* Posts by Jonathan

69 publicly visible posts • joined 20 Sep 2006


Tesla's Model S autonomous mode may have saved a life


"I guess that the car thought the pedestrian was another car in front of us?”

Is supposition of the driver, not Tesla's explanation of what the car detected. They just confirmed the incident from the logs, not the reason why the car hit the brakes afaics.

"Machine does what it is supposed to" may not be news (but it is good publicity) but there seems to be almost a thought that "Car avoids hitting pedestrian" is a bad thing for it to have done in some of the previous comments.

Smartphone passcodes protected by the Fifth Amendment – US court


Re: Meanwhile...

really? - as they've gotten rid of double-jeopardy, i suppose they could

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


14-15 year olds

were they not allowed out of their middle-class bedrooms to go and protest?

1000s of websites vanish as TalkTalk lets domain slip


i'll second that

last time i looked i think Zen were the only company to feature in the 10 biggest and 10 best ISPs.

been with them for... i think about 5 years now with consistenrtly good speed access and, to the best of my knowledge, I've only had connection issues (that were their fault) once in all that time. their tech support also give the impression that they know what they are talking about.

by no means the cheapest ISP but you do seem to get what you pay for.

Gatwick Airport security swoops on 3-inch rifle


similar note

a few years ago my (now) wife and i managed to fly from:

london to chicago

chicago to new york

new york to denver

denver to austin

with a (forgotten) usb stick/swiss army knife sitting at the bottom of a pocket in hand luggage.

it was only on passing through security at austim for the flight back to heathrow that it waas discovered.

(and to be fair to the security bods they were quite happy to accept "misrtake" and allow us to post it home (minus the usb stick which went back in the luggage) in a padded jiffy bag)

Shocked mum muzzles foul-mouthed toy mutt

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have got one of these for our 18month old

and it most definitely says "bark" - and i should kow, i have heard it (and barked along!) at least hundreds of times.



clap your paws

it is a dog and does have paws.

strictly speaking i do agree, the child is clapping their hands but then again its only a dog, they aren't that clever (though it has managed to learn a few sentences) and all it wants is for its best friend (yes, we do have one) to join in and clap along with it

Assange vows to drop 'insurance' files on Rupert Murdoch


"But only an idiot would should about his defence"

"Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the doomsday machine is terrifying. It's simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing."

- Dr Strangelove

"Yes, but the whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world?"

"It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises."

- Dr Strangelove & Russian Ambassador


"a menace"

how can revealing information (presumably about illegal activities) be considered a menace.

- surely that is the duty of every good citizen - the government keep telling us often enough to be the eyes and ears of the police. does this not mean that if he has committed a crime here, the crime that he has (already) comitted is NOT having released the information previously? (i.e. withholding evidence)

(and is that a crime if there was no police investigation to release evidence to?... oay maybe his crime is to not already have reported another crime)

It's alive! Duke Nukem Forever breaks out of vapour trail


Did Not Finish no longer

I spent many years waiting for this game, in my youth!

still, slightly quicker than a guns n' roses album and a lot more likely to be bought.

come get some

Punters still puzzled by broadband ads


i can (legally) go "up to 60 mph on the north circular

doesn't mean my average speed for a journey on it is 60 mph

BT boss brands Britain illiterate


i wonder

how many people arguing that syntax and grammar should be deprecated in the English language also feel that the same should apply to... C, C++, VB, javascript etc. ?

probably not many, and they would be perfectly correct as anythign written without such aids to understanding would be meaningless.

they are no less important in English, French or (I am (fairly) sure) any other language.

(i also wonder how many can end up being pedantic about coding styles, variable naming conventions etc. ?)

without good spelling, good grammar and an understanding of punctuation what you wnd up writing is NOT English - it might be close to it but I've written the odd bit of C with the occasional (:-) ) syntax error and surprisingly the compiler has never told me "oh, you meant this variable".

am not vouching for the complete correctness of the above, but a degree of care has been applied.

'Lost' iPhone 4G brouhaha: Jobs gets on the job


Lost or mislaid property?

unfortunately its a wikipedia quote:

Lost property:

"Property is generally deemed to have been lost if it is found in a place where the true owner likely did not intend to set it down, and where it is not likely to be found by the true owner"

Mislaid property:

"Mislaid property

Property is generally deemed to have been mislaid or misplaced if it is found in a place where the true owner likely did intend to set it, but then simply forgot to pick it up again."

