* Posts by calumg

41 publicly visible posts • joined 19 Aug 2010

VW engineer sent to the clink for three years for emissions-busting code


There's nothing illegal in writing the code. The illegal act is selling the car that cheats the emissions standards. How is an engineer supposed to know the law anyway - this is what the company's legal department and product managers do.

VW's Audi suspends two engineers in air pollution cheatware probe



I wonder if the engineers in question got a large secret payout to go along with it?

So what's the internet community doing about the NSA cracking VPN, HTTPS encryption?


Re: Is this a legacy problem

Distributing primes, even regularly, would be a problem, because priority targets would have all their encrypted comms archived. (At least, that's what I'd do if I were GCHQ.) So even if it takes longer than a month, once the prime is cracked, all the archives can be decrypted. A reminder that encryption keys should be long enough to prevent cracks by *future* computing power.

HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie


Re: Tidy Desk

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

― Albert Einstein

Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht to spend LIFE in PRISON without parole


He was a drug dealer

My first thought was that Ulbricht didn't sell drugs himself, so shouldn't be found guilty of drug dealing.

But normal drug dealers are just middle-men between drug producers and drug consumers. That's exactly what Silk Road is. So yes, I guess Ulbricht WAS a drug dealer, with the aid of software in this case. He was a part of the chain, not an innocent bystander. He doesn't even have the excuse that he came from a challenging background where drugs were commonplace and there were no other employment options. He simply made a cool and calculated decision to sell drugs for profit.

For a first offence, lifetime without parole is too severe, and I believe he is sincere in his remorse which should also be taken into consideration when sentencing. As usual, internet crimes are punished more severely than real-world crimes, which I fundamentally disagree with.

Force your hand: Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display


It's excellent

I got the i7 and it's excellent. It's a good development machine due to its memory and disk. What matters with laptops isn't so much the processor, it's the ergonomics (screen, weight, battery, build, keyboard, an OS that supports high resolution well, a track-pad that actually works). So spec-for-spec, Macbooks are about average value, but factor in the ergonomics and they are a clear win. Obviously if you play a lot of games this isn't for you.

By the way, it still has the WiFi fail after sleep issue, which Apple allegedly "fixed" but did no such thing. Thanks Crapple, hope you're listening.

C’mon Lenovo. Superfish hooked, but Pokki Start Menu still roaming free


Pokki is fine

I've been running a Lenovo laptop with Pokki for 8 months and I can't say it's ever bothered me. I'm just grateful to have a Start menu instead of the abomination formerly known as Metro.

Yes I could probably find a better Start menu if I could be bothered.

FIVE Things (NOT 10: these are REAL) from the WINDOWS 10 event


Listen to your customers!

Windows could be so much better if Microsoft actually listened to their customers instead of foisting all this nonsense on us. For example:

Do users want to touch their monitors? No, no they don't.

Do users want to lose the Start menu? No, no they don't.

Do users want to talk to their PC or phone? No, no they don't.

Do users want lots of colourful Duplo blocks all over their screens? No, no they don't.

Do users understand or want to confirm security privileges ever? No, they don't.

Do users want software to ever install spyware and mess up their browser settings? No, they don't.

Do users want to fear opening documents or emails in case they get a virus? No, they don't.

Do users want to use their PC as a second monitor for their Xbox? No, they don't.

Do users want Bing by default? No they don't.

Do users want Internet Explorer by default? No, no they don't.

Does my mother go into a panic each time Metro pops up? Yes, she does.

Do customers like the idea of another Clippytana? No, they do not.

Do customers want a big blocky menu covering over the thing they were just working on? No no no.

So Microsoft, as you clearly struggle to come up with sensible ideas, just listen to your customers.

Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android


Re: Usb charging flap

Yup - I've had a Z3 compact for months now, and the Walkman app just failed me somehow, whereas the stock Android music player did what I wanted flawlessly. There's a lot of apps like Xperia Lounge which basically require you to rape your privacy and agree to various additional terms and conditions, which are basically just marketing vehicles. I've not been bothered to disable them yet, so they just pop up "marketing news" from time to time. Utter tripe.

All that said, Sony's customization is quite understated, and the bloatware doesn't spoil the Xperience too much.

iPlayer blocking tor relays?


