* Posts by chr0m4t1c

939 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Aug 2009


UK's antitrust watchdog is very angry and has written a letter telling Apple and Google how angry it is with them


Re: Ironic?

>Imagine if some buggy Microsoft app on an iPhone caused it to drop a call, or make the phone unable to call 911?

You don't have to imagine it if you had a WinCE phone, it was quite normal for the one I had to ring for an incoming call but not display any buttons to answer or reject the call.

Apple beat Epic Games 9-1 in court. Now it's appealed the one point it lost


Re: Dear Apple...

Yes, Microsoft were a monopoly, but were quite good at hiding it.

PC manufacturers who wanted to pre-install Windows on *any* machines they shipped out to customers had to pay to license Windows on *every* machine they shipped out, whether it had Windows on or not.

That meant companies supplying corporate customers, or even just box shifting high street stores, included the cost of a Windows license in every sale.

Someone buying 10,000 machines doesn't want to go to the trouble of installing an OS on all of them, they want it pre-installed and that's easiest using big old disk duplication devices that can do hundreds of installs at once, but the drives go bare into the device - so you either dismantle all of your new machines or install them one at a time.

Now it was possible to get a refund if you didn't want Windows, but you had to buy a machine and then apply for a refund from MS (about £30) after removing the OEM installation.

As a result, pretty well everyone bought a PC and just used Windows; it had something like 93% of the market at one point.

Internet Explorer was so entwined with the OS that you could not cleanly remove it without trashing the system; if you did uninstall the frontend bits you left a good chunk of the security problems that the integration caused *and* Windows would keep suggesting that you should install the latest version at every opportunity.

If anyone looked to have a technology that could seriously rival an MS product they were either bought and absorbed or MS would more or less give away their own product until the competition went bust.

Microsoft was very much a monopoly in some quite abusive ways.

Apple are about a quarter of the market for mobiles and something like 15% max for computers. Are they successful? Yes. Are they important? Yes. Are they influential? Yes. Are they a monopoly? In some areas, maybe, but broadly they are not.

Personally I really don't understand why someone who hates Apple and wouldn't buy one of their devices if it was the last thing on the planet can get so hot under the collar about this stuff.

Thatcher-era ICL mainframe fingered for failure to pay out over £1bn in UK pensions


Re: Future events for diary.

It's worse than that, the rules are often contradictory saying that someone both is and is not eligible for things depending on which piece of legislation you use.

That only really became clear as the system was rebuilt in the 1990s and has never been resolved.

Software piracy pushes companies to be more competitive, study claims


Jailbreak != piracy

What on earth is that guff about jailbreak features being added to iOS as the result of piracy?

Sure, jailbreaking can allow pirated apps to be installed, but mostly it's about using features restricted by the OS or App Store rules; I fail to see how something like having home screen wallpaper could be even considered to be the result of piracy.

Facebook crushed rivals to maintain an illegal monopoly, the entire United States yells in Zuckerberg’s face


Billions on WhatsApp you say?

For _who's_ benefit?

It's not the people using it, the features have remained largely unchanged since they acquired it. It took them something like two years to create a "dark mode" FFS.

So either they spaffed it on a rubbish dev team or they did stuff under the hood to benefit Facebook. Either way: Tough.

Pure frustration: What happens when someone uses your email address to sign up for PayPal, car hire, doctors, security systems and more


Re: Never happened to me

It's never happened to me on gmail, but I have an old Hotmail account that also works as an @outlook.com address and *that* one keeps getting given out by someone in Germany.

Fortunately as the emails I get are from German companies they seem to be a bit more efficient (stereotype, I know), so I can usually find a working email address to reply/forward the mails to along with text saying something like "I am not your customer, you have the wrong email address on this account" in both English and German.

That sorted everything except an American company he/she was dealing with (can't remember who), but they eventually stopped, so I guess the person worked out their mistake and sorted it themselves.

The bork on the sign goes round and round, round and round, round and round


Re: 256GB for a sign!

Given how often those things blew up, I'd leave it in the bin...

What do we want? A proper review of IR35! When do we want it? Last year! Bunch of IT contractors protest outside UK Parliament


Re: Offshoring IR35

Yep. If you've ever bought anything in Duty Free, you've been engaged in tax avoidance, perfectly legal.

