* Posts by Slx

744 publicly visible posts • joined 5 Jun 2010


Huawei could be banned from 5G networks across the EU


This is going to be expensive.

You can be sure that a lot of networks will want to be compensated. They bought equipment in good faith, often spending SERIOUS amounts of money on it. Someone's going to have to foot that bill.

Metaverse? Apple thinks $3,500 AR ski goggles are the betterverse


I'm extremely sceptical about fully immersive 3D. It's just too intrusive and the content, other than in gaming, is generally awful. If Apple manages to come up with some practical uses for it beyond gaming, it may actually have a future, but I can't quite see myself donning a ski mask to immerse myself in anything, and particularly not work related stuff.

Microsoft probes complaints of Edge leaking URLs to Bing


They don't leak they suck up crumbs like a vacuum cleaner

It seems to me that for the average consumer, unless you're going out of your way to protect your privacy online, all of these search providers will absorb as much data as possible.

The one that does my head in is Google accounts remaining logged in when you least expect it.

I've a work Gmail account and on a few occasions I've been browsing YouTube and next thing ... why is this thing logged into YouTube as my work account?

It shouldn't log into anything except Gmail if that's all you're using. There's far too much 'oops we just captured all your data. Totally by accident..."

Tokyo has millions of surplus Wi-Fi access points that should be shared with blockchain, says NTT


It sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Or rather, a marketing department trying to find something to do with a rather large surplus of WiFi gateways that they have control over... I've never been much of a fan of those shared WiFi services as you never know what you're connecting to or what's potentially connecting to your home network, often over an aging router with software that's entirely dependent on some old telco, and it's not as if that's ever gone wrong in the past.

Chinese state media hails Tesla megafactory in Shanghai as sign foreign business is on board


That's been happening in Ireland's banking market for quite a few years. A lot of the banks have networks of 'cashless' branches and have pushed cash transactions over to An Post (the Irish Post Office) branch network. They've also simply been closing branches entirely. Every year we seem to have fewer retail bank branches and ATMs.

They've been pushing people online for years (decades at this stage) but their online services are often not exactly cutting edge stuff and they're walking away from physical retail banking as quickly as they possibly can.

It looks to me like they're opening a very large opening to be wiped out by far more nimble online banks as that market inevitably grows and strengthens. E-banking isn't really the traditional banks' area of expertise.

UK watchdog blocks Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition


Re: Could Almost be Taken as a Threat...

The only way I could see the decision having any impact would be if another case were taken in a bigger jurisdiction i.e. the EU or the US that put a significant block on this and that doesn't look very likely at the moment, so I think the UK could be on its own on this one and it really doesn't have the ability to enforce it.

The most likely reaction to this in the medium term is an appeal and probably multiple appeals, so it will drag through the courts for another couple of years.


It will be interesting to see if this decision has any impact at all, or if it just means that the deal will go ahead and the UK will be side stepped entirely.

I can understand the EU or US competition authorities being big enough to have somewhat global reach in their decisions, but the UK is a mid-sized single country. and is really stretching its regulatory reach in this.

It'll be interesting to see where this goes...

McDonald's pulls plug on Wi-Fi, starts playing classical music to soothe yobs


I remember a café in Brussels that played Chris de Burgh at FULL volume when it wanted to clear the place out and it worked!

White House pushes for total ban on US exports to Huawei


That's going to be a potential mess for a lot of European and other telcos that have Huawei gear in their broadband access networks for example. They're all based around Broadcom chipsets.

Intel inside a world of pain as revenue plunges by a third


Intel seem to have managed to miss several boats. I don’t understand how. Tbh

Meta axes two Danish datacenters amid shift to AI infrastructure


There are only so many data centres needed to share knitting patterns and conspiracy theories, which seems to be all that’s on FB these days.

I don’t think they’ll be troubled by huge demand for the Metaverse somehow.

