nav search
Data Center Software Security DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes
BOFH
Lectures

* Posts by ratfox

3285 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Shhhhh! It's a Swiss Sunday shutdown. Kill the lawnmower, punish the kids with CHEESE

ratfox
Silver badge
Devil

Re: creepy

Hey, it's one of the few countries around here who has never tried to conquer the world or its neighbours! Your many oppressed ex-colonies say hello!

8
0

Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?

ratfox
Silver badge
Devil

Including the cost of the US healthcare system in welfare spending is not unlike including the price of billionaire mansions in the money spent to fight homelessness.

6
3

GOOGLE is COMING FOR YOUR CHILDREN

ratfox
Silver badge
Angel

Re: Scary prospect

Well, yeah, from what I can understand, that is precisely what Google would like to fix…

Once you control the video web site, the search engine, the browser, possibly the OS and the hardware itself, your position for creating a mostly-safe internet for kids is basically as good as it can get.

Now, the question is how much non-Google web sites will be included in this walled garden.

2
0
ratfox
Silver badge
Devil

Why won't somebody think of the children?

Well, Google did!

1
0

Oi, UK.gov. WHERE'S THE DETAIL on your Google Tax?

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: Stop taxing profits

Quite apart from the fact this would bankrupt companies with thin margins (everybody but luxury brands), it would do nothing to solve the Google problem. Because Google has almost no income in the UK. All advertising contracts are signed with Google Ireland, who does not report its income or profit to the UK. In fact, just by the last point, I don't see too much how the UK could tax profits from a company who does not have an obligation to report said profits to the UK.

12
1

Bloke, 36, in the cooler for leaking ex's topless pics on Facebook

ratfox
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Good, good

It's hard to believe it would be necessary, but apparently the message needs to get out that doing this will not be tolerated. Gods…

8
3

Wikipedia won't stop BEGGING for cash - despite sitting on $60m

ratfox
Silver badge
Devil

Re: Straight into a special account

The reason they are not using a bank in San Francisco is that it would probably only accept checks sent by post. Try asking a US bank for an IBAN, you'll see where it gets you…

9
1

LA schools math quiz: $500 Chromebooks or $700 iPads for students?

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: all about the Apps?

I'd say whatever exists on one platform, it's probably easy to port it to the other one. I don't think educational apps are that demanding, for all the fluff they contain.

That said, it's not the first time a school buys a chromebook. Publishers probably exist already.

1
0

Docker, Part 2: Whoa! Spontaneous industry standard! How did they do THAT?

ratfox
Silver badge
Windows

Re: almost nobody says "Android Linux."

Well, Linux is just the kernel, doncha know…

2
0

Netflix: Sacre vache! French resistance from the vestibuleurs de consommation

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: Joker in French is just "joker"

You chose to complain about this, instead of "vestibuleurs de consommation"??

1
0
ratfox
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Another reason for Netflix Difficulty

proper made in France material that requires more mental activity than most people want to use when watching TV

Hmpf… Pfff… BWAA HAA HAA HAA HAAA

5
0

Evil US web giants shield terrorists? Evil spies in net freedom crush plot?

ratfox
Silver badge
Megaphone

Of course… But maybe.

Of course it's a terrible tragedy that a Fusilier Lee Rigby got assassinated by terrorists. Really!

But maybe it's not worth letting go of our freedoms and privacy rights for the chance to maybe – maybe! – save a few lives. The Benjamin Franklin quote comes to mind.

The number of people who die of terrorism is similar or smaller to those who die from snake bites, or from lightning strikes. It is vastly inferior to the number of people who die of car accidents. It is dwarfed by those who die of cancer.

So my message to the authorities is: Stuff it. Look at the numbers. Look how much your war on terrorism costs. Look how much good it does. Look how many soldiers got killed in wars you started, compared to the number of people who got killed by terrorists attacks.

And stop asking for extraordinary powers to fight a shadow threat.

11
0

Britain's MPs ask Twitter, Facebook to keep Ts&Cs simple

ratfox
Silver badge

If they want clear privacy conditions…

They have to write it themselves. The point of T&Cs is not to inform users; they are written for the express purpose of making sure that the company can never be sued for anything. The people writing them work very hard to not include anything that would explicitly limit the freedom of their employer.

The only way this can change is if governments write a privacy code making clear what is allowed and what is forbidden. Until then, it's purely and simply a matter of who you trust.

0
0

Oh BOY! The MICKEY MOUSE Apple Watch is no heart-throb

ratfox
Silver badge

Still not convinced by the crown

This is the company that got out a smartphone with a single button, and everybody called them crazy, and it was incredibly successful. What the heck are they doing adding a crown?? How about just using the touch screen?

