* Posts by tacitust

49 publicly visible posts • joined 18 Apr 2014

Apple says if you want to ship your own iOS browser engine in EU, you need to be there


Wow. There's a what-if-and-a-half.

Anti trust legislation isn't a one shot deal. Google (and others) are already in the EU's sights, and privacy has long been an issue they care about, so to claim they would just surrender to Google is simply ridiculous.

It's not "either Apple or Google."


Re: Apple has actually..

Weird to be calling the richest corporation in the world and one that got there by having most controlling and anti-competitive platform in tech, "the resistance".

Up truly is down these days...

Threads versus Twitter: Shouldn't we be happy the wheels are falling off antisocial social media?


Re: NewSpeak: "Fragmented Internet"

You're using the same argument the crypto bros have been making from the start, and look how well that's been going...

Yeah, we're not living in the Soviet Union, or modern day Russia, which is why you clearly don't understand what it's like to live in a truly repressive society, where you can be jailed for five years for holding up a blank sheet of paper in your local town square, and where journalists are routinely arrested and/or murdered if they don't toe the government lie.

Power abhors a vacuum, and there is nothing more ripe for exploitation than a fragmented Internet. If a fragmented Internet is really the ideal (which it might be, I don't know) then the only way it happens is through strong government regulation to keep those oligarchs you mention at bay, and also all the entrepreneurs who aspire to join them in the vast sea of wealth.

Unfettered, barely regulated capitalism got us into this mess, and we can't get out of it by neutering the only tool we have to correct it -- i.e. a government that (actually) works for the people and has the will and the strength to wrest the power away from the billionaire classes. Given the prevailing power structure, that's an extremely tough ask.

(And no, libertarianism is not the answer, since that will only free the oligarchy from any controls that are left and they we are truly screwed.)

Silicon Valley Bank seized by officials after imploding: How this happened and why


Re: Federal Spending > Inflation > Rising Interest Rates

Blaming government spending on the failure of SVB is dumb, but it is politically convenient. Perhaps you should be asking why it's only SVB that's failed, and not the hundreds of other banks that are still functioning normally.

The simple fact is that SVB ran into a liquidity problem which was exacerbated by venture capitalist funds, including one owned by Peter Theil (a libertarian who doesn't believe the government should be regulating banks at all) started pulling their money out as fast as possible, thus precipitating the collapse.

Even now, the money isn't gone. It's just tied up in illiquid assets that will take time to liberate and return to the account holders. Those who have lost millions in uninsured funds will get eventually get most if not all of it back.

How do we know? Hedge fund managers are already offering to buy those accounts for 60-80 cents on the dollar, so they seem pretty sure the money will come back. They're certainly convinced they're going to make a killing from account holders who need the money quickly.

And let's not forget that the Republicans worked long and hard to water down the regulatory changes in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial services reform law designed to prevent this type of thing happening again after the 2008 collapse, or that Trump signed more Republican legislation into law that further weakened the safeguards.

The fact is, this latest debacle could have easily been avoided with the right safeguards in place, but Republicans and people like Theil, whose actions helped cause the whole collapse, refuse to accept (for purely ideological reasons, apparently) that government has the right to place limits on what banks can do with their customers' money. Until that changes, this will keep on happening, regardless of whether there's a government deficit at all.

DRAM makers sued (yet again) for 'fixing prices' (yet again) of chips


Re: Collusion

But it is illegal if they at all colluded in deciding not to add capacity at the same time in order to raise prices and increase profits through keeping production artificially low.

Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...


Re: Arthur C. Clarke quote

Agreed. The odds of there being a viable short-cut across the gulf between the stars are exceedingly low. We don't know everything about the Universe as yet, but I people tend to underestimate how much we do know about the physical laws that govern it. Einstein modified Newton in edge cases, anything that improves on Einstein will be similarly limited in scope.

Our best hope for galactic colonisation lies with combining sub-light travel with some form of suspended animation and/or life-extension -- perhaps a ship loaded with frozen embryos to be raised by an AI at the destination. Who knows?

All I know is that absent an intervention from a much more advanced technological species (and if they're reading this -- what's the hold up?), we're going to be stuck on this rock called Earth for a very long time to come.

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


Re: It's Obama's fault, not Trump's

You appear to have taken a wrong turning.

Infowars is that-a-way ------>


Re: Some perspective

You make a very good point. There are way too many people in the west who seem to believe their nation is about to turn to shit, when in reality they're living in a society that has never been as stable or peaceful as it is today (in spite of all that is still wrong with it). Even in the US, people don't remember how fearful the 1950s were, how turbulent the 1960s were, or how much malaise there was in the 1970s.