"Under common law principles, the finder of a misplaced object has a duty to turn it over to the owner of the premises, on the theory that the true owner is likely to return to that location to search for his misplaced item. If the true owner does not return within a reasonable time (which varies considerably depending on the circumstances), the property becomes that of the owner of the premises."

He stole it.

Oh, and yes, i would hand the wallet in as I have morals and am not a nasty little tor-rag.

UK hot-swaps leaders - Brown out, Cameron in


as i see it

we've got a bigot, fascist, conceited, labour supporter here

sorry i don't have an OED to hand, but:



One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

- nail, meet hammer



1. often Fascist An advocate or adherent of fascism.

2. A reactionary or dictatorial person.




a. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.

2. Oppressive, dictatorial control



1. the tenets of a centralized totalitarian and nationalistic government that strictly controls finance, industry, and commerce, practices rigid censorship and racism, and eliminates opposition through secret police.


- seems reasonable

conceited, labour supporter

- self evident i guess.

personally, for the last 13 years I've pretty much thought: "Gone is British pride. Gone is British morality".

with a (more than a) bit of luck we might get some of it back, but i fear it will take decades to undo the damage done to our socirty over the last 20 or so years (see how i don't just blame labour?)


wrong premise?

the database isn't anything to do with solving issues or making things better.

all these initiatives (imho) are about having a process to follow and therefore a process to blame when things go wrong. if no individual is responsible then there can be no individual responsibility.

see Yes Minister: "the offical secrets act isn't thetre to protect secrets, its there to protect officials)

Cops raid Gizmodo editor in pursuit of iPhone 4G 'felony'


strange business cards...

but pretty cool though: "suspect chen"

i want some saying "suspect jon"

Government wastes millions on redundant cycle route planner


we need tory MP blokie..

back here to say "see, thats the sort of thing i was talking about, but everyone only seemed to care about saying iPhone was open source"

Skewing statistics: Booze, money and sex


i bet Richard Branson doesn't use the NHS much

so... is it fair that he should pay the proportion of his taxes that goes towards it?

if he sends his kids to private school, why should he pay the proportion of his taxes that goes towards state education.

he gets (i am sure) negligible use/return from either and i'll bet he pays a (domicile adjusted) relative fortune towards both compared to the people who use them both.


How a Tory gov will be the most tech-savvy in history



"thats the sort of combination an idiot would have on his luggage"

oh... wait...


close, but oh so far

"Just as Apple, the inventors of the iPhone, ensured that their product was ‘open source’ - meaning that software developers could come along and invent ways to use the phone going well beyond what Apple themselves had initially imagined"

see the initial (bit of) optimisim drain away. nice enough idea, hopefully its just a lack of understanding of terminology....

Apple understates iPad demand


According to Cupertino's payment and pricing terms

According to Cupertino's payment and pricing terms, "your card will only be charged after your order has shipped."

Surely that is also the UK legal systems payment terms?

Shame very few others (hello Dell! - unless they have changed from when I worked there) actually comply with the law

Child abuse frame-up backfires on stalker

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not sure if...

the police should be congratulated for doing their job correctly, but well done those rozzers.

Wide-eyed kiddies in Scarface school play shocker

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say hello..

...to my very little friend

Million pound Usenet indexer found guilty


copyright infringement vs out dated business model

the problem i have with all this is that i am about 100% certain that the recording and film industries are hiding behind intellectual property law to attempt to sustain outdated business models which are no longer valid.

they make false claims in their defence about the scale of the cost to them (1 download = 1 purchase not made is rubbish. i download... occasionally, hey i admit it, but i haven't downloaded anything for months now and a lot of what i get is either stuff that i want to sample, which i either like and buy or don't like and never listen to again (which i wouldn't have taken a chance on just buying) or stuff i already have on tape or VHS and as far as i am concerned I have purchased a licence to watch/listen to.

not being a fan of billy bragg's music or generally his politics i was surprised to find myself nodding along to his comments that the record industry may well be floundering at the moment but the music industry is flourishing - that all you need now as an artist is to have 5000 people worldwide who are willign to pay a tenner a year for your output to have the basis of a sustainable career and you don't need a record industry.

admittedly films might be slightly trickier due to the big upfront investment required for a hollywood movie, but hey... if i really want to see a movie I'll go see it on a big screen (in 3-d) with top drawer sound (and put up with the people behind me munching crisps and translating it into polish the whole way through). if not, then i wait.

