* Posts by Gonzo wizard

156 posts • joined 26 Jul 2018

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Legal complaint lodged with UK data watchdog over claims coronavirus Test and Trace programme flouts GDPR

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: Conspiracy time?

They can't blame it on anything except their own decision not to conduct the DPIA in the first place. There are, flatly, no excuses. They instigated the whole thing, this should have included all the required GDPR mitigations and actions.

But of course this runs counter to their desire to be like a banana republic - wing it without a care for the law, which only applies to the little people.

Not just its VCS console that's MIA, Atari is a no-show in court, too: Reborn biz ignores hardware architect's lawsuit over unpaid wages

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: I worked out what the VCS stands for!

Vacuous Corporate Spouting?

Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: Unhearing government

I’ve reported a few - I usually sent email to both the domain reseller and the hosting company. I get a reply about half the time. It’s pretty dispiriting when a hosting company genuinely doesn’t care about enabling cyber-crime.

Usually when I get a response it is because the hosting and domain sales have been done by the same company (or two related ones) - although the big companies tend to be the exception to that experience, either not caring or just not set up to deal.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: re: 1) my phone blocks numbers not in my contact list

My surgery generally leaves a voicemail if I don’t answer. But neither do they block their number.

Software bug in Bombardier airliner made planes turn the wrong way

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: Sounds

Also sounds a bit dysleftlegsik...

Embrace and kill? AppGet dev claims Microsoft reeled him in with talk of help and a job – then released remarkably similar package manager

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: New leopard...

Haha I thought of Apple both when reading the article and in seeing your subject line... Apple are also pretty notorious for this kind of practice. Bottom line, I'd be very wary about getting into this kind of discussion when a company has a reputation...

Surprise! That £339 world's first 'anti-5G' protection device is just a £5 USB drive with a nice sticker on it

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Coming soon!

I'd like to announce the launch of my ultra-reliable shark repellant, having successfully trialled it for over a year without having suffered a single attack. It is available in a conveniently sized can at the bargain basement price of £50 (three for £100) and comes with a cast iron money back guarantee - if you're killed by a shark whilst using this product, I'll refund you in full - just apply in person.

I'm also in the final phase of testing on my Elephant Repellant (although this won't be available in Africa or India).

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: One would have throught...

Talking of Apple and Google, I wonder if anyone has reported the app for breaching GDPR and European data protection laws? I’m sure someone will have by now, I’m interested in knowing how Google and Apple justify leaving the app in their respective stores.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: "and the backers of the Google and Apple apps"

Except that the whole focus of the Google and Apple APIs is that the tracking information never leaves your phone, and has only the last two weeks of data anyway. All they'll ever have is a set of tokens corresponding to infected people, that are broadcast to devices. No location data. No personal data. No history. Just a set of meaningless tokens.

eBay users spot the online auction house port-scanning their PCs. Um... is that OK?

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: This is not okay

According to a couple of posts I have read, Opera does not permit port scanning the local machine from JavaScript but I've yet to try it for myself.

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: problems getting started

Ah but just like visibly branded clothes, that logo is not to remind you which laptop you bought, it's to tell other people what they should be buying.

I've always felt there should be a discount applied to branded clothing based on the size of the advert that has been slapped on it. The bigger the branding, the bigger the discount... At least laptop branding tends to be fairly small...

Ampere, Nvidia's latest GPU architecture is finally here – spanking-new acceleration for AI across the board

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Meh

OK ok so it's fast

But I wouldn't want the electricity bill. 400W per GPU at full utilisation. And the SuperPod - 1120 GPUs or 450Kw per hour at full utilisation... granted it is a more efficient platform than your regular CPU for ML but the heat... the running cost... :-

Users of Will.i.am's Wink IoT hub ask 'Where is the love?' as they're asked to pay for a new subscription service

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: I'm full of not surprise

I've a dozen Innr Zigbee smart plugs, bought from Amazon when they were down to a reasonable price. Never really liked the Chinese WiFi plugs (a) because of the phone home policy and (b) because they never looked that safe. The Innr smart plugs are (were) worth every penny at £33 for a pair. At the current £40 they feel a bit pricey.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
FAIL

I'm full of not surprise

The story of all proprietary IoT devices is one of inevitably pissing-off of the end user at some point. The free service becomes a paid service. The service, free or otherwise, is withdrawn, leaving you with bricks. A software update removes a key feature, or adds something undesirable... the list goes on. We have to be aware of what we are buying and what the true owner of these devices can do (because it clearly isn't us). I strenuously avoid anything like this but for full disclosure I do have a Nest V2 thermostat and one of their smoke alarms.

