* Posts by alain williams

2462 publicly visible posts • joined 29 May 2007

Microsoft to use Windows 11 Start menu as a billboard with app ads for Insiders

alain williams Silver badge

Where can Microsoft be billed ...


• the bandwidth needed to download these adverts

• the machine resources (CPU, RAM, ...) needed to display them

• the wasted employee time being distracted by them

Digital Realty ditches diesel for salad dressing in US to cut datacenter emissions

alain williams Silver badge

Does HVO really reduce emissions ?

If it is burned to generate energy it will release CO₂ - that is just chemistry. The claim to reduce emissions is that HVO is "renewable" -- what this means is that it is not dug out of the ground but is grown (crop or animal), and that growth captured the carbon that the burning just releases again. If what was grown was kept then that would be carbon capture - which is good.

This is greenwashing, sophistry to convince those who do not understand that these are "good guys".

To make the energy planet friendly it must come from something like solar or wind -- but understand that these do have a carbon cost, mainly in building them.

Any use of energy impacts the climate, some more than others, reduce energy use is best - but that often impacts profits. That is part of the dilemma: profits vs planet.

Netherlands arm of KPMG fined $25M for cheating in exams

alain williams Silver badge

Re: The conclusions are damning, and the penalty is a reflection of that.

Hopefully they will also feel some further consequences with companies thinking twice before paying KPMG a king's ransom for their services, knowing that this went on.

Nah. I suspect that this means that dodgy customers will take this as advertising that they can get their books certified OK with a few (non accounted for) brown envelopes.

Remember that KPMG was find £21 million for overlooking problems at Carillion, I doubt that this was the only "failure".

Note that "brown envelopes" might also consist of acting as auditors when more reputable auditors would not say nice things about their books.

Google is wrong to put AI search features behind paywall, says HPC leader

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Be realistic. There are only two options a seach provider can offer

2. Pay for search and give up (some of) your privacy for free still sell your data.


alain williams Silver badge

If Google puts AI search behind a paywall

then Bing, or someone, does not -- what will happen ? I suspect that many will go to the free AI search.

Cloud vendor lock-in is shocking, but there's a get out of jail card

alain williams Silver badge

Why not have cloud.gov.uk ?

Surely the demand is big enough to do it ourselves ?

• Cheaper than paying a USA company

• Under UK control (more secure)

• Build up UK based skills

US government excoriates Microsoft for 'avoidable errors' but keeps paying for its products

alain williams Silver badge

"Who do you sue when it is Open Source"

is something that Microsoft shouted a few years ago. Have anyone/many successfully sued Microsoft for bugs in its software ?

VMware customer reaction to Broadcom may set the future of software licensing

alain williams Silver badge

It would pay large Broadcom customers ...

to get together and create a fund to pay to put missing features into an open source project. Then reap the benefit in a couple of years time.

The trouble with this idea is the C-suit mentality "why should I pay for others to take for free" - thereby locking themselves into paying much more in the long term.

Iowa sysadmin pleads guilty to 33-year identity theft of former coworker

alain williams Silver badge

Why did he do it ?

The write up does not give a clue.

Cloud server host Vultr rips user data licensing clause from ToS amid web 'confusion'

alain williams Silver badge

The problem is all or nothing "agreements"

that are deliberately made hard to understand, the result is that few people even bother looking at the first few paragraphs.

There must be government regulation, ideally resulting in a set of standard/boilerplate contracts.

Also must be banned is wording like "these T&Cs may be updated at any time, you need to check for changes".

Majority of Americans now use ad blockers

alain williams Silver badge

I do not mind small, discrete ads ...

but I hate ones that use a lot of screen space, auto play video, generate popups, ... this is why I use an ad blocker and also run no-script.

Blocking ads also makes pages load faster and use less of my monthly allowance. No-script helps with privacy.

In-app browsers are still a privacy, security, and choice problem

alain williams Silver badge

some garbled website address that goes through FB's servers

Something similar happens on youtube - it shows a clean URL but copy the link and it starts https://www.youtube.com/redirect?event=xxx. This is not obvious and lets youtube collect personal information -- both of which are against the GPDR; not that our chocolate teapot ICO will bother to do anything about it.

Good news: HMRC offers a Linux version of Basic PAYE Tools. Bad news: It broke

alain williams Silver badge

"for businesses with fewer than 10 employees."

Why is there a limit of 10 employees ? If it works for 10, why not 11 ?

DARPA tasks Northrop Grumman with drafting lunar train blueprints

alain williams Silver badge

So what will be the excuses for late trains ?

Moon trees do not exist, so no "leaves on the line" ...

"Wrong type of regolith" maybe ?

