* Posts by alain williams

2403 publicly visible posts • joined 29 May 2007

Spanish media sues Meta for ignoring GDPR and harvesting data

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Mmmm.....

the main message of which is "trust no one but us to tell you the truth".

You might want to check how truthful your favourite media is by looking at https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/

Car dealers openly beg Biden to put brakes on electric vehicle drive

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Cars dealer in America?

Don't mean to sound like an ad for Car-X, I just used it as an example because I'm happy with this one particular shop near where I live.

I do even better, I use a man who arrives, takes my car from my house to his lockup/... and brings it back when he is done. He knows what he is doing and is not expensive. He does not need to advertise - word of mouth and he is busy.

alain williams Silver badge

Profits or the planet ?

It seems that the dealers are more interested in their own profits.

Wayland takes the wheel as Red Hat bids farewell to X.org

alain williams Silver badge


But the Wayland compositor does the screen locker stuff - which is what you really need.

Show some fancy image or animation when it is locked ... who really cares ?

alain williams Silver badge

Waylan support is coming to the Mate desktop

Which is all that I really care about.

Ukraine cyber spies claim Putin's planes are in peril as sanctions bite

alain williams Silver badge

We now know why Yevgeny Prigozhin died

It now seems clear that stories of Putin ordering that his plane should crash were malicious. It is just that a lack of parts meant that it was not properly maintained.

I am glad that this is cleared up.

Meta sued by privacy group over pay up or click OK model

alain williams Silver badge

How much does FB benefit from nonFB users ?

I have never had a FB account, use Javascript blockers, etc. However FB know about me since friends use it, mention me and have me in their contacts list. So FB has almost certainly got a shadow profile of me, something that it has built without my consent - which seems to be a breach of the GDPR. Something that they should be challenged in court about.

They might not be able to show me advertising, targetted or not, but knowing who I know helps them build their graph of personal interests and so must help them earn. How much I do not know, but not £0.

Long-term space missions may make liftoff harder for male astronauts

alain williams Silver badge

Exercise to prevent physical decline ...

Going to the gym or other exercise is a good way of keeping in good physical shape. So, maybe, there ought to be suitable exercise rooms on the ISS. The current expedition is not an all male crew

UK's cookie crumble: Data watchdog serves up tougher recipe for consent banners

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Next should be non consentual email

How do you know it's actually them? It is trivially easy to fake emails.

It is them, I checked the headers & IP addresses.

alain williams Silver badge

Next should be non consentual email

I am pissed off at my bank, Nat West, they keep on sending me spam. The latest "Alain fancy winning £10,000 this holiday season? T&Cs apply".

They need to have my email address. I never, as far as I am aware, agreed to receive this stuff, I have replied asking them to stop sending it.

I wonder if the ICO would do anything about this ?

No more staff budget for UK civil service, but worry not – here's an incubator for AI

alain williams Silver badge

Ooh ... so could we have an AI in the cabinet ?

Worries of a dystopian society apart it seems to me that in the not very distant future an AI could not be worse than the current shower in power.

Eg: read the comments from the Covid inquiry "Mr Johnson was "clearly bamboozled" by some of the science." It is worrying quite how unsuited many politicians are in today's scientific age.

Yes: I would not want an AI in No 10, but please can we have some with some real understanding of the world. (I am not going to even start on characteristics such as honesty and working for the common good rather than themselves.)

X's legal eagles swoop on Media Matters over antisemitic content row

alain williams Silver badge

I assume that the eagles have been paid up front

That is unless the legal eagles have not been reading the news for the last year - this is the only sane way to do business with twatter.

Three quarters of software engineers face retaliation for whistleblowing

alain williams Silver badge

Not just software engineers

This happens everywhere, all industries and organisations. Just as an example whistleblower problems in the NHS .

Managers almost always shoot the messenger. It makes me wonder what motivates management and where is their morality ?

UK may demand tech world tell it about upcoming security features

alain williams Silver badge

High level security features

"reduce the risk of the most serious offences such as child sexual exploitation and abuse or terrorism"

They may catch a few low level reprobates but those who they really want to catch, the big cheeses, will use good encryption, etc, with all the latest security features. If you are doing something that, if caught, will have you eating porridge for years do you really care if you break another law ?

Government must either realise this or they are stupid.

Bad eIDAS: Europe ready to intercept, spy on your encrypted HTTPS connections

alain williams Silver badge

At last! A Brexit bonus!

The UK having left the EU will not be subject to these rules.

However: I am confident that Suella Braverman will decide that this is a great idea and ask GCHQ to come up with something that is better (or worse depending on your point of view).

Open source work makes me appreciate software testing. It's not an academic exercise

alain williams Silver badge

Need to check that failures happen when they should

It is all too seductive for me, as a developer, to write tests that check that certain inputs yield the expected outputs.

