* Posts by llaryllama

89 posts • joined 7 Jul 2010


'Robbery, economic plunder, victim of larcenous cronyism and a heist'


Re: Heads you win, tails I lose - perhaps landing on its edge is best then?

You are not the target, the Chinese diaspora are most definitely a target. If you are OK with that because it doesn't directly affect you right now then.. OK.

China's blend of autocratic government is so tempting for political weasels around the world that we will be seeing a lot more Chinese style pseudo communist autocracy in the coming 50-100 years.


Re: 'Robbery, economic plunder, victim of larcenous cronyism and a heist'

There is a middle ground called reciprocity. At the moment you can still export almost anything from China to the US with minimal or no duties, no restrictions on media products and in most cases no requirement for Chinese investors to set up JVs with American firms.

It's completely one sided and there really needs to be a simple "we give you access to X, you must give is us the same terms into return". Just done in a more professional and diplomatic way than Trump is doing right now.


Re: Extortion with the side of cronyism plus a personal grudge

You do realize that China does in fact require joint Chinese ownership of almost any foreign business operating there? Usually involving one way technology transfers.

It's wrong for either the US or China to do this, but don't be under any illusions about China being some bastion of free and fair trade.

The power of Bill compels you: A server room possessed by a Microsoft-hating, Linux-loving Demon


Re: This is why...

I'm just glad el Reg keeps us current with all this stuff.

China blocks access to website hosting code-for-kids tool Scratch and its forums


Re: "low cost"

There are 170 UPU member nations with voting rights. Many of those member nations are open to "persuasion" and China is extremely good at carrot & stick diplomacy. One of the reasons for China's big push into Africa is that a relatively small overall investment buys you dozens of friends whenever important votes come up at UN bodies.

But yes, a very large share of the blame goes to Western politicians who have given China a free ride to help their own interests. And of course not forgetting American Joe Public who can't get enough of all that Cheap Tat.

The plug was finally pulled at the end of 2019 after the US threatened to pull out of the postal union entirely. If that's what it takes to get something changed then there's obviously a lot more going on than a bit of political laziness.


Re: "low cost"

Thank you for pointing out something that has bugged me for years, yet very few people know about it.

China, through clever manipulation of the Universal Postal Union, continues to declare itself a third world country when it comes to international last-mile delivery rates.

UPU rules were designed with a commendably egalitarian mindset, which is that poor countries should be able to send mail to rich countries and vice versa at rates affordable to citizens on both sides. That means it could send US$30 to send a small packet from the US to Papua New Guinea but it only costs $2 to ship the other way. There's a complicated system of rules and agreements but it basically means rich countries like the US subsidize mail delivery for poorer countries.

The issue with China is that they claim to be a first world superpower that's responsible enough to sit at all the Big Boy's tables for shaping global policies, but when it's convenient claims to be a dirt poor third world nation who needs all the subsidies they can get.

End result is that sellers in the 2nd richest country in the world by nominal GDP can ship a Box of Tat for less than $2 across the world to the US or UK while it would cost $20 or $30 to go the other way. It costs the UK and US a lot more than $2 to delivery that package at the final mile due to higher wages, environmental standards, overall costs of living etc. etc. In fact as you point out it's a lot more expensive to ship the same box from London to Liverpool or New York to LA. So western countries are subsidizing those shipments through national taxes for Tat Sellers in China to put local companies out of business.

It's crazy I tells ya!!

China’s UK embassy calls for probe into 'hack of Ambassador’s Twitter account'


I don't know how these guys can keep a straight face writing propaganda on a platform that's completely banned in China.

Anyone else noticed that the top countries for broadband speeds are well-known tax havens? No? Just us then?


Re: Regaining Network leadership ?

Most households in Taiwan choose the cheapest possible internet service, which is usually 100Mbit over copper and costs less than 7 quid a month. 300Mb is slightly more expensive but the 100MBit connections are reliable and unmetered so most people aren't interested. Almost everywhere except very remote mountain regions has access to gigabit FTTB for around 40-60 pounds a month.

