* Posts by Tron

349 publicly visible posts • joined 2 Feb 2010


Microsoft 365 faces more GDPR headwinds as Germany bans it in schools


Bring back the 1990s.

It really doesn't matter if MS can see German school work. But perhaps all this weird data nationalism may push us back to having software on local media, storing files on local media, rather than the cloud. Which would be much better than subscriptions for online services that can have features removed at the drop of a hat, charging you every month, and storage of your files on someone else's server, that can be accessed and scanned by third parties such as your own government, via back doors.

Bring back the 1990s. Just not those AOL CDs.

Someone has to say it: Voice assistants are not doing it for big tech


This won't end well.

I hope they keep producing them for visually impaired folk who need them. But the likelihood is that they will simply axe them entirely due to 'inflation/covid/supply chains/Ukraine'.

US military goes zero-trust on software and government gets busy


4FA and a certificate of moral purity...

...or your computer will not turn on.

EU still getting its act together on European Chips Act funding


Meanwhile, in the UK...

The government have handed over an initial £100m of public money to consultants to assist with the development of a world leading Bakelite factory.

Locked out of Horizon Europe, UK commits half a billion to post-Brexit research


If you are not in the club, you don't get the perks.

Third world isolation beckons. Everything that the remainers said would happen, is happening.

It's across the board from academia to trade. Hull's fishing fleet is down to one trawler. Does that qualify as a fleet?


If you want a piece of the pie, join the brain drain and move to an EU country.

France says non to Office 365 and Google Workspace in school


So much BS.

It is obviously a serious national security issue if 30 kids' essays on 'Wuthering Heights' are held, encrypted on servers in the US.

If your data is properly encrypted you can host it in Beijing.

Nationalist data rules are just a way of building digital walls and carving up the internet, blocking data at national boundaries so that governments can spy on it and prosecute people over it. Such idiocy will eventually be used to end the global internet.

As we are moving to Chinese style politics and a Soviet economy in the West, it probably doesn't matter what kids do at school nowadays. They may as well write in exercise books. They haven't got much of a future in undeveloping Brexit Britain.

Watchdog warns UK health data platform could damage patients' trust


It's the government. They will just go ahead with it and make a mess of it.

It will go to whomever bungs the Tories (or in 2 years, Labour) the most cash.

There are some flies in the ointment with regard to data quality.

When I went to A&E with an allergic reaction, they sorted it rapidly. Then they told me I had had a heart attack and might have another any minute. I should contact my next of kin, possibly for the last time. I was on an observation ward for five hours until a nurse admitted that I was in better health than she was, and that results had been mixed up.

As it is now almost impossible to see a GP, the data may be becoming a bit sparse. Patients have had to switch behaviour to triage by 111.

AI is typically trained on historical/obsolete data. Perhaps too obsolete given the impact of the pandemic. Much ordinary medicine ground to a halt, testing was reduced, many conditions worsened, and treatments are now delayed. Our health and our healthcare is worsening. Pre-pandemic data was on a curve that is no longer a good fit for where we are, and analysis of it may not produce models that are relevant for current healthcare policy/capability. The goalposts have shifted.

How good would you want data to be to pay $10bn for it, per year?

UK's National Health Service will roll existing Palantir work into patient data platform


One database to rule them all.

DNA from covid tests, Photo ID from biometric 2FA, linked by NHS and NI numbers. And everything/everyone trackable, 24/7/365.

Biden administration earmarks $13b to modernize electric grid


Cheaper alternative.

Just artificially increase the cost of energy. Blame the Russians or Chinese. People won't be able to afford it and you won't need to spend more on infrastructure. It worked in the UK.

TSMC confirms 3nm fab in Arizona to make neighbor Intel sweat a little more


Memo to Taipei.

Once the Americans have replicated Taiwanese chipmaking in the USA, they won't need to defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack.

Z-Library operators arrested, charged with criminal copyright infringement


True story...

The very first threatening letter I received from lawyers was from academic publishers whom I had condemned online for their high prices and stranglehold on a market that the net should have opened up, delivering low cost/no cost educational resources to the entire planet.

The internet was a gift to academia to allow it to justify its existence and its use of public money by making academic work available widely for free. But academic publishers didn't like the idea of taking their snouts out of the trough and have fought long and hard to keep syphoning off cash from students, schools and colleges, either PAYG from textbook sales ('updated' regularly or customised for specific institutions, to undermine the second hand trade) or via subscriptions.

