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* Posts by John Smith 19

15276 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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

John Smith 19 Gold badge

The thing you'll almost never see (unless MS "discovers" it again)

Is making anything (and I mean nearly anything) clickable.

I've only see that on the OS's built to support the later languages of Wirth (Oberon for example).

Privacy, security fears about ID cards?'s digital bod has one simple solution: 'Get over it'

John Smith 19 Gold badge
Big Brother

"Read Wilfred Greatorex's 1999. Or watch the series."

Highly ironic.

"1990" is actually about a Left Wing police state Britain. Greatorex seemed pretty Right Wing

But the real truth is that there would be little practical difference between a Left Wing authoritarian police state and a Right Wing authoritarian police state.

The politics is just window dressing for the Authoritarian state of mind.

The real "enemy" is the democratic process and the people who practice it. IOW Everyone. not them.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"It should certainly NOT be assumed that any scheme proposed now should be like that

"Should be" like. No

"Probably will be like" is rather more likely.

Who could possibly see that coming?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"The problem lies in both its usage by government and the protection against any abuse, "

And the f**king huge back end database the data fetishists (who crave this) want to log every single aspect of your existence 24/7/365

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"do you think the Leave voters would have been expected to 'like it or lump it'?"

We already know Farage was going to press for yet another go around.

All because an arrogant, over privledged PR type (one of those "power brokers" you seem to dislike) reckoned the referendum was the perfect way to a)Stop defections from the PCP and b) Kill off UKkip.

Which it's done. Superbly.

Of course the UK economy will probably end up economic road kill but that's a small price to pay for the key goal. Keeping the Parliamentary Conservative Party united.


John Smith 19 Gold badge

Re: "Naive, I know, but without trying we would never know."

"That's one way of looking at it, although I certainly took it a tad more seriously than you are implying - I'm not treating this as a game. "


Most of the voters I'm familiar with seemed to view it as little more than some sort of petulant gesture against "something" ("Europe, innit" to coin a phrase) that they couldn't manage to articulate beyond "I don'ts like it."

"Any more than you need to guess that I was hopelessly idealistic in my faith that, when it comes to the crunch, people would pull together and show some solidarity."

No.Your mistake is not seeing the actual situation as it is. A stand up fight with odds of 27 to 1 against. In a Steven Segal movie he wins. IRL the 1 gets the s**t kicked out of him and if he's lucky an ambulance picks him up before he bleeds out. The accuracy of that metaphor you could have discovered for yourself with about 5 minutes work on Google.

"I won't apologise "

No one's asking you to.

If you're right and Brexit really is the precursor to going to getting to those "Sunlit uplands" people were spouting about during the referendum there will be nothing to apologize for.

OTOH (assuming you haven't fled to some offshore bolthole, as various Conservative MP's and former MP's seem to be planning to do. Why would they sacrifice their standard of living when they can sacrifice yours instead ) you'll be living with the consequences of your handiwork for some time to come.

Provided you don't have any conditions that needs some of the 45 million units of medicine the UK ships in from Europe whose supply might get delayed at one border check or another. In which case you might not be around so long.

"but for me it's about the ability to stand up to the power brokers who see the little people as nothing more than cash cows to be milked and discarded, "

And it never occurred to you to notice most of those "power brokers" you're talking about are actually British? and you actually expect them to be more restrained with less external influence?

You really are gullible.

"Lest we forget, the people of this country might have voted to join the EEC (an economic agreement) "

Since we're not forgetting let's not (also) forget that Margaret Thatcher and John Major both had absolute majorities. If they'd wanted you to have a referendum in 1992 you would have had one. when kwitters whine about "Remonaers" asking for a 2nd vote they discreetly forget they've been whinning on about a 2nd vote for 26 years.

John Smith 19 Gold badge
Big Brother

It is incredibly convenient and at the same time incredibly oppressive

Funny how that works.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"defence against oppression and invasion of privacy comes from oversight and transparency. "

And given how p**s poor the UK is at that then not having an ID card seems about the only other way to stop data fetishists (of which this is one of their wet dreams) from gaining complete satisfaction.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Naive, I know, but without trying we would never know."

So you and your pals thought you'd conduct a social experiment with the entire future of the UK's relationship with the rest of the world.

Hoping for a revival of the "Dunkirque spirit" were you?

How do you think that's worked out? 50% success rate? More? Less?

I'll leave you to guess how well I think it's worked out.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"people like Boris Johnson. No lack of IQ, refusal to use it for anything..useful."

