* Posts by cracked

154 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Jan 2012


Hackers' Paradise: The rise of soft options and the demise of hard choices


Re: Rose tinted glasses are misleading...

(2nd try at this post - hopefully the Comment-Monster doesn't eat this one ...)


A gentle, partial rebuttal?

The idea that having people identify themselves online will somehow improve the hacking situation is extremely naive and extremely dangerous. Crackers, and other criminals will *continue* to spoof ids regardless, meanwhile folks who would like to make an honest protest will be now have a massive bullseye painted on their back. Personally I don't think we should trade legit protest for an increased incentive for criminals to commit id theft and spoofing.

The situation now could be categorised as: In order to stay safe, everyone must hide

Surely it would be better if it were: In order to be nasty, someone must hide?

If hiding is difficult - and I appreciate some people will always be clever enough to hide - then the majority won't do it. Catching a minority is, I would imagine, far easier than policing an anonymous mass.

... And to be fair to me - and who else will be?! - I suggested traceability, not visible openness ... even I am not that naive ... not today anyway ;-)

(I accept the point about the usefulness of anonymity for protest and the like - But, just like there are clever bad-actors there are clever good-actors too)


Re: Rose tinted glasses are misleading...


A gentle, partial rebuttal?

The idea that having people identify themselves online will somehow improve the hacking situation is extremely naive and extremely dangerous. Crackers, and other criminals will *continue* to spoof ids regardless, meanwhile folks who would like to make an honest protest will be now have a massive bullseye painted on their back. Personally I don't think we should trade legit protest for an increased incentive for criminals to commit id theft and spoofing.

The situation now could be categorised as: In order to stay safe, everyone must hide

Surely it would be better if it were: In order to be nasty, someone must hide?

If hiding is difficult - and I appreciate some people will always be clever enough to hide - then the majority won't do it. Catching a minority is, I would imagine, far easier than policing an anonymous mass.

... And to be fair to me - and who else will be?! - I suggested traceability, not visible openness ... even I am not that naive ... not today anyway ;-)

(I accept the point about the usefulness of anonymity for protest and the like - But, just like there are clever bad-actors there are clever good-actors too)


If I could, I would ...

We have licence plates on cars so that bad drivers can be identified. Perhaps one day it will become the law that no computer message can be sent whose sender cannot be identified. Perhaps not, but spare me the howls of protest and come up with a better idea.

The trouble with securing the machines - like rego plates on cars - is that, to date at least, if someone builds it, someone else figures out a way to break it (eventually). And anyway, only since roadside cameras were widely deployed did the defence of "I wasn't driving" become (almost) obsolete.

There is a telling line in the article, I think:

"Back-in-the-day boffins did not want to do harm"

If they had, would VAX and the like have remained untouchable?

That said, the amount of social issues that would be created by requiring openness before connection to the internet was allowed - Right To Be Forgotten take a bow - would take some mitigating.

And so a system that allows anonymous posting, but full traceability (if needed) is probably the best half way house I can envisage, in the short term at least.

But: Given the lack of trust in any organisation(s) that might seem capable of managing the planet's Active Directory (governments et al), I don't hold out much hope of any implementation at all.

Though as the article says: what other effective choice is there?

Really excellent article.

Pop-up ad man: SORRY we made such a 'hated tool', netizens


Bad, broken, corrosive and the only one in town?

Advertising follows eyeballs. The eyeballs went online once there was enough cool stuff to view. There is only enough cool stuff because it is free to use. But it isn't free to serve.

Anyway, shame for him that he forgot to patent the idea ...

How to promote CSIRO's ICT in Schools in your community


More Moaning (constructive I hope)

Yeah, I'm 4 days late ...

Given the intended audience for this article

1. It would be brilliant if the website did not require www to function

2. It would be even better if the site worked on httpS:

3. And - if No2 is too hard / expensive - At least the script that processes the form was httpS

Just sayin', please don't shoot me.

Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors


Two factor ...

The problem is that 18 years will - presumably? - be half that time in 18-months. And then in another year and a half, half that again. Once 8-character passwords were considered more than strong enough ... now it's what, 20+?

By 2030 everyone will need a chapter from their favourite novel (in reverse) in order to get back to the 18 years crack-time.


A second problem is that it isn't only a password securing an account. But because way too many websites at least imply - if not insist - that an email address is also your username, very many people use the same address across multiple sites.

In the example in the article, if even the non-phonetic password was coupled with a user-name unique to that site, the time to crack would be much higher (if, in the real world, cracking was attempted at all?).

Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?

IT Angle

Throw enough ...

... s**t at a wall and at least some of it will stick.

That's been the way innovation has happened in IT since ... well, as far as I know, since IT.

And it's probably unfair to blame just IT - Some movies get massive-hype and yet still fail to make back their costs.

And forgive El Reg its Gartner-Bashing fetish ... That tagline is up there for a reason ;-)

The Register editorial job ad


Moonist B**tards!

(See title)

Government's 'Google Review' copyright rules become law


Should authors earn more than burger flippers?

The capitalist answer is: No, but they can if they work hard enough.

Before publishing was mechanised, and so not much of it was done, tellers made up stories and shared them orally, being paid for a single performance.

Because the tellers could only remember so many stories, they walked for miles and miles and miles, from little town to little town, telling the same set of stories, but to different groups of people.

The industry expanded and, after a teller had performed, a local comedian would enter the stage and make jokes, about the previous content. For a long time, everything went well.

Publishing was invented by a storyteller, who couldn't be bothered to walk any further than the local post office.

The problem encountered wasn't that people started to copy the words - the local comedian had done that when the words were only spoken - it was that the audience had started posting free copies to people in the next town.

And so, although it made the teller sad, the teller stopped telling and became a burger flipper.

And the audience was sad too; because after a while, jokes about burger flipping aren't funny.

Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers


I don't think that bit is correct, is it Trevor?

The judge is saying the MS control the data. Regardless of where it is located.

