* Posts by J4

27 posts • joined 16 Jun 2017

Windows to become emulation layer atop Linux kernel, predicts Eric Raymond


Follow the money, always

Last 12 months numbers, roughly

- PC Office, O365, and Dynamics - $50bn and growing 20% pa

- Cloud, server, enterprise - $50bn and growing 30% pa

- Windows, Xbox, Hardware - $55bn and growing 2% pa

So Windows is part of the slowest growing division, which overall is around a third of the business. Where does corporate investment go ? Not in the biggest products, but in the fastest growing - and Windows is a long way off being the biggest anyway. Plus a dollar on O365 is more sought after than a dollar on Windows standalone install, for that lovely lovely subscription renewal.

The business purpose of Windows was to provide a foundation for the real money sales of Office. That is no longer true. Office and Cloud can be sold to any OS user. Why waste money on Windows developers when you can leverage Linux developers who aren't employees and don't qualify for health benefits or a pension.

Paging technology providers: £3m is on the table to replace archaic NHS comms network


Re: The NHS - uniquely the same

You're missing the point, but thanks for the downvote. The point is that this cash will go off to fund some massive, unachievable 75-blade swiss army knife proposal with huge scope creep from day one. As wiser commentators above point out, the organisation is so unwieldy that there will be no clear line of decision making, and everyone will want to shoehorn their pet functionality into it.

What is actually needed is an acceptance that there is no need to re-invent the wheel. The NHS is sufficiently similar to the health services in all other industrialised countries that the project could just take a look at the most commonly used service in those countries, and buy that.


The NHS - uniquely the same

as every other health service. Sick people in. Fixed people out the front, unfixed out the back. Exactly the same as everywhere else. I could do this project in a week. $SearchEngineVerb the most commonly used hospital staff comms system deployed this century, across the G20 countries. Place order.

EU aviation wonks give all-electric training aeroplane the green light – but noob pilots only have 50 mins before they have to land it


The silence of the lands

Electric trainers will be an absolute boon for flight schools anywhere near a built up area. They are under continuous pressure from local residents about noise, and the worst noise generators are the mid stage trainees in circuits going round and round at 700ft practicing landings. 50 minute endurance is absolutely fine for that purpose, and the piston aircraft can be used for the training exercises at altitude.

Driveway karaoke singer who wanted to lift lockdown spirits cops council noise complaint


My neighbours listen to some excellent music

Whether or not they want to.

One man's mistake, missing backups and complete reboot: The tale of Europe's Galileo satellites going dark


Chortling sound coming over the ocean

US DoD - the reason we don't want to release the hi-res GPS feed is because we've spent a lot of time and money getting it to work and we don't see why everyone else should get it for free

EU - Pah. It's just clocks and maths. How hard can it be ?

US - Be my guest.

FYI, we're now in the timeline where Facebook decides who is and isn't a politician on its 2bn-plus-person network


Real life is hard

Too many loopholes in these policies, because you need to define a political ad. As FB now understands, you can't do that by looking at the message, only by the status of the advertiser. But even that is full of traps. You are a formally registered political candidate ? No ads for you. Easy! Let's go to lunch. Oh, but wait. Which of these are in scope

1 I am a FRPC, for election X. Can I advertise in concurrent election Y ?

2 I was a FRPC in election X last time round but not this time. Can I advertise this time ?

3 I am an employee of a FRPC campaign and wish to advertise as a private citizen ?

4 I am a FRPC for a legally established party that is campaigning on policies based on proven lies ("bacon is evil, we will ban bacon"). Going to run my ads ?

5 I am a lobby group, NGO, charity. Can I run an ad unambiguously supporting a FRPC ?

6 I am a single issue lobby group, NGO, charity. That issue is supported by only one FRPC. Can I advertise ?

It's almost more honest to ignore the dishonesty and just take everyone's money.

Cyber-IOU notes. Voucher hell on wheels. However you want to define Facebook's Libra, the most ridiculous part is its privacy promise


Re: What is the 'stable asset backing' ?

Yeah, except that FB explicitly say in their docs that it will be "low-volatility assets, such as bank deposits and short-term government securities from stable central banks". No mention of corporates, munis, short paper, and certainly not any equity or equity-linked.