Voice assistants failed because they serve their makers more than they help users


They also don’t really do much that’s very useful.

“Hey Siri, play Alt Ctrl playlist”

“Ok now playing Middle of the Road, by Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum”

“Hey Siri Play Alt Ctrl playlist”

“Please unlock your iPhone first!!”

“hey siri! Play alt ctrl playlist”

“I can’t do that while you’re driving!”

Wtf Siri!!! (throws iPhone out window!)

Twitter will lose 32 million users by end of 2024, Insider Intelligence predicts


The question is definitely which type of users leave. If they’re active content generating accounts or the accounts that are the accidental editors of Twitter, finding and. aggregating content by retweeting frequently, then it will suffer very badly.

I notice my Twitter feed became a lot less busy and has been mostly full of people sniping at each other about mostly American style ‘culture war’ politics, which frankly bores me to the point I stop being interested at the feeds anymore.

My other observation is the tone / vibe has deteriorated. I’m just noticing a lot more of the ‘standing on street corners looking for a fight’ style of posting some statement and waiting for an argument.

It’s just my personal prediction, but I think Twitter will fade faster than a lot of commentators think. It’s not *all that* long ago people were wondering about MySpace’s stranglehold monopoly…

An article from 2007:


None of these platforms are as indispensable as they seem in the moment. The internet keeps on churning.

All the US midterm-related lies to expect when you're electing


I've given up even attempting to analyse or understand contemporary US politics.

Vonage to pay $100m for making it nearly impossible to cancel internet phone services


That kind of practice is usually illegal in Europe, on the basis that in a contract where the two parties have unequal weight - little consumer vs big telco for example, the law will come down on the side of the consumer.

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


Re: Daft

The EPR plants are new. *ALL* new reactors have had enormous lead times. Look at the British AGR plants that are currently running.

Hartlepool Began construction in 1968 - commenced operations in 1989. The fastest ones to connection took 8 years and it was a smoothed out design by then.

If you want cutting edge, current generation, ultra safe plant that comply with the world’s toughest regulations, you are going to have delays. They’re not off the shelf products and they’re brand new.

Also the cost over runs with AGR were absolutely eye watering too.

EPR will start delivering as they get more experience and have more examples of the built. That’s just the reality of it. It involves huge scaling up of demand.

If there’s a fleet of EPRs built in Europe and elsewhere, the costs and turn around time drops.

Big brands urged to pause Twitter ads until Elon's learned how this all works


Platforms rise and platforms fall. It’s very easy to think that yours is going to be the exception to that.

Twitter has been on the slide for a long while as it just fills up with more and more extreme views.

It’s a bit like a once edge bar that became popular and then started turning nasty and eventually it will just be two football hooligans shouting abuse at each other, while the clientele have all moved on to the next edgy venue.

Twitter right now is on the cusp of becoming too toxic and too nasty for a growing number of people and you can already see them disengaging.

It’s great for breaking and developing news stories, for now, but that could change too.

All he’s doing seems be likely to amplify all the factors that are making the place unpleasant to interact with.

My view is it is Twitter is past the point of no return. It’s a hellish mess and I can’t really see being cleaned up or made friendly again.

Also, I don’t understand how Twitter would before the “X app” that does everything.

1. It’s Twitter. It’s a bit niche as a user base and gets more media attention than its size, because it’s where journalists hang out. So its consumer relevance is vastly over estimated by many.

2. Why would people want to bolt their lives onto a pretty edgy and vile social media app? It’s the last thing in the world I would want to use as the basis for anything other than tweeting.

3. The comparisons with WeChat in China as a model for an X app are just ludicrous.

The western world doesn’t have extreme regulation that’s corralling people towards single apps. Quite the opposite in fact - US, EU an others have powerful anti trust legislation and a culture that is about preventing monopolies from forming and aggressively pro competitive and pro consumer philosophies.

