* Posts by Nonymous Crowd Nerd

76 posts • joined 26 Nov 2014


As the US maybe gets serious about coronavirus-tracking apps, Congress wakes up to the privacy risks

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Oh for the days when we could actually achieve something

When I started out in this broad area of work, if someone could sensibly describe their requirement and the data involved, we could deliver a system that worked.

Yet here we are with a contact tracing requirement that can be defined in a paragraph and the entire industry in the west, supposedly working together, has delivered nothing except endless discussion of privacy issues while real people are actually dying. And this literally months after the South Koreans have their app up and running.

What if the virus was ten times more dangerous, or if it was seventy times more deadly for IT developers than it was for our parents rather than the other way around? What then? Would we still be watching people having this tortuous discussion until there was no one left to be discuss anything.

If you bought a CRT monitor, TV 13+ years ago, hold on a little longer, there may be a small check for you

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

What's needed is a way to make time wasting cost the lawyers money

There needs to be a clause in a settlement like this to discourage the lawyers from keeping their snouts in the trough.

Perhaps it could be couched in terms of interest that's awarded to class recipients at 20% over base.

Nokia's reboot of the 5310 is a blissfully dumb phone that will lug some mp3s about just fine

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 2G only paperweight

This thing actually running Android is exactly what I would expect. And my guess is that those people buying these things in the hopes of operating "off the radar" will be surprised to discover that it could well be recording a location history after all.

Huawei P40 pricing is in step with previous P-series efforts – but flagship lacks the apps punters have come to expect

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: pretty pathetic if a facebook owned app is "backbone" of business

Well it might be pathetic, but it's how the world is. The penetration of WhatsApp must be somewhere around 95% of western mobile phone users - and the second most popular messaging app is probably Facebook Messenger. In other words, Facebook have this market pretty much completely sown up.

It's Terpin time: Bloke who was SIM jacked twice by Bitcoin thieves gets green light to sue telco for millions

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Do you outsource your security?

"head of risk management" = scapegoat in chief.

A clear statement from CEO level should be required for this type of decision.

Beware, Tesla might take away your car's autopilot if you buy its vehicles from third party dealerships – plus more news

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Always read the software license terms and conditions

Perhaps there's a case here for a challenge to the terms and conditions on the basis that they are an unfair restriction to third party resellers of second hand cars.

The difficulty would be that it would probably have to be a class action and fairly complex, but it would be a good precedent to establish. As you say, though, a better result might be that Tesla takes the morally responsible position and makes the change allowing the software to stay with the car voluntarily.

In your face short sellers! Tesla goes two quarters in a row without losing money

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

I suspect that Tesla's lead will last a while yet. While competitors have managed several big launches of EVs, they often seem to be suspiciously low on stock. It still feels as if they are engaged in what is essentially a PR exercise aimed at getting publicity and pulling potential buyers into the showroom with the ultimate intention of guiding them gently towards a petrol or diesel car that's actually available now.

Some competitors' EV offerings are so low volume it seems possible they may be essentially hand-built and/or sold at a loss.

Wall Street analyst slashes HP Inc's share rating amid mounting worries over printer supplies declines

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Couldn't be happening to a more deserving bunch of cowboys

For a decade at least, the philosophy at HP's printing division and the whole inkjet printing industry has been to screw the client for every last cent and let the true quality of the product go down the toilet.

It's tragic. Because back in the thirty years or so, HP had and actually deserved a considerable reputation.

Alright! Ma time to meet that shag quota! Alibaba chairman steps down at 55 with $38.6bn fortune

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

He's got to have been doing a few things right.

So he's built the company to a value of $460 billion in twenty years. That's around $63 million a day. That's got to have taken luck, judgement, skill and hard work. Those who think to scoff should perhaps explain why they weren't achieving this.

Let's just hope Ma now follows Bill Gates' lead and applies himself equally hard to the intelligent spending of the cash.

