* Posts by jmch

1590 posts • joined 6 Mar 2017

'Google cannot stop it, control it or curtail it...' Inside the murky world of fake addiction treatment center search spam

jmch Silver badge

Whack a mole

It's unsurprising that any area with high fraud potential will attract lots of frauds. What's surprising is how easily the frauds get to the top 10 of listings. It implies that either Google's ranking algorithm* is so crap it can easily be gamed by SOI, or else that advertisers are being boosted in search results even when they are not marked as ads. Either way it's not a good look for Google

*I refuse to call it AI

Smart fridges are cool, but after a few short years you could be stuck with a big frosty brick in the kitchen

jmch Silver badge

Re: Never understood this

No, as I remember the brewery premises in town centre were outgrown, so they moved the brewery part out of the city centre and ran a pipe from there to the bottling plant that stayed on the original premises. I'm not completely sure of the details, but the pipeline wasn't 'direct to consumer'

$5bn+ sueball bounces into Google's court over claims it continues to track netizens in 'private browsing mode'

jmch Silver badge

Telling Google Chrome to not track you does not mean you are safe from tracking from every other tentacle that the Google octopus has wrapped around the Internet

SpaceX is about to launch its first Starlink internet satellite sporting a sun visor following complaints by astronomers

jmch Silver badge

Special purpose, as I understand, is latency. Light speed is faster through space than fiber optic. Starlink reckon they can do up link, crosslink, down link faster than over fiber optic over large distances eg transatlantic. Big banks are very willing to pay millions to get microseconds faster connections to market exchanges

Fujitsu unveils new laptops 'optimized for remote work' – erm, isn't that what laptops have always been for?

jmch Silver badge

Re: Nope missing an obligatory element

All of those except 3 are optimisations in the infrastructure and environment, not the laptop itself. What I consider to be a laptop optimised for home working is one designed not for portability, but one on which one can work the full workday at home. Battery life should not be a particular consideration, it's going to be plugged in all day.

So effectively we're talking desktop replacement : large, high-quality screen, excellent keyboard that includes numeric keypad etc.

Twitter, Reddit and pals super unhappy US visa hopefuls have to declare their online handles to Uncle Sam

jmch Silver badge

Re: Question (not a Merkin)

AFAIK constitutional protections extend to anyone in the US, whether citizens or not. So if you visit as a tourist, have a green card etc you are covered. I'm not sure about illegal aliens.

If you are applying for a visa from outside the country, you are not covered

Guess who came thiiis close to signing off a €102k annual budget? Austria. Someone omitted 'figures in millions'

jmch Silver badge

Ironic, incidentally, that the one country retaining Imperial units is the one that fought so hard for, and is so proud of their independence from said empire

Switzerland 'first' country to roll out contact-tracing app using Apple-Google APIs to track coronavirus spread

jmch Silver badge

Why bother?

Probability that enough people will install it to make a significant public health difference (60% of population according to the article) = 0

Probability that any data made available to government or corporations will be abused = 1

Home working is here to stay, says Lenovo boss, and will grow the total addressable PC market by up to 30%

jmch Silver badge

Re: Market +30% = wages -30%

Productive workers are productive home or office.

Unproductive workers can skive at an office as well as at home.

Podcast Addict Play Store ban: Android chief says soz for incorrect removal, developers aren't impressed

jmch Silver badge

Re: "We are still sorting out kinks in our process"

"The kinks in your process is that you have one guy to review everything."

In spite of the 'long tail' model, Google etc still get most of their revenues from a limited number of customers, none of whom will ever get an app rejected or account suspended. Everyone else, to Google, is a PITA to be tolerated, not a customer to be supported, hence much less dedicated manpower

SAP proves, yet again, that Excel is utterly unkillable

jmch Silver badge

Re: Excel excels

The thing with excel is that everyone knows how to use it. That belief in turn gives them confidence trying advanced excel features, when the same user would balk at learning to do the same with a database. It's not how difficult it actually is, it's how difficult the user perceives it to be.

The other thing is, businesses are unwilling to go to the expense of training so many users up, and giving them database licenses. It also takes time to get it exactly right, time which many businesses do not have.