I've move on to buying only ZigBee hardware, run through Home Assistant. Anything more complex is constructed by me, with a Pi at its heart and open source software (or my own software). Remote access is achieved via my own VPN. I even send myself alerts on the rare occasion that my public IP address changes (no, I'm not using DDNS at the moment). Nothing needs an internet connection just to work. Nothing sent to third party servers. No bricking, no unexpected charges, I learn a lot and it works well.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Ahem

The UK app, as already highlighted in the article, has a number of shortcomings that prevent it working reliably all the time when compared to using the Google and Apple APIs which won't have those shortcomings.

Not using the Google and Apple APIs automatically means that the UK app will be less reliable at capturing interactions. Less interactions will be detected and reported. I am already, as an experienced engineer, convinced that our 'solution' will be less effective and cause more unnecessary deaths because the fundamental, core part of how it works is broken even before it has been trialled.

Oh and as a species we have no concept of privacy, only a drive to survive.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: Co-traveller

And this is why you don't award one contract, value £250million, to your mate's brother with no tendering. You at least award three or four small contracts to develop and trial an app, then pick up the one that performs best.

What happens if (when, in my opinion) the IoW test fails? Assuming of course that the 'pass' criteria are fairly and sensibly set, and the trial is transparently assessed against those criteria...

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Flame

Why am I not surprised...

Here we go again on our own. Going down the only road DC's ever known. That's about as much levity as I can produce. May have given myself concussion from too much slapping forehead with hand when I read the article.

There are just so many red flags raised by what's being done that I despair of where to start. Bluntly, it is apparent to me that this go-it-alone effort is deeply flawed, doomed to cause further unnecessary deaths. If I'd been working on this code and was aware of all these flaws with the basic premise I'd be walking away. There are too many things that have to be just right for this to work reliably for a single interaction between two devices. Factor in the issue that each new interaction is no more likely to work than any previous one. Now add in the variations in behaviour of every flavour of Android. It screams design fail at me - very, very loud. But at least DC's mate's brother is getting a £250 million contract out of it with, no doubt, a hefty cancellation clause.

You also have to persuade people to install and use it. While some of the people pushing for this solution may believe that this is the right thing to do, I suspect that others are more interested in the data collected.

Dr Ian Levy should be ashamed of himself for managing to publicly state that the app both protects privacy whilst not protecting privacy. There's no sensible data retention policy. No way to have your data deleted. No way to know what it might be used for in future. "Trust us" say the people who so far have failed to provide a single convincing reason to do so, and a number of reasons to absolutely not trust.

Fundamentally I can deal with the lockdown, I can deal with staying at home, not seeing my partner for two months. So far. What I am finding harder with each passing week to deal with is the ineptitude (at best - I'm being kind) of the government. Watching them react slowly to things most other countries reacted to quickly. Watching them turn important testing milestones into cheap and meaningless political stunts. And now watching them botch the track and trace approach.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the people leading the country are inept, lazy, self interested and bluntly uncaring about anything or anyone beyond themselves. People are dying at rates not seen anywhere else except maybe the US. People will continue to die. And our "leaders" will continue to insist that they're doing everything right, that now is not the time for comparisons, that the data sets are different...

I find their actions criminally negligent. Something needs to be done. I am so, so angry - that they are doing this, that our 'press' is by and large allowing them to do it unchallenged, and that there is nothing anyone appears to be able to do about it.

NASA signs deals to put a rocket under Artemis flights until 2029

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

To be fair, the RS25 engine was originally designed to be re-used, albeit with refurbishment between flights, and so would have had a conservative maximum power rating. Use the engine too hard and it'll require too much refurbishment and/or may have to be retired early.

If you're only going to use the same engine once then you're already in a position to eke a bit more power out of it. According to NASA: "Engines on the shuttle ran at 491,000 pounds of thrust (104.5-percent of rated power level). After analyzing temperature and other factors on the engine, the power level was increased for SLS to 512,000 pounds of thrust (109 percent of rated power level)."

This suggests that there have been no modifications, simply a re-assessment of what is a safe maximum power level now that the engine is strictly single use (although a number of the engines being used for early launches are ex-shuttle).

But as Steve Todd says above - it's not cheap. SLS was being developed before Elon Musk even got started. I don't expect that it will last long once there's been a few flights of a re-usable super-heavy lift rocket.