If you've brought more than your personal allowance of (say) spirits into the country without declaring it and paying duty then you've engaged in evasion, most definitely not legal.

BOFH: When was the last time someone said these exact words to you: You are the sunshine of my life?


Ha, you just reminded me of the time that I did a survey for a hotel chain and answered "did not use" for all of the questions, including the ones about the bed and the bathroom.

I sort of wonder what they think I did in their hotel...

Windows takes a tumble in the land of the Big Mac and Bacon Double Cheeseburger


Re: Possible use of audio

>Side note: Would any third party even be allowed to sell their own cola-flavoured soft drinks, if Coca-Cola was a new invention under today's IP régime?

Yes, for the same reason that multiple companies can offer cherry flavour drinks - they didn't create the kola nut/tree or the cola genus.

It /is/ highly likely that there would be a lot of litigation along the way driven by greedy idiots in inexplicably high positions in the company, so the legal people would make out like bandits as usual.

Samsung leads 5G early birds after shipping 6.7m phones to snatch over half of the market


Re: The greatest disservice to humanity committed by the "internet"

Nah, it's ease of use. The stupid people always had a voice, but as long as access to a platform involved employment of double-digit brain cells they either couldn't get in or got distracted by a different shiny.

I would say that the biggest disservice is the "Login using Facebook" button - or equivalent.

20% of UK businesses would rather axe their contractors than deal with IR35 – survey


Re: Dangers of moving from outside to inside IR35

I beg to differ with you on one point:

>It's simply not appropriate for a company to pay someone a board-level salary for doing a mid-level-management job.

It's perfectly appropriate to pay skilled staff more than board members in the right situation. Management is a skill set in exactly the same way that IT is, there are zero logical reasons why a very skilled IT person should not be paid more than an unskilled or semi-skilled manager.

The idea that managers have to be paid more than their staff is a completely artificial construct perpetuated by the fact that those making the salary decisions are often incapable of putting their own ego aside.

Many years ago I worked for one of the large consultancies and had to put together a team of SAN engineers (just as SAN usage started to take off) and I was paid ~£20k less than several of the people i my team because that was the going rate. It didn't bother me and fortunately the company understood what they needed to pay to get the staff they wanted.

Not long after that, while working for another large company who took your view, we were unable to even get an applicant for a senior DBA role in two years because they were offering £25-30k under the market rate. I wish this was an isolated incident, but I know from talking to others that it's not and it's *always* someone higher up the food chain saying "I'm not paying someone who works for me more than I'm on".

700km on a single charge: Mercedes says it's in it for the long run


Re: No Need to Panic

Overnight is exactly how plugging something into a socket can work today. Most EV/plug in hybrids can be set to only charge at set times *and* in some cases that can be combined with GPS location - so, for example, you can make sure the vehicle only charges overnight when at home, but can charge any time it's plugged in when away from home.

My washing machine and dishwasher have timers, I set them to run overnight on cheap electricity so they finish about the time I get up.

You could even offer people especially cheap power at staggered times to encourage them to set stuff up properly, rather than your solution of overcharging them to behave.

Some problems are not impossible to solve, including the one that figuring out that the 350kW charging system in the article is not likely to be a domestic system - in the same way that the Tesla 120kW chargers aren't.


Don't see why not, a guy near me as a 2003 Jaguar XJ with touch screen in the dashboard that still works and LED tail lights that still work.

Do touch screens and LED lights fail sometimes? Yep, but I don't see how that's significantly different from incandescent lights or mechanical switches to be honest.

In fact, if they don't fail in the first five years (suggesting a build defect), then I'd expect them to be more reliable.

Good news Flash lovers! Microsoft won't be disabling it by default (so long as you use IE or old Edge)


Re: Banks

Yes, because it's always better to do what's most convenient for the devs rather than best for security or the users...

Zombie Cambridge Analytica told 'death' can't save it from the law


Re: Too Late

>Interesting question. What can you say to the ICO if you really don't know what data you have collected?

You must know your data sources so you have to make searches of any that could hold data on the subject even if you do not know whether there was any data collected through that source.

It's quite legitimate to say that you didn't search you HR systems for example because if the subject is not an employee then they won't be in there.

