* Posts by G Mac

114 posts • joined 25 Aug 2011


Age discrimination case against IBM leaks emails, docs via bad redaction

G Mac
Black Helicopters

I wonder how many email system old-hands were in the discard bucket?

If there were any, maybe they can offer their services (at a suitable compensation level).

NYPD puts down $94k robot canine contract after outcry

G Mac

It is not a dog

“The contract has been terminated and the dog will be returned,” the NYPD told The Register, declining to elaborate.

Judge strikes down another attempt by President Trump to force a TikTok US sale

G Mac

Not completely incompetent

You are incorrect.

In Australia we have a measure of incompetency whereby someone is classified as 'incompetent' if they are unable to procure services in a brothel with a pocket full of $50 bills.

Trump has, in this regard, been successful. Thus, not completely incompetent.

Chuck Yeager, sound barrier pioneer pilot, dies at 97

G Mac

Re: ?

To be honest, do read his autobiography (I read the first). That was about as much fun as you can have reading a book. The guy was 'balls to the wall'.

What is missing from most discussion on his breaking the sound barrier in the X-1 was that he did it (if memory serves) with fractured ribs. From very past memory:

He had been riding a horse with his wife the NIGHT before the flight and had fallen off (it was dark...) and fractured some ribs. He didn't report this...

Problem was he could not close the door of the X-1 with his fractured ribs as it required quite a bit of torque. Solution: with the help of one of his flight buddies, he sawed the handle off a broom and used that as lever to close the door. Problem solved, sound barrier broken.

Google Safari Workaround case inspires campaign to sue Facebook in UK's High Court over Cambridge Analytica app

G Mac

Wait, is this some kind of private equity investing in lawsuits?

"The Lloyd case is being bankrolled by Therium Capital Management Ltd, which stands to receive a share of the financial proceeds if Lloyd wins."

I didn't just go down the rabbit hole, nor did I wake up in the rabbit hole. In fact, I am both the rabbit and the rabbit hole at the same time.

Nurse, it's time for my medication!

If you suddenly can't print to your HP Printer from your Mac, you're not alone: Code security cert snafu blamed

G Mac

Well, some work done at least...

"Trying to continue just loops you back round to the error message, with no work done. "

Except for the fraction of a calorie you expended moving the mouse...

Google screwed rivals to protect monopoly, says Uncle Sam in antitrust lawsuit: We go inside the Sherman parked on a Silicon Valley lawn

G Mac

Re: Well, the US was Borked (literally) quite a while ago with anti-trust

"Hidden pricing is not the same as underpricing"

Underpricing is just one way a monopolist operates with monopoly power.

"And actual violation of consumer rights does not occur until the screws are turned."

And now all the competitors are bought out and/or failed due to previous under pricing. Hence why the price argument for consumer "welfare" is bogus when using "price" as a measure for consumer welfare.

"Google hides the price of their services, and as such is being deceptive in the marketplace"

Holy smoke pretty much every price you see is made up of "hidden" pricing...

G Mac

Well, the US was Borked (literally) quite a while ago with anti-trust

The tricky part is that the US has moved from the concept of "monopoly power" to "consumer welfare", really starting with Robert Bork (yes as in Borked):


His idea, picked by conservative philanthropy, was to teach this basic "economics" to judges so they could then apply this thinking once installed into courts.

The upshot is that a company may not be regarded as a monopolist even if it drives out competitors due to under pricing goods and services because the consumer "welfare" is not harmed but in fact enhanced - AKA they are paying cheaper prices (even if in the future they are going to be jacked because the monopolist can raise prices due to no competitors being left).

With that thinking, how could Google be a monopolist given that the consumers are paying NOTHING?! (Even though they are paying in more insidious and opaque ways).

President Trump to slap fresh restrictions on H-1B work visas, refuses to hear public comment on changes

G Mac

Re: Another abused system

Hmm. As an Australian, you definitely DO need a US visa to work in the US, and the E-3 is a visa for Australians. It lasts 2 years and can be renewed after that. Unlike the H-1B, there is no quota that I know of.

You might not need a visa if you are a US citizen, or married to a US citizen, or otherwise have a Greencard...?

Note: I am Australian on an E-3 work visa living in the US.

G Mac

This has been abused in the past, but guess who it leaves out...

"In response, we must do everything we can within the bounds of the law to make sure the American worker is put first."

