* Posts by Oddlegs

102 posts • joined 18 Mar 2011

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Braking news: Cops slammed for spamming Waze to slow drivers down

Oddlegs

Re: I have no problem with this.

In all seriousness if you can't drive down a hill without going over the speed limit then you probably shouldn't be driving (or at least shouldn't complain about getting caught). An alternative is to aim for 25mph rather than 30 so that any slight increase doesn't send you over the limit. It is a 'limit' after all and not a 'target'

Oddlegs

Re: I have no problem with this.

"a little bit too fast" ?

You've got to be going at 10%+2 above the limit before the police will take action so we're not talking about people who have taken their eye off the spedo for a couple of seconds and crept up to 31mph. If you don't feel that you can safely stay below 35 then you probably shouldn't be driving at all.

I don't disagree that some limits could be increased but if you feel that's the case then write to your MP, local authority and police force suggesting it. If we're going to have laws though you can't really complain about them being enforced at all times and not just when the police are looking your way.

Study: How Amazon uses Echo smart speaker conversations to target ads

Oddlegs

If you went into a department store for a new TV and commented to the person at the till about the rain I wouldn't be at all surprised for them to point out that they had a great range of umbrellas on floor 2

Netflix to crack down on account sharing, offer ad-laden cheaper options

Oddlegs

"advertising on low-end plans"

And with that here ends the golden age of streaming services as they go the same way as satellite and cable:

1) Offer an ad-free experience for a fee to tempt users from regular ad-funded TV

2) Introduce limited ads on low end plans

3) Ramp up ads on low end plans

4) Introduce limited ads on all plans

5) Standardise plans by having the same ads on all of them

Before you know it customers are paying a fee for exactly the same ad-filled experience they used to get for free from broadcast TV.

Rate of autonomous vehicle safety improvement slowing – research

Oddlegs

I drive around 1000 miles per month. From a technical point of view one disengagement per 8000 miles is fantastic but if I can effectively ignore my car for 8 months while it drives itself then it's very unlikely I'm going to be paying attention the one time in 8000 miles it needs me to do something.

This is the inherent problem with autonomous cars. Them becoming better means the driver pays them less attention which means when they do need attention they're less likely to get it. Autonomous cars are probably already good enough to fall into this awkward middle ground. Moving past it is going to take an awful lot of work. Any disengagements are probably too many and autonomous cars should concentrate on manoeuvering themselves automatically into a safe position if they're unsure of something rather than expecting a distracted driver to help them out.

Billionaires see wealth double during pandemic as tech bros lead the charge

Oddlegs

Re: "governments could tackle these inequalities"

Sure a billionaire can always take their cash and disappear to a sympathetic country but I'd be willing to bet that practically all of their income comes from a very small number of countries. If you consider the EU as one then you probably only need 5 or 10 governments to work together and all of a sudden 99.9% of these billionaires' income is under threat unless they start to play ball. Start imposing restrictions and tariffs on Tesla and SpaceX in the US, Canada, UK and EU if Elon disappears to a Caribbean island rather than paying his share of any new wealth tax and he'll change his mind very quickly (and still be left with more money than he could ever spend)

Shocking: UK electricity tariffs are among world's most expensive

Oddlegs

The current expense has next to nothing to do with privitisation which should be evident from the huge number of private suppliers who are going out of business. Clearly they're not creaming off huge profits. Even in the good times Bulb et al didn't actually make money. They've effectively been subsidising their customers' bills with their investors' money.

I agree that there are structural issues on the generation side and privitisation there will have contributed but let's not pretend that utopia lies in nationalising all public services. Nationalisation tends to lead to under investment and unions who like to throw their weight around. The happy medium for energy is probably a highly regulated, privately run industry which I think is what we've tried to create in this country. We've just done it very badly.

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

Oddlegs

Re: Why is Google not liable for damages?

This would force companies to test upgrades rather than have the end users do so

More likely companies would decide to simply not bother with upgrades for older hardware. This is already the case with most mobile phone manufacturers.

