* Posts by Paul Smith

488 posts • joined 11 Jul 2007


DoE digs up molten salt nuclear reactor tech, taps Los Alamos to lead the way back

Paul Smith


You don't think this has anything to do with the recent announcement that China is about to turn on their first Thorium reactor?

Browsers could face two regimes in Europe as UK law set to diverge from EU

Paul Smith

Quo Bono?

Exactly who is this change supposed to benefit? Lose the adequacy agreement and the UK loses access to easy data exchange with the EU, on the other hand, it means the likes of Facebook can do whatever they want with data about UK people. Cambridge Analytics MkII?

I would suggest that someone takes a very serious look at who is lobbying whom and how much they are paying, because this stinks.

Huawei under investigation for having tech installed near US missile silos

Paul Smith

Re: Mass paranoia

I am afraid that you don't seem to know very much about how cell towers, communications or telcos work. You aren't a politician by any chance? The telco buys the gear and installs it in base station at the foot of the cell tower. Huawei don't choose who buys their gear, Huawei don't choose where it is installed, and Huawei doesn't pay for the juice it consumes. Double the data and you double the juice and yes, the telcos would notice, and no, you couldn't slip an extra power supply in there, telcos would notice that as well. Also, since telcos haven't been allowed to buy Huawei gear for quite a while, these towers must have been installed quite some time ago.

MaCarthyism is alive and well in the land of the free.

Crypto sleuths pin $100 million Harmony theft on Lazarus Group

Paul Smith

Does this actually count as theft?

Stop laughing and think for a minute. The 'rightful' owner of the crypto currency token is which ever wallet it is registered with in the blockchain - if the blockchain is updated so coins that were in your wallet are now in my wallet, then the coins that were yours are now, legitimately, mine. You might argue that the blockchain update was not correctly authorized, but you can't say I 'stole' your coins.

Backup frustration brought this CTO to forefront of ransomware protection

Paul Smith


Is that not just a propitiatory version of ZFS?

Cooler heads needed in heated E2EE debate, says think tank

Paul Smith

Is a stranger a friend or an enemy?

Most of us are lucky enough enough to live in societies that have a legal system based on "innocent until proven guilty", unfortunately that belief belongs to a time when a stranger was simply someone you didn't know yet. Modern society, particularly in the UK and the US has shifted to believing that a stranger is a threat and that is incompatible with the presumption of innocence. If you are innocent, then nobody has a right to intercept or interfere with your communication. If you are a threat, then the state must protect itself from you by any and all means available. So, which society do you want to live in?

Linux kernel patch from Google speeds up server shutdowns

Paul Smith

Re: It's Linux

Isn't that illegal?

The first step to data privacy is admitting you have a problem, Google

Paul Smith


"One of the joys of academic research is that if you do it right, you can prove the truth". Sorry, but that is not how science works.

One of the joys of science is that anyone can prove something is false, but nobody can prove it is true. We can say our theory for how we think something works and we can present loads of evidence supporting that theory, but if anybody, at any time, finds a single piece of evidence that our theory can not explain, then we have to go back to the drawing board. It doesn't mean the theory is no longer useful, but it is not the "whole truth" and it might be false. Newtons laws of motion are the perfect example. His theories provide a simple and complete explanation for how things move, and they cover every possible situation - unless they move very, very fast or are very, very small, when Newtons laws give the wrong answers and you need to use the theories of relativity or quantum mechanics to explain what is happening.

Paul Smith

That's hooey

"Google knows what every byte of that data is, and what it's used for." Now that is hooey. They collect the data because it is there and can be collected. They have no idea what most of it means or how it can be used, but they are afraid that if they don't collect it they might miss out on something that later proves to be important.

114 billion transistors, one big meh. Apple's M1 Ultra wake-up call

Paul Smith

When I were a lad...

A task that took 18 hours twenty five years ago, which could be halved every 18 months for a near constant £1500 by the application of Moore's law, made upgrading worth every penny. Twenty five years later the same Moore's law means the same task takes under a second, so it is much harder to justify an upgrade to reduce the time to half a second.

BOFH: Gaming rig for your home office? Yeah right

Paul Smith

Poacher turned gamekeeper?

Simon looking out for the interests of the company? Is he sick, or is the PFY setting him up for a coup d'état ?

HMRC: UK techies' IR35 tax appeals could take years

Paul Smith

Re: Why engauge in legal action with your client

If you had been working for a bunch of clients for years, and all of a sudden one or more refuse to employ you any more just because you are gay, black, female or a contractor, why wouldn't you sue them?

US carriers want to junk three times more Chinese comms kit than planned

Paul Smith

What American replacements?

The majority of the kit is question does not have US conterparts. It is Swedish (Ericsson) or Finnish (Nokia) and French (Alcatel/Lucent). The Americans have no skin in the 5G game.

FBI says more cyber attacks come from China than everywhere else combined

Paul Smith

Re: Surprise Surprise

Here are the official lists: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_alleged_Chinese_spy_cases_persecuted_in_the_United_States

To me, the majority of these crimes look like pretty straightforward theft, greed and ego rather than anything state sponsored.

