* Posts by illuminatus

92 publicly visible posts • joined 30 Aug 2017


Amazon already has a colossal ads business and will extend it to Prime Video in January


So ... I have two options

Option 1: Retain the Prime subscription, but just delete the Prime Video app from my devices. I don't use the Prime bits of other services like Kindle, Audible, or Music so I'm not losing anything in particular by junking that. I keep the delivery bits.

Option 2: Ditch Prime entirely. Makes sense because I don't watch much on Prime anyway. I'm finding I'm generally using Amazon less anyway: I just don't need to buy very much stuff I don't really need in the normal course of things - so the amount I'm paying doesn't offset what I'd be paying in delivery charges.

Either way, Amazon trying to make me pay extra for a service I'd already paid for isn't making me want to use it any more. Quite the opposite. Mind you, the options suggested by others just to throw their own little spanners in the works make me swell with pride at the lovely contrariness of people here. Least I've got a week or two to decide which to do for my part.

Y2K quick-fix crick? 1920s come roaring back after mystery blip at UK's vehicle licensing agency



(insert Brexit gag here)

Halfords invents radio signals that don't travel at the speed of light


Re: If DAB is faster than FM

Even better, the lag from FM varies between Digital TV and Dab. So you can play the same snatch of audio with a beautiful double echo if they're all on the same station.

They terrrk err jerrrbs! Vodafone replaces 2,600 roles with '600 bots' in bid to shrink €48bn debt


Sounds like they're all from Hull...

Tor blimey, Auntie! BBC launches dedicated dark web mirror site


Don't forget how piss poor it is if you don't listen to the national radio networks and are predominantly local.

Who are the last people you'd expect to spill thousands of student records? A computer science dept? What a fantastic guess


Actually, given some of the computer scientists I've met, I'd say it was the first place I'd look.

Three UK goes TITSUP*: Down and out for 10 hours and counting


much the same for me in north Yorks and durham. Service seems ok for me now in durham city.

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still



I ran lots of the betas, and of course there were issues there - they were betas after all. And it's not like they haven't been saying that 32 bit support was going. If you were prepared for this, then that part's not a big deal

Catalina has been installed now on my both work and home machines (work got a late beta a couple of weeks before realise, my one a bi earlier - it's usyaslly sensible to hold off the Mac OS bets until around 4 or 5 revisions in, usually around early- mid august; by then they seem to put most major plumbing changes in ) and is generally solid. My only issue has been there since mid-summer - manually syncing photos libraries to an iPhone, because I don't want to use iCloud photos, thanks. And it's an issue that has cropped up on earlier os versions too. My phone is actually running the 13.2 beta now, and is actually fairly solid. I think the phone stuff was generally better than last years cycle tbh, even allowing for the reminders issue, which in fairness they did flag quite heavily in the dev docs for the betas

BBC said it'll pull radio streams from TuneIn to slurp more of your data but nobody noticed till Amazon put its foot in it



Apparently, if you looking in a German dictionary, under the word


it says: replacing iPlayer Radio with Sounds.

Brit government WLTM one Chief Digi Info Officer


...someone in mind

by the name of Cummings. He's interested in a job share with his current role of Grand Vizier. He'd like to keep his existing office with the scorpion pit and spikes, obviously.

Two years ago, 123-Reg and NamesCo decided to register millions of .uk domains for customers without asking them. They just got the renewal reminders...


Re: Shopping cart

Well, I may not have many domains to play with, but I've just moved them all out to another provider. So ner :)

Brit MPs: Our policies are crap and the political process is in tatters, but it's Twitter's fault, OK?


Re: No s##t Sherlock...

According to the government's own figures (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812844/Income_Tax_Liabilities_Statistics_June_2019.pdf)

"The Top 1% (broadlyall Additional Rate taxpayers) had 12.3% of total income in 2016-17 and were liable for 28.1% of total income tax.**

Now, what proportion of the total tax take is income tax? Well, according to parliament documents (https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8513)

"UK government raises over £785 billion a year in receipts – income from taxes and other sources – equivalent to around 37% of GDP. The majority are from three main sources: income tax, National Insurance contributions (NICs) and value added tax (VAT). Together these raise over £460 billion. Income tax contributes £192 billion."

So, about 6.9% of the total tax yield.Or, if you want to use the 460bn figure, 11.7%

Cloud, internet biz will take a Yellowhammer to the head in 'worst case' no-deal Brexit


Re: What's in a name?

Made by the French, n'oubliez pas!

We checked and yup, it's no longer 2001. And yet you can pwn a Windows box via Notepad.exe


Re: Is this why a "notepad" app doesn't come with Android?

To.make notes?

