* Posts by Al Jones

482 publicly visible posts • joined 28 Aug 2007


Damage control (noun): When Microsoft's CEO kickstarts diversity plan after women pay gaffe

Al Jones

Why do they even bother

when journos will twist their words to pursue an agenda?

According to the article, "Also on the cards for Microsoft techies is a focus on closing pay gaps for employees. Nadella said the company will make a push to make sure that women and minority workers receive the same pay as others who do the same job."

And yet the leaked memo states "For example, last year women in the US at the same title and level earned 99.7% of what men earned at the same title and level".

What the leaked memo actually said is that Microsoft needs to make sure "not only that everyone receives equal pay for equal work, but that they have the opportunity to do equal work".

It's easy to make sure that everyone at a particular grade or level in a large organization is paid the same amount of money - it's a lot harder to make sure that everyone is at the grade that they deserve.

NO MORE DOUBLE IRISH, thunders Dublin. Erm, from 2020 that is

Al Jones

Re: Our governments should stop waiting for Ireland et al

"The top 1% of earners in the UK pay 30% of all taxes."

What percentage of the UKs income does the top 1% of earners earn?

(Genuine question - I have no idea)

Al Jones

Re: something said to stop other governments from taking their own actions.

There is nothing stopping the US taxing these US corporations any way they like - the so-called "Double Irish" only exists because US tax law ignores transfers between foreign subsidiaries registered in the same country. (That's why you don't seen any UK companies moving their head-quarters to Dublin)

There's very little evidence that US multi-nationals are choosing Ireland simply because of the "Double-Irish" - they wouldn't bother employing thousands of workers, and constantly expanding those workforces there if all they wanted was to exploit a tax loophole, that they could do with a "brass-plate" office with a dozen employees (or none). They are taking advantage of the loophole in US tax law when they're here anyway, but it's a loop-hole in US tax law, not a loophole in Irish tax law.

Lumia rebrand begins: Nokia's new UK web home is Microsoft.com

Al Jones

Cyan STILL isn't available on Verizon and T-Mobile phones in the US!!!


(That's the new URL - automatically redirected from a nokia.com URL at some point in the last few days)

First Irish boy band U2. Now Apple pushes ANOTHER thing into iPhones, iPods, iPads

Al Jones

Re: Apple is the reason some stuff happens

And if someone called you back on your home number, did that BT app on your iPhone 3 ring?

Be your own Big Brother: Monitoring your manor, the easy way

Al Jones

If Solwise couldn't tell you how it worked, then they don't know what else the 3rd party that they bought the firmware from put into it. It they do know, but won't tell you, that's nearly as bad!

That's simply not good enough for a device that is opening a hole in your firewall, without asking your permission. (Do you have UPnP enabled on your router?)

Al Jones

Once camera that I used (a Fortinet clone of some sort) did some sort of DDNS with the camera's manufacturer, so that I could use <cameranumber>.<manufacturer>.com:<forwarded port> to access the camera from IPCam Viewer on an android phone when away from the house.

I obviously had to set up the port forwarding manually, and god alone knows what else might have been sent back to the manufacturer when the dynamic DNS request was being set up, or how often it was renewed, but given the recent hassles with NoIP and DynDNS.org, it was handy to have an accessible address for the camera. Your camera might be doing much the same, but it would be better for you if they documented it properly, so that you could use that address in 3rd party viewers.

T-Mobile US goes gaga for Wi-Fi calling, AT&T to launch in 2015

Al Jones

It's not cool until Apple does it

A colleague was gushing about this "new" feature of the Apple 6, though he had it ass-backward - he insisted that it would allow him to make calls to foreign countries for free, rather than to make free calls home from foreign countries when traveling.

I whipped out my 4 (5?) year old T-Mobile Blackberry 8900, turned off the cell-phone option, and called him over the office wi-fi connection. Was he impressed? Not in the least, but he still thinks it'll be cool now that Apple has invented it!

Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM

Al Jones

"models launched prior to this time are unaffected"

Does this mean that older Pixmas can't be hacked in this way, or that older Pixmasa are unaffected by Canons plans to release Firmware updates to address this issue, (because Canon doesn't have any plans to release firmware updates for older models)?

