* Posts by Dr Stephen Jones

413 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jul 2007


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

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Could be *very* interesting

" If APIs are copyrightable, the entire software industry comes crashing down overnight"


"Copyrightable" is a word used only by people who don't understand copyright, so I'll go nice and slow.

A copyright holder has have something that adds up to a substantial original work before they can try and to use it to make a claim of infringement. I expect the Supreme Court will simply affirm this. APIs were never not "copyrightable". All it means you need a license if you're going to copy a lot of that original work. So go get a license.

The internal emails at Google show that Rubin understood this very well - he had copied Java, and even used over 30,000 lines of Sun code. The Android execs said: we really should get a license. But with Sun being hippies, they decided to wing it. Not a problem unless a Larry takes over from the hippies.

Given your limited understanding of copyright, I hope to God you're not in the industry.

Please stop regulating the dumb tubes, says Internet Society boss

Dr Stephen Jones

Google speaks

Google devises a protocol which secures its ad business against ad blockers and centralises control over the internet

Google funds Mozilla $300m a year, Mozilla advances it as a “community initiative”.

Google funds the Internet Society (sadly now a Big Tech lobbying shop) to tell you opposing the new protocol is a really bad idea.

You do see what’s happening here folks, don’t you?

AI can predict the structure of chemical compounds thousands of times faster than quantum chemistry

Dr Stephen Jones

"AI" = Fake News daily

Shoddy and generally useless research does not merit a press release. Wake me up when Winter starts.

Google skewered in ad sting after Oracle-backed bods turn troll

Dr Stephen Jones

Oracle is a red herring - look what Google DID

The sting used the IRA's own tax details to confirm that the ad buyer was who it said it was. Google accepted these.

The sting used images and text already known to have originated with the IRA operation. Again, no problem for Google. No filters were tripped.

In fact, Google said "Great stuff guys" and even chose a picture to make the ads more wonderful.

Whenever Google PR says, "Look over there, Oracle!" you know they've really fscked up.

Microsoft Teams goes free, as free as the wind blows... up to a point

Dr Stephen Jones

"We've just stopped trying to collaborate now and gone back to emails."

Isn't email collaboration too? Perhaps the employer realised Slack was mainly being used for goofing around.

Science fiction legend Harlan Ellison ends his short time on Earth

Dr Stephen Jones

"But eventually he came around to the idea, although continued to defend what he saw as his intellectual property."

An author's work is by law very much his own IP, and it's recognised as such as a human right. What Harlan saw or imagined has nothing to do with it. Harlan defended his author's rights like a bulldog.

Sorry to see The Register's prejudices spoil an otherwise well written and affectionate obituary.

Galileo, here we go again. My my, the Brits are gonna miss EU

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Nose, face, bite ...

"During the initial Galileo negotiations one EU member insisted on a clause excluding non-EU states from access to certain capabilities of the system. Would you like to have a guess which one it was?"

Let me guess. Is it one with a powerful space lobby, a history of shafting the UK, and a lot of runny cheese?

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Fgs

Are you expecting us to be at war with the USA any time soon?

If so Galileo is worth every penny.

HTC U12+: You said we should wait and review the retail product. Hate to break it to you, but...

Dr Stephen Jones

You can stop crying now onefang, removable batteries aren’t coming back.

(Although like you I wish they would)

What does it take for an OpenAI bot to best Dota 2 heroes? 128,000 CPU cores, 256 Nvidia GPUs

Dr Stephen Jones

Last year OpenAI gave them a reaction time of zero. It’s hard to lose when the odds are so loaded in your favour. Nevertheless they were being outwitted in a few hours. OpenAI went very quiet.

Can’t wait to see what “improvements” they’ve made this year.

So net neutrality has officially expired. Now what do we do?

Dr Stephen Jones

A new broadband tax? No thanks.

I would not want to make the case that the market is truly competitive. In many places it is not.