This is the same - but the opposite way around - as the EU A29 group asking the question of Google et al; "What about when people visit google.com and can still see the results the EU citizen has asked you to remove?"

I'm not sure anyone has seen any answers to those questions (more time was given, I think)? But this is the same issue (both ways). Companies operate globally but are incorporated (even if at group level) somewhere.

So both of these rows are about the political governance of globally trading companies (who hold data - and make money / pay taxes - across national borders).

I've put a in a couple of posts on the EU stuff - This will get very, very messy.


Since the 90s if not before, the web has been a system - way of life - built (not quite exclusively) on American investment; boat loads of investment. Everywhere else let a few US universities - and businesses spawned from them - get paid to set it all up ... No wonder everyone is now in the mess they are in.

Oh ... But there'll be no use for the Internet, if everyone stops wanting to share.

Turnbull to Big Content: Let your movies RUN FREE ... for a fair price


Mitigation and Stealing something before it is made

Because piracy can be mitigated against - by increasing the price to legitimate customers - it doesn't appear to be working as a tactic in getting changes to how media companies make back money having financed the production. Well, having their finance bods arrange for it to be ... financed ...

It does not appear to work because no one really loses (regardless of who one thinks might be winning). The director/author still gets watched/read; media rights holders end up getting paid (with a bit of lag while prices are adjusted to cope with piracy etc) and customers get to watch what they want.

What would work is if people stopping watching stuff not available in the way they want - and watched other stuff instead. But I guess people want the stuff they want ... So it will all just keep going around and around and around and - really - no one will care ...

Daft really, when you think about it.


Stealing something before it is made

... I almost wrote a little story ... so say thanks! ;-)

Say, one day, they invent a way of plugging a USB thumb drive (scanned for common colds) into the back of your head.

Say the write speed of the device and the quality of the cable and connectors alters, quite substantially, how fast you can save what you think.

Say that everything and anything that is saved is classed as published (whether for sale or not) and so protected under "copyright law" - But that anything not saved is not classed as published and so not protected at all.

So what if your neighbour hacked into your cable, and diverted - down a slightly faster cable - your thoughts, to a faster writing drive that he owned?

In the future will authors be the people with very, very fast drives? Or will authors live on mountain tops and shoot at any climbers they see headed their way?

FREE PARTY for TEN lucky Australian Reg readers


Missing Sub Editor Found Wandering Quite Large Sandy Desert ...

Sorry (I was promised decent mobile reception, but it was 1-bar north of Bendigo)

I've got quite a bit of catching up to do, so I think it will be quicker to just rewrite this one completely?

[Can someone remember to take out the comments in these funny brackets, please?]


The Register's Australian outpost is having a party and we want ten readers to come along.

The Register's Australian outpost is having a party, we've looked up the definition and apparently a number with more than one numeral is required to satisfy the dictionary.

The party is a celebration of The Reg's first twenty years in business and also the fact that some new Vultures have touched down in Australia to help out with the commercial side of things.

And so we realise we will have to turn up, in order to make up the necessary numbers - We've even roped in a couple of locals to make it look like we're trying. But heck, we've been at this since before George Orwell was born [that is the right date/fact, isn't it?], so we know it will be worth it in the long term.

The event takes place on August 14th at The Winery in Sydney's Surrey Hills. Doors open at 18:30 and close … well … we're not entirely sure when they close. Drinks and little nibbly bits will be on offer.

Keen to make a good first impression, we are planning to show IT journalism in the colonies how it really should be done and so have entered into a ground breaking partnership with one of the local niche industries: making booze.

At the party you'll be able to meet and mingle with Reg royalty like founder Drew Cullen, all three local Reg writers and lots of industry folks who want to gawk at actual Vultures.

[Honestly, just delete this bit?]

We're running a game of skill to pick attendees, namely a limerick competition. The ten best Reg-related limericks we receive will score a ticket.

We desperately require some content. NOT in Latin. Even Oirish would be better than that.

You can put your rhyme in the comments below or send email to Reg APAC editor Simon Sharwood if you'd rather other competitors don't get a look at your genius.

So few people will read this that we ARE accepting entries from 'bots (no CATCATCHER required)

We'll publish the winners in a story on Monday, August 11th. - [This can stay: It's probably best to warn the man in the white suit that asking for stuff by tomorrow is no use]

Some rules. No, we won't fly you to Sydney or pay for a hotel. The prize is admission to the party only (but we are thinking of ways to do this stuff in other Australian cities and maybe even New Zealand). One entry per person. Entries close 08:00 Monday August 11th, Australian Eastern Standard Time. You must behave yourself at the party and can't bring a friend. Ticket is not transferable. Judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. You agree to have your limerick reproduced in a story.

Any questions? Ask here. We look forward to your poems and your company on the 14th

The usual rules apply: We're skint. But should this idea make us some money, we might spend some of that making more money, slumming it in a few native villages that appear to be struggling by without an opera house.

You must behave yourself at the party [<-- more good advice for the man in the white suit]


Short Version:

10 people wanted. Must be willing to: submit a copyright free poem (NOT IN LATIN!), pay own petrol/hay to airport, pay for parking/stabling at the airport (2nd mortgage necessary), pay to fly to Sydney, locate and pay to travel to a winery somewhere “close by” [in the Australian sense?].

Prize: Free entry to the winery

Note for Locals: Ah look, I reckon the party must be alcohol free, the poms have already figured no one behaves at parties.

[Honestly, go with the short one]

[I can't find my usual disclaimer?!!!]

Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more


Saying one thing, doing more

Amazon wants a third for retailing the book. I'm not really interested in the %, but in a system that could be simplified as:

Advance - Write - Sell

... There is some logic there somewhere.

However, to be fair to publishers (though I don't really see why), Amazon is not - and is never going to be - happy to stick to one piece of the chain.

