* Posts by Ben Liddicott

254 posts • joined 24 Mar 2010


Oxfam, you're full of FAIL. Leave economics to sensible bods

Ben Liddicott

Erm... really?

Why does a "feed the hungry" charity need to have a position on the Israel/Palestine question?

Why do they need a position on Global Warming? Or Social Justice?

I would have plenty of time for them if they stuck to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

But that's not glamorous enough, it seems.

Eight hour cleansing to get all the 'faggots' and 'bitches' OUT of Github

Ben Liddicott

Made me laugh... :-)

UK citizens to Microsoft: Oi. We WANT ODF as our doc standard

Ben Liddicott

Re: Thanks

"""My personal preference is UTF-8 done with a plain text editor """

So bold and italic are out? Hyperlinks are out? Photographs, illustrations, and embedded graphs are out? In all official documents?

Come on! Join the 1990s already.

Ben Liddicott

Learn to use your tools, workman.

Edit->Paste Special-> Unformatted Text

Keyboard: Alt+E, S, U

Or in the new version,

Home->Paste Menu -> Special-> Unformatted Text

Keyboard: Alt+H, V, S, U

Learn to use your tools, workman, instead of blaming them.

Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Ben Liddicott

No, get a dictionary

The "liberals" abandoned freedom in favour of progressivism enforced by the state - trading free-as-in-freedom for free-as-in-beer.

The "neoliberals" are those who decided that actually freedom was not only more effective at achieving social goals, but just maybe, more important than those goals.

Freedom is worth risking our lives for. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be robbed of it on the pretext that at least that way we won't starve.

After all, if the people are prepared to fight and die for freedom, it is bizarre and wrong to take away their freedom in the name of preserving their lives.

Facebook turns 10: Big Brother isn't Mark Zuckerberg. It's YOU

Ben Liddicott

We just need to man up (and woman up)

"""In short, we’ve become our own policemen. Zuckerberg's great empowering hides that he’s helped usher in an age of conformity. One we’ve really created for ourselves. """

Maybe we just need to all grow a pair, and just say what we think. The illusion of unanimity would soon fall away, and with it the pressure to conform.

Mail Migration

Ben Liddicott

What from? What to?

You cannot plan the migration until you know what you will be migrating from, and what to.

You should refuse to give any estimates until you know the destination platform. If they insist, say "between N weeks and 6 months depending on what the destination platform is".

Meantime if you actually want advice at least tell us what you are migrating from. Presumably you know that much, right?

How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

Ben Liddicott

Nesta had ***four*** grandiose ambitions

Ambition zero was the most important:

0. Provide a way to funnel money and/or power to parasitical government hangers-on - friends, relatives, lovers, minders and fixers, those who've done favours and those from whom you expect favours.

That's the real job most quangos do.

The real lesson is don't expect anything from the government. Sell your house. Find an investor. Find an investor who will sell his house. But don't go near the zombie hand of government "assistance".

French gov used fake Google certificate to read its workers' traffic

Ben Liddicott

Re: Proxies

Exactly so.

Essentially the same as this story here:


Don't use work computers for personal use, people!

Also, don't use personal computers for work use.

Google lets users slurp own Gmail, Calendar data

Ben Liddicott

Re: They only do it because they legally have to.

It's commendable that Google are obeying the law without actually having an injunction against them?

That's a pretty low bar for "commendable".

Ben Liddicott

Re: They only do it because they legally have to.

Write a letter to their service address, including a cheque for £10. Await a CD in the post.

Ben Liddicott

They only do it because they legally have to.

The "Data Liberation Front" stuff is just posturing - "Look we let you export your data because we are so open and friendly and definitely not evil. (And also we don't want a multi-billion pound fine)".

They have to allow users to obtain data about themselves under Data Protection Act for a maximum fee of £10.

