* Posts by Paul Smith

452 posts • joined 11 Jul 2007


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.

Linux developers get ready to wield the secateurs against elderly microprocessors

Paul Smith

Re: People still make these older CPUs last I checked...

"It's worth pointing out the "little smaller" part, but the "little faster" part is almost always dead wrong."

You have that backwards. Yes doing 64bit stuff on a 64 bit computer (with a 64bit OS) is faster then then doing 64bit stuff on a thirty two bit computer, but doing 32 bit stuff is always faster then doing 64 bit stuff on the same computer, simply because you are moving half the data.

About $15m in advertising booked to appear on millions of smart TVs was never seen by anyone, says Oracle

Paul Smith

Something smells fishy

Oracle are claiming that they can prove advertisers were charged for impressions that did not appear, but they can not say who did the charging? That does not add up.

Either Oracle are making stuff up (lying) to advertise their analytics engines, which comes under the heading of false advertising, or they are saying that advertisers are doing business with unregistered entities and paying bills without verifying that contracted services were delivered, which is financial malfeasance.

UK MoD bungs Boeing £500m to plug gap left by a system it should have provided under £800m contract from 2010

Paul Smith

F*ck me! I'm in the wrong business

If this was the plot of a BOFH story, it would rejected for being unbelievable .

Telcos face £100k-a-day fines unless they obey new UK.gov rules on how to deploy Huawei 5G gear in their networks

Paul Smith

Re: Why?

I guess you don't know much about telecoms. Neither a failed base station, a broken switch nor unpatched software interrupt service delivery. The call still gets through.

People die when railway signals are wrong.

People die when air traffic controllers are confused.

People do not die when a call is routed less than optimally. So I ask again, why is this draconian legislation necessary?

Paul Smith


Nobody will die if an apprentice telecoms operator uses the wrong credentials to login to a maintenance terminal.

Nobody will die if a switch fails to get a bios flash.

Nobody will die if a software patch fails.

So why the draconian measures? Cui bono? Who is this helping?

The revolution will not be televised because my television has been radicalised

Paul Smith

What a dumb thing to say on so many levels.

Why do you get profound joy from frustrating an inanimate object?

Why did you pay extra for a telly that connects to the internet that you didn't want to connect to the internet?

Why do you sound proud of yourself? You might as well have said that you bought a toaster that you refuse to put bread in.

China compromised F-35 subcontractor and forced expensive software system rewrite, academic tells MPs

Paul Smith

Re: Interesting dilemma

Software has been a critical to performance aircraft since the F16 of the 1970's. You would think that after doing it for 50 years, they would have some re-usable components.

Tech support scammer dialed random number and Australian Police’s cybercrime squad answered

Paul Smith

My preferred line is while appearing to cooperate fully, is to throw in the odd "Does you mother know what you do for a living?", "Is she very proud of you helping people like this?" "Does she know you make your living trying to steal people's money?"

GSM gateways: Parliament obviously cocked up, so let minister issue 'ignore the law' decree, UK.gov barrister urges court

Paul Smith

Re: Laws

The UK *has* a Monarchy, that is not the same as saying it *is* a Monarchy.

The UK does have a constitution, it is just uncodified (it isn't written down as one document in one place).

In the UK, Executive Authority lies with the reigning monarch, however, execution of that authority lies exclusively with the Prime Minister and the privy council.

The last time a king had the sort of powers you think they have was King John in 1215, and those powers were stripped from him by the Magna Carta.

Paul Smith

Re: Privacy is Paramount

Sorry, but you are fundamentally mistaken in a number of areas.

Privacy is not paramount in any society on Earth.

In most countries, you have extremely limited rights to privacy, which can be overridden by multiple organisations almost at will, without informing you and for reasons they do not even need to share with you. What limited protections you have in the UK will become practically non-existent in the event of a no deal Brexit as you will no longer have recourse to any court higher then the house of Lords whose views on privacy are well known and can be para-phrased as "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear".

In all societies, your rights to privacy comes below societies right to security and in the UK, that security includes ensuring you are not trying to sneak your child into a better school that is on the wrong side of an arbitrary line on a bureaucrats map. Where did the government get these rights? From you, the voting public.

Government absolutely does have the right to control the means of private communications and guards those rights jealously. Your knowledge of democracy appears a little weak and you clearly have no knowledge of what a fascist dictatorship looks like if you think the controls normal to almost all democratic governments counts as abuse. I hope you never find out what real abuse of power looks like.

Paul Smith

Sovereignty of Parliament vs. Ministerial decree

UKCloud latest to sign Memorandum of Understanding with UK.gov ahead of cloud mega framework

Paul Smith

vowed to "never practise any form of tax avoidance".