(why can't i get a cheap (similar to pirate dvd priced) say S-VHS quality copy between the theatre release and the DVD release? it'll kill the pirates, it'll get the studios that money and f i like it and want a good quality copy then i can get a discount on the DVD for handing in my S-VHS disc?)

the advent of the motor car made the whole stagecoach business obsolete. i'm sure alot of stagecoach driver jobs, coachhouse jobs etc. were lost as a result.

if it was a film studio or a record company running the coaches i get the feeling that they would still be bleating on about how the motor car had kileld their business to this day instead of getting with the program and realising that they need to change their business model.

when they do that, adjust their distribution networks and pricing accordingly then i'll sympathise with them.

Sarah's Law review skewed by handpicked sample


personal responsibilty

Personal Responsibility is soon to be outlawed as people cannot be trusted to take umm... "Personal Responsibility"

don't you know by now that you should never trust anyone that the government has not explicitly told you that you can trust?

anyway, all these laws ane procedures have very little to do with protecting children.

they exist to protect officials, schools etc.

there is a procedure in place. if you follow the proedure and something goes wrong it is no longer your responsibility or fault. it is the procedures.

"whats that, can we change the procedure?"

"why would we want to do that? it works so well... after all, its no longer your (or my) responsibility now is it?"

Tesco Internet Phone rings off the hook


tesco are...

like most of the supermarkets, a curse on this country

okay, maybe i just don't like change but a (set of) organisation(s) that are:

- replacing (semi-)skilled, decently paid jobs (butchers etc.) and self-employed businesses with shelf-stackers

- devestating town centers by pulling all the shoppers out of town (though local councils and stupid parking charges have more than helped)

- using cash and bought political influence to ride rough-shod over the law and political process

- driving UK suppliers to the brink of bankrupcy by paying them less for goods than it costs to produce them

oh.. "lefty-student politics" here - not likely mate, the door outside says "investment bank"

crossed-morals? moi? maybe, but i f*king hate Tesco (haven't been through the doors of one in several years, i prefer to use the local butcher, grocer etc. where possible)

Google auto-alerts Gmailers to suspicious log-ins


re: Eric

people, i don't think that was the real Eric Schmidt.....


Teen's mobe loaded with X-rated smut


no difference?

if XP then I don't think there is any difference if she deleted them or not - all the law cares about is if you have seen them (unless I'm getting confused with kiddy-porn laws, but i don't think so - god bless this government and their several different laws for everything)

Germany warns surfers against Firefox


re: I think I was hit by this yesterday

whilst downloading some illegal files?

"Mr. Policeman, I injured myself climbing out of this window after I'd finished burgling the place."


DfT scraps IT projects worth £15.4m



1. TVTTT "as another project was found to be better and less costly",

2. VINI "Changes in vehicle excise duty led to the need to concentrate on other DVLA systems"

3. ISYS "proved to be unsuitable as the software response times were too slow. However, this project helped us to define our requirements and feed into the wider initiative on records management

a Munich Agreement and 2 Concorde's?

"the Civil Service's five standard excuses"

A The Anthony Blunt excuse

There is a perfectly satisfactory explanation for everything, but security prevents its disclosure

B The Comprehensive Schools excuse

It's only gone wrong because of heavy cuts in staff and budget which have stretched supervisory resources beyond the limit

C The Concorde excuse

It was a worthwhile experiment now abandoned, but not before it provided much valuable data and considerable employment

D The Munich Agreement excuse

It occurred before important facts were known, and cannot happen again (The important facts in question were that Hitler wanted to conquer Europe. This was actually known; but not to the Foreign Office, of course)

E The Charge of the Light Brigade excuse

It was an unfortunate lapse by an individual which has now been dealt with under internal disciplinary procedures

According to Sir Humphrey, these excuses have covered everything so far. Even wars. Small wars, anyway.

(The Complete Yes Minister, p. 338)

Mandy quango says Apple, Amazon are too obscure


why can't people just look it up?

what exactly is supposed to happen?

are amazon and iTunes (who decides who) going to "encouraged" to advertise more?

are they going to mandated to?


good god, can't the people who want to legally download music and don't know where to just... i don;t know.. look it up?



given that my taxes seem to be used to advertise an awful lot of things - like who the police are and when to call them and to sponsor "the business inspector", i'm quite relieved that they aren't proposing to spend my tax money teling people that amazon and iTunes exist

Microsoft, 'open' data, and the curse of open source



i don't think the technology/APIs are the issue (at least in the article context)

functionally there isn't much difference in requesting data from a datastore via. a database api or via. a google/micorsoft/facebook api

there also isn't much difference in the presentation layer either (its still get data, format, render) whether you are formatting in HTML4/5 or gobbledook2.0. as long as its an "ML" it will always involve tags and stuff in tags.