Technically not all of it would be required because not all of it is "about" the user. But working out which bits are exempt would be a manual job which there is no way they want to do, and in any case cannot be done for £10. (The fact that you sent an email is information about you. The contents may or may not be about you. But to determine that someone would have to read it. Easier just to say "it is your data, download it if you want").

So in fact they have a legal obligation to allow export of a subset, which subset could only be determined at great cost. Therefore, in practice, they have no option whatsoever but to provide an "export everything" function.

So with a billion users, what else can they do but form a team and say "provide a self-managed export-everything function".

And also because, morally, it is the user's property. An increasingly rare example of law doing its proper job of being the enforceable legal embodiment of a moral right.

FreeBSD abandoning hardware randomness

Ben Liddicott

Linux wasn't using RDRAND directly

Linux never used RDRAND directly, it used its own random number generator then XOR'd the result with RDRAND output. The effect of this is that if EITHER the Linux algorithm output is good, OR the RDRAND output is good, THEN the final output is good.

He knows what he is talking about, those criticising didn't.

Consumer disks trump enterprise platters in cloudy reliability study

Ben Liddicott

Enterprise drives are not supposed to be more reliable.

They are supposed to be faster, typically spinning at 7200 rpm. In return, they sacrifice obviously more wear because of the higher speed. They are also supposed to be kept in a controlled and protected environment, and are typically deployed in RAID1/5/6 configurations where failure can be coped with.

Consumer drives on the other hand have to cope with rough handling, be it in tower cases under the desk which are regularly kicked or knocked, or laptops which suffer even worse. They are also deployed in environments where there is no redundancy and often no backup.

Of course consumer ones are going to be more reliable. Its an obvious consequence of the engineering brief.

How much should an ethical phone cost? An extra penny? Or $4bn

Ben Liddicott

Re: Could you please drop the swearing?

One downvoter thinks either that the F-word is professional and serious, or that they know my mother better than I do.

Ben Liddicott

Re: Could you please drop the swearing?

So you know my mother better than I do now?

I am just not going to send my mother an article which uses the F-word. It not only is coarse and unnecessary, it looks unprofessional and unserious, and detracts from the message.

She will have to remain uninformed about this important issue, which is a shame.

Ben Liddicott

Could you please drop the swearing?

I know it is a topic well worth swearing about, but I would like to be able to send the article to my mother, and other people of a delicate temperament, who will be put off by swearing.

POWER SOURCE that might END humanity's PROBLEMS: A step forward

Ben Liddicott

You can buy fusion reactors...

"Humanity has briefly achieved artificial fusion reactions, but sadly only in H-bombs"

Erm, no. You can buy Farnsworth-type fusion reactors as a laboratory neutron source.

* http://www.nsd-fusion.com/

Some hobbyists have even achieved fusion at home (see Wikipedia for more information)....

I think you mean "briefly achieved self-sustaining fusion reactions". Or possibly "net power producing"...

Cameron pledges public access to list of who REALLY owns firms

Ben Liddicott

Erm... privacy?

Only a few months ago they were going to allow directors of animal testing companies to be anonymous....

... and now they are going to make all the shareholders, shareholders in shareholding companies, and so forth, public.

London plod plonks, er, pull request on EasyDNS

Ben Liddicott

Re: WTF? indeed.

The police are an arm of the government (or "emanation" in the parlance). This is not controversial.

'Who knew in 1984 that Steve Jobs would be Big Brother?'

Ben Liddicott

There are many forms of natural selection

One of the most active in evolution is the question of "who to mate with". We haven't put an end to that one. The girls still decide who gets their end away... as it should be of course. Clever chaps find out what the ladies like and provide it, amplifying cleverness - of various kinds - in the gene pool over the generations.

But unfortunately the ability to make beautiful programmes about charismatic mammals is not at all the same thing as actually understanding that evolution thingy.

Password-keeper LastPass plugs up IE cache leak vuln

Ben Liddicott

They will still be able to do that after this "hole" is "plugged".

"""Pulling off the attack would normally require either physical access to a targeted machine or an attack involving the planting of malware on a mark's PC, a level of compromise that makes most security protections redundant."""