Welcome your new digital.. commissioners? Likely pair could fill Steelie Neelie's shoes

Al Jones

"However, it is very unusual for Parliament to reject a proposed Commissioner outright."

I was under the impression that the EU Parliament only has an all-or-nothing say on the make up of the Commission? They can't reject individual Commissioners.

Why Apple had to craft a pocket-busting 5.5in Plus-sized iPhone 6 (thank LG, Samsung etc)

Al Jones

Re: Not Allowing Fingerprint Storage? Got A Passport?

Unlike the Brazilians, the Europeans don't have the balls to give travelers from the US the same treatment that the US gives travelers from Europe - so most US citizens don't have to be concerned about having their fingerprints stored (rumour has it that, while US travelers to Brazil do have their fingerprints taken, the Brazilians don't bother actually storing them - it's simply a tit-for-tat arrangement).

Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

Al Jones

Re: @I ain't Spartacus, re Capitalism

"The data tariffs in the US are very high compared with Europe. "

ALL Verizon and AT&T tariffs are very high compared with Europe, even Voice and Text tariffs, with no data. It is possible to get relatively cheap voice/SMS tariffs with MVNOs like PagePlus, but US consumers are so used to thinking that cell phone plans cost $70+ (plus taxes and fees) that they can't conceive of cheaper tarriffs, except for "family plans", which cost more, but are cheaper on a "per line basis".

The thing that really gets me, though, is the PAYG credit that expires after 30 days. You can't just stick $10 of credit on a backup phone and have it available for emergencies.

Al Jones

Re: OnePlus One

The Nokia Lumia's have FM Radio.

Microsoft tells judge: Hold us in contempt of court, we're NOT giving user emails to US govt

Al Jones

Re: US corporations abroad

Funnily enough, the US Government is able to understand this concept when it comes to Tax, though it is increasingly unhappy about the way that US companies are "abusing" this process (and funnily enough, Ireland gets a mention in some of those cases too). There are probably some people in Washington DC that would use a government win in this case to push for a re-appraisal of how the profits of foreign subsidiaries of US Corporations are taxed, even if it meant killing a few golden-egg-laying gooses* along the way!

(golden-egg-laying geese just doesn't have the same ring to it!)

Al Jones

If Microsoft Ireland receives a request through the appropriate Irish legal channels for this data, it will hand it over. I don't know whether Irish law would require a High Court order, or whether a Circuit Court order would be sufficient, or whether Irish law provides a mechanism for the Garda/Police to request certain types of data directly.

Microsoft isn't arguing to prevent the release of these specific e-mails. They are arguing to prevent a US court ordering the release of these specific e-mails that are housed on servers outside of the US.

Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT

Al Jones

And yet the crowd goes wild....

A comment heard across the office "Wow - you can set your thermostat at home from your watch!".

And this encapsulates what Apple is managing to achieve. The person who made this statement a) never had any interest in setting her thermostat when she isn't at home before, and b) is totally unaware that she has been able to do it from the phone that is never more that 12 inches from her person for at least the last 3 years, and that there are "Android Wear" tools to control Nest devices from the like of the Galaxy Gear and LG G watches for about 6 months now, if she really needs the phone form-factor to do this.

Phishing miscreants THWART securo-sleuths with AES-256 crypto

Al Jones

From the description, it sounds like this is more about obfuscation than encryption - they happen to be using an encryption library to perform the obfuscation, but given that the key has to be included in the code, there is no reliance on the hardness of the encryption, just the fact that the decryption process can turn gobbledygook that Symantecs scanners can't recognize as bad, into a working webpage in the users browser.

NASA said a 60ft space alien menacing Earth wouldn't harm us: Tell THAT to Nicaragua

Al Jones

Re: Stumped?

