* Posts by Tom -1

112 publicly visible posts • joined 22 Jul 2015


Boris Johnson's promise of full fibre in the UK by 2025 is pie in the sky

Tom -1

Re: Ambulances and costs

"Every day, deeper in debt. (unless you are a PPE Grad who has never had a real job. In that case, here's the key to Number 10)"

That is a sentence that demonstrates your laziness (can't be bothered to look up how many PMs had PPE degrees), your stupidity (too dim to realise that your laziness will deliver the wrong answer), and and your anti-education prejudice.

Just so that you may remember in future, out of the total of approx 75 PMs in British hostory, exactly 3 had PPE degrees. Your idea that a PPE degree is a free path to Number 10 is pure ignorant prejudice. Only four percent (4%) of our PMs have had that degree. More than 4% have had no degree at all, and even more have had only an honarary degree, not an earned one.

And Boris's degree is not in PPE, it's in LH (Literae Humaniores) - and he's probably a far more damaging PM for Britain that any of the three PPE holder PMs (Wilson, Heath, and Cameron), just like others without PPE degrees like the treacherous swine MacMillan and the destroyers of the British Economy (Atlee back in the late 40s, and Blair far more recently) none of whom had a PPE degree.

Tom -1

Re: See those flying Pigs?

FTTC in the UK was an utterly shambolic mess for a long time, but it's certainly bpossible that FTTP will be even worse. BT records often showed cabinets as having fibre connection to the exchange when they has only copper - and found out repeatedly when they "upgraded" customers to "faster" (actually 0 bits/sec) broadband access trying to use fibre connections that didn't exist - and sometimes rediscovering the same problem on the same cabinet severl times, because discovering that there was no fibre connection to that cabinet didn't always get the records corrected. Affected customera had typically a week without any internet connection, and didn't get compensated for that. But then, BT these days (unlike 40 years go) is pretty useless compared to Spain's Telefónica.

Boris is clearly too dim to realise that what he is promising is way beyong what there is any chance at all of BT mnaging to achieve by his suggested dates.

Chef roasted for tech contract with family-separating US immigration, forks up attempt to quash protest

Tom -1

Re: @Bronek Flaming idiot, social justice warrior and political hack

Sadly, the USA's government pays no attention whatsoever to the rems of international laws and of treaties it has signed. So so far as USA govenment agenices are concerned, there is no such thing as a refugee, only an illegal imigrant.

Revealed: The 25 most dangerous software bug types – mem corruption, so hot right now

Tom -1

@_LC_ Re: Unfair C++ bashing

Most of the languages I used during my 42 years employed in computing (and those I've used in the 10 years since then) have reference to bounded buffers and don't permit the excercise of pointer arithmetic without automatically enforced bounds. It is simply false to state that pretty much every language allows you to crap around with the freedom delivered by C++.

The inclusion of uncontrolled pointers from C in the C++ definition was crass idiocy - serious computer scientists at that time were fully aware of the pronblems/vulnerabilities that C++ inherited through this - and either the inventors of the language simply didn't care or were too stupid to realise what a mess they were making.

It's Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Tech industry speaks its brains on Brexit-monger's victory

Tom -1

Re: Disaster

"Who, in their right mind, would want to be PM at this time?

That's right -no one!"

No, that's wrong. Any decent person would make a better PM than the right wing extremist pillock we are stuck with, and such people who are really decent would be willing, unlike oour current PM; to undergo the pain of trying to run a government that would do something useful instead of doing a lot of damage to Britain.

At least I hope that there are people who would willingly take on the task despite the horrors of putting up with trying to get a couple of hundred spineless idiots and a couple of hundred racist facists and a couple of hundred extremist communists (those three groups constitue the vast majority of our parliament - there are some decent MPs, but they're vastly outnumbered by MPs whose only concern is what's in it for them) to do something sensible in the next couple of months so to avoid the effective destruction of the British economy and the triggering of an almost certain rapid split up of the United Kingdom of GB and NI into two separate states plus plus part of a reintergrated Ireland.

Microsoft tells resellers: 'We listened to you, and we have acted' (PS: Plz keep making us money)

Tom -1

Re: Seriously (from N2)

Actually pissing off users with forced updates was certainly a fine idea, particulary since "forced" is rather an overstatment, they can easily be evaded. I certainly forced updates (both Microsoft updates and our own updates) on customers when I was Technical Director of Neos. I had seen Neos lose a customer before I had control because the incompetent idiot who made decisions about applying updates to the OS decided never to apply them (everything I had control of was updated as soon as my review of the update indicated it would cause no problem - I don't believe in blindly accepting updates, but blindly rejecting them is far worse) - if the MS update had been applied the customer's system wouldn't have been converted into a pornography advertisement system.