UK snubs Apple-Google coronavirus app API, insists on British control of data, promises to protect privacy

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
FAIL

No thanks

I've seen who's running it. The brother of Ben Warner, who in turn is a friend of Dominic Cummings. No tender process. £250m. Nice work if you can get it. Nice data set too. Shame about the privacy. I won't use it. Would happily use the Google/Apple solution because they've build a system with privacy at its heart, not the mass collection of individual real-time fine grained location data.

I wonder what the cost of adopting the Google/Apple solution would have been? I wonder if Ben's brother has the ability to turn around a solution and test it on the myriad of handsets that exist. I wonder what will happen if the solution isn't delivered or, worse still, doesn't work?

How generous of GitHub to slash prices and make all its core features free. So what gives? Oh right, GitLab

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Ooh... nice.

I'm in the interesting position of using both. Github for my own stuff, been on there for nearly ten years, and Gitlab at work. I prefer the Github web UI but really like Gitlab CI. Github's CI is still a bit clunky for my liking. If I need to start doing a lot of CI then I will be switching. For me, that's the attractiveness of Gitlab...

Grsecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot open-source pioneer Bruce Perens' legal bill in row over GPL

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Happy

Will the real Bruce Perens please...

... oh, he already has. Discussion over, back to lockdown, chaps.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: So, let me get this straight

It's great to see you replying to comments about your own case on The Register forums :-)

IBM veep partly blamed Sopra Steria for collapse of £155m Co-Op Insurance Agile project

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: Agile project

Or am IBM staffer who’s managed to find a way around the corporate firewall block on reading the mathematical Register.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Flame

Re: @lglethal Nice attitude IBM...

IBM has truly awful day rates and the worst contracts I’ve ever seen for freelancers. I’d rather “rest” than contract for them.

Rocket Lab wants to break free, hopes next mission is more 'A Kind Of Magic' than 'Another One Bites The Dust'

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Ring any bells?

Plus we all know what passes for a simulation here. Like the start of a game of hide and seek where the seeker counts "one, two, miss a few, 99, 100... coming atcha space station, ready or not!"

UK contractors planning 'mass exodus' ahead of IR35 tax clampdown – survey

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: HMRC doesn't care either way

You seem to have missed the point. It is really quite simple. According to HMRC if I’m inside IR35 I’m NOT freelance, I’m a disguised employee. And I’m to be taxed directly on turnover on that basis. That is literally what the problem is. Yet you’re suggesting I am still self employed and should be managing the risks in this situation. How? My company can’t keep profits on one side, pay corporation tax on them and leave them in the bank for a rainy day. There are no more profits. Everything is net pay. Whether I want it that way or not.

As a contractor working through a limited company (a requirement of HMRC) I agree with every word you’ve written. I’m taking on the risks and operating my business in a way that takes account of them. Keeping money back for periods of sickness and unemployment. I won’t be able to do that any more. The risks haven’t gone away.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: the bigger picture

This is my fear too. In April you'll have two classes of employee. Those with benefits and rights, and those without. No need to guess which way the bean counters will jump here. An employee package typically adds a minimum of 50% overhead on top of an annual salary (Employer's NI, cost of holiday and sick pay, pension contributions and other benefits to attract employees in the first place).

If the day rate can be kept below this nominal figure then it is madness to employ permanent staff, who also have pesky employment rights.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: if the current situation was so awful ... switching to permanent roles would be more popular

I won't be selling my house. I'll be doing what any sensible person would - making the best of it. If I have to work inside IR35 then I will. I've never been out of work for more than a month in 14 years of contracting.

And I regret to inform you I've never got anywhere close to £800 a day. I did say it wasn't about the money. Keep up.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Meh

Re: if the current situation was so awful ... switching to permanent roles would be more popular

Companies hiring permanent staff look for younger people who are cheaper and will work longer hours and more flexibly.

Companies hiring contract staff will take the most experienced they can find, at the rate they are prepared to pay. That's us older, wiser folk.

Many contractors don't do this to amass a pile of cash, they (and I) do it for the flexibility. I can take as much or little holiday as I like, and I get to pick and choose where I work and for how long. That's worth far more to me than money in the bank.

You're also assuming that those permanent roles are there to be taken. My current client has a very large number of contractors on site but is only advertising for about ten technical staff at the moment. It's a similar story across the industry. Companies don't only use contractors to fill recruitment gaps. They use contractors instead of having permanent employees, full stop. And that aspect has been growing for well over 25 years.