No word on H-2A visas, AKA agricultural workers (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/agriculture/h2a). Funny about that... A couple of recent news items:



Cross-platform app toolkit Flutter lead Tim Sneath aims Dart at an ambient computing future

G Mac


What I wouldn't give for 0.5GB of memory!

Proposed US fix for Boeing 737 Max software woes does not address Ethiopian crash scenario, UK pilot union warns

G Mac

Re: Why

You missed the 'with same effort' part...

G Mac

Re: Clean sheet design

Made and then sent to investors for short term gain. If memory serves:

$40B in share buybacks to juice the C-level shares so when it all goes pear-shaped they will already have cashed out nicely.

$20B in share dividends to help the above and pour some oil on the water of investor distress that *maybe* management is taking a short term view for management gain and not investing in the future of the company for the long term.


G Mac

Re: Why

"because the 737 is one of the few planes left, that still have a backup that can be manually activated by people power"

Right, because that is how old it is.

The questions would then be this:

In the *original* 737, did *both* pilots have to move the trim wheels together and with the same effort as proposed now?

Have I Been Pwned breach report email pwned entire firm's helldesk ticket system

G Mac

Wow that is so meta

We need a new site called Have I Been Pwned Pwned.

Document? Library? A new kind of component? Microsoft had a hard time explaining what its Fluid Framework is

G Mac
Thumb Up

Re: OLE, oh-lay oh-lay oh-lay (and not forgetting OpenDoc)

Yes! Although my first thought was that this is "Internet based DDE". DDE still gives me nightmares.

Zoom goes boom, Teams tears at seams: Technology stumbles at the first hurdle for this homeworking malarkey

G Mac

And please mute yourself...

before going to the bathroom.

Deadly 737 Max jets no longer a Boeing concern – for now: Production suspended after biz runs out of parking space

G Mac

Minor edit...

"The jets have been gathering dust since March 13, 2019, when America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency order grounding all 737 Max models in response to every other aviation authority in the world having grounded the models after two crashes with the new aircraft that killed a total of 346 people."

There, fixed it.

White Screen of Death: Admins up in arms after experimental Google emission borks Chrome

G Mac

Exactly. The Command Line switch should be --experiments to switch it on vs. default off.

How four rotten packets broke CenturyLink's network for 37 hours, knackering 911 calls, VoIP, broadband

G Mac

...they were generated by a switching module in a node ... for reasons still yet unknown...

A broadcast packet greater than 64 bytes with a valid header and checksum and no TTL magically appears ex nihilo from the quantum soup in the transmit buffer of a switching module?

Kind of puts the Infinite Improbability Drive to shame.

Or it could be a bug... nah.

An upset tummy and a sphincter-loosening blackout: Lunar spaceflight is all glamour

G Mac

As time goes on the space program gets more amazing to me

From a time When America Got Shit Done(TM). Not to dismiss the Ruskies, but in this case...

Now, the aspiration of the US is build a &@%!#$ Wall.

Seeing as Bitcoin is going so, so well, Ohio becomes first US state to take biz taxes in BTC

G Mac

Made for money laundering?

One would hope they have taken into account the money laundering angles.

* Overpay tax in bitcoins, get USD back as a refund

* Setup a 'Pay OH Tax in Bitcoin' business, where the bitcoin payment firm pays an OH business's taxes in bitcoin (from various dodgy sources) and gets paid in USD by the firm whose tax is being paid, maybe at a discount since you are washing dirty bitcoin.

This would be a boon for those businesses in the US getting side-lined by banks because of incoherent federal/state laws - for example those states with legal marijuana where the banks won't take the business proceeds due to the fear the Feds will crack down and nix their banking license. Now they can get paid in bitcoin and wash it through OH, or so at least it would seem at first blush.

Sneaky phone apps just about obey the law, still have no trouble guzzling your data, says Which?

G Mac

Re: Nothing new, nothing will ever change

You would think the AI/ML types out there would do something amazingly useful by being able to identity the WTFs and Gotchas in T&Cs.

You know, something folks could use everyday.

Prepare to have your minds blown, storage industry. 5 words: Client access Optane DIMM caching

G Mac

IO Elimination???

