* Posts by Harry

424 publicly visible posts • joined 17 May 2007


Microsoft asks pals to help KILL UK gov's Open Document Format dream


Lets all say loud and clear -- if ifs anything to do with microsoft, its NOT a standard no matter how much microsoft might protest to the contrary.

We're all sick and tired of microsoft -- look how many unreadable emails we've all had over the years caused by microsoft non-standard and sub standard emails and microsoft still doesn't seem to be able to produce a browser that flawlessly renders web sites that work perfectly well in properly-W3C compatible browsers.

No, we must all stand up and INSIST that the government adopts a standard that's controlled by an independent standards committee not something which microsoft unilaterally and falsely claims to be a standard.

Forget invisible kittens, now TANKS draped in INVISIBILITY CLOAK


I refuse to believe in invisible tanks ...

... until I see one with my own eyes.

Firefox's plugin-blocker slams into beta - but don't jump for joy, Flash haters


Blockers, yes please.

If installing the latest version no longer activates the blocker, then that is equivalent to semi-permanently "allowing" the content -- though in addition to "allow once" there should probably be an "ignore" setting for users who may have a good reason for wanting to keep an earlier version.

Personally I run with flashblock and except for a few sites that are permanently allowed I rarely need to look at flash content on web sites. There are exceptions, but flash is often a distraction that contributes nothing essential to the site. Mostly I'm there to read the words, not to look at the pictures. And in any case, that unwanted content is possibly taking more from my monthly bandwidth allowance than the page content, so its better if it can be blocked unless I *choose* to enable it.

What we now want -- well, what *I* want anyway, but I'm sure I'm not alone -- is a flashblock-like blocker for those nauseus, distracting and pointless slideshows and animations that are on many web sites. They are just as irritating as flash, but are now implemented by other means and they equally need blocking.

Microsoft reissues September patches after user complaints


This is not the first time that I've had Office patches continually downloading and reinstalling themselves.

Oh, I don't even *have* office (well, not a microsoft office) , so did I really need those patches anyway?

US plaintiffs can seek damages over Street View data slurp - court


Re: Yawn

If somebody opens your passenger door while you are stuck at traffic lights and steals your satnav, it is still theft in the eyes of the law.

Google's *real* motto is only to do evil when you think you can get away with it.

WAIT! Don't you dare send that ad-spaff email without 'specific' consent


Too little, too late, and in too many words

What it *should* say is something shorter, sharper and more to the point, like:

* consent must be opt-in, not opt out

* it must be a completely separate choice from any other options

* it may not be obtained as part of a contract

* consent must apply only to the specific classes of products and services that the user has *individually* chosen and not used to benefit parent or sister companies, or third parties unless used exclusively for the benefit of the original company

* it must be possible to opt out at any time (or to refuse to opt in) without penalty or refusal of service in any way.

Ready to bin your USB cables yet? Wireless USB hops on WiGig bandwagon


A good start would be a Universal Rule that says the tiny CDs that contain them should say exactly *what* the driver is, instead of just "driver".

Or as a very poor second best, at least don't cover the entire surface in stupid dark colours that ensure you cannot read anything you write on them. But the CDs really ought to be properly and unambiguously labelled at source and the USB standard needs to say precisely that.

Google Glass is high fashion in September Vogue magazine



She looks like a 1960 petrol pump attendant to me.

IT now 10 percent of world's electricity consumption, report finds


If we didn't have computers, we would need a lot more people sitting in offices, doing the jobs that are presently done by computers.

Those people would almost certainly be consuming far more energy -- lighting, air conditioning, transport getting to or from work. They would be using paper and pens. They would need more furniture and yet more office buildings. They would be posting more communications by snail mail, using even more energy to transport and deliver.

If you want to save money and energy, keep the computers and ban businesses and government from using snail mail.


Re: Only half the equation

Its the energy needed to make or recycle paper that's the problem.

Troll loses 'we own the Web' patent appeal


Re: There should be a "you didn't stand your ground" law

A better law would be ... if you choose to pay because its cheaper than fighting, you get the automatic legal right to reclaim the payment if, at any time, the patent is declared invalid -- together with the automatic legal right to declare any settlement terms which prohibit such recovery as null and void.

When such a patent is overturned, a criminal prosecution for extortion should also be considered if it seems that the company attempting to enforce the patent acquired it specifically for the purpose of such extortion.

