* Posts by BenR

292 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Aug 2010


Royal Navy's newest ship formally named in Glasgow yard


Re: How about..

HMS See you...

Britain collects new naval tanker a mere 18 months late


Re: Wot. A large piece of MOD kit not built by BAE.

Not necessarily true.

Although I agree with your point 100% in principle, in practice you're forgetting about the multiple tax dodges, rebates, off-shoring, "research expenditures" and other profit-sinks between revenue and taxation that comapnies like BAe would use to simply trouser the difference, simply meaning UKGov pays 25% more and doesn't get any of it back, instead simply subsidising their shareholders.

Landmark EU ruling: Legality of UK's Investigatory Powers Act challenged


And you are not going to get people to vote for a third party on the basis of one issue alone.

UKIP called and want their manifesto back...

Samsung, the Angel of Death: Exploding Note 7 phones will be bricked


Re: Is this even legal in the EU?

Again, Whirlpool publicly stated the issue, and a fix / recall.

Same as with car fault recalls - they notify the owners and tell them to bring the item in / book an appointment for an engineer visit.

Realistically, what else CAN they do when a post-sale, post-delivery fault is discovered with a product? If someone was killed before the recall, they'd be susceptible to a charge of corporate manslaughter i suspect. Once they've made the recall public, it's out of their hands somewhat. Samsung are in the position where it isn't out of their hands as they can "force" the recall - difficult to remotely disable a tumble dryer!

Sysadmin told to spend 20+ hours changing user names, for no reason


Re: Push back and automate

Upvoted for same.

Work for an enormous multinational with ~120,000 employees, who until a 'normalisation exercise' and AD move a couple of months ago used a combination (due to buyouts / mergers etc.) of:

- staff number + initials (i.e 710718bjr)

- first 3 of first name + first 3 of last name (i.e. Dave Smith = davsmi, with a number appended for duplicates)

- first initial + surname (with appended number for duplicates)

We have now moved to a uniform of [firstname].{optional: middle initial}.[surname]{optional number for duplicates if middle initial doesn't differentiate}. This matches the email alias on the corporate Exchange server.


Are you perhaps confusing V'ger with Nomad from TOS: "The Changeling" here?

Been a while since I watched / read that, so maybe it's me getting them mixed up, but "carbon units" was a Nomad phrase, not a V'ger/Ilia phrase I think.

BAE Systems' autonomous research aircraft flies itself to Scotland


Re: Maybe this is me being dumb...

So fancy AI drone, albeit one that still requires a supervisory pilot for autonomous ops, and presumably needs a pilot for take-off and landing?

I can see a benefit for military applications where it removes crew risk on iffy missions.

Struggling to see the point in commercial operations though.


Maybe this is me being dumb...

... but having read this article three times now (and please take due account of Monday Afternoon Syndrome!), i'm struggling to see how this is anything other than an alternative input system for autopilot? Rather than using weather radar, it uses a weather camera instead?

Or am i missing some bafflingly-obvious distinction?

Engineers say safety features got squished out of cramped Samsung Note 7


Re: So the pathetic arms race has found a public victim.

100% agree.

Whats that? You've made a phone that's only 6.4mm thick? Wow... but what about that bulge where the camera is? Does that not count? And why does it need to be so thin anyway?

How about we just say 8mm is plenty thin, no camera bulges, and then as miniaturisation gives you more space, put in a bigger battery so my phone has a chance of lasting two days of use rather than barely one.

Virgin Galactic and Boom unveil Concorde 2.0 tester to restart supersonic travel


Re: Are the designers good at maths?

I thought this.

Then i realised noone anywhere mentioned the same number of rows on either side of the aircraft.

I imagine a seat goes missing to squeeze in a toilet or something.

Confirmed: UK police forces own IMSI grabbers, but keeping schtum on use


I think this is the most telling part:

Privacy International's Matthew Rice told the Cable that “the findings – by revealing the codename – show that many police forces in the UK have invested in covert communications surveillance technology, yet the secrecy around them does not inspire confidence that the police are willing to be subjected to the level of scrutiny these powerful capabilities ought to attract.”

Exactly this. Did anyone in the world really think that the UK Rozzers *DIDN'T* at least have access to this capability, let alone having it in-house? Of course not.