'The use of host persistent memory is, for Peglar, a milestone on a longer journey to IO elimination: "Having said that, I look forward to further development of systems which actually help to, or completely eliminate IO, rather than just make it faster, i.e. with reduced latency, greater throughput, etc. by the use of persistent memory in true memory semantics, pure CPU load/store. This is the ultimate benefit of persistent memory."'

So the end of the Von Neumann architecture as we know it or marketing bafflegab bullshit?

Hackers manage – just – to turn Amazon Echoes into snooping devices

G Mac

Hmm 'permanently'...

"What isn't clear is whether Amazon is capable of overriding its system to listen in permanently, rather than require it to wait for the "wake word" before listening, and so act as a live bug (the device holds a two-second audio buffer)."

I think it is a bit slippery to say that the device is NOT listening permanently. Obviously it has to 'listen' to recognise the 'wake word'; the hope here being that that two second audio buffer is not released upstream regardless of the trigger word presence, which I believe was the point here.

Internet overseer ICANN loses a THIRD time in Whois GDPR legal war

G Mac

Is this related to the Bear Hunter joke...?

''You're not in this for the hunting are you?''

Indictment bombshell: 'Kremlin intel agents' hacked, leaked Hillary's emails same day Trump asked Russia for help

G Mac

Re: anonymous coward

And what if your hand was caught in the cookie jar over 80 times? If once was not "doing it right", what is 80?

And by inference, it seems that if you DON'T get caught it's all good sport, right?


"It's about securing the West's systems"

Ah so for Johnny Foreigner well he will just have to look at the ceiling and think of...

This is not to say doing this kind of thing IS ok by anybody. But it does mean that the immediate pearl clutching and heading to the fainting couch needs to take rest.

More jaw-jaw less war-war.

G Mac

Re: anonymous coward

Absolutely there has to be whataboutism.

That is because there are a bunch of elected folks, along with neocon pundits, that say this is "an act of war". Try searching for "russian hacking act of war".

For example, try this from this Intercept article https://theintercept.com/2018/02/19/a-consensus-emerges-russia-committed-an-act-of-war-on-par-with-pearl-harbor-and-911-should-the-u-s-response-be-similar/:

'The claim that Russian meddling in the election is “an act of war” comparable to these events isn’t brand new. Senators from both parties, such as Republican John McCain and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, have long described Russian meddling in 2016 as an “act of war.” Hillary Clinton, while promoting her book last October, described Russia’s alleged hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s email inbox as a “cyber 9/11.” And last February, the always war-hungry Tom Friedman of the New York Times said on “Morning Joe” that Russian hacking “was a 9/11-scale event. They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor-scale event.”'

Yikes. Keeping in mind that the US has been meddling in other countries elections quite a bit since WW2 gives some perspective that hopefully (but of course won't) will give these folks pause when calling out the Marines, literally.

Of course the US is the big dog so it can expect to give all a good beat down. Except in asymmetric warfare, AKA Afghanistan and Iraq.

So yes, this is whataboutism, but only to allow us to say STFU to the war-happy nutjobs who want to pick fight with the 2nd biggest nuclear power on the possibly short-time-to-live planet.

And ESPECIALLY given that nobody seems to deny that the leaked documents are genuine.

Icon for obvious reasons.

Uber breaks self-driving car record: First robo-ride to kill a pedestrian

G Mac

Re: Turkey was this way.... not sure it it still is

I lived in NYC 20 years (moved to CA two years ago) and I can tell you the cabs know their **** will be pushed in if they hit somebody - its not those guys I had an issue with.

It was the wankers in nice cars that would try to bust through the crosswalk when the pedestrian sign says WALK. Those bastards would try to barge past, though the true NYCers dared the mongrels to try it, whereby the car owner's **** would also be pushed in.

Amusingly the last time I saw a cab in an accident in NYC (non-injury is why it is amusing) was when a courier bicyclist blew through a red light and plowed into the side of a yellow cab, getting a bent front wheel for his effort.

Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

G Mac

Re: "and switching to plain text"

At least for .docx (and .xlsx etc) it is binary only insofar that it is compressed ZIP format.

If you uncompress a .docx (say by renaming it .zip and unzip), there will be a directory structure of XML, which if you desire (but don't - you will lose the will to live) you can examine in any text editor.

There's more to blockchain than dodgy cryptocurrencies

G Mac

Is that a bit of a minimization of the CAP Theorem?