One of the first what you might call "family friendly" videos I remember seeing on the Internet back in the early 90's was a news-clip from the 70's of the problems encountered by the Oregon Highway Departments when attempting to dispose of a dead whale washed up on a beach:


The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds

You can thank Brit funnyman John Oliver for fixing US broadband policy, beams Netflix

Al Jones

"Netflix is objecting to paying the standard transit rates by calling out those carriers and pretending they are being asked to 'double dip' (which is something only someone with zero understanding of how things actually run on the network would say), Netflix et.al. is over simplifying a technical issue in order to use the standard class envy/hate to their advantage..."

Let me explain it to you in very simple terms:

Verizon is charging end users who want to access Netflix.

Verizon is charging Netflix to allow Netflix to deliver the content that Verizons customers are requesting.

That's double-dipping.

Verizon will always be a net-consumer of bandwidth, and it wants to be paid more the more it allows it's own paying customers to consume!

LG pokes G3 Stylus at Samsung's Galaxy Note

Al Jones


is there any real point to this, other than checking a marketing box?

Huawei: 'Tizen has no chance', Windows Phone is 'difficult'... it's Android all the way

Al Jones

Misleading subhead

I know it's something of a tradition for The Register, but if you're going to use quote marks, you should probably stick with the general meaning of what the guy actually said - it's a bit of a stretch to get "Windows Phone is 'difficult'" from "Even for Windows Phone it's difficult to be successful."

I’ve never paid for it in my life... we are talking Wi-Fi, right?

Al Jones

Re: must be a Europe thing?

If their customers are going to be expensing their stay, they'll charge extra for wi-fi. If their customers are going to be paying for it themselves, it's usually "free" like breakfast (read - it's included in the price, whether you want it or not. And the prices have gone up in recent years, as they have added more of these services).

Cult of T-Mob US wants you to INDOCTRINATE your friends and family

Al Jones

This whole "Freinds and family" crap is such a pain in the arse!

I know why the US telcos like it so much - it makes the account much "stickier" but I don't want 4 or 6 or 10 lines, I just want one! I don't want to have to make arrangements with other people when I want to change my phone plan.

T-Mobile does have a reasonably priced (by US standards anyway) "unlimited web & text" plan for $30/month, but you only get 100 minutes of voice with that, and there is no true "pay-as-you-go" service available - you have to refill your account every 30 days, or they'll expire your number. You might as well go bill-pay if you have to pre-pay ever 30 days, whether you're using the phone or not! I'd like to pre-pay for 5GB of data, say, and use it over 6 months or a year, none of this 30-day expiration guff.

EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'

Al Jones

@Condiment: "Some sites/businesses rely on page hits for some of their income. By excluding some of their pages from search hits their business is being adversely affected* and they have the right to know the reason."

Does Google notify the Telegraph when changes to Google's search algorithms impact the ranking of any Telegraph page? Like %^@! they do!

Google has been very consistent on this since the company was founded - Google has no responsibility to inform you when it makes changes that impact your search ranking, and it absolutely denies that it has any financial responsibility for any harm that you might claim is caused by such changes.

The sole reason that Google is informing the Telegraph and other media outlets about these changes is to attempt to undermine the rights of ordinary citizens, and to enlist the media in it's lobbying campaign on this issue.

Al Jones

Re: Forgotten?

The courts need to be involved where there is disagreement between the person making the request and Google - but once the basic principle is accepted, many requests can, and most importantly, should be accepted without court involvement - you don't have to go to court to exercise your rights most of the time, but you always have the court to fall back on when you believe that your rights have been infringed. People are laid off every day, and in most cases there is agreement or acceptance of the situation on both sides, but we still need employment tribunal cases when there is disagreement between the parties. Disabled people have the right to certain accommodations, and they don't have to go to court every day to exercise those rights, but from time to time the courts do need to get involved to define what is and what isn't reasonable.

The same goes for this "right" - in many cases (most cases, in an ideal world), there should be no need for the courts to make decisions, because there would be a fair degree of agreement on what constitutes a reasonable request. Google is actively disrupting the process of defining what might be reasonable in these situations.

Al Jones

If you want change the results that Google returns, it seems pretty obvious that you should be able to ask Google to do that, rather than chase down 20 different webmasters in 10 different countries. After all, it's not as if Google doesn't already apply all sorts of filters and weightings to the results that they display anyway.