It's not legitimate to say that you didn't search the data you got from Facebook because you didn't know if they were in there or not,

Worst-case Brexit could kill 92,000 science, tech jobs across UK – report



>Meanwhile, in the real world, the massive tech investment continues with corporations saying "no we don't give a shit about brexit actually, in fact, it's why we're investing here"

Meanwhile, in the real world, at the time of the vote I was working for a massive tech firm who decided to massively scale back their UK infrastructure and workforce and are considering exiting the UK completely as a direct result of Brexit. I was one of the 10% made redundant last year and I know of former colleagues who are in this year's 10%.

I returned to contracting and right now I'm working for a different massive tech firm who have been - and are doing - exactly the same thing.

I know there are a handful of specific examples about investment in the UK tech industry, but those seem to be split between companies taking a punt on the weak pound and those trying to pick up the business being abandoned by the companies scaling back their UK operations.

In all honesty I'm not seeing a trend towards investment in the UK *at this time* and certainly not massive amounts of investment.

In the end I don't know that the ultimate outcome will make too much difference to me in the short term anyway.

If Brexit goes ahead then there will be a lot of work in the IT sector building new systems that will be required for functions that are currently carried out by the EU, but will have to return to the UK.

If Brexit collapses, then many projects that are currently on-hold pending the outcome will come back to life.

MPs sceptical of plan for IT to save the day after UK quits customs union


Re: Leaving EU != leaving Customs Union (or Single Market, for that matter)

>Despite the fact that, during the referendum campaign, multiple Leavers were at pains to suggest this wouldn't happen?

Because there was no concrete plan for Leave, so the Leave campaign was free to promise everything to everyone and hope to hoover up all of the voters from the hard exit end of the spectrum through to the people who thought that we should have an arrangement like (say) the Swiss.

Clearly it's not possible to please *all* of those people, which is why we are in the place we are now - we had to choose between what we already had and a utopia made up almost entirely in everyone's heads (for the Leave voters).

You can see the faulty reasoning all of the time, if your answer to the question "Has membership of the EU been good for the UK?" is "Yes" or "No", then you're not reasoning properly. You're literally comparing what actually happened to a scenario that only exists in your head, which is a ridiculous thing to do. We don't have access to an alternate reality where the UK didn't join the EU for comparison purposes.

Personally - and I know this isn't a popular idea - I'd like to see a second vote when we know what the deal is, at least that way we're choosing between two defined paths.

Funnily enough, no, IT admins who trash biz machines can't claim they had permission


Re: If it had been the 9th circus court...

>I think bringing this up here probably explains everything we've ever wondered about Bob.

I still want to know if Bob is the short kid or one of the thugs.

No, Samsung, you really do owe Apple $120m for patent infringement


Re: Slide to unlock

Which model was that? I think I remember having it on the N97, but that was after the iPhone.

The EU is sooo 2016. We're all about the US now, say Brit scaleups


>I could go on for days listing reasons but suffice it to say there's a huge list of upsides and absolutely no downsides.

The company I was working for a year ago decided to significantly scale back its UK presence as a direct result of Brexit and over the last year has made 10,000 people redundant (including myself).

If you think there are absolutely no downsides then you aren't paying attention.

Here's a tip: If you can't think of a compelling argument *for* an opposing viewpoint then you don't understand your own position.

The biggest problem with Brexit is that the arguments for it still rely on a made up future that assumes we'll be able to get all of the deals we want with no downsides. Personally, I don't have that level of confidence in the people in charge, I don't know about you.

Here's an idea: Instead of a Netflix subscription, why don't you negotiate with all the studios individually then come back and tell us how much better the new arrangement is in both convenience and value.

Town wants Amazon's new HQ so much it plans to split off new town called 'Amazon'


Re: Ireland

Dublin airport is weird, it has no links to rail, light rail or the tram system so you are basically stuck with bus or taxi to get into the city.

Pretty well all of the buses stop around 23.30, so if your flight lands after 23.00 you miss the last of them - and flights come in until around one in the morning.

I've been working there this year, I had to wait over an hour after landing and get an overnight coach that actually goes to Waterford, but happens to stop in Dublin every time I flew in.

They do, however, have loads of parking, so they clearly worked out that people based in Ireland might be using the place to travel overseas, but don't seem to have worked out that overseas visitors will arrive /without/ their cars.

