* Posts by Paul Smith

512 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Jul 2007


Largest local government body in Europe goes under amid Oracle disaster

Paul Smith

They say you get the politicians you deserve.

There is an apocryphal story of the man on the Clapham omnibus being asked if he would vote for a politician being accused of corruption. "Of course", said the man, "if he can't look after himself, how can I expect him to look after me?"

The Tories may be corrupt, but at least they can look after themselves.

The world seems so loopy. But at least someone's written a memory-safe sudo in Rust

Paul Smith

Re: Explain

Why are you so keen on pushing the merits of a fifty year old computer from a company that ceased to exist over twenty years ago? This obsessive equine flagellation flagrantly promoting obsolete obscurities lacks relevance to the topics at hand.

Criminals go full Viking on CloudNordic, wipe all servers and customer data

Paul Smith

Re: Where are the backups? @AC re:"still writable"

"...the TSM server is the only one that can manipulate the tapes,"

Ever had to deal with a TSM server with a misaligned head that decided to develop another fault?

Google launches $99 a night Hotel Mountain View for hybrid workers

Paul Smith

Re: I spy a business opportunity

Security guards on minimum wages are not always as conscientious as their employers might wish.

Cops cuff pregnant woman for carjacking after facial recog gets it wrong, again

Paul Smith

"No reason to assume she was a criminal." If you believe that a stranger is simply someone you haven't met yet, then you are right, she is innocent until proven guilty and all that. If, however, you believe a stranger is a threat, and many people including police training officers do, then you get guilt by association laws and a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.

Paul Smith

Some US states have guilt by association laws. If a person (even a heavily pregnant person) handled a mobile phone in that turned out to have been stolen (handing it in is still handling it), that is sufficient to allow her to be associated with the original crime.

SEC lawsuit against Terraform Labs and cofounder Do Kwon lives to fight another day

Paul Smith


The US cigarette and tobacco industry revenue in 2022 was $52bn. (https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/cigarette-tobacco-manufacturing-united-states/).This one single crypto company lost $42 billion all on its own. For a judge to say it can not be compared in importance is ridiculous!

Now Apple takes a bite out of encryption-bypassing 'spy clause' in UK internet law

Paul Smith

Re: "Strong" encryption?

Strong encryption is any encryption where the cost in money/time/effort to crack exceeds the value of the information retrieved.

Since the value of the information being protected is variable, the relative strength of the encryption used is also variable. ROT-13 is strong enough to protect my Christmas present shopping list from my children's prying eyes this year, but might not be strong enough next year.

Posing as journalists, Pink Drainer pilfers $3.3M in crypto

Paul Smith

Re: @Neil Barnes - someone lost almost $320,000 in stolen non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

Wouldn't it be justice if the thief who sold the NFTs in the first place had been paid with stolen crypto.

Nvidia's RTX 4060 and 4060TI are actually priced like mid-tier cards

Paul Smith

I bought my 1060 in May 2017 so at six years old, it is definitely is getting a little long in the tooth but in all that time, this is the first card that I have even looked twice at as an upgrade. I am still not convinced and going fro 6G to only 8G is not going to do it for me. That said, it will have to get some pretty amazing reviews if I am going to even consider spending €400 on it.

It's time to reveal all recommendation algorithms – by law if necessary

Paul Smith

Re: Are these much hyped algorithms really that complicated?

If you searched for X, Y, Z, W...

you are categorized into the group of people that searched for X,Y,Z,W...

we will offer you more of what you have already searched for (eg ads for products you bought last month)


we will offer you what others in your category searched for that you did haven't (ads for things they bought that you haven't).

if we don't know enough about you to put you into a category,

we will offer you random shit.

Today's old folks set to smash through longevity records

Paul Smith

Absence of evidence

For all of human history, there have been rare individuals that lived 100+ years. The average life expectancy is increasing, not because people can live longer then before, but because less people are dying early.

Yes, Samsung 'fakes' its smartphone Moon photos – who cares?