However, that's no excuse for just accepting the situation without doing anything to improve it -- even in the most stable of countries. Apathy is a dangerous thing over the long term, and we shouldn't take our good fortune for granted. Just because we have things far better than the poor people of war-torn Somalia, is no excuse for inaction when it comes to fighting injustices, poverty, and discrimination here at home.


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

>I'm going to post this anonymously due to the influx of down votes by people who can't understand the financial reasons.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's you who doesn't have a good grasp of the financials involved, and are afraid to be called on it personally.

The reality is that it's never been cheaper for ISPs to deliver a gigabyte to customers, and investment in infrastructure has been declining and is lagging other nations. Costs are down, prices (and profits) keep going up. Near monopolistic control of the gateway to the web isn't a great incentive to keep investing.

Force employees to take DNA tests for bosses? We've got a new law to make that happen, beam House Republicans


Re: Ownership

No you don't understand correctly. You cannot patent naturally occurring DNA or genes, only those that do not occur in the wild (i.e. made in the lab). This was reaffirmed unanimously by the Supreme Court in 2013

Pack your bags! NASA spots SEVEN nearby Earth-sized alien worlds


Re: Tidal locking bothers me.

If the planets in the goldlocks zone are rich in water, (and simulations indicate that may be the case for many planets orbiting red dwarf stars) there is a chance life could have evolved deep underwater close to fumaroles similar to those found on Earth. Such life might not be detectable, however.

A point in favor of red dwarfs is their sheer abundance - there are more of them than Sun-like stars so even if conditions suitable for life are much more rare around them, it's still worth investigating them, especially given the easier observing conditions they provide for the planets orbiting them.

On the downside, many red dwarfs are flare stars -- though too unstable to be conducive to life, but I don't know the numbers off hand.


Re: Spectral type?

Correct, turns out that TRAPPIST-1 is a very cool red dwarf star in more ways than one.


Re: 44 million years for a jet to get there

I suspect one would like to get there before the Universe ends in heat death...


Re: Tides and stuff

It's very hard to put any meat on any hypothesis when you're working with a sample of one -- Earth. Those who favor the "rare earth hypothesis" will point to all the factors that created Earth's environment, from the large moon, plate tectonics, Jupiter's role in sweeping up the debris in the inner Solar System, the Sun's stability, and on and on.

But, in reality, it's all conjecture until we have more sample data to work with, since we don't yet even have a clear understanding of the events that led to abiogenesis here on Earth. We don't know which conditions are required, which conditions simply improve the chances, and which conditions have no impact. If life on Earth got started among the deep ocean fumaroles as some scientists propose, it could reduce the number of required conditions quite considerably, given the protective covering of miles of water.

That doesn't really help when considering the advent of intelligent life, but one step at a time...!


Re: So wrong!

Mixed metaphors are so last century. Mixed fairy tales are where it's at!


Really, a creationist?

Deny it all you like, but evolution *is* a fact. There is more than enough evidence for evolution for that fact to be non-controversial expect with people with a religious agenda. Your efforts -- and indeed, the efforts of the entire Creationist community -- are as effective as trying to demolish Mount Everest with a spoon.

By the way, not too long ago, people like you were poo-pooing the idea that there were billions of other planets in the galaxy. That turned out well...

Back to the subject in hand. It's way to early to know whether there is a chance life exists on these freshly discovered planets. First we have to detect and analyze the gases in their atmospheres (if any) and then we will have to figure out what we find could have been the byproduct of life as opposed to non-biological chemical processes.

This is an important discovery, but there is still a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead for NASA scientists and other astronomers. Meanwhile Creationists will do what they do best -- remain armchair critics.


Well, this will be a very good test to see if that hypothesis holds up (and it is only a hypothesis). The interesting thing is that the planets are close enough together that Spitzer can detect variations in their orbits every time they pass in front of the star. There's a lot of interaction, yet they have very likely been in stable orbits for billions of years.

One thing's for sure. We're going to learn a ton of orbital mechanics and planetary science just from this one system alone, and now we know where to look, we're going to find a lot more like it.


They might be thinking the same thing after they see that nonsense.

Grumpy Trump trumped, now he's got the hump: Muslim ban beaten back by appeals court


Re: Ahh, guys, any of you ever hear of the Constitution?

Beginning with an ad hom attack on the intelligence of liberals and Democrats isn't a great way to convince people you're not a Trump fan.