G7 countries outgun UK in worldwide broadband speed test

Oddlegs

A Virgin Media O2 spokesperson said: "Our average download speed is 195Mbps – nearly four times faster than the UK average – meaning if Virgin Media O2 was a country it would be the third fastest on the planet."

I'm sure the rest of the UK's broadband suppliers would be equally fast if they could heavily cherry pick which areas they supplied and didn't go near anyone even remotely rural.

Scientists reckon eliminating COVID-19 will be easier than polio, harder than smallpox – just buckle in for a wait

Oddlegs

Re: Fairly worthless comparison

We're getting there. In April Oxford University announced a malaria vaccine with 77% efficacy. If the results hold it'll save far more lives than the covid-19 vaccine ever will

In the '80s, satellite comms showed promise – soon it'll be a viable means to punt internet services at anyone anywhere

Oddlegs

Re: Can't wait...

I appreciate, and agree with, the sentiment but let's be honest. The vast, vast majority of people wouldn't have a clue what to do with an RJ45 connector coming into the house or, worst still, would plug their laptop directly into the internet and live in ignorant bliss with a woefully insecure setup. So many people want a single box they can just plug straight in to their phone line, tap in the wifi password printed on the back and start browsing that it's not worth it for ISPs to cater to those of us who don't. They don't want the support calls from someone who ordered a slightly cheaper package because it didn't include a phone line and now doesn't know how to hook up their whole house to a single RJ45 socket.

Focus on the camera, mobile devs: 48MP shooters about to become the sweet spot

Oddlegs

Re: Why the obsession with MP?

The move to digital, in every medium, has been driven by convenience, not quality. CDs overtook tapes because of the convenience of being able to skip instantly, likewise with DVD over VHS. MP3s are lower quality than CDs but have pretty much replaced them because they're more convenient. Blu ray is far better quality than DVD but never really made a huge impact because, other than quality, it offered zero benefits.

Quality only has to be good enough which, when you're listening to music on the cheap headphones which came with your phone or looking at photos on a small screen, is actually a very low bar. After that it's price and convenience which drives innovation.

Florida Man sues Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for account ban

Oddlegs

That's kind of my point. Yes he breached their TOCs and hence they were completely within their rights to ban him but that right to ban should not be exercised along political lines. 'Normal' users from all sides of the political spectrum don't lose their accounts for spouting similar nonsense. Facebook, twitter and google have to apply their rules consistently. Personally I'd let Trump spout his nonsense. The other side can then attack it for being the deranged ramblings it clearly is. Banning Trump only encourages his followers to believe they're being targeted by a mass conspiracy.

Oddlegs

I don't like the guy but I've got to say that the banning of Trump from these platforms didn't sit well with me. If facebook et al have the ability and desire to ban people then they also have to take responsibility when then choose not to take action against others. They can't claim that their network is so large that they can't possibly currate it all and aren't responsible for allowing people to make disrepectful/hateful/illegal posts. It's a very slippery slope if you applaud them for blocking someone you don't like but don't question them for not applying the same punishment to people from the 'other' side when they post similar material.

These organisations have now grown beyond being mere private organisations and probably are closer to governmental organisations in many ways. The prospect of them together silencing one side of the political debate is very, very scary no matter how much you may disagree with that side.

Jeff Bezos supports US tax rise after not paying it for two years – and paying tiny amount in 2019

Oddlegs

Re: There's a simple solution that would never be adopted

Wouldn't that just end up with exactly the situation we have now? For example Starbucks UK bring in £1Bn but pay Starbucks Cayman Islands £1Bn in licensing costs and, hey presto, make zero profit and pay no UK tax...

Oddlegs

Re: Ah, tax laws

If what you say is correct then Apple will be paying 10x the corporation tax that Tesco do (adjusted for size)??

A brief search suggests that in 2019 Apple paid £3.8M tax on £1.2Bn of sales from its UK stores (approx 0.3%). Tesco meanwhile paid £176M corporate income tax in 2018 on £51Bn of sales (the same 0.3%).