There’s also a long established, perhaps not as technologically flashy, but very competent payment network that’s built around extending the functionality of utterly ubiquitous credit and debit cards that have been around many decades. China built from new much later, so payment apps are much more of a feature. There’s no way that some Twitter extension is going to suddenly become a serious payment platform.

4. There are very competent competitors that are way more advanced, notably Google and Apple that have extensive and growing ecosystems.

I just don’t get this Twitter purchase at all. It seems like a huge waste of billions, although I suppose in reality it’s just a load of credit anyway. It’s not real money.

Apple exec confirms iPhones will switch to USB-C because 'we have no choice'


Re: But what about Brexit ?

Lucky escape! The outgoing Secretary of State for the 19th century was probably going to propose nice Bakelite round pin 15 amp plugs, mandatory rotary dials and full telegraphy compatibility.

Twitter's most valuable users are ghosting the platform


Well, he may achieve that but I doubt it’s intentional somehow.


It’s toxic and it got nasty during the pandemic

Speaking from personal experience, and I was a very heavy Twitter user at one stage, the platform has just become rather unpleasant, vicious and toxic.

It was a nice space in the early days, entertaining banter and even the concept of meeting people at Tweetups was fairly nice and friendly, but it’s really fallen into being an utter cesspit since then.

The pandemic and the rise of populist politics & conspiracy theorists, people ranting about various topics, pile ons and all of that just made it an obnoxious place to interact.

I still have a very nice bubble of people, most of whom are from the early days of Twitter and are still fun to interact with, but step outside that or put a foot wrong and you’re into political extremists, people ranting and raving, bots, vicious and malicious posting and so on.

It’s at a stage where I don’t find a flick though Twitter fun and I find posting on it is like sticking your toe into a tank of cartoon piranhas.

Just as an example, I said something critical of Liz Truss’ economic policies and all of a sudden was getting racist abuse from a Brexiteer!!? I wasn’t even intending to interact with them and my comment was really mild.

All of that has just caused me to stop posting as much and more blandly.

Also I’ve friends who work in minor journalism / media or other public facing roles that mean they need to keep a Twitter profile, and the abuse they get sometimes is just sickening. I don’t see the point.

Even in a work context, you can see accounts from really non controversial companies post something dull and it gets nothing but abuse. The likes of public health agencies and local authorities are often getting pile ons of conspiracy theorists, anti vaxxers etc and they’re often very far away but you’d wonder why these bodies and agencies even bother to post anymore.

Quite honestly, I think Twitter is over. It’s being ghosted because it’s no longer a nice platform to interact with. Simple as that!

Meanwhile, Facebook is tumble weed at this stage too.

I’d delete my account if it didn’t contain a few obscure friends and family members who I’d entirely lose touch with if I do and I have long since deleted Meta apps from my phone.

Most Metaverse business projects will be dead by 2025


We’ve been here so many times…

Second Life meets the Dutch Tulipmania crash of 1637

Never assume that middle aged corporate boardrooms and market commentators, who are impressed by shiny headsets and buzzwords are prophets.

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


I think you can safely assume Twitter will just go out of fashion.

It’s already so toxic I find it increasingly unattractive to browse, and it’s going to get much worse by the sounds of it.

It used to be a really fun and interesting platform, then the mass market found it…

Verizon prepaid accounts hijacked by SIM swap crooks


That’s exactly how it always worked here in Ireland.

Someone sends an a number porting request online, on the phone to a customer care agent or in a store and the first step is you get a text saying “You have have requested to move your phone to a new network. Your confirmation code is 1A2B3C4D (random one time code).

You can’t complete the port without that code and it’s not based on any personal information and the database access is standard, and operated by a shared porting service provider, so the operators can’t override that.

You need physical access to the handset / SIM to get the code.

If the phone is registered, they need your billing account number for extra step verification.

It’s not perfect, but it seems like a simple and obvious security step to use a one time code.

