strength of feeling of the complainants and certain anti-Google politicians.

As a competition lawyer, I'm fairly unconvinced by the theory of harm- why should a dominant undertaking be forced to grant access on a non-discriminatory basis to its competitors when not doing so does cannot be said to foreclose competitors from the market? By opposing the deal, the complainants have taken one hell of a gamble.

Google robo-car suffers brain freeze after seeing hipster cyclist


Re: It does seem somewhat ridiculous to have one's feet fixed to the pedals...

You get used to it surprisingly quickly. Clipping in also means you don't slip off the pedals if it's wet, or if you're pedalling hard for some reason (e.g. trying to get a head start on a murderous HGV that's coming up behind you at a junction).

Wow, Barcelona really has a problem with tech disruptors. Watch out Airbnb


Re: Easy money for Barcelona local authority

That's VAT. You're talking about VAT.

What time is it Oxford Dictionaries? How about almost ‘beer o’clock’


Words they missed..

Still no "shitgoblins" in there.

Sex app Tinder in public meltdown – because a journo dared suggest it was, well, a sex app


Re: That's where I've been going wrong

*Now* I remember you!

Are ALIENS hiding on Jupiter's Europa? Let's find out, cry NASA bods


Re: $20,000 hammers

An exploration of the $30,000 toilet seat (which was for an aeroplane) is in "The Darwin Economy" by Robert Frank.

If I rightly recall, it was so expensive because it had to be a funny shape to fit in the only available niche for it in the plane, they only made a very small number of them and they had to be fire-proof, lightweight etc because they were in a military aircraft that was built with the expectation of being shot at.

I seem to remember that it was really good value (i.e. saved more than it cost) because it greatly increased the endurance of the aircraft, meaning that less time and money was spent on takeoff/landing and flying to the area, and because fewer aircraft were needed to do the job (which was surveillance of some kind).

Progress source replenishes international space station


Question for El Reg's space cadets

I understand that the rockets which failed in the two recent supply missions are essentially identical (but for a launch escape tower) to the manned (or in Falcon 9's case, intended to be manned) versions.

Is there any additional checking or quality control on the manned versions, or is it just dumb luck that we haven't had any 'naut's atop a failing rocket?

OOH, it's so HOT in here! All my ATMOSPHERE is coming off


In a moment of stupidity...

...I thought the artist's impression that has been used to illustrate this article (and elsewhere) was the actual photo.

Still, extremely exciting stuff. Looking at the planets orbiting another star- mind blowing.

MAYHEM in ORBIT: Russian cargo pod spins OUT OF CONTROL


Re: NASA and its partners do not share all supplies

So they're flatmates who don't share. Although how they can expect to draw a line on their milk bottles that keeps track of how much each of them has drunk in zero G is beyond me.

ALIENS ARE COMING: Chief NASA boffin in shock warning


Re: Gross problems

We may ourselves be the descendants of a microbes which came here on an egg sandwich (or the equivalent) disgarded by an alien picnicker.

(hat tip to Terry Pratchett for the idea)

'Revenge porn' law to arrive in spring – MoJ


Re: reasonable person?


>>"Wouldn't that depend entirely on where in England the case took place. I believe there a cities where the "ethnic minorities" are only minorities when compared to the entire country but locally represent a very large part of the society. "

Yes, of course. However, the local areas you're referring to where a minority is in a majority are much smaller than the jury catchment areas for a particular Court. See FOI request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/crown_court_juror_catchment_area, which shows that the jury catchment areas for each court are gigantic and take up several postcodes.

Add to that the fact that in order to serve on a jury you need to be both registered to vote and resident for UK for at least five years- both of these things further dilute any influence that a majority-minority area might have on jury selection.

The odds of finding your 12 religious conservatives on a jury appear to be so small as to be not worth worrying about. Of course, that's not going to stop the Express etc from worrying about it, it just stops the worrying from having a rational basis in the absence of any compelling evidence to the contrary.


Re: reasonable person?

Lots of laws are based on what a "reasonable person" would consider to be something. It's a "least bad option" for situations such as this one where you don't want to come up with an exhaustive list of poses, clothing and body parts (and indeed, to do so would create ridiculous situatons).