What is much harder to think about and thus write are tests where the s/ware should fail (eg invalid input, conflicting records, ...). What is wanted is that the system should detect these unwanted situations, complain suitably and then proceed normally to deal with more input. If this is not done you can get disasters like earlier this year when UK air traffic control went TITSUP over a bad flight plan.

Brits make Amazon, Meta stop using third-party data to undercut rivals

alain williams Silver badge

Now stop Amazon from ...

demanding that any goods cannot be sold more cheaply anywhere else than the price on Amazon -- including the vendor's own web site. If this edict is not followed then the product disappears from anywhere that someone could reasonably find.

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Freudian typo?

It is easily found below Errors and complaints by following the "contact us" link at the bottom of every page.

Meta's ad-free scheme dares you to buy your privacy back, one euro at a time

alain williams Silver badge

My simple way of avoiding Zuck's ads ...

is to not go near his privacy sucking empire. Also my no-script settings mark him as untrusted.

Millions of smart meters will brick it when 2G and 3G turns off

alain williams Silver badge

Why smart meters ?

The benefits in terms of cost savings to households from knowing the amount of energy they are consuming was pegged at £19.5 billion ($23.6 billion).

So does that mean that energy suppliers make £19.5 B less profit ? ... over what time period - I cannot find a range.

If consumers switch off a device or few - will they chalk up the lekky saved as entirely due to a smart meter ? If a household does not have such a meter - who/what gets the credit ?

Then these devices will draw power, 24 x 7 - how much will that cost the consumer? Is this factored in ?

I have the impression that there is something that we are not being told.

Want a clean energy transition? Better start putting cash into electrical grid

alain williams Silver badge

I would be willing to agree that ...

the Tories can have the grid upgrades done by their favourite party donors if that is what it takes to get it done quickly.

Better that they trouser lots of our dosh than we be dead or suffering greatly due to climate change.

Having looked at Sunak's limp wristed approach to dealing with climate change massive corruption might be the only way to get him to do something.

Far better of course would be that he has an epiphany and does the right thing in the right way, but I am losing hope that that might happen.

Boris Johnson's mad hydrogen for homes bubble bursts

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Start right, now

So why not mandate that all new houses built from (say) 2025 meet a much higher standard

Because it would cost major Tory party donors a lot of money.

UK government slammed for Palantir 'free trial period' deal in Ukraine housing scheme

alain williams Silver badge

Start by looking for brown envelopes or campaign contributions.

Nvidia boss tells Israeli staff Mellanox founder's daughter was killed in festival massacre

alain williams Silver badge

I fear that by the time that this ends ...

many more Palestinians will have been killed than Israelis.

The vast majority of those killed will be innocent bystanders/civilians.

Europe mulls open sourcing TETRA emergency services' encryption algorithms

alain williams Silver badge

They were kept secret ... why ?

It is well established that encryption algorithms should be published so that people can try to break them. This is a form of peer review - to a larger set of experts than the ones that you employ. If what you encrypt is valuable to someone the algorithm will be obtained anyway by opponents with deep enough pockets to bribe or blackmail the right people.

Keep the keys/passwords secret of course.

Strength in an encryption system must not rely on secret algorithms.

Hell no, we won’t pay, says Microsoft as Uncle Sam sends $29B bill for back taxes

alain williams Silver badge

Someone at Microsoft forgot ...

to send the fat brown envelopes to those politicians.

Astronomers spot collision between two exoplanets, both feared vaporized

alain williams Silver badge

Nah ... it just had an encounter

with one of these

Red Hat retires mailing list, leaving Linux loyalists to read between the lines

alain williams Silver badge

Re: So in brief

I would not be surprised if this is a step in monetising what used to be free.

Maybe we should call them: Blue Hat.

What to expect when the UK-US Data Bridge comes into force this week

alain williams Silver badge

Re: A small loophole...

And when said company goes bust its assets get sold to the highest bidder. That includes your PI - the purchaser will then do what it wants with it - there is nothing in law to constrain it.

Microsoft does not want ValueLicensing CEO anywhere near its confidentiality ring

alain williams Silver badge

Re: MS is a monopoly

A monopoly can have competition:

In law, a monopoly is a business entity that has significant market power, that is, the power to charge overly high prices, which is associated with a decrease in social surplus.

See wikipedia

Not even the ghost of obsolescence can coerce users onto Windows 11

alain williams Silver badge

Re: not happening

For most Linux end users a GUI is what they see.

Me: I prefer a terminal as it is easier and faster -- for me.

Hacktivist attacks erupt in Middle East following Hamas assault on Israel

alain williams Silver badge

Unwanted fall out from Israel/Hamas conflict

I have just received this completely inappropriate email from the Perlweekly mail list.