Me too

This explains why I keep getting blocked - in spite of not running an exit node (reject *:* as yourself). It also explains why their "remedy" is to reboot the router, which may assign me a new IP address for long enough to use the services I paid for for a while until everything gets synced again, and you are back to square one.

Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?


Great battery

Kind of odd that the article didn't really review battery life, which is very much the USP of this device. I've had a Z3 compact for 2 weeks now, and no matter how much I mess about on it, it still has at least 25% charge left when I plug it in for the night. Frankly, not being tethered to USB is a complete revelation.

'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with two-year sentences for menacing posts


Out of proportion

I agree that specific threats overstep a line and should be illegal, but as usual, online activity is treated way too harshly by people who don't get technology. 2 years in prison is nearly the same tariff as an actual rape, so there's no way these sentences should in any way be of the same order of magnitude.

Windows Phone 8.1: Like WinPho 8, but BETTER


Re: Free?

"How will they make money?"

From Android royalties.

It's EE vs Vodafone: 'How good is my signal' study descends into network bunfight


I'm extremely unhappy with Vodafone as well, and hardly ever get a 3G signal. I very much welcome real-world tests, because artificial tests can be gamed in the operator's favour and who funds the test. They need a kick up the backside, and need to acknowledge their problems and their lack of investment.

Boffins: Antarctic glacier in irreversible decline, will raise sea levels by 1cm


Re: A choice of words

A consensus of scientists is worth more than a consensus of popular opinion, politicians, religion, commentards or economists.

'Best known female architect' angrily defends gigantic vagina


Absolutely beautiful building, but yes it does. The fact that the architect is a woman is frankly irrelevant, and I get really tired of this sexist victim nonsense. Women stopped being the weaker sex a long time ago.

What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?


It's a bad career choice

Answer: Nothing.

As a society, we don't value engineers. Accountants, lawyers, managers, doctors, dentists, plumbers can all make far more money, which is grossly unfair given the amount of work, education, skill, and determination required to be a good software engineer.

One issue is the recruitment process. People with no experience are simply looked over, and candidates are required to be overspecialized and are rejected if they do not have exactly the right skills for the job.

Another issue is that there are quite a lot of "bad" software engineers, who are just good enough to not get fired, and others who are just ass-hats.

All of these problems do not lie with the courses or the graduates. They are endemic in industry, and the solution is to fix industry. They should recognize and hold on to talent, and hire people based on their long term potential, not based on buzzwords on their CVs. Develop people in their jobs, and create a real sense of passion and loyalty in your employees.

I also agree with the sentiment that we are churning out too many computer scientists. It just dilutes the talent pool, and far too many people go into "computers" for the wrong reasons.

MI5 boss: Snowden leaks of GCHQ methods HELPED TERRORISTS


A free society?

Ironic how he talks about protecting our free society, then advocates total state surveillance. What part of freedom does he not understand?

WAR ON PORN: UK flicks switch on 'I am a pervert' web filters


I think GCHQ are in on this. All web proxy gateways of course log every single web page you visit, and opting out does not in any way turn off the logging function. Just when we thought the tide might be turning in the privacy war, the government tries to pull a fast one like this. Proxies are actually more powerful than passive listening because they can in many cases intercept HTTPS as well.

Basically this is their wet dream come true, they get us to pay for the hardware then get their snoopers charter as well.

What, you really think GCHQ wouldn't be able to access these boxes, through court order or a vulnerability?

Microsoft Surface Pro sales CANNIBALIZING Surface RT


This is good news indeed

I have no axe to grind with Microsoft as compared with other tech companies, but it's simply not healthy or good for consumers for any one company to have such a monopoly as Microsoft did. It just leads to stagnation and lock-in.

Therefore it warms me that Microsoft's plans to exploit its desktop OS to create another ecosystem are failing.

EU-wide mega-Leveson 'needed' to silence Press, bloggers


If it ain't broken don't fix it

Oh so there should be a law against gossip now? Whatever marginal benefits these laws bring, the effect on a free society is chilling.

Also, this isn't restraining "journalists", it's restraining "citizens".

Review: HP ENVY x2 Windows 8 convertible


Atom for £800? Seriously?!

Perhaps the latest generations of Atoms are fast, who knows, but all I remember is Steve Balmer holding up an Atom netbook and lying about how well Win7 ran on it. I have personally experienced the hell which is trying to use Win7 on an N270 with 2GB of RAM, and would need a lot of convincing to try it again.