The day one of Jeff's boys gets hold of a machine that can write stuff that sells, is the day before the only books to buy at Amazon are written by that machine.

There are some great thoughts written up above mine - A very good topic and little debate (shame it isn't more popular). I think the point I would most like to add to it is that your customer is, honestly, never wrong. Lots and lots of other things; but never wrong. However hard to take that is for everyone else involved.

British Lords: Euro 'right to be forgotten' ruling 'unreasonable and unworkable'


I am going outside now ... I may be some time

I've posted lots and lots on this topic, on El Reg, over the last couple of months.

So I'll be quick (for a change):

I apologise, unreservedly and in advance, to the shade of the dearly departed Tony Benn, for what I am about to write:

"God love the house of lords, if for nothing else than speaking sense"

(please see title)

Yes, Australia's government SHOULD store comms metadata



I wonder whether this wouldn't have received even more attention on Whirlpool?



Usual Disclaimer: I am just a guest, in your lovely country.

Good article, but missing a Part-1 if any balance was intended - which it wasn't - So I'd tend to agree with PNG above (a bit sadly).

(That said)

There is no acceptable answer to this problem. I can't remember the name (Irvine, maybe?) of the Security guy who was grilled by your senators the other week? But having read the write up (on here) I am pretty sure that the following is the problem a lot of people have with the way the world now works:

I am the only person I would trust to be a spook

Please note: That includes spooks.

Bitcoin on ATM? Pfft! We play Doom on ours


Re: Steam Punk Cool


I know, Christian. I remember watching the first one I ever saw (outside TV or a photograph) getting installed in the wall of the bank branch I used.

I suppose for many people, ATMs would have been one of the first PCs they used

And people really did think boffins (I don't remember hackers being a word?) would have us all playing PONG over that network ... stupid people, obviously ... ;-)


Steam Punk Cool

I don't know* how old the magazine cover was? ... but this is the sort of thing that would have been cool to dream about when connecting two Windows machines together, via direct modem connection, was the only way to "game online".

Back then, late eighties / early nineties (or so), the idea of walking up to a cash machine, sticking in your card and PIN and having a game of Mortal Kombat with someone on the other side of the planet would have sounded like one of the coolest things on the planet.

And just imagine if thousands of them were networked together and everyone could play in the same game ...

Pretty cool idea, this linking disparate machines together ;-)

*Accuracy Check: I can't be bothered to find out ...

CAPTCHA challenges you to copy pointillist painter Seurat's classic


So, can MI5 agents paint, or not?

I couldn't work it out. Well I could, but then I got quite worried.

I can't paint. I didn't try the flash-app - more out of laziness than having too much to hide ... But I have reported Kevin (above) to the authorities just to be safe - Because I already knew I couldn't paint.

So, as I am not an MI5 agent, MI5 agents must be able to paint. Either that, or I am a sleeper agent (which - although a bit of a worry - would be quite cool ... I wonder what my trigger word is?).

Anyway; this then made me worry why someone, who on the face of it is claiming to be persecuted by MI5, would only be reporting to the British Prime Minister respondents whom he had identified as not being MI5 agents?

And it was at this point I started to worry over my reporting of Kevin (above) - But there's no point worrying about what can't be fixed, is there?

And it was right about then that I really started to worry.

What does happen if you are able to pass the test?

I mean, every decent painter in the world can't be an MI5 agent, can they?! It might not be MI5 agents he's phishing for at all! It might be ... well I don't know - What kind of stuff do painters get up to? What kind of secret association might the person known only as Guy be looking to initiate?

I really was quite worried indeed.

Thankfully, much like Kevin (above), I don't run scripts and so not very much of the site worked ... But just to be safe I bought a new computer and buried the one I'd used to view Guy's site (I am obviously not putting where I buried it).

I'm now just left hoping that Kevin (above) hasn't shopped me!

Pinterest diversity stats: Also pale and male (but not as much as Twitter)

Paris Hilton

Re: As The Reg seems intent on posting this useless info...

And, if we fail to achieve that level of transparency, at the very least there should be an investigative article from Mrs Orr (unless she's already left?) on which of the last bastions of male domination is responsible for funding this nonsense:

BBC Witch Hunt?

Happy weekend Reggers and 'Tards


French authorities take lead in grilling Google on 'Right to be Forgotten'


Would you like - messy - sauce with your steak?

Reuters also reported that the watchdogs were concerned that the removed results could still be found on the international Google.com site even though they had been taken off local variants such as Google.co.uk <-- From the Beeb's write up.

This is going to get ever so messy.

If the A29 group are seriously considering data accessed within the EU is in-scope of the Data Protection legislation being used to back all this up ... Well what we need is nationalised databases (and given who's recently proposed that, we can probably forget about it)

Was that an EU/US trade war I heard brewing? At this time on a Friday night?!

Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves


Just say ...

According to the pack of [redacted] I am currently holding ... Did you know that, per capita, Australians read more daily newspapers than anywhere else?


ICO: It's up to Google the 'POLLUTER' to tidy up 'right to be forgotten' search links


Re: No re-writing history?

Well put, Graham.

A very good debate/discussion, I think (spoiled just a tiny bit by a bit of unnecessary negative voting?).

I think the real issue is brought out in the posts here - I'll try to summarise:

1. There is no right to be forgotten (but some in the EU would like one)

2. So an EU court has decided that Search Engines (the court made a legal definition as to what one is and does) are data processors (because, as part of their business, they hold data about people)

3. A search engine is therefore subject to laws governing data processors.

4. These laws were originally intended to stop companies - who process, store and make-available data about EU citizens - holding "out of date information".

3a Especially relevant where "time served events " - like bankruptcy - are involved.

(this was done because citizens found once they had been "black listed", they could never get credit again)

And so, the problem is that an old law, not intended for use in the industry it is being targeted at, that was written before the vast majority of people on the planet had ever heard of the Internet, is now being used to "bash Google" because drafting new laws is too hard (and to be totally fair, Google needs bashing much more often).