Euclid space telescope needs de-icing

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Traffic Lights

They thought of that, but someone forgot to put the bag of £1 coins in the parts manifest.

Microsoft defends barging in on Chrome with pop-up ads pushing Bing, GPT-4

alain williams Silver badge

How is this not illegal ?

Yet another reason to be thankful that I use Linux.

Developers beware, Microsoft's domain shakeup is coming soon

alain williams Silver badge

Why break things with gratuitous change ?

Microsoft does not seem to understand the concept of stability.

Can AI shorten PC replacement cycles? Dell seems to think so

alain williams Silver badge

Re: My desktop is 10 years old

Yes, I could make a Linux box last 10 years but I'd rather spend my time being productive myself than spending it on keeping my kit productive

You are suggesting that I spend lots of time maintaining the system as the hardware is old. Not true. Replacing the PSU and CPU fan [I forgot to mention] did not take long.

Other admin: apt-get update/upgrade, backups, etc, all would be needed on new hardware.

The most time spent was when I moved from CentOS to Debian after RedHat went rogue on the GPL.

alain williams Silver badge

My desktop is 10 years old

Runs the latest version of Debian without any problem at all.

I had to replace the PSU a few years ago - but that is about it. Prolly good for a few more years yet.

Voyager 1 starts making sense again after months of babble

alain williams Silver badge

Re: If ever there was a use case for LLM

But when the LLM has a hallucination resulting in a command being sent that trashes Voyager - then what ?

V1 is priceless, irreplaceable - handle with extreme care!

Trump 'tried to sell Truth Social to Musk' as SPAC deal stalled

alain williams Silver badge

I almost fell off my chair ...

I misread the headline as "Trump reportedly tried to tell Truth ..." and had an attack of cognitive dissonance!

Juno fly-by detects lower levels of oxygen on Europa than expected

alain williams Silver badge

But when life got going on earth ...

there was no free oxygen so why is it thought necessary for life on Europa ?

It's that most wonderful time of the year when tech cannot handle the date

alain williams Silver badge

Oh, come on - this is elementary

Dealing with February in leap years is an exercise in basic programming. If programmers cannot cope, or do not think, about this then they should not be in the job.

Having said that: there are many out there who are not competent :-(

Rivian decimates staff to put a brake on spending

alain williams Silver badge

Gosh: proper use of the word "decimate" !

Rivian is laying off 10 percent of its salaried employees

All too often it is used to mean "lots". Congratulations Mr Vigliarolo

Amazon hopes to avoid labor regulation by simply abolishing national watchdogs

alain williams Silver badge

So who do you support ?

The poor or the rich, powerful, well connected ?

I suppose it depends if you are poor or rich.

City council megaproject mulls ditching Oracle after budget balloons to £131M

alain williams Silver badge

Re: What would it cost ...

The idea of having a preferred supplier for HM's DP Systems is not inherently bad

The project being open source would help with that.

alain williams Silver badge

What would it cost ...

for the UK government to commission a local authority managements system that it would release as open source ? An up-front cost that would save billions later on. Call it LAsoft.

I am aware that not all local authorities have the same requirements but the core ones must be similar. It could also influence legislation: ie Parliament not enacting laws until LAsoft was able to support it.

I know that the failed unified NHS system casts a long shadow here, but maybe those mistakes could be learned. Part of it is making local authorities have common working procedures unless there was good reason not to - eg Urban/rural requirements.

A home grown approach would also stop us bleeding money to large overseas corporations and would build expertise in the UK.

Timescale ? 5 - 10 years maybe.

Top five reasons to move from CentOS to RHEL (according to Red Hat)

alain williams Silver badge

After almost 30 years ...

of using Red Hat or Centos I am moving my servers to Debian.

Why ? I cannot stomach the way that red hat takes open source code and stops others from distributing it.

Insider steals 79,000 email addresses at work to promote own business

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Slap on the wrist?

this moron\wcrook should be required to personally compensate everyone whose email he compromised.

A minimum of £5/head would be good. This might deter other, in the future, of doing likewise.

Every Saturday in the local market in the stocks would be a nice addition - especially of the rotten tomatoes were to be paid for by him.

Vietnam to collect biometrics - even DNA - for new ID cards

alain williams Silver badge

How long before this happens in other countries ?

Who will see this as the way to go.

Chunks of deorbiting ESA satellite are expected to reach the ground

alain williams Silver badge

Only when there are 100 billion events that "happen all the time".

As far as I am aware there is only one satellite that is deorbiting.

Someone had to say it: Scientists propose AI apocalypse kill switches

alain williams Silver badge

No kill switches in AIs in island volcanoes

be they owned by a white cat stroking Blofeld or anyone else.