Buying a Chromebook? Don't forget to check that best-before date

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: That's Chromebook right out of my buying list then

A sad, dishonourable mention for Rangemaster here, as they have done exactly this with my oven. They asked me to read off the serial number and if it starts with the wrong digit, all support is withdrawn and all spare parts unobtainable.

Tesla’s Autopilot losing track of devs crashing out of 'leccy car maker

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Autonomous driving is months, years, or decades away

You would probably need a random emergency stop generator - in order to chat with someone by the road, in a house, having a smoke, drinking wine at a cafe, or making love...

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Trouble with his tweet-continence

Elon Musk seems to share Donald Trump's problems with tweet-continence. Again it looks like he's overpromised.

They will get there eventually, but what's clearly needed is more baby steps. Maybe the next one is safely disengaging from autonomous driving even if the driver is asleep or unwell - or drunk! This would obviously sometimes involve parking after an assessment of risks. Once this is in the bag, they can take on the easiest roads first, like clear or slow-running motorways, and then disengage as predicted conditions get more risky.

Remember that the Autopilot that's already installed can't be bad as the collisions we've heard about are fairly low when viewed besides the number of miles driven with Autopilot engaged. Remember also that, despite what people may say, we don't need perfection - we do need the autonomous driving to be demonstrably safer than human driving.

It can be done. Maybe not in a year, but not too many years. I'm confident that I will be relieved from the drudgery of motorway tailback driving within the next five years. And that's one of the most important things we could most of us do without.

Telly production biz films maternity clinic, doesn't tell patients, gets fined £120,000

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

This really is a major infringement of the rules - and the spirit of the rules. In my view, a fine ten times greater still would not be enough.

We don't know whether 737 Max MCAS update is coming or Boeing: Anti-stall safety fix delayed

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

It's "fair enough" from the point of view of the airlines. The logic you describe works fine for them.

However, things look very dodgy indeed here as far as Boeing is concerned. They would appear to very been selling a safety critical indicator as though it was not, in fact, safety critical at all. This is on top of installing two physical indicators and only using one of them on any given flight and missing the entire MCAS out of the manual. It seems to me that Boeing may ultimately end up with a bill for the whole liability for the Ethiopian crash and the whole liability for the cost of the grounding of around 380 new planes and the whole liability for the delivery delays on new planes that should have be coming into service at the rate of fifty a month.

HPE lawyers claim Autonomy chief Lynch knew all about 'revenue-pumping' carousel

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Just $20m

Might be only $20 million as opposed to billions, but this could be just the tip of the iceberg. This kind of transaction is not easy to prove - neither party is going to be exactly keen to show you the details.

And if this is indicative of how Mr. Lynch spent his time (when he wasn't spouting about how great he was to the press) it seems pretty good evidence that he wasn't honestly growing the business.

Boeing... Boeing... Gone: Canada, America finally ground 737 Max jets as they await anti-death-crash software patches

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

It's possible that what Boeing describes as the "unique aircraft handling characteristics" are sufficiently extreme that handing "out control to the pilots" is not really an option. After fighting with the software to keep the nose up, if the pilot suddenly gets back control, their natural response would be to climb a fast as possible which would almost immediately set off the stall condition that seems like it's more or less inherent to the design. So the plane might then crash anyway.

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

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: The reason that the Max series need MCAS

Having only two sensors is the real problem. If there's a failure, there's no way for the software to decide which is wrong and therefore work out the real angle of attack. The real answer is to add an extra sensor, like you say - or more likely two extra sensors for symmetry.

This is why it's a potential financial black hole for Boeing. Adding the extra sensors to existing planes, revising the software to support voting in case of a failure, and testing (properly this time) is an absolute shed-load of work. It would be realistically three months to get even the first grounded planes safely airborne.

Any other approach, though, risks the possibility of a third accident which would put Boeing into bankruptcy.

Oracle sued for $4.5m after ERP system delivery date 'moved from 2015 to 2016, then 2017, then... er, never'

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Hmmmm

Excel is always the elephant in the room - sometimes ok, always "quick and dirty."

We genuinely had a client - maybe a forty strong company - which more or less crashed and burned as a consequence of a single fateful Excel sort.