World Bank says world likely to warm by four degrees


Global warming is just a liberal conspiracy

Of course it isn't, but why is everyone such an armchair expert when it comes to AGW? It is uncannily similar to creationists who suddenly imagine themselves to be experts at biology, geology, cosmology or any other field of science which is inconvenient, complex and unfathomable to them. You see similar tactics being employed.

Whilst unconditional trust of science and scientists is unreasonable, I'll go out on a limb here and say that climate science is not just snake-oil and climate scientists are honest intelligent individuals, and I certainly put more trust in them than the hoards of armchair experts who imagine that truth is some kind of democratic process where your ignorance equals my knowledge, and he who shouts loudest wins.

Windows Phone 8 reboot woe causes outpouring of forum misery


Re: Reboot culture

Ha ha, this morning I had to reboot after plugging my mouse into a different USB socket. On Windows 7. I kid you not.

Man, 19, cuffed after burning Remembrance poppy pic is Facebooked


How about the offensive posts being quickly taken down, and the user being kicked from Facebook for breaking the T&Cs. That to me would be a proportionate response.

If someone wants to be an idiot online, let them. It's not the real world. These laws were written before social media existed, and were designed for situations like phoning the victim's family.


MPs don't want to know

If this disturbs you, I suggest you write to your MP.

I did, and got absolutely nowhere. The problem is that my MP epitomises the average Daily Mail reader. Apparently my MP has no problem with the Communications Act 2003 S127, and thinks that it should be illegal to post sick jokes on the internet.

I'll vote for the other guy.

Windows 8 unleashed! Midnight launch for world+dog


Re: Another day another dollar

So in other words, due to Windows bloat, you need twice as powerful hardware to deliver the same kind of experience. What about iPad4?

Microsoft: It was never 'Metro,' it was always 'Modern UI'


Don't forget that Microsoft comes up with new GUI toolkits about every 3 years. I would guess that Modern won't survive the test of time either, and after that the name will just sound silly.

I wonder why Microsoft let go of the Metro brand so quickly? They must surely realise that they can't brand their way to better usability, and while I'm at it, why not brand Windows Phone to something which doesn't sound like an uncool slow klunky desktop PC. Just saying.

Nokia loses $1.7bn in Q1, sales chief falls overboard


That's more than MS paid them?

Didn't MS pay Nokia $1bn for ditching Android? Looks like that move hasn't paid off then. They should have offered a variety of OSes rather than putting all of their eggs in one FAIL basket. MS needs Nokia far more than the other way around. All Nokia needs to do to stop bleeding red ink is to offer Android. Fools.

Lumia sales fail to set world alight


Windows is a tarnished brand

I've said it before and I'll say it again - nobody wants to buy a "Windows" phone. Call it anything else and they'll sell like hot-cakes. Microsoft is clearly confused about the value of its brand.

Online store offers secondhand MP3 marketplace


So how does this stop you burning your mp3s to CD?

How about this suggestion: anybody can legally transfer mp3s to any third party at any time for no cost, no consent from the publisher, no registration process. Lending mp3s is legal.

This isn't as utterly nutty as it sounds. Once you break the rules (i.e. double-lending, double-selling) you are infringing copyright. If people really want to infringe copyright, then they can anyway. You've not lost a sale so why stress? Better to have laws which are practicable and workable than this ridiculous technical charade of DRM and the ReDigi rootkit.

Have everything. Own nothing. Learn the difference

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A change in the law is needed

The content industry wants it both ways. On the one hand they market things like "own it now on Blu-ray", and "you wouldn't steal a car", which clearly infuses the idea into consumers that they indeed own the thing that they just paid £20 for.

Then in the small print, they actually impose a load of restrictions. No wonder consumers are confused!

ReDigi wants to change this, and are banking on a change in the law. Obviously without that, their business model is going nowhere.

I actually think it's pretty reasonable that people should be able to re-sell digital assets, and I think a letter to my MP is needed. Consumers need more protection.

Green energy and jobs will cripple the UK economy


Typical short-termism

This is a typical example of why economists shouldn't be running the country. Evidently they can only deal with short term financial impact.

The long term impact of ignoring climate change is harder to quantify, so therefore it's totally ignored in the article.