Taxing turnover is far from perfect but it at least ensures that everyone pays something. The above numbers suggest that 0.3% would be just about revenue neutral for both Apple and Tesco but at least it would eliminate all of Apple's tax shenanigans. It also doesn't have to be the end point. There's no reason why you couldn't put a higher banding on electronics sales compared to food.

Ofcom says no price controls on full-fibre broadband until 2031, giving BT's Openreach the kick to 'build like fury'

Oddlegs

Re: Meanwhile in the real world...

I'd love it but current prices at least are an order of magnitude greater than a fixed line connection

Oddlegs

Re: Meanwhile in the real world...

Just about all broadband improvements in the last 20 years have concentrated on urban environments. That's not surprising given that the return on investment will be far greater there but it won't be long before people living in urban environments have a choice between Virgin, FTTC, 5G and now FTTP. Meanwhile people in more rural environments are lucky to get a 1Mbps ADSL line.

I know that there are still several built up areas where the options are poor so this isn't a universal truth but rather than giving yet more options to people who are already able to get >50Mbps why not try to get everyone up to that standard first. If we don't we'll end up with a two tier system where half of the country get 1Gbps whilst the rest are lucky to get 1% of it.

Negative Trustpilot review of law firm Summerfield Browne cost aggrieved Briton £28k

Oddlegs

Re: One Star Review

The review problem's more fundamental than that. Providers of a service expect a 5 star review simply for doing what their job. If you buy something off ebay then it being in exactly the condition described and arriving on time is frankly the bare acceptable minimum and should really warrant an average 3/5. Instead it's expected that you give 5/5. It's the same with Uber. If the driver gets you where you want to go safely and in the predicted time they'll expect a perfect score. With most feedback systems expecting a perfect score for 'average' service it's impossible to identify truly exceptional service and leads to the issue you describe where negative reviewers feel the need to over compensate.

Oddlegs

New review:

Solicitor sued me for £25k after I wrote a review expressing my dissatisfaction with their service.

100% factual and non-libellous and it'll likely have an even greater detrimental effect on their bookings.

Northern Ireland announces £165m full-fibre rollout funded by 2017 DUP agreement with Theresa May's UK government

Oddlegs

Re: Hmm

That's democracy for you (and I say that as a remain voter). Sometimes you get the party and ideas you like, sometimes you don't. The alternative where an 'elite' group decide what policies are best and the rest of us just go along with it doesn't really bear thinking about.

Both sides 'lied'. It's called politics. Vote leave exaggerated the benefits and ease of leaving. Vote remain exaggerated the disaster that would befall us if we even dared to vote leave, let alone actually go through with it. I'm still waiting for the emergency budget and interest rate rises we were told would happen within days of a leave result.

UK and Japan agree to free trade deal that excludes data localisation requirements

Oddlegs

Well yes but we are where we are. Brexit's happened, we're not in the EU anymore. I'd welcome a campaign to rejoin but in the meantime we can either cry about it and do nothing or try to get as many 'reasonable' trade deals in place as quickly as possible. Given that we voted for them originally I'm going to assume that the trade deals the EU currently has are 'reasonable' for us so simply duplicating them is the obvious approach.

Oddlegs

So the template for UK trade deals is "roll over an EU one with a few tweaks"?

You say that as though it's a bad thing?

Nobody was complaing about the Japan trade deal before Brexit became a thing. Since we don't have the luxury of time at the moment it would strike me that the obvious tactic should be to request duplicates of any EU deals. Any renegotiation can always happen later.

Sure is wild that Apple, Google app store monopolies are way worse than what Windows got up to, sniffs Microsoft prez

Oddlegs

Woosh

I think that was rather the point. If computers are expected to be 'open' then why not mobiles. I really can't think of a good reason other than 'because it's always been that way'

Oddlegs

Re: Unclear article point

Internet routers don't collect a (rather large) cut of all sales that go through them

Repair store faces hefty legal bill after losing David and Goliath fight with Apple over replacement iPhone screens

Oddlegs

Think your down voters rather missed the point of your comment.