And yes, academic pricing is most definitely rapacious.

It would take a 'catastrophic' recession to stop tech spend growth, says IBM boss



Taking down globalisation, switching to a nation-state model with a new Cold War divide, and flipping from a low-tax/high-profit global economy to a high-tax, low-profit one, is just about the only thing that could deliver a catastrophic recession. So you are in luck.

And with Brexit, the UK will be the first G7 nation to comprehensively tank. A decade/generation of misery and socio-economic decay has now begun

US Supreme Court asked if cops can plant spy cams around homes


I've just developed a novel solution to this offering a whole new level of personal privacy.

I'm calling them 'net curtains'.

Apple sued for collecting user data despite opt-outs


Of course you are being tracked.

How else would your government be able to keep you safe from all the online, offline, hybrid and line-unspecific harms that might get you?

Digital surveillance is like death and taxes. You can't opt out.

Nvidia, Lockheed team up to build digital twin of the Earth for climate researchers



My avatar has already booked a rather nice cottage there for two weeks next summer on AirBnB.

Robotics startup wants to disrupt walking with AI roller skates



I've often wondered why more people don't use roller skates in everyday life. OK, in the UK you might need 'litter ploughs' on the front to carve through the abandoned junk food detritus, but think of the fun you could have slaloming around the dog poop at high speed.

Adding AI and USB for an extra thousand bucks suggests this guy will eventually be working at his spiritual home: Apple.

Twitter engineer calls out Elon Musk for technical BS in unusual career move


Life is rich with choices...

You are standing at a doorway leading to a vault of gold, guarded by Smaug the dragon. You have two choices.

1. Send your explanation privately in a polite e-mail, clearly stating the problems and some solutions in plain English.

2. Make your CEO look like a twat in public.

Type your choice (1/2)

© Melbourne House 1982.

University staff voice 'urgent, profound concern' as Oracle finance system delays payments


Tricky things, computers. I didn't get where I am today by seamlessly migrating systems

Edinburgh University offer degrees in Computer Science. But you probably wouldn't want one on your CV if the alma mater is famous for failing to get their own software working.

Maybe the comp. sci. department could give them a hand to get it all working?

Sizewell C nuclear plant up for review as UK faces financial black hole


Nuclear is a terrible deal.

If the French and the Chinese were willing to pay for it, did you think they were doing it out of the kindness of their hearts?

The UK needs forests of turbines and fields of solar, plus those giant batteries Musk builds.

If you want turbine-free views, you can have them, in your electricity-free homes.

Nuclear only makes sense if the French and Chinese are willing to take all the waste home with them and bury it there.

Twitter begs some staff to come back, says they were laid off accidentally


Modest proposal.

Now is probably a very good time to launch a Twitter-like service in competition with the current soap opera. El Reg techs could knock it together and we could crowd-fund it.

Or perhaps two services. One would be child-friendly, heavily moderated, dull but worthy. The other would integrate with Only Fans and make us some proper cash.

University of Edinburgh staff paid late due to Oracle ERP troubles


When bad software happens to good people.

I had an invoice due for payment in the period when their system was down. I could have asked for and obtained an emergency payment, but it wasn't a lot, so I chose to wait. They paid it a few weeks late (on top of the usual 30 days). I guess I got lucky.

Enterprises are rolling out more AI – to 'middling results'


In other news, the Emperor has some new clothes.

AI is a con. A sticker attached to anything.

The real thing is inherently unreliable. It learns by making mistakes and works on historical/legacy/out-of-date data. You wouldn't want to replace competent staff with it.

AI is proof that most corporate users have no tech I.

Pro-China crew ramps up disinfo ahead of US midterms. Not that anyone's falling for it


Joke BS like this won't wash here.

I doubt the Chinese and Russians could think of anything worse to say about Truss than we did. Ditto for Sunak after a few power cuts, some more inflation and some negative equity.

The scare stories about election interference are just ham-fisted ways of encouraging Muricans to accept an internet that ends at their national borders, controlled by whatever idiots they have elected.

Dear UK government: Lose those nationalist fantasies - they have done enough damage already with Brexit. Get your paws off our net and concentrate on keeping the lights on, or you will get spanked into oblivion at the next election, where you belong.

Japan to citizens: Get a digital ID or health insurance gets harder


The endless attempt to persuade politicians to accept reality and not default to their fantasies.