Being old and weary now, I've retired and only have to worry about my own computers. But so far as iving with windows 10 is concerned, I read the documenttion about any update before it gets applied, and if I like the look of it (ie it doesn't risk affecting areas that my non-MS software relies on) I apply it and test - and I haven't yet rolled back to an updated version (except when testing to make sure my rollback still works) - and that's a lot of updates, as I switched to windows 10 from windows 8.1 as soon as it was available,

Tom -1

Re: Seriously

"I used to think that MBA programs were about using case studies but somebody seems to have black holed the ones on this"

No, you thought correctly. This was obviously something put together by the money men - they do degrees in accountncy and generally don't do MBAs because they think that their accountancy qualification means they already know it all. The ones with MBAs will be marketeers or others without accountancy qualifications (eg engineers), and are precisely the people whom the accounts types would not listen to and would not consult before taking the supreme accountant vision to the CEO so as to bamboozle him into accepting their crazy scheme by not letting engineers, marketeers, or customer support people (all of whom would be absolutely appalled by it) know about it and object before he'd given them them go ahead for their wonderful (well, it certainly made me wonder how even an accountant could believe in such stupidity) scheme.

Networking giant in hot water for selling US govt buggy spy kit? Huawei again? No, it's Cisco

Tom -1

Adam Payne, I'm surprised by your statement "Well the US government want backdoors in other peoples software, so Cisco gave them an unintentional one."

What on earth makes you believe it was unintentional? They may even have been getting paid by some sub-organsation of the US government to provide such exploits? Perhaps the CIA? And/or the FBI? After all, those orgainsations visibly care not a joy obeying US law, they reckon they can do whatever they like or whatever their masters (not the people or the press) want them to do even if it is contrary to US law. ({Much lke most of the rest of the world, I guess.)

As long ago as 2004 (or was it 2005 - I can't remember) introduced a rule that our company would no longer purchase (whether for ourselves or on behalf of our clients) anything provided by Cisco, because everyting we had from them appeared to me to be bug-riddled crap and totally insecure.

I haven't yet met anyone who disagrees with that view of how Cisco's products were way back then, but I can't be certain that they haven't imporved in the last 10 years as I retired in 2009 and stopped worrying about such stuff - my home computers would never use anything provided by Cisco anyway, as their stuff is priced for large enterprise customers, not for retired old men.

Freshly outsourced Home Office project: Overseas student visa IT slammed for delays

Tom -1

A disgraceful mess

This is an over-priced disgraceful mess, but nothing will be done about it with Boris controlling the government. I wonder how many current cabinet ministers (or recent cabinet ministers or current or recent prime ministers) own shares in that French company,

Dot-org price-cap scrap latest: Now ICANN accused of snubbing registrars with 'sham' public comment process

Tom -1

It's ICANN as usual.

It doesn't have to follow any rules, it can do what it likes, and it ought to be scrapped and some decent and morally clean organisation devised to replace it with a guarantee that none of the current board members can ever be connected in any way with the new organisation.

That's what I've thought for a very long time.

UK High Court rules Snooper's Charter doesn't break Euro human rights laws

Tom -1

Re: Another reason for not being granted Data Protection Adequacy?

There is no prospect of our current Prime Minister facing reality. He will continue to tell us that we will all be better off and British Industry will boom when we leave the EU with no deal - either he is stark staring bonkers or he is deliberately lying to us. The only hope for a sane Brexit is that parliament will force him out, but conservative MPs mostly won't have the guts to do that and even if they did there probably wouldn't be time to negotiate a deal that parliament would accept. Probably we should push for a new referendum to decide whether a no deal brexit is acceptable, but the right wing Tories would do their best to kill any such idea.

My HPE-funded lawyer wrote my witness statement, reseller boss tells High Court

Tom -1

> Like turning up to a job interview to find you don't recognise the CV the client has been given.

The people doing the interviewing are pissed off as much as the interviewee is, and the recruitment agency that gave them that CV may well be blacklisted by recruitment agent so that they get no more business from that client company. This is more likely to happen if the interviewee brings a copy of his real CV with him and shows it to the interviewers as soon as it becomes clear that the agency has modified it. I've been interviewer in those circumstances in the past, aand at other times the interviewee in much the same circumstances. I reached the conclusion that most recruitment agencies employ mainly out and out deceptive liars decades ago.

> Or like trying to read your own patent once it's been lawyerised.