Your "reasonable people" in this case are the members of a jury (given that the sentence is in excess of 6 months, this would be at least an "either way" offence, where either prosecution or defence can elect to go for a crown court trial).

I've never encountered, nor have I ever heard of a jury made up entirely of non-Anglo saxons (although, of course, given that they make up the majority of people in the UK, you can get all Anglo saxon juries).

Your implication that your "reasonable person" could be a religious conservative from an ethnic minority who would consider an uncovered head to be beyond the pale therefore seems misplaced.

Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return


Re: oops

"Then Axel Springer and Co. noticed that their traffic plummeted by something like 2/3 and went crawling back to Google, asking them to add them back to their news scraping service and they would waive the fees."

Prediction for next year in the War on Google- the accusation that Google News has become an essential facility and that an unreasonable refusal to grant access (not limited to refusing to grant access to those who do not sign a waiver) is an abuse of dominance.

(FWIW, I'm very cynical about this argument succeeding, I'm just saying that it will be raised).

Ex-GCHQ boss: Hey, UK.gov, have you heard how crap iPhone biometrics are?

Thumb Down

Can't change them.

Another unavoidable issue with biometrics is that you can't change them.

If someone's got your thumb print (or any other biometric) and a reliable way of spoofing it, what are you supposed to do? You can't change it like your credit card number or PIN, so you're left with amputation or stuggling with one of your other digits (where that's something you're allowed to do).

(My icon: Thumb down, pressing on the keypad at US border control and hoping that it picks up a finger print this time)

Million Mask March: Anonymous' London Guy Fawkes protest a damp squib


America has taken over the Met

The notice pictured in the report uses "License" as a noun rather than "Licence".

The Yanks have taken over. Wake up Sheeple!

HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'


Re: It's So Obvious It's Sad

Those brave one-handed early adopters deserve their own name.


Ada Lovelace Day: Meet the 6 women who gave you the 'computer'


True, a large part of the problem is that the elimination of non-typical IT professionals happens long before they even apply for the jobs (the same is true of a lot of other professions).

It's often stated that the proportion of students studying computer science degrees who are female has fallen over the last few years. I very much doubt that this is because loads of school-aged young women do work experience at IT firms and decide it's not for them. Rather, it suggests that there are other things putting them off- in all likelihood, stereotypes.

It suggests that the IT industry should be going into schools and tackling the stereotypes there. I say should, because if entry into the field's being restricted by anything other than ability, then the whole field suffers.

Was Nokia's Elop history's worst CEO?


Asleep at the wheel

It reads a lot like a company whose board was asleep at the wheel, suddenly woke up, panicked as they saw that they were drifting off one side of the road and oversteered themselves off a cliff on the other side.

The only thing worse than complacency is massively overreacting when you realise how complacent you've been. The move to Windows was, probably, in the long run, the right one. But burning your platforms all at once and leaping into the unknown (especially when there's even now strong demand for long-battery feature phones in developing countries), then going wobbley and selling when you don't immediately get results was madness.

Behind the Facebook DRAG QUEEN CRACKDOWN: 'Anonymity soon!'


Our sympathies go out...

...to the people with names that Facebook will think are parodies and who'll have to go through the excrutiating business of convincing them that, yes, they really are called Hugh Jass, I.C. Weiner etc.

IRONY ALERT: Former MI6 chief warns of 'mass snooping' - by PAEDOS


Obligatory Brass Eye paedo moral panic quote thread

"Security footage from Sheffield shows a paedophile disguised as a school. Have you seen him. Do you know him? Call us."

Cut-off North Sea island: Oh crap, ferry's been and gone. Need milk. SUMMON THE DRONE


True, but if it's something really urgent, like medication, it'd be much better to risk a drone or two than a crewed boat.

Are you a fat boy? Get to university now, you penniless slacker


Hang on, how are foods taxed by the EU?

Ordnance Survey intern plonks houses, trees, rivers and roads on GB Minecraft map


Potential uses here

I imagine that an accurate 3D map of the UK available to everyone in a readily-accessible format has the potential to be extremely useful. Especially if it gets dynamic compenents like realistic(ish) trains.