And this, of course, is the cautionary tale that the next client always thinks you've made up to frighten them into doing things the hard way.

Airbus will shutter its A380 production line from 2021

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

So... What price Heathrow's third runway? I see many comments here about the hub and spoke model being dead. And I see others here saying that Emirates flights run way under capacity. (Living near Heathrow, I've also heard similar rumours of half-empty flights.)

Apple: You can't sue us for slowing down your iPhones because you, er, invited us into, uh, your home... we can explain

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Interesting argument

Or maybe they should just plead guilty.

Or, alternatively, the court should pronounce summary judgement against them, impose a fine well into the billions, ensure that the proceeds are distributed to iPhone owners worldwide, and rule that there is absolutely no leave to appeal. Something like this is what these tech giants and their lawyers need to teach them a lesson.

FTC gets back to work: Now, where were we? Break up Facebook and fine it $2bn, you say?

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Suckerbuerg for Idiot

Yes. They - particularly Facebook - will end up being regulated and taxed. FB has just been trying it on too much and for too long. Governments outside the US - and in particular the EU Commission - must be feeling in need of a big win against an American tech giant. On the one hand they've stood on the sidelines as the evidence mounts against these companies and on the other, they're badly in need of a visible success in the face of Trump throwing his weight around on trade.

Both the taxation and the GDPR issues have been rattling around the corridors of power for years and pretty much everyone knows that it's about time the advocates of tax and regulation are seen to achieve something concrete.

Facebook didn't care if your kids ran up gigantic credit card bills – lawsuit

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Is there a scammier corporation

The sad, sad truth is that these days there are quite a few very, very scammy corporations.

What we need is for legal retribution with real teeth that threatens to destroy the corporation for these kind of scams - and can impose very significant fines on proprietors who pretend they're unaware of what's being done in their names.

Thought Macbooks were expensive? Dell UK unveils the 7 meeeellion pound laptop

Nonymous Crowd Nerd


But what happens if someone accidentally buys one? I wonder what the legal position is - although, in reality, I expect Dell would be understanding.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: There and back again

Seen this done with a pony and trap in Ireland. Apparently the guys from the pub would "help him into his seat" once he'd got tired and emotional then give pony a gentle smack and the pony would do the auto-pilot part.

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Interesting idea

Yes. Yours is ultimately the answer we're looking for, but, perhaps not all that surprisingly, it's deeply unpopular with the encumbent energy suppliers (the "Big Six").

They are, for instance, oddly challenged when it comes to measuring how much power a micro-renewable system in a domestic installation actually exports to the grid.

Another handy method they use is to worry about the capacity of local transformers and how much the local voltage will rise if more power is generated in remote locations.

European Union divided over tax on digital tech giants as some member states refuse free money

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

I don't agree that they should

"hold off on implementation until 2020, to push the OECD to agree an international version by then."

It's fairly clear that we have things that we need to pay for now. I see no reason to delay this implementation, then later, IF the OECD come up with something viable we could roll back on version and implement theirs.

Fetching in this tax now could, for instance, fill the hole that will be created by the reduced stake rule on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. In this way the FOBT stake limit can be implemented at the proper time and lives can be saved.

Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: "So, HOW BIG does that mirror need to be?"

My back of the envelope calculation runs thus.

Sun is about 400,000 times brighter than the moon.

Aiming at 8 times brighter than the moon, so looking for an area about 1/50,000 the area of Chengdu - which is big! (14,000 km²)

So about 600m diameter mirror.

Big, but not impossible.

US and UK Amazon workers get a wage hike – maybe they'll go to the movies, by themselves

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

The pay rise in the US is really significant - 36% for some people and 250,000 benefiting overall. That's much larger than the equivalent change here.

Huge credit must to Bernie Sanders and the clever piece of legislation he is suggesting. It proposes that for companies whose employees claim benefits, the employer should have to compensate the state directly for those benefits. I hope it also proposed a public register of companies doing this as a hall of infamy.

Who is championing the equivalent legislation in the UK? I suspect, nobody.