My patents have always had understandable claims, even after the lawyers have revised them. Except when I refused to a party to submitring the patent application because the lawyer (or perhaps the person who was a joint-patenter for the patent) had rendered it incomprehensible and possibly dishonest

The algorithms! They're manipulating all of us! reckon human rights bods Council of Europe

Tom -1

Re: It's been going on for a long time

Perhaps it's worth remembering that until recently Britsh referenda required 40% of those eligible to vote to deliver a "yes" result. 37% "yes" versus 35% "no" would have been a win for NO, not for YES, but for Brexit it's being rammed down our throats despite the tradition, and Scots who voted massively against Brexit are being forced to accept it. Scotland got denied any devolution of govenment powers for decades because their majority in the devolution referendum towards the end of the 70s consisted of fewer than 40% or eligible voters - a bigger proportion (51.6%) of actual YES voters than the proportion (51.3%) of actual voters for Brexit. To me, as a Scot, that seems disgraceful - a bigger majority was treated as lost in 1979 that the small majority that won the Brexit referendum. I guess the majority or English in the house of commons may have something to do with this blatant prejudice.ANd claiing that British elections to parliament are binding is just so much crap; if they were binding, we would need elections we would have an even worse electoral dictatorship than we have today: after all, we elected a conservative govenment last time round? If that's binding, why should we ever hold another election that might deliver a different result? That's more sensible than what's being claimed to preclude a referendum that determines whether we will accept whatever mess the government produces as a Brexit agreement is, but the English newspapers and most or the English dominated Conservative parties are advocating that "it was binding". And presumably you have forgotten that what parliament authorised a couple of years ago was specifically a NON-BINDING referendum.

King's College London internal memo cops to account 'compromise' as uni resets passwords

Tom -1

Re: The mind boggles

> Complexity requirements aren't infallible - the classic (outdated) example is "Password1" which

> meets the default complexity requirements of AD quite a while ago, but is definitely a weak

> password.

Not at all surprising. A bit more than thirty years ago I looked at security on a departmental server, using a well-known poular password brute force cracker algorithm, and found that most passwords were hopelessly insecure: there was a good batch of 4 or 5 character passwords using only alphabetic and numeric characters which were or course trivially breakable even then, and at the other extreme there were two occurrences of "qbttxpse2" which were the securest passwords (apart from mine) on the system.

Currently I use mostly 32 character passwords with alphabetic (including characters with marks like àèìòùáéíóúý«âêîôûçïñ» and the rest of the usual West European marked characters, and their capitalised versions, not just lower case) and numerics and some special symbols such as !"£$%^&*',./..,|\ except where the thing I'm connecting to won't allow some of those or won't allow cpasswords that long - but since I'm lazy, for some sites which now allow 24 characcters I'm still only using 16 because i can't be bothered to change them. Of course I don't remember all these, I have a password safe (with an access key of about 200 characters that I can remember) which is easier that remembering 50 of so of the individual passwords. Or course none of this is adequately secure, so for many connections I'm using two factor authentication as well.

Be wary, traveller: There is no going back if you step over the Windows 10 20H1 threshold

Tom -1

No insider track Windows 10 for me!

I'm not on the windows 10 insider track. I'm on the windows 10 ordinary (non-insider) user track, with all currently released updates on that track - so it currently calls itself "Developer Edition (64-bit) on Windows 10 Home 10.0 <X64> (Build 17763:)". Normally I tell the system to lock and hibernate when I'm not going to use it for a while, only rebooting when there is at least one update that requires a reboot to apply it. Neing on that track, I generally regard Windows 10 (and its updates) as more reliable than winows 8.1, 8, or 7 and vastly more reliable than anything later than wndows 2,1 and earlier than windows 7 (despite Windows XP Pro and/or embedded versions of it having been for years my favourite client OS). When I replace my current machine I'll go to Windows 10 Pro, I think.

The only real problem I have with Windows 10 is the somewhat grotty Intel software and firmware (or maybe updates of it) that sometimes overwrites display and or screen parameters in such a way as to delete any configured size option greater that 1280X720 and forbid such large sizes to be declared as an available configuration, which is a real pain as I've told Windows and all utilities and apps (including browsers) to assume the screen is 1600 X 900. This happens about twice per year, and takes hours of running diagnostic software and rebooting to fix (because the "settings" app can't add the size until the problem is fixed).

Better late than never: Cisco's software-defined networking platform ACI finally lands on AWS

Tom -1

CISCO is evidently still as usual

I totally agree with the first two comments above. Last time I had to deal with Cisco (about 15 years ago) I had enough clout in the company I workd for that I could ban all further acquisition of CISCO gear for internal use and most importantly also ban including any Cisco stuff in what we delivered to our customers. I've been retired for nearly 10 years now, and haven't kept in touch with what's going on in the cooms and networking world, but from teh fist comment above I deduce that Cisco is still Cisco and hasn't changed a bit.

UK.gov's love-in with big biz for digital services continues, as does claim of boosting small firms

Tom -1

@Doctor Syntax re: best chance for SMEs

Sub- or sub-sub contracting to the usual suspects is probably a route to disaster for an SME- the usual suspects will eventually screw the SME.

Give yourselves a pat on the back, top million websites, half of you now use HTTPS

Tom -1

@tiggity Re: I'm not surprised.

As the daily mail site, unlike yours, does feature login (with the option of logging in using facebook, or twitter, or a google account; with your email address as a username) it does have the ability to log in as a user. However the login page does use https, so they aren't completely crazy. Just thoroughly crazy, as they apparently think it's OK that anyone who can get in between user and site can delete anything they don't like from (and add any junk they do like to) what people will see on any page but the login page.