Digitalisation will not suit everyone and governments need to accept that. There will need to be a fall back option to prevent people from being excluded from society.

Not just in Japan but here too. Most of my elderly relatives will never be able to use a smartphone, and those with arthritic fingers or poor eyesight can't use a feature phone.

Why is the font so small here now? We are not writing novels.

Federal bans aren't stopping US states from buying forbidden Chinese kit


The government you should trust the least is your own.

quote: Each piece of covered equipment represents a potential entry point into users' networks, regardless of its cost.

McCarthyite 'reds under the bed' BS. Iffy Microsoft updates do more damage.

PayPal ditches passwords, at least on Apple devices


Glad I don't use anything made by Apple.

So now the industry wants to steal our faces and our pawprints as well as everything else. And store it in the entirely 100% legit, honest guv, hackproof cloud too.

Passwords can be changed. Biometric data cannot, without a good deal of expense and pain.


Musk reportedly wants to gut Twitter workforce by up to 75%


Can't we just skip to the Netflix movie version of all this?

He can axe staff if he switches from centralised censorship to distributed self-censorship, allowing people to block anything they don't want based on content and user-tagging of posts.

The CFI could ban him from buying it. That would allow him to walk away without paying a cent. But would he then be removed from his other companies?

Kakao CEO quits, South Korea hits emergency button after dire datacenter blaze


A fire at a third-party datacentre - would you be happy to lose your job for that?

SK has its own local tech so that it never needs to 'take back control' of its digital borders. They used to slow access to global tech to promote the local hangul version, causing havoc for tourists. SK tech companies play by SK rules. Unfortunately, having all your eggs in one small nationalist basket like that makes your tech much less resilient than global tech.

No tech is 100% and in general, digital is less resilient than physical. Politicians do not understand this and throw a hissy fit when everything stops working, ordering companies to be perfect. But tech will always go down. Upgrades, fires, hackers, workmen, angry Australian wildlife, the CIA cutting your cables.

Always have an old school 'Plan B'. Pens, pencils etc. Carry cash to get you home, have some in for when the internet banking and e-payment systems tank, and employ people who can add up (or use a calculator). The more dependent we are on tech, the more damage there will be when (not if) it goes down.

CEO told to die in a car crash after firing engineers who had two full-time jobs


A sensible use of your time.

If your boss is happy that they are getting their money's worth from you, what you do in the rest of your time is your business. Brain surgeon. Register commenter. Stripper.

Those mentioned in the article appear to have been scamming their employers doing two half-jobs for two full wages, and deserved to be fired. And checked for tax evasion.

The reddit poster who automated their job should have kept quiet. If their boss finds out, they can just get someone to write their own script and fire him/her.

Infosec still (mostly) a boys club



No surprise that Google promote the Jesuit line: indoctrinate them from a young age. Creepy.

Women should be paid as much as men etc, obviously, but even if they were, I doubt you would get parity in the more anal tech fields. Just as with mining and fishing (where it is the physicality) in tech it is the need for an aspie geek brain. You just get that more in men. You see it in everything from trainspotting to book collecting.

We need to guarantee equal opportunities (educational and career), equal pay and a safe, non-abusive working environment, so that women who are good at tech and want to do it, can, and can be fully rewarded.

But if you want numerical parity, you will have to indoctrinate girls from kindergarten Chinese-style (which is generally frowned upon when undertaken by parents trying to push their kids to an unhealthy extent), or force women to do tech against their will, just to get the numbers up. Not sure that is a good thing.

Datacenter fire takes out South Korea's top two web giants


Tech Falls Over Shock.

The Japanese govt. responded in a similar way when their phone system stopped working and one of their big banks kept having problems. Govt. enquiry. Finger wagging. See it doesn't happen again.

They just don't get it. Digital is less resilient than physical. Star topology is less resilient than distributed services. Any tech service will eventually be bricked, probably by an update.

And if you put all of your eggs in one digital basket, it become much easier to brick everything, completely.

Incidentally, having national services that differ from everyone else, really isolates you in a networked world. Other nationalist regimes would love to be able to cut their citizens off in such a fashion.

Xi Jinping hails 'improved cyber ecology', says state to direct strategic tech research


State to direct strategic tech research.

As the West are copying China on the sly, this could see all tech development in the UK controlled by the British government though licensing. To protect children and save us from 'harms'.

The obvious choice to control every aspect of UK tech development, who else but our Queen, Dido.