Man's future in space ... Barack Obama: Mars. Narendra Modi: Mars. Vladimir Putin: Er, Moon


Re: The Moon has more to offer.

I dunno, the ISS has taught the participating space programmes a lot about the logistics of running a piece of kit that complicated in the long term. Every spacewalk to fix something, every incorporation of a new bit of equipment or new way of doing things is a step forward. In retrospect, saying the ISS is a bit of a lemon might be like saying Gemini was a bit of a lemon- it didn't do much at all compared to Apollo or Mercury in terms of milestones, but it was a vital stepping stone between the two.

In recognition of that, personally, I'd be in favour of one last resupply mission (or more) carrying nothing but fuel to try and put the thing into a much higher orbit, one that will be stable for a few centuries at least. That way it can be preserved as the historical artefact that it will surely become.

NASA's MAVEN enters Mars orbit to sniff its gas


Fingers crossed...

I'm probably speaking too soon, but it looks like the Americans have cracked the whole "getting a probe to Mars" thing- everything they've sent there has made it for the past 15 years. Quite a winning streak.

The overall Mars probe success rate of just 51% and the Russians' recent failure with Fobos Grunt show just how hard that is to do. Have a virtual beer, NASA.

Top Gear Tigers and Bingo Boilers: Farewell then, Phones4U


I briefly did marketing

I was young and foolish (i.e. a student). I did one internship and never looked back!

The clusters that they've identified will be the results of some fairly large-scale surveying of the customers in their stores and the statements are likely to have been at least based on things that customers actually said (if not actual verbatim quotes).

The slightly snobby but catchy names are fairly standard on the research end of the dark art that is marketing. It's also worth noting that graduates who work in marketing and do the legwork for these presentations are overworked and very poorly paid compared to their university contemporaries (to add insult to injury they're not even doing something worthy or even particularly creative when all's said and done, which would take the edge off a lower pay packet). I suspect giving a degrading nickname to a group of people who work less than they do but who have a lot more money is cathartic for them.

Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks


Re: Daft

Indeed. The revelation that Snowden brought was not that people who might be engaged in terrorist activity were being monitored (we all knew that anyway) but that people who the authorities knew were not involved in terrorist activity were also being monitored, the extent of this monitoring was probably illegal, the information gathered was routinely used for things other than counterterrorism and that the oversight of these authorities was horrendously lax.

Unfortunately, the treatment of whistleblowers has been so terrible (the pre-trial treatment of Manning can rightly be described as torture) that the only way anyone will blow the whistle is by gathering up a massive amount of data and then skipping the country. And if you're really going to have to sacrifice your life as you know it to blow the whistle, you're going to get *everything* on your way out.

Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please


Pay TV is in fact currently under investigation. The Commission really doesn't like the fact that you can't get a Pay TV subscription for one Member State in another. Seems to be a pretty flagrant interference with the principle of the single market, and I'm not sure how justifiable it is.

Mrs Murphy, aka the Premiership pub football landlady who bought the Greek feed, was only successfully prosecuted because she showed the footage publicly (meaning copyright kicked in). Had she consumed the content in the privacy of her own home she would've been fine. Funnily enough, the Premier League's private prosecution of Murphy seems to have been the trigger for the Commission to sit up and take notice of the practice.

See: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-15_en.htm

One to watch for the politics. If the EU *does* find against Pay TV practices, Murdoch will spit blood (even more than he would've done otherwise) on Brexit if we get a referendum in 2017. Then again, the EU might get serious brownie points with the British public for allowing them to get half price football subscriptions.

Apple's Watch is basically electric perfume


Not for fitness nuts

As someone with a garmin watch (I bought the forerunner model from 3 years ago, 2 years ago- the price plummets when the new models come out), I imagine that the whole Watch thing is aimed at people like me, or at least at people who will use the Watch in the way that I use the garmin.

Not gonna happen. That little garmin has been battered, ducked, soaked, been trodden on, landed on (by my not exactly petite frame and by my bike), scraped, covered in mud, etc, etc. It's still going (albeit with a couple of scratches on the bezel).