As for the court's decision, well, we'll have to wait and see. Certainly the conservatives and Republicans who are happy to grant that Trump does have the power to determine immigration policy were just as adamant that President Obama didn't have such power, and he was blocked by that same Supreme Court you seem quite confident will allow Trump to proceed.

National Audit Office: UK's military is buying more than it can afford


Re: Reply

Stephen Hawking's always doing that -- aliens, AI, nukes,global warming etc.

In reality, even if one of those things happens, we have more capability of surviving as a species now that we ever have. Whether or not you want to be one of those survivors who has to clean up the mess, is another issue.

Putting the 'Port' in Portal: Old-school fan brings game to Apple II


Time to Reignite the Processor Wars...

Amateurs! Back in 1980 I wrote what was probably the only multiplayer racing game for the Research Machines 380Z in Zilog Z80 assembler code.

Of course, by multiplayer, I mean two players using different sides of the same keyboard, which was a bit of an issue when my friends discovered the computer only buffered two keystrokes at a time, meaning all you had to do was hold down two keys at the right time and your opponent couldn't steer their blob - er. car - round the next corner. Still, it was quite a hit and provoked a lot of hilarity.

Google Chrome deletes Backspace


Re: Those are some pretty detailed numbers...

Not at all. Google.com is the number one most visited website in the world. They have more than enough data just from visits their own servers to determine the overall frequency of backspace errors.


Re: Great! Now how about never resetting Forms unnecessarily...

Government sites that handle money or financial data are extremely cautious about doing anything that might allow data someone to steal data from an careless or unsuspecting user. I have overseas accounts, so have to submit a form to the US Treasury Dept every year, and while they have finally started making things a little easier, the number of hoops I had to go through to submit my (financially sensitive) data online was painful.

But better a bit of pain than finding my accounts cleaned out, I guess.

Google slaps Siri with Assistant and Amazon with Home device


Get used to it, because voice is coming and will be here to stay, along with the connectivity it requires.

If you don't want to live in a surveillance state, refusing to adopt new technologies isn't going to help one iota. The greatest surveillance states in history didn't have any high tech gadgets, all they needed was a government with the will and power to oppress anyone who sought to oppose them. The same holds true today. The fight against totalitarianism isn't fought in the social media forums of high tech companies, it's fought at the ballot box, and in countless local, regional, and national government forums and venues nationwide.

Plucky cable billionaires defeat menace of small-town broadband


Re: Confused

Trump, anti-politics? He's been playing the political game all his life. He's benefited to the tune of hundreds of millions from the current system.

PC sales will rise again, predicts Intel, but tablets are toast


Re: Get real!

When you start calling people idiots, it's best to get at least the basic facts right first. Google doesn't sell personal customer data to anyone. Companies pay Google to place their ads based on the data they have collected on their users. Those companies have no idea who is seeing their ads unless you click on one and go to their site. Even then, they don't know anything about you unless you give them your personal details directly.

Micron has three bits between its PC disk-killing flash teeth


Re: Actual reviews are ... not good

Initial reviews have not been good, but remember "slow" is a relative term. Compared with the standard 500GB HDDs that come in most laptops these days, the BX200 is still blazingly fast.

15 MILLION T-Mobile US customer records swiped by hackers


Re: I call BS on Experian's claims

Not necessarily. While obviously their security has failed in this case, there is no reason to believe they would lump everything into one database, or even use the same systems shared across multiple client accounts. It's likely, in fact, that when they won the contract with T-Mobile to handle their credit checks, T-Mobile would have required them to keep their data completely separate from their other clients.

No need to jump on the conspiracy theory train at this time. If the breach is wider, it will come out sooner or later. If Experian doesn't stay ahead of the game, they know it will cost them dearly.

Want cheaper AT&T gigabit service? Move to a Google Fiber city


Here in Austin, soon after Google announced they were coming to town, Time Warner pulled their finger out and we suddenly had triple the speed for no additional cost (well, aside from the fact that they'd already raised prices several times in recent years, and are now charging an additional $8/month just for the cable modem).

By the way, to get AT&T's $70 price for GigaPower, you have to agree to let them perform a deep packet inspection of everything you do on the Internet. To avoid that you either have to pay them an additional $29/month (that is the value of your privacy, apparently), or use a VPN service full time. So, in Austin at least, the real price for AT&T's fiber service is $99/month, and you are required to sign up for a full year, and even that price is only "for 36 months," and there's a data cap of 1TB/month.

Google Fiber is still a far better deal than GigaPower.

Spaniard trousers €60,000 bank error, proceeds directly to jail


One Law for the Rich...

