* Posts by Malcolm Weir

723 posts • joined 23 May 2007


Days after President Trump suggests pausing election over security, US House passes $500m for states to shore up election security

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

What a terrible headline! In English, the only possible target of the "just that" is "pausing elections", as "over security" is unarguably a qualifier to the first part of the sentence.

So the headline (in English) is parsed as "Days after Trump suggests pausing election (over security), US House passes $500m for states to do just that", which is factually false and obviously nonsense: the House has not passed anything about pausing elections.

A more accurate headline would be something like "Days after Trump suggests pausing election over security, US House passes $500m for security upgrades" (or something vaguely similar), or better yet "US House passes $500m bill states to improve voting security just days after Trump suggests delaying election".

Amazon gets green-light to blow $10bn on 3,000+ internet satellites. All so Americans can shop more on Amazon

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Global Internet

Vic, while Bezos is certainly not short of a few bob, have you looked to see how much of his wealth is tied up in Amazon? Because that's "paper wealth": if he announced he was selling his stake in Amazon, how much would Amazon be worth....?

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Kessler effect

Communications satellites are mostly in geosynchronous orbit.

Assume, with their wings fully extended, that such a satellite is about 150ft across. You could hypothetically place slightly over 950,000 of them along the equator.

Remarkably, you could place slightly under 950,000,000 of them along the orbital plane of geosynchronous orbit.

(I.e. the circumference of geosynchronous orbit is approximately 1000 times that of earth).

And that's only along the exact geosynchronous orbit... you could place satellites in "very near" GSO (say a few km above or below GSO), and use on-board positioning to maintain station (or near enough) for the life of the satellite. As DNA remarked, space is BIG. You may think it a long way to go down to the shops, but...

Now, part of a launch license (in the USA) includes end-of-life planning. With geosynchronous orbits, a common plan is to raise the orbit to a supersynchronous "graveyard" orbit. But experiments have (and are) being conducted for "servicing missions", which either extend the life of the satellite or clamp on to it and move it( higher) out of the way.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Educate me

Well, the Liability Convention, "LIAB", aka The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, covers precisely what happens if any kind of damage is done by the space assets launched by a country (regardless of who owns the vehicle).

And, err, the Outer Space Treat reads, in part:


The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.

Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.

There shall be freedom of scientific investigation in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, and States shall facilitate and encourage international co-operation in such investigation.


In the USA, if you want a permit to launch something into space, you need to talk to the FAA. Who will impose restrictions consistent with the UN treaties on space.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Educate me

The United Nations. Specifically, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, COPUOS, whose operational agency is the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, UNOOSA. (see http://unoosa.org).

All of the nations with actual or potential launch capability (including Iran and North Korea) are signatories to a treaty that refutes the idea of territorial claims in space (the "Outer Space Treaty", OST, formally "Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies") and are signatories to the Registration Convention. REG, aka "Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space ".

EU orders Airbus A350 operators to install anti-coffee spillage covers in airliner cockpits

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Amateur design and construction.

My understanding is that it's presumptively legal throughout the USA and Canada (at least), but subject to a "distracted driver" caveat. So if you're stopped at a red light, that's very unlikely to be a problem. If you're changing lanes at speed in fog, that might be a different story! (There's also the reality that most north American cops will have been sipping coffee at some point themselves, so even if they could write a ticket, they're unlikely to as a primary cause!)

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Design error

The specific issue here is that the A350 (and the A330, A380, etc) have pull-out keyboards with convenient wrist rests, which unfortunately are great places to put your coffee, which will promptly fall into the central console, which is where the engine controls are. The location Boeing picked for the cupholders on the 777/787 is on the outside (away from the center console) so coffee spills are more likely to wet shoes than mess up the systems, but Airbus can't do that because they keep the primary flying control (the joystick/side-stick controller) in that spot, and dropping coffee in that is probably just as bad (well, nearly, because there's a spare on the other side for the other pilot, which is not true for the center engine controls).