Too bad, contractors: UK government reverses decision to axe IR35 tax reform


The very definition of an omnishambles.

The basketcase of idiocy that (further) trashed Sterling (it was $1.65 before the referendum) involved major, unnecessary tax cuts that would do nothing for those suffering and just make the wealthier, even wealthier. We all know trickledown is a con, and in the current circumstances, a dumber, more 'tone deaf', voter/market-antagonistic policy could hardly have been produced.

But IR35 was not a headline issue. The general public haven't heard of it and the markets don't care. Most MPs won't know what it means either. They could have reverted it, reformed it or abolished it, and it wouldn't have made any difference at all. I think they just panicked and unticked all the boxes without bothering what they were.

They really don't know what they are doing. We appear to have some of the least competent people in Britain running the country. Truss now has zero credibility, down from 'very little' a few weeks back.

It's official: UK telcos legally obligated to remove Huawei kit


Political games.

Doing what Washington tells them still won't bag them that 'slam dunk' US trade agreement we apparently should have had some time ago.

I don't trust GCHQ spooks or Truss's half-baked regime any more than Huawei or Xi. None of the above have our best interests at heart. Only their own.

Maybe we can have one of those referendum things: Should the state be obligated to remove Truss from government and have less than 35% imbeciles in the cabinet before Sterling dips below the Dollar, with full removal of imbeciles before an IMF bailout. Yes or No?

It could be 'non-binding', so of course it would be binding.


Re: It's official

'Harms' is just awful. It's use affects my wellbeing.

AI recruitment software is 'automated pseudoscience', Cambridge study finds


Software for lazy people.

HR is important. Relying on software as a lazy way of meeting woke targets will ruin your company.

Never include or exclude people on 'prejudice' criteria. Just employ the best candidates for the post. It's not rocket science.

Scanning phones to detect child abuse evidence is harmful, 'magical' thinking


Unfortunately, it will happen.

UK governments can't resist handing fat contracts to their outsourcing mates to produce crap software, and love the idea of universal surveillance. Plus politicians have net zero understanding of tech. And the media, such as the BBC, have been running internet scare stories every day for years.

I buy and sell juveniles regularly. That's trade speak for children's books. AI and other forms of BS cannot contextualise. So expect a lot of angry bookdealers taking court action against the woodentops.

The fun will begin when the firmware is hacked or the data diverted, which it will be.

And when the internet is no longer a system for empowering users, and is primarily a system of state surveillance, net connectivity will become the primary target of every activist on the planet.

The real solution of course, is for parents to actually make an effort to monitor their kids' iThings.

That should be assisted by Big Tech producing heavily restricted versions of their services for kids.

TL;DR. Everything is going to get worse in the future because we are governed by morons.

Arm founder says the UK has no chance of tech sovereignty


Tech sovereignty is a bad thing.

The net and computing in general work well because we have global standards.

Allow nationalist regimes to break this and we will be back in the tech dark ages, nothing connecting to or working with anything else, and politicians in charge of it all. Politicians being the last people on Earth that you would want in charge of anything that you need to work well.

Ad blockers struggle under Chrome's new rules


Alternative paths.

One option is to download websites on demand and run them as app/lications in a sandbox, piping them to the desktop/device.

Another option would be to produce a much simpler browser adhering to an earlier set of hypertext-like protocols. Make the rules clear and allow individuals and companies to produce an alt website at, well, alt.name.com, alongside their main website.

Being simpler, most of the malware couldn't work by design. You could still do a pretty website with links and jpgs, still stream audio and video and still have adverts. But users would have control over what they saw. One right click on an advert and that source of advertising would be blocked by the user for one or all sites.

Instead of selling our souls for some pointless new gimmicks, we get the web we want back.

Don't compete with Google. Users can use Chrome wherever they need to. Nobody is limited to one browser. Then we can use our retrobrowser wherever we can - hopefully an increasing number of sites that adopt it alongside their Chrome-compatible site.

A refined Apple desktop debuts ahead of Wednesday’s big iThing launch


Anything can be used to surf the net.

It should be easy enough to filter a net connection through a Pi or equivalent with a browser translation layer, plug absolutely anything into it and surf. Apple II. ZX Spectrum. Even a ZX81 - preferably with the hi-res graphics card. Use a joystick as a mouse. It would just need to convert text and images appropriately. It's all just data.

Government buyers take 22 months on average to procure tech


Allow me to help.