Which rather depends on being on the other side of the airtight hatchway.

Seriously WTF? Register journos are supposed to be IT literate. Physical access and/or the ability to install software mean GAME OVER. This is like saying: Attackers who gain access to your jacket can undo the little button on the inside pocket and remove your wallet.

If they gain physical and/or admin access to your machine they will still be able to do this after this "hole" is "plugged".

Kim Dotcom victim of 'largest data MASSACRE in history'

Ben Liddicott


allegations of mass copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering


So that's:

1 Copyright infringement in bulk

2 Crimes committed in bulk, and in conjunction with others (i.e. a repeat of 1)

3 Attempting to evade surveillance when moving money (presumably derived from copyright infringement). I.e. a repeat of count 1.

I.e., he is accused of making money copyright infringement, in conjunction with others, and attempting to hide the fact.

That's really only one count.

Oracle, Dell, CSC, Xerox, Symantec accused of paying ZERO UK tax

Ben Liddicott

Re: Go right ahead...

"Plain and simple, they want your money and if the only way to get it is to give some of it to the government then they'll fall in line."

Well, yes. Customer pays X. Workers get Y and shareholders get Z. Governments take tax T= X-Y-Z. To increase T, you can either put up X, hurting the customer and making it a disguised tax on us, reduce pay Y to workers or reduce profit Z.

How confident are you that it will be Z which is reduced rather than X going up or Y going down? Not very I would suggest.

Ben Liddicott

Erm.... surely we are importing software from the US?

Virtually all Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM software is made by programmers in the USA. That's where the high-value-added is. Obviously that's where the profits go.

Its like complaining the profits from selling BMWs go to Germany.

Or the profits from banking stay in the UK, including in the form of banker's bonuses which we levvy 50% tax on.

We get to levvy taxes on bankers' profits, for banking services provided to businesses the whole world over. They get to levvy taxes on software profits, for software sold the whole world over. Because that's where the value-added is taking place.

Swings and roundabouts, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, etc.

Windows RT jailbreak smash: Run ANY app on Surface slabs

Ben Liddicott

It rather involved being on the other side of this airtight hatchway...

If you can run arbitrary code, it is no surprise that this gives you the ability to run arbitrary code...


Copyright trolls, biz scum, freetards - it's NOT black and white

Ben Liddicott

Small claims court with statutory damages

Small copyright owners should be able to have a standard schedule of statutory damages for unauthorised publication to fewer than 10000 recipients, at a minimum list price, plus three times the commercial value gained, Basically like a "copyright penalty charge notice".


Photograph: Minimum £150 for the first 10 of less of up to 1 megapixel as published (higher resolutions count as more than one)

Literary work, poem, or lyric < 400 words: Minimum £150 for the first 10 works of 400 words or less. Works of more than 400 words count as one for each 400 words or part thereof.

Musical score: £150 Per minute, for the first works of less than one minute, or the first 10 minutes. (e.g. someone nicks your tune for a youtube advert or video)

If you find someone infringing, just send them a bill for that amount. If they won't pay, send them a pre-action notice that you want that amount, plus three times the commercial benefit they got from the work, or you'll see them in court. If they still won't pay -- see them in court.

North Korean rocket works, puts something into orbit

Ben Liddicott

Re: I have nukes

North Korea is in the position of "might have nukes" and has been since they de-fueled their reactors in the 1980s. They have about enough to make a couple of bombs using an old fashioned, easy design, or up to about 6 or 8 with a modern, harder to do, design.

That's why they haven't tested them*. They haven't got enough. So who knows whether they work? One things for sure, nobody wants to find out.

North Korea also have heavy artillery within range of Seoul - capable of causing almost as much damage as a nuke.

(*There was a supposed test. This proves they can load a mineshaft full of the fertiliser/oil mixture known as ANFO. At least as long as the Americans continue to supply fertiliser and fuel oil to feed and power the country.)