UK Home Office re-bans cheap call gateways because 'terrorism'


Re: Don't forget

Yeah, but somehow he managed to make his way to the bank and scramble out. Scared the life out of his parents so they taught him to swim pretty soon afterwards.


iPhone 8: Apple has CPU cycles to burn


Re: Noticing something interesting

Is that the same "smart money" that's been predicting that for the last ten years?

Markets have *never* worked like that and likely never will. Yes, the bulk of the market will be at the cheaper end, but there's always room for other price points.

If it were even slightly true that people just bought the cheapest thing that is "good enough" then every single new car sold this year would be a Dacia Sandero.

Your "smart money" people sound like they're not very smart at all and they probably don't have any money. Did you meet them down the pub on a Friday night?

Oh, and by all means go and buy a OnePlus any enjoy owning it if that's what *you* want., there's nothing wrong with that choice any more than someone opting to buy at the other end of the spectrum.

(Actually, if you're looking for something good enough that's cheap checkout the Archos range, they start at about £50 - new - on Amazon.)

Microsoft reveals details of flagship London store within spitting distance from Apple's


MS fanboys?

Both of them?

Something good about Brexit? Errr, more teeth for Ofcom! – report


Re: Threats and opportunites

The UK, Italy, Greece and Spain all voted against it because they have large tourist industries that meant significant drops in profit for their local telecoms providers.

This was all timetabled to come in during 2015, but held up because of these four. I remember being quite surprised and annoyed that my own government were doing it, but at the time all of the operators were busy building out their 4G capability so I did have some sympathy.

That said, I can't say if it was UK government policy because I don't know who had the majority of MEPs at the time. Roger Helmer MEP tabled an amendment to reject the agreement on behalf of UKIP, so that was one party definitely opposed to it; you can do your own research about the others.

Achievement unlocked: Tesla boosts batteries for Irma refugees


Re: Meh

>Are these care not all capable of 'ludicrous mode" as well?

No, the performance models have different hardware of some kind to take the additional power flow that's needed and IIRC the lower capacity batteries also can't deliver the current either.

They introduced improvements a few years ago that allowed "Insane mode" and an option to have the parts swapped in older performance cars to enable it.

I guess it's the same as being able to change an ECU map to produce more power from a normal ICU engine or being able to fit a bigger turbo, but to make a 2 litre engine into a 3 litre one is a much bigger job.

Fujitsu strikes are OFF – it's not the 1970s after all


Re: dispute over pay centred on the gender gap that exists in the organisation

Unfortunately, the lack of gender equality in IT isn't something that the unions can easily address.

Last time we hired in my area (a long time ago), we had exactly zero female applicants for two positions, so it's not like we could have even looked at trying to address the mostly male bias in the unit.

By contrast, the last place I worked at had about 35% women and often did have a bit of a mix for job applications. Both are large IT firms.

Annoyingly precocious teen who ruined Trek is now an asteroid


They're all over the place

>The real problem was lazy writers.

Star Trek was quite bad for lazy writing, but to be fair they're far from alone.

Actually, the one that always winds me up the most that seems to have originated in Star Trek, but is now all over Sci-Fi, is solving problems by "just reversing the polarity of X".

Since reversing the polarity translates as "put the batteries in the wrong way" you can at least have some fun by mentally swapping the two phrases to turn the script into a comedy.

"Of course! We can use the tractor beam to push the asteroid away by putting the batteries in the wrong way."

Tesla touts battery that turns a Model S into 'third fastest ever' car


Re: Tesla's progress is amazing

>Anybody in the UK buying a Tesla S from 2 April 2017 and will be paying £310 road tax each year for the first five years

Actually that's not 100% clear. From the VED website: "Cars with a list price in excess of £40,000 will incur a supplement of £310 on their SR for the first 5 years in which a SR is paid.".

The Tesla doesn't pay SR because it's a zero emissions vehicle. Or, strictly speaking, it has an SR of £0. So does that count as paying or not paying?

The attached document looks like it might be a bit clearer and does seem to imply that you would pay the £310, but it's hardly cut and dried.

Also a bit woolly on how things like optional extras are handled. If you buy a car that's £39,995 list, but the opt for an extra that adds £500 to the price, does that tip you over into the supplement? Seems a bit draconian, especially as you're likely to negotiate a discount of a few thousand anyway.

