* Posts by dajames

1367 posts • joined 20 Mar 2011

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Had a bad weekend? Probably, if you're a Sectigo customer, after root cert expires and online chaos ensues

dajames Silver badge

Re: Yesterday (1st July), (3rd July)

Someone somewhere thought that Secure Certificates that expire was a good idea.

Expiry of key certificates is a crude way to ensure that old, obsolete, certificates get retired -- it was introduced before key revocation lists became commonplace . The idea is that if we believe that there won't be a practical attack on a given cryptographic key (for a given algorithm and key length) for N years, we can issue a certificate that's valid for no more than N years and can be reasonably confident that the key will be safe to use until after its certificate expires..

Of course, those who issue certificates commercially do so as a business. They make a profit each time they re-issue a certificate, so they have no incentive to sell very long-lived certificates.

Commercial certificates that offer financial guarantees against fraud are backed by insurance, and insurance companies are understandably reluctant to sell long-term policies, especially when the degree of risk increases unpredictably over time as attacks on the algorithm involved become more sophisticated. They want to asses the risk and set a premium for a relatively short term so that they can to set a higher premium or insist on a more secure algorithm on renewal if the degree risk has increased.

I'd suggest, in fact, that certificates should routinely be issued with a predictable short term -- say: one year -- so that updating them became a routine, well-understood, and unsurprising process.

dajames Silver badge

Re: It is not only old stuff

... fill everything with self generated certificates instead of having to pay the SSL racketeering mob $ 100,- every year for each certificate ...

Issuance of SSL/TLS certificates is not necessarily expensive -- the likes of Let's Encrypt provide free TLS certificates, after all. Some commercial certificates do look expensive by comparison, but some carry insurance against any fraud that may take place despite the security afforded by TLS. In those cases a large part of the payment is a premium paid to an insurance company.

Without that insurance the certificate has no material value, so it's not all racketeering.

Bite me? It's 'byte', and that acronym is Binary Interface Transfer Code Handler

dajames Silver badge

No only System/36

For the uninitiated, accessing help on the System/36 required the user to hit the F1 function key. Users were trained that if they were stuck, pressing the F1 key would show some text to tell them what to do next. Simple stuff.

I remember when pressing F1 could magic up some help in lesser systems, too. Even in Microsoft Windows!

It seems no longer to be fashionable to know what you're doing, or even to be able to find out.

Western Digital shingled out in lawsuit for sneaking RAID-unfriendly tech into drives for RAID arrays

dajames Silver badge

Re: Forcing us to the Cloud 'Solution' and Subscription Hell?

... although syncing 100GB to it takes a few hours, it would take *days* if I were to try and sync an amount like that online.

It's a corolary of that old saying: "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truckload of hard drives".

It's easy to overestimate the usefulness of cloud backups when one fails to realize the connectivity bandwith one would have to have to restore from the cloud as fast as one can from a storage array or even from tape.

80-characters-per-line limits should be terminal, says Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds

dajames Silver badge

Fixing the wrong problem

Linus seems to be worried that people splitting statements over multiple lines unnecessarily makes line-oriented tools harder to use effectively -- he cites grep, but there can also be problems with other tools, such as diff when a line is split after an edit because the statement got longer.

However, as others have noted, text over about 80 columns is harder for humans to read.

The answer, surely, is to improve the tooling -- produce searching and differencing tools that understand the syntax of the the language being used and work on a statement by statement basis, rather than treating sourcecode as plain text. We can't change humans, so we're stuck with the readability limit ... but we can change the tooling.

I'm not in favour of hard-and-fast rules, but I am in favour of easily-readable code ... and that leads me to favour multi-line statements over long lines, while not eschewing longer lines completely -- sometimes there's a need for them.

Linus Torvalds drops Intel and adopts 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper on personal PC

dajames Silver badge

The hardest part of writing an Operating System is not writing an Operating System, it's getting other people to use it.

From what I recall (it was a *very* long time ago) the hardest parts about booting an OS were dealing the bullshit involved in switching from 16-bit mode into protected mode. (Yes, all x86 based PCs *still* start in 16-bit mode.) Not an impossible task, obviously, but it could have been easier.

That's not that hard ... certainly not as hard as switching back again (without rebooting) used to be.

I did have fun writing the floppy (that's how long ago this was) boot loader though.