Don't be silly, he has parlayed his IQ into a very substantial salary (and multiple other income streams) and assiduous cultivation of Tory grass roots to get to be the PM (to the exclusion of actually doing the job when some fool puts him into a Ministerial job).

On a side note I've met cunning people and smart people.

Smart people rarely think they are cunning.

Cunning people often think they are smart.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"anyone..points out a shouted down..transformation (or other such buzzword shite)

I smell a briefing by the cabal of data fetishist mandarins in the Home Office.

Small American town rejects Comcast – while ISP reps take issue with your El Reg vultures

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"and the town would be able to switch vendors in the event of poor service or lower cost"

Which is admirable.

Until you try to do it.

People of Charlemont.

You'd better make sure that the operators document everything they have and change.

Architecture, settings, box locations, all current and default passwords etc.

Otherwise when you try to exercise choice it'll be "Sorry, we don't have to tell you that, and we won't."

Equifax how-it-was-mega-hacked damning dossier lands, in all of its infuriating glory

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Except it would had cost money to do so. Money not spent = profit."

The root cause?

UK spies: You know how we said bulk device hacking would be used sparingly? Well, things have 'evolved'...

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"I really don't see how bulk EI is going to help in the failed wars on terror, drugs and motorists."

What makes you think this is their "enemy" ?

It's their excuse.

The real enemy of all data fetishists is everyone.

Everyone who says things they can't hear.

Everyone who thinks things they don't know about.

Because once you have 6 lines from an honest man you can find something to hang them with.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Sorry for raping your sister. I just wanted to ensure that nobody else was gonna rape her."

Pretty much.

Although when you say it like that you make it sound so psychopathic.

Boffins build blazing battery bonfire

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Do you have a ref. for this. What in deity's name is a 'reverse catalyst' ??"

What I meant was a catalyst that reverses the original solar heated process, giving up latent heat in the process.

The idea was to avoid higher temperatures and move more energy by increasing the flow rate of the chemicals, which sounded a pretty good idea to me.

IIRC candidate reactions were N2/H2/NH3 and SO2/O2/OO3

Relevant reports would be from the DTIC DoD search engine, although I'm not sure any of it is in PDF's. .

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Hmm. Reminds me of the SolChem work of the US NRL in the early 80's.

Solar heated catalysts --> shifts balance of chemical mixture --> released by reverse catalysts into tank of aerosol cans filled with salt eutectic (cans keep the mix water vapor free and partition massive volume change as it goes solid --> liquid).

The US Navy never wanted to be reliant on foreign oil for its fleet ever again.

Then Regan got elected, oil was cheap and the research got shut down.

SolChem became an old cover story in PopSci, where I found it looking through the stacks one day.

Keen for much-hyped quantum computing to finally land? Don't expect it for a decade

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Never too soon to start picking up some funding.

I'm still not seeing anything most developers would recognize as a computer.

IE something you can actually program

Y'know, not by wiring it up, changing its function by what instructions it executes.

That seems f**k know how far away from reality as it's always been.

Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning

John Smith 19 Gold badge
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"the antisocial network giant."

Yes, that's about it.

And note that gem from Yul Kwon

""exploring a path where we only request Read Call Log permission, and hold off on requesting any other permissions for now.""

Was it Lenin who said "Push in the bayonet, if it meets fat, push harder."

Thumbs up for the line "The antisocial network giant" not it's behaviour.

The British Home Office was warned about its crappy data management – then Windrush happened

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"the home office is staffed by proto totalitarian racists and needs cleaning out."

We know many people think this.

But sadly with demise of the National Identity Card scheme and the National Identity Register we only have a rough idea who you are.

So far.


The Home Office.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

" the pool caught all cases, even those where the application was incomplete or incorrect,"

<monty burns>


</monty burns>

To a data fetishist (like those who set policy in parts of the HO) all data is good data, because more data is always better than less data.

And besides, just because it's wrong doesn't mean it won't be wrong in the future ("And then we get them" as the KGB would have observed)

Data fetishism. It's not a sane policy. It's a personality disorder

Accenture in doghouse after NHSmail mass outage cuts off 1m+ UK health staff

John Smith 19 Gold badge

You mean Accenture might actually have hit a *penalty* clause?

F**k me sideways they actually have some performance limits in the contract and it looks like they can't weasel out of them for a change.


