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Posted by Chris Mellor

But Muuuuuum...

A mudslide of storage news has mired Vulture Central and we're up to our waists in it. Alas, this seems to be becoming a weekly occurrence. We waded through it, sorted it out, tidied it up, and mopped the floors.…

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Posted by Rebecca Hill

Recommend amendments on privacy, tracking and encryption

The European Commission's proposed ePrivacy law needs significant amendments, particularly on location tracking and keeping people's communications confidential, according to an in-depth study.…

But how does our ransomware make you feel?

Friday, 21 July 2017 12:58 pm
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Posted by John Leyden

Psychology of ransomware threats unpicked

Ransomware crooks have become skilled psychological manipulators in their attempts to fleece victims of file-encrypting malware.…

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Posted by Dominic Connor

Artificial Intelligence? How the future was back in the '80s

Among the stupider things I said in the 1980s was a comment about Artificial Intelligence, including neural nets - or perceptrons as we called them back then - saying we needed "maybe a processor that worked at a hundred megahertz and literally gigabytes of storage".…

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Posted by NewsHound

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine has set out some thoughts on our strategy as we respond to the total mess that the Tories are making of the Brexit negotiations.

In an article for the Times Red Box (£), she sets the scene:

The internal squabbling of our chancellor, foreign secretary, and Brexit secretary — to name just a few of the clowns at play — is making the chances of a poor deal for the UK, or a catastrophic failure to get a deal at all, all the more likely.

Instead of knuckling down and approaching negotiations with a seriousness befitting the task, Davis has so far shown up to a photo-op without even pretending to have the necessary papers and briefings, then taking the first Eurostar home. No doubt heading straight back to the journalists to criticise his leader. It rather undermines the negotiation of critical issues like EU citizens’ rights, a solution for Northern Ireland and the UK’s debt to the EU when your so-called chief negotiator would rather be at home leaking cabinet papers.

But this is all part of a hard hearted strategy. She thinks that they are trying to create such a bad atmosphere that in a year’s time, they walk way blaming the EU for the failure.

Opposition parties, she says, must do two things. Firstly, call for the negotiators to do their jobs and, secondly, to give the people a say:

The alternative for opposition is to emphasise, again and again, that Davis and his negotiators must get on and do their jobs. That compromises are desirable to get the best deal for people, the economy and society. That no deal would be a catastrophic failure of this government.

Finally, at the end of it all, opposing voices must insist that it should not be in the gift of Davis and May to decide whether the deal is good enough. To deploy the Brexiteer’s own argument, the British people must take back control, and take the final decision away from an unsteady, minority government.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

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Posted by Gareth Corfield

World+dog: Oh no you haven't!

The world's best business self-publicist since Richard Branson reckons he has been given a "verbal contract" to build an unrealistic high-speed tube train system across America.…

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Posted by Team Register

And India still a mighty struggle

Vodafone's UK reputation is improving thanks to network improvements, the company said, pointing to a higher net promoter score as it revealed its results today.…

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Posted by Paul Kunert

'Please stop leaking info to The Reg' says UK boss

Exclusive  Less than four months after DXC Technologies was created and the Frankenfirm is already embarking on a second round of jobs cuts with hundreds of frontline support techies earmarked for the chop.…

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Posted by Chris Mellor

Investors shove another $30m into Bristolian startup's mitts

Bristolian AI chip startup Graphcore has had a fast B-round 12 months after its $32m A-round funding was first revealed.…

The sixties

Friday, 21 July 2017 10:55 am
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Posted by Michael Taylor

I just visited an amazing exhibition in Montreal at La Musee de Beaux Arts, entitled ‘Revolution’, all about the sixties, when I was a teenager. The revolution in question was the change in art, ideas, politics, power, dress, music etc etc that occurred in the late 1960s, which culminated in the 1968 student riots, Expo ’67 in Montreal and Woodstock.

Many people today, especially young people it seems, criticise the sixties as a time of fantasy, forgetting what life had been like before the so-called swinging sixties. Before the sixties, (male) homosexuality was illegal, women were second class citizens, treated as appendages of their husbands especially in regard to finance, people were hanged for murder, computers and the internet were non-existent, books, plays and films were rigorously censored and non-white people were subject to overt harassment and discrimination. Who can forget the prosecution of the publishers of Lady Chatterly’s Lover – the book the prosecutor said you would not want your wives or servants to read! Or the shocking Tory campaign in Smethick in 1964, when the Labour MP Patrick Gordon-Walker lost his seat to a campaign of ‘If you want a ******* for a neighbour, vote Labour’.

During the sixties, homosexual acts between consenting adults in private were made legal, the Race Relations Act outlawed much discrimination based on colour or race, hanging was abolished, abortion was legalised up to 28 weeks and the voting age was reduced to 18.