Chinese prof sent down for 18 months for stealing semiconductor secrets, trying to patent them to cover tracks


Re: Oh I see

Considering that almost every state in existence has done Bad Things at some point, why bother trying to make anything better and just let the citizens of the world run rampant?

China trolls Trump with tech export rules changes that could imperil TikTok sale


Re: The whole thing is a mess

I grew up in Taiwan under the constant threat of Chinese military action. Comparing the Republican party with the CCP shows a deep misunderstanding of how the PRC system works. China is an authoritarian one-party state, so the CCP is not just a party. It's God. The PRC's laws require the Party to be placed above your own life, above your religion, above your parents. Absolutely zero open discussion or criticism of the CCP or Chinese politics is tolerated.

What is very dangerous about the CCP in modern times is that they are not content with peaceful cohabitation, they are actively trying to export their brand of authoritarianism to other countries with some degree of success. Want loans but those pesky Yankees say you're not allowed to torture your own citizens? We've got just the package for you!

No political system is perfect but even a messed up democracy is better than Chinese authoritarianism.


Russia and China sold roughly the same amount of weapons (it's hard to get exact figures for obvious reasons) as the US in recent years, largely to other authoritarian or conflict states. So let's just assume everyone is roughly even on the "selling arms to bad people" naughty step. We can't pretend that the rise of authoritarianism is not a problem just because X did Y in year Z.


Re: The whole thing is a mess

I have experienced life in the US and China. On the internet you can try to compare the two with a wry smile, but on the ground it's very different. Yes, anyone with half a brain knows the US spies on its citizens and the rest of the world and it's nowhere near perfect. But in China this comment that you just wrote would have already been deleted. There would be no commentary or discussion about what the government is doing wrong or what needs to change. That's a critical difference between authoritarian countries and democracies.


The whole thing is a mess

Both sides have a lot to answer for. Forcing companies to sell out under the threat of bans is not the way western democracies should behave. On the other hand, the Chinese government operates on its own set of rules and Chinese companies are absolutely beholden to the CCP as their rulers and masters.

Anyone in China crying foul should remind themselves that 99% of similar western apps from Facebook to Youtube are blocked in China, in fact using these apps or attempting to circumvent blocks is a criminal offense with heavy penalties. However I do believe that western democracies need to practice what they preach and stand on moral high ground.

I don't have any answers about the best way to handle this. Allowing Chinese apps in a free-for-all is a one way street that makes the west look weak and gives an authoritarian government open access to a lot of data. Blocking Chinese apps is anti-democratic. How to deal with all this in a fair but sensible way that protects democratic integrity is beyond my pay grade.

Frozen: Bank accounts of suspected Chinese Cisco counterfeiters who exploited pandemic shortages


Re: Ouch

If you look at the timeline for H1N1 as an example then yes, the CDC was immediately notified when the first US case was confirmed and it's easy to trace the notifications between various national and international health bodies due to the general transparent nature of democratic countries.


Re: Ouch

I mentioned nothing about Trump, I don't know why it is that whenever I challenge China there is a multi paragraph whataboutism blasted back about Trump and America.

Fair disclosure: I am Taiwanese so it's hard not to be biased against China what with the missiles pointed at us and threats of fire and fury.

Taiwanese officials determined in December that person to person transmission was occurring in Hubei and Taiwan got locked down way before most of the world had any idea what was happening. As a result we have a single digit mortality rate and life goes on mostly as normal. Taiwan's CDC attempted to get the message out through various channels but the WHO was insisting as late as mid January that person to person transmission was not proven and nobody should lock down their borders.

Taiwan is wary because we went through all of this with SARS last time.

China only started becoming more transparent and cooperative well after the horse had bolted and it was clear that a cover up had become impossible. They have very cleverly managed the big communist propaganda machine to push their message of being world saviours while also driving a wedge between Western factions so that anything remotely anti-China/anti-CCP becomes "pro Trump".



Even the most ardent red-dyed CCCP apologist has to admit this doesn't look good.