I'm all for completeness but isn't giving every single monetary amount in 4 different currencies a bit excessive? Surely only one of USD, GBP or EUR would have been sufficient.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Oddlegs

Re: And what about the people ...

What about them? Those that do have a smartphone and run apps can run this one. Those that don't, won't. Just because this app won't reach 100% of the population doesn't mean we shouldn't bother with it at all (privacy issues aside)

Oddlegs

Hanlon's razor

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity"

It's far more likely that the decision being taken to go with a centralised approach was simply down to the chosen developers being familiar with that model (it is how almost all software is designed) as opposed to an unfamiliar decentralised model.

It's time to track people's smartphones to ensure they self-isolate during this global pandemic, says WHO boffin

Oddlegs

Re: Naomi Klein

10% of the population are not going to die. Even the very worst case has mortality at around 1/2%. And yes while young people are not entirely immune they're also vastly more likely to come through an infection than older people.

If we'd have done nothing it was estimated that 500k would die. That's half a million of the already oldest and weakest in society. The government's own scientific advisors couldn't (or didn't want to) answer how many of those would die anyway in a typical year. Any deaths are clearly terrible but not even the most civilised societies say that all deaths must be avoided no matter what the cost. The cost of the current restrictions in the west, both financially and in terms of civil liberties, are unprecedented. I don't know whether they've gone too far or not, I suspect we'll know in a couple of weeks when we see what the trends are doing, but if lockdowns continue for more than a month I suspect, and hope, we'll see a lot more rational discussion as to exactly what level of lockdowns we want to put ourselves through as a society.

5G signals won't make men infertile, sighs UK ad watchdog as it bans bonkers scary poster

Oddlegs

Re: effects on lab test animals and not on humans,

Not really missing the point. By that same logic you should leave your heating on 24/7 because the power station's going to be fired up whether your tele's on or not or leave the car running all night because Saudi Arabia isn't going to pull any more oil out of the ground just because you're using your car a bit more. The point is that if a few more people do the same maybe the local bus company could decide to only run 29 busses a day rather than 30 and he directly isn't responsible for any of those gnats getting squashed.

Still utterly bonkers though.

Bulb smart meters in England wake up from comas miraculously speaking fluent Welsh

Oddlegs

I have to agree that the Welsh language is pointless. There will always be enthusiasts who will want to learn it and that's absolutely their right but how much money is spent on having all road signs be multilingual and all government documents be available in Welsh? You can even demand your electricity bill in Welsh if your supplier's over a certain size. It would make sense if there were some Welsh speakers who couldn't also understand English but otherwise it's simply a vanity exercise by the Welsh assembly partly funded from central UK coffers

WikiLeaks boss Assange acted as a foreign spy, Uncle Sam exclaims in fresh rap sheet

Oddlegs

Re: I was fine with the first indictment

To quote from the BBC:

George Osborne says he will have to slash public spending and increase taxes in an emergency Budget to tackle a £30bn "black hole" if the UK votes to leave the European Union

The Guardian states that the emergency budget would occur "within weeks of an out vote"

We were told those things would happen simply after voting to leave. Here we are three years down the line and the economy seems to be continuing in an ok fashion, better than most of the eurozone in fact. Could it have been even better following a remain vote? Well we'll never know.

Both sides stretched the truth during the campaign but the same could be said about literally all political campaigns ever. Read up on how the leave campaign broke electoral law. It was nothing to do with telling lies.

Oddlegs

Re: I was fine with the first indictment

It was an advisory referendum

I'd have a lot of respect for any remain leaning politician who came out and simply said "the referendum was only advisory, we think it's a really bad idea so we're not going to enact the result".

There's a reason they haven't though. It would be political suicide. You can't state "This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide" in an official campaign leaflet and then later just say "nahh, we were only kidding before when we said it was your choice". Far better for your career to try to convince the people that you're following their will by not leaving.