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: I honestly don't know...

"The UK is the second most welcoming country..."

Are you sure that's right? I thought Sweden was in first or second place. A reference would be interesting.

HP Ink should cough up $1.5m for bricking printers using unofficial cartridges – lawsuit

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Wait, what?

I think a round $1,000 would be more appropriate. It would also send the kind of message to the likes of HP that might prove to be a useful lesson for them.

UK.gov outsourcers must prove their 'social value' to win contracts

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

I'd like to suggest an edit: add the word "necessarily" so that it reads "This doesn't *necessarily* mean anything corrupt..."

Some of these companies are corrupt, others have developed a moral blindspot so huge that they are in effect corrupt. For instance, the outsourcer purchasing cladding for Grenfell Tower either actually knew they were contravening the regulations, or they assiduously and deliberately failed to check so as to avoid technical guilt through some kind of plausible deniability. These people belong in prison.

The only changed mentioned in the article which might help to achieve this is the extension of the Freedom of Information act to apply to outsourcers.

Schadenfreude for UK mobile networks over the tumult at Carphone

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

There are also quite a few high street second hand shops where you can go in and try before you buy (for a few minutes). Some of their phones are locked to a carrier, and some, slightly more expensive, are unlocked. These shops must also be quite significant competition to the Carphone Warehouse model.

Cold call bosses could be forced to cough up under new rules

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

While I agree with following the Money, as suggested by Jonathon Green, another effective route would be to follow the actually call back towards the offending company. In this way if the call centre operator does not pay, or cannot be located, liability passes to the line provider who delivered the call to the victim. This would make BT responsible in most cases, I guess. That would be appropriate and would eliminate most cold calls pretty rapidly, I think.

On 20th anniversary of Microsoft antitrust, US Treasury Sec calls for Google monopoly probe

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 20 Year Anniversary - Meantime... What changed?

Even after your phone is rooted, there is a great deal that would need to be done to free it of all its links back to Google. It's my guess that very few people indeed will have done the whole job.

Consent, datasets and avoiding a visit from the information commissioner

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Have you seen the credit reference parasites' answer to this?

"What do you propose as an alternative to credit reference agencies?"

The world somehow turned before there were credit reference agencies didn't it? They aren't that magical. What they enable in essence is lending without face to face contact - without trust in other words. Look, for instance, at the world conjured up by the Nationwide advert of a family in the 1880s getting a mortgage for their first house for 6 bob a week (30p in new money). I don't think any credit reference agency was involved there, was it?

UK.gov: Here's £8.8m to plough into hydrogen-powered car tech

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: ' Toyota have already thought about the safety angle... '

That with safety test with the various sorts of ammo is all very well but... With a cylindrical tank you would almost never get a "direct" hit with the rounds glancing off to one side or the other. What about fixing the tank at about bumper height next to a concrete wall - as it might be in a car crashed against a motorway central barrier. Then take a thirty tonne truck and drive straight into it at forty or fifty mph. I don't think there would be many Toyota "geeks" keen on standing anywhere nearby would there? Of course the petrol or diesel tank would blow up under these circumstances too but it would be interesting to see the difference.

Vodafone is UK's mobile ping king

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Somthing odd about those device stats

Also the older phones seem to be better - Note 2 apparently miles ahead of Note 5. Or have I read it wrong?

Salesforce courts the great un-CRMed with 'Essentials'

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

On- ramp?

Really? Is "on-ramping" a thing?

About twenty years back I used to occasionally on-ramp my car before slithering underneath to access various oily and muddy components. The oil and mud then formed a fun shower that spread over my clothes, body and hair. Great. Thought I'd seen the end of on-ramping to be honest but now you're introducing it as a computery thing.

Not sure.

Special delivery: Pizza, parcel-slinging drones inch closer to reality

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: ... what damage can be done ...