The port is entirely automated and usually completes almost instantly, but they’ll allow up to two hours and the text alerts you that it’s being ported.

Contacting your current provider can also immediately block or reverse a port.

Landline / VoIP numbers all have a UAN (Universal Account Number) associated with them, which isn’t the billing account number and has to always be available to the customer. (You don’t have to ask permission to port or engage with the previous provider).

To move the number you need to provide the new provider with the registered address, customers’ name and the UAN. That’s also usually completed very quickly these days, but it’s a bit clunkier than mobiles.

The porting system uses a shared database here with a specialist porting service provider similar to a domain registrar, so when you port it just amends the routing information and it syncs up with every provider - comparable to a DNS record. It at least means the porting process is not really in the operators’ hands and there’s an external entity dealing with the system and standards.

If there’s an error / fraud undoing the port isn’t challenging.

In the early days, around 2000-2002, recently ported numbers used to sometimes take a day or so before every provider had synced up. You used to get routing errors until that happened. Technologies moved on and the old TDM based switches and IN solutions are gone, so things have become a lot more instantaneous.

Boffins shatter data transmission speed record


Are boffins sort of like puffins who can solve tech things?

I have to say these boffins are great. They’re always solving everything and coming up with excellent new solutions to things.

Where do they live, what do they eat and what are their mating habits? David Attenborough could do a wonderful documentary.

Honestly, just find it odd for a tech site to use headlines that belong in a British tabloid. It’s one stop short of calling engineers “a bunch of geeks.”

Logitech Pop: Stylish, portable, but far from the best typing experience


Looks like it’s trying to recapture the user experience and ergonomics of a 1930s teletypewriter. They are retro, but the design disappeared because it was impractical and uncomfortable.

Elon Musk won't join Twitter's board after all


Looks like it’s time to move on from Twitter. It’s been an enjoyable platform but between bots, trolls and now this, I think I’ll be winding down my use of it.

Android's Messages, Dialer apps quietly sent text, call info to Google


It’s amazing how this has been allowed to creep. I remember when Gmail launched (I’m getting so old!) but at the time everyone was a little edgy about the notion that Google would have access to your emails and potentially using them to pitch advertising to you, but then we all seemed to stop worrying and just gave them our data and continued to do so in ever broadening and depending ways.

We provide ludicrous amounts of personal data to some of these platforms, and it’s far from just Google, without thinking about it very much at all.

Over time we’ve become desensitised to not having an expectation of privacy and I would suspect it’s more a case of most people not understanding the potential consequences of that rather than not caring. The general public tend not to understand nebulous concepts like data protection, until something happens that impacts them in a tangible way, so we drift and drift further into this dystopian mess.

Ireland: Meta fined $18.6m for breaking EU's GDPR


Fines need to be calculated as a % of income.

These regulatory agencies and others often bankrupt small businesses with mediocre fines but to a company like Meta, this is pocket change.

IBM looked to reinvigorate its 'dated maternal workforce'


Re: Millenials

The millennials are getting older too - won’t be long now before Generation Z starts seeing them as overheads and preparing them for deprecation. I mean many of them grew up in a time before ubiquitous broadband, may have used a landline and watched linear television. Some of them are probably only pretending to get TikTok and Snapchat…


Nasty business practices. Seems some people won’t be happy until everyone’s on zero hour contracts and anyone over 30 won’t be hired.

The problem with that, apart from causing political chaos at some point (arguably already happening) is that there’ll be a slide in spending power, a slide in consumption and the economy will contract, but that seems to be where we’re heading if we listen to the gurus we seem to spend most of our time tuned to.

All that matters is ludicrously disproportionate CEO level salaries that are massively removed from reality and that is very much a phenomenon of the early 21st century.

This is going well: Meta adds anti-grope buffer zone around metaverse VR avatars


Re: Who’s going to use this ?

Maybe some expensive virtual real estate, where you can store NFTs on your virtual mantelpiece and stare out at a virtual beach?