If optional extras aren't considered, then I can see a lot of manufacturers offering engine upgrades and the like as "optional extras".

Start with a BMW 318, optionally upgrade the body, engine and equipment, take delivery of a 750 with an original list price of around £25k and £40k of extras.

Three non-obvious reasons to Vote Leave on the 23rd


>Ask Sir James Dyson if justice can be seen to be done

Can I ask him why he expected the testing to be changed when he couldn't prove that he had a test that gave consistent reproducible results to replace it with instead?

I've just read the ruling, it basically says: "Yes, bag-less cleaners are objectively different and the Commission should consider treating them differently, but your test didn't provide repeatable results from different laboratories".

I'd say that was quite reasonable, TBH.

Oh and the UK leaving the EU wouldn't change things for Dyson's sales in Europe, so you've picked a terrible example there Andrew.


Re: Three simple points.

1. I don't fully understand how the European Parliament works either, that's *my* fault, not the fault of the EU. I did, however, vote in the European Elections - unlike 65% of the UK. You're right that it's an open and shut argument, but you're wrong that it's undemocratic. Sometimes when people vote you get results that you /personally/ don't like. Tony Blair, David Cameron, take your pick. The results don't suddenly become undemocratic just because you don't like them or if you didn't bother to vote in the first place.

2. When the choice is between something that people know (but may not like 100%) and an unknown alternative, they do tend towards sticking with the existing situation - exactly like they did with the Scottish referendum. But you're right, we shouldn't boil the frog slowly, we should straight into the mincer.

3. I you really think that's what's going to happen, then don't bother voting at all as it won't make any difference.

Microsoft cancels Remain speech after death of Labour MP


>The majority of British people had a better quality of life before we joined the EU.


Absolutely nothing else could have caused a change in quality of life since then?

In 40 years?

I would like to see any facts that support your supposition that the *majority* of British people had a better quality of life 40+ years ago and it was *because* of EU membership that things got worse (if they have).

You do realise that we don't have access to a parallel universe where the UK didn't join the EU so we can compare outcomes, don't you? You're comparing what did happen to a scenario that exists entirely in your imagination, which is clearly complete nonsense.


Because if interest rates go up, people can't afford to borrow as much so they can't afford to pay as much.

Depends where you are in the market, but some segments will see a reduction in demand as result meaning anyone who *needs* to sell may have to accept less, which leads to the perception that equivalent properties are worth less.

You can set the price you want, but if the market doesn't agree with you then you ain't selling. You only have control within market limits, you're deluding yourself if you think you can set whatever price you want. Why do you think that areas with lower demand (like the north of England) have lower prices?

Personally I'd love to be able to sell my place for £100m and then retire to the Bahamas, but I doubt I'd get any takers.

Apple and Android wearables: What iceberg? It’s full steam ahead!


Re: subtle leap-froggingatch

Unfortunately watchOS 2.2 came out in March, so calling it 2.1 might lead to confusion.

They're calling it 3.0 because they've made cosmetic changes to the user interface, performance changes to the main OS and introduced a bunch of new APIs for developers to use. I'd say it was fair to call it a new major release rather than 2.3, because a point release doesn't usually have anything more than half a dozen new features and some bug fixes.

Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you


I never knew we had so many astrologers

"This imaginary future that I want you to agree with is better than this other imaginary future that I don't want you to agree with."

Could we get a breakdown of the author's previous predictions and accuracy so we can properly gauge the author's ability for any future articles like this, please El Reg?

Troll seeks toll because iPhones work


Re: Let me get this straight....

>since the death of SCO, has the most vicious, underhanded, money grabbing, uncaring, vitriolic legal departments of the modern world?

They're suing Apple, not Disney.

Brexit would pinch UK tech spend but the EU wouldn't care – survey


Re: Brexit...

Also, vote for exit and the entire reason for Nigel Farage existing vanishes.

So there's your real choice, Boris for PM or a continuation of Nigel.

UK can finally 'legalise home taping' without bringing in daft new tax


Re: The "right" to listen to music

>No mention of a licence.

You'd better check.

I used to think, but if you dig out your microscope and read the tiny print (can be on the label, booklet or cover) you'll usually find that you have been granted a license for personal use of whatever is on the medium and normally excluding public performance (so a radio station can't just pay £10 for a CD to play on the air as many times as they want, for example).