(The Airbus cupholder is more like the pop-out loops than the inverted cylinder, so is more likely to less useful)!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: SImpler solution?

When? December 1994: AF8969, F-GBEC.

Green with NVMe: AWS adds more Arm-powered instance types

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

What's "Arm compatible" mean?

The first sentence has a weird phrase, "Arm-compatible". What's that mean... there have been many ARM micro-architectures, and of course the 32/64 bit evolution, but surely a CPU licensed from ARM Holdings is not so much "Arm-compatible" as, you know, and actual Arm CPU. And the Amazon Graviton2 is a licensed Arm Neoverse CPU, in exactly the same way as the Apple things are and the Samsung Exynos processors, so why not simply call it a home-grown Graviton2 Arm processor, because that is what it is!

UK formally abandons Europe’s Unified Patent Court, Germany plans to move forward nevertheless

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Well, Phil, I'm glad you agree that when Brexiteering politicians spew on about "Participating in a court that applies EU law and is bound by the CJEU would be inconsistent with the Government’s aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation” you're admitting that they're being hypocrites, because obviously courts like ITLOS and ECHR and the WIPO tribunals are courts that apply non-British law, and only a complete idiot would fabricate some qualitative difference between non-British-but-European and non-British-but-something else. Britain is never going to be an "independent self-governing nation" if that means adhering to only British courts.

Obviously, Britain will adhere to foreign/multinational courts (such as ITLOS). So not wishing to participate in EU institutions is not a matter of some grand principle, but just classic "hard Brexit" doggerel: it's because they are _EU_, institutions, not non-British... (A sane Brexit policy would have kept Britain in things like the JAA while diverging in other areas, but that doesn't fit the dogma).

Meanwhile, _which_ countries are lining up for trade deals? Be specific. Use names. And apply percentages of trade... Remember, you've got about 50% (depending on how you measure it) to balance what will be lost with the EU. Of course, things that were manufactured in the UK for EU consumption will fall, because the regulatory framework (even if the UK manages to agree a deal with the EU, which is as likely as pigs flying at the moment) adds cost that a plant in, say, Ireland won't have. Don't count on the USA. Trump is a fan, Biden has more rational priorities. Don't count on China or Hong Kong, either, given the current diplomatic chill. So that leaves places like JPN, AUS, NZL, SGP, IND, TUR, Russia, Latin & Central America -- not to be sneezed at, but all a long haul.

And yes, I agree the UK has done better than the Eurozone... but that fact rather defeats your thesis that the UK has been dragged down. Surely an equally valid explanation is that, being a non-Euro economy, the UK offers the best of both worlds.

I hope you're right about Scotland, but the evidence isn't compelling. Every objection you make applied equally to Scottish independence, and yet that was far closer than expected. And the Brexit decision proves that people vote for nebulous intangibles ("taking back control", who f'cking cares about whether Edinburgh, London or Brussels "controls" as long as the results are palatable?) in the face of obvious economic risks.

[ Incidentally, while the Channel Islands were indeed never formerly part of the EU, their trade with France was controlled by London, which was. And Channel Island/EU relations _was_ a part of Britain's EU membership, so they've already experienced the chaos caused by Boris's talk-first-think-later scheme. People in the Channel Islands and also Gibralta look at Malta and go "Hmmm..." the thought of an "associate EU membership" (which doesn't currently exist, but could be modelled on Norway or Switzerland) is not unappealing to many. ]

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: The Biggest Lie

True, that's an argument that could be made, but usually by stupid people with no grasp of facts or history. Eastern Europe was not occupied by Nazi Germany prior to WW2, which was kinda the point.