Contract negotiators on the government and/or NHS sides always seem remarkably lax about such things.

I do hope El Reg will continue to follow developments, especially the aftermath.

£10k offer to leave firm ASAP is not blackmail, Capita told by judge

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Sounds like a bung to me.

A classic case of the "The squeakiest wheel gets the most grease*"

*Old engineering expression.

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"She's a nasty misogynistic, racist, lying xenophobe."

And there's me thinking she only got the top job because because she was the candidate the supporters of the other candidates didn't dislike too much.

By Conservative standards these are actually pluses.

BTW something more than 1 million British people have died since 2016.

Now, how many of these old codgers voted Leave, before joining the choir celestial?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"tell ERG that look all your talking about amazing deals with Europe..shut up for a generation now."

You wish.

The only way you're likely to shut some of those people up is with some thick plastic bags and several rolls of duct tape.

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"The solution itself is almost reasonable,"


It looks almost reasonable.

But it isn't.

Who is not thinking "Yeah, I could write a script to automatically ask to join every conversation. No problem?"

John Smith 19 Gold badge

" but that's really restrictive... to which we reply THAT'S THE BLOODY POINT!!"

Correct. But then GCHQ probably does not think it's part of "Law enforcement" so those restrictions should not apply to them. They are charged with "security."

Note the "Virtual croc clips" is one of those nice verbal analogies that is simple to understand and so comforting."

It is in fact bu***hit.

"End-to-end encryption."

The clue is in the name.

And the (mass?) snooping capability added to UK System X digital exchanges bumped up the cost compared to competitors.

BTW I am not opposed to proportionate, targeted and justifiable surveillance. But the senior data fetishsts who run GCHQ (and their like minded friends in the Home Office and elsewhere) are.

Ex-Autonomy boss Mike Lynch, finance VP Stephen Chamberlain charged with fraud in US

John Smith 19 Gold badge

All stuff that has been seen in *any* number of buyouts.

Here's the thing.

When the buyer has sight of the books and they are Here's the thing.

When the buyer has sight of the books and they are allegedly deliberately falsified and the CEO allegedly lies to the Auditors (because otherwise the auditors would also be culpable, as the auditors of Enron were) that's not a civil matter anymore.

That's actually criminal.

Blighty: We spent £1bn on Galileo and all we got was this lousy T-shirt

John Smith 19 Gold badge
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"a few nannies short of the full Norland's College to be honest."


John Smith 19 Gold badge

They say you learn nothing good reading comments on the BBC News website

But I just learned a new word.


That sounds an admirable description of the people who want Brexit.

They want to give up on the EU and they want to tell you about it. A lot.

Kwitter sounds about right for most of them.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"I've learned a lot about remoaners, they appear to have no back bone, "

Says the gutless Ahole who can't put their name on a post.

Grown up talking.

Run along and play with the other kiddies till you can learn to think for yourself.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"I've lived in the EU for many years, still do. It's a little country called Wales. "

Hilarious that Wales and the North East were two of the biggest Leave voting areas and the only areas in surplus to the EU IE the EU owes them money.

This sort of self-harm isn't cutting yourself with a craft knife.

It's playing a blow torch over your arm.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

The poorer folk, more likely to be Leavers, will be eating rats' hairs... chlorinated chickens.

Thus teaching possibly the most valuable lesson of all.

"Never trust a Tory posh boy."

They say "Experience is a hard task master, but some people won't learn any other way."

True that.

Bon appetit to your pullet chlorine mon amis.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"what I do not understand is why some people seem to think that it is right to punish the UK"

Because you are

a) A troll?

b) A delusional f**kwit?

John Smith 19 Gold badge

" I think there's a good chance the madness will come to an abrupt end. "

You wish.

If the Conservative party is viewed as the cause of this chaos (as in fact it was) this might make them unelectable for a generation.

I think that's about the best anyone can hope for at this stage.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"brexit thing has been a clusterfuck of unimaginable proportions."

Wrong tense, Boris.

This is just the preamble. It hasn't happened yet.

"brexit thing will be a clusterfuck of unimaginable proportions."


By which time I expect even the hard line brexiteers will be posting AC.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

""Sir William Cash piled in, suggesting that the UK could simply knock the Galileo £1bn off"

We don't call him "Dirty" for nothing.

Money talks.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Nothing like a disaster to line the pockets of those with the sense to see it coming."

Especially if you advocated it in the first place, with a pretty good idea of what would happen.