Copper feel, fibre it ain't: Ads regulator could face court for playing hard and fast with definitions

Tom -1


I have two suppliers I can compare, because I need to use them both to keep my wife alive (by keeping her fom Englands very cold winter). In Spain, I was offered FTTP at a price lover than I was paying for copper, and told them I wanted it. An engineer arrived the next day with a replacement router and all needed parts to conect my existing telephones to it and also connect my computer and other digital devices, plus enough fibre to connect my house (by fibre) to the nearest fibre-connected cabinet; it was done qquickly; it worked - no problems. in England, I was offered "fibre", and I accepted it, and a week later a repacement router arrived by post withh instructions ast to how and when to connect it; I connected it; it didn't work; I called BT; a week later an engineer arrived; he discovered that BT hdidn't have fibre from the exchange yo the cabinet I was serviced by. I complained to BT. They sent an engineer to look at it about a week later - and I was without broadband for that week, because BT had configured things at its end so that for me only FTTC would be supported. No apology. No attempt to reduce the perios of disconnetcion. Completely useless crap compared to the treatment I get in Spain.

Frankly, this disgracefully incompetent customer service that I see from BT is something I see all too often in England, not just from BT but from just about everyone who has a country-wide monopoly. I guess our rules protecting consumers from exploitation by companies that don't care for their customers are the worst anywhere in the EU - mostly because reductons of responsibility of suppliers by special permission for Britain allows our big companies to do things that would be illegal everywhere else in the EU.

Sad Nav: How a cheap GPS spoofer gizmo can tell drivers to get lost

Tom -1

I don't understand why anyone thinks that spoofing is required to get GPS to take you the wrong way. It's famous for it.

Personally I look at Google Maps if I don't know the route and then while driving watch for signs that indicate problems. Unless I want to wander around pretty much at random and find new places (but still reading signs), which happens from time to time. I haven't yet found myself looking at a cliff or a four fathom deep water passage, but people who trust GPS have told me they hit those problems.

Up in arms! Arm kills off its anti-RISC-V smear site after own staff revolt

Tom -1

@Teiwaz: Re: It bears repeating: Building a CPU that runs C fast considered harmful.

Well, yes, but isn't having been taught in Pascal only marginally better than having been taught in C++? Surely being taught in decent languages would be more productive of competent programmers. Perhaps starting from Dijkstra's book "A discipline of programming" and then learing to use his Guarded Command Language along with Hoare Logic (and maybe some Haskell too) would enable certain universities to turn out decent programmers instead of awarding first class honours to people who specialise in C++ or Pascal but couldn't even write a working "Hello World" in any language.

Tom -1
Thumb Up

@AnonFairBinary: Re: It bears repeating: Building a CPU that runs C fast considered harmful.

I mostly agree, but would much rather use one of Milner's languages (SCCS, ACCS, or CCS) than Hoare's CSP. Maybe that's because I had more contact with Milner than with Hoare, or it may just be the horrible vending machine in Hoare's first CSP paper.

Tom -1

@John Savard Re: Re: It bears repeating: Building a CPU that runs C fast considered harmful.

I'm not sure what happened to the Burroughs operating system written in Algol 68, but the ICL operating system written in that language (for hardware designed to support that language as well as others) is still going strong - Fujitsu (who built hardware designed for that language for ICL and much later bought ICL) are still selling it and are still trying to recruit people who understand the operating system, databases, middleware, and language because they want to keep it going as it's very much wanted by enough of their customers to matter. Now I'm in my mid-70s and it's decades since I was part of that development and I'm more interested in other things these days, but I'm still proud of what I helped to achieve way back when.

ZTE can't buy chips from America – but can still get sued for patent infringement in the US

Tom -1

Re: If I didnt think...

Sadly, Dave 15, the UK government is set on abandoning business with the EU (no-deal hard Brexit is their clear intention) and setting up a trade treaty with the USA where the terms will inevitably be interoreted by Ameican courts to mean whatever is most beneficial to American companies regardless of what the actual wording of the treaty (which will in anycase have beeen forced as far as possible by the American negotiators towards giving American companies the rights to do what they like and British companies no rights at all, to allow the US administration to charge what tariffs they like and oblige British government never to increase tariffs on American exports, to oblige british suppliers to match American safety regulations and forbid Britain to enforce British safety regulations on gods supplied to British companiesor consumers by American companies.

So Britain will not be part of any "rest off the world" that ignores the USA and leaves them alone in their corner. Personally I find that very sad.

Brit retailer Currys PC World says sorry for Know How scam

Tom -1

Re: Sharp Practice

No, the minimum 2 year guarantee applies in all of teh EU except Britain, which negotiated a deal limiting the warranty to 1 year for sales in the UK because the requirements of teh 1 year warranty give the consumer advantage for that first year comapred to the EU requirement. That's teh official story. Of course the real reason was that our government wanted to give our manufacturers a license to sell absolute crap. Of course there are other laws about merchantable quality, and they are more use than any of the warrantees if you can cope with the hassle of getting the supplier to believe your threats of legal action.

