* Posts by llaryllama

129 posts • joined 7 Jul 2010

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Deluded medics fail to show Ohio lawmakers that COVID vaccines magnetise patients

llaryllama

Re: Struck off?

If people think that magnetic crystals, magic beads and the Lord Almighty make them feel better and they're not getting ripped off too badly I will keep my mouth firmly shut. Sometimes a hug and a kind word can do wonders after all.

However this is a tech site where I assume we are all at least reasonably educated folks. You should be able to see the difference between a vaccine (containing real, measurable ingredients) and homeopathic solution (essentially water).

llaryllama

Re: Struck off?

Nope, that's called homeopathy.

Today's arms race is all about AI and it's China vs America, says US defense secretary

llaryllama

Re: Athens vs. Sparta

China is building up its military for a future annexation of my country (Taiwan).

Huawei flings open the doors of its third privacy and security transparency centre

llaryllama

Re: hostage

I'm Taiwanese and have dabbled in politics with pro independence parties. I would be arrested on landing in China including HK or Macau and thrown in prison for holding an opinion. So maybe don't be quite so smug about how "safe" China is, like any dictatorship it's all fun and games until you find yourself on the naughty chair.

Law prof: New Chinese data regulations make it 'very hard for foreign firms to comply'

llaryllama
Mushroom

Re: Data under multiple jurisdictions.

Anyone who watched War Games knows the only winning move is not to play.

llaryllama

The EU, UK, Australia, Japan and India (sort of) and Russia (just barely) aren't dictatorships.

Beyond any discussion of ethics it's just not good business sense to work with buyers or sellers who don't follow the same rules and decide on a whim not to buy from you because of some perceived political sleight. Look at Australian wine or the Korean Lotte company.

I live a stone's throw away from China and dealing with Chinese businesses is like working with aliens from another planet. There may be over a billion Chinese people but most of them are very poor and unless China really needs your commodity you will find it almost impossible to export anything there without giving Chinese companies a very big slice of the pie.

Paper Tiger Lake? El Reg gets its talons on the first Intel Core i7 Honor MagicBook 14

llaryllama

Re: svelte aircraft-inspired design

There are options for us nerds but have to look a bit harder. I recently got myself a Fujitsu E series lifebook - amazingly still made in Japan. It's a reassuringly thick (but not excessively heavy) black brick. Trapdoor on the bottom for RAM, will eat two 2.5" drives and an SSD, has an old school docking port and full size ethernet plus oodles of USB ports. I paid around US$1200 for it in Taiwan which I think is pretty reasonable for a Japan made i7 laptop with 3 year warranty. I originally wanted a Toughbook but they are way overpriced and screen quality is not great.

Calendly’s new logo perceived as either bog-standard or kind of crappy

llaryllama

Perhaps the CEO is trying to put forward his image as soft, strong and very very long?

What Microsoft's Windows 11 will probably look like

llaryllama

I'm sure lots of people agree that Windows 7 was the last usable version. I finally gave up on OS X (brand new expensive audio hardware becomes "incompatible" after 6 months) and Windows 10 (just a total disaster) and went all-in on Linux desktop. Ubuntu has made massive strides in daily usability even over the last few years, I have had it as the sole OS on my main laptop and productivity is way up as I don't have to deal with black screens on login and 6 hours updates in the middle of a work day.

Tiananmen Square Tank Man vanishes from Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, other search engines – even in America

llaryllama

You are comparing Facebook with a newspaper or news site, which they are absolutely not. I am not advocating for forced publication of any news or content. I am advocating for open and neutral access to public facing services within legal bounds.

AT&T is a company, is it OK for them to filter traffic through their network because they don't like something you say?

Tesco is a company, is it OK for them to refuse you service because of your political or religious beliefs?

Of course not, so what is special about Facebook et al that they are allowed to judge who can or can't use their service?

llaryllama

Re: As with Tank Man

This is the exact argument the CCP uses to say with a very straight face that China has freedom of speech. You are free to say whatever you want as long as someone is willing to publish it (they're not) and you are fine with whatever consequences happen afterwards (they're bad).

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the other big social media platforms have basically become the Internet for 90% of people. I would not expect my ISP or phone provider to censor any of my communications as long as they are legal, we should expect the same neutrality from social media networks.

llaryllama

I'm going to take a lot of downvotes for this I'm sure, but I am coming to this article after seeing people gloating over Trump getting banned from Facebook.