Google study finds users ignore Chrome security warnings


The study's authors ... are not sure why Chrome users are so blasé.

My guess:

1) People who have firefox usually installed it because they thought it was a better browser.

2) People who have chrome probably installed it for no better reason than some other program came with a pre-ticked option to install chrome alongside the other program. Often, they are only using it because it installed itself as the default browser and they don't know how to change it.

And so, by marketing chrome in this insidious manner, its surely expected that it will have a greater proportion of less-intelligent users?

Simple answer -- stop bundling chrome with irrelevant stuff and it will progressively gain users with greater intelligence, those who are using it through choice not through deceit.

Google 'disappoints' US congressman over Glass privacy controls


So why do they need both?

"banning resale of the headsets to ensure that private information isn't transferred, and the headsets can be remotely wiped if lost or stolen."

If they can do the second, then they have absolutely no justification otther than greed for trying (I hope unsuccessfully) to prevent buyers using their legal right to resell.

Crackdown looming on premium-rate phone number internet ads


Re: just ban premium rate

There are some circumstances where premium rate services provide reasonable value for money. But there are certainly some services which should be banned altogether.

* Hijacking by third parties. The "services" which Ofcom is complaining about here seem to be either an unrelated organisation using a service already being provided free or at the normal rate and front-ending the service with a premium rate number, or using the NAME of an existing service to hijack calls to a premium rate number of a different business that may or may not provide an equivalent service.

Saying the number is premium rate is NOT the proper answer to hijacking. The PROPER answer is to ban premium rate numbers from being used for hijack purposes.

* Customer contact numbers. Yes, its OK for companies to provide an "extra" service on a premium rate number, such as helping people use equipment they have bought. But, such companies should be absolutely required to have and to publish a freephone number for dealing with complaints and product defects, both of which should be prohibited on premium numbers.

Ofcom also needs to understand that to all intents and purposes, any number which costs users more to call than normal numbers (eg by being excluded from their call allowance) is DE-FACTO a premium rate number and again, companies which have them should be specifically required to publish a "normal rate" number for complaints, product defects and all other services which do not provide quantifiable additional value to the caller.

Ofcom: When shall we squeeze Freeview's girth?


Aren't there too many unnecessarily pointless TV channels anyway?

If people really want to watch ITV one hour behind the original schedule, they can program their video recorders to save it. The same with numerous repeats of programs like Coronation Street. If you don't like its original transmission time, record it -- retransmitting it is a horrendous waste of the spectrum.

If people really want to watch products being auctioned, they could go to an internet auction site.

If people want to watch "Gone with the Wind" for the 23rd time, why don't they record it to play whenever they need, or download it from a site like itunes?

Phase down the number of channels to half of the present and insist that bidders for new or renewing licenses must broadcast 90% original content. Designate some channels to be shared for specific minority interests, but have an annual poll of the others with the least popular ones losing their licence.

Oz shop slaps browsers with $5 just looking fee


Re: Anyone thinking about shopping there

I noticed a cafe the other day, with a sign in the window that non-customers must pay £1.50 to use the loo.

I can understand why the owners might need to do this in a high tourist area without adequate facilities, but this was an ordinary high street so I can't imagine more than a very small number of non-customers would even want to go there.

I'm sure too that if I was considering being a customer there for the first time, that sign would put me off and I'd take my business elsewhere.

Interestingly, in the next town a number of shops have signed up for a "community convenience" scheme, where they advertise that their loos are available to non-customers. I'm sure they do so because they think many of the extra people that come into their shop will become customers too.

Apple: OK, we tracked your every move... but let's call it a caching bug, m'kay?


"and is then amazed when the police discover a rubbish bag full of weed in the boot"

Yes indeed. How could he possibly not know it was there?

You would have thought he would have at least read the script, before taking on the part.

Firefox to spit out third-party cookies


Too little, too late

Do I understand this correctly?

I visit a site. Let's call it nosuchsite.co.uk.

nosuchsite.co.uk has a lazy webmaster, who uses google APIs instead of writing his own code. So, firefox is saying that because I've previously visited google, firefox thinks its OK to send google my cookies.

It sounds like they've got this completely wrong. It's precisely *because* I've previously visited google that google should *not* be given my google cookie when I visit a third party site. If I had never visited google, either directly or indirectly, then the cookie would contain no information so there would be no harm in giving back the cookie.