Why the f*ck would they do that? If they are paying tax that they can avoid then they are just increasing their costs unnecessarily and wasting shareholder value. The Government and the HRMC set the rules that companies must obey. If the can't be bothered to close the loopholes that companies take advantage of, then it is a bit stupid to blame the companies for following the rules that they set.

Internet blackout of Myanmar States that are home to ethnic minorities enters second year

Paul Smith

Starlink ?

Is this not the one, and perhaps only, justification for the existence of the Starlink constellation? Regimes can get away with extreme behaviour by controlling access to information, remove that control and you remove the ability of a regime to be extreme. Instead, it is being used as a private beta program to measure profit potential in north America. Sad, very sad.

Barmy ban on businesses, Brits based in Blighty bearing or buying .eu domains is back: Cut-off date is Jan 1, 2021

Paul Smith

What is all this BS about?

Nobody is stealing, self-harming, being stupid or taking things that don't belong to them.

The pre-existing rules stated quite clearly who can and who can not hold a .eu domain name. If you are no longer entitled to hold one, no matter what the reason, then in line with the agreement that you signed when you registered it in the first place, it will be withdrawn. The only thing the EU or the relevant TLD can be accused of is in dithering about when that will happen. I suspect they are being deliberately lenient to give people affected time to make alternate arrangements but it is equally possible that they are just incompetent.

Did nobody tell them about the lockdown? Logitech releases new 'luggable' mechanical keyboard for LAN parties

Paul Smith

If you can live with the other differences, you can have a brand new keyboard for under a tenner.

Why should the UK pensions watchdog be able to spy on your internet activities? Same reason as the Environment Agency and many more

Paul Smith

Re: And yet

Valid points but poor examples. Neither the USA not the UK are effective democracies.

Paul Smith

The remaining members of the EU are the ones that brought in the charter of human rights that the UK refused to sign up to. The remaining members of the EU are the ones that brought in the European Court of Justice that among other things allows any EU citizen the right to challenge any EU government on anything. A court that the UK has a poor history with and has been trying to get out from under for years. The remaining members of the EU are the ones that brought in GDPR that guarantees the data privacy rights of all EU citizens, rights which the snoopers charter completely ignores. I lived in the UK for many years and loved it there, but it is not the same country any more. People used to fight for their rights.

UK MPs fume after Huawei posts open letter stating: 'Disrupting our involvement in the 5G rollout would do Britain a disservice'

Paul Smith

Re: Huawei horror story!

Nice try, wrong conspiracy. There are no US telecoms vendors of worthy of the name. Swedish Ericsson is number two, Finish Nokia is quite a distant number three and French Alcatel-Lucent is the token forth place player.

Huawei to the danger zone: Now Uncle Sam slaps it with 16 charges of racketeering, fraud, money laundering, theft of robot arm and source code

Paul Smith

History question

I wonder what the modern equivalent of "Die Juden sind unser Unglück!" is?

Astroboffins may have raged at Elon's emissions staining the sky, but all those satellites will be more boon than bother

Paul Smith

Twinkle, twinkle.

There are not 4000 satellites in orbit, there were 4000 thousand launched, but only about 2000 are still in orbit, and if you take the time to learn, you should rarely have to wait more then about fifteen minutes to see one. Musk alone wants to add 30,000 more. Just to help with your maths, that is 15 times then the total already there, so you should be able to see one *every* *single* *minute!*. If you use any sort of light magnification, for example a telescope or a long exposure, then everywhere you look in the sky there will be a lump of Elon Musks junk. And exactly who is this going to benefit?

Spanking the pirates of corporate security? Try a Plimsoll

Paul Smith

Re: Wouldnt work - without some modification.

Exactly the same objections Mr. Plimsol faced.

Paul Smith

That is a bloody good idea.

Belgian city slurps mobile data to track visitors

Paul Smith

How about 800,000 distinct phones in the time period that were not there every day so can be counted as visitors (as opposed to residents or students), with an average of 20,000 distinct (non-local) phones each day. The difference between 800,000 and 62x20,000 suggests that some people might have stayed for more then one day. Coincidentally, If 5800 phones (people) were day trippers and 14200 stayed one night, then you would have 800,000 unique visitors over the two months with an average of 20,000 visitors a day.

Mines the one with "Beginners guide to data analysis" in the pocket.

£3bn Google sueball over Safari Workaround bounces through UK Court of Appeal

Paul Smith

Tosh and nonsense! (Did I get the accent right?)

These companies and high net worth individuals that you think don't pay enough tax? Every one of them pays every penny of the tax that UK law demands of them. And who makes the law in the UK? Your elected politicians, so please stop blaming other people for your problems.

