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* Posts by Oddlegs

65 posts • joined 18 Mar 2011

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European fibre lobby calls for end to fake fibre broadband ads

Oddlegs

It's a start

Maybe the ASA will tackle the terms 'up to' and 'unlimited' next which seem to take on a completely different meaning when applied to internet connections.

Er, we have 670 staff to feed now: UK's ICO fines 100 firms that failed to pay data protection fee

Oddlegs

Re: Not paying the ICO is NOT the problem

The Experian data breach affected 15M UK individuals. Did you expect the ICO to respond to each of them personally? Did you really think your 'extensive' missive was telling them anything they didn't already know?

While it might have been polite to at least acknowledge your message the ICO's response to the breach has been very well publicised.

Oddlegs

Re: Not paying the ICO is NOT the problem

Have you actually tried making a complaint to the ICO? I did once about an estate agent who wouldn't stop contacting me. They were very helpful and I never heard from the estate agent again.

As long as no one complains because they assume nothing will change then guess what, nothing will change!

I was once one of you, F1 star Lewis Hamilton tells delighted IT bods

Oddlegs

Re: What a knob

Nobody gets into top-line motorsport for PC reasons, it is way too expensive to put somebody in a car on on a bike. They buy their way in with hard cash

Except in this case PC reasons equal hard cash. The first team to have a female driver will get so much exposure as a result that their advertising revenues will soar. I remember the exposure Williams got just for having a woman test drive one of their cars. Wolff was 32 at the time in Hockenheim. Very few 32 year old drivers get such an opportunity in F1. A cynic might even say she got the opportunity because she was a woman not in spite of it.

Female drivers becoming commonplace will happen, no team's going to pass over a female driver for a less good male one.

Uber fined £385k by ICO for THAT hack of 57m customers' deets

Oddlegs

Re: Couldn't happen to a nicer company

The fine will ultimately be paid by its customers; the taxi passengers

Not really. Uber can't just increase prices to compensate because they're already being squeezed by competitors. They're already suffering huge losses. If they could increase prices by x% with no loss of custom then they would have done so already. As a result of this fine Uber will actually have to report lower profits (or in their case higher losses)

Shocker: UK smart meter rollout is crap, late and £500m over budget

Oddlegs

Re: Home security problem

Given that mobile companies have known precisely where you are for at least 20 years we must be living through an epidemic of highly targeted burglaries right? Right??

Of all of the reasons to dislike smart meters (and there are several) this must be one of the most ludicrous.

A 5G day may come when the courage of cable and DSL fails ... but it is not this day

Oddlegs

This can't come soon enough. Fast internet is becoming a necessity and much as I'd love to see FTTP everywhere the costs would be exorbitant. Mobile broadband will be the future.

It's noticeable though that all of the test sites are in large cities which already have good 4G coverage while more rural areas still struggle to get any mobile signal whatsoever. That makes perfect economic sense however steps should be taken now to ensure we don't end up with a two tier system where some lucky punters have a choice between FTTC, cable and 5G while others are lucky to get a 1Mb/s ADSL line. The 5G networks should be forced to sign up to offering coverage to 100% of the UK population. This needn't require putting masts absolutely everywhere. It would be stupid to put a mast in the middle of the Scottish highlands to cover only a single house but the networks should contribute to a fund to allow all properties to receive a decent minimum speed broadband at a reasonable price whatever the mechanism may be.

Oddlegs

Did you actually read the article?

The other thing 5G-FWA has is cost. It's much cheaper and easier to deploy and that's a saving that can be passed on to a household almost immediately

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

Oddlegs

Re: No way ready!

I'm not sure if there's really a difference between inferring and reacting. You see a shadow emerging between two parked cars. You know there's a school nearby so you infer it could be a child and slow down a bit just in case. Or did you react to seeing a person shaped shadow and hence slow down? Every scenario you describe is one a computer could learn/be programmed to recognise. Sure there are countless other scenarios which could be envisaged (or even not envisaged). A human is far more capable of dealing with something unexpected that they haven't encountered before than a computer. But a computer doesn't need to be perfect to be useful when it comes to driving. It doesn't even have to be as good as a 'good' driver. It only needs to be better than an 'average' driver. As long as such vehicles 'fail safe' when they're not sure about something by slowing or even stopping completely then I don't see a problem (provided it's not happening every 100m).