China tries to cover up a devastating new virus, it turns into a global pandemic. American company is not able to get their goods moving due to said pandemic. Some enterprising Chinese individuals sell counterfeit versions of the goods through back channels into American company's back yard.

It's such a beautiful example of cold hearted capitalism, who says that China and America can't get along?

Black hole destroys corona



So this is the cosmic equivalent of Photonicinduction throwing a brick in his washing machine?


We've paused Sigfox roof aerial payments, says WND-UK, but we'll make you whole after COVID


Re: Where's the plug?

Honestly this seems a bit mean when small businesses across the world are reeling from an unprecedented and completely unpredictable pandemic. From my point of view it seems like there was a deer in the headlights kind of thing going on for a few months which I can understand.

I mean, technically yes, you can stomp your feet on the ground and harumph and say they are a business so it's their problem, give me my 35 quid right now you fiends. It seems like they are zoned back in and trying to find a solution that makes everyone happy long term. I'm not sure what small claims court would do at this point except slow that whole process down.

If you're that bothered by some evil small business stealing your electricity and chimney then just unplug it, I guess *shrug*.

Russia drags NASA: Enjoy your expensive SpaceX capsule, our Soyuz is the cheap Kalashnikov of rockets


Team work makes the dream work

The constant bickering between America / "The West" and Russia fueled by Putin and his cronies just makes me sad.

Russia and the US have a lot of common ground, being pals would be good for the world at large.

From a scientific perspective both countries have made enormous contributions to space science. The only barriers to proper collaboration are political, put up by elites clinging to power on both sides.

I hope my kids will see the day when Roscosmos tips their hat to SpaceX and says "good job", while NASA replies with a "not too shabby yourself".

You're not getting Huawei that easily: Canadian judge rules CFO's extradition proceedings to US can continue


Re: "We expect that Canada's judicial system will ultimately prove Ms Meng's innocence."

Meng was arrested and placed under house arrest due to suspicion of defrauding the banking system. She has relative freedom while on bail. All details of the case are transparent and publicly available. The Canadian judiciary is mostly independent from government.

Kovrig and Spavor have been locked in an unknown detention center with no details of their crimes provided except that they are held for "espionage". The Chinese court system is completely controlled from the top down by the CCP.

Let's leave whataboutism and "you did X first" in the Soviet era where it belongs.


Some background

I know it's tempting to assume the case is purely political and Meng is being used as a bargaining chip with China, but she was not arrested for breaking sanctions. She was arrested for banking fraud by declaring that payments were received for Entity A while they were actually being shuffled to Entity B.

If anything Meng's status as a political pawn - perceived or otherwise - has helped avoid extradition to this point, because nobody wants to be seen as throwing the hot potato back into the pot.

China and its CCP-connected citizens get away with a lot of dodgy stuff on the international stage and expect everyone else to play by liberal democratic rules while they can bend the rules any way they like without repercussions. Whatever the political ramifications I don't have a great deal of sympathy for Meng when she is alleged to have committed a fairly serious white collar crime and is under house arrest in a transparent legal regime. Try playing the banking system in China and see where that gets you.

Full disclosure: I'm Taiwanese so I'm kinda biased against China but for good reasons.

If you miss the happier times of the 2000s, just look up today's SCADA gear which still has Stuxnet-style holes


Industrial computers

I do hardware and software design for niche industrial systems. When I first started working with Modbus I was pretty shocked that such an insecure and outdated comms protocol was still de rigeur for industrial use and most likely used in a majority of critical infrastructure plants. As much as I hate building anything non standard I ended up developing my own protocol for internal comms.

For anyone who's not aware Modbus was originally developed 30+ years ago as a way for industrial equipment to talk with each other over RS485. At some point it was hastily bolted onto IP network as Modbus TCP/IP. There is zero authentication in standard Modbus and there are some pretty big limitations in the protocol such as only 16 bits used for data (a 64 bit float would need to be sent as 4 messages and converted at the other end).