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

Paul Smith

Some people have all the luck

Is this a moderator specific privilege? I just went through my SE profile and I couldn't find anywhere I could set my preferred pronoun. I want the world to call me "MightyZog" on pain of being accused of Speciesism.

It's Black Hat and DEF CON in Vegas this week. And yup, you know what that means. Hotel room searches for guns

Paul Smith

Re: Oh America

According to the 13th, it is still legal. Restricted, but legal.

UK taxpayers funded Grand Theft Auto V maker to tune of £42m – while biz paid no corp tax and made billions

Paul Smith

British Culture

"It is unlikely that the drafters of that guidance had in mind a game which allows the player to murder prostitutes when formulating the cultural test."

Oh, I don't know. Didn't his holiness JC, that god of all motoring knowledge (and former Top Gear presenter), once say that murdering prostitutes was the preferred proclivity for long distance lorry drivers?

Microsoft debuts Bosque – a new programming language with no loops, inspired by TypeScript

Paul Smith

Re: Why the urge to dumb everything down?

Just don't do it.

On time, with quality, in budget. Pick two.

Free online tax filing? Yeah, that'll soon be illegal thanks to rare US Congressional unity

Paul Smith

Re: Oh, it's a new tax year here in the UK

"Your best bet is to use an accountant"... Oh no it isn't. When my accountant wanted to charge me double what we had agreed at the start of the year, refused to confirm or deny third party advice that would have saved me significant amounts, and then when HMRC voluntarily gave me a significant tax rebate that I hadn't asked for, I decided to try and do my accounts myself. The first year was a little scary, but after that, no dodgy third party with dubious fees and I pay less tax.

UK joins growing list of territories to ban Boeing 737 Max flights as firm says patch incoming

Paul Smith

Re: Panic

And that is the sort of conclusion that kills people. We do not know that this was an MCAS incident, and it is both stupid and dangerous to think that was based on the current evidence because that might make you think that an MCAS patch would fix or prevent it. Nothing has been officially released but given that the FAA has access to the actual Flight Recorder and that they have issued a Continued Airworthiness Notification (PDF) to the International Community (CANIC) related to the Boeing 737-8 and Boeing 737-9 (737 MAX) fleet, it would be safe to say that the flight recorder did not show trim against the limits or faulty AoA data.

Paul Smith

Re: Panic

"However, if numerous cars the same model that I have started crashing... "

Exactly! But two is not numerous!

Paul Smith


There have been 2 incidents. Not twenty or two hundred, but two. As somebody mentioned initial analysis of the FDR did *not* reveal anything obvious, so it is reasonable to assume that it did *not* reveal the trim against the stops or that it did *not* reveal faulty AoA sensor data, so basically, it did not reveal any connection between the two accidents. In other words, shit happened and people died, but jumping to conclusions will not stop more shit happening.

Oracle: Major ad scam 'DrainerBot' is rinsing Android users of their battery life and data

Paul Smith


Oracle acquires an ad-tracking company, gets it lots of publicity by publicizing a 'major' fraud, and then blames a competing ad-tracking company for involvement with the fraud. Everything above board as usual.

Hey, UK.gov: If you truly spunked £45k on 1,300 Brexit deal print-outs, you're absolute mugs

Paul Smith

Which is 0.06 * 600 * 1300 or £46800, so they actually got a good deal and have such shit PR that they still get slagged off for it.

Fujitsu pitched stalker-y AI that can read your social media posts as solution to Irish border, apparently

Paul Smith

Completly missing the point

Today, a baker in Armagh can buy flour from a miller in Armagh or a miller in Dundalk and sell the bread he makes in Dublin or Belfast. No duties, no tariffs, no paperwork. By the end of next month, in a no-deal Brexit, or any deal not involving custom-union membership, the same baker will have to go through the same paperwork to import flour from Dundalk as he would to import it from Brazil. And exporting bread to Dublin would require more paper work then exporting it to China (and probably take longer!) because the EU would have to be satisfied that it (and everything in it, and every stage of its handling and processing) met all EU standards and conditions, *and* that it could not be obtained elsewhere within the EU.

I really do not see how a social media app is going to help with that.

UK spy overseer: Snooper's Charter cockups are still getting innocents arrested

Paul Smith

Re: Cops; just a gang of thugs/bullies with a taxpayer supplied uniform.

"Cops, IMO, are just arseholes who don't want to find the truth..."

I am pretty sure that if your daughter was in trouble, you would want the cops to pay more attention to trying to catch the sleaze ball that hurt her then to ensuring they were careful with the lid of his laptop.



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