Ever wondered how Google-less Android might look? Step right this Huawei: Mate 30 Pro arrives on British shores

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: Mate 30 Pro will start at £899 for the base model

That's just to be certain that there are a few(*) left after launch day.

(*) all of them.

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Thumb Up

A very timely piece

I'm using a four and a half year old MacBook Pro that was subject to the battery recall in September and has therefore had its minimum life extended by another three years. However I've come to the conclusion that I'm not going to purchase another laptop at the price Apple demand when there is the risk of it becoming an expensive paperweight as soon as it can no longer be repaired out of warranty. Something that could happen to my daughter's perfectly serviceable machine which is now less than six months away from the end of its warranty.

As an absolute minimum I need to be able to replace the battery, keyboard and screen. Ideally I could also replace the RAM and mass storage. All with parts purchased from somebody other than the OEM. I can't justify the combined price of laptop plus extended warranty that keeps it alive for three years when any of these items going faulty means my only sensible option is a new machine.

Contractors welcome Lords inquiry into IR35 before tax reforms hit private sector but fear it's 'too little, too late'

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
FAIL

Too little, too late

I fear the damage is done. For some that damage is the winding up of perfectly healthy businesses. For others, giving notice on current contracts and taking a break to minimise the risk of their current contract suddenly being inside IR35.

If this is a "governement of all the talents"... we're all in trouble.

Facebook mulls tagging pics with 'radioactive' markers to trace the origin of photos used to build image-recog AI

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

How could this possibly go wrong?

"Let's invisibly watermark every picture that goes through our servers" will help Facebook confirm connections between individuals that aren't explicitly declared by either party via a connection in Facebook. Nope. No thanks. Nyet. Nein. It's only a matter of time before this is weaponised against us...

Amid coronavirus epidemic, LG, ZTE hang up on Mobile World Congress, organizers call for 'no-handshake' policy

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Meh

"The death rate is, according to Beijing's numbers, about two per cent"

The numbers here simply don't add up. The virus tracker web page takes data from China and shows, this morning, 493 deaths vs 915 people recovered. Even accepting that the majority of the early cases are older or less healthy individuals who are less able to battle the virus (and therefore more likely to show up at a hospital in the early days of the pandemic) there's a long way to go to be certain of 2%.

That said the Chinese have clearly reacted much more sensibly this time around, given the relatively low levels of infection outside mainland China.

For those who are interested, the virus tracker web page is here: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Twitter says a certain someone tried to discover the phone numbers used by potentially millions of twits

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: Anything based on phone is not

To be more precise - anything based on phone number is not. A 2FA app installed on a phone is secure. A SIM hijack won't give the hijacker access to your 2FA codes in the way that 2FA by text message would.

Ah, night shift in the 1970s. Ciggies, hipflasks, ADVENT... and fault-prone disk drives the size of washing machines

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
WTF?

Not all operators are created equal

Whilst I can't recount a story as good as this (although stopping every train in a 25 mile radius of York station for 15 minutes isn't a bad one) I did have the misfortune to visit a Cable TV franchise in Bristol back in the day when I was working on some less than reliable billing software. Had to work through the night on persuading the billing run run to complete - while the operator watched a non-stop stream of p*rn on one of the fully unlocked set top boxes that were scattered around the back offices.

He didn't try and engage in conversation at any point; I wasn't inclined to try. Fortunately (albeit somewhat surprisingly has he was the overnight sysop) there was no reason to interrupt him.

Remember that 2024 Moon thing? How about Mars in 2033? Authorization bill moots 2028 for more lunar footprints

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: Which billionaire is going to take point?

On current form the smart money must be on Elon Musk. SpaceX are the only company regularly going into space with re-usable technology and a vision that far exceeds anything NASA, or any of the other competitors, has.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

Re: What will NASA find when it gets to Mars?

I suspect NASA will end up partnering with SpaceX. Much as I admire Elon Musk's vision, he needs an awfully large pot of money to make it happen. NASA could not only contribute to the pot but help accelerate development on many fronts with the experience they can bring to bear. It makes an awful lot of sense for both parties, as long as politics isn't allowed to get in the way (I expect Boeing would make one hell of a fuss).

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Joke

Re: Langrangian point

Haven't you heard? It's a Lagrangian point with wireless gigabit ethernet.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Meh

Re: Giving each astronaut 8 hours of gravity every day would be enough to maintain bone density.