US state legal supremos show lots of love for proposed CLOUD Act (a law to snoop on citizens' info stored abroad)

Tom -1

Re: "but how do I know where their servers are?"

If the cloud act happens, in won't matter where the servers are, it won't matter who owns them, it won't matter whose personal data is being demanded. If a US court says "give our US authorities that data owned by that EU company with no connection at all with the USA and held on servers owned by a company which has no connection whatsoever with the USA, and is personally identifiable data about persons who have no connection whatsover with the USA" and the company fails to hand over the data it and its officers will be guilty of contempt of that American court and probably the USA will try to extradite teh company officers on that charge (so if they are in Britain, they will probably end up in an American jail because they have chosen not to break British data protection law).

Don't shame idiots about their idiotically weak passwords

Tom -1

Re: But what if you forget the previous one, too?

@Mycho, the problem isn't remembering your mother's maiden name, it's remebering what you told this particular bunch of security wazzocks it was,

Tom -1

@Just Enough

Much more amusing is to add the number of digits differing between the octal representation of the highest prime below 3 to the power current number and the decimal repreenttion of fifth lowest prime greater than the current number to the current number.

The really smart ones don't care what the number is as long as the real password (the bit before the number) is seriously secure. They like the number bit to be amusing, and also to spread it around the password rather than always putting it at the end.

The really really genuinely smart people only have passwords for systems that have decent security (so they don't need to change their password frequently), use some sort of second factor authentication when a login is from an unknown device or an unknown location, or a lot of time has passed since last log in, and don't send pointless emails telling people they've logged in but do send messages when a login attempt has failed and been abandoned rather than retried successfully. Then the probably also use some sort of secure password store for most of their passwords, since remembering a hundred or so of the damned things is a pain in the butt.

Tom -1

@Adam 1

> Oh, and for the love of all things... Don't mandate special characters and numbers and the like. It's the size that counts. Not what you do with it.

Presumably you are aware that a 32 character password using letters, numbers, and assorted special characters so as to provide 8 bits per character is more than twice as long (since the useful measure of length is bit-count) as a 32 character password using only English alphabet upper and lower case characters? The rule has to be mandate nothing - permit the user to use whatever bit strings he likes and provide some reasonable charecter set that anables him to do that. Saying "don't mandate numbers etc is going to be interpreted by the averge user as "allow only alphabeitc characters" even is that's not wht yu intended when you say it.

El Reg assesses crypto of UK banks: Who gets to wear the dunce cap?

Tom -1

Re: Tesco online banking

Despite their current incompetence, they are marginally better than they were a decade or so ago. In those days, their credit card provided no mechanism for automatic payment of the full balance on the statement, and the only way they would provide statements was by mail to a UK address. Since I was spending about quarter of my time abroad that meant that several times a year I ended up paying only the minimum amount and getting stuck with interest on the rest. So I informed them that I was going to cease using their card unless they provided a means of having an automatic full amount payment (pretty well every other credit card supplier provided that means). They told me that they were going to provide that feature in about three months. Twelve months later they still hadn't provided it, and they wrote to me informing that my account was cancelled because I hadn't used it for a year. So instead of having a customer not using his card for a couple of years (until they did what they had promised they would do within a tenth of the time the actually took to do it) they had an ex-customer who would never use any financial service from them again.

Given that they were so incompetent that providing the full-payment option was beyond their capability to do in a reasonable time, I don't find it at all surprising that they are incompetent at security too.

Mozilla devs discuss ditching Dutch CA, because cryptowars

Tom -1

Re: Advancing our civilization into less a democratic state...

Kiwi, you clearly don't know teh history or referenda in the UK in the 20th century.

Back when there was debate about devolution to Wales and to Scotland a number of eferenda were held. The laws enabling the referenda in the 1970s said explicitly that if fewer than 40% of eligible voters voted for change from the status quo, there would be no change. In the 1979 Scottish devolution referendum the devolve side took 52% of the vote, but as few meant fewer that 40% of the eligible votes were for devolve, devolution didn't happen. Those of us who were in favour of devollution didn't go round claiming that the government was denying the will of the people, we accepted it as just common sense that fewer than 40% didn't indicate a general desire in favour of what would be a fairly big change in the status quo. In 1997 a further Scottish devolution referendum was held, again a majority in favour and this time 45% of eligible voters (nearly 75% of actual voters) voted yes, resulting in the Scotland Act 1988 which set up a Scottish Parliament with substantial devolved powers. The Welsh referendum in the 1970s voted heavily against devolution, but in 1997 the Welsh voted in favour of limited devolution, and in another referendum in 2011 the Welsh voted in favour of increased powers for their devolved government.