Paul Smith

Re: Surprise Surprise

The American political system requires a 'them' to give the people someone to be afraid of. It happens to be the turn of the Chinese to fill that role. Do you not think that if they had any actual evidence of wrong doing, it would be splashed all over the front page of the NYT and the lead story on FOX and CNN?

Paul Smith

I wonder?

My mate uses a VPN to watch American shows on Netflix, I wonder if the FBI is counting that as a Chinese hack?

He ain't heavy, he's my brother: Bloke gives away SpaceX ticket because he was over weight limit

Paul Smith

Obviously didn't want to go

There are always options if you want something badly enough, I would have given an arm and a leg...

US lawmakers want to put NSO Group, 3 other spyware makers out of business with fresh severe sanctions

Paul Smith

Re: Shouldn't the states that abused human rights be punished too?

Anybody else think it is pretty hypocritical for the US to tell other countries how they should behave while Guantanamo still operates and prisoners are still executed?

Intel updates mysterious 'software-defined silicon' code in the Linux kernel

Paul Smith

Re: First person to do it rules the world.

They didn't become billionaires by giving power to consumers, why should they start now?

Can Rust save the planet? Why, and why not

Paul Smith


Looks like its time to brush up on my Pascal!

Mine is the with with a Turbo in the pocket.

In the '80s, spaceflight sim Elite was nothing short of magic. The annotated source code shows how it was done

Paul Smith

Horrible memories

That code brings back horrible memories, not of Elite which I loved, but of a job I had in the 80's in Nuneaton programming a stock management system on a Wang CS mini-computer using interpretive basic with two character variables. Oh I was glad when I got out of there.

Keep calm and learn Rust: We'll be seeing a lot more of the language in Linux very soon

Paul Smith

Re: You spend a lot of time talking about C++

Hello. My name is Paul and I'm an idiot. I have been dry for 27 days...

Google swats away £3bn Safari Workaround ad-tracking cookie lawsuit in Supreme Court victory

Paul Smith

Re: Another "get rich quick" scheme bites the dust

That's exactly what I said and I got a bunch of down votes. Regardless of how scummy you think Google et al. are, this case was not about altruism or defending the poor and downtrodden. It was wasting the courts time in the hope of a big payout.

Paul Smith

Another "get rich quick" scheme bites the dust

I bet the lawyers still get paid :)

NSO fails once again to claim foreign sovereign immunity in WhatsApp spying lawsuit

Paul Smith

Much as I think NSO sucks...

This case sucks more.

If I make hammers, and you used a hammer for nefarious purposes, how is that my problem?

If Meta win the case, then what? And if they lose? So what?

The only people who benefit from this are lawyers.

AWS has started upgrading the software behind S3 storage cloud

Paul Smith


"...and substantial adoption by the ShardStore engineering team".

Not total. Not even widespread. Just "substantial". I must remember that when my agile coach starts badgering me to adopt the latest fad.

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W: Nippy stocking filler for the nerd in your life – if you can get one

Paul Smith

Re: Ordered. Been waiting for this.

I love that idea. Take an obviously fake CCTV enclosure and put a real CCTV inside it. Brilliant!

Teen bought Google ad for his scam website and made 48 Bitcoins duping UK online shoppers

Paul Smith

Re: Owning Bitcoin is not a crime

Unexplained Wealth order.

Warehouse belonging to Chinese payment terminal manufacturer raided by FBI

Paul Smith

Strong hints of nationalistic bias running through this story. That PAX is a Chinese company is incidental to the story, so why does it make the headline? Have the Chinese become the modern day Jews to be blamed for every ill?

Hitting underground pipes and cables costs the UK £2.4bn a year. We need a data platform for that, says government

Paul Smith

Somebody can't count. Headline, "Hitting underground ... costs the UK £2.4bn a year". Text body says, "industry could save £350m a year by avoiding accidental asset strikes". So this system might prevent one strike in seven?

Facebook posts job ad for 10,000 'high-skilled' roles to 'build the metaverse' – and they'll all be based in the EU

Paul Smith

Re: Which language?

Eh, no, it doesn't. Ireland is the only nation left in the EU with English as a first language.

BOFH: You. Wouldn't. Put. A. Test. Machine. Into. Production. Without. Telling. Us.

Paul Smith

"We've bought this setup and now you must make it work"

My preferred reply:

"I hope you kept the receipt."

Texas cops sue Tesla claiming 'systematic fraud' in Autopilot after Model X ploughed into two parked police cars

Paul Smith

Re: Yes it is Tesla's fault

That system only avoids collisions with other planes that have TCAS equipped and operational, and at no time in the entire flight is the pilot not in charge.

Myanmar junta demanded telcos activate phone interception tools – and we refused, says Telenor

Paul Smith

The other half of interception is the tracking of location data. The junta does not need to know what a suspect says if they know everybody the suspect talks to and who they talk to in turn.