In my humble opinion it's not possible to be OK with a former US president being censored while being outraged about censorship of the CCP.

For the record I am a liberal leaning Taiwanese citizen and I fully support free speech for all - especially the people I really don't like, because that's what free speech is.

Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom in general are hard-won and delicate things. If you don't speak out about censorship when it happens to them at some point it will happen to you.

Hard cheese: Stilton snap shared via EncroChat leads to drug dealer's downfall

llaryllama

The problem is that many data harvesting projects used for evil purposes around the world have started with a narrow use for something laudable and then gradually expanded into general harassment of citizens. Also what happens if the police have all this data and the government slowly turns authoritarian over time (Turkey, India, Hungary)?

Man paralyzed from neck down uses AI brain implants to write out text messages

llaryllama
Pint

It's horrible trying to imagine the world these patients live in being completely lucid and unable to move. I'm not sure I would be able to bear it. The techs and doctors working on this technology are doing great work, the next round's on me.

Cloudflare launches campaign to ‘end the madness’ of CAPTCHAs

llaryllama

Somewhat ironic given that Cloudflare switched to the particularly awful hCaptcha system - presumably to enjoy the financial kickbacks that hCaptcha offer.

Russia, China say anyone will be able to use their south pole Moon base for 'peaceful' science and exploration

llaryllama

The moon is part of China since ancient times.

PayPal says developer productivity jumped 30% during the COVID-19 plague

llaryllama

New features?

One of the brilliant features was a new 3% charge for withdrawing USD as a UK PayPal account holder. Another was non refunding of fees on refunds. Yet another was an increase in stealth currency exchange fees, in some cases up to 4%.

Thanks, PayPal!!

Facebook and Australia do a deal: The Social Network™ will restore news down under and even start paying for it

llaryllama

Ugh

I really, really hate Facebook but you have to think about where this money is going, and for what. I highly doubt that any small news sites independent publishers are going to see any cash, it's just a nice payday for Murdoch and co. And why exactly is this deal being made exclusively for news publishers? If it was a fair system not being pushed by cashed up media lobbyists surely all content creators from YouTubers to cat gif animators should get their $0.02?

Trump silenced online: Facebook, Twitter etc balk at insurrection, shut the door after horse bolts and nearly burns down the stable

llaryllama

Re: Hmmm

When every major platform has banned a sitting US president, would you consider that censorship?

Whether or not you like Trump has to be removed from this debate. Free speech is an absolutely critical part of modern democracy, and that means that you can't shut people up just for being horrible. If someone says horrible things just forcing them off mainstream platforms onto right wing echo chambers is dangerous for everyone and causes even more division in society.

In many regimes around the world there is a nudge nudge wink wink approach to censorship where the government is not directly censoring content but very strongly suggesting that media companies should toe the line (the best example of recent times is Hong Kong). You can say it's technically not censorship and you may even support that because they are censoring someone you hate, but it's all fun and games until the censorship net starts getting widened.

There are already laws in place covering illegal speech such as threats or incitement and a judge should be enforcing those laws, not Facebook or Google.

llaryllama

Re: Hmmm

I feel the same way, and it's upsetting to see so many downvotes on El Reg where people should know better.

The issue is not the message they are censoring - few reasonable people would agree with this vile nonsense - the issue is with the censoring itself.

Lots of people don't like Trump and are most likely cheering the censoring of his speech, but who gets to decide what should be censored? Should it really be a handful of for-profit companies who make money trading personal data?

What happens when gradually over 20 years an authoritarian government creeps into power and more harmless political speech gets censored? What if conservative groups start buying up these companies or forming their own and slowly censor abortion debates, or LGBT groups?

Allowing and cheering on censorship because it happens to be targeting someone you don't like today is very likely to come back and bite you in the ass 5, 10 or 50 years from now.

Epic Games files competition lawsuit against Google in the UK over Fortnite's ejection from Play Store

llaryllama

But can you imagine anybody being OK with a situation where you sell Widgets and you are only allowed to sell them in one single chain and the chain takes a fixed cut? People have got too apathetic about massive tech corps telling them what's right and wrong.

llaryllama

Re: They want a free ride

I'm not an Epic fan by any means but the way I understand it is they want to offer games through their own store which is not allowed by Google or Apple. They don't want to use Google's infrastructure but there is no choice. An end to this kind of forced store lock-in can surely only be good for consumers and developers?