Who’s going to use this ?

What’s the market for this supposed to be?!

I really don’t get it and anytime I mention to anyone that I don’t get it they (usually middle aged managers who’ve never used VR) tell me that I’m getting old and it’s going to be “the next big thing.”

It just looks and sounds like all the hype had accompanied corporates trying to jump into Second Life in the early 2000s and we were a lot more naive about VR back then.

I just don’t see the huge demand for interaction using virtual reality and avatars, other than in a gaming context. Things like the proposals to host virtual meetings using avatars just seemed so awkward and cringe inducing that I can’t see the point.

To be quite honest, unless they’ve developed the Holodeck, I will remain extremely unconvinced about VR other than in gaming context.

Russia's naval exercise near Ireland unlikely to involve cable-tapping shenanigans



In reality if they sabotaged cables, it wouldn’t be Ireland they would be answering to. A % of those routes serve Ireland but the majority of them connect to SW Britain, France and onwards into Europe.

The consequences of damaging them would be enormous, probably shutting Russia out of the global economy for years.

Even what they’re doing at the moment means they’re an unreliable energy partner for the EU, the U.K. and others and that’s going to mean huge pivots in energy policy towards renewables, nuclear and alternative sources of gas.

In the long term a bit of marching around in tanks is just going to end up inevitably damaging the prospects for the Russian economy, even if the don’t do anything at all, there’s a threat that is resulting in energy companies and others making decisions based on policy environment stability, even without governments or armies reacting, business does not like being threatened with having its gas disrupted. If you can’t guarantee you won’t do that, then you won’t really have much of a long term business and people look elsewhere.

There’s a push toward decarbonisation anyway, so if anything all of this is just going to accelerate it, which is probably great for the environment, but it’s not great if your entire economic model involves selling your neighbours gas but you also enjoy randomly threatening them for no particular reason.

I mean would you shop in the supermarket that occasional threatens to beat you up for or just randomly points a gun at you for the laugh? Maybe conducts target practice war games in your back garden, sending a high handed note asking you to move the car…


I think the most the EU could do is a mutual defence pact and one that would be far less robust than NATO, and perhaps a peacekeeping type operation.

You’ll never see an EU army. It’s just some federalist, militaristic fantasy, that you occasionally encounter in the Gaullist / centre right of France to project power, or in the U.K. tabloids who imagine the EU in 19th century Empire contexts because that’s the only model they understand, being Imperial fantasists.

It’s far from either of those fantasise and couldn’t operate like that. It doesn’t even like the concept of central executive power, let alone military power. It’s very much a Union based on friendly cooperation. Even leaving it in a huff resulted in a total anticlimax. You’ve tabloids jumping up and down with jingoism, while all the EU wants to do is have a boring divorce, and make sure Northern Ireland doesn’t spin into absolute chaos.

The EU is a lot more than French politics. Most of its members wouldn’t agree to something like an active military. It’s ethos is entirely about passivity and subsidiary, which means decisions are made at the most local level possible, and not centrally. You are also not going to see much of a desire to replace NATO.

The only context I could see that happening in would be if the US really went down a rabbit hole, went completely mad and became totally unhinged. For example if it turned into some kind of dystopian post Trump strongman authoritarian state, which isn’t impossible, but probably isn’t all that likely either.

Even in a scenario like that, I think it would be more likely that NATO would just end up winding back US heavy involvement and shifting to being a far more stand alone organisation. I mean Trump was keen to defund it anyway.

As for Ireland’s neutrality, a lot of that has to do with the timing of independence and the relationship with the U.K. in the 1930s. We were neutral, but pragmatically so and very much on the U.K., US and nowadays EU side of the argument.

For example, during WWII, if allied airmen landed in Ireland they were just quietly returned to the U.K., German airmen were held as POWs in the Curragh Camp until the end of the war. I’m actually aware of a story of a crew that deliberately ditched in Ireland to escape Germany and spent the war effectively interned, ended up staying and never went back to Germany after the war.