Of course, here in the US, if the bank takes money out of your account by mistake, and you don't notice it for more than a month, good luck getting it back...

Google Google GOOGLE! Cloud cloud CLOUD! These prices are insane!


Re: Doing the Sums

Probably not. I looked into it a while back and it still came out more expensive (with a risk that a sudden spurt of unexpected activity could push it higher).

On the other hand, moving to Linode's $10/month plan would definitely save you a bunch, and be a lot simpler too.

CAUGHT: Lenovo crams unremovable crapware into Windows laptops – by hiding it in the BIOS


Re: Co-incidience?

Almost certainly your company got a better deal from HP, nothing else.

Wait, what? TrueCrypt 'decrypted' by FBI to nail doc-stealing sysadmin


Re: Obvious really.

Other countries seem to do just fine without shoveling hundreds of thousands of their citizens directly into their prison system. Yes, without the 95% plea bargain rate, the court system would be overloaded, but you're missing the point. If the US criminal justice system worked along the same lines as, say, Germany or France (both major industrial nations with large immigrant populations), they could close 5 out of every 6 prisons tomorrow. The trick to not overloading the courts is to not to criminalize so many of your non-violent citizens in the first place -- decriminalizing pot possession would be an excellent start, for example.

Even conservative politicians agree than mandatory minimum sentencing has cause gross miscarriages of justice, with far too many people spending decades in prison for what were petty crimes. There are better ways to solve miscarriages of justice than to spend billions in taxpayer's money over-incarcerating thousands of petty criminals in the fear that one or two "crime lords" will avoid justice.

As for the Sixth Amendment, there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of prisoners locked up around the country who have been waiting more than a year for their day in court. Prosecutors seem to have no problem with the Sixth Amendment when it comes to getting judges to agree to multiple postponements, as several high profile cases involving juveniles in the New York system shows.

Your arguments are based on fear mongering and little else. You need to explain why you believe the US needs to incarcerate many times more its citizens than any other western nation on Earth in the first place. Plea bargains are not the only problem, of course, but unless you believe Americans are many times more criminally inclined than people in other nations, you must agree there is something badly wrong going on with the US criminal justice system, and it's costing all American tax payers dearly.


Re: Obvious really.

More like informed speculation. In the US, over 95% of all successful convictions are secured without ever going to trial. Prosecutors have complete discretion when it comes to deciding what charges to bring against a defendant, and they use it to threaten (some would call it blackmail) them into pleading guilty in exchange for a much lighter sentence. Defendants can face up to six times the length of sentence if they reject the plea bargain presented to them, and since there about a 5% change of securing a not guilty verdict at trial these days, even innocent defendants are often told their best bet is to take the plea.

It's likely that Glenn was facing life in prison if he didn't accept the plea bargain. Ten years is a long time, but he will get out one day, and no doubt that played major part in his copping the plea.

Plea bargains have their place, but the US has taken things way too far. Not only does the plea bargain system put tremendous power in the hands of the prosecutor, it strips it from the judges, who are often further hamstrung by the many mandatory minimum sentencing laws that exist today. This is not how the US criminal justice system is supposed to work, and it has played a major role in why America is the incarceration champion of the world, with six times (not 6%, or 60%, but 600%!) as many inmates, per capita, than the European Community. So much for claiming to be "The Land of the Free."


Re: id10t

USB stick? Far too big. Try a micro SD card.

Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?


Re: 2nd Gen owner

I just bought my third phone in ten years. First was the Motorola SLVR L7, the first phone I could surf the web on. Five years later, when I could no longer load any websites, not even mobile ones, I bought a refurbished LG Optimus T for $100. Another five years on and it can barely load websites anymore, so it was time for a new phone. I opted for an unlocked, off-contract LG G2, for $219 off Amazon. (The Moto G was a serious contender.)

Wow. Now, I finally understand why El Reg uses the word fondleslab to describe these devices. I would be very surprised if it can't load webpages five years time. The only question is whether I'll be able to replace the non-serviceable battery successfully when the time comes.


Re: No compass...

Water resistance doesn't mean you can operate the phone when wet. Indeed, Motorola warns that you should not operate the new Moto G if it is wet, since you might compromise the seal. I doubt any touchscreen works well in the rain.

Wordpress issues second urgent patch in two weeks


Re: At least WordPress' updating system is good...

Don't know that offering auto updates of plugins (or to a lesser extent, themes) is a good idea. The majority of plugins are written and maintained by a single programmer without the time or resources (or inclination, sometimes) to perform proper regression tests or provide a safe and secure upgrade path.