the big poblem is... i can write my code to access the data, but its not my data so... so can anyone else.

now to make money I have to add more value to that data, in the way that it is split and aggregated and in how linked together and in what inferences I draw/faciliate being drawn.

and, i have to do it cheaper than somebody else can, with the same access AND who has the ability to look at what I have done and copy it!

i.e. I have to provide the service cheaper than somebody else does who has lower costs than I do!

presumably its back to Mr. Heinz and (to paraphrase): "if you want to be successful you just have to do something slightly cheaper or slightly better than everyone else"

so.. maybe its not a problem, if you are good and constantly ahead of the curve :-)

(but how do you get investment in such an environment?)


My ability to charge going to be very limited, so how do i make money?

- Ads (google gets the money for the data and for the ads!)

- New IP laws to protect what I have done (seems utterly preposterous and horredndously complicated)

Home Office planning to brick version 1 ID cards in 2012?


Revelations. 13:16-17


Mark of commerce

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or on the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

i've never liked Gordon but I also never thought of him as one of the horsemen of the apocalypse before.

'Racist' job ad sparks investigation


what is "Indian"?

Is "Indian" refering to an race/ethnicity or to "having citizenship of the country of India" (very possible for a caucasian to have)

Don't have a clue what the legal definition is, but...

- its race/ethnicity then surely this must be illegal?

- if its geographical/political then they wouild seem to be treating all EU citizens equally (thats the important bit) as NONE of them can apply and they are probably okay?

Does the capital letter ("Indian" as opposed to "indian") make it a geographical/political?


your pinciple

...i totally agree with.

- i pay the wages, i can pay who i want and if i reject a better qualified person as a result its my own stupid fault for hurting my business.

however legality has nothing to do ethics, morality or common-sense, only with (past and present) government policy and if the advert had said "no indians" or "whites only" they'd have been run out of town.

i think sexism is almost officially defined as "bias against women", so you can't actually be legally sexist by discriminating against men.

i can only assume that, given this and the BNP having to change their constitution (it would be so good if every "ethnic minority person" in the country tried to join) but with the Black Police Officers association (an explicitly racially exclusive name/organisation, no?) being allowed to continue existing, that the same sort of 1 way traffic must apply for race.

the joys of being white male - but thats a topic for the BBCs "Have Your Say" not mr. register's posting page :-)


"costumer service"

should we assume that the spelling of "costumer service" is intentional, given that it probably wouldn't get "through the hands of a professional proof-reader" ?

after all, "the false assurances of spell checkers..."


Police National Database will have audit trail


not enough coffee?

"Chief police officers will be responsible for auditing the activity of their own officers and no user should audit their own activities"

am i being silly, or should the software not just log all requests for data?

"exported information should be anonymised by the removal of information which could be used to identify individuals"

normally i'm all for anonymisation but... again, it must be a morning lack of coffee, but this is useful to the police... how?

(if its primary uses are going to be data entry and retrieval for records of specific individuals then.. you know who the person is(/claims to be) before you begin)


ID cards have three databases, says minister


database 4

GCHQ monitoring of communications

they have a record of a phone call between phone A and phone B

- if the ID database(s) isn't going to end up having phone numbers in it I'm sure it will key through to the phone operators db's.

So... they can get the ids of each person and create, in their own database a relationship between these people ("anonymously"... they won't have your personal details, just an ID number)

they have a record of an email from email address X and address Y

- again, just wait for it to happen, you'll havre to register the email address as belonging to you else.. well, they'll have the email address and the ip address and the ISP will be able to tell them .

So... they can get the ids of each person and create, in their own database a relationship between these people (again, "anonymously"... they won't have your personal details, just an ID number)

If the uniqueID of the person with phone A is the same as that of the person with email address X we have a nice little network of "anonymous" people and their relationships built up.

Now, this person is arrested for terrorist offences... the security services update database E with the arrest which triggers a the GCHQ database to do a bit of PageRank or similar algorithm and pull in the details of "the interesting contacts" and the police know this persons contacts... with everything having been kept anonymous up until this point.

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many records needed

a person may only have 1 face, but can have several addresses, alternative ids etc.

a bit shorthand, but..










address line 1






personAddressType (e.g. work/primary residence/other residence)









personAlternativeIDType (e.g. National Insurance Number, Passport number, Drivers Licence number, Prison System number, medical practicioners license number etc.)

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3 databases

3 tables... please!