"...he explained, noting that techniques for dealing with issues like network latency – which can mess up a distributed database – still have to be refined."

Is that a bit of hand wave re the CAP Theorem? Distributed databases aren't much of problem EXCEPT for the fact of a dodgy network.

Android P will hear no evil, see no evil, support evil notches

G Mac



Disengage, disengage! Cali DMV reports show how often human drivers override robot cars

G Mac

Paradoxically, yes

Check this article about Air France flight 447 that crashed into the Atlantic:


The gist is that because so much regular airtime is on auto pilot, when the system disengages the pilots are less able to assess and take over the plane because they are out of the loop and out of practice.

So with a car that disengages every mile or two the driver will at least have retained most driving skills, and in fact will be pretty much waiting for the disengagement.

On the other hand, if it disengages every 5,500 miles, the chances that the driver will be able react (and is even able to! nap time right?) would be pretty slim.

After reading the Slate article, I came to the conclusion that for self driving cars it is a case of all or very little: either 0 disengagements, or so many that the driver is still pretty much engaged. Of course I could be pessimist about this.

Uber saddles up for a new cycle of controversy

G Mac

Er, another cash burn effort?

"Uber hasn't mentioned any upfront charge and, by bringing its huge user base to JUMP, might just be able to muscle other bike-share companies aside."

Sounds like they have found another way to burn cash without any idea on how to make a profit. With a huge user base.

If Australian animals don't poison you or eat you, they'll BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE

G Mac

New hit song for Oz?

I hope your chooks turn into firebirds and burn your dunny down

Hitchcock cameo steals opening of Oracle v Google Java spat

G Mac

Re: Nostalgia

They're baaack:


Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!

G Mac

"...until something nasty stops them."

Well, it could be "Something wonderful".

Judge stalls Uber trade-secret theft trial after learning upstart 'ran a trade-secret stealing op'

G Mac

Re: When do the magic words...


'To win, a plaintiff would have to prove (1) conduct, (2) of an enterprise, (3) through a pattern, (4) of racketeering activity called "predicate acts," (5) causing injury to the plaintiff’s "business or property."'

And predicate act would include theft and fraud...?

Interestingly, this has been through the El Reg meat grinder before in April - search for RICO:


G Mac

When do the magic words...

... "RICO Act" start to get mentioned in hushed tones?


Bitcoin outfit 'Tether' reveals US$31m BitBuck BitHeist

G Mac
Paris Hilton

Re: Load of nonsense

"They did not steal bitcoin, only tokens, and AIUI those have now been declared as worthless; the token's source and its value can be checked before any exchange for something else proceeds."

Ok fair enough.

But if they are declared 'worthless', then in fact the money is gone? Asking a fair question here.

Somebody used the check book analogy above, which isn't then same thing as the cash itself - it is a means for transferring an account's cash. Declaring the 'check book' as worthless is not the same thing as declaring the cash in the account as worthless.

I am trying to understand here - so stay with me. I think what you are saying is that the transfer is in fact 'worthless' - really voided - and due to the hard fork the transfer will be unwound to restore the funds. And hopefully everybody (exchanges only required?) will be on board to void the transfer?

Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

G Mac

I see no mention of Speenhamland, a form UBI

It was tried a couple of hundred years ago in the UK. It was a form of rural poverty relief, but in the end caused employers to use the payment as a subsidy, which I suspect would happen with a UBI.

A better solution in my view is a Job Guarantee is a better. It puts a floor under wages, gives people a chance to have meaningful employment (whatever that may be), and alleviates the problem of employers not wanting to employ the short/long term unemployed.


Parity's $280m Ethereum wallet freeze was no accident: It was a hack, claims angry upstart

G Mac

Hmm I thought 'smart' contracts meant no laywers

It was my impression that a smart contract was code that defined what was supposed to happen. Since the code is the contract, it is always the 'law', thus eliminating messy lawyer paper shuffling and court disputes.

Interesting that those messy things might still be necessary...

See smart contract as lawyer/court replacement:


15 'could it be aliens?' fast radio bursts observed in one night

G Mac

I am Appalled and Outraged!

After re-calibrating my units of measure system to the Reg's common sense and entirely practical system, q.v. https://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html, I find that this article uses a non-standard unit of measurement! Unacceptable!

I demand that The Register, if it is to maintain it's readers expected high standard of reporting, to immediately rectify the situation by using an approved Reg unit.