The key principle here is that I should have some degree of control over a search that includes the phrase "Al Jones". That's what Google really objects to, because it doesn't want ordinary people getting in it's way.

Al Jones

If anyone was in contempt of court, it would be Google for notifying the Telegraph of the change.

Google's hypocrisy on this issue is pretty bad - they change the order of search results all they time as they tweak their own search algorithms, but not only do they not feel duty bound to "inform the victims" that they'll no longer show up on the first page of the a search term, they persistently refuse to explain what changes they made, and why.

What's in your toolbox? Why the browser wars are so last decade

Al Jones

Re: All I ever wanted out of a Bowser....

FF 31.0 ESR was released on July 22nd, along with 24.7 ESR. 24.8 ESR should be released at the beginning of September, along with 31.1 ESR, and that will be the last update for 24ESR.


Al Jones

Re: Why is FF trying to become Chrome?

Firefox 24ESR will stop getting security updates on October 14th - 31ESR has been released, and there will only be a "2 cycle" overlap, as far as I understand. That's 6 months more support than he'll get for version 28, which "expired" in April, but the there were significant changes to the Firefox UI between release 24 and release 28, so the 24ESR UI might not have features that he's using in 28.

Amazon smacks back at Hachette in e-book pricing battle: We're doing it for the readers

Al Jones

Re: El Reg is Pro-Amazon sympathiser?

Here's what the NYT had to say about Amazon's use of Orwell statement about paperbacks:

When Orwell wrote that line, he was celebrating paperbacks published by Penguin, not urging suppression or collusion. Here is what the writer actually said in The New English Weekly on March 5, 1936: “The Penguin Books are splendid value for sixpence, so splendid that if the other publishers had any sense they would combine against them and suppress them.”


Al Jones

Re: We all moved to sharepoint.

@ Headley_Grange: "Amazon are happy to make fractions of a penny profit on massive throughput."

30% of $10 is hardly fractions of a penny.

The real question that authors, publishers and readers should be asking Amazon is why there isn't a fixed transaction charge for selling an e-book. It doesn't cost Amazon any more to sell a $3 e-book than a $30 e-book, so why should Amazon take a bigger cut from the more expensive e-book?

Google's 'right to be forgotten': One rule for celebs, another for plebs

Al Jones

Re: Makes sense actually...

If the "disclaimer" is meaningless, then why bother posting it at all?

The "disclaimer" isn't about alerting searchers that the results they see might be different if they try google.com instead of google.cc-tld, it's about getting the political message out there that google objects to ordinary plebs having a right to control the picture that google paints of them.

The whole malarkey about "delinking" articles is just more FUD - web pages aren't being unlinked or managed in any way by google - the only thing that is being changed is the index for a particular search term - not a web page, something that google does all the time whenever it tweaks it's algorithms, and it damn well doesn't do anything to alert webmasters that their web pages will be affected when that happens!

NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

Al Jones

Re: Bugger solar panels!

In a vacuum, outside a gravity well.

The vacuum helps, but you won't be able to take off from the moon with this device.

British Lords: Euro 'right to be forgotten' ruling 'unreasonable and unworkable'

Al Jones

Google is doing something with my name that impacts on me (returning a somewhat arbitrary list of links to web pages that refer to me by name). It makes sense to me that Google has a responsibility to respond to my concerns, and where my concerns are reasonable, change the way it handles my name, by altering the list that it generates in response to a search on my name. (I will grant that the definition of "reasonable concern" is a matter for debate).

The fact that some negative information about me exists is not the problem. The problem occurs when that negative information is presented without context in a way that has an inordinately negative effect. There is no question that Google has the technology and the wherewithal to change the results that are returned in response to a search for my name, the only question is what are the rules under which such changes should be made.

Al Jones

A simple thought experiment

Purely as a thought experiment, consider a law that banned searching by personal names entirely. It's immediately obvious that that would be fairly trivial to implement (with edge cases for certain names, but this is just a thought experiment) simply by filtering the index, something that every search engine does all the time. It obviously wouldn't involve the wholesale deletion of documents from the web, because the documents would still all be there, all findable by the hundreds or thousands of other words and phrases that make up the document.