The bootloader works in the same way on a hard disk (in pre-UEFI machines), fortunately the BIOS does the actual reading and writing of the disk. The standard hard drive bootloader is only 512 bytes (including the partition table) but the rest of track 0 is unused, so you can use your bootloader to load a more sophisticated bootstrap from the rest of that track. I've worked on bootloaders that enabled booting from an encrypted drive, and they work like that.

Podcast Addict Play Store ban: Android chief says soz for incorrect removal, developers aren't impressed

dajames Silver badge

You'll be telling me next your eyes don't a zoom function!

I'm waiting for the Zeiss Ikons ...

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

dajames Silver badge

Re: Algol 68 is not ALGOL 60

... Algol 68 actually bears a distinct resemblance to C++. Algol 60, on the other hand, begat Pascal.

Algol 60 begat both Algol 68 and Pascal ... and quite a few other languages along the way (Simula, anyone?). There's no "on the other hand" about it!

C++ was certainly influenced by Algol 68 -- Bjarne Stroustrup says that he would have liked to write an "Algol 68 with classes" rather than a "C with classes" but he realized that if he wanted his language to gain widespread adoption it would have to be based on C -- but that was around 20 years later.

dajames Silver badge

Re: Algol 68 is not ALGOL 60

If you have a Raspberry Pi: "sudo apt install algol68g", compile using "a68g filename"

Indeed. The same works on any Debian-based distro.

Algol68g is also available for other systems, including Windows ...

It's an interpreter, not a full compiler, but it is a pretty full implementation of the language of the Revised Report.

The end really is nigh – for 32-bit Windows 10 on new PCs

dajames Silver badge

Re: When is 64bits 32 bits?

b) Lots of 64 bit Atoms could do with one more address pin at least. Insane HW limitation to 2 G byte addressing!

Done for financial rather than technical reasons.

Make a machine that's limited to 2GB and sell it with Windows 7 Starter (also limited to 2GB). You can sell it cheap, because you know that nobody is going to be able to upgrade it to a sensible amount of RAM and run a real OS on it -- it serves a very price-sensitive market and can't hurt your profits for grown-up machines.

dajames Silver badge

Re: I honestly thought it never existed

These limitations really boil down to the decisions AMD made when x86 was extended to 64 bits. The VM86 mode is not supported when running as a 64-bit CPU.

... and yet, for a while, at least, one could run Win16 software under Wine on 64-bit Linux. I'm not sure why that was discontinued, but it was really useful for those few legacy applications that never made it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

dajames Silver badge

Re: Seems like a losing battle, and there's an elephant in the room

... using alternatives to MS Office just isn't a viable option any more.

What do you mean "any more". I grant you that there are edge cases in which LO can't quite match MS Office's functionality, but these are becoming rarer and rarer as time goes by. I use LO almost exclusively and nobody ever complains that they can't use my documents in the MS equivalent. A few years ago that would not have been the case.

... there's an elephant in the room - Outlook. We have tried this time and time again, and practically nobody likes to use alternatives (e.g. Thunderbird). People like Outlook because it's virtually biquitous.

People who are used to Outlook and know nothing else tend to dislike change ... but Outlook is a truly dreadful piece of software. It is really sad that there are only a few big-name EMail packages and this is one of the best the world can offer. Thunderbird is OK-ish ... Nothing really works.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

dajames Silver badge

Re: Gates never made the 640K comment.

The supposed "640K limit" was an IBM hardware limit, not an MS software limit. The IBM hardware spec was already firmly in place before Gates even heard about the project, so even if he had made the comment (which is extremely doubtful), he would have just been agreeing with IBM. And it wasn't really 640K, it was more like 704K, if you knew what you were doing. I find it absolutely amazing that this piece of incorrect trivia is still being parroted as fact after all these years ...

I think the words attributed to Bill Gates refer to the fact that the IBM PC's design placed the video memory at A0000H, leaving only the address space below that (640k) for RAM accessible to the OS (or to an OS that required its address space to be continuous). The 8086 could address 1MB, and some MS-DOS computers (I'm looking at you, Apricot) were designed to allow RAM to use as much as 896k of that (at the cost of reduced compatibility with IBM), but IBM's design limited the RAM to 640k.

The original IBM PC was available with 64k and a cassette deck. IBM didn't foresee that PCs would be used for applications that required more.

It was 640k, on the original unexpanded PC. The hardware/firmware didn't support anything more.

The point of containers is they aren't VMs, yet Microsoft licenses SQL Server in containers as if they were VMs

dajames Silver badge

I don't really see an issue with this. Why would you not be charged for every instance you deploy?