And yest, you get comments like this:

Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Cullen eventually told us: "Our main priority is to protect the public from harm and we achieve this by utilising a number of techniques, some of them covert in nature. To retain their effectiveness we are not able to openly discuss these methods."

Noone is asking you to discuss in-depth the workings and methods. As evidenced by reading this thread, it isn't difficult to discover how these things work anyway. All people are saying is "Excuse me Mr. Constabulary - do you have the ability to intercept mobile communications? Yes/No?"

User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert


Re: "two monitors plugged into each other, a USB mouse plugged in to an ethernet port"

Brute force and ignorance?

Silicon Valley’s top exorcist rushed off his feet as Demons infest California



Wouldn't they be more effectively utilised up at Cupertino, dealing with the JesusPhone and the worshipping of a False Idol. You know - commandment and all...

If we can't fix this printer tonight, the bank's core app will stop working


Re: junior sys admin

What's a nubian?

'Faceless' Liberty Global has 'sucked the very soul' out of Virgin Media


Re: Yearning for the BlueYonder days


The Blueyonder days were great. Now *THAT* was how you handled customer service, bot on-site and over the phone, when they had call centre people that spoke the language natively, were technically competent, didn't just follow a script and assume you were a moron.

While I can't really complain about the *product* I get from Virgin, the *service* is poor. I'd actually hope that LG would take another look at the offerings, and the bundles, and everything else, and allow a bit more choice. I'm forced to pay for a home landline that I don't need or want, because it's more expensive to get rid of.

Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order


Re: Do people care?

I'm pleased to be able to say that TfL have admitted this is an admin error where the incorrect reg details have been recorded. They are to issue a cancellation letter forthwith.


Re: Do people care? re: Blotto

QUOTE: Anyway the info you have in no way categorically dismisses the fact that your car was recorded in their system at the time they said they did. you could have got a bus/taxi/bike/lift to work whilst you had loaned your car to someone that drove it to London, or you could have given someone else your work pass & phone whilst you where driving in London.

even a timestamped photo may not categorically prove you where not driving your car in London.

Exactly. I'm fully aware of that. I can only hope that TfL are not wankers and the evidence I do have is sufficient for them to doubt their own evidence, of which they don't seem to have very much. What you say is correct, but Occam's Razor has to apply somewhere right? What would be the benefit in someone else having my pass to get into the office? Why, if I were in London, would I give someone else my phone for the entire day? At that point, it starts to look less like a minor parking infraction and more like some kind of grand conspiracy.

Otherwise, in a similar situation, I am completely and totally unsure as to how someone could demonstrate their innocence. If someone has "cleverly" cloned the plate and put it on a matching vehicle (same make, model and colour), then how could *ANYONE* show that it wasn't their car? Unless by some miracle you're caught on camera doing something else somewhere else?


Re: Do people care?

Thanks to all for the replies and advice.

In answer to as many of the questions as I can remember while typing in the El Reg comments reply box:

Photo of car: There is no image of the vehicle at all (that I have seen or that they refer to). Simply a PCN based on a reg number from the traffic womble who was allegedly about to stick the ticket on the windscreen but the car drove off before he could. In some ways, I guess i'm lucky it happened this way round, as if they had stuck the ticket on and just logged the reg number, I'd then have to prove I never saw the windscreen ticket and the first I'd've known about it would be a summons through the letterbox. This is currently my second biggest hope.

Fake logs: Agreed. It would be fairly trivial to fake them, certainly in terms of the paper-copy-only submissions they accept. Conveniently, both my personal mobile and my work iPhone have logged the same data, and it is presentable electronically if they ask. Further, the door logs from work came with a signed letter verifying their accuracy and veracity. I can probably get a copy of the AD and web proxy logs too, which should prove which part of the subnet i was connected to, thus my physical location to some extent. It's all about a preponderance of evidence at this point. Should it go to court, my office manager has also said she can provide CCTV footage if required of me sat at my desk the entire day, as I happen to sit adjacent to one of the cameras. TfL have been informed of this.

Keeper, not driver: This is a bit of a worry, as even if they accept the evidence, it only proves I wasn't there, not the car. As it turns out, I was the only person with access to the vehicle at the time, as my GF (who only very rarely drives my car at the best of times) was out of the country at the time. And as I drove the car to work that day, it would have been tricky for someone to nick it, drive to Shoreditch, park illegally, and then return it to the car park at work without me noticing...

