* Posts by Raedwald Bretwalda

47 posts • joined 9 Nov 2012

Oracle tells Supremes: Fair use? Pah! There's nothing fair about 'Google's copying'

Raedwald Bretwalda

Anyone who things an API is not a creative work (in the broadest sense, although I believe "creative work" is a technical term in coyright law) ... has never designed a complicated API.

Capita lights One Revenues and Benefits bug bonfire: ALL reports older than 12 months to be ignored

Raedwald Bretwalda

But the bug reports will still be visible and the bugs can be reopened? It would be a shame if a helpful person were to write a small program to scan through for all the bugs that have been closed in this way and automatically request that each were reopened?

Oracle and Google will fight in court over Java AGAIN and this time it's going to the Supremes

Raedwald Bretwalda

IANAL, but if APIs can be copyrighted, that does not mean you must always pay a license (or conform to whatever license terms the copyright owner wants). Correct? There is still the concept of fair use of copyright materials. Is using a copyrighted API considered fair use?

The mod firing squad: Stack Exchange embroiled in 'he said, she said, they said' row

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Why is it even an issue on SE?

You wouldn't. But if you were a MODERATOR there, you might have to address a specific person, by name, in a message. Then the subject of names, chosen names, and which names are polite or rude becomes important.

Open-source companies gather to gripe: Cloud giants sell our code as a service – and we get the square root of nothing

Raedwald Bretwalda

No mention of the AGPL? Not even a critique? Not a very good article or conference.


Revealed: The 25 most dangerous software bug types – mem corruption, so hot right now

Raedwald Bretwalda

Several of those top problems can be completely avoided by using a better programming language or third party libraries.

The "Improper Input Validation" problem, however, is tougher. Coding proper input validation for non trivial cases (such as string to integer) is tough. There might be only one correct format for an input, but there are many ways it can be incorrect. When I write (TDD) test cases for input validation code, in almost all cases I need considerably more (an order of magnitude more) test cases for the classes (equivalence partitions) of incorrect inputs. Getting junior, less disciplined or rushed developers to put that effort in is not easy.

Biz forked out $115k to tout 'Time AI' crypto at Black Hat. Now it sues organizers because hackers heckled it

Raedwald Bretwalda

When something is this bad, I wonder if it was an attempted hoax that failed to hoax. That is, their plan was to later claim "we presented word salad BS at BlackHat, and nobody noticed, see how uncritical the hacker community is", but the "nobody noticed" proved to be false.

Trump attacks and appeals 'fundamentally misconceived' Twitter block decision

Raedwald Bretwalda

"the fact that the account is run by official White House personnel."

Would that clinch it: something run by government staff is part of the government? If it is private (not governemnt) property and Trump and personally benefits from it, but government staff run it, is that corruption?

Nvidia, King's College train robot overlords to spot oddities on radiology scans

Raedwald Bretwalda


And who will own the resulting AI system, and thus charge for its use (if it proves to be useful)? Nvida? The Hospitals? The NHS?

Who needs malware? IBM says most hackers just PowerShell through boxes now, leaving little in the way of footprints

Raedwald Bretwalda

There's more going on here than simply "using Power Shell". Unix has had a "powerful" shell since forever, yet has less frequent and harder to perform attacks. Are the attackers using Power Shell to perform operations that are easy because of weaknesses in the system? So the message should be "easy to exploit weaknesses" rather than "OMG Power Shell"?

I'm a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks' DNA data to FBI

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Proof of ownership?

"One lass was very confused"

In the UK I doubt this has happened for a long time. I'm 52, and when we did blood types at school you needed permission from your parents to do blood typing of your own blood, to avoid just this kind of problem.

Oof, are you sure? Facing $9bn damages, Google asks Supreme Court to hear Java spat

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Far reaching repercussions...

"If APIs and interfaces can be copyrighted"

They can be, and this has always been the case, as the court ruled. But the doctrine of Fair Use allows use of something even if it is copyrighted. If I interpret the situation correctly (IANAL), Fair Use allows use of APIs and interfaces. And, IIRC, Google was found guilty of copying some implementation, which would not be part of the API.

Google settles Right To Be Forgotten case on eve of appeal hearing

Raedwald Bretwalda

It has, apparently, been the law in Britain since 1974


...where a question seeking information with respect to a person’s previous convictions, offences, conduct or circumstances is put to him or to any other person otherwise than in proceedings before a judicial authority—

(a)the question shall be treated as not relating to spent convictions or to any circumstances ancillary to spent convictions, and the answer thereto may be framed accordingly; and

(b)the person questioned shall not be subjected to any liability or otherwise prejudiced in law by reason of any failure to acknowledge or disclose a spent conviction or any circumstances ancillary to a spent conviction in his answer to the question.

The eulogising of The Mother Of All Demos at 50 is Silicon Valley going goo-goo for gurus again

Raedwald Bretwalda

SRI you say? It gets *much worse*:


Six critical systems, four months to Brexit – and no completed testing

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Time running out

"Article 50 specifies a procedure to leave, it does not specify a procedure to stop the leave procedure."