To the sceptics on this thread: if the probability of climate change being real is (say) 50%, but the impact is (say) $100Tn, then you can just multiply the impact by the probability to get $50Tn.

What next, we'll be hearing that the fishing industry will be economically crippled by lowering fishing quotas? Same short-termism.

Economics promotes selfishness because there is no incentive for the individual [country] to act selflessly and work for the common good. Consequence: decimated fish stocks; potential climate catastrophe.

P.S. crippling the economy is a GREAT way to reduce CO2 emissions :-P

Hey, Music Industry. You're suing the wrong people


Opportunity wasted

The real problem is that the music industry want to maintain bricks-and-mortar CD sales, which is much more expensive. This has prevented pricing from dropping too far, as they want to represent ALL of their members. It's proof that they are operating as a cartel and should be investigated for anti-trust violations.

Another point is that the internet represents a fantastic opportunity to deliver more to customers, and therefore to make more money. Even with a level of piracy, they should be making more money. The article is therefore correct - they have squandered their opportunity to make more money by their regressive pricing models.

The fact that industry executives still don't get the internet means that they are losing their shareholders millions if not billions, and shareholders should be demanding better.

Seagate to unveil 'perfect iPad companion'


Media server

Upload music+videos to media server, stream onto iPad via WiFi. Maybe they've got some special software, or maybe they have extra hardware like a TV tuner or DVD player built into it. Maybe it streams over the internet.

Fukushima scaremongers becoming increasingly desperate


Really wish Lewis would drop the attitude

He's right on many points of course, but to crow on about how it didn't go too badly wrong is taking things too far. The bias is too far the other way now, and two wrongs do not make a right. Nuclear power is so safe precisely because of the paranoid, naysayers and nambi-pambies asking the right questions and insisting on safety and regulation.

In the coming months, the real story will be how the generation industry has been cutting corners. Why don't you do a report on that? Also, why don't you do a report into the economics of long term waste storage of nuclear waste and who should foot the bill. There's also some really interesting new reactor technology - report on that! Alternatively, suppress facts which do not support your world-view, your call.

Fukushima one week on: Situation 'stable', says IAEA


You can't measure newsworthiness by death toll

I'm personally fascinated by this story from a TECHNICAL standpoint. It's really interesting to see the failure modes of a nuclear reactor and how we are coping.

I don't particularly appreciate the Register telling me what I should and shouldn't find interesting.

It's hardly news that the tabloid media sensationalise. Wow, what a scoop you've got there. It's plain wrong reporting to suggest that the situation is now under control. The IAEA says that the situation is still very serious, and unless The Register has some kind of insider information that the IAEA does not have, I'll listen to them in future.


Stop insulting us

Ok, so let's imagine that there's a 75% chance that there won't be a significant release of radioactivity. Does this vindicate the tone of this article? Of course not. The fact there was a near miss is still extremely concerning. The fact that nuclear regulation in Japan is dysfunctional is concerning.

I find it extremely insulting to my intelligence to suggest that I don't understand risk and that I should not be concerned about this. The minute we downplay the risks as the author is doing here, we start to get complacent.

Windows 7 customers hit by service pack 1 install 'fatal error' flaws


Failed for me

Needs about 6 GB of free disk space to install, yet I only had 1GB free. The feedback from Windows Update was atrocious (just an opaque error code with no useful help link), so I had to manually install the SP to find out what was wrong. Now I have big hassles repartitioning my C: drive :(

Fukushima on Thursday: Prospects starting to look good


No new facts here

I guess Lewis is trying to be original and well researched here but it's just a positive spin on everything that's been reported elsewhere. The only reason the nuclear disaster isn't "all that bad" is merely because it pales in comparison to the tsunami. However the accident is bad by anyone else's definition. We may be over the worst, we may not be, but Lewis's confidence is not yet justified. I don't think any mainstream media are claiming anything other than an eventual expensive cleanup, so what has Lewis added here?

What I would agree on is that this accident should not necessarily put us off nuclear power (provided that the operators bear the cost of long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel) . Nothing is without its risks.

Orange mobile data chucks punters

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Orange Wednesdays out too

Last night at the cinema there were about ten people who hadn't got their "Orange Wednesdays" text through. We just bit the bullet and paid full price.