Really?

You bought a DBMS Why should it matter how many cores you run it on, or how many different databases you manage with it -- how would you like it if MS licensed Word on a per-document basis, or charged more for copies of Word that could handle more than a set number of pages in a document, or more than a certain number of documents open at a time?

Licensing per-core or per-instance is just gouging.

Eclipse boss claims Visual Studio Code is an open-source poseur – though he would say that, wouldn't he?

dajames Silver badge

CMake really has entered the industry in a big way (unlike GNUtools) leaving the Visual Studio way of managing project settings fairly legacy.

Yes.

Visual Studio's project settings became too arcane for mere mortals to use without the aid of sacrificial chickens a decade or so ago, but too many people still blindly forge ahead with them without even looking for a better alternative.

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

dajames Silver badge

Packard Hell

Packard Bell was the bane of my existence at one point.

There's nothing wrong with a Packard Bell PC that can't be put right with explosives!

Three things in life are certain: Death, taxes, and cloud-based IoT gear bricked by vendors. Looking at you, Belkin

dajames Silver badge

What's inside?

As I read this article my first thought is: Can these be repurposed? A few WiFi-connected cameras that I could program myself would be fun to have, and I expect these can be picked up fairly cheaply, now. Surely someone has done a tear-down?

Off to the web to search ...

Star's rosette orbit around our supermassive black hole proves Einstein's Theory of General Relativity correct

dajames Silver badge
Headmaster

Falsify?

Don’t mistake our inability to disprove a theory for our acceptance that it is 100% correct.

FTFY.

Falsify would imply the use of deliberately made-up data to demonstrate that the theory didn't hold, and I'm sure we're perfectly capable of doing that!

Paranoid Android reboots itself with new Android 10 builds

dajames Silver badge

Meaningful ...

The vast majority of Android vendors release phones with their own bespoke environments. ... this trend allows vendors to differentiate themselves in a fairly meaningful way.

Yes, indeed. I can and do choose to buy a phone that has not been spoilt by unwanted customization. This is certainly a meaningful distinction, for me.

A paper clip, a spool of phone wire and a recalcitrant RS-232 line: Going MacGyver in the wonderful world of hotel IT

dajames Silver badge

Re: Oh god

Back in the old days writing code to read serial data from an RS232 line was hell on earth - everything would work most of the time but never all of the time until I "discovered" Interrupts!

Interrupts? Luxury!

I was contracting at one of the parts of the Racal empire in the late 1980s. Our standard workhorse was an Olivetti M24SP running DOS, with no networking.

One of our suppliers tried to interest the company in the newfangled "PS/2" range from IBM, and someone managed to wangle the loan -- just for a day, because they were in short supply -- of a Model 30 (the crap one with the 8-bit CPU and, more importantly for us, an ISA expansion bus rather than MCA). We had developed an ISA bus encryption card, and wanted to see whether it would work in the PS/2.

What could be easier? Just copy the software onto a diskette and ... Oh, No! Our Olivettis all had 5.25" floppy drives, but the PS/2 had a 3.5" drive.

So, we found a laplink cable to connect the machines together. I wrote a little file sending routine in C to run on the olivetti, and a file receiving routine in assembler, in debug (it was all we had) on the PS/2, using the awful ROM BIOS serial port routines because that was the easiest thing to do. I implemented a very, very, simple handshake (I think I just echoed every character received) and ran a simple test. I don't think it worked first time, but before long it worked well enough to transfer the laplink software (and we all went for coffee while that transferred) and then we were in business.

Our hardware did work in the Model 30, and we were able to return the machine at the end of the day having run all the tests we needed. Before we gave it back, though, we got the supplier to give us a 3.5" floppy and we kept a copy of laplink, for the next time.

My little program, written in debug, is one "temporary fix" that was NOT kept beyond the first use.

dajames Silver badge

Re: Proper lash up

... we continually see commentards here saying the comments are not needed in code because any competent programmer can always just read the code.

Aye, the code tells you what it does (which may or may not be the right thing) ... the comments tell you what it was meant to do (which may or may not still be relevant).

The sad thing is ... nobody knows why it does it!

OK brainiacs, we've got an IT cold case for you: Fatal disk errors on an Amiga 4000 with 600MB external SCSI unless the clock app is... just so

dajames Silver badge

Re: 600MB?

By 1992, when the 4000 was released, 1Gig drives were readily available ...