Yes, there was a post-war occupation of Eastern Europe. But the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Luxembourg and half of France were also occupied.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: The Biggest Lie

Which single set of rules were you thinking of? There are 27 countries with massively different rules in many areas, but harmonized in others.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

The simplest answer is in fact your own: _only_ being able to sign sign our own trade deals, for which no other country is rushing to negotiate. The USA has made it clear that they want to degrade UK agricultural standards to put US farm goods (lower standards and mass monoculture) on an equal footing with British farmers. But doing that would harm trade with the UK's largest trading partner. They've made it clear that they want the NHS to pay more for US pharmaceuticals.

Moving on, as you've obviously not been paying attention, the Irish situation is dire: either we have a hard border between NI and the South, or we have a hard border between two parts of the UK.

Another great problem is the fact that London has ceased to be the financial capital of Europe. The effects of this are being masked by COVID, but they're real. Similarly, as of January 1st, certifications for goods issued by the UK cease to be valid in the EU, which is going to cost British businesses over their European counterparts.

I agree that all of these are, individually, manageable. But turning the Brexiteer's tub thumping around: what benefit -- in pounds and pence -- is Britain gaining from having left? Yeah, Westminster loves being immune from having to follow rules they didn't (exclusively) write, but is that good for Britons, or good for politicians?

One factual observation: Brexiteers claim that Britain will not be subject to foreign courts, but just a lie: if we want to trade, foreign courts will be part and parcel of any deal, including (obviously) the WTO tribunals. Also EHCR (hopefully; xenophobes hate it, because it sets a standard for human rights that some petty tyrants can't disregard). ITLOS, and so on.

Lastly, the claim that "we're never going back" is suspect and inherently naive: Northern Ireland is the closest to "going back", but the Channel Islands and Scotland both recognize a different balance of probabilities...

Don'tcha just LOVE meetings? Microsoft does, too, so here are some new Teams features, you lucky, lucky people

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Double Key Encryption

Well, you kinda are: from a security standpoint, the Microsoft-controlled key is irrelevant and may as well not be there.

The only (nebulous) benefit is that if your key is compromised, MS may be able block access by withdrawing their key from the data set (aka dismounting the drive), but this could just as easily and safely be done by any means of taking the data store offline (or firewalling it to just your HQ).

From 'Queen of the Skies' to Queen of the Scrapheap: British Airways chops 747 fleet as folk stay at home

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Concorde

No. 9/11 hurt air travel in general, but not Concorde in particular. You'll recall that, following the Air France crash, Concorde's were grounded for modifications to the wing fuel tanks. This started in August 2000 (for BA) and the first return to commercial passenger carrying service after that was not until November 2001.

And while the 9/11 attacks killed almost 3000 and wounded twice that number, the majority were support staff and mid-level managers rather than the people who could justify Concorde's fares (and of course 9/11 didn't impact the British executives who flew on the service).

[ Random factoid: the typical Concorde business trip was Concorde LHR-JFK and a 747 JFK-LHR. They had the overnight JFK-LHR flights set up so that, for first class passengers, you'd get to the airport around 6 or 7pm, eat dinner in the terminal, board and sleep for 6 hours, shower and breakfast on arrival and be in the office by 10:30am or so. For LHR-JFK, you arrive at the airport around 8 am or so, and be on Wall Street by (again) 10:30am or so. The JFK-LHR services were great, but it took a whole day -- leave at 9am, arrive at 5pm ]

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Second Life?

Not quite.... the last one, msn 28859, registered as G-BYGG, was delivered in April 1999.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge


Concorde wasn't retired because BA's load factors were dropping or maintenance was getting expensive.

Concorde was retired because Air France's load factors had dropped, and Air France's maintenance costs were problematic.

Because of the age of the design and the very few aircraft that entered service, spare parts were in short supply from about 1990 or so. In order to keep BA's twice-daily London-New York flights, BA needed at least 3 operational aircraft (one to operate BA001 and BA002, one for BA003/4, one spare), although they usually had 4 in order to support the odd charter and the winter Barbados flights (when they were doing those), which they supported by moving parts around their 7 aircraft.