Replace the word 'government' with 'incompetent' and all of this suddenly makes sense.

UK govt says contractors should challenge IR35 status via self-assessment


A message from Glorious Leader, whomsoever that currently is.

This is clearly all the fault of Covid and China and the French. Brexit will fix it, make you rich and improve your six pack as well.

The government are in charge, so you have nothing to worry about - just do everything they tell you to.

Tax law is not designed to be understood. If it was, think how many consultants would lose their jobs.

Yes, you are all being shafted, but it is for your own good. You will develop a degree of immunity to corrupt and incompetent government, which may come in handy.

Now write the government a large cheque and go back to your wage slavery.

EU proposes regulations for tablet battery life, spare parts


Won't work.

Your battery may last longer and there will be spare parts, but the new operating system upgrade won't work on your kit, and due to the sudden discovery of a very serious bug, you will be urged to upgrade to a new device that runs it, or foreign hackers will target you, stealing your money/wife/identity and the sky will fall in. The tech industry been doing this for decades and have got it down to a fine art.

Google, YouTube ban election trolls ahead of US midterms


What a lot of bollocks.

What is the difference between Russian propagandists, American politicians and American citizens venting lies and prejudice on social media?

Answer: None at all. Same mixture of lies and prejudice. Apparently American lies and prejudice are OK, but Russian lies and prejudice aren't. Go figure.

DeFi venture OptiFi permanently locks up $661,000 of assets in code snafu


quote: seasoned Solana devs

More seasoning required.

Nothing wrong with decentralised digital currencies. You don't need to 'mine' them with the environmental hit. You can peg them to a stable real world currency (if you can find one - sterling went down 20% at the referendum and another 5% since, and even the Yen is declining - maybe the Rouble?). But your anonymous team of leet haxors does need to iron out those pesky bugs before going live to avoid flushing the ethereal lucre down the iBog.

Facebook hands over chats to cops in post-Roe abortion case


Escape the coathanger states whilst you can.

All companies have to obey local laws. Star topology services will hold your data and have no choice but to surrender it when faced with a warrant. Only use distributed services if you want to keep your stuff private.

If you do not want to be subject to the laws of the coathanger states, move out of them, just as people have escaped from Hong Kong and Afghanistan. Americans do not have to risk their lives to move from one US state to another. They are luckier than many people escaping repressive regimes.

Amazon has repackaged surveillance capitalism as reality TV


Smile, you're on candid camera.

Outsourcing your privacy to a third party is at best unwise.

Using a star topology service, tech companies will hold data on you that could stand as evidence of a crime. They cannot hide such evidence from Inspector Knacker if served with a warrant, just as you cannot refuse to let the old bill in to search your property, on privacy grounds, if they have a warrant.

If you want privacy, only install distributed systems. Then tech companies have no data on you that they can be forced to share. But of course, your neighbours might.

Twitter savaged by former security boss Mudge in whistleblower complaint


Happy Christmas, Elon.

An ex-hacker and ex-employee of the USG (DARPA), working at tech firms that the government would like leverage over and he has been keeping a diary. Hmmm. Anyone want to join those dots? Maybe Twitter HR need to engage in a bit more due diligence.

-a company without insight into its problems and without the leadership to fix them.

That's most of Silicon Valley. And most governments for that matter. Especially the Clown Imperium at Westminster.

Tech corporates are not well-oiled machines. They are disparate groups of barely competent people each guarding their own turf, jobs, and bonuses. It's amazing most tech services have any security at all.

The truth is often elusive and we may never discover what it is.

Interconnect innovation key to satiating soaring demand for fiber capacity


Modest Proposal.

GAFA have stalled the development of the net. We could push on and switch to distributed system and services. But that would make the government unhappy.

The obvious alternative is for the British Government to take charge of all aspects of the net in the UK, connectivity, content, domain names, the works, I'm pretty sure they would break it relatively quickly. They've broken everything else in the last few years.

We could then see some quite dramatic reductions in traffic and usage, and we wouldn't need all this expensive new stuff that we no longer have the chips or staff or cash to build. Put the Tories in charge and we might be back to 1990s levels by Christmas. That would save a fortune and heaps of expensive electricity.

$50m+ contract for crime-fighting IT system won by Fujitsu after no one else bid


No worries.

Most spares can be obtained on ebay or from a host of German science museums. They'll be fine. Unless the valves go. Replacement valves are usually from Russia. That could be tricky.