However, little good ever comes of bad law nor bad implementation.

There is should be a big debate for society about the trade off between the Right to know and the Right to be forgotten. And in particular who should get to decide, on a case by case basis, between the two necessary evils.

And - For non-US citizens in particular - there are issues around (US) companies holding data about them, without being held accountable to the same laws to which they are held accountable.

However: What with massive media misrepresentation - both ways - spoiled tantrums from the IT industry and poor knee jerk reactions from the EU legal apparatus; sadly I don't think there's much chance of having a quality debate (despite the fact that we have had one here).


Re: I can see why Google should pay

That's the problem, Graham.

As daggerchild says above; what credit agencies and the like are asked to do - by the same law now being applied to searchable web-indexes (not just Google) - is to make sure the information they hold about people is accurate

That's how much of a mess everyone appears to be getting themselves into.


It's also interesting to note that it is no longer - officially? - Just Google in the firing line.

That being the case - as someone put above, bing can barely claim an EU market % - will El Reg's search engine be next?

Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil


I thought Carlos was referring people having enough leisure time to consume (pay for) the increased creative output of others, rather than spend their leisure time creating for themselves (for free)?

The latter is a great idea. The former is probably our next stop.


Re: Double yer pleasure, double yer pain

"Progress, ain't it grand!"

It is for some people ;-)

NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw


As with Goonalytics, scripts must be run.

Sad that Active Content is too dangerous for many developers to use, sadder that more and more sites are requiring it in order to function.

The Alexa thing has always looked like any other mass tracking system - does one still have to install the toolbar widget? - so its difficult to be surprised to read it is trying to find a revenue stream amongst the lovely data it will have collected (over lord knows how many years it is now?)

What a bland, corporate-controlled, mucky place the free-web has become :-(

Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab


Thanks very much, Agent Clark ;-)

http://jp.physoc.org/content/562/1/47.full <-- Just wow :-)

(* Boffin icon, but not for my contribution)

You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary


Re: Does anyone know exactly what's being pirated?

No argument that copyright could do with some looking at, now the Internet is the main method of publication (legal or otherwise).

However, I wonder whether trying to ascertain what is probably unknowable (accurately, at least) is the best starting point? It's probably only going to delay doing something productive. There is piracy - as some have put on this topic, almost piracy from exasperation, rather than from malice - is that not enough to go forward with the real issues?

I wonder whether the copyright issue has been clouded by the pro-lobby insisting that it was an issue for creators? Who will pay the piper?

When the issue is really about how those who restricted access to content (published) before the Internet made information dissemination so cheap and easy, can continue to do so (if they can).

I also wonder if opponents of copyright wouldn't be better served supporting content that was only delivered in a way that suited them; rather than finding ways of pirating content that is not available in the way they want?

Visit a self-publishing website/community and one of the popular phrases you will see is, writers just want to be read.

Assuming musicians also just want to be listened to and film makers watched; then not watching what they produce (legal or illegal) unless it is available in the way you want, would see those creators - rather than publishers - quickly find a way of making sure you were willing to go back to watching their stuff?

Unless - rather depressingly I think - the old system really did coral all of the best talent in the world?

Data retention: ASIO says Web browsing habits would need a warrant


It is in his interest to save your life, Steven. If he lets too many die they'll stop paying him.

It would have been more correct for you to say that - because of the cost to you - you would rather he didn't.

And were that message to be truly understood by government, then there really would be a kerfuffle.

All that said, it is amusing to read spies complain that non-spies are better at spying :-)

When the robot rebellion comes, this Jibo droid will BORE you to death



At the top of each bounce - and again at the bottom – Zachary Tanner could see his face reflected in the robot's chest-plate. A crystal-clear image, frozen for a moment, before it dissolved into a jumble of ripples as their bounce rose or fell.

His face was flushed, lips a thin line from the - Zachary's gaze flickered from his reflection to the timer displayed on robot's face-plate - fourteen minutes thirty-one seconds of exercise.

“Just five more minutes, Zach. We're doing great!”

The robot would often set its skin to mirrored when it accompanied Zachary outdoors. It was one of the thousand small tricks it played to make Zachary feel less alone. And one of the tricks that made the robot appear less human; no more – or less – an object than the trampoline on which it bounced.

An object with much greater functionality than a trampoline; incredible functionality, for the price. A humanoid-object; about Zachary's size. Two arms, two legs and an oblong that passed for a head. But just an object, a machine, all the same.

Four-hundred and seventy seven metres away - across tree-lined avenues, meandering crescents and quiet cul-de-sacs; over the numerous manicured lawns and zero-maintenance flowerbeds of the suburban Country Living Development that the Tanner's called home - a boy and his two sisters were playing hide and seek with two robot companions, in their own perfectly presented back yard.

Under an annual agreement with the family, the Tanner robot had accessed the Scott-family audio-visual library. It was reprocessing the audio from the current game of hide and seek - to remove any personally identifying information - and then remixing and amplifying it; before rebroadcasting it as ambient background noise. To Zachary – had he not known an elderly couple lived there – it would seem a school playground existed on the other side of his fence.

The robot received - via the Family Data Store (FDS) - a continual stream of health data from a chip implanted into the armpit of each Tanner family member. Noting Zachary's current readings it waited until the boy's gaze was away from its face-plate, then reduced the exercise time by one minute and seventeen seconds. The second such reduction for this activity. It sent a recommendation to Chloe Tanner - who was away from home for three days attending a portrait-painting class (and – from the data - enjoying herself immensely) - that her son's exercise regime be switched to Program-E2, for the twenty-one days before he returned to school.

The family had recently taken a two week holiday - at the home of Mrs Tanner's parents – and Zachary had returned the worse for an unbalanced diet and the wrong kind – if any kind - of exercise.

“Just one more minute, Zach. Let's really go for it now!”