New York-Paris was never as busy a route, so Air France only operated one round trip a day (needing one aircraft plus a spare) and did a lot more charter work, which needed another 1+1, but not every day. This was fine until the crash, at which point AF only had 4 aircraft remaining, so they couldn't move parts around as BA was doing.

And then politics entered the mix: once Air France decided they could no longer support their Concorde operations, they could have sold the aircraft to someone else (Branson publicly offered to buy at least one, but that was probably just grandstanding), and certainly BA was interested in buying parts from the AF fleet if it was going to be grounded. However, grounding the fleet would have pushed costs from Airbus (former Aerospatiale former Sud Aviation) and BAE (former BAC) all onto BA instead of sharing between AF and BA, plus French national pride/ego wasn't keen on the Brits continuing to operate the thing when they weren't (even though... "The E shall stand for England" -- an obscure reference to the naming of the thing). So AF refused to sell their airframes, Airbus pulled the plug on the airworthiness certificate, and the first supersonic age came to a close.

(Some years later, the USAF bragged that the F-22 could "supercruise" -- fly supersonic without afterburners -- at Mach 1.8. Whoo-de-doo: I've "supercruised" at Mach 2.0 while enjoying a Johnny Walker Blue Label, on G-BOAG and G-BOAF).

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Second Life?

The 747-436's (which are what BA's actually are) are quite old among 747-400s. If one were looking for a conversion airframe, you'd probably look elsewhere (e.g. find a 20 year old one instead of a 30 years).

Also, there have been freighter conversion programs since about 2000, and _those_ aircraft are now being (or have been) retired, too.

Privacy Shield binned after EU court rules transatlantic data protection arrangements 'inadequate'

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: More legal misdirection -- good try, but COMPLETELY BESIDE THE POINT!

This is exactly right. We discovered, in the post-Snowden brouhaha, that there was thriving cottage industry within the intelligence communities for fabricating plausible "sources and methods" narratives, so that information that had been gathered through dodgy channels would not reveal that the channels had been compromised, which served double-duty by allowing law enforcement to pretend that the information had not been collected with a warrant.

I'm thinking of rows of clairvoyants with highly-tuned crystal balls advising the local cops that they were getting a vision that the merchandise was hidden sixteen paces to the north of the old oak tree...

Boolean bafflement at British Airways' Executive Club: Sneaky little Avioses - Wicked, Tricksy, False!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: the former World's Favourite Airline

I believe at one stage it was absolutely true: BA _was_ the world's favorite airline. The "trick" was in that "favorite" is not the same as "best". So world-wide surveys asking respondents to rank their favorite airlines, BA frequently came in as a runner-up largely for a number of reasons, including that a lot of people speak English as a second language, so might rank their national carrier first, then English-speaking carriers, etc. So long-haul Brits might rank Virgin then BA, short-haul Brits might rank BA first, Scandinavians might rank SAS then BA, Hong Kong residents Cathay then BA, etc.

All-in-all, it's like many proportional representation schemes: a candidate that's no-one's first choice may still rank highest...

TomTom bill bomb: Why am I being charged for infotainment? I sold my car last year, rages Reg reader

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: NEVER put your home address in your GPS!

If you happen, for whatever reason, to be paranoid about someone knowing your address, rather than faffing around with supermarkets or whatever, why not use a neighbors address?

(I'm sure there's anecdotal "evidence" of Something Bad that happened because someone stole a car and discovered the owner's home address and then perpetrated some ingenious fraud against the owner, or something, but the association between a number plate and the "registered keeper" will be all over the place anyway -- insurance, parking, speeding fines, etc. So to me the "risk assessment" puts car-thief-learning-address-from-car is way down compared to, say, every other way the data could leak.

(My car knows my address -- the girlfriend is the only one who uses it, but it means she can pick me up at the airport or wherever and get us home while I snooze!)