I must admit, I was quite surprised when I looked into this stuff a few years ago.

Samsung shoves IT arm into connected cars, hires new hands


Deeper joy. I imagine Samsung are doing this because Apple are rumoured to be working on the same thing and they want to get something out first.

When is Apple's car rumoured to launch? 2020? Expect Samsung's in 2019 and for it to include something technically quite impressive that makes you go "wow", but which is completely useless in the real world - like being able to unlock it by break-dancing or being able to slide your 52" living room TV into the seats to provide rear screen entertainment.

Facebook conjures up a trap for the unwary: scanning your camera for your friends


Re: Yeah.. No thanks

That still leaves one ear....

Zombie iOS APIs used to slurp private data


Re: Well done, Apple

Yeah, those idiots, not thinking of every possible scenario that could lead to a breach and securing against it.


Hang on, I'll get back to you.

'Blood on the carpet' ahead for outsourcers, says analyst research


Re: Good.

Don't forget that while China is the largest manufacturer of electronics it isn't the only one by a long way. If they suddenly decided to stop supplying the rest of the world there would be shortages and price rises in the short term but long term new plants would be built to take up the demand.

Chip manufacture goes on around the world, before China the big players were in Japan and Taiwan, now you have South Korea to add to that mix. Those are only the biggest players. There's a chip fab plant around five miles from where I live in the UK, for example.

Ramping up capacity is what takes time, these days the clean room environment that's needed takes around four to five years to establish once a plant is built meaning that you're looking at around a six year lead.

Hutchison will float O2 … as soon as the Three merger is done


"Consumers don't make their decisions based on broadband speed or network coverage or service reliability or customer service - just price - and so the only winning business strategy is to cut costs and prices"

No, they don't, that's quite patently obvious with just a cursory glance at what is available on the market and the number of customers with each supplier. Only some people decide purely on price.

It is true that there are an unhealthy number of business people who believe this rubbish and end up destroying perfectly healthy businesses in the pursuit of the lowest prices.

Doctor Who returns to our screens next week – so, WHO is the worst Time Lord of them all?


Re: Having met two of them...

>For a long time there seemed to be a media consensus that Peter Davison's portrayal was a >disappointing, lightweight followup to Tom Baker that started the show's slow decline in the 80s. It's >interesting that this seems to have changed in the past few years, with far more people taking a >positive view.

I think that is because Tom Baker has such a huge presence, anyone following him (apart from perhaps Brian Blessed) was always going to look really flat in comparisson.

Like many here, I think McCoy was probably one of the better doctors, but had both the worst scripts and production values so was always going to be in trouble.

Witness Apple's iPhone-iPad extravapalooza here in our no-hate zone


OMG, I never noticed that!

It's still 2015, and your Windows PC can still be pwned by a webpage


Re: Hmm

>Just after DOS 6 then?

Not if you're old enough to remember DOS 4.

Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales


I think they're pretty good examples that price is not the only factor that matters to people if you're not on an especialy constrained budget.

Why people make the decision to purchase certain products or from certain companies may not be immediately clear, or may not even make much sense if you don't share those views/values/whatever.

Class action launched against Facebook over biometric slurpage


Re: @ Lost all faith ... I really hope this succeeds.

> how do you know if they have collected your biometric information?

When the TwatSpanners(TM) in advertising attach cameras to those colourful LED/LCD/Plasma/whatever advertising boards in shopping centres and then match the camera data to the FB data in order to personalise the adverts to you as you walk by.

I guarantee there are people working in that industry right now who have literally no clue why anyone would be against such a thing.

I think we should lobby our respective parliamentary representatives to have "working in advertising" correctly classified as the mental disorder that it is, then we can help these people with their debilatating social problems instead of villifying them.

Parallels Desktop 11 brings Windows 10 and Cortana to Mac


Re: Ransomware

I've been running Windows 10 under El Capitan with Parallels 10 without any apparent problems, so I'd hope it doesn't magically "break" when the full version of El Capitan ships.

With previous OSX releases I usually found that Parallels wouldn't work, once because of an API change that fundementally broke it, but mostly because something moved or permissions changed - in which case there were often work-arounds.