And space sickness as they have to adjust once every 24 hours to weightlessness. That sounds like a very bad idea (as is starting and stopping something rotating - that's a big energy penalty right there).

In any event you'll not generate anything like an earth-magnitude gravity so benefits will be minimal - and lack of gravity isn't the only issue that causes an astronaut's health to degrade over time.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
FAIL

Um... cost and sustainability (of the mission, long term)

SLS is a massive white (OK orange) elephant. Huge throw-away rockets that are little more than a Saturn 5 blueprint scaled up on the NASA photocopier. Everything used exactly once. A massive waste of money and unlikely to be sustainable for long, if they even manage a first moon landing at all.

SpaceX and Elon Musk have it right. Aim super-high (BFR, multiple re-use) and if you don't make it you'll still achieve some remarkable things along the way. Ten years ago people would have laughed uncontrollably at the idea of a vertically launching rocket that parked itself back where it came from, to be used again and again. But here we are.

Boeing may just be doing the bidding of their paymasters here but this throw-away approach will leave precious little by way of legacy once it is undoubtably cancelled due to cost escalation and diminishing returns.

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia accused of hacking Jeff Bezos' phone with malware-laden WhatsApp message

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: We're all missing the most important angle here..

Yup. Just you.

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: "it... may see the kingdom cut out of deals altogether"

Geoff Bezos is not the USA, he's just the rich American owner of a newspaper that was highly critical of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, as mentioned in the article, he is most definitely not in favour with the Idiot-In-Chief either, who wouldn't care less about this hack - and probably actually enjoyed that it happened, even if the blackmail angle backfired.

It is not unreasonable to argue that the perpetrators never expected Bezos to do what he did, and that they hadn't therefore factored in public discussions of the hacking or a UN investigation with all the adverse publicity (and outcomes) it will attract.

Opera hits back at 'short seller' whose report claimed its 'predatory' microloan droid apps could hurt, er... investors

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Trollface

Re: What is this ?

Lynx FTW. Cookies? What are they?

Alan Turing’s OBE medal, PhD cert, other missing items found in super-fan’s Colorado home by agents, says US govt

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Meh

Re: Inventory

For a museum this might have been, but not for a school in the late 70's or early 80's.

Our state secondary schools can't even confirm attendance and qualifications gained in the mid 1980's - as a friend becoming a naturalised German discovered a few years ago.

Wave goodbye: DigitalOcean decimates workforce as co-founder reveals lack of profitability, leadership turmoil

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Meh

As a Digital Ocean customer...

This is your reminder, fellow Digital Ocean customers, that you need to have regular off-infrastructure backups, and migration plans for if the end (a) looks to be nigh or (b) has been and gone and the servers with your data on them are no longer available.

I'm not predicting that Digital Ocean will fail, I'm encouraging sensible contingency planning based on the fact that they're not turning a profit and we don't know how long they can continue without raising more cash, and if they will be able to do so.

Blue alert icon, anyone?

Unlocking news: We decrypt those cryptic headlines about Scottish cops bypassing smartphone encryption

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: All the more reason...

That depends if bitlocker has stopped relying on poorly implemented drive-level encryption which turns out to be depressingly easy to defeat in many cases.

Squirrel away a little IT budget for likely Brexit uncertainty, CIOs warned

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
WTF?

But how much is a little? To do what?

While this is good advice, it is difficult to plan for what's going to have to be done - beyond working out which systems are involved with what will soon be cross-border trade. I bet a lot of those systems are bought in which means you're dependent on others anyway.

So (1) you probably need more than 'a little' and (2) until there's some documents that are reasonably certain to be signed off, nobody knows what will have to be done... so go with worst case scenario (no deal, gulp) and budget and plan for that.

Oh, and hope like hell that Boris proves to be more capable that he's displayed himself to be so far, the lazy *#[email protected]&&. I'm not holding my breath.

Blackout Bug: Boeing 737 cockpit screens go blank if pilots land on specific runways

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: avoid seats adjacent to the engines

Not that this increases your chances of survival mind you. You're just more likely to be found in fewer, more recognisable pieces...

Reusing software 'interfaces' is fine, Google tells Supreme Court, pleads: Think of the devs!

Gonzo wizard Bronze badge
Trollface

Re: This promises to be interesting...

So when I enter US territory would my Android phone stop working, or would I be billed on a pay-as-you-go basis by Oracle?

Scratch that, this is Oracle. They'll bill me AND the phone will stop working. They'll tell me it's my fault because I'm not on the latest version of the software.

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