UK.gov plans £2,500 fines for kids flying toy drones within 3 MILES of airports

Oddlegs

Given you're already not allowed to fly a drone within 50m of people, private property or vehicles those children flying a toy drone in their back garden are likely already breaking the law

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

Oddlegs

Re: I wonder if...

The irony is the huge stacking, diversions and finally re-arrangments of planes this will cause will massively increase the amount of CO2 released

A year after Logitech screwed over Harmony users, it, um, screws over Harmony users: Device API killed off

Oddlegs

Re: Making Users Afraid Of Updates Is The Opposite Of Responsible

I'm as much as a geek as anyone but let's face a few truths here. 99.99% (at least) of users won't even have known these undocumented APIs existed let alone used them. The APIs were a (potential) insecurity which could have lead to an attack. Imagine the headlines if they'd done nothing: Millions of home networks breached as manufacturer refused to close known security holes

This update is good for the vast number of users. It doesn't break a single advertised or documented feature of the device and it does actually make them a little bit more secure. Could Logitech have given advanced users the ability to reenable the APIs? Perhaps but then they'd be acknowledging they existed and would have faced calls to document and support the APIs and still would have come in for criticism in the case of an attack.

Suunto settles scary scuba screwup for $50m: 'Faulty' dive computer hardware and software put explorers in peril

Oddlegs

I find it odd that you're only entitled to a repair if you bought your watch in the US. Having admitted their devices have a potentially deadly safety flaw it's criminal that they're waiting until they're sued in every country before they do something about it.

European fibre lobby calls for end to fake fibre broadband ads

Oddlegs

It's a start

Maybe the ASA will tackle the terms 'up to' and 'unlimited' next which seem to take on a completely different meaning when applied to internet connections.

Er, we have 670 staff to feed now: UK's ICO fines 100 firms that failed to pay data protection fee

Oddlegs

Re: Not paying the ICO is NOT the problem

The Experian data breach affected 15M UK individuals. Did you expect the ICO to respond to each of them personally? Did you really think your 'extensive' missive was telling them anything they didn't already know?

While it might have been polite to at least acknowledge your message the ICO's response to the breach has been very well publicised.

Oddlegs

Re: Not paying the ICO is NOT the problem

Have you actually tried making a complaint to the ICO? I did once about an estate agent who wouldn't stop contacting me. They were very helpful and I never heard from the estate agent again.

As long as no one complains because they assume nothing will change then guess what, nothing will change!

I was once one of you, F1 star Lewis Hamilton tells delighted IT bods

Oddlegs

Re: What a knob

Nobody gets into top-line motorsport for PC reasons, it is way too expensive to put somebody in a car on on a bike. They buy their way in with hard cash

Except in this case PC reasons equal hard cash. The first team to have a female driver will get so much exposure as a result that their advertising revenues will soar. I remember the exposure Williams got just for having a woman test drive one of their cars. Wolff was 32 at the time in Hockenheim. Very few 32 year old drivers get such an opportunity in F1. A cynic might even say she got the opportunity because she was a woman not in spite of it.

Female drivers becoming commonplace will happen, no team's going to pass over a female driver for a less good male one.

Uber fined £385k by ICO for THAT hack of 57m customers' deets

Oddlegs

Re: Couldn't happen to a nicer company

The fine will ultimately be paid by its customers; the taxi passengers

Not really. Uber can't just increase prices to compensate because they're already being squeezed by competitors. They're already suffering huge losses. If they could increase prices by x% with no loss of custom then they would have done so already. As a result of this fine Uber will actually have to report lower profits (or in their case higher losses)

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

Oddlegs

Re: Home security problem

Given that mobile companies have known precisely where you are for at least 20 years we must be living through an epidemic of highly targeted burglaries right? Right??

Of all of the reasons to dislike smart meters (and there are several) this must be one of the most ludicrous.