I don't think the current tech is anywhere close to being good enough but it'll get there eventually

Morrisons supermarket: We're taking payroll leak liability fight to UK Supreme Court

Oddlegs

Re: Military levels of security

You're right. It's trivial to disable USB devices to prevent data getting out

...and internet access

...and remote working

...and printing

...and mobile phone cameras

But do all of the above and just wait for the complaints from staff about how 'their employer doesn't trust them and is making it impossible to do their job'

Oddlegs

Re: Worrying level of blame redirection.

Bottom line; it isn't clear how Morrisons could, within normal business constraints, have prevented this

This is the crux of the matter. If a rogue employee wants to get data out they will. Even in military environments I suspect a major deterrent against wrongdoing is the fear of personal punishment rather than any steps the employer may have put in place to prevent them. Morrisons should be responsible for compensating any actual losses but I doubt the majority of the 5000 claimants have taken any action as a result of the breach other than saying 'yes please' to a lawyer who came calling promising them some cash.

Brits pay £490m extra for mobes they already own – Citizens Advice

Oddlegs

consider that the majority of these deals have a big discount on the contract for new customers, and you'd realistically expect the cost to go up

So they offer an initial discount in the hope of making up any deficit once the discount expires. How is that different to mobile networks? Just swap the word 'discount' for 'handset subsidy'. If anything the mobile networks are more honest about it: at least they keep the price at the same agreed level.

Oddlegs

I'm struggling to have sympathy for people who sign up to an £x per month contract for 24 months which includes a 'free' phone and don't think to check after those 24 months are up whether they're still on a good deal.

Mortgages, broadband, television, utility bills and just about every type of recurring payment has some provision for what happens when you complete your fixed term and not a single one of them puts the price down automatically at the end of it despite you having paid off the cost of your Sky box or router. The costs of being moved onto your mortgage provider's SVR after your fixed term end will dwarf any mobile bill.

Not all mobile contracts are necessarilly bad deals. My other half recently got a Galaxy S8 on a 24 month contract at a total cost of ownership of only about £100 more than buying the phone alone. It's not exactly a chore to stick a reminder in the calendar to change contracts after 2 years.

Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

Oddlegs

The wronged parties in this case are phone manufactures. There are several of those in Europe

Oddlegs

I suspect you're right but the point is that with these lockins no one else stands a chance. If I develop a search engine that's 10x better than Google's no one's ever going to know about it because Google are paying the manufacturer's to use their own, quite obviously supressing competition.

You specifically mention search and maps, two areas where Google are justifiably market leaders. They also have an awful lot of other tools which, at best, are distinctly average but they gain an unfair leg up by being bundled with the rest.

Oddlegs

Re: " Can't wait to see the MS fine then."

And how did you install Firefox? Through the Google Play Store almost certainly. The point of this is that without access to the play store Android is pretty much useless. Windows* allows you to install apps from a multitude of sources.

*The exception is Windows S on some tablets but Microsoft doesn't come close to having a monopoly in the tablet OS world

Sueball claims Apple broke hacking laws with iOS batt throttling code

Oddlegs

Re: Trespass to chattels?

Except Apple advertise performance as well as battery life even if they don't mention how many iops you can expect. If you buy a device advertised as including an A10 processor then it's reasonable to assume it will run at near capacity (if the demand is there) and isn't artifically throttled.

USB-C for Surface owners arrives in form of a massive dongle

Oddlegs

Re: Eh?

Very few tablets/ultralights come with a plethora of ports. If you need to plug in a large number of accessories then this isn't the form factor for you. Given that then by far the best choice of port is USB3 due to being compatible with just about every accessory out there.

Yeah this dongle's expensive but that will be partly because Microsoft knows no-one will buy it since it serves no purpose whatsoever. Want to only carry a single charger to charge your tablet and mobile? Well carry the surface charger and charge your mobile off the tablet. You wouldn't be able to charge both devices at the same time from the USBC charger anyway.

1.5m Brits pay too much for mobile and crappy broadband – Ofcom

Oddlegs

'Household' spending. The average household is 2.3 people. Even with 2.3 mobile bills and home telephone/broadband it seems a little high. Some people must be spending an absolute fortune to skew the numbers.