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: As I read that

A common wheeze is for vendors to parse the "free lifetime updates" as meaning that every update they produce for the device will be free to you (but maybe not everyone) for eternity. However, they'll stop producing regular updates in a year or so, but should they (in their sole discretion) decide to produce a special update ten years later, that too would be free to you (but maybe not free to everyone). They won't produce it, of course, but if they did...

Basically, "lifetime" applies to "free", not updates.

Think of a number: A tale of iffy discount codes, supermarket loyalty cards and Hotels.com

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: selling the discount codes for between £200 and £750

Of course.

But the article states "were found to be selling the discount codes for between £200 and £750" which is not the same as "were found to selling multiple discount codes for between £200 and £750", due to the different words.

Now, those words could also be interpreted by binding the currency figure to the qualified noun "discount codes", so it reads the same as "were found to be selling the £200, £500 and £750 discount codes", which avoids the issue.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: selling the discount codes for between £200 and £750

Never mind the profit: who would buy a £200 discount for £200? You can cut out the middleman and, you know, spend the £200 directly....

US govt: Julian Assange tried to recruit hacker to steal hush-hush dirt and we should know – the hacker was an informant

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Their case must be pretty weak, if ...

That's the way the US DoJ works: file with enough to get the ball rolling (in this case, the extradition request). Let the defendant disclose their arguments against the early charges, hopefully nailing their colors to the mast. Then file superseding indictments with charges that, ideally, contradict what the defendant has already claimed or which are careful to plug any holes that the had been identified.

Yes, it's unfair. But criminal justice isn't much to do with fairness, but with performative "art".

Wired: China's Beidou satnav system, 35th bird in orbit. Tired: America's GPS. Expired: Britain's dreams of its own

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Drones (related)

Not sure what the point would be? Many/most GNSS commodity receiver silicon works with all 4 systems, and so why would DJI degrade their product by using worse signals? What's in it for them?

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: There is no such country as Taiwan ...

That shows the basic misunderstanding of PRC/ROC relations. The PRC position is that ROC (Taiwan) is a bit like Hong Kong and Macau (or at least how Hong King was a few of years ago): It's got an autonomous government that sometimes/often does things Beijing doesn't much like... but that's an internal matter, and other countries had better not interfere with Beijing/Taipei disagreements (or Beijing/Hong Kong ones).

Taiwan thinks itself independent. But that's "just" another of those Beijing/Taipei disagreements.

So from Beijing's standpoint, of course Taiwan should be a customer of Beidou... they're just another part of China. Slightly odder is that Taipei decided to send their cash to Beijing, but its obviously the better value for money given the coverage.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: And next: commercial positioning

I'm not sure that Starlink _is_ compatible with a GNSS application. I think there are three main issues:

-- As I understand it, the individual Starlink spacecraft have some degree of autonomy in order to avoid each other. So a given article may not actually know, precisely, where it is! Maybe it will be good enough, but...

-- I also doubt they have a highly accurate clock, because that adds cost, and as the whole point of the constellation is to maintain low-latency connections, whatever timing information a given spacecraft might need would be amply addressed by an IEEE1588 clock synchronization system.

-- The terrestrial RF links are narrow, with the system working like a cell system handing off "calls" to different access points/satellites and beam-forming used to solve the power problem. This means that the footprint of a beam may be tiny, e.g. a 10km circle.

So a classic GNSS is probably not on the cards. But if a Stalink satellite "knows" enough about a ground-station's location to steer a beam to it, that would presumably make it theoretically possible to get the position of that 10km circle. And successive spacecraft could, over time, improve on that ... but this is all assuming that the system doesn't already depend on GPS to steer the beams to the ground stations (which may or may not be the case, but I wouldn't rule it out!).