Would this "break the web"? It might have an impact on a tiny subset of users who actually search for peoples names, but most of us would never even notice, because we don't do that very often, and even when we do search a persons name, it wouldn't really matter that much to us if we couldn't. It would obviously help with the privacy concerns that some people have, and it might negatively affect c-list celebrities. But it's hard to see that it would really make that much difference to the world as we know it, once way or the other, so it would cost the ordinary web user practically nothing, but it would be considered useful by the small subset of users that are damaged by the blunt-force indexing of their name that we get today.

After conducting this thought experiment, are you still convinced that a much more narrowly focused change that allows an ordinary user some control how a search engine handles their own name will be such a disaster for the Web? Yes, the details of how much control a user can have needs to be worked out, but the Googles of this world have tackled far harder issues than this.

Al Jones

"vague, ambigupus and unhelpful criteria"

"It is wrong in principle to leave search engines themselves the task of deciding whether to delete information or not, based on vague, ambiguous and unhelpful criteria".

Here's an idea - how about coming up with clear, unambiguous and helpful criteria to give citizens some control over the way they are portrayed by search engines!

It is actually a good thing that the initial ruling was not overly prescriptive, because we need a degree of dialog between a number of different parties, representing commercial, government and societal viewpoints on this issue, about how best to deliver on the principle that the ECJ has described. This will take time to work out, but the principle that each citizen has a right to their good name, and that that will impact how search engines respond to searches ON THAT NAME, will seem like common sense, and that it has absolutely nothing to do with deleting articles from the web.

Indie ISP to Netflix: Give it a rest about 'net neutrality' – and get your checkbook out

Al Jones

Re: @Al Jones

Netflix is helping Lariat.net by providing content that is enticing enough that people want to sign up to Lariat.net so that they can get access to Netflix. The money that that new user pays splits about 80-20 in Lariat.nets favor.

There's no question that delivery of broadband to more widely dispersed populations, further from exchange points has different economies than delivering service in denser urban environments. But as I said, that's Lariat.net's business model, not Netflix's business model.

By the way, I should have pointed out that I don't even have a Netflix subscription.

Al Jones

Let me get this straight. Customers are asking Lariat whether Lariat will give them decent access to Netflix in exchange for paying a monthly subscription that is probably considerably more than the customer is paying Netflix, and it's Netflix's fault that the answer is no?

It's not clear whether Mr Glass is losing customers because they're switching to other ISPs that can deliver what he can't, or whether he's the only game in town, and he's complaining that his users can't get decent Netflix access because the population of Wyoming is too spread out to get decent bandwidth cheaply. But Netflix business model is working for Netflix - it doesn't have to work for lariat.net

Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS

Al Jones

Oldest Bug

The LZO bug may had been sitting there for 20 years, but there's no indication that someone discovered it 20 years ago, and didn't tell anyone about it so that it could be fixed.

There's no comparison with a known critical bug that was not revealed to the people that could fix it.

Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade

Al Jones

Re: firefox ESR updated too

Years ago I discovered that I could use a Firefox Extension to put my tabs down the left hand side of the screen. I can see the full title for 30-odd tabs at a time, and on a 1920x1080 screen, the one thing I'm not short of is room for a 2 inch column of tabs.

I've never made the switch to putting my Windows taskbar on the side of the screen, but for browsers, this single feature has made Firefox so "sticky" that there's no moving away from it. My only reaction to "Tabs on Top" is Why?

There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES

Al Jones

Re: Another breakthrough from the centre for establishing the obvious.

A country with a population of 300 million that absolutely refuses to broadcast any "foreign muck" on the mainstream channels*. They'll buy in a series and re-make it, but they won't broadcast the original. You can understand their reluctance with something like Taggart, for instance, that even some BBC viewers might have needed subtitles for, but when it comes to "police procedurals", for example, there are plenty of BBC and ITV series that would more than hold their own against their US equivalents, but they will never be seen on US TV, except on PBS stations. Even "niche"channels like the Food Channel won't show the likes of the Great British Bake Off, even though there's nothing in it that would be a turn-off for that channels typical audience.