There is more than USD 12.5 trillion of debt already in negative yield and there are fewer than 20 AAA rated non-bank debt issuers worldwide. The point about a sudden demand increase from FB driving yields down below their operating costs still stands even if they extend their mandate beyond govvies.


What is the 'stable asset backing' ?

FB seem to claim that they will hold punters' cash deposits into their currency in underlying 'safe assets' rather than cash, and pay the costs of running the service from the interest received on those assets. Not clear why they want to do that, but hey let's go with it.

What are these safe assets ? Presumably not commodity derivatives or pole dancers' buy-to-let mortgages in Florida. The usual definition of safe assets is ~AAA rated government bonds - US, France, UK, Germany, Japan, etc. Only problem is that in general those bonds pay negative interest, not positive. While that is a temporary situation as a result of the GFC, it has been temporary for the last 10 years and shows no signs of easing up in the next 5.

And what happens to prices if there is a sudden influx of new demand for a fixed supply, such as FB suddenly wanting to swap cash deposits into bonds ? Yep, they go up, which with bonds means that the interest paid becomes even more negative. Wonder if the Zuck realises that his cost model means that he will be paying to run this service and paying at a rate determined by the bond traders at the biggest banks, who coincidentally happen to be his biggest competitors for cash payment systems.


When has that happened ?

I know it's always fun to have a pantomime bad guy in the target sights, but I can not think of any example in at least the last 30 years where depositors in a bank in a EU/Nth American country have lost their funds when their bank shut up shop. Happy to hear of any cases where that is not true.

I've had it with these mother-fscking slaps on this mother-fscking plane: Flight fight sparks legal brouhaha over mid-air co-ords


Tangential pub debate

Had one of those pub chats recently where we trying to decide if there was anywhere you could be out of all jurisdictions, and bump someone off without consequences. Best we could come up with was standing on the seabed in international waters, with scuba gear and so not attached to a ship.

As I am having to suffer the idiot Swampy and his unwashed mates in central London this week, I am now thinking of organising a diving holiday for eco-loons this summer.

When 2FA means sweet FA privacy: Facebook admits it slurps mobe numbers for more than just profile security


At what point do the employees wise up ?

FB is starting to lose the perception battle, just like the tobacco firms did. It's a long slow process but you can feel it in the air - reporting turns negative, they've become the punchline to jokes, politicians are jumping on the publicity opportunity, legislation is targeted against them.

In other industries this led to problems with hiring. Staff and potential staff didn't want to be asked round the dinner table about their new job in cigarette design or animal testing of cosmetics. Ethical people turn them down until the firms can hire only the sociopaths and the desperate and the unethical, rather than the smartest and best qualified for the role. That then leads to a decline in corporate performance and a slow spiral into irrelevance.

Are we there yet ? Do FB staff avoid admitting that's who they work for ? Are people turning down a FB job offer because of peer and family pressure ? Feels like not quite yet but right on the cusp. So do your bit. Put off everyone you know from ever contemplating taking FB's tainted money.

And are you responsible for advertising spend ? If so then move your dollars away to other channels. I know that's difficult while the duopoly has such a tight grip, but that will only change when you change, so do it today.

Happy Thursday! 770 MEEELLLION email addresses and passwords found in yuge data breach


Re: Interesting, but. . .

Your security team might benefit from a review of password best practice recommendations from CERT or NCSC.

Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is: 1. More ad revenue, and 2. Good PR. Lots of love – Mark, aged 34½


Must be getting nervous round at Microsoft

Given that they have been selling copies of the entire linkedin database.

It's all a matter of time: Super-chill atomic clock could sniff gravitational waves, dark matter


Shoutout to Ms Quach

Fascinating concept and yet again a welcome relief from the tedious daily political screeching that fills the airwaves to no purpose, crowding out stories of genuine human achievement.

And separately a thank you to Ms Quach for consistently writing up complex topics in an interesting and digestible way.

Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads


Any port in a storm

Do I have it right that Apple has now introduced new products in 2018 with variously USB-A, USB-C, Lightning, and Thunderbolt ports ?

And these are supposed to be part of an integrated ecosystem ? I suspect Mr Jobs would have been....displeased.

Congrats from 123-Reg! You can now pay us an extra £6 or £12 a year for basically nothing


Re: I want to move away

If you can reconcile yourself to the slurp implications, google domains has been fine for us, moved earlier this year. Cheap and easy, though we don't have a complex setup and I haven't had to put in any fault tickets yet. We were already on GSuite so felt like we couldn't get any more naked anyway.