What I do think is very plausible is that, if there's a good business case, that there may be a GNSS variant of the Starlink spacecraft. One very specific business case that I know SpaceX has put thought into is... how do you locate yourself on Mars? If the answer to that is a Martian GNSS, an Earth variant is an incremental and useful addition, and Starlink proves they have the technology to launch and manage such a constellation...

Remember when Republicans said Dems hacked voting systems to rig Georgia's election? There were no hacks

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Move on

You will never know if your vote has been counted... ballot boxes get lost, electronic voting machines may or may not report tallies correctly, your name may not be correct on the register so they mark your ballot "provisional", etc. Think about the chaos of the Democratic primary caucus in Iowa this year!

However, for those who worry about those things, California has ways to deliver completed ballots direct to the polling station or (in my city) large collection boxes at City Hall.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: what do you expect when ...

A useful tactic I've used when (pro-Trump) colleagues complain about "presidential harrassment" and how mean people are being to the Cheeto-in-Chief is to observe that I think the 45th president should be treated no differently than the same as the 44th President was treated by Trump.

(Birth Certificate --> Tax returns, etc).

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Just one nose-picking minute

@codejunky... you appear to confusing whether both parties would be willing to engage in distorting the actual "will of the people" with whether both parties actually are.

I agree that there's not much daylight between the two on the willingness front.

But there's plenty of evidence that, as of right now, the Republicans are actually doing far more than the Democrats. This is maybe because the Republicans are better at it, but in criminal matters, most folks want the more efficient crooks convicted ahead of the less competent ones!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Coup, one small glimmer of hope

... and I've seen some churches conduct "social distancing" services in their parking lots or on the football field of an affiliated school. So you can still have some kind of community get together without violating the rules. Communion is tougher, though!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: A dry run for trumps loss in 2020

I agree compulsory voting is problematic, but "compulsory returning a ballot (possibly spoiled, possibly containing a rousing endorsement for "M. Mouse", possibly blank) is not.

I am required (by law) to return a census form in the US, and some kind of annual equivalent thing in the UK that worries about jury duty etc. And of course many people in many places have to file tax returns even if they owe no tax.

So why not require all eligible voters to acknowledge, even if they elect not to exercise, their rights?

SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon cleared to hoist real live American astronauts into space

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Space Taxis

10 flights per year exceeds the design goals of the ISS. The station is designed to support up to 7 people for ~6 months (I think the limit is 13 for a few days), with the idea of rotating about half the crew every 3. So the requirements of the ISS can be met with 4 flights per year, each with 3 or 4 crew members (Soyuz carries three). Of course, the shuttle flights had flight crew that returned with the craft after a week or so, so shuttle manifests with 7 or so people weren't uncommon (which is presumably why Crew Dragon can carry 7).

Simultaneous, Boeing has a manned vehicle that they are debugging. And Jeff Bezos is trying to figure out how to deliver packages to space with Blue Horizons, too.

I believe SpaceX has 5 trips scheduled over the next 18 months or so, and the Russians are still in the business. So for a while, we'll have (hopefully) significant excess manned capacity to the ISS, effectively using manned vehicles in place of robotic craft.

But that's the point: the ISS is just a convenient test destination. Ultimately, for SpaceX, this is just a stepping stone to crewed BFRs on their way to Mars.

Linux desktop org GNOME Foundation settles lawsuit with patent troll

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: I hope it's a good result

The pragmatist notes that, even if the lawyers were working for free, the hours of any organization's staff required to fight a legal action have value. I mean, if you have a task that would cost you $10K to do internally, or $8K to hire a consultant to do for you, it's obviously worth considering the consultant... and similarly if throwing that $8K at a troll shuts them up (permanently), it's probably smarter to pay them than to fight.

You overstepped and infringed British sovereignty, Court of Appeal tells US in software companies' copyright battle

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: US Law applies worldwide

And the UK needs to join the US in the corner, in their case not least because of their habit of allowing libel tourism...

Funnily enough, the USA has a law known as the SPEECH act, which specifically voids enforcement of any speech-related judgment that would have unconstitutional if sought in the US.