Oh, and keeping the time within 50 milliseconds: I consider myself a freak because I want my wristwatch to be within 5 seconds of the exact time… But I don't really see why I would need a hundredfold increase in precision.

So far, it feels like the best use case is a remote control for the phone.

1
1

Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU

ratfox
Silver badge
Megaphone

"There is no need"

So, is Google allowed to do it? Or is it not allowed to do it?

And about the results on google.com, do they need to be scrubbed in all cases, or only when the search comes from a European IP? Because I suspect the US are going to be quite nervous about the idea that a European court can decide what they are allowed to find in their search results.

I think the regulators are walking on eggs, and deliberately left quite a lot of uncertainty in their announcement. This is far from over…

3
1

Google turns on shiny new .google top-level domain – but WHY?

ratfox
Silver badge
Headmaster

Seems useless to me

> Of the 1,400 applications for new internet extensions, exactly one third were the names of well-known existing companies

That is not possible, because 1,400 is not a multiple of three.

That said, I expect that the majority of these companies already own the related *.com domain. In theory, this could make it possible to save four characters when typing. Woo-hoo.

Unfortunately, I suspect that most people will get confused by an internet domain name that does NOT end with .com, .net, .org, .edu or a two-letters country code. As it is, I already do a double-take whenever I see an address ending with .info or .biz.

Go to iphone.apple.com <-- recognizable by 99% of people

Go to iphone.apple <-- Huh?

2
0

Whistling Google: PLEASE! Brussels can only hurt Europe, not us

ratfox
Silver badge
Alert

Only a levy can help the German publishers

But why a levy, which is chump change for Google, and not a property-based market for digital news?

Because there is no value for such a market. There are too many websites who are willing to let Google scrape all of their data in exchange of some traffic. The German publishers have clearly demonstrated recently, when they asked Google to show their snippets, even for free. In fact (though it will probably not come to this), the German publishers would probably be willing, on the contrary, to pay Google for showing their snippets. Quite a few websites do this; it is called online advertising, and Google has some experience on the topic.

The problem the publishers have is not that Google scrapes their data; it is that the Internet exists, and contains a lot of cheap competitors who are willing to whore themselves for clicks, and that search engines in general and Google in particular forces them to compete with all this competition. Would Google not exist, the publishers would be in practically the same situation with any number of other search engines, and those might even charge them for the privilege of giving them traffic.

So the levy is the only possibility that remains. It more or less amounts to declare that quality news publishing is not profitable, yet positive for the common good, and so must be subsidized by some kind of tax on businesses that are profitable.

1
0

And the award for the world's most tech-savvy country goes to …

ratfox
Silver badge

I wonder if fixed phone lines count as positive or negative. In Europe, tech-savvy countries should have less of those, since they become useless once everyone has a mobile phone…

2
7

Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU

ratfox
Silver badge

I have a memory that people used to talk how mobile phones were bad for your health due to the radio waves going through your brain… And the single study "supporting" this view that existed at a time was a study from the 1980s showing that people who owned a mobile phone were more stressed than others.

There might have been more studies since then, but I haven't heard of it. People still worry about having a cell phone tower near their house, though.

2
0

Coming clean: Ten cordless vacuum cleaners

ratfox
Silver badge
Windows

Re: I Thought the Reg was an IT mag.

Essential article to any IT bod who needs to clean his (or her) server room!

2
0

Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: Tough choice...

My dream is that he is finally caught after many years, trying to escape from the embassy; shipped to Sweden; then sentenced to one month of community service.

33
1

Google, Rockstar to bury zombie Nortel patent lawsuit

ratfox
Silver badge

Just one year from lawsuit to settlement?

That was fast.

0
0

Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop

ratfox
Silver badge
Windows

Indeed

My three years old iPhone is not very functional, and my two years old Nexus 7 also slowing down. I guess it does show how fast devices are evolving, eh?

We're lucky that PCs are not doubling in power every year anymore, or they'd be creating 3D fractal OSes just to make us buy the latest hardware.

5
0

All ABOARD! Furious Facebook bus drivers join Teamsters union

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: here's a crazy idea

Then again, they could be treated better. According to this article, Google drivers have access to the Google gyms and cafeterias. Though of course, the article is essentially about the same complaint: work in the morning and late afternoon, with nothing to do in the middle.