Julian Assange said to have racked up $5m security bill for Ecuador

Oddlegs

What's in it for Ecuador?

I really don't get what's in this whole episode for Ecuador. They're spending a large amount of money harbouring Assange and having him around must be interferring with day to day operations of the embassy. To top it all he's now allegedly hacked into their computers. I understand they're not on the best of terms with the US but damaging your relationships with the UK, Sweden and most of the developed western world seems pretty extreme just to spite America.

Zero arrests, 2 correct matches, no criminals: London cops' facial recog tech slammed

Oddlegs

There are serious privacy implications of this technology which don't sit well with me but that's not what this article's about. This article seems more interested in making the point: 'look at the stupid police using a system which is wrong 98% of the time'

Oddlegs

I'm still waiting to hear the alternative. This system's not perfect. In fact it's pretty poor but still better than nothing. The decisions on where to trial such technology (and any racial implications thereof) lie wholy at the feet of real people. This AI is probably far more race agnostic than the people administering it.

Oddlegs

Why is it a massive waste of police time? What's the alternative? Hundreds of real police officers scanning crowds looking for known trouble makers? That would cost an awful lot of money and I'm not even sure they'd be more effective than a 2% positive match either.

Oddlegs

Re: Surely though

People really seem to be missing what these numbers mean. Imagine the police were searching for me. This system would identify 50 people, one of which would be me. A real person looking through those 50 photos will probably be able to very quickly discount the majority of them leaving only a small number requiring investigation. The alternative would be a massively larger and more expensive investigation.

Privacy implications aside a system with a 98% 'false positive' rate is still hugely useful to the security services.

Google Pixel 2 XL: Like paying Apple-tier prices then saying, hey, please help yourself to my data

Oddlegs

Re: re: At least Google are upfront about the data they collect and what they use it for.

Likewise for Apple. Sometimes it's 'better the devil you know...'

Personally I'm looking forward to GDPR. Journalists all over Europe will be asking tech companies to divulge exactly what they're storing about us. I suspect we'll be horrified (if unsurprised) at the results.

Oddlegs

"The Apple "tax" is the price you pay for privacy"

If you genuinely believe that then you've really drunk the kool aid. iPhones track 'significant locations' just the same as android does. Siri has the ability to listen constantly as well. Apple (and Microsoft if anyone had their phones) are just as invasive to your privacy as Google and that's even before we start considering that most people have Facebook and a whole myriad of other tracking apps installed. At least Google are upfront about the data they collect and what they use it for.

Facebook scandal: EU politicians should aim for straight answers, not star witnesses

Oddlegs

I don't understand this new obsession with politicians wanting to grandstand in various hearings. It was the same with UK MPs interviewing bigwigs from Google and Apple about how little tax they pay. It achieves nothing. If Facebook have done something illegal then investigate and punish them. If they've done something which you think should be illegal then change the law to make it so. If you just want to appear tough on TV before everything goes back to how it was before then save everyone's time and money and don't bother.

Mind the gap: Men paid 18.6% more than women in Blighty tech sector

Oddlegs

I'm not really sure what the aim of this exercise is. Can women in the tech industry now march into their boss' office and demand an 18.6% pay rise? Not really since even though the median pay may be lower that doesn't mean that one employee's is. Without any analysis into why there's a difference this seems rather pointless.

A very detailed analysis of the gender pay gap between Uber drivers was published recently and non of the reasons are what could be considered discriminatory.

10Mbps for world+dog, hoots UK.gov, and here is how we're doing it

Oddlegs

"Er, no it's not reasonable that people subsidise rural broadband. Not unless the countryside starts sending me fresh air, lower crimes rates and less congested roads in return."

I think you'll find the countryside is already sending you your fresh air given that's where most of the trees are

Parents blame brats' slipping school grades on crap internet speeds

Oddlegs

All depends on how the original question was phrased.

"If you had a faster internet connection could your child do more online research to aid with homework?"

I don't think anyone could disagree with that. If only you'd bothered to link to the original article we could see.