I'm told that the man who wrote the text of Article 50 (a Briton, ironically) is of the opinion that it can be cancelled.

SQLite creator crucified after code of conduct warns devs to love God, and not kill, commit adultery, steal, curse...

Raedwald Bretwalda

Not so hasty, fellow atheist.

As TFA and the CoC itself says, those rules are taken from The Rule of St Benedict, which was (and stiil is) the Rule followed by Benedictine Monks (and those who would emulate them), not general rules for Christians. Naturally, Monks held themselves to stricter standards than general members of the population.

DEF CON hackers' dossier on US voting machine security is just as grim as feared

Raedwald Bretwalda

A lack of computer security is sad, but not having tamper seals on the boxes? That makes the boxes less secure than my gas meter at home.

if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: equal opportunity offender

It has subsequently been suggested THAT is the problem that causes SO to feel "unwelcoming" to "women and POC": because they have received negative statements in the past (due to explicit or implicict misogyny or racism), they are extra sensitive to negative statements.

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: There should be a few rules for SO

Wrong about RTFM. A SO answer for a question that is explained in he manual is OK.

ID theft in UK hits record high as crooks shift to more vulnerable targets

Raedwald Bretwalda

"fraudsters phoning victims claiming to be from the bank and asking to "verify" online passwords."

Which would not work if the banks used 2 factor authentication. *Sigh*.

Software that predicts whether crims will break the law again is no better than you or me

Raedwald Bretwalda

This is system is probably far worse than the reported accuracy measurement. The measurement compared with software with a layperson. The alternative to using the software is not a layperson deciding whether the criminal will reoffend; the alternative would be the judge, when presumably has training and experience in such things, and so should be more accurate than a layperson.

NHS England told to get a grip on patient records after £6.6m blunder

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Not getting a break

"NHS... can't get even the simplest of jobs... right"

It was not the NHS that failed to deliver the letters. It was an outsourced, private, company. But that fact would not play well into your anti NHS narrative, would it?

Watchdog slaps NHS for failure to tackle correspondence backlog

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: No it doesn't

Yes, a more accurate title would be "Privatised service fails to deliver to NHS". That puts the issue in a very different frame.

America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: I remember the old joke...

There exists special ammunition for people who are meant to be armed aboard passenger planes. The bullets fragment on impact, reducing the danger from ricochets and (I guess, the larger concern) bullets passing through the target.

Panicked WH Smith kills website to stop sales of how-to terrorism manuals

Raedwald Bretwalda

US Army Field Manuals

A surprisingly many US Army Field Manuals are available for free as PDFs on the Web. Including the manuals giving platoon and company tactical advice, and (bizarrely) how to conduct SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defences).

Two first-gen flaws carried over to HTTP/2, warn security bods

Raedwald Bretwalda

Despite the article title, these seem to be flaws in implementations, not the protocol itself.

Someone (cough, cough VeriSign) just gave ICANN $135m for the rights to .web

Raedwald Bretwalda

A DNS name to indicate use of a particular application protocol? Yeah, that's useful, because everyone is sick of typing "http://example.com" instead of "example.com" in the URL field of their browser. Is it still 1997?

UK patients should have greater data slurp opt-out powers – report

Raedwald Bretwalda

"What's wrong with explicit opt-in consent *every* time they want to use your data, saying exactly what the use is?"

The problem with any system that provides patients with a choice about use of their data (opt-in or opt-out) is the danger that the set of data allowed to be used might not be a representative sample of the population, and so any analysis done using the data would be skewed. So, imagine that well-educated middle aged men with bad eyesight and poor social skills are the most likely to be sceptical of allowing data sharing. Your sample will be skewed against people who are well-educated, or are middle-aged, or are men, or have bad eyesight, or have poor social skills.

A system that provides all the data and which is trustworthy is the best system. The tragedy of the care.data farce is that government have behaved badly and so lost trust by trying to run it as a money making opportunity, rather than a public health care improvement or research opportunity.

Heartless hackers break into Florida cancer clinic network – 2.2 million records exposed

Raedwald Bretwalda

no evidence that the leaked data has been misused

"there’s no evidence that the leaked data has been misused"

What reason would anyone have to break in to access such data other than to misuse it? Given that knowing much of that data would constitute misuse . Or are there guerilla free oncologists out there trying treat patients locked into 21st Century Healthcare's methods?

European Patent Office still in nosedive as union denies reaching deal

Raedwald Bretwalda

"The answer is that there are multiple truths"

No there are not. There might be multiple claims of the truth, however.

UK says wider National Insurance number use no longer a no-no

Raedwald Bretwalda


Although the Government tries to ensure that National Insurance Numbers are unique, their uniqueness can not be guaranteed. And you can not guarantee that an input National Insurance Number is free from typos when adding a record for a customer/client. So any database that tries to use a National Insurance Number as a primary key is doomed to fail, eventually.