Tom -1

Re: Advancing our civilization into less a democratic state...

37% of eligible voters were in favour of Brexit. 35% were against it. 28% didn't vote. So we have no idea at all whether more people were for it or against it. Now we have a bunch of extremists insisting that we get out of the EU in as painful and damaging a way as possible and that any attempt to some to a sensible deal over the customs union and frontier controls is a denial of what people voted for - but the referendum didn't ask whether that sort of economically and socially disastrous sort of exit was wanted, and probably if it had asked that the answer would have been a resounding NO.

Back in the late 70s we had a Scottish deveolution referendum in which it was an explicit requirement that at the votes of at least 40% of those eligible to vote would be required to vote for a change for there to be any, and that seemed to be a common sense rule. I was in favour of change then, as were the majority of those who actually voted, but fewer that 40% of eligible voters voted for change so we didn't get the change, and no-one then claimed that he will of the people was being denied, perhaps because people in those days had rather more common sense than the anonymous coward to whom I'm replying.

Fake tech support 'scam' husband and wife banned FOR LIFE from computer repair world

Tom -1

I regularly get calls from people claiming to be Micrsoft Customer Service Engineers who have notice tha my computer is misbehaving - I usully make an attempt towaste as much of their time as I can, but sometimes tell them I don't have any Microsoft software on my computer instead. The (probably forlorn) hope is that this will be noticed and get at least one scammer team to stop calling me. I get similar calls from people purporting to be Apple customer support engineers, with them I just hang up - the more phone calls they make the sooner they will go bust, because surely no Apple customer is sufficiently dim to realise that the only customer support Apple ever does is to tell their customers nothing's wrong with the Apple stuff, it's just the customer is doing something stupid (eg holding their iPhone 4 the wrong way).

British snoops at GCHQ knew FBI was going to arrest Marcus Hutchins

Tom -1

Re: Rules

That's an unwarranted insult to the legal systems in the average banana republic, only below average banana republics have legal systems as dishonest as the USA.

Ofcom wants automatic compensation for the people when ISPs fail

Tom -1

I currently spend half my time in Spain, and use Telefonica(Movistar) for my land-line and broadband there. If I have a fault, I call them (using my mobile if I can't make calls with the land line). They answer, quickly - no ringing for ages, no silly music and "your call is important to us, an operative will speak to to you as soon as possible" recorded messages) and someone discusses the problem with me, passes me on to an engineer who attempts on-line diagnostics (and can sometimes fix the fault there and then). An engineer arrives either the same working day or before noon the next day and fixes the problem: if it's some idiot has cut through the line while doing some building modifications just down the road the engineer patches it, if it's my router playing up the engineer installs a new one, and so on. Before he goes away, the engineer checks that everything is working and has me check it and confirm it's ok. If I say yes it's ok, he leaves and reports completion to Telfonica. An hour or two later I will get a call from Telefonica to check that the problem is fixed - that the repair is reliable so far and hasn't broken down. There is of course no charge for this, and no threat to charge me if I call in a fault and it turns out to be mine. I pay about the same per month for my line and broadband access as I pay BT, installation was free (no charge at all, unlike BT), the router is supplied free and replaced (and upgraded) when broken or becoming obsolete (BT charges for routers and router upgrades, of course), all my calls to Spanish landline numbers are free (BT charges me for weekday calls), I have a substantial discount on international calls covering countries I call, not the whole world (so that it costs me less to call the UK from Spain than vice versa) and I can ask for the line to be temproraily disconnected now and again and pay no charge at all during disconnected periods (which are mulitples of a whole month) so if i'm going to be in Britain for a while and none of the family will be using my Spanish house I can have Telfonica disconnect it (and when I ask them to reconnect it is done within one working day), which I've done a couple of times (twice I've done this for a six month period, so in those two years I got a better service from Telefonica than from BT but Telefonica charged me only half what BT did).

The contrast between Telefonica's treatment of customers and BT's treatment of customers is pretty amazing. It's a pity BT can't be required to provide teh standard of service that I get from Telefonica.

Customer: BT admitted it had 'mis-sold' me fibre broadband

Tom -1

Re: Cable?

A bit over a year ago I called BT about a replacement router, as my existing one was a bit archaic. They offered me a fibre package (FTTC, not FTTP) at a cheaper rate than my current broadband package, and I accepted their offer. So a couple of weeks later they switched the congig at teh exchange to use FTTC. No connection was possible. I called them. After several days, an engineer arrived to llok at the problem. He could find nothing wrong at my end, so went of to check at the cabinet. Quite quickly he came back to me to explain that the reason I couldn't get a connetcion was that the cabinet had no fibre connection to the exchange. He also told me that this was a common problem, that BT commonly updated its data to say the various cabinets now had FTTC capability but every time the updates included some cabinets where the work had been reported by the subcontractor as completed but in fact had not even been started, and that BT nmade no atempt at all to check that the completion reports were valid. That struck me as sheer incompetence on BT's part.

