* Posts by Harry

425 posts • joined 17 May 2007


OFT hammers auction sites on consumer info


Ebay should ONLY be listing vat-inclusive prices -- ITS THE LAW

Ebay is completely WRONG in allowing vat-exclusive prices to be listed AT ALL.

Trading standards says clearly and unambiguously that sellers should not display "misleading prices" and that prices are MISLEADING if they don't include compulsory extras such as taxes.

In other words, there should be NO vat-exclusive prices shown on ebay, and ebay is aiding and abetting by enabling that facility within the UK.

Congestion charge dodgers register Bentleys as minicabs


Just give the names and addresses to HMRC

HMRC are good at "presuming" how much income a minicab should be generating, and charging income tax on it. And indeed, the milometer ought to provide enough evidence of the distance covered, and the minimum reasonable charge applied to their passenger at x pounds per mile.

These people will all be in the high rate (should that be i-rate) tax band, and the minimum reasonable charge for hiring such a high class vehicle will be quite high, so they will have to keep the vehicle pretty much off the road if they don't want their income tax to exceed the daily congestion charge.

Problem solved, I think ... ???

Sun: MoD has Bond/Potter/Klingon cloaking device


Should go down well on ebay

Dunno about sheds, but they've been selling not just invisible but completely undetectable laptops and phones for many many years.

Even the seller becomes highly invisible the moment they sell one. As does the buyer's money, usually.

Ships pollute more than planes

Thumb Up


"the cost of shipping a 30ft (how many grapefruits is that?) container full of whatever takes your fancy from Europe to China is < 90 euros"

No need to ship grapefruits to China (why would anybody want to do that anyway?). Lets use that spare capacity to ship out some of the surplus population.

If London had only two thirds of its population, there would be a lot less traffic jams and that would probably reduce pollution and energy consumption by more than most of the other plans put together.

Erratic fleshies sabotage, wreck innocent flying robot


"when the remote console ... "locked up""

Why? Did Microsoft design it then?

TV giants lock horns with Microsoft and Google over white space wireless play


Why spectrum auction bidding is wrong

The primary requirement should be better facilities and more competition, not higher income.

Therefore, certain parts of the spectrum need to be reserved for specific purposes -- and no company should be allowed a bid which would take its own total to more than 5% of the spectrum available for that particular purpose.

Windows update brings down TV newscast

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Windows arrogance

"Not have maintenance performed just before being required to be available unless *absolutely necessary*."

Windows seems to be perfectly capable of forcing "maintenance" and rebooting at inconvenient times no matter what options you set for update -- unless you turn updates off completely, which is also not a good idea.

They should have scrapped the news bulletin altogether and put up a photo of Bill Gates instead. OK, I know he's theoretically not "in charge" any longer, but most of this arrogance of "we know better than you when to reboot your machine even though you're running an overnight job and you've told us not to do it" came about in the days when he was.

Quantum sues Riverbed over de-dupe patent

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Another patent that absolutely should never have been granted

It looks suspiciously like a form of CRC checking to me. People have been doing that for years and years and years and years.

Has the head of the USA patent office resigned yet as an admission of incompetence? If not, then its high time he was taken out and shot.

They will be trying to get a patent on the battle of trafalgar next.

Zep promoter piles into eBay

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Ticketed off

"Isn't that like blaming the land owner that a shopping center is built on, rather than the shops themselves if your new washing machine isn't working?"

Not really, because the landowner plays no part in the procedings. Even if the landowner died, the customer would still have received a defective machine if the manufacturer made it that way or the installer dropped it before delivery.

Ebay on the other hand turns every single cog of the ebay machine and makes every decision about what sellers can sell and buyers can buy. Ebay could stop turning any one of those cogs, and make the problem go away altogether.

Portrait of an (alleged) cyber bully as a young man


@Why not deport him somewhere they don't have internet connections?

Hell would be by far the most appropriate place.

He's destined to go there anyway -- but a public hanging would be fully justified, to get him there quicker.

Firefox-Google marriage on shaky ground?


Not everybody objects ...

"Everyone posting comments here keeps neatly ignoring the issue of who is going to pay for websites if not advertisers. "

No, several people have pointed out that they are perfectly happy with static adverts in reasonable proportion to the information content -- much the same as in a newspaper.

Static adverts have financed newspapers and magazines for many many years without problems. The cover price usually represents only 20% of a publication's income and in many cases the item is free anyway. It's a tried and trusted formula, and it WORKS.

So, the way forward is :

a) BAN ANY ADVERT THAT's NOT IMPLEMENTED IN PLAIN W3C HTML. No javascripts. No flash or other annoyances. No blinking or movement of any sort. Just static images and plain text.

b) KEEP THEM TO A SENSIBLE SIZE. 20% of the page (measured by both display area and download size) should be enough unless the information on the page is exceptionally valuable and expensive to maintain.

c) ADS should be relevant to the CONTENT of the page, and should not require spyware techniques.

d) ADS probably shouldn't need to be displayed at all on sites which have other sources of income (eg EBAY, banks, online order sites).

If you follow those rules (and they probably ought to be enshrined in national law) then your ads are much less likely to be blocked and you stand a chance of covering the server costs -- which are pretty low anyway, compared with most other forms of information distribution.