Ben Liddicott

"Stick it to the man"???? Srsly?

"Well done Kim, you are really sticking it to the Man by launching your missile!"

Never mind that to millions of Koreans he IS the Man!

Srsly, that's an insane thing to say. Launching a missile has nothing to do with the equal dignity of the Korean people, and is all about Kim and the ruling clique holding on to their absolute power. But to you, that's "sticking it to the man".


Delegates launch dawn spitball raid in battle for INTERNET DOMINATION

Ben Liddicott

WT??? "such a hard time achieving anything"

"The ITU works entirely by consensus - which is why it has such a hard time achieving anything."

You mean that's why when it does things they are generally sensible?

If there is no consensus on what action should be taken, or on what that action should be, doing nothing makes more sense than enacting something under an entirely artificial and manufactured sense of urgency.

If they don't decide anything, what bad thing will happen? Nothing. So don't decide anything.

When you look at the sort of "achievements" many bodies have - our governments for example - it makes you long for gridlock.

Linux kernel dumps 386 chip support

Ben Liddicott

Re: Sad day? The previous kernel versions still exist

Erm, they aren't going back in time and deleting previous kernel versions. Just saying future kernel versions won't work.

So just use the ones which do work. No problem.

As for support, they will be supported in the same way as any other linux kernel - you support it in-house yourself, or buy support separately from a company or person with expertise.

Upstart plans to reanimate cold dead corpse of holographic storage

Ben Liddicott

It's the storage techology of tomorrow.... and has been for twenty years

Cos, you know, it allows you to store information in the depth of the media. Unlike, say, a four-layer DVD. Wait, what?

(Same story, so same comment. Again.)

Sony turned off by CEA's 'Ultra HD' TV label

Ben Liddicott

What is wrong with "Megapixel"??

720p = 0.9 megapixel

1080p = 2 Megapixel (Actually 2.0736)

4K = 8 Megapixel.

8K = 32 Megapixel

US climate-change skeptics losing support

Ben Liddicott

Re: Considering the Lewandowsky scandal ...

The point is not to get a balanced, unbiased viewpoint, because there is no such thing. Even scientists who are committed to truth, being human, will often fight tooth and nail for their favoured theories.

The point is to get opposing views, together with their best aguments, so you can decide between them.

Metric versus imperial: Reg readers weigh in

Ben Liddicott

Was that an Imperial Inch, a US Survey Inch or an International Inch?

"""Dan Paul, writing from the other side of the Pond, objected:


IMHO Screw Metric anything. The original reason for its formal adoption in Europe was to create barriers to trade with the US, just like ISO ratings were. """

NOT TRUE. The big problem of the time is that while everyone used inches and miles, they weren't the same size!!!

To this day there is an Imperial Inch, a US Survey Inch and an International Inch, as well as a Statute Mile and a Nautical Mile. There previously were several other different miles, differing in size by a huge amount. Similar issues exist with ounces and pints.

There never was a Golden Age of Imperial Measurement, where everyone used the same units till the darned Frenchies came along.

OTOH, I don't like that my satnav lets me choose from Miles/Yards, or km/metres. I prefer Miles/Metres when driving... I do people's heights in feet and inches, but weights in kilos... I cook in either imperial or metric...

As long as you remember approximate conversion factors (e.g. 1 mile = 1600 metres, 1/4 mile = 400 meters), it generally doesn't make a lot of difference for most uses. But when it matters, you basically have to use SI units.

Microsoft releases JavaScript alternative

Ben Liddicott

Re: Dear Microsoft

If only there was a .Net version of F for functional programming. They could even call it F-Sharp F# to keep the musical theme.

Oh, wait... there is.

Report: Microsoft to cop it from Brussels in Browser Choice affair

Ben Liddicott

It's a feature, not a bug.

The point is to shake down microsoft for a billion dollar vig which goes straight into the Eurocrats' coffers.