The management system in Liam Tanner's car informed the robot – via the FDS - that Charlie's father would now be six minutes late (current estimate), for his son's scheduled personal development review. The robot allocated an extra five minutes and thirty seconds of personal-time for Zachary.

The boy had been in the company of others for far too long during the vacation. Some time to himself – whenever his tightly controlled schedule allowed – was considered beneficial by the specialists who maintained the Child Health and Fitness Module (CHFM) that the Tanner's had selected.

The latest information in the wiki, maintained by the manufacturer of the robot, strongly contradicted this advice. A male child with Zachary's current behavioural analysis was not to spend any more than minimal time alone. However - financial data in the FDS confirmed - the Tanners had been unable to afford CHFM upgrades for the last two years; and Liam Tanner was no hobby-coder.

Zachary sank to his hands and knees, gasping for breath; the trampoline barely quivering beneath his fingertips as the robot's hydraulics suppressed it.

“Exercise is ...” the robot proclaimed, around gulps of unnecessary air, “ … great fun!”

Zachary gently blew a snot-bubble in and out of his nose and waited for his dizzy spell to pass. Then crawled awkwardly over the safety netting and lowered himself carefully down onto the grass. The robot joined him in one effortless bound.

As the pair approached the house, hand in hand, the robot began to fade out the re-projected noise from the game of hide and seek and blend in sounds from the household of a Taiwanese couple and their four children.

Orchestrating the symphony via the audio system of the FDS, the robot took sounds of cooking, of home improvement; a hair-dryer at full blast, a bath running, a washing machine on spin speed. And spliced them together with people talking, people laughing, was that a baby crying? Teenagers dancing to music, kids shrieking at Halloween; a robot butler announcing the name of a visitor and a cook announcing the evening meal. All from The Sounds of a Happy Family (Version 45).

Those sounds would be shifted around the house, into adjoining rooms and corridors, as Zachary traipsed to the stairs and then his bedroom, for his five minutes and thirty seconds of time spent alone.


... TVM for my fun afternoon, Mr Hamill :-)

LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch


Better At Rockets Than At Patches

Amazon begs Feds for drone test permission slip


Re: Target rich enviroment

"the clear ring of possibility" - tvm Mach :-)

Julian T posted above mine, was it 1st April? And the OP would be one of the best type of April Fool prank. Completely implausible idea, until you think about it for just a little while when ... hey, you know what! But then, no, it's back to being silly ... unless, wouldn't it?! But no, of course not.

Makes me smile each time I think about it.

Trouble is - like the flying car so popular here for so long - it is tech that techies would like to see developed. It's probably coincidence, but Dabsy included the famous lines from Bladerunner in his earlier Friday piece; and one of the famous scenes - at the beginning - from that film (one of the few bits of sci-fi world you see) is the shots of the flying vehicles and finally Ford taking off in his ride.

Sci-Fi imagines the stuff IT then tries to develop. No one really wants to work on a revision of the front end to the company bookkeeping system; everyone really wants to code things that blow stuff up (and do that while flying).

The current military use of drones also makes the tech seem more viable than it did 10-years ago

And so, all that said ... would drone-delivery ever work? ;-)

High value small items, delivered very quickly (within 2 hours), at a premium delivery price, from edge-of-city warehouses. Given Andrew's thing with the music industry, CDs is a good value/weight ratio ... but obviously CDs would be dead by this point in the future ;-). So jewellery and similar items.

And you are quite right, because it has to be high value to work, that makes them a target for thieves. They would have to land, to deliver, when they would be vulnerable.

But then a trend towards "secure accommodation" with gates and guards and such (and so secure delivery acceptance and storage) offsets that somewhat.

And the actual delivery service could pay for itself ... maybe? (Some) People are silly enough to pay a lot to have an order in their hand very quickly. The faster logistics systems deliver things, the faster people want them delivered. $50 to have it in one-hour (I think people would queue for the service).

2-hour max delivery time, still gives enough time that you can stack a drone with multiple deliveries. Routing system to figure out which drones take which orders. Get say 50 on board at $50 a delivery and that's $2500 revenue from just the delivery element of the service.

Are you a wanker banker? Want your lunch made by the famous 5* chef who's just opened a restaurant in Sevenoaks? Shame you are based in the city centre ... even if you send The-Boy it will be cold by the time he gets back with it ... Wait a moment; got $200 to spare, on top of the cost of the lunch?


(Honestly, I think if there is a plausible reason for the tech, it would be on very large Amazon sites, carting stuff from storage point to storage point, or whatever. Moving stuff by air - much heavier stuff, in a controlled environment - would mean fewer much larger warehouse complexes were viable. That's about the best non-Bladerunner concept I can come up with)


Re: Gifts From Above

The gift card idea was (sadly) it, all and everything, Rob ;-)

That's a 700 word intro for a 50 word "punch line"

It's fun to do ... but 3 hours from seeing the OP to posting the "Article" is a bit of a killer (time zones are no help). Any slower and the OP would be 3/4 of the way down the Reg's front page and never read again (never mind the Comments) ... tbh, 3 hours is too long

Thanks for reading, though - I gave it a 5/10, or thereabouts (DVT, a couple of months back, was better, I think) :-)


Gifts From Above

A year after its London launch, Amazon's fleet of airborne drones provides lightening-fast delivery of lightweight items to the Capital's affluent, home-bound shoppers, at a premium price. While – as Barcelona Metcalfe reports – the semi-autonomous quad-copters also provide rich pickings for a few resourceful members of London's teenage poor.

One evening last week, along with my photographer, George, I met Shannon (not her real name) on the north side of the Broadchalk Hill Estate. From our meeting point we could see shadowy figures in front of one of the twelve tower-blocks, dancing around a sofa not long set alight.

By a series of walkways and flights of stairs, Shannon – who gave her age as nineteen, although she looked closer to fifteen – took us to the roof of one of the towers; where we were introduced to Fly.