Other ANPR: This would be absolutely ideal to get hold of, but I've no idea how I would do so before the thing went to court. I also have no idea how long Sheffield Council will keep ANPR / other camera footage when it isn't being used for enforcement purposes.

Other details about car: I have requested that TfL supply me with information regarding the make, model and colour of the vehicle observed by the traffic womble, and expressly NOT the information they will have rec'd from DVLA so I can confirm. If it's a "cleverly" cloned plate, it won't prove anything; but if it's a simply typo / error then it might help.

What else?: It has also been pointed out to me that if the traffic womble was close enough to slap a ticket on, they were close enough to see the driver and should be able to provide a rough description. It might help with the driver was obviously not the same ethnicity as me, but as I am otherwise an averaged sized, 25-45, white, dark haired British male, it might not be the distinguishing characteristic I'd hope for!

TBH, my first biggest hope is that the evidence I've sent off to them is sufficient to cast doubt on their information, and they simply cancel it. I have no idea the likelihood of such happening having had no dealings with TfL in this kind of regard previously. A couple of other parking tickets at work which have arisen from misunderstandings over when permits need changing / tickets fallen out of windows etc. have been resolved and cancelled with very little bother once I've been able to speak to a person.


Re: Do people care?

QUOTE: "Nice how you had to prove your innocence rather than them proving your guilt, as should be the case. Gotta love the instant fine system."

I thought that, but then I suppose the TfL argument (as the statutory accusatory body) would no doubt be to turn round and say "We've got proof of guilt in respect of the traffic womble that was about to stick a ticket on your windscreen before you drove off. As they're a 'trusted' person - much like the Rozzers - we take their word as sacrosanct, so it's up to you to refute it."

The fact that said traffic womble has either:

a) written down the wrong reg plate / misread the reg plate at the time / misread the reg plate from his notes when he got back to the office, or;

b) been duped by a cloned plate of some kind seems to be irrelevant.

Either way, I've also asked for confirmation from the traffic womble's notes (and NOT from the DVLA data) of the make, model and colour of the car. I know for a solid fact it wasn't me - and that isn't internet bravado. That's me knowing that at the time of the incident, my car was outside my house while I was in my bathroom having a shower before work 150 miles away!


Re: Don't be evil.

I think you're probably right here.

They probably don't think too much about collecting the data, because it's mostly anonymised for bulk data usage, and the data that isn't anonymised is encrypted and logged to a single account etc. etc. And anyway, they're the only ones using it, and only so we can serve up targetted ads that people might be interested in, and who doesn't want to be told about the five Starbucks' within a thirty yard radius of their current position at any given time anyway?

I suspect they see it as useful data to provide convenient services, and haven't fully thought through the downsides of it due to cognitive bias.

But as we all know, it only takes one weak link in the chain of trust for it to become abuse of power.

Yes, UK Police National Computer database. I'm looking at you.


Re: Do people care?

I have to say, I agree with you. I too try to minimise my data-slurping, but a recent (as in yesterday!) event has caused me to be grateful I missed / forgot to turn something off.

I got home from work to find a Penalty Charge Notice from TfL claiming that my car had been seen parked on a Red Route in Shoreditch High Street at 07:58 on 18-Aug-2016. Now I know for a *FACT* this isn't the case, as I haven't been to London since January in any capacity, and my car hasn't ever been to Shoreditch since I've got it from new - the closest was probably a trip to Wembley Stadium about 3 years ago. Sadly, I have no proof of this, because the day in qeustion was an otherwise uneventful Thursday in August, where I had no meetings, no phone calls or anything to demonstrate where I was.

EXCEPT for the Google Location History from my phone, which shows me at my house in Sheffield until 08:19 in the morning, and then driving to work. I've then managed to get hold of the door logs at the office which shows I entered the building at 08:55. So obviously, I couldn't have been in Shoreditch. I'm hoping that this is enough to get TfL to cancel the charge.

But, frankly, I'd've been slightly screwed for evidence if it wasn't for this data-slurping collection. No meetings. No other senior staff were in the office that day so I was in charge. No bank charges / ATM withdrawals showing me to be elsewhere at the time. And I'd struggle to get access to the Sheffield Council CCTV/ANPR images showing me driving to work without an FoI request, which could take forever.