The sixties saw an unprecedented revolution in fashion in which the UK through designers like Mary Quant and the Carnaby Street shops changed clothing forever from the somewhat staid post war styles to the modern ever changing fashions of today. The Women’s Liberation Movement started demanding equal rights for women and the end of patriarchy, which, in Britain, eventually led to the Sexual Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act in 1975.

In politics there were worldwide protests against the Vietnam War (a forerunner of the movement against war in the Middle East), student protests in 1968 were brutally attacked by the French and other police and John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent a week in bed for world peace.

The hippies movement flourished with rural communes in the USA practising free love and possession sharing and Hari Krishna acolytes chanting and banging drums in the streets. And of course at the end of the sixties Britain applied to join the then Common Market being admitted in 1972.

Bill Gates and others started the computer revolution and this has advanced in leaps and bounds to the world wide web, twitter, Facebook and so much else in the following years.

Of course the sixties were not perfect and for Liberals much remains to be done, but the sixties were a time of hope, of a positively changing world and society.

Now following he rise of the hard right, Brexit and Trump many of these gains are being put at risk as reactionary forces try to roll back the world the the 50s or earlier, denying women abortions, feeding racial and sexual assaults and trying to roll back environmental and other protections and human rights in favour of the unregulated free market.

Brexit risks not only the immediate economic consequences of tariff barriers and loss of markets, but a fundamental shift back to earlier times that most people had thought were gone for ever.

* Dr Michael Taylor has been a party member since 1964. He is currently enjoying a round the world trip.

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Posted by Andrew Orlowski

The cringe is strong with this one

Do you need a "smart" wallet with a built in front-facing camera and GPS? Of course you don't. Not even with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot? Well, enough people do to make a success of an Indiegogo project promising just that.…

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Posted by Kat Hall

Promises firmware fix for superhub 3/Intel's Puma 6 'shortly'

Latency issues with Intel's Puma 6, used in gigabit broadband modems, have yet to be resolved for Virgin Media customers using the company's superhub 3.…

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Posted by Gareth Corfield

Too lazy to plug GPS co-ords into satnav? Fear not, gypsythief has saved you

A forward-thinking Reg reader has put the entirety of our Geeks’ Guide series onto a Google Map, for your navigational and geographically organised reading pleasure.…

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Posted by Alistair Dabbs

Let's assume you've already heard of 'clickbait headline'

Something for the Weekend, Sir?  I'll never forget the day I found my children looking at Spam for the first time. My son was particularly perplexed, asking: "Is that what I think it is?"…

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Posted by Edward Goater

The 2017 Liberal Democrat manifesto boldly sets out in section 1.1 the intention to hold a second referendum on EU membership (or indeed, a first vote on the Brexit deal). As a LibDem supporter and remainer in an area which voted 70% to leave, I was simultaneously pleased and worried at the announcement.

When asked by Nick Robinson on the BBC Question Time Leaders Special about the second referendum, Tim Farron made it clear that the result of the referendum is respected, though the people ‘didn’t vote for destination’. Whether true or not, I believe that the type of Brexit that the majority of people voted for needs ratifying in some way, which one could argue a second referendum could allow.

But much more importantly, the question of overturning Brexit, in my opinion is entirely reliant on a second referendum. Polly Toynbee wrote an insightful and interesting piece for the Guardian a few days ago. She argues that a second referendum is naturally divisive, and that an ‘indefinite limbo’ could be ‘the least worst option’.  Whilst I entirely agree that referenda are by their very nature divisive, particularly close ones, I disagree with the idea of a second referendum being wrong. I believe that Brexit can only be overturned by the will of the people to avoid the potential backlash over the perception that the ‘political elite’ have ignored people who feel long-forgotten by the system. The only means to avoid the backlash is to allow the will of the people to overturn the will of the people.

However, whether there is a taste for it is unclear, and what it would take for the minority Conservative government to call one is undetermined. Opinion Polls are famously unreliable at the present. One can pick and choose an opinion poll based on their opinion on a second referendum. For example, YouGov suggest that the support for a second referendum sits at 31%, whilst against sits at 58%. Conversely, Opinium suggests that the support for a second referendum is growing, now sitting at 41% compared to against at 48%. 

One could of course argue that the election successes of the Liberal Democrats and Green Party, which both ran on manifestos promising a second referendum, is a sufficient barometer for the taste for a second referendum. But to do so, as many indeed do the other way around, is to overly simplify an election which became shaped much more heavily by other, polarising variables than by Brexit.

Through this miasma of attempting to understand the reason as to why people voted as they did, there is really no accurate measurement or conclusion that can be drawn about how successful a second referendum would be.