A 5G day may come when the courage of cable and DSL fails ... but it is not this day

Oddlegs

This can't come soon enough. Fast internet is becoming a necessity and much as I'd love to see FTTP everywhere the costs would be exorbitant. Mobile broadband will be the future.

It's noticeable though that all of the test sites are in large cities which already have good 4G coverage while more rural areas still struggle to get any mobile signal whatsoever. That makes perfect economic sense however steps should be taken now to ensure we don't end up with a two tier system where some lucky punters have a choice between FTTC, cable and 5G while others are lucky to get a 1Mb/s ADSL line. The 5G networks should be forced to sign up to offering coverage to 100% of the UK population. This needn't require putting masts absolutely everywhere. It would be stupid to put a mast in the middle of the Scottish highlands to cover only a single house but the networks should contribute to a fund to allow all properties to receive a decent minimum speed broadband at a reasonable price whatever the mechanism may be.

Oddlegs

Did you actually read the article?

The other thing 5G-FWA has is cost. It's much cheaper and easier to deploy and that's a saving that can be passed on to a household almost immediately

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

Oddlegs

Re: No way ready!

I'm not sure if there's really a difference between inferring and reacting. You see a shadow emerging between two parked cars. You know there's a school nearby so you infer it could be a child and slow down a bit just in case. Or did you react to seeing a person shaped shadow and hence slow down? Every scenario you describe is one a computer could learn/be programmed to recognise. Sure there are countless other scenarios which could be envisaged (or even not envisaged). A human is far more capable of dealing with something unexpected that they haven't encountered before than a computer. But a computer doesn't need to be perfect to be useful when it comes to driving. It doesn't even have to be as good as a 'good' driver. It only needs to be better than an 'average' driver. As long as such vehicles 'fail safe' when they're not sure about something by slowing or even stopping completely then I don't see a problem (provided it's not happening every 100m).

I don't think the current tech is anywhere close to being good enough but it'll get there eventually

Morrisons supermarket: We're taking payroll leak liability fight to UK Supreme Court

Oddlegs

Re: Military levels of security

You're right. It's trivial to disable USB devices to prevent data getting out

...and internet access

...and remote working

...and printing

...and mobile phone cameras

But do all of the above and just wait for the complaints from staff about how 'their employer doesn't trust them and is making it impossible to do their job'

Oddlegs

Re: Worrying level of blame redirection.

Bottom line; it isn't clear how Morrisons could, within normal business constraints, have prevented this

This is the crux of the matter. If a rogue employee wants to get data out they will. Even in military environments I suspect a major deterrent against wrongdoing is the fear of personal punishment rather than any steps the employer may have put in place to prevent them. Morrisons should be responsible for compensating any actual losses but I doubt the majority of the 5000 claimants have taken any action as a result of the breach other than saying 'yes please' to a lawyer who came calling promising them some cash.

Brits pay £490m extra for mobes they already own – Citizens Advice

Oddlegs

consider that the majority of these deals have a big discount on the contract for new customers, and you'd realistically expect the cost to go up

So they offer an initial discount in the hope of making up any deficit once the discount expires. How is that different to mobile networks? Just swap the word 'discount' for 'handset subsidy'. If anything the mobile networks are more honest about it: at least they keep the price at the same agreed level.

Oddlegs

I'm struggling to have sympathy for people who sign up to an £x per month contract for 24 months which includes a 'free' phone and don't think to check after those 24 months are up whether they're still on a good deal.

Mortgages, broadband, television, utility bills and just about every type of recurring payment has some provision for what happens when you complete your fixed term and not a single one of them puts the price down automatically at the end of it despite you having paid off the cost of your Sky box or router. The costs of being moved onto your mortgage provider's SVR after your fixed term end will dwarf any mobile bill.

Not all mobile contracts are necessarilly bad deals. My other half recently got a Galaxy S8 on a 24 month contract at a total cost of ownership of only about £100 more than buying the phone alone. It's not exactly a chore to stick a reminder in the calendar to change contracts after 2 years.

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