So there's your model. Oh, wait, that business of only permitting compensatory, not punitive, damages is exactly the same sort of thing, enacted for the same sort of reasons!

Meanwhile I find the US judges getting whiny about UK judges interfering with their final order amusing, because the US judges got the case precisely because SAS didn't like the final Uk/EU order...

Got a few spare terabytes of storage sitting around unused? Tardigrade can turn that into crypto-bucks

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Tardigrade doesn't have the key, either. Only the owner has the key, and that's neither you nor Tardigrade.

The core of your assertion fails because it's not actually the "you versus plod", but rather your brief versus the DPP's, and as a matter of fact the plod would have to show that they have:

"reasonable grounds—" .. "that a key to the protected information is in the possession of any person,"

(RIPA, Section 49, Section 2, subsection (a)).

Your suggestion is that the "reasonable grounds" requirement is trivial to show. It isn't -- Apple is the poster child for this, as they have backups from millions of phones and tablets to which they have no access, due to not having the key, and the plod having no reasonable ground for believe they do.

Happy birthday, ARM1. It is 35 years since Britain's Acorn RISC Machine chip sipped power for the first time

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Anyone know if Furber's brain-mimicing thing has a future, given that the Human Brain Project was an EU thing, and obviously Manchester isn't in the EU anymore?

If at first you don't succeed, fly, fly again: Boeing to repeat CST-100 test, Russia preps another ISS taxi

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: "Not enough pressure in the LOX tank ullage to maintain stability"

While Starship is intended to be the Mars mission launcher, it first has a career as a orbital launcher. 42,000 Starlink satellites wont launch themselves...

Ransomware scumbags leak Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX documents after contractor refuses to pay

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

This sort of data sounds like sensitive, but not classified, information (a category called "controlled unclassified information", CUI). In the US, the prevailing attitude is not that suppliers "should be barred" so much as noting that they (Visser) may have difficulty getting new contracts from their customers (whose data they allowed to leak)...

As Zoom bans spread over privacy concerns, vid-conf biz taps up Stamos as firefighter in totally-not-a-PR-stunt move

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

For many, many years the typical PC (WIndows or Mac or Linux) didn't bother with passwords. Oh, sure, you could set them, but why would you bother to protect files that were also sitting in the unlocked filing cabinet next to the PC?

Zoom is very, very good for many use cases. In my orbit, it seems like individuals generally use the free accounts, and "meeting organizers" (akin the admin folks who schedule conference rooms) have the paid-for versions. Operationally, it's no more or less secure than Webex was (back when it was usable, before Cisco decided to jam all sorts of junk down your throat): if you create a meeting without a password, people can join if they know the number, and if they know the number and the password they can join even if you create it with one.

Obviously, it's flaws have been thrust into the spotlight because of the sudden demand (and kudos to Zoom for scaling to meet it). But I'd guess that most of the alternatives have operational or architectural flaws that could be (theoretically) exploited...

Overall, who really cares if a 5th form remote learning session might have some information gathered that theoretically be shared to the Chinese?

UK judge gives Google a choice: Either let SEO expert read your ranking algos or withdraw High Court evidence

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Hobson's choice

Ignoring the anti-big-company bias we generally see...

My initial thought was that, as with the Coca-Cola recipe issue, that this creates a genuine conflict between trade secrets and and public policy with an adversarial legal system. Absent the adversarial thing, the court could appoint a neutral expert, but that's something we (US and UK, particularly) only do when it's the legal system's own secrets at issue (e.g. the courts routinely appoint special masters to examine claims of "legal privilege" which are fundamentally the same sort of idea, but they won't do that for non-lawyers, because... reasons!)

But then I thought again, and realized that there must be people who used to work on Google algorithms but don't anymore, and those people would already have the special SEO insight that Google claims that they're worried about.