Third party cookies should be accepted but automatically converted to session cookies and never shared with other tabs that might be open in the browser at the same time. To every third party site, the user should appear to be making their first visit, no matter whether or not they have visited the site as a first party.

And what's the point of having the exemption for sites that promise to respect Do Not Track? Cookies are for tracking. So, if the site is not tracking, then it needs at the very most a session cookie.

Tiny tech ZigBee harnesses puny power of the press


Another big advantage ...

would be that buttons with the piezo electric backing would probably have a much more positive feel than those nasty, spongy buttons that infest far too many modern devices and you can never tell for certain exactly when they have been pressed.


Re: the 'expected distance' for car keys would be very small

Not entirely, because one of the functions of a remote keylock is to help locate your car in a big car park or long street.

Thought having said that, you would only need that capability when the car park has a substantial number of other cars in it, which implies that there is probably another car near you which could mesh with the others and pass the signal to your own car even when you're too far away from it.

Nokia lets Lumia 820 owners 3D print their own case


"you might be better off selling them with a years free supply of petrol"

And there was me thinking that nokias ran on diesel.

Fraud cops collar two blokes accused of dodging bank's 2-factor auth



Before issuing replacement sims, how about sending a text message saying so to the original sim. If that sim is still in use, then the recipient gets the chance to prove ownership and prevent the replacements from being activated, or, at worst, to amend any security that relies on the associated mobile number.

Longer term, banks should work with the mobile telcos and come up with a service where the IMEI and/or the sim are validated before delivering the PIN, so that a replacement sim or in a different phone does not deliver the PIN.

WTF is... Weightless?


Re "A wireless car, for example, becomes useless if it moves beyond range of a base-station."

Does it?

Since this is supposed to be Machine to Machine, not Machine to base station, the implementation should surely be that which maintains its usefulness so long as the two *machines* that wish to communicate are in range of each other.

All of which makes perfect sense. Only the particular traffic light I'm approaching (and maybe the next one down the road) needs to know that I'm approaching and in which direction I'm heading. That's enough tor it to optimise the junction priorites (no more long green lights to the only route that doesn't have any traffic) and tell my car it should slow down to conserve fuel, so that it doesn't reach the junction before it turns green. And traffic lights are rarely so far apart that they can't pass on messages about jams further along my route and suggest a better route.

What's that I hear? Even though its supposedly M2M, it has to be designed to go via a base station so that some mega corporation can *charge* for the service?

Dotcom titan funds 'Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents'


Re: " The world has a solution, it's called first to file."

First to file is not the real solution, by any stretch of the imagination. It should be first to *prove* and file.

No matter whether its hardware or software, it should not be possible to patent something just on the basis of "I think this might be possible". If you cannot yet *do* it, then you should not be able to patent it -- leaving the field open for somebody else to come up with a similar idea, make it work and win the patent.

I'd go one further -- if, one year after applying for the patent, you do not yet have the product on the market at an affordable price, then the patent becomes public domain for anybody to use royalty-free. This prevents patenting (or buying patents) purely to prevent a better product from competing with an established market.

Similarly, if at any time during the next 10 years you cannot satisfy the market demand -- then you should be obliged to make the patent available at peppercorn cost to anybody that wishes to market it.

That square QR barcode on the poster? Check it's not a sticker

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Re: Firstly I can read a URL but I can't read a QR code.

When I scan a QR code, the app that reads it pops up "Do you wish to visit www.whatever.co.uk" and gives me the choice to go there or not.

So, I can effectively read a QR code just as well as I can read a URL.

New study: 'Fraud behind two-thirds of pulled medical papers'


Re: fraudulently manipulated the data

Purely for research purposes, of course.

Pair face £250k fines for spamming mobes with millions of texts


Good, but why only text messages?

As the report states, automated marketing is also illegal. And I'm sure not all automated marketing is being performed from outside the UK.

Calling people on TPS is also illegal and has been for many years longer than sending text messages. So when are we going to see prosecutions of the tens of thousands of people who seem to be doing this on a regular daily basis.

Purpose of RFID finally discovered: It's for pairing up socks!


Re: Next step, get schoolchildren to wear them

Yes, that could save five minutes of valuable lesson time calling the register, or whatever they call it these days.