Indeed. I bought a shiny new Dell '486 box to play with the Beta of Windows NT 3.1, and that came with a 1.4 GB drive. NT 3.1 was released in 1993, so that was about the same time.

Stop us if you've heard this before: Boeing's working on 737 Max software fixes for autopilot, stabilization bugs

dajames Silver badge

Re: Flying less

Then you will have the best town to be: Paris without Parisians!

You get that every August, anyway, in the fermeture annuelle.

Commit to Android codebase suggests Google may strong-arm phone makers into using 'seamless' partitioned updates

dajames Silver badge

Not only Pixel

My point is simply if you want regular security updates then you need a Google device as they update each month.

An Android One device is also supposed to update each month for three years, and several of the "usual suspects" (Moto, Nokia, etc.) make them, at much more reasonable purchase prices than a Pixel.

Microsoft attempts to up its Teams game with new features while locked-down folk flock to rival Zoom... warts and all

dajames Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Please don't kill Skype

... MS have made Skype gradually shitter ...

Surely:

Shitter (noun) One who shits.

Shittier (adjective) That which is more shitty.

Please, just stop downloading apps from unofficial stores: Android users hit with 'unkillable malware'

dajames Silver badge

Re: "and assume root privilege"

No, it has to exploit security holes in Android 6 and 7, which are old and out of date, to achieve root.

That may be the case, but I have several devices that cannot be upgraded to Android 6 or 7, let alone anything newer. Until Google mandate that all manufacturers must provide timely security fixes for older versions Android for the lifetime of the devices it's not really a defence.

The lack of software updates should never be a reason for good, working, hardware to end up in landfill.

Something something DANE cook: Microsoft pledges to wrap its email systems in secure anti-snooping protocol

dajames Silver badge

Cloudflare may have made DNSSEC available to all customers for free, but nobody bothers to configures their domain to use it due to (see above).

Methinks that that's more because people don't trust Cloudflare than because they don't think it's a good idea.

I mean: Cloudflare are doing this for free ... what's the catch?

Who's going to pay for Britain's Aunty Beeb to carry on? Broadband users, broadcaster suggests to government

dajames Silver badge

Re: Abroad

But I’m still illegally watching iPlayer from a small foreign country quite close to the UK (up the M1!).

Sorry, AC. Watching iPlayer in Yorkshire isn't actually illegal.

HMD Global pokes head out of quarantine to show off 3 new Nokia mobiles

dajames Silver badge

Re: ROM ?

When I was younger ROM stood for Read-Only Memory .

Flash memory is read-only in the sense that while it can be read byte-by-byte in the same way that RAM can it isn't writable in the same way. You have to first erase a bank of memory and then write a whole block (usually smaller than a whole bank) at once.

So, yes, calling the flash in a phone "ROM" to distinguish it from "RAM" is a convenience that's not wholly inaccurate.

Look ma, no Intel Management Engine, ish: Purism lifts lid on the Librem Mini, a privacy-focused micro PC

dajames Silver badge

Lead lined?

The Librem Mini has a small footprint, measuring just 5 inches across and weighing just 1kg ...

So ... something that seems to have about half the volume of an Acer Revo R3600, or that of maybe half a dozen cased Raspberry Pi model 4 Bs, weighs 25% more than the Acer and ten times as much as the Pi?

The radiation shielding must be brilliant!

NASA to launch 247 petabytes of data into AWS – but forgot about eye-watering cloudy egress costs before lift-off

dajames Silver badge

Re: What if the Cloud also catches Corona?

Now, if can you conjugate that verb again please ...

Actually, it's a noun -- and I decline to!

dajames Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: What if the Cloud also catches Corona?

Actually, in classical Latin, it's a fourth declension noun, not the usual second declension, so the plural would have been 'vīrūs'.

It appears not: In usage by classical writers (Vergil, Cicero, and that crowd) virus is seen to be second declension. There is no known plural form in classical writing but, because its gender is neuter, its plural -- had it one -- would be vira.

At least according to Dr. Smith's dictionary and Kennedy's primer.

Microsoft frees Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 from the shackles of, er, Windows?

dajames Silver badge

Re: @Snake - Microsoft shooting itself in the foot?

OEM Windows isn't free

The copy of Windows that comes with a newly-purchased PC may, in fact, be "free" (as in beer), because the OEM has covered the cost of the Windows licence with payments from software vendors for all the trial and demo software that is included in the image.