It is completely off topic (nothing to do with perl) and has no acknowledgement that neither side comes up smelling of roses in this long conflict.

Yelp sues Texas for right to publish actual accurate abortion info

alain williams Silver badge

Paxton should take CPCs to court ...

for operating in bad faith as reported by the NIH. But he will not as CPCs support his ideology.

I wonder what his view would be if he had been born a woman ?

NTT will take those SAP licenses off your hands if it helps ease cloud migration

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Really?

Why ?

Because SAP makes more money that way. Just as do all the other vendors who now have cloud only products.

There is also the suspicion about what they are doing with all your lovely data that they did not have access to previously.

Israel and Italy have cheapest mobile data out of 237 countries

alain williams Silver badge

Who is the UK provider selling at $0.08 ?

But: I also want to know speed, reliability, etc

The only way is WebKit: Vivaldi's browser arrives on iOS

alain williams Silver badge

Can anyone tell me why ...

Apple mandates WebKit on iOS ?

NYC rights groups say no to grocery store spycams and snooping landlords

alain williams Silver badge

Maybe I should go & buy

a Maggie Thatcher or Ronald Reagan mask.

I suspect that if I did somewhere would not let me in as they could not see my face.

NASA's Mars Sample Return mission is in danger of never launching

alain williams Silver badge

When it comes to collecting dirt ...

the only dirt that interests politicians is dirt on their political opponents - $9 billion would be approve in a moment.

This dirt is 'only' of scientific interest, it will result in few votes, so NASA will have a hard time getting this approved.

The home Wi-Fi upgrade we never asked for is coming. The one we need is not

alain williams Silver badge

You forgot "politicians" ...

in that first sentence: Magicians, management, and marketing depend on misdirection.

How TCP's congestion control saved the internet

alain williams Silver badge

Another reason for Internet's success ...

is the RFC process. It is open, lightweight and fast. This means that new or updated protocols could become known quickly and used quickly.

Contrast this to, eg, the ISO process: large committees, meetings in nice parts of the world and several years before it gets out.

Europe wants easy default browser selection screens. Mozilla is already sounding the alarm on dirty tricks

alain williams Silver badge

Lack of browser choice

the growing habit of web sites checking the browser and refusing to play if it isn't one of their favoured ones

Simple: if they do that then I go elsewhere. If I spend money elsewhere, their loss.

There are very few places that would cause me problems if they did that, eg my bank.

Would not behaviour like this fall foul of disability legislation, eg refusing to work with a text-to-speech browser ? (Assuming that gov't can be arsed to enforce its own laws).

One also needs to wonder about their technical competence if they are apparently unable to make their web site work cross browser, it is not very hard.

Robocall scammers sentenced in US after netting $1.2M via India-based call centers

alain williams Silver badge

Re: broken system

The last that I looked the TPS was a subsidiary of the British Direct Marketing association -- if that is not putting the fox in charge of the hen house I do not know what is.

alain williams Silver badge

$835,324 in restitution

but $1.2 million scammed. What about repaying the missing $364,676 ?

BT confirms it's switching off 3G in UK from Jan next year

alain williams Silver badge

Drat - I will need a new 'phone

What I have is 10 years old and lasts a week on a charge. From what I see newer ones do not last very long.

This also means that I will have no reception at all when I visit a friend in rural Wales, 3G is bad enough there & 4G is a fantasy!


What is the current best replacement for vanilla privacy sucking android ?

Getting to the bottom of BMW's pay-as-you-toast subscription failure

alain williams Silver badge

Meanwhile ... BMW grabs private data

The always-on data in most modern cars will upload: where you have been; how fast you travel; who you talked to on your mobile; ...

BT dips toe into liquid cooling in quest for a chill network

alain williams Silver badge

Even better

would be looking at how to recycle the extracted heat to somewhere that needs it, eg homes or offices in Winter.

Friends don't let friends use AI to chat

alain williams Silver badge

Would it not be simpler ...

to just short circuit the whole social media process. Let AIs manage it completely and have AI talk to AI so that we could get on with having a life!

Microsoft to kill off third-party printer drivers in Windows

alain williams Silver badge

HP is involved ...

so will Mopria include the ability to check that the printer does not have third party consumables installed ?

Although it cannot be that bad as Debian supports it.

IBM Software tells workers: Get back to the office three days a week

alain williams Silver badge

Maybe adding employees' travel-to-work should be added to a company's carbon footprint might help managers see sense here.

A bit of green-washing can be good!

Kyndryl bags short-lived HMRC mainframe contract

alain williams Silver badge

Why the cloud ?

HMRC is big enough and it's workload stable enough to non see any real benefit from running its compute load on someone else's servers.

So: why ? Who is really benefiting and how ?