Cambridge Analytica seeks data protection assistant

Oddlegs

Re: Guardian article

The most amazing thing about this whole revelation is that people seem to genuinely believe that the other side weren't up to exactly the same

Robot cars will kill London jobs – but only from 2030, say politicans

Oddlegs

Maybe we should ban motorised vehicles and move back to horse and carts? Think of the number of jobs that would be created!

UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

Oddlegs

Re: "not economically feasible"

And spending £100+ billion (and counting) saving a few minutes on a train journey from London to Birmingham is...?

While I don't disagree that the price of HS2 is excessive the purpose isn't only to make journeys between London and Birmingham a little faster. It will also free up capacity on the existing lines making for a far nicer experience on them.

Ads watchdog to BT: We say your itsy bitsy, teeny weeny Ts&Cs too small for screeny

Oddlegs

But they never have an issue with the terms 'unlimited' and 'up to'. Come on ASA

BBC Telly Tax petition given new Parliament debate date

Oddlegs

Re: Adverts...

You forgot the adverts in banners over the top of the actual program

Oddlegs

Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

I find it bizarre that people are willing to pay Sky a minimum of £25 a month (and still have to watch adverts) yet complain about paying the BBC less than half that. I also have a hard job of believing that across the TV channels, iplayer, the website and radio there isn't some content to suit absolutely everyone.

It wouldn't just be a case of scrapping the license fee, allowing advertising and everything else continuing as now. There's only so much adversiting money to go round and the BBC would be likely to hoover up most of it. ITV and C4's revenues would plummet with a corresponding drop in quality of programming. Several of the smaller channels would likely disappear altogether.

Those campaigning to scrap the license fee should be careful what they wish for. Whilst the BBC is far from perfect the entire entertainment landscape of this country would be worse off without it.

Tapping the Bank of Mum and Dad: Why your Netflix subscription is poised to rise (again)

Oddlegs

If Uber are as ubiquitous as you say and STILL not making any money then heaven help them when their competitors finally get their act together

BT and Virgin Media claim 'broadband' tax will cost £1.3bn

Oddlegs

The value of the property has nothing to do with what's in it. If I fill my house with gold bullion I don't have to pay more council tax than if it was filled with cabbages.

If the value of the property hasn't gone up then the tax won't go up

Amazon's Netflix-gnasher to hit top gear In December

Oddlegs

I really want streaming services to work but the fragmentation is killing them. To be able to see the shows I like I'd need to subscribe to Now TV, Netflix and Amazon at a monthly cost of £20.50. The latest season of half of the shows I watch aren't available on any of them. Other than limited Amazon titles I can't download any shows so I'm reliant on my by no means exceptional broadband. I'm also certain that once they become popular they'll move the way of subscription TV and have just as many adverts as regular broadcast television.

Offer me a single service with no ads, all shows, the ability to automatically download a few episodes of each show at the best quality that works on multiple devices and I'd be a buyer at a higher price than the three services combined now.

New measurement alert. The Pogba: 1,200Pg = NHS annual budget

Oddlegs

Re: Less than £2k per person

Given that the vast majority of people only make use of the health services in any meaningful way in the first and last 5-10 years of their life the cost for only those years of need is considerably more.

Really it's no different to any other insurance. The huge majority of people won't get back what they pay in but you still pay during the good years just in case you're unlucky enough to need it. A rare condition could easily cost millions to treat.

A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

Oddlegs

If the expected returns are going to be 'significant' then why isn't Virgin or any other provider chomping at the bit to lay fibre. Despite appearances BT aren't stupid. If they thought there was money to be made in replacing copper cables they'd be doing it.

The truth is that for the majority of people their current copper-based connections are 'good enough'. Certainly good enough to not be willing to pay much more for fibre. There will always be a small number of people (and links posted above show that this is a small number of people) who do have very low speeds but these are likely to be the most cost-prohibitive to lay fibre to anyway.

Finally you mention 'paying through the nose' for broadband. As it happens the UK is pretty competitive for broadband prices compared to the rest of Europe (http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2015/10/mixed-uk-results-in-eu-study-of-broadband-speeds-price-and-coverage.html)

Oddlegs

I suggest you read up on your history. Nynex, C&W, NTL and just about all of the other cable providers went into massive debt to lay their fibre and all went bankrupt when the expected returns just didn't materialise. No one was going to pay a huge premium for cable TV/telephone when over-the-air TV and BT provided a decent, cheap alternative.