Which is fine, if you're going to wipe the disk and install Linux, but a PITA if you wanted a clean copy of Windows!

Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42

dajames Silver badge
Headmaster

That frood is not hoopy.

ITYM "That frood is not a hoopy".

It's quite clear from the book that "hoopy" is intended to be a noun, meaning "really together guy":

... a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Cf. "Hey, you sass that bloke Ford Prefect, there's a frood who really knows where his towel is".

dajames Silver badge

Re: fun facts

The deliberate mispleling/typoe/fat figner when correcting someone is tradition, indicating that the writer acknowledges that he, too, is only human and also makes misteaks. Goes back to BBSes, before USENET.

... and when it's not deliberate it's more properly known as Skitt's Law (Wikipedia link to Murphy's Law -- see second bullet point).

Hey, friends. We know it's a crazy time for the economy, but don't forget to enable 2FA for payments by Saturday

dajames Silver badge

Re: SMS is U/S for 2FA

... only the NatWest [card reader] seems to allow you to change your card PIN.

That's interesting ... that would suggest that NatWest (at least) no longer perform any online PIN verification (for which they'd need to have your PIN stored in their systems). That would imply that they don't support any PIN-verified transactions apart from chip-and-PIN transactions. It would also mean that whenever they issue a replacement card they have to send a new PIN advice, because they don't know what your old PIN was, if you've changed it.

... I can see problems with, for example, withdrawing cash from ATMs that read the magstripe rather than using the chip (older ATMs, such as are still prevalent in, e.g., the USA). As they can't use the chip to verify your PIN they have to perform an online verification ... and if you've changed your PIN using the card reader the one they'll be verifying against won't be current.

All in all, it sounds like a bad idea.

The Reg produces exhibit A1: A UK court IT system running Windows XP

dajames Silver badge
Headmaster

dissembler

You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

A dissembler is one who presents a falsehood.

A disassembler does the opposite of an assembler.

dajames Silver badge

Re: XP Updates

I know you had XP64 but it was shonky as shit.

I used XP64 for a while ... it seemed fine to me.

I wasn't trying to use any particularly off-the-wall hardware, for which drivers might not have been available, but as an OS for a fairly standard desktop workstation PC of the day it worked well. Not remotely shonky, and far less shit than most MS offerings since.

Want to own a bit of Concorde? Got £750k burning a hole in your pocket? We have just the thing

dajames Silver badge
Trollface

Re: We have one of those in the office

Guess what's hanging from the roof in the Lightning café...

A Van de Graaff generator?

No ... too obvious ...

BOFH: Here he comes, all wide-eyed with the boundless optimism of youth. He is me, 30 years ago... what to do?

dajames Silver badge

Re: Obvious really.

If you want to work in anything other than small niche markets you will be working with Microsoft ...

That's the best advert for working in small niche markets that I've seen for a long time!

Review of IR35 is in: Quelle surprise, UK.gov will forge ahead with controversial tax reforms in the private sector

dajames Silver badge

There is an easy fix for this mess: ditch IR35 and implement a hirer's tax, paid by the company for every contractor they hire. Simple.

... or, better still, just ditch National Insurance Contributions and collect the same revenue through income tax and corporation tax.

It must be better to have fewer kinds of tax and keep things simple.

Huawei unfolds latest shot at the phone-tablet hybrid with reinforced hinge and reassuringly Xs-sive price

dajames Silver badge

Have you ever wondered why we don't see time travellers? Because someone in the US invented time travel but ...

There's very nearly a Game about that ...

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to save data from a computer that should have died aeons ago

dajames Silver badge

Click to Enrage?

Looking at the photo, it could be the TI-990 ...

Looking at the photo, I can't see a lot because (annoyingly) it hasn't been provided with the usual handy "Click to enlarge" functionality ... but isn't that an Apple Lisa in the background?

dajames Silver badge

Worse than the Sinclair QL? 32 bit processor with an 8 bit data bus ...

Worse than the IBM PC? 16-bit processor with an 8-bit data bus ...

Sometimes you use a cut-down component with a restricted bus to reduce the cost of interfaces to the rest of the system, because sometimes (you believe) your market won't pay for more. Sometimes you do it for other reasons.

[The QL] was literally eventually sold with a box sticking out known as the Kludge because they couldn't fit all the necessary hardware on the board?