So either Google is genuinely hiding a smoking gun (which doesn't seem too likely, because the papers in question have already been filed, by Google, and the fact that they are willing to allow a different third party to look at it), or this is a larger play in order to add credence to whatever the papers say ("they must be the crown jewels, because Google wanted to keep them under wraps").

Therefore, my conclusion is that this is a "line in the sand" to limit how deep into Google's code this (and future) courts can pry...

Marriott Hotels hacked AGAIN: Two compromised employee logins abused to siphon off 5.2m guests' personal info

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Expectation

The breach was through unauthorized use of otherwise authorized credentials. So the statement makes perfect sense and indicates an unexpected level of anomaly detection!

Infosys fires employee who Facebooked 'let's hold hands and share coronavirus'

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Ah, that old chestnut.

No, I'm not. But anyone using the "fire in a crowded theater" trope is (see the comment to which I was replying). And if you use that trope, you should at least have a vague clue about freedom of association _as well as_ freedom of speech.

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Ah, that old chestnut.

Gawd, that old chestnut: fire in a crowded theater. It fails totally here because who the feck is going to act on these sorts of comments from some rando on the internet?

Anyway, this argument is based on the 1st amendment, which _also_ allows for freedom of association (the "peaceably assemble" bit), so while the dude has (should have) the right to make an ass of himself, so too does Infosys have the right to decline to associate with the ass!

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Background

Ahem... that should be FREEDOM!(tm)

Grsecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot open-source pioneer Bruce Perens' legal bill in row over GPL

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: Travesty of Justice

Not really. Perens at least nominally owes the lawyers the amounts claimed; those are the damages that they are asking the court to award. If Perens and the lawyers agree to settle the debt with a lower amount, that's up to them and unrelated to the anti-SLAPP motion.

(Typically, when a settlement is reached for a lower amount than is asked, the lawyers typically agree to accept the amount in full payment of the debt. But they could insist on being paid the full $526,000).

Drones intone 'you must stay home,' eliciting moans from those in the zone: Flying gizmos corral Brits amid coronavirus lockdown

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: (e)to donate blood;

OK, so granted you may be in a lower-risk group than your age alone suggests... but (a) how does the NHSB&T org. know that (they do know your age), and (b) it's not unreasonable to note that people of your age tend to have greater notions of social obligation than people in theie 20s and 30s, and even if you are good to go, what about people who may take your acts as encouragement to put themselves (and people with whom they live) at higher risk?

Setting an example works by, err, setting an example. So please stay home and hoard that luverly O- stuff, so that when the worst of the peak is over, you are in a position to drop off a pint...

Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions...

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

Re: New French study confirms results

Not really: there was no control group, so we have no idea what the prognosis would have been without the treatment (and I acknowledge that this is a horribly tricky issue for clinicians: if you believe a treatment will work, how can you ethically withhold it from the control group?).

The potential issue is the same as that which homeopaths have been using to scam people for ages: was the improved outcome a function of the treatment, or of other factors incidental to the treatment? (With homeopathy, the source of the improved results wasn't the magic of the treatment, but the fact that the "treatment" was clean water, while other patients got untreated water!)

Malcolm Weir Silver badge

This is really accurate. Trump didn't state they should be tested, he stated they had been and were looking good, and invoked the FDA's name to added credibility.

I completely agree that there is a very reasonable comment that a leader could have made along the lines of "There has been some indications that an existing drug therapy for another disease could be beneficial to COVID-19 patients, and the FDA is doing great things to help investigate that"..

The trouble is that Trump is apparently congenitally incapable of saying "good" when he could say "best", or "unhelpful" when he could use "bad". The man doesn't do nuance, and that's a problem in a world where nuance directly translates to (perhaps fractions) of a death rate; if a remark from a leader reduces / increases the fatality rate between (say) 4.21% and 4.20%, that's a difference of 32,000 bodies, i.e. the population of a small city...



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