I called BT to point out that the cabinet had no fibre connection and it took some time to get it through their heads that this had been reported by their own engineer and wasn't some weird dream of mine. They then told me it would take a week for them to switch me back to non-fibre connection, and I couldn't get that person to budge on that, so I demanded to talk to someone with authority to do something other than recite standard scripts, threatening a formal written complaint to BT which would include a statement that through the incompetence of their operative to whom I was talking I had found it necessary to make a formal written complaint to OFCOM, which suddenly changed the timescale to it would be fixed within one working day. The next problem was that the contract I had been on previously was no longer offered, it was only allowed to continue to next renewal date and as I had cancelled my non-fibre contract I had to pick one of teh ne ones - which cost more than the old one but delivered less time diuring which calls were free. Much complaining got me nowhere.

BT are just plain incompetent, they apparently can't be bothered to ensure that their records of what infrastructutre is actually installed and available for use are accurate, and since everyone else providing service around here simply uses BT's infrastructure it's clear that they too can't provide FTTC here, and won't be able to until BT actually provides a fibre connection between the exchange and the cabinet for this area, and I suspect they still believe they already have it.

How IT are you? Find out now in our HILARIOUS quiz!

Tom -1

Evidentally I'm non-IT

Because I drink either gin and FR or pink gin, or even g&t, never gin and IT. IT is useful in a manhattan if made with whisky that is bad enough to deserve such adulteration, but I prefer to avoid such whiskies.

Trump signs 'no privacy for non-Americans' order – what does that mean for rest of us?

Tom -1

Re: Mrs May is not an Angel, either.

"Women+power= ??" - until that line it was a good post. But do you really think that either Thatcher or May as prime minister has done (or will do) as much damage per day in that office as did any of Macmillan, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Major, Blair, Brown or Cameron? And although May was a very anti-people's-rights home secretary she supervised less disgraceful decent towards a British Police state than did any other home secretary since 1997, and probably did less to reduce the freedom of British people than did James Chuter Ede who as (Labour) Home Secretary renewed the identity card laws when the came up for review in 1947, leading to many people being pointessly prosecuted (and punished) for not carrying their card during the next few years. (SIr David Maxwell Fyfe, the (Tory) Home Secretary at the next review date in1952, refused to present a motion to the house to continue the ID Card law, thus killing it dead). And Macmillan's treachery in 1956 probably did more damage to Britain than May will manage to do despite her best efforts.

Don't get me wrong - Thatcher was a necessary evil and is an unneccessary evil; but neither of them awas or is any worse than typical male politicians at that level have been for rather a long time, in fact neither was or is as bad as many of the males. That doesn't mean either was or is good - just less bad than others - but it does mean that your "Women+power= ??" was silly and uncalled for.

Tom -1

@JWG "they don't know the difference between a republic and a pure democracy"

Oddly enough though, unlike you suckers in the US, we do know that the US is neither a republic nor a democracy but a plutocratic oligarchy (or perhaps, given how congressmen gather round the barrel, it's a plutocratic kleptocracy like Putin's Russia).

Tom -1

Re: I was sat in the pub this evening.

"Makes Putin look sane and a safe pair of hands. (God help us all :) )"

No, nothing could make Putin looks like a safe pair of hands. Trump merely makes him look less insane and a less dangerous pair of hands.

I would estimate the probability of Trump doing something wrong thing being only 1.1 times the probability of May doing something wrong, and the probability of May doing something wrong being about 1.1 times the probability of Putin doing something wrong wrong - in round figures call it 99% for Trump, 90% for May, and 82% for Putin during the next four years. That one of them will do something wrong is very close to certainty (in fact it lokkslike better than 2 to 1 on that each of the three will do something wrong), so let's just hope that whatever they the something(s) is/are don't leave us too damaged.

Why Theresa May’s hard Brexit might be softer than you think

Tom -1
Thumb Down

Re: 2 years? @Doctor Syntax

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland came into being on Jan 1 1800, not early in the 17th century, when two separate kingoms, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland were united (although the King of England had also been the King of Scotland since 1542 (according to Irish law) or 1555 (according to Papal decree).

Scotland and England were two separate kingdoms until they were joined together as the Kingom of Great Britain on 1 May 1707; that's the earliest date you can talk about Scotland being a member of a United Kingdom, although since 1605 when James 1 of Scotland because King of England whoever was King of Scotland was also King of England.

So Scotland did become part of Great Britain (the Kingdom of Great Britain, not the Island) in 1707 and was not part of any United Kingdom before 1707. You got it wrong on both counts.

Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

Tom -1

@fruitoftheloom Re: @Dr. Paul T: Let's hope

well, since Dr Paul clearly stated that the MPs failed to include any threshold your expectation that he should be able to pointyou to a Hansard reference supprting the existence of one seems to demonstrate that you are so dim as to be unable to understand plain English and probably therefor equally unable to cope with the complexities of a question like the one put in the referendum, which may explain why you were on the side you were.