There was a lot of nod and wink type friendly arrangements with the U.K. and the allies and there were also the Treaty Ports that allowed Royal Navy presence in key ports during the war.

Like it or not, you have to remember Ireland fought a war of independence from Britain only 17 years before WWII began. There were *very+ bumpy relations with the U.K. in the 1920s and there was a legitimate concern that independence could have been lost again in a hypothetical “needs must” type scenario. That was the major reason for Irish formal neutrality, which wasn’t all that neutral at all in reality. There was also no way they were going to be putting the Irish army under the command of imperial forces either, given the very fresh history, but I suspect they would have been happy enough to work directly with the US.

If the Germans had invaded, I think you’d have been looking at Ireland more likely to side with and invited in the US and to have sought assurances or its independence. Remember that Irish-US relations run very deep. De Valera himself was an American btw. He was an Irish/Cuban New Yorker.

You’ve also various bilateral agreements with the US, and strange things like the US military use of Shannon to move troops, as long as they use the duty free…

There is also a formal agreement with the RAF which was entered into after the events of 9/11 and in a modern era of a far, far more positive relationship with the U.K. https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/secret-defence-pact-allowing-raf-jets-inirish-airspace-undermines-our-neutrality-says-td-berry-40526069.html

Even with Brexit chaos Irish-British relations run very deep and will continue to do so because of the realities of common interests, a lot of shared culture and geography. It’s not always going to be that we are on exactly the same page, but as relations go it’s close, warm and friendly, despite the history.

The WWII politics was far more complex and nuanced than people looking it in some kind of loyalty to the crown type view. We weren’t loyal to the crown at all nor are we very fond of crowns - that was the whole point. It doesn’t mean that we would have been unfriendly neighbours, nor does it mean we wouldn’t have been on the same side. After all the Irish / UK break up was one of the unusual situations where a democracy left a democracy and still maintained relations like a couple after an ugly divorce. There remains a lot of common ground and common interests.

Irish neutrality in the modern era morphed into more about being an ideology of non-militaristic peace. There is a lot of genuine concern about some of the less than purely defensive positions NATO has taken in various conflicts anytime Irish NATO membership is mentioned. It becomes a sticking point. We also have things like the “triple lock” which means Irish troops can only be sent abroad if the Government decides, the whole parliamentary system approves (and it’s much more diverse than Westminster due to PR voting) and if it’s authorised by the UN. We can’t legally act in any other circumstance.

Ireland has joined the EU prototype common defence programmes. It’s an active participant in UN peacekeeping, has worked in cooperation with NATO on peacekeeping and has a seat on the UN Security Council at the moment, but that’s about as far as it goes.

Our military expenditure is definitely far, far too small. Even for just practical safety it needs more resourcing and we aren’t lacking the wherewithal to do that. I can’t see Ireland having a need for huge spending, but we could definitely do with investing in strong passive defence: high tech primary radar, submarine detection etc and probably having the capability to intercept aircraft in much the same way as say Denmark or Norway - even if it’s solely for civil aviation protection reasons. We also need to be able to deal with cyber security threats and threats to infrastructure. We had a huge cyber attack on the health services in the middle of the pandemic. Admittedly, it was a bit of an open door but it does demonstrate the growing risks.

For a long time we’ve operated on the basis of “sure who’d ever want to invade us?” but we’ve grown into a small, but wealthy and more significant location with significant financial centre, a lot of strategic infrastructure for global IT, internet/telecoms, high tech manufacturing etc and one that is also a Eurozone and EU member. I think in a way we still imagine our strategic significance to be as irrelevant as it was in the 1950s but a lot has changed.