Any promises to extend rights of self-employed might win an election, hint Brit freelancer orgs


Re: Purely anecdotal

Slightly late reply.. but Taiwan.


Purely anecdotal

I struggled as a youngun in the UK to get a business off the ground. It was in theory a good business but something like half my earnings were going out in various taxes and I wasn't even making that much to start with. I didn't dare hire any staff because of all the extra tax complications and legal risks. It felt like every small win was immediately knocked down by HMRC or someone else. So it just stagnated, I got sick of it all and left the UK.

I now live in a regime that has a single page income tax return, no CGT and minimal tax on overseas income. It's not just that I pay less tax - it's so much less stressful when everything is simple, you don't have to mess around with 100 different deductions and the tax office doesn't call you a "customer". It's no coincidence that SMEs flourish here, we weathered some nasty economic hiccups just fine, unemployment rates are extremely low and government runs very efficiently. It's tempting for governments to kiss the arse of big business because it's a quick easy win. But in the long term SMEs are the sturdy oaks in a forest of shit (excuse the analogies). So yes, more should be done to encourage and support them.

Hey bud – how the heck does that stay in your ear? Google emits latest Pixel Buds, plus extra bloatware if you have the matching phone



I have a love/hate relationship with wireless earphones in general. I have gone through 3 pairs of powerbeats from 2 different design iterations and the buttons stop working on all of them after a few months. I tried a few different true wireless earbuds including Apple's and they all suck. Terrible battery life and constant sync problems between the two ears especially in busy places where I'm most likely to use them (like the gym).

Currently I'm using Sony wireless earphones that are almost perfect but have terrible battery life and even more terrible power management software. Tap the power button, earphones tell you there is "about 50% remaining". 20 minutes later "low battery, switching off". But they have really nice noise cancelling including an ambient noise microphone for outdoor safety, sound quality is great and I love the way are designed with a neckband and a wire for each ear (feel like traditional earphones but stops me losing them). Those were cheaper than the Beats too at around $130.

Surely someone could have figured this out by now and brought out well designed, reliable, durable wireless earphones with good sound quality and at least 8-10 hours battery life at $150 or less?

Wakey-wakey! A quarter of IT pros only get 3-4 hours' kip – and you won't believe what's being touted as the 'solution'


Re: Yeahbut ...

I need a good 9-10 hours so taking kids to school in the morning is brutal. I'm in a permanent state of chronic tiredness. I try to be very disciplined getting to bed early but the only time I have to myself is post-11pm so that usually goes out the window. When I was younger and self employed I was quite happy working until 8am and sleeping until 6pm. I think I might be a vampire.

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels


Great value

I just spent about half that buying a new 600kg capacity hydraulic lifter cart for our machine shop floor. You can put a dozen or so Macs on it if you really want but I find a better use is to take turns standing on top doing the Titanic pose while someone pushes you full speed across the factory.

What do you get when you allegedly mix Wireshark, a gumshoe child molester, and a court PC? A judge facing hacking charges



I would really hope that a judge or someone else in such a position would put some effort into making sure that their computer really is secure and not being monitored for nefarious reasons. She should be commended for looking after sensitive data. There has to be more going on behind the scenes that isn't being reported, a judge on judge conflict with the other side just having more strings to pull?

OPPO's Reno 2, aka 'Baby Shark', joins the deepening pool of high-spec midranger mobes


Re: £449 is now "midrange"?

I own an Asus ROG phone that was about £800 in English money. That happens to be exactly what I paid for my first ever 2nd hand laptop a long time ago and I get a lot more use out of the phone.

I tend to change phones about every 3-5 years usually because I have worn them out and/or had one too many accidents. So let's say my phone is costing me less than £20 a month. I probably use it at least 8 hours a day, mostly for work but I also use it to watch movies and all that other stuff.

Yeh I could get by with a much cheaper phone and I did for many years. But having all that extra processing power and memory is very nice, I can plug it into an HDMI screen and it runs as fast as a midrange laptop. In fact I also use it as a laptop with a USB-C dock.