If a database can not use a National Insurance Number as a primary key, the justification for recording the National Insurance Number at all disappears, unless the database must be used for tax or benefits payments.

Enraged Brits demand Donald Trump UK ban

Raedwald Bretwalda

"there is no indication the billionaire überpatriot intends to visit our shores."

Yes there is. He wants to become President of the USA. And the President of the USA visits the UK quite often:


Obama has visited 4 times, Bush Jnr 5 times, Clinton 7 times, Bush Snr. 3 times.

Sysadmin's former boss claims five years FREE support or off to court

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Earth to world:

"Don't sign a contract..."

IANAL, and I guess it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but a contract requires an exchange: if you do some work, they have to pay you. And if the contract itself does not specify that you will be paid, it is an unfair contract term. You can just ignore it. Let them waste time and money on consulting a lawyer who will set them straight.

Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales

Raedwald Bretwalda

"Demand curves slope downwards"

Interestingly, and *not* contradicting your broader point, there are some social psychology experiments that demonstrate that the curve slopes upwards in some cases. IIRC, it is when the buyers have poor information about the quality of the available products, and so assume that a higher price means higher quality and thus a more desirable product. I recall reading somewhere that the cheapest bottle of wine sold restaurants is not the best seller, but the *second* cheapest sells best.

Major web template flaw lets miscreants break out of sandboxes

Raedwald Bretwalda

"The commonplace practice of allowing untrusted users to edit templates..."

"Unsafely embedding user input in templates..."

Are two different things.

Critical BIND bug scores PATCH YESTERDAY grading

Raedwald Bretwalda

"Unix platforms that are not typically patched as often as other systems"

[citation needed]

Timeout, Time Lords: ICANN says there is only one kind of doctor

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Sadly the wrong answer.

"Chiropractors don't have an M.D, they are "D.C."

Maybe where you live (the US?), but perhaps not true everywhere. If they apply the rule has "having an MD awarded anywhere in the world", it will be just a matter of time (if not the case already) that you can buy a "MD certificate" on-line from a dodgy jurisdiction.

The quacks might even justify this to themselves as a noble work around of rules set up by the evil Big Pharma establishment to keep them out.

I ain't afraid of no GHOST – securo-bods

Raedwald Bretwalda

The opening words of the Description section of the man page for gethostbyname says

The gethostbyname*() and gethostbyaddr*() functions are obsolete. Applications should use getaddrinfo(3) and getnameinfo(3) instead.

Software gurus: Only developers can defeat mass surveillance

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: They are not my users, friend

"Your users are the people paying your salary or your fee. If those people want to rip of their users it is their problem."

That's right. You can always claim that you were "just following orders".

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Well meant but still narrow minded thinking...

"they are simply wage slaves and out of a job if they don't bend personal principles to fit their employer's desires"

In the short term, true. But you do have some choice about your employer. You can take your labour-power elsewhere, unless you have been made redundant and/or there is a recession on.

QUIDOCALYPSE: Blighty braces for £100 MILLION cost of new £1 coin

Raedwald Bretwalda


So, the members of British Parking Association would have to spend £50m to upgrade their machines, saving themselves £40m per year in fraud. on a little over a year, the upgrade would pay for itself. Thats a bloody good investment.

'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: This is a tough one...

You are confusing patents with copyrights. Understandable, because people and organizations that want to extract unearned rent (such as Oracle, here) often try to confuse them by using the term Interllectual Property as an umbrealla term to imply they are the same thing.

10 Types of IT managers from hell

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: And for your next trick ...

"Nothing like three different decisions/opinions/strategies to work around to help a project along."

Can be handled, I'm told, by taking the line that only your immediate boss can give you orders, regardless of how senior they are, and that everyone else must go through them.

Rise of the Machines: How computers took over the stock market

Raedwald Bretwalda

Re: Radical solutions needed

Yes, what good do these HFT do for society. What good do they do *even if* you accept the need for capitalism. It's just high-tech coin clipping.

Fashionably slate

Raedwald Bretwalda
Thumb Up

Smart TVs will die

I guess that smart TVs will die out soon after the manufacturers "end of life" their early smart TV products.

We are used to a TV being something that, once bought and installed, contionues to give years of service. When the TV manufacturers decide to pull the plug on the servers providing the smart TV service, customers will be up in arms that the manufacturer has in effect stolen their TV from them. The fallout will be either plummeting demand for smart TVs, or the manufacturers deciding that providing the ongoing support for them is not worthwhile.

Stob on Quatermass: Was this British TV's finest sci-fi hour?

Raedwald Bretwalda
IT Angle

So available, but poor video quality

As a lad I read battered Penguin editions of the shows. They had some monochrome plates in them. I've always wondered whether watchable recordings existed. Sad that they don't, except for the last.

IT trivia: IIRC, one script refers to an electronic digital calculating device as a "computor" rather than "computer", because the conventional spelling had yet not been settled.


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