China unleashes fearsome new cyber-weapon: A very provocative meme

llaryllama

Re: re: <title is too long>

Nothing about the post suggests that it was a "parody", "joke" or "cartoon". Suggesting that it's a "photo realistic cartoon" is highly disingenuous.

If somebody from the US government posted a "photo realistic cartoon" of a PLA soldier shooting ethnic minorities against the wall with no further explanation, would this be OK?

Like I wrote above I deplore censorship of any kind and I don't agree that this image should be blocked. If anything it just puts the PRC government in a bad light.

The problem I have is that less incendiary posts by conservative/republican politicians/pundits are flagged as fake news or sensitive. Does that mean that Twitter has given the image in question a green light? And what right do they as a social media platform to decide that?

llaryllama

Re: A well written account of what's going on

The "fraud" is that they were using part of a building for reasons not described on the lease. There is very little other information forthcoming, I assume because the case is so ridiculous and tenuous.

In other words, Lai has done nothing wrong so let's scour the records for the pettiest of technicalities to throw him in jail cause that'll learn 'im.

llaryllama

I find it very frustrating that Twitter is somehow able to immediately label anything negative about Hunter Biden or the US elections as fake news but an autocratic dictatorship can post an incendiary and violent Photoshopped image with zero consequences.

My friends get confused and even aggressive when I talk about this because they assume this means I'm pro Trump or whatever, but this kind of attitude is exactly what's wrong with free speech in 2020.

Free speech means allowing and accepting viewpoints that you don't agree with. I was taught this from a young age and I try to balance my news reading between left, right, local and international. If your platform is a free for all where anyone can post anything then so be it. If your platform is moderated then moderate equally, tag anything remotely controversial or unproven as fake news.

Where we are headed now is really not that much better than China or Russia, except instead of the central government controlling information flows it's massive tech companies and their backers.

llaryllama

Re: Hypocrisy with Chinese Characteristics

If China was just a moderately well behaved country it's possible that Taiwanese - being a pragmatic bunch - might vote for some kind of unification.

It's almost gone that way a few times in the last 30 years, but thankfully for me as a staunch independence advocate China can't help shooting itself in the foot. When the pro-Beijing nationalist KMT party were still in power things started to get very cozy. China tried to seal the deal by showing off some military hardware and hassling Taiwan's air defenses with the rather predictable results - even moderate and China-leaning Taiwanese were repulsed by these threats and our democratic opposition destroyed the KMT in elections.

A tale of two nations: See China blast off from the Moon as drone shows America's Arecibo telescope falling apart

llaryllama

Re: Did I just read that right?

China isn't communist, it's an autocratic dictatorship.

There is a middle ground somewhere between saying that the virus was developed on purpose in a Chinese bio weapon lab and China is completely faultless in their handling of the situation.

There is a small mountain of evidence showing China pressuring the WHO not to recommend travel restrictions and for at least a few months there was strong suppression of warnings and news by provincial level government in Hubei.

"Communism with Chinese characteristics" is partly to blame for the initial spread due to systemic fear of speaking out or making tough decisions in the PRC political hierarchy. Supporters of democracy need to call this out instead of coddling dictators.

llaryllama

Re: Did I just read that right?

There is no credible evidence that initial human to human contact originated anywhere but Hubei province (and no, a Global Times article is not credible evidence). Please do your homework and don't just spread CCP led conspiracy theories.

I don't blame China for the virus existing but I do blame China and the WHO for playing down the situation because the CCP didn't want China to be affected economically.

As of mid January the WHO - under immense pressure from top levels of Chinese government - was still advocating no restrictions to worldwide travel, anyone who suggested temporarily suspending travel from China was labeled a racist and any chance to control and isolate the virus was lost.

Taiwan has experienced China's "nothing to worry about" line before with SARS, so travel was locked down immediately contrary to WHO guidelines and that seems to be a big part of what has kept us safe.

Wireless screen in estate agent window just begging for someone to fill it with mischief

llaryllama

Re: Wireless Display

That joke should get you a battering

America, Taiwan make semiconductors their top trade priority at first-ever 'Economic Prosperity Dialogue'

llaryllama

Re: Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

I wish people would stop comparing Chinese apples with Japanese oranges.

China is a strict authoritarian dictatorship whose education system is carefully managed and curated by the Chinese Communist Party. Japan has been a liberal democracy since 1947.

I have had the somewhat unique experience of early education in the UK, Chinese and Taiwanese school systems. My experience with Chinese teachers has been very negative, you are expected to learn by rote with a very narrow focus and there is almost zero leeway for discussion or debate. You have a lot of smart kids getting 100% on algebra exams but with no critical thinking skills whatsoever.

"We'd better get on board with China or get left behind" is an understandable but dangerous way of thinking if you value democracy. The PRC is currently doing some pretty awful things to its own people and Asia at large, and the Communist Party has openly stated that they wish to challenge western democratic systems and export Chinese autocracy around the world.

llaryllama

Re: What happens when...

My point is I think they are about to hit a wall, if they haven't hit it already.

Advancing from extreme poverty to China's current situation is more of a brute force undertaking. Run the country as an industrial machine, feed income back into the machine and continue until prosperous. The PRC has been successful in this undertaking, but now what?

Progressing from a sub US$10k per capita GDP into a technological powerhouse takes more than a brute force approach of burning cash and throwing a billion people at the problem. China's core political system dictates how students are taught, in turn there is a massive weakness in creativity and logical thinking.

llaryllama

Re: What happens when...

I'm extremely anti-CCP and angry with many things that the PRC has done to Taiwan and others in recent years, but still I agree that cutting them off from western technology is a bad idea.

Having said that, Taiwan and South Korea have highly unique environments that are difficult to replicate just by throwing money and resources at the problem.

China has been investing tens of billions, poaching top talent from Taiwan fabs and blatantly stealing American/Taiwanese technology but they are still a long long way behind the most advanced Taiwanese fabs. They have only just figured out volume production on 14nm chips and much of the critical technology involved was imported, not home grown.

I don't see China making any seriously rapid advancements on home grown tech under the current political regime.

Marmite of scripting languages PHP emits version 8.0, complete with named arguments and other goodies

llaryllama

Unashamed PHP fan

I come from a C background having moved on from hardware device drivers to embedded industrial systems and web backends. Always had a soft spot for PHP because there is so much carry over from C, it can be very powerful and quite nippy in the right hands. I have some fairly large projects written in PHP including an accounting application I wrote 15 years ago that's still going strong.

China sets itself 2035 goal for technology self-sufficiency and covets title as the world’s top innovator

llaryllama

1950s Japan and modern day China are two completely different beasts.

Japan, Taiwan, Germany, the US and other democratized nations have all made huge contributions to science and technology thanks in large part to their open democratic societies.

China was once a technological powerhouse for sure but we are talking about thousands of years ago. For a country of over a billion people there have not really been too many truly novel achievements in the last two decades. Much of China's technological advancement in this time has involved foreign technology transfers or mid range manufacturing development.

Unless China turns away from autocracy - which is looking more unlikely every year - they will be stuck behind self-imposed road blocks to further technological advancement.

Apple presses pause on Pegatron: Major long-time supplier on naughty step over China labour violations

llaryllama

Re: Scrutiny

https://qz.com/114110/apple-iphone-manufacturers-pegatron-foxconn-taiwan/

https://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-supplier-pegatron-margins-squeezed-by-iphone-5c-launch/

In 2013 Pegatron's operating margin was 1.5%.

As of 2018 four out of "Five key Taiwanese contract manufactures that help make Apple products ... recorded an operating profit margin below 1.5% in the period"

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-trends/Apple-suppliers-brace-for-serious-profit-erosion-amid-slow-gadget-sales

llaryllama

Re: Scrutiny

Maybe I am very naive but if Apple were allowing their upstream suppliers more than a wafer thin margin there might not be so much incentive to cut corners and cheat? Not that Pegatron are in the right whatsoever but Apple should definitely take some of the heat.

llaryllama

When Apple are pushing and squeezing to get the lowest possible costs while selling for the maximum possible price this kind of thing is inevitable. You can't squeeze suppliers by the danglies until their eyes pop out and expect everyone to behave.

China offers world its COVID QR Code movement passport at G20 Leaders' Meeting

llaryllama

An authoritarian government wants to store, control and manipulate deeply personal health data for individuals around the world. I'm sure absolutely nothing could go wrong, carry on!

If you're feeling down, know that we've just buried a heat sensor in an alien planet. If NASA can get through Mars soil, we can get through 2020

llaryllama

2021 to finish drilling a hole, sounds about right for a contractor. Can you get the kettle on luv, I'm parched.

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

llaryllama

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.

llaryllama

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.

llaryllama

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

llaryllama

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

llaryllama

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.

llaryllama

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'

llaryllama

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?

llaryllama

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

llaryllama

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

llaryllama

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.

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