But if the broadband market is competitive enough to support a $30 premium giving the consumers nothing but a promise, then the market does not need Title II regulation. Supporters of Title II argued that ISPs have oligopolistic power but the 2015 Order did not actually say they did.


If the market is not competitive then the $30 is simply a tax on consumers. Logic does not seem much in evidence here.

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: ER, no, the court will be quite clear

"The Pai order was based on zero evidence, and no public support. Nothing had changed since 2015. Thus the change was 'arbitrary and capricious', and as such, is not a valid change. "

2015 was the aberration. Many people wanted net neutrality not the whole of Title II (with huge chunks of "forebearance" like price control). We're back to where the internet was 1993-2015.

You need to follow your opponents arguments more closely if you are going to rebut them effectively.

Super Cali goes ballistic, Starbucks is on notice: Expensive milky coffee is something quite cancerous

Dr Stephen Jones

tbf, that’s all newspapers these days. Sometimes they fail to notice and will publish can’t contradictory cures/causes cancer stories on the same day.

Twitter breaks bad news to 677,775 twits: You were duped by Russia

Dr Stephen Jones

Is there any evidence...

That even one person was "duped" by a Twitter Putinbot? You should have a look at what these accounts were Tweeting. Most couldn't even spell "Clinton" correctly. Let alone "Hillary".

People who thought HRC evil had already made up their minds. This is one conspiracy that seems completely implausible. (But perhaps not to journalists).

Worst-case Brexit could kill 92,000 science, tech jobs across UK – report

Dr Stephen Jones

It gets better

Cambridge Econometrics consults for the European Commission, and at least two others EU quangos. It's all on their website.

So I would not expect them to say anything else. This really should have been mentioned in the article.

Dr Stephen Jones

I stopped at the "Daily Heil"

Not that I ever read Dacre Daily, but I knew the rest of your comment would be self-indulgent drivel.

Have you thought of applying for a job as a Radio 4 comedian?

Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

I suspect the reason you are childless may be your very attractive personality

Tech giants at war: Google pulls plug on YouTube in Amazon kit

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Don't get worked up over each other

You missed the point.

Google wants neutrality for everyone but itself. You've been played.

Three useless UK.gov 'catapults' put in Last Chance Saloon

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Cui bono?

Shouldn't that be "Cui Bong?"

Net neutrality nonsense: Can we, please, just not all lose our minds?

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Pizza party :)

"But Trump", so it's OK.

Where hackers haven't directly influenced polls, they've undermined our faith in democracy

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: The biggest UK hackers of the lot then?

Murdoch Dacre and "whoever own the Express" (it's still Richard Desmond - great research, kiddo) make a convenient scapegoat when the public have rejected your ideas.

No self-examination or honesty required when you can blame "false consciousness".

Silicon Valley giants tap escape on fight against web sex trafficking law

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: History is about to repeat itself and it's not very well thought out this time either.

" So how is this going to work now with TOR, the dark web, foreign registrars and hosting sites?"

Are you suggesting we shouldn't try and do anything about it, just because it is On The Internet? Or that until there's international agreement, nobody should do anything at all?

You seem to have conflated "difficult" with "impossible", which is very convenient if you're a sex trafficker.

Manafort, Stone, Trump, Papadopoulos, Kushner, Mueller, Russia: All the tech angles in one place

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: What a bunch of incompetent monkeys

We already knew Manafort was suspected of money laundering and tax evasion in 2014, when the FBI opened its investigation into him. So in almost a year Mueller has added nothing new. Nothing juicy and Russian.

Ghost in Musk's machines: Software bugs' autonomous joy ride

Dr Stephen Jones


“Neural networks train themselves, and this might appear to remove the possibility of human error.”

They don’t and it doesn’t.

BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Dr Stephen Jones

Orwellian logic

Johnson's original quote:

"And yes – once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million per week. It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS, provided we use that cash injection to modernise and make the most of new technology."