The worst that these restrictions can do is to delay unapproved use of AI. Big crooks and national governments (**) will be able to get what they want, especially governments. Are AIs being put to good use ? The answer depends on where your affiliations lie.

** Sometimes I am not sure of the distinction

Cybercriminals are stealing iOS users' face scans to break into mobile banking accounts

alain williams Silver badge

Grow a beard to change your face

I suppose that that is what you have to do as you would do with a compromised password.

Not so easy for the ladies.

Was this not inevitable ?

HP CEO pay for 2023 = 270,315 printer cartridges

alain williams Silver badge

How much ink ?

Taking the average of regular volume HP cartridges as 5.7ml then 270,315 of them is 1,544 litres or in el-reg units 266 footballs.

250 million-plus reserved IPv4 addresses could be released – but the internet isn’t built to use them

alain williams Silver badge

Re: IPv6

No more excuses, it is not that hard.

My hosted servers have used IPv6 for 20+ years, I have had IPv6 at home for 15 years.

Work to resolve binary babble from Voyager 1 is ongoing

alain williams Silver badge

That depends on how large Martians are ?

The Romans defined a mile as 1,000 paces.

Restrictive licensing keeps businesses grounded in cloud vendor vortex

alain williams Silver badge

Is anyone surprised ?

Large corporate does whatever it can to stop a level playing field.

Not really very different from what HP does with printers.

JetBrains' unremovable AI assistant meets irresistible outcry

alain williams Silver badge

Not knowing what words mean

My favourite hate of misused words is "regular", eg "we will do this more regularly" - where what they mean is "frequently". Often said by people who should know better.

Maybe I am just showing my age.

ESA salutes Galileo satellite system meeting aviation standards

alain williams Silver badge

How much does this increase GNSS robustness ?

All sorts of entities meddle with GPS, does this make it twice as hard to disrupt ?

How much more does it cost to add Galileo to GPS in an aircraft or missile ?

GPS interference now a major flight safety concern for airline industry

alain williams Silver badge

Is it naive to suggest ...

that aircraft GPS receivers should only look upwards as that is where the GPS satellites are ? Yes: I know that there are not a vast number of the satellites and so that some might, at times, appear close to the horizon ...

Different for GPS receivers in cars/ships/... which are not high up.

Microsoft hits $3 trillion as investors drink AI Kool-Aid

alain williams Silver badge

How about putting 0.1% of that

into QA - ie test stuff before sending out to users as an update

Wait, hold on, everyone – Mozilla thinks Apple, Google, Microsoft should play fair

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Amazed that FF isn't used more

Because most people just accept the default - whatever it is. Partly due to sloth, partly ignorance that there is anything different.

What Microsoft's latest email breach says about this IT security heavyweight

alain williams Silver badge

"Microsoft makes a good operating system"

Meyers then talks about applications (eg Powerpoint).

Microsoft seems to approach security just as it does testing of software updates: toss it over the wall and let customers do the QA for them.

This approach is bad enough for updates but criminal for security.

White goods giant fires legal threats to unplug open source plugin

alain williams Silver badge

So the washing machine connects to AWS

would it not be cheaper for them to enable the machines to connect to an address on the local network - ie somewhere reachable by the house holder's WIFI ? Then there would be zero cost to Haier.

The downside to Haier would be loss of all that lovely data as to how often I wash my sox and underwear.

Microsoft touts migration to Windows 11 as painless, though wallets may disagree

alain williams Silver badge

Re: Pointless

Exactly this. Outside the nerds/techies that inhabit el-Reg most people do not care about the operating system. As long as they can "go on the Internet" ("Eh, what do you mean 'browser' - what is that ?"), play music, games, edit a document, ... they are happy -- especially if things do not change at all.

Most would quite happily have stuck with Windows XP if microsoft had not killed it.

John Deere tractors get connectivity boost with Starlink deal

alain williams Silver badge

Who does this benefit ?

It will help John Deere remotely disable a machine if the owner has done something that JD deems criminal, eg: replacing a headlamp bulb without calling out a JD mechanic.

Infosys co-founder doubles down on call for 70-hour work weeks

alain williams Silver badge

Long hours

And who benefits from those long hours ? Today the Grauniad reports: World’s five richest men double their money as poorest get poorer

Google to lay Asia-Pacific to South America undersea cable

alain williams Silver badge

Will it add to Google snooping ?

Or will google be forbidden from inspecting traffic and so seeing who is talking to who ?

Biggest Linux kernel release ever welcomes bcachefs file system, jettisons Itanium

alain williams Silver badge

What a cheesy comment !


ShinyHunters chief phisherman gets 3 years, must cough up $5M

alain williams Silver badge

Is $5million his net worth ?

If not, why not ?

Please include monies that he might have salted away to family/friends.