Excel gets it done OK enough right now, which always trumps getting it perfect next month or next year, because many businesses can operate with a bit of long term inefficiency, but most businesses would even start up if they had to wait weeks or months to be operational

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

jmch Silver badge

"Measles' survival has been greatly assisted by nutjobs."

Measles survival has been greatly assisted by many people not vaccinating. Some have valid health reasons not to do so or be willing to take any risks. When my son got vaccinated he had a bad reaction. A colleague of mine was also hospitalised and then home for 2 weeks following a routine flu jab. Some people have decided that they simply don't trust whatever their government tells them regarding vaccinations, and given what BS governments try to sell, I can sympathise. Either way, calling people with valid concerns 'nutjobs' is not helping.

The reality is that even though vaccines are mostly safe, they are not totally safe, and even tiny adverse reaction rates will result in numerous victims if applied to large populations. Even though vaccinations might give better health outcomes to the population in general, there are still individuals who will be worse off vaccinating than not.

More education and more transparency is what is needed, not name-calling

Tesla sued over Tokyo biker's death in 'dozing driver' Autopilot crash

jmch Silver badge

Re: If the experts aren't safe,

For the record, don't know in Japan but AFAIK on EU, cars are required to have an emergency triangle at all times. In case of any accident or incident that leaves a vehicle in a dangerous position for others, this should be set up 100m further back.

Most people grossly underestimate how far 100m actually is. And even if the bikes didn't have these triangles*, the van involved in the first accident would have. While assistance should always be offered to those in need, those offering assistance especially in an active lane should be extra prudent.

Ultimately though, it is the drivers' responsibility to be alert and avoid accidents.

*Not having where to fit a triangle, I always carry an emergency yellow vest on my bike.

jmch Silver badge

Re: License to Kill

"The record is clear. Tesla's "autopilot" system is not reliable and is a menace to innocent third parties"

Tesla's autopilot is clearly not perfect, but that should not be the bar to clear. Is it better than the average human driver? We hear of all the accidents Tesla provokes, what about the ones it avoids that a human wouldn't have? Is that 1,100,10000? Do even Tesla themselves have any idea?

In this specific case, yes the driver should have been in control, but clearly his inattention wasn't detected by the car, or it was and the driver wasn't sufficiently warned.

With respect to the crash itself, this scenario is a known one from previous accidents. Surely Tesla should have tweaked the software to pay extra attention when a vehicle it has been following changes lane. So in this case surely Tesla has a case to answer.

The single case however says nothing about general viability of self-driving cars

Lars Ulrich makes veiled threats of another Metallica album during web chat with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

jmch Silver badge

Re: Harsh...

As far as I'm concerned, the black album was Metallica's last. And for me unforgiven, one, orion and chtulhu (ballads not really the right word for them is it?) are among their best work.

Billionaires showered with wealth as experts say global economy set for long and deep recession

jmch Silver badge

Re: whenever governments grab MORE control...

"the RICH get RICHER, and the POOR get POORER" is a function, by design, of the type of free market capitalism championed by Reaganites and neoliberalism. It works by having LESS government oversight/regulation of big businesses and the ultra-rich. There is a clear correlation of the rich getting richer in the time of the 'robber barons' 100+ years ago, and again from the mid-1980s to now.

On the other hand, there was more equality and social mobility in the postwar years with higher taxes and more regulation.

Covid-related government measures are regulating ordinary people, relaxing those measures will not bring more equality. For a more level playing field between poor and rich, what is needed is more regulation of big businesses and less tax loopholes for the ultra-rich

NASA makes May 27 its US independence day from Russian rockets: America's back in the astronaut business after nearly nine years

jmch Silver badge

Re: Thanks To A South American Immigrant

That would be South African

Europe publishes draft rules for coronavirus contact-tracing app development, on a relaxed schedule

jmch Silver badge

Re: We know what you did ...

Not normally agreeing with Bob, but I do agree that

a) this and any similar tracking apps are a privacy nightmare and stasi wet dream

b) covid19 official stats are bullshit since (according to WHO) 80% of cases are mild or no symptoms, and none of these cases are being tested, and therefore not included in stats. So real mortality rate is up to 5 times less than official one.

c) many government agencies and big corporations are going to abuse the situation to their advantage at our expense while pretending to save the day

As to Bob, lay off the aps, mate, and people might take you more seriously

jmch Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile in the UK...

Spot on.