Given we have force (the Norris) and distance (possibly the Linguine is most relevant), I suggest The Register immediately gets to work to supply both the name of the Reg unit and it's conversion rate, particularly to this thing called a 'joule', on which I am unable find any information on the Reg's standard converter, making it, the joule, a meaningless unit.


Appalled A. Outraged

World's largest private submarine in mystery sink accident

G Mac

Re: What's sixze got to do with it?

The Trieste was not a true submarine, it was a bathyscaphe:


Essentially a sphere for us humans (= best shape to withstand pressure) suspended below a large tank of gasoline (= less dense than water and incompressible). It got back to the surface by releasing it's iron shot ballast.

What I noted about the article's submarine was that it had portholes! I would of thought that was a major weak spot.

Hey America! Your internet is going to be so much better this January

G Mac


So I can walk into an office that only has 'slow' 20Mbps fixed internet access and proclaim loudly that I will fire up my mobile hotspot for all because it has 'fast' internet access at 10Mbps.

I am starting to think 1984 and the Ministry of Truth has arrived, though 30 years late.

50th anniversary of the ATM opens debate about mobile payments

G Mac
Thumb Up

Re: merchant cannot discount payments made in cash

Ah that is interesting I missed that thanks.

Looking at the rules for Visa though it is not across the board:

* Applies only to credit cards, not debit or pre-paid cards;

* 10 states restrict the surcharge, including some big ones (CA, NY, FL, MA, TX). Since I have lived in NY and CA no wonder I missed this!

* Merchant can only surcharge up to the acceptance rate of the card up to 4%. The rate varies according to card present, type of business, signature required etc. At least for Visa it seems they want the highest rate applied across competing networks to be applied.




In the end the merchant still cannot discount cash transactions at a rate the merchant chooses. In addition, I would like the transaction fee for *all* transactions to be available.

Question for US folks not in a restricted state - does the surcharge get displayed BEFORE you OK the transaction?

G Mac

Re: Extinct in ten years?

In the US it is a law (put through by the credit card industry via bribes to politicians) that a merchant cannot discount payments made in cash. So its cash only or everything is the same price no matter the payment method.

Apparently it was 'designed' to encourage use of credit cards. I will believe the hype of a cashless society when they remove that restriction so folks can choose the method of payment based on the transaction fee.

No doubt some will say there is a cost for maintaining a cash float by the merchant - fine by me if that cost gets passed through. Want I don't want is opaque fees that I cannot compare.

And you can bet your sweet bippy that when no choice is to be had (aka cashless) those fees will only go up.

US Secretary of State: I will work with Russia on cyber security issues

G Mac

Re: Wait, what? Maybe missing irony quotes around belligerent?

Oh that is easy to answer - it was polite warning. This is how I would defined them:

A belligerent warning is when you shoot down the foreign plane when it has intruded on your airspace for ~17 seconds and is so close to re-entering their own airspace that the wreckage lands on their own soil.

A polite warning is when you DON'T shoot down a foreign plane in your airspace, even though they have recently shot down one of your planes in your own airspace.

G Mac

Wait, what? Maybe missing irony quotes around belligerent?

"...Russia's belligerent warning that it was prepared to treat US warplanes as potential targets following a recent attack on a Syrian regime aircraft".

Let me get this straight: the US shoots down a Syrian plane in Syrian airspace while claiming that it was protecting US and Allied troops stationed on Syrian sovereign soil without permission of the Syrian government or a UN mandate, and it is Russia that is being belligerent?

Where 'shot down' < 'belligerent warning' in strength of act?

And where US flies by tolerance and not by invitation of the sovereign state?

And this after the US bombed and killed around 100 Syrian troops in Deir ez-Zor?

Yup, gotta be missing the irony quotes.

Wow, someone managed to make money on Fitbit stock – oh, 'fraudulently'

G Mac

Re: Glad we're catching the top crooks

In this case, someone steals a Honda and gets prosecuted while folks are being home invaded, bound, pistol whipped and their life savings stolen, all in front of the kids, and the perps get a slap on the wrist.

This prosecution is an example of 'regulatory theater' where captured regulators and politicians take a victory lap and say 'look, something is being done' while far more corrosive crimes get a free pass because they are corporations.

Your comment pretty much reflects that the regulatory theater is working.



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