L'Oreal sues eBay over counterfeit goods


Read the rules before complaining

"I put in the title "Like a PRS in style" - which the guitar was! eBay believed I was abusing the key words system."

Ebay believed that because its precisely what you were doing -- using the PRS trademark to sell something that wasn't made by the actualy PRS trademark.

You're also annoying people who search specifically for PRS in the title. Such a search should find only genuine PRS items.

Ebay does, according to the rules, allow you to say that in the description -- but NOT in the title. If you can't be bothered to read (and obey) the rules then you shouldn't be upset when the listing is removed.

Trade in your software, urges UK reseller


Wholly Irrelevant

"When you 'buy' software, you buy a licence to use the software, not the software itself. Or something."

So, change the law to say that all LICENCES must be RESELLABLE too. No exceptions on the whim of the original seller allowed either.

It should makes absolutely no difference whether the seller claims to be selling a "licence" or a "product", the rule should still be that once you've bought it you have full rights to either USE or to RESELL that licence, provided only that you cease to use it once you no longer own the licence.

Spammer gets 30 years in the slammer


About time too

If *every* spammer were to get 30 years in prison, maybe these miscreants would stop spamming.

Though bringing back the death penalty as a precaution against a repeat spamming offence would probably be even better.

Moving mobile numbers should be instant


"users who don't posess a computer"

Fair point, but you've overlooked that mobile phone that they presumably DO possess.

Though its probably easier to do it via a "real computer" it ought to be equally possible to do it via the phone's keypad -- and indeed, supplier selection could potentially be a standard pin-protected menu on every mobile phone.

OK, people sometimes forget their PINs -- so there has to be a postal or email reminder facility which would add a few days to the transfer time of somebody that was forgetful. But for the majority of people transfer between providers could still be instant, and controlled entirely by the customer with the outgoing provider needing no say in the matter.

As for users giving pins to the "wrong" people, it doesn't seem to have caused the wholesale shutdown of any major cash dispenser network.


Done properly, it could eliminate slamming

"this would make slamming (moving customers onto a new network without their knowledge) a great deal easier"

I disagree. Done properly, a central database could ELIMINATE slamming.

The key is that the central database must be controlled only by the end users, not to any of the companies involved in providing the service.

A customer wants a mobile number, they sign up at the central database and the number is issued. They assign a password, and they choose a service provider for that number.

Switching suppliers requires the customer to log back in on the central site and choose another supplier. There's no need for complicated "outgoing supplier must agree" procedures -- the phone owner has sole control.and the only third party that has to "agree" is the supplier taking over the service.

Oz mayor stole cash for Darth Vader voice distorter


Terrific draft ...

If you go dressed as a fridge, you shouldn't be surprised when you get a cool reception !

Olympic planners left IT out of the budget


ps -- is it too late

Is it too late to call it all off? I'm sure that would be the most popular answer.


Blame it on the logo

What more do you expect from a bunch of twits that can't even buy a logo at a sensible price?

How to measure website success? Page views or time?


Disappearing in a flash

"I wonder if it's possible to write a Flash application"

Please do. All sensible surfers will be using firefox and the flashblock extension anyway. On most web sites, flash contributes mainly annoyances which you're better off without -- and any site which doesn't have a non-flash alternative means of viewing any of its *important* content is very seriously breaking the disability discrimination act.

The cheapest calling plan of all: Friends and Family on the company phone



"Itemised bills belong to whomever owns the phone, there's no personally identifiable data involved "

An itemised bill might not identify the person *making* the call, but it identifies the person that was called. If it didn't do that, but lumped all called destinations together (which it would have to do to prevent identification of the called person) lit would NOT be an intemised bill!

Wheelchair user hitches lift on front of lorry


A very bad pass

"he passed in front of a lorry leaving a petrol station"

Elementary common sense says that wheelchair users, cyclists and other relatively-invisible vehicles should always cross BEHIND emerging lorries and cars, never in front of them.

He was very lucky to be wedged in front, rather than wedged under, which would be more usual.

Firm offers to patent security fixes


If the law is too slack, tighten it.

"or is it just a nasty scheme to enrich the greedy?"

Precisely. If it's not illegal now, it needs to be MADE illegal by this afternoon.

And if the law isn't capable of moving that fast, then the law needs a swift kick somewhere.

Cloudmark takes anti-spam to the edge


Double check all email

Here's my recipe for reducing spam.

a) in addition to the purported sender, as at present, every sent message is required to have an extra header containing a unique sender reference number and a content checksum.

b) as the message passes through each server on its way to the recipient, it recalculates the checksum and sends a small datagram back to the purported sender, asking it to confirm that the sender's server really did send the message.

c) If it doesn't get positive confirmation, it doesn't pass it on but instead sends it to whoever is registered as providing internet connectivity to the server which forwarded it.

Performing the check by EACH server along the route ensures that the perpetrator can be more reliably identified -- if server C receives a spam which server B purports to have come from server A, it knows somebody in server B's jurisdiction is in collusion with the spammer and probably forged the headers, because B should have rejected the message if it couldn't get positive confirmation from A.

Google free again to pump out porn thumbnails


Trickery will get you nowhere

"server trickery allows for a certain level of control"

A server can return something different when it detects it is googlebot that is making the request. But google occasionally checks anonymously to ensure that the server is returning the same content to googlebot as it returns to ordinary browsers -- and at that time, google will rightly demote the site for misrepresentation.



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