I suspect that plugin auto-updates would cause more problems than they prevent. With the exception of major security issues, I always recommend that WordPress users delay upgrading their plugins for a few days, at least. That way, you allow other, keener (less savvy?) users to test the updated plugin and report problems back to the developer. Then if anything did break, it should be fixed by the time you install it.

AIDS? Ebola? Nah – ELECTRO SMOG is our 'biggest problem', says Noel Edmonds


Well, at least he's not telling people they shouldn't vaccinate their kids. Still crazy, but not scary crazy.

Biggest security update in history coming up: Google patches Android hijack bug Stagefright


Re: Puzzled

Microsoft doesn't ship the source code for Windows to its OEMs. Android phone manufacturers get the entire source code base for Android to do with what they will (with the exception of some of the device drivers). That's a huge difference, and explains why it's a lot harder to maintain a unified update system for Android.

Q. How much did Google just spend applying political pressure in the US? A. $4.6 million


Re: All your attention are belong to the google!

So would you rather Google not lobby for Net Neutrality and let the ISPs and telecoms have their own way -- i.e. soaring prices, low data caps, throttled traffic, toll-lanes, etc.?

Yeah, the system is broken beyond belief, and lobbyists with deep pockets have far too much say, but while this system exists, if companies like Google don't get their say in, others far less scrupulous will be more than happy to step into the gap.

The US electoral system desperately needs serious campaign finance reform (amongst a host of other reforms), and sadly it seems very unlikely anything will happen in the near future, but absent a real solution, I'd rather companies like Google remain (transparently) engaged, if only because much worse could and will happen if they don't.

Chrome, Debian Linux, and the secret binary blob download riddle


Re: Ban Hammer

That's all very well to say, but Linux fans have been telling people for years, "come on over, you can do everything with Linux that you can do on Windows." Removing one of the most popular browsers from Linux distros isn't going to help sell that message to the masses.

And no, most people don't care about the privacy and security issues this incident raises.

Heartbleed, eat your heart out: VENOM vuln poisons countless VMs


Yet for millions of ordinary users, the cloud provides more security than they have on their home systems (i.e. often, very little to none at all). Perspective is key.

Business or pleasure? Crucial MX200 and BX100 1TB SSDs


Re: How about the part that matters?

"If it doesn't have it, it is UTTER CRAP"

I love it when people make these emotional, nonsensical claims. It's as though they know better than the entire Crucial research and development, who have been working on the product for years...



Re: hex

So, you took a low resolution frame from the animation, blew it up, enhanced it, and remapped the outline of a crater from the surface of a sphere onto a flat surface and found it had six perfectly straight sides all of exactly equal length separated by precisely equal angles.

Quite a feat, all being told.

Or, maybe, just maybe, you spotted an old, heavily eroded crater that looks a little like a hexagon if you squint at it the right way? I believe NASA found a smiley face on Mars, too... (true story).

Sprint and Verizon to pay $158 MILLION over bogus 'cramming' fees


That's for class action lawsuits. I doubt the government lawyers who worked on this case are being paid a percentage of the settlement.

Battle of the Linux clouds! Linode DOUBLES RAM to take on Digital Ocean


I'm curious. What keeps you at Rackspace for professional use given that Linode does have so much more bang for the buck?


Re: Linode and Amazon

They're reduced the number of cores for the $20 plan from 8 to 2, which is a bone of contention for a few customers, though Linode claims it will greatly reduce CPU contention between accounts, so should be better overall for most people.

I just upgraded and my poxy little WordPress blogs load much faster than they did before. I'm happy :-)


Re: For $20/month and up

From a hint in the Linode blog's comments, it sounds like they're going to be offering cheaper plans, though I suspect 1GB for $10/month is as low as they will want to go. They've always been reluctant to engage in the bargain basement end of the VPS market, preferring to focus on reliability and service, which, as a long term customer, is fine by me.

Regarding 64-bit, their announcement says that if you need a 32-bit distro, to open a support ticket, so they're not ruling it out completely, but I suspect they have taken the decision to reduce the overhead of supporting 32-bit versions of the various Linux distros. It's a judgement call, I guess. Given that they are unlikely to offer a 512MB plan, and the fact that they have just doubled the RAM of all the existing plans, no doubt they don't think lack of 32-bit support will be an issue going forward.

Either way, Linode is far more competitive on the specs today than they were yesterday, and time will tell whether it will be enough or not. I suspect it will be, though they won't be able to rest on their laurels for long.