I'm in no way saying that unfettered access to this data is uniformly a good thing - far from it. It's just that in some cases, it could prove to be handy to you as much as it is handy to Google et al for revenue purposes.

35,000 ARRIS cable modems at risk from firmware dumper bot


Re: VM Superhub 3

Very glad you came here to say this, as I was about to ask the very same thing.

US Marine Corps to fly F-35s from HMS Queen Lizzie as UK won't have enough jets


Re: They should save time...

QUOTE: "A Nimitz class has a total compliment of around 5000 personnel. The UK literally couldn't man one. The QE Class are around 1000 with a full air group and hangers on.

The French don't fly Super Hornets, they fly Rafael. Their carrier programme was equally plauged with problems, at one point the deck was too short to land the Hawkeye AWACS aircraft they'd ordered from the US."

I genuinely don't know why I added the "like the French do" comment on the end. I was probably trying to make some kind of point that seemed related in my head, but the connections haven't made it onto the page. I *THINK* the point was likely to be about using traditional aircraft with a good history (i.e the Rafale and Super Rafale) rather than complex, newly-invented aircraft whose service history even over the brief time they've been extant, let alone actually in service, has been plagued with problems.

I agree re: the compliment of the Nimitz class carriers, but I'm forced to wonder how much of the 5000 could be pared down with a smaller airgroup, smaller aircraft maintenance staff, more modernisation of systems requiring less personnel to run, no embedded Marine Corps types etc. etc.

Also, there are nearly 23,000 people in the RN alone. 5,080 officers, and 11,500 or so non-coms across just Warfare (General Service), Engineering (General Service) and Engineering (Air). Doesn't seem like it'd be too much of a struggle to find 1,500 extra.

But, end of the day, it's MoD spending. They're more than capable of totally fucking it up all on their own without having to copy the French or the Yanks.


Re: They should save time...

I remain unsure as to why we didn't simply licence the Nimitz-class design as a baseline, the tweak it to better suit the RN. Would've been cheaper than spunking money on BAe to come up with a non-modular modularised carrier that is designed to accept cats at a later date, assuming you spend almost as much money as the cost of the carrier in the first place to basically totally rebuild it so it can accept cats...

We could have saved a lot of money by just flying Super-Hornets off it too.

Like the French do.

Inside our three-month effort to attend Apple's iPhone 7 launch party


The question you should be asking yourself is: does that mean that everyone who is invited to Apple's events can be relied upon to self-censor any negative comments? (Quick clue: the answer's yes.)

As evidenced by sites like Gizmodo publishing articles like this:


And this:


All published very quickly after the outcry against 3.5mm jack removal hit the fan. Very much looks like cozying up to Daddy.

Hello, Star Trek? 25th Century here: It's time to move on


Question: Where is the header image in the article from?

It appears to be of a ship in the Kelvin timeline (based on the shape and bulk of the warp nacelles), but we've only ever had decent "hero" shots of the Enterprise and not any of the other ships.

(As an aside, I don't mind the JJ-Trek films, but 'Into Darkness' annoyed me. It now occurs to me that the first one would have been better if it built up to the destruction of Vulcan as the final battle, rather than the destruction of Earth, as that would solve the Spock = Superman conundrum. And I was desperately hoping that the ship being built at Starbase Yorktown in 'Beyond' was going to be a Kelvin-timeline interpretation of The Great Experiment (NX-2000 USS Excelsior).)

Mozilla's trying on seven hot new spring/summer logo looks


Eye of Sauron

Came here to say the same thing.

Have an upvote instead.

Bought a GTX 970? Congrats, Nvidia owes you thirty bucks


Re: Nvidia have been there before...

I had a HP laptop that did the same thing, but as I recall, the issue wasn't the GPU going pop, but being so far outside the thermal limits that it started to unsolder itself from the board. It was never 100% clear - to me at least - whether it was dodgy chips from nVidia, or piss-poor thermal management design by the vendors.

There were rumours that stripping the board out and putting it in a hot oven for an hour or so might help it, but i never tried it. My HP 9800 lasted a good number of years before crapping out totally, at which point i decided it was old enough to simply warrant buying a new one.

UK employers still reluctant to hire recent CompSci grads


Re: The only thing any diploma can prove ...