There is an active debate here about the realistic (or lack of realistic) approach to defence here and I think you will see some degree of movement towards beefing it up. I would have doubts that public support goes as far as NATO membership, and it’s likely such an issue would need a referendum make the necessary changes to the constitution to enter a military alliance. However, that’s also very much based on our current perception of not being under any external threat. Russia doing military tests off the coast and rumours of threats to cables was enough to trigger a lot of debate here.

At the end of the day, we’re an island and we are increasingly dependent on a lot of fibres, subsea power cables and gas lines. We need to be able to shore those up.

Apple Mac sales break records amid ex-86-odus to Arm-compatible M1 silicon


Meanwhile over in iPad land

We’ll just doggedly stick to a policy of using a mobile phone OS, with huge icons, on what is effectively a powerful, high spec convertible Mac and we will continue to scratch our heads wondering why sales are slumping, while telling end users they just don’t understand what they really want.

Burning plasma signals step forward in race for nuclear fusion as researchers get bigger capsule for their 192-laser experiment


Nuclear Fusion, Limitless energy is just 10 years away ™

Celebrating 90 years of research experiments.

Since 1932

Court papers indicate text messages from HMRC's 60886 number could snoop on Brit taxpayers' locations



GDPR outside the EU (and even the EEA), under a Tory Government, with probably the most right wing Hom Sec in recent history …

I’m sure that will be watertight and enforced against state agencies.

Maybe someone should take a complain to the ECJ… oh wait lol

European silicon output shrinking, metal smelters closing as electricity prices quadruple, trade body warns


Re: Follow the money

To be fair though, the EDF is not a private company. It *is* the French Tax Payer. It’s almost 85% state owned.

Wifinity hands customers bills for Wi-Fi services they didn't want but used by accident after software 'glitch' let 'fixed term' subs continue


This kind of thing really annoys me

Military personnel work very hard, often on really quite poor pay and are expected to put their lives on the line, yet some political, or management decision, makes them the captive market for some ludicrously overpriced WiFi company.

How does that make any sense?!

These aren’t people spending an hour or two in an airport and it’s very shoddy treatment.

Also the service itself can’t be that expensive to provide. They should be offered free WiFi and also it would be a lot more security focused if it were delivered by the military themselves.

It’s just appalling. I mean what’s next? Pay for their own uniforms and boot polish? Maybe put a few quid in the barracks meter to keep the lights on?

I’m reminded of Captain Mainwaring asking around for a penny to put into the pay phone to call GHQ to warn them a potential incoming invasion…

Police National Computer not pwned by Clop ransomware crims, insists Home Office


Is it just me? Or does the name make sound like they have just have one computer, probably called something like MAVIS Mark 1, sitting in some 1950s basement being programmed using punch cards and patch cords?

Dutch nuclear authority bans anti-5G pendants that could hurt their owners via – you guessed it – radiation


I thought standard procedure was to coat your entire body in “tin” foil (aluminium foil) …

Google Chrome's upcoming crackdown on ad-blockers and other extensions still really sucks, EFF laments


Web standards …

The biggest threat to the internet is Google dominating and breaking web standards and Chrome becoming de facto, non-optional to guarantee smooth access to various websites.

It happened years ago with Internet Explorer in its hay day, and it undermined competition and hindered technology development until that stranglehold eventually broke down. We were all stuck with suboptimal performance in other browsers, and on non-Windows machines and IE itself bloated into what was a mess that had little incentive to improve, as it was the dominant, and highly broken standard bearer.

The big competition regulators need to act. The EU might be the one that takes the lead here as I don’t think the US seems to be competent in competition law in recent years - it’s too focused on culture wars and entirely about pandering to powerful lobbyists. The days of competent federal US agencies seem to be behind us.

UK data guardian challenges government proposals on automated decision-making


Even if the European Commission and the EU Council and European Parliament chose to somehow all sit on their hands, there’s a *very* strong likelihood of individual citizens taking a challenge to court and an ECJ ruling eventually rendering processing of EU citizens data in the U.K. highly problematic, if not impossible.