Unless Apple have massively amped up the durability for their Watch, it wouldn't last 2 weeks on my arm, let alone 2 months. Even if they have, they've got a mountain to climb to convince me enough for me to risk what I'd have to pay for a replacement before I took it out.

You can't be a company that washes its hands of water damage (pun unintentional) that at the same time tries to push a device that's designed to be worn without any protective covering on someone doing exercise.

BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS


Re: The BBC...trading in a reputation for quality it lost a long time ago.

They are in a huge bind though- on the one hand they won't be legitimate if they're unpopular, given how wide the licence base is (hence programmes like Strictly, Mrs Brown's Boys etc). On the other hand, to be legitimate as a public service broadcaster, they've also got to go with highbrow stuff for the artsy liberals and take risks for the "it must correct market failure" people.

The problem is, finding something that ticks all these boxes at the same time is pretty much impossible and so people who firmly occupy one corner of the triangle will always criticise the programmes that pander to either of the other two corners and not their own.

Any Government of recent years however should note that the Beeb and the Licence Fee are far more popular than they are- fewer than 25% of the population voted Tory and support for the licence-funded BBC has never dropped below this. I'd argue that, until these different levels of support change round, any governmental dismantling what's become a cornerstone of modern Britain won't be legitimate.

That being said, the Licence Fee people are nuts- unable to accept that you don't own a TV. The only way to deal with them is to respond to their Kafkaesque nonsense with Dadaist replies.


Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

Have you *watched* Discovery recently? It's all reality shows disguised as documentaries.

Even Shark Week (originally designed to get people to respect and understand sharks rather than fear them) has descended into a "docufiction" about a prehistoric shark eating a pleasure boat (no, really!).

The Schmidt hits the clan: Google chief mauls publishers' 'abuse of dominance' claims


Re: "Antitrust" ... misused as regularly as "Antisemitism".

Icke also states that the Queen displays classic being a lizard from outer space tendancies, so maybe he's not a good person to quote about....anything.

A big company also has diminished empathy and remorse, two other key psychopathic tendencies. A table (or any other inanimate object) also has these personality traits. Maybe that's because they're not things that can feel emotion/empathy (making the whole "X is a psychopath" wholly devoid of meaning).

Sex is great in books, lousy in apps, says Apple


Joke adapted for a new century

I object to all this sex on my iPhone. I keep falling off!

iCloud fiasco: 100 FAMOUS WOMEN exposed NUDE online


Re: Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Ariana Grande

You might say that about the other two, but the first is a three time Oscar-nominated, one time Oscar-winning actor and the front of one of the most successful movie franchises of the last few years.

True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS


Re: The Met

It's like the "it's illegal to take photos" rubbish all over again.

Experience seems to suggest that the best thing to do when it comes to legal advice from the police (if it's not on blatantly obvious things like throwing bricks through windows or beating people up) is to assume that it's wrong until someone who knows what they're doing agrees with them.


Some of this seems awfully familiar...

REG: Listen. If you wanted to join ISIS, you'd have to really hate the Americans.

BRIAN: I do!

REG: Oh, yeah? How much?

BRIAN: A lot!

REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Americans are the Judean People's Front.... I mean, the Shia.

P.F.J.: Yeah...

JUDITH: Splitters.

P.F.J.: Splitters.

Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy


"42,000 pages" of evidence gathered against him

An oddly specific claim here.

How does he know? What counts as 42,000 pages? Did they print every single email that was sent (along with the duplicate text of the thread repeated below) and how did they set out page borders? Is that 42,000 pages in native file format, or is it when the document management system outputs it all to an image file?

Or has he simply made up this number because it sounds big and vaguely realistic?

Rosetta's comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is one FUGLY space rock


This is driving me crazy

Are the pictures in black and white or not?

It's even worse than being a penguin in a snowstorm trying to work out whether or not he's gone colour blind.

Microsoft fixes all those shaky GoPro vids nobody wants to watch


Something worth buying a new computer for?

Part of the decline in PC sales can be blamed on the lack of things that the average user actually *wants* their computer to do, that can instead be done on a tablet or an older PC.