Y'know how everyone hated it when tuition fees went up? Cutting them now could harm science, say UK Lords


Re: Bah!

And it's all the more ironic that most of the decisions about this are being made by governments with little or no scientific background at all. There are quite a lot of PPE graduates in here: general studies for the chinless.

The second paragraph is bang on the money though. I've a science degree, but think the way arts is funded, and opportunities restricted to the wealthiest is depressingly and predictably scandalous.


Re: Bah!

Pah. Engineering arriviste! ;)

Neuroscientist used brainhack. It's super effective! Oh, and disturbingly easy


Re: Let them dopamine themselves to death

You are Thomas Malthus, and I claim my £5.


Re: Let me be the first to call this over hypes BS

"we don't yet understand how the brain works"

From a purely practical standpoint, as long as you can replicate the perceived behaviour, you don't need to know how the process works at a deep level. That's why it's so very dangerous.

The Register taps a foot with boffins under the Lovell Telescope at Bluedot Festival


Re: a quick moan (not that quick)

I went to the first Bluedot in 2016, but haven't been since. It has certainly expanded.

The ticket and the wristband are connected - they recommended you keep your ticket to allow you to cancel lost/stolen wristbands and get replacements with less fuss. The phone app is fairly explicit about this (or at least I inferred as much from the way the information was presented) I wasn't hugely concerned, because they already have most the information on the wristband from your ticket anyway. It's not such a bad idea because it cuts down the amount of floating cash and opportunistic theft connected to that. You could claim back any remaining balance in your account from Tuesday, which was a quick job if you'd registered; you could choose to donate all/some/none of that remained to nominated charities. (the refund takes around 3-5 working days to process, apparently, when I did my request, and the money's now back in my bank account)

My principal problem wasn't payment, which largely worked ok for me, but the rather hit and miss nature of the "mission log" feature. The contact points didn't make it clear whether the registration had worked or not (a visual, not just audio alarm would be nice), and I can see why having some of the is data is useful- -it helps them to see how busy venues are getting at particular times, and is probably useful for crowd flow and planning purposes. Given how much busier people said this year's event was than previous (some truth in that), and some had mentioned crowding, that's probably useful data to have if they can make it more reliable. It's the first year they've run this, so I'm expecting when they do it again (and they will), that they will learn some lesion form his year. It might actually be easier to use bacons at venues to record attendances and capacity as most hand their phones with me anyway.


Re: Good festival...but...

I left at around 1am form the weekend parking site on Batemill Lane.No hassles whatsoever, But the main entrance was a bit chaotic.

UK Home Secretary doubles down on cops' deeply flawed facial recognition trials



"I back the police in looking at technology and trialling it,"

Even when it's expensive and doesn't work.

ESPECIALLY when it's expensive and doesn't work.

Metropolitan Police's facial recognition tech not only crap, but also of dubious legality – report


Re: It's in its infancy, but it will improve

Ah, the wisdom of crowds...


Re: It's in its infancy, but it will improve

"30 seconds out of your day to provide ID and carry on"

Then multiply by all the times you will be asked to do it, by every person and their dog, because it's "30 seconds out of your day". Feature creep's a bitch.

Former UK PM Tony Blair urges governments to sort out online ID


I was a supporter of the NO2ID campaign back during the late noughties (I literally have the t-shirt). While I don't have an issue with ID per se, the main issue I saw with it here was the relationship it assumed between citizen and state, and about the ownership of and responsibility for personal data. This was the sort of thing that other countries, with explicit constitutional protections for citizens, struggled less with.

So, for example, in the Blunkett bill that went before parliament, you had the fairly nasty combination of: the government owns your data, and can prosecute you if your data is found to be incorrect or false. Conversely however, if you discovered your data was not correct, the government were under no obligation to change it (though could conceivably prosecute you if they _then_ decided the data was wrong, even if you'd told them so a priori). Without primary legislation that prevented authorities compelling users to carry id tokens at all times, or compelling them them to produce ID while going about lawful business, the scheme always smelled nasty to me. I was extremely wary of the feature creep that had happened (despite promises to the contrary) in RIPA oversight and powers.

PowerPoint to start telling you that your presentation is bad and you should feel bad


Re: Spice it up a bit

Oooh! Powerpoint context roulette...

1. pick six words

2. choose a word form the list at random.

3. you must display the first image suggestion provided


Re: As I was told

Really? It's not that hard at all if you train yourself to do it.

UK's GDS head Kevin Cunnington leaves to tell world+dog how (not) to do digital


Could you pin a tail on that coat and call it an easel*?

*I know, that's deliberate.

It's all in the wrist: Your fitness tracker could be as much about data warfare as your welfare


Re: @Splurg The Barbarian - No, no, no, no, no!