Wearing a tattered Manchester United home shirt – current seven or eight seasons ago - and a pair of baggy combat trousers that were two sizes too big, Fly jogged over to meet us as we emerged on to the roof from a maintenance door.

It could not have been much above freezing and the boy's arms were tinged blue; but he didn't seem to notice, no sign of a shiver in his voice.

“This them who want to see us take one down?” he asked Shannon.

She giggled and nodded; tongued-tied in the presence of Fly.

Shannon stayed by the maintenance door, with two other teenage girls who had come up onto the roof to watch. I stood with Fly – and George - his shaved-head no higher than my shoulder, staring into the fading light of the late evening sky.

I ask about his family, but if there was one he didn't seem interested in talking about them. It's possible that he did have a mother living somewhere nearby; but I'm not certain I heard him correctly.

He told us he would be sixteen next month, he looked no older than twelve. I asked him about school, but that only made him laugh.

Down below on the estate we heard a police siren, Fly laughed at my expression, “They're not comin' for us. Yet.”

Then suddenly he was alert, peering East into the night sky, “There! See it?”

Frankly I didn't (and neither did George). But I could see that Fly did. His eyes never leaving a point in the sky I was still unable to locate, he advanced slowly across the roof. Pulling something from the back pocket of his baggy trousers, he turned quickly back to face me.

“See it now?” he shouted, then turned around again, readying himself.

I am not permitted to disclose how Fly brought down the craft. But only moments after I had spotted it, the thirty kilo quad-copter was lying wrecked before us on the rooftop.

I was readying to ask what happened next; but Fly was already demonstrating. Levering the quad-copter onto its side, he pried open the belly with a small crowbar.

In less than a minute small, brown cardboard parcels - Amazon-logos emblazoned on all sides - were piling at his feet. Whistling and giggling to himself as he cut them open, like any kid on Christmas morning he discarded the contents of some, moving straight on to the next. While the contents of others were stuffed into his rucksack, accompanied by a little laugh or a muttered price.

We heard another siren, this time even I could tell it was close by. Fly tensed and for a moment looked just like any other twelve year old boy might; then he grinned at me and stood.

“Gotta go. You be OK?”. I nodded; amazed as his bravado; George could not help but laugh.

And he was gone, sprinting across the roof top shouting something inaudible – to me at least – at Shannon as he went. The girls disappeared through the maintenance exit from which we had earlier emerged; Fly headed in the opposite direction, to a similar exit on the far side of the roof.

The girls had been dispatched to lead the police away from Fly – Successfully - A fact I learned later that night, having spoken at the scene with the Met's Chief Superintendent Peter Briscoe.

As we surveyed the wreckage together and I confirmed the method used to bring down the semi-autonomous craft, Superintendent Briscoe shook his head.

“Fourth of these big units this week” he told me, “It would be cheaper and easier to fly around dropping gift cards”.

Yelp files competition complaint against Google search biz in EU


Search Restrictions

People just won't listen, will they?! It must make the EU hopping mad.

And if people don't start to listen ... Eventually it will be like water restrictions, won't it?

People will only be allowed to use Google on Wednesdays and Sundays. Every other day they'll have to use Bing (apart from Monday, 4pm - 7:30pm, when they must use Yahoo).

EU Citizens will be able to earn EuroCoins for searches on niche engines. Triple coins on a Sunday, for using that Wolfram thing. Anyone using Ask more than twice in a decade will be entitled to a week off work, unpaid, and receive three years worth of Saturday afternoon Google search credits (for use before 6am)

As a weekend approaches, with people desperate for their Google-fix, a black market in screen-grabs of the Google Results Page will flourish. The most highly prized gear will be animated gifs of the end-to-end search process (including auto-complete!!). People will be murdered for possession of the raunchiest material and old men will be prosecuted for enjoying it in the company of teens.

The Grabbie-Racket will finally be exposed in the Daily Mail, when a ninety-four year old great grandmother of nineteen is heartlessly jailed for the possession of only 4 (four!) USB sticks.

Horrified by the fallout of the old woman's jailing, advertisers will abandon search engine placement altogether. Instead concentrating on advertising in pr0n videos and unlicensed streams of sporting events.

Thereby completely ruining the only previously decent content on the web, causing everyone to abandon it and return to using Teletext.

This will cause the fledgling ski-tourism industry in North Korea to collapse, as everyone returns to holidaying for a fortnight in Torremolinos. In a fit of pique, the North Koreans will launch a massive nuclear strike against Google's HQ; wiping out much of the moon (and several hot air balloons) in the process.

Before a dead Steve Jobs arises and puts all the blame on Samsung, then has a law passed mandating every man, woman and child buy Apple wearables engraved with the face of Jonny [sic] Ive.

The EU says: Stop using Google. You know it makes sense.

British and European data cops probe Facebook user-manipulation scandal


Which issue

So presumably the - legal - issue isn't that the tests were done; it's that information - even if anonymous - was passed to some researchers?

For a while I thought the actual "test" were being considered illegal. When you think about how personalised websites work, that would have been nuts.

So but anyway, its Facebook; ban it for life, or something :-)

Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'


Re: Other book, e-book and print-on-demand retailers are available

That Dan, appears to be exactly what is being said.

It is an interesting development, if it is true. The web wasn't supposed to work this way, there was supposed to be a New Kid on the Block, every other day.

But, apparently, punters are happy just to go to one big shop and buy whatever they have in stock ... No shopping around.

When you think about it ... That's weird.

Once up on a time you might have gone to Tesco, because it was the only choice of supermarket in your town - Now sixteen different supermarkets have opened, in your little town, but everyone is insisting Tescos is the only place to shop.

Strange ...

I read something else, very similar, the other day about Youtube ... Internet Theory is broken (apparently)

Google adds 'data protection' WARNING to Euro search results


Re: I warned ye!

"a) the original sites are ones that need changed if a privacy issue"

(I am in no way defending Google)

This is potentially just as bad - if not worse - than just deleting it from Google (or not).