Any app is useless if self-certification is required and doubly useless if no-one can get tested unless they have severe symptoms or are VIPs.

Besides, the whole 'lock everything down' idea is bollocks, better lock down the elderly and infirm, and allow everyone else (who will mostly be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic) to catch it and get over it as quickly as possible.

Iran military manages to keep a straight face while waggling miracle widget that 'can detect coronavirus from 100m away'

jmch Silver badge

"If one day we colonise another planet can we leave the idiots behind?"

... and all die of an epidemic involving unsanitised telephones?

IBM age discrimination lawsuit suddenly ends, suggests Big Blue was willing to pay to avoid discovery process

jmch Silver badge

Re: Europe, land of radical ageism.

20 years, 3 European countries, half a dozen different employers, never once been asked for a photo on my CV. In any case its redundant - most people put a date of birth, and age can anyway be inferred from work history.

I guess a photo could be used for uglism discrimination

BOFH: Will the last one out switch off the printer?

jmch Silver badge

If I recall correctly, the best cost-to-benefit ratios are the orange and yellow sets

London court tells Julian Assange: No, coronavirus is not a good reason for you to be let out of prison

jmch Silver badge

Re: @Zolko

"That's not how justice works"

How justice works is if a judge is convinced there is reasonable evidence to proceed, he gets charged and put on trial. He doesn't unilaterally decide he is innocent and escape.

I agree the US charge is spurious and intended as a warning for whistleblowers. But since its easier to extradite from UK than Sweden, his grounds for not even accepting to be interviewed about the Swedish rape case were spurious.

He shouldn't be extradited to US, but I agree with the judge here, he is a flight risk using corona as an excuse

jmch Silver badge

Nob or knob?

Tech won't save you from lockdown disaster: How to manage family and free time while working from home

jmch Silver badge

Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

"The UK's strategy is to keep a constant trickle over a period of time to avoid multiple peaks as far as possible"

From the graphs I've seen, the UK is so far around the same as Italy at the same stage. In other words, within 2-3 weeks the UK's health system will be flooded regardless of any measures taken now, and if there isn't an immediate increase in restrictions, it won't be able to cope with new cases in 3-4 weeks' time.

Mind you, still better than the US, where the government seems to think it can stop the virus by writing a lot of cheques

jmch Silver badge

Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

"US healthcare isn't as bad as you think it is. It's much better than Italy's, and slightly better than the UK's"

For an IT pro who, I hazard to guess, is in a fairly high income percentile, I'm sure that's true.

While I'm not personally familiar with US system, my understanding is that as people go down the income scale, it gets worse than the UK's and perhaps even worse than Italy's, while in those countries the level is pretty stable throughout.

One advantage the US DOES have is a high ratio of respirators to population.

jmch Silver badge

Re: re: maximum distance of 200m

"...then ignored social distancing..."

Incidentally, am I the only one to find the phrase 'social distancing' to be completely inaccurate?

What is needed is PHYSICAL distancing. And when everyone is physically distant, it's important to remain SOCIALLY close, which nowadays is more possible than ever to do while in physical isolation.

Forget about those pesky closures, Windows 10 has an important message for you

jmch Silver badge

Re: The long, dark teatime of the next few months

Odd that there wasn't any fresh milk, just as I found it odd there weren't any eggs at my supermarket last week. Even though hoarding comes from a place of panic and selfishness, and hoarders are basically antisocial assholes, at least I understand why people do it.

But really, what's the point of hoarding perishable food?

Appareils électroniques: Right to repair gets European Commission backing

jmch Silver badge

Re: This jumped out:

@H in the Hague

Thanks for the info, always good to receive informative feedback!

jmch Silver badge

Re: This jumped out:

Sorry I should have been clearer when I said "It's not like the US, China or India are likely to insist on EU-level of standards any time soon".

I wasn't referring to current CE standards but to the future 'right to repair' standards mentioned in the article. I thought it would be clear from the context!

jmch Silver badge

Re: This jumped out:

"While the UK, once actual Brexit happens, won't be covered by the rules it is unlikely that most large manufacturers will want to make separate UK-only Farrage-phones or tablets."