Virgin cable only survive because they didn't have to pay for the cost of rollout. They picked up the bankrupt carcasses of everyone else who did. There's a reason Virgin haven't extended their network in any significant way in the last 20 years.

Oddlegs

Re: it amazes me..

Indeed. It's slight unfair to compare the UK to other countries in this respect. We've had fixed line telephones for coming up to 150 years! Many (most) other countries have never had a universally connected populace so when they have a choice now of rolling out fibre or nothing then it's a no-brainer. The UK's choice is between rolling out fibre at a massive cost or keeping it's copper based network. For most people VDSL/ADSL2 is 'good enough'. Very very few people would be willing to pay much of a premium for fibre broadband and certainly nowhere near enough to pay for the cost of rollout.

In 10/20 years time that situation will probably change but who knows what copper based technologies will be available then. If wasn't that long ago that 56kb/s was considered the maximum bandwidth copper could support.

Indian Capital Delhi bans Uber's surge pricing

Oddlegs

Re: Down with surge pricing in India!

As you say 1000Rs to a tourist is still relatively cheap and no one's going to spend hundreds on a holiday to India and then refuse to pay another tenner to see one of the wonders of the world. But if it's ok to charge certain groups more than the norm "because they're willing to pay more" how is surge pricing any different? People may not like it but they're clearly willing to pay surge prices otherwise no one would and the policy would disappear overnight.

Oddlegs

Re: Down with surge pricing in India!

Indeed. 1000Rs for a westerner to visit the Taj Mahal. A local can get in for 40Rs. The same is true of most government-run tourist sites across India. I've got no problem with paying more but 25x more?

If the Indian government's able to ask people for more money than usual for a service why shouldn't Uber?

TalkTalk offers customer £30.20 'final settlement' after crims nick £3,500

Oddlegs

Re: Small claims court

And you'd prove to the court that your specific losses were caused by the Talk Talk breach how exactly?

Don't get me wrong, TT have been grossly negligent and should be fined a huge amount by the regulator/government and some high level executives should see prison time but there have been data breaches before and I'm not aware of a single case of someone linking a financial loss to the breach.

The chances are that it's pure coincidence this gentleman had £3500 nicked a couple of days after this breach but that's not really the point of this article. To charge him, and any other customers who want to leave, an early termination charge is shockingly bad PR from Talk Talk.

YouTube bloggers told to slap 'advert' stickers on their vid posts

Oddlegs

Whilst I agree with the sentiment of the new guidelines will they also apply to professionally produced films and TV due to the liberal use of product placement. Having 'advertising feature' on screen for 50% of the next Bond movie could be rather distracting

Google to take another shot at a free Wi-Fi business

Oddlegs

Re: I wonder what this will do to the mobile phone market

I see it the other way round. 5-10 years ago (when Google first tried) this would have been great due to the state and expense of high speed mobile networks. Nowadays mobile data connections are (for the most part) fast enough and reliable enough that when I get to a location offering free wifi I just don't bother.

Free, ubiquitous wifi only works if it's just that: present absolutely everywhere. If you're still going to need a backup mobile network for the times you're in a park, the countryside or just any black spot then why not just use it everywhere?

Don't panic. Stupid smart meters are still 50 years away

Oddlegs

Why?

I can understand some concerns about privacy but smart meters? "Oh no, the powers that be will know exactly how much gas and electricity I'm using!!" What possible nefarious use could anyone have for that information? Contrast that with more accurate bills, not being hassled for meter readings and potentially innovative products/pricing based on time of use.

Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Oddlegs

Re: So....

But Microsoft didn't get in trouble for forcing Windows to be the de facto desktop OS. They got in trouble for using their (fairly won) OS monopoly to try to create a second monopoly.

The situation with Google is pretty much identical. Their search monopoly is legitimate and no-one is saying otherwise. The issue comes from using that search monopoly to push other products. You can argue that it's trivial for users to go to other price comparison sites but the truth is no-one bothers because there's a big shopping button right at the top of any Google search.

Should Google be punished because users are a bit lazy? Possibly not but it's exactly the same rationale behing Microsoft's fines over the browser wars.

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