It's a level of chauvinism that even the French can't aspire to!

YES: Scotland declares independence ... from the dot co dot uk empire

Al Jones

Re: Now how about a .wales, .sixcounties and .england as well?

Some of the locals call it the 6 counties.

If you were to include the 300,000 "Ulstermen" who live in the 3 Ulster counties in the Republic, you might find that Ulster, like the man from Del Monte, says Yes!

Al Jones

Re: Now how about a .wales, .northernireland and .england as well?

"58% against independence and 47% for"

Are you expecting some people to be voting early and voting often?

Al Jones

Re: Scotland using English tld?

.alba might be a bit confusing for those who have encountered the phrase "Perfidious Albion".

Amazon France routes around free shipping ban with €0.01 charge

Al Jones

Re: Booksellers do deserve protection

"Online selling, however, has done more to protect niche publishing. "

I'm not sure that I'd agree with that. For a start, Amazon is pretty useless at categorizing books (apparently, it doesn't need to be good at it, because it has made zero effort to improve it's search engine). So finding that niche is often harder on Amazon, than in a bookstore (especially a specialist bookstore that deals with that particular niche).

And in the case of France, French language publishing is also a (fairly large) niche - protecting French Bookstores may also be a factor in protecting French language publishing over the long term.

Amazon has certainly made self-publishing easier, which is definitely advantageous for certain types of non-fiction niches, as well as for fiction, where a certain gold-rush mentality exists, with lots of stuff thrown out there with the hope (or for the more deluded, the expectation) of wealth and fame.

But there's no curation, which makes finding the worthwhile stuff harder.

Plucky Rockall adventurer prepares to leave islet

Al Jones

Re: "British Antarctic Survey"

How long has that windmill been up there???

FCC commish: We don't need no steenkin' net neutrality rules

Al Jones

"Broadband providers would be expected to report on every aspect of their practices and services, including metrics like jitter and packet corruption, which are unlikely to be meaningful to the average consumer," the Republican duo assert.

"Expensive and burdensome reports that add no measurable consumer benefit are exactly the type of regulatory overreach that cost-benefit analysis is meant to prevent."

I can assure you that the average consumer wouldn't be able to make head nor tail of the regulatory reports that the Pharma, AgriFood, Auto, and Power Generation industries are required to file, but that's certainly not an argument that we don't need to regulate these industries.

(I deliberately left out the Financial industry, because they don't even understand the reports that they file).

Dodgy Google, Yahoo! SSL certs nuked in Windows – finally

Al Jones

Re: Something needs to be changed in how certificates are trusted.

That auditing idea might pick up "honest mistakes" (!) but if a CA was deliberately generating bogus certs, then they presumably would deliberately exclude that particular cert from a self-published audit list of certs, so you might end up with a false sense of security, if people were actually depending on this type of auditability of CAs.

Verizon points more fingers at Netflix: It's YOUR pals slowing data

Al Jones

Netflix isn't delivering their service over an ADSL connection in Zimbabwe - the congestion isn't occurring at the Netflix servers, it's occurring at the gateways where Verizon connects to the rest of the internet.

Verizon customers aren't paying Verizon $50/month to access Verizon's webmail servers, they're paying to get access to, and download content on Netflix, Youtube, Facebook and other 3rd party content, and they are typically consuming far, far more content/bandwidth than they are sending out.

(On a side note, Verizon's own website for paying my FiOS bill only is unquestionably the slowest, clunkiest website that I have to deal with on a regular basis - it's not hard for me to believe that Verizon are simply not capable of running an ISP efficently).

Presto! After Supreme Court loss, Aereo says it's a cable company now

Al Jones

Being allowed to replace the original broadcast ads would be particularly interesting if they replaced the constant 3 minute ad-breaks with 1 second ad-breaks for programs that were recorded to be watched later. Their potential demographic would probably pay more for such a service, if Aereo could pull it off, than they could earn by placing their own ads in the stream.

$10/month with traditional ads, $15 with "blip" ads!