I'm sure most manufacturers will be happy to make a US version and a rest-of-the-world version. It's not like the US, China or India are likely to insist on EU-level of standards any time soon

Tinfoil hat brigade switches brand allegiance to bog paper

jmch Silver badge

Re: you'd still struggle to get through a couple of rolls

" all the absorbancy of waxed paper"

a bit off topic I know, but why is it that ice-cream parlours and stands the world over (whose wares, especially in the presence of minors, will inevitably require copious amounts of absorbent tissues) inevitably have these waxed-paper napkins instead of proper absorbent ones?

BT CEO tests positive for coronavirus, goes into self-isolation after meeting fellow bosses from Vodafone UK, Three, O2 plus govt officials

jmch Silver badge

Re: It's getting the 1% as well

COVID-19 doesn't discriminate based on wealth, gender or race. If there is one discriminatory characteristic, it is age. Wealth is not a shield, living in a rich country far from the epicentre is not a shield, and older people have a disproportionately higher risk. It also has huge potential for economic disruption.

Is it any surprise that the powers that be (mostly rich and mostly old) are taking it very seriously?

Schermata blu di errore: Italy might be in lockdown, but the sh!tshow must go on

jmch Silver badge

Language pedantry alert

Google translate let you down there with "Schermata blu di errore" ! Besides using 'error' instead of 'death' (since when does the register play things down?), in Italian screen is 'schermo' (and can also be used as 'to screen' meaning to hide or to protect.

'Scherma' means fencing, as in the swordfighting sport. I haven't seen 'schermata' used before, but from the way Italian words are built, it could mean a fencing clash, a protective action, or a hit with a screen*.

Finally, while 'blu' is correct and in very common use, the 'proper' Italian word would be 'azzurro' (as in azzurri referring to their national football or rugby teams).

At least you got 'of' right. Sort of, as you neglected to combine it with the feminine definite article.

A correct translation would be 'schermo azzurro della morte'.

To be fair, I like the idea of describing it as "being hit by an error screen", where the hit is literal rather than metaphorical

jmch Silver badge

Language pedant

"Schermata blu di errore"

Google translate has let you down there! In Italian, screen is 'schermo', so BSOD would be 'schermo blu della morte'.

'Scherma' means fencing, as in the swordfighting sport. I've never come across 'Schermata' but from the way Italian words are constructed this could be construed as (a) a fencing / defensive action (in the same way as 'to screen' can mean 'to protect' or (b) being hit by a screen.

On second thoughts, maybe that latter usage is a good translation after all ;)

US prez Donald Trump declares America closed to those flying in from Schengen zone over coronavirus woes

jmch Silver badge

Re: Green card holders and the immediate family of US citizens get a pass.

"The actions President Trump is taking to deny entry to foreign nationals who have been in affected areas will keep Americans safe and save American lives"

Because of course Americans can't be carriers, and we don't really care about foreigners' lives.

The Reg produces exhibit A1: A UK court IT system running Windows XP

jmch Silver badge

Re: Upgrading an OS isn't a magical solution

"a lot of intranet applications used by the NHS were developed to work in IE 6, on XP"

I'm sure someone, somewhere, around 15 years ago said hey, maybe we shouldn't be locking ourselves in with this architecture, and got ignored or shouted down because 'quick and easy' and 'works now' usually trumps having to spend a bit more time and money on maintainability.

Or, as is also typical, these systems had an expected shelf life of 10-15 years but in practice they'll be held together by gaffer tape and voodoo magic until the zombie apocalypse

jmch Silver badge

Re: Simple updates to the system

" if the system was actually simple to upgrade, presumably they would've already done it."

We're talking windows desktops here not a custom implementation of SAP. The difficulty in upgrading is almost certainly procedural or budgetary rather than technical.

Also... Any new hardware they have would be win 10. Any old hardware would be win 7. XP means hardware pushing a decade - surely already written off on any balance sheet, which means that for years they have failed to do their budgeting properly.

House of Lords push internet legend on greater openness and transparency from Google. Nope, says Vint Cerf

jmch Silver badge

Circular argument

"In any case, competition in the market, Cerf insisted, would keep Alphabet's two largest products trustworthy.

As far as competition goes, the company commands a 90 per cent market share in search, according to Statcounter and around a 70 per cent market share in video sharing"

In other words, Google is a monopoly in search and video sharing, ie there is no competition that can keep their products trustworthy.