Nul points: PM May's post-Brexit EU immigration options

Tom -1

@ Can't think of anything witty...

> we left back in June and everything...

Are you really that stupid or are you just trolling? We can't leave until 2 yers after we have activated the leving process, and we haven't done that yet.

And if we want decent leving terms we won't leave until after next years electins in mainland Eurean countries where there' s a risk of extreme right wingers gaining power, becuse invoking it would increase the chance of those people winning and they will all want to show their people that they can screw the eil British )to increase their bote next time round).

Fight over internet handover to ICANN goes right down to the wire

Tom -1

@Frank Os - Re: And ....

No discernable difference? I think it's made significnt discernable difference by its efforts to ensure that the domain name administration has been designed to line ICANN management pockets instead of do what's best for the net. Given the history, I find it amazing that anyone can disagree,

United States names its first Chief Information Security Officer

Tom -1

Re: Is Obaka going after wikileaks? @bombastic bob

> and PUNISH those who've been negligent and possibly got people killed... [no need to name names on THAT part]

Well, I suspect there probably is a need to name names because your bias is so damned obvious: If we are restricting ourseleve to dates after 1945 the first name on the list of thise who were negilgent and got people killed should probably be Lyndon B Johnson and the second George W Bush.

Top digital Eurocrat issues non-denial about hyperlink non-tax

Tom -1

Re: Just how fucking stupid are the EU elite???

"a very low special tax rate that only applies to them, not the rest of the EU plebs"

You clearly don't understand how the tax rules work. Unless the rules have changed recently (since I last did any work for the EU) anyone working directly for the European Commission pays no tax on what he/she is paid for that work, regardless of which EU country he/she is tax-resident in; if someone works for a company which provides his/her services to the commission, that person is taxed according to the national rules for the country in which he/she is tax resident. VAT is not charged to EU government organisations - all services directly to the EU are zero-rated; for services provided to the EU through an intermediary, the intermediary is charged VAT.

This absence of income tax doesn't mean anyone is better off than they should be, because a person working directly for the commission gets payed less than a company providing that person's services to the EU would be payed to balance that out (enough less so that the company can pay him more than the EU would if he worked direct for it , and allow for the company to make a reasonable but not excessive profit on the deal). That saves bureaucratic effort to handle the tax, and means the EU doesn't have to collect as much from the member countries that if it paid enough to provide a decent salary after tax to the people working directly for it. The absence of VAT also does no harm - it just eliminates another heap of bureaucracy, with the companies collecting VAT from the EU bodies and paying that VAT to heir national tax systems which then pay it back to the EU. It's not a gravy train, it's elimination of expensive red tape.

Tom -1

No, the ODQ doesn't pay for all the sources they quote. Most of the sources they quote are long out of copyright, so why should they pay for quoting those? Or do you think that Chaucer's writings should have been given the same treatment as Disney's films, with copyright terms extended another decade or two every time those copyrights were about to expire? Personally I think we are better off in Europe where we don't have a congress who will assiduously change the law to deprive their constituents of rights that might impede the further enrichment of their paymasters.

Google had Obama's ear during antitrust probe

Tom -1

I can't imagine what world the AC who says Microoft is shiving edge on everyone is living on. Edge isn't the default browser for any of my Windows 10 logins - although I do use it occasionally. It is trivial to pick a default browser during the upgrade process.

Password strength meters promote piss-poor paswords

Tom -1

Re: Passwords need to be rethought (@Crisp)

How long ago was XKCD/936?

way back in the dard ages, I used passwords with about 60 bits of entropy, a long time before XKCD suggested that using something with 44 bits of entropy was a good idea, and now I'm happy using passwords with 150 bits of entropy (the XKCD scheme would require a dozen or more English words to match that); I guess our salvations is the good ole password safe.

Actually, given how many passwords I want (and how reluctant I am to use the same one twice) I's probably have to use a password safe even to hold that many passwords with 44 bits each of entropy (even more so with 64 bits of entropy, which I believe is more like the correct number for a sequence of 4 English words than XKCD's underestimate); and once I'm doing that, I can passwords as complex as I like, all I need to remember is a decent pass phrase (decent means more that 500 bits of entropy, and using famous bits of Shakrspeare or Chaucer or the like) in case someone gets access to my safe or its backup.

So I believe that the thing about passwords that needs rethinking isn't a switch from things we can't remember to things we can, but a switch to acceptance that passwords we can't remember are what we have to live with - I'm happy to remember one nice long pass phrase, bu I'm not going to truy to remember a hundred (and anyone who does try is crazy).

CERN staff conduct 'human sacrifice' at supercollider site

Tom -1


"Welcome to a world where your boss needs to give you a thumb up before you make any joke."

What makes you think authorisation was required? The simplest explanation for it not having been authorised is that no authorisation is required for jokes.