I believe that there needs to be consideration, and public declaration by the Government as to what would be the most accurate measurement as to any change in public opinion about Brexit, in order to truly reflect the evolving will of the people as the facts and complexities around the reality of leaving the European Union come to light.

* Edward Goater is a Liberal Democrat member

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Posted by Michael Cote

Waterfalling for the, er, 'boring' stuff

Comment  Hey, psst. Come over here, I have a secret to tell you. My fellow DevOps hoodwinkers would cement-shoe me for saying so, but you don't always need to do the DevOps. In fact, in many cases, it's likely a waste of effort. Let's start walking this way, briskly, now – I think I see some pink and chromatic blue fade-tipped Thought Lords and Ladies coming down the hallway towards us. They look like they're ready to do a blameful pre-mortem.…

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Posted by Danny Bradbury

The Devil is in the enhanced data model

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now less than a year away, coming into effect in May 2018, and any legal or compliance department worth its salary should already have been making waves about what it means for your organisation. As a technology pro, you know that these waves will lap up against the side of your boat. You're probably going to have to recode something somewhere. The question is what, why, and how bad is it going to be?…

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Posted by Tom Arms

Is the Trump team totally incompetent or crooked? Is it perhaps a combination of the two or an unappealing variation on the political spectrum?

For despite the never-ending stream of White House protestations and presidential tweets, not all of President Trump’s problems are the result of a witch hunt of historic proportions orchestrated by  the Democrats, the liberals, “ the dishonest media,” immigrants, refugees, Muslims, “so-called judges”,  turncoat Republicans, Chinese currency manipulators, Angela Merkel, Mexicans and Canadians.

Next week we may start to learn the answer to the questions posed. It is a major week for the Trump Administration.  Three big names from the Trump campaign—Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort – are all appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the Russian hacking scandal.

A bit of background for anyone who has been living at the bottom of a mile-deep Tibetan cave for the past month.  Donald Junior—after initially denying he had met with any Russians—published a string of emails which revealed that in the depths of the presidential campaign he was keen to meet with a Russian lawyer who could dish the dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The White House made much of the fact that Trump Junior released the  correspondence rather than having  it  revealed by someone else. Little was made of the fact that he made public  the emails after the New York Times said they were going to publish them.

The meeting was held at Trump Tower (of course) and son-in-law Jared Kushner and the then campaign manager Paul Manafort were invited as well. Now it gets a bit murky. Initially the public were told that only the Trump trio and a Russian lawyer attended the conflab. Then it emerged that a former Russian spy was also present. Later additions were a translator and a Russian businessmen who had been investigated for money laundering.   All of which begs the questions: Why did the threat of publication have to be used to uncover the emails, and why weren’t the names of all the meeting’s attendees revealed from the outset?

Those questions will probably be dealt with by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Along with questions such as: Did the Trump trio think they were receiving information obtained from hacked Clinton campaign computers?

Personally, I don’t think that the Trump team are guilty of collusion bordering on treason. So, I think the question that the committee should be asking is: “Are you really that stupid?”

It may not be treason, but it is certainly political incompetence on a grand scale to accept information from a hostile foreign power which will affect the outcome of a US presidential election.

Trump Junior can hide behind the fact he is not officially part of the Trump Administration. Not so 36-year-old Jared Kushner. He has emerged as possibly the most powerful man at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after the president.  Kushner has been described as The Shadow Secretary of State who has pushed aside Rex Tillerson to become the go-to person for the ambassadors and ministers from the top two dozen countries in the world.

The Trump Administration has only appointed a handful of the top State Department positions it has to fill. The President blames this on the Democrats blocking nominations. Rubbish. Most of them haven’t even been nominated.

The fact is that Trump does not trust the hotbed of liberalism that is the State Department. In his opinion it has been tainted and corrupted by exposure to foreign ideas.

So he ignores the experience and knowledge of thousands of American diplomats and instead concentrates  the conduct of foreign policy—and most of the rest of the running of the government—in the hands of a small politically inexperienced team headed up by his wife’s husband.

Kushner is now responsible for relations with Mexico, China, international trade, most of Europe, brokering peace in the Middle East, tax reform and improving the government’s use of data and technology.  He is also now about to be grilled by the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the Russian hacking scandal to determine if the Trump campaign broke the law.

To return to the beginning, it is immaterial as to whether President Trump and his team are crooked or stupid. Both are bad for America and the world.


* Tom Arms is a Wandsworth Lib Dem and produces and presents the podcast www.lookaheadnews.com

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Posted by Simon Sharwood

Reg reader was shouted at for a problem the customer created, but won his respect and apologies

ON-CALL  Hey, hey, it's Friday! Which means frolicsome weekend fun is just a day away … if you can survive work and this week's instalment of On-Call, The Register's weekly column in which we recount readers stories of jobs gone weird.…


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