The fact that nobody noticed before and therefore doesn't care - well the second half is irrelevant since Eurocrats aren't interested in what people think, and the first half - well that just means the upcoming fine for this one is larger, so that's a bonus.

It's a feature, not a bug.

Microsoft to comply with Brussels over browser choice gaffe

Ben Liddicott

Re: somewhere someone is missing the point....

The point is to shake down microsoft for a billion dollar vig which goes straight into the Eurocrats' coffers.

THe fact that nobody noticed before and therefore doesn't care - well the second half is irrelevant since Eurocrats aren't interested in what people think, and the first half - well that just means the upcoming fine for this one is larger, so that's a bonus.

It's a feature, not a bug.

Google launches Octane JavaScript benchmark suite

Ben Liddicott

Re: What I'd like to see

You mean KHTML that Apple took that Google took afterwards.

Intel comes out swinging against $1.3bn European fine

Ben Liddicott

Re: Irrespective of whether or not

At a billion euros, the EU Commission should get a few nice lunches out of it too.

EU rejects Oracle secondhand software licence grab

Ben Liddicott

OEM licences?

Does this have any ramifications for OEM licences which are nominally tied to the hardware?

Leap second bug cripples Linux servers at airlines, Reddit, LinkedIn

Ben Liddicott

For interest, windows does the opposite to google

Windows ignores leap second indicator, and treats the updated time after the event as clock skew.

This means in practice it adjusts gradually after the leap second.

People: Do one of those things. Your junior devs will *never* be good enough to cope with leap seconds in their time calculations. Push the problem down the stack.

Holographic storage: We're going to do it this time. No, really

Ben Liddicott

A cabinet full of 2TB drives is a petabyte.

Surely you have heard you can get bigger than 300 GB disks.

Scots council: 9-yr-old lunch blogger was causing 'distress and harm'

Ben Liddicott

Re: Typical Scottish council

In British usage, "refute" can mean simply "deny" without use of evidence.


Second meaning.

This is not the case in the USA, so if you looked it up on Dictionary.com you need to scroll down to the Collins definition to see it.

Hardy handymen handed handy hardened handheld hardware

Ben Liddicott

Better, Reg Headline Dept.

In fact pretty good - back on form.

Online bookie can't scoop £50k losses made by 5-year-old

Ben Liddicott

To be secure, forms must be loaded by HTTPS as well as posted via HTTPS.

"Ideally the form should be SSL but the form handler may have been called via SSL - so when the data was posted it could have been 'secure'."

The form has to be loaded from a secure location too, or you don't know where it will be posted to.

I.e. if the form was not rendered from an HTTPS connection, it could be modified in transit and a script inserted to redirect the POST to a site controlled the attacker, which proxies it.

Google Drive Issues on Mac

Ben Liddicott

"This cloud tech is supposed to be for my convenience, right?"

What planet are you on? On Google Drive, everything is stored in cleartext. That's not for your convenience, since there is no reason for it.

It's for Google's convenience, for the convenience of the three and four letter acronyms.

Great HR mistakes of our time - Aviva fires 1300 by email

Ben Liddicott

Re: Retracted within minutes - I'll bet it was

Unlike in computer programs, in the law, genuine mistakes don't count.

Mystery hologram disc upstart gobbles InPhase blueprints

Ben Liddicott

It's the storage techology of tomorrow.... and has been for twenty years

Cos, you know, it allows you to store information in the depth of the media. Unlike, say, a four-layer DVD. Wait, what?

(Same story, so same comment).

Trustwave admits crafting SSL snooping certificate

Ben Liddicott

Any organisation can do this for computers where they have admin, no CA required.

Just make a root and intermediate CA certificate using OpenSSL, deploy to a tricked-out transparent proxy server, and push into the trusted certificate lists of the computers using whaterver remote management you use internally.

IIRC, there exist WAN accelerators which do exactly this to allow them to compress/cache contents of encrypted connections.

Don't use work computers for personal use, people.



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