If this were actions aimed against the nation they would be called traitors.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Can we have the heads of Farage, Boris and Davis on a post outside Parliament?"

You missed out Jacob Rees Mogg.

I think you'll find Somerset Asset Management (both the London and Dublin branches) will definitely have been making investments to increase the family fortune.

The more I look into his behavior the more I think he's in it for the bucks rather than the beliefs.

At least with Gove you could predict you were in trouble when he stands behind you.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"2) Change things"


Leave voters voted for a blank sheet of paper which the "architects" of this BS promised would be filled in later.

It now has.

Many of the Leave voters (or "Banjos") don't like it.

Felt like you were being played? You were.

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"I'd rather laugh at you when you are in the dock for murder f**kwit."

A Brexiteer without the balls to sign their own name.

My prediction

By the time the transition period ends the number of people who admit they voted to Leave will be as high as the number who admitted they voted for Oswald Mosely on VE night 1945.

Not fu**king many.

High Court agrees to hear full legal challenge of Blighty's Snooper's Charter

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"develop a proportionate surveillance regime"


This s**t will continue until some of the data fetishist senior civil servants (who ensure that while the Ministers change the same old claims and lies keep being recycled) are flushed out and either leave their posts, or get arrested.

Another Hancock-up? UK health secretary appears in piece about controversial GP app

John Smith 19 Gold badge

""Hancock, though, appears to be a fully paid-up member of the tech can save us lobby.""

Well he could just be ignorant but he is a Conservative Minister so more like

"Hancock, though, appears to be a fully paid-up member of the tech can pay us lobby (after we retire)."


John Smith 19 Gold badge

"graduated from Oxford University with a 1st in Philosophy, Politics and Economics."


The degree of choice for career bu***hitters*

*Along with Classics (Johnson), History (Rees-Mogg) and English (Gove).

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

John Smith 19 Gold badge
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Atomic clocks are the gold standard for time measurement so the question is "What can shift the frequency of a rock solid oscillator like the frequency emitted by an electron doing a level transition?"

Speed of movement (General Relativity) has been tested this way since the late 60's but the actual force of gravity itself is new.

Historically it's been the case that when it seems like the science is only refining what is know that whole new areas of phenomena have opened up. IOW what the boffins list is only the start of the list that may show up.

Well done.

Amazon's homegrown 2.3GHz 64-bit Graviton processor was very nearly an AMD Arm CPU

John Smith 19 Gold badge

Let's recall the other definition of MIPS

Misleading Information Provided by Suppliers.

Twice as fast as a raspberry Pi? Clocked at 2GHz?


Which either means this is

a) A bargaining tactic to get Intel to lower their prices to Amazon before they dump it.

b) Version 0.9 to get it on the cloud and accessible to real users before they start the serious tweaking.

I'd like to think Amazon are serious about supporting ARM. But designing chips is not their core business, unless it gives them a significant advantage (like some companies running graphics SW on their custom processors back in the day).

Baroness Trumpington, former Bletchley Park clerk, dies aged 96

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"she had "a bloody good innings"."

I think we all hope for as good, or better.


NASA's Mars probe InSight really has Mars in sight: It beams back first pic after touchdown

John Smith 19 Gold badge

"Jim Bridenstine said the device could detect how often Mars gets bombarded by asteroids."

Sadly, quite often.

IIRC in one year a little under 400 new craters appeared that were visible from orbit (which is how they were detected).

Mar's surface atmospheric pressure is 1/160 that of Earth means you don't see many shooting stars.

You'll feel them when they hit the ground.

At not far below orbital speed.

That sphincter-flexing moment for devs when it's time to go live

John Smith 19 Gold badge

One thing that really lowers the pucker factor is a complete test environment.

IE on one that has a "Hyper" level supporting the concept of a whole separate "company" level.

Testing functions on a live system is way more stressful.

Cutting over from a liver to another live system even more so.*

*BTW One companies quiet time IE Christmas is another companies massive panic time. SOP for large retailers is to freeze system changes months before Christmas/January. If it's not working right they will roll back (you do have a roll back plan, don't you?) to the earlier version and tough it out.

HMRC: 30 months to prep Northern Ireland backstop systems, 24 for customs

John Smith 19 Gold badge

So this is what Brexiteers meant by "Quick and simple."

Not quick.

Not simple.

Pretty much what anyone who a) Didn't have a vested interest in the chaos that would be caused or b)Wasn't a delusional f**kwit could have told them.

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