I guess there is a fine line between weighing up the value of an item that you can easily afford and getting into debt so that you never have a car/phone/clothes more than 6 months old. But there is a real use case for some of these expensive things. If they make your life better or easier in some way and their purchase does not create any financial difficulties then why not?


Re: £449, putting it firmly within the middle of the pack

In the late 90s I was working in telecoms and was constantly getting laughed at for my bright orange monstrosity of a phone (I don't even remember the manufacturer). So I coughed up £220 for a Nokia 8210, according to BOE's inflation calculator that £220 is worth almost £400 today.

Now I understand what you are saying, especially since the 8210 was a premium phone when it came out. But you have to admit you get a lot more for £400 these days then you did 20 years ago. My current phone has a dock and doubles up as a very usable laptop. And I certainly couldn't peruse El Reg on an 8210.

Samsung on fridge cert error: Someone tried to view 'unsavoury content' in middle of John Lewis



I surely can't be the only touch typist who "reconfigured" many a school keyboard by swapping all the key tops??

US games company Blizzard kowtows to Beijing by banning gamer who dared to bring up Hong Kong


Re: yOur favorite ElReg Troll speaketh

Gaming is an easy scapegoat for just being a shit dad. I will never claim to be anywhere near a perfect parent but life is about balance and we all do OK. I play games together with my two boys, it's definitely more positive for the family than negative. Yes I sometimes sit on my arse with a beer playing Battlefield 4 for an hour that could be better spend doing other things but we all need our downtime once a week.

I don't spend much time solo gaming any more but my family would probably say I spend way too much time playing violin, we should definitely ban all string instruments for the sake of the children.


Re: couls gamers care less, really?

Especially since AAA titles are all $60+ these days with subscriptions needed to play online it's us middle aged geezers propping up the sales.


Exactly the problem

If those disillusioned kids were allowed a voice for their own future without heavy handed ham fisted directions being sent down from their CCP overlords none of the violence would have happened.

The Chinese government puts Face above all else, it's like having a proud and arrogant father who will lie on his death bed with no friends or family around rather than admit he's wrong.

Banning HK youth from any events for having an opinion will make things 10x worse for all involved.

What? No way. Apple? Censoring iOS 13 to appease China? Gosh. How shocking. Who'd have thought it?



While China's petty crusade against Taiwan continues the fact is I can use my Taiwan passport to visit 146 countries visa free. Visiting Europe is highly amusing as our green ROC passports are allowed to use the express e-gates while PRC passport holders have to get a visa in advance and wait in line. The current situation is a joke - most Western countries pay lip service to China because they think there is a pot of gold at the end of the silk road, but double dip by treating Taiwan as a de facto independent country to make those tourism and investment $$. Have some balls and stand one way or the other - preferably by telling the PRC to get lost.

Now that's integrity: Bloke sinks 7 beers, turns himself in. Cops weren't looking for him


Why so much hate for Bud?

Maybe you guys get some other variation but the 5% US import Budweiser sold in Asia is really quite nice. It's a clean inoffensive lager with pleasant toasted oak and apple flavors.

New lows at Bose as firmware update woes infuriate soundbar bros


Small powerful hifi setup

Want a smallish and good looking brand new 5.1 setup without having to wire rear speakers? Get 2 pairs of Q acoustics 3000 series bookshelf speakers, optional center speaker, Polk 10" subwoofer plus a Denon AVR or Sony STR 5.1 receiver. Add a rocketfish wireless speaker kit and you have a system that will blow the arse out of your Bose soundbar with change to buy a PS4 for playing Blu rays.

Australia didn't blame China for parliament hack in case it upset trade relations – report



China has never been and will never be a particularly good partner to any other country, especially not Western democracies. I've said it at least ten times and I'll say it ten more, why are Europe, Australia and the US tripping over themselves to get shafted by China?