"they would/could/might develop an algorithm that recognizes spoofed data."

Costing them time and money. and not guaranteeing accuracy. The pissing in the data pool idea is actually a good one, especially if people do it to differing degrees at different times, because there's no pattern - almost like the brownian motion of bullshit. Brownian motion is perfect for that, as it's a great way to generate actual randomness, and that is difficult to filter out.

10 PRINT Memorial in New Hampshire marks the birthplace of BASIC


Can't remember where I once read...

but wasn't Bill Gates' last commercial software project the BASIC on the TRS Model 100 lcd screen laptop?

Apple strips clips of WWDC devs booing that $999 monitor stand from the web using copyright claims. Fear not, you can listen again here...


No one has to buy it

And of course there's a nice opportunity for third parties to offer something more competitive. Besides, it's not like it's a mass market consumer product, is it?

Uncle Sam wants to read your tweets, check out your Instagram, log your email addresses before you enter the Land of the Free on a visa


I last visited

the US in 2012, and found the immigration controls then a total ballache. So, at this point, I find that I can no longer be arsed to go to the United States. I'll try my very best to live with the disappointment.

War is over, if you want it: W3C, WHATWG agree to work towards single spec for HTML and DOM


Re: Why not save the planet at the same time?

The chronology is an issue there. HTML existed before XML, and indeed XHTML was the attempt to make the parsing of messy awkward HTML with its SGML roots much more sleek and amenable to machine processing when the early talk was about how useful this would be for semantic web applications.. The problem was that the tools to write that lovely efficient XHTML were not that great, and people were used to the loose parsing and tolerance of browser engines which are, after all, just HTML interpreters. From a programming point of view these are known issues. We've tried the XHTML route, and frankly, it didn't work out that well. The finnicky syntax (especially case rules and attributes) were not that friendly for those writing. Part of the reason the web took off was because the syntax was so sloppy. It is easy to write. Easy to write badly too, obviously, but easy to get some thing working.

Now of course few popped hand write HTL anymore, so doing it programmatically seems so much easier. At just the time HTML5 finally emerged.

Essex named sexiest British accent followed closely by, um, Glaswegian


Re: Gloucestershire

Although I believe the pub interior is the Royal Standard of England, in Penn Street in Bucknghamshire. And very nice it is too.


Re: popular belief

Functional social linguistics at play - context being hugely important. And very sensible of course.


26th. Middlesbrough

"The Teesside twang is softer than Geordie, but the rich ‘Boro accent is gradually getting more standardised and Southern."

To which the standard Teesside response is simply:

'Ow, yer 'avin' a laff aren't yer, yer fuckin' doyle.

Middlesbrough has a weird mix of North Yorkshire, Durham, Scots, Irish and Scouse. This is a legacy of its comparatively young age (founded around 1830), and its rapid industrial growth, bringing in people for construction and heavy industry. Teesside is pretty the only place other than Liverpool where the Ken Dodd song "Where's Me Shirt?" doesn't sound too out of place.

In fact, the test of a north-eastern accent is to get the speaker to say the words "purple work shirt". The more Scouse it sounds, the nearer the Boro you are, pretty much.

Brit spy chief: We need trust or we won't have a 'licence to operate in cyberspace'


GCHQ is...

a government agency. It remit and its activity is regulated by government. And therein lies the problem. While there may be many competent and ethically upstanding people inside the service, the people setting the parameters for its activity are anything but. What GCHQ provides is used by both the Home and Foreign Office (at least) and is, therefore within the remit of the secretaries of state. Now consider that in recent time that list of political no marks in those posts has included Amber Rudd, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt*, you begin to see the problem. In theory there is parliamentary oversight, but in reality things are much murkier (and sometimes for sensible reasons).

I am always wary of organisation with large amounts of power that are subject to direct political control, so my trust is in very very short supply, I'm afraid.

* and yes, I remember the bad old days of Jack Straw too, so it's not entirely party political.

The peelable, foldable phone has become the great white whale of tech


It is quite interesting that...

in the face of all the breathless hoopla about foldable displays, Apple has remained tight-lipped.

It isn't a shock. Apple are never first to market as a rule, but take some time to get something shiny (and profitable) there. There is little indication that they have any enthusiasm for foldable, and the mass market, like it or not, do tend to pick up on Apple's lead. Look at payment services: there wasn't much real take up until Apple Pay arrived, then it started to grow. Samsung are desperately trying to innovate to steal a march in the high-end, fighting against apple on one hand, and Chinese competitors on the other. It needs to show something new. Perhaps they've overstretched a little too quickly for now.