4
1

Google bags huge Times Square ad space for New Year's

ratfox
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Thank you, El Reg

It might be a recognised standard, but I struggle to figure out which pitch this is about. The football pitch is said to be about an acre, or 4'050 square meters; but all the football pitches I could find, from the diminutive American football field's 6'400 square yards to the massive Australian rules football fields (variable, but over 10'000 square meters) are much bigger.

0
0
ratfox
Silver badge

Re: Why?

Everybody knows about Coca-Cola, but they still have ads…

0
0

Blackpool hotel 'fines' couple £100 for crap TripAdvisor review

ratfox
Silver badge

Legal?

I'm pretty certain there are limits to what businesses can put in the fine print. Like, say, replace this £100 with £1'000'000, and it becomes obviously illegal.

I hope these practices are formally banned, though.

16
0

Has your STARFISH been DRIBBLING awful SLIME? Scientists now know WHY

ratfox
Silver badge
Headmaster

"A method implies an actor"

It's awfully hard to describe many natural processes as anything else than a method, even though there is no sentient actor involved. E.g you could read in a book "sweating is a method used by the body to regulate temperature", as if Mr body had decided to regulate its temperature, had tried different systems for getting rid of waste heat, and had settled on this one.

The proper way to see it, of course, is that because of bits of DNA randomly generated millions of years ago, the way the body is built happens to include a system generating sweat, which happens to have the beneficial effect of getting rid of waste heat, which presumably led to the survival of this body over all the bodies which did not happen to include this sweat generation system. But since it's impossible to think of it that way without feeling like a random chemical process, we tend to prefer more active words, like "method".

7
0

YIKES: Combination of LIVING WOMAN and MACHINE sighted in NYC

ratfox
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Re: orientation

It is considered fashionable for women to wear their watch on the inside of the wrist, and to check the time by holding the forearm straight, with the wrist daintily bent. This avoids the unfeminine move of raising the elbow to check the watch on top of the wrist.

So this is very much the best orientation for an elegant watch for women.

2
1
ratfox
Silver badge
Facepalm

Oh man

They just had to show as example of message the Four Dreaded Words, which make every husband/boyfriend quake in fear…

10
0

You know where Apple Pay is getting used a LOT? Yes - McDonalds

ratfox
Silver badge

Half of all McDonald's US touch purchase transactions are now made using Apple Pay

What's the other half? Android, or NFC-enabled cards?

0
0

Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work

ratfox
Silver badge
WTF?

Microsoft Office is a social-network-for-suits now??

I wouldn't know. I haven't used it since 2005.

4
0

Remember that internet sales tax? Wasn't that a great idea? It's dead

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: Oh noes, sales taxes are too complicated!!1!

@Eddy Ito: I'm not buying it. There are already online companies that are charging sales taxes when people are buying from zip code 90631, because they are based or "have presence" in California, and the law forces them to do it. It might well be that they charge the incorrect amount of tax, or that the money goes to the wrong county, or a myriad of other things that can go wrong; but they are charging sales tax.

For example, Amazon has a tax collection service which they claim is able to determine the taxes due anywhere in the US:

"The ability to specify tax collection obligations for orders at the state, county, city, and district level for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia"

Amazon offers this service for all the companies that use Amazon as a marketplace to sell their wares, and which may be required to collect sales tax in any place. This is typically a problem that is very hard to figure out… for a human being, but that can be solved easily using computers.

0
1
ratfox
Silver badge
Facepalm

Oh noes, sales taxes are too complicated!!1!

This does not stop Amazon from already collecting sales taxes for all the states where they have a presence. For all the complexity of the system, it should be fairly easy to have a service which answers in real-time what is the tax rate for a particular address and a particular product at a particular time. Then have every online store call that service whenever they need it, job done.

1
1
ratfox
Silver badge

What are they thinking?

Though I'm not really overjoyed at being taxed, the current situation makes no sense at all. There is no reason why buying from the net should be in effect tax-free, and buying the same at a store should be taxed.

I can only assume that Boehner heard "new tax" and reflexively said "over my dead body".

4
5

Hey, Apple! We can land a probe on a comet, but we can't have a 12.9in iPad 'until mid-2015'?

ratfox
Silver badge

Would they really want to?

Apple normally tends to focus on a smaller number of products. It's only last year that they started to introduce two new phone models per year.

Considering large tablets are not really selling well, I would skip building an even larger one.

0
0

Google will have to WAIT and SEE if I fine them - EU antitrust chief

ratfox
Silver badge
Headmaster

IF ONLY SHE HAD A CLUE

FTFY

0
0

LARGE, ROUND and FEELS SO GOOD in your hand: Yes! It's a Nexus 6

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: Launched way too early

Look on the bright side: At least it's not trying to kill you.