I love this, by the way:

I dont know about "Computer Science" , but i did Engineering , and it was fucking difficult. You didnt just have to "Comprehend difficulties" you had to work stuff out and solve problems . the maths alone was mind boggling . Most people would be able to even "comprehend the difficulties" never mind actually do the work.

...which led to drifting into I.T because people with mad skillz in an incredibly difficult subject that is central to life as we know it are inexplicably not lauded as heros and paid bags of gold, that goes to the fucking money merchants in london who contribute nothing and just swirl all the money around in a big trough whilst skimming off as much as they can carry.

still , you try not to be bitter about it ...

This absolutely sums it up for me. And I *STILL* work in engineering! It's not like I don't make a decent living, but when I compare it to law types, or accounting types, or MBA types, or project management types, it do somewhat start to fume a little.

The only thing I'd say / gently correct about your post is that a lot of the problems in engineering are fairly common-sense, but the actual understanding and knowledge of how to correctly deal with them can be a bit intense. The academic part of it - in this particular case at least - is only designed to give you the background knowledge to understand the principles, so you stand a chance of being able to suss out a more complicated problem elsewhere. Only very rarely does a scheme come along that exactly maps to something they taught you at uni - most of the times its an interacting combination of about 4 or 5 first-principles, with an added dash of something totally off-the-wall.

Why you should Vote Remain: Bananas, bathwater and babies


Re: Passport to Pimlico @AC

"when the individual voters rights are watered down to the point where your ability to alter deeply unpopular government policies by protest or referendum vanishes"


Because in our current democracy, we've been WILDLY FUCKING SUCCESSFUL in altering deeply unpopular government policies by protest or referendum.


Virgin Media goes TITSUP* in South London due to painful piles


Re: It's always been a problem

I'm assuming (hoping!) that this was a number of years ago - making no judgements about your age - because carrying on like that now could, would and probably *should* lead to a proper spanking through the courts by HSE. And probably a civil suit by the plant-owners, and possibly a criminal suit as some of the services are statutory. And then a possible further civil suit from the recipients of the services for service interruption.

Only takes a backhoe through a HV cable or a gas main to cause severe problems... and all of a sudden someone is dead and the CEO is in court for corporate manslaughter. If the higher-ups knew about and did nothing, they deserve what they get. this is why there is always a "zero retribution" policy on H&S whistleblowing on every site i've ever been on.


Re: It's always been a problem

My experience - which is actually in construction - tells me that half the time, the "exact location" of these services that Virgin claimed the construction company had will have error bars on it of ±10m if you're lucky. The disclaimer you get back on C2 and C3 notices to stats companies is a nonsense. Once it's in the ground they generally have no idea where it is.

I've worked on schemes where there was a large diameter, high-pressure gas main running roughly adjacent to a bridge we were trying to widen, that serviced a large chunk of the Thames Valley with gas, and the response from National Grid was "It's around here somewhere." Lots or trial pits dug to locate it.

The cost to the scheme will be hundreds upon thousands of pounds, and that's just if they cut through a cable. The costs for a planned move of a big cable like this are stratospheric - we were quoted £500k by BT for moving a fibre-optic cable under the M4 from one duct to another about 50 metres away. If they have to pull a pile out, then the costs are a lot higher than that, because pulling piles out of the ground isn't easy, which is why they normally get left in. The delay costs to the scheme can easily dwarf the "occasional bill" they get sent depending on the scheme. Afraid your statement is simply not true. It isn't worth doing.

Surveillance forestalls more 'draconian' police powers – William Hague


If that's what he says then that's fine...

... but i fully expect every single byte of data from his work and personal computer; images of every piece of physical correspondence he's ever sent; audio recordings of every conversation he's ever had, to be released onto the internet for us all to view.

And yes - I mean both personal AND professional data. Fuck him. If you've got nothing to hide then you've got nothing to fear, isn't that right Will?

Along with all 650 of his mates in the Commons, and all 700+ of his decrepit old muckers in the Lords too.

Along with everyone who works there as a civil servant.

And everyone else who has ever worked there, ever, since records began.

Remember, there's no such thing as a right to privacy!

What's that? There's an explicit provision in the Draft Bill to exclude parlimentarians? Will isn't *THAT* just wonderfully fucking convenient for you all then?

Freeze, lastholes: USB-C and Thunderbolt are the ultimate physical ports



We've all standardised on micro-USB. Except for Apple, who still use Lightning. And are unlikely to be changing at any point in the future. So that's already three standards we have running. Add USB-C into it and that's four...

Any advance on four?

Bloke flogs $40 B&W printer on Craigslist, gets $12,000 legal bill


RE: No, his mistake was living somewhere that something like this is even legally allowed to happen.

This would be allowed to happen anywhere - breach of contract is breach of contract, so you can sue for it.

In most jurisdictions however, you're likely to be asked to actually *PROVE* it.

I'd like to think that here in the UK, the Small-claims court would have thrown it out without evidence, or at the very worst required that the initial purchase price (minus the shipping) be refunded, with no basis for appeal of the judgement.

America edges closer to get-a-proper-warrant-to-read-my-email law


Yet again...

... the UK is shown up on this issue - however transparently a fop to privacy advocates it may be - by the US.

Le sigh.

Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview


Can someone explain the point?

I mean, sure - it seems quite technically clever and impressive and such-like, but I struggle to see the point.

In this day and age, with the amount of computing power available in even the most bog-standard of basic office-desktop-boxen, is spinning up a VM to run proper Linux really that tricky? I have VirtualBox on every machine that runs the x86 Android build, and a flavour of Linux, just to play around with. Hell, MS themselves released Windows 7 with XP-Mode, and that made getting a VM up as easy as you like.

So proper-techy-people (one of whom I am not) - is there in fact a genuine use-case for this?

FBI Director defends iPhone 5C unlock tool that's obviously going to leak into wrong hands


Re: Bah!

"very little need" =/= "no need"

But I see your point.

That naked picture on my PC? Not mine. The IT guy put it there


Re: Its not every day I learn a new word from El Reg

I had to bloody well look it up!!

Grammar Nazi - because.

That one phone the FBI wanted unlocked? Here are 63 more, says ACLU


Re: Involuntary servitude

I'm a bit off-topic on this one too, for the same "not being an American" reasons as you, but I understood it as a 14th Amendment defence because there is such a concept as Corporate Citizenship - meaning that corporations as a whole are extended the same rights as an individual citizen with regard to certain things.

Samsung Galaxy S7: Big brand Android flagship champ


Finally! Someone else sees it!

There's an awful lot of computer inside a Wear watch, and it isn't doing much for you, except running down its battery.

I've been saying this for *AGES!!*

This is why the Pebble and such are so good. Just a shame they're a bit on the unattractive side. The Pebble Round Time isn't bad, but they've made the same mistake regarding "thinness" as all the other tech manufacturers seem to do and have taken it too far. Also, no Qi charging, which in something like a smartwatch is unforgivable in my view.

UK Snoopers' Charter crashes through critics into the next level


Andy Burnham is a thick, clueless, lifetime politico-twat.

He understands nothing, but thinks an Oxbridge PPE gives him the background to legislate on everything.

Much like pretty much every other MP in the Commons sadly.


Last time the Lords pushed back on something the Government really wanted to get through - the benefit changes i think it was - they were told there would be "consequences".

(Although that was more because they interfered in a financial, budgetary matter which by custom they previously had not.)

I would suspect that if they interfere again, they will get slapped down and their power reduced. In this case, because it will be pointed out that the Bill passed with a huge majority and thus must represent the will of the people as filtered through their elected representatives....


Re: Abstainers

Absolute weasel words here from Labour. They think the Bill isn't worthy of support in it's current form, but they won't vote against it. Instead, they simply abstain and allow the vote to pass with less than an absolute majority on the number of votes, instead only needing a majority of the number of people who turn up.

Andy Burnham (Shadow Home Secretary):

"I disagree entirely. As I said, we will not oppose the Bill because we will be responsible. I have recognised that the country needs a new law. I have also said, as I will come on to explain, that the Bill is not yet worthy of support. There are significant weaknesses in the Bill. I am sorry, but I am not prepared to go through the Lobby tonight and give the hon. Gentleman and his Government a blank cheque. I want to hold the Government to account. I want to see changes in the Bill to strengthen the Bill. When they listen, they will earn our support. That is entirely appropriate and responsible for an Opposition party to do."