Uncle Sam is Huawei out of line with these hacking attacks, patent probes, Chinese mobe maker sighs


Re: Business as usual from the f'U of SA

This is a general issue doing business with China, perhaps and maybe are as good as you will get. Ownership and control are intentionally obfuscated and opaque. I don't believe Huawei is directly state owned but with Ren Zhengfei being a CCP member it's de facto state controlled.


Sorry for the Whataboutism but...

As a citizen of a country repressed by China I admit to being highly amused by the whole situation. I will feel sorry for Huawei when foreign companies have even 1/3 the access and freedom in China that Huawei has in western countries.

Hong Kong ISPs beg Chinese govt not to impose Great Firewall on them


Re: Two points

3) Something something with Chinese Characteristics

Gov flings £10m to help businesses get Brexit-ready with, um... information packs


Re: Please explain

As if to mirror the real life situation our pro Brexit friend appears to have buggered off so you won't get an answer.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moves to shut Parliament



I would posit that Brexit will have a bigger effect on IT in the UK than anything else this decade. If anything more coverage is deserved, not less.

Huawei goes all Art of War on us: Switches on 'battle mode' and vows to 'dominate the world'


Re: no longer required US components

ASUS ROG phone here. I admit I kinda bought it just to be awkward and because you can customize a flashing logo on the outside but it happens to be the best phone/ultra portable computer I ever owned. I got the dock with it that plugs into an HDMI monitor and has more USB ports than my wife's Macbook Pro.

Hack a small airplane? Yes, we CAN (bus) – once we physically break into one, get at its wiring, plug in evil kit...


Sometimes IT security IS more trouble than it's worth

I think this is one of those situations where extra security like encryption or authentication of messages has very little real world value, while the chance of something getting borked due to an error in the security protocol is a real hazard. Kind of like putting bars on your windows if you live in a high crime area then not being able to escape in a fire.

I got 502 problems, and Cloudflare sure is one: Outage interrupts your El Reg-reading pleasure for almost half an hour


Re: Independence

Once you get into page rules and other features it's extremely powerful for the price. Most of the pages on our site are static so I set up page rules to cache them along with all the images, fonts etc. used by dynamic and static parts of the site. You can block or challenge visitors with lots of parameters to fine tune. Oh and you get brownie points with Google search rankings for having a fast site as well.

NASA goes commercial, publishes price for trips to the ISS – and it'll be multi-millionaires only for this noAirBNB


Re: Dump Fee

I should point out that waste disposal is $3,000/kg as well, and at the risk of sounding crude I can't be the only one here who's taken a 3 grand dump now and then.

Uncle Sam wants to read your tweets, check out your Instagram, log your email addresses before you enter the Land of the Free on a visa


Re: Hello darkness, my old friend

I gave up my UK citizenship 2 decades ago as I moved to Asia when quite young, on the rare occasions I travel to the UK or Europe I get the third degree about where my "other ID" is (I'm ethnically Scottish, I had an albino friend in school with darker skin). The last (and worse) grilling was from a British Indian guy at immigration who didn't see the irony behind his racial profiling that would most likely get him sacked if I was <insert ethnicity> with a European passport.

You're on a Huawei to Hell, China tells US: We'll fight import tariffs, trade war to bitter end


Re: Fart

China getting pissy about fair access to markets is laughable and the media continually miss this point.

Export a container of Widgets from Crapola Inc., Shenzhen to the US and get it cleared instantly with zero or minimal import duties.

Export something similar from Redneck Supply Co., USA to China and find your product cannot be cleared because you do not have 15 licenses that are impossible for a foreign company to acquire. If it does get cleared have fun paying double or triple digit tariffs.

I am 110% behind free trade, when free trade is free trade. Not one party having complete access to western markets while other parties have extreme restrictions against reciprocal imports.

Oracle co-honcho Mark Hurd can't wait to turn your $1 of IT support spend into $4 of pay-as-you-go cloud revenue


Re: Slightly off-topic question

Thanks for the informative input everybody, it all makes more sense now.

I didn't get into database and ERP type work until the last 10 years or so, and in this time there have always been powerful free open source solutions for SQL, plus a competitive market for frontend CRM and resource management software.



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