If you want to web browse, watch streaming video services, type up a couple of letters and organise your photos, then you're good to go with a 5 year old PC. Why would you ever upgrade? You can see why this would be a nightmare for Microsoft (and you can see that with some of there "I bought a PC because I changed my mind on my need for an upgrade" adverts).

I imagine that we'll start seeing a lot of these kinds of high demand/domestic application services being developed by Microsoft in future, in order to try and persuade people to get back on the upgrade conveyor.

UK.gov wants public sector to rip up data protection law


Favourite Bogeyman

Data Protection is everyone organisation's favourite bogeyman where a "health and safety" excuse can't be made up.

I've had some experience of the Data Protection Act myself and I have to say that I have never come across a genuine "data protection" excuse that's actually hamstringing someone from doing something that you'd actually want them to be able to do with your information. One suspects that this experience isn't atypical and that the proportion of reported problems that are *actually* down to data protection issues is a miniscule fraction of the total.

There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES


Re: On handguns

Not in the EU :P


On handguns

Actually, a lot of EU countries have much less restrictive handgun laws than the UK (France, for example).

Like the author, we tend to forget this, as there don't seem to be any Europeans who are fanatically devoted to a perceived "right" to bear arms as an insurance policy against oppressive government or invasion (despite having far more historical justification for having such devotion).

If Google remembers whom it has forgotten, has it complied with the ECJ judgment?


Re: The key to this is in the final para

Not necessarily.

Google seems to have spent much of its time in Court arguing that it wasn't subject to the jurisdiction of the CJEU as it wasn't in Europe. It said that its servers were all in the US and therefore it couldn't be touched (presumably if/when it did build those big server boats we were briefly reading about and sent them into international waters it would've tried to pretend that even US law couldn't touch it).

This was flatly rejected as the Court pointed out that Google sold google.es ad space that was targetted at Spanish users and sold to Spanish businesses. If it does the same thing with its .com offering (and it looks like it does- I just used google.com and found that the sponsored ads were largely coming from UK businesses) then it seems to me that it would fail to convince the Court that it's not operating in the EU for exactly the same reasons that it failed to convince them on google.es.

Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the worst


Re: Built for America

Sight isn't everything though. When I was 17, I had better eyesight than I do today*. Was I a better driver then? Hell no.

*it's still better than 20/20 in case anyone from the DVLA is reading this


Built for America

A lot of what I read about Google's miracle car suggests that it's been designed very much for American roads. More specifically the wide, ruler-straight, multi-lane (even in the middle of towns), low speed roads of southern California, with a ban on jaywalking and a separate lane for cyclists most of the time.

When you drive down the street in Mountain View, people *do* wait a second from the lights turning green before they go. You *can* overtake a snake of cars, because you've usually got an empty overtaking lane to use. You almost always are in reach of mobile data access, because there's wifi dripping (metaphorically) from the lamp posts.

To be fair, a two year old could drive on these roads. A driverless car is a much harder proposition pretty much everywhere else in the world. I imagine these autodrivers will be worse than useless outside of their native environment, and given that we haven't heard that they've been taken on the backroads or on a narrow, twisty turny good old-fashioned European street, I suspect that Google agree with me.

So go on Google, show us a driverless car negotiating the Paris rush hour. *Then* we'll buy it.

Britain'll look like rural Albania without fracking – House of Lords report


@John Smith 19

I should clarify here, and also apologise for being less than clear before.

My understanding is that the 40 year figure relates to our *current* level of gas demand, i.e. the gas that we currently use. The government has suggested that we should be getting more of our energy from gas and less from other sources. Gas is currently around 30% of our current electricity usage- this proportion is only going to increase as it replaces coal and nuclear. Also, if electric cars (and other technologies that use electricity rather than combustion) take off, more of our energy usage will come from the grid. I think it's clear that we will be using much more gas than we currently are if the government gets its way, meaning that what's in the ground won't last anything like 40 years.

When I say "a few" years, I mean "less than the life expectancy of a power station". A power station is built to last for up to 40 years- I don't think that the shale gas will last this long in the circumstances, even if we do manage to get as much of it out the ground as the most optimistic report published so far suggests we could.