I could accept abstaining if the threshold for passing a Bill or vote in the Commons remained 326, not a simple majority of the people in the chamber at the time. When a vote can pass on 281 votes because of mass abstentions, then abstaining isn't simply abstaining - it's effectively voting yes.


Re: "gutless" by the Liberal Democrats.


Why 'abstaining' on issues like this is an option is beyond me. We, the citizenry, pay through our taxes a substantial sum of money to keep the parasites gainfully (Hah!) employed by voting on our behalf on important issues.

They don't turn up for some votes. They abstain on others. Meaning a Bill gets passed through a Parliament of 650 MPs with 281 votes - 43% by my sums. And that doesn't even account for the fact that the 328 or so Conservative MPs are running the country based on a little over 35% of the total vote, which in itself is only representative of the 60% or so of the population that voted in the first place!

That means this Bill has been through the Commons with (possibly) as little as 9% of the vote - if one chooses to interpret the numbers in a specific way, admittedly.

The SNP are hypocrites.

Labour are absolutely spineless.

The Lib Dems, at least, haven't flip-flopped on this particular position as they did on so many for the promise of a referendum on alternate voting systems.

'Just give me any old date and I'll make it work' ... said the VB script to the coder


I happened across the hated VB Date format bug myself. Took me an age to work out what was causing the issue in the first place, primarily because I foolishly assumed no-one would be so stupid as to allow random conversions in the first place.

I then discovered that - in the version of VB i was then using at least - that the system Locale settings make absolutely no difference whatsoever to VBs interpretation of the dates. It carries on doing it's own thing regardless.

I ended up fixing the issue by wrapping every single date input command in the ConvertDate() (at least i think that's what it's called - the memory is now hazy) to *FORCE* everything into a consistent, known format, and carefully hand-scouring the code, which was thankfully not too long, to ensure it wasn't doing anything odd with strings or anything.

Worked in the end, but had me pulling my hair out and screaming for a good few days.

I love the random 8 character .origin issue though. That's just brilliant.

Sussex PC sacked after using police databases to snoop on his ex-wife


Oh! Look!

What's that? Yet *MORE* evidence that the police and other such bodies can't be trusted with personal information that is - apparently - only accessed when necessary and in pursuit of the prosecution of criminals and terrorists?

I hope people are going to make a point of emailing this story to their various MPs pointing this fact out, especially if said MP happens to be in favour of the Snooper's Charter (Mk 2), or is in fact the FIrst Lady of Darkness herself?

(I would, but as my MP has recently passed away, there isn't a lot of point!)


Re: " dismissed from Sussex Police without notice"

You don't need to commit a crime to be discharged from employment for gross misconduct. You can be dismissed under the terms of most contracts for turning up to work over the drink-drive limit (or some other specified amount), which is perfectly legal...

... or were you commenting on the fact that the copper in question has somehow gotten away with *ONLY* being discharged from his employment, rather than being *ADDITIONALLY* charged with a crime?

Google to snatch control of Android updates from mobe makers – analyst


Re: Don't get your hopes up

Surely it can't be difficult to update the OS kernel and the programs that run atop it without changing the HAL model and invalidating the existing drivers?

All-American Apple challenges US gov call for iOS 'backdoor'


Re: To my mind... - Phil Kingston

The court order is extremely specific to the device (serial and imei). And iirc doesn't require the software to be handed over. I was actually quite impressed with the wording and can sympathise with the intent.

You and I both. Some of the judges have obviously been paying attention to the growing furore over security, unwarranted snooping and the like.

However, the idea that any individual's protected information can be accessed by the state by way of a court order is troubling to me. Personally, I've nothing to hide, but that doesn't mean I'm comfortable with a government agency rifling through my stuff.

I don't agree here though. If the authorities, be it the local police of some arm of the government security apparatus, has actually been to a court and got a court order, then isn't this exactly what most people have been asking for? Clear, accountable judicial process and a valid warrant for the information?

Admittedly in this case, it's all a bit post hoc and arguably pointless - which is why I tend to agree with people suggesting it's being used as a precedent-setting test-case - but I'd be perfectly happy with this. Especially given the controls the judge has tried to put on it.

Of course, if Apple were to comply, all they've done is shown everyone and their dog that there *IS* in fact a way to break into their system and "bypass" the security...