Clearly these examples you've given are worst case scenarios and would be very unlikely - perhaps around one in a thousand drones dropped on a playground would do that much damage, especially since the average package would be well below the maximum weight. On many occasions, it's also so dark, cold or rainy that even British children might not be in the playground. There have not been many injuries reported from recreational done accidents. That said, it would still be worth routing the drones away from places like playgrounds and, yes, insurance is essential.

Millions of moaners vindicated: Man flu is 'a thing', says researcher, and big TVs are cure

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Vindication at last

"Never trust a man named Sue"

Particularly Kylie Sue. Could possibly be a country singer in his spare time.

London mayor: Self-driving cars? Not without jacked-up taxes, you don't!

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: What about the downsides?

Very interesting @Alan Brown...

"5-7 billion is spent on roads each year"

Is that the national figure - including maintenance and all three repeat announcements of road "improvements". Do you know the source(s) for your figures?

Android at 10: How Google won the smartphone wars

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 'they come, they go... '

"... they come they go, some thrive, then fade. None live forever..."

Really excellent points here. But we should not be complacent. I think there is something to be concerned about. Yes, the East India Company was huge - so were Standard Oil and Bell Telephones - and yes, all these declined. But they weren't truly multinational ("globalised") in the way that Google and Facebook et al are today. The US was able act to split Bell into baby Bells. But the same trick in today's circumstances is starting to look unlikely.

While the issues of undue political influence and the erosion of the corporate tax base are widely acknowledged, western powers are looking disturbingly impotent, constantly divided and distracted and beset by lobbying. Nothing is being done to counter the threat. Nothing really viable seems even to be in the pipeline. Very soon it might be to late. Perhaps it already is.

F-35s grounded by spares shortage

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Let's make planes that can't fly......

"My goodness, the TSR-2! I remember making up a cardboard model of that..."

I wonder if your cardboard model was more reliable than the real thing.

Brit bank fined £75k over 1.5 million text and email spamhammer

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

£1 per text minimum

We don't want to see text messages become unusable like many personal land lines have. This practice does need to be stamped out by proper concerted action. I agree with "Cynical Observer" that fines like this should be transferable to the directors if the company doesn't pay. The carrier should also share some liability as the gate keeper that has allowed a million plus spam texts onto the the system.

Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: 600,000

Yes. This figure in the order of 1,000 is a lot more realistic. It would probably be sensible to have around 3 semi-autonomous communities of this size in case of some form of infection / natural disaster / depressurisation / fire wiping out a community altogether.

And to be practical, rather than fashionable, we should, of course, start on the moon for fairly obvious reasons.

¡Dios mío! Spain blocks DNS to hush Catalonian independence vote sites

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

The European Court doesn't to be doing too well at protecting free speech for the Catalonians does it?

Europe seeks company to monitor Google's algorithm in €10m deal

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Seems a little small

The striking price of €10m for actually "doing the monitoring" seems very small indeed when set against the size of the fines involved, the Google company and the markets affected by their search algorithm.

Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Have you a reference, please?

Tablets become feebleslabs as sales spiral down

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Everybody who wants one, got one

Yes, this is true. Also, there's less to go wrong on a tablet than a PC. There are fewer parts and fragile connectors involved and fewer moving parts like the hinges of a laptop or the spinning disks of the old desktops that are now coming to the end of their lives. Despite this, market pundits and manufacturers are hoping for the shorter product life cycle that they've grown used to with PCs.

'Grey technology' should be the new black

Nonymous Crowd Nerd

Re: Thank you for a thoughtful article

Calling BT. In a way this is off-topic, but in a way it's not. Some way into a call to BT I once had occasion to point out to the guy that I'd recorded his not-so-accurate comments from earlier in the call. He got very cross, accused me of criminally recording him without a formal message to that effect and rang off. Therefore ... in response to "Please say in a few words..." I always start my response with "Broadband problems - I record my calls." And several times this has come in handy later on. And there is way this is on-topic, because this and many other little tricks for handling call centre staff are totally alien to my parents who always approach these people with what might be seen as either niceness or naivety. Sometimes this works, of course, but at other times they get fobbed off with a second class service. It's not just the machine user interface that is sometimes more difficult to cope with than it used to be.



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