Paul Smith

What a laugh...

I confess to getting a giggle from all the photography nerds discussing the impossibility of such photos as if the 5 stop range of film applied to digital cameras as well. It doesn't. The most spectacular shots I have taken in the last few years were not on my Nikon (which has been effectively retired) but on first a Pixel 4 and then a Pixel 6. What made them spectacular was the phones ability to work in a range of lighting in dawn, dusk or night conditions. Detail in the shadows. Getting a good shot of the moon is not hard if you switch to manual. Getting a good shot of the moon and what ever was going on that made it interesting, is a real challenge to even expert photographers, but is something that digital phones can do quite well.

Catholic clergy surveillance org 'outs gay priests'

Paul Smith

Land of the free

I am so glad that I am not an American.

The Great Graph Debate: Revolutionary concept in databases or niche curiosity?

Paul Smith

Modelling graph traversal on a relational system isn't really difficult, but then, writing the entire DB system in Perl is also possible, but neither is actually advisable. If you have an RDBMS problem, then use an RDBMS to solve it. If your problem is graphing relationships, then a graph database is the most natural tool to use. This is not an either/or debate.

Twitter stiffed us on $2m bill, claim consultants in lawsuit

Paul Smith


What did Twitter expect would happen when they fired Mary from Accounts?

Huawei teases bonkers gadget combo

Paul Smith

Irony alert

I look forward to seeing this device being used in the next James Bond movie.

TikTok NSFW if you work for the South Dakota government

Paul Smith

Pot calling Kettle, Pot calling Kettle. Come in Kettle.

And in related news, Germany has announced that it is banning Microsoft 365 products from its schools because of their inability to operate without sending personal information to the United States.

University orders investigation into Oracle finance disaster

Paul Smith

Software 101

When replace a working system with a new system, do not turn off working system until new system proven to work better.

FTX disarray declared 'unprecedented' by exec who cleaned up after Enron

Paul Smith

not efficient market functioning

Efficiency is a relative term, not an absolute one. Ponzi schemes are remarkable efficient ways to make money right up until the moment they fail.

Business can't make staff submit to video surveillance, says court

Paul Smith

Re: Good luck getting the money

Really stupid behavior since the additional legal and PR costs are going to far outweigh the costs of just paying the guy off.

From today, America and UK follow new rules on how they can demand your data from each other

Paul Smith


This deal would appear to allow the UK authorities to request information about non-UK citizens (as long as they are not US citizens) if that information is stored in the US, and allow the US to request information about non-UK citizens that is stored in the UK. Anybody providing that information will have to deal with the consequences of being forced to be in breach of GDPR. This could get entertaining...

Ever suspected bankers used WhatsApp comms at work? $1.8b says you're right

Paul Smith

Re: Fines mean nothing to banks

I can't agree with that. You do the best deal you can with the information available to you. If someone else has better information then you, that is neither their fault not their problem.

Paul Smith

"Finance, ultimately, depends on trust..."

Duh, no it doesn't.

Finance depends on having an edge and the biggest edge you can have is knowing what is going to happen before the rest of the market. Traders have always shared that knowledge among other traders to earn or repay favors. Before phones were invented, those back channel communications took place in coffee shops which is why financial institutions are packed so tightly together into places like wall street or the square mile.

Is it time to retire C and C++ for Rust in new programs?

Paul Smith

Re: Real programmers

What utter nonsense. Programmers then were the same as programmers now; some good, some bad, some lucky and some clumsy.

C was designed to solve a set of problems that had no other easy solution in the early 1970's. It was easy to learn and easy to use and you could get something working quickly so it became popular.

Rust was designed to solve problems that didn't exist in the 1970's. It is not as easy to learn or use as C and it takes a little longer to get something working, so it will never be as popular as C, but if the problems it solves are ones that concern you, then it will repay the extra effort required to learn to use it well.

Personally, I find I can solve most of the problems that matter to me most easily using Python, but when the occasion demands, I will and have used most other languages

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.