Brexit text-it wrecks it: Vote Leave fined £40k for spamming 200k msgs ahead of EU referendum


Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

"No it was binding. "

No. It wasn't. The Act of Parliament enabling the vote said it was not, and no provisions were put in place in the Act to make it so. That the Prime Minister at the time either did not realise this, or DID realise it and said so anyway speaks volumes about him, the way that he felt he could overstep his authority, and his overweening sense of his own adequacy.

And, as it happens, because "he" said he would implement it, and because the result was in law advisory, it did not constrain any of his successors to do so. Yet the current incumbent chose to. And she's done such a great job of that, hasn't she?

That's Numberwang! Google Cloud staffer breaks record for most accurate Pi calculation


How many digits?

Approx 10trillion * PI digits...

Schneier: Don't expect Uncle Sam to guard your web privacy – it's Europe riding to the rescue


Re: When the Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth...

In computing, pretty much any degree with partial BCS accreditation should include content of this type to be able to satisfy the awarding body on accreditation renewal. I know that some do (because I delivered some of it myself when I was teaching).

The question is how much attention are some students paying to it; interestingly, an intern doing some part-time work in our office currently is doing some of this stuff right now in his degree, and we ended up having a discussion yesterday about ethics and the law in the software industry. I think many students see much of the discussion as a bit dry and mostly hypothetical, until you start talking about real cases, and the knock on effects of what they do

Civil servants 'Sir Humphrey' their way through grilling on UK.gov's digital transformation


Isn't it reassuring to know

That, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, or even in the event of a sort-of deal Brexit, some of these people are going to be planning the (unicorn-flavoured) technological solution for customs arrangements at the Irish border?

No? It isn't for me either.

Watchdog asks UK.gov to reissue freedom of information guidance after councils are told to STFU about Brexit plans


Re: Nothing to hide, nothing to fear ...

Like their own special wall to be lined up against when the revolution comes...


Re: Why worry?

"beyond the wit or capacity of Liam Fox."

That's is a very very wide pool. As is counting past ten without using fingers.


Re: Why worry?

"monsters from under their beds will come out and terrorise them"

Give them their proper names: Johnson, Gove and Rees-Mogg.

Northern UK smart meter rollout is too slow, snarls MPs' committee



Well, say no more. It's only because of no-wits like Johnson, Grayling and Hunt that she isn't held up as one of the more talent-free thought-vacuums to inhabit the Conservative government, judging by her previous record in IT and Internet related matters. It really is a government of the no-talents.

Return of the audio format wars and other money-making scams


Re: MiniDisk? Bah!

Gram-o-phone, gram-o-phone. Nah, don't have any of these around here, granddad...

One click and you're out: UK makes it an offence to view terrorist propaganda even once



Rickrolling takes on a while new, very sinister, and very scary dimension:

Never Gonna give You Up

Never Gonna Let You Down

Never Gonna Rest Until

The West Is Overthrown

Erm, youtube...

Six Flags fingerprinted my son without consent, says mom. Y'know, this biometric case has teeth, say state supremes...


I bet

they didn't try fingerprint the Banana Splits. Snorky would have gone postal on them...

Another greybeard has left us: Packet pioneer Larry Roberts dies at 81


Or indeed

In pieces. Which can be reassembled after routing into their correct configuration upon delivery to wherever he may be headed next

The eulogising of The Mother Of All Demos at 50 is Silicon Valley going goo-goo for gurus again


A product of the time

What you also have to consider is that Englebart was working on the West Coast. He'd fought in WWII, and like many of those veterans wanted to see some profound changes in the world afterwards. He was just one of a whole bunch of people who were very much of that progressive West Coast wave, many of whom had read what Bush had to say back in 1945 and thought the idea of augmentation was a good starting point. Lots of the libertarian aspects of the early web were born in that environment, which was like a counterweight to what was going on in places like MIT. Remember also that Taylor has discussed some the networking components via the likes Donald Davies at NPL in the UK, among many others. He wasn't alone in not seeing the path of increasing miniaturisation and personalisation, just look at 2001 from the year after, for example. And that's without thinking about the hypermedia stuff that people like Ted Nelson were doing. There were a lot of ideas flowing around that could be synthesised in new and interesting ways.

But these were academic projects, not commercial for the most part, so collaboration and knowledge sharing was very much tot he fore

Yes, the demo was constructed a bit, but things *were* primitive. Intel's 4004 processor was over two years in the future, and the first ARPANet link was still around a year away. Like James Burke says in Connections, the path of progress is not simple and linear, It's a complex nexus of interlinking influences and discussions, with people repurposing things for novel and unexpected uses. This demo was hugely important for many reasons, andI think some of those aims were laudable. The fact is that every event has unintended consequences, good and bad, so why should this be any different?