Apple responds to critics of CSAM scan plan with FAQs, says it'd block governments subverting its system

Paul Smith

It is *not* your device

A lot of the outrage here seems to be based on the mistaken assumption that people think they own their phones. At best, you have a license to use the physical manifestation of it. The OS, the apps, the infrastructure, and all the things that make the lump of plastic and metal useful, belong to somebody else, and yes, they can do what they like with it. If this angers you, don't take it out on me, just go back and read the terms and conditions that you accepted.

Perl's Community Affairs Team chair quits as org put on ice by code language's foundation

Paul Smith

Is that still a thing?

I remember Perl. I remember once patting myself on the back and thinking just how clever I was for coming up with a really cool solution to a nasty little problem. Unfortunately, when I went back to it about six months later it looked like a puppy had puked in my editor. I had no clue what it did or how so I had to start again from scratch. I don't think I have actively used Perl in the last decade or two. It had a good life, now it is time to let it die with dignity.

Just one in 5 Googlers plan to swerve the office permanently after COVID-19

Paul Smith

Turn the headline around.

Despite lots of free stuff and what would usually be described as about the best office environment you can get, 20% of googlers would still rather not have to turn up in person.

Brit authorities could legally do an FBI and scrub malware from compromised boxen without your knowledge

Paul Smith

You haven't changed the motivation to attack computers and you haven't changed the motivation to protect them. All your proposal achieves is to give a minister the power to take someone off line. As for the idea that extending such powers is fantasy, I suggest you read up on RIPA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_Investigatory_Powers_Act_2000#Agencies_with_investigative_powers

Paul Smith

No the issue is that you want to give authorities a mechanism of taking someone offline. This week it is malware, next week it will be something else, and you still haven't done anything that addresses the problem which is that it is 1) a profitable and low risk form of crime and 2) leaving servers unpatched is cost effective. Change that balance and the problem goes away.

If some scumbag breaks into your home to fund their next fix, they are not prosecuted for the £25 they got for your stuff, they are prosecuted for the £1000+ damage they caused to you. And if you don't have locks on your door or don't bother using them, then you don't expect the insurance company to pay out. Apply the same to computer systems. Make the punishment slightly more sever then the current slap on the wrist and make the consequences of maintaining vulnerable systems not worth the savings.

Paul Smith

Fuck no! A company wants to publish information embarrassing to the government de jour and you want to give the authorities the power to take them down for an unproven threat?

Truth and consequences for enterprise AI as EU know who goes legal: GDPR of everything from chatbots to machine learning

Paul Smith

Stuff and nonesense

If the model uses personally identifiable information, then it is not a legal model and it can not be used unless all GDPR steps have been taken. It can not 'retain' some data and not others, and it can not 'leak' data that it doesn't have to start with.

Oracle cuts support for South African energy biz Eskom in long-running licensing dispute

Paul Smith

If you ever needed a good reason to avoid dealing with Oracle, this is it.

'Imagine' if Virgin Galactic actually did sub-orbital tourism: Firm unveils new chrome job on SpaceShip III

Paul Smith

Re: His model isnt ultimately space tourism

Microsats into LEO is one of his *other* business model. It is independent of the Space tourism venture.

Paul Smith

Re: Pigs in Space

Out of a population of over 7 billion, 562 have reached space. 556 have orbited the earth, 24 have left Earth orbit and only 12 have set foot anywhere else.

And you wonder why people are fascinated by space.

BOFH: Bullying? Not on my watch! (It's a Rolex)

Paul Smith

Re: fine print, grey text

Unless there is the usual clause that says any clause the would render the contract invalid may be ignored thereby not rendering the rest of the contract invalid.

Intel told by jury to pay $2.18bn to VLSI for ripping off two semiconductor patents

Paul Smith

One point three billion

I thought there was something that meant you couldn't patent the patently obvious. If I want to use something that uses variable voltage, then I need access to the minimum voltage I can use. a) How is this patentable, and b) how is it worth one point three billion dollars?

Facebook and Apple are toying with us, and it's scarcely believable

Paul Smith


The author of this article and a few of the commentards appear seems to be under the mistaken belief that they are customers of Facebook or Google.

The service that both companies sell is their ability to put relevant ads in front of people. You are not their customer, you are their product. You are what they sell!

Terraria dev cancels Stadia port after Google disabled his email account for three weeks

Paul Smith

Re: buying apps

If you go to a broker who hooks you up with a supplier, you are the suppliers customer, not the brokers. Google is the broker here, not the supplier.

Severe bug in Libgcrypt – used by GPG and others – is a whole heap of trouble, prompts patch scramble

Paul Smith


This brings back so many memories.

So, do you prefer to brace at the end of a line as any normal sane programmer does, or do you brace on the start of a new line like a heathen degenerate embarrassment of a human that should be disowned by their own mother?

Dell CTO shares his hottest trends for 2021: Four interesting technologies, one of which is still borderline sci-fi for now

Paul Smith

Re: 5G is fine with the plebs

5G is no more functional than 4G for consumers. There is only one thing you can do with 5G as a consumer that you can't do with 4G, and that is brag that you have 5G. Telecoms operators can do more with 5G kit for the same money so that is why they are interested. Phone makers have another box they can tick on the feature list encouraging upgrades which is why they are interested. You, as a consumer, just don't have an opportunity to use URLL.



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