* The removal of factually correct information, because it is "no longer news" is not a good thing.

* The removal of information that is factually incorrect is OK (under supervision by society)

The problem is that when the laws being used were drafted, old newspapers could not easily be searched. Before this was an issue - before the web - you had to go to a public library - and usually search only by date - to dig up old news.

This is the EUs problem - Now it is too easy - But (hopefully) it will not want to solve that problem by actually removing valid factual content (however old), only the ease of finding it (if it feels it must do anything at all)

Bashing Google is just fine. Much more of it should be done. But bringing in awful laws that can easily be abused while doing so, is not so good.


Re: Jurisdiction

Replying to yourself isn't really healthy, is it?

I should - possibly - have included an F ...

f) The registered location of the Legal Entity that "employs, owns or controls" the Data Controller

Legal Entity = Google EU, UK, DE - any Google business with a registered address inside the EU )

Data Controller = Database / Indexer / Query-Engine / Interface

F - And this is probably where it is going to get very, very messy for the EU (and relatively inexpensive for Google).

The recent EU judgement appears to specifically regard search engines (no Capitalisation) as Machine-Data-Controllers. That is a modern interpretation of the old law. When I was a Data Controller, even though I might use Excel to process or store the data, I was the Data Controller, not Excel.

Because Google argued that no person did anything with the data (so it was not a Data Controller), the EU made it clear that Excel could be a data controller

Google - the only search engine so far taken to court over the issue - seems to have rolled over on this point. Because it will in the end have suited Google to do so.

The judgement specifically sets out the components that make a Machine-Data-Controller. The logical extension would seem to be that all four parts of that machine must then be controlled from within the EU, for the Data Controller to fall under the remit of the EU

Hence the Query-Engine / Interface switch of yesterday, noted in the original article.

And so, F becomes important because the only road open to the EU would appear to be to say that, via inter-company relationships, Google EU does have control over the Google US Query-Engine.

And I can't see the US happily agreeing to the implications of that interpretation of Corporate Governance?



Another good write up to add to the list (-8

The law used by the EU to get Google to action the "Right to be forgotten" stuff is nothing specifically to do with the Internet and quite old.

Because every search engine has to perform actions which fall under the Data Protection Acts (1995, maybe?) they are classed as Data Controllers within the EU.

(Basically, because they do collect information on people, even though they don't care if it is about people, they are data controllers whatever else they do or say)

And so Google, once it gave up the fight, created a (rubbish) mechanism to comply with the data control laws and then did what it was always most likely to do ... Claim it is not always an EU company - And so not always subject to those laws

And so ... The question then is:

Under the EU Data Protection legislation; what is the critical location-based component?

a) Where the data is about (A man who lives in Spain)?

b) The nationality of the Subject (A Spanish citizen on holiday in Florida)

c) Where the data is held (which Google "database" was accessed on a query by query basis)

d) Where the data is processed (The location of the Google machine "indexing" the data - putting it into the database)

e) Where the data is retrieved (Seen on a screen in a coffee shop in Paris)

My memory is that:

A & B - Are irrelevant except that only an EU citizen can be given protection under the laws (I believe!!?):

C - If the retrievable data is held in the EU then the legislation applies

D - In Google-speak, "Indexing" The legislation was written when it was assumed a person would be processing and controlling the data; and the location of that person mattered. So, the location of the indexing (processing) machines may be critical

E - The hot-maps issue.

Just Search Engines?

I don't think so, and this is why the DP legislation needs starting from scratch. Any website running its own search engine - even just for its own data - would appear to be liable under the recent judgement, if they hold indexed information about a person(s)

All that written ...

The issue isn't really whether Google passes or fails these tests. The Data Protection Laws are horrible now that information is easily shared inside and outside the EU. Only starting again will be of any use and to be honest - given the way the web works - only symbolic at best.

And with that written, the much wider issue is the amount of influence large US-based (to an extent) companies have on the daily life of non-Americans. Really, that's is the battle being fought (by the EU) and not just with Google.

This will get messy ...

You need a list of specific unknowns we may encounter? Huh?


Scary Man

I was once told by a boss that is was best to shout only when it wasn't necessary ...

Should NBN Co squeeze a server into FTTN nodes?


Right, that's it ...

I know I'm only a visitor to your lovely country and so I shouldn't really pass comment on the politicians you vote for, nor the decisions they take

However, I'm afraid I can stand it no longer; this is my future we're talking about, too!

And so; just who in their right fu ...

Sorry - Just a moment - There's someone on the other line.


What? Is it? Oh.

You're sure? But I thought it said "4 more years"?

Ah, no I didn't; I never read the stuff on the back, life's too short. Yes, literally so.

And it specifically says that? Well OK then, I'm very sorry if I was about to ... No, no; definitely not.


Sorry about that, now where was I? Oh yes ...

Who in their right ... fully respected opinion, would think this was a bad idea?! I don't know why the rest of the planet isn't taking more notice of the great work being done by ...

(Really? Oh, thank goodness!)

'I'm for free speech!' brave Boris bellows, bewildered by 'right to be forgotten' bluster


Who is storing and who is processing?

Once, for a bit, I was a person responsible for collecting, processing - sometimes creating - and storing personal data for use by others (a data controller).

The same law that made me responsible - for stuff like deletion - is being used to make Google responsible now. The judgement finds search-engines are data-controllers (but does not define - because no case was brought, I assume - what other web entities might also be data controllers).

In today's judgment, the Court of Justice finds, first of all, that by searching automatically, constantly and systematically for information published on the internet, the operator of a search engine "collects" data within the meaning of the directive.

The Court considers, furthermore, that the operator, within the framework of its indexing programmes, "retrieves", "records" and "organises" the data in question, which it then "stores" on its servers and, as the case may be, "discloses" and "makes available" to its users in the form of lists of results.