Google actually listens to users, hands back cookies and rethinks Chrome auto sign-in


Can't say it often enough

They collect data not because it has value in itself, but because it is the base to the real revenue stream of targeted ads. You can't stop the targeting, because other people / server side analytics / outright lies.

But you can stop it having value. Block the ads. Block all the ads. Tell everyone you know to block. Help non-technical people to block. Block, block, and block again.

The only way to stop criminal behaviour is to cut the rewards of crime. This is, has been, and will always be true.

NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again


In numbers rounder than my stomach:

Cost of Apollo* - something around $250bn - $300bn, inflation adjusted. Benefit to humanity - some practical, huge psychological

Cost of invading Iraq** : $3 trillion

Number of times Apollo could be re-run for the same amount: Ten

Number of times a Mars mission at 10x the cost of Apollo could be run for the same amount: One

Number of Falcon Heavy Mars orbit launches you could buy for the same amount: Thirty

Benefit to humanity of any of the above - well who knows, but I'm damn sure it's more than shooting people in Iraq.

* Actually total NASA budget 1960-72, but a) it was mostly Apollo and b) Gemini and Mercury spend were ultimately to support Apollo

** Stiglitz and Bilmes 'conservative estimate'

Look at me! Phone industry contracts nasty case of 5g-itis


Customer feedback

Things I hear mobile phone users say: "I've got no signal" "I can see two bars" "It's a bit crackly" "Call me on the landline" "Can't get any signal at home" "The village didn't have data coverage" "I'll have to go to the back of the house to use it" "I'll be on the train so I'll have to read it later" "Just going in a tunnel" "bzzzzrcckrkrkkx"

Things I don't hear mobile phone users say: "If only I could get enough bandwidth to play fortnite while watching netflix and listening to youtube at the same time"

Big bad Bluetooth blunder bug battered – check for security fixes


Is it initial pairing, or every session ?

Layman here, and not clear to me; I understood 'pairing' to be the initial intro of two devices to each other for the first time. Is that the only window of vulnerability, or is it every time two devices re-connect when they already know about each other ?

Windows Server 2019 tweaked to stop it getting clock-blocked


Already below 100us in EU

Only a minor point in the context of the article, but Mr Cuomo is a little off in his orders of magnitude for the EU. ESMA already requires single microsecond precision in Mifid 2 and envisages nanosecond precision during the expected lifetime of the regulations.

You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way


Don't stare into the white with remaining good eye

Looks nice. A bit tidier, smarter font, neater comment numbers at the bottom of the headline.

But the WHITE. It's so WHITE. Still. And then the highlight story flips to grey on mouseover.

Why not try an A/B of having the grey be the default which flips to white on mouseover ? See if the readers still with working corneas prefer that ?

An easy-breezy attitude to sharing personal data is the only thing keeping the app economy alive


But the data, by itself, has no value. It is only worth collecting because it can be sold on. Who is buying it ? Advertisers. Why ? So they can place targeted ads. So the sensible response is clear. Don't spend huge amounts of time trying to block every leak of your data. You can't control it all, and in particular you can't control less aware third parties or bad actors stealing bulk datasets.

Take reasonable precautions to limit your source. But, above all else, kill the money chain. Kill the ads. Kill the value of the data to advertisers. Block, block, and block again. Block them on the beaches, in the fields, and on the high seas. Block them in the morning, at lunchtime, and block again in the evening. Never surrender.

FCA 'gold-plates' EU rule, hits BYOD across entire UK finance sector


Not sure FCA rules say what you think

While in general yes there is a distinction between 'firm' and 'investment firm' in the regs, if you look at the preamble to this section of the FCA handbook you will see they are defining 'firm' for this rule. It is restricted to certain types of regulated firms doing certain types of things, mostly large scale / institutional activities. It won't cover Mrs Miggins High Street IFA Emporium.

Just like knotted-up headphones: Entangled photons stay entwined over record distance


Re: FTL Comms?

IANAQP but I believe it would be possible to transmit stock price info this way. It doesn't break FTL because the initial deployment of the split pair is at light speed.


King's speech, 2021

"And my government will bring forward legislation to ban the evil machinations of quantum physics, and prevent its support for terrorists and their ability to use secure communications"


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