Unless, that is, the teachers look up and notice that they are actually teaching to just one person who is being paid 5p per head to smuggle in the smelly socks of the rest of the class.

ICO: Data blunders by your cloud provider still YOUR fault


Re "encryption really should go without saying"

It should, of course. Except that although one of the widely recommended backup services is using encryption, it is apparently only encrypted while in transit and gets decrypted again once it arrives at their server. It is, nevertheless, misrepresented as an encrypted service and the service provider deliberately fails to point out that its not actually stored in encrypted form.

Brave copper single-handedly chases 'suspicious' Moon


So, how do you feel?

"I'm Over the Moon", maybe ?

Markets to remain glutted with rapidly-depreciating Facebook shares


Re: "Facebook needs to get a direction "

But downwards IS a direction, isn't it ?

Facebook does have a non-electronic precedent ... the South Sea Bubble http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sea_Company.

eBay invites mystic wrath over ban on spells, potions and lotions


Re: He's already been turned into a turtle.

A *mock* turtle, presumably.

Climate change blamed for rise of life-draining horrors*


" if the temperature changed unpredictably"

OK, so which days of the year does history show have never *previously* changed unpredictably?

And how many frogs do you know that actually tune into BBC weather on a regular basis anyway?

Global warming may only be a lot of hot air, but most of it comes from the so-called experts and not from the weather itself.

Biz bosses 'to save £400m' as UK.gov axes green red-tape


Yes, plain English please

In many business, the biggest cost of complying with the law is understanding it in the first place.

The law should exist for the benefit of everybody in general, whether an individual or in business, not for the primary benefit of the legal profession that has its sole interest in keeping it incomprehensible.

Microsoft RTMs final Windows 8 and Server 2012 code


So, what next after windows 9 ?

Windows 0 springs to mind -- ie, no windows at all. Well, 0 *is* the next key after 9.

No windows would be ideal for people who wanted to make documents they didn't plan to release, because it would cause some terrific drafts.

Smutty books strip Harry Potter of Amazon crown


A pallet full

"Imagine my surprise two days later when a pallet full of Dulux turns up at my front door"

You must have been overcome with emulsion.

Tesco in unencrypted password email reminder rumble


What are we talking about here?

If its Tesco Bank, then yes, emailing passwords which could allow a third party into your bank account is improper and there is cause for concern.

But if it is just access to your grocery list, then its a storm in a tea cup. Is anybody really going to break in to your account just to look at your clubcard points and order you a milliion teabags?

British Gas bets you'll pay £150 for heating remote control


I have a better idea

I have the heating in the office on a plug with a countdown timer. Cost was about a fiver from somebody on ebay.

It doesn't come on at all until I arrive in the office, and it stays on for just 30 minutes (but is also on a thermostat, so probably goes off much faster). Thereafter, it only gets turned back on if I'm feeling cold. Which, often, isn't for several hours.

I have a similar arrangement at home, though in this case its a scheduled 30 minute warmup early in the morning on the coldest part of winter and an hour on demand but only when it feels cold. The heating engineer looked at me most bemused when I insisted on him wiring it in to the circuit, but it does the job a lot better and a lot cheaper than fixed time slots.

Google makes Opera bloggers an offer they can't refuse: Use Chrome


Google -- incompetent, or just a cowboy?

If google cannot design a web page that works with any W3C-compliant browser, then that is incompetence and its webmaster should be instantly dismissed.

If google is deliberately creating web pages that don't work, or is deliberately using scaremongering tactics to pretend that other browsers will not work, then that is deliberate cowboy behaviour and the top men in google need to be sent instantly to jail, without passing go, and instructed to stay there for a very long time.

Google's new motto: we ONLY do evil.

Google Maps takes shelter from the British summer


Re: Turkeys voting for Christmas

"It gives Google the keys to shows ads based on nearby shops and your location. "

And yet, many many webmasters *already* give google and the like the ability to track their customers and offer the adverts of competing suppliers, by incorporating externally hosted third party code and spyware services in their sites.

I suspect the webmasters' bosses never bother to look at their own company's site with noscript and are therefore completely oblivious how good their site might be at introducing their potential customers to their other competitors.

Gah! EU data protection will STIFLE business, moans gov.UK

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They could actually SAVE a lot of money.

Simple -- don't collect unnecessary data in the first place. If you don't collect it, then you don't have to delete it.