Australian privacy watchdog sues Facebook for *checks notes* up to £266bn

This post has been deleted by a moderator

'Optional' is the new 'Full' in Windows 10: Microsoft mucks about with diagnostic slurpage levels for Fast Ring Insiders

jmch Silver badge

Re: "Diagnostic Data Off", about time but don't forget...

"Do they actually mean "Off" tho"?

Seeing as they are simply renaming existing categories, "Off" seems to be replacing "Security", ie some "security-related" diagnostics are being passed back. Of course, it's MS who decide what is valid 'security-related' slurpage.

Short answer - No

Former US Homeland Security Inspector General accused of stealing govt code and trying to resell it to... the US govt

jmch Silver badge

"the total is already over 3800"

How many of those people were already ill enough that they would have died anyway in the coming year?

Yes, estimate from OP is quite too low, but it's also early days to project any numbers sensibly. If prevention continues to be half-assed until things are really serious, it's going to to be much worse.

In that respect a bit like climate change... Some are playing it down because countermeasures would disrupt their business, and business has to go on, to hell with the cost. The difference is that when people are dying directly on monthly timescale rather than indirectly on decade/century timescale it brings it into sharp focus

Alleged Vault 7 leaker trial finale: Want to know the CIA's password for its top-secret hacking tools? 123ABCdef

jmch Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: more scary than coronavirus

"It's still early days though, so no-one really knows yet"


Less than 100k known infected people as of today is far too small a sample size

More than a billion hopelessly vulnerable Android gizmos in the wild that no longer receive security updates – research

jmch Silver badge


"Google's approach has allowed a broad sense of differentiation in the smartphone market"

There are billions of Android devices on the planet. I bet that there isn't 1 single user anywhere in the world who chose their particular android device because they just HAD to have the specific flavour of bastardised Android provided by the device manufacturer.

What's inside a tech freelancer's backpack? That's right, EVERYTHING

jmch Silver badge

Re: Power Blocks

"it is always a six way..."

Here on the continent, it seems beyond the wit of equipment makers to add some thought when designing power bricks for various bits of equipment. There's so many pieces of kit that I have with the power transformer integrated as part of the plug and oriented in such a way that when you plug it into a power strip the brick part covers an additional 2 or 3 sockets, so a 6-way power strip can actually only accommodate 2 devices.

And of course, whoever designs the wall socket outlets has them in compact groups that get covered by the aforementioned power brick, so to plug 2 devices into a triple wall socket I still have to plug in a 6-way power strip!

jmch Silver badge

Re: "my backpack can weigh between 8 and 14kg"

"Then you're very grateful you packed the universal charger"

I got a 'universal' charger which can charge any sort or round-plugged laptop. Of course when it was needed, the laptop in question was a Lenovo with a rectangular plug

Disk stuck in the drive? Don't dilly-Dali – get IT on the case!

jmch Silver badge

"neat craters ... burnt into their tops"

cigarette burns, anyone?

Sadly, the web has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'nothing is true; everything is permitted'

jmch Silver badge

Re: What? They've been lying to us?

The most interesting thing about King Charles the First,

Is that he was 5'6" at the start of his reign,

But only 4'8" tall at the end of it.

Because of.....

Now that's what I call a sticky situation: Repairability fiends open up Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, find the remains of Shergar

jmch Silver badge


" even if you're using one of those rugged Otterbox protectors that make your once-svelte phone look like a Panasonic Toughbook on doughnuts."

One thing I don't understand in modern phones.... they are made super svelte, and glass to the edge plus water-repellant coating make them both fragile and incredibly slippery. Which means most people put their phone in a case, making it more bulky (but without being able to use the extra bulk for a larger battery), and denying the benefit of having edge-to-edge screens (or, even worse, covering part of the screen). Moreover, making it thinner makes it more expensive since it's more tightly packed = trickier to design and assemble. Plus, you have to pay even more for the case / screen protector.

The only benefit of this arrangement seems to be the swappability of cases - so are we back to the early-millennium Nokias where case-swapping was a design feature?

HMRC claims victory in another IR35 dispute to sting Nationwide contractor for nearly £75k in back taxes

jmch Silver badge

Re: Rigged definition of an employee

HMRC are playing fast and loose with the definitions, however substitution is a big one. If Nationwide had a veto over this guys being substituted, then effectively he wasn't substitutable


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