Database 1. "information which is broadly what is on your passport already"

i.e. who you are

Database 2. "There is the one that holds the fingerprints and facial image, the biometric data"

i.e. how to prove who you are

Database 3. "and the third bit is the one that links the two,"

i.e. the very important bit.

if i want to search for/browse/aggregate information on people I just need access to database 1

if i am the police and i want to verify a given identity (stop and search) I just need access to database 2

if i want to trawl for a fingerprint match I need access to all 3, so that i can work back to the record in 1, by getting a match in 2, via 3

access can be controlled based on functional area, with reduced need around access.

- council uses the database as its source on people in the area (or FKs its own database from it) and only for this.

no connectivity at all needs to be setup to databases 2 and 3, hence "mr. council person" can't look at the biometric data (if he wanted to!) even if he "borrows" his good friends "mr. policeofficer"'s login.


database 3: "the one that links the two"

it will be an awful lot easier (design, development and especially TESTING) to add links to databases 4, 5, 6 etc. in future with the link info. split out.

also, as the biometric data is hidden away in another database to which access can be totally independently controlled, why do databases 4-6 have to be government databases.

- UKGOV PLC can supply uniqueIDs for everyone in the country, to commercial organisations, (theoetically) without UKGOVs own data being accessable.

Bloggers spring 'baccy happy landlord from slammer


smack and crack

"HE was the twit who decided that breaking the smoking ban was big and clever, would he garner so much sympathy if he was allowing drinkers to smoke crack and heroin in his bar?"

just to go down this route..

as long as the people smoking crack or heroin had bought it with their own money - not nicked, not the proceeds of crime etc. and leave peacefully without disturbing or harming others, I don't really care what they do.

there are other laws against theft, robbery, mugging, fraud etc.

there are other laws against assault, abh, gbh etc.

those (should) cover all thje possible effects on other people (as per the above comments relating to "if you want to smoke inside, live somewhere else" well.. if you don't want to, then go somewhere else, same argument in reverse applies) so, as far as I'm concerned they can do what they want.

as for the NHS having to pick up the bill... they are in a PUB! it will already be picking up the bill for their drinking.

UK.gov urged to slash DNA retention plan


the birthday paradox

don't know if it was another (response to another) article on here or somewhere else, but somebody mentioned the possibly applicability of the "birthday paradox" (in a room of 23 people there is 50% chance that one of them will share my birthday and a 99% chance if there are 57 people) to the DNA database.

if there are a few tens (maybe even hundreds) of thousands of people in there the chances of there being a false match amongst then are slim, but if there are 60 milllion people in there, it could be almost guaranteed.

the maths is fine but the knowledge of whats involved in the DNA fingerprinting is beyond me...

anyone knowledgeable out there?

Apple turns the flamethrower on Android



i too was thinking that every bit of code i have written and every system i have worked on infringes "A system in which a software module called an event consumer can indicate an interest in receiving notifications about a specific set of events, and it provides an architecture for efficiently providing notifications to the [event] consumer".

but, happily many of them aren't that efficient, or at least thats my claim now!

Police arrest MD of dowsing-rod 'bomb detector' firm

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sounds like they just the disclaimer..

.. that astrologers have touse in the UK these days: "these dowsing rods are for entertainment purposes only"

Is it art or is it pr0n? Australia decides it's ALL filth


at last

there hasn't been a good old-fashioned book burning in ages!

Philip K. Dick's kid howls over Googlephone handle



Isa Dick wasn't her birth name:

Birth Name: Isolde Freya Dick

Nickname: Isa

(from imdb)

DVLA data powers likely to be abused by foreign officials


@tony72 @Lee

"I'm surprised that a bored cop who is actively looking for people to bust, would pass up the opportunity to make my day worse."

ah.. you seem to be making the assumption that the police officer had an understanding of the law. i read last year of WPC who decided that no crime had been commited as a robber had only tried to steal someone's handbag but had not actually suceeded and the sent the would be robber on their way without so much as a stern warning or disappoving look.

Internet and journos fertilise scrotum-ripping drug panic

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i'm actually impressed

"On learning of its existence, Sergeant Urwin set about researching mephedrone. He produced a report for internal police consumption, which looked at the evidence for the spread of mephedrone usage, as well as the degree of harm suffered by users of this drug."

if more coppers were like Sgt. Urwin....

Billionaire floats eco dream on sailing soda bottles


good to see

"As is now characteristic for the project, only a crude prototype of the boat has been tested, so no one knows for sure.... From its outset, the project has had a seat-of-the-pants quality that's led to its share of dead-ends and delays."

the same could probably have been said of the Wright brothers.