I suspect more than 90% of data collected comes under the "unnecessary" heading. Result -- far far more money saved by *not* collecting the data, and no cost to delete data you don't have.

Sussex bobbies get undisclosed tablets in networked-copper trials


Re "undisclosed tablets"

So, these are to be used by the drug squad ?

Google claims Chrome is the world's most popular browser


It is actually the most UNpopular browser

Because it installs itself surreptitiously and by default alongside other products, its actually the most *hated* of all browsers. And its also probable that most people who have it installed only have it because they don't know how to remove it.

And its from google, so it's probably stuffed with spyware.

When buying an air ticket on your mobe - what makes you give up?


"If they were more open about it less people would book"

I'm not sure about that. If I had the need for an aircraft seat, a hotel booking or any other service, the ones that promise "the prices we advertise are the prices you will pay" would be the ones I'd look at first.

Some car dealers are starting to understand this. Why not airlines, hotels and telephone companies too?

Yes, *especially* telephone companies. Advertising "phone, broadband and TV for a misleading "just £xxx" which "excludes line rental" serves only to prove how completely and totally *dishonest* and untrustworthy you *all* are.

And how incompetent Ofcom and ASA both are, but you already knew that anyway.

UK regulator re-opens probe into Google Street View slurp outrage


How about re-opening phorm too ?

Now that the precedent of re-opening incompetently performed previous investigations has been set, surely the ICO's phorm investigation was even more incompetently performed.

Maybe it is also time to reopen that one -- and this time, ensure that top people in both BT and phorm are properly and severely punished.

10m years ago there was less CO2 - but the Earth was warmer


What's "significantly" lower ?

If you listen to those who speak either for or against global warming, "significantly" can mean as little as a tenth of a degree, buried under daily fluctuations of more 5 degrees or more and averaged over only exactly as many years as fits their preconceived ideas of whether they are trying to prove temperatures should be rising or falling.

With science like this, its not surprising that people think most talk about global warming is just a lot of hot air.

ICO on new Cookie Law: 'Don't expect torrent of enforcement action'


"If there is an exemption for cookies from Google"

I don't think its an actual "exemption", merely a statement that because Google isn't an EU company it doesn't have to comply with the legislation.

But if *you* are a EU company, then you do -- and surely nobody with a grain of common sense would agree that asking a third party to perform something on your behalf exempts you from your legal obligations. "It wasn't me that run you over on the pedestrian crossing, it was my car" isn't going to be accepted by any court. Similarly, if the code that *calls* some third party code (whether google or otherwise) is on your site, you *ought* to be accepting legal responsibility for what it does and making sure that what it does is legal. Which, quite possibly, means not using it if you cannot be certain.

Equally, I'd disagree that google is not subject to EU jurisdiction. The EU certainly seems to think it is. So why the ICO should think otherwise only goes to question the competence of the ICO.

Cheques not checking out just yet


Its OK to accept cheques, but ...

Why are there still businesses belonging firmly the 19th century that insist on cheque as the *only* possible method of remote payment?

Cheques are absolutely the most user-hostile payment method and should only be used by those over 75 that cannot get their head round other methods. And they should certainly not be involuntarily forced on people that are perfectly capable of using more convenient payment methods.

If you can accept cheques, then you can accept bank transfer and standing orders -- and can probably do it faster and cheaper than cheques.

Its high time that it became a legal requirement for businesses of all sizes to be able to accept bank transfer.

Berners-Lee: Net snoop law tosses human rights into the shredder


Re "and probably should, in certain scenarios."

In those certain scenarios, appropriate officials already can and do ask and get permission to monitor certain people. This doesn't require a change in the law. It is already legal and it is already happening.

The proposed change is that monitoring should not be restricted to "certain scenarios" but should allow monitoring even without the slightest suspicion that a person has or even might have committed an offence.

No change in the law is needed, except possibly to tighten up the rules and ensure that permission to monitor is only granted when a judge has examined the evidence for suspicion and agreed that there is a strong probability of guilt.

Google fined for stalling Street View cars' Wi-Fi slurp probe


"Google has been fined $25,000"

I'm sure that will put a huge dent in its balance sheet and act as an incentive to promptly co-operate with future requests.

I'm not sure that even putting another 3 zeros on the end would have the slightest impact. For a company of that size, it needs to be at least 6 more.