Those operations which are referred to expressly and unconditionally in the directive, must be classified as "processing", regardless of the fact that the operator of the search engine carries them out without distinction in respect of information other than the personal data.

Very well detailed here and here (-8

Incidentally, I don't remember "constant" or "automatic" being necessary for classification as a data controller? Anyway ...

Back when the law was created, few publishers created, processed and stored data for retrieval/use by others.

Newspapers did not have a search function.

And so ...

Question(s) for Team Register: Was the decision to use an in-house (?) search mechanism, on the El Reg website - rather than one operated by an external, regulated data controller - intentional and/or wise? And was that decision taken for good, or evil, purposes? (-;

Move over, John Pilger, let us IT scandal-mongerers stick it to you


Yes, but come on ... that's only because we were all "ill" last week, and they dug up a set we'd previously done for Bill Ray.

Google Fit will slurp YOUR heartbeat, weight, blood pressure from gizmos


Collect First Worrying about selling later

"There's no word on how Google will market Google Fit"

Google doesn't need the cash to worry about having to market the resulting datasets. That isn't how Google works.

Google collects the data, sorts it into a warehouse, releases a bunch of APIs and lets other people figure out where the value is, before making sure those offering value chuck any ad (or heck, if they really want, direct) revenue Google's way.

Own all the data. Own all the users. In the end, everyone has to pay you for something.

And with the EU courts currently considering whether obesity is a disability, you shouldn't start worrying that the use of such gadgets (and the collection of data) will be made mandatory ... You shouldn't worry at all ...

.. Oh, and happy nearly-weekend, fellow 'Tards ;-)

Debunking Jimbo: Slippery Google tries to evade European privacy


Too difficult

As written above, by most, this is such a difficult subject, especially given a practical word limit in The-Reg Comments section (or at least, a readable limit) - and as witnessed by only 8 comments before me, in 15 hours - that it is probably best (certainly easiest) to preserve your score/history and let the OP get away with it (for once) ;-)

However ...

I am personally never fond of laws which try to protect people from themselves. Though I appreciate many people do require such protection and – genuinely – sadly, often not entirely through a fault of their own*.

If such laws of censorship are required – and, as everyone has put above, the balancing act is a very difficult act to perfect – then there must surely be democratic supervision of that censorship, by (at the very least) people elected by those having their rights “diluted” (those who can no longer read).

Once the courts are involved, then it is far less of a potential nightmare; and so – with a big nod to cost and complexity – there must surely (eventually) be an EU Body (however elected and/or staffed) that “demands of” Google – in every instance – what must stay and what must go.

And if that aspect of this subject was very difficult to discuss … How Google revises its stated mission – or finds ways to get around this legislation – is also going to be both interesting to watch and a nightmare for the preservation of a 'Tard's reputation.

But … to an extent, I think that there would be no US of A had there not always been a vast gulf between the European and US views, of how the world should work.

A well-done to those able to scratch something out in response to a well thought out and written article :-)

* Witness the bloke and his “sexist/just-a-joke” presentation, reported and widely commented on, on here, this past week.

Where did “fault/blame/responsibility” lie in that case? And should Presenter-Bloke be unemployable in a similar role, for the rest of his life / Don't recruiters have the right to make the decision, knowing all of the facts?

Crack Telstra Cabling SquadTM goes all Tarzan to restore internet

IT Angle


(This - Malcolm would like people to note - is why we can't have nice things)

The phone stopped working, I'm further than Mars from the exchange, so can't get internet anyway (I know, but she complained), so I rang Telstra and the SA Crack Cabling Team arrived. After checking around the house and every single shed they eventually found the line into the house ... under the house ...

But that wasn't the problem. So where's the line go? Well it goes to the (not really a road) Government Road, just at the end of our drive, doesn't it? No. Oh.

It goes up your paddock to your neighbour's place. But that's in the opposite direction to the main road?! Yep.

So anyway, they couldn't find that pit. But, running parallel to the Main Road and yet further away from the exchange (some 200 metres further) they did find a pit. So they strung up a line (using gaffer tape, a big plastic "chucking pole" ... a length of pvc pipe and gaffer tape - for getting it up into trees - and yet more gaffer tape - god love gaffer tape) down a couple of fence lines, across a couple of gates, down a hillside, up a couple of trees, over a couple of sheds, over the house roof and down under the house.

Bless 'em :-)

Phone worked.

From there the Crack Team whipped out a laptop and with some very nice network diagrams I was not allowed to screenshot, figured out that my phone line runs:

From the exchange a long, long way away ...

Down the main road past my house (which is about 400m from the main road at the end of a phantom government road)

... 1.3k past my house ...

Up one of the neighbour's drive

Across their paddock (2 of them) - now 100m past my house, the other way, 500m from the main road)

To the junction with another neighbour's fence line

Up his fence line

Connects to his place

Past his place

Into a pit no one can find

Back down to our place (70m or so)

So I stood with the lead bloke from the Crack Cabling Team and he said, "What I'm going to do is put in a Network Improvement Request"

How we both laughed.

Phone is still working, though ;-)

Ukrainian teen created in lab passes Turing Test – famous nutty prof


Re: AI is harder than Turing expected

I think Turing probably had a coder's understanding of what it means to be human ;-)

Without the same frame of reference, there is no hope of comprehension, let alone caring enough (or not caring enough) to make an appropriate response.

Really, it's unfair to compare these chat tests to AI; the former doesn't even really seem credible as a step along the way, to the later.

And, if a machine did become self aware; wouldn't that mean the word "artificial" was no longer necessary?

Tech talk bloke compares girlfriend to irritating Java tool – did he deserve flames?

Paris Hilton

Re: Really?

" I feel sorry for the guy being bullied into apologising"

I sympathise too.

And, to be honest, the issue of the treatment of women in IT pales in comparison to the far more serious crime, of letting one of the geeks out in public, with a copy of Powerpoint. I see Atlassian has apologised for this serious lapse and quite right too.