That's not quite right ... the story I heard from Tony Tebby (Wikipedia link) was that the QL was sold with the Kludge because management type at Sinclair took a "daily" firmware image to be sent off to make the ROMs without asking whether it was stable. It wasn't, so the first batch of ROMs contained old and rather dysfunctional firmware. In order not to lose time to market these machines were sold with the Kludge, which was just a more up-to-date version of the firmware in EPROM. I still have mine, somewhere ... I was supposed to return it with the QL when I sent it back to have the internal ROM swapped (or motherboard swapped, or whatever it was they actually did) but I "forgot" and Sinclair didn't complain.

BAE Systems tosses its contractors a blanket... ban on off-payroll working under upcoming IR35 tax reforms

dajames Silver badge

... by grouping employees together, BAE did not show what HMRC calls "reasonable care." A draft manual to be released by HMRC when the legislation goes live in April states that applying the tool to "a large group of workers who have some variation between the work that is being carried out" is a big no-no ...

So ... reading between the lines ... HMRC have suddenly realized that it's too expensive for them to look in detail into the individual circumstances of everyone operating a PSC, and they've decided to pass that cost onto the clients of the PSCs.

The clients are not supposed to apply the rules with such a broad brush, but it's cheaper and easier for them to do so, so (at least as a first response) that's what they're doing.

Methinks we have to wait for a few test cases in which the big users of contractors get rapped across the knuckles for applying such a broad brush, and we'll be back to something like where we were before.

Going Dutch: The Bakker Elkhuizen UltraBoard 950 Wireless... because looks aren't everything

dajames Silver badge

Re: El Reg shitty photography

FWIW our articles - the content written by journalists - are input and edited as raw HTML

I'm not a huge fan of Markdown, but this seems just the sort of thing it was invented for.

Brit telcos can keep £218m licence fee repayment from Ofcom after penny-pinching regulator loses Court of Appeal case

dajames Silver badge

Re: Fraud (or reasonable facsimile thereof)

So the Commentards above would be happy, if they had been over billed by a Telco, that the refund of the over payment should go to the court and not them?

That really is NOT the same thing.

In this case the telcos bought the bandwidth at the advertised (though possibly excessive) asking price, and paid the price asked. That's not overbilling, just overcharging (yes, the two are different, and yes, it DOES matter).

Overbilling is what happens when the customer agrees a price but is then billed for more -- in that case the customer should refuse to pay the extra, and should certainly get a refund if the billed amount was paid. The customer has a contract for a sale at an agreed price, and the supplier has broken the contract by charging more.

The fuss here is because Ofcom increased the prices charged (as it is entitled to do) and the telcos didn't like the amount of the increase. These charges are basically a form of government (in the guise of Ofcom) tax on the use of the specified bandwidth, and tax rates do vary. There is (as far as I can see) no contract here to prescribe the increases that may be applied, so I don't see what business any of this is of the courts.

Giving away 218 Mega-Quids of taxpayers' money doesn't seem like a very bright idea, especially when the recipients are old enough and ugly enough to do without the charity.

dajames Silver badge

Not sure whether to laugh or cry

We need to have a regulator with teeth to keep the avaricious telcos in order.

If OFCOM have increased fees unreasonably then they deserve a slap on the wrist, but this seems to go too far. OFCOM has always seemed a toothless guard dog in the past, and a ruling like this won't encourage it to bite harder in the future. The telcos will have covered the cost by increasing their charges, but I don't see them passing on any of these returned fees to their customers.

It seems to me that a nominal fine -- payable to the courts and not to the telcos -- might have been more appropriate.

Ring in the changes: Mandatory two-factor authentication, login alerts, targeted ads opt-out after punters voice privacy gripes

dajames Silver badge

Security?

I can't see that hanging a couple of hundred pounds worth of electronics on a wee bracket outside one's front door is a secure proposition in any language. Now the local yobs can help themselves to a small camera and a bunch of components without even having to kick your door down.

dajames Silver badge

Re: "personalized advertising can deliver a better customer experience."

All it means is I am guaranteed ads for more of the stuff I've already bought ...

That's good, though, isn't it? If you've already bought something you won't feel tempted to buy it again, so the advertising is the best kind possible (apart from none at all) -- the kind that doesn't affect your purchasing patterns at all.

I'd much rather see ads for something I've already bought than for products I have NO interest in WHATSOEVER, or for products the mere existence of which causes me to doubt the worth of the human race as a whole.

They'll let you ask them not to use your personal data to inform their choice of which adverts to shove down your throat, but don't be fooled into thinking that that will stop them collecting those data in the first place.

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