11
0

Mozilla re-negotiates Google multi-million dollar sugar-daddy deal

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: I wonder if Google would consider dropping the Mozilla deal?

Mozilla would probably get almost as much money from Microsoft for Bing to be the default search engine; So Google would not be able to kill FF just by killing this deal. Also, I think Google cares a lot more about search engine market share than they care about browser market share.

Then again, the last time the deal was done, Chrome's market share was neck-and-neck with Firefox, and Internet Explorer was in front. Now Chrome has almost as much market share as the other two combined, so that might change things.

1
0
ratfox
Silver badge

Re: What do the rest pay ?

I suspect that the first place is worth gazillions more than all the rest put together… Certainly, there does not seem to be a lot of space between the total reported revenue of $311M for 2012 and the "almost $300M" claimed to be paid by Google.

2
0

Vodafone: For Pete's sake! Apple’s 'soft' SIM's JUST AN EE SIM

ratfox
Silver badge
Flame

"We don't want it because it is too convenient for the users"

And we want them to pay for convenience.

2
1

Consumer group SLAMS NASA for letting Google rent $1bn 'playground'

ratfox
Silver badge

Consumer Watchdog has been accused a couple of times of being paid by Microsoft to attack Google on various fronts. They certainly seem not to like Google:

- Watchdog calls for Google break-up

- Watchdog backs Google antitrust complaint with (more) data

- Consumer Watchdog lambasts Los Angeles over Google Apps

- Google accused of hypocrisy over Glass ban at shareholder shindig

- Consumers pay up to 67% more for products on Google Shopping

And now Moffett Airfield.

11
1

Got an iPhone or iPad? LOOK OUT for MASQUE-D INTRUDERS

ratfox
Silver badge

"side loaded" apps?

I thought it was impossible to side-load apps on iDevices? Wasn't that a key reason they were supposed to be safer?

2
0

Obama HURLS FCC under train, GUTPUNCHES ISPs in net neut battle

ratfox
Silver badge

Re: Nice

That would be the FiOS that Verizon has decided to stop expanding four years ago? The one that people can't even get in rural towns such as New York?

14
2
ratfox
Silver badge

Nice

It's not like the broadband providers were investing in better networks anyway…

4
3

Reg mobile man: National roaming plan? Oh UK.gov, you've GOT to be joking

ratfox
Silver badge

So maybe…

A large, country-wide infrastructure should be done by the government? I guess the problem is that all telcos are hated, so the government wanted the people to hate someone else.

…Maybe the government could cover rural areas with its own antennas, then let the telcos use it at a reduced, national roaming-like cost?

3
0

Printing Bad: Meth found in laser printer cartridges

ratfox
Silver badge
Windows

Re: You know you are getting old when...

Oh man. Suddenly I felt I was sitting in second grade again. I'm not sure when they went out of style; by high school Xerox was everywhere.

1
0

Don't assume public trusts you, MI5. 'Make a case' for surveillance – Former security chief

ratfox
Silver badge

Trust is the wrong problem

No matter how well-intentioned the various governments are, I don't think that they should have complete access to my data. Because any trust I have in them currently may be misplaced in the future decades.

And there is no reason to frame this problem as a "Us-vs-Them" question. The secret services might believe that they are efficiently fighting ISIS, and that ISIS is worth fighting against. I doubt both points. I have not seen anything to convince me that terrorism is efficiently fought against by anybody, except by people who are actually trying to find peaceful solutions in various hot places in the world. And considering how unimportant ISIS is, I don't think we should be spending a lot of time fighting them.

6
0

Words to put dread in a sysadmin's heart: 'We are moving our cloud from Windows to Linux'

ratfox
Silver badge

Stupid question

Going to Linux will reduce the licensing costs, depending on your vendor of choice but the downside comes in those with Windows skills and experience needing to new learn new tools and the Linux infrastructure.

I have no idea at all, but is it really easier to find people with Windows skills than people with Linux skills? I realize most of the corporate world is on Windows, but on the other hand, don't almost all CS schools have a Linux infrastructure nowadays?

22
2

'Tech giants who encrypt comms are unwittingly aiding terrorists', claims ex-Home Sec Blunkett

ratfox
Silver badge
Mushroom

Fuck terrorism

Terrorism causes a number of death and injuries that is insignificant compared to, say, the flu. There are more people killed by lightning strikes than by terrorism. It simply is not worthy of attention.

And it most definitely does not justify extraordinary rights for the government to peer into our every thoughts.

50
1

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing