* Posts by Fonant

197 posts • joined 20 Mar 2014


Rental electric scooters to clutter UK street scenes after Department of Transport gives year-long trial the thumbs-up



Why electric scooters? They're rubbish on rough surfaces like, er, UK roads.

Why not invest in cycleways for use by people riding bicycles and electric bicycles?

Fancy some post-weekend reading? How's this for a potboiler: The source code for UK, Australia's coronavirus contact-tracing apps


Re: Privacy Concerns?

See: Brexit campaigning, targetted adverts on Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Trump, Cummings, Farage, Aaron Banks, Thiel, Mercer, Palantir, Wigmore, 55 Tufton Street.

It's subtle but powerful. Find out lots about people and their lives, then carefully tell them what they individually want to hear, and they'll vote for you. Get into power, and you can do largely what you want.

They're not necessarily targetting individuals, they're targetting the entire population of countries.

Virgin Galactic takes another step towards blasting Richard Branson into space


Re: Everyone loves the NHS

Virgin Care certainly did sue the NHS, and they didn't need to.


UK COVID-19 contact-tracing app data may be kept for 'research' after crisis ends, MPs told


Re: Open to abuse

This is the biggest problem: the users are expected to reliably and honestly say if they "think" they have COVID-19 symptoms.

Even honest people may have infectious COVID-19 with no symptoms, and symptoms might look like COVID-19 but be something else.

The false positives and false negatives will be significant.

Brit housing association blabs 3,500 folks' sexual orientation, ethnicity in email blunder


Re: You have to wonder...

Reminds me of the USA landing card, with the question "Are you planning to commit a terrorist act while in the USA?" with a helpful footnote that answering "yes" would result in you not being admitted into the country.

Hello, support? What do I click if I want some cash?

Thumb Up

Re: So, who do the cool kids bank with these days then?

Starling, FTW!

If it's Goodenough for me, it's Goodenough for you: Canuck utility biz goes all in on solid-state glass battery boffinry


Re: 1000 cycles?

ICE drivers are stuck in the mindset that the car's available energy slowly disappears, needing rapid refilling every now and then. When in fact most EVs will start each day with a "full tank" automatically: no having to stop on car journeys except for very long ones (when you want to stop anyway).

Then we get onto local energy storage using your car, so you can run your house off the remaining energy in the car battery in the evening :)


Re: Still a problem though

Major power supply upgrades may not be needed, if local energy storage is available. Like a big bank of batteries that can be gently charged 24/7/365 to provide short sharp bursts of power to charge cars. Helps, in fact, to even out load on the Grid.

Many cars will be charged slowly over night, or slowly while sitting in the company car park during the day. Both helping to reduce peak demand spikes and lifting off-peak load.

Google lives in an Orange submarine: Transatlantic cable will get by with a little help from some friends


Re: The Repeater System


Dual screens, fast updates, no registry cruft and security in mind: Microsoft gives devs the lowdown on Windows 10X


I'm enjoying Fedora these days, ever since Win10 decided it didn't want to start up, and a day of trying to fix it failed.

Everything I use still runs on Fedora, or has a (often better) replacement. Joplin instead of Evernote, for example.

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey


Re: hyperbole?

The issue involves paying more tax, but the important part for many freelancers is that big companies are now refusing to employ freelance staff at all.

Companies lose the ability to use freelance staff as a flexible workforce, too.

This is definitely a big problem for some people. How many will lose out is not really known, but can be estimated to an order of magnitude. There are no winners.

Microsoft Teams starts February with a good, old-fashioned TITSUP*


Re: Amateur Hour 365

I use Nagios to double-check all my certificates on a regular basis. Warning with a month to expiry, critical with less than a week left. Just in case automatic renewal fails for any reason.

Not rocket science...

Thunderbird is go: Mozilla's email client lands in a new nest


Re: I've stopped using it

Hold out for Vivaldi's M3, coming "soon" and a re-written and improved version of Opera's most-excellent M2.

IoT security? We've heard of it, says UK.gov waving new regs


New legislation

Indeed, EU-wide legislation might be more useful, and practical, and enforceable.

Oh, wait...

When is an electrical engineer not an engineer? When Arizona's state regulators decide to play word games


Re: So... is he an engineer?

An Engineer is someone who engineers things.

A Chartered Engineer is someone who engineers things and has also paid a fee to have some letters after their name, perhaps after some form of evaluation of their abilities.

The important word is "Chartered", not "Engineer".

I, for example, went through the IMechE's MPDS training system, and could, if I paid the fee, join them to become a Chartered Mechnical Engineer. I didn't feel the need, and now I'm a Software Engineer anyway. I feel no need to become a Chartered Software Engineer.

Internet world despairs as non-profit .org sold for $$$$ to private equity firm, price caps axed


Re: Why not abandon DNS?

Would work OK until the server was changed or relocated, needing a new IP address. One level of indirection from the "human" address to the "machine" address is actually very useful to have.

Royal Bank of Scotland IT contractor ban sparks murmurs of legal action


The company is not getting rid of them, it's offering them a 20% pay cut with no employment benefits to compensate.

IR35 is a real mess. Let's hope the next government scraps it ASAP.

Oh chute. Two out of three ain't bad, right? asks Boeing after soft-ish crew module landing


Re: What fun!

58G approximately, assuming constant acceleration.

Ouch. That's on the limit of being survivable.

Boffins blow hot and cold over li-ion battery that can cut leccy car recharging to '10 mins'


Also: politics and ethics.

How many people are we happy to accept being killed each day by autonomous cars?

Given a choice, which type of person would we prefer to kill: those in the autonomous car, or people not in it?

Given the answers to those political decisions, how risk-averse do autonomous cars have to be, and how "timid" will they be in traffic?

[Ignore the political decisions about who is responsible for the software, software updates, etc.]

BBC said it'll pull radio streams from TuneIn to slurp more of your data but nobody noticed till Amazon put its foot in it



Still working for me:


IR35 blame game: Barclays to halt off-payroll contractors, goes directly to PAYE


I give it two weeks before we go crawling back to the EU. Perhaps three.


Re: just maybe on short contracts.

Cue lots of ex-contractors who are now PAYE being "let go" after they get close to being eligible for longer-term employee protections.

Note to self: must complete move away from banking with Barclays. Business account is already with Starling, which is like a breath of fresh air :)

UK Supreme Court unprorogues Parliament


Re: Regardless of which side of the fence you are on.

The constitutional law that Parliament is sovereign. Johnson prorogued Parliament in order to avoid scrutiny, moving away from a parliamentary democracy and towards a dictatorship.


Re: Regardless of which side of the fence you are on.

Actually the law is what the judges say it is. Constitutional law is what the Supreme Court says it is.

Parliament writes laws as accurately as it can, but only judges have the power to say what the laws actually mean.


Re: Regardless of which side of the fence you are on.

The constitutional principle that Parliament is sovereign, and has to be allowed to function as the democratic control over the government.

EU court rules Right To Be Forgotten doesn't apply outside member states


Re: New Words

Hmmm... this could be used by a robot comparing Google results for different legal jurisdictions. Any differences found will be "interesting" for one reason or another.


Re: "I bought the law..."

John Major should not have done that, either, but presumably no-one thought it was a serious enough issue to take him to court over it.

The Good Thing is that from now on Prime Ministers will not be able to shut down parliament to silence debate and scrutiny of the executive.

UK Home Office primes Brexit spam cannon for a million texts reminding folk to check passports


Re: Passport Renewal

I am currently both a UK and an EU citizen. My passport reflects this fact.

EU citizenship has various advantages. Freedom of movement within the EU, personal data protection under the GDPR, working hours protection, etc.

In November my EU citizenship will cease. The new passports will reflect this fact, too.

Cu in Hell: Thousands internetless after copper thieves pinch 500m of cable in Cambridgeshire


Legitimate scrap copper £3/kg currently

Took our old copper water cylinder to the metal merchant. Price was £3/kg or £3,000/tonne. Cylinder weighed 12kg so valued at £36.

Had to give name, address, photographic ID and utility bill to prove who I was, and payment is only by traceable method (cheque or bank transfer).

Plot twist: Google's not spying on King's Cross with facial recognition tech, but its landlord is

Big Brother

Masks and perhaps also hats or wigs seem sensible attire these days :(

New UK Home Sec invokes infosec nerd rage by calling for an end to end-to-end encryption

Big Brother

Jub arrqf frpher pbzzhavpngvbaf naljnl. Ncneg sebz sbe onaxvat. Be ohfvarff. Be cevingr pbairefngvbaf.

Virgin Media promises speeds of 1Gpbs to 15 million homes – all without full fibre


1) Disaster capitalists like Rees-Mogg want to make their fortune.

2) Avoiding EU tax-avoidance directives, our leaders like their comfortable tax havens.

Brussels changes its mind AGAIN on .EU domains: Euro citizens in post-Brexit Britain can keep them after all


Re: What about .europe ?

Von Der Leyen was selected as EU President of the European Commission by the EU Council (Comprising the heads of state of all EU countries, President of the EU Council and President of the EU Commission).

The EU Parliament (MEPs directly elected by you and me) then have an opportunity to vote against the Commissioners' choice, which we've just had. At any time the EU Parliament can vote to remove the EU President and their Commission.

The EU is nowhere near perfect, and nowhere near corruption-free. But at least get the basics right!


Re: The EU will categorically, never ever re-open negotiations on the withdrawal agreement...

The Withdrawal Agreement is indeed an official Agreement. The clue is in the title.

The Withdrawal Agreement is the result of two years of negotiation between the officially-appointed negotiation teams for UK and EU. It specifies in some detail how the UK will leave the EU in an orderly fashion, with a transition period during which the UK can negotiate new trade deals and international agreements while still keeping EU benefits as things change over. It is published, you can read it.

The Agreement hit the buffers when the UK Parliament refused to ratify it.

The EU won't re-open negotiations because (a) there isn't time before 31 October 2019 and (b) the EU is in the process of electing new leaders.

Oh good. This'll go well. Amazon's Alexa will offer NHS advice


Re: what's in this deal for Amazon?

Amazon Pharmacy - coming soon!


Re: "No patient data is being shared with Amazon as part of this agreement."

I suspect they meant "No patient data held by us is being shared with Amazon. Yet".

The information that can be obtained from analysing the person's questions to Alexa, plus everything else Amazon knows, is utterly shared with Amazon.

Will that old Vulcan's engines run? Bluebird jet boat team turn to Cold War bomber


Deltic. Hmmmm....

Brexit: Digital border possible for Irish backstop woes, UK MPs told


Re: They just don't get it

So we're going to "take back control" of our border in Ireland by deciding not to have any border controls?

Might we decide to "take back control" of our money by deciding to join the Euro?

That's stretching logic a bit too far, I feel...

...but then logic and Brexit have never really got on together.

UK's internet registry prepares a £100m windfall for its board members – and everyone else will pay for it


Re: Post Brexit...

.en is available for England...

Backup your files with CrashPlan! Except this file type. No, not that one either. Try again...


Duplicacy FTW

I used to use CrashPlan, but I won't touch proprietary backup systems ever again.

The replacement I now use is Duplicacy - which allows you to run your own servers, backs up to a wide variety of cloudy services, does cross-machine de-duplication, handles encrypted backups, and is open source. Development supported by donations and paid-for Windows GUI. Web GUI in development.


Oops! Almost a year in and ICO staff haven't been handed a GDPR privacy notice yet


Indeed, in fact it's exactly that sort of situation that GDPR is supposed to restrict. Personal data should only be used for the purposes it was given, and not shared with marketing/advertising third parties. Otherwise Cambridge Analytica occurs and democracy is broken (among other unpleasant results).

Pre-checked cookie boxes don't count as valid consent, says adviser to top EU court


Re: blocker

"I don't care about cookies" for Chrome.

No idea if it works or not, but I have it installed.

PuTTY in your hands: SSH client gets patched after RSA key exchange memory vuln spotted


Re: "basically operated by one volunteer in charge of a small team of volunteers"

...and the operating system...

...and the hardware...

Uber won't face criminal charges after its robo-car killed woman crossing street


We're going to need to trade speed with safety.

The elephant in the room: motor vehicle danger.

Do we want AVs to be as safe as, say, railways and aeroplanes? In which case they're going to drive very carefully, with plenty of just-in-case braking. That will mean slower car journeys compared to risk-taking human drivers (who do not meet anything like the safety levels of railways or planes).

Or do we want AVs to drive like humans do, and accept that AVs will kill and seriously injure at a similar rate?

Presumably somewhere in between, but that means that both (a) AVs will kill people and (b) AVs will be slower than human drivers.

Thanks for all those data-flow warnings, UK.gov. Now let's talk about your own Brexit prep. Yep, just as we thought


Re: Brexit updates ...

Or that donkey with a dildo strapped to its head...

The lighter side of HMRC: We want your money, but we also want to make you laugh


Re: If we taxed the rich properly

It's OK, but doesn't say how much each man earns. So we don't know how much of their income each man is paying for his beer. Or how much disposable income each man has.

Taxation should be as much about how much people should be able to afford to pay as how the tax income is distributed amongst the range of different incomes.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt


Re: @anon: This is what it looks like outside the EU.

"The EU" is a group of member states, joined together by rules that they decide between them for the benefit of them all. The rules are everything.

Yes, the group of EU countries wants to stay a group, because of the many benefits the grouping brings. But that isn't the same as something called "The EU" that merely exists to have power.

Which is why Germany and France have not rushed to help the UK get a good deal at the expense of the EU: those countries think that remaining as EU member states is more important to their economies and citizens than supporting the UK in leaving the group.


Re: And of course owners of .eu domains are probably more likely to be Europhiles.

The EU is a rules-based organisation. They're following the rules that the member states have agreed on.


Re: How long until the new referendum will be called?

I agree, I'm pretty sure that it's far too late to change "our" mind now.

My worst fear is a fudge that means we fake being in the EU for another decade while the nastiness steadily increases until we have a civil war on our hands.

While the logical option is to revoke Article 50 as soon as possible, I fear the only political option left is hard Brexit. Which will be seriously unpleasant. However, looking on the positive side, benefits might be:

(a) the death of the Tory party

(b) a re-working of our whole political system to better suit modern-day communication methods.

(c) the people of this country coming together and helping each other, for basic survival needs.

(d) the country learning that voting is a serious business, and that facts and expert opinion matter so much more than vague promises and obvious lies.

Millennium Buggery: When things that shouldn't be shut down, shut down


Re: Engineers who become managers

It's in The Peter Principle, known as "percussive sublimation".

The principle itself is that in any hierarchical organisation, employees get promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. The funniest things are true, and the book is well worth reading.



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