Jane Fae:

"[Boris] is technically right: the UK will take back control of £350m which it could, if it chose, apply wholly to the National Health Service."

Do you see the problem here?

The ONS thought he was saying something else. Jane then waffles on, padding out the word count by giving The Register what it wanted, presumably, some Boris-bashing.

"Pointing to the small print – to the scale on the left, to the explanatory footnote – simply will not do. "

It is quite sufficient here since the ONS misread Johnson's quote, or didn't read it at all.

Post-truth journalism. Orwell would be proud.

Google and its terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week in full

Dr Stephen Jones

Hit nail on head

"probably due to factors such as the tendency towards an abysmal work-life balance (all work- no life), pointless hyper-competitiveness, and extreme greed of the vultures. The net effect is to create a hostile work place not just for women but also many men who value an outside life"

Damore made this point. If he had said there were cultural reasons for sane, well rounded human beings to avoid working in Silicon Valley no one would have noticed. Instead he tried "because science" and it triggered the lynch mob. I don't think group biological differences should be used to justify prejudice, but then nobody here seriously does - this is a straw man. Damore could have made his point differently.

So no, Google has not had a good week. But then neither has El Reg.

Web inventor Sir Tim sizes up handcuffs for his creation – and world has 2 weeks to appeal

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Mixed feelings

"Nonsense. Books, radio, TV and CDs were easy to copy and didn't contain DRM, yet artists (and especially publishing companies) still made billions of dollars with them. "Piracy" is an overblown problem."

Try talking to some people write books or make TV programmes. Even Graham Linehan went ballistic when his C4 show was Torrented before it had been broadcast.

Some of us predicted what would happen to culture if you didn't fix piracy - welcome the world of Kardashians and clickbait.

Leaked: The UK's secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Encryption is not made "illegal"

If my Auntie had balls she'd be my Uncle.

"Looks like" doesn't cut it. Encryption has not been banned in the UK. The UK has reserved the right to punch a hole in it whenever it wants to, and it will probably be unsuccessful.

This is a disturbing development, but not a surprising one.

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Encryption is not made "illegal"

You are taking the Lewis Carroll defence:

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

1) encryption hasn't been made illegal, and 2) back doors are nothing new.

Dr Stephen Jones

Encryption is not made "illegal"

Ineffective, maybe, since the sender can't guarantee the security of their communication.

Making encryption "illegal" would mean plod knocking on your door if actually use it. Or sell it.

This proposal is bad enough. There is no need for hyperbole.

Jimbo announces Team Wikipedia: 'Global News Police'

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Other fact checkers exist already

And half the population doesn't trust either.

As Trump signs away Americans' digital privacy, it's time to bring out the BS detector

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Devils advocate (from the right side of the pond)

Are you confusing the Universal Service Fund which has been around for years and which subsidises voice services, every the Connect Broadband initiatives, an Obama initiative that gives money to Telcos to provide broadband?

You are right that Big Telco collected money from consumers and spent it very efficiently creating voice services. Then it collected money from the taxpayer and spent it very inefficiently on broadband. It kept quite a bit along the way for itself.

But both funds are a drop in the ocean compared to the $1 trillion spent on internet infrastructure privately. Do you think the public owns this private infrastructure? Maybe you don't, but I see this argument being used to justify government control, as if the taxpayer paid for everything. Perhaps you can clarify.

Don't fall for the AI hype: Here are the ingredients you need to build an actual useful thing

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Garbage in

Cats out

Learn to use machine learning

Dr Stephen Jones

And then... profit!

"The sci-fi scenarios are mostly over, too. We’re already seeing the backlash articles as it slides into Gartner’s trough of disillusionment."


"It’ll emerge from the other side of that, too, and be met by a sensible base of programmers who understand its capabilities, and how to use it."

This usually happens about 20 years later.

"At that point, it’ll be making its way into business tools without anyone having to slap a label on it, and delivering significant benefits. Then, the real magic will happen."