People seem to imagine the EU operates like a US presidency or a U.K. national government with broad executive powers being exercised by a single party or individual. It does not. It’s all about decentralised powers, subsidiary, finding consensus etc.

It would be extremely naïve to assume this will just bump along as if nothing happened or that some diplomatic nods and winks by HM Gov can smooth it all over and make it go away.

GDPR is actually very popular amongst European citizens too. There’s strong political support for it and a sensitivity about data snooping in many countries that have a much clearer understanding of why it’s a risk due to their own 20 th century histories. A lot of people are very protective of the concept of a right to privacy.

A lightbulb moment comes too late to save a mainframe engineer's blushes


I’m reminded of a situation in a house I moved into in Ireland back in the days when landlines were still something people knew the numbers of and still plugged phones and modems into.

I ended up stumbling across the specs for the Irish phone network by trail and error deduction.

We got the phone line activated, but there was no dial tone in any of the extension sockets.

I went around checking each one and used a multimeter and there were definitely no wiring issues. Simple stuff, two wires, very similar to the US.

I checked everything on the first socket and found no faults, but it had a dial tone on the RJ11 socket on the front. It just stopped there.

I then accidentally noticed that a screw I had dropped was magnetically struck to a device in the back of the front cover of this socket. It was only then I noticed there were two magnetically operated micro switches that cut off all the extension wiring when the Telecom Éireann branded “NTU” had its access cover open.

It was a neat demarcation system for testing the service and eliminating the extension wiring, useful but if unfamiliar with it, it wasn’t at all obvious.

All ripped out, never to be seen again and replaced with Ethernet and XPON FTTH.

Boffins find way to use a standard smartphone to find hidden spy cams


That explains why I keep getting thrown out of cinemas since I was assimilated by the Borg.

Amazon tells folks it will stop accepting UK Visa credit cards via weird empty email


Visa and MasterCard are overdue a Competition Law probe

It's long past time the cozy duopoly of Visa and MasterCard gets a visit from some of the major competition regulators like the European Commission and UK watchdogs too. They've WAY too much market power and in a way that makes far more impact on day to day life than browser options or OS lock ins.

This is being caused by Brexit but only in the sense that EU regulations were keeping them on a tight leash and preventing excessive charging. The moment that went away - price went up in the UK.

Russia blows up old satellite, NASA boss 'outraged' as ISS crew shelters from debris


Given the vast areas involved, cleaning up orbits is probably an impossibility.

Plastic waste in the oceans is a far more doable task in comparison, and that’s proving to be an enormous challenge, despite being vastly more accessible, being actually on earth and in an environment we can reasonably function.

Cleaning an orbit of random bits of high speed debris just isn’t feasible. You might be able to get a few chunks cleaned up, but not the shrapnel crated by this.

All satellites should be able up be safely deorbited. It’s the only way we’ll ever get rid of them. It should be a mandatory part of the design.

The problem is it’s very much chaos. The rules are only as good as the ability to enforce them and without cooperation that’s not going to happen.


This is why I don’t like space force fantasist. We could well end up with loads of useful orbits becoming useless and there is currently no technology capable of cleaning them up.

No explosive weapons or intentional debris generation should be used in orbit. It simply shouldn’t be a discussion.

It’s also hard to assume that an agency capable of building a space weapon isn’t capable of thinking through the consequences of using it. They either don’t care or they want to create debris fields. I don’t think there’s any “ooops we didn’t foresee that outcome.”

With the commercialisation of space and I would suspect a growing paranoia in certain countries about open access communications satellites that can’t be firewalled or blocked, you’re going to see a lot more chaotic messes in the years ahead, both with accidents and deliberate incidents.

Hopefully we’ll still be able to get to space!

Another brick in the (kitchen) wall: Users report frozen 1st generation Google Home Hubs


Meanwhile my 1970s thermostats and light switches are still working perfectly as the e-waste piles up.