Don't stop believin'

Hold onto the feelin'

Microsoft loves Linux so much, its OneDrive web app runs like a dog on Windows OS rivals

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Loved to Death



It's why they keep losing too, throwing their toys out of the pram. Will they ever learn?

From drugs to galaxy hunting, AI is elbowing its way into boffins' labs

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Machine Learning is not AI.


It is barely even Maths.

Munich may dump Linux for Windows

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Might I suggest...

What, a journalist should actually call or email a source to check it's true?

Get with the 21st Century, dude. That kind of thing went out with operator assisted dialling.

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Replacing Linux with Windows, based on *cost*?


"It is hard to imagine the TCO of Linux has gone up" etc

Linux is still sufficiently different that it is unfamiliar to 99 per cent of the population.

Of those 99 per cent maybe a third in my experience won't need the training at all, they are smart and figure stuff out. That still leaves two thirds asking the dumbest questions.

Retraining is a fact. It isn't a judgement on Linux being any harder to use than Windows or Mac - we know well configured and locked down isn't harder to use. It just that's Linux is different. Anything different causes problems.

Senator wants a piece of Pai: FCC boss blasted for ripping up schools, libraries internet report

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: you must know the drill by now . . .

We're talking about a boondoggle to put computers in libraries, don't confuse this with education.

Trump lieutenants 'use private email' for govt work... but who'd make a big deal out of that?

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: The return of the high horse


I would not vote for Trump even if I could, and there is plenty of hypocrisy to go round. But:

Your comment is self-righteous, intolerant and ignorant.

Don't you get it yet? You are one of the reasons Trump won.

Dr Stephen Jones

Not in the US they're not.

Google harvests school kids' web histories for ads, claims its Mississippi nemesis

Dr Stephen Jones

Obligatory commentard cliche about children.

CBI: Brexit Britain needs a 'sensible and flexible' immigration programme

Dr Stephen Jones

What do bosses want?

Cheap labour. Same as what bosses have always wanted.

Thank you, CBI. We were never in doubt whose side you were on.

Dr Stephen Jones

Or not...

The list idea was abandoned without even being explored. Red meat for the Tory Conference.

But don't let facts get in the way of a good moan.

AI shoves all in: DeepStack, Libratus poker bots battle Texas Hold 'em pros heads up

Dr Stephen Jones

Biting The Hand That Feeds AI?

"Although DeepStack’s opponents aren’t the best poker players, the result is still impressive"

As other commentards have pointed out, poker is a lot less complicated than Chess, and a computer can beat a human at Chess. If you make the goalposts wide enough, you can't fail to score.

This is more PR masquerading as "news". Where do I need to go to find someone Biting The Hand That Feeds AI?

Crumbs. Exceedingly good cakes, meat dressing price hike in wake of the Brexit

Dr Stephen Jones


So basically:

* IT wages will go up

* Manufacturing exports will increase

* We rebalance the economy away from The City - maybe

And yet all the author can do is whinge about the possibility that angel slices might get more expensive. Might being the operative word, as the competitive retail market has absorbed most of the wholesale price rises so far.

No tech angle here, just clickbait for Remoaners.

Dr Stephen Jones

Exports are imported stuff with value added.

With a lower exchange rate you get a bit of inflation and an export boom. Rival countries hate it, of course. They weren't called "Dirty Devaluations" for nothing!

The Register's Top 20 Most-Commented Stories in 2016

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: To sum it all up

Expected more effort from Charlie. It's what you'd expect to hear from mates in the pub and he runs out of gags by April. Houllebecq's Soumission is as plausible and if possible even more scary.

Meet the Internet of big, lethal Things

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Do you own it, or not?

Just like you should be able to shout "Fire!" in a crowded cinema.

Smartphones crashed, Samsung burned: Mobile in 2016

Dr Stephen Jones

Re: Must be a bad year for Apple

Maybe Apple just didn't do anything interesting?